DIY Wire Name Jewelry

Can you believe Christmas is exactly 1 month away? I sure can’t…which probably means I should start buying some Christmas presents…(thank god for Amazon.com)

Sometimes I feel like I get into a recipe rut on here, only cooking and providing you with recipes and cooking tutorials. I really love to craft too and with the abundance of ideas that Pinterest provides, there are so many things I want to try. So this past week, I decided I was going to try out making wire name jewelry. It was neither as easy nor as hard as I thought it might be, but I really loved the end product.

Here’s my guide to making Wire Name Jewelry:

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Supplies:

  • Package of jewelry wire (I used 18 gauge in silver for this tutorial)*
  • Wire cutters
  • Small jewelry pliers
  • Chain and clasp to match wire (or alternative)
  • Pen
  • Paper

My Advice Starting Out:

Making wire jewelry takes some practice, but it also takes thought and planning. Some letters, names, and words will be easier than others. Prepare to fail and try again. You will get the hang of it. Just make sure that you buy extra wire so that you can practice.

Instructions:

1. Start with a piece of paper and pen. Think of the word you want to make and write it out in one continuous line, without ever lifting the pen from the paper. Remember, the wire name you will be making has to flow and can’t be joined together. (Unless you plan on soldering the metal together –which is something else entirely.

NOTE: A vital piece of designing your piece of jewelry is to think of how you are eventually going to wear it. How will you hook the chain to the name? Include that in your design. For example, with my necklace, I hooked one end of the chain to the J’s loop and then created an extra loop at the end of the i.

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2. Once you figure out how you want to shape the name/word and you think you know how to shape it, you are ready to really begin. Take your coil of wire and cut a piece with your wire cutters. The length you will need depends on the length of the name/word you are creating. Extra is always good — you’ll just cut it off when you’re done. wire4

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3. Begin shaping your letters. Use both your fingers and the pliers. (The pliers are good to make curves and circles — just wrap the wire around the plier to shape it.

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4. Continue to shape the letters. For some letters, you will have to double the wire up in order to get the look you want.

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5. When you’re done, it’s time to hook the wire name to the chain. I chose to make mine into a necklace. I bought a ready made silver chain with clasp at the craft store and then pried it apart in the middle, reattaching it to the ends of the name. (This can be difficult if the chain links are small, so consider this when you design the piece.wire7

 

6. And you’re done! For my name, I was really surprised how short an amount of time it took me. (It took longer to detach and reattach the chain than it did to actually form my name. But some letters are other words are more difficult. The bottom line is that practice makes perfect. You will also need a lot of patience.

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*Note on Supplies: 

Jewelry wire comes in a variety of sizes and materials. I used simple wire from the cart store in the color silver. You can also buy copper wire (pictured below). Wire is sized by gauge — the smaller the gauge the larger the wire circumference. For name jewelry, you will want a lower gauge (under 20), so that it will hold up. wire5

Jewelry pliers are sold in the craft store, but you may need to buy wire cutters from a hardware store.

You can also make bracelets and rings with the wire. A chain and clasp is also not necessary for all pieces of jewelry — the wire itself can be used for the entire piece. 

The Dresses I Didn’t Pick

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I know I said I didn’t want to overwhelm this blog with all kinds of wedding stuff, and that’s why I started Twyf Becomes Wife. However, since Joni was here for this excursion, I thought I would share my experience finding my wedding dress. As you may know, I have been working as a Wedding Consultant, helping other brides find the dress of their dreams for their big days. But, due to Valentine’s Day being a particularly slow day at work, I had the opportunity to try on a few dresses. I have known since January what the dress for me would be, but since I don’t plan on having to shop for another wedding dress ever again, I figured I might as well put on a few that weren’t really my style. I will say this: I didn’t pick any of these dresses for myself. As I often tell my brides, each of these dresses is beautiful, but they belong with someone else.

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This was the first dress. From the Vera Wang White Collection, this ivory ballgown has 100 yards of tulle(!), which is about 10 times more than I can deal with. It has always reminded me of a very extravagant ballet tutu. Its an absolutely gorgeous dress, but I feel like I could have camped out under it. I just don’t have the personality to pull off this kind of gown, and I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near Brian.

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Ugh. Please ignore the weird claw thing I’m doing with my hand. I don’t know what to do with my hands in pictures; you’re lucky most of these aren’t in Madonna-esque “Vogue” poses.

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The champagne embroidery on this dress is really nice, and I love the shape the corset gives me, but I wasn’t feeling how the back was split… or how long the train was in general. This was getting closer to what I wanted (nothing poofy), but still not it.

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Then there was this dress. I absolutely love the illusion back, especially with the lace and the buttons — my consultant didn’t button all of them, that would have taken quite a long time because they’re tiny and there’s a bunch of them. The ruching on the front was nice, and it also helped emphasize an hourglass figure, but I felt like the heavily beaded lace on top was a little too much. It emphasized a little too much, if you catch my drift. I like how it looked from the front, but then, there was the back…

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Um… I just don’t think I care too much for the train on this. I would have wanted it bustled up for the entire ceremony, because that line down the center just doesn’t look right to me. The longer I look at it, it kind of reminds me of something from Star Trek… Sorry. Its a lovely dress, and if it weren’t for that train, it would have been a very serious contender.

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Maybe I’ll be able to actually pull of this whole “bridal” look…

So,what does my dress look like? Well… it doesn’t look like any of these dresses. I waited until I could come back with my mom and sister to order it, because there was no way I was doing that till my mom got to see it. I will tell you that its soft white, not super white. I don’t want to channel Casper the Friendly Ghost. I’ll have a color accent to match my Maids of Honor and my BridesDames. Its very me. If you want to read more about my adventures in wedding planning, and other wedding-related topics, please check out Twyf Becomes Wife! However, I plan on being able to reveal my dress in about… oh.. 13 months. 🙂

The Best DIY Project for Your Fall Wardobe: Infinity Scarf

Sweater weather. Those are my two favorite words to hear in late September. However, with the weather we’ve been having in northeast Ohio, real fall weather hasn’t really appeared until the last week or so, and it’s still not consistent. It’s supposed to be in the mid 70s this afternoon. I’m hoping the fall temperatures become more reliable soon. Fall is, hands down, the best season in my book, and it always has been. Even though January 1 traditionally rings in the new year, I always feel like fall brings a fresh start with a new school year, or a second try if your year didn’t begin as you’d hoped it would. (At least this year it did for me, since I wasn’t heading back to class for the first time in 20-some years this fall. I just really like buying school supplies and picking out my “first day of school” outfit, ok?) Fall means great September thunderstorms, mugs of hot chocolate or hot apple cider (apple anything, really), watching the leaves turn beautiful shades of red and orange, new seasons of my favorite television shows, pumpkin ice cream, football and marching bands, and cozy scarves. Actually, I love all staples of a fall wardrobe, but cardigans and scarves are really at the top of the list.

I’ve already shared super-simple tutorials for DIY makeovers for your summer and winter wardrobes, and now I’d like to give you one to top off your fall looks. Infinity scarves have been popular for a few years now, and while I love my cute floral patterned ones from Charming Charlie’s, this scarf will take you through fall and into winter, and is much cheaper than anything you can get in stores. You should be able to make two scarves for less than $6 — keep an eye out for JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts coupons! If you’re using a sewing machine, this project should only take you less than a half hour. If you’re hand-sewing like I did, get comfy with your Hulu Plus queue — I’d suggest 2-3 episodes of Downton Abbey. (Not “Downtown Abbie,” as Brian referred to it.) I started watching this a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love it. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need to get started with your new accessory:

1.75 yds of medium-weight plaid/flannel fabric
Mine isn’t very thick and not very fleece-like. Consider that it will be doubled over and then wrapped around your neck twice.
Spool of thread
Any color that coordinates with your fabric will do.
Straight pins
These are so much more helpful than I ever realized… I wish I’d used them for other projects I did this summer.

Step 1.

Put on moccasin slippers and refresh your mug of cocoa. Lay the fabric out flat on the floor or a long table, lengthwise. Cut the fabric on the folded edge along the entire length, giving you two identical pieces. Toss one piece off the the side and use it to make a gift for a friend later! Fold your piece of fabric lengthwise with the right side of it facing in. It should be about 10-ish inches wide now.

Step 2.

Pin your fabric together on the “open” edges, leaving about 3/4″ for a hem. Sew along the entire length of the fabric to close the open edges and create a tube. For this part, it was nice to have a straight line on the fabric to follow with my stitches. Once you’re done sewing the edges together, be sure to remove all of the pins.

Step 3.

Turn the fabric right-side out and lay the tube out flat. (It will be the same way it was when you were sewing the open edges together, except now the edges have been hemmed inside. On one end of the tube, fold the edge down about 1″ to create an even hem. It should look like a shirt sleeve at this point.

Step 4.

This part is a little tricky to explain, so I drew a little diagram to make it easier to understand. (I promise it’s easy to do.) Keeping all of the fabric flat, insert the open edges (cut end) from the opposite end of the tube between the folded down edges (hem end). It will be helpful here to pin everything together. Now, you’ll sew through all 6 layers of fabric, as shown in my handy little drawing. Make sure you’re getting all of the layers, since this is how you join the edges and close up the loop.

Step 5.

It doesn’t exactly matter where you tie the knot at the end, since no one is going to see it anyway. For my scarf, however, just so I didn’t snag it on anything, I flipped over the little flap created by the hem and tied my knot underneath.

And you’re done! Wasn’t that easy? Now go show your new fall scarf off to your friends and see if they believe you only had to sew two straight lines. Make a mistake? That’s ok, these scarves are very forgiving. After all, it’s just a piece of fabric wrapped around your neck. 🙂

If you liked this post, be sure to check out:

Having a Good Hair Day: A Sleek, Sophisticated Up-do Idea

Good hair days and bad hair days. We all have them. I sometimes feel like my bad hair days greatly outnumber my good hair days. Mostly, this is because I generally hate my curly hair — I much prefer it when it is straightened. But, we all want what we can’t have, don’t we?

So, when my cousin’s June wedding was approaching, I knew that I needed to find a good hairstyle to rock. I wanted something sleek and sophisticated. Something that was an up-do, but not too fancy. And most important, a hairstyle that wouldn’t fall completely down after a 10 hour day full of smiling, crying, hugging, celebrating, and dancing.

Up-dos are always a gamble. I’ve had enough in my life to worry about whether I’m going to like what my hair looks like on the day of the event, let alone cringe years later when I looked at pictures. Looking back, I don’t think that I ever had a formal up-do/hairstyle that I ever completely liked.

I was always pushing curls down or making my hair look less puffy. I would agonize in the mirror and ask myself if my hair looked stupid.

My senior prom hairstyle finally gave me something that was close to what I liked:

Senior Prom, 2006. Close, but no cigar.

Then, my cousin got married in 2007 and  again I thought I had an up-do I liked, but now when I look at myself in pictures I pretty much hate how my hair looked:

June 2007. In retrospect, not so great.

 

Finally, finally. Fast forward to June 2012. I did my research. I looked at pictures on Pinterest.

I had a vision. And when the stylist doing my hair started an up-do that I didn’t like, I spoke up. A quick and easy change of tactic got me exactly what I wanted.

Finally, the sleek, sophisticated up-do I desired and a truly good hair day:

June 2012.
Side view.

Back view.

 

Front view.
Bonus: You get to see what I look like with absolutely no make-up on!

 

 

Post-ceremony. 6 hours in. Still looking good!

 

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my little hair fashion show! Even if you didn’t perhaps I’ve provided some good hair day up-do inspiration in the process. 🙂

“I Have a Master’s Degree in Fierce, I Should Be a Professor!” – Life Lessons from Drag Queens

I can’t lie, readers… I have been very excited to write this post for quite some time. I’ve already written about how I’ve spent my summer, and one of the best parts has been catching up on all of the TV shows I missed while in grad school. While I took Joni’s suggestion and started watching Once Upon a Time, I also followed my sister’s suggestion and started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. One episode in and I was hooked. But, that shouldn’t be a surprise; I think I’ve always been at least a little fascinated with drag queens. When I was a kiddo, I received my introduction to the idea when we watched The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Later on, it was To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmarbut I just couldn’t get behind Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes as drag queens. (However, John Leguizamo as Chi-Chi Rodriguez was believable.) It was never something weird for me, seeing a man dressed up as a woman. It was just different, and that was ok. Still is. When I got to college, I loved that YSUnity hosted a drag show during Welcome Week. As entertaining as these ladies (and some gentlemen) were, I appreciated how open they were to any questions the audience had about the lifestyle.

So, back to the Drag Race. I figured I would just have something funny and interesting to watch/listen to while I worked on my craft projects, but I was wrong. Just like any great book, movie, album, or show, there are lessons to be learned that you can apply in your own life. Let me give you the t

Aaaaaand suddenly, I’m a young Dame Edna.

1. “Don’t be shady, be a lady.” – Venus De-Lite, S3E3

Have you ever thrown shade? Yes, you have. You just didn’t know you were. You “throw shade” whenever you insult somebody else. It doesn’t take much to insult someone — just borrow your 3rd grader-cousin’s book of Yo Momma jokes. A real lady doesn’t stoop to weak insults or general shadiness. But, there’s also reading. As RuPaul said, “Reading is fundamental.” For a good read, a lady must be creative, smart, and witty, but never malicious. Jujubee from Season 2 reads at a college level:

“Legendary, you think you are! Legendary? Looks like leg… and dairy.”

The lesson here is, don’t lower yourself to play at someone else’s level, but always be on your toes.

2. “You better work.”

Obviously. You’ll get nowhere if you’re just sitting around. Work for what you want and give it your all, so when you get it, you deserve it. There were a couple of weeks where my job search was particularly depressing, and I don’t think I applied for a single job during that time. The next week, I wrote in my planner my paraphrase of a famous Wayne Gretzky quote: “You miss out on interviews for one hundred percent of the jobs you don’t apply for.” I applied for five jobs that week. This brings us to our next lesson…

 3. Consistency

Much like any adjudicated tv contest (America’s Next Top Model, Top Chef, Design Star, etc.), contestants must be consistent in their performance every week to proceed. Whether you’re competing for a promotion, or aiming to improve something about yourself, it is important to always bring your A-game, so to speak. Once you’ve proven your talent with a certain skill time and again, others will begin to associate that achievement with you. From here, the only way you should go is up. Always be looking for ways to better yourself and go to the next level. While consistency is great, it takes a little something extra to be a champion.


Featuring my personal favorite Drag Super Star, Raja (the Professor of Fierce)

4. Sashay Away

After the bottom two contestant are called out to “lip sync for their lives,” RuPaul chooses which queen will stay, and who will sashay away. While one could leave a negative last impression on others (see: Mimi Imfurst), a real lady displays class and poise whenever it’s time for her to leave. Sure, you could go for the “memorable” route of jumping down into a full split as you exit the runway, but I think it’s a little tacky. And, painful.

So long, Mystique Summers Madison…

5. “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” – RuPaul

Miss Ru says it at the end of each episode, and it is perhaps the most essential lesson of them all: the most important love is self-love. Several of the beautiful queens who compete on Drag Race tell stories about how members of their family don’t accept them for being gay, let alone being a drag queen, and the other girls reach out to support them. There are a lot of reasons why a person, gay, straight, purple, etc., could have a hard time loving themselves, especially when it seems that those who matter most don’t show them love and acceptance. If you can’t love yourself for who your truly are, it could be difficult to let someone else in and love the real you. I’ve always, always believed that you have to know who you are and what you want out of life in order to love yourself as a complete person. Then, instead of needing others to feel whole, you can simply allow them to be a wonderful complement to the already-fabulous you.

While there are other lessons I could have mentioned, I felt that these are the most easily translatable. I’m currently catching up on Season 4, and I can’t wait to watch the All-Stars Season. I’d like to add, though, that I’ve learned that it wouldn’t kill me to throw on a little more makeup from time to time. If these men have an easier time turning into an attractive woman than I, a biological woman, do, I think I could step up my game a little bit.