Tag Archives: crafting

The Creatively DIY-ed Life

For this week’s creativity post, I thought I’d showcase a selection of DIY projects. After all, there’s a lot of creative license–and a lot of fun!–in making useful items for your home and life. From little decorative items to organizational tools, from wall art to pieces of furniture, there’s literally nothing you can’t DIY…as the following slew of pictured tutorials show! (See the link below each picture for the tutorial!)

Glove into Chipmunk
Mason Jar Candle
Lace Lamp
Necklace Holder
Magazine Wrapping Paper
Rose Print Stationery
Canvas Collage Quotes
Tiered Serving Trays
Mason Jar Wall Planters
Upholstered Tufted Ottoman
Memory Box Tabletop
Outdoor Chandelier
Cherry Blossom Art from a Soda Bottle
Ladder Shelf
Bedside Table
Pillow Headboard
The $10 Pot Rack
Spice Packet Organizer
No-Sew Napkin Pillow Covers
Ribbon-Trimmed Shelves
Marbled Glassware
Pinterest Challenge: Map Art
Wall-Mounted Drying Rack

For More Ideas

ApartmentTherapy.com’s DIY Showcase
31 Insanely Easy and Clever DIY Projects @ Buzzfeed.com
Best DIY Projects Ever @ CasaSugar.com
Weekend Home Projects @ BHG
DIY Projects Around the House (Pinterest board)
LifeHackers’ Top 10 DIY Home Projects
TLC’s DIY Projects and Advice
DIY Home Projects (Pinterest board)
CountryLiving’s Weekend Home Decor Projects
The Daily Green’s Best DIY Projects

The Internet: A Creative Crafter’s Paradise

Are you a crafter and feeling lonely or uninspired in your work? Wish you had someone to ask about how to accomplish certain pieces, how to think outside your own little box?

In that case, the Internet is your best friend. Today, I’ll showcase the websites I’ve found in my search for informative and helpful crafting sites for any and all sorts of crafters out there.

Skip to: For All Crafters | Specific Craft Sites | Buy and Sell Crafts | Craft Site Directories

For All Crafters

Community/Help Sites

Craftgrrl Livejournal Community
BuildALittleBiz.com Blog
HandmadeArtists Forums
GetCrafty.com Forums


Arts and Crafts @ VideoJug.com
Makezine.com Blog
Little Lovelies By Allison


Prima Marketing
Craftzine Blog
Craftsnob Blog
Crafts @ Curbly.com
Mayaroad – Creating Stuff
Two Crazy Crafters
On My Desk
Crafts @ TheDesignFiles.net



Craft Supplies

Joann.com Crafts
Hobby Lobby

Craft for a Cause

Ladybird Lends a Hand
Charity Wings News
Beading to Beat Autism
Beading for a Cure

Specific Craft Websites


A Cherry on Top
My Mind’s Eye


Graphic 45 Papers


Interweavestore.com Beading
You’ve Got to be Beading
Around the Beading Table

Edible/Food Crafts

Edible Crafts (Pinterest)


Stampin’ Up!
Split Coast Stampers
My Favorite Things Stamps

Fabric Crafts

Lots of Pink Here
See Kate Sew
Threadbanger @ Youtube
How About Orange

Kids’ Crafts

The Chocolate Muffin Tree
Red Ted Art
Crafts By Amanda
Mud Pie Studio
Filth Wizardry
Mia’s Craft Ideas
No Time for Flashcards
Chalk in My Pocket
I Can Teach My Child


DIY Woodcraft Projects (Pinterest)
Wood Crafts (Pinterest)

Buy and Sell Crafts


Craft Site Directories


Bead Textures: Sparkly, Pearly, or Metallic

What is “bead texture,” you might ask? Bead texture (not just how the bead feels, but how it reflects light) makes a distinct visual difference–a sparkly blue bead will catch more light and be less subtle than a pearly blue bead will, etc.

Today, I thought I’d feature a few examples of favorite bead textures I like to use in my jewelry projects, so I can draw the eye better to my necklaces’ focal points, and create lovely earrings that complement rather than detract.

Sparkly Beads: For Centerpieces and Catching the Light

Swarovski Victory Pendant

Swarovski Teardrop

Fire-Polished Beads

Metallic Beads: For Secondary Designs and Setting Off Focal Points

Shamballa beads

Casbah beads

Hematite Ovals

Pearly Beads: For “Background” Colors and Soft, Subtle Enhancement

Silver-Blue Glass Pearls

Pressed-Glass Beads

Mother-of-Pearl Melon Strand

What to Do With These Beads?

In my designs, I like to mix and match sparkly textures with pearly or metallic, to naturally draw the eye to certain parts of the necklace or earring and let the other patterns recede into the background.

The sparkliest and most eye-catching beads are generally the ones I reserve for the main focal point of the necklace, though sometimes I’ll “hide” a tiny sparkly bead in between a couple of equally-tiny metallic or pearl beads, just for a little extra interest.

Metallic beads, I find, are great for spacing apart pearl or sparkly beads–they are the “in-between” texture, since they can function as light-catching, but they can be less so if they are darker in color. Thus, they work great in just about any kind of project, no matter the length or complexity. You just need to make sure the color of the metal complements the other beads you’re using!

Though sometimes I’ll use a whole necklace of pearl beads, I generally like to intersperse them with metallic or sparkly beads, since their more subtle shimmer pairs well with the shinier textures. It seems they help set off the colors in the sparkly beads, especially if they are in the same color family.

Patterns and Project Ideas

Now that you’ve got ideas for using different beading textures together, here’s a few links to get you started on various beading projects and patterns. Happy beading! 🙂

Off the Beaded Path Project Ideas and Patterns
FaveCrafts.com Beading Patterns
KandiPatterns.com Bead Design Tool
CraftBits.com Bead Craft Ideas
OrientalTrading.com Beading Projects

Papercrafting Post #2: Ornare

Though the word “ornare” may look exotic and strange, it’s actually the word for piercing paper to “draw” cool patterns and designs.

I never knew this crafting art existed until I was researching my first papercrafting post and happened across supplies for “ornare” among the listings at various papercraft websites. “What in the world is ornare?” I wondered. Then I clicked and found out!

Ornare the Professional (More Expensive) Way

You can buy actual ornare kits, complete with special foam board, all kinds of pretty paper, and special needles to poke the holes with. Along with Creative Papercrafts’ page, I discovered a couple of other interesting sites where you can pick up ornare supplies, like pattern templates, piercing pads (to protect the surface underneath your pierced paper as well as to give you a cleaner punch), needle tools, etc. They appear listed below:

Kamya.com Ornare Templates
EcstasyCrafts’ Ornare Section
TerryficTimes.com Ornare Introduction
PaperWishes.com Ornare Template

Ornare the Cheap Way

However, while looking at all of this, a thought kept popping to mind: “Why couldn’t I just do this with regular printer paper of any color, a few pieces of foam core or flat styrofoam, and a regular sewing needle?”

So, here’s what I brainstormed (and my theory is backed up by this post over at Gem’s Cottage):

  1. Find an outline of a picture you like (nothing too detailed or you’ll go crazy trying to copy it).
  2. Lightly draw your chosen pattern on your printer paper with pencil. Make sure the outline can erase neatly!
  3. Lay your paper pattern on top of some foam core or flat styrofoam. Likely you will need to affix it using either some sort of clip, or even a piece of easily-removable tape or pins.
  4. With your needle, begin to punch holes at small regular intervals along the lines of your pattern–almost like Connect the Dots in reverse!
  5. Once you’re finished piercing the pattern out, erase all the light pencil marks.
  6. Now, you can leave the paper as is, cut out your pattern and layer a contrasting color of paper underneath it, or whatever your crafting heart desires!

With these kinds of instructions, ornare is an approachable and easy art form for making delicate and beautiful paper art!

To Learn More

The Search Press Book of Traditional Papercrafts offers even more insight on how to start doing crafts featuring ornare. Try it and let your imagination pierce through the paper!

Papercrafting Post #1: Greeting Cards

When we think of paper, we usually just think of writing something on it, or perhaps cutting shapes out of it. Maybe back in our childhood heydays of Elmer’s Glue and pipe cleaners, we did something more with paper, but as adults, we likely don’t give much thought to the material. It merely carries messages for us most of the time.

But there’s a whole section of crafting that just involves paper. It’s not just kid stuff, either–papercrafts can turn out some of the most astounding creations, and you’ll never believe it’s just made of paper. Today, I’ll cover one of the more accessible forms of papercraft–greeting cards.

Why Make Greeting Cards?

In these tough economic times, who wants to pay tons of money for greeting cards and gift tags that will more than likely just be thrown out with the gift wrap? Not to mention that it’s difficult to find just the right message amid the sea of overly obnoxious or generic cards.

So, instead of trying to buy the right card, we can make some ourselves–that way, they can be treasured items!

Robin’s Homemade Greeting Card Solution

You will need:

  • 1 sheet of card stock, color of your choice (available in large packs at most office supply stores)
  • (optional) Construction paper or printer paper in different colors
  • Markers, colored pencils, or crayons (whatever you have handy that has a color other than blue or black)
  • Regular ink pen and/or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Calligraphy markers and/or access to a printer
  • Glue stick or double-sided tape

4 Styles of Greeting Cards

Basically, a greeting card needs 3 things: originality, a fitting picture on the front, and a meaningful message inside. I personally like to draw simple, almost clipart-style images and write pretty poetry on the front of my card and then extend the poetry into the inside message, because I write better poetry than I draw.

You, on the other hand, may love to draw but hate to write, or you may feel that neither your drawing skills nor your writing skills can match up to the people at Hallmark. Don’t fret: there are solutions for every level of artist.

Folding/Sizing The Card Stock

  1. Fold the card stock either in half width-wise to form a larger card, or fold twice into quarters to make a smaller, thicker-feeling card.
  2. Alternatively, you can cut the card stock down to a specific size you want.

If You’re Creating Everything From Scratch

  1. Sketch the appropriate picture for the occasion, either on a separate sheet of paper or directly onto the front of the card. If you’re sketching on the card itself, use light pencil lines first so you can place your picture appropriately (you don’t want to end up with something lovely but off-center!)
  2. Once you’re satisfied with the drawing, go over its lines with an ink pen or marker (whichever thickness of line you prefer)
  3. Then, color it in using your favorite medium, or leave it colorless as desired.
  4. Write out your message on a scrap sheet of paper, checking wording and spelling.
  5. Letter your finished message directly onto the card, or print it in a cool font, cut it out, and attach with glue stick or double-sided tape.
  6. If your art was on a separate sheet of paper, cut it out and attach it to the front of the card.
  7. Sign the card inside, and you’re done!

If You’re Drawing but Not Writing

  1. Follow the first three steps of the “do-it-yourself” instructions above.
  2. Search the Internet for a meaningful poem or quote that would mean a lot to the person you’re giving the card to. Great resources for poetry and quotes: Bartleby.com, BrainyQuote.com.
  3. Letter your finished message directly onto the card, or print it in a cool font, cut it out, and attach with glue stick or double-sided tape.
  4. Sign the card inside, and you’re done!

If You’re Writing but Not Drawing

  1. Search the Internet for fitting (and free-usage) clipart, images, or photographs; alternatively, you can use your own photographs.
  2. Print your image(s) out on regular paper or glossy photo paper, cut them out, and attach to the front of the card using double-sided tape (glue stick won’t hold photo paper as strong).
  3. Write out your message on a scrap sheet of paper, checking wording and spelling.
  4. Letter your finished message directly onto the card, or print it in a cool font, cut it out, and attach with glue stick or double-sided tape.
  5. Sign the card inside, and you’re done!

Super-Quick-Style Greeting Card

  1. Search for a free-usage image or two on the internet, and a poem or quote that works well with the person and occasion, and print both of them out.
  2. Cut out the image and message, and attach to the card using glue stick or double-sided tape.
  3. Sign the card, and you’re finished in record time!

Optional Steps for Extra Care

  • If you want to, use the scissors to trim out a pretty border on the card (gentle curving waves look pretty, as do pinking-shear-style edges). You could trim out just the front three edges of the card, or all six edges (front and back cover).
  • You can layer a different color of printer or construction paper in the interior or exterior of the card, cut to either the exact same width and height of the card stock, or cut to leave a border of the card stock color around the edges. Attach with a few swipes of a glue stick or double-sided tape.

Getting All Beaded Up

It was a random side trip to Walmart that started it. I found myself in the Fabric and Crafts section, staring down a glittering aisle I’d not bothered to travel before–the bead section. Literally hundreds of cards full of beads hung on the racks, in varying shades and amounts of sparkle and glimmer. How had I never seen this aisle before?

Pretty much out of the blue, I picked up a few cardfuls of beads that interested me, plus a couple of “Instant Necklace” kits, with the appropriate silver clasps already attached to the wire and cut to size. Two necklaces later, I was absolutely hooked on creating my own beaded jewelry.

The following pictures are of necklaces I created using the Instant Necklace wire kits plus my own selection of beads, arranged in self-created patterns. The Instant Necklace kits are cut to size, but some of the beading patterns did not take up all the room on the necklace (mainly because I needed room to handle the wire long enough to thread it through the other side of the clasp). Thus, they might be a little bare in spots, but they wear well once they are on.

Samples of My Work

This was my first necklace, but certainly not my last. I loved alternating the silver and dark blue, denim-patterned beads, and this is still one of my go-to necklaces when wearing blue, black, or white tops, though it can also go with gray and even red on occasion.

This is one of my favorite necklaces I’ve ever done, because it is BLUE and SPARKLY. 😀 It makes me happy. Not to mention that I enjoy the play between pearls and gemstones, managing to create a weightless look without too much effort. Since I wear a lot of teal and white, this necklace sees a lot of wear especially in the summer. (This necklace’s wire was accidentally bent in two places during an aggressive airport baggage check, which accounts for the odd angles in the picture, but it straightens out well when I wear it.)

Even though this one was a bit of a color stretch for me, I’ve found myself wearing it more often than I thought I would. I have some purple tops that go well with it, but it has surprised me how well it wears with other colors–even pink shirts look good with this!

My Personal Beading Style

The trend in beading today may be big, chunky, earth-based necklaces, but I prefer my beaded jewelry to actually look, well, like jewelry: polished, pretty little stones, delicately set together. Thus, I choose small beads over large, and I like to combine sparkly beads with pearlescent ones on the same necklace for pretty variations.

Most of how I put necklaces together is rather instinctive; I look at a selection of beads in a store and think, “Ooh, I have some pearls that will go well with that.” A few minutes of arranging the beads back at home generally brings me to a setup I like, and I run with it.

Along with my idea of pairing a sparkling translucent bead with a pearlescent bead of same or similar color, I also like to vary sizes along the length of the piece I’m making–usually, the beads in the middle of the necklace will be slightly larger than the ones at each end, and that’s deliberate (called “graduating sizes”). If I do change it up and mix in bigger beads earlier in the pattern, I will generally set smaller, clear beads around each large stone to help it not stand out quite so much.

Lastly, I try to use symmetrical patterns for my necklaces. If I have a pattern started on the left side of the necklace that goes “tiny pearl, tiny gem, small pearl, big gem, small pearl, tiny gem, tiny pearl,” then I mimic that when I get to the right side of the necklace in the same place.

It can be hard to keep up with where you are in the necklace, so I recommend laying out your beads first on a beading tray to get your pattern together. Amazon.com has several beading trays (also called “beading boards”) that help corral your beads and even align them into a necklace-like shape so that you can make your patterns and thread the wire through more easily.

I’m certainly not the most skilled beader out there–I’m still not familiar with all the intricate patterns you can use to make bracelets and necklaces out of, like macrame. However, the single-strand necklaces I make are enough for my jewelry needs, and they are simple enough to master even for my clumsy fingers.

Try Beading For Yourself

For those who are veterans in beading, or those who are completely new to the craft, many big-box stores like Walmart have cheap beads that don’t look completely tacky. Choosing solid colors of beads generally gives you a better product–some of the mixed-color beads end up being ill-made, as I’ve unfortunately found out. There are also a lot of online tutorials and articles which can help you out!

You can also find quite a bit of beads and beading supplies online, or go to an actual beading specialty store–I’m lucky enough to have a beading specialty store in my area, called Off The Beaded Path. Beading specialty stores will likely have beads of better quality, but you will often pay a little more for that quality (which is okay).

In terms of metallic beading wire, necklace clasps, earring pins, etc. (collectively known as “findings”), you’re better off going to a specialty store or looking online. Walmart had those Instant Necklace kits that got me started, which were great for me because I didn’t have to fool with putting the clasps on the wire myself. But if you want to build the necklace completely from scratch, you will find more variations in color and style going to a specialty store.

I tend to blend my big-box-store finds with my specialty-store finds to make pieces that are at once fairly inexpensive to make and expensive-looking. Try combinations of your favorite colors and favorite textures of beads, and experiment as much as you can!

Beading Links

Beadage.net – projects, instructions, beads available online
BeadingDaily.com – daily ideas, tutorials, and patterns
BeadingTimes.com – every month, a new issue, with articles about how to market your jewelry, how to come up with original designs, and lots of other topics!
Free Patterns @ Beadwork.About.com – free beading patterns
TheBeadCoop.com – patterns to download and print