Friday, August 26, 2011

Sorry, A Little Interruption.........

I did a little fill in for a week delivering Auto Parts for a friend, and preparations are beginning for the boys to get back to school. I have a couple of projects going, but the friendship bracelets have gone by the wayside, for the moment. The weather is finally nice too, which doesn't make anyone want to stay inside. We've had a pretty, um, un-sunny Summer, literally not more than a day or two of sun, then the rain returns, for long stretches. Right now we are on a streak of nice weather, and we haven't had any (streaks) since the start of Spring, much less, Summer. At this point we'll take what we can get.

While doing the driving I did a bit of thinking about my next project. Shrink plastic is fun and great for the kids too. I remember doing this with liver lids when I was a kid. The possibilities are endless! Here is a kit that I own that's well worth the investment. It has jewelry projects for all age ranges, click on this link and this one too, for the smaller guys . I have a couple of things in the works, but haven't had a chance to get pictures. This weekend will be a bit busy, so expect more from me next week!

Happy Friday!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Macrame & Micro Macrame

This post comes back around from Friendship Bracelets. The first bracelets were "technically" macrame. Not surprising since they came about in the 70's (right at the end of the Hippie era), and I can remember my Mom making macrame belts and plant hangers back then. Macrame seems to have a bit of a resurgence these days. I think this is due to more people crafting than ever before, in part, due to the economy (though I hear it's making a comeback), and to the talented Micro-Macrame Artists out there. In the last year I have purchase two Micro-Macrame books that were well work the investment. The first was Joan Babcock's Micro-Macrame Jewelry. This book is well worth the price and offers plenty of tips, techniques and projects to get you started in this creative art.
The second book is also by Joan and incorporates Wire into the Micro-Macrame. Being a wire Artist this book holds a special place in my heart and is full of inspiration, along with techniques and projects. 

However if you have not done Micro-Macrame before, I highly recommend the first book, to get you started before moving on to the more advanced Wired one. You can also go to her website @ and order books, kits, and all the other supplies you need to get started.

I need to mention that there are other Micro-Macame books out there, but these two are my hands down favorites!

Keep in mind that actual friendship bracelets are done with craft thread while micro-macrame is made with a heavier nylon cord for more body, but if you would rather try your hand at Friendship Bracelets (with macrame techniques) there are some excellent kits out there. I highly recommend anything made by Klutz. We have purchased numerous books by them, on all sorts of different crafting endevours and never been disappointed with any of their books/kits. Here are 3 different kits by them:

And please keep in mind that while I know these are geared toward girls, boys will enjoy them just as much!

My son's girlfriend makes excellent bracelets. I will get some pictures of the ones she's made for my son, and his brothers, and post them as soon as I get the chance.

This should be enough to get you started, or at least pique your interest. Right? : D

Monday, August 01, 2011

Friendship Bracelets

According to Wikipedia, Friendship Bracelets became popular in the US during the 1970's and was most commonly worn by teens.

Here is an interesting tid-bit I copied from them:

The knotcraft and hand weaving used to create traditional patterns stems from Native American handcrafts, particularly from Central American tradition. According to indigenous tradition, the recipient of a friendship bracelet must wear it until the cords wear out and fall off naturally. The idea is that the friend paid for it with the hard work and love that made it, and the recipient repays the friend by honoring the work. Removing the bracelet before it naturally falls off is a sign that the friendship has gone sour. Another variation of this tradition is that the recipient of a bracelet is entitled to a wish. After the bracelet wears out and falls off naturally, the wish will come true.

On that note I have to say that all 3 of my boys took to making these bracelets easily after coming across this kit by Janlynn.

I actually bought this kit at JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts and ended up using one of their 40% off coupons. 

This kit includes 8 cardboard wheels, 105-10 yard skeins of craft thread, and easy to follow instructions. There are 4 designs that you are able to make and each wheel has 2 designs, one on each side.

To make each bracelet you cut 16 lengths of thread, and then they tell you what colors go where to produce the design that you want. In two simple moves and the rotation of the wheel you will have a bracelet in no time. My only complaint is that the wheel starts to separate along the edges before you finish your 1st bracelet. On that note, all 3 boys had no problems learning how to use the wheel, and have each made themselves at least 2 bracelets (I'm thinking you could easily cut more cardboard wheels, if needed). The 16 years old really likes it, since his girlfriend has made him several bracelets, and now he can reciprocate (She makes them the old fashioned way). Love this craft, but I am looking to check out a couple of books at the library to see about expanding my knowledge and learning a few more "moves", for the wheel which is also known as a "weaving wheel" and falls under my weaving interest. Another name would be Kumihimo, or Japanese Braiding if you're curious, however you can find books on friendship bracelets, Search for friendship bracelets, or Kumihimo Search for kumihimo whichever interests you more.