Friday, August 29, 2014

DIY Burlap Purple Coneflowers

I love seeing purple coneflowers in the garden and thought about using them in place of sunflowers in d├ęcor.  I'm a bit tired of all the yellow and would like to see something different.  To my surprise, I really couldn't find much of anything so far as using purple coneflowers around the house or in crafting.  Why is that?  It's such an unusual shaped flower well respected among gardeners and scientist, alike.

At the top of the stem is a single large coppery brown cone which is quite impressive.  It is surrounded by droopy petals, in shades ranging from lavender, pink and purple, that to me, mimic the brim of a hat.  It's medicinal powers are both ancient and modern.

A friend gave me a small portion of his beautifully landscaped purple coneflowers before he moved and now this wonderfully transplanted lovely has transformed my garden into an array of different shades of pink, salmon and purple flowers throughout the summer and into fall .  .   .  

 Can you understand why I was inspired to craft a few burlap purple coneflowers of my own?

Here's how:

First the burlap must be stiffen to make the coneflower petals by
spreading Mod Podge over the burlap with a brush and allowing to dry.

While the burlap is drying make a flower template using a 5 1/2 inch square sheet of paper.

Fold the paper in half.

Fold that triangle in half again.

Fold over the area by the center of the triangle. as pictured.
 See the fold line?

With scissors, cut off the top.

Draw a narrow shape for the petals from the side top to JUST before the bottom, leaving space, as pictured.

Cut out the pattern carefully, keeping the paper even.

Open to reveal an eight petal flower.

 Use the template to draw flowers on the stiff burlap.

And then cut them out.
 Glue two together for a fuller look.

I placed a cup over the petals to make them droop.

To make the center cone, cut Styrofoam balls in half and paint with copper metallic acrylic.  I pressed a black magic marker (lower right) around the cone for a more dimensional look.

Glue the cone onto the center of the petals.

A smaller version using cut out petals from scrap pieces and gluing them to a circle.

You can use the burlap coneflowers alone or attach to stems from old plastic flowers you have on hand or make your own stem. 

Haven't decided how I'll be using my burlap purple coneflowers, but I am loving how they turned out. 
Maybe I'll put them in a wreath or perhaps a centerpiece.
Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by
and take a little time to enjoy,

Happy Crafting!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Clothespin Wire Jewelry Using Paper Napkin Beads

I had lots of wire hinges leftover after making my clothespin napkin holder and I promised my readers I would make something out of them.    After a little research on the web I think Michelle In L.A.  had the best idea of making jewelry out of the wire hinges.  She has a knack for upcycling the most unusual objects and made fabulous jewelry with her hinges.  I couldn't come up with something actually different.   There were quite a few designs out there using different sizes of beautiful beads with the clothespin wire hinges.  I don't have any really pretty beads that would make a piece of jewelry stand out.  Nor did I want to spend any time or money searching the craft stores or thrift shops for beads that I could use.  So I thought it cool to just make some paper beads out of the napkins pictured in my napkin holder.   I recently discovered that Dee Ann Rick has a wonderful video tutorial on turning beautiful napkins into awesome beads that you should check out.                                      
Here's how I made mine:

Open the paper napkin and pull apart the two plain layers from the printed side.

  The layers should easily separate.
Lay the printed napkin on a plain sheet of paper and glue down a little bit at a time until the whole napkin is glued to the paper.  Doing this adds strength to the napkin and makes it easier to cut out the strips.

   Don't worry about wrinkles.  This adds texture to your beads. You need to make two sheets.  


Once the paper is dry,  mark off 1/2 inch increments for the templates on one sheet and triangular 1/2 inch base strips on the other sheet. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this but the cut out strips look like this:

The first type of paper bead I made is like a Pandora style bead that included using a 3/16 bead core or eyelet core insert. Since I didn't have a bead roller, I needed to add tape to my skewer to get the correct 3/16 hole size so the core would fit into the rolled paper. 
Once satisfied that the core would fit into the rolled bead ends,  place one end of the 1/2 inch strip first and carefully roll around the skewer, keeping the tension tight and the paper centered. Just before the end, put a bit of glue on the strip and add the tapered piece. Continue rolling the tapered strip, tight and centered until just before the end. Add additional glue and finish rolling.
Using a paint brush I applied triple thick brush on gloss to the beads and let dry.
This is my contraption I made with a wire stem for rolling the beads around while the gloss dries.   
Once dry, using E6000, glue the cores to each end.

I then added the Pandora style bead to each hinge and strung them on a small chain necklace.
After making the Pandora type bead necklace, I started playing around with other designs.   First, I put plain hinges together for a bracelet.  Just pull the ends apart and insert through the coiled portion. 

Then,  I rolled a napkin paper into a tube, cutout three smaller tubes and glued them together.

 Next, I took printed napkin sheets without any backing, rolled into a tube, flatten, and shaped it into a triangle, pinching the corners.

Glued them all together before adding it to the wire hinge.  I painted on triple thick gloss to all of the napkin beads I created.
The possibilities are almost unlimited as to how you can design jewelry using clothespin hinges.  Just use your imagination.

It's really fun to upcycle items leftover from other projects.  What have you tried lately?

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Crafting!


Sunday, August 17, 2014