Altered Cuff–Steampunk

This altered cuff is for a swap on Art for the Creative Minds (Yahoo! group).  My first thought was to cut a piece of leather and embellish it with the laces and trims. Since it was just going to be covered up, that changed to cutting an actual cuff from a men’s shirt.

The first step was to ink the cuff to “age” it a little. The pointed lace and pearls were colored, too. Both with fabric dye and alcohol inks. The gold tulle was hand-pleated and is the first layer.

Altered Cuff 1

Next layer is the pointed lace. It wasn’t “frilly” enough, so I gathered two sizes of crocheted lace (I didn’t crochet the lace). The larger lace is sewn on top of the pointed lace. I did want some leather on this project, so I cut three strips: the middle strip has a strip of rhinestones sewn to it, the other two have French knots embroidered down their lengths. The strips are attached to the cuff with E6000. The smaller crochet lace circles the middle leather piece.

altered cuff 3

Chains strips have been attached to the rhinestone strip with large oval jump rings. To cover up the lace trip joins, I made the circular trims on each side with elastic and beads. More chain was looped and attached to the strips along the rhinestones. They were first attached directly to the chain, but it didn’t seem “finished”, so I added small gears along the hand-side of the cuff. It still wasn’t quite there, that’s when I dyed some pearls with meadow and oregano alcohol inks and attached them just under the smaller crocheted lace.

The last step was to determine how the cuff would fasten to the wrist. I toyed with the idea of elastic, but thought that a bow would add a little more “frill”. A length of grosgrain ribbon is sewn the entire length of the cuff on the inside. If the recipient wants it a little tighter, all she will need to do is undo enough of the sewn portion on each end and make the adjustment there.

altered cuff 2


Altered Birdhouse #2

Since I had purchased two birdhouses (a just in case :)), I altered the second one, too. This one is round. The first thing I did was cut off the roof, then drilled 2 more 1″ holes spaced somewhat evenly around the wall. The wall is covered with a dark brown cork, the roof is covered with part of the patchwork leather purse. Small screws have been screwed into the leather and roof at the joined leather, then wrapped with leather string. I wired in a gear at the top after removing the twine hanger. The bird has a leather top hat, gears over his eyes and the metal petal wings, too.


There was a wooden ring between the house and the roof that didn’t survive it’s removal, so I bought 2 metal washers and a metal bushing from the local feed store. The washers were too shiny, so I covered them with caramel alcohol ink. The rim of the house was uneven, so I glued leather rings to both sides of the bushing/washer/ bushing sandwich. Small holes were drilled between the holes in the house and I wired the bushing ring down to hold it in place and add a little decoration.The other bushing and washer were glued to the base.

front door

Copper foil was applied to the inner windows and around the base of the house. It was tinged with caramel alcohol ink, as well.


A nut was glued under each “window”; a bolt was screwed into the front opening. There are leather rings around each hole, too. One hole is covered with a gear, one with a watch crystal (it has the numbers actually on the crystal) and the front door is a large watch gear. I used a miniature dollhouse hinge on this one, so it opens. Antiqued bobbins were glued between the windows and lower to the base as added decoration. There is a leather “belt” with a small buckle around the bottom, too–just more decoration.


I needed to be able to hold the roof on, which presented a challenge. This is what I did: cut 3 strips of leather and attached with screws to the roof so that they fell between the windows. I used two Tim Holtz buckles to secure the front two strips to birdhouse wall and a large snap to the back wall. The buckles didn’t hold the roof down well until I pulled the buckles down, acting as a lever. Worked fine.


To finish it off, I stuck some hook and loop around the washer under the roof and the top of an LED tea light so that the tea light hangs down into the birdhouse. Take the roof off, flip the switch on the tea light, put the roof back on and voila!, a night-light.

Altered Birdhouse

Art or the Creative Mind is a Yahoo! group I rejoined about a month ago. The August swap previews were posted and one of them was an altered birdhouse. The birdhouse is from Michael’s (approx. 3.5″ x 6″, give or take, and cost about $1.50). I really like Steampunk, so that’s the direction I took. Here is the birdhouse that will go to my swap partner:

AFTCM birdhouse front The sides were covered with some turquoise green leather Melissa gave me for my birthday. She gave me a bag of leather scraps from a bookbinding place. How cool was that!!!???

AFTCM birdhouse back (back)

The roof is covered with embossed copper sheeting that’s been patina’d. It’s “patched with more leather. There are small screws (smaller that #4 size) on each side of each corner that have been laced with black wire. I drilled a second 1″ hole on the “back side” of the house (before applying the leather). The back hole is covered with a Tim Holtz gear; the front hole is finished with a watch bezel. It was a perfect fit.

AFTCM birdhouse side closeup(back close-up)

I cut the bottom off the box to stuff in a nest with another bird in it. Before re-attaching the bottom, I covered it with some black vinyl. The bottom has some tiny holes drilled around the edge so that I could insert the gear flowers. Some, I glued some dark brown cork and little wooden cups for feet (dyed with eggplant alcohol ink).

The front of the house has a 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ bolt inserted into a drilled hole. I sawed off the original wooden dowel perch.

AFTCM the bird The top hat is made from an old patchwork leather purse. It’s got some nice thinnish leather. Mr. Bird has small watch gears glued to his eyes and his feathers are flattened, reshaped, resized metal petals. He is perched on top of an antiqued bobbin (Spare Parts) that has been attached with another bold. This birdhouse had a hole in the top where a heavy twine hanger pulled through–this was removed.

Shoe Card

I got a little carried away making a card shaped like a shoe for the Art for the Creative Mind  Yahoo! Group. This was my first effort, but it seemed a little plain, so I added a copper/brown stickles to the shoe opening and the dots on the paper’s design. That didn’t work well, so I took the rhinestones off and used the stickles in those areas, too.AFTCM Shoe card

Template is from Sara Sandberg at

AFTCM Shoe card 2

Some others I made:

AFTCM Shoe card 3Shoe card 5Shoe card 4

Seashore Treasure Charm

The ArtCharms group had a Seashore Treasure swap. We just happened to be on Sanibel Island when this swap was open, so I learned the Sanibel stoop. This wasn’t my original idea, it’s just the one that survived implementation.

Seashore Treasure ArtCharm

My first idea was to bead the shell, so I drilled tiny holes along the edges with my Dremel. It took about 8-10 drill bits to get thru 12 shells–should have tried one first to see what it looked like, but I’d forgotten about the swap, so I was in a hurry.

I started off with 2 rows of holes along the curved edge and used 28 gauge gold wire with gold beads (Mill Hill beads, I believe). It looked nice, unfortunately when I attempted to put the head pin thru the top hole with the freshwater pearl, the twisting put too much pressure on the top and it broke. This happened on 2-3 times, so I switched to the above design.

Glass Fusing

The Art Studio in Marathon has a glass fusing studio, as well as clay. I had time after using the pottery wheel to partake of their Glass Bar. It’s basically some pre-cut projects that can be put together for fusing. However, you also have the option of doing your own thing. I made a night-light based loosely on one I had seen in a catalog. The Art Studio has lots of pre-cut bases, multiple sizes and colors of frit, strings, rods, etc. They also have Glassline’s glass paint. It’s a fireable glass paint. I had been eyeing it in Delphi’s glass emails and their website so getting a chance to use it was right up my alley! The cat is painted on with the Glassline paint, the rest is frit, rods and strings. Oh! They also had an adhesive for glass fusing that you just dab onto the frit in place. Worked out great.

cat night light

We had visitors while we were there and needed something to do for an afternoon. While Stella made a sushi bowl, I played with the Glassline paint again. Not so great results, but that really wasn’t the point :)… Here’s the pendant I painted. If you can’t tell, it’s a jellyfish over coral. There’s obviously a learning curve, LOL.

Jellyfish pendant