Friday, August 26, 2016

No-Sew Recycled Denim Pendants - With A Hidden Metal Underwire!

Hello, my friends!  Today I have a fun and flowery upcycled jewelry idea to show you.  Denim rose pendants!

The unique thing about these roses: a secret metal structure underneath, that keeps the petals from drooping.  Just like an underwire bra!

Not that any of us know anything about underwire, no.  No droopy petals here.  We are all naturally perky.   But I digress.


My rose has four graduated circles as the main petals.  There are two hidden metal components to the structure.  Ready to learn the secret?  OK!

Support secret number one: the largest petal has an actual underwire.

To make it: referring to the photo above, poke four holes in your largest circle.  Thread craft wire through the holes.  Form a loop so the denim is slightly gathered.  Pinch one end of the wire tight to secure.  On the other wire end, make a small loop.

Support secret number two: stiffen the three smallest circles with my favorite stuff - aluminum duct tape.

Add a piece of tape to the back of each denim petal, then pinch them up in the center.

Flip them over and they now have subtle ruffles!  See?

To assemble the rose, first put a small flat spacer on a headpin.

Poke a hole in each petal and stack them onto the headpin.  Add a bead cap.

Add a scrap of denim, which will be the tiniest center petal.

Trim the headpin short.  Use round-nose pliers to twirl the wire down into the center.  Twist it as tight as it will go!

And huzzah, that is your finished underwired rose.

Here is the back.

Use that small wire loop as a built-in bail, to hang your pendant from a strung necklace.

My concept was to contrast the rustic denim pendants with  elegant semiprecious stones.  These are strung with natural quartz crystals, Czech crystals, lapis beads and freshwater pearls.

They look amazing dressed up or dressed down.  Aw, go on, you know you want to make one...and wear it like the natural-born Blue Jean Queen that you are.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Decorative Antiqued Silver Houses - From Recycled Cardboard

Once, long ago, I made some teeny little silver house ornaments, using recycled cardboard.  These new ones are a bit bigger, with a fresh technique and several different uses.  And...antiqued!

They can still be used as ornaments, but they are also fun turned into fridge magnets...

...or greeting cards...

...or standing up anywhere: your mantel, a side table, even the kids' room, hee hee.

They are eco friendly and so fun to make.  For tools, all you need are scissors, a pencil and wire cutters.  Materials:

-cardboard scraps
-aluminum duct tape
-double-stick tape
-shoe polish
-craft wire

Ready?  Here comes the DIY!

Cut a little house from scrap cardboard.

Roughly cut out a tiny a cardboard door and some windows.  They don't need to be straight or the same size!  Lay down short strips of double stick tape, then stick down the doors and windows.

Cover the front with duct tape.

Trim away most of the extra tape.  Cut slits at the corners so you can fold down the excess in back.  It will probably look something like this:

You can cover the exposed cardboard with more tape - but only if you plan on seeing the back.

Lightly burnish down the tape around the cardboard cutouts, using something rounded like a pen cap (or just your finger.)

Now to etch in the details.  Use a blunt pencil or a ball-point pen - very sophisticated tools, eh?  Outline the raised door and windows first.  Then add cross-hatched windowpanes, a doorknob and roof tiles.  Maybe a few bricks on the chimney.

Remember, you are going for cute and rustic, not precision architectural drafting.  Mistakes are okay.

Make a wire smoke plume, to look something like this:

(For the detailed smoke plume tutorial, go here.)

Bend some curves in the wire stem, and tape it to the back of your chimney like so:

And that, my dears, is a super cool shiny silver house!   Adorable.

If you like, you can stop right there.  I actually love the shiny silver version as-is.

But wait, there's more.  The antiquing step is next, and it's so simple.  Just rub on some solid shoe polish, then buff it out until you have the amount of antique finish you like.  See the difference:

To make an attached stand, cover a scrap of cardboard with silver tape, then attach it to the house with more tape forming a hinge.  Here you can see the stand in the mirror:

Here's one more thought I just have to share: a wonderful gift idea.  Make a replica of a real house, and present it to the owner!  Wouldn't it be awesome for someone moving into a new home?  Or a senior who is moving to a smaller place?  Yes, it would.

To make a replica house, refer to a photo of the house front, and approximate the main features with your cardboard cut outs.  Then proceed as above for a custom mini house!

Well, that's the dealio!  Hope you like it.

Thanks for coming by, friends; see you another day.

P.S. If you made one, what would you do with your mini house?


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Make An Easy, Hand-Painted Baby Onesie

Hi, guys!  A little post with a little baby onesie.  I thought I'd show it off because I have a bit of a mental block.  See, I am convinced I am utterly terrible at free-hand painting!  But whenever I let go of that and just allow myself to daub, I often end up very happy - not only with the result, but proud of having made the effort.

If you might feel the same way about tackling a decorative painting project (or any project, really), maybe this will inspire you to go for it.

Here's my onesie:

Turned out pretty cute, eh?  Aww, here it is on my nephew!

The DIY:

1. Get a blank onesie.  At the dollar store, maybe?
2. Use a small brush and fabric paints to swoop colors of the sea all over the front.  Use a light touch and a fairly dry brush, for thin paint layers without heavy brushstrokes visible.  Let the ocean dry for 5 minutes.
3. Dab on some badly-drawn but really bright fishies.  Wait one minute, then add a second layer of paint so they really stand out.  Let the fish dry completely.
4. Add a tiny eye to each fish with a black Sharpie.
5.  To set the paint: tumble the onesie in a hot dryer for half an hour.

Done!  Woot!

So here's an awesome money saving tip.  Did you know you don't need to buy fabric paints in a whole lot of colors?  That would empty your budget pretty quickly.

Instead, convert your ordinary craft paints into fabric paint.  Just invest in one small bottle of fabric paint medium.

(There are lots of brands out there, that's just an example.)  A dollop of fabric medium, mixed into your own paint, and poof!  Turns it into fabric paint.

Interesting side note: my mom and I painted onesies together, at the same kitchen table, using the exact same materials.  The two turned out different as chalk and cheese.  Here's mom's version.

I love hers, too!  Isn't it amazing to how different brains work?

Okie doke!  Thanks for checking in on my creative space - it is important to me to have one.  Much love, see you around...


Friday, July 8, 2016

Repurposed Collar Flower For My Hound Dog

Ain't nothin' but a hound dog...

...with a flower on her collar!

I  experienced a fashion emergency this week: a trip to Vegas was approaching, and because Matilda always gets so much attention when she walks through a casino, I decided to add a pretty accessory to enhance her star quality.

I made the cute collar flower from two waiting-to-be-repurposed items I had been saving for just such an occasion.  (Both from the dollar store.  I am very predictable that way.)

The DIY:

I cut two flower shapes from the fleece glove, and two simple pieces from the metallic silver placemat:

I layered the four shapes, and sewed them onto the collar.

If you look at the finished fleur, you can see I also placed a tiny circle of fleece in the center - useful for preventing the thread from tearing through the plastic lace.

Crisis averted!  Princess Matilda is ready to make her appearance in Vegas.

Or as I sometimes like to call her, Princess Di.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Make A "Build Your Own Rattlesnake" Kit For Kids!

This little box - formerly a grocery store cheese container - holds an awesome homemade gift for a kid!

That's right, people, you can make a super fun, easy, crafty kit for some lucky child.  All you need: a handful of beads, a bit of craft wire, and a Sharpie.  A great project for girls and boys - snakes are cool for everybody.

Check out the quick-as-a-wink DIY.

Begin with a piece of craft wire, between one and three feet long.  (Some kids prefer loooong, crazy mismatched snakes.  Some kids prefer shorter, regularly patterned, beautiful snakes.  It's funny, but rarely do the two overlap.)

Twist a swirly onto one end, like so:

Find a flat bead that you can Sharpie on.  Matte finish glass beads work well.  Or choose plastic or wooden ones.  Draw two eyes and two nostrils, and anything else that says snake.

Another option: make a simple snake head bead from air-dry clay.  (You can add Sharpie details once it's dry.)  I made some extra little disc beads to match.

Next, add your snake head to the wire.

Now gather a bunch of beads and mix 'em up.  You can use random, unmatched beads - a wonderful way to use up those strays!  Or go with a color scheme.  Or even do as I tried to do here: choose some that look kinda snaky.

Include a few small disc-shaped beads if you have 'em - they make a nice rattle at the end of the tail.

Put the bead mix in a cheese box.

Tip: some of these cheese boxes have small holes in the sides.  I seal them up with bits of tape.

Place the snake head wire in the box, on top of the beads.

Print up a nifty snake picture (or draw one), and glue it to the top of the box.  I found this lovely vintage rattlesnake art over at The Graphics Fairy.

That's your finished kit!  Give one to a bored kid and watch the fun begin.

Instructions for making a snake:

String beads on the wire until almost the end.  With the last little bit of wire, use a skinny object like a pencil point to make a small loop or swirl.  Like this:

Bend some curves in your snake and display proudly!

I hope this idea rattles your cage.  See ya next time.