Monday, July 27, 2009

The easiest way to cut a stack of paper...

... is to bring it to Kinko's!
They have an incredible machine that can cut through a stack of paper in a single motion. It's perfect for making custom size books. I printed a bunch of pictures—two 5" x 7"per page—straight from iphoto and brought the entire stack to Kinko's, where they cut borderless right around the top photo.
I waited until after I spiral bound them to get the right edge trimmed off. I bound the books with a 1" silver spiral binding at my boyfriend's office and then bought them back to Kinko's.
After they are spiral bound, the right edge emulates the curve of the spiral so pages aren't flush. So it's better to do the final cut after it's bound.
This simple photo album is a great way to actually look at your photos, archive them with a hard copy, or makes a great gift for a friend. Printed fast on a laser printer on a medium weight paper with a frosted plastic cover, you can have an album that stores about 150 precious moments.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

let me. tell you.

I am very excited that Motorhead will be preforming in New York in September and I got a ticket for just $10! A great excuse for me to share with you a few things...
First, this awesome pendant that my dear gave me a few Christmas's ago.
Motorhead's Warpig: 18k solid gold with ruby eyes. The best present ever!
And also the reason I named my blog "lemme make it" and not "let me make it". Perhaps Motorhead's Ace of Spades had an effect on me? It's too bad Mr. Kurt Cobain's name doesn't belong to him anymore. I would have named my polar blog Cobaineit. Let's not make it, let's destroy it!
Cheers to Lemmy and to Kurt.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Denim Jean Project.

You know those jeans that you really liked when you first bought them, but now styles have changed and they're a little out of date?... Yeah, I have a couple pairs of those—that stack of blue jeans in my closet that I never seem to wear...

This pair can use something—an old pair of Express "skinny" jeans when skinny wasn't even skinny...

Now, what to do with them?
How about tie dye with bleach!

So I tied the legs of the jeans in a knot and put a few rubber bands around them to keep them in a tight bundle.
I saturated the knot of denim in water and then submerged them in a watered down bleach bath. After about 10 minutes, and nothing seeming to be happen, I put them straight into the bleach (be VERY careful with bleach—bleach is an irritant. The fumes can pose a health hazard. Undiluted, bleach is corrosive and will damage many surfaces such as skin and fabrics). About a half hour later they looked like this...
It took a little over an hour for them to turn almost completely white. I rinsed them as best I could with detergent and let them hang dry. When I was ready to do laundry I put them in by themselves, so I didn't give my whole wardrobe a new look!
So obviously, how the final product turns out depends on how you tie the jeans up and rubber band them. The front of mine came out more bleached than the back, which shows a little more of the original denim color. Pretty fun experiment and I like the jeans better then I ever did before!

A sweet surprise.

2 am this morning, romping across Avenue A—after the crosstown bus unexpectedly turned off 14th street—I just happen to step up on the curb and to my sweet surprise, I see this at my feet...
My boyfriend Ashley and my initials from 5 years ago! My god, I totally forgot we ever did that!
What a coincidence, because last week, while digging through old boxes of my junk, preparing for a giant tag sale at my parents house, I was reminded again of that year (2004) from another sweet surprise, when I pulled out this scrap print, an acid etching from a studio class in college...
Oh Ashley pants... it's been a while!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bead Doll.

I saw this sitting on my shelf this morning and it made me smile. I couldn't resist buying it from the Salvation Army a few months back for $1. Someone made it out of some safety pins and pipe cleaners covered with plastic beads and attached the miniature doll parts. Imagine the beads were crystals... it could be pretty fabulous!
Check out my post on the craft department blog about the Crystallized Swarovski store opening.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chain Earrings

With some scraps of sterling chain, a jump ring, an ear wire, and a sliver of leather, Melissa designed and had me make her a pair of earrings.

Easy. I attached various lengths of random silver chain to a single jump ring, which I then attached to an ear wire. With a thin strip of black leather, I wrapped the jump ring to hide it and secured it with a dab of fabri-tac.
Rock them with jean shorts and a white tee or a cute black dress. Done.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Crimp Beads.

Crimp beads are a must when working with beading wire to secure the ends of the wire into loops so that they can be connected to other components (a clasp for instance). This is the beading wire that I am talking about...

This wire cannot be tied in a knot, so the only way to secure the ends are to use crimp beads. To get the best results with a crimp bead, I recommend investing in crimping pliers. Crimping Pliers have two oval notches or grooves on their nose, one with a dip and one without.

To secure the crimp bead, you first press/squeeze it between the groove with the dip. This will pinch the bead's center, creating a curl shape like this...

Then you squeeze the crimp bead between the plain groove to tighten and fold the curl. The crimp bead will be shaped like this when it is completely crimped...

Crimp beads are great alternatives to knots on string as well, but are a necessity for beading wire. Happy crimping!

Trial & Error

The Sunday before the July 4th weekend, we rode our bikes over the Manhattan Bridge into Dumbo, to see what was happening at the Brooklyn Flea. I am a thrifter, a flea, a swap meeter, a tagger, a rummage saler... what would be the proper term for someone like me?... Anyway, I like to spend weekends looking & collecting random old, unusual things at all of the above, where ever they may be.

This time, I got a rad vintage studded belt for 20 bucks that i rocked immediately. After my sister, Melissa, made a few more purchases, and we were headed for the exit, I spotted this old beaded costume applique. The vendor, who looked like she just cleaned out her house of all her own treasured antiques, noticed me eyeing her well organized merchandise. Along with the large beautifully hand strung patches were some extra hanks of the actual beads that were used in the applique. The lady, who obviously admired them, said they were 1920's Czechoslovakian beads. Wow, they were pretty awesome... Seed beads in a silver metal cut to sparkle...

So I bought the 5 hanks she had for another 20 bucks and the lady told me that I was the only person whom expressed interest in them all day! I always get excited when I discover old crafting supplies—yeah, the actual applique (wish I got a picture!) was stunning and amazing—but the idea of a craftsman anally stringing these tiny metal beads, hunched over their worktable, to a piece of fabric, creating an incredibly detailed, intricate labor of love (I hope), then finishing with a few bundles of beads leftover, only to wind up decades later in some other craftsman's hands, ready to create something different with them, just makes them more special—I felt like I scored!

Instantly, my mind started brewing up ideas!
When I get something new that I really like, I want to look at it... all the time. It's one of the reasons I like jewelry so much, I can wear it and admire it all day long, everyday.
So the obvious first project that I "thought" I could immediately whip up with the beads, was a simple bracelet. I wear many bracelets daily and thought it would blend nicely in the mix...

...and it does, but making it turned out to be not so simple!

Attempt #1
I knew I wanted it to be more than a single strand, so I strung it on a thin (.012"), 7 strand nylon coated stainless steel beading wire. I made it super long so that it wrapped around my wrist about 6 times. I had this really cute elephant clasp I have been dying to use for years and thought this could have been it, but...

no luck... the elephant clasp is too heavy and disproportionate to the beads...

Attempt #2
So I had to cut it, lose a wrap around, so I could redo the end crimp bead and add an ordinary clasp.
I wore it for a day and it drove me crazy, tangling with all my other bracelets. Back to the drawing boards.

Attempt #3
Maybe the wrap around is the wrong way, so instead I tried individual strands attached at each end with a crimp bead to the clasp ring and a jump ring. I got through 5 strands crimped to the jump ring and thought it looked awful!

Crimp beads, in this case, just looked sloppy and the strands just weren't laying right, so...snip, snip....

Attempt #4 (finally!)
I restrung the beads on a thicker (.019") beading wire (49 wires of flexible strength), made two 29" lengths and attached them to clasp and jump ring. The thicker wire is less likely to tangle with my other bracelets and has a lot more body and form—so instead of a super long wrap-around bracelet, doubling up with the two shorter strands gives the bracelet the look I wanted but not the annoying headache.
Here's a visual, a close up on the clasp so you understand what I am talking about...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

African quilt scarf

I am addicted to a few things... one is scarves. I wear a lot of shades- black, grey, white- especially in the winter, but I usually throw on a scarf to jazz my outfit up a bit and to keep my neck warm. It is way too hot to wear a scarf in the summer in New York, but for some reason I tend to find amazing patterned scarf during this season!

So... I spotted an ad in The New York Times Magazine for Echo Design and it caught my eye... most of the vintage scarfs I've collected from rummage sales and flea markets are marked with the word "echo." I thought for sure the company was no longer around, little did I know... so I visited their website and immediately fell in love with a scarf. The African quilt scarf...

I've been seeing a lot of African prints recently and I am always drawn to them. Bold, colorful, geometric, graphic... an African print on a silk scarf... amazing....
Learn how a silk scarf is made, a true work of art...