Aug 30, 2013

Silver ear cuff DIY

A long time ago, I made an ear cuff out of a paper clip. And recently I decided to give ear cuff making another go! This time, though, I wanted it to look more like a real cartilage piercing. This is what I came up with:

You can buy these rings at craft stores, they basically look like baby key rings. Use a wire cutter to snip about half of the ring off. 

You'll be left with this shape, but the ends will be sharp. Use a dab of clear nail polish or glue to cover the sharpness, and there you go! 

To wear it just bend the opening until it's wide enough to slip onto your ear. Press it slightly together, and that's it! A simple "cartilage piercing" without the pain or commitment. ;)

Aug 28, 2013

Watch jewelry

Well, I finally finished making three necklaces out of the watch parts in my last post!

The first one I made was using the big piece from the Bulova wristwatch. I simply attached it to a chain with a tiny piece of wire. 

All the chains I used were thrifted. Even the most expensive one was under two dollars! They are really nice quality and have more character than brand new ones, which fits well with the style I was going for.

For the second one, I simply put the watch face back into the case of the Ingersoll Junior pocket watch, and attached it to a chain. The watch is empty now, making it lighter and allowing me to use the gears for another necklace. 

For the final necklace (my absolute favorite one!) I glued some of the gears from the Ingersoll together using clear nail polish. Then I used small metal rings to attach the charm to a studded chain.

I had so much fun breaking out the necklace making supplies again! I just might have to share more jewelry ideas soon. :)

Aug 21, 2013

Dissecting Watches

When asked what I wanted for my birthday this year, I promptly asked for old broken watches from the thrift store. Yup. 

I got my wish. :)

Why did I want busted watches, you ask? 
Because I was interested in harvesting the innards for some projects. :)
At first I was only going to do a post on the finished projects, but I quickly became enthralled with the tiny inner workings of these watches. So I am dedicating this post entirely to the dissecting process, and will hopefully come back later with gear-and-watch-face filled projects.

I started by opening up the newest of the watches, which was a Jaclyn Smith.   

Finding a screwdriver small enough was impossible. Even the babiest screwdriver seemed massive compared to the screws! Finally my brother had to sand down the tip of a screwdriver until it was practically a knife on the end. So thin! 

Then I moved on to the next newest watch, a Bulova.

This one was old enough that it didn't have any digital parts, that I could tell. The gears were so incredible looking when I popped the back off that I decided to leave it the way it was. I knew if I pulled it apart I'd never get the gears back together, and I loved the way it looked! 

And finally, my favorite. This old broken down beauty, an Ingersoll Junior pocket watch. 

 I can't really explain how fascinating it was to pull these apart and examine them. I'm excited to play around with the parts! We'll have to see what I come up with ... I'm thinking necklaces. :)

Aug 16, 2013

Part of the story

Mangosteen, durian, rambutan.

You have heard those words since you were born. Exotic words from Indonesia. Words that spell-check doesn't recognize. Words for strange fruit that ought to belong in an alien world.

Your parents lived in Indonesia before you existed. All three of your siblings lived there, and they tell stories. Oh, the stories. 


A thick dark purple rind surrounds a mystery. 

It was strange that there was a fruit 
I had never even heard of that was commonplace 
to other people. 
It's like you go to a market and pick up this fruit 
and you have no idea what's inside. 
I remember opening it and being surprised
 at how white the inside was. 
The size and shape of the cloves reminded me of garlic. 
You have that in the back of your mind
 and then you take a bite of it, 
and it's just sweet and juicy. 
It's a mystery that soon becomes a part of your life. 


"The King of Fruit." 
It is the stinkiest fruit in the world. Hedgehog shaped and massive, reeking of all things putrid. Some consider it a delicacy - like stinky cheese or fine wine. 
Fancy Malaysian hotels post "NO DURIAN ALLOWED" signs in their lobbies. 
Your family knows this.
You hear the stories. 


I remember driving down the street
 with Mom when I was little, 
and we would pass fruit vendors in little huts.
Huge bunches of rambutan hung from the eves, 
alternating with the bunches of bananas. 
Big clumps of hairy red fruit. 
I thought it was funky. 
But do I have a specific memory about rambutan?
That's like asking for a specific memory 
about strawberries. 
We ate it all the time. 
It tastes like my childhood. 


It is summer 2013. You are living in a medium sized Minnesotan town. Those stories are unreachable now. On the other side of the world, on the other side of time. 

But the stories are inside you, and they won't let go.


Walking into an Asian store, you are enveloped in the scent of a foreign culture. Smell of spices, fish, unfamiliar fruits, deep frost from blue crabs on ice, cans of fried gluten and pickled eggs and minnow paste and coconut cream, fragrant jasmine rice, suckers made of mango and covered in red pepper, dried peas coated in horseradish, freezers with red bean popsicles, ginger ale with whole ginger roots swirling in the small glass bottles. 
It's a different world.

And then you see the rambutan.
They are small and the spines are turning brown on the edges.
But it doesn't matter.
This is your chance to experience the stories. 

Your mom won't tell you what's inside. It's a surprise. A mystery, just for you.
You sister-in-law cuts into one as you watch, fascinated as the inside is revealed. It could be anything! Bright colors, small seeds, a large pit. Soft, slimy, crunchy?
She pulls the tough skin back slowly and suddenly squeals laughter, It feels like a cow's eyeball! she exclaims as the fruit pops out of its socket.

By this time everyone is laughing in delight as if the inside of a rambutan is a miracle.
It is.

You slice the flesh off of the pit - because guess what? there's a pit too - and you take your first bite.
It is sweet, subtle, exciting.
Slimy? A bit.
It's like a grape without skin.
It's like magic.
You are part of the story.