A few weeks ago, inspired by some really creative DIY doily projects on Pinterest, I attempted a project of my own. With very little money to spare for holiday gifts, I decided to go the handmade, and in my opinion, much more thoughtful route. After I searched unsuccessfully for some doilies at the local thrift shops, a friend of mine selflessly gave me a handful of really pretty doilies she had collected over the past few years, some of which were passed down though her family. She also gave me a bunch of different glass bottles to play with, with the one request that I share my creations with her. Among the many cool glass bottles, I found two cute milk bottles that seemed to me, almost like mother and child. This seemed very fitting for this maternal woman. I decided to repurpose them and turn them into flower vases! I used the following materials…

Oops I forgot to include scissors! Oh well. I picked up the nicely crocheted doily, apologized to it, then began cutting away at it until I had a few circular pieces. I used Fabric Mod Podge to adhere the round pieces to the milk bottles in an aesthetically pleasing way.

I thought I’d keep it simple with the smaller bottle. I decided not to make the pattern go all the way around the bottles so the sunlight could still shine through them. Plus, I didn’t want to take away from the future fresh cut flowers. I know I’m lame for not finding any flowers to put in the vases but I didn’t have time! They were kind of a last minute holiday gift but my friend still loved them and quickly added them to her windowsill. Yay!

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I’ve always been attracted to bright colors and lots of them. Don’t get me wrong, I do love earthy simplicity, but when it comes to grabbing the attention of potential customers at craft shows, it literally pays to have a unique and colorful presentation. I suppose it all depends on what  is being sold, as well as the target audience, but for my stuff in particular, it makes perfect sense. When creating the following displays, I was inspired by the aesthetically pleasing appearance and texture of seed beads. First of all, they serve well in anchoring rings in a fixed position for optimum visibility. Then the tiny specks of different colors blending into one perfect “super color,”  invokes that inevitable child-like excitement, much like that feeling of walking into a candy shop. This sets the mood for a “kid in a candy shop” type of shopping experience. Seed beads work in pretty much any horizontal fashion. I chose to use them in repurposed vintage muffin tins, which I purchased from a thrift store, as well as wooden miniature collection displays from the Dollar Tree that I laid flat. I decided not to paint the unfinished wood, to further accentuate the seed beads and the handmade treasures resting inside them…

Though this jewelry may not necessarily be your style, you have to admit there is just something about it that makes you want to stop and marvel at all the pretty colors. Right? These displays are cheap and easy. I found tons of quality seed beads at Hobby Lobby that I just dumped in a photo box, although it’s probably best to keep them in a more sealed container. I can just see it raining seed beads right now. Anyway, I love digging my hands into the box of beads each time I prepare my displays. Never underestimate the power of texture.

The next display is more of that simple look that I also love. I know not everything can be bright and colorful. I’m not trying to overstimulate. I found these cute unfinished wood serving trays in a pack of two, one slightly smaller than the other, at Michael’s for $3.99. I laid a plain piece of burlap inside them and lightly sprinkled some chunky gold and iridescent glitter on top. The photos don’t really do the glitter justice. It adds just the right amount of twinkling femininity to complement the jewelry…

Lastly, and perhaps most eye-catching of all, is my antique birdcage display. A very generous woman gave this awesome find to me. It is dainty and perfect for displaying my many fabric button earrings. I attach the earrings cards to the wire cage with cute little clothespins…

A friend of mine recently hosted a party at her house to help me in my craft selling venture. It was really cozy and fun! I didn’t get very good photos, but you’ll get a general idea…

DIY paper clip earrings

November 29, 2011

 

Recently I felt myself falling into sort of a creative rut. I took a little break from crafting and began perusing my favorite blogs as well as the always inspiring craftgawker. During my ventures, I stumbled upon a bunch of really fun new DIY projects, one of which I had to try right away –paper clip earrings. I love when I already have all of the materials required to complete a project. Anyway, after finishing one pair I was hooked. Not only did they turn out really cool, I strangely enjoyed the therapeutic motion of winding string around wire. I made a bunch of earrings trying both colored hemp and yarn. I gave a pair to my friend, Laura, for her birthday and was super excited to hear her say she “could totally picture them gracing the pages of the Anthropologie catalogue.” These earrings make unique holiday gifts, so I’m excited to pass along this tutorial. So here goes, my friends…

paper clip earrings

what you will need:

As far as the glue is concerned, one that dries clearly and quickly is ideal. I took a picture of only one paper clip, but obviously you will need two. Also, I know 84 inches sounds like a lot of string, but if you plan to wrap them the way I did, in a continuous pattern with minimal knots, it is best to use one really long piece of string. Anyway, next you will unbend the paper clip at all of the rounded edges…

Once the edges are all open, you will shape it into a triangle. The open side of the triangle will overlap a bit, which makes it easier to bind the sides together. Next you should tie a knot, secured with glue, at a point on the triangle, like so…

Add a tiny bit of glue to a small area of the paper clip, as it will dry pretty fast, and wrap the string around and around in a tight fashion. I try to wind the string away from the opening so that I may use it to my advantage. Rather than spending lots of extra time pulling the ridiculously long piece of string through the triangle with each turn, you can simply slide it in through the opening. You will see what I mean…

Please excuse my poorly trimmed nails:) The only tricky part of this project is wrapping the overlapping, open side of the triangle. I tried to overlap the sides one on top of the other rather than side by side so it would be less visible. Just do your best to hold them in this position with a good amount of glue while you wrap. It’s really not that hard, I promise. Once the string wraps all the way around, wrap it to a point just below the top of the triangle so you may begin the infinitely easier task of wrapping it across the triangle. Try not to go too crazy with the glue so the earrings look nice and neat. I left space at the top and bottom because the string is most secure from unraveling. When you reach a stopping point, tie a knot and secure it well with glue. They should somewhat resemble these…

That’s my friend Laura wearing her new earrings. I love how they happen to match her shirt perfectly! You can do so many different things with these earrings. Instead of wrapping them so tightly, you can make a sort of webbed, dream catcher look, and even add some beads to it…

If you decide to use yarn, you can achieve some really interesting looks. I should note that yarn is much more stretchy, so you won’t need nearly as much as you would with, say, hemp. I would go so far as to say you may need only half the amount. If you like the rainbow hemp, you can purchase some at a lovely shop called Hemp Hutt. I hope this tutorial was clear enough. This is my first one! Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

Of course, you will need some music for inspiration. Here is a random playlist of awesome songs.

Don’t worry, though. If you don’t feel like doing this, but you think the earrings look cool, I’m selling them in my etsy shop!