Monday, December 27, 2010

Ring in the New Year!

Sorry.  Terrible pun.  Couldn't help myself.  I'm in therapy for it.

Hi!  Are people having a nice holiday time?  I took a break, did some Christmas-y things and received much love, beamed my way from far flung family and friends. Today I'm back with a zaftig new ring project.

What do you think?



Bold.  Big.  A statement ring for sure!  Plus, a great upcycle from something that would otherwise be thrown away.

Okay, so they're also a little out there.

One of the Christmas-y things was a Vegas weekend with two crazy girlfriends.  We caroused mightily.  Extravagant food was eaten!  Penny slots were played!  I even had one drink - a rare thing, I can't usually tolerate the strong stuff.  But one White Russian - how dangerous could that be?  Ten minutes after drinking it, I wobbled off to my hotel room and prepared unsteadily for bed.  My eye fell upon these, perched beside the sink:



Was it the Kahlua, or did the caps on these freebie lotion-and-shampoo bottles look like translucent green gems?  I swept them into my suitcase and brought them home.

Ring-a-ding-ding!


This was a very fun construction.  Want to try?  Here are the steps. 1. Twirl a small loop on one end of a piece of heavy wire. 2.  Loop it one-and-a-quarter times around something roughly finger-shaped.



3. Bend the wire straight up, like this:


4.  Poke a hole in the lotion cap.  5.  Thread the cap and some beautiful beads onto the wire.  6.  Bend the wire down and snip off the extra, leaving about an inch.  7.  Make a swirly to secure the beads.





Done and done!



Whatever you think of them, two things cannot be denied.  They are adjustable - yay!  And they are amusing - hee!

I must admit, I personally think they're quite cool, even beautiful.   But I, too, am a little out there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disney princesses!

Gather 'round, children.  Today I'm going to tell you a story.  A story about some beautiful princesses.




Once upon a time, I worked for Walt Disney Studios.  It was pretty cool.  For two years I went to work in a building with 20 foot tall dwarves on the facade.



One day not too long ago, in the enchanted land of LaLa, I found this set of princess cups at the dollar store...



I ate a poisoned apple, shed my mermaid tail because it was chafing a little, and made an enchanted bangle bracelet.



Wasn't it cute?  It was super simple.  You could do this with any favorite character cup in just a few snips.

1. trim away the top and bottom, and cut the bangle open.  2. make diagonal cuts to adjust for the flared cup shape.  3. round off the edges.  4. Tada!






Then, while waltzing with a Beast in a castle ballroom (okay, it was my husband Jeff, and we went to Starbucks), I had a new idea.  I came home home and snipped individual princesses out of the second cup.


I waved my magical wand, and poof!



Here is Belle with her teapot.



Ariel with her fish tail.



And Snow with her poisoned apple.



(The apple is a chunk of coral that had just the perfect shape.  Isn't it sweet?)


Suddenly, I pricked my finger on a beading needle and fell asleep.  I slept for a long, long time, entwined in strange and twisted vines.  (Dang!  I need to stop falling asleep with a package of red licorice on my lap.)


Eventually I woke up and wrote this post.

The End.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A lime green bangle.

Hello again!  Doncha love the color of these bangles?



What do you think they used to be?  The answer is pretty basic, so I won't make you guess.  (This time, bwah ha ha!)  Check it:




Plastic drinking cups from - say it with me - the dollar store.  They were three for a buck, such a glorious color and with cool sort of shimmery facets.





How'd I make the bangles?  Hmm.  I have to say, it was a little trickier than anticipated.  I had some strange adventures trying to cut them.  First, my husband tried a bandsaw.





It worked for a couple of bangles, then - bang!  The cup 'sploded, sending shards flying across the room.  So next he tried a pull saw.



I got a couple more bangles that way, but it wasn't too smooth.  Next we tried an exacto knife.  It worked okay, but the plastic still wanted to crack.  By then he was pretty tired of helping me and let me know I was on my own.  I discovered:





The best method was probably a pair of scissors.  D'oh.  Next time, I'll start with that.  (I used strong gardening scissors - don't try it with anything too wimpy.  These cups were pretty tough.)



I smoothed out the edges with sandpaper and called it a day.  Tally so far: five bangles, lots of pretty shards, two nifty round cup bottoms and a whole cup left over.





Gonna make more stuff with the remaining material, but for now, pretty pleased with the bangles.



Okee doke - see you next time around.


p.s.  A happy Pupdate: Gertie, Stitch and Albert, three of the rescue dogs I was sponsoring, have all been adopted!  W00t!!  There is still one pup left, and she is lovely - to see Star the Pit Bull and learn about my Pupsicle Action Plan, you can click that link up at the top of the page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little silver houses, NOW in spectacular 2-D!

Check out these silvery little ornaments...


They are a 2-D version of my secret-compartment house pendant.  Materials used: cardboard, duct tape and some oddments from your junk drawer.



Want to make some?  Here's the 411.

First make some squiggly wire smoke plumes.


To make the puffy ones, do this:





Cut some silly tiny houses out of cardboard.


Arrange various flat oddments onto the plain houses.  Scrounge around and improvise.  I tried beads, a plastic leaf, some filigree shapes and paper doilies.


Sandwich your oddments in, using my favorite, magic silver duct tape.


Real metal duct tape, from a hardware or home improvement store.  Seriously, you need some, it is fab!  (Click here to see yet another magic metal tape project.)

Snip around the corners and wrap.  As you wrap the chimney, include a smoke plume.


If the wrapping doesn't cover the back of the house or the smoke-plume wire completely, just add more tape to fill in.  Here's how your house will look at this point:


Pretty blah, yes?  But now begin burnishing the tape down around the oddments, and see the textures emerge!


For a burnishing tool, you could use the handle of a butter knife, the rubber grip of a tool (as in the picture above) or anything small and rounded.  You might accidentally press too hard and rip the tape, like I did.  (See that little crescent of green cardboard peeking through?)  No biggie!  Just add a scrap of tape and burnish to blend it in with the rest.  This stuff is very forgiving.

Now you are done!


Hee hee!  I think they're pretty cute!

Um, I had a mini-fail at this point, but it was super easy to redo.  Here's the look I got using paper doilies:


I wasn't satisfied with the texture - just not very defined.  Next time I would try actual lace doilies instead.  To rescue these, I decided to flip them over and start again.  I bent some interesting wire squigglies to fit:


Then just used additional silver tape on top, and burnished as before.  Now they are quite acceptable.  Mini-fail to mini-yay!


I hope you like!  Make a few for your holiday tree if you have one.  I do not have a tree this year, so naturally I hung them on a bouquet of  beaded sticks and peacock feathers.


Naturally.