DIY Earring Upcycle (or How I Turned One Pair of Earrings into Two).

Hi there! It’s been so long, I know. I don’t like posting unless I have something to say/show off, and this summer has been fairly uneventful as far as crafting goes.

I finally moved out of my awful apartment to a beautiful one in the city. It’s so exciting – Dave and I just love it! I love being within walking distance of SO many new shops and restaurants (not to mention a YARN SHOP!!). Other than that and getting ready for school, I really haven’t been up to much. Dave told me to relax this summer – it’s probably the last summer I’ll ever have off.

I feel like I wasted it.

Oh well!

In any case, let me tell you the story of my night. Currently, my area is in a drastic, unseasonal heat wave. It’s late August – time for fall to start showing up (which I was all excited for, since autumn is definitely my favourite season), but our heat index has been passing 100 degrees F for two days now, and it won’t cool off much for another few days at least. To top that off, the only window that will fit an air conditioner in my new apartment is in our kitchen…. waaaaaaaaaay at the opposite end of the apartment as our bedroom. So this means that our bedroom and bathroom are broiling day and night, and our air conditioner (which really doesn’t work that well in the first place) only cools the kitchen and a little bit of the living room. This means we’re hot and sticky 100% of the time we’re home. Joyous.

So I’ve been trying to take my mind off the heat by crafting. Those of you who have spent days in a 90+ degree apartment know that your brain doesn’t always work as well as it normally does, so I’ve actually spent most of my time on Pinterest looking for inspiration. As with YouTube, one thing on Pinterest leads to another, and soon I was looking for ideas for an outfit to wear to my first day of school next week.

(Side note: This semester is going to be my BEST EVER. I’m actually taking classes that I enjoy and will be useful to me later on when I’m studying to be an Egyptologist. SO EXCITED!!)

I’ve fallen in love with boho style a little bit this summer, especially the stacking bracelets. Dave got me one bracelet at the Festival of Nations, and one of my dearest students got me a GORGEOUS one (which is actually three put together) as an end of the year gift after my last recital with the dance studio this past June. (Side note again: Seriously, she is an amazing girl. I miss teaching her so much – her attitude, her enthusiasm for ballet, her sense of humour…. She’s the best. ^^) I have been wearing both of those bracelets almost every day for the past week or so. I just love them!!

So I was looking up different ways to incorporate boho style more into my wardrobe on the cheap (or even better, the DIY), and I discovered that I LOVE tassel earrings. They are so cute! So I pawed through my jewelry box looking for inspiration, and I found them. They were absolutely perfect for my purposes. See, this same student also gifted me with gorgeous earrings (because she’s so sweet).

Aren't they lovely?

Aren’t they lovely?

I realized the top of the earrings would be so perfect for tassel earrings, so I decided to get to work to turn these earrings into ones that I could wear twice as often. πŸ™‚

Title

*NOTE* This isn’t really a tutorial, more of a “How I Did It,” since I don’t know the mechanics of any earrings you would want to upcycle.

First, the tassel earrings.

I used DMC embroidery floss to make my tassel, as I had a bunch of it and I like how it’s a little pearly, like the earrings themselves. πŸ™‚

I didn't know whether to match the little blue pearls or the deep blue gems.

I didn’t know whether to match the little blue pearls or the deep blue gems.

Next, I CAREFULLY opened the jump rings holding the pieces together. I used needle nose pliers that I found in my toolbox. I’m sure this part (and other parts) would have been much easier if I had had the proper jewelry-making tools. But I don’t.

This was as precise as I could be with these big ol' pliers.

This was as precise as I could be with these big ol’ pliers.

Then came the tassels. I haven’t made tassels since I was like 8 years old making them out of my mom’s scrap purple yarn. They’re a lot harder to do than I remember. I’m sure back then I didn’t care as much how they turned out.

I made my cardboard frame-thing, wrapped my floss around it ten times, and hooked the jump ring and the earring’s top around the middle (where one would normally tie it). Closing the jump ring was a chore because all I had to use were those big honkin’ pliers. Again, I’m sure it’d be much simpler if you have the right tools.

It was harder than it looks.

It was harder than it looks.

After sliding the thread off of the cardboard, I knotted it with a long piece of coordinating string (though I have seen tassels made with a different colour string wrapping around the top, and they are CUTE).

Again, harder than it looks.

Again, harder than it looks.

Then came the wrapping part. This also came with a lot of loud cursing, as I couldn’t seem to get it right. However, I was also too stubborn to look up a tutorial on how to easily make tassels, which I’m sure would have helped. So if you’re going to do this, look up a tutorial first. This part is frustrating as all get out.

It’s worth it, though!

The threads were a little kinky.

The threads were a little kinky.

As you can see, they were a little uneven after I cut them, so I straightened the threads using a damp towel, then trimmed the ends to be a little more uniform (but not perfect).

Ta da! So pretty!

Ta da! So pretty!

Now for the other pair.

I’m not as happy with this pair just yet. It didn’t come out exactly how I’d hoped, but I think I may know how to fix it.

First, I grabbed a set of earrings I knew I’d never wear again.

So I guess this post is technically how I revamped two pairs of earrings....

So I guess this post is technically how I revamped two pairs of earrings….

I pushed them into a pincushion and painted them to coordinate with the earrings with nail polish. It took two coats.

If you do this, you could just as easily use new posts or stud earrings that already coordinate.

If you do this, you could just as easily use new posts or stud earrings that already coordinate.

After they were dry, I simply put them through the holes that once connected the bottom half to the jump rings.

So simple!

So simple!

That’s pretty much it. I don’t like how they look against the earring bottom, though, so I think I’m just going to look for stud earrings that match the bottom half, then glue them together. Or I could just leave them unglued, and I’d always have the option of returning the earrings back to the way they were in the beginning. πŸ™‚ (EDIT: Now that I think of it, maybe I’ll just get a long, gold chain and make one of them into a necklace! Then I’ll have an earring/pendant set!)

Dang, those are gorgeous bottoms.

Dang, those are gorgeous bottoms.

So that’s how I did it. Super simple! I can’t wait to wear them to school!!

Love!!!

Love!!!

Until next time!! Stay cool!

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DIY Coloured Sculpey Clay

Well hello! Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there!

I know, I know, I’ve been somewhat of a ghost on here. School kept me from updating over the fall, winter, and spring. I have had so many new changes lately – a new school, new people, a new commute (that was 45 minutes on a good day – 3 hours on a bad!), I lost my part-time job (it was for the best; I need that time for school), I got engaged (!!!), and in two weeks I’ll be moving to a whole new city. This is a big change for me, since I have spent all my life in small towns, and now suddenly I’ll be thrown within 2 miles of skyscrapers. I’m nervous, but excited. I love the area we found (though apparently several years ago it was one of the absolute worst parts of town), and the apartment is good for us, and our new landlady is wonderful. Really, I couldn’t be happier.

So even though I should be packing (though honestly, we don’t have that much stuff), I’ve been crafting instead. What can I say. I do have a crochet pattern that I have to share with everyone – over Christmas I made everyone I worked with coffee cozies. They were a huge hit! I also (accidentally) made ice cream cozies for pint-sized containers. I’ll share that soon (hopefully). Today, however, is something different. It also includes a backstory. Lucky you!

So remember those crochet hook handles I made last year? After I made them, I learned that the Mod Podge I used (glossy) dries tacky. LAME. So I spent all year with gross, sticky crochet hooks. It made me not want to crochet nearly as much. So Dave suggested that we take the hooks outside and try to hit them with a hammer until the clay breaks off. (I should note, that this was after I asked if I could ruin a steak knife trying to cut the clay off. He always tries to keep me from slicing my hand open. <3) So we wrapped the hooks in an old dishtowel and he began hitting them with a hammer.

Our first try was a little unsuccessful. The clay came off, but we failed to check the hook until well after he had smashed a number of times, so I ended up with a dead hook.

So sad.

So sad.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with that hook. I feel bad just throwing it away.

Eventually we got the hang of it. I even figured out the perfect pressure to hit the clay at so that the hook would just slide out. Dave preferred to just smash, though. Boys.

Smash!

Smash!

Finally I had nice clean hooks again! The possibilities! I wanted to do handles the same way I had before, but without the painting. Even the acrylic paint I used had dried a little tacky. I think some chemicals just aren’t mixing right – either that or I’m doing things wrong (a very legitimate possibility). So I started researching ways to dye my white Sculpey clay.

Turns out, according to this post I found, I could dye it, but the best thing was oil paints, of which I have none. I know any normal person would just go buy some cheap tubes of oil paints, but not this lady! If I need something I will find a replacement that works before I go buying anything! So I racked my brain trying to think of a non-water based colourant that I could use in the clay. Then it hit me.

Eyeshadow.

I have so much eyeshadow that I don’t wear anymore, but I hate throwing it away, because it is disgustingly expensive! Since I’ve made the shift from bold, bright colours to neutrals, I have had blues and greens and purples just laying around forever, taking up much-needed space in my makeup drawer! So here you go. How to dye Sculpey clay using eyeshadow.*

*Please note that I only used Original Sculpey white clay, and I have no idea if this works with anything else.

Title

Please forgive the horrible picture quality in this post. I used my Nikon Coolpix instead of my iPhone. The colour quality is better, but for some reason I can’t figure out my focus. Grr, technology! You win again!

Tools of the trade (minus one).

Tools of the trade (minus one).

For this project, you will need waxed or parchment paper, Sculpey oven-bake clay, various eyeshadows, and a bobby pin (not pictured because I wasn’t thinking ahead). If you have some spare eye pigment powder (which I assume is just unpressed eyeshadow), you can skip steps 3-5. I also recommend having a movie or music playing, as this project takes an awful long time. I sat in silence my first round, and regret it completely.

Step One.

Step One.

First lay down one large sheet of parchment paper to protect your workspace. I’m all about easy cleanup. Then tear off another sheet of parchment paper and rip it in half to make two square-ish pieces.

Step 2.

Step 2.

Next, fold one of your squares in half. In hindsight, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to fold it in half again the opposite way (so the creases form a +). This is just for keeping the eyeshadow contained.

Step 3.

Step 3.

Then you’ll want to choose your eyeshadow colour and break it up with your bobby pin. (Again, I apologize for the fuzzy pictures)

Step 4.

Step 4.

Using the bobby pin, scrape the eyeshadow out of the container and onto the folded parchment paper.

Step 5.

Step 5.

Use the bobby pin to crush the eyeshadow into a very fine powder. Try to get rid of all the clumps – you’ll be happy you did. I would do it even finer than this picture. If you’re going to add anything else, do it at this point and mix it in with your eyeshadow while it’s a powder, instead of trying to mix it into the clay later. You could add glitter, spices, or just mix eyeshadow colours, like I did later.

Mix your colours! Get creative!

Mix your colours! Get creative!

I mixed some silver and black and ended up with a really pretty gunmetal gray. Enjoy this part!!

Step 6.

Step 6.

Flatten a piece of Sculpey clay onto your large sheet of parchment paper. I used a lump about the size of a golf ball for each average-sized container of eyeshadow. Keep in mind that the more or less white you use determines your final colour – make the whole amount of whatever colour you need in one batch, as it is unlikely that you’ll be able to make that same shade again.

Gloves! Wear them!

Gloves! Wear them!

Before we continue…. I HIGHLY advise that you wear latex/whatever gloves starting now. I did not, and my hands looked like Smurf hands. It got under my fingernails (which is a HUGE pet peeve of mine) and took FOREVER to wash off.

Step 7.

Step 7.

Add small amounts of powder to your clay. DO NOT ADD ANYWHERE NEAR THE AMOUNT YOU SEE IN THE STEP 7 PHOTO!! At first, the powder will cause the clay to not stick to itself, and the clay will become VERY flaky. Just keep working through it, and it will mix in and restick. The less powder you add at a time, the easier it is to knead. That is why this step takes FOREVER. Again, I recommend having some sort of media nearby. If your hands get tired and sore (which they very well may), take a break just to sit and not use them or stretch them out.

Finished!

Finished!

Once you get all the powder mixed into the clay you’re all done! Look at that pretty blue! It had a really nice shimmer to it as well once I molded it! You can even mix it to a lesser extent so that it has a marbled effect instead of being uniformly coloured. Whatever makes you happy! That’s what it’s all about!

My hooks with their new handles (along with my current crochet project - a pic-nic blanket!).

My hooks with their new handles (along with my current crochet project – a pic-nic blanket!).

After I mixed my clay, I made my hook handles just like last time, except without the painting process. The clay bakes exactly the same as it says on the box; in the oven at 275*F for 15 minutes per 1/4″ thickness. I tried sanding some of the imperfections out after they had cooled with 320 sandpaper, and that seemed to take away the shimmer. So sad. I also tried sealing the sanded ones with clear nail polish, and after 2-3 thick coats it seemed to work all right. I find myself really liking just the plain coloured clay ones, though. The texture is velvety soft, and the colours are turning out lovely! I’ve been using them while sitting outside with my little buddy.

Oliver is my homeboy.

Oliver is my homeboy. He likes to watch my crochet.

I’d love to see the colour combinations and projects you come up with for this clay!

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DIY Hand Painted Crochet Hook Handles

Happy Friday!

School has been hectic for me. Lots of reading and writing, and it’s only been two weeks! Since it’s been so nuts for me, I haven’t had much time to craft. This last project, my crochet hook handles, took way longer than it they should have because I had so little time to work on them. But in any case, I hope you enjoy it!

Apparently I’m very fragile. If I crochet for long periods of time, my hands and wrists end up hurting really bad for days. My hypothesis is that I hold on very tightly (but I can’t seem to fix that) to such a tiny hook. I tried making my own handles using this tutorial, and it actually worked really well for me. However, I was unable to make them as pretty as those – my tape kept showing and the grips kept slipping.

See? Not so nice.

So I decided to poke around Pinterest (because that’s where I find a lot of inspiration for what I do), and I kept seeing people making handles with fimo or polymer clay. I dug through my crafty bin and found some Sculpey clay, and it just snowballed from there.

Let’s do this.

This is all you’ll need for the first half of this tutorial. MAKE SURE THAT THE HOOKS YOU’RE USING ARE METAL. That’s very important.

Knead the clay into a smooth handle around each hook. I put down some wax paper so as not to ruin my table. This part took me forever, because I’m a perfectionist. I made sure to keep the thumb rest clear of clay so that I could still see the hook’s letter and number.

Once you make handled for all your hooks, place them on a baking sheet (I wrapped mine in aluminum foil because I’m paranoid about this stuff coming into contact with food, no matter how many times I wash it.

Bake them in the oven at 275F for 30 minutes (or whatever it says on the package of whatever clay you use). I don’t have an egg timer or anything, so I have to use the timer on my microwave. πŸ™‚

After the handles have cooled completely (I let them sit overnight), wrap masking tape around the edge of the hook where it meets the handle. This will prevent paint from getting on the hook.

Pick out the paints you’ll be using and grab your tools! I’m using a black sparkle base with pastel rainbow dots.

Paint away!!

I hung mine on knotted string to let them dry. I figured you could also stick them hook-first into Styrofoam or floral foam, as well. I just happened to have string lying around. I also put a paper towel underneath it, just in case.

Now, my paint dried really sticky. I have no idea why, but I fixed it at the end. You’ll see….

I let mine dry over night, partially because it was sticky. If yours is sticky, it doesn’t mean it’s not dry.

I painted teeny polka dots onto my hooks by pushing a small pin into an eraser and dipping it into paint and onto the hooks. It actually created a fun texture, too! But you can paint anything you want – flowers, dogs, swirls, whatever!

When I took my tape off, I noticed that it had covered some of the clay, so it was still white. I fixed it by dipping a toothpick into black paint and touching it up.

Mod Podge the hooks in order to seal them – this is what makes them no longer sticky! Hooray!

Ta da!! So pretty! I love them! They’re pretty comfortable, too. Not bad. πŸ™‚

Let me know how this tutorial goes for you!! I’d love to see pictures of your finished products! Until next time!!

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Crochet Zipper Clutch DIY

 

School is coming soon for me! I start in 5 days! So excited! Except that I’ve only finished one of my back to school projects. Eek! Of course, having my finger out of commission was unfortunate. It’s a little better now – I finally stopped using the splint, which means I can crochet again! So, let’s all enjoy a crochet tutorial.

I realize this is more of a “How-I-Did-It” than a tutorial since I don’t have specific stitch numbers, but hopefully this can help you make one if you so choose.

As school begins, I really wanted a pencil pouch. I have about two dozen pens and pencils I like to bring to school – I love colour choices when I write notes. πŸ™‚ Of course, the only pencil pouches I could find that weren’t too childish were too ordinary.

Snore.

So I sat for days and stared at this thing, wondering what I could do to make it less snooze-worthy. I considered embroidering it, but couldn’t think of a pattern I wanted to do. I thought about just sewing some simple buttons onto it, but I didn’t have a whole lot of buttons in my stash that I really liked. I almost painted it, but I only have one colour of fabric paint. SO WHAT ELSE IS THERE?!

Crochet of course!! I decided to crochet a little shell for this pouch with some of my scrap yarn. My yarn bin is overflowing, so I’m always looking for good projects to use up my bits and pieces.

As I was making this, I was thinking that this would make a great pouch for anything – pens, paintbrushes, crochet hooks, I could even use it as a little purse! Anyway, let’s do this.

This pink yarn has a little sparkle in it, and it’s really sort of special to me. It was the first yarn I bought and brought to my Mom’s so that she could teach me how to crochet. I also used it (along with a bright blue yarn) to make my first crocheted piece – a super bright scarf. πŸ™‚

To start this clutch, chain until it is long enough to wrap around the case and slip stitch into the first chain. Make sure there are no twists in the chain! Keep single crocheting in the round until it gets tall enough to fit over the clutch. Sew one end closed so that it makes a little pouch.

(I ran out of pink before it was tall enough, but I found some sparkle black yarn, so I guess it’s a colour-blocked pouch).

The top of the shell should reach to the zipper. That’s how you know it’s ready.

I crocheted a little scallop edge on the top to add a little feminine touch, but if this pencil pouch is being made for a boy, you’d probably want to avoid this step. πŸ™‚

Embellish the pouch with buttons, ribbons, embroidery, whatever you want!

Sew the pouch into the shell with matching thread. I did it about 1/4″ below the zipper. I (obviously) did the sewing by hand, but if you’re more skilled than I am you could use a machine.

Finished! Stuff it full of your pens, cash, marbles (so you don’t lose them!), or anything else you want!

Keep in mind that this could be done with ANY zipper bag. Get creative! Do this over a thermal bag and take your lunch with you (that’s actually a really good idea…. I might have to do that)! Do this with a larger bag and use it to keep crayons and notebooks together for you kids, or use it as a first aid kit, or to keep diapers and wipes together in your diaper bag (I’m going to be honest, I don’t have kids so I don’t know if that’s an issue or not, but you get the idea). Possibilities for customization are endless, and those are my favourite kinds of projects.

I have a lot of great projects lined up, so I’m sure I’ll be back with more soon. πŸ™‚

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I Just Want To Say….

Today was truly spectacular for me. First thing in the morning I took one of my cats out for a walk. She loves exploring the yard. πŸ™‚

After that, I got to spend time with my Mom and sister antiquing around my hometown. That in and of itself was great, but there was something extra that happened that just put me in a fantastic mood.

At a shop about 1/4 mile from my apartment, I spotted this desk:

It’s a roll top desk. I have wanted a roll top desk ever since I was a little kid and saw my Dad working at his. I love everything about this desk, from the wood colour to the drawer pulls to the compartments. And it was a steal at only $50. So I paid for it and left it there to pick up in a few hours.

When we came back with my Mom’s van, my sister and I found that it was extraordinarily heavy. We were struggling just to get it out of the store when an older gentleman offered to help us. Once we got it outside and to my Mom’s van, we realized that it was just too big to fit inside.

There was another gentleman in a pick-up truck parked behind my Mom, and he offered to take it in his truck and drive it to my house. It was the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me. Once we got it to my house and Dave helped to unload it, this man refused to take any money I offered him and just drove away.

Thanks to the help of strangers I now have the desk of my dreams sitting in my living room. All of this made me so happy, I can’t even explain it. Generally I tend to be a rather cynical person who doesn’t like or trust people, but instances like this really pick me up. I love my town. πŸ™‚

And my cats have already had a lot of fun exploring the new piece of furniture. πŸ™‚

Sometimes life is just good. πŸ™‚

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Goodness.

So due to a deep, deep cut on my finger I can’t crochet for a while (I can’t play Diablo either – LAME). I have to wear a finger splint so that it heals well and doesn’t hurt so badly. So I’ve motored through my latest embroidery project.

20120816-153814.jpg
I got the pattern from the book my mom gave me. I love it! I did a lot of it while Dave was building a patio at my parents’ house, and in doing so I found that I love being crafty outside. πŸ™‚
Next on my list is back to school stuff – I had hoped to crochet stuff, but now I have to rethink everything. We’ll see what happens!

 

 

 

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Finally!

I’m finally done with all of my August gifts! Hooray! Now I can finally get going on my back to school projects. Or I can even read a book (Currently I’m in the middle of Anathem by Neal Stephenson)!

As promised, here are the photos of my finished projects. If you would like me to make a tutorial for any of these just let me know!

A watermelon hat for my niece’s first birthday. I miscalculated the size of it (by a lot – this was my first time not using a pattern), so I had to weave some ribbon around the brim to tighten it (I really didn’t want to start all over). This way the hat is going to poof so she’ll look like Strawberry Shortcake, and she can have the hat pretty much forever since she can’t grow out of it.

Total cost: $20 for yarn (I wanted to try my hand using the higher-quality yarn at my local yarn shop).

This is my nephew’s fort kit. I made it out of a flat bed sheet, pillow case, clothesline, clothespins, and a flashlight. I sewed a cinch into the pillow case, and crocheted a pouch to hold the clothespins. The Fort Sam sign is just fabric paint on a piece of scrap fabric that he can pin to his fort when he sets it up.

Total cost: $21.

The Kindle case for my sister-in-law. I lined the inside with red satin (the top picture). This is the first time I’ve ever lined anything I’ve crocheted. I really hope she likes it – I unfortunately don’t know her very well, but I know she likes blue and loves her Kindle. This shade of blue that I used looked so perfect with red (I know, the picture quality really isn’t that good).

Total cost: $0 (What I didn’t have on hand I was able to get from family members).

My mom’s bookmark. I crocheted this out of embroidery floss to make it nice and thin. My mom loves vintage books, and I had one that I had bought to do another craft with, but I decided against that for right now. I love making bookmarks, and I think this is one of my prettiest. πŸ™‚

Total cost: $3 (for the book).

Dave’s niece’s ponchos – one for her and one for her new American Girl doll. I had originally planned to make them other matching accessories (like hats and scarves), but I ran out of time. Oh well – that just means I have a lot of time to make those for Xmas – maybe a whole winter set? πŸ™‚

Total cost: $0.

Some other fun stuff that’s been happening lately:

My mom had a bunch of pots that she wanted to get rid of, and this is the one I got. I replanted my cactus that I got from Walgreens into it. I also discovered that repotting a cactus without gloves HURTS. Even in places where you think there are no spines there are painful spines.

My mom found a craft book that she had bought in the ’70s. This is such a cool book, because it’s like vintage squared – the book is about crafts that were big in the 1900s-1930s. It actually has a lot of really cool embroidery patterns in the last couple of chapters – I’m excited to try them out!

Well, that’s all my fun stuff going on. Until next time! πŸ™‚

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