How to give any photo an aged look

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hey everyone! My name’s Brandi, and I blog over at I’m thrilled to be here with you today and thanks to Lori for having me.

In honor of Lori and her love of vintage, I’m going to show you how to give any digital photo a vintage or aged look. Vintage-y, aged photos are popular right now, and for good reason – they look really nifty. The great part is that they are easy to do, and I’m going to walk you through it in the video below.

What you’ll need:
  • Any version of either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • A photo
  • And a texture (optional)

The video:

This video is available in high definition. I recommend clicking the full screen button at the far right to see everything clearly (it’s to the right of the HD logo and looks like four arrows pointing towards each other).

My favorite texture sources (I mention this list in the video):

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or you can contact me directly right here. Enjoy the video!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping with Katrina's Kitchen

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Today's post will add five pounds to you just by reading it.  But oh my heavens, is it worth it.  Please welcome Katrina's Kitchen!

When Lori asked me to contribute a recipe to her blog I was so honored and I happily agreed! She has created such a beautiful creative space here on the web that is very inspiring. I love coming over here for great tips and quick tutorials! 

Lori told me her readers would like something quick and easy and preferably sweet. Well, that description fits my blog to a T! Hi, I’m Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen! I’m a mama in a house full of boys who like to eat. I’m usually baking with a baby on my hip and a Hot Wheels car in my hand.

How about some Cookie Dough Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping to celebrate National Ice Cream Month? You are going to be amazed when you see how this comes together! And if you make this for your family you will be a rock star!

Let's just take a moment for that to sink in.

Chocolate Chip.

Cookie Dough.

Magic Shell.

Ice Cream Topping.

I may have cried a little when I dreamed this one up. 
I'm kidding of course. Sort of.

 You are 2 ingredients away from ice cream topping bliss. You know what Magic Shell topping is, right? It's that delicious topping that hardens and gets all crunchy and crackly as soon as it hits the ice cream and forms a beautiful shell.

 Here's the lineup: 
Equal parts Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mix and Coconut Oil

You mix these up and let them get warm and melty. I will warn you - this is not a pretty concoction. But don't be a Hater! Hasn't your mom ever told you not to judge a book by its cover? 

After about 20 minutes you're going to spoon it over the ice cream of your choice. You can of course do this immediately if you just can't wait but if you are patient the flavor will be deeper and more distinct (don't ask me if I know this from personal experience or anything).

Printable Recipe Here

**Just a note: You can use any kind of boxed cake mix as well! Have fun!

I hope you enjoy! And Thank you Lori for giving me this opportunity to post on your beautiful blog! 

Please visit Katrina and Favorite her blog at  I hope she'll become a regular at Pretty Things!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Sterling Silver Flower Ring with Tammy Jones

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today Tammy Jones of Jewelry Making Daily shows us how to use sawing and soldering techniques to make an adorable sterling silver flower ring. 

Tammy Jones editor Jewelry Making Daily
Tammy Jones is the
editor of Jewelry Making  Daily.

sterling silver soldered flower ring

Flowers have always been a source of joy for me. When I was growing up, one grandmother had a garden full of hydrangeas, pansies, irises, roses, and lilacs, and my other grandmother was always surrounded by flowers in her home d├ęcor and clothing. They both made quilts laden with flowers using floral fabrics, too, so it's no surprise that I've always associated flowers with comfort and happiness. Naturally, flowers are a favorite motif in my own creative projects, jewelry especially.

So when my friend and metalsmithing teacher Lexi Erickson recently told me to "cut out a shape, any shape," a flower was the obvious choice. After some sawing, filing, sanding, hammering, fluxing, soldering, polishing, and buffing, this pretty ring is the end result.


20-gauge sterling silver sheet
8-gauge half-round sterling silver wire
small silver ball or bead for center
jeweler's saw and 4/0 saw blades
Burlife or Gemlube
flat-nose pliers and tweezers
medium tooth (#2) file
dapping block
texturing hammer(s)
torch and setup with firing brick
medium solder and pick
various sandpapers
flux and brush
pot of hot pickle and copper tongs
bowl of water

saw flower petal shapes out of sterling silver sheet
1. Draw a small, medium, and large organic shape with a fine felt-tip marker on the sterling silver sheet. Using the jeweler's saw strung with a lubricated 4/0 saw blade, cut out your petal pieces using a smooth, fluid, up-and-down sawing motion.

2. Hammer the petals to add texture, as desired. I hammered the large and small pieces, leaving the medium piece plain for contrast.

hammer petal shapes to add texture and dome in a dapping block 3. File the raw edges and finish (sand, polish, buff) the surfaces of your cutouts.

4. Dome each petal in the dapping block. Punch or hammer a small dimple in the center of the smallest petal piece to help hold the ball in place later. Pickle all three pieces for a couple of minutes to clean them; rinse and dry, being careful not to touch the backs where you'll be soldering.

5. Using sandpaper or even a kitchen scrubber, sand off the end of your solder to ensure it's clean and snip off six small pieces, about 1mm each.

flux back of petals and apply three small pieces of silver solder 6. Place the small and medium pieces next to each other face-down on the firing brick and paint the backs with flux. Use tweezers to carefully place three pieces of solder together (touching) on the back of each piece.

7. Fire up your torch with a quiet (nonhissing) reducing flame. Keeping the flame moving and with the blue cone about 1/4" from the surface, heat the brick around the pieces and slowly move in on your petal pieces, heating them gradually. Expect your flux to bubble and turn white; that tells you you're at about 400°F.

8. Heat your pieces a little more directly now, still moving the flame but staying on the piece and keeping the blue cone about 1/4" away from the surface. Don't look away; things are about to happen quickly!

flux sterling silver flower ring pieces and add silver solder 9. Watch for the flux to turn clear and glassy. That's when you know you're at 1,100°F degrees and your solder is melting and will soon flow. You'll see a bright silver line appear when the solder flows. Remove the heat immediately when you spot it. You've presoldered!

10. Lifting with tweezers or tongs (watch your fingers!), slowly tiptoe each piece into water to quench it and then drop it in the pickle for a couple of minutes. Then rinse and dry.

11. Paint the top of each piece with flux and stack face-up in the appropriate order. Sand the solder end and snip off another small piece, placing it in the dimple you created in the smallest petal piece. Hold the center bead with tweezers while you coat it with flux and then place it directly on the solder in the dimple center. Now it's time to solder again.

torch fire sterling silver flower ring pieces on firing brick 12. This is a multilayer soldering process, so it will require a little extra time. You're soldering the ball to the smallest petal, but you're also soldering the medium petal between the other two. Fire up your torch again (to a quiet, reducing flame) and move it around the stack to warm gradually.

13. Watch for the flux to bubble and turn white. Hone in at that point, keeping the blue cone of your flame about 1/4" away from the surface. Sweep back and forth across the ball in the center and move around the entire piece in a circular motion.

As the flux turns clear and glassy, focus on the center ball, watching for the silver line that indicates the flux is flowing. When you see it, aim your flame between the petals and focus on the solder you melted earlier. You can't see the silver line when that solder flows, so just allow a little extra time to be sure but keep the flame moving. Note the color of the metal; if it glows red, remove the flame immediately.

soldered sterling silver flower ring 14. Use tweezers to quench the piece slowly in water and then drop it in the pickle for a couple of minutes. Remove it with copper tongs, rinse and dry it, and test the joins. Hopefully, all the layers joined; if not, reflux and resolder until all the layers feel secure.

15. Use a slip of paper to measure your finger size and mark that length on the half-round wire. Cut off the amount you need using your jeweler's saw, not wire cutters, to achieve the appropriate shape on the cut ends. Use pliers to curl the wire into a partial ring shape and test fit it on your finger or ring mandrel.
sterling silver flower ring wire
16. Because the back of the ring is domed from the dapping, careful filing will be required to get angled ends that will fit the curved back of the flower pieces snugly. Place the flower piece face-down on the firing brick and test the ring until it can stand upright on its own on the back of the ring.
flux and torch solder sterling silver flower ring
17. When the ends are filed correctly, sand the end of your solder and snip off two more small 1mm pieces. Paint the back of the flower and the ring wire in flux.

18. Place a piece of solder on the flower where each end of the ring wire touches it and solder in place using the same gradual technique as for the previous pieces.
silver solder melt and flow on sterling silver flower ring
19. Warm the ring wire separately (until the flux melts) before using tweezers to move it onto the flower piece. Watch for the flux to bubble and turn white, then clear and glassy, and then for the shiny silver line when the solder flows. Quench slowly with tweezers, pickle, and voila!

You can see that my ring is a whitish matte silver. The prolonged heat required to complete the multilayer soldering burned off some of the metals alloyed in the sterling silver sheet, resulting in an exterior layer of fine (pure) silver. I liked the look of it, so I left it that way. You can, too, or you can polish yours to a high shine, give it some color with liver of sulfur, or apply any patina you prefer.

Sawing, hammering, soldering--it sounds like fun, doesn't it? It was, and I'm anxious to fire up my torch again. Fortunately there are lots of projects with intermediate and advanced techniques like these in the newest series of Beads, Baubles and Jewels. The latest season's segments are full of expert tips and tricks for wire and metalsmithing projects, including techniques such as wire wrapping, resin, pen plating, cold connections, chain maille, and soldering, of course!

Thanks, Tammy!  You can learn more about metalsmithing by visiting Beads, Baubles and Jewels or checking out my book picks below!

Polymer Clay Buttons with Mallory Hoffman

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Today Mallory Hoffman of For the Love of Beads shows us how to make polymer clay buttons in a snap!


Easy Peasy Polymer Clay Button Tutorial

Gather a small ball of well conditioned polymer clay, an acrylic roller, a small circle cookie cutter, and a needle tool.

You can make your buttons any size you like.  I decided that I would make this one a bit thicker than other ones I've made.  I broke off about half of the polymer clay that I conditioned and rolled it into a ball that was about as high as my cookie cutter and a little bit wider.


Flatten the ball with your hands. To get rid of the fingerprints, use the acrylic roller to smooth the clay out, keeping the clay round.

After smoothing out the clay, turn the cookie cutter to the dull (non-sharp) side and use it to make an impression on the clay.

Turn the clay over and repeat the process.  This is what it looks like when you're finished. See what I mean, easy peasy!

Using the needle tool, poke holes in the button, then turn it over to make sure the holes went all the way through.

You will notice in the final product that I do need to clean up my holes.  I'll do this with my Dremel later.  Here's what my button looked like before I put it in the oven to cure.

Check the manufacturer's directions and cure the button in an oven dedicated only to clay at the temperature recommended for about 15 minutes.  (This is where you really need to follow directions so the clay will cure correctly.)

This is what the button looked like after curing.  The holes are easily rounded and cleaned with a Dremel. Making a button this way is easy peasy!!!

Mallory can be found at her blog, For the Love of Beads, and her Etsy store where she sells handmade glass beads, Rosebud's Lampwork Beads.

How to Make A Jewelry Display for Under $20 by Patty Gasparino

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today's DIY post is by Patty Gasparino of the blog "My Life Under the Bus".  I adore her posts and today she shares her inexpensive jewelry display ideas.

Clearing my mind in Homegoods last weekend
with about $10.00 in my pocket
I found this lovely for $9.00!
Homegoods has the best clearance section hands down!
Now it's a nice enough shelf
but I am always on the look out for
jewelry displays.

The graphics were too big and I had something in mind
for hooks so I took off all the hooks
sanded, painted, papered
and flipped.

Much better!
I had some Tim Holtz knobs
I got at Michaels with a coupon.

I love when things actually come out the way
you see them in your head!

$9.00 shelf
$ 7.00 knobs
free book pages
spray paint I had
under $20.00!!!

It's neutral and fits in with my other displays!
I'm a happy girl : ).

Happy Friday!
What are you up to this weekend?
XOXO, Patty

Congratulations to...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio!

You won!  Enjoy!

And if you didn't win,
please be sure to check out

affordably priced eWorkshops!

Stay tuned for more DIY projects,
and don't forget, if you'd like to submit your OWN project,
check out the sidebar to the right!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Vintage Whimsy Doll by Teresa McFayden

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This whimsy and doll is easy to make, with a few scraps of paper and of all things...a soap box!  Adorn the top with a Frozen Charlotte head and watch her come to life before your eyes.

To begin, wrap the edges of a soap box with masking tape.

Next, adhere patterned papers hodge podge style with Mod Podge Medium. Cover the box with Mod Podge, then add the papers, then cover the papers with Mod Podge to seal.

 Once dry, pierce a couple holes on the left and right sides of the box. String wire through the holes, and create a hanger above. String with beads, buttons ribbons, etc. for extra whimsy.

Hot glue a bit of tinsel garland, lace, or ribbon in a circle shape to top of box.

Tacky Glue (or other strong glue) the bottom of your dolly head to center of box top.


You can find Frozen Charlotte heads on EBay or Etsy. Just do a Google search for them!

This tutorial was recently featured in The Paint Paper Paste E-Workshop at Paper Bella Studio.  You can also find Teresa at her blog,

And one lucky reader will win a fun new E-Workshop 

 It starts Monday, June 20th, and you can win a subscription!
Just leave a comment by June 18th (HURRY!) and one lucky person will win!