Earring making (DIY)

It is quite hard to imagine that earrings were a predominantly male ornament, and the connotations were different for different civilizations in different times! According to the World Wide Web, this ornament actually became a fashion accessory in the 1590’s during the English Renaissance. The gentlemen would be seen wearing gold rings embellished with pearls or other stones around that time. I must admit, I have always had a fascination for earrings. I am often caught  starting shamelessly at people’s earrings, especially if I like them a lot! A younger me would long to wear the bold statement pieces that would be dangling from my mothers ears. And I may have inherited a taste for similar stuff rom her.

mom-1   mom2

She totally rocks these doesn’t she?

Now, I am constantly on the look out for one of a kind, crazy, unusual pairs. Back in India, there is no dearth of variety and the styles catered to my taste so finding the right pair was never too hard. But after moving here, I have found very few that were to my liking. And buying anything that is mass produced is something I just do not endorse. I like exclusive, I like whimsical, I like a little melodramatic… so I attempted making some myself :). Incidentally, that was also the birth of this blog! The name makes more sense now doesn’t it ;). I just never got around to blogging about my earring making efforts because life just got in the way. And something I JUST realized – today is also my 2nd anniversary with WordPress! Perfect occasion for this post then, isn’t it? 🙂 When I look back now, I feel like 2014 is a bit of a blur. Yet, it is a significant year for me and I am so glad I got a chance to rekindle my passion for creating things while so much else was going on!

Coin-earring   Bird-earring-handmadeIMG_1226   yellow-earring

It felt amazing to be able to create exactly what I wanted (I am QUITE picky, you see). Of course, these are nowhere near perfect, I just picked up the basic tools, wires, links and some very exotic beads and other trinkets from old markets in New Delhi and got to it. Some turned out quite well, while others had issues with the wiring and the links and stones would keep falling off! Plus there was a lot that I couldn’t achieve purely due the my lack of knowledge or expertise in working with the wires and other tools.

IMG_1196  coral-rose  IMG_1198

I read a lot of blogs on jewelry design, watched innumerable YouTube videos and just kept at it. After about a month or so, I could tell I was getting better at it and the quality was far better than when I had started.

black-white-gold-earring   pompom-red

I love combining patters and textures so after a couple of weeks, I started experimenting with shrink plastic. Being able to create patterns and watch them shrink down to perfect little tiles for my earrings was so thrilling! Of course, I messed up a lot of them and none of the pairs I made were perfect or identical. Fortunately for me, I like a little imperfection. I feel that it adds a little more character to each piece. This also satisfied my urge to up-cycle and repurpose stuff that would otherwise be thrown away. Plastic salad take-out boxes became pretty little tiles for my earrings. The whole process was truly satisfying and rewarding.

ear-red-shrinkplastic  ear-shrinkplasticear-gold-shrinkplastic  shrink-plastic-new

I don’t think I ever left home without my black sharpie during this phase. I would constantly look out for opportunities to start drawing on plastic and then shrinking it down, much to my husband’s dismay. He didn’t like me staring at the oven, waiting for my wonderful little art pieces to shrink down to perfect (maybe not) patterned tiles. (I promise you, I read a lot about shrinking plastic and this is perfectly safe, provided you keep your windows open and don’t inhale the fumes directly!)

I also did a couple of bracelets and neck pieces with the odd shapes I ended up with. Linked them to old beads I had and voila, I had a brand new piece that looked great. At this point, I was pretty pleased with myself but unfortunately, this was also when things got really busy on the work front and I had to push pause on the earring/jewelry making.

bracelet2  bracelet1

I do plan to get back to making some shrink plastic jewelry and combine it with unusual stones and beads. I haven’t had a lot of time to work on any DIY projects in the last couple of months, but I plan to dedicate one night a week purely for this purpose.

neckpiece-shrinkplastic  rose

Watch this space for updates… 🙂

Drab to Fab – DIY Hutch Makeover

This is an old DIY project that I didn’t find the time to document earlier but is one of my favorites for sure. The husband had this OLD boring brown ugly traditional dated hutch. I honestly didn’t care much for it and was all set to toss it. Instead, I decided to do a little experiment with the old piece. Never thought it would fit in a contemporary setting but well, take a look at the results. 🙂

Here is a picture of the top half of the hutch just before we got started on it –

hutch-before

(Yes I know the husband’s taste in furniture is definitely questionable!)

I decided to paint it an ivory white so it would add more dimension to the room and create that illusion of space as opposed to what it was currently doing – occupying all the space in our tiny dining space and looking quite hideous at the same time! Since it is a big piece, it did take time to take it apart, sand it properly so the surface was all even and then finally paint it. This was way before I had gotten comfortable using spray paints so we went the traditional route and spent about two weekends painting away. I bought brand new knobs from Cost Plus World Market and love how they look. I was initially looking for animal face shaped knobs for that whimsical touch but couldn’t find them anywhere. These ones work pretty well for now, especially the tiny patterned ones. Instead of using a traditional pull out knob for the drawers, I decided to use two small ones.

hutch-process

A fresh coat of paint and pretty new accessories did the trick! I love how it looks now and at some point I might remove the mirrors from the inside panel and experiment with some chevron patterned wallpaper for an interesting look. But that’s another project…

I recommend using Spray Paint as it is faster and far more convenient. Refer to my post Furniture Makeover DIY for details on what paints to use and tips for painting furniture.

hutch-knobs

photo 4

before-after-hutch