Saturday, November 8, 2014

Guess The Mystery Thing: Five Petal Flowers

Heya!  Let's do a scroll-down version of the Guess The Mystery Thing game!  I'll show you some upcycled jewelry.  You'll try to guess the mysterious secret ingredient.  No peeking until you think you know the answer!

Ready?  Check out the pretty red bauble...

The Mystery Thing is that five-petal, open-edge flower.  Hmm, yes...gosh, it does look familiar.  What is that thing?

Got your guess in mind?  Great.  Now scroll down to see the answer.





Keep scrolling...





Here it comes...






A trumpet flower from a broken hummingbird feeder!  Found it in the 'free' box at a yard sale.  I love the free box.  There's often something wonderful to be transformed or repurposed.

For the bracelet above, I cut off part of the flower to create a low-profile focal piece.  Here's an alternate style, using the full length of the trumpet:

Pretty cute, eh?  I shall wear it in the garden.  I fully expect to attract hummingbirds.

So.  Did you guess right - or were you way off base?  Do tell!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Repurposed Rad Roundup

Hiya, everybody!  So here's a rather miscellaneous post.  I thought you all might like a peek at a few terrific repurposed ideas I've seen recently.

From Aunt Peaches: a mega-awesome sugar skull necklace, so simple to create 'cause it's made from iron-on patches.

From My Salvaged Treasures: a plethora of chandelier crystal earrings, upcycled from the wreckage of a vintage fixture she rescued at a flea market:

And a genius one-minute project from The Beading Gem: how to make a crazy easy scarf ring, from just a button and a basic split key ring:

Talented craft addict (and longtime blog reader) Shannon created this wonderful, ethnic-inspired double-tiered necklace:

I just had to show you guys a closeup of those flat green disks.  Nuthin' but circles cut out of plastic bottles!  Don't they look great, the way she strung them between similar color beads?

The brilliantly frugal Jill over at Creating My Way To Success used two ski clip doohickies as handles on a washable, reusable trash bin liner.  Even cooler, the bag is upcycled from a swimming pool salt bag:

Over at Saraccino, I was gobsmacked by these romantic, truly one-of-a-kind folk art bottle cap earrings:

Finally, from The Answer Is Chocolate: Carol delighted me with this very clever off-label use for a Christmas snowflake form.  She converted it into a beaded Halloween spiderweb!

So that's what I've been admiring around the web this week.  I sure hope you enjoyed these random finds...let me know if you think I should make this a regular feature!

See ya next time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CraftFail, The Book! An Interview With Heather Mann

I am a huge fan of the blog   Why?  Because it's fabulous.  Gawking at other people's crafty disasters - what could be more confidence-boosting than that?  Plus, I sometimes get featured there, when something I've tried to make has gone fatally awry.  And now there's a book!

photo credit: Craftfail, Workman Publishing

Even before it came out, I was excited for the publication.  It's on my gift list for a bunch of people who need this book - and don't even know it.  It exceeded my expectations!  The fails are so horrifying, you can't help but love them (and the brave souls who allowed them to see the light of day).  Like this delightful bunny cake:

photo credit: Craftfail, Workman Publishing

That won't give your child nightmares.  Nope.  Not at all.

Or this super elegant gingerbread house:

photo credit: Craftfail, Workman Publishing

Gaaaah!   Only thing missing: little marzipan men in hazmat suits.

There are sections for every type of craft out there - foodie failures, decor disasters and fashion freakouts.  I love the one called Martha Made It.  Point of pride: one of my own personal mess-tastrophes made the cut (pg 17, Paisley Poo-Brella).

At least as funny as the fails are the captions and snarky side notes from the author.  ("Napalm Cake In A Jar."  "Mo' Saics, Mo' Problems.")   Ha!  So here's Heather in her own words, to tell you what went on in her crafty little head along the way.

Mich: I remember reading zines of yours from waaay back in the day.  And of course you're kind of a big deal online, with myriad blogs and guest appearances all around the web.  Is CraftFail your first published book?  Heather: Yes! After 30 years of writing (my first office was in my bedroom closet when I was 8), I have finally achieved published author status!

Mich: What was the original concept behind the CraftFail blog? Heather: Well, I massively botched a crocheted collar on a t-shirt, which was just the most recent in a long line of fails, and it occurred to me that I didn't have to waste the work if I just posted about the failed project anyway. After a few posts, I was hooked on posting about my failures.  When I started it in 2009, I invited crafters to post their own crafty failures. By the time Pinterest started to get popular in 2011ish, the site began to take off because of the legions of new crafters who were trying Pinterest-inspired crafts, and failing.

Mich: How was the experience of writing the book different from anything else you've done?  Heather: The most notable difference about the process of writing CraftFail was that it was ALL TEXT when I wrote it. I am used to writing blog-style, with plenty of photos in between paragraphs. It was surprisingly difficult to write the first draft of the book as a giant Word doc. I couldn't see what was happening in the manuscript at all.

Mich: I plan to give copies to some very diverse people in my life, who I think will love it for totally different reasons.  Who do you see as the audience for the book?  Heather: Anyone who has tried crafting (or even cooking) will find something to love in this book, but I really wrote it as a love letter to those optimists who experience delusions of grandeur whenever they embark on a project. I secretly hope to convert people who are ashamed or irritated when they experience failure, and bring them over to the enlightened side of failure celebration.

Mich: My husband was laughing out loud at the disasters - and he's a tough audience!  Have you experienced that non-crafters and dudes enjoy the book more that you expected?  Heather: I have been really excited to hear from several people that their husbands have been laughing out loud at the book. I never anticipated that, but I am really thrilled that the book appeals to people outside of my little crafty world.

Mich: What's going on in your crafty life right now?  Anything new and mysterious in the works?  Heather: I am hoping to work on another book very soon but I don't have anything concrete to share as I'm still in the idea incubation phase. Other than that, I've been having fun making videos for my YouTube channel.

Mich: Thanks, Heather!  For the interview and the awesome, adorable, terrifying book.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

I hope you guys enjoyed this glimpse of the crafty publication of the season!  Now, please excuse me...I gotta go buy ingredients for a Napalm Cake In A Jar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bento Fish Jewelry

Allow me to introduce my salty new necklace and earrings.

Made from soy sauce fish!  Have you seen these things?  Inexpensive, adorable tiny bottles.  Most often used for bento box lunches.  Are they not the niftiest?

I bought mine at Seattle's famous Uwajimaya store.  You can find soy sauce fish at specialty food stores, Japanese gift shops or online.  I am quite giddy over these briny gems.

The secret of the blue earrings is madly fun.  With the cap removed, pinch a fish between thumb and forefinger, then dip the opening in paint.  Release the pressure and suck up about a quarter of a fish's worth of color.  Squoosh the paint around to cover the inside completely, and let it dry.

Now the color is sealed inside!  Snip off the neck like so:

The color is up to you.  Any paint should work - I'm agog to experiment some more.  I really want try it with antique gold enamel, glitter paint and, ooh, neon coral!

Converting them into jewelry is easy peasy.  The plastic is so soft, a thumbtack is enough to poke any holes you need.  I made simple wire loops to add pearl 'bubbles,' and attached them to fishhook earwires.

The clear pendant was even simpler.  I poked sideways holes on either side of the mouth, then inserted a big jump ring as a bail to attach the necklace.

Since these fish weigh nothing, I added a heavy crystal bead and some glass pearls to the fishtail for ballast.  I found the prettiest fish clasp to finish it off.

You know you need this cuteness in your life.  So find a Japanese gift shop - seize the carp - and make some jewelry! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Duct Tape Necklace - Easy DIY!

Duct tape jewelry!  Have you tried it?  I've seen lots of cute ideas and have wanted to give it a whirl.  Instead, I gave it a ruffle.

Want to make one?  Here comes the easy DIY.  You will need:

duct tape
pointy li'l scissors
skinny cord or string
enough beads to string a necklace
a pendant OR a big bead dangle
a pinch bail OR a big jump ring

Fold together a long-ish piece of duct tape.  You want to end up with a double-thickness piece between 6 and 12 inches long.

Poke holes along the center.  Use anything pointy.  Doesn't matter how many, but it works best to have an even number of holes.

Cut two teeny squares of duct tape and stick them to the back of the strip (bottom edge, in the center.)  This is to reinforce the spot where you'll hang the pendant.

To make the ruffle a prettier shape, cut a notch off the top edge, like so:

Thread skinny cord through the holes.  Squoosh it up in the center to form your ruffle.

Ain't that fun?

Now to finish the necklace!  Simply string beads onto the rest of the cord.

Make it long enough to slip over your head, and tie an overhand knot in back.

To add the pendant, poke a hole in the ruffle's bottom center, where you reinforced it.

This little thingy is a pinch bail.  Sorry, the one crucial closeup and it came out fuzzy!  But you can kinda see it...

If you don't have one, use a big jump ring.  Put the pinch bail or jump ring through the hole, then close it around the pendant.

Alternative way to hang the pendant: make a wire loop to join a big bead to the ruffle, like this:

Voila, you are done!

I'm now dying to make some using wood-grain pattern duct tape - wouldn't that look cool and go with all kinds of great beads?

Oh, remember how I said I wanted to give it a whirl?  Here's that version!

Have fun!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Vintage Fishing Tackle Earrings

I acquired an old box full of miscellaneous fishing tackle.   Today, on the principle that every girl needs the option of neon orange fish eggs in her wardrobe, I made these earrings.

In the sun, these pretties flash like minnows in a trout stream.

I plan to raid the rest of the box for more supplies.   So many cool things used for fishing tackle!  Like these mother-of-pearl teardrops:

The ends of these little connectors spin 360 degrees:

No clue what these do, but they're tiny and fabulous:

Love these extra big 2-hole reflectors:

If you spot any of this stuff in a future project, you'll know where it came from.

Next time you find a box of fishin' gear at a thrift shop or yard sale, think about jewelry potential.  (Cautionary note: often, tackle will include lead sinkers.  Be sure to discard them.)

So do tell - have you ever found something pretty in a tackle box?

Sharing with the vintage party at: