Inspirations

All posts in the Inspirations category

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).

 

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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! 🙂

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

YouTube DIYer: Mark Montano – Galaxy Chair!

Published May 21, 2014 by kurolace

I found a new channel to subscribe to on YouTube. Mark Montano has a slew of cute DIY videos, but my favorite by far is this one on upcycling a vintage chair with homemade galaxy fabric. I wish I had an apartment of my own to do this! (No room here at my parent’s house).  The bit about making the fabric would have made a pretty good how-to video on its own!

Additionally he has videos on making safety-pin feather designs, an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque chair and dish set, and really cute mini-hat bobby pins. He has a series called “Guy DIY” too, for the fellas out there.

Wroclaw Jewish Cemetery

Published May 9, 2014 by kurolace

In December I visited Wroclaw for Christmas. I decided to pay a visit to the Jewish Cemetery, because it is old, grand, and in ruins. After the events of the Holocaust there was no-one to take care of the Cemetery, and it fell into ruin. Today it is a museum and you can pay a small fee to go in and walk around, take pictures, etc. It receives only minimum maintenance – as the derelict state of the cemetery is considered to be part of the memorial to the Jews of Wroclaw. I went two days after Christmas… it was cloudy, cold, and nearly empty – I only had to share the large cemetery with a British couple (they still managed to get in the way of some of my photos, however).  Many of the fancy tombs are falling apart, and some areas are so overgrown that you can’t even see the stones, just lumps under the ivy.

Wrocław Dwarves / Gnomes

Published January 11, 2014 by kurolace

wroclaw_094

 

I’ve seen them described as dwarves, and as gnomes…one thing is sure: Wrocław, Poland, has a lot of them! Oh, and the city’s name is pronounced “Rots-wahv”. Previous known as Breslau, when it was part of pre-ww2 Germany. I spent 5 days at Christmas there, and since most everything was closed for 3 of those days, I did a lot of Gnome hunting. These are a few of the pictures I took during my trip. (Wroclaw has at least 100 gnomes, some reports even say 250)

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wroclaw_044

 

 

 

 

All Saints’ Day

Published November 4, 2013 by kurolace

poland_278

All Saints Day (Nov. 1) varies from country to country. Here businesses close and everyone goes to the cemetery and spends much of the day visiting graves, tidying the grave, and placing flowers and candles for the departed.  All the Catholic cemeteries, which are much much bigger, are a bus ride away, so I found a smaller, “Evangelical” (historically Lutheran) one only a few walking minutes from our home, and made my flatmates take me there on their way to a bar that night. At first we couldn’t figure out where the entrance was, then we finally got inside and walked around a bit. All of the graves were lite, except the very old historical section. It was very lovely and of course a bit creepy. 🙂

Recent graves are most abundantly decorated.

Recent graves are most abundantly decorated.