Friendship Bracelet

Every once in a while I peruse high end gift shops to see if I can knock off their expensive stuff. I found this in New York City and thought I might have a go. Since I already had everything, this was a freebie.
I had some waxed linen twine from the bead section of Michaels, a 3/4" hole punch and an empty soda can. I was in business.

I took some sharp scissors and cup off the top and bottom of the can before I cut it in half to flatten it. Then I punched out the circles. I found that it was best to place the side I wasn't going to use face up in the punch. Burrs formed on the edges of the side that was face up and I could hide them in the next step.
 I folded the circles in half. This was a bit tricky. I found it best to line up the edges carefully then slowly crease the center fold. If there is a bit of the inside showing, you can always trim it off.
 Knot the twine then slip the folded circle next to it. Place a drop of super glue inside the circle and hold it for a few seconds.  Make a knot on the other end of the folded circle.  Make your next knot about one and a half to two inches away and place another folded circle next to it.
Continue until you have run out of circles or it is the length you wish. Wrap it around your wrist for a bohemian chic look. How groovy.

Boho Chic Necklace

I'm that person who can't pass up a sale on beads. As a result I have jars of them. I saw this idea somewhere and thought it might be a neat way to bust a little bead stash.
 You will need some linked chain, beads (of course) and head pins. The holes in my beads were so big that the heads of the pins slipped through so I used seed beads. This turned out to be a nice design element for my necklace.
 I threaded a seed bead or two on my pin, added the larger bead, then ended with another set of seed beads. Using my needle nose pliers, I folded the end of the pin over to form a loop.
 I put one bead on each link then wound the end of the loop around to secure it.
 A flat cutter (I thinks that is what it is called) is useful to snip off the excess pin.
Add a clasp and you have a very cool and colorful necklace. Gee, I don't have very many beads anymore. I better see if there are any sales on them. (It never ends)


Color Bloc Cuff

Most of my leather samples are of the brown variety but tucked away are a few colorful rebels; red, orange, yellow and sage. Shocking!
I took a soft black strip, folded it in half and sewed it down the middle then turned it rightside out. Next I cut 3 squares out of various colored leathers (I find that the backs are more colorful than the front finished sides) then 3 smaller squares out of contrasting colors.
I decided that it would be smarter to assemble and sew each square before I attached it to the black strap. After I layered the two squares I sewed on a metal bead that I tied on the back with a square knot.
The zipper foot was a good choice for sewing on the squares. Use a leather or denim needle and go slowly. You don't want to break a needle or two like someone else I know. (don't ask) Fold the ends over and sew them shut too.

I used sticky backed velcro dots for the closure of this cuff. I was going to sew them on but those suckers are pretty sticky so I saved myself a step. Whew!

Photo Album

This holiday I went to the Christmas market in Grand Central Station, NYC. If you live in the area and love crafts, you should go. I saw a booth of leather items (everything from key fobs to purses) that had photographed images on them. I'm sure they used some special machine that T shirt sellers and special transfer paper but I wanted to try it using what I had.
I used a light fabric transfer paper by Avery that I think I bought at Staples. I reversed my image and printed it out on the paper from my computer using the instructions that came with the paper.

I ironed it like they suggested in the instructions. I have an old iron without the holes. This is a great tool since it also heats up hotter than new irons do and doesn't leave those telltale holes. Look for one at thrift stores, rummage sales, etc.
This is my 3 try and by far the best result, although not without flaws. 

I first tried the transfers for dark fabrics, but it is a thin opaque rubbery film that I actually melted and made the baby look like he had a terrible skin condition. None of the leather grain came through and the photo ended up peeling off.

I tried the light transfer paper on a dark piece of leather and you could hardly see the image. No go.

I finally tried the light transfer paper on a pale piece of leather and got the results I was looking for. The grain of the leather showed through and it had the vintage look I was after. Somehow, though, I distorted the leather on the left side (iron too hot?) and even though I ironed over and over again, I couldn't get that purple splotch to transfer. 
The bottom 2 images were the best so I cut them off, folded them in half and made a small photo album.

The top 2 won't go to waste as I will but them apart and sew/glue them onto something else and camouflage the oops purple part somehow. (Bedazzler anyone?)

Birthday Cookies

A few years ago I bought some Star Wars cookie cutters from William Sonoma. They were embossed and not only cut out the silhouette of the characters, but outlined the features as well. Could I do the same thing with rubber stamps and plain cookie cutters? Besides this month is my birthday month.

The trick was to find a cookie that didn't spread very much in baking. Although I think a shortbread recipe is best, I wanted a sugar cookie. A google search brought something called "No-Fail Sugar Cookies". To make about 2 dozen 3" cookies make the following:

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat until fluffy then add:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

roll out between waxed paper then chill for about an hour.

Dip your clean rubber stamp (used only for food) into some flour then press it into the chilled cookie dough. I had the best result with thinner cookies and deeper pressed stamps. The cookies don't spread as much as some, but they do spread a bit and lightly pressed images will disappear in the baking.

Bake in a 350˚ oven for 8 - 10 minutes.

Allow to cool. They are fine as is, but what's a sugar cookie without icing? I mixed confectioner's sugar, milk, food coloring and a tiny, tiny drop of peppermint flavoring. With a new artist's brush I painted the icing around the perimeter and sprinkled on colored sugar.
With all of the millions of rubber stamps out there, think of the possibilities.


Flower Cowl

I bought a couple of old wool sweaters, washed and dried them on the hottest settings until they were nicely felted.
 I cut a 7" circle then scalloped the perimeter. When I reached the end I continued to cut scallops in a spiral pattern till I reached the center. Beginning in the center I sewed a running stitch around the inside curves.
 I pulled the thread taut, spiraled the petals and sewed the layers in place.
 So that the flowers looked more flower-like, I sewed a button and bead in the center.
 I cut out two leaf shapes about 6" x 4".
I sewed five flowers together end to end and added the leaves on each end. To complete the circle I cut a small slit in the middle of one leaf, making certain that it was just big enough to accommodate the button. I used the buttonhole stitch to finish the edges of the slit. At last I tried on the cowl and positioned the button. 

 A nice alternative to a scarf, if I must say so myself.

Pop Bottle Necklace

I bought some vintage bottle caps from Ebay for another project. You can buy anything on Ebay. They came slightly flattened so that the fluted edges flared out. This was good when using them for jewelry as nothing dug into my neck. You can flatten your own bottle caps with a rubber mallet and a steel bench block.
I used my smallest hole punch to make a hole in the rim of the cap through which I threaded an eye pin. I spiraled the long end of the pin and glued it in place with Goop.
To add some weight to the cap, I covered the spiral with a penny.
 Lastly, I punched out 1" circles from a soda can and glued them over the penny using a clothes pin as a clamp. I let them dry overnight. The caps have a tendency to flip over occasionally and this makes for nice finished look.
 Using jump rings, I attached the bottle caps to some large ball chain (found at my local hardware store). I cut the chain to length and added a catch.
A real conversation piece.
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