Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tickled Pink

I have never been a fan of the color pink, especially the pale, new baby pink. But I think I'm changing my mind a bit, due to these little projects I finally finished. I found this adorable pink hat in Savers for just a few bucks and snatched it up figuring I would do something with it because the shape of it was so darling and it was in perfect condition. The tag isn't readable, but it feels like a mohair mix. It barely fit my head but I thought it would work for a child, pre-teen, or an adult with a wee little head. Who cares, it was a keeper! I ran over to the sweater section and found a great cardigan to match it. I've been having fun re-styling cardigans lately, and the fastest and easiest way to do it is to first start with the buttons. Something as simple as switching from plain buttons to something unique or vintage can make a huge difference in the look of the sweater.

I am loving the diamond buttons that are on cardigans right now, but they are super pricey. Double the price of the cardigan for 8 buttons! No way. So I found these little faceted buttons that were much less but looked sparkly enough.

I wanted to figure out how to make the crinkly peony-looking flowers that are being made by everyone now. My pal Renel showed me one that her stepsister made out of organza and I was sold. I looked at a bunch of tutorials and it seemed easy enough so I gave it a shot. The fun part was the centerpiece that I used, which was a pair of vintage earrings I had bought a while back at an antique store. I am fascinated by these clusters of crystals they wired together way back when. They are so easy to pop the back off of, and then you can just sew them on to the flower.
     I cut some circles out of paper in various sizes, traced them onto the organza, cut them out and then the fun began. I wanted the edges to curl but also wanted them to be puckered. So you need to hold the flame under it and it sort of melts it quite nicely. There were plenty of melt-throughs that happened, so be aware if you try this. I used a hand-held lighter because I could control the flame better than holding it over a candle. The end result is so perfect, I was a little shocked it was so fast and easy, though a few burns happened along the way! 
You see these layered, gauzy flowers everywhere. They are being worn on headbands and jewelry, but my favorite is pinning them on a sweater, alone or in a cluster.  
So, I just attached a pin to the back of both flowers and pinned them to the sweater and hat and it was a done deal! I'm going to be starting a facebook page soon, and the hat will be given away in a drawing, so watch for it! Oh, and thanks to Lucy and Hannah for being my models!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Have Mercy, it's Mercury Glass!

It seems like every blog I look at lately has a tutorial on making faux mercury glass. I was feeling a little out of the loop so I decided I had better give it a try. After prowling around a ton of blogs, I found one girl who posted the best instructions, then I tweaked a few things and ended up with 3 faux mercury pieces that I think I actually fell in love with a little bit. The look of mercury glass is so gorgeous it makes my heart flutter. Ok, maybe it's the Valentine season, but I can't get enough of it. You all probably know the history of it, but in case you don't here it is. Mercury glass was known as "poor man's silver" (just my kind!) From the early 1800's until the 1930's it was made for people who couldn't afford silver. They would pour silver nitrate (not really mercury) into a double paned glass object, like a vase, then seal it up. Over time, it would tarnish and get mottled looking, even sometimes almost see-through. I have always wanted a collection of mercury glass, but since there is no way to afford it, you know I gotta make it!
 So I went to the usual, Deseret Industries, looking for a few vases to use. I found 3 for about 50 cents each. And while I was there I saw some amazing crystal pieces (who gives that away??) for about a buck each. Didn't buy them...had to focus on the task at hand! I really had my heart set on putting flowers in them for V-Day, so I bought some that would make a good grouping. I ended up not using the big one, but added a little small votive style piece with a lid. Every blog I read said to use Krylon's "Looking Glass" spray paint. It will make anything made of glass into a mirror finish. Probably the coolest invention in spray paint. Ever. You do have to spray it on the reverse side though, which means you have to spray the inside of the vase. I also ended up spraying the outside of the vase because it seemed like it needed more dimension. 
     It took almost 8 or so very thin coats to cover the vases, so pretty much the whole little can. And as an aside, since I can never remember to wear gloves, it actually looked kind of cool on my fingernails, but I opted to clean them up after. And talk about your noxious fumes. It is potent as can be and I probably killed more brain cells than I usually do spraying things. But oh, is it worth the end result. They all looked like solid silver vases! I was beyond happy. I almost didn't distress them, but in the end, I knew in order to make them look genuine, I had to. And I am so very happy I did. The cute blogger girl told me to use a half vinegar and water solution and spray it into the vase and let it sit for a bit, then gently start wiping it. The vinegar starts to eat away at the paint and this is what gives it the old, tarnished, see-through look that is so unbelievably beautiful.
     So after I started to wipe it off and held it up to the light, my true relationship with mercury glass went into full swing. So much love. I went berserk with taking pictures. I couldn't stop myself from taking them at every angle: with candles, with flowers, with nothing in them at all! So sorry to be indulgent but I am going to post my little photo frenzy, first of the process of antiquing them...

Holding it up to the light for the first time made me a little giddy I must admit.
And with candles...
And my favorite, as a vase...
I saw tons of wedding blogs showing people using these as wedding decor. I can see why people scavenge around trying to find real mercury glass.
It's hard to believe that $1.50 worth of glass and a can of spray paint could bring me so much happiness. I'm starting to think maybe I need to get out more.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Grandma's necklace re-do

My grandma Exzelda (what a name!) passed away a few years ago at the age of...99. Yes, just shy of 100. It's crazy to think about living so very long, but she was a real live wire, as I love to say. We used to call her "Grambo" due to the vigilante obsession she had with just about everything. I loved my grandma's style and attribute most of my jewelry obsessiveness to her. She is the type of person who had to match her earrings and necklace to her robe for petes sake. Or her little housecoat, or whatever she was wearing. I know one thing, she never left her house without jewelry on.
     After she passed away, and for years since, we have had a heyday with her jewelry that my mother kept. I have bags and oodles of it to play with. My teenagers and I can all wear most of it, since the styles always recycle through at some point. I have a particular necklace that I truly love and wanted to update, as pearls and girly stuff are so very in right now.
     I love the multi-strand champagne color of these pearls, as well as the ornate clasp. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. At least not the kind of pearls a gal like me buys!
     I'm also loving the various tutorials I find on youtube. It's just amazing that you can learn to do virtually anything on a tutorial. I wanted to learn to make roses out of ribbon and found a tutorial by this darling little lady named Donna. It never shows her, but I loved how she was explaining it and how her daughter was coaching her in the background in how and what to say. Once I learned to make these roses, I started making them out of everything. You can use anything from tulle to burlap and they look great. Check it out, it's just one of many but I have a soft spot for these wee little roses she makes. It is at: Go Donna! And thanks for teaching me a great skill. I made one out of a stiff gossamer-ish ribbon and it turned into one of my favorites.
     I glued a piece of felt on the back and attached a pin to it and then just pinned it to the strand. I'm loving how it turned out, and it was a fast, easy re-styling of a family treasure from my Grambo. Oh, and she also taught me how to spray paint. What a gal.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Candle holder to T.P. holder

For some reason, in the mind of a teenage girl (and maybe even an adult...gulp) toilet paper is something to never be sought out. If you run out, you evidently wait for it to come to YOU. It doesn't matter if it is in the cupboard in the bathroom, or the hall closet by the bathroom, they simply will not seek it out when they run out. They will switch bathrooms, use tissue, anything to get out of going for the T.P. It usually ends up to be mom or dad fetching it for them, like the little minions we are.
     Meanwhile, while I was with my friend Michelle and Emma at D.I. and saw this cool bronze colored candle holder with some kind of groovy amber colored gem on top. It stands about a foot high at least. Evidently for a BIG candle and for outdoors. I bought it with the intent of using it for just that and putting it on the back porch and lighting it on a summer night.                                                           
   Then I had a little epiphany. The other bathrooms in the house have toilet paper holders that store 4 or so rolls of T.P in them. The teen people seem to like them. And use them! They are super handy and easy to access. I decided I would make this the T.P. holder for the girls' bathroom. (I realize this looks as if I have nothing better to do with my time but scheme against my girls and their bathroom.)
     Of course, I had to spray paint it black, which took about 5 minutes max. I put a few rolls in, and there it is! They love it and they use it. Phew. Now, when it is empty, that is another problem altogether...