Friday, January 28, 2011

Rainbow washer necklace

I went to my local World Market the other week for the first time in years. And I was so inspired by all the beauty :)

I noticed that one of their necklaces had "beads" made up of circular, seemingly crocheted shapes. They don't show pics of this necklace on their website and I didn't have a camera with me, but it doesn't really matter since my necklace looks nothing like the one I saw, that's just where I got my inspiration.

So this got me thinking. I had some washers at home and embroidery floss is so inexpensive. This is what I made last night.

It took a while but I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

This is what I had before I got started.

Embroidery floss, washers and a crochet hook. The cord I used isn't pictured but it's a pair of waxed shoelaces from a Dollar Tree pack of three shoelaces.

By the way. You don't have to be a crochet expert to do this, it's just chain stitch and I'll be linking to instructions so even if you've never crocheted you'll be able to do this. 

The close-up pics are blurry, I know, but I'm just showing you to give you an idea of how to do this (my camera does not do close-ups no matter what I do).

First step. Make a slip knot and tighten it around the needle (my knot is still loose in the above pic).

Start doing basic chain stitches by inserting the needle through the hole in the washer (see above pic).

This is what it looks like after that first stitch. Your floss is now on the backside of the washer which is why you have to make your second stitch by grabbing the floss on the backside of the washer. This way you cover the washer both front and back as you crochet your way around. Keep alternating going through the hole and on the backside until your washer is full.

Keep pushing the finished stitches together so the washer is completely covered with the stitches neatly centered on the edge of the washer. Cut your floss with a few inches to spare to make a loose tail and either chain stitch through your first stitch to close the circle or tie the two tails together. Leave at least one tail, it'll be used to sew the washers together.

When all your washers are covered, arrange them in your chosen configuration and start using the tails to stitch the washers together. I used an upholstery needle but a regular needle would probably work as well. There may be a prim and proper way to sew these together but I just winged it until I thought they were secure, tied the whole thing off and cut the tail.

For extra security (and lack of fray check) I put tiny amounts of super glue on the end knots so they won't unravel down the road.

If I had had a ribbon that would have worked with my chosen colors I would have used that to complete the necklace, I think that would look very cute and more girly than tribal. Since I didn't have that ribbon I used these shoelaces from the Dollar Tree which works too and makes it look slightly more tribal.

I attached one end of each shoelace to each end of the necklace with a lark's head knot. The loose end of the shoelace that you end up with just above that lark's head knot isn't very decorative so I just circled the loose end two laps around the long end of the shoelace, pulled the short cord end through those two loops (going downwards) and tightened and trimmed the short end. Don't know what that knot is called and couldn't find any good instructions for this, sorry!

To make a closure for the whole thing I tied the long ends of the shoelaces together with two sliding knots (scroll down to the bottom of the page) so the length of the necklace is adjustable. This is a little tricky, even with instructions, and if you can't figure it out I would go with the ribbon idea mentioned above :)

So this is the end result.

Above with the cords at a longer setting, below with the cords as short as they will go.

The beauty of this little project is that there's about a million different colors of embroidery floss out there and each "skein" costs almost nothing. Even for my biggest washer I used maybe 1/3 of the "skein" so you don't need a lot of floss. You can be as neutral or as colorful as you want with your floss choices and the ribbon/cord thing gives you a choice of girly or tribal.

What are you waiting for - go make some necklaces! :)

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Color inspiration

So here's a snapshot of all the gorgeousness I've been looking at lately. Lots of color, some pattern and texture.

I'm not sure why but I've been very drawn to black woodwork for a while. And it pops beautifully against this yellow striped wall here.

Hot pink and orange look great together.

A huge rug in a large scale pattern. I'm plotting something along these lines for our living room. DIY style, of course :) It's taking it's sweet time, though, as always. Those large green leaves in a vase would be something I'd want as well.

This curtain idea looks cool and shouldn't be too hard to DIY, you just need a lot of fabric :) Fabric just makes everything look so luxurious. 
Dark walls and funky black and white chairs. I like the look of dark rooms in magazines but I generally don't like the looming feel of a dark room in person. So you need a lot of lamps to make it work, I guess :) I'm trying it out in our dining room now, it's half-way painted and will be a pretty deep brown when done. I think I need to add more lighting in there...
This umbrella light makes me smile. I love it but I'm glad someone else did it first. I would probably have rejected the idea thinking it was just one of my crazy ideas. But even reputable designers have these ideas and it obviously works. I'm sure there's a way to incorporate this idea somewhere. 
These colors together are just gorgeous! 

As are these.

Beautiful Indian bride. Color and sparkle.

Curled up elephant's trunk. And I'm sorry but I don't know where I got this last pic from.

These pics make me dream. Hope you enjoyed them too!
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bell frame

Here's a simple little catalog knock off I've been fiddling with lately.

My inspiration came from a catalog called NapaStyle where I saw these simple/rustic bell decorations. Thought they looked cute and simple enough to replicate and they reminded me somewhat of India. 
Of course it would have been ideal if I had some little brass bells laying around but I used what I had on hand; some stray Xmas bells, a thrift store frame, thumb tacks and sewing thread. 

Since the frame was wood I just stuck my thumb tacks into the frame, but not all the way in yet.

The trickiest part to this was getting each bell at the exact height to fit into the formation I had in mind. You may have to play around with it a little to get it right. I played and I played and I've still got one bell out of formation :) Figured it'll add to the charm :)

I basically cut a length of thread and threaded the bell on there so the bell was in the middle of the thread. Then I knotted the two ends around the thumb tack, adjusting the thread until the bell was where I wanted it. Then I pushed the thumb tack all the way into the wood frame to secure the thread.

I then attached some ribbon to the frame with some more thumb tacks and added felt pads to the back (since it's on a door, it minimizes the thumping).

A simple, wreath-like door decoration that adds a little jingle to life. Since it's not overly Xmasy I've decided to keep it year round. It kind of reminds me of the door bells some vintage shops have.

This one is hanging on our (only) bathroom door so everyone will know when the restroom is open for business again :)

My finishing touch was hanging it on the door from a furniture tack. Simple and elegant. I like it.

I didn't do anything to the frame itself since I wanted to keep the vintage vibe from my inspiration pic and the dark wood works with my India/Morocco themed house but it could be painted/decorated in an infinite amount of ways of course.

If I were to do this again I would change one thing. I would place the thumb tacks for the bells just a tad higher on the frame back so they wouldn't be visible from the front if you're a shorty like me. All in all it's not a big deal so I left them the way they were.

What do you think?

Ps. Linking up with
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Hi guys, I'm back!

I've had a nice, long break with lots of candy, not as much sleep as I would have wished for but that's entirely my own fault, and then lots and lots of blog reading :) I follow waaay to many blogs but I can't help myself! It's like having all these gorgeous decor magazines right at your fingertips and I don't want to miss out on anything beautiful and inspiring out there :) I guess there must be a breaking point where I won't be able to follow along any more but obviously I'm not there yet. (If you're curious as to what I'm reading just click on my profile on the right and scroll down a bit. Just be warned, it's highly addictive stuff and I change it around frequently.)

Hope you guys are staying warm out there. I'm certainly trying to but failing miserably. Living in an old house does have it's drawbacks and being cold in winter is definitely one of them. Brrrr... BUT... spring is just around the corner here in Texas so I'm sure I'll survive.

I've already started planning for what and where to plant stuff come warmth, but I haven't ordered any seeds or anything so I'm sure I'll be running late with all my plans as usual. I was very ambitious last spring and this year I'll be a lot more restrained (I sometimes learn from my mistakes :) I also forget quickly so I'm sure I'll be all ambitious next year again.).

I'm running behind on my wreath reporting too. I made a felt wreath for Christmas which I never got around to showing you but I plan on having it around year round, just slightly altered according to the need of the season so you get to see it now instead.

I more or less followed the instructions from here, but as always I changed things up as I needed. Here's my version.

This is hanging on the inside of the door where I plan on leaving it for now but for Xmas I had it outside in the designated wreath spot at the entry (see pictures below). It had a sprig of greenery and a big deep red bow on it (again, sorry for the lack of pics but I just never got to it for some reason), but in its de-Xmas-ified state it's naked except for a bundle of deep red ribbons. It can be reused for Valentines if I feel like it, or for fall with the addition of some yellows and oranges. I like this kind of wreath because it's basic and you can alter it at a whim.

I should mention that I didn't cut the felt into circles but into little five petal flower shapes hoping it would add more texture to the finished wreath. Must say, though, that it doesn't look much different from the original circle wreath so if you make it I say just stay with the circles, it'll be faster for you to cut out.

I used a cheap wreath form from the Dollar Tree store and folded and hot glued my flowers on there.

As usual I can never turn my back on my stuff for a second or some little hands are there to grope or steal... Lucky for them I love them or they'd be in trouble :)

This is the wreath I have hanging outside at the moment, a wintery wreath with a cutesy bow.

This wreath is made out of some of the millions of Walmart bags we amass by doing our shopping at the next door store. Couldn't find a tutorial on exactly how I made it (and I didn't take pics for this one) even though I know it's been done before. This is as close as I get.

I again used the same kind of wreath form from the Dollar Tree as I did with the red wreath.

Then I took my plastic bag, flattened it, cut off handles, bottom and the front where any logos or writing would be.

The remaining piece of the bag was folded in half (sides together) and cut along the fold, then folded again (again, the sides together) and cut along the fold.

These four pieces were tied, one at a time, to the form along with the handle pieces. I also flattened the ends of the ties so they wouldn't be all scrunched up. Repeat until the form is full :)

I hot glued the bow together from a gold and a turquoise ribbon and fastened it to the wreath with wire (so I can remove it when my tastes change and possibly use it for other times of the year).

As you can see the designated wreath spot is on the wall adjacent to our front door, the storm door makes it virtually impossible to have a wreath on the door itself and besides - that formerly empty wall needed something decorative anyway.

The wreath is flanked by resin thrift store candle holders. I have a thing for candle holders but I rarely feel like they actually need candles in them, is that weird? They just look decorative and stately enough on their own. One is a little crooked in these pics because the wind ruffles them sometimes, they're kind of light weight.

I plan to repaint the base of that bench black sometime soon as well as add a pillow or two. It's all on the ever growing to-do list :) That mountain of cinder blocks in the foreground is another one of my projects in process, more on that when finished.

On a different note I can report that I have started repainting our dining room brown. Started, but not finished. I like to repaint our rooms one or two walls at a time so I can do it in a couple of hours and move everything back where it's supposed to be before I start on the remaining walls. That way we can still use the rooms while they're being repainted.

I love this wonderful foyer above with the pink sofa. Our dining room color isn't quite that dark but with the room being north facing with a covered patio outside the window it almost looks this dark. And instead of pink it'll have lots of whites and blue/turquoise accents. 

So our dining room is changing into a darker, more elegant space. I decided that no amount of light and bright colors was going to make this room look brighter (we have the light on in here all day, every day, even when the room was painted white). So instead I'm going for a dark but cozy and welcoming feel. After pics and more info when I'm done.

I've also thought about throwing in more inspiration pics around here. It would be a way for me to store my favorites where I can easily find them without having to stuff our computer to the gills. And I get to share them with you as well as making my posts go longer/come more often. Hope you don't mind this deviation from DIY. There will still be plenty of DIY to go around, of course :)

Thank you everyone, new and old, for following along on my blog. Have a great week!

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