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As some of you already know, Serendipitini co-blogs with Ellen of The Chilly Dog Blog and Dot of ZZZonkowl.  Recently we agreed to accept a challenge for each of us to post a blog tutorial on making something from recycled items. We decided on plastic. I am a firm believer that many of the things we discard can be reused and made into something beautiful so I set out to prove it by reusing a plastic milk jug, something most of us think nothing about tossing into the garbage.

SUPPLIES: For this tutorial you will need one semi-transparent white milk jug, a small thin piece of cardboard to use as a pattern, a pencil, small sharp scissors or tin snips, optional wire jig, a small awl, round nosed pliers, needle nose jewelry pliers, jewelry wire cutters, 20 gauge dead soft copper wire, two 24 gauge head pins, 1″ long, copper jump rings, silver plated ear wires, 2 small swarovski crystal beads. Note, if you do not want to invest in a wire jig you can use round nosed pliers to turn your wire loops.

1.  Draw a small leaf shape approximately 3/4″ high on your cardboard and cut it out.

2. Trace this pattern 14 times onto the plastic jug with a pencil.  Cut out the leaves.

3.  Pierce the cut out leaves with an awl near the top.  (You want the hole near enough to the top to allow for the jump ring to clear the top of the leaf once it is inserted.)

4.  Cut two sections of copper wire 10″ long each.

5. Follow the directions for wrapping your wire on this tutorial I previously created for making a jig wire necklace. It’s the same principle. Stop when you finish wire wrapping and do not follow the directions for finishing the necklace. You only need to watch to the point of making the wire wrapped design. Make two of these designs, one for each earring.

6.  Open a jump ring by rocking it side to side. Do not pull it apart as it will weaken the ring. Insert the jump ring into one leaf. While the top of the jump ring  is still open, fit the jump ring over the bottom loop of your wire wrapped design. Rock the opening of the jump ring closed.

7.  Repeat this step for each loop on your copper jig design until you have it filled with 7 leaves. Adjust your leaves so they are all on the correct side of the jigged design.

8.  Fasten a jump ring to the top of your jig design. While the jump ring is still open, fit the jump ring through the loop on the wire earring. Rock the jump ring closed.

2014-07-16 19.29.24earr001c9.  Take one head pin and thread a crystal bead over it.

10. Wrap the head pin around the round nose pliers

11. Cut the headpin so the loop makes a complete circle.

12. Using round nosed pliers take a jump ring and fit if on the top of your jig wire design just below the closed loop at the top so that first over the crossed over wire where it makes an x intersection. With the jump ring still open, fit your looped headpin with your crystal onto the jump ring so it hangs in front. Close the jump ring.

13.  Flip your second jig wire piece over so it is a mirror image of the first jig wire piece. Repeat all steps for making the second pair of earrings making sure that you earwire for this one faces the opposite direction of the first one so they hang properly.


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These wire wrap leaf earrings are listed on my Etsy shop along with the lovely leaf necklace I made to match.  See photo below.












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Shout in the Right DirectionI usually do book reviews and book giveaways on my writer website, http://nearly-brilliant.blogspot.com/ but when I find a book that ties into my art related business/entrepreneurial endeavors or that my subscribers might benefit from I like to share it here too.  Here’s a run down on Shout in the Right direction. I’ve highlighted the book as I’ve gone and will definitely be going back through it to put into practice some of their advice.  Here’s the review.

A simple and straight forward approach for small business owners to defining your target market and using various marketing sources to reach it. With so many social media options at our doorstep, many small business owners/entrepreneurs may feel overwhelmed. Is more better?

The authors pull from years of marketing experience to present an easily understandable and implementable plan for success. The book is broken into three sections. Part I is Building Your Marketing Plan. It includes defining your target audience, setting goals, measuring goals and more  Part II is Tools which explains various social media networks and the differences between them. I especially found this section helpful.  The authors liken each social media network to a different country with its own culture, etc.  Great example. The better you understand that concept, the more success you will have. Part III, Creative, wraps up the book with types of social media actions you might take, as well as building your following and more.

They also provide examples of real businesses who used or learned from some of these marketing techniques.  I have also added this to to my newly created resource page.

Here’s the link to the book on amazon.com


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Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #29



Artist Spotlight, Top Picks from Crafty Saturday

Thanks to all who participated in our Dog and (Cat) Days of Summer Crafty Saturday link party. We do these link ups once a week and all handmade artists are invited to participate. Usually once or twice a month we do a themed link up.  Here are my top picks for this week.

treasuryI couldn’t resist this whimsical miniature by Eel Monkey Art StumBuddy – short for “Stumpy Buddy” is a new EelmonkeyArt Original Series!  Custom made Buddy to look just like your pet. Each totem is hand sculpted from polymer clay, painted and sealed. Each is then adorned with ears fashioned from vintage dictionary pages and decked out with a fancy hand gathered crepe paper collar or tag. Each Buddy sits atop a hand flattened bottle cap. Signed and dated on bottom .


I love the look of this owl pendant by Defiant Jewelry with the green background and metal detail. The owl has beautiful black gems used for the eyes and a dark teal background that brings out the brass coloring and beautiful details of the owl. The pendant also includes a matching brass chain and lobster clasp. 


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DSCN0144I’ve been vacationing in Europe the past few weeks so I thought I would take a break from my usual posts and share a bit about the art and/or architecture in the countries I visited. As an art major, that seems to be the first thing my eyes gravitate to. For the most part, we toured the Mediterranean coast and the countries included Spain, France, and Italy.

Today I will share about Barcelona which we found to be a lovely city. I remember from my art history course a bit about the Spanish architect  Antoni Gaudi. It is easy for that knowledge to slip away so this was a good refresher. Gaudi’s work reigns supreme in Barcelona. For Americans he’s like the Frank Lloyd Wright of Spain, though his style as nothing like Wright’s. He lived from 1822-1926. Work had already begun on the cathedral the Sagrada Famalia (Church of the Holy Family) in 1882 when he took over its design. Gaudi died before its completion. It is still under construction today. The outside, with its tall spirals, reminds me of the drip sandcastles I learned to make as a child. It has a newer wing that was not in his plans. This was implemented by the present patron who is contributing to the church’s completion. In my opinion, it doesn’t blend well. Even without that jarring difference the exterior stands out as truly unique.

The outside has the 7 fruit of the spirit represented in the colored bunches of fruit (tiled I believe). There is a tree that looks like a Christmas tree added which is the only other color and then multiple groupings of sculpture representing different scenarios from the holy family.  On the other side of the church the façade is not Gaudi’s work at all but the work of Josep Maria Subirachs whose modern style has a cubism format.  So you can see, that the various styles do not necessarily complement each other but it is certainly a sight you will not want to miss if you visit the city.

DSCN0146Inside are magnificent arches and stained glass but all with Gaudi’s modern style that incorporates the feel of caverns and trees. Gaudi was going for a feel of a forest.  It is much more cohesive and awe-inspiring than the exterior. I am including a photo of a model so you can see the church as a whole.


We also visited the Parc Guelle, also designed by Gaudi. He originally intended it to be a village with (if I remember correctly) 25 homes. He died before it’s completion  but did finish three houses. It includes a pillared entryway, fountains and arched columns, again with the feel of caves and forest.

Beautiful gardens of colorful flowers surround the park. A undulating tiled wall skirts a sanded terrace. You can see the buildings (including the groundskeeper’s house) in the photos. These remind me of gingerbread houses with a bit of Dr. Seuss thrown in. I can’t help but wonder if Gaudi was also influenced by St. Basil’s cathedral in Russia with it’s colorful, playful style roof.

Gaudi also designed homes for the bourgeois (nouveau riche) which are filled with cavern-like arch designs and colorful tile. What impresses me most about the man is that these designs were all done before he died in 1920 so they must have been even more jarringly different at the time for they are still amazingly unique today.

I am inspired to work more with colored tiles from this experience.  Barcelona is truly a beautiful city.  If you haven’t already seen it, you might want to add it to you bucket list of places to visit.


DSCN0149DSCN0156Here’s a wikipedia link to more info on Gaudi.

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Top Picks from Crafty Satuday

We had a great turn out of handmade artists sharing the work this week. Maybe more and more artists are sharing about this great way to promote each others work.  Here are my two top choices from Saturday. It was very hard to choose with so many great handmade gifts.


Wall art fused glass sculpture by Rose Glass Jewelry.  Coral Fused Glass sculpture. Unique blending of color. Greens, browns, grays, creamy white and a wide variation of each shade. Works on a wall, window or plate stand. 










Folding wooden chess board by Hand Carved Wooden Gift

* Made of seasoned wood with nice buff finish & velvet lining inside box.
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Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #27


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WGabyWatercolore’re in the throes of summer and I thought it appropriate to share a summer painting I did several years ago. Pictured is a water color I did of my middle daughter, Gabrielle (Gaby to us) floating leisurely in an inner tube when we visited a friend’s house on Smith Mountain Lake several years ago in Viriginia. I have three children and I turned my hand to doing several water colors of them. I found a water theme that tied several in together. This is probably one of my favorites.

I’m not doing water colors much these days, though I did bring a miniature set of water colors and paper with me on my trip to Europe thinking I might have time to kill in the airport, on the plane or in the hotel room. I like to work from photos so good composition is important to me. I typically use an art projector to project the photo onto the water color paper in a darkened room. Then I draw lightly to capture the basic shapes. From there I do the water colors.

Here’s hoping you have time this summer to float leisurely in an inner tube.



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This Week’s Handmade Picks

I’m still in Europe and celebrated the 4th of July in Barcelona, Spain. Today I am posting from Nice, France, but I have to say what a priviledge it is to live in a free country. I never want to take that freedom for granted. Thanks to all who participated in our patriotic link party. Featured are the handmade works of several artist to to me represented our red, white, and blue theme well.


Here is  a red, white, and blue key chain by Creations HBH.










boardflagAlways a fan of creative reuse, I also couldn’t resist this American flag made from a pallet by M Squared Home Decor. 


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