Christmas Cork Crafting

Since I have a large collection of wine corks I decided to do something more with them this year  than the garland and ornaments I’d already made a few years ago.

So I got the brilliant idea to make some of those wine cork Christmas trees I’d seen all over Pinterest. How hard could they be, I asked myself? They really look fairly easy.

Sort of. But what you don’t realize is that wine corks aren’t all the same size. Some are longer than others. Some are thinner. And try as you might, they don’t always fit on that styrofoam cone the way you want them to. It was a bit of a challenge at first.

But I was determined to make it work, and I finally did. They aren’t perfect, but then again, that’s part of the fun of crafting. Each piece I make is unique, my own creation. And I’m probably my own worst critic, not always happy with what I make, even though most people don’t notice the imperfections I see.

It was also a bit of a challenge decorating them, because I wanted to do something different. I’ve had a collection of large metal beads for several years that I’d originally bought for wine cork bottle jewelry, and while those turned out well, they just weren’t that popular. So what to do with the leftover beads has been a challenge. They weren’t quite right for most of my bracelets, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of them.

However they were just right for my wine cork trees. Their slightly curved shape fit perfectly around the corks in strategic places that needed a fill-in or a pop of color. So I ended up designing the trees around the beads.

And no, I’m not going to sell any of them this year. I’d have to charge too much for my time! But they are fun to make, except when I get the hot glue all over my fingers. That hurts!

I’ve also just completed my first wine cork snowman, based on more photos on Pinterest. He was a lot easier than the trees, and I think the plaid Christmas ornament hat (from the dollar store of course) really makes him festive! And even better, my husband painted the corks white for me. And if you try it, be sure to paint it after your snowman is assembled and glued together. Much easier and it saves on paint.

What next? Well I do have some styrofoam cones left, so you never know….

Or I may find another hat and make another snowman. Or I could just make my own hat for him. You can still use snowmen after Christmas!

Have you done any special crafts this season? Or maybe some wine cork trees? Feel free to post pictures in the comments section. We’d sure love to see them!

Obsessed With Beads

Once you start collecting a few beads…you just can’t get enough of them. There are so many styles…colors…shapes and sizes…so many different materials. You want them all. But then what do you do with them?

That was my situation. But let me start at the beginning.

When my husband decided we needed ANOTHER Christmas tree several years ago (we already had SIX!) he wanted to do a wine themed tree. Which led me to start collecting wine corks so I could make a few garlands to put on the tree the following year. Well, my cork collection grew as friends contributed their corks, as well as my asking for wine corks at restaurants when we went out to dinner, and I soon had a large collection of them. Then I started buying a few beads to add to my creations.

One thing led to another, and I found myself making not only wine cork Christmas garland, wine cork Christmas ornaments, but also wine bottle hanging “jewelry” and other cork creations, combining any number of my colorful beads with the corks. I even started collecting champagne corks (and a few Petron corks) and making what I call “corky people.” It was so much fun!

But I quickly became obsessed with all the bead choices and eventually decided to expand my creativity into making my own jewelry. At first I only made bracelets and a few necklaces just for me, and for my granddaughters, but one thing led to another, and I realized I had to sell some of my creations in order to fund my obsession/hobby. After all, how many bracelets can you wear at one time? Three, four, maybe five in a stack, but when you’re working remotely you don’t get to show them off as often!

I already had an online shop called The Beaded Cork which sold my corky people, corked wedding cake toppers and wine bottle hangers as well as diaper cakes and cupcakes, but I’d put that on hiatus for a little while. 

So I renamed and redesigned my store, which was not the easiest thing in the world to do, but after several weeks of categorizing products, taking photos, and pricing and writing up product descriptions, NotOnlyBracelets was finally launched on Etsy.

The shop has an assortment of farmhouse garland, beaded corky people, necklaces, and of course all sorts of bracelets, including kids’ bracelets. More styles and selections are added each week as I find time to design and create them. Some for me, and some to sell.

And a former bedroom has now been turned into a craft and jewelry studio where I can play with my beads in my own space without having to move my unfinished work to make room for other things. Plus I have room to create other items when the mood hits me! (Which is what the vase of silk flowers is for that’s sitting on my table.)

With my own space who knows what else I’ll come up with as I go along!

You can visit my shop through the link in this post or by clicking Shop – Not Only Bracelets in the menu of this site.

And if you have a particular jewelry or garland idea in mind, contact me and we’ll see what we can come up with.

And now, back to my studio. The beads are calling.

A Proper Salute to the 4th!

As our country prepares to celebrate the 4th of July this week, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss my thoughts about this particular holiday.

Yes, we celebrate with cookouts and picnics…going to the beach or the park or other fun locations to watch fireworks! Most of us (those who don’t work in the hospitality or entertainment industry, or retail, or emergency services, that is!) have the day off to enjoy with our families and friends.

Our homes and yards are seen sporting red, white, and blue; we even have one of our “famous” flamingos in the front yard decked out in her patriotic colors, complete with Uncle Sam hat! We make desserts and other goodies to resemble our flag. And yes, our craft studio is no exception…we’ve even made this set of red, white and blue wine bottle pendants, just for patriotic parties!
Patriotic Corks

But we also need to take the time to remember what this holiday is really for. It’s actually Independence Day, as you know…the day we celebrate our nation’s actually becoming its own country…the United States…with our freedom being declared from England! Our ancestors fought hard for our freedom. Our brave men and women who served and are still serving in our armed forces put their very lives on the line every day to continue to make sure we keep our precious freedom. And we thank and salute each and every one of them for their service!

Without them, I hate to think where we’d be!

Now…do you know why fireworks are used for 4th of July celebrations? They were first used on July 8, 1776. Possibly since fireworks were traditionally used as a birthday celebration for the kings and queens, the shooting off of fireworks was done to celebrate the end of the king’s power over the colonies. The first official July 4 celebration was held the following year, on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia, which was the capitol of the United States at that time. Soon other cities followed Philadelphia’s lead, and there you have it! The rest is history!

Being originally from Maryland, every time I hear the “Star Spangled Banner” I also tend to think about how similar the fireworks must look to what it probably looked like at Ft. McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote about the “rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air”! Only those were real ammunition….not mere fireworks!

Even though July 4 was not declared an official federal holiday until 1941, it had been celebrated unofficially, since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. With the federal recognition, celebrations grew to what we have today.

So as you enjoy your cookouts with friends and family, and “ooh” and “ahh” over the fireworks, please take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by so many so that we can all enjoy the freedom we so often take for granted!

God Bless America! And Happy Independence Day!

4th July

Corky Friends

I don’t remember why I started collecting wine corks, but I just did% and although I don’t like champagne, I started off collecting them as well% and decided they needed to be recycled into something fun after they had no more use in a bottle. And their shape is just so unique. And then there are the Petronius corks…..

Now here’s a bit of trivia I bet you didn’t know — have you heard that the first wine corks were actually used by the French monk Dom Perignon, who is also sometimes rumored to have invented our modern day champagne? Well, we don’t really know for sure if that’s true about the corks or not, but it sure makes a great story! (And he really didn’t invent champagne!)

But we really do like those shapely champagne corks because they just lend themselves so nicely to becoming cute little “people”, dressed up in beads and ribbon and all styles of dress!

Cork People

Some of them are couples and make great cake toppers, and some of them have actually become beach bathing beauties with really colorful beach hats! And even flip flops…..

Since I liked playing with dolls so much as a little girl, and each one had her own name, naturally I couldn’t resist naming my bathing beauty cork creations. After all, I don’t want the to feel like I don’t love them…and they’re just so cute!

P1120006

And even though it’s just the beginning of summer, we can already imagine what kind of Halloween and even Christmas characters these fanciful corks can become! So many possibilities….

Now we can’t ask you not to re-name them when you take them home, but they’re really used to their names, and I’d have to confuse them.

You DO understand…..???