How to Make a Bow Ear Cuff

Bow Cuff Tutorial

As you might have noticed, ear cuffs have been super trendy lately. I’d seen tons and tons of pictures all over the web of wire cuffs with bow, but no tutorials. So I thought I would add my version of instructions to the information highway.

For this project you need to make this cuff, and add the wire bow to it. Stop before bending the cuff blank into shape, so it is easier to attach the bow. Here are all the supplies I used: 1 black 20 gauge cuff blank, 26 gauge gun-metal colored wire, wire cutters, round nose pliers, and a pen to shape the cuff.

Denim, Dye, and Doilies

ARC Denim Shirt

I’ve really been digging the denim shirt look lately. Especially the oversized or “boyfriend” ones, throw it over a pair of leggings and bam! Cute outfit. I bought the one below the other day at ARC for only $2.

The fit is exactly what I wanted, but the color… It’s a little too regular blue jeans for me. I considered dyeing it darker. However my shirt like chambray shirts are woven with white thread as well as blue. So if dyed all the thread will end up dark blue, and the denim look will be lost. Maybe I’ll use bleach to distress it? However it ends up I think I will be adding lace accents as well.

If thrift stores or diy projects aren’t your thing, here are a couple of examples of the cute denim shirts out there (click the image to go to their origin site). 1. Faded Denim Shirt, $59.00 2. Two Tone Denim Shirt, $27.80 3. Polka-doted Chambray Shirt, $59.00.

        

I also recently bought this strange little dress. It has a very asymmetrical hem, and is composed of 10 different fabrics. It’s missing most of its tags, and the one it does have is in Korean. It is however interestingly compelling. As you can see in the pics below, it’s got a bunch of types of lace on it, an overlay in two different fabrics, and some buttons.

Again something cool to wear over leggings, I might have to even out the hem just a little though.

I bought this super cheap hippie skirt at ARC for a dollar and some change. It’s a bit big for me, because I want to turn it into a comfy tent dress, hopefully with some cool deep pockets.

With all the clothes I buy at thrift stores, I like to give them an odor removing first wash. Too often the perfume/other people/warehouse/dirt aroma of newly purchased thrift items doesn’t get removed with a regular wash. So I like to fill the bath tub with 5 inches of cool water, throw in a cup or two of white vinegar and let my new things soak. After wringing out, I hang them up to dry and while the vinegar evaporates it takes the smells with it. To finish up I put anything that I can in the washing machine, and hand rinse delicate items.

Well I was doing just as I described, and had added my denim shirt and dress to the bath and put the hippie skirt in. I turned around to put the vinegar away and when I turned back radiating out from the skirt was tons of purple dye. I quickly pulled the other items out of the bath, and wrung out the skirt as best I could. 

I rinsed the skirt in cold water to try to stop the bleeding, but bucket after bucket of cool water and the skirt still poured dye. I eventually just let it dry. I’m not sure what happened there. It was a cheap skirt even new, and the tag just says “made in india, hand wash.” Maybe it was the vinegar, or maybe it had been dyed and never rinsed. As far as I can tell the skirt hasn’t faded, even though it leaked all the dye. I might try a dye fixative product so I don’t have to separately hand wash this thing every time.

Lastly, I’ve been buying lots of doilies.

I want to turn them into an eclectic looking lampshade, like the examples below (click the pictures to go to their origin site). 1. A Beautiful Mess 2. Apartment Therapy 3. Shannon South.

  

Two All-Over One Ingredient Exfoliating Scrubs

Coffee Scrub

There is no better feeling than when you’ve taken a shower, washed your hair, exfoliated all your skin, and are as perfectly clean and new as you possibly can be. Both coffee grounds and oatmeal are fantastic one ingredient mild exfoliants, that can be used on the face and body.

Coffee grounds are an amazing wake-up scrub, the overwhelming smell of coffee is always invigorating. Use either fresh or used grounds, mixed with a bit of water to make a paste, and rub into the skin with circular motions. I use super cheap stuff that I buy specifically for this purpose. If you have very sensitive skin, olive oil or another oil can be used instead of water to soften the grounds. The caffeine in coffee is supposed to have amazing effects on the skin including reducing the redness and puffiness of skin and reducing cellulite (Source).

Oatmeal is also a great one-ingredient all over scrub. Just like with coffee ground, mix the oatmeal with a small amount of water and rub into the skin in circular motions. It’s more mild than coffee, in both smell, and texture. However it also has some great benefits. Oatmeal is so mild it should be safe even for the most sensitive of skins. It has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin, and is a mild cleanser (Source). I love this one for before bed.

Both of these scrubs can be mixed with other ingredients to intensify their properties. Some common additions are olive oil, honey, and sugar. I like them plain, because I can store them in containers in the bathroom ready to go when I need them. As always, if you try one of these scrubs or have tried one or have anything else to say just leave a comment.

A Little Ear Cuff Tutorial

Ear Cuff DIY

This ear cuff, like the first one I posted about (read that post here) is very basic, and requires only a few tools and supplies to make. Ear cuffs can be fitted to anywhere on the outside of the ear, without a piercing. I use 20 gauge jewelry wire, wire cutters, round nose, and flat nose pliers, plus a pen to form the wire into the cuff shape.

I know this is simplistic to the point of not being interesting. However, this cuff is the jumping off point for my next jewelry post about how to make a wire bow cuff, and that will be awesome.

A Mini-Recycling Project: a Lone Earring Into a Ring

DIY Pearl Ring

About 3 years ago I bought a pair of faux pearl earrings, I think from Forever 21. I only wore them a few times and then let them languish on my jewelry tray for a couple of years. A few weeks ago I rediscovered the pair, but only wore them 3 times before one fell into the furry clutches of:

So I found myself with a single pearl earring. I usually save that sort of thing for later projects, but in this case I already had the supplies on hand to turn it into a ring. This is a really really easy mini-project, scroll through the pictures below to see how I made my sad lone earring into a lovely new ring.

My ring blanks are from Joann, and so is the shell button I used on the second ring. The little pearl in the second ring is real, and came from another lone earring, it already had a flat side so no sanding was necessary. One tip I didn’t take a picture of: If it’s hard to hold onto the pearl while filing it down, wrap one end in masking tape to give yourself something to hold onto. I love my new ring, I’ve been wearing it all the time.

Mini Messenger Bag Redo with DIY Doily Stamp

Doily Purse Button

I posted a picture of this little leather purse a couple of posts ago. Thrifted of course, I love how it looks like a mini messenger bag. On a very related note, check out this DIY doily bag from Sincerely Kinsey (click the image to go to its origin post): I love her doily bag, however I was worried that the doily would wear off over time. If you look at the bottom right of her bag in the photo above it already looks like it’s barely on there. So I got the bright idea of painting on the image of a doily instead. Here are the results:


To be honest, I don’t know if I’m in love with this. I think maybe it’s bad color combos or… something. However it was pretty simple to do, so I thought I would do a quick tutorial for anyone else wanting to paint leather or make a DIY doily stamp. I apologize in advance for the lack luster image quality on the rest of the pictures. My husband went out-of-town for the weekend with work and I forgot people need to sleep. All these pictures were taken around 1 in the morning, under the ugly glow of a soft white lightbulb.

***This project is kinda product heavy. At the bottom of the post there is a list of the products I used and why, so you can tailor your supply list correctly.

*** To begin you need a leather purse and a doily that you can cut up (I got my doily at a thrift store for less than a dollar, I know Joann sells suitable ones but they are $5 at the one near me). I washed my doily, and then used spray starch and an iron to get it stiff.  Next decide how much doily you want on the bag, and where you want it placed. I pushed a couple layers of tissue paper into the front pocket, because this is a used bag and was a little flattened. As you can see in the picture above I marked the rough position with a pen, and then cut it out. I had to trim off more at the bottom, since the finished “stamp” will be flat it would be hard to wrap it around curves without smearing the paint. Here is my trimmed doily, being fitted for its cardboard backing. As you can see it’s backwards, it’s very important to flip the doily so the finished imprint is the right way. An easy way to make sure you have it the right way is to lay the doily on the bag the correct way and place the cardboard covering it. Pull up both the doily and cardboard as one layer and it will be on the cardboard the correct way! You want the cardboard to be only a little bigger than the doily, so it’s easy to position the paint covered stamp correctly. I used spray adhesive to attach the two layers. I love spray adhesive, it’s a pleasure to use. Once the glue has set or in my case once I got impatient to try it out, it’s time to test the stamp.

I used Images Artist Acrylic in Pantone 14-4522 “Bachelor Button.” I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, they were on clearance for $2.15 each, and I couldn’t resist their awesome containers. These acrylics are called heavy-body and they mean it, this stuff is ridiculously thick and it dries very quickly. So I mixed a bit of acrylic extender (see the product info at the bottom of the post for more information) into the paint to thin it and keep it wet for longer. If you use craft acrylic, I think you could skip this. I also mixed into the paint acrylic textile medium, since the leather is going to move and stretch. I really liked the textile medium, it made the dried paint elastic and waterproof. I mixed all of this according to the directions on the packaging and made enough in my kidney-shaped paint mixture dish to do a bunch of test imprints without having to make more. To test out the stamp, apply the paint mixture to the doily with a paintbrush. Some tips for applying the paint:

  • Load up, the doily will absorb a lot of the paint at first
  • Don’t worry about keeping it off the cardboard, a little here and there won’t matter
  • Make sure you are committed to the paint color since you can’t wash off the stamp, for that same reason make sure you have enough time to test the stamp and then stamp the bag
  • As you test the stamp adjust the paint/extender/textile medium/color combo until you have several test stamps that are perfect.

Here are some of my test stamps on regular copy paper:

 

So back to the bag. To prep the bag for paint, I washed the area with a bit of water to remove some of the oil and then used fine grit sandpaper to rough up the surface:

Apply paint covered stamp to purse and…………….. Not perfect I know, so I went in with a small paintbrush and cleaned up some of the lines. Here is the bag after: Like I already mentioned, I wasn’t as thrilled with this as I expected to be. So I went back in with a small paint brush and added some highlights with a dark blue craft acrylic and then a mossy green one. Here is the before and after of my mini messenger bag redo:

  

I am so uninspired by this, I don’t think it looks bad… just not great. I will probably scrub all of this stuff off and try something else. If anyone tries something like this or knows a better idea, I would love to see pictures!

Product Breakdown:

  • Leather bag, this would also work on fabric bags or faux leather but go easy on the sandpaper since it could easily pull the “leather” coating off its fabric backing
  • Doily, must be the crocheted or knitted kind not punch cut fabric or paper. You could also do this with crocheted lace.
  • Scrap cardboard, for the “stamp” backing.
  • Fine grit sandpaper, I used some 150 I had on hand and used a soft touch.
  • Spray starch and an iron, to make the doily stiff and completely flat. I think you could get away with just the iron, or you could make your own cornstarch based starch with this recipe.
  • Spray adhesive, I love love love spray adhesive but any glue would work just make sure to throughly adhere the doily to the backing or it might pull apart in use.
  • Acrylic paint, like I said above mine was artist quality and so needed to be thinned. You could also use regular or craft acrylic, or fabric paint or leather paint for that matter.
  • Extender, I used Anitas Extender it was $1.47 at Hobby Lobby. If you are having trouble with the paint dying too quickly on the stamp before you can use it, this stuff will help.
  • Textile Medium, I used Delta brand also from Hobby Lobby it was $4.99 for a big bottle. It kept my paint from cracking when dried and it also did a really good job of making my paint job waterproof.
  • And the usual suspects, pens, paintbrushes, paper, and scissors.

Just Another…

Skirt 6

Here are the before shots of one of my recent thrift store find, a long floral skirt:

 

I liked the pattern:

and the price, but it looks way too much like a middle-aged woman’s church skirt. So I decided to make a new hem for it. I knew I wanted it to be at least knee-length so I chopped off about 10 inches and started from there.

After trying on, pinning, and adjusting and trying on and pinning and adjusting some more I landed on a length of 23 inches, or just above my knee. So I trimmed the extra fabric to just an inch:

I ironed the hem, and then tried the skirt on one more time before sewing (no one likes to rip out stitches!). I used some light blue thread I had on hand, and it matches really well. It’s actually the spool of thread that my Mom bought to hem my prom gown, I haven’t had occasion to use it again until now. Just goes to show you that it’s a mistake to throw out craft products.

I had to remove a button at the bottom to sew the new hem. The buttonhole is still there, but not very noticeably.

 I love this skirt, I’ve already worn it several times. It’s super light and airy, but it’s tight enough the wind can’t give passersby a show (always something to worry about when the winds kicks up.) Here is a lame after shot, you can see in the background how messy the room got as I worked, in the before’s it pretty clean!

I enjoy sewing new garments, but nothing beats the minimal effort you can put into switch up an almost perfect used find. If you don’t sew or don’t sew well, little projects like these are a great way to polish your skills without having to use a pattern or other scary sewing implements!