Curious and Catcat

Monday, August 10

Buy less, make more! | 6 good reasons to make jewelry yourself, and why it's easy

I've been making my own jewelry ever since I can remember. Well, more or less, depending on my age. I've made necklaces with colorful wooden beads, friendship bracelets, earrings from buttons, all kind of things. Lately however I've been into simple necklaces that are basically made by combining a plain necklace chain with a pendant or a few beads. I love how they don't look all store bought and not at all handmade. Nothing against handmade, I love all things handmade, but I hope you know what I mean.
My favorite necklace at the moment is the one below, with the color sprinkled ceramic beads. You know how long it took me to make? A minute at most. You know how much it cost me? Under 1€. You know how many people asked me where I got it? Four up to now.

I knooow, I didn't really make this necklace. Not in a crafty kind of way. I assembled it. But still it's my own creation, I chose the supplies and  I thought of the design. No one else has a necklace like this and I'm pretty proud of it. 
So let's not argue about words but start making more jewelry ourselves. Here are 6 good reasons why:

1. It's easy

Jewelry making doesn't have to be difficult. You can make some very decent pieces in just a few easy steps. Take the basic pendant necklace consisting of a pendant and ... a necklace. Easy. Did you know that you can buy a lot of different pendants and supplies online? Choose your favorites and than its just one plus one and you have a great piece of jewelry!

2. It looks just like you want it to look

That also means, that it doesn't have to look handmade. You know best what you're looking for and what you want your jewelry to look like. By choosing the supplies and making it yourself, you have a lot more control over the look and style. Maybe next time, when you have a new piece of jewelry in mind that you can't find anywhere in the stores, try to DIY!

3. It's cheaper

Buying supplies and combining them at home can be a lot cheaper than buying it in the stores, especially for costume jewelry. You don't have to pay for brands, names and designs.

4. You choose which quality you'd like

This one goes with number three. If you like to buy costume jewelry and change your stock every few months, you can choose to by cheaper materials. I'm talking mostly about metals here: chains and jump rings and closures. You could go for gilded copper or tin instead of going for pure gold.
On the other hand, if you'd like your jewelry to last long and look pretty all the way, than you should go for higher quality metals.

5. You can make more

Your jewelry is broken, discolored or lost? No problem! Because you know where you got it from or have all the supplies still at home. A lot of shops sell their jewelry findings in multi packs, so it's easy to make more for your friends, make your favorite necklace in different lengths or create matching earrings.

6. It's all yours

You create unique pieces if you DIY jewelry! There's literally no chance you ever come across one person on the street who is wearing the same jewelry you are. And the best thing about it: if someone compliments you on it and asks where you got it you can smile and say 'I didn't buy that. I made it myself'. Best. Feeling. Ever.
To get you started on your handmade jewelry adventure, these are three necklaces that I made lately. The one on the left is my favorite necklace and I've been wearing it almost daily. If you'd like to recreate it, or one of the other, these are the materials that  I used:

ceramic beads
natural citrine pendant
ball chain necklace

For more jewelry tutorials check out my MAKE page!

Monday, July 27

Handmade espadrilles with faux leather details | DIY + free pattern

Espadrilles are all the rage this summer and probably next summer, too. Better stock up on a few pairs! But did you know, that classic espadrilles are ridiculously easy to make yourself? All you need to know are basic stitches by hand and with a sewing machine. You can choose your favorite fabric and sew them in an afternoon. For the very easy classic espadrilles, visit my tutorial for the melon espadrilles from last summer. For a bit more advanced version, read on!
I designed these espadrilles myself for a espadrilles design contest by PrymFarbenmixSwafing and the Handmade Kultur magazine (read all about that here). They fit me perfectly and I am more than happy to share the pattern with you. The pattern is in size EU 39 but adjusting should be fairly easy and straight forward. If you print the pattern on A4 paper and set the printer on borderless printing, you'll get the correct size.

What you need:

1 pair of espadrilles soles
not too thin cotton fabrics (1 patterned for the front and 1 plain for the heel and the lining)
soft faux leather
bias binding
thick cotton thread
scissors
fabric glue
fabric fixation tape
pins
needle
sewing machine


How it works:

Step 1: First, print, cut and transfer the pieces of the pattern to fabric the following way:
2 mirrored pieces of the sole inlay and the upper from the faux leather.
2 mirrored pieces of the front in patterned fabric (add seam allowance).
2 mirrored pieces of the front in plain fabric (add seam allowance).
2 pairs of mirrored pieces of the heel (add seam allowance).
Step 2: Glue the inlays onto the soles like shown in the picture above.
Step 3: Place the fabric pieces for the front right sides together, a patterned and a plain piece each. Sew around with a sewing machine but leave a small stretch open. Notch the curves of the seam allowance and trim the corners diagonally. Turn right sides out, iron flat and sew over the opening. Add an ornamental seam at the base.

Step 4: Now glue the faux leather uppers to the front pieces with textile glue following the instructions on the glue you're using. Let dry. The back side of the straps might be visible when wearing, so you might want to glue some faux leather to the visible areas as well.

Step 5: Place each two pieces of the heel right sides together and sew the two stretches on both sides of the half circle cut-out together. Turn and iron flat. On the right side, drape bias binding around the remaining stretches and then sew it on.
Step 6: Now you pin everything in place. Don't be afraid to use aaaall the pins! It really helps to get the placement right if you place your feet onto the sole and arrange the pieces around them. Fixate with a few pins before you remove your feet again. Then add a lot more pins.
Step 7: Sew everything together. You sew the fabric to the sole with a blanket stitch. Continue the stitch over the open stretches, too, to get a nice  uniform look.
Step 8: If you like, you can add a cap like this. It's basically only blanket stitch again. Work the stitch narrower and from the sole upwards. Interlock the stitches a bit while you're working upwards.
Step 9: Now you have only the straps left to fixate. Put the espadrilles on and pull the left strap very tight, hold, remove your foot and pin the strap in place, just below the bias binding. Repeat for the right strap. Cut the straps shorter. They should overlap for just 1 or 3 cm in the back.
Repeat for the other shoe.
Step 10: First, mark the places where the straps sit and then fixate them to the fabric below using fixating tape. With a thin brown thread sew with a simple step stitch over the stretch where the straps overlap, sewing the straps together and to the heel piece in one go.
All done! Perfect summer espadrilles that don't have to hide behind the shoes you can buy in stores. And for under 100€! I love mine and they fit me perfectly. They will be worn a lot this summer.

Friday, July 17

The summer essentials

Obviously, the weather can't decide if it's really summer or more like fall this year, and changing it's mind every week. I wanted to share some of my summer favorites for a while now, but every time the weather changed to rain and boots and warm cardigan weather again and it didn't seem appropriate anymore. But I've learned my lesson and checked the forecast! Ingenious. Now I know that it's not a waste of time to get my toe nails painted, because I can wear sandals for a few days more.
 photo SUMMER ESSENTIALS_zpsrt4lke2u.jpg

I've been wearing these or similar things all summer (the good days) this year. Except that denim dress, but I might have to buy that now. I love that I managed to really simplify my closet and love every single item in it. It makes choosing outfits a lot easier if you have a smaller selection of clothes, that you really really love. Take my shoes for example: I'm wearing exactly 5 pairs this summer. three pairs of different sandals, sneakers and chelsea boots for the colder days. I would wear all of them all the time (if I had 10 feet) and picking a pair of shoes for work or for running errands or for a date is just deciding between your favorites. Does that make any sense to you?

I've also worn a lot of bright lipstick colors this summer. My wardrobe color scheme is made of a lot of neutral colors with a lot of black, white and denim in it and a bright lipstick color gives a great pop of color. A bright orangey color is one of my favorites. Bright orange sound bad, but it looks actually very cute. Even if the internet tries to tell me that blond girls with fair skin should wear lipstick with a bluish tinge. I decided to ignore the internet in this point.

All in all I would describe my summer wardrobe as very comfy, relaxed and very versatile, since you can basically pair anything with everything. What clothes are absolutely essential for you this summer? Any must-haves that I missed?


Saturday, July 11

Cluster Rings | DIY

I'm not much of a ring person. I always think that rings look weird on my fingers and stunning on everybody else's. But maybe that's just because I'm not used to wearing rings much, I don't know. But then I found these perforated ring bases a while ago, that seemed just perfect for so many different kinds of rings. Today I'm teaming up with pandahall.com again to show you how to make cluster rings which are easy to make and also kinda look like a faux crystal rings with the faceted glass beads that I used.

What you need:


BEADS:
small beads (I used faceted glass beads in purple)

JEWELRY FINDINGS:
ring with perforated base (can't remember where I got mine - similar)

TOOLS & OTHER:
embroidery thread or similar
needle
scissors
Step 1: Cut a strand of embroidery thread, make a knot in one end and thread on a needle at the other end.
Step 2: Pull the thread through one of the holes that is close to the center of the base from below. Thread on three beads and pull the thread back through a hole next to it. Pull very tight. Wiggle the beads around a bit to make sure the thread is as short as it can get.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 a few times and working from the center outwards. Try to go through every hole once. After a few repeats you will notice that the beads will begin to stack up nicely and create a nice organic shape that slightly resembles a natural crystal.
Step 4: When you're happy with the size and shape of the cluster, weave the thread in on the underside of the  ring base and cut it off. All done!

You can play around with the look and shapes of these rings by threading on more or less beads every time or by working with a contrasting yarn or a thin wire (in the color of the ring base maybe). Or maybe try using beads in different colors!  The cluster rings are very quick to make so you may as well try out every option I just named in just one afternoon!

The second ring in the pictures was made with a neon orange thread which looks even brighter in reality. I also made this one by threading on only one bead at a time which makes it a bit smaller and flatter looking. Which one do you like better?
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