As the title suggests, today I will be discussing those decorative bits and pieces which can be made from beads, pasta and the fascinating objects which lurk in the bottom of the workbasket or around the house.
These can all be fashioned into pretty articles which will be welcome as presents or for sale to raise money for a thousand-and-one good causes.
However, workmanship must be careful and good, or the results will be like Betty MacDonald’s “toe-covers”, simply bought for charity and put away until the next rummage sale comes around.
Keep reading to find more ideas for using beads, not simply for jewelry, but also for trimming lampshades, making a simple glued bead picture, and for a curtain.
Cheap Trick: It is usually cheaper to buy strings of beads. and check out your local rummage sales, or second hand store for interesting and usable strings of beads. After you find your treasures, break them up for re-use. It’ll save on the cost of buying them in packets.
The large, handsome hand-made beads, usually seen in glass or ceramic are very decorative but can be rather expensive to buy.
Try making your own for large projects, such as, a curtain out of self-hardening clay.
Incise the beads before the clay sets, using a knife or modeling tool, then dip, spay or paint to color.
Curtain Ring Jewelry
Use a crochet hook to work around curtain rings with metallic or colored threads to make beautiful jewelry and belts. Link the rings with ribbon.
More unlikely materials for jewelry making and decorative work are; pasta, orange peel and grains such as rice, dried peas, lentils, etc.
Orange peel and grapefruit peel, if carefully pared from the fruit and cut to shape, can be slowly dried in a warm (not hot) place and end up with a texture of leather.
The peel can then be lacquered or painted to preserve and beautify it, and then made into belts, jewelry, etc.
Uncooked pasta and grains may also seem an unlikely craft material, but when firmly stuck on jewelry mounts in well-thought-out designs, then either painted or clear lacquered, they too can be very attractive. (If you are a mother, you know the joy of getting your first picture made from macaroni).
Pasta and grains are not too fragile to be worn, as you might think, But, the secret is to use an epoxy resin glue for extra strength.
Pasta is also much better if it is colored, make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. To do this it is advisable to use an aerosol spray paint.
The subtle colors of rice, lentils, split peas, etc. look beautiful with no added color and very pretty mosaic-type brooches can be made from them.
If you are lucky enough to inherit a button-box (some of the buttons above were in mine), you can use some of the contents in embroidery, in much the same way as beads.
Given a selection of mother-of-pearl buttons, now rather hard to find in the stores, you can decorate cushions, covered boxes etc, in similar patterns to the ones show in the illustration.
Formal designs, combined with lace and braid trimming look very effective.
Failing mother-of-pearl, any small buttons may be used to form designs and you can try your hand at something representational – say a simple flower pattern, or perhaps a Christmas tree wall hanging to bring out at the appropriate time of year.