Tall Ship Windy

Our other adventure that we went on during our vacation was a sail on the Tall Ship Windy. Penny is really into pirates right now, so we chose to go on the “Pirates of the Inland Seas” sail. There was a “pirate” who told us stories of piracy on the Great Lakes, and they even fired their cannon a couple of times! I think Penny was feeling a little seasick, and she told me before we left that she was worried about the boat sinking (I assured her it wouldn’t), so she didn’t enjoy the experience as much as we hoped. But it was a very pleasant day with a nice breeze and great views of the city. And it was cool to see Navy Pier, which we hadn’t been to yet since we moved here.

Here are a few pics of our sailing adventure:

Do you have any exciting vacation plans? Where are you going/where did you go?

South Haven, Michigan

I’m back from vacation! It was nice to take a break and spend quality time with my family, but I’m happy to get back into a normal routine. One of the things we did was spend a couple of days in South Haven, Michigan. I’d heard from a few people around here that it was a pretty cool town with a nice beach, and since we’ve been missing the beach, we decided to check it out!

I’m still getting used to the fact that we are so close to other states. It was only about a 2 1/2 hour drive from where we live, and we drove through the top part of Indiana to get there. Two states in as many hours! It took six hours to drive to Disneyland last year, and we never even left California! And I can finally say that I’ve seen my husband’s home state, even though he’s from southern Indiana. This opens up a lot of options for road trips!

Since it was too early to check into the hotel, we immediately went to the beach. It was a really nice beach with lots of sand, a playground, a concession stand, and a pier with a cute little red lighthouse at the end of it. It was definitely a different experience than going to the beach in California; no big waves, and I really missed that salty-sea-air smell. But we had a nice afternoon of sand castle building, strolling, and I read a book while Penny and my husband went to get a hot dog.

After the beach, we checked into the hotel, and the first thing Penny wanted to do was go swimming in the indoor pool. I think she was more excited about that than the beach! She still needs water wings to help her along, but we were really proud of her for picking up right where she left off last year. She was hardly afraid of the water at all (something we dealt with last year), and she could doggie-paddle the entire length of the pool!

The downtown area of South Haven is really nice with lots of shops and restaurants, so we went to a little Italian restaurant for dinner, and then spent the next day browsing all the shops. After lunch at a cute coffee house, we drove home.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another adventure from our vacation/staycation!

Some New Sale Items

Just a quick post to let you know I’ve reduced the prices on a few of my items. Get them before they’re gone forever! Here’s what’s been marked down:

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Pink and White Vintage Enameled Key Necklace

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Caged Green Sea Glass Earrings

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Vintage Silvertone Necklace with Beads

One other note: I’ll be on vacation next week, so I won’t be posting till the week after. The shop will remain open, though (it’s more of a staycation). I’ll have lots of photos to share when I get back!

New in the Shop: Pretty Color Combinations

I finally had to buckle down and order some more jewelry wire yesterday because I’ve been having so much fun wire wrapping these stones! Here are two new items I made this week:

Have you even heard of mahogany obsidian? I’ve heard of just obsidian, that really shiny black stone, but I didn’t know it came in any other color until I was browsing a fellow Etsian’s shop and saw these pretty mahogany obsidian points. They are (obviously) a pretty mahogany brown with speckles of black thrown in. I wrapped this one in yellow brass wire and strung it on a long-ish antiqued brass chain. You can click the link below the photo to see the listing on Etsy.

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Wire Wrapped Mahogany Obsidian Point

Remember two weeks ago when I said I’d have some turquoise items? Well, it turns out that it’s really chrysocolla, which looks a lot like turquoise, but it’s a lot softer, which is frustrating when you are wire wrapping and you snap off a chunk and ruin your whole project. But it’s still really pretty. I paired a small piece of chrysocolla with a piece of very pale purple fluorite and wrapped them with silver plated wire. I think these colors look so nice together.

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Wire Wrapped Chrysocolla and Purple Fluorite Necklace

I think I will have to play around with some more color combinations!

Mini Milk Jug Organizers

Now that I have an entire room devoted to crafting, instead of just a little section of the living room, I’ve slowly been adding more and more things to organize the multitude of supplies I have. I’m hoping to finish a few more things before I do a final reveal (check out my previous craft table post here), but for now, I wanted to share these adorable little milk jugs I got from Pick Your Plum to hold my pens and things!

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I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to have a place for my writing utensils, but when I saw these mini milk jugs, I knew they would make perfect pencil holders, and fit right in my vintage-rustic-crafty chic craft room!

I added some washi tape to give them a little color, and because washi tape is great for making labels.

I decided to use one for my scissors and knife.

Here’s an action shot. How awesome is that vintage fan? They were going to throw it away at my husband’s office back in California!

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I can’t wait to show you the rest of my craft room!

Mason Jar Beach Keepsake

My family and I love to go beach combing, and we’ve got all kinds of shells, stones, and sea glass lying around. So I thought I’d take some of them and make a beach keepsake to remember all the fun times we had at our favorite California beaches. This is a great idea if you’re a fellow beach-lover, or if you’ve visited the beach on vacation and want a nice souvenir of your trip!

DIY Mason Jar Beach Keepsake

You only need a few supplies:

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  • Mason jar
  • Sand
  • Shells and other treasures from your trip to the beach
  • Twine (optional)
  • Scissors (if you’re using the twine)

We’ve had this idea in mind for a while, so my husband brought a jar on our last trip to the beach specifically to bring back some sand. This is a pretty easy project; all you have to do is pour the sand in the mason jar and add your shells and sea glass. I used a plastic fork to place some of the smaller shells exactly how I wanted them.

For an extra rustic touch, I added some jute twine to the top of the jar. If you are lucky enough to find a sand dollar, this is the perfect way to show it off! Wind some twine around the neck of the jar, tie it in a knot, string on your sand dollar, and then tie it in a bow.

Now you have a nice keepsake to remember your time at the beach!

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Last-Minute 4th of July Earrings

Yesterday I realized I don’t have much in the way of patriotic jewelry, so I got out my supplies and came up with this fun pair of earrings. I know it’s a little late, but I thought I’d share the tutorial with you in case you need a last-minute accessory for your 4th of July event!

DIY 4th of July Earrings

A couple of notes before we get started:

  1. I did this in a hurry, so I apologize if the photos are a little blurry/not great.
  2. I had just painted my nails. I can’t seem to manage to do that without painting half my finger, and I hadn’t taken the time to clean them up, so please excuse my messy bright blue fingers. :)

Now, here are the supplies you’ll need:

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  • Red, white, and blue beads. I used red coral chips, blue stone cylinders, and white seed beads.
  • Wire. If you’re going to use tiny beads, you can use a smaller gauge. I went with 22-gauge since I was using heavier beads.
  • Spool of thread or something circular of similar size to form your wire into a hoop.
  • Jewelry tools: needle-nose pliers, round-nose pliers, wire cutters.
  • Earwires: not pictured, but kind of important for this project.
  • Coffee: optional. Bonus points if you have a Beatles mug.

Start by wrapping your wire around the spool and cut it so there are a couple of inches extra at either end. I used a spare piece of wire that I had already cut, and it ended up being too short, as you’ll see later.

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Use your needle-nose pliers to bend one end of the wire at a 90-degree angle. This will help stop the beads from flying off as you’re stringing them on.

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Decide on a pattern and string your beads onto the wire. Remember to leave that extra part of the wire bead-free. If you don’t know where to stop beading, you can bend a notch in the wire at the same time that you bend the other side (they should meet when you wrap the wire around the spool). Just make sure that the notch isn’t so big that you can’t put your beads on. Also, it’s a good idea to use small beads at the top of the hoop; it will make it easier to close up the hoop and do the wire wrapping.

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Once all your beads are on, bend the wire 90 degrees on the other side (the side with the notch).

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Now it’s time to make a wrapped loop. Take your round-nose pliers and make another 90-degree bend in the wire about 1/4 inch up from the beads.

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Next, wrap the wire around the pliers. Just the top one. What do they call just that one part of the pliers? The prong? Arm? I don’t know…just look at the picture below and you’ll see what I mean.

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Now switch the loop from the top thingy (that’s what I’m calling it), to the bottom thingy, and wrap the extra wire around the base of the loop. This is where it would have been nice to have more wire; I wasn’t able to wrap it as many times as I would have liked and it looked kind of sloppy. If you have too much wire, wrap it three or four times, then cut it with your wire cutters. Then use your needle-nose pliers to gently smoosh down the end (another technical term).

See how that doesn't look very nice? Do it better than me.

See how that doesn’t look very nice? Do it better than me.

Now take the other end of the wire and wrap it around the base of the wrapped loop, starting as close to the beads as you can so the hoop looks like one continuous circle. Again, I wish I had more wire, so the same rule applies here as for the wrapped loop.

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Once the wire is secure, you can reshape your hoop, which will have undoubtedly gotten a little bent up in the process.

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Finally, add your earwire! Twist open the loop at the bottom with your pliers and slide it onto your wrapped loop.

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Now do it all over again so you have two, and you’re all done! You have a nice new pair of earrings to wear while you’re watching fireworks! I ended up redoing mine so the wire wrapped part looked a little better.

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Happy 4th of July, everyone! And if you’re not in the US, happy Friday!