Oct 12, 2014

Galaxies Necklaces

My Galaxies Necklace collection is finally here!

 I will be uploading more of them soon. This one I named Cygnus (the swan constellation) because the soft blues and coppers reminded me of the elegance of a swan. Pendant made from 100% recycled plastic; I melted down sheets of colored plastic I found at a yard sale. Layering these shards of plastic on top of each other created a mosaic pattern that was permanent after the melted plastic fused together.

 I then cut out pendants from the parts of the plastic that were most interesting. On sterling silver chain from Cousin Corporation of America.
These pendants are lightweight yet full of high-shine color!

This one I named Andromeda, after the constellation. The pinks and bright colors reminded me of the figure within Greek legend!

Check back for the photos of the others! Message me if you'd like a custom order!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling.

Oct 9, 2014

Cheyenne Feather Necklaces

I'm lovin' the mix of bohemian and glamour that these necklaces bring!

This is a simple tutorial which allows for a lot of customization. I also will show you a quick way to "dust" these feathers with a bit of metallic nail polish for a subtle shimmer. What's great about these is that they can be as simple or as complicated as you'd like. I'll teach you how to chain-wrap those gemstones, but if you're a beginner, you could create a simple drop at top and these necklaces would still look chic! 

These look awesome with a flowy top, skinny denim, some cowboy boots and of COURSE a cool hat. 

I've got two versions here, both with a distinct style. My turquoise one has a more Southwestern vibe, while the peacock feather one has a chic look. All the beads I've used are from Cousin Corporation, which you can buy at any craft store: Michaels, JoAnn, Meijer, Walmart and AC Moore. Follow Cousin on Facebook for giveaways and more!

Ready to learn? Let's go.

Step 1: Paint your feathers. I have an assortment of cruelty-free feathers I got from a no-kill farm in Iowa run by a Rabbi (who knew?!). I took metallic nail polish and used a nail sponge to dab a light dusting of the metallic paint at the bottom of the feathers. I left the peacock feathers I had plain because they already had a beautiful sheen (and I used these for the crystal necklace). I used a mix of plain and metallic-dipped feathers for the turquoise necklace. Pair your feathers up by crimping at the top with a ribbon end. There are no right or wrong ways; play with your beads and types of feathers to create a cool combination!

I took a Cousin Coropration large gemstone pendant (you can find similar ones here) and thread an eye pin through, looping the other end to create a link. I took a Cousin large crystal (or you could layer with another gemstone, like my turquoise necklace), inserted a 5" piece of 26 gauge gold wire (match all your metals here for a clean look) and threaded back through the larger gemstone's hole, then wrapped around the top and bottom link to hold. Wrap tight and it will stay put. Now, take a long length of chain and open the last link. Close it after hooking through the gold wire (that's threaded through the crystal), either at the top or bottom of your pendant. Start wrapping around the crystal, making sure to open and close the links around the gold wire (at top and bottom) to make sure it won't unravel. I tried to just wrap but it DID unravel. Wrap as many times as you want, then clip off the excess. Wrap tight.

With a long piece of nylon cord or faux leather, take a headpin and wrap a couple times around the center of the length, creating a little loop where you should attach the pendant with a jumpring. I just knotted the top of the leather to create the necklace; if it's long enough, you can just pull on over your head. No fuss! 

These are great layering necklaces, which just will add to that total boho look. I like to mix different lengths of necklaces together and different materials- find combinations that work for you!

I could also see this technique, on a smaller scale, working for pretty earrings. Use one metallic-dipped feather earring and pair with a simple crystal at top. Cool, right?

I'd really love to do a black version with black cord, gold-dipped feathers and a black crystal. Just my style!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post/use images without linking to me!

Oct 5, 2014

A Day at the Flea Market

Fall is upon us--that means the perfect time to visit the Flea. 

I've got a small compilation of some photos I took whilst shopping at the Kane County Flea market near Chicago. Use the photos as inspiration, and be sure to read this in your head with a slight southern accent. Why, you ask? Because I think it sounds more fun that way. Don't question me-- be like Nike, Just Do It. 

Today's Flea was place of antiques, knick knacks, sparklies, hoojibobs, whatchamacallits, handmades and overall oddities. The air was crisp and calm with a slight smell of kettle corn. 

I scrounged tent after tent, barn after barn, table after table, to find unique items for my DIYs and craft callings. Above, an array of mummified insects on display. I wanted to take a casketed cave spider home, but decided against it on the basis of sheer creepiness. I thought it might take life at night and chomp my limbs. Seriously, Google that thang. 

There were birdhouses, branches and yard wares, and enough rusty metal to choke a horse. I wasn't here for the already-upcycled items, but rather looking for that diamond in the rough-something in need of new beginnings-that could only be found after digging through boxes, trays, bins and bags.

But of course, rhinestones and rather royal-looking trinkets caught my eye. Very Marie Antionette. ( I wish I could remember the vendor or artist-if it's you, email me and I'll link to your site ). Digging it.

If you're a beer or liquor enthusiast, bottles galore brimmed the shelves of most vendors, ranging from contemporary to very vintage labels. Here, whiskey you see.

And these made me dance a do-se-do in my boots (combat ones with spikes by the way). As a graphic designer and artist, it shames me to say I have never actually seen these type wood blocks before. Lovin' the artsy vibe here. Trays filled to the nines.

Yep, back to my sparklies. 

Stained glass diffused afternoon light into soft color puddles on the sandy floor. Charming, but again, not necessarily what I needed for my project. 

And fall wouldn't be fall without the bright crimson-orange and contrasting olive of dried bittersweet branches. The color palette here is inspiring enough. 

I was always drawn back to the blocks. Blame it on my background. So many choices…I'm like "Buyin' the whole alphabet!" Then, finding out they were all $4 each I'm like…"Houston, we've got a problem". And because of my indecisiveness, couldn't figure out which individual letters I wanted instead. Maybe next time.

Lines of license plates from all states stacked the shelves of one vendor. Made for a multicolored array of metal mementos.

Truckloads of pumpkins and gourds were a season staple. Ignore Da Bears in the background, they ain't 'going anywhere.

Yes, these are cute, but unappreciated by vegans like me. Can we have flags flying fresh veggie images? Please for once?

And I discovered where the sweet smell was coming from (not the cheese)...

More mason and milk jars than your heart could ever desire.

YASSSSSS….my love. Chandeliers clad with gems and glass drops. I'll take all five, please??? At a couple hundred a piece, in my dreams.

Flea meets farmers market with the amount of flowers and foliage available. These ferns reminded me of witches' brooms. And, there's that bright, feisty orange color again. Fantastic!

Back to the bugs. Something creepily enchanting about them. Most readers will think I'm cray, but I like these little scientific specimens. 

And lastly, I probably should have left this photo out because of the not-so-interesting composition, but anything with cats has to be included. Do you all know my obsession with cats? Oh, you soon will. I saw this stand on my way out. 
I know I have never specifically said what special items I bought at the Flea….it's to keep you in suspense. Stay tuned for some sweet DIY projects and special creations. You won't know what's coming until it's here!
'Till next time!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not use/post without crediting and linking to me!

Sep 29, 2014

Supernova Necklace

A prismatic array of full-specturm color.

I found this amazing Aurora Borealis Quartz Crystal at the Lizzadro Lapidary Museum and had to have it. The multicolored coating (read more below) is a statement on its own. 

I didn't know at first what I wanted to make out of it. I had some ideas but ultimately decided to go a simple route.

I wrapped in gold wire and attached to a 14K gold chain, finishing with 14K gold clasps and jump rings for a high-quality piece. The 14K findings were all part of Cousin's Elegance Metals line, which features affordable 14K gold, sterling silver, platinum and more supplies that add a total luxe touch to your jewelry. The dainty cable chain was perfect and held up to the high quality of the stone.

The tutorial below exhibits the steps I followed. If you have a quartz-type stone you could always do something similar!

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are round nose pliers and wire cutters, E6000 glue, Cousin Elegance Metals 14K gold cable chain, Cousin Elegance Metals 14K gold jump rings and clasps, and Cousin 26 gauge gold wire.

Step 2: Decide at what two points you want to wire-wrap your stone. My stone had two clear high points on either side, which made it easy. If you are buying a stone, make sure it's not too heavy and has good quartz "spears" to wrap with. I created a loop on a 5" piece of wire with my pliers, then started wrapping around the spear. Wrap VERY TIGHTLY. Wrap both around the spear then back up by that first loop you made, and wrap below it to finish. Cut flush.

--Some info on the stone--

Once you've wrapped both sides, use the 14K gold wire and attach to the loops on each side. You can use a small dot of E6000 glue on the back of the stone to hold the wire.

I finished the ends by attaching jump rings and a clasp.

I don't usually like to wire wrap like this, but because of the lightweight stone and easy wrapping points  it was better than gluing on a bail!

And those who don't know what "lapidary" means-- a quote from Wikipedia:

"A lapidary (lapidaristLatinlapidarius) is an artist or artisan who forms stoneminerals, or gemstones into decorative items such ascabochonsengraved gems, including cameos, and faceted designs.[1][2] The primary techniques employed are cutting, grinding, and polishing.[2][3] Carving is an important, but specialised technique.[3]"

The Lizzadro Museum in Elhmurst, Illinois is super-cool, and anyone in the area should go. Carved jade, cameos, stones and other amazing sculptures, statues and jewelry pieces are on display. The shop at the bottom also houses stones/gems galore and they are so affordable. I would recommend it to anyone!

Delicate yet full of interesting texture and major color! I have a couple more stones I picked up the museum, so stay tuned for more pieces!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post or use without crediting and linking to me.