Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Jewelry Party

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a jewelry party at a neighbor's house. It was a rare occasion where my husband was out on his own, so I had to stay at home with Little C and didn't get to go.  I consoled myself by eating mostly everything in the house and watching shows I normally don't watch when my husband is around (like cold case, forensic files-type stuff). It was actually kind of fun.

In between stuffing my mouth with food and following the tales of twisted serial killers, I had my own private jewelry party at home and made this necklace. People, if you have not started making your own costume jewelry yet, get out there and do it! It is so fun and easy and inexpensive. Plus, you are not limited to what is in the stores; you can make exactly what you want, in the color you want, etc.

I like to look at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and Anthropologie online sometimes and see their jewelry designs/ trends. This entire year I have been struck with how "DIY" it all looks. The prices do not reflect that, of course. I have basic jewelry-making skills. So if I feel like I can make a necklace or a pair of earrings when I see them in a store, there's no way in hell I can buy them. I am physically unable to buy them.

Anyway, I spent under 10 bucks for the materials for this necklace (of which I still have plenty left). It also took under 20 minutes to make. I bought gray pearls, and smaller charcoal pearls and strung them on to clear elastic cording. When I had one long strand of all gray and all charcoal pearls, I folded it in half at the color break and knotted off the other ends. I took a twisted trim (silky gray cording and silver) that I got at the craft store for about 2 dollars and also folded it in half with the beads. I then braided the strands together and tied off the other end. Full disclosure: the end that was not merely folded over, was a little messy. I just wound the black sheer ribbon around it a couple times to cover it up. I added the ribbon to the other side and that's it!

I wore the necklace the very next day (with the bow on the side). Much to my delight, it did not break and send beads flying all over the place. I really liked the way it looked on; it made the outfit.

I had so much fun and am so happy with the results that there has got to be more jewelry-making in my future. Maybe inspiration will strike if I spend another night home alone.

Update: I attended a different, real-life jewelry party just a couple days ago. We were shown a really cool trick using ribbon to create a similar effect to the necklace I made. So easy! All you need is a long necklace and ribbon. Here's the Youtube link illustrating it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Every Monday is New Year's Day

They say that most people abandon their New Year's resolutions by the second week of February. Because I made so many resolutions this year that was bound to happen to me, right?

Well, not exactly. Fortunately, I manage to see every week as a little year in and of itself. For example, when it comes to diet and exercise? I seem to diet strictly and exercise every day until, oh, about Friday afternoon, when  my Id takes over and starts wrecking havoc on everything. The weekend is a hedonistic blur of food and drink. The only exercise that occurs (like getting up to walk to the refrigerator) is done by accident and with disdain. By the time Monday rolls around, I have had my fill of excess and need to detox. It's New Year's Day all over again, my resolutions are fresh, my soul is wiped clean of its sins, and my saintly determination is ready to begin anew with a fervor never before seen by humanity. This feeling lasts all through the week, but then before you know it it's Friday again and my Id takes over and....yeah, yeah, you heard this part already.

I may have to start over every Mon. when it comes to diet and exercise (at least I keep trying, right?) but I am happy to report that my stash-busting resolution is still going strong. I made Little C this striped hoodie completely from scrap yarn. This is probably my favorite thing I've ever knit even though I had to weave in a TON of ends. I basically followed this pattern but knit a second hood in navy next to the striped version so I could line it. I also added some clear plastic buttons later but didn't get a picture.

Unfortunately, Little C grew a lot in the month and  half it took me to make this. I thought he would be able to wear this in the spring though he'll probably only be able to wear this for a short time. Oh well. Maybe I'll use this pattern again in a bigger size for next year.

Also finished my other 6 squares for Crochet a Rainbow

Monday, February 14, 2011

Charity in Focus: Crochet a Rainbow

It has been well over a year since I have participated in a crochet or knitting charity. This had been nagging at me periodically off and on, but I always seemed to push the feeling aside or get busy with other things.

I managed to keep puttering away with things...then the terrible flooding in Australia was all over the news (and then they were hit with a cyclone on top of everything else!) I felt very badly for the people suffering there as I always do during a tragic event. With this particular event, however, I was also personally worried because my favorite crochet designer/ blogger (Sarah London) lives in Australia; I hoped that she and her family/ friends were not affected.

Fortunately Sarah London was not affected in the way that I had feared. However, she was affected in a charitable way that will hopefully bring a little hope and comfort to the people who are suffering.

Sarah started a crochet group called Crochet a Rainbow. Crocheters can make brightly colored granny squares which she will then sew together to make blankets for the people who are experiencing this tragedy.

I've always admired Sarah's modern crochet designs and brilliant color combinations; looking at her work can't help but brighten your mood. I hope the blankets provide that same feeling to these poor people.

I had never made a granny square like this, which is a traditional square (I have a crochet book that calls it an "Old American Square"). This is also another great way to use up stash yarn. I've made 6 so far and plan to make some more. Then off to Australia they go!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Girls Night: January

It was my turn to host Girls Night the last week of January. Even though we had decided not to do small crafts for awhile, I had to make these pom pom flowers when I saw them featured in Country Living Magazine under Valentine's Crafts.

Since this is in keeping with my stash-busting resolution, I thought it would be nice to make the pom poms with the girls. The stems were also recycled from some of those "stick thingies" left over from Christmas. This time in green instead of gold.

The magazine showcased their flowers in antique glass bottles along a mantel. I do not have any antique bottles hanging about, so plain flower vases had to suffice.

It was definitely a fun and easy craft. And it's provided little pops of color in the house during an especially dreary Jan.-Feb.

And the best thing of all about these flowers? You don't have to water them!
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