craft

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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! 🙂

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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

DSCN1928 DSCN1932 DSCN1919 DSCN1912

Speedy Stylus Make-over

Published May 7, 2013 by kurolace

Hi There!

While at Walgreens the other day, I happened to discover that they had some smart phone styluses for sale for $5. I bought a blue one to use with my phone. Its okay on its own, but a little plain.

Seriously the hardest part was taking the bar-code sticker off.

Seriously the hardest part was taking the bar-code sticker off.

So I decided to try to beautify it a little bit. All you need to do this is some rhinestones, or rhinestone stickers, and some glue. Also the little “rhinestone picker-uper” is useful if you use small rhinestones.

Obviously the bunnies are too big, but I used one of the little hearts from that set.

Obviously the bunnies are too big, but I used one of the little hearts from that set.

A few minutes later, and you have a slightly more cute stylus! Yay! If you have some tiny cabochons, you could also use those. I didn’t happen to have any that I felt were tiny enough.

I kept it simple, so that the rhinestones don't bother my hand or get caught on stuff.

I kept it simple, so that the rhinestones don’t bother my hand or get caught on stuff.

Yep… it doesn’t get much easier than that!

How-to: Make Faux Chocolate Decoden Cabochons with Hot Glue

Published April 27, 2013 by kurolace

That’s right! Hot Glue isn’t just for fake sauces…. you can use it to make faux chocolate / candy cabochons for your decoden project! Its super easy and fast! And you only need a few supplies for it.

Glue sticks, molds, and glue gun

Glue sticks, molds, and glue gun

Here’s the list:

  • Opaque colored hot glue sticks (available at Hobby Lobby or on Etsy)
  • Glue gun (cool can be used, but medium/hot will give a better result – just make sure it doesn’t get hotter than the mold’s max temperature)
  • Silicon Rubber Mold (Made by you, or purchased – check out Etsy for a ton of sellers – remember simple shapes are best for this)
  • Sparkle / Glitter Nail Polish (optional)

You do need to make sure you are using a mold which can tolerate high temperatures. I think most silicon molds are good up to 400F. If it can be baked in the over, its probably okay.

There are two methods for doing this. The fastest way is to use the glue gun w/ glue stick to fill the mold. This works well with simple (smoother) shapes, especially if you are using a low temperature glue gun (the glue may start to cool before it can fill all the tiny details of a complicated mold).

I have yet to master the skill of holding the camera in one hand, and working with the other hand.

I have yet to master the skill of holding the camera in one hand, and working with the other hand.

The other way is to cut the glue stick into tiny pieces, fill the mold, and then place it in the oven. The Oven method can be used with more complicated shapes since the glue has more time to spread out. Set your oven to about 350F. Bake the mold with glue in it until the glue has completely melted and spread out in the mold.

Let the glue and mold cool completely, then pop the finished item out! If the glue overflowed anywhere, you can use a craft knife to trim it off.

I used a low temp glue gun, which is why there are so many imperfections. That's okay, because I can always cut them up and melt them via oven.

I used a low temp glue gun, which is why there are so many imperfections. That’s okay, because I can always cut them up and melt them via oven.

 

I had to change glue sticks half way through this, but otherwise it looks very much like a chocolate!

I had to change glue sticks half way through this, but otherwise it looks very much like a chocolate!

 

An optional step is to paint some glitter nail polish on the finished piece to add some sparkle.

Kawaii Macaroon Charm Necklaces

Published April 26, 2013 by kurolace

Hi! Here are some macaroon charm necklaces I made using paper clay. Next time I think I’d use resin clay to try to give a little more weight to them (they are extreme light weight), and maybe try to make the macaroons a bit flatter…. I haven’t put these in my etsy shop yet, but I think I will… just cause I don’t know what I’d do with 6 necklaces like this, lol.  What do you think?

Handmade paper clay macaroons with little gem decorations...

Handmade paper clay macaroons with little gem decorations…

 

 

Christmas Gift for Dad – Embroidered Hankerchiefs

Published December 23, 2012 by kurolace

Here’s the gift I’m giving my dad this Christmas. He does actually use handkerchiefs, and asked for some new ones. I found some blank cotton ones at Sears in the men’s department. 6 in a box, Docker’s Brand. There were some fancier ones there too, with Monograms on them. Well since I have an embroidery machine, I figured, why not monogram them myself?

Of course, this was a learning experience and they didn’t come out perfectly. But none were ruined either! The main issue was centering the design… I couldn’t find my hooping aide / template thingy, so I sort of eyeballed it…. wrong, most of the time, lol. The other issue was that there is a decorative “ribbon” stripes on the handkerchief, and the pile was apparently different than for the rest of the hanky, so there were some stitch issues there too…

I don't particularly like 3 letter monograms, so I just used my dad's first initial.

I don’t particularly like 3 letter monograms, so I just used my dad’s first initial.

Next time I’ll try to plan ahead and either make some from scratch (which is kind of a pain, IMO), or buy the embroidery blanks type (special items meant to be embroidered). Then maybe it’ll go a little bit better!

How-To: Easiest Bracelet Ever

Published February 21, 2012 by kurolace

Whether you are new to making jewelry, or an old-timer who just wants to whip up something fast, these stretchy bracelets are the easiest beading project I know of.

A nice & short supply list

One thing that makes them easy is the fact that you don’t need any pliers or wire cutters or crimps, etc. You just need:

  • Some beads (I’m using black 6mm matte glass beads & flat diamond-shaped red glass beads)
  • Stretchy Beading Cord – This comes in different colors and diameters, so make sure you get the right diameter for the beads you are using.
  • Hypo-Cement
  • Scissors and a measuring tape or ruler

You should be able to find every thing you need at your local hobby / craft store, but if not, you can certainly find it online.

One of the most important things about making a stretchy bracelet is to make sure you make it the right length. It needs to be long enough to fit around your wrist comfortably, but short enough that it doesn’t fall off your hand. If you are making the bracelet for yourself, you can measure your own wrist to get an idea of how long to cut the cord. If you are making the bracelet as a gift, or to sell, then you can usually go by the guideline of about 7-7.5″ for most adults. (7.5″ is usually a bit too long for these stretchy bracelets though) Cut the cord to at least 8.5 inches just to be safe – this way you’ll have enough for when you make the finishing knot.

If you are using really big beads, you’ll need to make the bracelet longer. If you use really small beads, you’ll make the bracelet shorter. So as

I actually only cut the cord to 7.5", which was almost too short. I barely could tie the knot!

you string the beads,  keep checking the length of the bracelet by wrapping it around your wrist.

Once you’ve got it to the proper length, you’ll need to tie a knot. I use a basic square knot (right over left, left over right).

Now the awkward part… Before you pull the square knot tight, you need to put a dab of hypo-cement in the middle of the knot. Then pull the knot tight, and hold it for a few minutes as the glue sets. Try not to get any glue on the beads next to the knot.

Let the knot dry completely – say, about 10 minutes to be sure. Then try the bracelet on. Take it off, put it on, pull on the cord a little bit to make sure the glue & knot hold.

Finished!

If you used a small enough (diameter) cord, with beads that have larger holes, you might be able to stick the cord ends back through the beads. Otherwise, trim the cord down so that there is only about 2 mm on each side of the knot.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a bracelet. You can wear just one, or make a few to mix & match.

A few extra notes:

  • If you are planning to sell the bracelet or to give it as a gift, please take if for a “test drive” : Wear it for at least a few hours or a full day, to make sure the knot holds.
  • You can use a crimp bead & cover on the larger diameters of cord if you want. This way you cover the knot up.
  • Clean the tip of the hypo-cement off before trying to put glue on the knot. Having old, semi-dried globs at the end can make the knot look messy.
  • You can string a lot of bracelets and then knot and glue them all at once (This way you only have to uncap & use the hypo cement once). I use those clamp-paper clips (the ones with the black clamp) at each end of the bracelet in order to hold the beads on the cord.

Some of the many stretchy bracelets I've made.