Accessorize

After all the jewelry I made earlier this year, I thought I had most all the colors covered. But then spring arrived and as I pulled out my warm weather clothing, I realized I still had more work to do. Jewelry to accessorize my pink and purple outfits was sorely lacking.

I made a trip to my local hobby store to scour the clearance aisle.  There are always some good finds there and bargain prices are always a bonus.

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Hot pink is such a great summer color.  I even have shoes this color!

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Purple has quickly become one of my go to colors.  I still need to find some purple shoes!

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This set is my favorite of the three I put together during this crafting session.  I love the crystal beads.  The photo doesn’t do justice as to how sparkly they are.

Now that I’ve got these colors covered, guess what?  I think I need some red and navy!

Spring Candies

This was another project that had origins somewhere out on the internet.  I found it last year but I don’t remember where.  I had asked my husband to pick up a bag of pastel M&Ms but then never got around to making these adorable little candies.

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The supplies needed are:

  • Waffle style pretzels
  • White chocolate candy melts
  • Pastel colored M&Ms

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Begin by setting the pretzels out on a microwave safe plate and topping each with a single candy melt.  I found that nine at a time worked nicely.

Place the candy topped pretzels in the microwave long enough to melt the candy. With my microwave, 60 seconds did the trick.

Place one color of M&M in the center, and then 6 of another color around the outside to create a flower.

Transfer the plate to the refrigerator so that the melted candy solidifies more quickly. Once solid, the candies can be stored at room temperature.

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They turned out so cute!  I made these for Easter, but they would be great for any springtime or shower event.  They are so easy to make.  Just remember to stock up on the pastel colored M&Ms which are only available before Easter!

Tie Dyed Easter Eggs

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For me, it’s just not Easter without decorating eggs.  My kids are grown up.  My daughter has moved to her own house.  My son is in college, but even though he is home this weekend, he thinks he is just too grown up for decorating eggs.

I have a pretty big history experimenting with different decorating techniques.  Over the years we have tried natural dyes, Kool-aid, a rice technique and several others. Some were successful.  Others, not so much.

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At some point last year, I ran across this Tie Dye technique.  I’m really not sure where I first saw it because I neglected to make note of it.  I was excited to give it a try.  I gathered the materials:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring
  • Paper towels
  • Protective gloves

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I rolled and wrapped the eggs like candies in paper towels.  I secured the ends with twist ties.

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I poured the vinegar onto a plate and rolled the wrapped egg in the vinegar until the paper toweling was saturated.  The absorbent paper towels wicked up the vinegar quite nicely.

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Using only three colors per egg, I dropped food coloring straight from the bottles randomly onto the paper towel covered eggs.  Once I had enough color, I gently squeeze the egg to distribute the color more fully.

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You can see why protective gloves are a must for this project!

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I left the eggs sit for about an hour before unwrapping.  The colors were spectacular!  I have never been able to achieve such bright colors before!  The texture of the paper towel added a nice element to the finished eggs.

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With plans to make deviled eggs for Easter, I took my egg decorating a bit further.  I had also seen a technique where eggs were cracked all over and then dyed.  The dye would seep through the cracks and color the egg white.  Again, I do not recall where I first saw this idea but I knew I had to try it out.

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The process for coloring the cracked eggs was essentially the same.  The only difference was that I had to be extra careful when wrapping the cracked eggs.

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As before, the egg shells came out beautifully decorated.  But they hadn’t been emersed in a dye bath so I wasn’t sure if there would be enough color to seep through the cracks

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Well as you can see from the shelled eggs, there certainly was!

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I used my wave slicer to slice the eggs and removed the yolks.  Yes, I put them into a zip lock plastic bag.  This brilliant tip comes to me from my daughter!

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I closed the bag and then pressed and squeezed the yolks to crumble them up.

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The next step was to add all the ingredients for my favorite deviled egg recipe. This too comes from my daughter who found what we believe is the best deviled egg recipe ever from the Food Network.

Classic Deviled Eggs

  • 6 eggs, hard boiled
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika for garnish

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I reclosed the bag and squished and squeezed until all the ingredients were mixed well. The last step was to snip off a corner of the plastic bag and pipe the egg mixture into the egg whites.  A sprinkle of paprika finished them off.

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Here they are all ready for our Easter picnic!  I love how festive they look!

Jewelry Joy

With my husband working second shift and my college age son up late on the weekends gaming, I’m usually awake much earlier than they are on Saturdays and Sundays. Such was the case last weekend.

I had been wanting to make some new pieces of jewelry for a while but hadn’t realy found the time to do so. My bead collection was calling to me. So in the quiet of the mornings, before the boys woke up, I got busy doing something just for me.

My collection comes from a variety of sources. Some are beads I have had forever. Others are leftovers from other projects. There are some that were salvaged from broken jewelry. And then there is a group of my favorites. My husband’s Mom was big into garage saling and selling on eBay. When she moved a couple years prior to her leaving this world, she sent me a big box of her jewelry foder. I love making jewelry from these pieces because I know how tickled she would be that I had given them new life. Wearing them always reminds me of her and makes me feel as though she is still with me.

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These earrings were made from a necklace that I had worn quite a few times. It had broken and was unrepairable. I’d also been needed some red earrings so this worked to my advantage. Because of my metal allergies, I only use hypoallergenic findings.

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This bracelet was made of glass beads from when my son was making earrings to sell. I actually made two of these. One for me and one for my daughter. The rainbow goes with practically every outfit and has such special meaning.

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I have always loved these large metal beads. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to wear them, but I took a chance on them. I love the look of the bracelet, but as I suspected, the first time I wore it, it broke out my wrist. But it wasn’t all for naught. My daughter was thrilled when I offered her this set.

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These three feature beads from Mom. Although they have metal beads, the other beads are larger so they will keep them away from my skin so no worries with breakouts there.

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These five are what I’m calling my “Mom and Me” collection. Crystal, glass, and other beads put together to make some sparkly creations.

It has been so much fun this past week to wear my new jewelry to accessorize my outfits. I love color and I love how I can stack the different bracelets together. I’ve also discovered that I need a few more colors. Back to my craft room! Stay tuned!

Wine Cork Bulletin Boards

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I’ve been saving corks for years.  Which was a good thing as it was surprising how many corks it took for this project.

The other challenge was finding the right frame.  I knew I needed a frame that was deep enough to accommodate the thickness of the corks.  It took quite a bit of searching the thrift shops to find just what I was looking for.

I cut a new backing from corrugated cardboard and stapled it to the back of the frame.

The cork pattern was a result of a Google search.  It is actually a quite forgiving design as there is some variation in length of the corks as well as diameter and shape since mine were all used corks.

The only other things I needed was a sharp knife to cut the corks to fit around the edge and my hot glue gun.

To say I was thrilled with how my project turned out is an understatement.  Not only will it be a great conversation piece, every cork represents a bottle of wine we shared or a winery we visited.  It’s a piece of our history and a reminder of wonderful memories.

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I still had some corks left.  And another frame.  So I created this second bulletin board for my daughter.

She has started a wine cork collection of her own but didn’t have near as many as I did. Between my corks and the ones my son collected from our winery visits, (he wasn’t old enough to drink, but he was cute enough that he always managed to acquire corks from the wineries), I still had plenty available.  I used the same pattern since it worked so well.

My husband was impressed with how the bulletin boards turned out.  He also remembered that one of the wineries we visited had used corks to create a table top which was done under glass.  So now we have a new mission to find just the right table to transform.  And to start another collection of wine corks.

There’s only one question tonight.  Red or white?

 

Grape Vine Decor

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With Christmas over and the decorations packed away for another year, my attention turned toward creating a new wreath I could display year round on my door.

Last fall, I inherited some gorgeous artificial miniature grape clusters from a friend. She didn’t have plans to use them and graciously passed them on to me.  She also passed on some artificial grape leaf vines as well.

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I originally had planned to use an actual grape vine wreath as my base, but when I ran across this wire frame at the dollar store, I decided to give it a try.  I wove the leafy vines around it attaching them here and there with wire.  Once I was satisfied with the fullness, then I added the tiny grape clusters.  The wire base made the wreath much lighter and it was not too thick to place between my front door and the storm door.

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I had some vines and grapes still left so I wired them together to create some pretty swags to decorate the tops of my bookshelves.

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There were still some sprigs left and I just couldn’t stop.   I wired on the grape clusters and poked them in between wine themed items on my display shelf.

The greenery adds such a nice warm touch to my living room.  Care to join me for a glass of wine?

One More Wreath

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This wreath thing is really addictive! After deciding to do my daughter’s wreath in purple and silver, I still had all those red and green ornaments that were just begging for a place among this year’s decor.

I also needed a special gift for my friend and supervisor at work. We have been friends for years and she was instrumental earlier this year in helping me attain my job that I love so much.

What better idea than something hand crafted with love?

This one turned out to be a slightly different style and less busy than the previous two.  My husband actually liked this one the best of all.

My friend was thrilled and displayed it in her office all day for everyone to see before taking it home at the end of the day.

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