Beautiful Beaded Bracelets!

DSCN5292I’ve known you could crochet with beads and wire for years, and have tried it in the past, but was never super happy with the results. But then I crocheted three chains with beads and braided them together, and quite like the results!DSCN5284

I used clamshells over the ends of the wires, and then attached my findings to them. The biggest problem I had with these was estimating how long to make the chains, as I wasn’t sure how much the act of braiding would shorten them. But I estimated all right; it turns out I was right on with my first try, discounting the clasp: Oops! So this guy’s a little looser than I like, but still perfectly wearable πŸ™‚ DSCN5281

I made both of these bracelets in under an hour! A fun, easy craft if you already know how to crochet!

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Earrings that I made and like

DSCN5307Hi! I have been doing a ton of crafting, and very little blogging recently.Β  My goal in the next week or two is to share a number of quick posts about things I’ve made. First up is this pair of earrings!DSCN5300

I was inspired by a number of tutorials and images I saw on Pinterest, but I didn’t follow any particular directions. If you’ve ever picked up a pair of pliers and some wire, you can make these, but they’re very different from any other pairs I’ve personally made. I hope you like them too πŸ™‚DSCN5296

Super Quick Earrings

Spring is here! Almost. It’s still dark when I get up for work, but now there are trills of birdsong swelling up around the dawn. It’ll only be a little bit longer now till everything is GREEN again, and butterflies dance over fields of hay studded with chicory blooms.

But I couldn’t wait for the real butterflies. So I made these!DSCN4738

They are super easy, and consist of exactly one step. Glue shiny things to earring backs. Done.DSCN4750

The shiny things in question are actually iron-on’s from the clearance bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I’ve never been prone to use iron-on’s when sewing, as they usually mean hand-washing ahead, but I loved these butterflies so bought them without a firm plan.

Then I realized I already had glue and earring posts, so these lovely spring earrings were born. And they only set me back about 75 cents!DSCN4739

Now I have to look around and see what else I can make to sing out “Spring!”

Easy Earrings

Hello!DSCN3979

I’ve been doing a lot of crafting and sewing and wedding planning, but very little blogging. But I’ve something to share today. This is a very easy craft, but I think it turned out really well.

Basically, I bought blank earring studs and E6000 adhesive and made earrings. Not difficult. DSCN3971But I had so much fun going through my button jars to find pairs that would work as a set.

I think the real crafty-ness comes in the making of the little cards.DSCN3977 I used what I had on hand, so just cut up a cereal box and poked holes in with a pin for the earrings to go through.DSCN3974

For this pair, I glued stone beads on the blanks studs. However, I didn’t like the look of the bead holes, so I glued small silver beads in them. I was originally going to write “You Rock” after the earrings, but then realized the earrings themselves could fill in for the o’s! So now there’s a nice little reminder/self-esteem boost to go with the earrings πŸ™‚

Sometimes a simple craft can bring as much joy as a challenging one!

Stash Busting 5/15 – Turtle Necklace

One third of the way to my goal!

This was a quick stash buster once I planned it out, and it didn’t use up a ton of supplies. But it turned out so well; I love it!

I bought a sea turtle charm back before Christmas, planning to use it in some sort of jewelry for my sister, as she studies reptiles and amphibians and has a special soft spot for turtles. It was perfect! …except for the part where I never actually used it. But her birthday is coming up, and so I finally used the turtle!054

I spent a lot of time playing around with different beads to find a combination I liked, and settled on two groups of iridescent blue beads on head pins. I hung one on each side of the turtle, like it was swimming through cerulean seas.052

And my lil’ sis loved it! I only wish I had made it sooner…

I think I’ll have to plan a few other stash busters that go to good homes! There’s such joy in sharing hand-made gifts πŸ™‚

Stash Busting: Thing 3/15

For this stash busting project, I took a step back from the yarn basket, and raided my jewelry making supplies. good3(I actually got really inspired and made three things, but I’m just sharing the one today.)

I settled on these lovely polished agate beads first:good2 Now I bought these over two years ago on sale, and main thing holding me back was that they came in a set of three. My first instinct was earrings, but that would leave one bead left out. So I tucked them away. This stash busting project, however, inspired me to just use them already!

So I did! I let the stone speak mostly for itself, only adding a decorative swirl at the bottom.good

I’ve already worn them, and I’m so glad I got over my initial hesitation about having a bead left over. I’m sure I’ll find a use for it one day!good1

DIY Painted Pebble Necklace

Every time I go on a trip, I end up bringing home rocks. Usually not very fancyΒ  ones. Instead, I bring home nice flat rocks, which would probably be perfect for skipping across ponds, if I were any good at skipping stones. They end up in little bowls around my house, or occasionally find their way into my beta’s tank.030 (3) The rocks are little works of natural art, and reminders of wonderful places I’ve been.

But collecting dust in bowls is not the best way to display memories, at least for me. So I turned them into wearable art.032 (2) Some I leave plain, and some I jazz up a bit. If you’d like to make your own painted (or plain) pebble necklace, follow the tutorial below!006

Materials:035

  • Pebble. The best rocks for this project are thin and flat with smooth edges.
  • Necklace chain or cord or ribbon. Whatever suits your aesthetic.
  • Jump rings
  • Necklace clasp. I like lobster clasps, but again, whatever style suits you.
  • E6000 or other strong adhesive
  • Flat bit of metal with a hole in it. I used the tab a spring ring clasp fits into, but you could also use a bail. I’ve even used the clip part of disassembled clip-on earrings.
  • Pliers
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brush
  • Clear varnish. I used spray varnish, but a brush-on variety would work too.
  • Newspaper to protect your work space

Directions:

  1. Select your rock and wash it so there’s no loose dirt on the surface.
  2. Paint a design of your choosing on one side. I used bright blue to provide contrast with the natural surface. You can skip this step, if you like. Wait for the paint to dry completely before moving on.033
  3. Put down newspaper to protect your work area, and spray your stone with varnish, following the directions on the can. This will give your rock a permanently wet look and enhance its the natural coloring. As with the painting, this step is optional.034
  4. Once the varnish is dry, use the E6000 to attach your flat metal bit to the back of the stone. Make sure the hole or bail is clear of the top of the stone. Wait for the glue to cure before moving on.031
  5. Using your pliers, attach a jump ring and hook the stone to the jewelry chain. Also attach a clasp at this point.032
  6. And ta-da! Go out and rock your new necklace!

Tips and suggestions:

  • Try using metallic paint for a glam look.
  • If you find small enough rocks, try making funky earrings!
  • To get an idea how your rock will look varnished, run it under water. The varnish will mimic this wet look.
  • Don’t be afraid of puns! Use a paint pen to write “out” or “on” so your necklace reminds you to rock out or to rock on. You could also use a paint pen to write the date or location for your rock.
    • I made a necklace for a fellow swing dancer with a reminder to rock step, triple step (the basic footwork of swing dance).005

Frankly, It’s Mostly Plants

Hello everyone! I few posts ago, I mentioned that I moved, and today I thought I’d share some pictures of how I decorated. It’s a work in progress, but I’m pretty happy so far. It’s mostly just my desk still unpacked in and shambles, so I won’t show ya’ll that πŸ™‚

Instead, I’ll show you all the many, many plants. I didn’t quite realize how much of my decor was plants until I was reviewing the pictures…

Anyway, there’s a wonderfully sunny ledge that is home to four pots, with more on the way. I painted two of them, the white and green ones, and left two plain. I wanted some interest without looking busy, and I like the result.004 (2)You can barley see the philodendron closest to the wall behind the giant spider plant, but its vines drape down the other side of the wall wonderfully.

Related to philodendrons are pothos, and of course I have one of them too! Here it is in a novelty fish planter to create a visual divide between kitchen and living area:008 (2)So cute! I do love my fish friend! Speaking of fish, and therefore water, you use the most water in a bathroom. So here’s that set up! (or some of it…I’m not going to subject anyone to a close-up of my toilet…)017Well, would you look at that! Another pothos! Also, an Audubon print. He’s one of my favorite artists, so I was delighted to find that this picture fit so perfectly in the space!

I’ve also hung some original art. I have eventual plans for a gallery wall of sorts, interspersed with shelves, but as we haven’t got the shelves yet, I’m sticking to just one: a portrait of my childhood cat, Dickens.009Now, I know I mentioned that my desk area is not fully unpacked, and it’s not, but I did install a fintorp rail system from Ikea so at least I have access to all my writing implements and such.018And of course there’s another spider plant! You can also catch a glimpse of my arrow leaf, in a nice blue pot.

Finally, here’s some plant free areas. First, my jewelry storage/wall art. My dad made the earring holder for me, ’cause I’m a very lucky daughter. The towel rack for necklaces was a pinterest idea that I actually acted on. I wear my necklaces so much more now that they’re easily accessible.001And then on the windowsill catty-corner, I have a few of my favorite geologic specimens. The morning sun catches the crystal ones, and it’s lovely.003Does petrified wood count as a plant? ‘Cause if it does, there’s a plant here too…

Also, totes know I said “finally” a few pics ago, but of course there’s one more place with plants. There’s one lonely stretch of narrow wall, almost a column, so I hung a number of lightbulbs that I refashioned as vases so I can have cut plants as well as all my potted ones!014So, upon reflection, my decorating style is just all the plants. (And I actually didn’t even show all of them off…) But plants are awesome and bring life into a place.

How about you? Anyone else have a ton of plants? Or just a ton of anything that ends up defining your living space?

My Current Obsession

Hello there!

Anyone else ever find a tutorial, try it out, and then go overboard? You know, make the same thing over and over again? Play with variations and material combinations and such, until you finally come to and realize you have no idea what to do with all the things?

Just me? It can’t be just me…

030In my case, I’ve been trying to wear more rings, because my fingers need adornment! The problem is that I don’t own many rings. So I decided to look up some tutorials. I found this one on pintrest, but there are dozens more giving just about the same directions. It was super easy. Maybe too easy…

032I quickly ran out of fingers!

034My first attempts were a bit wonky, but I soon got the hang of it, and have been busy ever since. I’ve even gone a bit beyond the tutorial, using different shaped focal beads and extending the wire wrapping, like with this turquoise ring:028

So tell me I’m not the only one. Are there any projects you’ve obsessed over?

005

Braided Kelp Necklace

IMG_20140828_184556_367

Check out this beautiful necklace, inspired by seaweed! Mostly iridescent green, an odd stripe of lavender twists through it like sea foam, twined among the strands of kelp. This necklace is deceptively simple. If you can braid, you can make it! What I love about this design, and what sets it apart, is the play of texture and color. Using cylindrical seed beads keeps the individual strands distinct, and a single strand of contrasting color and texture add an unexpected twist, literally!

Ready for the tutorial? Here goes!

Materials:materials

  • strong thread
  • beading needle
  • fine chain – approx. 10″
  • 6 clam shell bead tips
  • 1 lobster clasp
  • 4 jump rings
  • quite a lot of seed beads – mine were cylindrical
  • about 1/9 as many seed beads as the other type
  • scissors and pliers

Directions:

  1. Cut nine lengths of string, each approximately 15″ long.step 1
  2. Thread three strings through each clam shell. Knot, trip the ends, and use the pliers to close the bead tip.step 2
  3. Using the beading needle, bead all but one of the nine strands with about 12″ of seed beads. Bead the 9th strand in a complimentary color. I used chartreuse as my main color and lavender for the accent strand.step 3
  4. Braid each group of strings. I recommend putting a small piece of tape on the bottom of each string so the beads don’t slide off.step 4
  5. Thread the tail ends of the braids through another clam shell, one bead tip per braid. Knot, trip, and close the bead tip.step 5
  6. Wiggle one jump ring open, and loop it through one end of each braid. Before you close it, also loop it through the end of your chain. Close with pliers.step 6
  7. Now braid the three braids together.
  8. Open a second jump ring and loop it through the three clam shell bead tips and the other end of the chain.step 7
  9. Find the half-way point of the chain and, using the pliers, open a link. On each of the newly separated chain-ends, put on one jump ring.
  10. Add the lobster clasp to one side, and voila! IMG_20140828_184720_312

Tips and Ideas:

  • Play with color and texture! Make one whole braid a contrast instead of just one strand.
  • Use multicolored beads in no particular order to create a braid that looks almost woven.
  • Experiment with differences in length. Maybe a shorter beaded section? Or maybe make a braid long enough to go all around your neck!
  • Try different bead sizes. Larger seed beads or even pony beads would make a chunkier statement piece.