Saturday, February 9, 2013

time out: what happens when I'm confined to bed

 
So I've been in and out of the hospital for the last week with an inflamed appendix. No fun. An oncologist, who diagnosed me with COLON CANCER (thanks for stressing my husband out, dude) based on an anomaly in my cat scan (which everyone else diagnosed as NOT-colon-cancer - a second cat scan proved the others right; I'm okay, thank goodness) refused to operate on my appendix. The inflammation did eventually go down, though my bloodwork is still showing that there is inflammation, somewhere, in my body. All this to say that after a rather hellish week, I have no answers, no diagnosis, and still have my appendix - no guarantees it won't act up again, either. Of course, if it DOES act up again, they probably will just take it out.
 
So. When I weaned off the painkillers (morphone really does a number on me; it makes the base of my skull feel all tight and weird and creepy), I spent a lot of time sleeping, moaning in pain, and not really doing much.
 
Enter the interwebs.
 
I killed some hours on pinterest, and ran across a few things that I totally want to DIY. So while I wait for the materials I've ordered to come in, here's a preview of two upcoming projects. I want to do full step-by-step DIY instructions for these, because they'd be so simple to recreate for 10% (or far less) of the cost of the originals:
 
 
This is the Leather Braided Rodeo Necklace by Heyoka Leather for Free People.   That bad boy costs a whopping $313 dollars! That's crazy! If you click through and look at the photos, you'll see it simply two strands of labradorite and silver beads, hung from braided leather. I've already sourced most of the materials I'll need:
 
First, I'll need some leather lace - 3mm wide could be fine, but I decided to go for deerskin, as it would be much, much softer. That way, the braid won't be rigid or stiff and should drape nicely. I also went for a wider 5mm lace, because deerskin stretches a bit, and will become narrower if I pull on it while braiding - so this way, I can have some choice over the thickness. I bought three yards (should be plenty, right?) for $8, plus $3 shipping (though I was able to get something for another project - see below - to combine shipping costs). 
 
 
Next, I needed some labradorite beads. The necklace is using what are called heishi beads. these are flat cylinders. I found this full 14-inch strand of labradorite heishi for only $4 (plus $2 shipping) on etsy. Great buy! I have to confess: this was the cheapest labradorite heishi on etsy; the other shops were a bit more expensive. You'll need 92 beads to make this necklace; this 14-inch strand will probably contain over 300. I'm really into labradorite lately; it's a kind of grey stone that flashes blue in the light, and as galaxy- and astronomy-themed stuff is really inspiring me lately, I find myself really drawn to labradorite. In short: I'm happy to have the extras around.
 
The other thing I'll need are the silver spacer beads. I'll need 26 of these. The ones used in the original are what are called "bicone" shape; to me, they look like they are probably African, Mexican, or Tibetan silver, with that patina and slightly organic/uneven shape. My local bead store sells African silver, so I'm going to go there and check out what they've got before I buy anything online.
 
I'll also need two small pieces of leather, ideally something that matches the deerskin lace. I think I have these. I used to work at a women's clothing boutique. Whenever we had leather skirts or pants come in to sell, they would come with two little pieces of leather that cushioned the item of clothing from the pressure of the clips on the hanger. As a stockworker, I was required to remove these pieces before sending the clothes out to the floor. Instead of throwing them out, I got permission to take them home. And now I have bags full of small rectangles of leather, perfect for this kind of thing. So, hopefully I've got something in the right colour. We'll see; I'll check what I've got when the deerskin gets here.
 
So, so far I've spent about $18 for the materials to make this $300 bracelet.
 
Here's the second piece. This is Vega's Single Flame Cuff, available at the ever-so-inspiring indie shop, Cisthene. I seriously love their lookbooks! This bad boy is $195. Let's break it down: that's a brass cuff bracelet blank, with a crystal, and gold metallic leather lacing. I'm thinking a bit of epoxy (superglue) is holding the leather/brass/crystal all together.
 

 
 Here's a brass cuff bracelet blank. It's not patinaed like the bracelet in the picture (though if you click through to Cisthene's website, Vega also makes this bracelet with a shiny brass base and silver metallic leather wrapping). This bracelet blank cost me $3 (with $2 shipping).

 
The most difficult component of the bracelet was finding a large crystal. The Cisthene website says the bracelet is 2.3" wide; but take a look - the crystal is not quite as wide as the cuff itself. So you're looking for a crystal around 2" wide. It took me a long time to find one that wasn't $30+. This one was only $3 (plus $2 shipping). Best deal I could find on etsy! It's got a crack on the end, but really - who cares? I won't be putting any undue stress or torque on the crystal, and I'll actually be wrapping the crystal with leather, which should help hold it together anyway. 

 
Finally, metallic lace. Oops! I bought gold - I wrote the etsy seller to ask if I could get silver instead; if not, I'll just investigate ways to patina the bracelet blank, and make it darker. A yard of this 3mm lace cost $1.75 (free shipping, since I ordered it with the deerskin).

So - so far, I'm paying $12 for the material to make a $200 bracelet.

Not bad. Now I just have to wait ... and hope that by the time this stuff comes, I still have time to sit around and make stuff!

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