Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Upcycled Drinking Straw Jewelry: Tiny Leaves Of Green

Today, a fun tutorial for you.  Please to peep these itty bitty earrings, which are just an inch long:




Cute, no?  Here's a yellow pair.


The flowers are pressed glass; the stems are your basic seed beads.  Now for the cool upcycled bit: those darling tiny leaves.  Yep, you may have already guessed.


A green plastic straw from the Starbucks!  Just the latest in my series of ideas for upcycling these dastardly iced drink cups - which have an unfortunate tendency to collect in my car, my trash and my life.  (Click here to check out some of the other projects.)

So here's the DIY.

Cut a thin slice of straw.  Smash it flat and poke a hole in the middle.  Hey presto!  The double-leaf shape forms automatically!



On a long headpin, thread a pretty bead for the flower.  Then intersperse the leaves with seed beads, like so:


Cinch everything up tight, and create a wrapped loop at the top.  First make a complete circle of wire:


Then use flat pliers (called chain-nose pliers) to make a couple of wire wraps beneath the loop.



Snip off the excess wire.  If there's a sharp bit poking out, carefully tuck it in with the chain-nose pliers.


That's your flower stem done!  If you have two ears, make a second one.  Then just add earwires, and that's all she wrote.




I sure hope you liked this one.  I have a couple more drinking straw ideas, hope to share them in a bit.  Later, dearies!

 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Invisible Upcycled Necklace Display

Oooh, check out this eerie phenomenon...



A wall of jewelry, displayed on invisible necks!

How'd I do it?  I think you're gonna love this.  It's a crazy easy eco-craft project, starting with some plastic cups (not easily recyclable) that were destined for the trash.



The DIY takes about 30 seconds.  Half a minute, people!  Just think how quickly you could fill up a wall with phantom throats.

Here's all you do.  A couple of inches from the rim, trim nearly all the way around.  Before you cut it completely off the cup, jog your scissors to leave a little tab attached, like so:



Then just bend the tab up and affix it to the wall with a clear thumbtack.



That's it!

At first I thought my invisible necks would be a bit flimsy, so I started with one necklace each...



But it turns out they are surprisingly sturdy.  I piled on more weight and they didn't even flinch.  I might go for three per neck...wish me luck.

This is a big deal for me, as I'm deeply in the throes of creating a new craft studio in a loft room of my desert Southwest adobe fixer house.  I sorely needed an unobtrusive way to show off lots of necklaces.  The recycled element is just a wonderful bonus. 



I'm having a great time finding ways to repurpose these iced coffee cups.  To see what else I've come up with, check out these earrings:

http://www.michlinla.com/2015/05/guess-mystery-thing-long-green-earrings.html


And these awesomely fancy fleurs:

http://www.michlinla.com/2015/05/upcycled-plastic-cup-lid-flower.html


I may not be done yet...got some more ideas up my sleeve that I hope to share soon.  See ya!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Upcycled Plastic Cup Lid Flower

Today I made this delightful bloom:



From the lids of these plastic cups:



Want to DIY?  The only ingredients you will need are one plastic cup, four cup lids and scissors.  Here goes!

Trim three of the lids in graduated sizes, like so:



Flip the lids inside out.  They rumple beautifully!  When nested, they become the body of the flower.





For the flower center, cut a long rectangular slice from a plastic cup:


Then trim the rectangle to look like a weird, elongated fork, as in the picture below:



In the same way you would curl a ribbon, use scissors to curl each 'tine.'



Note: the longer the tines, the fuller the curls. 

Final step: poke the curled fork-thingy down through the nested lids.


Stick it in a bud vase with some silk leaves, and whee!  Isn't it nifty?!


Would you say it's a rose, or more of a peony?

I like the crystalline clear version, but check out this coppery variation...



To make that one, I just hit each petal with a little 'zzzzt' of metallic spray paint before assembling the fleur.  I only spritzed enough for partial paint coverage, so some of the light shines through the petals.

That's the tute - hope you liked it.  See ya!








Sunday, May 17, 2015

Guess The Mystery Thing: Long Green Earrings

Hi!  Today, a new challenge for you lovely fans of Guess The Mystery Thing.  Wanna play?  Take a gander at this cute pair of earrings.



Can you identify the mysterious secret ingredient, i.e. the long, swoopy green-and-white jobbies? 

We're playing on the honor system, so no peeking yet.  What are those stripey things?  Have your guess firmly seated in your brainpan before you scroll down for the reveal.

Brainpan set?  Okay, let's do this!

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Hint: it's not from the dollar store.  Not even from a yard sale or thrift shop.  It's something I got at an actual, honest-to-gosh, full price retail establishment.

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Keep scrollin'...

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I try to predict how easy these challenges will be, but most of the time I'm wrong.  This time I predict 85% will get this one.

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Ready to see the answer? Sure?

Okie doke!   Here it is:


It's the waves in the hair of the mermaid on the cup from the Starbucks!

I cut out the hair with my littlest scissors:



With a thumbtack, I poked a hole in each tress.  Then layered two of them (facing opposite directions), and incorporated them into in a chandelier-style earring, in the same way I would use any charm with a hole at the top.



I gifted these to one of my fave baristas - she loved them.

So let us know in the comments: didja know this one?  If you guessed something different, what was it?

Do tell!





Monday, April 27, 2015

Tender Tendrils Upcycled Vase Tutorial

This is my new favorite project.  A flower vase completely upcycled from trash, featuring a built-in collar of springy tendrils.  Please to check it out!



The tendrils are not only decorative - they also serve as a kind of flower frog.  They cluster together to help your flower stems stay where you put 'em.  Here they are in closeup:



What's it made of, you ask?  An empty plastic milk bottle.  That's right, it went from this:



To this!



Here, my dears, is the very interesting DIY.

Find a bottle and cut away the neck.  You can use most any opaque plastic bottle; doesn't have to be milk.



Make a diagonal cut, from the top opening to about 1/3 of the way down (or whichever spot makes sense for the silhouette of your bottle).  Because of the bottle's round shape, the diagonal cut will actually be more of a spiral.


Parallel to the first cut, make a whole bunch more, going all the way around.  The more cuts you make, the skinnier your tendrils will be.



Grab one of the cut strips and wind it tightly around a skewer.  Then release and - lookee there!  The plastic will hold the curl!



Now, this doesn't seem to work on clear water bottles, at least not the ones I've tried, so stick with opaque plastics and you should be good.  (Side note: this is the same method I used on one of my most popular posts, the uber statement jewel Ring On Fire.)

 


Okay, back to the vase.  Keep going until all the strips are curled.  This takes a little patience, because all those corkscrewy little things tend to get in each others' way.  If you have to say a bad word, go right ahead.

The final result: wowsers!



At this point, your vase is essentially done.  Use as-is, or decorate in whatever way might float your boat.

To make my color-blocked tendrils, I masked off the bottom section and simply spray painted the curlicues.  It took a hot minute, and the effect just delighted the heck out of me.



Other ideas: gold tendrils above a matte black base?  Polkadots or stripes on the white section?  Hand paint the tendrils in multiple colors?  I can imagine all kinds of fabulous versions.

So who thinks they might give this a whirl?  And how would you paint yours?

Oh, wait!  Before I go - let's not forget the rest of the bottle.  Trying to be eco-conscious here, ya know.  So what can be done with the neck and the lid?

http://www.michlinla.com/2015/03/guess-mystery-thing-little-white.html

Well!  In case you missed it, I made something totally and utterly adorable with those - I think you'll be surprised.  CLICK HERE to pop over and see.

Thanks for coming by, you guys.



  

 

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Mexican Tiled Kitchen

Here's something a little different.  As some of you know, I've been renovating an old adobe house in the desert outside of Tucson.  I've gotten a lot of curious emails....

So today, having splurged on a bunch of fancy lilies for a crafty photo shoot, I tidied my newly finished kitchen, staged it with lilies, and took a couple of pictures.  Just for you guys!


We ordered a lot of gorgeous rustic tiles from Mexico, and did every bit of it ourselves.  I love everything, except wish I could have afforded a fridge in some weird, bright color like aqua.  (Never fear, Aunt Peaches has a cure for the boring fridge - I might just try it.)

Want to see the Before shot?  Pretty dreadful.  No ceiling, no cabinet doors.  And yes, the curvy stucco range hood is painted a greasy, shiny metallic copper.  Blech!  Identities concealed to protect the innocent:



We tore down that ridiculous claustrophobic wall of appliances, opening the kitchen to the dining room.  Big difference, eh?


The cabinet color: dill pickle!  Isn't that the best name?


I hope you enjoyed this little peek.  Can't wait to show you the crafty project for which I bought the lilies.  Hint: it's a vase.

See you then!