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Peacock Feather Earrings Tutorial

Peacock Feathers are a popular trend right now in fashion and design.  When Craig Olsen decorated my swanky new living room and dining room they added fabulous accessories embellished with peacock feathers… and seeded my love for these pretty little feathers.  I found a peacock feather mask at a garage sale – and for only one dollar – it’s a great value on future craft supplies.  Flash forward a few weeks later when I was introduced to guitar goddess Ariel.  While admiring her gorgeous feather earrings,  I immediately knew what my next craft project would be!   Peacock Feather Earrings!  The perfect fashion forward accessory for the girl who loves a little funk in her fashion.

I found a ton of tutorials for making Peacock or feather earrings, and I combined a few techniques to settle on a method that was easy and suited my vision.

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First trim your feathers.  Just pull off a few of extra feathers from the left and right sides.  You need to expose the shaft of the feather in order to get a good surface to work with.  You might have to trim the shaft of the feather depending on its thickness.   Both the feather shaft and the jeweler wire need to be able to feed through your bead together.   Trim the feather shaft on the back carefully with a pair of scissors.

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Trim the length of the feather shaft so that it doesn’t protrude through the top of the bead once you feed it through. You also need to test that both the shaft and wire will fit through your bead. Once you have applied the glue, there’s no going back. Apply the glue to the trimmed feather shaft and insert it into your bead – following quickly with your beading wire. The beading wire needs to extend about a 1/2″ to allow room to wrap the wire.
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Bend up the wire as shown, then tightly wrap it around the feather shaft. The wire and the glue will ensure that your feathers will withstand any headbanging you might engage in.  Now thread your crystal bead.

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Using a pair of small needle nose jewelry pliers – grab the wire at the top of the bead – bend over to one side – wind the wire around the closed jewelry pliers to create a loop.  Use the jewelry pliers to grab the loop you just created and tightly wind the wire around the space between the loop and the crystal bead.  Trim the wire and use the pliers to round out any part that is sticking out.
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You are now ready to add your jump ring and earring hook and wear these pretties to your next rock n roll concert!

Columbia Gorge Inspired Planters

I fell for these modern square shaped and yellow cream colored plant containers as soon as I saw them at a garage sale.  There were twelve available so I had a nice amount to play with.  Mismatched planters and pots look messy so of course I bought every one of them for a total of $20.  They are perfect for succulent plantings or ornamental grasses.

My trip to the Columbia Gorge provided the rest of the inspiration.  The hiking trails along the Columbia Rivers are swathed in vibrant green moss.  The moss covers the ancient basalt walls and trees.  Black river rocks glisten from the crystal clear creeks and streams.  I wanted to recreate that peaceful, lush, oasis at home.  My only challenge is Pepsi – or Bunn Bunn as I call him.

Bunn Bunn has free reign in my back yard – and he’s always curious when I move things around.  I’m sure he feels like you would if you friend came over and rearranged all the furniture in your living room without asking.  Bunn Bunn pretty much eats anything I grow back there.  So I thought I would try planting an ornamental grass which I’m hoping will be Pepsi proof.

Most likely, I’ll have to change my inspiration to another Gorge inspired plant – Lavender.  I know this is bunny proof and I love they way it smells and that it’s drought tolerant.

I planted these with a technique that I got from Inside Urban Green.  I’m not going to recreate what I learned from their website but I’m hoping it works.  I did mine a little differently (no drainage).  For best results check out Inside Urban Green.
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I started by taking cutting down the height of the empty plastic pots that the plants originally came in.  Some were small so I used four of them for one pot, placing them upside down.

Then I filled the container with potting soil and added one plant.
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Next I filled in the edges around the plant with more potting soil and gave it a nice watering.

I tore off pieces of moss and squished it around the plant and the sides of the container.  I added the black round river rocks to hide the gaps  and to add more interest to the planting.

Three finished planters are sitting at my front entrance – far, far away from Bunn Bunn.  One sacrificial planter is bracing itself in the backyard to see if Bunn Bunn is going to eat it or not.
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Graduation Dress – Ditching the Design

Thing 2 was busy with gymnastics and school and since she was apprehensive about the first dress design, I went ahead and finished the sun dress version in the Hawaiian print – coaxing her to try it on at various intervals so I could really customize the fit.

Without being able to see the final version and having absolutely no trust in my skills and taste, Thing 2 picked out another pattern.   Experience has taught me not to fight the process.  After all, when you’re teaching someone to sew, you have to ensure that the project will be successful and that the end result be something she could be proud about.  This time, I didn’t have Thing 2 around to help me (child of divorce and all) so I whipped up the muslin and sewed it up so she could try it on.   It was a unanimous YES!  The simple muslin fabric looked GORGEOUS on her!  Excited with our new beginning I cut out two sets of fabrics from the pattern to got ready to sew.  Graduation is just around the corner so Thing 2 might not get a chance to sew her own graduation dress, but at least the lesson of what you can do will be learned.

Meanwhile, the original dress in the Hawaiian print was turning out darn pretty cute.  The dress begged for a little more pizzazz so I edged the neck and armholes with a thin bias tape that I made from scraps of white fabric and one of my Clover Bias Tape makers.  Mr. Malibu was concerned when he first saw the dress – got to give him props for noticing that the front panels don’t match.  I didn’t put a lot of effort into this dress as I suspect Thing 2 won’t ever wear it.  I was limited with a short amount of fabric and it was more an exercise than completing for garment that would be actually worn.  She doesn’t wear dresses very often.
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Hopefully I’ve alleviated Mr. Malibu’s fears, because he wants a shirt made, with monogrammed cuffs, no less.

Vintage Tray Message Du Jour Boards

I’ve been looking and looking for some old vintage metal trays.  I thought they would be cute with their inner sections painted in chalk paint.  Cute to display around the home – handy for whatever the “Message Du Jour” is!  Thing 1 and Thing 2 always have fun with things like these and there’s no telling what message someone might leave, tempted with a blank slate and piece of chalk!

The weekend garage sales hadn’t turned up anything.  My search of the local thrift stores turned up a few items that were too much money and just really not what I was envisioning.  I was really looking to pay no more than a $1.00 (or even less).

Are you familiar with “the Secret”?  It’s a philosophy where you put a message out to the universe.  Basically you manifest your desires.  I’m familiar with the concept only.  But I will tell you this, I do seem to have this gift!  Need a new Cuisinart?  I’ll find one, brand new at an estate sale for $25 complete with the extra blade set.  What about a Barbecue for the rental house in Palm Springs?  How’s $20 bucks sound, gently used with a filled propane tank to boot!

Yeah, lucky me.  This is my gift in life – it couldn’t be something cool like winning lotteries or finding diamonds.  But finding that certain something that I feel I need… it comes to me.

Sure enough, sooner than expected, someone moved out of one of the apartments where I lived.  They left a bunch of kitchen goods, stacked neatly in a covered area next to the recycling.  Three darling little vintage trays yelled out to me and caught my attention.  They were not too big!  Not too small.  EXACTLY what I was envisioning!

After cleaning up the trays and applying a couple of coats of chalk paint, I had three festive little message boards, perfect for any occasion!
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Naturally, Thing 2 was the first to grab the chalk and leave her message!

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