Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 29, 2011

How to String Beads, Add a Clasp, and Use a Set of Crimp Pliers (Plus a DIY Beaded Bracelet Project)

The blogger behind Twelve Months Poems asked an excellent question regarding the felted wool necklace I made: how did I string the beads?  For anyone who is curious, here is a bead-stringing tutorial, including how to attach a clasp and how to use crimp beads and crimp pliers.  Please excuse my awful nails - some red nail polish did a number on them and they look terrible. 

  • Bead stringing wire (a soft, coated wire; beadalon is what I use - make sure the diameter/gauge is right for your beads and note that it comes in different finishes)
  • Crimp beads (this pack has different sizes, which is handy)
  • Crimp pliers
  • Clasp and jump ring
  • Beads to string, metal spacers if you desire (thank you, Captain Obvious)
  • A large needle - if you're stringing your felt beads, not required for beads with drilled holes

Crimp pliers

See the two sections? One with just a half circle on opposite sides,
the other with a half circle across from two half circles.

Crimp beads.

Here's how you use the crimp pliers.  Use the part of the pliers closest to the handle (half circle across from two half circles - see photos at beginning of this post) and gently squeeze the crimp bead.  The crimp pliers with smoosh the crimp bead into a figure eight (next photo).

Crimp bead squished into figure eight.

Then use the second part of the pliers (half circle across from half circle) to create a "C' from the two loops of the figure eight.  Gently squeeze to close the newly formed "C".  This will lock the wires in place.  At this point you can also cover the crimp with a special crimp bead cover that I rarely bother with.

Here is the technique in action (I made a bracelet).  The steps are basically the same, except I first thread a lobster clasp onto the wire and then slid the crimp onto the wire, "trapping" the clasp.

I used the technique outlined above, locking the crimp bead in place just below the clasp.

Here is the crimp bead closed.

Then I proceeded to string on my beads.  If you are stringing felted wool beads, thread the coated beading wire through a needle first.  You will need a needle to pierce your densely felted balls.

At the end of the bracelet I added a crimp bead, then I strung the wire through a split ring and then back through the crimp bead and a few other beads.

Then I pulled the wire nice and tight and repeated the crimp closing procedure.  I trimmed the excess wire and started wearing my bracelet!


Easy peasy.  But I've probably made a hundred necklaces and bracelets (many of which are taken apart and recreated when I get bored) so please let me know if you need any clarification of any of the steps (or if you know of a better way!). 

July 28, 2011

Blondes Get More Freebies?

Even though treasure hunting (ie. yard sales) yielded many sweet finds, I couldn't resist stopping into one of my favorite antique shops.  (We actually ran into the owner yard saling).  I purchased this luminescent glass dish for $7.00.  Neither the owner nor I have any idea of its age or origin.  I don't even care - it is turquoise and glowy.  Sold.  But after I picked out my purchase something odd happened . . .

So glowy . . .

The owner gave me this white vase (I'd been talking to my mom about) for free.  It isn't anything super valuable (it was priced at $14.00) but he has never given me a gift before.

My free gift amidst my mom's treasured polka dot mugs.

I suspect it is my new hair colour.  Much less subtle than what I desired, my hairdresser added stripey blonde highlights.  Perhaps blonde(ishly brunette) gals get more gifts?  Lol. 

From the blooper reel (I always love the blooper reel on DVDs):

Ooops, too focused on the camera!

For some reason I thought using a flash (while facing the mirror) was
a swell idea . . .

Totally missed my head.


I'm feeling kind of giddy today.
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July 27, 2011

Impromptu Doorknob Installation

The "After"

Last week, when I blogged about how to make a pair of simple (but pretty) earrings I pined for some home-related DIY.  So I guess I caused this:

My mom to left run an errand and, as she departed, she called out to me to come lock the door behind her.  Before I could reach it, she knocked on the door.  I giggled, because she and I both knew it was unlocked.  But when I opened the closed door I saw her standing there, holding the doorknob.  My dad had refused the change the weathered doorknobs, even though my mom repainted the door, because they were "still good".  Not anymore.

Yesterday we headed to a local lock shop and picked out a nice sturdy new knob - nothing fancy.  If anyone needs a step-by-step guide for installing a new knob read on for instructions, courtesy of my handy Hubby (he's my guest-blogger today!) . . . and scroll down for photos of the new knobs and a glimpse at the outside on my parents' home.

How to replace a doorknob (by Hubby)

First things first, remove the old knob.  Use the proper screwdriver (probably a Phillips, or "star" head) and remove the two screws from the inner knob.

Pull off the inner knob and you should see something like the photo below.  Note: the outer knob may fall off at this point.  That's fine, just don't let it fall on your tile floor. (Bang. Crap.)

Pull off the outer knob and you are left with the inner hardware.

Remove the two screws from the escutcheon plate around the latch . . .

and pull out the latch mechanism.

Here are the components that came in the box with the new doorknob.  Not all parts are used for all installations.  The manufacturer includes parts for different needs (eg. different shaped strike plates).

Most door latches are adjustable.  Before purchasing new hardware, measure the distance between the edge of the door and the centre of the knob and confirm that the new hardware will fit.  In our case, it was 2-3/4", which is a standard dimension.

Put the escutcheon plate on the new latch.  For our installation there is a plate that is slid on from the left (see image below) and one from the right.

Slide the new latch into the door in the reverse of the removal and put the new screws into the escutcheon.  Ensure the latch is installed so the door can shut, but don't shut it yet.  Slide the outer knob into the outer side of the door, through the latch mechanism.  The outer knob is the one with the screws in it.  This puts the screw heads on the inner side of the door.  This is for aesthetics on non-locking knobs, and security on locking knobs.

Slide the inner knob onto the mechanism of the outer knob and push the screw heads through the inner knob.  This is usually achieved by sliding the knob onto the center pin and then twisting the knob slightly so the screw heads can slide into the proper slots (sorry, I didn't take a photo of this).  On some knobs you will have to remove the screws completely from the outer knob before installation, but everthing else works the same.

All you have to do now is tighten up the screws and check for proper operation of the mechanism.  Make sure it all works before you shut the door for the first time.  This can save a bit of hassle.

Thanks, Hubby!  Now for some pretty after photos:

All finished.

Although the doorknobs to the two backdoors were replaced with plain silver knobs, we tried to find a fancier one for the front, one that matches the vintage 1950s knobs inside the house (because the front door opens onto the living room).

Original knobs, installed by my great-grandpa (he built the house.)

New front door knob.

P.S. Hubby did not replace the strike plates on the door frame because they are still in good condition, but the knob comes with new plates and screws if needed.

How pretty is this cinnamon coloured door with the pale grey exterior?
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July 26, 2011

Treasure Hunting Report

Treasure hunting was a family affair this past weekend, as we're still visiting our hometown.  My grandpa, grandma, mom, dad, Hubby & I all piled in and out of my grandparents' minivan for a morning of yard saling.  My dad must be the key ingredient, because we always score fun finds when he's around.   

My mom & I picked up this bowl, "unmarked" because its bottom was hidden by a piece of glued on felt.  We picked up, but didn't buy, a few vintage West German pieces at the same yard sale - we just didn't love them enough - but this came home because we thought the glaze was so pretty.  Low & behold, it too is a piece of West German pottery. 

"New" West German pottery piece. $1.

Still need to get the rest of the felt off the bottom . . .

I bought this random DIY'd mug because the glaze is soooo pretty.  Maybe it will inspire a painting.  I plan to toss random pens, etc., in it for now.

I have a few other pieces of this china pattern that were my great-grandmother's.  At 25 cents, I couldn't resist this addition (I actually bought two).

I bought this stone dish with lid for 25 cents.  I am obsessed with stones (I had/have a pretty large rock collection and I can't walk along a beach without stuffing my pockets with polished stones) and little dishes like this are so convenient for stashing my jewellery.  I doff my rings and earrings in random rooms as soon as I get home, so this little dish is perfect. 

This pitcher is for my mother-in-law, who likes to mix organic juice with mineral water for a tasty drink.  It is made in Italy, which made my mom lust for it too.  I packed it up quickly - it isn't often I find something my mother-in-law might like . . .


I bought this petite artwork for 25 cents.  It is a touristy piece from Mexico, but the colours are so vibrant I had to have it.  It just needs a home on our walls.

These Christmas tree balls might seem like an odd choice for a gal who doesn't celebrate Christmas, but I am planning to make this wreath and I am adding this 50 cent score to a previous purchase of teal and gold balls with a rich patina.  Paired with cream wool my grandma happily donated to the project, you might just see this wreath made this year.  Maybe.

We saw a lot of pretty things on Saturday, but we tried to be good about not bringing everything home.  Even if it was vintage/valuable/marked.  If we don't 100% love it, it will only be clutter . . . but it is sooooo hard to resist sometimes. 
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