Friday, October 30, 2015

Hand Drawn Fuzzy Flocked Beads

Ooh!  Just look at this cute, oh-so-tiny, fluffy, fuzzy hummingbird bead.  (It's only half an inch tall!)

I also made a hedgie...

...and flowery vines...

...very groovy polka dots...

...and little Mr. Hootiepants, here.

Aren't they fun?  I used some fuzzy-coated beads I found online.  Flocked beads - who knew?

I bought mine at Fire Mountain, but have seen them elsewhere, too.


The technique turned out to be really interesting.  I drew on them with fine and ultra-fine Sharpies, but at first I found that the ink wanted to run and smear all over.  Then I discovered a very important trick.  Here's the HOW-TO!

Start with the ultra-fine point and do your black outlines.

Then add color - and immediately blot the color dry by rolling the bead on tissue or paper towels.

Do just one or two small bits of color at a time to avoid smears.  Keep adding color until your drawing is done.  Let it sit for 15 minutes before handling it much, in case there's a still a bit too much ink saturated in the fuzz.  That's all there is to it!

My vine bead is an inch and a quarter high and soft as a bunny's butt.

The thing I like most about this technique: you can get some almost painterly effects by adding colors and blotting in between.  Some bits even remind me of watercolor - you can see it pretty well in the hummingbird body!

Let me finish up this post with a couple of tips.

TIP 1.  I am not very good at drawing things, but I did once manage to teach myself a freehand owl, and never forgot how.  (To see, check out this old Halloween post.)  For the hedgehog and hummy, I googled "how to draw a hedgehog" and "how to draw a hummingbird," and practiced on paper first.

These flocked beads are usually pretty cheap, so I didn't mind messing up a few times.

TIP 2.  Do your best to avoid getting them wet.  Interestingly, this is not as critical as you might think.  I assumed they would be Gremlin beads, i.e., one should never never never get them wet!  But to my surprise, they can withstand a bit of moisture without any drama at all.  So just use common sense and come in from the rain.

What would you draw?  Ideas, please, because I have a bunch of flocked beads and want to make more.  I hope you enjoyed this fluffy post!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Awesome Organizing With Vintage Hair Rollers!

Okay, here's an organizing and storage idea that (I hope) will make you smile.

I rescued a huge bag of unwanted, old-fashioned plastic hair rollers, and have been working out ways to use them.

As one with naturally curly locks, I knew I'd have to repurpose the dickens out of them.  After giving them a bleach-and-water bath, I started playing around with ideas.  My previous post showed how I turned them into some offbeat jewelry:

As well as a sweet little Christmas ornament.

All very well, but I still had fifty rollers to use up.  Here is the answer: these cylindrical darlings will organize your life!  Simply stuff some rollers into various upcycled containers and WHEE!  Storage for all kinds of things!  Look inside this cut-down milk bottle:

Add paint brushes...


Here's a nekkid peanut can:

I dressed it up with a necklace, but it would be a perfect blank slate for decoupage, paint, glitter or whatever.  Stuffed it full of hair rollers.  Now it's a cool and supremely functional art tool caddy.

Works equally well for makeup and bathroom-counter storage.

And here's my favorite use!  Not exactly organization - more like home decor.  Jam a bunch of rollers tightly into any kind of vase, like so:

Add water and'll hold stems of all sizes and become a simply marvelous flower frog!

It's waterproof, easy to clean and fits into anything - you can turn any odd container into a working vase.

Ain't that fun?

I do so hope you enjoyed this one!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Guess The Mystery Thing: Attack of the Lenticular Hyperboloids

Ready to play a round of Guess The Mystery Thing?  See if you can guess what I used to make these open-structured little pendants:

Here's another version, done up as a flower:

The Mystery Things are the curvy coral-pink shapes.  What are those mysterious items?  Something you've seen before?  Something you have never met in your entire life?  Or something from another dimension in time and space?  Hmmmm...I wonder how many of you will get this one.

You know the rules.  Absolutely NO peeking until you have your guess firmly in mind.  

Got your answer?  Okay - now you can scroll down to see the reveal.





Keep going...





Ready?  You still have time to change your guess...




Okie dokie!  Here it comes.

Behold the Mystery Thing!

The inner parts of these vintage plastic hair rollers!  Rescued from the 'free' box at a recent yard sale.

First thing I did was wash them in a solution of water and bleach.  You know, because of reasons.

Then I snipped slices from the inner rollers, using garden shears.

Cutting the slices had the effect of squishing the ends, forming that pointy-ended shape that looks like an eye.  In two dimensions the shape is called a lens.  When expanded into three dimensions, it is called a lenticular hyperboloid.

But you knew that.

Once I had a bunch of lenticular hyperboloids, I began to play.  Stringing them together through the existing  holes, in various combinations - seeing which way the shapes would hang together.  Much fun!  And I always love taking advantage of ready-made holes in things.

I'm quite pleased with my funny pink pendants.

I also did a Christmas ornament version of the flower, look! 

Without beads in the center, it's nearly weightless, and so darn cute!  I'm going to use up a whole bunch of rollers making these. 

So - who guessed this one?  If you thought it was something different, what was your idea?  Do tell!

Next time, another hair roller idea, something so completely awesome that...well, you'll see.  Click right here to check it out!

Until we meet again...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Rad Repurposed Roundup 2

Hello again, little buckaroos!  I thought it was high time to feature a new bunch of repurposed ideas that have caught my eye recently.  It's rad and it's a roundup!

Ready to be enchanted?  Here goes.


This brainwave from Jill in Australia is so dang brilliant.  She created re-usable holiday cards, with a clear window inside.  Insert your own message and pass it on to a new recipient.  She made hers from recycled blue jeans.  They are adorable - and can be used over and over again.


From Aunt Peaches who needs no introduction (she has become a Cher-like single name entity of crafting), a deliciously simple tutorial on painting thrift store clutch purses.  So striking and chic!  And I bet every one of us has at least one plain little 'pockabook' tucked away, just begging to be jazzed up.


A cool idea from Khadija in Pakistan: apply henna designs to a pumpkin!  She used real henna and a traditional applicator cone.  But if you have somehow run out of henna, or possibly your neighbor hasn't returned the cone she borrowed, why not Google easy henna designs and use a Sharpie?  A lovely and different Halloween look!


From Divya in India, something so beautiful you will blink in shock.  She makes custom wedding and celebration jewelry from real live flowers.  Maybe not what is normally thought of as repurposing, but I had to include it.  This photo of her most recent set says it all!


From Sara in Israel, this mini chandelier, made from colored paper clips and a slice of plastic bottle.  I like her idea of making several to create a  unique mobile.  You could have fun with these in all kinds of places - hey, how about hung from the ceiling of a school locker?  So delicate and lighthearted - love it!

Paper Clip Ornaments Craft For The Succah 2


Finally, an awesome post from Betsy, the world's greatest inventor of new antiques.  She takes old homeless window screens and stencils upon them, with the classiest results.  What a beautiful way to reclaim something vintage.

That's it for this time!  Did you love something you saw in today's roundup?  Go tell the creator!  We all appreciate a compliment, ya know?

Hope you enjoyed the rodeo.  Have a day!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Upcycled Chandelier Ruffles From Starbucks Cups

Hi!  I do you like the effect of these ruffles on my vintage thrift shop chandelier?

The 'Before' looked a little naked:

So, instead of buying mini-shades, I tried a very Mich upcycle:

Am I nuts - or is this actually really pretty?  Doesn't it sort of go with that flared crystal centerpiece?  I feel as if it enhances the vintage-ness of the chandy.

As you have guessed, 'tis another project in my ongoing quest to recycle the Sbux cups that accumulate in my life.  This time, all I used was lids.

The DIY is very, very easy.   Here goes.

Trim away a lid's outer edge and center, then flip inside out:

Nest four of them together.

Slip the nest down over the socket base.

Important reminder: the plastic is flammable, so make sure it does not touch anything hot!  I don't recommend using incandescent bulbs.  I used florescent candle bulbs, which have a cool-to-the-touch ceramic base.

Do this with all the sockets, and you are done!  In my five-arm chandy, that's twenty cup lids transformed instead of tossed.

Cup lid ruffles - why not?   They made me happy this week. 

Thanks as always for coming to visit!  I really appreciate you guys.  I hope you take some creative time for yourself soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Colorful Filigree In A Flash

Hi, lovely people!  Today I have a small finding idea to share.  Check out the filigreed fun:

During a play date with some random jewelry findings, I found two filigrees which, aligned a certain way, fit each other precisely.  Added jump rings and ear wires to create these mixed-metal pretties:

Quite nice!  Simple and classy.  I wanted to keep going, mix things up.  But as I stared at the silver filigrees, I wished they weren't so dang shiny.  I am not a huge fan of metal with no patina.

I was about to put the too-bright critters back on the shelf and move on to something else.  But then...

Craft paint.  Only one coat, not heavily applied.  On some, I even dabbed away a bit to reveal glimpses of the silver.

After they dried, I took one more step.   A coat of clear spray acrylic sealer to protect the paint.

Now see how rich they look!  A bit like enameled metal.

I tried various finishes, to see how the look would change.  The red and purple pairs above used semi-transparent glitter paint.  On these bright chartreuse ones, opaque color:

Here's a pretty version with semi-transparent paint, no glitter (you can really see the silver shining through):

I also played with metallic colors and loved the patina'ed effect!  This subtle bronze pair is probably my favorite:

Definitely keeping those!  The rest will go in my small-but-growing stash of handmade holiday gifts.  

If you try this, here's my number one tip.  Painted findings are best suited for earrings, which don't get rubbed against clothing or skin.  For necklaces, add two extra coats of the acrylic sealer.  Avoid using these in rings or bracelets, which get a lot of handling.

Hope you enjoyed this one...see ya!