New Bling

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I love crafty blogs! I currently have 70 blogs on my RSS feed and 65 of those are craft related! They are where I get my inspiration, ideas and often instructions on how to do some of the things I attempt. Honestly, craft blogs are dangerous for me!

It was a craft blog, One Pretty Thing, that led me to another blog, Helping Little Hands, where I discovered stamped washer necklaces. I was immediately in love with the simplicity of these beauties, not to mention the fact that ever single item used can be procured in a home improvement store!

The first thing I did was order a set of alphabet stamps from Harborfreight.com. I was so surprised to see how inexpensive these were! I was hoping to go for the set I linked to, but they were on overstock. I ended up paying a bit more for the 40 piece set. For under $20, though, it was a great investment!

Next I headed to Lowe’s. I went on the trip with my kids and without the husband! I had fun wandering. I bought several sizes of washers and even found some ball chains (in with the chains) and the ends that fasten them (in with the ceiling fans.) I left feeling quite proud of the fact that I navigated the store and found items spread all over without needing any help!

And then the fun started! I should have taken pictures of the during, but I was having too much fun! I took my self-healing cutting mat out on the front step and put my washer down and started pounding! I found that a heavier hammer works better. The larger washers are also thicker and give a better impression. The thinner, smaller washers (like those I used for the kids’ below) tended to bend when struck. I bought extra washers and I am glad I did, since I messed several up. I am still not pleased with my daughter’s washer and may end up redoing it.

This is my daughter’s. As you can see, I messed up on the E and some of the letters weren’t very deep. After I was finished, I used a piece of wire to add the bead and hang it from the necklace. The bead chain is too heavy, so I need something smaller, but this works for now.

My son’s was next. I was able to get the letters deeper and clearer. I just hung his straight on the chain and it is so darn cute around his neck! He loves having his own necklace he can wear!

And this is mine! I love it! This washer was only slightly bigger in diameter, but it was much thicker and easier to get a good impression. I strung the bead using wire, which I used to hang it off the chain. This helps it hang straight when I am wearing it.

Again, the chain is a bit too thick, so I need to see what I can find elsewhere. Lowe’s didn’t offer much in that department, but they aren’t exactly a store that supplies jewelry making needs! I think these will make great gifts in the future. I have also seen them made into keychains (the thicker washers would definitely need to be used for those) and I am also planning to look for small rectangles or other shapes of metal that can go on necklaces. These are so darn easy and fun! And I love having the personalized jewelry!

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School’s Out!!

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Summer is in full swing here in the Momknitter household! Of course, it was a rough start. The last day of school for the eldest also coincided with an onset of strep for me! And then the antibiotics decided to mess with me, too! So, even with our 90 degree temperatures, I haven’t really enjoyed much of this summer until this week.

First, though, let’s back up a bit. I realize it has been a while since I posted. I haven’t been feeling particularly crafty lately, but when it came to the end of the school year, I knew I had to make something for the teacher! My daughter’s kindergarten teacher was a real angel. She was amazing and we had to let her know. My first thought was to sew her a tote bag. And then I thought we could personalize it somehow. And I decided to get my daughter involved since she likes drawing. So, I had her draw a picture of her teacher and then I transferred it over to fabric and embroidered it on, then sewed the patch into a tote bag. It ended up being a lot of fun and I think I want to do something similar later on, perhaps as gifts for the grandparents. We picked up a pack of fat quarters from JoAnn’s and I put together a patchwork strip with the picture in the front. This is the result (and remember, you can click on the pictures to make them larger!):

I love the fabric for the patchwork! There are fairies!!

A close-up of the picture! (Sorry it is so wrinkly – I really did iron it!)

Even with sewing the tote bag, my eye was drawn to other ideas all over the blogs I read and I found something else I wanted to do for the teacher. There is an awesome website called Wordle that allows you to make a list of words, pick a color scheme and it will arrange them for you in interesting ways. I made a list of all of the attributes I could think of for a kindergarten teacher, and especially my daughter’s teacher and put them in a list. I also added her name, the school, the class and the year. I picked the colors I wanted in the picture and played with it until I liked the layout. Then we printed it on cardstock. I assisted with a field trip for my daughter’s class a few days before end of the year and had the kids sign a mat to go around the picture. In hind-site,  I wish I had a silver pen, but the black worked OK on the dark blue mat. I framed it all and it was an easy gift that the teacher really loved.

If you decide to play with Wordle, I will offer a few tips. When you make your list, copy and paste it in another place, like a Word document. If you go leave your first creation, it will erase your list and you will have to start over. Also, the more you enter the words, the larger they will appear. I think I entered her name 4 times. The smallest words were entered once. I chose some to be larger than others. If you don’t like the initial layout, keep playing. Under the “Layout” tab, you can choose to re-layout with the current settings. This just reorganizes the words. You can also choose new colors and you aren’t limited to the options they provide.

The teacher loved her gifts and I am happy with the way they turned out. And I can’t believe my little girl will be in first grade in just a few months! And I don’t even want to discuss the fact that my son will be starting preschool!!