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  • Fourth of July Bracelet

    I cannot believe that it is July and in just two days it will be Independence Day. This year is just flying by so quickly. Any who! I realized I do not own anything patriotic. So I wanted to make something that I could wear on my wrist. I used some of my beads that I got at the antique mall. I had some old red, white, and blue buttons that I thought would be prefect for this project. I didn’t use a book for this I just winged it. I think that it turned out well. Here are a couple of books that I love and inspire me by Leisure Arts Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2 and DIY Jewelry Pendants. I bought some 19 gauge wire this morning at my local hardware store that has been around since before I was born. I just love going to hardware stores. I went to get a key made and came out with a new key and a couple different gauge wires. The one thing about using regular wire is that after you use it or wear it, it oxidizes and starts to lose its shine.

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    The tools that I used are needle nose pliers, and wire cutters. The supplies were 6 buttons two red, two white, and two blue. I used toggle, clasp, and a few jump rings. I cute a good 5-7 inch length for both sides of the button to wrap and make an eye to join the next button or eye for the jump ring. I know that I usually use head pins but I thought I would see what the wire would look like. I like the wire. Make sure that you feel around on the end of the wire so that it doesn’t have a sharp end, or a tiny bit of an end that can get snagged on say your shorts and cannot move your arm and have to ask a stranger at the grocery store if she could unsnag you. Yes!! Yes!! This actually happened a couple weeks ago.

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  • Emerald Necklace

    Easy DIY Jewelry

     

    One of my good family friends is having their 35th anniversary this weekend. I had to google what the anniversary gift is for one 35th anniversary and it is emerald or coral. So I decided since I couldn’t afford emeralds I would go into my bead and button boxes to see what I could find that was emerald or as close to emerald as I could get and to make her something special. I also looked through my favorite jewelry book for an idea. The book is called Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2. I found that Green Dangles Necklace was something that I was inspired by.

    I used a small silver decorative ring and on this ring I used one eye pin for the green button. For the other three I used two different kinds of decorative silver headpins with glass beads on two, and a peace sign with a silver bead. I used a small leather cord for the necklace to tie it all together. I also got a silver chain to go with it so that she can wear it on a dressy occasion. Make sure that when you are doing your finishing touches of wrapping your wires that you feel around the ends to make sure that you have no sharp ends. The only tools that I needed to use were my needle nose pliers. Have fun making your jewelry.

    Green Dangles Necklace

  • Getting Gauge

    When you are knitting, it is really important to get the correct gauge that the pattern calls for especially if you are knitting some sort of garment. I have a friend who once knitted a dress for someone and followed the pattern to every letter and it was 3 sizes too big. I have other friends that have knitted sweaters that were too small, too short in the waist or sleeves, or the pieces didn’t fit. So you want to do a gauge swatch and get your ruler out to measure your stitches. You want to know how many stitches you get within an inch.

    I used these Sailboat washcloths to show the difference in what I am talking about. I got the pattern for this adorable Sailboat out of a Leisure Arts book called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham. I know with washcloths you don’t necessary need to worry about a gauge swatch. That said, the sailboat on the left is much smaller than the one on the right. I used two different yarns. The sailboat on the left was knitted in 100% Egyptian Cotton and the one on the left in regular Lily’s Sugar n’ Cream USA 100% Cotton. Both are cotton but totally different sizes of yarn. The sailboats were also knitted on different sized needles. The washcloth on the left was knitted using size 6 needles, and the one on the right was knitted using size 8. Why two different sized needles? I used the needles that the yarn specified. If I had used a size 8 with the Egyptian cotton, then it would have been really loose and you would not have been able to make out the pattern as well.  If I had knitted the Lily’s Cotton with size 6 needles, the washcloth would be really hard to have knit up because it would have been very tight.

    Left Sailboat knitted in Egyptian Cotton and Sailboat on the right Regular Cotton Left Sailboat knitted in Egyptian Cotton and Sailboat on the right Regular Cotton

    Good Luck on your gauges. I feel your pain when you have to do a gauge swatch. I do not like doing them either. I like them like I like tucking in all my ends in at the end of projects.

  • Key Fob

    Playing with my beads and buttons again this week I was wondering what new pretty things that I could make. Then I remembered that I recently went through my keys and cleaned out all the old keys that I didn’t need any more and after cleaning out my old keys I had empty key rings that were sitting on my bedside table taunting me because they were empty and I didn’t know what to do with them. If I throw them away then I would need one. So I got out my button box and then my bead box. I remembered a pair of Dangling Earrings from my Leisure Arts book called Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2 and thought something like that would look really cute on a key chain. The back of the book has easy to follow directions and photos to help. I found them very useful.

    IMG_7686 (1) Key Fob

    I chose buttons and beads that didn’t have a mate. I should have thought to go into my arts cabinet and get a spool of wire to make them longer than in the photo. I will do this next time and oh yes there will be a next time. These were quick and easy to make and would make great little gifts. For the one with the buttons, small silver spacers, and glass beads I used a hoop earring with an eye. I used needle nose pliers to pull really tight after putting on the buttons on the hoop and around through the eye. Then I added the glass beads and small silver spacers. You want to make sure that you save enough space on the hoop earring to go around your key chain and are able to wrap it a few times and use your needle nose pliers to make sure that your ends aren’t sticking out so nothing can grab on to it. The other fob is basically the same glass beads, silver spacers, and fancy headpins posts.

  • Slouchy Beanie with a Twist

    I started this kids hat by Leisure Arts called Forward and Reverse from the book Knit Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family three different times. The first time I either missed adding a stitch or I dropped a stitch. The second time I got two inches in and I didn’t really like how the pattern looked so I thought: “What if I didn’t leave off the purl stitch at the end of the second row knit the last nine? How would it look?” Hmmmmm!!

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    So for the third time I cast on my 70 stitches and worked the rib stitch 1 ½ inches, worked my stitches off the size 6 circular needles to size 8 circular needles, and then the next round I added my stitches evenly around. Don’t forget to use place markers! I used 3 different place markers; the first, where I joined it in the round. The second,  to move up the hat so that when I do my decreases I know that is where I joined it and that is where I start decreasing. The third marker is the one that is going to continue to move around the hat.

    Since I adjusted the pattern slightly by a few stitches, I did a few extra rows to where I got to a purl 1 knit 1 at the place marker that shows where I connected it in the round and followed the rest of the pattern. If this knitting project wasn’t a success, well it would not have been my first or my last. One of the rules that I learned from my many art classes: you have to know the rules in order to break the rules. You have to at least try. You have to take a chance. All-in-all, this project was a success.

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  • Button and Glass Bead Bracelet

    I am having so much fun playing with my beads and my buttons so I was wondering what they would look like together. Thinking about which buttons to use I remembered I had several silver buttons. It took a couple attempts to join the two different type’s material. I used the White & Gold Bracelet from the Leisure Arts book called Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2. The only thing that I do not like is how my fingertips hurt when I am finished.

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    I ran out of eye pins making another bracelet like I made the other day.  So I used some hoop earrings that have an eye and these are easy to wrap than the eye pin. The only thing is they are bent so I had to gently straighten then to slide the beads on. I used toggle clasps and two jump rings. I almost used the jump rings to connect the wrapped buttons to the eye of the eye pin of the wrapped beads I would just have to remember to make an eye hole at the end of the wrapped bead. I think I might try wrapping some for some earrings to.

  • Bead Bracelet

    I got some new books from Leisure Arts. The book that I was most inspired by is the Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2. You know how much I like buttons. Well getting to play with beads to me is equally fun. I wish I had some silver peace signs like in the book's project, Peace Sign Bracelet.  It was the one that I really liked. I have wrapped beads, made earrings and wine charms as gifts but I rarely make things for myself. This is my first bracelet and I chose real pretty green glass beads, and a couple of green gemstones with silver beads on both sides. I usually give the things that I make away as birthday, Christmas, and just-because-it-made-me-think-of-you gifts. This bracelet would make a great gift for a friend or family member for any occasion.

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    I wrapped my beads on an eye pin, but before you wrap, put on another eye pin to make a chain for your next set of beads to wrap. Continue until you have the desired length you want. I used my wrist and a friend’s wrist to measure so that it’s not too small or tight. I used two pairs of needle nose pliers, a very small set that I found at Hobby Lobby several years ago, and another pair that I got at my local hardware store along with my wire cutters. The only thing that I did not have in my bead box were clasps. I will have to pick up some tomorrow at my craft store. I will then use two jump rings which I call o – rings. Have fun playing with your beads. I know that I will be after I restock a few things.

  • Spring Cleaning Tips

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    I spent about an hour tonight going through my yarn bag looking for a single ball of yarn and what I found was a yarn mess. My yarns were mingling with one another and had become a tangled mess. So I went into the kitchen and got my box of Ziploc sandwich bags and as I sorted them I put each ball of yarn into their own bags. Since I did this this will keep them tangle free and clean. Also when I am ready to use a particular color of yarn it is already in a baggy all I have to do is take a pair of scissors and snip a small triangle in the corner bottom of the bag.  Then work the yarn through the hole. In doing this this keeps your yarn clean. I don’t know who came up with this idea but they were a genius. I don’t know about you but I hate when my yarn falls into the floor. Especially when you are knitting in public and it rolls off and lands on the ground that you’re not too sure when it was last swept.

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    Have a ball, skein, or hank of yarn that needs winding or rewinding into a ball? Grab a crochet hook. I use my Boye J or K. in my left hand I hold a good size tail about 3 inches should do it and then start wrapping it around the end of your crochet hook. Take turns wrapping it straight onto the crochet hook with a little angle to it and when you wrap at an angle I turn it slowly with my left hand. The reason that I hold it with my left hand is that I am left handed. Give it a try. If you are winding a skein or a hank you can have someone hold it or put it on a chair. So far when winding a skein into a ball I have held it myself. Remember to always pull your yarn from the center of the ball. Good luck and happy spring cleaning.

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  • Birthday and Mother's Day Cards

    I have been so busy with making birthdays gifts in April that I completely forgot about Mother’s Day. So please don’t tell my mother!!! Even with all the TV and radio ads I guess in my head I thought I still had plenty of time. I like making my own gifts for my friends and family. I know in a previous blog post that I said my new favorite book is Crafting with Buttons and Ribbons by Leisure Arts. In this book I think my gift cards are called Gift Tags I thought they would look really cute cutout and glued onto blank cards that I found at Michael’s craft store.

    Birthday Cupcake Birthday Cupcake

    They have the templates in the book to help you make cards or tags. All you have to do is make a copy of it or trace it. I used tracing paper to trace the cupcake and the bird. You could probably even use white tissue paper if you don’t have any tracing paper. For the birthday cupcakes cards I used felt for the icing and the inside of a sleeve that they use for hot cups at Starbucks for the bottom. On my next cupcake that I plan on using tiny buttons for my sprinkles instead of tiny colorful bits of felt. But for my mother’s day card I used a piece of scrapbook paper for the bird, a piece of felt for the wing and a button for the eye. I just used good old fashioned Elmore’s glue to glue all the pieces onto the cards. Good Luck! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mamma’s from two legged babies to four legged fur babies!!

    Mother's Day Mother's Day
  • Ribbon Canvas

    Flipping through Decorate with Ribbon by Leisure Arts I found a quick project. I took out a 9x12 canvas and painted it gray because gray is a neutral color. As I waited for it to dry I played with what ribbons that I wanted to use. April is Autism Awareness month and April 2 is Worldwide Autism Awareness month. So I chose a project that is called Ribbon Canvas. Continue reading

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