Knobby

I collect things. It could be years, or it could be minutes, but I will eventually use everything I find.  I have bins, lots of bins, they line the shelves and confuse my family.  I imagine I am a magpie. The items appear to be useless, but not to me.  The shape, the color, the material appeals and I stash.  The other day I cracked open the knob bin, and I was off.

First curtain rods. The curtains come together easily, I measure, iron and sew simple panels.  I want to use these cool knobs that were given to me.  I scour my stores and come up with threaded rod and cup hooks.  I hang the curtain on the rod and put two knobs on the end.  I strategically placed cup hooks in the window trim to hold the rod.  I can easily fit the curtain into the crook of the bay window by bending the rod.  I used chain I found in another bin to weigh down the hem.

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I used the rest of the these knobs in my bedroom in the unusable space next to a window and beside a closet to hang necklaces. I used scrap piece of wood (stretcher bar in this case) Using my necklaces as a guide to far apart to make the knobs I then drilled holes and tightened them on.

I replaced the knobs on the closet with the last two to make look a little nicer.

IMG_1435 IMG_1437Next I took a hammer to a hand railing in the kitchen that I have always hated.  Now that the space was opened up it was easier to plan my next move.  Dumping out the remainder of the knobs and sorting through I made a sort of pattern,  and attached them to a length of wood that I cut to fit in the space available.

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I almost used all the knobs, and I got a very excited reaction from The Associate.

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.

 

 

 

 

members only.

I started thrifing at a young age, which apparently is not a word. The outfits displayed on the mannequins at the mall and the need to look like everybody else wasn’t on my agenda, and I sought to express myself through my clothes. Another contributing factor was that by the time I was 14 I had a job and was told, rightfully so, that I could purchase my own clothes above what was “needed.”

As I recall, selling Birkenstocks in the late eighties was grueling.  All employed eyes would be on the customer silently hoping that they were just browsing in the back, and not be about to summon one of us to climb the rickety thousand degree stairs to retrieve a million pairs of shoes, one at a time.  It sounds dramatic, but I was a teenager, and that money was precious.

I can still hear her.  My mother commenting on my recently thrifted articles. Sometimes she just looked, sometimes I was called a ragamuffin, and more often times than not she said “I used to have that same dress, I wish I didn’t get rid of it.”  This statement used to make me cringe. I dreamt of all the cool 60’s and 70’s dresses I could be wearing, and reluctantly thought that my mom must have been pretty stylish.

Fast forward to my own Teenaged spawn. She is not employed yet, she has plans to be, but she also likes to thrift and has an eye for picking out awesome stuff out of the jumble.  I taught her how to shop just by looking at the fabric, color and the tag.  I love old tags, here are some I grabbed last week.IMG_8325 IMG_8323 IMG_8322 IMG_8321 IMG_8320

To my great astonishment The Teenager came home all excited about her “new” jacket  that she scored for 12 bux.  She had already taken a slew of selfies of herself in it, so a photo document was easily secured.

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However she didn’t believe me this time so I had to pull out the scrapbook and prove it.

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And now we are a part of this member’s only mother daughter club. Jealous? LOL

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.

 

 

this crazy and that Krazy glue #2 (starburst mirrors)

On a particularly deep dungeon dive I unearthed about five boxes full of discontinued countertop samples. When I have gone that subterranean  I have to use the material because,

1. justify having stored it for 1-12 years

2. and because it is awesome which is why I stored it for 1-12 years.

Krazy glue was looking for some home decor ideas, and technically you could ask your local laminate retailer for their samples and re-create this yourself so off I went.

I bought a good quality round mirror from the craft store and marked out the middle on the back (after placing it face down on a towel)

In my case I had multiple samples of each black finish so I divided them up in groups so they weren’t all grouped together when it was all said and done.

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I built on each layer and went around and around and around.

Gilded Ice Cream Mirror and Minimalist Sunburst Mirror

I made it in colors too.

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belt banger.

In an effort to remain hip to the The Teenagers lingo I listen carefully, although stating it like that makes me decidedly unhip. Many of the phrases, music, and movies are coming back around and I hear my own mother’s voice echo in my head.  “I used to have that same dress” says the voice, or “I used to listen to that music”  shake head vigorously. I listen closely because I want to pick up the secret teenage code and be aware without embarrassing The Teenager.  For instance if a young girl within earshot says “I had surgery and those pills they gave me were awesome.” Her name automatically gets added to a list in my head, and that list is called “I have my eye on you little girl.”

A word that the kids are using these days is “banger” I know!!!!! right!!!! It is a word that can summon a number of images to ones head, especially a mother of a beautiful teenaged daughter. Fortunately, The Teenager thinks this is a ridiculous word for party and promises she will never attend a “banger.”

I have been encouraging The Teenager to have friends over so I can quietly get to know these walking masses of hormones.  She had a few friends over yesterday and I set about working on a chair.

This just happened in real-time as I write this.

The Associate- Can you glue his hair back on?

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Me- Maybe grampa went bald. Maybe it is a toupee.

The Associate- Maybe, can I have an Ice cream cone?

Me- You need to have a sandwich first.

The Associate- Ok.

Then I went down to grab some more coffee and she was just finishing up an ice cream sandwich. sigh.

Back to the chair. I was sitting at the kitchen table because there was “a nice breeze” (bringing their voices in the window)  I learned quite a bit in that time.  First of all and most importantly they actually wanted The Associate to hang with them.  WOW. I think I could like these kids. A few wandered through on the way the bathroom and I cataloged the ones who or whom (*sorry Mickey and Nicky) said hello and or thank you. I am pleased to say not a single name made it on the list today, and the chatter was nice background to actually finish my chair.

So…. this chair came to me one day on a walk through the neighborhood.  I brought her home and I cleaned and shined her up.

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Some glue and a chair clamp settled her back together.

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A whole bunch of belts, a hammer and some upholstery nails, and I had myself a banger.

 

*I apologize to Mickey and Nicky for my grammatical incompetence.  I am sure you both wince when you read my blog, but I will never be as eloquent as either of you so I am gonna call it poetic license. xo

 

 

 

 

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.

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

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

 

Just like that its summer.

I woke up yesterday morning with a vague sense of dread. It’s summer. Don’t get me wrong I love summer, but what in the bleep am I going to do with The Associate. I momentarily dream of a camp that starts as soon as school ends and goes until the first day of school.  I don’t really want this but a girl can dream. The loss of my days is a blow especially because I spent a lot of the last days of freedom stupidly spring cleaning instead of making stuff.

This morning I awoke to The Associate screaming “I want to go for a run!!!!,” and just like that its summer.

me-  Sooo? Running huh?

TA- yep

me- Are we morning people now?

TA- yep

me- (In an attempt to be supportive) High five!  (deep sigh)

A little background is necessary. This Associate of mine is a night owl, some nights she is still playing as we go to sleep at MIDNIGHT! In the good morning (that’s what she used to call the morning) for school I wake her up at least 4 times, eventually dressing her as she lies limp. So, now to clarify, she is a morning person just in time for summer break, which means I am a morning person now. yay.

Bleary eyed I make my coffee and find a perch on the porch to watch my newly hatched marathon runner.

me- No, you can’t have ice cream for breakfast.

As I watch her prance down the path outside our home she becomes distracted by all the cottonwood seeds flying through the air and abruptly stops to collect them (I LOVE SEEDS.) Now this is something I could get into, while she gets her much-needed “run.”

I quickly run down all the available containers and settle on the abundant supply of prescription bottles that I collect. pills

see related post.   https://electricbelle.com/2013/06/29/lamp-jones/

So far we have collected Columbine, Iris, Delphinium, oregano, cottonwood, dandelion, and oak.  Later we will add my collection (see related posts)

https://electricbelle.com/2013/03/20/snuggling-maggots/

https://electricbelle.com/2013/11/06/more-beautiful-pods/

As we travel around our yard I am surprised at how many things we can learn from this adventure. I briefly forgive myself for the terror I felt earlier, pour myself another cup of coffee and move on.