Nautical themed earrings

Nautical themed earrings with blue agate in sterling silver overlay

This past weekend was a  productive one creatively.  First, my mother and I had a chance to dive into my bead stash.  She made two bracelets from vintage red beads I had while I made a few pairs of earrings and a necklace.

The main issue I run into whenever I decide to work on jewelry is my lack of quality findings. When I go to the craft store I am usually so dazzled looking at the walls of beads that I neglect the nuts and bolts of jewelry making, which is a shame because there are some pretty nice findings out there: specialty hooks, fancy bead caps and so on. The same goes for tools of the trade, though I’ve gotten better in that respect. So, I will have to try and make it a point to use my coupons for findings for a while until I pare down my bead stash.

But the fun didn’t stop at beading!  This weekend my mother and I also got down and dirty mixing concrete to make hypertufa pots for the upcoming planting season. For those not familiar with hypertufa, there are a few recipes out there for them but basically they are a mix of concrete, vermiculite, perlite and sometimes sand or other little additives.

Simple Ingredients

Simple Ingredients

After a basic 1 to 1 mix of these ingredients and water, mix everything to a cottage-cheese like texture.

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Cement Flavored Cottage Cheese!

Next, press the mixture into molds sprayed with mold release spray. We usually use Pam cooking spray. I suggest using plastic or cardboard forms (both for the outside mold and the inside part) since they have give and will be easier to get off the finished product.

Do not forget to get the mixture under that center piece of the mold!

Do not forget to get the mixture under that center piece of the mold!

Here’s an important and seemingly obvious point – be sure you get some of the mixture UNDER the center mold.  We were so caught up having fun that on the first one we did we forgot and had to pull the center can up and pack some under the center and then press it back into the mold.

Finally, cover the item in plastic wrap.  The curing process is a slow one, but key so that the pot will last and not crack immediately.

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Cover in plastic wrap

After sitting for a day, remove the center of the mold and then a day after that release the project from the mold.

And that’s it. Easy-peasy, right?

Hypertufa makes for super light, rustic looking pots that are terrific for little succulents which are all the rage these days.  It’s a fun project to do on a hot day and I am sure we will be returning to this project later in the year since it was still a bit cool to have embarked on it but we were eager to do something fun outside and hypertufa fit the bill.

Now to see how they will turn out!  I won’t get a chance to see until next week, but I am eager to check them out.  I am also dreaming about trying different forms for hypertufa – maybe some cute little garden decorations from silicon molds even.  Or maybe I’ll try making little straight up concrete items…. so many possibilities!

Until next time, may inspiration find you always!