Category Archives: being crafty

being crafty: seaglass decorations

Before we begin, check out the beautiful, natural sunlight on this not-so-shabby DIY nautical wreath from my earlier post. The sunshine made it look surreal.

you are my sunshine

you are my sunshine

Okay, this DIY is stupid easy. I did it while pacing around the house, playing soccer with the dog’s toys to distract her from eating the tree, and watching something mindless on Bravo. Probably Housewives, much to Ray’s dismay. Did I mention this craft is mindless?

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she can’t be trusted by the balsam.

This began because my crafty coworker was having an ornament swap and in an attempt to be social, I agreed to go. Which meant I inherently signed up to make two dozen ornaments. And I was stoked with the end result, so it seemed silly not to do them for our house too. And made not only ornaments, but also candles, because candles rock and we don’t have a fireplace.

Here are your materials. Glass ornaments. Pick whatever size you like, but please use glass. Yes, glass bulbs can and most likely will break due to asshole animals that swat them from the tree, but they’re so elegant and authentic looking. Mason jars if you want to make matching candles. Foam blocks and wooden dowels (or chopsticks) for a homemade drying rack. Art sponges. And pick your paint. Ray and I like anything white and have greys and blues in our house, so went with green and blue. Sorry, red. The specific paint I used is Martha Stewart Pearl Acryllic in Hummingbird (green), Mother of Pearl (white), and Aquarium (blue). There are other options in Martha Stewart glass paints: translucent ones that would look gorgeous, even sparkly ones if that’s your thing. I’m serious here: I painted 8 dozen ornaments and needed only three paint bottles as shown below. And I think I was heavy handed with it. It goes a long way. Which I wish I had known ahead of time before taking stock in the same color paints. If you like Hummingbird and Aquarium, let me know! Or if you can think of any other glass crafts that need painting…

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your ingredients

Space your drying rack like you’re making Christmas cookies on a baking sheet.

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form meets function

And begin your paint job. Huge warning: do not make the same mistake I made. And even after I made it, I continued to do the same thing, because I’m an idiot. Do not put your finger inside the bulbs. There are glass shards! I found it easiest to get a good grip on the bulb as shown below for the painting process, but please beware of the glass shards. That being said, let the painting commence. Sponge it on as thick or as thin as you like.

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this one didn’t have any glass shards…

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one down, 95 to go

Another heads up, you get messy. The foam bricks “shed” little foamy pieces everywhere that kind of look like snowflakes across your kitchen island. And floor. And on occasion in the paint. And you get some paint on things. Like your manicure. And your kitchen island. And kitchen floor when a bulb breaks and you cry. Not like that happened.

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i never considered white nail polish before until this sample swatch. my friend, rachael, just got a recent mani the same color!

Let your first round dry overnight before removing from the racks and then it’s time for round two, three, and beyond. I think beach glass varies from blue to green, so made solid blue, solid green, blue-greens, and green-blues for variety.

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cool colors make me content

Let them dry. If there are any you’re not happy with, you can easily wash off the paint and repaint anywhere from immediately to two days out. I was slightly obsessive about the foam bits that got in my paint, making the paint look lumpy. I think a good solution to this would be to leave the plastic wrap on the foam blocks throughout the craft. Keep the foam bits to a minimum. But seriously, you can wash it off and retry. I never baked the ornaments or waited the 26-something day period to let them totally air dry. They’re basically dry after a day or two and easy enough to handle.

Put your caps back on and if you like jute, wrap it a few times around the cap and knot it off. And go to town on the tree! I know store-bought ornaments are pretty inexpensive, but so are these and these are things you created. So please give it a shot.

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six of many

Anyway, I loved how these came out so much (and I had and still have so much extra paint on hand), that I decided to make candle holders. Pick any old glass jar you like, sponge paint your favorite colors, dry on your makeshift drying rack, wrap with jute, plop in a tealight, and there you go.

Ready for it? Like Emeril, bam!

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seaglass-style candles! the blue-green and white ones are DIY. the little silver ones are from Target

So that’s it, really. I’d show you a photo of our tree, but there are so few bulbs on it because two little creatures have made it their life goal to knock them down, so now it’s oddly top-heavy if you know what I mean. The bottom three feet of the tree are bare. Assholes.

Anyway, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Tori

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being crafty: reclaimed drop earrings

Okay, I’m obviously a beginner at DIY things. I have things I’d like to make – in theory – jewelry, scarves, clothes, holiday decorations, and whatnot. To make my own jewelry is on my bucket list even. So might as well start somewhere.

My mom left me her jewelry, which meant her mom’s jewelry and her mom’s mom’s jewelry as well. I finally had the nerve to go through it last week. Before my mom passed, she and I went through it together to label important things: her mom’s nursing school ring, a ruby ring with a crack through it that my grandma apparently wore all the time and got knocked in the hand while playing field hockey. There is a lot of costume jewelry, lots of things that are broken or falling apart too.

But then I found a box of random beads. Or at least I thought they were random. Until I started pulling them out and finding their matches. All earrings. Just no hooks. So that’s where this project started.

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here’s the box they were all in, with their counterparts

I’ve never made jewelry before, but bought sterling and gold ball hooks thinking it’d be enough. Nope. Needed new posts because the old ones were corroded and didn’t look right with the new, shiny hooks. And got some tools while I was at it – curved pliers and a cutting tool instead of trying to use my fingers and nails like a cavewoman – to connect the hooks and posts. And somehow this happened:

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my favorites so far

Seriously, these suckers took a couple seconds flat to make once I figured out how to use the pliers. Just thread the ball pin through the bead, curve the other end to start making a loop, trim the extra to finish making the loop, and thread the hook. Beyond easy.

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absolute favorites – the amber colored ones were too beautiful not to make them into earrings

I am so unbelievably happy to give some new life to my grandma’s things and so excited be able to wear them now! At Michael’s, I possibly bought some sparkly things (Swarovski in dusty rose) and light pink glass pearls thinking I could add sparkly bits to my grandma’s beads. But instead, this happened:

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can’t wait to wear these

Oh, and a pair for my mother-in-law who’s a gold girl.

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i was too excited to give them too her and already blew my christmas gift. surprises and me do not mix

So that’s it for now! The time I spent at Michael’s picking out the right hooks and posts was the longest and most challenging part of this project, and even that was simple enough. The actual jewelry making portion took possibly 3 minutes per pair. So I’m definitely hooked with the whole lot of pretty things made in no time flat. Yay!

Tori

being crafty: nautical wreath

Update! Here’s the final product on our door for the holidays!

in love with the final look and am feeling very martha stewart-y!

in love with the final look and am feeling very martha stewart-y!

For comedic effect, here’s the entirety of the original post:

I have been having a harder time dealing with the loss of my mom than before. I’ve retreated from teaching Zumba and cleared my schedule so that my full-time job is my only obligation. I’d like to start doing things for me. Like writing again (I took a break. Thinking hurt.) or going back to ballroom or ballet (even if it takes a drive into the city). And then, there’s DIY. Yeah, like Pinterest.

Here’s my first try at something crafty, in honor of this girl’s blog entry: a DIY nautical wreath.

First up, the ingredients or materials or whatever the technical term is. Half inch thick sisal rope. I got this one on Amazon. Scratch that. I got this one, then ran out, and needed a second. So two of these. No jute was necessary in the making of the project. Glue gun. A wreath form. Hands of steel. And patience.

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ignore the jute. i was going to use it, but decided to be more plain jane. and add another package of rope. i learned..

Start hot gluing. To get a good foundation, I used dabs of glue at every point the rope hit on the inner circle. Don’t glue down where the rope hits on the outer circle since you’ll end up moving it around.

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the wreath form was covered in plastic. those little pieces are like wood chips. and manipulating them made a mess. coconut tried to eat them all…

After finishing the first time around, I realized something from grade-school math class. The circumference of the inner circle is going to be less than the circumference of the outer circle. So while you have the rope touching all along the inner circle, it will have spaces where the wreath form is exposed on the outer circle. Which is why it was great I didn’t glue it down. Try to get each rope wrap (made that up), perpendicular to the wreath form, because otherwise it starts getting unmanageable. Then to cover those bald spaces, take the rope around a second time.

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round and round… note those little wood chips. those are the suckers coconut kept trying to eat when they hit the floor

Your first pack of rope will run out if you’re anal about covering up the bald spots like me. I wanted this sucker to look substantial and heavy-duty. Of course, you could just buy 100 feet of rope, but that would be harder to manage, as you have to pull the rope through the center of the wreath with every single rope wrap. Have no fear, OCD’ers. The seam of where the two ends meet gets covered with rope.

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that would be the exact rope i bought. you will need two of the 50 foot variety

Take some hot glue to the middle of the rope at the end so it doesn’t look so frayed. But otherwise, it’s no big deal. Start your next hunk of rope right where you left off.

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the blasted end that ended up not being a problem whatsoever

I ended up going around one full time to cover as much as the base as possible, a second time to fill in the bald spots, and a random-rope-wrap-here-and-there third time to give the wreath texture and to make the loops. When you decide you’ve reached your last rope wrap, leave that one a little loose as well as the rope wrap 4-6 inches before. You’ll use these to make knots. Without even cutting the rope, make a knot at your last rope wrap. I actually looked up nautical knots and have no idea if mine was legit. But it seems sturdy. so finish the first knot, make the hanger, then repeat at the rope wrap 6 inches from the end. Have the rope exit the back so you never see it, and then chop off the rope.

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my attempt at knots

I put some hot glue into the knots in hopes they’ll hold better and let it dry for a bit. I’ll be honest, the knots took me a lot longer than they should have, and I redid them several times until deciding they were done. But here is the end result! It’ll go outside once A) I have a wreath hanger and B) it has stopped torrentially raining outside – not because I’m afraid this won’t hold up, but because I’m just cold. I’ll add a photo of it on our door when it’s up!

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voila! yes, that’s currently hanging on a kitchen cabinet. no, it’s not staying there.

Here are some pointers. Really, just things to look out for. Keep an eye on the animals.

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She liked the wire and the rope.

No, for real. These buggers were obsessed. I imagine if you have kids, they can be distracting too.

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she loved the wood chips and the rope. freaking tug-of-war

Last word of advice: protect your hands with a thick hand cream before, during, and after. It’s basically winter in New England, the air is dry, my skin is cracking as is, and the wreath form and rope were a little painful at times. But I think the end result is worth it. Ray and I love anything nautical and like the things in our house to be more modern than not, so I think this foots the bill.

Enjoy!

Tori