Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fantastic Repurposed Earrings

Here's a pair of lovely, lengthy earrings - along with a little mystery.

Can you guess which inexpensive item I took apart, altered and reworked to make them?  Now, don't be hasty!  We are playing on the honor system here, so don't scroll until you have a guess firmly seated in your brain pan.

Are you ready to scroll?  Here we go...




Keep scrollin'...




Hint: I found this item at the dollar store, a favorite haunt of mine.  Hmm...does that make you want to change your guess?  There's still time.



Okay, friends, here's the answer.  It's..it's..tada!.

A dollar's worth of frilly, fancy plastic fan.  I bought some for fanning myself because it's HAWT.  And some for disassembling and reassembling into jewelry.

The DIY:

1. Use wire cutters to snip apart the connector holding the fan together.
2. Use the same wire cutters to trim two of the decorative spokes into a matched pair of dangles.  Tip: snip small bits at a time to shape the top and bottom - better to cut too little than too much.
3. If needed, run some sandpaper along the cut edges to smooth them.
4. With a heated poker, melt a hole near the top of each dangle.
5. Add earring findings to the two holes, as seen in the version at the top of the post.  Variation: make gold bead connectors to join the dangles to the earwires, like this:

Done!  Do you like them?  I do!  I have been wearing them every day since I made them.  Although, since I do not have pierced ears, I wear them as ear cuffs.

(Interested in ear cuffs?  For the world's easiest ear cuff DIY, click here!)

Okay, peeps, signing off for now.  I sure hope you had fun trying to guess.  See ya!

P.S. re-read the title of this post...see what I did there?  Tee hee.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hamsa Hand Door Amulet

Sometimes I need a little protection.  From malevolent spirits; from dragons; from windstorms generated by sad ghosts; from haunted ladies who walk weeping at the full moon.

So I make these shapely, swirly amulets to hang in doorways.

The charm is a Hamsa hand - an image of an open right hand, used for centuries to ward off dangers and the evil eye.  I also make them using the Nazar or blue bead evil eye amulet.

My hanging door amulet is so simple to make!  The secret is memory wire - it's what creates the springy swirl on the long stem of beads.  You will need:

a Hamsa hand pendant (or a blue bead amulet)
some small blue beads
2-3 coils of bracelet memory wire
a cup hook
heavy duty wire snippers
round-nose pliers

The DIY:

1. cut a length of memory wire and make a small loop on one end.
2. thread blue beads onto the wire until nearly full.
3. when you have about an inch of wire left, add your amulet, then one final bead.
4. with the last bit of wire, make another small loop to finish the strand.  Optional: add a bead dangle to the loop for a little extra movement.

Here's a closeup:

In the version above, I chose antiqued silver rounds as the final two beads, bookending the pendant.

5. screw a cup hook into your door frame.  Slip the top loop of the beaded strand onto the cup hook.  That's it!

Here's how it looks hanging in the doorway of my bead studio:

For a different version of spooky protection, here's a link to another tutorial - my beaded evil eye amulet made with craft wire and simple glass beads:

A handmade door amulet makes an awesome gift!   Just right for lots of occasions.  A new home...a hostess...a dude who isn't into jewelry...a Freshman dorm room...a wedding gift...

Or make one for yourself, for when the Big Bad draws near.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Repurposed Place Cards For A Cowboy Wedding

This summer, some friends of mine are going to a rancher's wedding.  Location: New Mexico cattle ranch.  Dress code: cowboy!  Doesn't that sound fun?

Here's a mini Guess The Mystery Thing challenge, inspired by the event.  Check out these fun little place card holders:

Who can guess the identity of those interesting white bases?   Now hold your horses!  Whoa, dogies!  Take your time and don't scroll until you have it in your head. 

Got your guess?  Okay, here comes the scroll down.





Some of you will know the answer on sight.




Some of you might be offended.  Maybe?  I'm not sure...









The Mystery Thing is...

Oddly attractive shotgun loading wads.  (That's what she said.)   Don't be offended.  They are so darn cute, with their little space age feet and ready-made slits to hold a place card!

Hope you got a laugh out of this one.  Later, dogies!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Easter Island Faux-Stone Pendants - Tutorial

I surprised myself with this project.  Never having tried fake stone before, I was unsure.  Could I pull it off?  Using Crayola air-dry clay from the kiddie craft aisle?

But golly, I love how these turned out!

I've thought of a bunch of ways to use my lovely Easter Island heads.  How about:

Mounted grouped in a shadowbox frame.
Turned into way cool Xmas ornaments.
Embellishments for decorative boxes.
Slightly insane statement rings.
Brooches or hat adornments.

Got other ideas?  Add them in the comments!

For today's tutorial, I'm going to show you my necklace version.  Check it out!

The DIY is madly simple.  I started with this awesome silicone ice cube tray, a great yard sale score for fifty cents.

Then I marbled small batches of air-dry clay.  I did it differently each time; some versions are just black and white, others have some blue mixed in for spice.

I squished my marbled clay into the mold:

Remove them gently - see my tips to follow - and allow them to dry.  And voila, stone heads!

It took some trial and error to get this right, so pay attention, class.

Tip #1: Marble gently - too much mixing will muddy the look.  Try twisting the colors together instead of kneading.

Tip #2: For a rougher stone texture, use crumbles of dried-out clay in the mix.  This discovery was a happy accident!  My blue clay had dried up in a poorly-sealed package, so I tried it...fabulous.  Now it won't go to waste.

Tip #3: After marbling a batch, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, drying out.  The drier, stiffer clay is easier to unmold.

Tip #4: Take your time removing it from the mold, and expect some stretching.  Place it on a flat surface and gently push it back into shape.  (If it turned out really deformed, no prob!  Just squish it back into the mold and try again.)

To attach the pendant bails, I used my magical aluminum tape method (tutorial here).

Okay, guys, that's the story of the Easter Island pendants.  Hope somebody tries it.  Have fun!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Totem Statement Necklace Mystery

Hi, all!  Here's a mystery for you to tackle.  Take a look at this big, bold upcycled necklace:

Do you like it?  Me, I am superduper pleased with how it turned out.  Now for the mystery part.  Who can guess the origin of that crazy, swoopy black focal piece?

Wait!  Don't scroll until you think you've got it.  Take your time...don't be too hasty...

Got your guess?  Okay, scroll away!




Wait for it...




Okie dokie, here's the answer!  It's...it's...

A faux wrought-iron garden fence.  Plastic.  From the dollar store.

I just love the shape of the inner swoops!  They remind me of American Indian tribal motifs from the Pacific Northwest where I grew up.  I isolated one of them, like so:

To turn it into a necklace, first I melted holes in the top with a heated poker.

Using large jump rings as connectors, I added some big coppery chains and findings:

I added a beaded strand to complete the length, and boom, that's the necklace!

The strung strand is made of lava beads - I chose them because they are matte and bumpy in texture, very similar to the fence material.

Hope you enjoyed this one!  Let me know in the comments if you guessed right - or if not, what you thought it could be.

Oh, and I can't sign off without mentioning that other time I made a necklace from a different (but equally cute) plastic dollar store fence:

Here's the link to that tutorial.  A very different look, isn't it?  It's a fun one.

Thanks for coming around, you guys!  See ya!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bobbin Pendants and How To Tea-Dye Beads

Hello hello!  I have something small and fun to show you today.  First take a peek at these sweet necklaces - the pendants are made from sewing bobbins and vintage buttons.

If you want to make a bobbin bauble - an oldie but goodie, from way back in the history of this blog - here's the original tutorial.

To create a necklace, all I did was add two beads up the center of the bobbin, with loops on both ends.  One loop got a tassel, the other got a beaded necklace.  Done!

The thing I wanted to mention is the two colors of beaded necklaces.  Both are mother-of-pearl...one is pure white, the other's a darker version.  Both started out white - and I tea-dyed one to match the sepia-tone pendant.

Most crafters have heard of tea-dyeing fabric, but did you know you can tea-dye beads?  So simple.  Just soak them in a small amount of water, along with several used tea bags.

Works a treat!

The length of time you need to soak them will vary.  With these ultra smooth and hard MOP beads, it took overnight.  A more porous material (like bone beads) would be a much shorter soak.  Just keep checking every hour or two until you reach the color you like.

I happen to have a long drawn out cold (going on three weeks now) and have been drinking lots of tea.  Next time you or a loved one is sniffling sick, save the tea bags and try a little tea dying magic.

See you next time...and take care of yourself!  (cough cough)