Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY jewelry inspiration - fringe and spike bead necklaces

Here's some inspiration involving spike beads, feathers, raffia, fringe and collar-shaped necklaces, a mixed bag but so is my craft stash. All of these influenced an upcoming impressively inexpensive DIY. I'm showing you these because my DIY necklaces will then not look at all weird when seen in context.

Above, Lizzie Fortunato Birds of Paradise necklace, $598.

Kenneth Lane spike bead necklace, about $80.

Topshop Unique Spring/Summer 2012 RTW. Palms necklace from Lauren Manoogian.

Gold collar necklace from Iosselliani.

Noble House Design necklace as seen on The Daileigh. Leaf collar necklace via Chic Too Chic.

Tory Burch pom pom and resin necklace, $650.

Jiwaka Fringe Collar from Anthropologie, $228.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My DIY midi skirt makeover

Here's a summer thrift store skirt rescue. With disclaimers.

I liked this skirt for the minty blue color and lightweight  fabric. But it was a size 3X.

I tried a new technique for taking in the sides. It turns out that taking in the sides of a skirt is remarkably difficult. I thought it was just me but a professional seamstress confirmed that it is indeed hard.

The seams of a skirt are curved, especially around the waist and hips, and if you curve wrongly, the whole thing looks bad. If you are me, you keep pinning and repinning to get a fit to the point that a $1 skirt can have $50 of labor invested if you paid yourself a buck an hour.

My new workaround is to use the manufacturer's seam as a guide. This works best for a somewhat flowy skirt and is easiest with an unlined skirt.

Try the skirt on and pinch at the waist where it would fit. Measure the excess. Divide by half. (See this article for more details.)

Turn the skirt inside out. Measure in by the number calculated above and mark with a pin. Continue down the seam line, measuring the same distance and marking. Do the same on the other side.

Try the skirt on to verify the fit is OK.  Then mark the pin line with washable marker. Sew along your line. Trim the excess seam allowance. Done.

For being a quick job, it didn't turn out too bad.

Now for the disclaimer. I choose poorly with my skirt, first with size. When altering down so many sizes, your end product isn't going to look quite right. For one thing, the darts will be in a weird place. My second bad choice was elastic. The elastic waistband in the back of my skirt totally messed up my simplified system.

Trust me on this one: Elastic is evil.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thrifted and gifted

One of my latest favorite thrifted items is this blue and grey Vero Moda scarf. It goes with black, white, blue, grey, green and even stripes. I put it on once a week.

I have a ton of thrifted scarves, but very few that aren't from the 1990s. Which might be the reason I rarely wear a scarf.

For modern blue scarf hunters, here's a similar one from ASOS for $12.

H&M also has a cool watery blue scarf for about $14.

In other news, H&M finally opened its doors at Fulton Mall. The store is orderly, well air conditioned and brimming with product. (Those of you who have shopped at H&M in Manhattan will know these are rare attributes.) We are stilling waiting on our TJMaxx, which I predict will be a hot mess in the literal sense.

What cool stuff have you found lately?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My DIY raw crystal pendant

Make a modern minimalist crystal pendant for only a few bucks and using a limited skill set.

I made this pendant using a big inexpensive selenite crystal I picked up in New Zealand. You can use any similar crystal such as quartz. Check out Amazon, Etsy or a museum or science shop for crystals. As far as size goes, mine was a little less than three inches long and a little less than an inch wide.

To be different, I made a bar pendant rather than the typical vertical crystal pendant.

This style of necklace works best with a crystal that is flat on each end but for more ideas for other shapes see my post Raw stone and crystal jewelry inspiration.

You'll also need:
  • brass bezel wire. (I used 1/8 inch but I think 1/4 inch would have been even better.)
  • chain 
  • lobster clasp and 3 jump rings (optional)
  • jewelry glue (clear glue, not white glue)
  • Wire cutter, jewelry making pliers, round bending pliers.  (I used Martha Stewart tools gifted to me for a sponsored post. Life is so much better with real tools.)

I wanted a wrapped brass look without wielding a propane torch, and I looked for a long time before discovering bezel wire.

Bezel wire is flexible, not too hard to cut and looks good.

Your first step will be to determine which side of your crystal you want to face out. Then cut and bend two pieces of bezel wire to closely fit over the ends of your crystal. This will take a bit of bending and trimming.

The cut ends should meet at the top of your crystal, as shown below.

Use round bending pliers to make two jump rings out of bezel wire. The rings should be flat on the bottom so they can slide under the wrapped wire as shown below. The jump rings will also hide the cut line where the ends of the bezel wire meet.

Then apply glue to the inside of the wire with a toothpick and clamp your wire flat to the crystal using a vice grip. A binder clip or clothespin may also work. Wipe off any excess glue. Allow glue to dry and then glue and clamp the next section.

Add chain and findings as needed. (I used rescue chain from a damaged thrift store purse. )

Wear your high-end looking crystal pendant.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Raw stone and crystal jewelry inspiration

Here's an updated mother lode of raw crystal and stone jewelry ideas.

Thanks to Pinterest jamming with embedded images, my original post was a mess. So I've fixed all the images and added more.

For lovers of chunky, choppy, rocky gems, it's great to see quartz, agate, amethyst, azurite, malachite, chrysophrase and you name it allowed to shine in its raw state.

Here are a few of my favorites to get the creative gears tumbling. I'll have a new DIY version to share tomorrow.

Above is a Jessica Seaton ring via Fashion Canvas.

Adele Brereton silver and ceramic necklace. (Imagine crystals instead of silver.)

Double quartz pendant from Miranda Hope.

Agate necklace from Plumo.

Raw stone rings, source unknown.

Raw quartz and orange beads by Etsy seller Natasha Nicholson.

Blue and gold crystal, from Friedsophie.

Peacock pyrite ring from Adina Mills Design at ShopBop. Crystal and leather cord, source unknown

Quartz point ring from Etsy seller Nubambu.

Crystal and brass necklace from Nallik.

Interesting crystal rings from Adina Mills as seen at Coyote Negro.

Wrapped crystal bracelet from Vega Jewelry.

Anthropologie Numinous cuff. Meghann Stephenson necklace.

Annamarie Zanella crystal ring.

Pan ring from Sea of Ghosts.