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… 🙂

Advertisements

Furniture makeover DIY!

Finally getting down to writing my first post! I worked on a series of DIY projects in 2013. Perhaps it is time to document a few.

Why DIY? It gives new meaning to something old, it gives you the thrill of having created something on your own, gives your home a quick makeover and it teaches you so many new skills along the way!

We had this really drab looking set of chairs and a table on our patio. I couldn’t wait to replace it or rid myself of that view somehow. Honestly, it was quite an eyesore!

Take a look for yourself…

IMG_3606

Bland and boring right? It was like a blank slate with a LOT of potential. Hence began the project. 🙂 But since this was one of my first makeover projects, I decided to keep it simple and not get over ambitious.

Not having much experience in painting furniture, I turned to a million and one blogs for help and advise. Most bloggers recommended using spray paint and so that’s what I ended up doing.

I decided to go with RUST-OLEUM Ultra Cover Spray Paint in Satin Lagoon. The color was bright and happy and I knew it would complement the trees in the background.

This is what the finished patio set looks like.

IMG_3766

I am thrilled with the results and since then, the husband and I have spent many a happy mornings out on the patio! I might change the cushions eventually and opt for a bright print instead of the black. For now, this works perfectly for the two of us.

Here are a few tips if you are new to spray painting wooden surfaces:

1. Make sure you read the instructions on the can. They may vary from brand to brand.

2. Lay newspapers or old bed sheets on the floor or work surface to avoid over-spraying onto these surfaces. Use masking tape to tightly seal any areas not to be painted.

3. Definitely wear goggles and a breathing mask to avoid the paint from getting in your eyes or nose! (We learnt this after firing a couple of rounds!)

4. Lightly sand the surface to even out any rough edges. This also ensures a smooth, even finish. I used a 100-grit sandpaper on this particular project.

5. Make sure the surface is clean and doesn’t have any dust on it before you start spraying. Dust can keep the paint from sticking to the surface.

5. Shake the can vigorously each time you spray and hold it about 6 inches away from the surface. Spay paint dries pretty quickly so you can very easily do two coats in one day depending on the size of the furniture. I used about 4 cans of paint for the table and 2 chairs.

The entire project took all of one weekend to complete.

IMG_3768

Happy transforming! 🙂