Monday, September 12, 2016

A Tale of Three Tassels: DIY Tassel Tutorial

Items with tassels are some of the hottest accessories on the market right now. You can find them on jewelry, purses, keychains, hats and clothing. And what's more - there are all kinds of tassels - silk, satin, leather, and chain.

I have spent the last couple of weeks dabbling in making my own tassels. Now mine are fairly simple but your options are limited only by your own imagination. I have found quite a few very ornate tassels - maybe I will graduate to making some of these in the future!

Now I have spent a fair amount of time checking out various tutorials on Pinterest and Facebook. And I have found that there is definitely more than one way to make a tassel. There are lots of techniques and styles - and you can get lost looking through all the tutorials. But I am going to share with you here how I made my tassels.

  • Silk embroidery thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Thick cardboard stock cut to the length you want your tassel - mine is 2 inches
  • Jump ring - I used an 8mm size
  • Two pairs of chain or flat nose pliers (not pictured in the photo below)


1.  Wind your thread around the cardboard stock about 50 times - the more wraps your make, the thicker and fuller the tassel.

2.  Slide your wrapped thread off the cardboard. Then use your pliers to place the jump ring at the top of the wrapped thread.

3.  Cut a piece of thread off about 12 inches long. I used matching thread but you could use a contrasting color. Some people use a gold or silver metallic thread.

4.  Bunch up the looped thread and use the 12 inch piece of thread to tie a knot around it near the top just below the jump ring.

5.  Place your scissors through the bottom of the looped thread and cut through it. Then cut any straggling pieces of thread to even it up.

6.  And Voila! Here's your tassel:

7. Now just place your tassel on whatever project you want.  Add it to a charm bracelet. Or make a matching tassel for a pair of earrings. I added mine to a keychain:

Now I mentioned there are multiple ways to make tassels.  Like this capped tassel I made below.  I used a tutorial from to make this one:

My third tassel is actually my favorite - you make a nice little loop with the thread at the top and it really makes for a nicely finished tassel. I used two pieces of contrasting thread for this one and followed the you tube tutorial from CraftyOwlCafe.

So go ahead - make a tassel and share it! I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Vintage Doll Bed Up-Cycle

A couple of months back I found my old doll bed in my parents attic. I remember this bunk style doll bed so clearly but had no idea it was still around.

It brought back such memories of my childhood as I remembered it being an important place for all my dolls. This would be around 1960 or so.

It was in decent shape except for the supporting slats. And other than being a bit dirty, it was otherwise intact. After debating whether to keep it as is or to up-cycle it, I decided it needed a new life.

I chose a light blue chalk paint with a coat of dark wax for a distressed and aged look. Some would argue that it should be kept in it original condition, but just as I have changed since 1960, it needed change too.

So here is how it went:

First I put it in my garage, surveyed it and cleaned it. This is what it originally looked like:

Here is a picture of the supporting slats for the bottom part of the bunk bed:

Unfortunately, the slats for the top portion were broken - really beyond repair. So I carefully measured, then went to Lowes and had two pieces of wood cut to use as supports:

I selected a light blue chalk paint by Americana Decor called "Serene" which I found at Michaels. I also bought a clear and a dark wax. The clear wax is for protection and the dark is to give it a distressed and aged look - I used a flat brush for the blue paint and a round brush for the wax:

After cleaning the bed with a damp soft cloth I applied two coats of the blue chalk paint:

Then I applied a coat of the clear wax followed by a coat of the dark wax. Both the paint and the wax really dry fast, so I did not wait long between coats. I let the blue chalk paint and clear wax dry about 20 minutes between coats. After applying the dark wax I almost immediately rubbed it down with a soft cloth. This removes most of the dark color but leaves just a bit for that vintage aged look I was looking for. Here is what it now looked like:

Now it was ready to move inside the house. And here is what it looks like painted and with the new supporting boards:

I really did not like the look and feel of the raw unpainted wood. So I bought some large pieces of white foam board in the school and office supplies section at Walmart. Then I just cut two pieces to fit over the raw boards. I did not photograph this part but here is a picture of what I'm talking about with white foam board:

Now it just needed mattresses and pillows which I found on Etsy. The seller is Bonita Abernathy at NaNaBeezGifts.  Bonita is excellent - she makes doll and pet bedding as well as wedding favors. Here is the bed with new mattresses and pillows.

The two Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls were mine - I had other dolls that I wish I could find but alas they were not in my parents' attic. But at least I found these two little friends.

Now it just needed some coverlets and pillow cases. Bonita had told me she could make some custom bedding, so I had her make these pretty reversible coverlets, pillow cases for the pillows and some small decorative pillows.  They turned out beautiful as you can see below!

Now all I need is a grand daughter to enjoy this doll bed. Although I don't have any grandchildren yet, I hope to have them one day!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Vintage Hot Pink Beaded Lanyard

My newest Etsy listing. Vintage Hot Pink Beaded Lanyard:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tutorial: DIY Infinity Jewelry Links

In this tutorial, I'm going to show how to make infinity S-links to use in your jewelry designs.  First, let me give you the link to a tutorial that I used to first learn how to make these components:  Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog.

Lisa's blog post is excellent and shows how to make a pretty Infinity Love Bracelet.  Her bracelet is made up entirely of infinity links and jump rings.  But these little guys also come in handy to link beads, chain and other components.  I use them in earrings, bracelets, necklaces, stickpins, etc.

Here are the tools and supplies you need:
  • 18 gauge wire of your choosing
  • Round nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Jewelry file and steel wool
  • Ruler

I also like to hammer the links - for this you need:
  • Chasing hammer
  • Jeweler's steel block and sandbag

Okay, so here's how you do it:

Cut your wire into one inch pieces. Make sure both ends are flush cut so there are no sharp edges. I like to make several at a time. Here I am using a combination of gold and silver colored artistic wire. You can use any type of craft wire.  You can also use sterling silver or gold filled wire - but it really needs to be 18 gauge no matter what type of wire. That just seems to be the right weight and thickness for these links.

Next use your jewelry file to smooth the ends. Make sure to slide the ends in the same direction instead of going back and forth. Going in the same direction keeps the edges smoother. After filing the ends, jab the ends back and forth through your steel wool - this further smooths them.

Now it is time to make your loops. Make a small loop at one end of your wire using your round nose pliers like so:

Then make another loop on the other end going in the opposite direction:

This is what your loop will look like - it might be a bit crooked but we will fix that in a moment.

Use some nylon jaw pliers to straighten and correct any defects. Sorry I did not show them pictured in the introductory pictures but here you can see how I used them below:

Now your link should look like this:

Next I like to hammer the links to flatten and more importantly harden them. Use the larger part of your chasing hammer to do this:

Here are a bunch of silver, gold and copper links after I hammered them:

Now you are ready to use your infinity links in whatever project your imagination comes up with. Here's a pair of earrings and a bracelet I made using them:

Pink Vintage Beaded Earrings

Two-Tone Gold & Silver Glass Beaded Bracelet

Copper & Aluminum Infinity Bracelet

What might you use these pretty infinity links for?  I would love to see whatever designs you come up with. Send them to me and I'll be sure to post them.

Till next time!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest and Facebook too!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Repurposed Vintage Earrings

In my last post, I showed some of my mother's vintage costume jewelry that I have been sorting through and photographing. In this post, I will show a few more pieces and walk through the repurposing process of one of the pairs of earrings.

The picture above shows a summarization of the repurposing process I used for my earrings.  I'll go through details of the process in a bit, but first let me show some collage photos of a few of the treasures I came across and photographed from my Mom's collection.

Many of these pieces are in really great shape! The first one is a collection of faux pearl and white beaded necklaces:

This second collage is a collection of pink beaded designs - also mostly in really nice shape. My mother's favorite color was pink and she had a good quantity of pink jewelry - not all of it is pictured here but here are a few:

I'm not sure yet which of the above pieces I might decide to repurpose. Some of them are so pretty, I might just leave "as is."

But I came across these ear-bobs below and knew they needed repurposing ... they were in pretty bad shape:
 The large center beads were already disconnected from the ear-bobs, and the clip-on backs were missing. As can be seen, there is also a good bit of corrosion and debris on the metal backings.

First thing was to disassemble the beads and components - the beads were held together on the brass backings with some very old and disintegrating wire.  I just cut the wire with a pair of wire cutters and wound up with this collection of pieces:
Next I cleaned the beads, the metal backings, and the gold colored bead caps. I first used warm soapy water and a toothbrush which helped some.  Then I tried a technique I had read about using worcestershire sauce to soak and scrub. In the end, I couldn't get the metal backings totally clean but was able to restore the bead caps to a fairly good shine - although some of the gold plating was worn off:

I decided for my design I would make a pair of dangle earrings out of some of the beads and bead caps. I used some gold plated wire to make a knotted headpin and added some wire-wrapping around the top bead. The earring wires are made of gold colored craft wire which I formed into a pair of french hook ear wires:

And voila! Something new from something old!