A Free DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

A Free DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I sincerely hope your morning started out better than this:

And yes, for those wondering, that is permanent marker. She has washable Crayola markers, but it had to be Sharpie. Of course.

Free DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

Anyway, onto the meat of this post: a free beaded earrings tutorial. Why? Because I don’t believe in hoarding creativity – if you want to give it a try, go for it! Plus, I think being transparent in the artistic process helps the general public understand why handmade items are priced so highly compared to retail. Making jewelry is a hobby, but it also takes a lot of practice and patience.

Before we begin, there is a PDF version of this tutorial available, if you’d like to save it for later and/or print it:

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A pair of small needle-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters or scissors
  • Beading wire (I like 28 gauge, because it’s nice and flexible)
  • 2 earring hooks
  • 2 round beads
  • An assortment of seed beads
  • Any other beads you want to include

beaded earring supplies needed

STEP 1:

Decide how long you want your earrings, keeping in mind that you’ll need extra wire to tie off the ends. Double that length before you cut – you’ll need 2 strands to create the seed bead halo.

step one beaded earrings

STEP 2:

Feed the cut wire onto an earring hook, folding it at (or at least near) the halfway mark.

wire threaded into earring hook

STEP 3:

At this point, I fed both strands through a couple of beads I wanted near the top. At the very least, thread both strands of wire through one of your round beads.

first beads threaded onto wire

STEP 4:

Once your round bead is in place, separate the two wires and feed an equal amount of seed beads onto them. You may have to experiment with the numbers to get the right-sized halo – I started out with 8 on each strand, but had to bump it up to 10.

beginning to make the halo

STEP 5:

Pull one strand up and around the round bead, securing this half of the halo by wrapping the wire once at the top.

first half of beaded halo

STEP 6:

Do the same on the other side, completing the halo effect.

completed beaded halo

STEP 7:

Take one strand of wire and feed it back through the hole in the round bead.

wire fed through bead

STEP 8:

Using the strand you fed through to the bottom of the round bead, add a final bead to cap off the end. Wrap the wire several times, cut off any excess, and pinch the end in to hide it as much as possible. This is where those needle-nosed pliers come in handy!

end bead added

STEP 9:

Take the other strand of wire and once again, wrap the wire several times, cut off any excess, and really pinch that wire closed.

last wire closed off

Now you have a completed earring!

complete beaded earring

Take a moment to really look at your work. Do you like it? Is there a combination you’d like better? I always like to check in with myself after the first earring is made, because it’s much easier (and less depressing) to rip out one earring and start over than it is to rip apart both. I ended up liking this set, but I’ve been known to try three or four different designs before moving onto earring #2!

complete set of beaded earrings

Once you’ve repeated the steps for the second earring, congratulations! You made your own pair of beaded earrings!

Once again, if you’d like the PDF version of this tutorial, click here:

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If any of you try this beaded earring tutorial, I would LOVE to see your results. Also, if you’ve fallen in love with this particular pair, it can be found in my Etsy shop.

Happy creating!

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Cozy Minimalism and Mental Health

Cluttered House, Cluttered Mind

I don’t know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. The “whole new YOU” mentality has never appealed to me. I am me; I don’t really see that changing just because it’s January. Last year I didn’t make any sort of resolutions, and I frankly felt annoyed by the world’s expectation that I change something. I was busy chasing a one-year-old, after all, and that felt like more than enough!

This year, however, I’m looking at it with new perspective. We moved to a more comfortable but slightly smaller house last year, so even though we pared down during the move, our closets/basement/garage are still overstuffed. My head feels overstuffed, too. Whenever I look around and see the clutter, I can feel myself getting more anxious and upset. So this year, I did decide to make a resolution: take back control of the house and my mental health.

In practice, this means that I’m asking myself, one closet or room at a time, if we really need what’s in there. For stuff we do need, I’m making sure the organization system in place actually makes sense. I started with my pantry and Liv’s room, and I’m already feeling better!

Cozy minimalist nursery

Ultimate Goal:

The big culmination of this project will be the basement. It’s unfinished but spacious, so my goal is to make it cozy and inspiring enough to function as live-in studio space for VanDuinen Studio. Right now, whenever inspiration hits, I have to go downstairs find and extract my materials from the perilous piles in which they’re hiding, and drag it all up to the couch. It works in a pinch, but I’m getting tired of a) having to dig to find anything useful and b) having my art supplies stashed in corners all over the living room because my daughter woke up and I needed to hide my paint brushes pronto.

Progress So Far:

Just before the holidays, I bought a big Ikea shelving unit, but it sat in its two boxes collecting dust while we celebrated Christmas and traveled for New Year’s. One day while I was idly browsing Pinterest (love that site), I stumbled across an OK Dani post about “cozy minimalism;” it kicked my imagination and drive into high gear. Last weekend I finally assembled those shelves, and I’m now working box by box through art supplies, knick-knacks, holiday decor, and everything else we stashed in the basement with an “I’ll deal with that later” sigh. For sentimental items, I used a tip from my cousin Steffani, owner of Fresh Coast Living: if you love it too much to get rid of it, keep it. If you feel some attachment or obligation but don’t really want it taking up space anymore, take a photo before you give it away, recycle, or toss it. That way, you’ll keep the memories without the clutter. (Genius lies in simplicity: I don’t know why taking a photo never occurred to me, but it’s been so helpful.)

Your Main Takeaway:

Living in a constant state of chaos can kill creativity. A messy house can feel like a neverending to-do list that’s too overwhelming to tackle. However, since I’m currently building a creative business, I simply can’t accept that chaos. That’s why I’ve started working in small chunks of space: one closet, one corner of the living room, one box at a time in the basement. Bit by bit, I’m creating a little more space in our lives, and in doing so, I’m putting myself in a more positive mental space for artistic inspiration to flow.

What was your resolution? Are you still working on it? What do you think of the “cozy minimalist” idea? As always, if you have any questions, ideas, or anything you’d like to share, send me a message on Facebook or email me. I would love to hear from you!

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Custom Crocheted Christmas Tree Skirt

Custom Crocheted Christmas Tree Skirt

Happy holidays, everyone! I’m back with a summary of my holiday season 2017 project: a crocheted Christmas tree skirt.

For years, when it was just my husband and I in the house, I used a spare piece of burlap wrapped around the base of our tree. It worked fine, it looked fine. But now we have a very mobile, impish kiddo on the loose, so I wanted something that would stand up better to tugging hands.

I kept procrastinating on figuring out exactly what I wanted – first I decided to buy one, but couldn’t believe the price tags I was seeing. Definitely not in the budget at the time! Thankfully, there was Pinterest to the rescue: probably thanks to my Amazon search history, I saw a pin for a Christmas tree skirt that somebody had crocheted. The lightbulb went on, and I started scouring the internet for a pattern I could hopefully complete in 2 weeks. No big deal, right?

 

I ended up finding a beautiful lacy crocheted tree skirt pattern that looked easy enough. Of course, I still had to tear out all of my work and restart not once, but twice – just because the pattern is easy doesn’t mean I will read it correctly! The Wednesday before Christmas (and the night before company arrived), I finally had it finished.

Finished product: custom crocheted Christmas tree skirtClose up - crocheted Christmas tree skirtClose up shot - crocheted Christmas tree skirt

You’ll notice I didn’t do red and green. I bought shatterproof ornaments in jewel tones this year, so I picked a yarn that wouldn’t clash with them:

Decorated tree with shatterproof ornaments

I absolutely loved the final pairing. Somehow I missed the obvious decorated tree + skirt picture, so the detail shots above will have to do. But I wanted to include this one for a laugh – this is the same night I put the tree skirt down:

decorated tree with presents

Oh well, next year I won’t have to MAKE the skirt, so I’ll put it out well before I have the presents wrapped.

If you need a tree skirt and want something out of the ordinary, feel free to email me at any time. We’ll talk pattern, colors, and price for a custom crocheted Christmas tree skirt at your leisure. I’ll happily make one in any color combination you want – including red and green! Or, if you give the pattern a go yourself, feel free to share the outcome. I love seeing other people’s creations!

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Calling All Artists! Inspiration Roundup (February 2018)

Calling All Artists! Inspiration Roundup (February 2018)

Are any fellow artists in need of a boost of inspiration? Approximately once a month, I’m going to do an “Inspiration Roundup” filled with anything that’s succeeded in getting my creative juices flowing. Hopefully it’ll help you too!

First Inspiration: Crochet

My daughter continues to grow and grow faster than I ever thought possible, so most of her baby afghans don’t cover her toes anymore. I’m taking this opportunity to learn a new crochet stitch and make her a bigger afghan. I am in LOVE with these colors!

crochet inspiration afghan

I’m using Red Heart Super Saver yarn in claret, oatmeal, and antique, for any interested crocheters or knitters.  I also downloaded their free pattern for this corner to corner blanket. Obviously I picked different colors, but I am actually following directions this time. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Second Inspiration: Calligraphy

My mom is also commissioning a calligraphy piece. I used to practice calligraphy quite a bit – I even did calligraphy on a lot of the awards presented each year at my high school – but it’s been years since I picked up a fountain pen to write instead of draw. I figured it couldn’t hurt to do some drills and learn a new style in the process. Thanks to a well-timed Instagram ad, I stumbled on The Postman’s Knock. Two tutorial packs made their way into my life. I can’t wait to get started:

calligraphy inspiration

As a bonus, it’s already given me some new ideas for miniature drawings. Stay tuned for their addition to my Etsy shop.

If you liked this post, you will also like the VanDuinen Studio newsletter that comes out every Friday! Not only do I keep you updated on this website’s news, but I also share my favorite links and projects from around the internet. On special occasions, you’ll even find coupon codes for my shop. To sign up, simply visit the Get Inspired! page and enter your email. Let’s make this a true community!

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P.S. If you like the idea of inspiration roundups, check out the second installation here. You can also join VanDuinen Studio’s Inspiration Club to connect with fellow artists and share ideas!

Easy-Sew Envelope Throw Pillow Covers

Easy-Sew Envelope Throw Pillow Covers

Envelope Throw Pillow Covers: Easy Interior Design

Envelope throw pillow covers are a fun, affordable, and super easy way to spruce up your living room or bedroom. The best part: they don’t require you to figure out how to sew in any zippers! I didn’t make this a full tutorial, but I have included a link to the tutorial that I used. In all honesty, though, I use tutorial directions more like guidelines. With a bit of creativity, you can create customized decor for your home. The possibilities are endless!

The last time we moved, I spent a couple weeks packing and cleaning and sorting like a madwoman. It inspired me to look at all of our belongings with a hypercritical eye, meaning the local Goodwill got a couple of large donations. (When did we get so much stuff?!)

During this process, I took a good, solid look at the throw pillows we’d had on our couch since college. When I made their covers, I hadn’t thought ahead to make them removable. A dog, a cat, a baby, and five years’ general wear and tear had left them looking…not fresh. Thankfully, a trip to the fabric store, two yards of fabric, and a couple hours provided an easy solution to that problem.

I’ve recently fallen in love with watercolor-printed fabrics. A 2017 issue of the Better Homes & Gardens magazine featured throw pillows from bunglo.co, so I checked them out, fell in love with some of their products, and then had a heart attack when I looked at the prices. An Etsy search landed a few options closer to the affordable range, but once I factored in shipping and taxes, I knew I could make something just as pretty and significantly cheaper.

How Do You Make Envelope Throw Pillow Covers?

I used this pattern for an easy sew envelope pillow cover as my inspiration, except I did hem the fold-over bits to prevent raveling long-term. Thanks to a stroke of inspiration, I also added some handmade bias tape in a coordinating cotton fabric to the edge underneath to strengthen the edges even more. Hopefully, that’ll keep these covers on even with a kid and a dog jumping on them. (Update 6/17/2018: The folded edges aren’t crisp anymore, but the covers do stay on the pillow. It’s a success in my book!)

I did one cover at night after putting the baby to bed, and I made the second cover the next day while she was napping. I don’t know if I was just extra tired that first night or what, but the first cover took 2 hours, while the second one only took 20 minutes (including ironing and pinning). Oh well, at least I have the technique down now. And, in my defense, I had some impediments that first night (and a brother willing to capture the fun on camera):

The next day, piecing everything together went like clockwork:

envelope throw pillow cover assembly

 

I’m really happy with how they turned out! This is by far my most professional pillow cover job to date. The fold-over back looks really nice:

Completed throw pillow cover back

 

The finished product:

Completed pillow covers

Nothing beats the personal touch of choosing your own fabric, and this easy sew envelope pillow cover project isn’t a huge time commitment. With a few materials and a couple hours, you can give any room in your house a fresh new look.

Want to give this project a go? I put together a complete materials checklist you can print and take to the fabric store:

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Tried this project? I’d love to see the results! Feel free to share photos, frustrations, or triumphs. And if you have any questions about the project, ask away! I’ll do my best to help you find a solution.  

Until next time,

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P.S. If you like home decor posts, you might also like my Custom Crocheted Tree Skirt!