Friday, September 30, 2011

Hoop Earrings in Silver Copper and Khaki Metallic

My husband asked me to make a pair of earrings for his friend's birthday. She lives very far away from us in Russia, they became friends on flickr; both admiring each others great photography.

He knew from her photostream that she wore hoop earrings. It just so happened that we came across a pair of hoops a few weeks later. The hoops were silver with a ball chain wrapped around them. They had many little silver drops dangling between the balls which I removed. I tried a few combinations of dangles from my existing beads, but Bob wasn't really happy with them, so I took him shopping and he picked out a great match (doesn't he have good taste). After they were finished, it took a few weeks for them to arrive, we were anxious to hear what she thought. Here's a lovely photo she posted on flickr of her wearing her new present.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Variations on Recycled Calendar Gift Bags

We recently had a family party to celebrate 4 birthday’s. I needed gift bags for most of the presents. If you’re a follower of my blog, you know that I enjoy recycling wall calendars into gift bags. Every year I buy beautiful art and photo calendars for my walls. For years I have saved them for the pictures, as I sorted through them last week I was surprised to see how ancient some of them were.
I am constantly trying different methods for constructing them, some have held up better than others. I’m hoping to put together a tutorial, but as I’m always throwing thing together at the last minute, I don’t have pictures to include and I’m sure they’d be needed. Here are the latest bags I put together. 
This was the simplest; I needed a bag strong enough to hold a big book so I covered a cardboard box using calendar pages and slices from a magazine page that matched the prints.
I also needed a bag for the shag pillow; it needed to be wide to fit the pillow. A paper grocery bag fit the task, just folded down the top to the right height and covered it with a cute dog calendar and a piece of used birthday wrapping paper. I used my decorative edged scissors to cut a strip to add on top of the calendar page as it wasn’t quite tall enough.
The last one was for a lightweight object, so I just used the calendar pages, calendars with pages the weight of cardstock work best for bags. The pages weren’t quite wide enough, so I pieced in some white glossy paper and covered it with a magazine page too. For this bag I constructed the bottom out of a cereal box. On all the bags I used some braided yarn for the handles.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Upcycled Jewelry for a Birthday Gift

I planned to make some earrings for my sister-in-law’s birthday, so it was time to rustle through my huge collection of beads and the old jewelry everyone passes down to me for upcycling. I came across some rectangular glass beads in purple that I put aside, and then I came across a necklace with assorted types of purple beads. I thought the leaf shaped beads were nice.
I removed the bar end of the clasp to get some of the leaf shaped beads and as I was removing them, I realized there were way more beads than I needed for just earrings and that I could just rearrange and shorten the necklace into a matching bracelet. It ended up as a lovely set and Joann was really thrilled with it.

I save plenty of old gift boxes, so I had a nice one for the jewelry. But being an avid recycler, I try not to buy new wrapping paper too often. Since I was already working on recycling old wall calendars into gift bags for other birthday gifts, I decided to just use a calendar page for gift wrap. I chose one that was a fairly lightweight paper with a pretty photo of a field of flowers and mountains in the background. So, if you’re ever in need of a small piece of gift wrap (even if you don’t horde old calendars for their pictures) you can always look through the months of your wall calendars that have already passed, it works great.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Making a Welcome Sign

My younger sister asked me to make her a welcome sign for her front porch. She wanted something that wasn’t too cutesy. Since she’s an avid birder, I decided to work up an idea for a bird on a branch.

First step was to look around the house for materials. I found a scrap of wood trim that was a nice height and a nice small pinecone. The wood piece had a corner that was beat up, but decided it would give the sign a rustic look. I cut a small branch off the scrub pine tree in our front yard, but my husband advised me that it would probably deteriorate quickly. So instead I found another small branch of a denser wood which I knew had been laying around for at least a year (just shows how messy a house I live in). The branch had a really nice curve to it so it was perfect.

Now I just needed a wood bird cutout. I went to both of my local craft stores and to my surprise, neither had a bird. I always seem to come up with ideas that I think the materials will be readily available & it turns out they aren’t. My husband said to buy a piece of balsa wood & he’d cut out the bird. So then I had to sketch up different bird shapes and decide on the shape & size of the birdy. He did a great job cutting it out.

I didn’t want to try to paint it like a real bird, thought an abstract swirl design would be more interesting. I looked for ideas online and in the old letraset catalogue I also used for font ideas. Here’s a photo of my swirl & font ideas.
After choosing the font & pattern for the bird I hand painted them both and sealed it all with polyurethane. I used some craft wire to make some feet for the bird and glued them to the back of the bird, then used a heavier wire for the hanger.
It turned out just as I had pictured it in my mind.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Handmade Beauties Gallery

Handmade Beauties, a gallery on Flickr.
A Gallery I just created on flickr of some of my recent fav's from the many craft & handmade groups I belong to.
Jaime, camaleónHandmade bookmarkMy newest creation!schmuck broochantique button cardFoldover Pouch Make-up Clutch Bag Purse Organizer Winter Ice Blue Flower Shimmer

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dreamcatcher Necklace

My niece commisioned me to make a necklace for her to give as a gift to one of her best friends. She came over to look through my collection of materials. She said her friend liked African and Tribal looking jewelry. She chose a few different beads for us to work with & then made some mention of feathers. I remebered I had recently recieved some dream catchers in the mail from some charity I'd never heard of. I went & found them & she decided she like them too. Here is the resulting necklace. Her friend loves it.


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