key to my heart.

Anyone who knows me or has seen my work knows I have a thing for cocktail stirrers, as seen below in my TV drawer. I have made and sold many earrings and other accessories made from these molded plastic sticks of wonder.  The whole idea of them overwhelms me, don’t know why.

.IMG_4129

One of best selling earring sets is made from a long key, so when I found this little bag of awesome, I pounced.

IMG_4128

More earrings!!! A very good friend told me I had to do a better job of bullet pointing my process so here goes.

1. Measure and mark the center of the stirrer.

IMG_4130

2. Using a sharp wire cutter gently snip it in two.  Any shape wire cutters will do this is just what mine look like.

IMG_4131

3. Using a thin drill bit, drill a hole in the top of each piece. I used my monster drill press, but you could a cordless drill (just make sure you brace it down somehow so it doesn’t slip)

IMG_4132

4. There are talented people out there that make the own earring wires for earrings, this is how I avoid learning this skill.  I buy commercial ear wires from my local craft store and make them look nicer by snipping off the loop on the bottom that holds the spring and the cheesy bead.

IMG_4133

5. Once I have snipped off the loop without taking out an eye (those suckers take flight) I use round nose pliers or looping pliers to make a new loop. It turns out looking like it wasn’t bought at my local craft store.

IMG_4137

no that is not my hand.

6. Cut a small length of heart chain and attach a Lucite heart to one end using a jump ring. I just happened to have this adorable heart chain but any would do.

7.  Attach the other end of the chain to the ear wire and key using another jump ring.  Walla!

IMG_0622 IMG_0626  IMG_0630IMG_0634

Check out my etsy store to purchase. Electricbelle on Etsy

jewelry converts #7,8,9 (ongoing DIY series)

IMG_9558 IMG_9559

Life is pretty busy.  I am working on a huge project called ARTFUL and my days quickly get filled up with meetings and such.  In an effort to stay creative without the benefit of time I am continuing this series.  These are meant to inspire you to fix something instead of throw it away and to develop your eye for finding the parts, among the trash.

So first we add some items to our arsenal.  I love this glue, it works on most surfaces and is durable and flexible.  It is expensive so make sure you close it up tight and you use a coupon.  The second item, ring blanks can be found at many craft stores and come in several finishes.  The last item (not pictured) is a soft toothbrush,  which comes in handy when gentle cleaning of caked on ick is necessary.

#7 I have been looking for a good case for my round business cards forever, and I finally found it. It was right under my nose in a box in my studio, but timing is everything.   All this project needed was a good cleaning with that toothbrush and some dish soap, and we were all good.

IMG_9548IMG_9549

IMG_9550IMG_9551

Perfect fit.

#8 This next project I have been meaning to do for a while.  The original concept is so great that all I needed to do was clean it out (toothbrush again), refill with shea butter and add a chain. It still smells like the original lipstick, but oh well.

IMG_9428IMG_9429

IMG_9511IMG_9510

I am waiting to see if the shea butter melts in the heat before I fill it all the way up.

#9 This pretty pin was in a bag of stuff a friend gave me to play with.  it was broken, so I decided to turn it into a ring.  Using my pliers I carefully removed the other half of the broken latch and simply glued it on the ring blank.

IMG_9556IMG_9555

It is still drying, but I plan to wear it asap.

now back to life, have fun!

 

 

Jewelry Converts #3,4,5 (ongoing diy)

While flipping my closet out for summer attire I realized that my wardrobe has lost its flavor.  I used to be prone to outrageous combos, and was a real fan of double-knit.  Maybe now that I am “older” I am shying away from my more whimsical ensembles, and the last thing feel like doing is shopping for new clothes. They are expensive and made to fade these days,  so I’ll tone it down a bit but that means it is time to accessorize!   This was the first bunch I encountered when I closed my eyes and dunked my hand into the FREE miscellaneous bin in the church basement.

IMG_9427 IMG_9426

After thoroughly cleaning off the layer of caked on 80’s foundation, they didn’t look half bad.  Using wire cutters I snipped the metal holding the posts to the drop, It is that rigid, close to the ear thing that makes them really look bad.

IMG_9430

then I simply slipped on regular earring wires.  (When apple comes up with a phone that makes me look gorgeous in selfies, I’ll take a pic.)

IMG_9431

the final pair was pretty chunky and ugly but I wouldn’t give up. So I clipped them onto my high heels for a dash of 80’s glam.

IMG_9434 IMG_9432

The most important thing is to have fun and try to find little morsels of coolness. Unless you want to look like everybody else 🙂

 

jewelry converts #1 and #2 (ongoing DIY)

There are many cool earrings out there in the wild masquerading as clip-ons.  I have tried to wear them but, no thanks, it is less painful to change them quickly and cheaply.  I own an abundance of tools, but if you can’t make it over to my house to use them you should probably stock up on a few.

First of all don’t go anywhere near a craft store until you have a coupon from the paper, mail or online, if you forget yours you can google and it can be scanned right from your smart phone.  You can also get your pliers from a hardware store, but the prices are pretty similar when you use a coupon.

We won’t use all in each project, but I will add the most useful as I think of them

1. Round Pliers (I am sure there is a more technical name but it is escaping me at the moment) are good for making rings and curving metal wire.

2. Standard pliers (these come in all shapes, colors and sizes, just make sure they feel good in your hand)

3. Wire cutters (mine double as standard pliers so they are multipurpose, you can get snub nose cutters and two pairs of pliers,  whatever your preference you will most likely need two pairs of pliers at your disposal for proper jump ring action)

IMG_9394

 

4. Assortment of headpins

5. Assortment of jump rings (I like to have lots of colors and shapes around)

6. Ear wires  (These are the basic ugly ones that I adapt, or you can purchase prettier ones at the store or make your own if you are really ambitious)

 

IMG_9393 IMG_9392 IMG_9390

7. You must have interesting tidbits that you have found.  There are a ton of cool components at thrift stores, garage sales, or your mom’s dresser.  Try not to think about it as a whole but as pieces that can be broken up, and be sure to inspect them carefully and make sure the cool parts aren’t broken or chipped.

#1 These earrings would be discarded because they are clip-ons. NO!  Simply remove the clip-ons with your pliers and replace with regular ear wires. I takes mere minutes to bring these beauties back in style.

IMG_9387IMG_9388

#2 requires little skill but a few more supplies.

When I am out and about, well not anymore because I have enough for a lifetime. I buy necklaces that have a lot of bang for the buck.  They have a lot of dangly things or a lot of chain that can be reused. Like this one.

IMG_9400

Ugly to the untrained eye, but very useful to me.  Just one section released from what looks like Skeletor’s head makes a lovely pair of earrings, with a few additional goodies.

IMG_9389 IMG_9401

After freeing these cute diamonds, I simply wrapped the chain around once and toggled it on the jump ring.

IMG_9410

These are my new favorites.  Light and long with an unexpected black accent.

Don’t forget to find a toolbox and some containers to keep your new crap organized.

Hey! Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

micro studio makeover.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, I am almost 42 years old and I am finally at peace with my brain funktion (no spell check that is spelled correctly)  It is time to work this out, and the first place is my studio, the smallest room in the house, and now it will be mine! (maniacal laugh)

It is really difficult to redecorate a room when there is a bunch of stuff that has nowhere else to go in it while you are redoing it.  I deftly moved everything into the middle and patched a million holes, primed and did some seriously acrobatic painting while simultaneously painting all of the furniture the same color in the same room.

It is also really difficult to organize a tiny room around a brain that funktions in spurts and sputters, highs and lows, and is always in creative problem solving mode.  Needless to say I have focus issues so I tried to create organized areas for specific purpose.

Here is the before.

IMG_5746 IMG_5753

chaotic and haphazard and now that I think about it, hazardous to my safety and to my mental stability.

I moved my desk and arranged my magnetic trays above so that I could organize my thoughts in a visual way.  Each tray will represent a project I am working out in my head or a page of my website.  Please excuse The Associate she was enjoying her last moments of being allowed in my room.

IMG_7463

To the right of my desk on my beautifully refreshed garbage picked bookcase I have all of my businessy housey stuff. I put them as far away as I could from the fun areas because nothing can kill a creative buzz like PTA newsletters and bills.

One of the thought morsels banging around my head all the time is how to re-purpose stuff that nobody wants.  Like these oven trays from the GW that I spent a whole dollar on. I soaked, scrubbed and then hung them on the wall to keep my jewelry sorted by what needs to be photographed, and what is up for sale.

IMG_7438

IMG_7459IMG_7457

wow these pictures are bad, sorry.

The next area I needed to resolve is my collage wall/ scrap booking table.  I no longer wanted to pierce the images that I was working with and splurged on three 2′ by 2′ metals sheets,  once again destroying my meticulous patch job with holes big enough for metal toggle bolts. I organized all of my scrap booking supplies and subsequent paper in the file cabinet and boxes below so they are easy to access.

IMG_7451

As far as the large work table is concerned I oriented it differently so I could work on three sides and still easily reach all of the supplies on the shelves above.  I kept all containers the same so my eyes do not jump all over the room when I enter which will likely make me turn right around and leave.

IMG_7453

IMG_7454

I made new curtains with fabric that makes me happy to replace the ugly ones that were there 12 years ago when we moved in, and hung my currently favorite works on the wall to inspire me.

The cuporama I made a while back is still doing a good job of  keeping small things I use often in sight, providing a good place for seed pod storage and jewelry in progress can be dumped in a cup if I need to clear off my work space.

IMG_7462

I streamlined all of my sewing supplies, giving up a lot of items I won’t ever use and made them readily accessible on this caddy.

IMG_7461

I am VERY excited to get started using this space, so excited that the tables are already covered with projects and I am about to make a sign that forbids any mess makers entry.  (The Associate and The Teenager)

I would love to hear what you think.

 

 

remove…… layers of skin! and tile your kitchen!

The cabinets were painted 6 months ago, and the hunt for the back splash ensued (yes, I know backwards). I wandered the isles of the tile shop, aimless, looking for something to jump out at me and grab me. I did this multiple times, each time leaving slightly more confused.  When it finally occurred to me what I wanted I headed out to purchase it and it was discontinued, not to be detoured I happened upon the perfect choice whilst trying to convince the salesman to call every store so I could have what I wanted.  It was just lying there staring at me.

IMG_6833

Being the somewhat transformed wife that I am today, I only bought a sample.  “I must show The Husband.” (these are very new words for me, just ask The Husband) The salesman’s stunned expression only made me more proud.  Because we have been married for 11 years The Husband barely glanced and said “whatever you think.” (Whaaaaaaaaa? he is apparently also transformed.)

The demolition began immediately considering that I had plenty of work to do before I could get to the tile.  I made quick work of these beauties.  The Teenager arrived after school and didn’t even bat one long lash. I prodded her and she said “this is how our house always looks” 😦  The Associate’s only concern was how long this was going to take.

IMG_6835 IMG_6837

When The Husband toured our home before we purchased it 12 years ago, the previous owner was particularly proud of these fruit tiles. He removed the earlier accent tiles adorned with anchors carefully so as not to disturb the luxurious dimpled tile surrounding them, but with no regard for the drywall. With each fruity tile removed a deep gaping hole was left.   Patches were made.

IMG_6841

Once all of the tile was removed and the surface was almost clear of dust,  the naked drywall had to be primed with a coat of oil based sealer.  The next step skim coating.

If I was a more poetic person, my first efforts would be titled something like “ode to drywall magician”  If you are paying someone to plaster or drywall and the price seems high, it is worth it.  After what seems like days, countless moist towels, possible lung infection, and glob removal,  I have a semi smooth surface on which to tile.

IMG_6849

pathetic…

After several YouTube videos and reference books I am going for it. I painstakingly apply thinset (also a art form) and get busy setting my tiles.

IMG_6853

before grout.  The grouting is actually kinda fun.  I channel my Italian grandma Carmela and use my best tools, my hands.  I am free forming it I know, but how else am I expected to get in those tight spots.  I am so into it and every so often I stop to rinse my hands, The flesh of my palms is so tight because of the drying grout that a layer peels right off.

IMG_7005

Kitchen is done and I have palms as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

NEXT.

 

friday freak day.

Utterly apathetic, a tad crabby and restless are not a good Combo. Actually I felt similar to what a nasty pretzel imposter must feel like when the pizza flavoring is dumped upon it. I could mope around and get nothing done or I can hop in my car and drive all over Cleveland to attend two promising estate sales. The first sale was on the west side of Cleveland and I purposely arrived late so as not to endure the aggravation of watching while early risers make off with all MY stuff.

I bet you could guess it was disappointing,  but did you think it would be disturbing? Well it was. First and foremost I was perturbed by the fact that nothing was priced! I wanna wonder around muttering to myself not asking for prices.  Second, there was an enormous wooden “structure” looming above my head,  I spied chain, wires, carabiners, leather, pulleys, and  multiple implements of dubious function. Third, I turned around, bumped into and spilled the contents of a box, and a massive pile of metal speculums came tumbling out as if trying to flee the scene with me.  Mid century modern my eye! Try Middle Ages torture chamber. Fourth offense false advertising.

I could go home and have some lunch, but no I am looking for more trouble, so I hopped back into the car and headed east. The curse of the self-important collector was running rampant and I ducked and covered. Unfortunately all there was to duck under were really, really, really decorative afghans. There were three fur coats identically fashioned out of the same rodent in violet, hunter green and brown. There were a few beautiful and expensive pieces of furniture. I, however hadn’t yet removed the unneeded piece from The Husbands car from yesterdays excursion, so I don’t consider adopting any. I did acquire a little bundle, I don’t need any of it, but I cannot go home empty handed.

The lure of ridiculous cross stitching cannot be controlled and I grab this beauty.

IMG_6096

The Teenager- MOM!  You are not going to hang that in the kitchen!

me- oh yes baby!

The second spoil of the day is simply a reflection on my most recent and current mood,  I’ll wear it often to keep the innocent from harm.

IMG_6098

The third bit of windfall is a 1970’s chia pet, which according to the teenager is a large cucumber with a snout.  She isn’t wrong, but I clean him up and name him Henry Higgins.

IMG_6101

The torture chamber theme marches on with this fourth little gem that was nestled among sewing paraphanelia.

IMG_6099

The batteries still work and now I can go home.

 

 

method/madness.

I am finally done painting the kitchen cupboards. I made many mistakes and hopefully I have learned from them all. 😉   Instead of the slow and steady process of four doors at a time, and painstakingly removing gunk and letting each layer of paint dry properly in the shade, I hurry. If you want paint to self level it needs to dry slowly. I know this, I have already done 34 doors and 10 drawers, but in haste I decided to not follow this simple rule on the last two largest doors. Dumb. Now I am discouraged and my progress stalls. Nobody else notices the flaw, but I do.

My awesome family doesn’t mention this stall. Who cares that there are giant heavy doors all over the kitchen. A week or two or three goes by.  I am clearly opposed to using sandpaper because I managed to remove decades of gunk without it, ill be damned if I am gonna use it now. Chalkboard paint! duh, I just happen to have some in the dungeon. The Associate attempts to defile it between every coat. Three coats later chalk poised, I tease The Teenager that only inspirational quotes can adorn this wall  (I won’t tell you what she wrote, my mom reads this blog.) After quickly cleaning the surface with paper towels (dumb) The Associate has a go.

IMG_5822

I guess we will be tightening up our spelling this summer.

Next up ugly tile back splash, cause I roll backwards.

 

It has been a year.

As I continue on with my latest project I just want to say thanks to all of you awesome people who read my blog. Every time I get a new follower I get a renewed excitement for writing it and making the stuff.

This latest endeavor is a labor of love. We have lived in our house for almost 12 years, and I have been ready to do for this 12 years. The sudden decision to start this massive project was made when I drove past Sherwin Williams and the 40% sale was up. I literally screeched into the parking lot got my paint and was off. Over the last couple weeks I have been looking at colors, researching paint, and strippers and gathering supplies. I had four of the doors off and was scraping away before my husband realized what I was doing.

him- did we talk about this?

me- yes a couple of weeks ago.

him- ok?

me- love you.

1. Remove sticky wax like substance with a chemical stripper. I am using some kind of citrus formula, that sits for 30 minutes and then scrapes off like peeling skin (very satisfying)

2. Use a scrub brush or metal scrubbing pad remove residue with odor less minerals spirits.

3. Wash with soap and water and dry.

4. prime and paint using a foam roller for a nice finish

5.  let cure and put back up or on.

Repeat 36 times for doors and 10 times for drawers. ouch

The best part of this is spending every waking minute doing it until it is done, and cleaning behind and out everything. There is some nasty stuff after 12 years. I am not close to being done, but  I am trying to get as much done before spring break, so I can kick it with my family.  I hope you agree that this is a serious upgrade.

IMG_5450 IMG_5482 IMG_5481

Look at that beautiful eighties oak!

These are some in progress photos.

IMG_5478 IMG_5458 IMG_5454 IMG_5453

I’ll let you know when its done.

P.S. If you like what I am doing please share.

wicker wonder.

These were actually made.

IMG_5263

Sometime in the seventies some genius made a mold and made these plastic atrocities. I thought it must be Kismet that I found six of them in the same day while combing the thrift stores for treasure.  I like a challenge after all.  While waiting for the weather to break so I could go outside at all let alone spray paint something, I tried to decide on color and filler.  Normally I would just go with whatever color I have on hand, but these needed to be red.  We had some 60 degree weather the other day and I stumbled out blinded by the sun to get started.

IMG_5431

Sooo much better. I wanted to make them mirrors, but I was pretty sure I would never find them to fit. I spent a grand total of 8 bux already so custom mirrors were out of the question. Then I found these. (sorry for blurry pic)

IMG_5432

It is plastic mirror that can be cut to any shape you can imagine!

IMG_5434

Using the old insert as a template I cut the mirror. I used tin snips so as not to dull any of my scissors that I am already batting out The Associates hands while screaming “FABRIC”  or “PAPER.”  Scissors are expensive. I then oh so carefully removed the plastic protective coating and worked the mirror back under the little snaps. Not perfect, but they are too small to really use as mirrors, just to reflect light.  I connected them together using thin wire so I only had to make a few holes in the wall, because knowing me it will be somewhere else soon.

IMG_5439 IMG_5435