It is a bit dreary out today, but I love it because, except for the wind blowing in the trees, all is quiet. So I got out a stash of jewelry supplies I have picked up with coupons recently at Michael’s. You can typically always find a coupon using the phone app for Michael’s and, if you share your email, they will even send you bonus coupons to your inbox.
These items came from two separate trips which meant I got to use a 25% whole purchase coupon as well as a 50% on one item coupon. They are a mix of semi-precious stones and glass stones with the most expensive item being that 14k gold chain for the dark blue stone. Honestly, my pictures here are not doing the stones justice.
Most of these pendants also came from the clearance section of the store. I always check out that section for great deals. Sometimes I mix and match during that same shopping trip of items from clearance matched with items on sale or at regular price (I always use coupons!). As soon as I saw the chain with the small brown beads in the clearance section, I knew I wanted to pair it with an owl pendant. They had the perfect one on sale in another section. I have two more semi-precious stones that I didn’t have chains for, but they were only $2 each so I couldn’t pass them up. Into my stash they went. For all four necklaces, the cost came to about $30. That is less than $10 a necklace!
I love the Bead Gallery collection even though the tags don’t identify what the stones are other than semi-precious. Honestly, I don’t really care if the stones are real. I only care that they are pretty. The blue semi-precious stone with the gold is a nice addition to my collection as I tend toward silver pieces, so I am trying to open up my accessories a little to include gold. I love that Amethyst (that one did have a identifying tag since it from a different collection, so I know the stone). I paid full price, well discounted with a coupon, but it is so pretty how it fades to a brownish purple color. The sea glass stone is also such a pretty blue green color. That owl pendant is such a fun piece. It reminds me of the owl from the original Clash of the Titansmovie.
I have a whole stash of loose gems and semi-precious stones that I inherited from my father. He used to order stones from overseas with the plan of one day turning them into jewelry. My mother found a box last month and gave them to me. She is convinced there is more in the house. So I might get another box if she finds it. My goal for this summer it to learn how to set them so I can turn them into pendants like the ones pictured.
I also love taking apart thrift store jewelry and repurposing it for something new. I highly recommend if you want to update your accessory collection, check out thrift stores and craft stores!
Now I will admit that my family is not 100% green, but we do recycle and I always try to reuse/re-purpose for the crafts that I hold at my library. In fact, just yesterday, my son raided the cardboard recycling bin in our kitchen for the empty Big Box Store cereal boxes and disappeared in his room to promptly come out wearing a cereal box mask and proclaiming himself to be a robot. Is there anything more precious than the imagination of a five year old who would rather play with a box than the multitude of electronic devices his parents provide for him?
Game stations, computers, and such are great, but they can be mind-numbing which every child who has proclaimed “I am bored! There is nothing to do here!” can attest to–even while they are surrounded by high-tech or expensive name-brand toys. That is why I love Joel Henriques’ book Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations. The ideas are so simple that you will be inspired to come up with your own homespun toys to keep the kids entertained. The directions are easy to follow and the crafts are really simple. Great project for a Sunday afternoon! Need more inspiration than those contained in the pages of the book?
Well, there is a blog for that! Joel Henriques is also the brain behind the website Made by Joel. Simple pictures and illustrations detail the steps for creating your own projects that are just as fun to play with as they are good to look at.
This book is due to be published in October 2011, make sure you pre-order your copy today. You won’t be disappointed.
Some of my favorite things are simple things that can make great holiday gifts. Reverse Tie-Dye is my go to summer craft, but it is so creative that it can really be used year round. Rather than adding color, this process is taking the color away. The steps below are for a t-shirt, but try it with other clothing like jeans, tote bags, socks, hats, etc.
Lay a brightly colored cotton shirt on a plastic covered flat surface; place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt between the layers.
Pour liquid bleach into a spray bottle. For different effects, you may add water to dilute the solution.
Place cardboard cutouts, chains, keys, buttons, really whatever on top of the shirt in whatever pattern you would like.
Use the spray bottle to spray the shirt. Those covered areas are protected from the spray so they will retain their color, the uncovered areas will begin to lose their color. (Spray gingerly, get it too wet and the cotton will absorb the bleach into the covered areas as well.)
Take objects off shirt and flip it, while still keeping the cardboard inside the shirt.
Repeat steps 3 &4.
Let sit overnight.
Wash alone so bleach will not affect other clothing.
*Wear old clothing that you don’t mind getting bleach on. Use rubber gloves to protect your hands.