Sunday, 25 January 2015

DIY Chain Tassel Pendant

diy tassel pendant 1

Recently I've been seeing this jewellery trend pop up all over the high street, adding a statement to many simple necklace and earring designs. These pretty tassels made from lengths of chain can easily be replicated with just a few basic craft supplies and can really transform a necklace. Today I thought I would share a quick tutorial on how to create your own!

You will need: chain, jump rings, jewellery wire or an eyepin, a bead cap (without hanging loop), a bead/s, a clasp, flat & round nose pliers

diy tassel pendant 2

1. First up you'll need to cut a short strip of wire (2-3" should be fine depending on the size of your bead/s) then use pliers to create a loop at one end. To do this use flat nosed pliers to bend the wire at a right angle then round nose pliers to create the loop itself.

The loop will need to fit inside your bead cap later on so make sure it's not too big!Alternatively choose an eyepin - a length of wire with a readymade loop - of the correct size for your bead cap.

2. Next cut strips of your chain (choose the length depending on how long you want the finished tassel to be) and thread a few of them onto jump ring. Repeat this step until you have enough chain to create a full looking tassel the correct size for your bead cap - I only used two jump rings twelve strips of chain for my tassel.

diy tassel pendant 3

3. Take your wire loop from step 1, carefully open it using pliers, and thread on the jump rings with the chain attached.

4. Thread your bead cap onto the wire so it sits over the top of your wire loop and jump rings.

diy tassel pendant 4

5. If you're also adding on any beads thread them onto the wire above the bead cap.

6. Next you'll need to secure everything in place. To create a hanging loop above the bead use your flat nosed pliers to bend the wire out at a right angle about 1cm above the top of the bead. Use round nosed pliers to create a loop as shown above.

diy tassel pendant 5

7. Tightly wrap any remaining wire around the exposed cm of wire underneath the loop and secure in place with pliers.

8. To turn the pendant into a necklace take another length of wire (use my Guide To Necklace Lengths to help decide how long you need the chain to be) and add on a clasp using jump rings. Use one final jump ring to attach your tassel pendant onto the chain and your necklace is complete!

Alternatively chain tassels can also be used to make a pair of statement earrings. Use jump rings to attach them on to earring wires instead!
diy inspiration chain tassels

Don't fancy a DIY? Red Beaded Tassel Necklace, Matalan £3.50 (on sale) | Long Chain Tassel Necklace, Dorothy Perkins £7 (on sale) | Long Tube Tassel Necklace, Topshop £14 | Long Pendant Necklace, John Lewis £20 | Long Necklace With Loop & Tassels, Matalan £7

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - use the links below to share your photos with me!

Happy DIY-ing!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Library Haul #7

library haul 7

Symbiont, Mira Grant (2014)
Back in 2013 I received a review copy of Parasite, the first book in Mira Grant's Parasitology series, and was won over by the intriguing concept. When I heard about the release of the sequel I was pleased to find that my local library had a copy and am now looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard (2006)
Having recently caught up on the TV series from the pilot right through to the latest episode (in an embarrassingly short amount of time - thanks Netflix!) I was keen to pick up the first in this series of sixteen novels to see how they compare. Although I haven't quite finished the Lying Game series yet I've really enjoyed it so far and despite hearing some not-so-kind reviews I'm still hoping the first in Shepard's PLL series will be a good quick read.

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting, Holly Bourne (2014)
This one was a Goodreads recommendation and honestly is a little bit of a mystery to me. I don't know too much about the book and I'm not sure if I would have picked it out myself but I'm looking forward to something that will hopefully be a little bit different... although I might not have time to read it before it's due back!

Have you read any of these books?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

DIY Inspiration - Valentino Floral Collar Sweater

DIY inspiration Valentino floral sweater
This eye catching Valentino piece (retailing at £1,560) shows how simple embellishments can transform a plain wardrobe staple into a unique piece.

There are several ways to get the look - try your hand at applique with some floral fabric for a 2D take, stitch fabric flowers or flower beads onto a plain jumper for a permanent floral fix or alternatively DIY yourself an embellished collar necklace that would be perfect for recreating this look without having to commit to it!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Less Toxic Nails? - Hopscotch Kids Miss Mary Mack (Water-Based)

hopscotch kids water based nail polish in miss mary mack swatch review

The second contender in my quest to find the best 'non-toxic' polish is this little sparkling black number, named Miss Mary Mack, from children's brand Hopscotch Kids. Water-based polishes were high on my list after reading a lot about how they are much better for you health-wise and having seen some brilliant reviews for several brands.

As the brand is aimed at children the general colour range includes brights and pastels with Miss Mary Mack being the only dark shade currently on offer. As I personally prefer darker polishes I was a little disappointed not to see any options other than black however I understand that I'm not the target market and the range would be perfect for those who love brights and pastels.

Although not similar to that of traditional formulas the polish still has a distinctive scent, much like that of paint but I was pleased to find that this wasn't particularly noticeable whilst using the polish and didn't hang around on my nails afterwards. The consistency of this polish was much thicker than most making it very easy to apply and meaning only one coat was needed to achieve an opaque finish - overall I was very impressed with the application process!

Like all water-based formulas Miss Mary Mack needs longer to set than a traditional solvent-based polish but interestingly the formula works in the opposite way, drying from the top layer down. This means that it will be touch dry very quickly but the underneath layers take several hours to cure properly. The Hopscotch site advises applying the polish before bed to avoid any damage before it is fully set, and because it is water-based, exposure to water before the polish has fully cured can cause problems. With this in mind I applied the colour in the evening and in addition also blasted my nails with the hairdryer for a few minutes to help speed up the drying process. In the interest of keeping these 'less toxic nail' experiments as fair as possible I opted not to use a topcoat to truly test the wear of the polish.

Unfortunately, as you may be able to see from the photo, I woke up the next day to find that the polish at the very tips of my nails had already started to rub away. I'm still unsure why this happened as there are several things that may have affected how well the polish adhered to my nails. Although I followed the Hopscotch application guidelines (topcoat aside) and tried my best to be careful with them I did apply, as always, some hand cream for my eczema before going to sleep which may have interfered with the polish. I'm also unsure as to whether this particular brand, aimed at children and available for around a third of the price of most adult water-based ranges, is designed for long wear without the use of a topcoat.

Sadly the wearing away continued gradually and I chose to remove the polish after around five days. If you're interested in hearing about the removal of this water-based shade I'll be talking more about the process in an upcoming post!

Whilst I really love the concept of water-based formulas - easy application, no lingering smell, opaque in only one coat - and would definitely like to try some of the other brands available I was a little disappointed with the wear this time around. Having said that I will definitely be giving this shade another shot in future as after reading tips and tricks online a small extra step such as prepping the nails with jojoba oil, or perhaps investing in the Hopscotch Kids water-based topcoat could really improve the wear.

If you're just looking to experiment with water-based formulas and don't want to spend out a whole lot of money the Hopscotch Kids range is very affordable and definitely a good starting point.

If you're interested in finding out more about water-based polish I'd recommend popping over to Pretty Painted Nails which has some great information and swatches.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Character Style Inspiration - Maggie Esmerelda (AHS: Freak Show)

character style inspiration maggie esmerelda ahs freak show
Images via

For today's Character Style post I've once again taken inspiration from American Horror Story, this time focusing on Freak Show's faux fortune teller Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts).

Both Maggie's on and off-duty styles incorporate midi and maxi length skirts often paired with tops that are cinched in at the waist. For her role as a fortune teller in the show Maggie can be found sporting peasant style blouses with embroidered detailing however off the clock she tends to opt for classic short sleeve knits like those pictured above.

When it comes to accessorising wool felted hats, statement earrings, hair scarves and large decorative belts all make frequent appearances in Maggie's outfits. Beauty-wise her look reflects that of the early 50's era in which the series is set with bold red lips and soft, tidy pin curls.

Here are my top picks for a modern day take on this 50's look...

style inspiration maggie esmerelda - american horror story freak show

Shop the look: Latisse Embellished Top, Cashmere In Love via Farfetch £158.19 (on sale) | Eliza Statement Drop Gem Earrings, Boohoo £6 (on sale) | Tassel Embroidered Blouse, Mango £16.99 (on sale) | Woven Tapestry Handbag, Beyond Retro £22 | Green Felt Fedora Hat, Dorothy Perkins £14 | Embellished Belt, Deepa Gurnani via Farfetch £241.71 | Maxi Skirt, Naf Naf via Zalando, £60 (currently unavailable) | Ribbed Funnel Neck Top, Topshop £14 | Jungle Red Lipstick, NARS via Liberty £19.50 | 9ct Yellow Gold 35mm Large Creole Hoop Earrings, H. Samuel £139 | Suede Peep Toe Shoes, Dune via eBay £41
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