DIY Earring hanger

Oh Lawwwdy, have I ever been a crafty one lately!

Just check out this little gem I picked up at the thrift store last week…

Mmmmmmm Hmmmmmm…. you know you’re jealous, girls! Not only was this gingerbread wall hanging/picture frame/coat rack thingy missing a peg, but that little gingerbread guy…he was stencil-painted onto fabric and even had a little quilt batting stuffed behind him! Whooo-Wheee, that’s a rare thrift store find IN-DEED.

Seriously though…that sucker was $2.93! I mean COME ON! Three bucks for that? I doubt you could have paid anyone else three bucks to TAKE it out of the store. That baby was headed for the burn pile fo’sho’. But me? I had plans for this little guy…

See, I’ve been checking out these nifty little picture frame makeovers on Pinterest and such, and seems that all these brilliant folk are taking old picture frames and repurposing them into nifty little earring hangers. Now I love me some recyclin’, so I figured: I know how to use a can of spray paint, so  what’s keeping me from having a cute little place to hang my earrings? Not to mention these displays would come in handy when I sell my jewelry at events, because people can easily see all the merchandise. So…off to the thrift store I went to fetch a suitable picture frame, and little gingerbread dude is what I came back with. That worked out nicely because I figured I could hang bracelets and such on those little pegs, at least once I replaced the missing one. : )

SO, I started tearing the backing off of that bad boy….

And my truly rockin’ husband acquainted me with some manner of wire screen stuff. It wasn’t exactly the type of screen you’d have in your front door, it was a little heftier than that. He introduced me to that and a pair of tin snips, and off I went. I cut a piece suitable for the back side.

Then the adventure really began….

Now my friend Jamie, who I’ve known over 20 years (wow, that makes me sound so old!!) and is the most amazing do-it-yourself-er on the planet, can attest to the fact that I don’t do boy jobs. Yes, boy jobs…you know… like killing spiders, replacing light fixtures, and using tools. Especially power tools. Those things are testosterone territory for me. This is common knowledge.

But yesterday, I used an electric staple gun. It was a little above my paygrade…too much power for me! It was loud, jerky, and scary. That sucker knocked me back about a foot when I pulled the trigger. Seriously, people, my life flashed before my eyes for a sec! But anyhoo…a few of those crazy staples got the screen fixed to the back of the frame, I glued a brand-new Shaker peg into the missing hole ($3 for a dozen-bag at Hobby Lobby) and once that was dry it was time to give the thing a new look. I used a bottle of oiled-bronze colored spray-paint that I’d used on another project recently, and it is really pretty. It looks chocolatey brown-black when it’s dry, with a little glimmer of bronze underneath. I gave it a couple of coats and let it dry. Lovely.

Then it was time to make a pretty backing for the screen. Now this part is optional, but if you put some sort of backing behind the screen, then it looks a lot nicer if you decide to hang your earring hanger doo-dad on the wall. So I ironed a piece of pretty fabric and laid it out to affix it. The problem is, I really didn’t want to use that crazy staple gun again, (because I really don’t like going to the hospital, and I was sure that my clumsiness had already been given its portion of mercy that day.) But…hot glue covers a multitude of sins, people… so the glue gun was heated up and I went to town. This was a much less dangerous way for me to put two things together. When it was finished I hung my earrings on it and voila! Here’s the finished product:

Tah-daaahh! Super easy, very cheap, and a heck of a lot more aesthetically pleasing than a gingerbread-man-whatchamacallit hanging around to hurt people’s eyes.  Not to mention…extremely useful! I love taking something funky and turning it into something pretty and functional. Now I don’t have to go digging for my dangly earrings in a bowl when I want to wear a pair.

Could you put one of these to good use?

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created as creator

This has been such a fun week. Since it was my first week being out of school, I’ve not had any set schedule and no place I’ve had to be. I purposely scheduled fun and relaxing things to do every single day this week. I’ve had lunch dates with several of my girl friends, met up with a brand new friend, shopped a little, caught up with folks over long phone conversations,  slept in (okay, 7am…that’s late for me nowadays) and shoved my face into lots of good books for hours. All of these things have been wonderfully therapeutic for me after going 150% hard all school year. I will miss my amazing students, but summer is here and I am so loving it.

More than anything though, I have enjoyed the various creative projects I’ve worked on this week. I made all of the invitations for our Freedom Party that’s coming up next month. It was so fun to pick out things that went together to make them pleasing to the eye. I had a blast with that. I made some more jewelry this week and started my mosaic made up of all the credit cards that we’ve helped folks cut up in each of our 6 FPU classes! That is a project that’s been a long time coming, and I’m so excited that I finally get to make it happen after years of waiting. I’ve also put together a lot of handmade gifts such as scrapbook frames and handmade greeting cards. It definitely looks like a scrapbooking convention has exploded all over my dining room table. Of that there can be no doubt.

But in the middle of cutting and gluing and sewing and tearing and matching…I thought to myself: why can’t I just do this for a living? It is so much fun. It just makes me feel….alive.

I don’t think I actually have aspirations to chuck my teaching career to make greeting cards for a living (at least not right this minute!) But saying that it made me feel alive was no exaggeration. It was the general feeling of putting my creativity to work to make something out of nothing that really got me. It’s awesome to make something functional out of raw pieces that are otherwise just lying around. Creating something beautiful out of something ordinary. I could see myself spending a lot of time doing that.

But hold up a second…with so many other things on my heart that I love to do, why do I even find these little art projects worthwhile? I mean, I love teaching. I love meeting a child who comes from a messed up family and showing them that they are somebody and they are worth something and they really can do more than they think they can. That’s amazing. My heart also burns for women and children who are caught in the sex trade, forced to do and see and hear things that no one should ever have to do or see or hear. I want to advocate for them, partner with them through their restoration, see them healed. That’s a worthwhile cause to spend my time on. I love cooking meals for an overly busy mom or an elderly couple or a person who’s recovering from surgery or whatever, just so they have one less thing to worry about. Isn’t that the stuff I should focus on, and quit sitting here at the dining room table making pretty little things?

I believe the answer is YES. And NO.

“Wasting” time on making something beautiful is like “wasting” time admiring the clouds or listening to birds sing or breathing in the smells of spring. It’s appreciating the beauty that God has given all around us and thanking Him for it. It’s worship. It’s what He made us for in the first place.

And this week I’ve become convinced that when we take this appreciation of beauty one step further and desire to experience it so much that we actually seek after things to make beautiful, we’ve partnered with God as the ones who have been made in His image. We’ve been made in the image of THE Creator, so of course we would want to take nothing and make it into something lovely. We are the created becoming the creator.

So is it that unreasonable to think that when I’m making a pretty little handmade card (that someone else will thoughtfully choose for a specific person, write a cheerful message inside of, then give it to that person who will read it, feel special, and smile!) that I’m stepping up into a moment of being closer to the heart of my God? Doesn’t the same thing happen when someone plays a beautiful piece of music, or paints a breathtaking picture, or pens a striking piece of writing,  or designs a thought-provoking graphic for a web site, or uses their hands to build something new, or plants a garden, or puts together the exact combination of ingredients to make a delicious food, or even when we tidy up our home and make it welcoming for guests? Beauty happens.

Much like the virtue of truth, beauty only comes from one place. It is a gift that has been created by God, and given to us to spread around. When we make something lovely out of nothing, God has allowed us to momentarily carry out some of His best work…creation.

Maybe this all sounds too flowery to you, and you’re rolling your eyes thinking I need to get back on a schedule and get back to business. There’s a time for all that too, I agree. But for now, I’m perfectly content to spend some time creating alongside my Creator.

How about you? Why not go ask him what He’d like to create with you today?