Decorative Jewelry Organizer
April 10, 2012

Lately I have been looking at a lot of jewelry storage online, getting ideas for a new project. Not only do I have a TON of jewelry that is always getting tangled up together, but I also have a bad habit of taking off my necklaces and rings and leaving them in various places, only to wonder where they are later. I really like this concept because it turns your jewelry into a sort of framed “art” while hanging, so it’s beauty can be enjoyed even when it’s not being worn. In feeding my recent Pinterest obsession, (which has shown no signs of subsiding) here are some great examples I have found: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I had some time off work recently, and on friday I got a little frustrated with myself because I feel like I have been wasting this time off, and haven’t been very productive in the wake of the rush to get inventory off to my aunt’s store opening. On Friday, I sat down to make a list of weekend project ideas, and then made a shopping list, and set off for Goodwill and Home Depot.

This project set me back about $25, mostly because of the hardware. I bought a few hooks that I didn’t end up using, so I haven’t included them here, but otherwise, here is a breakdown of the cost:
Frame: $6.99 (used)
Mesh screen: $10, for 3’x5′ roll
1/8th” ‘s’ hooks: $7.49/100 (this seemed highly overpriced to me ūüė¶ … )
gold clip hooks: $3.99/100

here’s the before shot: jewelsplosion

I bought the frame at Goodwill – it appeared to be a fairly cheap, simple black frame. When I went to drill and staple into it however, we discovered it was actually made out of oak, which is a tougher wood to deal with. The issue with the frame is that you want it to be sturdy enough to be able to support the force of the mesh being stretched and stapled across it’s back, as well as the weight of the jewelry. It’s also important to consider how you will hang your frame, when deciding what style to use. I originally wanted to go with a decorative, beveled frame like this one, but I knew that I had a lot of jewelry to hang and I didn’t want to start off with such a heavy frame. I also wanted to keep it simple, so that the frame wouldn’t distract from the jewelry.

First, I gave the frame a few coats of a light blue spray paint.

Then, my dad helped me staple the screen to the back. This proved a little challenging… we couldn’t fit the screen on the inside of the frame, like where a picture and glass would nestle in. There just wasn’t enough space. So we fit it across the back, which left about a quarter inch of space all the way around.

We left a few inches around while we stapled, which allowed us to hold and stretch the screen, to make sure that it was evenly and taughtly attached. Next, we trimmed the screen down to size. This part was a little tedious, as the only way to trim the screen is to cut each individual bit with skinny trimmers. A word of advice, for anyone who attempts this project: These trimmed edges, no matter how carefully you cut, will still be able to scratch the hell out of you if you brush up against them. We could tell at this point that we would have to cover the back somehow, to prevent not only personal injury, but also to protect the wall.

(alternate post title: Dad Crafts 2012: Easter Edition)

Once trimmed down to size, my dad drilled holes along the bottom, so we could screw in some clip hooks, to hang rings.

Now that we were getting near finished, we assessed the inside gap between the frame and the screen. My dad ingeniously suggested I sew some little tubes of fabric, and glue them on the inside. The best part was that I didn’t have to worry about any seams showing, so it was a cinch to put together. I layered some cute flannel with strips of felt, and folded them into the gap with glue.

I had actually already decided to hang this display from the second towel rack in my bathroom, rather than worry about trying to find a nail strong enough to hold it on the wall. But just in case I decide in the future to hang it like an actual picture, and to protect from the deadly spikes of wire on the back, I glued strips of felt to the back of the frame. You can’t see this at all from the front, but it allows for a nice finished look on the back.

click to enlarge!

I originally intended to hang this from the towel rack with a large S hook, but the one’s I bought wouldn’t fit around the frame. Then I remembered that I had these clear plastic shower curtain holders, and they did the trick quite nicely. I added a third clip in the middle for reinforcement.

¬†Admittedly these little s hooks aren’t ideal – they look nice, and I prefer them to a hook that is attached more permanently to the board, but things must be removed fairly gingerly or else several pieces come falling off at once. These were the absolute smallest hooks I could find, and in fact they weren’t even hanging within the hook display at Home Depot – they were shoved underneath, and the package was taped, as if it had been kicked around for some time. It led me to believe they don’t typically make hooks this small or smaller anymore, and this was old product. If I do this kind of project again I will probably do some scouting for a better, cheaper hanger.

I really love how all my jewelry looks on here, and I think this will encourage me to vary my wear more, as I often get into the habit of wearing one piece repeatedly, when it is new and my favorite.

This… made me realize I have a TON of rings. This is not even all the rings I own! I do wish there was a way to display them so they are facing up, but I couldn’t think of any. Further development may be required….

Until next time!

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Portland Zine Symposium 2011
August 13, 2011

The 2011 Portland Zine Symposium was wildly successful! This was the first year in a new location, which was really great! We had a lot more light, and separate rooms for tables, so it felt more split up and not quite so overwhelming to walk into. As usual, every single table was overflowing with great new projects.

I sat next to this really great doorway arch of bamboo and paper cranes!

Here’s day one. I took a bit different approach to my table display this year, I borrowed some really great acrylic book holders from work that allowed me to stand up all my zines, and have a lot more table space than previous years. I decided to bring my typewriter for the display partially because of the extra space, but also because I talk about it in my two newest zines, so I thought it’d be a cool edition, and it goes along with my whole aesthetic.

You can see my two newest projects – on the second book display from the left, in the front pocket, with the typewriters image on the front, is my zine called How I Became A Connoisseur of STUFF. It is a zine about the fine, almost microscopic line, between collecting and hoarding. The other new zine is laying out in front of the typewriter. It’s called Carriage Return*, and it’s a zine of typewriter drawings I did. I’ll make another post soon with more info/details on these zines, and how you can get them!

Day two. Notice the blue paper note in place of HIBACoS… I sold out! I made a little note so that people could leave their email address, and I’d let them know when the second round of copying was finished and it was in my Etsy page. The zine was really popular, much to my surprise and glee! The Multnomah County Library bought 6, and it will soon be in circulation, joining my zine The Left Handed Knitter. So exciting!!!

Here’s Nichole’s side, my trusty tabling mate. I love how our things look together!

All in all it was a great weekend, I did some awesome trades, bought some intriguing zines, and bumped into some old friends. And this year, surprisingly enough, I actually made a little money. I’m never in it to make a buck, but it’s always a great surprise to come home with more than I left the house with. It’s also always a huge compliment that people consider my publications worth a few singles. I had one lady spent $16 at my table alone! She bought several things for a friend, and one or two zines she bought two of. A lot of times people will go right by my table, especially the guys, because my aesthetic is pretty specific and it just doesn’t appeal to everyone. That’s totally okay with me, we all have our tastes. And it usually means that the people who are interested in my stuff really love it, because the style appeals to them so much. I always come home feeling so inspired from the weekend, it’s really a fantastic feeling. ¬†I’m already developing ideas for next year!

Here’s the view from my side of things.

Portland Zine Symposium Summer 2010
September 7, 2010

Well, it seems I am still recovering from the symposium, a week and a half ago.

I had a really amazing time, met lots of people, saw many familiar faces, and was completely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of impressive and wonderful things that people brought to trade and sell.

I made many sales as well as trades, which I haven’t done as much of in the past. It’s really nice to be able to think of your goods not only as something worth money to others, but something that is as good as money, and a bargaining tool! My most popular item by far was the Left-Handed Knitter.¬† I sold several packages of Beat Writers Notebook series, one to a journalist who remembered interviewing Allen Ginsberg and told me a great story about driving around with him looking for Kerouac’s mom’s house in Florida some twenty-five years ago.¬† I gave out a ton of business cards for both my Etsy and this blog, which I hope may bring in a few new interested readers. If you are reading this post as a result of a business card you picked up at the symposium, please say hi in the comments!

Most notable of my sales, I sold 6 of my new zine The Left-Handed Knitter (etsy link forthcoming) to the Multnomah County Library. They have quite an extensive zine collection and are very wonderful about supporting the local zine community. They bought one copy for each of their locations in the greater Portland area, so my zine will be available to check out! I’m really excited about this, and can’t wait to see what kinds of feedback I get on the site and my work.¬† Very exciting news.

These covers were a little agonizing to cut… The creative part of my mind works so much faster than the logical, planning part. I get these genius ideas but never think through the production and definitely underestimate any time it will take to complete things. But somehow it always seems worth it in the end!

Nichole made a really cute banner for her table with her main zine name, Little Lady. This is our third year tabling together, I’m so glad she decided to come out of her tabling hiatus to hang out with me this year!

Here’s the muscle who helped me lug all my crap in, and most charmingly peddled my wares! Rian also gets credit for all the pics. Boyfriend of the year!

And so ends this year’s zine symposium… and I’m already looking forward to next year! I have a few zines in mind to start working on this winter – my mom has been trying to talk me into making a zine with short stories/accounts of awful, funny, awkward, and furious encounters I have with customers at my work, of which there are many. I think this would be ultimate if I could accompany the stories with comical little drawings, which is something I may have to contract out. I also was thinking of making a mini-zine with my funniest twitter updates.. though I’m still wondering whether anyone else will find me as hilarious as I find myself. While walking around, Rian and I were inspired by a little zine about wiener dogs, and I think we should try out hand at our own fanzine.. Well, I have a whole year to think about these things! Stay tuned for further posts on the library’s catalog, I’ll let you know when my zine is available for checkout!

Make Your Own Knitting Needles
June 20, 2010

In doing some research for a zine I am making about knitting, I came across this website which features a simple yet brilliant idea: making your own knitting needles out of dowel!

I have often been frustrated about the prices of needles, especially Clover brand Takumi knitting needles, which I prefer over aluminum or plastic.¬† Though I work at a craft store now, and have an employee discount as well as the ability to squirrel away coupons and wait for sales, I still don’t want to pay $5 every time I want to do a new project with a new needle size!

Amy over at KnittingHelp.com has a really great site with many helpful tutorial and technique videos, including one about making your own needles from simple dowel you can buy at a craft store. Just sharpen the ends to a point, (smaller dowel can be sharpened with a pencil sharpener!) sand the dowels down very smoothly, and attach a bead or wooden stop to the other end so your work won’t slip off. and voila!

watch the video here.