The Christmas Challenge part n°2: handmade jewelry

I love jewelry. I have alway loved jewelry. I can remember running around when I was a little girl, covered in sparkles and long pearl necklaces “borrowed” (ahem) from my female family members and feeling great about myself. So it’s no surprise, that twenty years on, making jewelry still keeps me busy.

Since there is a Christmas Challenge going on Happy DIY encouraging you to make many things (if not everything!) yourself for the upcoming Christmas season, it seemed appropriate to write a post about handmade jewelry. Making Christmas stuff in advance, like gifts, ornaments, candles and candy, is like 50% of the Christmas fun anyways! If you’ve missed the blog post about the Christmas Challenge, you can read it here; and The Christmas Challenge part n°1 can be found through this link.

So, for the challenge part n°2, I’d like to focus on handmade gifts. Handmade gifts are the best. Pinterest is full of gorgeous DIY gift ideas, but making jewelry is one of my specialties, so I’m dedicating this blog post to handmade jewelry that you could gift for Christmas.

  1. Classy and luxurious earrings

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I’m quite proud of these cuties that I’ve designed and made myself. As you can see, the earrings are built up by three different elements: first, two semi-precious, ruby coloured gemstones were mounted on a metal pin. Next, a rosé-coloured and geometric center piece was added. And finally, pieces of gold-coloured chain were attached to the center.

Because of the gold and rosé colours, these earrings are very festive and sparkle in candlelight. It is a great gift for a classy lady you might know. I was so fond of them I actually put them on my Etsy Page.

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2. Playful necklace

This necklace was created during a jewelry workshop I took with one of my friends, who makes jewelry herself. I wasn’t going to put it on the blog, but I’m really quite proud of this one too, and so I’ve worn it many times already. This necklace is a great tool for giving that extra pop of colour to any outfit that might be too boring.

The use of semi-precious stones, and the beads in gold, blue and pink make it a very feminine piece. If you would like to create something similar, I’d recommend you pay attention to the symmetry of your piece. My necklace isn’t symmetrical, but I’ve made a conscious effort of spacing out the gold beads, the blue beads and the pink beads to make a nice balance of colours.

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3. Turquoise and sparkle

This necklace is a little bit more mature in design, and is made with turquoise stones, blue beads and crystal beads. This necklace was designed using two different techniques: one was colour blocking, the other was the off-center method. Basically, there are two major color blocks on this necklace. The bottom is turquoise, with different kinds of beads, and the top is made with crystal beads with the effect of a nice sparkle. It makes the necklace more interesting and alive when you are wearing it. The other technique, off-center, means that the beads aren’t completely symmetrical. On the right hand side, the blue beads go up higher than on the left hand side. Because of this, the necklace isn’t just a row of beads; it comes alive when someone is wearing it, and the crystals sparkle as the person moves.

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4. Baby doll necklace

This is a necklace I’ve made last summer. The beads are made completely out of polymer clay, therefore this is an easy and affordable piece of jewelry to make. Because of the sparkle and the soft colours, it is a very feminine piece. You can find the full tutorial by clicking on this link.

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5. Rosebud earrings

These earrings are also very cute as a present! They are also made out of polymer clay and are thus affordable to make, because one package of polymer clay comes around at about 2€. You could make a whole bunch of earrings in one sitting, easiest Christmas present ever! The full tutorial can be found through this link.

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I hope you will get inspired to make some beautiful gifts yourself. Challenge yourself to be creative, I know you can do it! Your family and friends are going to be very lucky to receive such beautiful pressies!

Happiness: Do It Yourself!

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The beauty of trying again, and again and again and again.

So today, I had kind of a crappy day.

I didn’t sleep very well last night and I was stressed out at work, because there is more work coming in than we’re able to handle right now. I was supposed to go to my evening class of goldsmithing, but I couldn’t muster the courage to do so after an eight-hour work day. That makes me feel stressed out too.

I get easily stressed. It’s one of my lesser qualities and I’ve been fighting this flaw my entire life. As I get (sort of) older, I can see that it gets easier for me to just say ‘F*** it’ and to let go. But I’m not gonna lie, even if I let go a little bit and give myself the opportunity to not go to the evening class, to not post the article I was supposed to post weeks ago already, to not give in and not stay at work until 8 ‘o clock at night, there is still this annoying gut feeling telling me I’m not doing enough.

I’ve had it with the stressed feelings and the stomach aches and the sleepless nights and what’s more. It’s ridiculous, right? I’m 26 years old, should I still be in this phase of stressing out over everything?

So I decided to stay home tonight. And I decided to make those bath bombs I’ve been planning on making for a while now. I took all the time I needed, it was great to use my hands on the soft material.

It chilled me down.

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And while I was making my bath bombs, I was thinking: “Wow, I really never give up”. I just keep going. I’ve encountered many set backs in life, but I just keep on trying until everything feels right.

4th job since I’ve graduated university less than three years ago? No problem, finally found the right job. My current stress is just temporary, because I’m new and I don’t have a handle on things yet at my new workplace.

Fifth time making bath bombs? No problem, finally looks like they’ll keep it together and make my bath delicious.

Hundreds of arguments and fights with boyfriend ? No problem, no relationship is perfect, but we make each other happy and we understand each other.

Fifth attempt at making candles for the Christmas Challenge on the blog? Pffft. But I keep going, I’ll keep trying.

I’ve been so stressed out and insecure about myself in the past year, that it goes to my own detriment. But at the same time, I realise setbacks make me stronger, they teach me to keep going, that life is not easy, but when the beautiful and happy moments come around, they truly feel wonderful. I will never be able to shoot for the stars and make it on my first attempt. Life is like making crepes: the first two or three crepes always fail. But only after failing your first crepes, will you be able to make some great ones.

And this is the extent of my fabulous and deep crepe-and-bathbomb philosophy night.

Please, to all my dear readers, let’s fail together, because it’s the only way to succeed. No one and nothing will ever be perfect, and that’s okay!

These pictures are crappy and I don’t care! It’s how I feel anyway 🙂

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The Christmas Challenge Part 1: handmade cards

The Christmas Challenge part n°1: handmade Christmas Cards! 

Unless you’ve missed my blog post about the Christmas Challenge, you already know that Happy DIY is challenging you to make as much as you possibly can yourself for this Christmas season!! Meaning: handmade presents and cards, party decoration, homemade meals and lots more!

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Making my own Christmas cards was a really fun DIY project and I had a blast! There was a lot of stuff lying around the house anyway, the only things I purchased for this project was a golden pen and the gold confetti.

Now, before you get started, here are a few tips:

  • Watch some youtube tutorials on card making. The internet is full of beautiful Christmas card ideas that are easy to execute. I found my favorite videos on the youtube channel Maymay Made it. Not only does she have some fabulous card making ideas; her southern accent and warm voice just makes you feel at home. Lots of fun!
  • Do a Pinterest search on ‘Free Printable Christmas Tags’. Wow! Pinterest is full of fine printables made by the best designers and they are completely FREE!  Here are the ones I used for my cards:

Watercolour Gift Tags from www.mstetson.com

Holiday Labels from http://blog.worldlabel.com/

Printable Gift Tags from  www.tablerpartyoftwo.com

These magnificent things: I didn’t actually use them but that are sooo pretty!

What you will need to complete this project:

  • White card bases (I purchases mine a long time ago in Hema and I believe they cost around 3€ for 100 cards but I’m not sure)
  • Some cute coloured paper with Christmas-sy patterns
  • Decoration: gold pens, glitter, stickers, confetti… everything goes!
  • Free printable tags
  • Most of the paper you’ll see on my cards, comes from the beautiful, beautiful paper pad by Rico Designs, called “Tropical Spring”.
  • The paper with feathers comes from the Messy Box you can order at A Beautiful Mess.

Step 1: Measure your white card base and cut rectangles of coloured paper that are a bit smaller than your card base. My rectangles are exactly 0.5 cm smaller on each side. This way, you’ll have a white trim around the coloured paper. Next, glue the coloured paper to your card base until you have lots of cards you can start working with.

Step 2: start decorating! If you need some tips on how to balance out the decoration of your card, check out Maymay Made it on youtube. I found her tutorials really helpful!

Card n°1: white card base, white paper with gold triangles, free printable gift tag attached with a ribbon, trim around the card with my gold pen, gold confetti

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Card n°2 : white card base, coloured paper, free printable gift tag that says “Happy Holidays”, one gold star.

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Card n°3: White card base, beautiful paper with feather print, some gold paint I applied on the pattern.

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Card n°4: white card base, strips of different sorts of paper, free printable gift tag, trim around the card with my gold pen, golden confetti.

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Card n°5: white card base, coloured paper, free printable gift tag, trim around the card with my gold pen.

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Card n° 6: white card base, white paper with golden triangles, free printable gift tag attached with a ribbon, golden confetti, trim around the card with my gold pen.

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Card n° 7: blue paper as a base, strips of coloured paper, free printable gift tag.

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I’ve found that it often isn’t enough to just glue a coloured paper to your card base and be done with it. If you decorate your card a little bit more, you could use a nice Christmas saying, and that is where the beautiful free gift tags come in. I tried to tie the gold theme in all of my cards, to balance everything out.

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Now, as you can see, the cards aren’t perfect, but I still enjoyed myself enormously. My next step will be to put all of the cards under some heavy books so they can flatten out. But I feel rewarded, because I had lots of beautiful paper lying around anyway, and this is a perfect way to reuse them.

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Happy DIY is challenging you to use your creativity and to make your own Christmas cards. In my opinion, a personal touch is always better than the store-bought cards. Let the creativity flow from your fingers and get inspired by Pinterest and Youtube because it is just wonderful to see how many creative people there are on this earth 🙂

Happiness: do it yourself!

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