Thursday, June 28, 2012

Handmade Color-block Swarovski Crystal Phone Case

     My mom's birthday is coming up and she (much like me) is all about the "bling".  If it's shiny, we're all over it.  After some not-so-subtle questioning, I found that her favorite color was orange.  I had been wanting to try rhinestoning for awhile and decided to give it a shot... starting with her blinged-out birthday present.

     The end result is a color-block iPhone case (though the technique can be done on almost any kind of hard-plastic phone case).

     The inside of the phone case looks like this:

     Here's a quick tutorial on how it's done.  (It is super easy so it doesn't need a lot of explanation.) 

Hard Plastic phone shell-  (I found mine on eBay)
E6000 glue
Rhinestone setting tool- (mine is a simple one with beeswax at the end to easily pick up and place the rhinestones)
Bead tray-  (not absolutely necessary, but a HUGE help.  I used 4 different ones to organize my different-sized rhinestones)
Flatback rhinestones- (for this case, I used ss5, ss9, ss12, and ss20)
Glue syringe for glue application
Paper, pen, and scissors for pattern

Supplies.  I also have a rhinestone color card in the upper-left, but that isn't necessary.

Step 1- Prep all of your materials.  I did one color at a time, so my bead trays had the different sizes of that color rhinestone all laid out to be easily accesssible.  If you want to do a color block pattern, trace your phone case on a piece of paper and cut it out.  Draw lines where you want your color separations to be.  Fill your glue syringe with E6000.  (If your E6000 is kind of old, it's easier to use a "fresher" tube.  The application is smoother that way.  The glue doesn't gunk up.)

Step 2- Start gluing!  There are several different ways to do this, and you just kind of have to experiment with your technique.  What I started off with was getting all of the "tight" areas done first with the tiny rhinestones.  That way, they were out of the way.  Then, I randomly placed the larger rhinestones. 

Here, you can see where I put down random glue spots and started placing the larger rhinestones.  The "tight area" rhinestones" are also in place.

After the large rhinestones were glued down, I worked in rows, just randomly placing rhinestones that seemed to "fit".  I would set down a section of glue (about half the size of a dime or so), and then pick random sizes of stones to apply to that section.  When the section was done, glue and place another section.  Do not set out a large area of glue or it may dry before you can get your rhinestones on!  Small steps.

Step 3-  After you've filled up your space for a certain color, just continue on with the next color.... using the pattern lines as a guide.

Easy!  And very sparkly.  :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Gnome Dress and Custom Clay Order

     The first time I saw the gnome fabric was when Hayley over at "Welcome to the Mouse House" posted pictures in our sewing group of her daugher's adorable gnome costume.  I loved the dress and wanted to make one for Scarlett.  Of course, being the procrastinator I am, it was months before I bought the fabric, and a few more months before I decided to buckle down and make one.

   I'm so glad I did, though!

     The pattern is the "Olivia Reverse Knot Dress" pattern from Pink Poodle Bows on Etsy.  The PDF file was extremely easy to follow.  I did change the bodice just a TEENY bit so there were no raw seams on the inside (which was totally minor and wouldn't have been bad at all without the change... I just wanted mine like that) and I made the skirt one solid piece instead of adding the border trim.  The pattern is super easy to customize if you'd like and she breaks down all of the steps.

     Keep an eye on my Etsy shop.  Gnome dresses are going to pop up in the future.  (Sizes 6m-3T to start, but custom orders might be possible up to size 11/12.)

    Another recent project was a custom order.  The customer requested a polymer clay figurine set that had Boba Fett shooting a zombie.  I don't watch Star Wars very often (although the boys in my house seem to love it), so I printed off some pictures for reference.  The zombie, however, was a total breeze.  Well, aside from the fact that my imagination ran away from me on several occasions with all of the possibilities.  ;) 

     In the end, they turned out pretty cool.  Although, my opinion may be biased. 

And the zombie.  (Be warned, I'm a huge "Walking Dead" fan so I went a little crazy with the zombie.) 

And the entire thing all together:

     Giving serious consideration to making a few Star Wars and zombie ornaments for Christmas.  *laughing*  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grow Boxes are Working!

So those Grow Boxes that I bought this year are actually pulling their weight... and then some!

Today, after 2 days of not going in the garden (thanks, rain), I was able to harvest this:

And last week, one day I hauled in this:

     I was excited because it was my first white eggplants EVER.  Had to explain to my son, Kai, however... that while it was an EGGplant, that they were not eggs from the chickens.  Nope, still waiting for them to start laying.  The confusion about eggs and eggplants had me laughing, though!

     Will keep you posted on the Grow Boxes, and as I said... will give a final review at the end of the growing season.  Thusfar, I'm pretty impressed.  Dealing with a bit of powdery mildew on my cucumber plant (first time I've tried this kind of cucumber instead of my regular "burpless" kind), so I'm not sure if it's a result of the Grow Boxes or my inexperience with this type.  Might try giving it another whirl if the season lasts and I have to rip this other plant out.  We'll see!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Custom Chameleon and Garden Tomatoes

     I love working with clay.  It's almost therapeutic when your kids finally go down for a nap and you just get the time to be creative and feel as though you've actually accomplished something for the day.  (Same can be said for sewing, crocheting, or working on whatever craft floats your boat.)

     I was recently contacted by a customer interested in placing an order for a few ornaments.  One of the ornaments she requested was a custom piece that would be based on her child's art project.  When I saw the picture, I was super stoked and ready to tackle the project.  GREAT colors, I love chameleons, and it looked like it would be a fun challenge.  What a fun idea!

    The finished product turned out really neat.  I was nervous about getting the coloring right, but after a few coats of paint, it was finally as vibrant as I wanted it to turn out. 

       For this project, I used Sculpey Studio clay, acrylic paint, fine-point paint brushes, satin glaze, metal wire (for the ornament loop) and bonding agent (to secure the loop so it wouldn't come out).  If you want your paint to come out really bright, be sure to put more than one coat on there.  I also double-glaze my pieces for extra protection.

     On an unrelated note, the Grow Boxes are still doing their duty!  Our cherry tomatoes are starting to come in.  We picked these today and have about 40-50 more that are still green on the vine.  Pepper plants, zucchini, and cucumber have also been producing like crazy.  I love home-grown veggies.