Friday, December 2, 2016

The Jingle Bud Tutorial! Make Little Flowers From Jingle Bells

It's the most wonderful time of the year: that month when you can buy jingle bells at the dollar store!  (Okay, you can buy them other places too.  So I'm told.)

Why is this wonderful?  Well, duh, they make everything more jingly.  But even more significantly -

You can turn them into flower buds.

They are awfully fun to use in crafting.  Delightful for jewelry...

I love to use them in home decor projects (more about that in another post), and for cute flower gifts like these key rings.

If you try, bet you'll come up with all kinds of cool things to use them for.

The DIY is easy - you can probably figure it out without a tutorial.  But I have a neat little trick to show you, so bear with me all the way to the end - you might decide to do it my way.  Ready?  Here we go.

First the basic technique - this is how I used to make them before figuring out my super secret maneuver.  And it's a perfectly fine way to do it.

1. Use a fingernail or pliers to open out the petals just far enough to jettison the jingler.

2. Grab a petal between pliers and bend it over - as little or as much as you like.

Do it with all four petals and - yep, that's it!  Flower done!

But here comes my awesome trick.  Watch carefully now.

Pop a round plastic bead onto one tip of the pliers.

Now grab your petals (with the plastic bead on the outside) and bend.

The round bead will protect the metal and make a prettier, unmarked petal!  This photo shows what I mean:

A tiny - but interesting - difference, is it not?

I hope you enjoyed this idea!  Perhaps there's a trip to the jingle bell store in your future?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Guess The Mystery Thing: A Christmas Flamingo Bracelet

What do you get when you combine an off-the-shelf bracelet kit, a miniature silicone flamingo and a not-very-mysterious Mystery Thing?

Can anyone guess the Mystery Thing?  It's the little silver flower bud in the center:

Gosh, I know it's a tricky one...okay, not so much.  Have you figured it out?  Get ready to scroll down for the answer.





Keep scrollin'...





And here's the reveal!

Yes indeed, it's a jingle bell!

I bet you guessed it.  But that's okay, we all need an easy win right now, eh?

I make flower buds from jingle bells all the time.  Will post a mini tutorial soon, because this is the season for buying jingle bells.

In this instance, I simply wired my flamingo to the "jingle bud," like so:

Then I wired it to the bracelet base.

Hope you smiled at this one!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mix And Match Chevrons - Easy Earring Tutorial

Today I thought I'd do a basic earring tutorial featuring a type of bead I adore: the chevron.

They are always exciting to me...even more so when randomly assorted.  Who needs matching beads, anyway?  I made some happily mixed-up earrings to prove my point.

Don't they look good enough to eat?

The original inspiration for the earrings came from this necklace - I made it years ago and have always loved the dynamics of all the different colors and sizes.

THE DIY - how to make my mixed up chevron earrings.

In addition to a handful of chevron beads, you will need:

Step 1: put a bead on each headpin.  Snip the headpins short and turn loops to create dangles.

Step 2: use the eye pins to make two longer dangles, with alternating beads and bead caps.

Step 3: add the short dangles to the long ones.

Step 4: add an earring finding to each of the top loops.


Although sometimes chevron beads can be spendy, you only need a few for the earrings.  The real fun is in choosing your combination...balancing colors, balancing designs...ooh, it's pure creativity.

That's it, dearies.  I hope some of you get the urge to mix things up!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ten Minute, Upcycled Mini Cross-Body Purse

Look - a teeny tiny cross-body purse!

I've never been accused of being trendy (trust me on this).  But little bitty mini bags - one of my absolute favorite accessories - are suddenly madly fashionable, showing up on runways and stores in every style you could dream up.

Here is a super quick upcycled version - make it in about ten minutes and wear it out on the town.

The upcycled element: an old eyeglass case.

I always have a multitude of these, as my husband gets new glasses every year.  (Some tips on the right types of cases to use for this project in a bit.)  Let's get to the DIY!

You will need:
-an eyeglass case
-a short chain of beads (from an old necklace or bracelet)
-4 big jump rings
-a long purse strap
-a push pin (or a hammer and nail)
-jewelry pliers

With a sharp nail or a push pin, poke 2 holes in the front of the eyeglass case: one near each edge, about halfway up.  (If there's a hard structure underneath, pound the nail through with a hammer.)  Thread a jump ring through each hole, and add the beaded chain.  Like so:

Close the jump rings securely.  That's it for the front!

To add the strap in back, you will attach two more big jump rings, but using a slightly different method.

For each jump ring, poke a set of two holes, about 1/4" apart.  Thread the jump ring through both holes.  Add the purse strap and close up the jump ring.  Here's a closeup so you can see what I mean:

When done, the back will look nice and neat. are done, baby!  Fun and fast, eh?

Of course, the bead chain ornament is just the simplest of ways to decorate your purse.  The eyeglass case should be considered a blank slate, to be embellished in a thousand ways!

Here are just a couple of other examples.

This one sports a thicker leather strap (super comfy to wear).  Instead of a bead chain, I embellished with a charm bracelet I made ages ago but never wear.

This next one is really adorable!  It features a strap made from vintage mother-of-pearl buttons - an awesome thrift shop find.  I added a little stack of buttons to match:


* Choose an eyeglass case with solid sides (so your stuff won't fall out).   There's room for a credit card folder, keys and lip gloss.  What more do you need?

* Avoid magnetic clasp cases - often they aren't really secure enough for a cross-body bag that will be swinging around a bit.  Best closures: a zipper or strong velcro.  And hey, you can add a velcro closure to any case, so that's another option.

* Find cute purse straps at thrift shops, yard sales,  even dollar stores.  I sometimes buy an ugly, ugly purse just for the strap.  Alternatively, borrow a removable  strap from a bag you already own.

Okay, that's my little idea.  It could be a fun one to make with tweens or teens, don't you think?  Hope some of you decide to give it a try.

See ya!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Painted Glass Shade - A Metallic Makeover

Hi there!  Today, a little light fixture makeover that made a big difference in my room.

This project is kinda fun in that there are two 'before' versions.  Here's the story.

In my rustic Tuscon adobe house, there's a natural-log loft above the living room.  The two fixtures under there were not right at all!  But I wasn't sure what I wanted, so for years there they hung, looking like Cutesy and Kitsch (two of the lesser-known Dwarfs).


See what I mean?  Meh.  Not terrible, but just not in harmony with the wood elements.

Then recently, I found a couple of potentially nice, mass-produced fixtures on sale.


Hmm...maybe!  I liked the curvy branch base and the dark bronze color.  My hopes were high and I bought them.  My husband installed one, I stood back to look, and...

NOPE NOPE NOPE.  I hated it!  The ruffly glass mini-shades looked like those other guys, Silly and Wimpo.  And too starkly pale against the wood.

My poor long suffering husband took it down.  I almost marched those fixtures right back to the store.  Then I had a crafty little thought.

I took the glass shades off and hung them up outside.  Grabbed some dark bronze colored spray paint...

They got about four thin coats of paint.  Plus a light blast on the inside.

Now check out what a difference it made!


It almost looks like the shades are made of the fixture's bronze wrought iron, doesn't it?  I think it is awwwesome.  (And for realsies, it looks like it cost way more than I paid.)

Tip: if you're using hot incandescent bulbs, you should probably use a high heat spray paint (although colors are very limited with those), OR use glass paint from a craft/art supply store.  But for modern, low wattage bulbs, a basic good quality spray paint works just fine.

Have any of you ever tried painting a glass shade?  It never occurred to me before, but now it's definitely something I'm going to have fun with.  Point me to the nearest boring tulip shade and stand back!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Mystery Thing Revealed: Antiqued Silver Shield

Hi, all! Last week I posted a Guess The Mystery thing challenge. I wondered how many of you could identify the weird little found object in these upcycled necklaces:

The Mystery Thing is that silvery, oval shield-like item. Does it look a teeny bit familiar...or not? Take a sec to think about, fix your guess in your mind.

Okay, then - time to reveal The Thing. Ready...set...scroll!






I have to say, you people are hella smart. Comments on the challenge post were running about 90% correct! I am very impressed.





And the answer is...





It's the plastic shield that protects a stick of deodorant.

Did you guess it? If so, you are awesome. To everyone who commented last time: thanks for playing, guys!

Want to DIY? Here's a mini tutorial.

To adapt the shield for jewelry, you need one quick trick that allows it to lie flat when worn. It's this: use wire snippers to trim off a bit of the curve in back. Like so:

Next steps: I melted holes in the flanges, spray painted everything silver, and added two jump rings for attaching a necklace. Here's what it looks like in back so you can see what I mean.

See, not hard at all! After that, I had a delightful time embellishing with elephants, dragons and frogs.

For attaching the animals, I made some extra holes, strategically placed, and simply wired them on.

Since my teeny critters are made of rubber, I didn't trust adhesive to hold. More about these cuties in my next post...elephants, dragons and frogs, oh my.

See you then!