In Search of Inspiration?

Inspiring Hot Air Balloon
Everyone knows inspiration can strike at any time. Sometimes it’s obvious, such as a sunset or a pretty vista. Other times it’s a subtle feeling. Occasionally inspiration sneaks up on you when you least expect it, but there are some very frustrating times when it seems nowhere to be found. Below are a few examples of project inspirations to get your creative ideas flowing:

Artwork on a Case of Beer inspired…Cold Beverage Coasters.
Cold Beverage Coasters
These coasters were easy to make. Cut out the artwork and laminate each piece. Seal the edges with black duct tape. Glue each coaster to a cork backing and you’ll have a nice little gift for the beer lover in your family.

A festive Fox Toy inspired…Santa Claws Guiding his Sleigh.
Foxy Santa
In this case it was the missing items, namely a tail and a hat, which inspired this Santa Claus centerpiece. Foxes are known for their thick, beautiful tails. Who knows why the manufacturer neglected to provide one? It was easy enough to fix with a little faux fur. The hat was an obvious necessity, since the fox was already decked out in Santa’s finest coat, pants and boots.

Love of Chocolate inspired…Homemade Crispy Chocolate Caramel Bars

Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s amazing how tempting a little piece of chocolate can be. These candy bars are so easy to make. I’m inspired to make a batch right now, but I better finish this post first! For instructions, please click here.

An ornately decorated Easter Wreath inspired…an Ocean Wreath.
Ocean Wreath
The colors, textures, and intricate details were eye-catching and beautiful, but an Easter wreath has a very limited time frame. By switching to the aquatic theme, the wreath can be displayed throughout the spring and summer. For instructions to make this ocean wreath, please click here.

For more inspirational project photos, please click here to visit the new Inspiration page on our website.

I hope these photos will inspire new project ideas. Magazines, online searches, and a visit to the craft store are also great resources. With an infinite supply of inspiration and a few well-chosen supplies, you will be on your way to creating your next masterpiece.

Good Luck & Happy Crafting!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Monster Book

Harry Potter Monster Book
Every Harry Potter fan dreams of living in his magical world. You have read the books and seen the movies, but to experience it in the real world, you’ll need to make the trip to Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If travel isn’t on your agenda, perhaps you could bring a piece of Harry’s world into your own. You can’t be a wizard without a few enchanted books. Who could forget the ferocious monster book? Ever wondered if you could make one?

Unfinished Wood Book Box
The moon and the stars must have aligned to make your wish come true with the discovery of this wooden book box, available through Michaels for $5.99. It’s the perfect size and thickness, and offers a strong foundation for building a monster book. As a bonus, there’s a secret compartment inside for storing your favorite spells (recipes), magic charms (office supplies), or wizardly collectibles.

How to Make a Monster Book Fit for a Wizard:

Supplies:
Wooden Book Box (9.75″ x 7.5″ x 2.88″)
Black Paint – brush on Acrylic or spray paint
Sharpie Metallic gold marker – medium point
Vampire Teeth
Faux fur
4) Packing peanuts
4) Glass marbles – orange
1) Bottle fabric paint – black
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Leather or vinyl belt
Glue gun
Scissors
Paintbrush

Book Painted Black
Paint the box black, inside and out. This dark color will make a great contrasting background for the gold paint applied in the next step.

Gilded Pages
To create the appearance of gilded pages, draw horizontal lines along all three sides of the book, using a Sharpie metallic gold pen. Don’t worry about crooked lines. Pages in old books become crinkled and curled. Imperfect lines will provide an aged look.

Attach Teeth
The next step is attaching teeth. Center the mouth as shown. The large fangs are from Fire Mountain Gems, and the smaller teeth are actually clear quartz crystal chips, painted to match. To simplify this step, purchase vampire teeth at a Halloween store or Amazon.

Fur Cover
Faux fur from JoAnn Arts & Crafts is the perfect color and texture for this monster. Cut the piece large enough to allow a hem on all four sides. Be sure the fur will not interfere with the operation of the hinges. Please note: the raw edges of fur shed like crazy. Once they are hemmed and attached to the book the shedding stops. (Yeah!)

Trim & Hem Fur
The sides could be hand sewn, but these hems were made with a glue gun.

Packing Peanuts as Eye Sockets
I decided this monster would have four eyes. To make the eye sockets, use four packing peanuts. Each peanut is pinched in half and glued to hold its shape. Glue the four together end to end as shown.

Painted Packing Peanuts
Paint the foam with black fabric paint. Use a toothpick to keep the paint off your fingers.

Marble Eyes
I found four orange glass marbles with red streaks resembling bloodshot eyes. Each was glued into the sockets, and outlined with white fabric paint. A white dot was added to each marble to give it that creepy glint in the eye appearance.

Attach Eyes & Fur
Attach the eyes to the fur, and then secure the fur on top of the box.

Finished Monster Book
Last step: Wrap an old leather belt around the book to keep your monster under control.

Congratulations! You’re now the proud parent of your very own Monster Book. Be sure to keep it on a short leash because we all know how much it loves to shred – shoes, feet, paper – anything within reach. For decades, kids have been telling their teachers, “The dog ate my homework!” With a monster book as a pet, this excuse might actually be believed!

Do you have a favorite Harry Potter creature? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Until next time…

Happy Crafting!

Crowning Glory – Create Beautiful Floral Crowns

Party Animal
Raise your hand if you wore a crown as a kid on your birthday. Come on, you know you did! It was fun being a prince or princess for the day. From the moment I awoke on that special day until I climbed into bed that night, the crown was on my head. I know it was only plastic or cardboard with glitter, but to me it was precious metal and gemstones. Ah to be a kid again!

You’ll be happy to hear that crowns are making a comeback – for adults. Instead of visiting a party store, you can make your own headbands and crowns with fresh-cut flowers and silk foliage. For a unique approach, accessorize with beads and shells.

Red Roses
Bold red roses and a frilly red dress are sure to be noticed at any occasion. To make one, you’ll need floral wire and tape, wire cutters, and enough fresh-cut blooms to conceal the wire. Make sure the roses have long enough stems to attach to the wire. You can trim them later when the crown is complete. And while it’s probably obvious when working with roses, don’t forget to remove all the thorns.

Casual Crown
By simply gluing silk leaves and flowers to braided twine, you can create a laid back, casual look, perfect for a summer barbecue with friends.

Ivy & Berries Crown
English ivy and red berries lend a wintry vibe to this crown. If time is limited, choose silk garlands, which can be cut to size and secured with green florist’s tape. Be sure to hide the ends with leaves or flowers.

Rosebud Crown
Lavender rosebuds beautifully coordinate with this model’s makeup.

Green Leaves
Wearing matching green leafy crowns is an adorable way for a bride and groom to start their new life together.

Shells & Nuts
A readymade strand of woven seashells and nuts is a nice alternative to flowers in this attractive crown.

Blue Flowers
Lush blooms in vibrant blue celebrate the joys of springtime.

Hyacinths Crown
Hyacinths and daffodils are a great combination with a heavenly scent.

Wild Flowers Crown
Nothing says summertime like wildflowers in the sun.

Dried Flowers Crown
This headpiece can be worn again and again thanks to the use of dried flowers.

Daisies & Cornflowers Crown
If you are on a gluten free diet, this is not the crown for you. Yellow, blue and red flowers form a delicate balance with the wispy texture of wheat in this sweet bountiful style.

Seashell Crown
A seashell necklace can become the perfect accessory for accentuating this pretty pinned up hairdo. Simply double the strand and drape it over the top. What could be easier than that?

Hibiscus Crown
Contrasting hibiscus flowers, in red and white, beautifully frame this young woman’s face. You could easily create the same look by attaching silk tropical flowers to a purchased headband.

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a special anniversary, getting married, or having a fabulous time on a tropical vacation, why not don a crown? They’re not just for royalty. Think of all the things you do for friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances each and every day, all year long. Wear the crown. You’ve earned it!

Happy Crafting!

From the Heart – Jeweled Box

Finished Box
Treasure chest? Jewelry box? What could it be? There’s something so exciting about starting a new project. Sometimes you start out with one thing in mind, which slowly transforms into a beautiful butterfly. Originally. I intended to paint geometric designs all over this box. A roll of rhinestone ribbon became my inspiration, which revealed my hidden need for a lot of bling. Who knew? Where will your inspiration take you?

How to Decorate a Wooden Box:

Plain Wooden Box with Heart Shaped Window
Plain Wooden Box
When selecting a box for your project, look it over carefully for damage. Check for splinters or dents, and test the functionality of the latch and hinges. I often find smudges of glue on the glass/acrylic. If necessary, compare several boxes side by side at the store.

Wooden Box with Open Lid
Plain Box - Open
This box, available through AC Moore, is wood inside and out.

Painted Lid
Painted Lid
I liked the look of the natural wood and kept most of it as-is, with the exception of the flat top, which was brushed with white acrylic paint to create a high contrast background.

Project Supplies:
Beads &; Paints
You will need a bag of loose rhinestones and fabric paints in turquoise, black and brown.

Additional Project Supplies:
Marbles & Rhinestone Ribbon
You will also need a bag of turquoise flat glass marbles, a roll of 1/2” turquoise rhinestone ribbon, Elmer’s glue and a glue gun. The rhinestone ribbon and marbles are available at dollar stores.

Outline the Heart with Rhinestones
Beaded Heart
Apply a large dot of fabric paint at the edge of the heart. Use tweezers to push a rhinestone down into the wet paint. Alternate the fabric paint colors to create your pattern. Repeat the process until the outline is complete. Just as reminder: the rhinestones are clear. It’s the paint that determines the color.

Apply Rhinestone Ribbon
Apply Rhinestone Ribbon
Rhinestone ribbon is glued in horizontal bands across the top of the box. Use Elmer’s glue because it will allow you to reposition as needed. Use scissors to cut the ribbon to fit. At the end, fill in any blank spaces by cutting rhinestones from the ribbon and hand placing them with tweezers and Elmer’s glue.

Completed Beading on Lid
Completed Lid
As you work around the center heart, you may need to pry off individual beads to make the ribbon fit. They say hindsight is 20/20. If I had to do this over, I would probably apply the ribbon first and then outline the heart.

Apply Flat Glass Marbles
Apply Flat Marbles
A glue gun will make this step quick and easy. Apply marbles on all sides. Ensure the marble placement will not interfere with the opening and closing of the lid. I found are marble that had broken in half, and placed it under the latch to complete the pattern, which you can see in the next photo.

The Completed Bejeweled Box
Completed Bejeweled Box
Large turquoise hearts are glued in each of the four lid corners. These hearts are actually jewelry pendants. A black onyx bead has been glued to each heart to cover the hole on top.

I’m considering lining the inside of the box with felt or velvet. It all depends upon how it will be used, and frankly I haven’t decided yet. What would you do? Please make suggestions in the comments section. I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Happy Crafting!

Catching Some Rays

Stained Glass Rose Window
Have you ever admired the beauty of sunlight filtering through stained glass windows? The kaleidoscope effects are stunning. Given its otherworldly effects, it is not surprising to find stained glass in churches, royal palaces, and many grand architectural structures all over the world. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a similar experience at home?

Stained Glass Entry
Stained Glass Window Entry
If you are in the market for a new front door, there are many glass pattern options for the doors, sidelights, and transom windows. Because it is labor intensive, stained glass is significantly more expensive.

Glass Painting
Glass Painting
If you happen to be an artist, you could paint your own design on a sheet of glass, with special pigments called stains, which must be fired in a kiln to complete the process. Next it will need a frame to be used as a wall hanging, or metal hardware for hanging it in front of an existing window. It can also be installed in a window frame with a protective layer of glass on the exterior side to protect it from wind and weather.

If you love the look of stained glass, but lack the time and artistic ability, or have budgetary constraints, you still have a few options.

Decorative Window Film
Decorative Window Film
Window films are available through many sources including home improvement stores. As you can see, the film provides the color and patterns of genuine stained glass without the expense. Film also provides privacy, and blocks unsightly views.   Be sure to follow the installation instructions carefully. The most important step is ensuring the glass is free of all dust, dirt and debris. There must be a perfectly smooth surface for the film to adhere properly. Failure to follow these instructions could result in air pockets, bubbles and delaminating (peeling film).

Decorative Window Film
Decorative Window Film
There are two types of window films, which differ by installation. The first adheres to the glass via static cling and the second uses adhesive. The films shown in these two photos are the static cling type. Personally, I prefer static cling film, instead of adhesive, because it’s easy to install and more importantly can be easily removed. The films come in a wide variety of styles, including the more traditional “stained glass” and some very contemporary geometric patterns.

Sunburst Stained Glass Suncatcher
Sunburst Stained Glass Suncatcher
Genuine stained glass requires specialized skills. Due to precise cutting required, sharp glass and metal edges and joint soldering, this process is not suitable for children. There’s an inexpensive alternative, which is an easy, family-friendly project.

How to Make Colorful Acrylic Suncatchers:

Unpainted Suncatchers
Unpainted Suncatchers
These suncatchers look like glass, but are actually clear acrylic with raised black ridges, which create compartments for holding individual stain colors. One big advantage is that the acrylic is not fragile, like glass, so if you accidentally drop one, no harm is done.

Suncatcher Stain Kit
Suncatcher Stain
Some stores sell the stains separately, while others offer kits, which include a suncatcher(s), several stain colors and a paintbrush applicator. When the stains have dried, the surface hardens and the vibrant colors are translucent, just like stained glass.

Suncatcher Stain Application Process
Progress Detail
Using the provided paintbrush, stains are applied one drop at a time. No blending, no special brush strokes and no extra supplies are required. It’s that easy! There are no other steps. Simply let them dry and they’re ready to hang. Below are examples of completed acrylic suncatchers.

Butterfly & Hot Air Balloon Suncatchers
Butterfly & Hot Air Balloon Suncatchers

Balloon Bouquet & Cat Suncatchers
Balloon Bouquet & Cat Suncatchers

Dog & Bluebird Suncatchers
Dog & Bluebird Suncatchers

Tropical Fish & Cardinal Suncatchers
Tropical Fish & Cardinal Suncatchers

Mirror with Applied Suncatchers
Mirror with Applied Suncatchers
Suncatchers can be hung upon windows or mirrors using suction cups on the glass, or hung with ribbons looped over window locks. I purchased two divided mirrors and screwed them together to create the eight-panel wall hanging shown in the photo above. The suncatchers were glued in the center of each square. The mirror allows natural and artificial light to reflect through the suncatchers. Because it resembles a window, I placed it above my stove to give me something pretty to look at while I’m cooking. It can also be hung in an interior room that needs a boost of color along with a “view.”

Anyone can make colorful suncatchers with very little effort, beautiful results, and they make great gifts at a very affordable price.

Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions & Expectations – Part 2

Sunrise
There are times when the sky is so blue that you find yourself daydreaming every time you pass a window. And then there are days so gray and gloomy that it’s hard to believe the sun could be hiding behind those clouds. If you have ever flown on a rainy day, you know how amazing it is to see the sunlight burst across the sky as the plane reaches its cruising altitude, high above the cloud cover. The people on the ground have no idea what a gorgeous day it is. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Part One of this series covered the warm color palette: red, orange, and yellow. Those colors encourage taking action, family activities, celebrations, romance, and getting noticed. In Part Two, you will learn about the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations associated with the cool color palette: green, blue, and violet. When it comes to psychology, there are no “neutral” colors.

Color: GREEN
Four Leaf Clover
Good Fortune & Abundance – “Overnight” successes usually start as ideas, followed by a series of goal-driven steps, which culminate in bringing the dream to fruition. Maybe the luck of the Irish is in knowing when to take a leap of faith?

Emerald & Diamond Ring
Wealth & Prosperity – Prosperity means different things to different people. For some, it’s shiny cars or expensive baubles. For others, it’s getting that big promotion at work. Perhaps one of the best ways to feel prosperous is to surround yourself with family and friends to accompany you on this journey called life.

Sunlight streaming through trees
Grounding & Rebalancing – Feeling out of sorts? Take a walk in the woods. The soft sensation of the grass beneath your feet and rustling leaves in the breeze will rebalance your mind and body.

Mountain Landscape
Natural Beauty, Calming & Relaxing – Scenic landscapes have the magical ability of slowing down the hectic pace of our everyday lives, quieting our minds and relaxing our bodies. When a trip outdoors is not a possibility, viewing landscape paintings and photographs can have the same beneficial effects.

Green Grapes
New Opportunities & Indulgence – Grapevines are the ultimate opportunity seekers. Birds scatter the seeds, and the vines grow wildly, climbing over any and all obstacles to reach the sun. At the end of the day, as you enjoy a glass of wine, remember we owe our thanks to the lowly grapevine’s hardy and tenacious nature.

Cliffside Waterfall
Renewal, Refreshing & Personal Growth – Challenge yourself. Go hiking with friends. Take that trip you’ve been dreaming about. Make time to truly experience the beauty of the world around you. Let your cares melt away as you enjoy some very well-deserved “Me Time.”

Color: BLUE
Butterfly Fantasy
Fantasy & Inspiration – The most fertile ground in this world lies in your imagination. Always the explorer, you never know what wonders lie around the next bend, just waiting to be discovered. What comes next? You decide!

Balloon Dreamscape
Dreams – In dreams, we’re all super heroes. Your feet never touch the earth, and you’re free to fly whenever and wherever you please. There are no rules. Anything is possible. Keep on dreaming.

Sailboats on the Ocean
Refreshing & Relaxing – The gray days of winter are quickly forgotten with the arrival of the brilliant blue skies of spring. When it comes to our precious vacation days, most people are drawn to oceans, lakes, waterfalls, and even the hot tub in your backyard for the soothing, refreshing effects of water.

Sunrise above the earth
Mystery & Wonder –Our bodies, like our planet, are 70% water. We’re more alike than we are different. Seven billion people share this world and we’re changing it for the better, one person at a time.

Swan on a lake
Tranquility, Solitude & Self-Reflection – A swan, silently gliding across pond, is a portrait of grace and beauty. Meditation and personal reflection are enhanced when surrounded by nature. Find a quiet spot. Give yourself the gift of quiet reflection. You’ll be glad you did.

Cookie Monster
Playful – Charming and playful as ever, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster has been entertaining and befriending kids of all ages for over fifty years. And he hasn’t aged a day! He reminds us to make time to laugh and play every day, and most importantly … eat more cookies!

Color: VIOLET
Twilight
Wishes, Dreams & the Future – We often look to the horizon, wondering what the future holds. Faced with uncertainty, ancient mapmakers used to write, “Beyond here there be dragons.” Turns out there were no dragons, only new friends yet to meet.

Gemstones
Exotic & Regal – The earth provides a multitude of beautiful gemstones, typically worn as personal adornments. It is believed Cleopatra had lapis lazuli and amethyst gemstones ground into powders to make eye shadows. And you thought your makeup was expensive?

Lavender & Butterfly
Sleep Inducing & Mood Enhancing – Lavender is a wonder drug courtesy of Mother Nature. The color and delicate floral scent promote a restful, quiet state of mind and improved sleep.

Silk
Luxury, Passion & Royalty – There’s nothing like the luxurious feel of silk against your skin. The color violet was once reserved for royalty. Today we can treat ourselves to whatever fabrics and colors we choose.

Spa Ambiance
Indulging, Pampering & Pleasurable – Day spas and fitness resorts understand the beneficial physical, psychological and emotional effects of color, fragrance, music, flavors, and simple human touch. By appealing to our five senses, we are transported, if only for a little while, to a place where pleasure reigns and the art of doing nothing is our only pursuit.

Thunderstorm
Powerful & Majestic – Have you ever watched a thunderstorm? It’s so powerful that you can feel the electricity in the air. The landscape changes from one second to the next as bolts of lightning pierce sky in a kaleidoscope of light and color. Mother Nature puts on quite a show and the admission is free.

The Great Ice Cream Color Debate:
Green Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream versus White Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – one of the most popular flavors of all time. Have you ever considered the color? Should it be green or white? You’re probably asking yourself, “What difference could the color possibly make?” Right?

Here’s where it gets interesting: There’s an expression: “You eat with your eyes first.” You may not be aware of this, but color affects your perceptions of taste. For many people, if the ice cream isn’t green it’s not mint, but it’s not just a matter of color. They actually don’t taste the mint flavoring! For them, it’s vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. Their sense of taste is overpowered by their visual expectations.

Have you ever been surprised by the flavor of a food based upon its color? What flavor were you expecting? Would changing the color improve the taste? Dr. Seuss once asked, “Would you eat green eggs and ham?”

Happy Crafting!

World of Color: Meanings, Perceptions, & Expectations – Part 1

Rainbow Colors
Color has a huge impact on our lives. Nature envelops us in color on a daily basis, although sometimes we fail to notice. We all have a favorite color. You know the one I’m talking about. While wearing it, you feel fantastic and you say to yourself, “Damn, I look Good!” (lol)  Other people notice too. Compliments are flowing. Is it the color that attracts attention or is it the way it affects your thoughts and behavior?

In this two-part series, you will learn about the hidden meanings, common perceptions and our expectations associated with particular colors. When it comes to psychology, there are no “neutral” colors.

Color: RED
Red Ferrari
Powerful, Energetic & Exhilarating – Secretly many people share the fantasy of being race car drivers. Performance car manufacturers satisfy this need for speed. Red is your color if you want to get noticed. Heads will turn, including local law enforcement, which tends to target red vehicles for speeding.

Red Balloons
Romantic, Spontaneous & Affectionate – Hearts in many forms, such as candy, balloons, jewelry, accessories, and home décor, are given to express love. Red roses are a Valentine’s Day staple.

Fairy Tale
Tempting, Daring & Dangerous – Snow White gave in to temptation by eating the apple and fell asleep.  Do you dare?

Red Gown
Bold, Sexy & Confident – Red screams, “Look at me! You won’t believe what I’m going to do or say next!”

Motivational Scrabble Tiles
Motivational, Courageous & Defiant – Never give up on yourself or your dreams.

Red Velvet Cupcake
Stimulating – In case you didn’t know, Red Velvet Cake is chocolate cake with lots and lots of food coloring. Red is known to stimulate the appetite. My mouth is watering just looking at the photo. (lol)

Color: ORANGE
Friendship
Playful & Friendly – What could be better than watching the sunset with your best friend?

Bonfire
Family & Entertaining – Firelight invites sharing of stories and roasting marshmallows with family and friends.

Halloween Cat
Halloween – Candlelit jack-o-lanterns, black cats and ghost stories are memorable elements from Halloweens past.

Orange Chinese Dragon
Celebrating & Festive – Bright lights and colorful decorations set the stage for getting the party started.

Field of Joy
Joyful, Laughter, & Lighthearted – Happy people are a pleasure to be around.

Orange Leaves
Seasonal, Change – Autumn arrives in flamboyant style with a full color show.  Change is inevitable. Welcome new opportunities.

Color: YELLOW
Yellow Sunflowers
Happy& Uplifting – The sun regulates our internal clocks, making us active during the day and sleepy at night. When it is cloudy and overcast for extended periods of time, we often feel lethargic and uninspired.

Yellow Caution Signs
Cautionary& Stimulating – Who knows what lies around the next corner? No falling asleep on this drive.

Yellow Chick
Warm & Fuzzy – This cute little guy begs to be touched, melting hearts with just one look.

Kermit the Frog
Energizing & Motivational – “Don’t just sit there! Get up & get moving!”

Refreshing Lemonade
Sweet & Tart – A lemonade stand is a summertime favorite & childhood right of passage.

Yellow School Buses
Attention Getting, Childlike, & Unpredictable – In late August, the first sighting of a school bus marks the end of summer and the return to school. If you’re a kid, it’s a bummer. If you’re a parent, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I’ll share a little family story with you. I have an aunt, who always wanted a pair of red leather gloves. She doesn’t know why she never bought them, and kept this wish to herself. Why? Did she assume they were too flamboyant? Maybe the color red had “naughty” connotations for her? When she finally mentioned the gloves, I bought her a pair for Christmas. You should have seen her expression when she opened the gift. A smile bloomed as she realized a lifelong wish had come true. Such a simple thing brought so much joy.

Take a look at the colors you’re wearing right now. How do they make you feel? Want to make a change? Could the addition of another color make a difference? Give it a try.

Happy Crafting!

Want to Make Beaded Earrings?

Assorted Earrings
Making fine jewelry requires years of special training in gemstones, precious metals, and jewelry design. Materials and tools are very expensive, and mistakes can be very costly. The invention of beaded jewelry created beautiful designs in a much more affordable way, and put the jewelry making possibilities into everyone’s hands. If you’ve ever wondered how to make a piece of jewelry, now is your chance.

How to Make Black Onyx & Tigerseye Earrings
Tigerseye Black Onyx Earrings
These 2” long gemstone earrings are fashionable and easy to make.

Required Beads & Findings:
 Earring Supplies
Supplies:
To make this pair of earrings you will need:
2) Silver plated Head Pins – 2” length,
2) 8.5mm Granulated Round Pewter Rondelles,
2) 8mm Tigerseye beads,
2) 10mm Black Onyx beads,
2) Silver plated Round 4mm Spacer beads
2) Silver plated Surgical Steel Fishhook Earwires with ball & coil

(Please note: Head pins are the foundation of these earrings. They are inexpensive and come in big packages. Be sure to have several on hand just in case. Craft stores carry jewelry making supplies, including beads, accents, and tools. If you get hooked on jewelry making and yearn for the ultimate selections, look no further than FireMountainGems.com)

Jewelry Making Tools:

Round Nose Pliers – the smooth, round tips on these pliers make it easy and safe to manipulate wire, pins, and small jewelry metal pieces known as findings. Please don’t use standard pliers, which have teeth that will damage delicate precious metals.

Jewelry Wire Cutters
Jewelry Wire Cutters – a sharp pair of wire cutters makes jewelry making so much easier. Do not use them for other crafts, such as floral arranging, which can damage the blades.

Earring Making Instructions:

Bead Layout
Step 1: Stack the beads in sequence on the head pin as shown. This is the dangle part of the earring.

Grip with Pliers
Step 2: With the round nose pliers in your right hand, grip the wire just above the top silver bead. Be sure the beads are close together with no gaps in between. Hold the pliers in this position for the next step.

Grasp Wire with Fingers
Step 3: Grasp the end of the head pin with your left thumb and index finger, and bend the wire toward you.

Bend Wire
Continue bending the pin over the tip of the pliers until it touches the Black Onyx bead.

Reshaped Wire
The reshaped pin will look like the photo above.

Trim Excess Wire
Step 4: Cut off the excess wire. Leave enough wire to form a small loop above the silver bead. This may take a few tries. Don’t worry if you cut it too short. Simply use a new head pin and repeat the steps.

Shortened Wire
This photo shows the trimmed wire, and beside it is the scrap piece to be thrown away.

Attach Earwire
Step 5: Hook the dangle earring onto the loop on the bottom of the fishhook earwire,

Close the Loop
and close the loop using the round nose pliers.

Finished Earrings
Congratulations! You have successfully made your first pair of earrings.

These skills can be used to create many styles, which at first may appear to be complex, but are actually fairly easy when broken down into basic steps. Let’s take a look at a few examples below.

Blue Earrings
Blue Bead & Pearl Earrings– If you look closely, you’ll notice the same elements we talked about before: head pins, stacked beads, and earwires. The choice of silver earwires and accents with faceted blue crystals and Mother of Pearl creates a cool, summery vibe. This pair of earrings utilizes a different type of earwire known as lever backs, which prevent the earring from falling off – no more lost earrings!

Fossil Earrings
Fossil Earrings – The natural spiral design and intricate details of these fossils make great focal points for these earrings. You can purchase charms and pendants such as these and simply attach earwires to the provided loops on top. How easy is that?

Triangle Earrings
Triangle Earrings – These earrings are a simple progression from the fossil earrings above. The triangles are merely charms. Head pins, which are available in many lengths, are the keys to this design. Attach the three beads on the bottom of each triangle using pliers. The yellow beads are also attached with head pins. Cut the head off a pin, and use the pliers to make a loop above and below the yellow bead and then attach to the triangle on the bottom and to the earwire on the top.

Jasper& Pearl Earrings
Jasper & Pearl Earrings – Gemstones come in an amazing array of colors and shapes. The accent beads can be mixed and matched in infinite combinations. Experiment by laying out the beads to test your options. The nice thing about earrings is that you can place the beads on a pin and hold them up to your ear to see how they look, with no commitment whatsoever. Don’t like what you see? Try another combo.

Jewelry making is a fun, creative hobby. Best of all you get to wear and share your creations with your family and friends.

Happy Crafting!

2019 – Year of the Pig

Year of the Pig
This week is special for two reasons:

One year ago the Crafts Inspire Me blog was launched! I can’t believe a year has gone by so quickly. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. You inspire me every day! Secondly, February 5th marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Pig 2019, is believed to bring joy and prosperity in all areas of life.

In honor of the Year of the Pig, this week’s craft is silly and very easy to make. You will never look at office supplies the same way again, and there is a funny story to go with it.

It all started with an extreme case of boredom. My brother had just graduated from college, and was hired by an international technology company. As you can imagine, working in a field like technology requires security clearances, and the approval process can be a lengthy one. All of the new hires were placed in a large room, sitting in individual workstations, with nothing to do but read. Because no one had been cleared to view company documentation, each person had to bring his or her own magazines and books to read to pass the time. Cell phones and computer use were not allowed. How much reading can you do before falling asleep?

Disinterested in his reading material, my brother noticed an office supply cabinet, and an idea struck. With a handful of pushpins and a pink pencil eraser, he set to work on his creation.

And here it is…

The Eraser Pig
The Eraser Pig
The Eraser Pig was born! Pleased with the results, he made another trip to the cabinet and in no time he had created enough to form two teams for a five-on-five “basketball game.” Curiosity brought a few of the candidates over and the fear of dying from boredom made them stay to watch the “game.” When my brother’s clearance came through, he passed the eraser pigs on to others. For all we know, those pigs may still be making the rounds, bringing smiles and sparking imagination.

Pushpin Placement
Pushpin Placement
If you would like to make one, you will need a pink eraser, and 6 pushpins (4 legs, the tail and snout).

Have you ever created something out of boredom? What did you make? Please share your story.

Happy Year of the Pig & Happy Crafting!

Color Selection 101

Artist's Paint Palette
Choosing colors is one of the most difficult parts of any project. Fortunately the ultimate artist, Mother Nature, has already done most of the work for us. Below are assorted nature photos to inspire your exploration of the infinite possibilities of color.

The Color Wheel
The Color Wheel
A Color Wheel – all the colors of the visible spectrum, that is, visible to the human eye.

Primary Colors
Primary Colors - Parrot
Primary Colors: Red, Blue, & Yellow – base colors found in nature.

Secondary Colors
Secondary Colors-Butterflies
Secondary Colors: Green, Orange, & Purple – are made by mixing two primary colors together.

Black & White
Black & White - Whale
White & Black – produce shades of color from light to dark. Black and white is a classic combo often used in the textile and interior design industries. Turn the ordinary to extraordinary by adding brilliant jewel tone colors, such as sapphire blue, emerald green or ruby red.

Complementary Colors
Complementary Colors
Complementary Colors: Opposites on the color wheel (red & green; purple & yellow; blue & orange). When used together, they produce the highest contrasts.

Rainbow
Rainbow
All the colors of the spectrum – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet – in that exact order can be seen in this rainbow. If you want to create a realistic rainbow effect, be sure to get the color order correct.

Fresh Picked Fruit
Fresh Picked Fruit
Pastel Red, Green, Fuchsia & Orange – These are great spring and summer colors.

Tropical Fish
Tropical Fish
Golden & Reddish Browns with White, set against a Green background – Brown & White are another classic combo, which look great with jewel tones.

Hibiscus Bloom
Hibiscus Bloom
Red, Orange, Yellow & touches of Pink & White – Warm pastels with a dramatic red center attract attention.

Molten Lava
Molten Lava
Black, Orange, & Yellow – These colors remind me of my favorite holiday, Halloween.

Floating Lotus Blossom
Floating Lotus Blossom
Pure White & Yellow offset by Green, Blue & Black – White is such a cool, crisp color in summer, and coordinates with any colors in warm or cool tones.

Field of Tulips
Field of Tulips
Orange, Green, & Yellow contrast with Blue – Pastels come alive with a punch of color.

Peacock Feathers
Peacock Feathers
Blue, Green, Gold, & Black – Exotic & luxurious is the vibe created by these colors. The electric blue set against the black makes a bold statement with the naturally shimmering gold and green.

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms
Pink & Blue – In the case of these cherry blossoms, bold colors would be overpowering. Such tiny, delicate blooms call for gentle, soft colors. Is it any wonder these colors are often used for baby nurseries?

Pansies
Pansies
Purple, White & Yellow – The frilled purple petals resemble watercolors, while the yellow centers look like they were hand painted in this striking palette.

Rainbow Lorakeets
Rainbow Lorakeets
It’s hard to believe that one animal could have all the colors of the rainbow, except purple, and yet here it is in two small parrots. If Mother Nature can come with this, imagine what you can do.

Spiral Stained Glass Windows
Spiral Stained Glass Windows
Blue & Red with Green, Orange, Purple & Yellow accents – The spiral draws your eye toward the center, while the blended colors move you along one frame at a time.

Sunset #1
Sunset - Cool tones
Purple, Yellow, & Blue – Cool colors of evening (blues & purples) provide the dramatic backdrop for the vibrant yellow sun setting at the distant horizon. This palette has a dreamy, relaxing quality.

Sunset #2
Sunset - Warm tones
Red, Yellow, & Orange with touches of Pink & Purple – Blended warm colors have an energetic, motivational effect.

The next time you are looking for some color inspiration for your next project, take a look outside. Mother Nature has provided a feast for the eyes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Happy Crafting!