a girl who happens to love art, design and coffee
Billie Monster

Red Tassel Earrings Tutorial 10.12.2011

Posted 2 years ago in DIY, Jewelry, Tutorials

Guess who's guest posting over at How Joyful this week? This girl! I'm so honored to be hanging out with Joy over at her blog for my first guest post ever - she's amazing! 

I offered up a tutorial on how to make these pretty dang cute red tassel earrings with fringe trim and chain. So head over there to check out the tutorial and snoop around a bit.

Cheerios!

Handmade items by Billie Monster on Etsy

How to create a chic pearl and chain necklace using beading wire and crimp tubes 09.09.2011

Posted 2 years ago in DIY, Jewelry, Fashion, Beading, Tutorials

I've had these large faux pearls sitting in my stash for pretty much EVER so I thought I would finally use them for something. I love how they're graduated in size, and I adore the midnight blue color. They match perfectly with the antiqued brass chain I had laying around here as well. I'll show you how to string the pearls onto beading wire and crimp the ends so they can be attached to chain with jump rings creating a unique necklace.

What you need:

  • wire cutters
  • jewelry pliers
  • crimp forming pliers
  • 2 small crimp tubes
  • 2 crimp covers
  • beads or pearls
  • length of chain
  • 25ga/45mm metallic beading wire

You can use any type of beads or pearls, and chain that you like as long as they match each other in color and weight. Try to match your beading wire, jump rings, crimp beads and covers to the finish of your chain (I didn't have brass crimps/covers so I just used gold toned ones - w/e works). If you're using large or heavy glass pearls like I am, you definitely want to make sure you use beading wire to string them. Beading wire is strong enough to support the heavier beads, and will last a lot longer without breaking. String or thread would probably break a lot sooner than the beading wire.

Cut a length of beading wire that is at least three or four times as long as the length of the beads would be on the wire. My beads measured 3 inches long when lined up in a row, so I cut my wire to be at least 9 inches. The extra length gives you room to work with when you're putting on the crimp tubes.

On one end of the wire, slip on a crimp tube and loop the end of the wire back around and through the crimp tube again. You'll end up with a loop on one side of the crimp tube with both ends of the wire coming out the other side - one short end, and one long. Pull on the long end while grasping the crimp tube until the loop is fairly small, but big enough for your jump ring to fit through with extra room later.

With your crimping pliers, make your first pinch over the crimp tube using the half-moon shaped portion of the pliers. Ideally, you want each wire separated on it's own side of the crimp after you've pinched it the first time. If they shifted to the same side, it's not the end of the world. Then, using the rounded slot of the crimping pliers, grasp the pinched crimp again and squeeze it closed. If all went well it'll look like the picture below. To secure it even further, pinch it a little more with some needle nose pliers. That baby ain't coming undone!

Now you can slip on the crimp cover, and gently squeeze it shut over the crimp tube using your crimping pliers. Try not to catch any of the wires coming out of the bottom in the crimp cover when you're closing it. Trim the shorter tail so it's about a centimeter long then string on your pearls/beads. You should be able to slip your beads over the tail and hide it. Once you've got your beads on the wire in your desired pattern/length, you get to put on another crimp tube in the same way as the first. Only this time, it's a bit trickier since you have to put on the tube with all those beads in your way. Just take your time and remember to keep the beads in a curved shape as you're securing the crimp tube. Otherwise, the beads won't have enough wiggle room on the wire once you've attached them to the necklace, and they'll sit funny.

Once your second loop is crimped and covered, take the short wire tail and feed it through one or two of the beads next to the crimp, then snip it off with your wire cutters.

The hardest part is over! Woohoo! Now all you have to do is grab yourself a couple jump rings (a size/thickness that matches your chain more or less) and attach each end of the pearl strand to an end of the chain. Lastly, if your chain doesn't already have some kind of clasp attached you'll have to add that on as well with a couple more jump rings.

That's it! You're done! I will probably be making more variations of this necklace next week with different colors and metals and listing them in my Etsy shop. Stop by if you'd like one! :O)

As usual, let me know if you try this tutorial. I'd love to hear from you!

Handmade items by Billie Monster on Etsy.

This project feartured here: One Pretty Thing, also on CraftGawker, Pinterest

Link party ♥: Frugalicious Friday, Creation Corner, Frugal Friday, Sassy Sites, Kojo Designs, My Romantic Home, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Fun to Craft, Cookie Nut Creations

HGTV Design Star is back! 07.11.2011

Posted 3 years ago in General

Have you heard of HGTV Design Star yet? I hope so! If you haven't, lemme fill you in. It's a show on HGTV where several hopeful designers compete for the ultimate prize... their own design show! Pretty cool, eh? Season 6 premieres tonight at 9pm/8c on HGTV. To all of my crafty blogger friends who also love to decorate, you definitely want to check this show out.

The designers participate in many different design challenges throughout the season - it's very entertaining! Not only that, but you can find all sorts of inspiration watching them come up with unique and creative ideas to suit each challenge. With previous season's challenges like the "White Box Challenge" and the "Glass House Challenge", who knows what they'll come up with this season. For all you reality buffs out there, don't worry, there's sure to be a bit of drama!

Design Star premieres tonight at 9pm/8c on HGTV. I'll be watching.

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign by Crafterminds and HGTV Design Star. My opinions are my own.

Welcome to the dark side...of thrifting! It bites! 06.23.2011

Posted 3 years ago in General, Thrifty

Don't you love going to the thrift store or antique store and finding that tattered, old, piece of furniture that you know would be PERFECT for your next DIY project? Or, maybe you found some amazing vintage drapes, or a pile of gorgeous vintage lace? You snatch it up, put it in your vehicle, and bring it into your home, but did you know that you might be bringing home a lot more than you bargained for?

Yes folks, thrifting is not only about finding treasures at great prices, or amazing before-and-after furniture makeovers, oh no! It's also about one cold, hard, not-so-talked-about, ugly fact... and that is nasty little bed bugs! Despite being nearly eradicated in the 1940's, an increase in bed bugs in Canada and other areas around the world is back in the headlines. I thought I would spread the word for those who may not be aware, and who are happily bringing things home from second hand stores and garage sales having no idea what they could potentially be in for. Heck, I wasn't either until I started doing some reading online.

What exactly is a bed bug? There's heaps of info here on Wikipedia, but in a nutshell, they are a small little insect that prefers to feed on human blood... HUMAN blood (you read that right...). I told you they were disgusting! They are mainly nocturnal and active at night while feeding on their hosts (that's you!) usually unnoticed, until you see the welts on your skin to prove it the next morning. The exact cause for the increase in bed bugs is unclear, but Wikipedia states that among other reasons, one possible reason could be due to the exchange of second hand furniture among homes. While a bedbug's preferred habitat is houses and especially beds, or other areas where people sleep, that doesn't mean they cannot be found inside furniture, clothing, etc.

What can you do about it? Take the time to inspect the items you're planning on bringing into your vehicle and into your homes. Look for the bed bugs lodged into dark crevices, nooks and crannies of whatever it is you're buying, search any folds in the fabric for signs of bed bugs and eggs as well. Eggs can survive for a looong time. If they are in there, and you search hard enough, you should be able to see them (but not always). If you see them, say goodbye to that piece of furniture and do not buy it unless you want to risk spreading them into your home as well. In fact, if you ever see any at a particular store or garage sale... you'd be smart to just leave and not buy anything. It's not worth the risk.

What's the risk? Well besides having these gross little things crawling on you at night, and sucking your blood while you sleep, they are breeding machines and notoriously difficult to get rid of once they have infested your house. They can cause a number of health effects including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms in some people.

Getting rid of them is the tricky part, and is mainly why you don't want them in the first place. Getting rid of them frequently requires a combination of pesticide and non-pesticide approaches. However, this isn't always an easy solution. For one, those with pets and children probably shouldn't use pesticides in their homes. Secondly, bed bugs have been developing a resistance to various pesticides increasingly over time. So there's no guarantee with pesticides. Another way to eradicate them is with heat. You can launder your sheets, clothes and blankets in hot water then put them in a very hot dryer for at least and hour, and hope and pray that gets rid of them. What you really want to do though is pinpoint the infestation at it's source (or multiple sources) and get rid of them there, otherwise you're wasting your time. They are crafty little buggers who are so good at hiding that it's going to be very hard for you to get rid of them once you have them, and they can spread throughout your entire house into any other bedrooms, couches, etc. 

How to Kill Bed Bugs in Upholstered Furniture

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

I'm not a bed bug expert at all, I've learned all of this from reading articles about bed bugs. One thing I know for sure is that I don't want them, and neither do you. I hope I've opened some peoples eyes to this issue who may not have been previously aware. I'm not trying to scare anyone though, it's not like they are EVERYWHERE. More often than not when you bring something home from a thrift store or garage sale you're probably going to be fine, and there will be no bed bugs. The reason for this post is to hopefully make people aware of the issue who weren't before. I was not really aware of it up until a few weeks ago, and I consider myself lucky that I've never encountered any furniture or items with bed bugs so far, but at least now I can minimize the risk of acquiring them by checking items carefully before I bring them home, and so can you.

Sorry for the gross post, guys!

Handmade items by Billie Monster on Etsy.

Link party ♥: Luxe Boulevard, Somewhat Simple, Katie's Nesting Spot, House of Hepworths, The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring, Remodelaholic, It's a Hodgepodge Life

#ff63e0

Monster Monday Feature: Evange Sews 06.20.2011

Posted 3 years ago in DIY, Fashion, Monster Monday Feature, Sewing

I am still pretty much a sewing noob... I'm not gonna lie! I admit that I'm a lot better at it now than I was a year ago though, all thanks to the many blog how-tos and video sewing tutorials I've found online. What better way to learn about a new skill then to watch someone demonstrate and explain it all to you? It's a great way to help you get started in learning something new.

Which brings me to today's Monster Monday Feature - let me introduce you to the lovely Evange! I first stumbled across her sewing tutorials on YouTube a few weeks (months?) ago and loved her style right off the bat. And wouldn't you know it, she's a canuck just like me (extra Billie Monster points for Evange!).

Evange has several great sewing tutorials where she explains in simple detail how to sew many different things, including the extra cute ruffled Alice apron above. Her instructions are very simple and easy to understand, she explains what to do and what not to do, and she even shares her mistakes and fumbles, which I love 'cause then I don't make them (ok, I probably still do...).

Circle skirts are one of Evange's favorite things to sew - and I can see why!

She shows you how to make your very own in her video tutorial.

Another of my fav project tutorials of hers is the box pleated skirt, and her tutorial on how to make a tote bag. Also, her tutorial on how to make your own leggings.

She's so lucky that she can pull off those skirts so well... I don't think I could!

Check out Evange's YouTube Channel for more sewing tutorials and other how-to videos as well, like how to make apple butterYiiiim!

You can also visit Evange at her website www.evangesews.com. All photos by Evange.

Handmade items by Billie Monster on Etsy.

About

Billie

freelance graphic + website designer
wirework + jewelry artist
art + craft lover
coffeeholic

I love to create. This blog is a collection of things.
Things I love. Things I've made. Things that inspire me.

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