Monday, January 23, 2012

Statement earring tutorial!

Oooof... and now it's Monday! I spent all morning packing to go back to school tomorrow for my last semester at college. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! So after all of that packing I needed some serious tv therapy. I turned on some Pretty Little Liars (why is it that all of the bad shows full of not-so-intelligent girls are really addictive?) and saw something really awesome- a flashy pair of tassel earrings, full of bold yet natural colors. I really loved them because while they are larger than most earrings I wear, the fact that they were beaded and using more natural colors really appealed to me. I unfortunately couldn't find a picture of the original pair that I saw on the show, but here is my version!

Slammin' statement earrings!
You will need:
-thin needle
-assortment of seed beads and bugle beads, about 6 different colors ( I used neutral colors, but use whatever you think would look fabulous!)
-cone beads (I use the Blue Moon brand, shown below)
-crimp beads
-needle nose pliers
-earring wires

First, these are the cone beads I'm talking about:

So let's begin! Take a long piece of string, about 12 inches. Then string on 6.5 inches of your first color of beads. For some of the strands, I used multiple colors and created a fun pattern. Repeat with all of your beads, stopping when you have a total of 5 strands. 

Take each strand and fold it over so the beads are aligned, making sure there aren't any large gaps in between the beads.

Then put all of your strands together, making sure all of the beads are aligned at the top of the strands.

Tie a knot directly above the top of the strands of beads.

Next, thread a crimp bead and then an earring wire onto the strings.

Fold over the strings, and pass all of them through the crimp bead a second time, this time from top to the bottom of the earring. Make sure to get ALL of the strings through the crimp bead!

Pull the thread so the cone bead covers the top of the tassel and the crimp bead and earring wire are directly above the top of the cone. When you are satisfied with how your earring looks, use your needle nose pliers to crimp the crimp beads. Then thread the strings down through the bead and cut the strings that are sticking out of the bottom of the cone bead. Your earrings should look like this:

Then make a second pair, try them on, and get ready to get some major compliments for your cool earrings!

Well, I hope that your Monday as going as well as a Monday can! The next time I write I will be back at school, slaving away on 25 page long Spanish papers. Woooo! Bring it on- just give me my diploma!!

*Please only use this tutorial to make fabulous earrings for yourself or as gifts. Please do not commit a crafting faux pas and sell them!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hello internet folks!

Welcome, folks! I hope everyone is doing well this fine saturday. I'm sitting here watching snow fall- it finally feels like winter! My kitty is not quite sure what this white stuff is that's falling from the sky- she's here making those little wistful cat noises. Her name is Lily, and she's just about the cutest thing in the world. I guess I should probably start out with a little bit about myself and why on earth I am embarking on my blogging adventure. First and foremost, I'm a crafter. When I was 5, my grandmother gave me knitting needles and a ball of lavender yarn. She put her hands over mine, and carefully guided my little fingers until they could knit and purl on their own. My mom still has the first thing I knit- a little square riddled with mistakes and almost falling apart due to some faulty cast-off stitches. But to this day it hangs on her closet doorknob. From there, I've tried pretty much every craft I could get my hands on. And most of my success in those other crafts, such as sewing and crocheting, is due to blogs. Blogs are so important to me- I love getting a glimpse into other crafters/bakers/cooks lives, seeing what they are working on and where they are pulling their inspiration from. So that is what my blog is- a place where people can come and take a peek at what I am working on, maybe learn something new, and share their own crafty thoughts. So in honor of the general wonderfulness of blogs, here is a little tutorial on how to be a totally lazy-ass sewer! I've been doing some patchwork recently, and sewing all of those little squares evenly was driving me NUTS. I'm a little OCD, so any uneven line bugged me, and I remembered this little trick that a friend taught me at my last job. The great thing is that this trick can even be applied to quilts. Wooo!
You will need:
- an assortment of fabrics
- cutting mat*
- rotary cutter, with pinking blade*
- cutting grid
- pinking shears
- iron
- light to midweight fusible interfacing
*these aren't 100% necessary, as I know they are expensive and not everyone has them! But if you have them, USE THEM HERE or be prepared to rip out your hair in frustration.

- Cut out squares from your material, as many as you want, and as big as you want. I was making a small patchwork pouch, so I used 6, 3x3 inch squares. I used the pinking blade for my rotary cutter for this.

Next, you're going to lay down your piece of interfacing with the textured side UP. This is the side that will adhere to the fabric when ironed. The dimensions of the interfacing will vary depending on how large your squares are, but just make sure you are using a piece that is a bit larger than you need, just in case. Lay your squares on the interfacing with the right side UP in the order you want them in. Make sure to leave a little bit of space in between each square, and line up the squares as evenly as possible.

Now, time for the most dangerous thing ever the best part- ironing! Be especially careful ironing if you are using smaller squares- I burn myself all of the time, and have tons of scars on my fingers and arms. So you want use a lower heat setting with NO STEAM to press those squares down into the interfacing until they have adhered nicely. For the record, I used the cotton setting and it worked quite well. Make sure that you aren't rubbing the iron back and forth- just place it on the square and hold it there for a few seconds, and repeat on all of the squares until they are stuck there and not coming off any time soon! Now that your squares are in place, trim the extra interfacing with your pinking shears.

Now comes the sewing! Fold your squares lengthwise, so the right sides are together. It will look like this:

Then you are going to sew the FOLD, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance (1/4 inch is typically to the edge of your presser foot).

Now you are going to trim the side of the fold you just sewed shut. Make sure to stick right to the edge and don't get too close to those pretty stitches you just made.

Now lay out your square with the right side facing down, open the fold you just trimmed, and press it flat.

Now, you are going to sew all of the other seams! With the right side facing up, fold over one of the rows of squares so the right sides are together. Just as you did for the other fold, sew it closed using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, trim the fold, and press it open. Repeat for the last row of squares.

So now that you've sewed everything and pressed all of your pretty little seams, the back of your square should look like this:

And the front should look like this:

See how perfectly all of the rows line up?? Yay! It might seem like a lot of work, but trust me- it's must easier than running back and forth from your ironing board to your sewing machine about a million times and constantly fretting about whether or not your seams will match up.

So, enjoy your saturday, and I hope you get to have some crafty times as well today!

Lily the kitty is glad you stopped by, and hopes that you will share some yarn with her when you return!