3 Easy Mixed Media Jewelry Ideas

Junk or Buried Treasure? 

My 13-year-old announced at the dinner table the other night, “There’s too much junk in the basement. We need to give it away or throw it away.” Wow! I thought. This coming from a boy whose bedroom floor is a sea of candy wrappers and Gatorade bottles? Maybe change IS coming?

I, of course, pictured the broken lamp I’ve been holding onto in hopes of fixing it one day; the dozens of old athletic shoes I don’t want to just toss in the garbage because I know I can recycle them someplace; and the endless empty cardboard boxes and bubble wrap that await contents and shipping. But when I asked him to show me what he was talking about he lead me into the storage room. “See these boxes? These should be tossed. Ever since we lived here I’ve never seen them opened, not even once.” So I opened one. It was filled with yarn. The next one? Fabric swatches. Another? Embroidery thread . . . Ribbons . . . Stamp pads . . . A kiln.

Meet My Extended Stash

The look on his face was priceless when I started laughing. He didn’t have a clue that all that “junk” is core to my being. My extended stash! The beads and their accompanying supplies? Well, they’re all in my studio, at the heart of the operation. But these periphery items? They’re like the spleen and gall bladder of the deal. Not called upon that often, but extremely necessary when digesting a unique idea.

I know you’re familiar with this situation. There are big data companies that track your purchasing and like me, most beaders stray into at least two other crafts. Just look at the mixed media books that are all 20% off right now on Beading Daily and try not to be tempted. Titles like Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery and 200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave have my extended stash banging on its cardboard confines, itching to see the light of day.

3 Easy Mixed Media Jewelry Ideas

Before you get too distracted by dreams of liberating your “other” stash, check out these 3 easy mixed-media ideas. Maybe they’ll spur you to do a little experimenting on your own:

1. Roll up a short piece of ribbon, sew the end to itself, and add beaded fringe and embroidery to make a great beaded bead like I did with the pendant pictured here.
2. Use Stazon stamping ink to stamp directly on metal findings, creating a totally new look.
3. Put some of that wool roving you’ll never spin into warm soapy water and rub it into a felted bead. Then stitch seed beads on it or wrap it with wire to create a funky focal piece.  (You can find instructions for felted beads in Felt Frenzy, one of the books on sale this week.)

What kind of mixed media projects are you doing these days? Share them on the website so the rest of us have an excuse to dig through our extended stashes, too.  

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website.  

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