Year Re-Cap

Published December 18, 2015 by kurolace

Hi All,

2015 hasn’t exactly been the best year for my blog. I guess I’ve been a little preoccupied with other things in life. My grandma died at the beginning of the year, and we spent a good 6 months or so trying to get her house ready for sale. In June, I had a crushing disappointment when I tried out for a job in Japan. I say “tried out” because it was a grueling 8 hour interview process which was partly recorded. In the end I don’t think I was peppy enough for them. They didn’t really seem to care much about actual teaching experience/ability. After that I sort of decided to put finding a job abroad on hold for awhile, since I was pretty much broke (it was like $800 to go out to San Fran for the interview).

I did manage to get a job in August as a substitute teacher.  So, I’ve been pretty busy this fall wrangling 5-year-olds, getting slandered by an 8 year old, and trying to not get bitten by children with autism. The good thing is that I have a slightly improved income…although it’s still pretty much cr*p. Also, although I like teaching and some of the children, for the most part, being a sub hasn’t really made me want to be a full-out teacher. So, over the next two weeks (Christmas break), I’ll be back at the ol’ job search. *sigh*… I’m seriously getting too old for this! I’m even considering returning to Poland.

Lately I was applying my make-up, and realizing how old  I look. I don’t have any major wrinkles, but occasionally I see a few very fine lines on my forehead, and deep shadows under my eyes (genetic, not habitual). Some people still mistake me for being college-aged, but I am increasingly being asked if I have kids. I hate being asked if I have kids. I mean, I know a lot of my peers DO have kids (heck, my college roommate has 2, and one is already 5 years old), but I just don’t feel old or “adult” ish. So I have re-vowed to go off sugar (main cause of aging, if you didn’t know), and double up on the sunscreen… and once I’ve paid off my credit card debt ($1500 to go…), I’ll be investing in some dermatology stuff.

Anyways… I am not yet giving up on this blog! I still have things I’d like to post about, and I hope that the next few months will work out better.

Until then, stay creepy my strangelings!

 

 

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Etsy Finds: Skull Charms and Beads

Published March 10, 2015 by kurolace

Hi hi Sweet Strangelings!

Recently I’ve been trying to make new jewelry designs that are a bit darker in nature. You see, when I first started making jewelry I was just sort of indiscriminately buying supplies to try different styles and what not (BTW this is a terrible plan – I’m now stuck with a large sum of “cash” tied up in supplies that don’t match my intended brand style). So, what better place to start than skulls! 🙂 Yay!

So I’m a bit picky when it comes to skulls for my jewelry. I don’t like big obnoxious, ugly skulls, and I have an unexplainable aversion to anything Day of the Dead. I think it comes from being born and raised in NM… DOD stuff is just too common place around here.

So, here are some cool Etsy finds for skulls! I hope you’ll enjoy looking 🙂

 

Etsy seller: PrettyRoughDesign

Etsy seller: PrettyRoughDesign

So there are tons of carved skulls available in the loose bead market. But these are the best looking ones I’ve found. I’m not too keen on the bright bone/howlite/resin ones, which look sorta clumsy to me. But these ones from PrettyRoughDesign are made from buffalo bone, and have cranial cracklature, which is a delightful detail in my opinion. They ship from Indonesia and cost $13.50 ea + sh. So yeah, they are one the more expensive side of the spectrum. Then again, you get to choose the color (the picture shows the range from cream to dark grey).

 

beautyyourlifebirdskull

BeautyYourLife

Next up are these gold colored bird skulls. I love the look of bird skulls, which are more elegant than human ones, but I’m not keen on using real ones. Originally I was out to find natural bone colored ones (made from resin), but these gold ones are charming as well. They are 40mm long, so just a bit under 2 inches. They ship from Chinese seller BeautyYourLife and are made form zinc alloy, supposedly lead and nickle free. I would prefer gold plated brass, but oh well. 50 pieces for $12 + sh, this reflects the fact they are not gold plated.

 

 

goldmatteskulldesignyourheart

DesignInYourHeart

I found a Korean supplier who has quite a few cute charms available. Among them were two skull

DesignInYourHeart

DesignInYourHeart

designs that I really liked. Both are actually beads, as opposed to charms. By now you may realize that I currently favor gold colored/plated items. These beads are gold plated, but it doesn’t mention what the base metal is. The price for the gold ones, which have a horizontal hole, is $3.40 for 2 pieces, and the black epoxy ones, which have a wide vertical hole, are $5.00 for 2 pieces. Like I said, this seller also has lots of other cute designs, if skulls aren’t your thing.

 

 

beadingshazsmallskull

beadingshaz

Finally, some silver ones! This have cutesy look to them, in my opinion. They seem a bit cartoon-y (deformed), without being too cartoon-y. I tried to find them being offered by a US seller, or Chinese supplier, but no such luck. So, you can find them from UK based seller beadingshaz. They are “silver color” alloy, lead and nickle free. They are fairly small: 13mm in length, which is perfect for earrings or bracelet charms. 10 cost $1.86 USD, but shipping is another $6, making them about $0.80 each (which is why I was hoping to find a Chinese supplier – usually buying it directly from China is much cheaper in regards to shipping).

 

 

swarovskicrystalskull

FireMountainGems

Lastly, I’d like to feature the Swarovski crystal skulls, which are a relatively new addition to Swarovski’s product line (I think they came out about 1 year ago). You can find these on Etsy, or on a jewelry supply site like FireMountainGems. They are 14mm long, and have a vertical hole up through the skull. Yes, they are sorta borderline “clunky,” but the sparkle helps make up for that. Plus they make me think of Mayan crystal skulls and whatnot! They come in a variety of colors, and are about $5.60 each, depending on where you purchase them.

Okay, that’s it! Obviously there are lots of other skull charms and beads that you can find on Etsy and other sites… Like jewel-incrusted ones, day of the dead ones, kinda tribal looking ones, etc. But I prefer these more elegant ones, and hopefully in the near future I’ll be using them in some jewelry designs!

Until we meet again! 🙂

Fairy Tale Handbags in Shop

Published January 21, 2015 by kurolace

Sorry sweet strangelings, I’ve been away for a long time 😦  Well, a lot has been happening here, first there were the holidays, and then my grandma fell ill and died. So, the next month or two I may still be rather preoccupied, as we have yet to hold her memorial service or settle her estate.

On a far brighter note, I have add several of the totes that I made to my Etsy shop… I made these bags back in October/November. I was heart broken that no one bought one at either of the holiday craft fairs I attended, but hopefully they’ll catch someone’s eye online.

Several bags available in my Etsy store Kurolace

Several bags available in my Etsy store Kurolace

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How-To: Stitch Markers

Published August 22, 2014 by kurolace

Hiya! Today I’ve got a quick tutorial for you on making stitch markers! This is great for yourself or as a gift for someone who knits. The stitch markers that we’re going to make are no-snag, so they wont damage the yarn you’re knitting with. They can also easily be made any size. ( These are closed – so they’re the kind of stitch markers you might use when knitting in the round.)

Okay…. let’s goooooo!

DSCN1845

First lets gather some supplies:

  • Beading wire, such as “Beadalon.” Please get a small diameter with high flexibility. You can get a wider selection online, if your local craft store doesn’t carry much.
  • Wire cutting pliers
  • Crimping pliers – or chain nose will work too
  • Crimp beads. The picture shows size 0, but I actually recommend size 1. (Your wire should be able to fit through the crimp bead twice.)
  • A knitting needle of the max. size you want the markers to fit.
  • Main beads (in this case, acrylic stars)
  • Seed beads to complement the main beads (in this case pearly white)

*When choosing your beads, please make sure they have a large enough hole to fit two strands of the wire through.*

First you want to cut small sections of wire. The exact length depends on the size stitch marker you want to make, as well as the bead (or beads) you are using. Hold your knitting needle, wrap the wire around it, and cut a section long enough. Give yourself a few centimeters extra length, for workability.

DSCN1848

My sections of wire were about 2.5″ or 3″

Keep the wire around the knitting needle, hold the two ends of wire together, and put them both through a crimp bead. Push the crimp bead up towards the knitting needle to tighten the loop. Don’t make it too tight though – you want to be able to easily slide the stitch marker along the needle. Crimp the crimp bead with the crimping pliers or with chain nose pliers. If using chain nose pliers, make sure it’s really tight and the crimp bead can’t move.

DSCN1855If you are making a set of markers, you might want to go ahead and get all of the wire sections prepared before moving on to the next step. I think it helps me keep them all a bit more uniform in regards to the tightness of the loop.

Next you’ll add your beads. I put one seed bead, one star bead, and one seed bead. Obviously this is up to you, and time to use your design sense! You can use any kind of bead that’ll fit on your wires!

 

*Remember that we’re always putting BOTH wire ends through – just think of them as a single strand.*

 

Next add another crimp bead, and crimp.

Make sure the crimp bead is secure and isn’t moving at all. Then you can trim the wires so that they end just after the crimp bead. If they seem sharp to you, use a file on the ends to round them off.

DSCN1862

Viola! Your stitch marker is now complete! Continue on to make a matching set of 5 or 6, or make a bunch of mix-and -match ones! As you can see below, I made a large set of rainbow stars!

DSCN1863

Round Alice Bag

Published August 21, 2014 by kurolace

Hi there! Well, it’s been a while again… Lately life hasn’t been too much fun. Just a lot of stuff isn’t the way I’d like it to be and I often have trouble imagining that I’ll ever be free to live my own life….   Well, to escape from all that drama, I usually make stuff. Lately I discovered a Chinese book on handbags which all have fairy tale themes. I don’t read Chinese, but I was able to combine the images with my own sewing know-how to make a very cute Alice in Wonderland themed bag. My mom wanted to know how much I’d sell it for, but this first one I’ll probably keep (its not as professionally finished as I’d like it to be). If I do make another to sell, I think it would be in the $50 range. Does that seem too expensive? Keep in mind, all the applique has to be done by hand!

There wasn’t a pattern for the actual bag, so I had to make it up myself, and I’ve never sewn in-the-round like this before. I had to do the bag twice actually, because the first time I somehow messed up my circumference measurements.

The bag is 10.5″ in diameter, made from faux suede with interfacing (to stiffen it) and a cotton lining. The strap is long enough to be worn cross the body (my preferred arrangement), or can be adjusted to be shorter. The applique are done with a lovely 60% wool, 40% rayon felt (a Japanese brand). There’s gold colored beads, key-chain rings, and gold embroidery thread for the charm-bracelet design.

alicebag1DSCN1872DSCN1868

There are a few things I’ll fix for next time. I meant for the tabs which attach the D-rings to the bag to be in the seam, not sewn on the outside of the bag, but I forgot to do it, and then having done the bag twice, I got lazy and just put them on the outside. The strap could stand to be about 3 inches longer, really. And on the applique I think that I’ll do the embroidered chain (on the watch) for the top chain part of the charms bracelet (the little row of beads leading towards the upper corner of the bag).

I wanted to add a fur ball pom pom key-chain (they show it with one in the design book), but I’ve been frustrated by the fact that I can only find real-fur ones, not faux ones. Idk… I’m not strictly against fur, but since I used faux-suede, I think adding a real-fur accessory would be rather odd.

What do you think?