DIY Polymer Clay Grunge Heart Earrings

Easy DIY Polymer Clay Grunge Heart Earrings @savedbyloves

The thing that is awesome about polymer clay, or one of the many things I should say, is that it doesn't require many tools or supplies. I decided to quench my desire to create with this simple polymer clay earring project that I could pull off with a quick trip to the craft store. Simple is an essential until I get my studio unpacked and set up, and this project fit the bill. These cuties were so easy to make, and I get tons of compliments and requests for a pair every time I wear them. They compliment many outfits and styles, are lightweight and would make great christmas and birthday gifts. Let's get started!

SUPPLIES:

Polymer Clay in color of your choice

Mod Melts Mold Trinkets

Hand drill or toothpicks or bead reamer

Vintaj Ear Wire

brown acrylic paint

paper towels

oven

ruler

ink pen or sharpie

4mm and 6mm jump rings in antique brass finish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Condition clay by hand or in clay roller machine.

I highly recommend using the Sculpey machine over the Amaco craft roller machine. I started with the latter and was super frustrated. I found it at Michaels and grabbed it since I didn't have my materials with me on my trip back to Indiana for my sister's wedding. The handle kept flying out as I was rolling the clay, landing on my feet a few times (ouch)! Not only that, but it broke less than 24 hours after I bought it and wouldn't roll. I am an experienced polymer clay enthusiast, and this machine was a huge disappointment. Luckily Joanns had a Sculpey machine and it rocks!! It is so smooth, and the handle hasn't popped out once. Phew!

Mod Melts Trinket Mold

Roll a ball in your hand and press into mold. Play around to find out how much clay you need to fill the mold flush with the top. You don't want to much or too little clay. Also, roll the clay into a smooth ball so there aren't creases on the front of your finished piece.

*Tip: You can use Armor-All or baby powder as a cheap alternative to mold release.

With this project I didn't use anything and it popped out pretty easily by turning the mold upside down and pushing it out. Be careful not to distort the piece since the clay will still be soft! Waiting for a half hour before removing it will make it easier since the clay won't be as warm from just being worked.

Polymer Clay Tutorial

Next, Bake in oven per instrucions. I like to bake before piercing so that the piece doesn't distort. If you want to pierce while soft, use a tooth pick or bead reamer to poke a hole. If you bake first, you can measure and mark as shown.

How to make earrings Using a hand drill instead of a bead reamer makes it less likely your piece will chip at the hole site.

Pics are of a different heart, but the process is exactly the same. Drill hole in polymer clay

Work from front of piece to back as shown so if it does chip when it comes through, the defect will be on the back of the piece.

How to antique polymer clay jewlery

Antique the piece by applying dark brown acrylic paint and immediately wiping away with a paper towel. You can do this before or after drill the holes.

DIY jewelry Tutorial

Next, use jewelry pliers to open jump rings and insert 6mm rings into holes.

DIY Polymer Clay Grunge Heart Earrings @savedbyloves

Make a chain with 15 of the 4mm jump rings and attach each end of the chain to each of the 6mm rings and close them. Attach ear wires to the 8th jump ring in the chain and go show off your awesome creation!

Thanks for reading!

If you like to make jewelry, you are going to need a place to store it. Make that too! Here are 50+ DIY Jewelry Storage Projects you can rock...

50+ DIY Jewelry Storage Projects

25 DIY Mountain Crafts and Decor Tutorials

DIY Mountain Craft Roundup @savedbylovesIt's been way too long since I created and shared with you, my lovies! The reason for that is a move across the country from Indiana to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I've wanted to take this leap for years, and now that I have, my only regret is that I waited as long as I did!

Sky Pond Rocky Mountain National Park Estes Park Colorado

Mountain National Park Estes Park Colorado

In honor of the new residence, I bring you 25 DIY mountain themed craft and decor tutorials from my fellow creatives!  You'll find everything from advent calendars, to wall art to printable coloring pages and more. As soon as we find a permanent home, we will be able to bring the tools and supplies out of storage to begin creating again. While I am looking forward the unleashing my inner maker, exploring the new surroundings has been a gift! If you can't get to the mountains where you are, you can bring them to you with this fun round-up! Enjoy and as always, if I left out your project, email me the link!

 

101 Tasty Freezer Meals Plus Great Tips

101 Freezer Meals @savedbylovesToday I am thrilled to share with you this yummy collection of 101 Freezer Meals from Julia at Rock it Like a Mom!

Whether you are flying solo, or cooking for a large family, make ahead meals save you loads of time. Especially if you tackle a ton of meals in one day. Julia gives you great tips for doing just that, as well as over 100 recipes she has curated. There is something to fit every taste, including breakfast, luch, dinner and desserts!

Find them here:

101 Freezer Meal Recipes

Thanks Julia!

DIY Recycled T Shirt Rug Tutorial

How to crochet a round rug from DIY Tshirt yarn @savedbyloves  

Last week I shared with you How to Make T-Shirt Yarn along with over 30 projects to make with it. I showed you the pile of yarn I whipped up in various shades of blue:

How to Make tshirt yarn and 30 Plus projects to make @savedbyloves

Today I am sharing the pattern I used to create my round t-shirt rug from my handmade yarn! My rug is worked in the round, and I was able to get 11 double crochet rounds (or rows) from the yarn pictured. To get the gradient effect for the blues, I used Tulip fabric tie dye in turquoise. I just dyed a white shirt, diluted the solution with water, dyed the next white shirt, diluted with water once more and dyed two white shirts. I dried these in the dryer, then cut into continuous t-shirt yarn as shown in the tutorial linked.

Recycled Tshirt Yarn Rug Tutorial

It took some trial and error to make this flat circle rug with my t-shirt yarn. The first attempt, I used a Size P (10.0 mm). I was much happier when I went up a size to Q (15.75 mm). It was WAY easier to work with the yarn using the larger hook! I made my strips 1.5 inches wide and this was the best hook size.

Crochet in the round

Here is the pattern:

To begin, either use the magic ring method, or Ch 4 and join with a slst to form a ring. Round 1:  Ch3. 11 x dc into the ring. Join by making a slst into the top of the first dc. Round 2: Ch3. Dc inc in the next st and each st around.The last dc inc will fall in the back end of the sl st join, which is quite tight, but that is how I learned to crochet (and design).  Join to the first dc with a sl st. Round 3: Ch3. *Dc inc, dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 4: Ch3. *Dc inc, 2 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 5: Ch3. *Dc inc, 3 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 6: Ch3. *Dc inc, 4 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 7: Ch3. *Dc inc, 5 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 8: Ch3. *Dc inc, 6 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 9: Ch3. *Dc inc, 7 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 10: Ch3. *Dc inc, 8 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. Round 11: Ch3. *Dc inc, 9 x dc* x 11.  Join to the first st with a sl st. ***I stopped at 11 rounds, but if you want to keep going, just increase the number of single stitches between increases by one for each round. To finish: Ch 1. Sc in every stitch around. Join by making a sl st into the first st. Ch 1 and bind off. Double Crochet Round Rug Free Pattern

Found Object to Upcycled Lighting

DIY Upcycled Light from @savedbylovesI say "found object" because I am 98.9% unsure what it is. I went through a phase where I scooped up anything that I could picture as a light fixture or hanging pendant lamp and that was cheap. This one I was particularly excited about since I got it for $5 and it was just waiting to house a lightbulb. I finally got around to making it happen as the final step in our laundry room renovation. At the thrift shop where I purchased it, I was told it is an old cow milk filter. Don't worry, I cleaned it well before mounting it on my ceiling!

Old Cow Milk Filter to Light Fixture

Found object lighting

Here it was to start. I cleaned it with baby wipes and sprayed Mod Podge matte finish on it to seal it.

Update old lighting

I removed this brass fixture that I was dying to replace. It dangled there until my husband got home from work since I had no idea what I was doing and didn't feel like being electrocuted.

How to update lighting

This milk filter was perfect to wire and hang because of all the holes. We just removed the socket from the old fixture and thread the wires through the top of the filter.

DIY Found Object Light FixtureWe used screws with washers to reattach to the ceiling and that was it!

Upcycled Lighting

We love it! So unique and such an improvement from the brass.  Oh yeah, and it cost $5, let's not forget!

Visit our 50+ DIY Lighting Ideas for more inspiration!

 

DIY Mudroom Storage Bench and Coat Rack

DIY Mudroom Storage Bench Free Woodworking Plans @savedbylovesOur laundry room is the high traffic area of the house. We go through it every time we come or go from the house. It had been crying out for a place to hang coats and to drop off “stuff” rather than haul it in and lay it on the kitchen table. One Saturday my husband decided that he was going to throw together some sort of a coat rack / bench that would serve our needs. Once he got me going on the idea it turned into a full blown re-do of the room. I have shown you the Free Laundry Room Printables and DIY Hardware Update, and today I am sharing how to make this fabulous mudroom bench/coat rack. This project was pretty easy once we got started, and cost under $150! We LOVE it. It is super handy, and it prompted us to paint and replace the floor in the room. It is now my favorite room in the house! On to the project. Shopping List 1. 3/4-inch birch-veneer plywood to build the seat box. Get one 4x8 sheet. 2. exterior-grade beadboard plywood to make the back panel on the wall. One 4x4 sheet will cover the area. 3. 1x16 solid-wood panel to make the seat lid. Get one 6-foot board. 4. 1x12 solid-wood panel to make the fascia board and shelf. Get two 6-foot boards. 5. 2x4 to create a support strip for the hinges that hold the box lid. Get 6 feet. 6. 1x4 to create the applied paneling on the front and sides of the box. Get four 8-foot boards. 7. 1x2 to cap the unfinished top edges of the bench box. Get 10 feet. 8. 3/8x7/8-inch panel molding to add a picture-frame detail to the paneling on the box and to trim above and below the beadboard panel. Get five 8-foot lengths. 9. ½x1-inch parting bead to finish the edges of the beadboard plywood. 10. 3/4-inch quarter-round molding to trim the beadboard panel and the base of the box. Get 16 feet.11. ½x7/8-inch decorative shoe molding to trim out the shelf, seat lid, and fascia. Get three 8-foot lengths. 12. 9-inch shelf brackets 13. 2-inch L-brackets to secure the box to the floor. Get seven. 14. European cabinet hinges to allow the lid to overlay the box and open smoothly. Choose ones that are labeled "for frameless cabinets." Get three. 15. Toy-box lid supports to keep the lid from slamming shut. Get two to support the weight of the lid. 16. 1 5/8-inch deck screws 17. 3½-inch deck screws 18. 2½-inch deck screws 19. 2-inch trim-head screws 20. 2d finish nails 21. 3d finish nails 22. carpenter's glue 23. vinyl adhesive caulk 24. 180-grit sandpaper 25. Shims     THE BENCH The bench I chose was modeled after a picture I saw of a classic entry hall built-in I saw on the This old house blog. It had everything we wanted; a place to sit, a place to store stuff, a shelf and plenty of coat hook space. All of this combined into a really nicely appointed, decorative piece that looks nice fits the room. We made adjustment to the plans to fit our needs where necessary. The dimensions were altered because our particular space required the bench to fit in a corner. Likewise, I changed a few pieces of the trim work to suit our taste. The shopping list I’m going to provide you will cover the better part of your project for the size bench we used. If you decide you want to expand or alter to fit your room then you might need to modify your purchase list accordingly. Here’s the one I used to start.
  1. Build and trim out the bench seat:
  I found the best spot in my laundry room was in one of the corners. So the first thing I did was take up the baseboard around the entire room. Next I just built a simple plywood box that would become the bench. No need to put a bottom in it. The box dimensions for my particular spot turned out to be 451/2 inches wide by 18 1/4 inches deep by 16-3/4 inches tall. Build this box out of ¾ inch “good-one-side” plywood. Try to get the box to sit as level on the floor as possible and fasten through the back into the studs in the wall using 2.5 inch deck screws. Just a couple or three places will be plenty. The Top of the box (which will be the bench seat is going to be made from the same ¾ inch plywood. It will need to overhang the box by about ½ inch on the front and the sides. But it will not go all the way to the back. ( you will see why later) Also, if your situation is like mine, where the bench will butt up against a wall in the corner, the top wont overlap on that side. So the dimension of my Top piece was 46 ½ by 16 inches.  
  1. Install the hinge support
Using a miter-saw, cut a 2x4 to fit the inside of the box along the back wall. Cut a 3½-inch-wide strip of plywood to the same length. Screw the pieces together with 15/8-inch deck screws. Position the 2x4 assembly along the back of the box, 3/4 inch above the back edge. Screw it on, through the box and into the studs, using 3½-inch deck screws. This piece will later be hidden by a plywood strip and molding. This is why the top is not as deep as the whole box. This is where the hinges are going to fasten. Screw L-brackets inside the box and to the floor, three inside the front edge and two on each side, to hold the box in place.
  1. Attach the panel molding to the seat.Next, I trimmed out the front and the one visible side of my box with 1 x 4 boards. This gives the box a dimensional, shadow box appearance. Cut the 1 x 4 so that the long pieces fit inside the two shorter upright pieces. This way you don’t see a cut edge. To create a profile on the inner edge of the 1x4 framing, cut panel molding to fit inside the 1x4 rectangles. Miter the ends of the molding. Nail the molding to the box, tight against the 1x4s, with 2d nails.
 
  1. Cap and Trim the box
Cut a piece of 1x2 to the width of the box. Glue and nail it to the top edge of the box front with 3d finish nails. Cut two pieces the depth of the box and use them to cap the sides. The side caps should now sit flush with the 2x4 assembly secured to the wall. Trim the base of the box using quarter round molding mitered 45 degrees at the corner joints.
  1. Trim the seat lid
  Using a miter saw, cut strips of ½x7/8-inch decorative shoe molding to fit the front and side edges of the lid. Miter the ends at the corners, but leave the back edges square. Attach the molding to the lid edge with wood glue and 2d finish nails. TOH Tip: To avoid splitting narrow wood stock with finish nails, dull the points of the nails with the strike of a hammer before tapping them in.  
  1. Install the Lid
Rip a piece of plywood to 2¼ inches wide and the length of the box This 45/3/4 inches in my case. Nail it down at the back edge of the seat box to cap the 2x4 assembly. This is labeled as the “Hinge support” on the above photo. Attach the lid to the 2x4 assembly using three European cabinet hinges, installed according to the "full overlay" instructions. This type of hinge allows the lid to open completely over the 2x4 assembly but conceal that same assembly when it's closed. The lid should overhang the box by 1 inch on the sides and front. This sounds more complicated than it is…Since your top has been cut short of the box dimension by this amount, you will have this 2/1/4 inch strip across the back that does not open with the lid. (see pic). You have to have this to carry the hinges. Setting the hinges requires a little bit of patience. The proper distance will be determined after a couple of openings and closings. There has to be a slight space to allow the lid board to pivot by the stationary hinge mounting board.  
  1. Mount the bead-board back panel
I ran the beads on my piece vertically. Since my bench was less than 48 inches I could use just one 4x4 sheet and rip it to the right height. In my case I liked keeping the board 4 feet above top of the lid. So actually you could purchase just one 4x4 sheet already cut. Where the bead-board meets the top of the bench seat I put a 1x4 trim piece to finish out the back. As you will see later, when I finish placing the shelf facia board later, I will put a matching piece at this seam. I think it finishes the back board nicely.  
  1. Hide the Bead-board edges
  I chose to use a small cove molding to finish out the vertical edges of the bead board. As with all of the trim in this project, take a look at the variety of Trim pieces available and get ones that suit your taste. There are lots and lots of styles available. Some will obviously not work at all and others will be great. There is no hard and fast rule to my knowledge. We often just use what we have left over from other projects.  
  1. Finish the Trim
I chose to use lengths of quarter round trim along the bottom edge of the box where it meets the floor. I mitered the corner where it wraps to the side. Take a look at your finished box at this point and decide if there are any gaps or spots that you feel like you want to cover with trim work or if just caulking alone will fill.
  1. Install the Fascia for the shelf
  Use a piece of 1x12 shelving board cut to the length of the top of the beadboard panel. This board will be called the fascia board for the shelf and will be where the coat hangers will ultimately goMount it to the wall using 2-inch trim-head screws installed through the studs  
  1. Mount the Shelf Brackets
  Measure and mark the placement of two shelf brackets on the fascia board. Using the provided hardware, install the shelf brackets flush with the top edge of the fascia board and on center at your marks.    
  1. Secure the Shelf
  Cut a piece of stock 1x12 shelving board the width of the bead-board. Set the shelf on the brackets and tight against the wall. Secure it to the brackets with 2-inch trim-head screws. Cut a 1x4 trim board and attach it to the top of the bead-board to fascia board seam. Attach with 2d nails. Caulk seams. DIY mudroom bench plans  
  1. Paint the Bench
  Sand the entire bench with 180-grit sandpaper. Fill all the nail holes and gaps between moldings with caulk. Prime the bench, bead-board panel, shelf, and moldings, then paint them with two coats of semi-gloss latex. Mudroom bench woodworking plans
  1. Attach the hardware
  Screw coat hooks to the fascia board, spaced evenly between the brackets.   Here you can see the accent wall we painted with stripes. Click the image or text for the FREE Laundry Room Printables!   Three Free Laundry Room Printables @savedbyloves          

How Use Google Plus to Make Free International Calls

Make Free International Calls from Your Laptop using Google Plus @savedbylovesOur recent trip to Europe forced us to seek out the best options for keeping in touch with our loved ones back home. We added international to our cell phones, but that wasn't cheap, and wasn't unlimited, so it was time to get innovative. After all, I talk to my dear grandmother at least once a day. No way would either of us last 2 weeks without talking. Nor would my grandmother be figuring out Google Hangouts while I was away. I knew there had to be a way to make use of the hotel WiFi for calling cell phones and landlines from my laptop. I was correct... Google Plus is the way. Calling any phone number from your Google+ account is super easy, and at least from Paris and Germany to Indiana, it is free.

Here is how it is done:

How to Make International Calls For Free

Log into your Google+ account and go to "Home" in the left upper part of your screen. Scroll over it to bring up the pull down menu and go to "Hangouts" (see the big yellow arrow).

Make Free International Calls from Your Laptop

A new screen will appear, and near the top right, you will see the text bar with the phone icon. Click the phone icon and this will appear:

How to Make Free International Calls from Your Laptop

Enter the phone number (I dialed "1", then the area code and phone number, and it worked)

How to call long distance for free with laptop

You will see this screen and hear a ringtone while it is calling. When the other person answers, you will see this:

How to Call the US from Europe for FreeSo this is how we kept in touch while I was away. It was perfectly clear, with no delay! Since the hotel Wifi was included in our bill, we just used it to make free calls. The caller ID on the person's phone you are calling will show as "Unknown", so you may want to let them know that beforehand (if they are anything like me, they won't answer when they see that).

A couple of times I used my Google+ smartphone app to call from my iPhone over wifi too. Super easy!

Laduree Hot Chocolate Recipe Knock Off

Laduree Hot Chocolate Recipe Knock Off @savedbyloves

If you read anything about traveling to Paris, Ladurée hot chocolate and macarons are bound to be mentioned. We heard about the place first on Rick Steve's audio Paris app, in one of his many interviews with Parisians.  Then pretty much everyone we talked to about "must see places" in Paris recommended we go there for chocolat chaud (hot chocolate).

Laduree Paris

Well we went there, and I must say, the hot chocolate was smooth and divine.

chocolat chaud paris Recipe

I came home, and much like with the french onion soup recipe I shared yesterday, I had to try to recreate the experience here in Indiana! After some time with Google, I found this Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe. I followed it to the letter, using Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips from the local Wal Mart. To grind them, I used my blender on "grind". I also blended the mixture after adding the chocolate in the same blender on "Liquefy" for 1 minute.

Best Hot Chocolate Recipe

It was so much like the real thing! The next 10 minutes consisted of "mmmm...." and that's about it. I have made it twice more since then, and it is a huge hit in our house. I won't make hot chocolate any other way now.  If you can't make it to Laduree, this is the next best option! Enjoy.

Best French Onion Soup Recipe

Amazing, easy French Onion Soup Recipe @savedbyloves  

We had the awesome opportunity to travel to Paris, France over the holiday season. So. Freaking. Amazing. The history, the art, the architecture, the food, the food and the food awakened my senses like I could never have predicted! The first night in our hotel, we went for room service French onion soup, starting what became a daily must have. We ate it to warm us at the Christmas markets as we browsed the handmade soaps, colorful macaroons and stands filled with endless gifts, pastries and foods. By the time we landed back in Indiana, I already needed a fix. I asked Google how to make French Onion Soup just like they made it in France, and landed on a couple of recipes to give me a starting point, but then just made it my own. I tested out various combos until it tasted just like I remembered. Caramelizing the onions is key, and is about 30 minutes hands on, but then the crockpot takes over and you are free until serving time. Here is what I did!

INGREDIENTS

(Serves about 10-12 bowls, depending on size)

12 tablespoons butter 8 large yellow onions, sliced and separated into rings 2 tablespoon white sugar 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup cooking sherry 12 cups reduced-sodium beef broth sea salt to taste 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 2 bay leaves 8 slices of French bread 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese 2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese

French Onion Soup in the Crockpot @savedbyloves

 DIRECTIONS

Begin by caramelizing the onions

 Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat; cook and stir onions until they become translucent, about 10 minutes Sprinkle onions with sugar; reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly at least 30 minutes until onions are soft and brown.

Stir in garlic and cook about 1 minute.

Stir sherry into the  onion mixture and scrape bottom of pot to dissolve any browned food.

Transfer to Crockpot

Transfer onions into a slow cooker and pour in beef broth.

Season to taste with sea salt; stir in thyme and bay leaf.

Cook on high in crockpot 4-6 hours or low 8-10 hours.

10 minutes before serving Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. Broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Combine Gruyere, Swiss, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses in a bowl. Fill soup crocks 1.5 inches from the top with soup and place bread slice on top of liquid. Top with about 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture per bowl. Place bowls onto a baking sheet, broiling until cheese topping is browned and bubbling, roughly 1.5 minutes.

60 Plus Christmas Cookie Recipes to Make

60-Plus-Easy-Christmas-Cookie-Recipes from @savedbyloves

We have moved things around a bit, and are now sharing with you our 60+ Christmas Cookies to Make from Taste Every Season. These will be great neighbor gifts and party treats this holiday season! Enjoy.