Tag Archives: upcycling

Finish It! or, The Winter 2015 Challenge

I’ve got a lot of crap on my bench.

challenge1tableA lot of crap.

Unfinished, barely started, abandoned, set aside . . . you name it. And there’s more in the drawers under the bench. Not to mention all the beads I’ve bought over the past three years . . . so. I’ve got just under a month before metals class starts up again, so why not take this time to do something about it? One project at a time, just get it done. Or, at least get it done enough to get it ready for soldering or some other operation I don’t have the equipment for at home (yet!)

I started the other day with some rings I made in class out of bits of copper rod I found in the scrap bin. I had rolled them out in the rolling mill, stamped, annealed, cut, soldered, cleaned up the join, all that good stuff. And then I took them home and got out the stinky old liver of sulfur.


The colors were a bit more vibrant, but then I went and sealed the rings with some spray enamel, which always dulls things a bit (goodbye, fugitive blues and violets!) Still, they’re done now.

And I’m on the next thing, also composed of scrap bin finds:


I drew that wire myself, getting it through the draw plate properly for the first time, hooray! The oval is from a scrap of patterned metal that I guess someone ran through the mill and then didn’t want. Who are these people who don’t keep things? Who can’t think of a thing to do with a neat piece of metal like that? I don’t understand. Oh well, their loss and my gain. It’s going to hook on to the wire and serve as a clasp as well as a focal.

My intent is to work every night, even if it’s just a little. And I’ll be going back to posting more frequently, whether the project is done or not yet. That should keep me motivated. Let’s see what I can do!


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Chugga Chugga

I’ve been at the upcycling again!

Last weekend was the annual garage sale event in our neighborhood, and as usual I made the rounds.  I always have an eye out for interesting old costume jewelry to play with.  Here’s a charming piece that went for $1.  I wish I’d remembered to take a “before” picture of it, but here’s how the pendant looks now:

trainpendantI didn’t touch the dark gray train part, but the rest was a tarnished goldtone when I bought it.  (There were also a few green spots I cleaned and sanded off a bit.) I raided my husband’s stash of old Testors enamel paints and came up with aluminum (for the smoke and rail), copper (for the trestle) and gold (frame).  This is not something I would recommend doing with even a halfway decent piece of costume jewelry, as it tends to look pretty chintzy when you’re done, but with something old, cheap, damaged, and quirky like this–go for it.  Now I just have to wait for it to dry thoroughly, as Testors can remain a little tacky to the touch for weeks.

Tacky to the eye . . . now that’s another matter.


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Easiest Upcycle Ever

I bought these earrings at an antique mall (read: junk shop) for three bucks the other day.

fanearringsb4If I had to guess, I’d say they’re from the 1980s.  The enameling is neatly done, the “gold” finish has held up well, and the fish hooks are definitely past their prime.  Let’s see what I can do about that.

fanearringsafterI didn’t make these brass wire hooks (although I know how); they’ve been in my stash for years.  Hmm, the one on the left could use a bit of cleaning.  But I think they look a little better now.  I really love the lotus flowers!

In other jewelry news, I’ve been playing around with the purple wire and silvery circles again.  Sort of doodling with wire, learning the moves, figuring out how to pass wire back and forth and around without kinking it, which causes it to break off (go ahead, ask me how I know that.)  This is all in preparation for a design I want to try from a book to make a sort of wire cage for one end of a citrine crystal I bought from a museum gift shop.  You know the kind I mean–the bins of rocks for little kids to paw through.  It’s nothing high quality, but a really pretty stone anyway, and I’ve been wanting to do something with it for years.

And in knitting, I’ve been working on a tam (kind of a beret, except it has a brim) that involves cables and paying attention.  I’m okay at the former and have failed twice already at the latter.  But it’s chugging along.



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Completing the Circle

Well, I said I’d get back to work on jewelry, and so I have.  I’d been avoiding the join part of these beaded crochet bracelets for months, and today I sat down with the instructions and a bit of patience.

That giant magnifying lamp to the right, by the way?  My favorite tool ever.  Eyestrain is not my friend, but this lamp is!  I may crochet a dust cover for the lens in the near future.  Maybe I’ll use the leftover green from my yoda hat, and felt it!

But I digress.  I finished two, and that blue size 8 bead tube in the middle there is going to need some cones and a clasp, as soon as I pick out something good from my stash.

One more thing in the works:  I’ve taken apart the sweater I mentioned last time.  This does seem a shame, as some kid or lady in India or China probably spent hours stitching it and made fifty cents for his/her trouble, but it was truly in unwearable condition.  I started making the crown of the hat just to see how well this yarn works up.  Well, it doesn’t work up very well.  The yarn is, of course, all crinkled up.  It’s also very fine and brittle and the four plies are all at odds with each other.  I’ll probably have to use the stained part eventually, which means maybe I’ll end up dyeing the whole thing with coffee or tea for a nice taupe color. And, since nobody on Ravelry seems crazy enough to make a sun hat with anything but sport or worsted weight yarn, I’m on my own for a pattern.  Eh, I like a challenge.

Other projects on the proverbial backburner (you can ignore this part–it’s more of a note-to-self):

  • tassel necklace with lucky cat focal bead
  • mala bracelets with guru beads (what on earth cord can get through those tiny holes?!)
  • stashbusting blue blanket–find a pattern online
  • Gretel tam from the SnB book
  • finish that neckline on the Tulip Top (that’s a nice, portable knit night project)
  • extend shiny purple beaded crochet spiral (made back in April) into a lariat-style necklace
  • kitty-shaped pillow in taupe and gray stash yarn (use leftover bit of foam inside, too!)
  • Hermione socks with purple yarn from Kristi

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