paris in july – polaroid fotobar pics

When my husband and I first went to Paris in July, we weren’t entirely sure what to bring.  Camera wise I mean.  Did I really want to lug around my new Canon Rebel that I’m just learning to use? Would I regret it if I didn’t bring it? Probably, yes, even though I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to take it off the auto setting.  So we decided to cover all the bases.  I packed the Canon, he brought his point and shoot and we both brought our iphones.  The result was over 1,200 pictures. Because yes,  Paris is that beautiful.  And it wasn’t like we walked around with a camera stuck to our eyeball, we strolled, we sat outside in the park, we sat and chilled in a cafe.  But still, we ended up with a ton of pictures.  I decided to whittle down those 1200 pictures to a few of my favorites and tried out the Polaroid Fotobar.

I think that overall, mine came out just a tad darker than I intended, but I continually mess with my monitor settings, so that is probably my fault.  I arranged them in the order I wanted and put them up on the wall with double stick re-movable Scotch brand tape.  (It’s thick and gooey and doesn’t damage the wall when you pull it off.)  As a plus, the pictures are printed on stock thick enough that when I pulled one off to realign and straighten it, it didn’t bend.

I love my little photo collage.  And I truly loved Paris.


Design/Build Headboard – finding a new use for some old wood shelves

Would it have been easier to just go to IKEA? Maybe, but when the nearest IKEA is 9 hours away, you’re sometimes forced to be a little more creative. This is what happened when the need for a decent looking headboard met up with a pile of used shelves.

It all began when my husband and I attempted to clean out the garage. We don’t toss out lumber of any kind, not even scraps, so the pile tends to accumulate. This certain pile included a number of beat up plywood shelves from my store. I was pondering where to re-locate the pile when it occurred to me we might be able to use some of it for the headboard needed in our guest room. A headboard for a double bed needs to be 54” wide plus a little extra for the sides. The shelves were only 46″ long, so that would have to be the determining measurement for the design. The shelves were a little scratched, had shelving grooves cut in the bottom and water damage from sitting on the floor of our garage. So, knowing the damaged areas would need to be cut off, I came up with a slat design using boards of varying width and an off-center detail maximizing the 46″ length of the shelves.

After finding a Saturday afternoon free on both of our schedules, we got started. First, we cross-cut the short boards and then ripped all the boards to width. We followed the layout of the boards from the design sketch, but ended up having to fudge a little towards the bottom because my measurements were slightly off. (Hey, it happens.)

Once the cutting was finished, we roughed up the old lacquer finish on the shelves to provide a better adhesive surface for the primer. We used an alcohol base primer to prime the wood. Next, I applied a light coating of the finish paint. In our case, we wanted a soft white, not a shiny, high gloss paint, so we chose an acrylic latex enamel.

After drying completely, we used a drill-press to drill countersink holes into the front slat boards. Countersinking the holes allow the screw heads to lie flush with the surface of the boards. The drilled ends were then attached to a center back vertical support board. We laid out the boards according to the sketch and set nails between the slats to keep the spacing consistent. To prevent stripping the screws, my husband hand screwed in each one. This is where we discovered the boards were slightly different sizes, which exposed more of the screw head than we would have liked on a few of the boards. Such is the nature of re-purposing.

We then flipped the headboard over to attach two outer back vertical support boards in alignment with the attachment points of the metal bed frame. We also added 2 horizontal boards across the back of the 3 vertical boards for added structural support. We hauled the headboard upstairs and aligned it with the slotted holes in the metal bed frame and bolted it all together.

The supplies we needed to purchase cost less than $50.00. Here’s what we used:

  •  from our pile of lumber, we used about 6 – 12” x 46” x 3/4″ Baltic birch used wood shelves
  • for the 2 horizontal supports, we had to dig further into our pile to find boards the width of the headboard. We found a couple 1 x 3’s and cut them down to the width of the headboard
  • for the 3 verticals we used the same wood shelves
  • we finished off a box of 1 1 /4 x 12 wood screws – much larger than what the job called for, but we wanted to express the screws in the design
  • we switched to 1 1 /4″ drywall screws for the back boards- because they go in easier than wood screws and aren’t as easy to strip out. (My husbands hands were pretty sore by this point. So for the back boards, he used a screw gun and the drywall screws.)
  • paint brushes, primer and a quart of acrylic paint

So, a big thanks to my hubby for giving up his afternoon to help make a headboard. And another big thanks to M of the blog Redesigned by M – a blog that inspires me to redesign, reorganize and repurpose. A trip to IKEA will just have to wait.

finished headboard


DIY – glass bead mosaic ring

mosaic ring

mosaic ring materials w numbers

Italian tile work has always inspired me – so full of rich color and texture.  This simple ring uses a combination of 4 colors of Miyuki square glass metallic beads to recreate the look of contemporary mosaic tile.  I used:

  1. adjustable ring base with a lip edge approx 4mm high 
  2. 4mm Miyuki square glass beads – or any square bead approx this size will work
  3. E-6000 or any adhesive that works with glass and metal
  4. tweezers, toothpicks or a magic pick to help pick up and place the beads

mosaic ring glue in

I started by arranging one row vertically and one row horizontally to verify the beads would fit the ring base and to see how careful I would have to be with spacing.  The Miyuki beads vary a bit in size which is fine because I think it gives it a more true, artistic mosaic tile look.  When positioning the beads, turn them on their sides, so you can’t see the holes. When you are happy with the layout, glue down the beads using E6000. (I flipped the beads out onto a piece of cardboard, so I could maintain the layout while I glued them down individually.) Wait about 24 hours for the E6000 to set.

mosaic ring hand


stacked leather bracelets

bracelet stack turq 100

So, are stacked bracelets fashionable? Or is it just my crafty desire to wear everything I make?  Either way, here are some of my own favorite leather bracelets.


But first, just a bit on the materials I used:

  • Buttons- any size or shape will work, I just picked what I liked
  • Leather- look for a soft high-quality leather that is pliable. You can soften leather before working with it by pulling it through your pinched fingers a couple times to remove the curl. If this hurts your fingers, string on a large center hole bead that doesn’t have rough edges and run the bead along the leather, scraping to soften the leather.
  • Beads- any size you like will work but always, always, always coordinate the size of your leather with the size of your bead holes
  • Spacers + Beads- any size you like will work, but again, and I can’t stress this enough, always coordinate the size of your leather with the size of your bead holes

leather double

Double strand sliding knot bracelet


About a year ago, I Pinned the bracelet on the left to my Pinterest “Crafternoons” board.  At the time, it retailed for $90.00.  My version above, cost only about $5.00 in materials to make.

You’ll need:

  • 2 yards of 1.5 mm distressed brown leather (I’ve tried other leathers, but felt they were too stiff.  The distressed brown leather seems to work the best for me.)
  • 32 – 4 mm beads with holds large enough to go over leather
  • a clip board and tape to help hold everything down while knotting
  1. Cut two lengths of leather about 24″ long each.  Slide 14 beads to the middle of one strand of leather and set aside.  Repeat for other piece. 
  2. Making sure your beads are centered on the leather, tape both strands together near the end of the beads.  This holds it all together to make it easier to tie the other end.
  3. On the end opposite the tape hold both strands together and tie an overhand knot right against the ends of the beads.  Remove tape and tie the other two strands together with another overhand knot.
  4. Now, you are ready to make the sliding knot.  If you already know how to make a sliding knot, the rest is a breeze.  If not, here’s a link to sliding knot tutorial.  Sliding knots for bracelets are great because they are adjustable, but tying them off can be a bit tricky, so here’s what I do:

slider knot end with text

5.  After my final knot, I like to tie a knot on the under side, then stick the ends up into the open side areas of the knot just made and pull. (See above)  I’ve worn waxed cotton cord and distressed brown leather bracelets made in this manner and have had no problem with my ends working free.  However, I have tried a stiffer black and other brown leathers and could never get the ends to stay put.  (If I use thinner cording material such as waxed linen or hemp for sliding knots, I always put a dab of glue or E6000 on the knot to help it stay put.)

6.  Slide on end beads and tie a knot.  Try on.  If your tails are too long, re-tie the end beads higher up being careful to leave enough cord so you can remove the bracelet with ease.

sunflower leather wrap

Triple wrap leather bracelet with button

Here are complete instructions to make this triple wrap bracelet from one of my earlier posts. 


Triple strand sliding knot bracelet – here’s what I used:

  • 3 or 4 yards of .5 mm brown distressed leather
  • six 4 mm beads with holes large enough to go over the leather
  • 3  feature beads with holes large enougth to go over the leather
  • a clip board and tape to help hold everything down while knotting
  1. Cut a single strand of leather about 1 yard long. Slide your feature bead onto the leather and locate it in the middle of your strand.  Tie a knot on either side of feature bead, securing it in place.  Repeat for the two other leather strands.
  2. Hold all three finished strands together with the featured beads positioned where you like them and tape them all together to secure.
  3. Holding all 3 strands together, tie two overhand knots, one on either side of the group of feature beads.
  4. Finish bracelet by completing steps 4-6 from the directions above for the Double strand sliding knot bracelet.

carnelian bracelet

Carnelian Bead Bracelet

Here are complete instructions to make this easy knot carnelian bead bracelet from one of my earlier posts.

triple wrap leather

Leather triple wrapped bracelet  This is the bracelet that got me into so much trouble.  It was the first leather wrapped bracelet I made, and I made it during a vacation to the Caribbean.  Needless to say, I was hooked.  Now I take a little tin of bracelet making tools and supplies with me on every vacation.  I used:

  • 2 ply brown waxed Irish linen
  • 2 yards 1.5 mm antique brown leather
  • one 12mm bead for the clasp
  • about 20″ of 4mm crystal cut beads
  • collapsible eye needle

Here is a video link to a tutorial on making these leather wrapped bracelets.



making bracelets – “waxing” on linen, cotton and chinese knotting cord

bracelets black cropped

 As a craft store owner I hear “What’s this used for?” over and over in regards to the variety of bracelet making materials available. It can be somewhat overwhelming if you are just getting started.  So here in a nutshell, are my thoughts on waxed cotton cord, Irish waxed linen and Chinese knotting cord and some bracelets I’ve made using them.

waxed cotton

Waxed Cotton Cord

1.  Waxed Cotton Cord –  I love this stuff!  We have it in 1mm and 2mm widths.  Its only real drawback is the limited color range and we only have it in brown and black.  Its tightly braided construction means it’s durable and the ends just barely fray with use.  The very light wax coating wears off over time and becomes very soft. Then it feels like cotton.  It’s not as stiff as leather so it’s great for knotting and specifically sliding knot bracelets.

spacer bead bracelet

For this spacer bead sliding knot bracelet (also pictured second from left in first photo aboveI used: 

  • 1 yard 1mm waxed cotton cord
  • 24 heishi spacers
  • two 4mm round beads at ends

To start this bracelet, use about 12″ of waxed cotton cord and slide all but 2 of the spacer beads to the middle of your cord.  (You’ll use the extra two spacers and 4mm beads for the end knots.)  Tie a knot right against both ends of the spacers so the spacers are centered.  Next, you can tie your sliding knot.  If you haven’t tied a sliding knot before, here is a really good tutorial on how.

pearl single slide knot

Pearl and waxed cotton cord sliding knot bracelet (above).  I love this bracelet because the pearls remind me of the ocean. I wore this everyday, all day, for a week and the cut ends of the waxed cotton cord did not work their way out of the sliding knot and barely frayed on the ends. For this bracelet I used the 2mm waxed cotton cord and 7 pearls with large drilled holes, made exactly the same as the spacer bead bracelet above.

waxed linen stack

Waxed Irish Linen

2.  Waxed Irish linen – Great for working with small hole beads.  We have it in a variety of pretty colors and in 2-ply (smaller) and 4-ply (larger) sizes.  Leather wrapped bracelets are very popular and the 2-ply is great for keeping the beads in place while you wrap them onto the outside leather cord.  Some people don’t like working with the waxed linen at first because of its stickiness, but the light wax coating eventually wears off.  If you don’t have a collapsible eye needle – get one!  It makes the process of stringing small hole beads much easier.  A dab of glue down on the cut ends of your knots will prevent fraying.

triple wrap leather

For the leather triple wrapped bracelet on the left I used:

  • 2 ply brown waxed Irish linen
  • 1.5 mm antique brown leather
  • one 12mm bead for the clasp
  • about 20″ of 4mm crystal cut beads
  • collapsible eye needle

Here is a video link to a tutorial on making these leather wrapped bracelets.

rhinestone double wrap

Waxed Irish linen, leather and rhinestone chain bracelet (above).  These are really quick and add some color and bling to your bracelets.  Here’s the link to the blog “Honestly…WTF” and the post I used to make these bracelets.
luv-u-charmlet-finalWaxed Irish Linen Charmlets (above– I used 4 ply waxed Irish linen for these sliding knot bracelets.  They are very simple and plain, but look cute with a charm or little pendant added. The sliding knot is pretty sticky at first, but after some usage and wear the knot works great.  Here is a great link to how sliding knots are made from the blog “The Adorned Article.”  

chinese knotting thread

Chinese knotting cord

3.  Chinese knotting cord – This is a nylon woven cord that is also easy to work with. It comes in bright colors, a variety of widths and the knots it creates are very even and clean.  The smaller sizes work great for the Shamballa Style bracelets (see below) You can use a cigarette lighter (I don’t smoke, so I have to admit buying a lighter for this project felt sort of strange) to seal the ends from fraying.  It doesn’t have the stiffness of leather so the knots are easier to make and stay in place well.

gold bead bracelet

For this metal bead bracelet (made similar to spacer bead sliding knot bracelet above) I used: 

  • .8mm black chinese knotting cord
  • fourteen 5mm beads with holes large enough for 2 strands of cord
  • a cigarette lighter to seal the ends

agate macrame

Shamballa Style Agate Bracelet (above–   Here’s a how-to video on making the Shamballa style bracelet above.

For this bracelet I used:

  • I.8 mm black chinese knotting cord
  • twelve 12mm cut agate beads
  • two 6mm beads for the ends

bracelets black cropped

Rhinestone Sliding Knot Bracelet  Here is one last really cute bracelet using chinese knotting cord that is pictured second from the right.

I made this one straight from the blog  “Honestly…WTF”.  Look for the DIY Rhinestone Sliding Knot Bracelet.

easy knot bracelets

easy knot bracelet

The green bracelet is an easy, two knot bracelet for the very beginner jewelry maker.  If you can tie a shoe, you can make this bracelet!

You will need:

  • 16-18″ of any width leather or waxed cotton cord (we used 2 mm waxed cotton cord for our sample)
  • about 6″ of beads laid end to end with holes large enough to fit onto your cord – you can use any size bead you like
  • button for closure
  • scissors

steps 1 thru 4

1.  Fold back about 3″ of cord and slide on button.  2. Loop button around cord and then 3. insert button into loop.  4.  Pull on knot just made until it is tight.

steps 5 thru 6

5.  Trim off short end of cord close to the knot.  6.  Next, strand approx. 6” of beads onto your cord to make your finished bracelet about 7 1/2″ long.  If you want the bracelet to be 1/2″ longer, then add beads until the length of your stranded beads is 6 1/2″, if you want your bracelet to be 1″ longer, then add beads until the length of stranded beads is 7″, etc.

steps 7 thru 9

7. Fold back about the rest of your cord about 1 1/2″ away from the last bead and pinch the fold.  8.  Insert the folded end into the loop just made – just as you inserted the button in the previous steps. Test  the end of your knotted loop to make sure it will fit over your button.    9.  Pull knot tight. Trim off excess cord and you’re done!

sunflower leather wrap

Here is a triple wrap bracelet made in the same way as the bracelet above, only longer.  (This is the middle bracelet shown in the first photo above.)

I used:

  • 1 yard of 1.5 mm wide leather
  • button

1.  Fold back about 3″ of cord and slide on button.  2. Loop button around leather and then 3. insert button into loop.  4. Pull on knot just made until it is tight.  5.  Trim off short end of cord close to the knot.  6.  Next, wrap the leather 3 times around your wrist and mark with a piece of tape where you want the folded end of the closure loop to be. This point will dictate the length of the bracelet. Similar to step 7. above, fold the leather about 1 1/2″ away from tape. 8.  Insert the folded end into the loop just made – just as you inserted the button. Remove tape. Test the end of your knotted loop to make sure it will fit over your button.    9.  Pull knot tight. Trim off excess leather and you’re done!

carnelian bracelet

Here is an easy modification to the previous bracelets.  For the carnelian bead bracelet pictured above, we used a double strand of leather.  You will need:

  • 26″ of .5 mm leather or waxed cotton cord  (we used leather for our sample)
  • about 6 1/2″ of beads laid end to end with holes large enough to fit onto your cord when it is doubled.  (you can use any size bead you like)
  • a large “clasp” end bead for closure
  • scissors

1.  Fold leather in half.  2. Loop folded end around leather and then  3. insert folded end into loop to make a knot.

4.  Pull on knot and verify that the loop will fit over your “clasp” bead. Pull knot tight.

5.  Holding both strands together, strand a length of beads approx. 6 1/4″‘ onto both leather cords.  This will make a bracelet about 7 1/2″ long when finished.  If you want the bracelet to be 1/4″ longer when finished, then add beads until the length of stranded beads is 6 1/2″, etc.

6.  Holding both strands together, tie a knot close to the end of your beads.

7. Slide  “clasp” bead onto both strands.

8. Tie a second knot on the other side of the “clasp” bead and try on bracelet to see if it fits.  Adjust the knot if necessary and pull tight.  Trim off excess leather and you’re done.

rondelle bead

One last easy modification to a knotted bracelet.  For the rondelle bead clasp leather bracelet pictured above you will need:

  • 26″ of 1.5 mm leather or waxed cotton cord (we used leather for our sample)
  • one 4mm bead with a hole large enough to fit over leather
  • a rondelle or feature bead with with a hole large enough to fit onto your cord when it is doubled
  • scissors

1.  Fold leather in half and pinch folded end of leather together with fingers. Slide 4mm bead onto one end of the leather and let it rest in the fold.   

2. With both strands of leather together, slide on the rondelle or feature bead.

3.  Holding both strands together, tie a knot about 7″ away from the 4mm bead.

4.  Holding both strands together, leave a space a little bit wider than the width of your rondelle or feature bead and tie another knot.

5. Try bracelet on and see if it fits.  Adjust the knot if necessary and pull tight.  Trim off excess leather and you’re done!


where’s the beach? easy voile swimsuit wrap + gathered top

voileVoile is one of my favorite fabrics to work with.  Some people pronounce it “vwall” and others pronounce it “voil” like the word “foil” with a “v” in front.  I think both are right, but I use “vwall” – because it sounds more French. When voile first came out a few years back I called my Mother to tell her about this beautiful, sheer, soft new fabric and she said “Oh yes, your Grandmother made your baby blanket out of it.”  Just goes to show you everything old can be new again.

wrap without text

For the easy voile swimsuit wrap you’ll need:

Here’s how:

  1. Hem all 4 sides by folding up raw edges 5/8″ with wrong sides together.  (Watch out for the printing on the selvages – you may want to cut this off before hemming.) Pin and press.
  2. Fold raw edge into the pressed fold, pin and press again.  Topstitch close to upper edge of fold.
  3. Wrap and get to the beach!

voile summer topThis was a really quick, gathered top I made using voile following the instructions from a cute blog post on the blog “Talk2TheTrees.”

Here’s what I needed and some additional measurements :

  • 1/3 yard of 54″ voile for the tie
  • 3/4 yard of 54″ voile for the top
  • matching thread
  • My finished top was 26″ x 28 long” and I used a measurement of 9″ down for the armholes
  • My tie was 100″ long (2 – 4″ wide strips of voile sewn end to end) and it’s really long, so I think you could go shorter if you wanted.

voile detail

pretty little pincushion ring

pincushion ring orange single blog

pincushion ring materials

You’ll need :

  • 3/4″ diameter felt ball
  • adjustable ring with a 3/4″ diameter base plate with short lip near the edge
  • E6000
  • sharp scissors

pincushion cutting

pincushion e6000

pincushion finished ring

pincushion rings 6

Cut, glue, stick and that’s pretty much it.

While hand sewing, I have this tendency to stick all the loose, used pins into the arm of my  chair as I sew.  Which really isn’t too much of a problem, unless I forget about them and my husband goes to sit down and plants his hand on a sea of pins.

This pretty little pincushion ring helps me prevent that!