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Design on a Dime: Zentastic Mixed Media Necklace

Design on a Dime: Zentastic Mixed Media Necklace

Erin Strother
erins 2 years ago

Zen. The enlightened state of mind we all wish to achieve.

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I’m self-employed and work from home, which most people (including myself) think is pretty cool. This means I don’t have a commute, unless you consider walking up the stairs commuting, but that usually doesn’t involve any traffic other than my dog Swiffer constantly cutting me off and purposely trying to trip me. I set my own hours, which allows me to hit the gym a couple times a week without any major repercussions, and I don’t have a dress code except the one I impose upon myself, which basically involves never, under any circumstances, wearing high heels.

Sounds great, right?

Well, here’s the thing. It IS great in those ways. In other ways, it can be fairly sucky. Like, for the past couple of months, work has been really SLOOOOOOOOW. Like, “maybe I should write a book* or dust something” kind of slow, which of course never actually happens because I’m far too busy mindlessly surfing the web.

So, I thought cleverly to myself one afternoon, “Perhaps I’ll just schedule a vacation now, since I don’t have anything else going on.”

And that, of course, was all it took to end the dry spell, because as soon as I emailed my clients and told them I would be out of the office for a week, they all suddenly remembered a project that had been sitting on their desk for two months, and everyone in the universe would die slow and agonizing deaths if I couldn’t get it done before I left. (I am not making this up.)

So, after weeks of sitting around being mostly unemployed, I now have WAY, WAY too much work, and while I’m usually pretty good under pressure, I’m starting to lose it a little.

So, as a reminder to myself to show gratitude to the universe for this inflow of work and not panic, this month’s project is very Zen.

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click the link to get full instructions for making these matching earrings.

One strand of Buddha head beads includes both the large (red) and small (white) heads, so you’ll have plenty left over to make some cool earrings too (see right). I decided to age them up a bit to add more character, so I used my favorite trusty Vintaj/Ranger patina in metallic gold with a teensy-weensy dab of black, plus a few drops of glaze to give it more transparency. You just paint this on with a brush and then use a tissue to blot a bit of it off on the high spots. Super easy.

For the tassel, cut a piece of lace ribbon into three lengthwise sections and cut a couple strands of hemp cord, pulling apart the ends to fray them. Fold the entire mess over a piece of 22 gauge wire, then bend both ends of the wire up and over the top of the ribbons and form a wrapped loop, creating a wrapped bale. Then wrap another piece of wire around all the ribbons a few times to secure them together. (If you’re freaking out right now because this sounds complicated and you don’t understand how to do it, just click the photo for more comprehensive written instructions. I swear, it isn’t hard.)

A nifty alternative to the lace ribbons would be recycled sari-silk ribbon, which, if you’ve never tried, is life-changing. Or, if not completely life-changing, at least really awesome. Wait, no. It IS truly life-changing. I’m sticking with that position.

I made my own wire pendant thingie to hang the tassel and charms from. (Don’t freak out, its all explained thoroughly in the instructions. Well, maybe not super-thoroughly. I may have been drinking at the time—you never know with me.) You could also just use a big jump ring for this if you’re feeling lazy or you’re anxious about your wire-working skills. The whole thing is about being Zen, remember? So just relax and work with whatever feels comfortable to you. No anxiety required. I mean, unless you enjoy anxiety, which pretty much no one does, so I have no idea why I even wrote that.

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Finally, attach everything to some golden-ish leather cords and add a clasp, and you’re all set. Or, chain would be a swell alternative as well. I’m envisioning antique copper cable chain here, but you may envision any sort of chain that strikes your fancy.

Now take a few deep breaths, thank the universe for whatever it has bestowed upon you today, and align your chakras. Or just throw your chakras all over the floor and let them land where they may.

* I AM, in fact, writing a book. No, it’s not as good as Harry Potter. But better than one of those super-boring novels, like, let’s say “War and Peace,” where it just drags on forever and the plot is basically, everyone is sad, and it snows.

Erin Strother

About Erin Strother

Erin Strother is a full-time graphic designer with an obsession for jewelry design living in southern California with her long-suffering husband George and their disobedient dog Swiffer. She has won 6 Pulitzer prizes, an Academy Award for “Best Virtual Sound Editing,” $4 in the California State Lottery, and other prizes too numerous to mention. She is currently working on her first novel, “The Summoning Circle.” (Really!) See more of her work at http://www.studioEgraphics.com and http://www.etsy.com/shop/StudioEgallery.

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