Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY: Button Elastic Bracelet

Most of the buttons I bought from Goodwill were fairly generic, mismatched and on the bland side of color. To brighten things up for my Button Elastic Bracelet, I decided to paint my buttons with nail polish since nail polish comes in an array of colors and is waterproof.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vintage Printing Plates

My friends and I ended up going to an estate sale (my first one ever) and I could easily see how attending these could become an addicting habit, because every one is different and treasures could be found at any one of them. I admit it was a bit strange walking into someone’s home and looking through belonging that had been kept, used and perhaps even cherished; and while there were moments of discomfort (since death is never comfortable), overall it was an interesting experience.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DIY: Button Tower Jewelry

I didn’t need it, but somehow I couldn’t resist buying a jar of buttons at Goodwill. They weren’t fancy buttons, but mostly just the flat two or four holed buttons used in shirts. I divided up the buttons according to their size and number of holes because I thought I’d try using the smaller ones for jewelry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vintage Books

As a child I wanted shiny and new things—hand-me-downs weren’t cool to me, but now I like finding the potential in used items. Sometimes age adds character or the design from another era is particularly appealing or an item just seems more unique since it’s no longer in mass production. I have a greater appreciation for items with some years on them, and I admit that my resistance to buy unnecessary items weakens when I see something cute and vintage.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DIY: Fabric Elastic Bracelet

Fabric scraps just seem to accumulate with every attempt at sewing a garment, and then I’m left with all these bits and pieces that sit around purposelessly. I thought I might be able to use some fabric scraps to create a simple elastic bracelet (that’s rather like a flat scrunchie).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Backing Up Bites You in the Ass

I thought I would do the responsible thing and back up my files. It’s not something I do religiously but do every so often once I’ve accumulated things worth backing up. So I started to transfer some files and had some error messages (that I admit barely looked at), and this was an ominous precursor to the unwelcome appearance of the spinning beach ball of death. Unable to force quit and with the gleefully spinning beach ball mocking me I turned off my computer and disconnected my external hard drive (which I know is bad).

When my computer was up and running again, I once again tried to transfer the files that had caused me problems before but the folder was gone. It wasn’t on my computer or my external hard drive. I blankly stared at my computer, somewhat disbelieving that my files were actually gone and then reality set in. They were gone. So I cursed my computer. I blamed it for eating my files. I cussed at it for being stupid and inept and just plain mean. And when I finished, I yelled at it again. It made me feel slightly better…slightly…for about ten seconds.

It was disappointing to lose those files. Luckily there wasn’t anything irreplaceable; I’d lost a folder of images I’d created. There were some images that if I really wanted, I’d have to draw them again in Illustrator, but most of the necessary images were hand drawings that I just had to scan, alter, crop and relink all over again. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it that irked me, it was the fact that I’d already done it once; it’s just such a waste of time and energy to redo something that was already done.

But complaining about it wouldn’t get my images replaced any faster. You just have to suck it up and do it and know that it blows. [Sigh.] I suppose it could have been worse—I could have lost something that truly was irreplaceable or a folder with vast amounts of information that would take forever to replace. So I guess in the grand scheme of things it sucked—but just mildly. [Half hearted: Yay.]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Can Only Stomach so Much Sweetness

Growing up, my parents limited the amount of sugar my brother and I were allowed—to the point that I was quite jealous of friends and classmates that always seemed surrounded by sweet options. Everyone else had the sugary, frosted and chocolate-filled cereals at home (when the sweetest cereal my brother and I got was Kix…if we were lucky). And at lunch it was no better, there were no Twinkies or Ding-Dongs or Little Debbie Snacks for me in my lunchbox. No, if I had any “desserts” it would be 100% real fruit leather (rather than the more popular yet less nutritious Fruit Roll-Ups that I would’ve rather had). And forget about soda pop. That was a luxury that I could only dream about.

My sugar deprivation was sated by going to friends houses and feasting on those sugary cereals or sweet snack cakes that were such a novelty to me; every time it was like having a mini sugar binge. Yet, perhaps my overall lack of sugar at a young age made my threshold for sugar less than the average person. Even as a kid, eating Pop-Tarts at a friend’s house seemed like a difficult task for me. (Yes, I chose the frosted Pop-Tarts, which in retrospect was probably a mistake since the regular ones are already quite sweet.) I just recall that after I ate the first one I wasn’t eager to eat the second one in the package because I’d already reached my sugar limit.

Now that I’m older I’m glad I wasn’t laden with sweets. A little sweetness goes a long way with me. And most typical low-end American sweets are too sweet for me. I don’t crave candy bars, doughnuts, fruity sweetened teas or sheet cake with that sickly sweet frosting. That’s not to say I don’t like sweet things like dark chocolate, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream—but I don’t want them to be too sweet. Thus, I’m generally more inclined to enjoy Asian low-end sweets since they tend be less sweet—which is sometimes bad because then it’s just easier to eat more of it. [Sigh.]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pop of Color

I’ve made paper jewelry before in my DIY: Paper Earrings project, but this time I decided to focus on using paint swatches for a pop of color. Paint swatches have just about every color imaginable and in particular the trendier colors of the season. One of the nice things about using paint swatches is that they’re printed on thicker paper so they’re pretty durable, and the coating on them gives them more resistance to water than the average paper stock. Granted, since they are paper they won’t last forever, but I think they’re a simple way to add some color to jewelry—and the colors can be switched out as often as you like.

For this necklace I measured and marked on the back of each paint swatch the size of the pieces I wanted. Then I used my x-acto knife and ruler to cut them out; my pieces were 0.25 inch wide and 2, 2.5 and 3 inches in length. I punched holes at the top of each rectangle and used jump rings to connect them to a chain and finished by adding a clasp.

After I’d made this necklace, I realized that the paint swatch pieces may not always stay flat against me and that the backside of the swatches could show. The backside of a paint swatch isn’t very exciting as it’s just filled with type. If I were to make this again I might glue two paint swatch backs together and (after the glue dried) then cut out my shapes from that so that no paint swatch back would ever show. Plus, it could be interesting to use two different colors that could add some visual interest or make a piece of jewelry reversible.

This necklace wasn’t very difficult to make. However, it is a bit of work to make paper jewelry considering it doesn’t have a long lifespan, but I think it could be worth it if you have a very specific color you want your jewelry to be.