Monday, August 25, 2014

Beaded Cactus Pot

Today, a fun decor project - with freeform, funky wirework that anybody can do!  Take a look.

Here's the BEFORE: a beautiful cactus in a boring plastic pot.

Here's the AFTER: a beautiful cactus in a shimmery, dangly, swirly, spiky and sweet beaded pot!

 It's super simple to do, with minimal supplies.  Here's the DIY.

Cut some short and long pieces of craft wire.  Extra cute points if it's a fun color!  On one end of each piece, turn a little loop.

Slide a big bead onto each wire.

For the short beaded dangles, just bend the free end over.

For the long, squiggly beaded dangles, use pliers or your fingers to make irregular swoopy bends, like so:

Then finish up with a sharp bend at the end.

Make a bunch...don't even worry about making them all the same length or shape.  Freeform, bae!

Hang them on the plastic pot, staggering the lengths.

(Yes, that is a live cactus.  It's called Devil's Tongue, and it is one demonic little so-and-so.  Use care and/or wear gloves when hanging the dangles.)

All bedangled?  Lovely!

I like the way the dangles echo the colors and spiky sass of the cactus.  Might be fun to try this with different types of houseplants, matching the mood of the beads to the foliage?  And I will never look down my nose at a boring plastic pot again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Check It Out, Bra! An Upcycled Underwire Pendant

Ooh, today I made this!  Out of all my jewelry conjured from freaky trash, it has jumped right up there to rank with my favorites.

See that beautiful big scroll between the necklace and the pendant?   It's the underwire from a broken bra.

Next time, don't just toss that worn out foundation garment.  Whether it be boulder holder or pebble perker, rescue those underwires and turn them it into something pretty.

Here's the DIY.

Remove the little plastic wire ends.  (Just tug, they come right off.)

To snap off the skinny metal tips, bend them back and forth a few times.

Grab one end of the underwire in round nose pliers.  Begin turning with all your might.

Keep going until you have a swirl.  Repeat for the other side.

Start a fold in the center with your fingers, like so:

Then push hard on the sides until the swirls crisscross.

Finish up with this one last move:

You made a pendant hanger!  Now use an extra-big jump ring.  Put it through the hole in your pendant, then close it  around the entire crisscross.  See what I mean?

Did you evah?  Would you evah?

I would and I did.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Monster Boxes! And A Great Dollar Tree Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post; opinions expressed are entirely my own.

So a few weeks ago I joined a thing.  It's called the Dollar Tree Value Seekers Club - basically a free-to-sign-up-for area on the Dollar Tree website, packed with crazy easy project ideas.  Seriously, I have already gleaned so many clever nuggets from the archives.  Not just crafts - some delightful life hacks as well.  (Example: DIY puppy popsicles, made with chicken broth!  My dog worships me now.)

Anywhoo, here's my version of one of the newest club projects.  Monster Boxes, rawrrr!  Funky, planet-friendly storage...what's not to like?  The DIY is the definition of basic.  1. a tissue box body and 2. paper monster teeth.  After that, embellish like mad with anything that makes you happy.

The project page has a great list of ways to use them for kids, teachers and parents.  Can't wait to make some with my little monster-loving nephews. 

Meanwhile, I made one for me, 'cause I like monsters, too. 

My twist on the idea is the lizardskin accents.  Using a realistic rubber lizard (also from Dollar Tree).

I cut apart my amphibian sacrifice with a pair of sharp scissors.

I used adhesive dots to attach the lizard bits.  (Hot glue would work as well.)  Plus a little duct tape reinforcement for that big floppy tongue.

I think he looks so cute.  I've already found a use for him - collecting crafting receipts in a corner of my workroom.

Pop over to the Dollar Tree Value Seekers Club website and check out the crafts, kid activities, home decor, clever tips and money savers.  The best thing about the projects is how madly simple they are.  Also easy to print out and take along for reference.  Every month they update it with fun new stuff.


Once you sign up, come back, 'cause I am giving away a $50 Dollar Tree gift card to one lucky club member.  Dude.  Do you know how far FITTY BUCKS goes at Dollar Tree?

To enter, leave a comment with your email.  (Be sure it's the same email you used to sign up over at Dollar Tree, or the entry won't be valid.)  One random, lucky winner will be chosen a week from today

Oh, yeah, one last thing.  You didn't really think I was gonna let the rest of that lizard go to waste, did you?  Decapitated chameleon head backpack charm, anyone?

Hee hee.

UPDATE: THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED - THANKS FOR ENTERING, EVERYBODY!  Congrats to the winner: entry #2 Lisa, chosen by's super hi tech integer generator.  (Lisa, check for my email, coming soon.)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Winter Games: Summer Update Part Two

Okay, this is a big day!  I am about to finish a rad recycling project: a series called My Winter Games, which you can read more about right here.  Of course, winter is long gone and it took me nearly 'til the end of summer to complete my self-imposed challenge.  No matter.  NO MATTER.  Let's get to it.

At last count, I needed to use up seventy-two of these ugly, non-recyclable little doohickies, formerly heavy-duty packing clips for skis.

I give you...candleholders!  A plethora of candleholders.

The tealight ones are my favorites: little criss-crossed sets of four doohickies each, with pretty stuff glued strategically to the ends.  Stuff like crystals from a plastic Xmas garland:

And glass flower beads.

They are even quite beautiful plain (with a side dish of fu dog).

For the great big one, I spray-painted a clay saucer black.  The doohickies just happen to hook perfectly into the underside of the saucer, so it is quite stable when assembled.

I used some round wooden scraps to make these rather lantern-like ones:

I drew Sharpie polka-dots, then glued the doohickies in a circle.  I think they would look particularly nice with green candles instead of white!

These modern black and white ones - strange, eh?

They're six doohickies simply hung from the rims of champagne glasses.  (Dollar store plastic ones, naturally.)  I like how they combine a bold graphic feel with a tendency to look like the world's weirdest shrimp cocktails.  They amuse and please me.

So how did the count come out?

One big giant candleholder: 12
Two green polka-dotted lanterns: 12
Two shrimp cocktails: 12

That left 36 for my small tealights.   Did I use them all up?

Um, YEAH I DID.  I decided to make sets of three as hostess gifts.  Three groups of four doohickies = twelve doohickies per hostess gift.

I made three gift sets, which equals 36 doohickies - and that was every single one used up.


But I didn't even stop there.  I am so in love with my little tealight holders, I disassembled some of my previous creations, just to make more of them.  Eight more, in fact, or 32 doohickies' worth.

Also, since my last post, two more people emailed asking for doohickies, so 9 doohickies just went out in the mail.

I think that means I used 100% of my original 247 ski clips, and double-upcycled 41 more.  Is double-upcycling a thing?  It should be.

Hope you have had fun following these games.  I sure had fun wrapping my head around the challenge.

I kinda think I won.

In case you missed any:

Round One

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

Round Five

Round Six

Round Seven

Round Eight

Summer Update Part One

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Winter Games: Summer Update Part One

For anyone who missed the beginning of My Winter Games project, here is the backstory.  In brief, I have been upcycling a small mountain of these weird-looking plastic doohickies:

Originally, they were heavy duty packing clips for skis.  Ugly, unwanted and non recyclable.  I'm on a mission to save them from the landfill.  At last count, I had 123 left to use up.  Here's an update!

After I declared the games over for the season (really, we were just on a break), I mailed out 48 of the clips to readers and fellow bloggers who requested some.

*pause for math*

That left 75 to go.  Seventy-five!?  Boy, that still sounded like a lot.  But I was game, and the next couple of posts will show if I made any more progress.

In today's upcycle, I have finally gotten around to what everybody (including me) was wondering.  Could I possibly make jewelry from these clunky critters?  Um...I think I sort of pulled it off!  Look!

Statement bar bracelets!  I was skeptical, believe me - but I have worn them out in the world, and find them way comfier and more wearable than expected.  They're too wide to fit a smaller person - but on my big bones, they really do sit perfectly across the top of my wrist.

I had worried they might always be sliding around to hang upside down, but nope!  They don't even slip sideways.

The construction was pretty simple.  I just used headpins to attach the focal piece and a bit of chunky chain.  Added a clasp to one chain end!

So!  I used up three more of the ski clips on these weird but fascinating proof-of-concept jewels...

Seventy two to go.  Will I make it to the bitter end?  Stay tuned.

In case you missed any: 

Round One

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

Round Five
Round Six

Round Seven

Round Eight

Summer Update Part One

Summer Update Part Two