beads rebirthed {or, earrings made from a necklace}

I never spend much money on my jewelry.  We’re talking $10 and under for most pieces.  I like to change it up frequently, without guilt.  I like to hold children, without worry over what havoc they may wreak.  And yet when favorite pieces break I still feel a little sad.  Certain pieces, such as a red glass-bead necklace I bought on my first trip to Chicago, have a story that makes them precious to me despite their not-even-semi-precious gemstone status.  When my necklace’s cord broke, I put the beads in a bag in hopes of someday restringing them.  But when inspiration struck, it urged me to make something new instead of recreating the old.desk strewn with jewelry supplies

That started a frenzy of making “new” pieces from old beads I had lying around–and then I mentioned my jewelry-making to an aunt, who immediately sent me beads and supplies she was no longer using.  Oh boy!

desk strewn with jewelry supplies

Over Christmas vacation my niece and nephews did some beading with me, and then I made a pair of earrings for my mother, who just got her ears pierced for the first time in her life!  I won’t say how old she is but…older than me, obviously.  I adored the vibrant blue of these teardrop beads, but I don’t wear much blue so I knew these beads would probably end up as a gift.  They were great for earrings, and when I completed my project I realized its hue perfectly matched the post-sunset sky in the mountains.  Simply lovely!blue iridescent drop earrings match the night sky      What do you do with old jewelry?  Have you ever saved the pieces and transformed them into something new?

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getting there

Now that the secret’s out about my latest bedroom project, I want to show you the bedroom itself.  It’s gone through a few stages during our marriage, all of them consisting of blue and neutrals, by which I mean lots of brown.  After a while that got old.  Here’s the blank canvas I started with:

bedroom with brown curtain and bedspread, oval mirrors, brown bedside tablesA bookshelf served as a bedside table for me, but I preferred the less-clunky vintage sewing table on Lovey’s side of the bed.  The oval mirrors will bring better symmetry to the look once they’re painted to match.  The curtain and bedspread could use a dose of color.  So we begin.

While checking in newspapers at the library, I read that a local department store was having a home goods sale.  Bed-in-a-bag for $50?  Yes, please!  This set came with a skirt, two shams, two throw pillows, and, of course, the bedspread.  Lovey and I laid it out on the display bed in the store (with permission!) to make sure we liked the set and not just the photo on the bag.  It played nicely into our plan to incorporate plummy purple, crimson red, and vivid orange into the bedroom decor, so we bought it.  But the lighting at home is not like the lighting in the store.

brown curtain, gray, white, & purple color blocked bedspread, red side tablesAfter Lovey remarked multiple times that the purple looked more like brown in our room, I knew I had to grab my receipt and try again.  Brown was exactly what I was trying to avoid; no sense trying to convince myself, “But it’s purple!”  He was right.  I could have tried to fiddle with the lighting, but come on–who wants their bedroom lit like a sales floor?  Might fix the color but it would kill the romance.

Here’s what I came home with the second time.  It was a bit more expensive: $60 and I only got a comforter and two shams.  But throw pillows and a bed skirt can come later.  They’re not essential–and look what a difference this color makes!  Now we’re getting somewhere!

spice orange bedspread with red tablesInto that context we will soon insert what I hope is the most gorgeous light fixture of all time.  (I’m feeling optimistic.)  To get ready for the day I can bring home my sewn strands of circles and glue them to their base, an old lamp shade frame, I went ahead and put hooks in the ceiling to hold the base in place.

stripped lampshade hooked to ceilingThis is what it looks like from directly below.  The next photo shows what it looks like from the side, which is how it will be viewed most of the time–and how it will reflect in the giant mirror that now rests on the bookshelf at the foot of the bed.  That just might be the detail I’m most eager to see!

stripped lampshade hooked to ceiling, side viewHere’s another shot with some wall for perspective.  I don’t know about you but I think the all-ceiling shot above is kind of perspective-flattening.  I thought I’d throw in a little closet door to spice things up.  Are you getting a sense of it now?  I bet at this point it’s beautiful only to me–but that’s because I see what it will be.  Now to coordinate with a friend who has a sewing machine….

stripped lampshade hooked to ceiling, side view with context

Okay, parting shot: all the current elements in place–bedspread, shams, painted side tables (awaiting more sanding with wetordry sandpaper and more coats with some kind of amazingly glossy red paint); and light-fixture-to-be.  It is a sweet dream, indeed.

bare shade hanging over bed with new bedspread

a rough start

I’ve heard people say that nothing in life worth doing is easy. If that’s the case then this D.I.Y. capiz chandelier is definitely worth doing!

M frustrated punching waxed paper circles

Yep, that’s what I’m making.  This blog originally inspired me, and this one reminded me of the project again months later, when I finally decided to make one of my own.  I already had a lamp shade I wasn’t using.  All I had to buy was waxed paper–cheap!

DIY capiz chandelier supplies: waxed paper, parchment paper, iron & ironing board, lampshade

I ironed together three sheets of waxed paper at a time, sandwiching them between two sheets of parchment paper to avoid getting my iron or ironing board coated in melted wax.

punching holes through large sheets

Then I piled up three sheets of three-sheet fused waxed paper.  (So, a total of nine sheets ironed together in threes.)  Classy Clutter informed me that this was the best way to punch crisp-edged circles.  It was true in theory.

punching holes through one multi-folded sheet

In practice, the easiest method I found was to fold a single ironed sheet (which began as three sheets of waxed paper) into fourths.  That created the same thickness I was achieving with Classy Clutter’s method, but I found the narrow strip much easier to manage than a slippery pile of full-size sheets.

So I punched and I punched–with a borrowed 1  3/4″ circle punch, thanks, Krista!–until I had about 450 circles.  I finally got smart about it and popped in a movie.  No sense sitting at the kitchen table making myself crazy with repetitive activity.  But then…there was a catch.

metal lampshade wired back togetherThe idea is that after you create your plethora of circles, you attach them to a stripped lamp shade.  Relieved to be conquering a new step in the process, I stripped that lamp shade faster than you can say…whatever it is you can say really fast.  And then it all fell apart.

I didn’t realize that my lamp shade was held together by its fabric.  How they assembled it to begin with I will never figure out.  I had to hold each metal frame piece against the top and bottom hoops and carefully reattach it with wire.  It was cheaper than buying another lamp shade, but it was sort of a pain.  Especially the part where I sliced my finger with wire.  Oops.

But trials and all, this project draws nearer and nearer its completion.  More soon–and a peek at the evolving bedroom!