Tuesday, October 30, 2012

marbled gray and black wire set

black wire with various white, grey, and black marble-y beads.  this one I made for my baby sister Lisa for her birthday.  I tried two other color combinations before I finally found one I liked.  might make a matching bracelet, or might just drop it in the mail.

also contemplating whether to use black nail polish to touch up all the places where the black scratched off the wire, exposing copper colored wire.  or maybe that's part of it's charm :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

faux glass tile backsplash

This is one of the projects / hacks that I'm most proud of, that was done last March.

We have a house built in the late 40s, and some parts of it haven't been updated since at least the 70s.  Our kitchen has issues, and some of them we have been able to address with some creative thinking and help from my parents.

Jeff was drooling over this fancy, expensive tile called green onyx.  We liked the look of glass tile too, like subway tile (the picture on the right we didn't have at the time, but it was totally what we were thinking :)

so, crazy prototyping hacker that I am, came up with the idea to make a fake version that would be much cheaper (since we weren't actually redoing the kitchen otherwise).  It is a very temporary solution, but we love the way it came out and it's actually held up surprisingly well so far! :)

What you probably wouldn't guess (unless you already know the story ;)  is that the above faux "tiles" are made from painted contact paper.  I used white contact paper, a fat paintbrush, green wall paint, white wall paint, plus dark green and yellow-orange acrylic paint.

I cut a 5' length of the contact paper and drizzled the paints on it (mostly white and green with a few drops of dark green and yellow).  Then before it got a chance to dry, I swept across it with the fat paintbrush, blending the colors a bit but leaving it streaky.  I made 4 sheets of contact paper, all of which of course came out different.  Then when they were thoroughly dry, I used the guidelines on the reverse of the contact paper to cut the sheets into a gazillion 4"x8" rectangles (using scissors and a paper cutter it went surprisingly fast).  After cutting, I grouped the "tiles" with similar colors/textures together.

I made sure the backsplash (sandy colored formica countertop which they put continued up the wall for some reason) was very clean.  I put down blue painters tape as a guideline at the bottom, and then just eyeballed it.  I applied a few tiles along the bottom row, leaving an inch from the countertop.  Then I applied a few tiles in the row above it, etc until I had a completed section several tiles wide.  I mixed up the tile colors/textures so it didn't look continuous.  There's no grout - just the original formica showing through :)  Applying all the tiles took less than 2 hrs, probably a lot less time than it would take to put up real tiles!

The corners of a few tiles peel up slightly, but none of the paint has come off even when splashes of who-knows-what need to be washed off.  I think it would look even more awesome and be more durable if it were coated with a thick coat of clear gloss, but that wasn't part of this solution :)

tomato cage ghosts for Halloween

This past weekend we emptied out the Summer stuff from the raised beds and kids' planters.  When I was about to throw away the  rusty old tomato cages, I had an idea.  I turned them upside down and bent the spikes (that would normally be in the ground) inwards to make a rounded top.  I found 3 white-ish pillow cases (why do I even own white pillow cases?) and simply put them over the cages.  Some of them were too small to reach the bottom of the cage, but that just made it look like they were floating :)  A fat black sharpie marker gave them all different faces

I was going to use tent stakes to keep them in place on the front lawn, but I couldn't find them, so I used broken off pieces of the tomato cages, bent into a tent stake shape.

We have a lot of old dress-up stuff, so I gave one the dollar store cowboy hat, another dollar store fairy wings, and the third an old rainbow clown wig.  I tried to use solar powered lawn lanterns to light them, but the most effective light turned out to be a battery-powered LED desk lamp, also from the dollar store (notice a trend here? :)

(I think Hailey was flapping the wings of the fairy ghost in the nighttime picture :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

autumn beads with gold wire

My latest, pretty amber colors and gold (colored) wire, perfect for fall!

I actually made the earrings a few months ago for my friend Rachel (who wears a lot of earthy colors), before I remembered she doesn't have pierced ears

This was the first set I made where I didn't have someone specific in mind.  I think I'll start putting some on etsy soon, fun but eek! :) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rainbow bead necklace for my niece Eva

She doesn't have one favorite color, so I made it with rainbow patterns.  I think the big to small beads (not a trick of the crappy camera) will help it feel like a fancy necklace so he'll less interested in her mommy's grown up necklaces :)

Beading supplies and organization

I've been building my beading and wire working supply since I got back into it a few months ago.   I've also been organizing and reorganizing it all!  After a trip to the Container Store last week where I found some perfect containers (clear, inexpensive, snug-lidded, and with lots of small compartments), I am finally happy.  Now that I am happy with how it's all organized, I can also better see what I have an what I don't have.  It turns out I own a lot of blue-to-green, for example :)

I put all the smaller compartments in a file storage box that has a carrying handle, so I can take my projects with me.  In addition to the beads and findings shown in this pic (which I'm having trouble attaching from phone), I have a box that holds wire and tools, plus a tray that has my current project(s) in it

Friday, October 12, 2012

purple bead soup jewelry

this uses some similar aspects to the pink set I made for Hannah.  most of the beads I used for these came from my friend Allana who sells beads.  She sells mixed beads which she calls "bead soup" in lots of different colors.

still having a hard time with rings.

 I'm glad I "splurged" on the black velvet display thingy (actually only cost $4), makes the pictures look so much nicer :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

recipe: corn chowder

Deirdre's "no recipe" Corn Chowder

(so called because it seems whatever recipe we try, we all prefer my winging-it recipe, so now I'm writing it down :)

1/2 lb bacon slices, chopped
4 c water
2 c heavy cream (or half-n-half, or even milk)
boullion for 6 cups of liquid above (3 cubes)
16 oz package of frozen corn (3+ cups)
1 small onion, chopped
2 small potatoes, chopped

Cut the (sliced) bacon into small strips, then fry in a pan until crisp
Put water and cream into large pot, add boullion and stir until dissolved
Add corn to pot, cook on medium heat
Using slotted spoon, move bacon from frying pan to pot
Chop potatoes and onions.  Add potatoes directly to pot
Cook onion in remaining bacon grease until translucent
Using slotted spoon, move onions from frying pan to pot

Cook for at least half an hour at low-medium heat
Taste and add salt, pepper, or additional corn as needed

(most of the seasoning flavor comes from the boullion, I used 2 cubes chicken and 1 cube veggie-herb boullion)

Delicious served with crusty bread and a savory meat like sausage.  Serves 4 to 6