Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pom-Pom Party

These gorgeous flower-like pom-poms look intricate and difficult to make, but they are actually fairly simple. However, they do require an ounce of patience (see step 6). With adult supervision, they would be a fantastic project of a little gal’s birthday party; a beautiful memento for the young princesses to take home and hang in their own palace. Have a bunch of boys? Switch to using bright primary colors along with black and have the tykes create their own far away galaxy of planets.

Made in smaller sizes and hung at a variety of heights, a group of these would make a great mobile for a child’s room or nursery. Make them in a bride’s wedding colors for her bridal shower or in soft pastel colors for a baby shower. Create themes based on the season; black and orange for Hallowe’en or red, white and green for Christmas.

Below are the instructions to get you started


• Tissue paper (20 inches x 30 inches). Choose one to three colors in similar shades of the same color to keep things from looking like an acid circus. Unless that’s the look you’re going for. Local dollar stores usually have a good selection.
• Scissors, either plain ol’ straight edged or a more decorative scalloped or waved edge.
• Monofilament fishing line
• Thin floral wire, white if you can find it.

Here's how:

1. Stack four to eight the sheets of paper on top of one another, depending on how full n’ puffy you want them to be.

2. Now, fold the sheets into 1.5-inch accordion folds, all the way across. Be sure to keep the folds even.

3. Prune the ends of the tissue into round or pointed shapes to give them a petal-like look.

4. Cut about a foot and a half length of floral wire.

5. Wrap the wire around the center of the folded tissue and secure it by twisting. Trim the excess wire.

6. Now the fun part! Pull apart each layer, separating it from the center one piece at a time (here’s where that patience comes in handy).

7. Measure the length you'd like to hang your pom pom from and cut a piece of monofilament accordingly.

8. Knot the monofilament to the floral wire and hang!

9. Try varying the size of the tissue paper and the cut edge to create an array of effects. Repeat until you've created a pom-pom fantasyland. The more, the merrier!

Not in a crafty mood or short on time? (hey, it happens) . . . PomLove, Fiesta Pom Pom and orangekisses all have a spectacular selection of ready to ship pom-poms in a variety of sizes, as well as a custom order option for your special occasion or color pallet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Silver Spoons: not just for your mouth anymore . . . .

When visiting London in 2008, I had the pleasure of browsing through several vintage flea markets, especially in the prestigious Notting Hill neighborhood. It seemed everything old and British was for sale (well, not quite everything… the Queen was not being offered up for purchase). One of the things I really enjoyed sifting through were the stalls of old silver, which was generally for sale by weight instead of by piece, due to the current value of silver prices.

Always on the hunt for new and interesting jewelry, I found a stall where a young lady was turning antique silverware into wearable art. Forks became bracelets and tie clips, spoons became rings and pendants.

In the seventeenth century, English servants who married began the tradition of crafting wedding rings from stolen bits of silverware, since they couldn't afford a proper ring.

As recent as the late 1960’s and through the 70’s, spoon rings were very popular with the young  and rebellious, who wore them as a symbol of breaking from family traditions and conformity. Nothing says “family revolt” more than chopping up the heirloom silverware. These “repurposed” jewelry pieces were mainly available at flea markets and craft sales, where sellers would offer them inexpensively at a couple dollars per piece. Because of the nature of the ring’s design, these were also easy to resize, as most rings were created in a spiral shape that wrapped around the finger instead of a closed and soldered band.

Still somewhat popular today, these rings are beautiful and reasonably easy to make. Two great websites with detailed instructions on how to make your own silver spoon ring as well as a list of materials and equipment you will need are at Essortment Hobbies and Ehow.

Grandma’s silverware . . .beware!

Not feeling crafty enough to make your own? The photos displayed here are some beautiful examples of the several different patterns for you to purchase by AnneMariesAccessorys and dankartistry

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring . . is in the Bag !

Warm weather, blooming flowers, birds chirping and Easter only a couple days away. . . .

Here are a trio of lovely spring tote bags to brighten you day. These bags all feature roomy interiors with six pockets; some smaller for your cell phone, others larger to secure your water bottle or pocketbook.

These bags can be put to use for a variety of tasks. Use one as a book bag, another as a diaper bag to hold just the things you need for your little one while visiting a friend for coffee. Load one up with flip-flops, a good book & a blanket and head to the beach (just remember the sun screen). I have one for craft projects that holds everything I need (crochet hooks, scissors, balls of yarn, buttons) which I can toss in the car at a moment’s notice if I am heading out to my nephew's cello lesson or to Oma’s house for coffee.

All the totes are handmade and feature many vintage or upcycled fabrics from . . .oh. let's see . . .a grad dress, a full length skirt that I shortened, Italian dupioni silk swatch samples, cushion covers that I tried to make that ended up being too small. Each has its' own character and no two bags are the same. The unique buttons are from either my mom's or my Oma's collections. . . pssst! Mom, see what happens when you innocently ask "Can you use these fabric and buttons for anything?"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Inspirations in Jewelry

I will be the first to admit that there are a lot of jewelry designers out there. And after awhile, some of it starts to look the same (except those designs made by moi, bien sur). But then every once in awhile, I stumble across someone who is designing jewelry so differently, so uniquely, so . . .well, FRESH . . .that it causes my mouth to physically hang open.
Tonight I came across Barbara Macleod Jewellery, (yes, with the European spelling of the craft) or bcm999 as she’s known to fellow Etsians (those of us who sell and spend way too much time on Barbara graduated in 2007 with a first class degree in Jewellery and Metalwork Design from Duncan of Jordanstone Art College in Dundee. Soon after she was awarded a start up grant by the Scottish Arts Council, and returned to her home town of Lochinver, - a small picturesque fishing and crafting village in the northwest Highlands of Scotland to set up her workshop. Since then, she has sold her designs through local and international galleries, major events and her website.

Her designs blend the perfect mixture of modern and classic. Crisp, bold yet intricate silverwork is paired with a soft pallet of rosy pink and ecru, mint green and sky blue. The current collection very much reminds me of delicate Easter egg patterns.

Each piece is wearable for both daily work life and night time glamour. Compliments and curiosity will both be forthcoming when wearing one of these gorgeous designs.

Given the funds, I would be up for purchasing more than one of these, and not just for wearing at Easter.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Earrings for Spring

Spring is definitely in the air, despite the smattering of snow we received today. The crocus and daffodils are in full force, the cherry blossoms are out on the trees . . .and the buzz of creativity is in the air. All this excitement has turned my thoughts towards new beginnings. New projects, new job . . . .new wardrobe, perhaps?

Here are a few new accessories to inspire the new look of spring:

Pink and mauve are two colors that whisper spring. Here they work together in a pair of pink pearl and mauve blister mother of pearl earrings (left). Delicate blue and pink crystals accent the look. How very sweet. How very spring.
 Another color that heralds spring in green. Here green is presented in a pair of amazonite jade earrings with Bali silver flower accents (right). 

Denim blue is a staple year round. A great pair of earrings to match with your favorite jeans are these Montana Austrian crystal and silver pave earrings (below left).  Or try these navy crystal and ribbed silver bead earrings with pale rose quartz (below right).

Just add a spring floral top and a light sweater, slip on your ballet flats and you're set. Perfect for a Saturday trip to the local market or brunching on a Sunday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A New Look For Hoop Earrings

Here's a quick fix for giving new life to your existing jewelry. These connectors and pendants by EverLuxe are delicate and light enough to be threaded onto silver or gold hoops to add a new dimension to your existing earrings.
Or, you could place them between a stud earring and your ear. Imagine a diamond or colored stone sparkling at the top of these.
They would look great with pearl studs as well. And at such great prices, you can easily create several new looks by changing and swapping the look to extend your jewelry wardrobe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Under a Canopy of Cherry Blossoms

It is the beginning of March, and as many of you have witnessed, Vancouver has been experiencing some rather warm weather. Last week it was a bit funny to see broadcasts from the Olympic events with daffodils in full bloom as a backdrop.

One of the other markers of spring that has come early this year is the blooming of the cherry trees. Many of the streets in Vancouver are lined with these beautiful and majestic Prunus Cerasus speciosas covered in pale pink puff balls. There are an estimated 36,000 flowering cherry trees in Vancouver. Each year the city holds a Cherry Blossom Festival with several events such as a Haiku contest, a Bikes & Blossoms Tour, and a photo contest taking place around Vancouver. Other cities with large cherry blossom festivals include San Franciso CA, Macon GA, Washington DC, and Honolulu, HI. The largest and most festive celebrations take place thoroughout Japan.

Cherry blossoms figure prominently in Japanese culture. The cherry blossom is seen as a symbol of represents the transience of life; it is a very delicate flower that blooms for a very short time and so reflects the teachings of Buddhism that state all life is short and transitory. A falling cherry blossom represents the beauty of snow or a life taken too soon by battle.

In Japan, the flowers are dried and used to make tea. The leaves (sakura leaf or cherry leaf) are used in cooking and medicine to make 'cherry tree rice cake'
If you are not able to visit the festival, there is another way to bring the cherry blossoms to you. Have a look at these gorgeous painted wooden bangles by amy987.

Each bangle is hand painted and unique, and is painted both inside and out. What a great way to keep the cherry blossoms with you all year round.
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