DIY Fabric Tassel

Now that Thanksgiving (in America) is behind us, I'm willing to focus on working toward Christmas and all that comes with it: the parties, the presents, the music, the decorations, and the celebration itself. To kick it all off, I'm sharing a quick technique with you that can be used in a variety of ways. Learn how to make a fabric tassel!
In my example, I used recycled sari silk, but you could any variety of material: other kinds of fabric strips, ribbon, lace, or whatever you envision. And, while I ended up using my tassel as a pendant for a necklace, yours could be a Christmas ornament or even a gift decoration!

The technique is super simple, but first, you'll need to gather your supplies.
You'll need your tassel material of choice (fabric, ribbon, etc.), wire, a bead cap, scissors, and pliers (wire cutters, chain nose, and round nose).

From there, it only takes a minute or two to Make a Fabric Tassel.  Just watch me knock one out.
It really is just a matter of bending and wrapping. The bead cap simply hides some of the messiness.

The loop on the top is perfect for sliding a bit of chain through or slipping on an ornament hook.

Smaller versions would be great for earrings.

Once you have the steps down, there are all kinds of things you can do with a tassel.
Don't let your fabric and ribbon scraps go to waste!
Let me know if you have any questions about the process. 
Enjoy the beginning of the Holiday Season!

Crests of Tin and Patina (Honey Do List)

Each month, Sarajo shares the photo inspiration given to her by her husband, Eric. She calls it the Honey Do List. This month, Eric gave her three photos of stained glass windows from Edinburgh Castle. I absolutely knew that I would be able to draw some inspiration from the windows but put the task aside while I worked on organizing the craft room. When I finally allowed myself to focus on the images, I immediately had an idea.

All three of the windows in the photographs included a crest of some sort. I was drawn to the shape of them and started there.
Using a stencil of my own design (cut out on a Cameo Silhouette), I traced the shape onto a flat piece of silvery cookie tin. This was probably the bottom of a tin as it is quite flat. 

I used tin snips to cut out the shapes.
I also snipped off a tiny bit of each corner to tremove the sharp points.

Then, a sanding block was used to soften the edges and remove any burrs. 
I also went ahead and sanded the flat surfaces (front and back) of the metal to remove some of the coatings on them in case I decided to patina the surfaces. (Spoiler Alert: I did.)

Then, I pulled out my Sizzix Big Kick and a Vintaj Embossing Die to texture the metal.
Each piece was embossed individually, and I made a point of not getting the same pattern on each of them as each of the windows in the inspiration photos were also different. 

Then, it was time to color the crests with Vintaj Patinas.
I only used one coat on each piece. The colors were selected based on the dominant color in each of the inspiration photos. 

Then, I had a little fun adding more interest to the shapes with a wash of alcohol ink and alcohol blending solution.
In this case, I used quite a bit of the blending solution and only a drop or two of the ink so that the color was subtle. I could always add more, but it's difficult to remove it once it's on there. 

I've just uploaded a video on Using Vintaj Patinas on YouTube if you want to see some of the different ways I like to work with it. 
In the video, I used mostly Vintaj metal blanks, but I'm now starting to experiment with it on my blank tin pieces like the ones I used for this necklace.

Once the alcohol ink was dry, a quick coat of sealer was added.

I also allowed that time to dry before I punched holes at the top corners with a metal punch.

Then, I turned the pieces over to decide what to do about the backs of them.

I could have easily left them as they were, but since I HAD sanded them, I decided to slightly darken them with Novacan Black Patina and seal them with Renaissance Wax. 

From there; jump rings, chain, and a clasp were added to complete the necklace. 
It's difficult to see the darkened patina, but I promise it's there. 

I'm super pleased with how quickly this piece came together. I know it looks like a lot of steps, but it really wasn't.

And, I'm excited at how well it represents all three inspiration photos in one piece. 
Thanks to Eric and Sarajo for sharing such great inspiration! I'm looking forward to seeing what they have up their sleeve for next month's inspiration.  Now head, over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what Sarajo made!

Peek at My Week (Nov. 17-23)

This whole week, I felt like I was wading against the tide. It began beautifully enough with some puppy love.
 But, I spent the rest of Sunday fairly lazily.

I guess I was resting up since I woke Monday with inspiration. It took me some time to get there since I needed to get the grocery shopping and a few other tasks first, but then it was playtime.
Something had me wanting to wrap rhinestones, encase them in a little bit of tin. It took more work than I thought, but I made it work! From there, I wanted to see if I could create a small box. And, I did! But, I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with them, so they've been pushed aside for now.

From there, I spent much of Tuesday tackling my bag of jewelry that needed to be disassembled.

I did take a break from taking it all apart to explore the woods. And, I stumbled on this old shovelhead buried behind an old shed.

I was up before the sun on Wednesday and was fortunate enough to get to watch a couple of owls in trees near the house just before the sun came up.
I needed those moments of peace.

The rest of that day and into Thursday kept me busy sitting.
My grandmother had three appointments in that span of two days. And, there was a load of waiting around. It was frustrating. But, at least she's as healthy as she is!

Friday was house cleaning and more jewelry destruction. But, my main task was getting up to the coffee shop to upload several videos. Back at home, I couldn't help but stop to admire the color change in my Japanese Maple.
Today, it was even more vibrant, and you can bet I'll be sharing that with you next week.

On Saturday, I shared one of the uploaded videos. In this one, I answered 10 Crafty Questions while working on a few projects and there's a GIVEAWAY as part of it.
If you're interested in learning more about me, definitely watch the video!

I spent much of Saturday at my mom's house watching football and visiting with a cousin from out-of-town. Then, I binged on Downton Abbey at home while Pat played a gig. Another lazy day - oops. 

I'm already running behind, so let's get to this week's inspiration:
We have a bit of a holiday week ahead of us, though my work never ends. So, I'm looking forward to a little downtime and fun this week. I hope you find some yourself!

Packing an Etsy Order

In this age of online orders, there's still something so exciting about receiving a package in the mail. I know that I do everything I can to make sure that those who buy from the CraftyHope Etsy Shop are excited about their order. I take great pride and a little creative freedom when it comes to packing up each piece of jewelry for them. While my process is always the same, no two orders are packed exactly alike, so it's always a surprise. Let me walk you through the process.

It all begins with the order. Once it's placed, I ensure that the handmade jewelry is secured to a handmade backer
These upcycled cardboard pieces ensure that there is some stability within the standard bubble mailer that I use. 

Though each piece is shipped in a bubble mailer, the security of your jewelry is the main concern. So, an additional layer of bubble wrap around each item is added and a piece of decorative washi tape secures it. 
The washi tape adds a little pop of color to otherwise boring bubblewrap but is also very easy to remove so there's no delay in getting inside.

From there, you will begin the process of creating an envelope that is specially sized for each item. This starts with a piece of excess scrapbook paper that is cut down to size. 
The size of the paper all depends on the size of the bubble-wrapped jewelry. Make sure that the paper will wrap around the contents longways with at least an inch of overlap and that there is at least an extra inch at both the top and bottom as well. 

Without securing anything, wrap the paper around the jewelry and hold it in place.
Then, make four creases in the paper at the ends where there's nothing inside. 

Unfold the paper. Remove the jewelry. Grab some scissors.

To make it easier to fold the envelope, you will need to cut away the corners of the paper using the creased lines as a guide.
Your paper should now look something like a wonky addition symbol.

Add a line of glue from a glue stick along one of the long edges. Then, fold in the sides so they overlap slightly. You don't want to make this too tight or it could be hard to insert the contents when the envelope is completed.
Use clothespins to hold the edges together while the glue dries. 

Once that seal is secure, decide which side of your envelope is the top and which is the bottom. Press in the excess paper on the sides of the bottom so they form a little divot inward. 
This extra step will help the final product look neater.

Rub the glue onto that bottom flap and fold it up. 
Again, use clothespins to secure the paper until the glue is dry.

Remove the clothespins and slip your jewelry into the envelope.

Fold over and crease the top flap. Use washi tape to secure it closed. 
Again, the washi tape both dresses up the envelope as well as keeps the envelope closed. But, it is also easy to remove. 

As an extra step to make the envelope even more enticing and even more secure, add a bow of ribbon or twine.

Along with the packaged jewelry, I usually add a handwritten mixed media thank you note, a receipt for the order, a couple of business cards, and a gift. The gift is most often one of my beaded bookmarks
The above items are all placed in a single, regular envelope so they are all together. I leave the bookmark hanging out so that it adds a touch of flair.

The two envelopes are placed in a manila bubble envelope that has been addressed.
Then, it's all off to the excited buyer on the other end!

To make sure my steps for Packing and Etsy Order are clear, I created a quick video. 

But, if you do have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Now, tell me true: What makes you most excited about receiving a package in the mail?

Peek at My Week: Nov 10-16

I was able to tackle quite a few projects last week, though few of them were very photogenic. But, I'll share what was...
On Sunday, Pat started measuring out more cattle panels to create some kind of gate on the porch so Zoe can hang out there with us from time to time. Before he got too far into the project, we brought her out there to see how she would act with the openings barricaded. She was confused but happy to be out there with us.

That evening I took a beginner's sewing class. 
While I've been using my sewing machine for years, I've never been quite sure if I was using it right. The class helped me clarify a few things. 

And, I made a neat pencil roll too!
I used it the next morning as I doodled from the porch swing. 

It felt great outside, so I took the opportunity to explore the yard a little. 
I found a marble, a rusty bolt, and several sets of mushrooms. Now that the temperatures have really begun to dip, it's about time I get back to unearthing Silverlox Finds since the mosquitoes are gone for now. 

I also spent some of Monday working on my earrings for the Earring Everyday reveal.

I was with my grandmother on Tuesday rather than my usual Wednesday because of a meeting I wanted to attend. It was a miserable day as the temperatures plummeted. 
The top picture was of Monday's mid-day temperature, and the bottom one was Tuesday's. Brrrr!

I guess the weather change had me looking for changes because on my way out the door that morning, I spied this perfect representation of Fall. 
We don't have a lot of trees that have a vibrant color change, but my Japanese Maple never disappoints. 

Wednesday was about catching up. I seriously accomplished a ton of work-related tasks.
Even Zoe was exhausted! HA! She does love her some pillows though. 

I finished an art journal spread on Thursday and knocked out several other tasks I was dreading. 
Those dreaded tasks went by quickly and reminded me that it often takes less time to just go ahead and do something than to fret over. And, once it's done, it's done.

Of course, that lesson didn't carry over into Friday when I absolutely avoided my big household chores and instead worked on a few other business obligations. I guess, at least I accomplished something. That's more than I can say for the weekend.
We watched our early game at a friend's house. I made sure to take over some chips and hummus to snack on. We picked up some of the Hope Hummus and the above label was on the inside of the container. My husband highly protested this statement, but we still shared the hummus. We all got a kick out of it. 

After the game, we did very little - enjoying a super lazy Saturday. I guess we all need those sometimes. I hope your week was full of a combination of getting things done as well as taking time to relax. If not, try to squeeze them both in this week!

Here's the inspiration I found over the week:

Have a beautiful week!

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