Thursday, January 7, 2016

King's Day Ring

Hello!  Last night I had a good time.  Want to see what I made?  It's a ring...can you guess the story behind it?

Now, what if I showed you one more picture?

Yesterday was January 6th, which is celebrated as King's Day in Los Angeles and many other places.  Friends came over with a giant Rosca De Reyes, a ring cake that commemorates the Three Magi.

We had Mexican hot chocolate and ate mucho cake.  And lucky, lucky me!

So of course I made jewelry.

P.S.  Did anyone recognize the pale flowers?  They are from a rubber sink mat.

Later, creators!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Spark Plug Gap Tool Necklace - Gift For An Auto Mechanic

Hey, I bet you know someone who loves to tinker with car engines.  What if you could make that wonderful person a gift that doubles as an auto mechanic's tool?

Here's a necklace version and a keychain - check them out!

That interesting-looking base is a mechanic's tool called a spark plug gap gauge.  I am told that it gauges spark plug gaps.  (Me, I have my doubts.  I think it's some kind of secret decoder disc.  Definitely espionage-related.  Shh.  Don't spread it around.)

Anyway, isn't it cool looking?  I would wear one myself...take a peek at my pretty, girly, steampunk-esque version:

But it's not about me!  It's about that mechanically inclined individual who is super hard to buy for.  You can make that person this awesome gift in 5 minutes or less - NO TOOLS NEEDED!  Just your two little hands.

Here's the simple DIY.

Add the spark plug tool onto a really big jump ring.  Then add a charm or two or three, like so:

Swivel the jump ring closed.  With a jump ring this large, you can just use your fingers (if you like, get an assist from a pair of jewelry pliers).

Now simply add it to a necklace or carabiner, and you have made your five minute spark plug gap gauge jewel!

Top Tip #1: Get these at any auto supply store - they are usually on the counter and cost a couple of bucks.

Top tip #2: There's a reason for the extra-big jump ring, so don't try to go smaller.  It allows all the charms to swing free of the measuring tool when it's being used for...whatever it does.

Top Tip #3: For a key chain, avoid charms made of fragile materials, because it will likely live in a pocket with a mess of jangly coins, keys, spark plugs, nuts and bolts.

Top Tip #4: For the manly necklace, there are lots of good options.  A length of paracord.  Ball chain.  Strips of leather or suede.  Or try a strung necklace of bone beads, as in my original necklace version.

Okay, that's the big idea - have fun and please let me know if you figure out how the decoder function works.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rad Repurposed Roundup: A Green Xmas

Hey, there's just time for a new Rad Repurposed Roundup.  A quick mini-tour of some eco-friendly holiday ideas I have spotted lately.

From Betsy at My Salvaged Treasures, these amazing junky trees made from old lamp parts!

From Pillar Box Blue, some adorable mountain cushions made from old sweaters:

From my friend Sandra in Italy (tutorial in Spanish - so international!), another sweater upcycle, these especially sweet snowpeople:

From Carol at The Answer Is Chocolate, this smart idea to make gift tag sets as gifts.  Great for giving to busy people who would not have time to make their own.

From Kim at Hunt And Host, these hand painted ornaments made from old silver spoons.  A very cool way to upcycle vintage flatwear.

From Kathy at Petticoat JUNKtion, this awesome wall art: a 'sparkle and rust' tree from old hardware!

From Amy at Stow and Tell U, another unique wall tree that made me grin.   So fun and so green...this rustic lighted tree is made from recycled tuna cans.

Aren't people brilliant?  Thanks to all these incredible crafters for inspiring me.

Oh, and in case you missed it, here's one from me - a slightly demented ornament made from an upcycled squeeze-pouch lid:

And to display your special ornaments (demented or otherwise), here's my tute for a rustic little ornament stand you can make in 2 minutes, made from some discarded garden wire and a scrap of twine.

Hope you guys enjoyed the roundup - see you again soon, crafty people!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ornaments Made From Recycled Squeeze Pouch Lids

So...I just had to show you these.  My weirdest upcycled ornaments yet.  Even I admit, they are mildly demented.

I suspect most of you guys easily identified the Mystery Thing...right?  Or do we need a scroll down?

Okay, for those of you who have never seen one before...what do you guess they are, those odd rounded purple jobbies?

Scroll down to see!





If you have a baby or toddler - or know a baby or toddler - or have been even remotely baby-or-toddler-adjacent within the past five years, you know this item...


Here it is!

It's the colorful lid of those popular squeezie pouches.  The ones filled with delightful pap for children and adults alike.  I am partial to the blackberry chia stuff, so I have a big collection of purple lids.

The internet is full of excellent ideas for reusing them - many involving toddler games like counting and color sorting.  One of my personal faves: these cool shrinky dink vehicles from Laura at Lalymom:

Anyhoo, I know I went a little over the top with my crazy squeeze pouch lid ornaments...

And I'm fine with that.

Later, creators!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Rustic Wire Ornament Stand

Here's a sweet and simple wire ornament stand that you can make in 2 little minutes.  The best part: no tools needed!

Feature a favorite ornament on your mantel, or make a whole bunch of them as a different style of table centerpiece.

I used some garden wire that was in a big tangle, 'cause I was going for rustic.  (But you can use any wire, 22 gauge or thicker.)

Ready?  Let's make it!

Cut 1-2 feet of wire.  (The length depends on how tall your ornament is.)  Wrap one end around something round to make a circle.

Bend the wire sideways so it lies across the center of the circle.

At the halfway point, bend the wire straight up in the air.

About 1-2 inches from the wire end, make a downward bend like so:

Then at the very tip, make another upward bend for the hook.

If your ornament is flat, here's the look you're going for:

If the ornament is three dimensional, i.e. round or puffy, your stand should look more like this, with extra room for the ornament's girth:

Now add a little twine bow...

Done!  Aren't they easy?!

Here's one with a bigger, swoopier bow, so cute...

Experiment with ribbon, yarn, or other fibers to make the look your own.  Oh, and if you use new, un-kinked wire, your little stand will look less rustic, more sleek.

Stability tip: since most ornaments are light, you can get away with a 2-3 inch base circle.  For heaftier ornaments, widen it to 4-5 inches, and/or use heavier wire.

Later, creators!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Thing With Two Beads

Here's a reverse mystery for you!  Look at these strange tiny objects, made with two big beads.

What are they for?  They are a much loved little invention of mine, a contraption I've been making and using for years.

Puzzle your head for a few moments and see if you can guess!  Then scroll down to see the answer.




Check it!

Just tuck some recycled cardboard between the two beads, and voila, earring display stands!  Yep, they stand up on their own.

I love these mucho.  One, they're way cute.  Two, they take up hardly any space when not in use. And three, they are an AWESOME way to use up big clunky orphan beads that I'd probably never use for jewelry.

I also use them as mini holders for small photos or art:

They have lots of other uses, too - like place card holders, buffet table signs, anywhere you need to label or display something while maintaining a tiny footprint.  Fer example, they make the darlingest business card display:

Pretty cool, eh?  Wanna DIY?  Here goes!

Stack two big beads on a headpin, with a little spacer bead in front to schmancy it up a bit.

Use round-nose pliers to turn the tail of the headpin in a loop.  Cinch it all the way down tight against the bead.

For the earring card, cut a cardboard shape with a small bite out of the bottom.  Looks a bit funny, but it helps balance the weight of the earrings.

Then just tuck the cardboard into the slot.  Here's a side view:

How easy was that?

For party or wedding place card holders: instead of orphan beads for those, you might decide to choose beads in your favorite colors and make matched sets to decorate your table.

Here are some tips on making these.  1. Use beads with flattish ends rather than round.  2. Beads with the same approximate diameters work best together.  3. I used acrylic and porcelain beads here, but any material will do.  Heavier beads will support slightly larger photos or earrings.

So ends The Mystery Of The Thing With Two Beads.  Did you figure it out before scrolling down?  Do tell.