Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Mystery Thing Revealed: Dots Of Color! Plus Mini DIY

Welcome back!  Time to reveal this week's Guess The Mystery Thing challenge - are we excited?  If you're just joining us, my readers have been trying to identify the secret ingredient in these upcycled jewels:

The mystery is those little dot dangles.  Recognize them at all?  Did anyone get it right?  Read on to find out.

First, Mich's Honor Roll Of Most Creative (Totally Wrong) Guesses:

Angi: Garage door openers for bunnies.
Amy: Barbie traffic lights?
Betsy: Troll traffic lights!
Dena:  House arrest bracelets for Smurfs. The dead giveaway was the bright colors, chosen to stand out against blue skin to increase the shame value. That was daring of you to steal from the Smurf Police. Though considering they've had them for decades and never had to use them once in that happy village...maybe you did them a favor!
Lora: Fishing lures.
Creative Mind: Cellphone signal detectors, they start blinking whenever a call or text is coming in.
Jill: The rear lights from Papa Smurf's golf cart - and when he finds out he will really be blue!

Looove these, you guys!  Smurf house arrest bracelets made me laugh out loud.  And of course bunnies need garage door openers.  Of course they do.

Ready to learn the answer?

Only a few people knew this...but that's not so surprising.  We all have cell phones now.  Land line?  What's a land line?

Perhaps you are beginning to guess.

Okay, let's see it. 

It's these...

Telephone wire connectors!   When I saw that package of bright little gemlike objects at the hardware store, I could not resist them.  I think the jewelry turned out rather cool.

Blink three red if you agree, six yellow if you disagree.

In a moment I'll tell you if anyone guessed the answer.  Before we get to that, how 'bout a mini tutorial?

Mini Tutorial.

These thingies are quite fun to work with!  They have built-in crimps, that will grab coated wire and connect it securely.

Cut a tiny length of beading wire (also called tiger tail), which is thin wire with a soft nylon coating.  Fold it in half.

Insert the ends into the connector.   Be sure your wire goes all the way in, past the center of the colored dot.

Notice how the colored dot is sticking up higher than the base? 

Now use pliers to squoosh the colored dot down flat.

Tips and tricks.  The squooshing can be uneven - it's hard to get the entire colored dot pressed down in one squoosh.  You may have to reposition the pliers to get the whole thing flat.  Be sure to hold onto the bit of wire while you squoosh, because it tends to want to fly out and across the room.  I had a oopsies - the first couple tries, I managed the squoosh fine - but the wire escaped.

Once squooshed, the dot crimps the wire tight inside.  Now you have a preposterously cute little dangle...

Lots of ways to use these itty bitties!  They are darling naked, as in these chic-to-the-geek earring drops and miniature pendant:

Or use them as an element in a design with other beads and findings.

I hope you enjoyed the tute!  Now on to our unifinished biz...

Winners, winners!  Who got it this time?  First prize goes to Amy - a regular guesser who always makes the Honor Roll.  Woot to you, girl - how did you know this?  And our lovely runner up, chosen by Mel!  Congrats, you two, check for my email coming soon.

Thanks for playing, my dear friends.  See you soon for some more silliness


  1. Good Timing. It's been a while since my husband cleaned up his workshop so with a reward of his making us dinner, I helped him with the massive mess and found these splice connectors from when we moved in. Congrats on the publicity of your clothespin idea! Crafthwaker, and other sites.

  2. coolll..did you glue the gear wire or do they just stay put inside?

    1. Hiya, Divya! Nope, no glue necessary - there is is crimp inside that does all the work.

      But IF you don't have the coated beading wire available, you could probably use regular wire and jewelry glue - but in that case, don't squoosh it flat! The crimp doesn't work on plain wire, there has to be a soft coating.

  3. I'm blinking three red! You clever girl. Glad you didn't put an eye out with the wires popping all over:-)

  4. Michelle, I read through your last few posts, and went to the Kiva site. OMG! Times are hard here (big surprise) and the lift it gave me and my daughter to both donate to Kiva for FREE was just fabulous. If we ever crawl out of the hole, we'll have a lot of fun choosing people to make loans to. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
    Kate in Oregon

  5. Hahahaha.. cool dear madam!!
    but honestly, here these connectors are usually square or rectangular..not in round I guessed wrong smartly! hehe
    have fun dear :)

  6. How you come up with jewelry that WORKS from this stuff I will never know! Brilliant and gorgeous as always.

  7. Love all your ideas! Looks like you hoard as much stuff as I do. I have been trying to have a clear out and now regret throwing some bits out... I can picture you going around the DIY stores, stopping to look and think and then that eureka moment when you see what you can do with it, probably accompanied by people looking most surprised as you jump up and down with glee.
    Thank you, and please keep the upcycling ideas coming