How to open a ball chain clasp (connector)

This is something I take for granted – I use (and wear) a lot of ball chains, the simple chains that are used in the military to hold dog tags – and out in the jewelry world, to also hold dog tag pendants. Plus a lot of other necklaces and pendants.

It’s like a lot of things – it’s not hard to do – once you know how. But if you aren’t used to them, they’re probably maddening! They don’t have a typical clasp. Instead, they have a connector as shown in the sketch below.

how to open the connector on a blall chain necklace

Each end of the ball chain has a simple “ball”. That ball slips into the opening on the connector and presto, your chain is closed! To open the chain, simply snap the ball out of either side of the connector. It sounds complicated – it’s not, really. Take hold of any ball chain and play with it. Twist the ball out of the opening, or snap it, or coax it any way you like. Once you try it, you’ll see what I mean. Sometimes they’re a little snug, and harder to open – but it’ll work. Really.

And you’ll always be able to open a ball chain from then on. Once you know how, you really know 🙂

And if you do need help, drop me a note – we’ll figure it out!

DIY bracelet storage

I found this wonderful idea at Real Simple – and it really is. As soon as you see it, you’ll go Yes, and Why didn’t I think of that?

DIY bracelet storage

Find a sturdy, non-tippy candlestick. I’d probably paint it to match my bedroom decor. Slip your bracelets on. Easy peasy – they’re findable, they’re easy to get at, and you can enjoy seeing them even if you’re not wearing them.

Go to the thrift store for the candlesticks, of course. Take this simple, useful idea and make it terrific – rethink and reuse. Double win!

Do it yourself paper flowers

Paper flowers are just a beautiful – and inexpensive – fun decoration for your house. Aren’t these gorgeous?

Paper Dahlias - do it yourself paper craft

If you love dahlias you’ll have fun with this tutorial! I found the pic over on Pinterest and followed it to – it’s a video tutorial and I think you’ll find her directions easy and fun.

Think about it. Easy to do – inexpensive – and of course you can choose your colors, and patterns, and how big or small. This is what DIY is all about – to make it just the way you like it!

PS And hey, if you’re picking your paper anyway – why not grab a stack of old magazines? Great color and you can recycle *and* create great flowers. Just sayin!

DIY Craft Storage – yes please, recycled and reused!

My favorite kind of idea – do it yourself storage, and organization, and it’s a great example of “recycle and reuse”. Also practically free!

DIY recycled ribbon storage

What I specially love about this is not only that it’s made from recycled materials (an oatmeal container in this case) but that it’s so useful! You could use it as shown, on its side and resting on an old shoebox lid, easy peasy. Or you could stand it up to take up less space on your shelf. Yes, the ribbons would trail down, but with the shape and size of this container, they’d stay organized and accessible. Win!

Plus when you cover it with your own (recycled) paper, it’s going to fit into your decor perfectly 🙂

I found this adorable idea over at Scrapbooks Etc. – which is part of the Better Homes and Gardens network. Of course there are LOTS of super ideas over there, go peek!

DIY Paper Flowers – easy, pretty, and recycled!

Recycle – reuse – rethink. That’s what we want to remember. And when I saw these adorable paper flowers, that combined all those ideas – and they’re easy, and fun, and cute? I figure this is an Academy Award worthy great idea!

recycled paper flowers DIY how to from Billie Monster blog

I found these wonderfulicious flowers on the Billie Monster blog which is full of wonderful how-to ideas (including jewelry, you’ll love it!) For the flowers, Billie even included a template and how-to instructions – though I have to say, with her wonderful pics you really don’t need the instructions – you can adapt the idea to any recycled paper.

These flowers? Just think how you could customize these for your house. Make a bouquet scattered on the focal wall above your couch, or in a nook above the baby’s crib. Or, well, anywhere you want a pretty accent that can be in exactly the colors and dimension you want.

And: if you’re having a DIY wedding (and yay for you!) – a wall or nook of these flowers, all in whites or your wedding colors, would be lovely. Maybe each of your guests could sign one! Then save them, pressed in a memory book.

This is the best of DIY, and pretty cool recycling too. Think about it: Recycle the paper. Reuse the pages. Rethink how they’re used. And create a really cool decoration for your house – or your wedding – at the same time.


DIY Gift Tags with Paint Chip Samples

Now this is brilliant! This is one of those ideas that as soon as you see it, you go, “Yes!” and also, “Well I can do that”.

do it yourself gift tags with paint chip samples

Yes, you absolutely can do it yourself. I found the idea at Terra Savvy blog and the designer, Jill, offers tips, tutorials, and lots of ideas for some adorable gift tags. You can personalize them as much as you like – run with the idea!

I know, this is one more last-minute-Christmas-wrap idea. But you could also use it for Valentine’s Day (red paint cards), anniversary gifts (use their colors), Halloween gifts – well, maybe not. But I’m sure you get the idea 🙂

Besides, her blog is full of cool stuff – you’ll have fun reading and peeking. And she has a rabbit named Hemingway – I mean, love!

DIY Paper Snowflakes, Part Two

I found this pic I’d saved earlier – I think it’s a perfect example of a paper snowflake as ornament or decoration:

red paper snowflake - do it yourself Christmas packagedecoration or ornament

See how it makes a Christmas package special? You could use any paper really. Brown kraft paper as shown, or black and white newsprint, or old magazine pages, or recycled Christmas wrapping paper from last year!

If you don’t need it for a package decoration, make a big one and put it on the wall as a Christmas decoration. Don’t have money for a lot of expensive Christmas tree ornaments? Tie a string on twenty of these and presto, your tree has pretty ornaments! Make them with your kids, or with friends – play some Christmas music, make some instant cocoa, and have a craft night.

No you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your package special. Or your holiday decorating 🙂

P.S. I didn’t save the link, when I found that helpful picture above – if anybody knows where it’s from, would you let me know? I’d like to give proper credit where it’s due!

P.P.S. Happy Christmas!

DIY Christmas Decorations – Snowflakes!

I know, these really are classics, and most of us made them as kids. I just thought, as a last minute Christmas decoration – and one that costs next to nothing – snowflakes are such a wonderful idea. And then I found a page that actually explained how to turn snowflakes into ornaments or decorations for Christmas. So just in case you need a little nudge? Here you go 🙂

DIY How to make paper snowflake christmas decorations

Think about it – you’re broke, you need a few more decorations. You could use colored paper and use them for ornaments on your tree. You could stick them on your window for “winter” decorations even if you’re in Miami. You could use them as the “bow” when you’re wrapping your packages.

Paper. Christmas decorations. Do it yourself. Pretty. (And almost free). Win-win!

Inspiration Pic – Decorating with White and Color

Truly this is just an inspiration picture – found at the wonderful Design Sponge. There are a boatload of wonderful projects over there – and lots of inspiration too.

Like the one that inspired this post:

inspiration pic - decorating with white and color too

You see what I mean about “inspiration pic”. It’s not that any one single element of this design is irreplaceable – it’s the lighthearted (and light filled) room that they’ve created. It might have been expensive but it certainly doesn’t need to be. Lots of white – white sheers on the (admittedly lovely) windows, plain floors, a lampshade that doesn’t match the lamp – a wooden table with a checkered tablecloth. Old (recycled I hope!) chairs that don’t match either – all in cheery bright colors.

You could adapt any of those ideas to make your own home more fun – I’m going to scour Craigslist right away for some old chairs nobody wants – because I certainly do 🙂

Go over to Design Sponge – and get inspired!

DIY Wall Art: Easy, Recycled, Fabulous

This DIY wall art project meets all those criteria. Also customizable, requires NO talent, adjustable in size – probably free – I mean, this is a total win-win.

Okay, not entirely free. You’ll need a backing / canvas – whether it’s cardboard, posterboard, foam core, or even a real stretched canvas. A cabinet door. Whatever you’re using to as a base for your artwork. And then, some tape. And paper. Leftover paint.

And you come up with your own version of this!

Tape and Color Wall Art

You see what I mean? The link takes you to Pinterest, which takes you to the original source. But honestly, for technique anyway, you’re looking at it. Play with tape and geometric shapes, then fill in the spaces with color – whether it’s recycled magazine pages, or bits of leftover paint, or fabric, or, well, whatever you come up with.

Or start with a collage of color – magazine pages, old telephone book pages, you name it – then tape over it and create your “painting” that way.

You choose the colors, the theme if you want – the style – the whole thing. It’s entirely original – and you don’t have to be able to draw a straight line.

This is a great idea!