10 September 2015

DIY Jewelry/Hairpin/Hairflower holder


It's been a while since I have written, and I have never shared a project I have done.  So, I'm back and I am sharing this cool project!  

My inspiration came from a picture I saw on Pinterest, that rabbit hole of ideas where crafty people get lost for hours.  You can check out my Pinterest boards here.

Here are some of the supplies you will need.  A ruler or T-square will also be helpful. 

TOP: Chicken wire, thrift store wood picture frame, tin snips, spray paint,
 sandpaper, plastic sheeting or other surface covering;
BOTTOM: Painter's tape, lint roller, hammer and small nails or brads,
picture hanging wire (you can use other types of picture hangers), hot glue gun
and sticks, needle-nosed pliers with wire cutters, general-purpose staple gun
and staples, scissors, backing fabric (I used black felt).

First step is to prepare the frame surface for the paint you have chosen.  Use the sandpaper to lightly roughen the surface, so the paint will adhere well.  Any oils or adhesives must be removed, or the paint will not stick.  Always sand in the direction of the grain of the wood, or the surface will be uneven.

Sand with the grain!  60-100 grit
sandpaper should work fine.

Wood frames warp over time, and some frames may be slightly separated in the corners; you can use the staple gun to add two staples to each corner to prevent further separation of the joins:

A general-purpose staple gun and
staples will do just fine here.

Next, we paint!  Spray paint works best when shaken well, held about 18" from the surface, and sprayed in short bursts with long strokes.  If you spray too long, or stay in one place too long, the paint will pool or drip.  I wanted the chicken wire to be the same color as the frame, so I painted both sides of it with Rustoleum Aged Metallic in Rose Gold.

Most of the paint will go through the wire.  Use light
strokes, and lean the wire up against something.  Don't
leave it laying down, or the paint will stick to the surface
and will be marred when you pick it up.

Next, paint one side of the frame and let it dry completely before painting the other side.  

It may take more than one coat to get full coverage.  Let dry
completely between coats.

If you want to paint the back a different color (I used Rustoleum in Hunter Club Green) , use blue painter's tape to mask off the front side.  Press down the edges well, so no paint gets underneath.  Fully mask off the front, as the paint floats through the air and sticks to whatever it finds.

Painter's tape comes in a variety of widths; use what works
best for the size of your frame.

Once the paint is completely dry on the frame and the wire, usually 24 hours, it is time to fit the wire to the frame.  Place the frame front down, and lay the wire on it to measure the size; be sure to leave a small bit on the edges.  You'll see why down below.  

To reduce cutting, line up the wire using two
existing edges, then mark the cut line on
the other two sides.

Using the tin snips, cut in the middle of the row to leave the edges needed to help hold the frame in place later.

If you don't have tin snips, you can use wire
cutters.  It will take longer, and your
hands might be more sore

Now you will attach the wire to the frame.  Lay the wire in position.  You will use the needle-nosed pliers for the next part: bend the frame into the corner using the pliers, making sure to keep the wire evenly distributed across the opening.  

Use the side of the pliers, not the nose, so you don't mark the frame.

Once you have all of the edges bent inward, you will use the staple gun to attach the wire to the frame.  It might take a little practice, but you can pull any misfired staples with the pliers.  I forgot to take a picture of this step!  Make sure you place the staple across a wire; it won't take many to secure the wire, 3-5 per side.

Now that you have the wire secured, you can put on the backing (if desired).  I chose black felt; the black will set off the jewelry I planned to put on this holder.  Measure the backing to slightly overlap the opening, so it can be glued down.  Be sure not to stretch the fabric, or you will have wrinkles.  Use a lint roller on the front side to remove any dirt or debris, then use painter's tape to hold the fabric in place as you glue it to the frame.  

This piece of felt just happened to be the right size!  

Plug in the glue gun, and put a glue stick in the chamber.  Be sure to put something under the tip, as the glue will ooze out as it melts. The tip is VERY HOT, so don't touch!  Use only a thin bead of glue, it won't take much, and take your time, squeezing the trigger of the glue gun gently and evenly.

Move the painter's tape as you go, so the
fabric does not get misaligned. Press down
on the glued part to make sure it adheres
fully to the frame.

Allow the glue to dry, and carefully check all the edges to make sure that it is competely attached.  Touch up as needed.  Next, you will measure the placement of the nails or brads that you will hook the hanging wire onto, if this is the method you use (you can use other methods, this is what I had available at the time).  Use a ruler or a T-square, measuring the same distance from the top on each side of the frame.  Mark the location of where the nails/brads go.

Be sure to place a thick towel under the frame, so you
do not mar the front when hammering in the nails.

When you put the nails in, make sure they are angled slightly.

No, it's not drunk

Using the wire cutter part of the pliers, cut a length of wire a few inches longer than the width of the frame.  Find the middle of the wire, and center it on the frame; wrap the ends of the wire around the nails a few times, then any extra around the hanging wire itself; allow it to be slightly loose, not taut.  Another picture I forgot to take....

Now you are finished!  Time to decide where to hang it, and what to put on it; I use it to hold my hook earrings and fancy hair pins.


You can use these for all kinds of things!  I made one for my collection of hair flowers.  It looks like a piece of artwork!  I used S hooks to hang ponytail holders.

This frame was already a neutral grey, which sets
off the colors well.  Also, there is no backing.

And that's it!  Hope you enjoyed making this project :)

21 March 2014

We Need Help To Save Mexican Gray Wolves

I don't usually get into any kind of political discussions here (well, anywhere, really), but this is a topic I am very involved in, and want to share it with you.

The Mexican gray wolf, Canis lupus baileyi, is the most endangered subspecies of gray wolf IN THE WORLD, and the most endangered mammal in the US.  There are currently several bills being discussed in the Arizona State legislature which will negatively affect the Mexican wolf, or lobo, if they are passed (SB1211, SB1212, HB2699).  Currently, there are 83 Mexican wolves in the recovery program, only 37 of which are in Arizona.

A friend of mine and I, who are both passionate about the fate of wolves, have co-drafted this letter, and will be sending it out into the Universe as far and wide as possible.  Please help us spread the word, and the facts, about the lobo (if you share the letter, PLEASE keep our names on it, as we worked VERY hard to write it well).

Thank you,


"We are writing this letter in an effort to waylay the spread of misinformation which, at its root, is the willful and direct attempt to destroy a species that is vital to the ecological balance and economic success of the state of Arizona and the rest of the United States. This amazing national resource is the focus of a horrifying bias that is killing living beings based on unjustified misinformation and fear-mongering, which represents the most reprehensible sort of political manipulation imaginable.

The two of us—a wildlife rehabilitator and a former student of ecology and genetics, both with lifelong study and understanding of ecology and interspecies dynamics—understand the role wildlife plays in nature; we understand the predator-prey relationship, and we are directly aware of the impact on the ecosystem that results from the loss of a species. We also understand that Man has a huge effect on the ecology of the planet due to our causing the near- or full extinction of entire species, such as the recent, lamented loss of the Western Black Rhinoceros. What we dont understand is how our fellow humans can be so callous regarding the restoration of a severely endangered species—one which is approaching an extinction for which we, as a culture, would ultimately be directly responsible.

Our frustration is based on several facts. Firstly, and perhaps most of interest to the politicians involved, is that the majority of Arizona—and U.S.—constituents, when polled, overwhelmingly state that the recovery of the gray wolf within the United States is a desired outcome. In other words, the vast majority of Arizona voters prefer to see the wolf reestablished in its natural range (http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2013/09/04/survey-reports-az-nm-residents-strongly-support-mexican-wolf-recovery/). This desire is centered on the fact that, secondly, the wolf is a severely endangered species—with the Mexican gray wolf in particular being the most endangered mammal in North America, and the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world (http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/history)—a direct result of the fear and misinformation that is epidemic among communities that are in opposition to wolf recovery. Finally, this bias is being promoted by political lobbying that spends large amounts of money to perpetuate the widespread misinformation about these animals, which in turn becomes a direct obstacle to the introduction of proven scientific truths and real, effective tools that assist our ranchers and hunters in the ability to live alongside wolves while preserving them as the true national resource and vital ecological balance that they are.

The Mexican gray wolf, also known as the lobo, is the most endangered mammal in North America and the most endangered subspecies of gray wolf in the world (http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/history); this is a direct result of humans killing them via hunting, trapping, and poisoning, primarily for the livestock industry. The last three wild Mexican wolves in the U.S., prior to the current restoration population, were killed in 1970 (http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/history). Their historic range includes southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas, and northern Mexico; today, there are approximately 300 lobos in captivity in more than 40 facilities, and merely 83 in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

The definition of an endangered species is one for which there is a non-viable wild population --non-viable meaning that the continued existence of the species is in doubt due to the limited numbers of that species that exist in the wild.

Amazingly, the 83 wild lobos are, according to US Fish and Wildlife Service and the politicians in Arizona, among others, currently deemed a nonessential experimental population. This is a political designation and is inappropriate as their current numbers are not high enough, according to extensive scientific research, to ensure the viability of the species. By all evidence, this "nonessential" designation is due to said politicians fearing their constituents displeasure over having to share their lands—both private and public—with wolves. This "nonessential" designation, referring to the 10(j) rule of the Endangered Species Act (Act), allows some wiggle room about the policies and procedures of the Act, which, in this deliberate misapplication, directly harms the recovery of this at-risk species by allowing wolves to be killed or removed in certain situations without legal reprisal. By not classifying these individuals as essential, the message being sent is that we dont need wild wolves outside of zoos in order to preserve the species. This could not be further from the truth.

In 2013, regarding the status of the wolves in 2012, Phil Hedrick, a geneticist and former Mexican gray wolf recovery team expert said, By the late 1970s, the Mexican gray wolf was nearly eradicated and because todays 75 wild individuals are all descended from the only seven wolves saved at that time, their genetic health has been severely compromised. The [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service knows this, and we have made it clear that if a recovery plan is not completed and implemented immediately, one which allows for dispersal, these animals cannot recover.

The wolf is an apex predator, which means it is at the top of the food chain. Their normal diet is elk, deer, javelina, beaver, and small mammals. Yes, on occasion, they do kill livestock, to deny this would be irresponsible. However, only 0.1% of cattle deaths are attributed to wolf depredation; that is 225 TIMES LESS than the #1 cause of cattle death, respiratory illness (USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service from the 2010 Cattle and Calf Death Loss Report, based on producer-reported data). On the list of the various reasons for cattle loss, wolf depredation is the lowest of all factors, including each of the other area predators, and even "unknown" predators (see chart attached at the end of this letter).

Living with wolves is possible, and a number of ranchers who live in wolf territory, including those in gray wolf territory outside of Arizona, prove this. There are programs in place to help ranchers who live and/or pasture their animals in wolf territories. The Mexican Wolf /Livestock Interdiction Trust Fund provides long-term funding for prolonged financial support to livestock operators within the framework of cooperative conservation and recovery of Mexican wolf populations in the Southwest (Mexican Wolf/Livestock Coexistence Council Depredation Compensation Guidelines, http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/MWLIF.cfm). The Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Compensation Trust provides for range riders, electric fencing, training in non-lethal methods of wolf deterrents (such as guard dogs), and other proactive projects to further peaceful rancher-wolf coexistence.

And to the first and most important point, more than 75% of Arizona voters polled said they welcome the Mexican wolf, and want to see it restored to its historic range (http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/1201/51/Oppose-Anti-Wolf-Bills-in-AZ-Legislature). The recovery program is part of the Endangered Species Act, and is very necessary to save this vital species. When the program started, a goal of at least 100 individuals in the wild by 2006 was set; due to a variety of factors, that goal has yet to be achieved. The Mexican wolf is by no means recovered with only 83 animals in the wild, only 37 of which are in Arizona; they do not inhabit a significant portion of their historic and native habitat, as is required by the Act. Reclassifying the lobo as essential will protect them with the full weight of the Act, and allow them to once again roam the forests as they were meant to, and as the people of Arizona and the U.S. want them to do.

Restoring the lobo to their full range will have a positive effect on the ecosystem. Wolves kill the ill and injured of the herds most desired by hunters, rather than the strongest; the genetic health of their prey species will improve, which is to the benefit of hunting constituents. This has been demonstrated through the research in the gray wolf reintroductions in Yellowstone National Park, not to mention the fact that the presence of wolves helps increase biological diversity (http://www.bitsofscience.org/wolf-yellowstone-predators-forests-4492/). Having their natural predator to contend with once again will promote greater movement and migration of ungulate (elk, deer) herds, as they were meant to do. Naturally reducing the population of herbivorous prey species will allow plant life to return after decades of overbrowsing. This plant life will encourage other species to return, such as the beaver, which also has a profound effect on building a healthy ecosystem.

Economically, restoring the Mexican gray wolf can only benefit Arizona and its tourism businesses; according to a University of Montana study, the tourist draw of the gray wolf has translated into more than $35 million dollars in Yellowstone Park regional revenue. It does nothing but benefit the natural world and those who depend on and enjoy recreation in it to have the Mexican wolf restored to a strong, healthy population; this cannot be achieved under the current method of management.

We implore the public to speak up in defense of the Mexican gray wolf, to save this critically endangered and important species. We ask that those in positions to create or influence legislation make a stand for the lobo, to acknowledge the science and to listen to the People. Save the Mexican wolf for the health of the ecosystem, the economy of the State, and the treasure of future generations.

Thank you.

Erin Bell and Delphia Strickland