Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A minty fresh photo locket.

Is your breath minty fresh? Is that because you have one of these in your purse?

Let's turn it into something sweet and funny and fun to wear! Like a personalized photo locket.

Uh-oh. I hear them. The doubters. Muttering. "Really? A Listerine locket. What is she, crazy?"

Just hang in a minute. I assure you, you will think it's cute!

Peel off the labels. Then you need to make three holes. Do you know the trick of heating up a metal poker, for making holes in plastic? Make one hole in the bottom, inside the box:

And two more thru the top edge, like this:

The holes may look a little burnt, but pooh, I'm not worried. Nobody will notice. (A little sandpaper will take off most of the black, if it really bugs you.)

Thread a cord or chain through the two holes at the top. Use a headpin to make a loop at the bottom. Here is the back of the box:

If you don't have a headpin, you can make a loop with a small bit of cord (knot it on the inside to hold it in place). And now you have a pendant, all ready to embellish!

Use your imagination - maybe tailor it to someone else as a gift, or do something to match the type of photos you plan to put inside. I decoupaged a scrap of origami paper to the front, and added some charms. Here it is:

See? I told you you'd think it was cute.

Now for the photo locket part. Use one of the breath strips (that green oblong in the picture is several stuck together) to make a template for cutting mini photos to fit your locket. I made my template out of clear plastic, so I could see where best to trim my teeny pics.

I don't have a color printer, so I made some black and white prints, and added colored pencil accents. You can fit a whole bunch of little pictures into this thing!

When closed, a little bit of the first picture peeks through:

Wouldn't this be a great gift? I'm giving it to the grandma of these sweet boys - she will love it like crazy.

Who's crazy now, doubters? Boo-ya.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sweet & simple fiber necklace: an Envelope of doom update.

You are going to love the latest project - our first using one of the original Supersecret Stashbust items from Heather at Dollar Store Crafts.

Back in May, I made some stuff with this yarn:

But there was lots of it left over. So I crafted it forward to a few of our craftestants in the Envelope of Doom challenge. Now Neccie of Neccie's Creations has created something awesome and simple and gorgeous. And you won't need anything but ribbon and novelty yarn.

I'm sorry this pic is teeny, it doesn't do it justice! If you go to her post you can click to see more detail - she made a multi-strand necklace, then tied little ribbon bows at intervals. Highly adorable!

You won't believe how simple to make. I can envision all kinds of variations. Neccie, I totally adore your beautiful fiber necklace. I can't wait to make this for myself!

(Added later.) I made one! I wanted to be able to show you a close-up of her idea.

I didn't have any black ribbon, so mine is done with green and white bows. I prefer her black version, it's more elegant...but I kinda love mine, too! Now I want to look for other interesting yarns to make some variations.

It would also be a great way to hang a complimentary pendant. Thanks, Neccie, cool project!

Her personal hell: an Envelope of Doom update.

A new creation from Steff across the pond in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Her first project was so charming. Her second, so pretty and chic! Her third...well...

The way she tells it, it was
completely traumatic. In her package of challenge supplies (one of the notorious Envelopes of Doom), I included two unused, worthless Starbucks cards. She fired back a couple of emails, the gist being, "Why, Michelle? Why meee?" Oh, how she stressed over what to do with them! And then inspiration struck. She went crazy crafty. And created...

It's a portable tic-tac-toe game. What a clever, wild outcome from the starting point of a credit card! I love the crisp black and white graphic look of it. I especially love her genius idea for the X's and O's -

She painted thrift store beads with more black and white graphics, for custom game pieces. Such detail work! I'm inspired. Check out her funny (and anguished) tutorial right here. And learn the ultimate fate of The Starbucks Cards of Doom.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toga party!!! An easy fibula pin tutorial.

What are fibula pins? These are fibula pins.

They're a very ancient style of fastener, used since Roman times. Just imagine all the famous togas they must have held together!

Many jewelry-making peeps are familiar with these, but some of you may not have heard of them. There are tutorials online, but they can get complex. There are so many ways to make a fibula pin, and not all styles are beginner projects.

So today I thought I'd show you how to make a nifty simple one. I think you'll be excited to see how easy this is! Ready for your fibula pin tutorial? Then let's begin.

Supplies you will need: just craft wire and a few beads. Tools: a wire snipper and round-nose pliers.

Cut a piece of wire, about a foot long. Start by making a teeny loop at one end. (Note for the loop-challenged crafter: this step is optional. You can just go on to the next step if you like!)

Next, make a small bend near the loop, like so:

Then bend the long tail of wire sideways, at right angles to the bent section.
Here's how it should look:

Now thread on a few beads.

Almost done! Here comes the spring-loading step, that makes the pin work! Right next to the beads, grab the long tail in your pliers. Start turning a circle...

Keep turning until the circle goes all the way around, then a little bit more - so the long tail comes over the top and sticks out parallel to the length of the pin. Like so:

Now close the pin (hook the long tail into the bent-loop end) and snip off the excess.

It's a good idea to file the sharp end a little smoother - try an emery board or a metal nail file. (Note: if you have skills, you can file the end to a point. I never bother, because I only wear these in loose-weave scarves or knit sweaters.)

Ta-da! You are done!

This is the most basic fibula there is. From this starting point you can change it up with different components, add all kinds of embellishments, for a whole wardrobe of fibula pins.

Fasten to your toga (or, if your toga is at the dry cleaner's, a nice scarf) and wear proudly!

Roman orgy optional.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Another Envelope of Doom update. Too fun!

The ideas are multiplying fast. Sarah from Stepping Thru Crazy has a new post up, with a majorly fun project derived from her EOD. What did she make with this green felt cutout?

Surprise! She didn't use the cutout shapes at all. Instead she harvested the half-moon edges, added some beautiful hand stitching and two different crafty flowers -

And ended up with these!

Two spiffy and original headbands for her little girls. Again, she provides a fantastic tutorial. And again, I am so happy! I never envisioned a craft made from the "useless" bits of felt above the fancy cutouts. It is so cool having my eyes opened by these crafters. Sarah, I love it!

Stay tuned for more from all our crafters next week. But right here is a quick little link to Bree's latest, because she has a giveaway of something she made from the envelope - and it's so cute I know you're going to want to enter.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Merely horsing around.

Yesterday the phone rang. It was my friend Jane.

Jane: Michelle! I just bought a dried seahorse, about four inches high! Can you turn it into a necklace?
Me: Wait. What?
Jane: I said, I just bought a dried seahorse, about four inches high! Can you turn it into a necklace?
Me: Wait. What?

Eventually I agreed to try. Anything for Jane, a groovy girl and one of the nicest people in Hollywood. The seahorse was a special commission for a talented triple-threat artist she knows - someone who could, indeed, carry off such a look.

The problem: how to hang this fragile and unwieldy deceased fishie. It seemed a bit macabre to drill a hole through its dessicated little brain. So here's what I did:

If you click on the picture for a closer look, you will see that the seahorse necklace is - hee hee! The seahorse necklace is wearing a seahorse necklace.

Was that a wince I heard?

If, for some strange reason, you are about to click away from this post as fast as you can click, no, don't go! I made another version for myself. A teeny bit less certifiable.

And here's another one, in elephant.

Okay, I was only playing around; these are just for fun. But they did make me think.

Why am I drawn to certain jewelry components over and over? I have quite a few beads shaped like elephants. Multiple turtles. Many frogs. And a ridiculous number of flowers, pigs and monkeys. Do you guys find that happens to you?

There is a bit of guilt involved. Why, I ask myself sternly, do I feel compelled to buy a new filigree butterfly, when I already have a whole bunch of filigree butterflies at home? Do I really need yet another dragonfly bead? Or more tiny gold and silver leaves?

So today I was inspired to rummage through my stash and try layering like upon like. Here are a few things I came up with.

What do you tend to collect? Things shaped like cats? Stars? Birds? Would any of them like to live together on the same piece of jewelry?

That's it, just an idea to tinker with.
And my new excuse, next time I see a really cute dragonfly bead.

P.S. Oh, the seahorse necklace? I know what you're thinking, but no, it's not for Lady Gaga. Nor is it for David Hasselhoff. But I kinda think both could carry it off.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our first international Craftestant! An Envelope of Doom update.

I am extra happy to introduce our next crafter in the Envelope of Doom challenge. Steff lives in Leeds, West Yorkshire. She began her shiny new blog mere days ago, and is really on a roll.

She is already two thirds finished with the challenge, with two creative, accomplished and thoughtful gifts to show us! Made from a selection of items which most people would probably toss.

First up, she renovated an old wood frame, using decorative paper, a ribbon, rusty wire and a rusted metal ladybug. Wait, let me correct that. A rusted metal ladybird.

I love how she took a mishmash, and whipped up a custom piece that looks like something you'd buy in a specialty shop. Read all about the thought behind the gift (and the sweetest little Puppy of Doom) here.

Her 2nd project made me squeak out loud when I saw it. She used these craptastic - er, these darling little hair clips, which she has
christened The Mauve Plastic Flowers of Doom:

And turned them into these hip and adorable hair ornaments!

Aren't they great? I just love this transformation. I would wear them, and would definitely love to get them as a gift. Here's the link to see how she did it.

Steff, you are the coolest. I am so thrilled you're going to be sharing your creativity with the world. And I know from your emailed hints you have something unique up your sleeve for number three. I am on the edge of my seat.

And speaking of
The Mauve Plastic Flowers of Doom, here's another update just in - the second project from Neccie's Creations. I sent those boring mauve flowers to several of our craftestants, hoping for a real variety of ideas. I'm thrilled that Neccie came up with something wonderfully different - and really really cute.

Thanks, you guys - I mean it. You are making this so fun!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stepping Thru hoops: an Envelope of Doom Project.

Oh, yay! Here comes another project from the Envelope of Doom challenge! I am just loving how our crafters are stepping up.


From the gorgeous blog Stepping Thru Crazy comes a most elegant jewelry set. When you see what Sarah did, you'll be agape and agog.

Because I am a little bit mean, I sent her these:

She emailed me, plaintively: "Michelle! What are those plastic rings?" When I told her, was she afraid? Did she even flicker an eyelash? No, she did not. She crafted her tush off!


These are just so unique and beautiful. She used the mystery rings, a few millefiore beads from the Envelope of Doom, rafia and some craft wire. Read her detailed tutorial here. And be sure to take a spin around the rest of her blog, she is super talented and has a true eye for things that make you say, "Ah-ha!"

Seriously, Sarah, I can't believe you made those from those. (Read her post to find out what they are.) So happy you are participating! Send us another one soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just a button.

Sometimes I find a two-dimensional piece that I love, and wish to turn it into a pendant. Here's a tutorial for a way to make flat art into a necklace, using, well...

...just a button.

These were a surprise gift from my sis-in-law, in a box full of little crafty doodads. (Notice: where most people would put a heart or a happy face, she drew an undead vampire cat. She looks sweet, that Bec, but she's kind of an edgy girl.)

Okay, here is some flat art:

They're also from Bec, some funny pressed-paper oblongs she found in Tokyo. I have no clue what they are - but they must be worn! I love them so much!

Next I chose these dark abalone buttons. And some cord, thin enough to go thru the shank.

Punch a hole in your art piece. Thread the cord through the hole and the button...

And pop the shank through the hole:

You have turned your button into a bail to hold your pendant! How quick was that? And, for bonus cuteness...

...use a matching button to make the clasp.

You could also use very fine chain instead of a cord:

Aren't they unusual?

I'm pretty darn happy with them. Thanks again, Bec.

Here's a different look, using a vintage enamel button. This one is particularly special to me:

My clever little Mom did this flower painting in her watercolor class. (The original is 18 inches tall.) I loved it - swiped it - and laminated a teeny tiny copy of it so I could wear her art around town.

That's the basic idea. Think how many ways you could change this up! I'm sure your wheels are whirring as you read this. Go forth, and transform 'just a button' into a unique and pretty pendant bail.