Tuesday, September 2, 2014

LIFE: Crafty Collaborations

You might have noticed a lag in posts during August, but an increase in tutorials. There is a good reason for this, and hopefully content will balance out soon. In July, I joined Fairfield World's Master Makers team. My 1st tutorials for them showed up on their blog in August.

I made a DIY Apron with Oly*Fun, which can be custom sized for the wearer.

I made a DIY Autumn Leaves Curtain with Oly*Fun to hang in my porch window. This project can be used for garland, bigger curtains, or flags.

On top of that I've been working for Craft Test Dummies, doing product reviews and making tutorials, for the last few months. In August, I made a Geometric Resist Necklace with irRESISTible Pico Embellishers.

A nice bonus, I got to try out some goodies from Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza's new Jewel Pop Shop Line. I made this DIY Girl Cuff and Earrings with Jewel Pop Shop.

I also have lots of band stuff going on, including our monthly League of Space Pirates Live From Space episodes. We had taken a summer break, because one of the guy's had a newborn. We're back with some new songs and will be performing live at RVACon come October. I need to make a big update about Live From Space, but as you see I haven't much time. Our latest episode was "Uncharted Territory". During our break, I filmed Chroma's Summer Break, which was an idea Noah and I came up with.

As for everything else, it was normal end of summer stuff. We went to a near by beach for a couple days, for our 12th wedding anniversary, with our daughter. She started middle school today!!! AHHH! However, I'm proud of the amazing young lady she is becoming. My mom bought her running shoes, and I bought her running clothes, because she's joining the cross country running team this month!!! Hope you all had an awesome summer and your kids had a great 1st week of school. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

JEWELRY DIY: Mini Bottle Cap Earrings

When I go craft supply shopping, I like to look around for new products. I came across a line with mini bottle caps. I've seen many projects with the large ones from actual bottles. I decided that they would be perfect for my quirky jewelry needs. I experimented with candy 1st and that was a complete fail. I retried the project using glitter and seed beads for sparkling results! This is a very simple project...a little messy, but good. The longest part is the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic drying, but it's worth it for resin like results. Ok, on to the tutorial...

  • A pack of mini bottle caps - I found mine at Jo-Ann
  • Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
  • Fine glitter - I used hot pink, but any color will do
  • Tiny seed beads - I used 13/0 teal translucent glass seed beads. Any color you choose must be translucent. If it has a silver lining, they will not work for this project. The lack of a liner makes the beads visually blend better once the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic has dried
  • A paper plates - To catch any loose glitter, seed beads, or glue spills. You'll do all of the project on the plates. Switch to a clean one when the bottle caps are ready to dry
  • Stud earring blanks and backs - To make the bottle caps into earrings
  • E6000 - To attach the stud earring blanks
  • Toothpicks
  • Straight pins
  • A small soft paint brush


1) Coat the inside bottom of one mini bottle cap with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.

2) Sprinkle in your glitter or seed beads into the bottle cap until they almost reach the top.

3) Add more Mod Podge Dimensional Magic until you reach the top. Make sure it's not spilling over. A little goes a long way.

4) For the glitter, some will rise to the top. Use a toothpick to gently stir the mixture so the top is even. For the seed beads, if you have any shift, use a toothpick to rearrange them as needed.

5) If you see any bubbles, use the straight pin to immediately pop them.

Follow these steps for all the mini bottle caps. Let them dry overnight on a clean plate before moving on.

6) If there are any voids of Mod Podge Magic and the top of the mini bottle caps isn't smooth, carefully add a little more where needed. Smooth out with a small soft paint brush. Let dry for a couple hours.

7) Apply a little E6000 to the back of an earring stud blank. Press it onto the back of one mini bottle cap. Set the mini bottle cap face down while the glue dries. Let dry overnight before wearing. Do this step for all of your mini bottle caps.

OPTIONAL: If you want dangle earrings, add small bezel blanks to the back of the mini bottle caps with E6000. When it's dry, attach earring hooks to the bezel loops with jump rings and pliers.

That's all for this project. It's very easy. The longest part of it is drying, but it's worth it. I made earring with my finished mini bottle caps, but you could make other jewelry. You would need to add findings to the back to connect them in other ways. Feel free to fill the mini bottle caps with other things. I wanted sparkly earrings, so I used sparkly fillers. I could see these with sawdust, chain, paper, tiny computer parts...etc. What ever you make, have fun with it. Happy Makery!

DISCLOSURE: The supply links are Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using those links, I will receive a small compensation. This money goes to creative supplies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

OUTFIT: Autumn Layering

I bought a similar long t-shirt dress from Target yesterday. I layered it with pieces similar to what I already own. A basic dress like this can be dressed up or down. It's great for transitional weather, as it can be worn without layers for warm days, light layers for cool days, and heavier layers for cold days. Though my styling is reflective of my personal style, this can be incorporated into many styles. It's a great staple wardrobe piece that's a must have.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TRAVEL: Weekend Getaway Packing

We're taking a couple days to visit a beach and botanical gardens for our anniversary, like we do every year. Since it's a quick couple day trip, we don't need to pack much. This is what I'll be packing for our trip...two maxi dresses, a bikini, sandals, huge sunhat, glasses, some basics, and a good book. I need to get The Drunk Botanist, but I have Wicked Bugs and Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart. Enjoy your weekend!

DISCLOSURE: The book titles are Amazon Affiliate links. If you buy the books using those links, I will receive a small compensation. They are awesome books though and you'll learn a lot.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ACCESSORIES: School Survival Kit

My daughter is starting middle school in a couple week...parents everywhere weep together. She'll have a locker, so I'm making her a bag of essentials, so she'll always look and smell her best. This is mostly because she has gym every other day. This kit can also double as a travel kit, which is handy, as she plans on joining the cross country team and can easily toss this into her duffle bag. She helped me pick out the items. She'll get a locker a couple weeks after school starts and I think she'll have the same one until she finished 8th grade. We'll figure out her locker needs later, and discuss some helpful tips on here. If you want to make a school survival kit for your locker on the cheap, head to your local dollar store and pharmacy...Dollar Tree and CVS are my favorites. Target and Five Below also have great travel sections. What do you need in your school survival kit?

BAG DIY: Vintage Straw Tote Bag

I love vintage fashion from the 50s and 60s. One of my favorite accessories is a quirky handbag. The straw and raffia bags from the 50s and 60s are touristy items, but have this amazing handmade textural quality. As much as I love the raffia details, I knew I couldn't replicate that, nor would most crafters want to. Instead, I used Tulip fabric paints to paint on a plain straw bag and make an updated version of the vintage straw bags. I did this on a tote bag, but you could use any style straw bag that has a flat texture. This would be cute on straw shoes and hats too. Ok, onto the tutorial...

  • 1 Plain straw bag - Recently, I found this one for $3 at Target in their dollar section...everything is $5 and under. Any plain straw bag will do
  • Tulip Soft Fabric Paints - I used colors I had on hand. Velveteen white, red, and green, matte grape, metallic blue and pearl orange mist. Matte or velveteen formulas would be best for this, as I learned. Though all will adhere to the straw fine. The matte and velveteen formulas have similar finishes
  • 1 Small round paint brush - This is essential to paint all the details and get into the texture of the straw
  • Water and paper towels - To clean the brush in between colors
  • OPTIONAL Tulip Puffy Paint - I used this to embellish some details on the back of the bag. I bought this Tulip Puffy Paint 12 Pack at Walmart last month. They have a 20 Bottles Pack too. The 12 pack is also available in Neon, Glitter, and Glow. These are all good deals.


1) Look up images of vintage straw bags to get an idea of designs. I chose Nassau Straw Bag as my inspiration for the front.

2) I started with the big flowers, painting strokes from the middle out, trying to make the lines even in length. After those are dry, I added white circles to the centers. These needed two coats.

3) For the buds, I painted the green part 1st. Then, with the other colors, I painted a triangle that fills in between the green parts.

4) With the green, I added the leaves and swirling vines.

5) With the other colors, I added the larger and medium circles. After those dried. I added smaller white circles, using two coats of white. The medium circles just have white dots.

This is the back of the bag, which I did similar to the front. This was actually the 1st side that I painted. I wasn't completely happy with it (it looked a bit different than now), so I painted the other side, which I still like better. The large flowers are done the same. For me, these are all simple shapes. I love stylized floral designs, so I make it up as I go along, using real plants and folk artwork as a reference. For this side of the bag, I used Tulip Puff Paint to accent the circles.

This is my version which is big and bold. There are hundreds of straw and raffia bags from the 1950s and 1960s to get you inspired. Feel free to go as bold or tame as you would like. What ever design you choose, have fun making it. Happy Makery!

JEWELRY DIY: Girly Cuff and Earrings with Jewel Pop Shop

Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza are the designers behind the expanded Mod Podge lines...new formulas, Mod Melts, Mod Mold, Collage Clay, Podgeables...among other things. They have been working on jewelry line with Plaid Crafts. Recently it launched in select Michaels stores. They sent me some items from their new Jewel Pop Shop line. It's not available where I live, so I was over the moon when Cathie said she was sending me some. From the Jewel Pop Shop line, they sent me two skeleton lady cameos and coordinating settings, a bag of resin bows and flowers, 2 large sparkly flowers, a cuff blank, ring blanks, 2 large sparkly flowers, gold jump rings and bails, a pre-made necklace ready to attach to something, and a necklace with bails. Cathie also included some gold leaf trim from her Etsy supply shop. You can find more info about their line, including projects, on their blog Handmade Happy Hour. They are giving away a Jewel Pop Shop prize pack this week!

These are the Jewel Pop Shop items I received.

I used the cuff blank, 1 big sparkly bow, 6 resin roses (large and medium), 18 flat back clear jewels and E6000 to make this girly cuff. I slipped the cuff onto a big spool of chain, that fit perfectly, to hold it while the glue set. I glued the bow 1st, and had to adjust the placement a bit while the glue cured, as it kept slipping along the curved cuff. The sides were easier, as the roses and jewels are lighter weight and didn't slip. The roses curve up a bit on the back, so make sure you use ample glue or you'll have air pockets and they will fall off...speaking from experience here. I have very small wrists...bone, skin, veins, and a little muscle. This means that most cuffs slip right off because their opening is equal to the thickness of my wrist. THIS CUFF DOESN'T SLIP OFF! That is a rare find. The cuff might get a lot of use. I found it easy to slip on and off, twisting it over the crevice of my wrist, but ladies with thicker wrists might find it harder.

For earrings, I used the small roses and bows, earring post blanks, and E6000. I sat these face down to dry. I love vintage inspired stud earrings, and have a few colors of roses and bows already in my collection. I have 6 ear piercings...2 cartilage and 4 lobes. I do like to stack my earrings on my lobes and wear large ones in my cartilage. I'm not your average gal, but you probably already knew that.

To see more of the line and find out what stores the Jewel Pop Shop line is in, watch this video. The list of stores is in the description box.

DISCLOSURE: Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza sent me some items from their new Jewel Pop Shop line by Plaid Crafts, for my personal use. All images, opinions and the tutorial are my own.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

JEWELRY DIY: Geometric Resist Necklace with irRESISTible Pico Embellishers

Jenny from Craft Test Dummies send me some irRESISTible Pico Embellishers to play with and do a product review. I like to come up with projects that really use the products I'm reviewing, vs just a basic test and review. You all know that I love jewelry, but what you might not know, is that I've been secretly teaching myself/coming up with some new paper craft methods. I like adding my own artwork to things I wear, vs just using store bought items as is. Jewelry was one place I was having trouble effectively doing that. I experimented with some paper layering to make paper jewelry that I can add my artwork to, is durable and hard like wood. You'll be surprised how easy and effective this is. You can use this layering concept to serve as a base for many jewelry projects, so get creative! Ok, onto the tutorial for this geometric necklace, using irRESISTible Pico Embellishers to create the resist design.



1) Cut your white cardstock in half. This can be vertical or horizontal. That is up to you and the size of your triangles.

2) With the watercolor paints, brush, and water, paint the two pages different color schemes. I choose cool colors and warm colors, but you can do any bright colors you want. I overlapped the colors, so they blended together. I splattered the papers with watercolor paint, by rubbing the paint saturated brush against a finger, adding more paint to the brush as needed. This works well if the paint is over wet. Let the paper fully dry before moving on.

3) On the back of one paper half, draw your triangles using a pencil and a ruler or something with a straight edge. I chose to do a 1 large and 2 small triangles to show you the steps. For the big necklace, my triangles decrease in size from the middle triangle to the side ones. Your design is up to you.

4) Using the scissors, cut out the triangles, following your drawn lines.

5) Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge Hard Coat the back of one triangle, using the foam brush. Press the triangle onto the chipboard. Hold flat with your hand. Do this for each remaining triangle, leaving a space between them. DO NOT COAT THE TOP WITH MOD PODGE!

6) Using the scissors, cut the triangles out from the chipboard. I cut around them, leaving a space, to easily separate them from the larger piece of chipboard. Then, I trim the excess chipboard from the edge of the painted triangles. Take your time doing this, as you do not want to cut into the painted triangles.

7) To make the triangles more sturdy, you must add a 2nd layer of chipboard. Add a thicker layer of Mod Modge Hard Coat to the back of one triangle. Press it onto the chipboard and hold in place with your hand. You might need to press these down with a heavy book, as it takes more pressure to adhere these flat than the 1st time. Do this for each remaining triangle. Let them dry fully before moving on.

8) Using the scissors, cut the triangles out from the chipboard, as you did in step 6. Trim them again, making sure all edges match up evenly.

9) Look over you other sheet of painted paper. Find a section you like the best. Apply Mod Podge to the chipboard back of one triangle. Smoosh the triangle onto the back of the other painted paper where you want the design to be. Press hard to adhere the triangle completely. Use a heavy book if needed. Repeat for your other triangles. Let dry completely.

10) Using the scissors, Cut the triangles from the painted paper. Trim as needed, to make all sides evenly stacked. The triangles should be stiff like wood...because well that's what paper is made from. Genius, I know...

11) Now this is where the clear irRESISTible Pico Embellisher comes in. Pick a side that you want your textured design to be on. I chose the warm colors side. Remove the cap from the bottle. Tap the bottle tip lightly onto the paper towel. Squeeze gently to remove any bubbles from the nozzle. Once the paint is flowing evenly, you can start drawing your design. I chose a simple geometric pattern. Be careful while creating your design. If lines touch, the paint will pool. You can try to carefully remove the excess with a cotton swab. Take your time with each triangle. Let the clear resist dry completely before moving on. This will take about 30-45 minutes. When it's dry, it will look a bit flatter and wrinkled.

(I lightened these photos, so you could easily see the clear resist paint on the paper. 

12) Using black watercolor paint and a wet paint brush, paint black on the textured side of the triangles. You can make this translucent to opaque. That is up to you.

13) You will notice that the texture has been muted too. To brighten this back up, take a clean damp paint brush and gently remove the paint from the textured design. You'll need to clean your brush a few times, to wash out the removed paint. Be careful, so you aren't removing paint from the painted paper.

14) With the Mod Podge and foam brush, seal the front and back of the triangles. Let each side fully dry before flipping the triangles over to seal the other side. Give the triangles 2-3 coats of Mod Podge to seal the paper. Don't seal the edges yet.

15) Using the black watercolor paint and small wet paintbrush, paint the edges of the triangles. If you get any paint on the sealed paper, wash it off with a damp clean paint brush and paper towel. Make sure the sides are an opaque black.

16) Using the foam brush, carefully seal the edges of the triangles. Give them 2-3 coats, letting the sides dry in between coats.

17) Place the pieces on top of the thick magazine. For the large necklace, carefully drill holes at the top corners of each triangle. For a pendant and earrings, you can drill one hole along the center top, instead of each corner, depending on the look you are going for.

18) For my large necklace, I linked the holes with large jump rings. If you are doing a pendant or earrings, you could use smaller jump rings. Mine had to be large enough to easily fit through two thick paper holes.

With your pliers, open a jump ring. If you are making the large necklace, you will slip one jump ring end through one triangle hole. Slip that same end through the hole in the next triangle. Use the pliers to close the jump ring to where the ends tightly touch. Do this for each jump ring and triangle. At the ends, I attached smaller jump rings.

19) Lay the necklace on your neck, arranging the triangles, so they lay correctly. Use the measuring tape to measure the distance around the back of your neck from one triangle top end to the other...where the chain will be later. Take note of this measurement.

20) Use that measurement to measure out how much chain you need. Add a couple inches, if you want the necklace to be adjustable. Use the wire cutters to cut through a link at your measurement end.

21) If you didn't make the chain longer for adjustment, fold the chain in half, and cut it in half.

If you did measure for an adjustment length, divide your original measurement in half, and cut the chain at that half measurement. You'll have one piece longer than the other.

22) Open one jump ring at the end of a triangle, with the pliers. Slip on one end of the chain. Close the jump ring with the pliers. Do this with the other jump ring and chain piece too.

23) If you have a length adjustment, you need to add a jump ring and lobster clasp to the short chain's end. If you don't, you will add a jump ring and lobster clasp to either chain end, and a jump ring to the other chain's end. Use the pliers to help you add these.

That's it for this tutorial. You can use other shapes, but for ease, make sure they are straight lines. Curves and jagged shapes are hard to cut through the chipboard...this is a failed project experience...yeah a xacto blade didn't help there. They don't have to be symmetrical. You can jazz this project up with glitter, beads, and/or multiple colors of irRESISTIble Pico Embellishers. You can make other style of jewelry. Use this tutorial as a jumping off point for your own creative vision. What ever you choose, I hope you enjoy what you've created. Happy Makery!

DISCLOSURE: I received the irRESISTIble Pico Embellishers to review for Craft Test Dummies. All projects, photos, and opinions are my own. I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase something using the links in the supplies list, I will receive a small compensation. This money always goes back into supplies for my projects.
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