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!

Tiny Terrariums
February 7, 2012

I have had this terrarium how-to on Handmadeology bookmarked for what seems like forever, and recently felt inspired while looking through the glass jars at Goodwill. I found the two larger ones for only a dollar each. Thrifting is the perfect way to look for terrarium cases because often you can find cool older glasses and jars, that may be faceted or in odd shapes. All you need is something with a lid – and if it comes with a rubber stopper attached to the lid to create a seal, as these two did, it is easy to remove with a small flat head screwdriver.

While the tutorial lists pea gravel OR sand as optimal water filters, I decided to use both because I really like the layered look. I got both the rose tinted pea gravel and the large granule sand at Lowes, where you can find all of the other necessary ingredients or any other home improvement store or garden center, like Home Depot. The moss is transplanted from my parents yard РI literally went out to their cement stairs with a fork and paper plate, and carefully peeled back chunks of moss. (Had to navigate around a few baby slugs D: ) It was especially ideal because the moss was already damp and ready to go. The deer figurine and chunk of amethyst I found recently at a part hobby, part antique store out at the beach. The other tiny agates and alligator and mice figures I had lying around my craft room.

Once I made the two larger glasses, I just wanted to keep going!  I found the smaller bottles amongst my supplies left over from a previous project. I actually really like the smaller bottles, I think they would be a perfect project for a younger crafter, or to give as a gift.

The beauty of this project is that it cost me under $12 for all the supplies, and each terrarium took me less than 15 minutes to complete. It’s pretty hard to mess up, too – the layers look even better when they are uneven terrain, and the moss can stack or squish up. They are super cute as decoration or tabletop focal points, and need minimal attention.

A few things to keep in mind:

– don’t fill your jar up too high, because you want to be able to look at it from the side to see the scene, rather than having to remove the lid and look down.

– it’s much easier to add than it is to take away – especially with narrow mouthed jars, it’s difficult to reach your hand inside to pick things out or rearrange. Once you start your layers, you can’t really tip the jar over to remove excess dirt or rocks, or else everything will mix. Add slowly, and use a chopstick or pencil to nudge things around and arrange as you go.

– less is definitely more here – I limited myself to two items per terrarium, apart from the natural elements. ¬†You don’t want anything to appear squished, and with more space, the placement of charms becomes more deliberate.

– I have noticed it’s a little difficult to water them, especially the tall skinny jar, without dumping water all over everything. A small eye dropper or a turkey baster used sparingly will come in handy here.

Vintage Photo Slide Window Hangs
May 5, 2010

click the image to see it larger and detailed!

On one of many exciting trips to Oakland’s East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, I dug through a huge drum of old photo slides and picked out some fun vacation shots from the 60’s and 70’s.

I used a pin to poke holes in all 4 corners and sewed the slides together, and made these really charming window hangs! So easy, and made entirely out of recycled and thrifted supplies.