Scattered cartridges are often a symbol of great suffering, casualties, hatred, and war. Crystals, being quite the opposite, have been used for centuries as a tool with extensive healing powers, symbolic in bringing harmony and balance. I intentionally brought these two iconic pieces together to create a wearable dichotomy. In this recycled necklace, natural elements and man-made creations are united, bringing congruity to discrepancy. Depending on the crystal you use, this D.I.Y. is almost free. I gathered discarded bullet shells at a local shooting spot (free), and the most expensive crystal (green tourmaline) was $7. Similar necklaces retail for upwards up $330 here.
Crystal Points (fitted to each bullet shell)
Dremel Drill w/ 1-2 mm Drill Bit
Round Nose Pliers
Hot Glue Gun
Collect recycled shells, and take them to a mineral store where you can fit each crystal to its respective shell. Make sure it is a tight fit, to where you almost wouldn’t need to glue it (Tip: if there is a rough or fat edge, use a metal file to shape it to your liking). I ended up purchasing, clear quartz, Tibetan quartz, and green tourmaline. There are two methods for attaching a chain 1)Two holes through the top of the shell or 2)One hole through the primer of the bullet, with attached and looped head pin. They both take the same amount of time, so it just depends on how you want it to look/hang on a chain… I did a few of both. Using a cloth to wrap around the shell before clamping with a wrench is important, so you dont scratch the shells in the drilling process. Drill two holes through opposite sides of the top of the shell (shown in picture #1). Drill one hole directly through the top of the primer for looped attachments. For looped attachments; thread head pin through the casing of the bullet up through the hole in the primer. Using round nose pliers, grasp the end of the head pin, and roll down tightening into a circular loop (shown in picture #4). Heat the glue gun. ***For double drilled attachment, make sure to roll a small piece of paper and install through both holes before gluing, this will insure the glue doesnt block where the chain will run through. Have the crystal ready, and dispense a small amount of glue up into the casing (make sure there wont be excess when the crystal is pushed in). Immediately insert crystal, wipe any extra glue. The hot glue not only secures the crystal, but also the loop attachment. Hang on a chain or even charm bracelet of your liking…would also be cool layered with other charms/feathers etc.
Forage: To wander in search of provisions
Recycle: To recondition and adapt to a new use or function
Every year I set out to create a theme for my holiday wrapping. Sadly, the holidays now seem surrounded by so much consumerism and waste, I decided to try and make everything as sustainable as possible this season. We save our cardboard boxes and brown paper bags, so I used those instead of buying gift boxes/bags. I found some great 100% recycled brown wrapping paper from Crate and Barrel, and at $15.95 for a generous 300 feet of paper, knew it would be more than enough for all of our family’s gifts. The rustic wood gift tags are re-purposed scraps from timber processing factories, and are so much more beautiful than those tacky santa stickers. For the moss, we took our dog for a walk in the woods and gathered different shades of green from the trees, stopping to pick up some fallen pine branches that we added to the mix. Even a small amount of consciousness about what we buy, and try not to buy, helps this beautiful planet that we are lucky to live on.
Okay, how cool is Native Bear’s stuff??? Native Bear is a design company based out of Atlanta, GA created and operated by Leela Robinson (also lovingly nicknamed, ‘Bear’). All NB designs are inspired by natural elements and the desire to instill harmony and elegance throughout the home and everyday life. All stationery is made using recyclable card stock and kraft paper envelopes, and block printed using water based inks. I was initially attracted to her amazing hand carved return address stamps (like the teepee one listed above), but found out she uses her original designs to stamp cards, stationary, and notebooks as well. Most are Southwestern in influence, and all are beautiful. We are giving away two of her hand stamped Moleskine notebooks today. Please comment to enter, and make sure you check out her Facebook, and follow her on Instagram: nativebearatl Thanks Leela!!!
Our Cyber Monday giveaway is from Smitten Kitten shop on Etsy, perfect for cozying up with a cup of tea and a good read. The scarf is made of a super soft acrylic yarn & the special daisy-shaped crochet stitch Darlene uses makes it very cuddly. It’s the perfect accompaniment to ward off the winter winds. Smitten Kitten creates every color, shape, length of scarf that you can think of, even Mens styles. Follow her a blog here (she has a ton of book reviews for the long winter ahead). Spend a minimum of $46 in her shop and receive 20% off when using code GUSTO … it’s valid Nov 26 through Dec 17.
An older project that is just too good not to share on Go for the Gusto. I love the idea of indoor plants contributing fresh air and creating a relaxing environment in the home. Now that we are getting into the colder weather (first snow last night in Taos Ski Valley!) and the greenery around us is fading fast, why not create your own foliage filled room. I love my hanging succulents, they add a bit of whimsy to any room, and are completely low maintenance…like water once a week. (p.s. this entire project costs only 30 dollars!)
Assorted Succulents (about 8)
Soil (4 cups)
Smooth Gravel (2 cups)
Mason Jars (4)
Shallow Glass Terrarium Bowl
Dowel (3/4 inch)
Needle Nose Pliers
Tea Cup Hanging Hooks (3)
For the hanger, fashion four loops of bailing wire around the bottom of the lip of a mason jar, using the needle nose pliers to create a secure closure. Measure eight wires to attach to the mason jar loops, attach using the pliers in the same way as the loop closure. Twist and loop each of the eight wires around dowel, so the jars are suspended evenly from the dowel.
Fill both mason jars and bowl with about 1 inch of gravel, then layer 1 inch of soil on top of that. Remove succulents from cups and gently loosen roots. Add one succulent to each jar, and four spaced out in the terrarium. Cover with 1-2 more inches of soil, until succulents are secure. Twist screw part of hook hangers into the ceiling where you would like your hanger to be (make sure they are evenly spaced, one hook to support the middle) facing hook side toward you. Place dowel with succulents onto the hooks and enjoy your new indoor plants!
I’ve never been a dangle-y earring type of girl, usually leave the statement pieces to the stacks on my wrists, and opt for simpler ear studs. I love collecting stud earrings from everywhere I travel and mixing and matching them into funky combinations (see arrowhead stud from 2011’s Grand Canyon road trip). This usually leaves me with a box of unorganized studs and earring backs. In the aftermath of post-moving closet disfunction, came gradual recallibration. I wanted an efficient way to organize the mess, making it easier for me to see and decide on everyday ear adornment. I found some copper screen in the garage, and low and behold we had a staple gun. I sought out a simple wooden frame to tack the screen to. The one that I chose was five dollars (contrary to the usual; pick something and its the most expensive thing in the store, syndrome) so I left feeling accomplished. This project took a total of 15 minutes and has significantly enhanced my morning ear swag routine.
Small picture frame of your choice
Screen (I opted for copper)
Remove glass and backing from frame. Measure and cut screen making sure it’s 1/2 inch from the outside edge of the back of the frame. On the back of the frame, hold screen firmly in place starting in one corner, moving along the edges stapling and stretching the opposite side of the screen as you go. I stapled about every half inch or so. Complete all sides, and organize studs as you please!
Kate Broughton is an England based artist and Etsy retailer. She has taken her sweet images and applied them to things such as stationary, wrapping paper, tote bags, even nail decals (which are super cute). The happy illustrations feature images of items associated with the simple joys of life, nature, cocktails, camper vans etc. Her cards and stationary with simple cacti evoke sentimental notion of the lost art of the written word, and inspire correspondence. Visit her Etsy shop here