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.

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

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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.

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

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Check out my etsy store to purchase. Electricbelle on Etsy

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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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)

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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)

 

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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.

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#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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

puzzled.

I love a good puzzle. jigsaw puzzles mostly. Unfortunately nobody else in my family does, so it is usually me sitting at the table with The Associate underneath and around concocting an elaborate game.  As instructed by The Associate I only speak when asked a question by her about her make believe universe.  These questions could be about anything and I must answer correctly or she becomes exasperated, and recedes back underfoot.  Hey, at least I get to do my puzzle, and she is only being partially ignored.

One year while hunting for treasure in a giant red barn in upstate NY, I found an old wooden puzzle.  The box was a mess and there was no sign of a picture, so of course i bought it.  It sat on my table for awhile.  I pushed the pieces around a bit, but I couldn’t tease out the image.  So what do I do you ask?

I drill holes in them, obviously, and make earrings!

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I like the last pair because they look like Ohio.

my reel lamp.

While whiling around the dungeon I discovered a half lamp. As my disorders dictate this is a normal occurrence at my house.  The gray skies that drove me down here in the first place had not yet dispersed and the organizing was not going well, so I finished the lamp.  I have nowhere to put it, but it is done.  It all began with a film canister.

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1. drill a hole the size of threaded rod in the canister. slowly…… It gets really hot.

2. widen the hole on the film reel with the same drill bit.

3. glue the canister sides back to back. This makes a space on the bottom to add weight and run the cord, and creates a dish for change or jewelry or whatever.

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4. add weights, I reused weights (which are basically heavy pieces of metal) from another lamp and secured them with washer and a nut to the threaded rod.

5. This is the trickiest things about making lamps, everything has to come together so when you put on the socket at the top it all fits together tightly.  In order for my second story to stay up I supported it from the top and bottom with aluminum camping pole scraps. I cut them to the appropriate size using a tube cutter. I really need a new blade.

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6. now that everything is on the rod, screw on the bottom half of the socket and make sure it is all going to be happy together.

7. run the cord from the bottom up and attach it to the socket.

8. pull the excess cord down and snap the socket all into place with the sleeve.

9. test the connections by plugging the lamp into wall and using a light bulb, of course.

10. put your lamp shade on and Voila` (that is for you Nicky:)

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Now I guess I’ll put it back in the basement.

Brady’s Baubles

When a friend asks me to solve their jewelry problems I get right on it, especially if that friend is as awesome as Brady. There is nothing worse than tangled necklaces. Well actually there are a lot of worse things, but I would never do anything if I kept up with that negativity. So at the risk of repeating myself, I never throw anything away (just my husband and kids crap that is not as useful as my crap 😉 I dug deep to find supplies.  The requirements were simple, and the space was small.  I headed down to the dungeon and stared into the abyss with hopeful x-ray vision. It worked and I only had to unearth a few containers to gather my ingredients.

1.  one oblong ugly painting that has stretchers in good order.

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2. mesh fabric from a failed Halloween costume

3. staple gun (electric is nice) staples.

4. Glue (I used Krazy Glue)

5. Velcro

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6. eye hooks and picture hanging wire

7.  assortment of hooks

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8. little containers

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9. drill and drill bit that is slightly smaller than the hooks

After removing the offending painting from the stretchers I stretched the mesh over the frame, using the staple gun, working from the center of each side out to get a nice taut surface. It is best if you alternate sides to ensure your fabric doesn’t get over stretched in any one direction.  After this was done to my satisfaction I turned it over and attached the eye hooks and wire because if I did this later I would have to contend with pokey things and an uneven surface.

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Then I flipped it back over and drilled pilot holes along the bottom stretcher and the middle support for the hooks. Working from a random collection I attempted to make some sort pattern that would be pleasing to the eye. Once you have made a pilot hole you can screw them in by hand.  IMG_4122

I attached Velcro to bottom of the containers with glue to reinforce that sticky stuff on the Velcro.  I stapled the Velcro to frame in equal intervals. I didn’t use glue just in case Brady didn’t like this feature she could just pull out a staple and be done with it.

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She Likes IT!!!!

act now. prevent.

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I had a request for a pair of these earrings from a friend who LOST HERS!!! I won’t name names. Hopefully she was acting now and preventing something when they disappeared.  Lucky for HER I never throw anything away, and I have millions of wishbone cocktail thingys.  When I made these I was obsessed with fonts and type from vintage magazines, still am probably if I am honest with myself. So I scanned them in to my trusty MAC and photoshoped them to fit on petal shaped brass stampings.  I drilled holes in the petals first and then glued my words on them with some Elmers.  After several attempts at this I figured out that I should coat the words to protect them from smudging during the gluing process so I sprayed them with clear acrylic gloss. This act prevented two things, smudging and less ripping during cutting because my lazy self didn’t want to get up and walk the 5 feet to get a fresh x-acto blade.  I drilled two holes in the wishbone. One to hold a jump ring and ear wire and one to hold a jump ring and my petal.  I then put them altogether with pliers.  Below are some other examples from this series, I apologize for picture quality something obviously prevented good lighting that day.

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garage sale score.

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I always love helping my fellow neighbors get rid of their “junk.” This find is bittersweet however because these much-loved neighbors are moving. sad face.  There is another medium I am likely to work in at any moment,  jewelry. I especially like to make to big statement pieces so you can only imagine the ideas that came clamouring through my little head when I opened this box.  There was a miniature millennium falcon on top which I gave to my husband (he better like it).
I started out simple and made earrings with these glacier like feet. Here they are modeled by my dark-haired superhero friend Sarah who tried to steal them twice.

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and here is me, looking slightly beat up after my dance with a sander.

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next up are these odds and ends.

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If anybody recognizes these particular figures let me know so I can find more because

they are a hit!

 

the earring caresser.

metalscreenbroken and lonely with no hope

step2I already had this really nice frame that my dad constructed years ago, so this was pretty easy. i snipped the wire with my wire cutters, and then stapled it to the frame with my staple gun. put the back of the frame in place and tada!

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(I apologize for the quality of this picture)

but you get the idea.