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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Clean-ish Craft Room, New Wall Decor, and Snowflakes at School Tutorial!

So last weekend I had all these plans to get a couple Valentine's projects done I've been thinking about, but I couldn't do them until this mess was taken care of: 
This is the guest bed in my craft room... wouldn't know it without the arrow.

Yes, this is the aftermath of not completely cleaning after the rush of Christmas sewing and craft projects. We were out of town for most of my Christmas break and when we got back I went to school almost the very next day. Then I had no energy to clean. 

Then I got some great ideas for new projects.... I knew I needed to clean, but adding to the mess is so much more fun. 

Last weekend I had a snow day (YES! FINALLY!) and made it my goal to get the apartment cleaned and put the Christmas decorations (that were down but had been stacked up on the floor) in the closet finally. It literally took me 3 days. Ok I definitely took a break for dinner and a movie one night with Matty, I'm sure I spent ample amounts of time on facebook, and I finished the tutorial for my necklace (which took forever), but other than that, I was a cleaning and "organizing" machine. (If you know me at all, you'll know the reason the word, organizing, is in quotations. I just don't have the brain for it, I don't think.)
NOW you can see the bed! (The arrow is pointing to the first pillow I ever made. No laughing!)
My desk is clean and I have room to sew! 
And all those supplies that were strewn across my desk, bed, and floor are now tucked (tossed, stuffed, however you want to say it) into my baskets. 

Don't you love my new IKEA desk and cubby shelf set?! My precious sister,Maggie, got it for me and I am really loving it. No more rifling through boxes to find craft supplies. :) I do need more bins. I only have 8 (need 8 more), but I'm waiting on sales (thus the over-stuffing of baskets).

THEN, this past week I ran to Hobby Lobby to look for some fabric and found some LOVELY framed rustic mirrors for half price in my favorite shade of deep red! I got two and they look perfect with the book page wreath my friend, Dara, from Teach. Craft. Love made me for Christmas! 

 They all hang together on the entryway wall to my apartment. I can see them from my couch, too. Yay.

While my craft room was clean, I ran out of time to actually make anything last weekend. I did lesson plans on my clean craft desk. Boo.

Then I wanted to work on projects during the week, but the K-2 hall had a Winter Wonderland event that I was making some decorations for (with my kids, and also some large ones for the entrance to the hallway). Crafts at school are better than no crafts at all. 
Here are my large snowflakes hanging at the hallway entrance. Both blue and white paper are butcher paper. 

And these are the ones my kiddos made using this template I found here in step 6 of their instructions, taped to an already-folded (by me) paper for cutting snowflakes. The snowflakes are cut from printer paper and the blue paper is construction paper. 

All we did for both small snowflakes and large ones, was fold the paper like they say on Family Fun and then cut into it. You can use the templates like I did for your kids or cut your own. I cut my own, obviously, for the big ones I made. 

After it's cut, unfold and  use a glue stick to glue it to blue paper. Start gluing in the middle and work your way out. 
Then cut a circle around the snowflake. Trace the snowflake with Elmer's glue and then dump on the glitter. :)
You'll inevitably have this mess. Thank goodness for wonderful custodians with industrial vacuums.  (Nice carpet, right? ha)

The kids LOVED these. Sorry if I offended you with this ridiculously easy tutorial. I'm sure you could have all figured it out. I just liked them so I wanted to throw them up on the blog. :) Let it snow!

Congrats to you for getting through this forever-long post. :) :)

I have actually worked on and am in the middle of a couple things for V-Day this weekend. Hope to post soon! Do the Snow Day dance with me and it'll be posted really quick! Ha.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

HUGE Flower and Bow Necklace Tutorial

Well, I have finally finished the tutorial on this necklace!
I made it to wear to a wedding (couldn't exactly wear this while teaching kindergarten...ha!) and I LOVE how it turned out. 

I hadn't made any jewelry in awhile and can't wait to get making more! But first, the tutorial for this one.

Beware:if you've never made jewelry, it will seem like this tutorial has several steps, but none of them are hard! You can do it! :) If you have made jewelry before, you can skip over several of the steps you already know how to do!

Here we go.

Materials Needed:
For making the flower and the bow: Counter-clockwise from left: Scissors, polyester ivory-colored fabric (about a 1/4 of a yard unless you tend to mess up-like me-and need a little more), accent beads for the flower, 6 felt circles (preferably the color to match the fabric and bow, but all I had was white), filigree flowers, needle and invisible cord (to sew the accent beads to the flower), trim (to make the bow, Liquid Stitch or fabric glue, a candle to singe the petals, and a glue gun (not pictured).
For creating the necklace: Jewelry-making tools: bent nose pliers, flat nose pliers, wire cutters, crimp tool, needle nose pliers. These can be a little expensive to buy at first, but then you can use them to make multiple projects!  
For stringing the beads: counter-clockwise from left: scotch tape, chain (I love antiqued bronze!), 10mm gold pearls (you can see in the pictures that the pearls I bought had 2 sizes in the package...I used only the large ones in my design), 8mm pearls, translucent cord, contrast beads, 10mm ivory pearls,  and a bead board (optional).  ( I found mine at Michael's and its thickness is about .254mm, but I'm not in love with it. I used it because it is what I had, but I would like to buy something stronger).
For creating pearl chain, stringing beads, and attaching flower and bow to the necklace: Findings: eyepins, clasps, jumprings, filigree flowers, and crimp beads. 

A word about jewelry making supplies and findings: I LOVE antiqued bronze because it is nickel-free, won't change colors, is usually inexpensive, and looks good with almost everything. It is hard to find at large craft stores like JoAnn's or Michael's. I usually buy mine from Etsy jewelry supply stores. Here are a few of my faves for buying findngs: doubleangeldesignyadanabeadshaloloArtfulMarket.
There is a huge amount of awesome bead shops on Etsy, also, that have very reasonably priced items.

Now that you have everything you need, on to the fun part!

Step 1: Make your flower. It's your focal point so it's the most important part.
 I used this idea for making the flower like I did on the necklace I made in this post, but I used a polyester fabric instead of organza and made the petals round. I wanted one huge flower so I cut the first circle approximately 6 inches in diameter (when it is singed it is only about 5 1/4 in.). Then I cut the rest  smaller than the one before it, singeing them as I went, placing them on top of each other, making sure they were the right fit after each one I made. 

(Sorry I don't have pictures of this process- when I first started I wasn't sure exactly where I was going with it and forgot to take any.) 

I am too impatient to measure most times, so when it isn't imperative, I don't. Sorry if you're super particular and need to know those details...I get too anxious to see the final project to "waste" time measuring. Occasionally, I'll make a petal too small/big, but it's ok-I just save it for another project.  Once you have your petals placed on top of each other and they fit the way you want, you're done singeing and you have a beautiful flower!

CAREFUL when you singe your petals. Use tweezers to hold the smaller ones. Be sure to singe every part of the circle so it doesn't fray later and curls pretty all the way around.
My fabric was a little flimsy-one petal alone flopped over. I didn't want the flower being all droopy so I glued the petals together. I started with the first huge petal and used Liquid Stitch to glue the next one on top of it and so on.
Only glue in the middle and leave some room on the edges for the petals to move just a little. The glue will show through the fabric (if yours is as flimsy and see-through as mine was), but it's ok. Don't glue the very last petal on so it doesn't show through. Then just sew it on when you sew on your beads. 

Looking back, however, it might be easier to sew beads and sew through the petals first, then glue afterward. When I sewed after I glued, it was very difficult to get the needle through b/c the glue had dried and was hard. I used pliers to pull the needle through each time. It worked fine-it was just difficult. It also might be difficult to sew the petals together when they're not held in place by glue...which ever way you choose, it might get tricky. :)
Here's a close up of my finished flower.  

Step 2: Make your bow. 
I used a crocheted lace trim. I didn't like the way it looked when it was tied in a bow at first so I glued a scrap piece of ivory satin ribbon I had to it with Liquid Stitch. (Let the glue dry thoroughly before you try to tie it in the bow.)
Once the glue is dry, tie it into a bow.
Close up of finished bow. For added security, it might be good to place a dot of hot glue inside the not on the bow so it doesn't come untied.

Step 3: Design your necklace
To make things easier, I use a bead board to lay out my design. Some people can imagine exactly what they want their design to be, I can't - I might have an idea, but I need to see it and play around with it for awhile to actually make it happen. 
I wanted my flower to be down further than the bow so I placed it in the middle and then let my beads go on up past where it was on the other side when creating my design (the bow goes on the other side where the beads stop.) The bottom strand is about 17" long, the middle-16", the top-15". Those measurements are approximate and may change if you decide you want your necklace to be longer or shorter. 

To be honest, (since I hate measuring), I get mine all strung and then hold it up to myself in a mirror to see where it will lay if I keep the strung beads that length. I may tweak it several times before I get it exactly how I want it. 

For the bottom strand, I used 6 gold 10 mm pearls, then 5 contrast beads, then repeat. For the middle strand, I used the 10 mm pearls, and for the top strand, the 8 mm pearls.

Note: For the top part of the necklace (above the flower and above the bow), I decided to use a single strand of pearl chain that we'll make in a minute.

Step 4: String your beads
Once you have your beads how you want them, string them with the invisible cord one strand at a time. I leave a couple inches of invisible cord on each end so you have plenty to work with later. After beads are strung, I secure them with scotch tape. This prevents the beads from sliding off if you happen to drop one strand while you're working with another one, or whatever. Another good reason to use tape to temporarily secure your beads: if you want to change the design you can easily. I always make my string long enough so I can change the design around some, make it longer/shorter if I need to. Once all strands are taped, I can hold it up to myself and if I don't like it, I change it.

Step 5: Attach strung beads to filigree flowers
Once all your beads are strung,  you need to attach them to the filigree flowers using your jumprings, crimp beads, and crimping tool :)


I took pictures to show you how to actually use the crimp tool to crimp the bead, but they're not great, and it's kind of confusing to explain. Instead, I found a video on youtube for help: How to close a crimp bead video. Instead of using a toggle like they do in the beginning of the video, you will use your jumpring. (I use youtube videos a lot to learn new jewelry-making techniques!) 

Repeat this step for each side of all your bead strands (one on each side of each strand-a total of 6 times.)

 Once your jumprings are attached to your strung beads, open the jumprings using your flat nose and needle nose pliers. To do this, simply grasp the jumpring on both sides of where it opens with your pliers and pull apart. Slip jumpring into the filigree flower and use pliers to press the jumpring back together with pliers.
 I spaced my strands apart enough so they would hang nice and flat and wouldn't overlap.

Set this part aside for now. We'll attach it to the fabric flower and bow later after the top pearl chain is connected to the filigree flowers as well. 

Step 6: Create the pearl chain
The next part is a great jewelry making technique you will use for lots of projects: making a simple loop. You will make several of these and connect them to each other to make a pearl chain. Essentially, you are making the same loop that you see on the bottom of the eyepins above the pearl also.



Now you make several of these. I ended up making 23, 16 for the flower side, and 9 for the bow side. This may change depending on how long you want to make your necklace or how big your pearls are. Again, I just held it up to myself and added or took some away until I had my desired length.
To connect them, simply open a loop on one side and slip a loop of the next pearl onto it, then close the loop again. 

Once your pearl chain is done, you attach it to the filigree flowers. Instead of using jumprings this time, you can just use the same connecting method described above to connect them to the top of your filigree flower pieces. One pearl chain attaches to a filigree flower piece that will be glued to the top of the back of your fabric flower and the other pearl chain attaches to the top of the filigree flower piece you already have your bead strands attached to that will be glued to the back of your bow. (See pictures below for a better understanding of what I'm talking about).

Step 7: Attach filigree flowers to fabric flower and to bow.
 After your jumprings are attached (not shown in picture above) you will use hot glue to glue the felt circles to both sides of your filigree flower.  (The top and bottom of my filigree flower were snipped off with my wire cutters because they were going to stick out from under the bow.)
 
 Then you will glue the (now) felted filigree flower piece to your bow and your fabric flower. This will secure your beads to the flower and bow. The above picture shows what your fliligree flower should look like attached to the fabric flower (ideally, the felt circles would have covered my filigree flower completely, but I didn't cut them the right size and didn't feel like changing it...Oh, well, it's the back of the flower anyway.)

(See how the filigree piece on the top is attached to the pearl chain and the bottom filigree piece is the one you already attached your strands of beads to? I could have used one filigree piece and connected both bead strands and pearl chain to it like I did with the bow, but then it would have been in the middle of the fabric flower and I would have needed more pearl chain and longer strands of beads. Plus, I think it stay where it's supposed to stay better if I use two spaced apart like you see above.)
The back of the bow

 Here's how they both look from the back

You're almost done!

Step 8: Attach the clasp 
This entire step could be optional since this necklace is definitely long enough to go over your head. You could just connect both sides of your pearl chain together and be done with it. I just think it adds a finished-looking touch.
Open a jumpring and attach it to your pearl chain and then slip on a clasp. Close the jumpring. Then attach a jumpring to the other side of your pearl chain and close that jumpring (not shown). The clasp will connect to the jumpring.
Here is what my clasp looked like!
OPTIONAL PART: I like to add a little chain to my jumpring so that i can wear my necklace longer if I want. I also attach a pearl to the end of the chain for added charm. :) Instead of using an eyepin here, I used a headpin with a ball on the bottom. If you don't have these, an eyepin would work fine. I created a wrapped loop for this pearl instead of a simple loop. It's created the same way as a simple loop is, except that when bending the wire to create the simple loop, instead of bending it directly above the pearl, bend it about a 1/2 inch up the headpin. Once the simple loop is created, instead of cutting the excess wire off,  simply wrap it around the headpin below the loop to create this: 

And now you really are done. Whew.

Step 9: Enjoy it! All that hard work paid off! 
 I finished it the morning of the wedding-just in time.
See how the flower sits lower than the ribbon? I just love it. Perfect for sprucing up a simple dress like mine.

Here's an action shot for ya:
This is me and my good friend, Annie, on the dance floor at the wedding. Notice the necklace has shifted...these things happen when you're a dancing machine. This picture was taken with her crazy fish-eye lens camera. It took some pretty fun photos. :)

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Happy jewelry-making! I'd love to see yours if you make one. Email it to me!

Linking up to these parties!

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WOO HOO! This necklace was featured on Under the Table and Dreaming! 

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