Disco bead necklace tutorial.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I've been wanting to make myself some simple beaded necklaces for a while, so when I spotted these sparkly glass beads in the craft store I knew I had to make something with them. They're like tiny disco balls! I whipped up this simple, knotted bead necklace with sliding barrel knots in something like 15 minutes. It was so easy to make I almost feel silly writing a tutorial for it, but I hope my instructions inspire you to make one (or 3) for yourself. Even better, this necklace cost less than $8 to make and I have a bunch of beads leftover for another project.

necklace_4 necklace_5

What you'll need:
Beads - A string of 17 beads were something like $4.50 at Michael's.
Cord - I used 1 mm black leather cord, also from Michael's. 3 yards were about $3.25

First, decide how long you want your necklace to be. I was looking for a long-ish necklace, so I started with 40 inches of cord. You will be adding multiple knots to the cord, so it's better to add a few extra inches just in case. (Confession: the first time I tried making this necklace I started with 30" of cord and couldn't fit it over my melon head after it was done. I tried it again with 40" and it's just right!) I decided to use 9 beads, so one bead would end up in the very center of the cord. Find the center and string on a bead. Holding it in place, carefully place a knot on each side, getting it as close as possible to the bead. If the bead doesn't end up exactly in the middle, you can trim a little bit of the ends of the cord to even it up.


Continue adding beads to each side, tying a knot after each. I liked the look of 9, but use how ever many feel right for you. Now for the sliding barrel knot. These knots are great because they allow you to adjust the length of the necklace without requiring any additional materials. I also like how the knots add a casual quality to the super-sparkly beads.


To do this, make an X with the two cord ends. Hold the X against your index finger with your thumb, and using your right hand, wrap the open end that's going to your right around your index finger (and the other side of the cord) three times. Then bring the end over the three wraps and back through the center of the "barrel."


Carefully pull it tight. (There are lots of short youtube videos on this type of knot. I found this one to be simple and straight-forward.)


Repeat with the other side of the cord. Carefully trim the ends and you're done!


Isn't it pretty? It was so easy to make and only cost a few dollars. I think I'll be making more of these. Let me know in the comments if you decide to make one for yourself!


Missing Mad Men.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Since season 5 ended, I've found myself feeling aimless. I can't help imagining sleek 60's interiors, reliving Don and Megan's arguments, and reminiscing about that time when Lane gave Pete a knuckle sandwich. Ok, so it's not that bad, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I can't wait for the next season!

I was delighted when I saw these "behind the scenes" photos shared on Whorange this morning.

I love orange sherbet too, Don. Call me. ♡

Photos by James Minchin III. See more here.


My favorite design tools.

I'd like to share some of my design methods with you and list a few of my favorite tools that I use when I'm creating designs for screen printing (from low-tech to high-tech)

1. Moleskine Sketchbook. This sketchbook is small and portable so it's easy to take everywhere. I carry one of these in my purse so I can jot down ideas and make little sketches whenever inspiration hits. I also keep various other sketchbooks around the house for sketching while I'm watching tv or just relaxing.
2. Tracing paper. When I'm refining a design from my sketchbook, I use lot's of different layers of trace to experiment with different outline and fill options. Also, since my designs will eventually be transferred to a screen for printing, I use the trace layers to decide where each different color will go on the design. 
3. Micron Pens. Maybe it's because my experience with drawing and sketching started in drafting class, but I love sketching and drawing with (somewhat) technical pens like Microns. Some of my other favorites are Staetdler, Sign Pens, and Faber-Castel Pitt Artist pens in Sepia. I almost never sketch with pencil. 
4. Adobe Creative Suite Programs. I use Illustrator when I'm creating designs directly into the computer and also for design layouts and fabric repeats. I scan my hardline sketches into Photoshop and clean them up there (deleting stray lines, increasing contrast, filling areas) before I move them to Illustrator.
5. Wacom Bamboo tablet. When I'm drawing straight into the computer, I use this Bamboo tablet and the pressure-sensitive pen. It's not exactly like drawing on paper, but it's pretty close! I also use the tablet when I'm image editing in Photoshop. It's much easier to navigate tools and erase with the Bamboo pen tool than my MacBook Pro's trackpad. There are lots of different tablet models out there at many different price points.

Those are the tools I use the most when I'm designing. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my process. What are your favorites? Do you keep a sketchbook?


Blog feature: All Things Paper

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today I'd like to feature the blog of one of my web buddies: Ann Martin from All Things Paper.

All Things Paper is aptly named since it's a blog dedicated to paper arts of all kinds: origami, papercutting, paper jewelry, quilling, you name it! Ann features artists from all over the world who do wonderfully interesting things with this media.

Quilled works from Yulia Brodskaya
Paper butterflies in an Anthropologie window
Papercut thumb print art
Fluffy bird and paper caterpillar from Diana Beltran Herrera
Paper lighting from Paula Arntzen

With stunning images like these, I look forward to seeing a new post from Ann pop up in my reader! She was kind enough to feature me a few months back and wrote the nicest post (see it here). Ann is actually a paper artist herself, creating highly detailed quilled wedding certificates and cards. She offers many informative tutorials (some in video form) on her blog if you're interesting in trying your hand at quilling yourself!

A quilled marriage certificate
Woodland themed marriage certificate
Lovely lavender blossoms

And there's exciting news on the All Things Paper front: there's a book in the works! Set to release in 2013, it will be a project book full of fun, modern, and useful paper crafts with step-by-step tutorials. It's exciting news for me as well since I am a contributor! That's right, one of my projects will be included. Needless to say, I'm excited for it's release and looking forward to trying out lot's of new paper crafts.

*all images via All Things Paper


Around the garden.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I had a nice sunny weekend at my parent's house celebrating Father's Day! My mom has a big garden and I took a stroll with my camera to take some photos. Here are some of my favorites.


Deep purple buddleia flowers. See the bee?

Fuzzy borage.
Deep red abutilon. Hummingbirds love these.

Another buddleia.

A holiday at my parent's house wouldn't be complete without a photo of the resident Siamese stud, Spinxey.

I bore him.


Friday finds. 6.15

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lately I feel like the days have been getting away from me; it's already mid-June and Father's day is this weekend! Here are a few of my favorites from around the web this week.

1. These Celadon sheets from Serena and Lily are so pretty. I love the painterly pattern.
2. I need to make these half-way to heaven peanut butter cookies! They look so delicious.
3. Heath Ceramics just released their tile house numbers in Neutra fonts. They would be perfect for the mid-century ranch that my dreams are made of. Take a look at the Heath website - they have these in an Eames font, too.
4. Check out Vitra house, via SFgirlbybay. Its a showcase home filled with unique furnishings in every room, each on a different theme. Check out the rest of the "rooms" on the Vitra page. It was hard to choose this one as my favorite!
5. Beautiful illustrations Julianna Brion via Grain Edit. James and the Giant Peach was one of my favorite books as a kid and this cover looks so fitting for the story.

That's all I've got for this week! I hope your weekend is great and don't forget to let your Dad know that he is loved. I found this hilarious mug at the thrift store and plan on giving it to my dad for Father's Day:

You'll never guess what his name is.


A little thrill.

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's probably a no-brainer, but I'm a huge fan of the Retro Renovation blog. Do you follow it? It's all about retro homes, their unique features, and preservation and re-creation of the style (from 50's mid-century modest to funky 70's) I'm not a homeowner yet, but someday I dream of a ranch of my own with lots of glass, a courtyard, some built-in planters, and a pink bathroom. Maybe if I put it out there in the universe it'll come true...

Image from Plan59

Over the weekend, Pam at RR opened up her site for readers to upload photos of their favorite thrifty finds. I joined in on the fun and added a few of my own. I was so excited to see that Pam had featured my photo of the Aztec fireplace in my (previous) backyard on the Retro Renovation facebook page! With close to 20 K followers on FB, I felt like it was a brush with celebrity!

I realized that I never shared that on my own blog, shame on me! I also shared some photos of my other finds: some glass ware, lamps, my coffee table, and my ceramic plate collection (that I have shared here on the blog, if that's redeeming in any way). The fireplace and my plate collection pics were added into Pam's next post called "What to collect" all about thrifting ideas. So cool!

(Top two photos via Retro Renovation. Last photo by me, Casey)

I LOVE the blue and green rug in the top pic, and that Broyhill bedroom set? So nice. And there are my plates. Love them! I found a bunch more great ones at Goodwill this weekend.

If you haven't perused the site and have a few hours to kill, head on over. You won't regret it and you'll be in the company of lots of other retro enthusiasts who will share your excitement over starburst cabinet hardware and other cool home details and products.


Blogging Your Way 2.0 e-course!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm so excited to be part of Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way 2.0 course! It just started last friday and will run for a whole month. When the online "class" started last week, I realized that I hadn't taken a class since college (8 years ago, now. Eeep!). I've always loved school and learning, so I'm excited to jump right in and get to work!

I've been posting on this blog for just about 2 years and I really loving it! I started the blog as a way to share some of my creative processes for my screen prints and other craft projects, and really anything else that caught my eye. I've noticed a change in my perspective since I started the blog. I find myself looking at things in a different way, thinking about my own unique point of view and how I can share that with others. But so far, this blog has been a casual collection of things and I'm looking forward to pushing it into a new direction. I have a few goals in mind, other than just general overall improvement. Here are a few items on my goal list:

Photo by me.

That's just the beginning, so if you notice a few changes around here, that's why! I'm looking forward to learning lots and getting a fresh perspective on my goals and my blog. I'm not even one week in yet and I'm already really enjoying it! Have you taken one of Holly's courses?


New, in the shop.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy June, friends! I've been keeping myself busy with lots of new designs, screen prints, and projects and I'm so excited to share them! (Though, some are really still in the works, so they'll have to wait a little.) Here are three new screen print designs in my vitamodern shop based on something that may look familiar: my papercut pieces!

Original papercut.

 Remember my retro teapot and toaster papercut designs? I've finally got them printed on cork coasters! These would make a nice little housewarming gift for those retro loving friends of yours (or just for yourself!). My sister has already asked me for a set of the toaster coasters. I'll have to come up with a favor she can do for me in exchange. :)

Process pic: cards drying after the first color print.
Original design: cardstock on trace paper.

Here's another card design in the shop. I call it Tiki Shapes (it makes me think of bamboo). This design was also created with cut paper pieces. I started cutting out the shapes with scissors, then arranged them until I saw a layout that I liked. I glued them to a piece of trace paper, scanned it into the computer, and separated the shapes to create the two color design. Pretty simple, but I love the result! I have them in a playful bright magenta and day-glow orange colorway, and a more sophisticated light blue and silver. Check out my etsy shop to see more.

*If you'd like to see more of my process pics, follow me on instagram @vitaminimodern.

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