Simple leather cord necklace

Filed in How-to, Jewelry

Remember the dichroic glass pendant my friend bought a little while ago? It turns out, my friend didn’t like the length of the simple knotted necklace we made from the cord that came with the pendant (actually, it was too small for her to get it over her head!). So, I raided my jewelry supplies and made her a simple leather cord necklace instead. The great thing about this necklace is that you can change the pendant.

The materials – a length of leather cord cut to your desired length, a set of crimp cord ends with the same diameter as the cord, and pliers (preferably pliers that have smooth inner edges to avoid making an imprint on the crimp bead).

Step 1 – string one of the crimp cord ends on the leather cord. If necessary, trim the cord end to form a sharp tip to make it easier to get the crimp cord end on the cord.

Step 2 – take the tube part of the crimp cord end in a pair of pliers, leaving the clasp outside the pliers, and squeeze the pliers as hard as you can. The tube should squish, grabbing the cord end in the process.

Step 3 – repeat steps 1 & 2 using the remaining crimp cord end clasp and the other end of the leather cord.

That’s it! It really doesn’t get much simpler than that for making a necklace. I like to test the cord, pulling on the ends to make sure they don’t come out of the crimped claps. If they move *at all*, just take out the pliers and crush the crimp end more. If need-be, ask a strong friend to help.


Display your bling!

Filed in How-to

Over the past year I have trained for and completed two half marathons, two 10ks and a couple 5ks. Several of these races come with finisher medals. And these medals have been scattered around my office, with no good place to hang them. So, I decided I needed a rack to display them. Especially after completing the Dumbo Double Dare last weekend – I was really proud of accomplishing that, and needed to celebrate my accomplishment.

Collecting bling!

So, I picked up some supplies at JoAnn’s to make my own bling rack: an “inn keeper’s” sign, short dowels, empty thread spools, vintage-looking buttons, and paint.

Materials for a bling rack

I laid out the spools on my sign to see now many hooks I could fit.

Planning the hooks

The next step required a little math – planning out where the hooks should go.

Measuring the placement of the hooks

Next, I drilled the holes for the hooks. Any craft that involves the drill is a good craft in my book.

Drill! Drilling holes for the hooks

With the holes drilled, I could paint the pieces. I choose purple for the background, and pink, green and yellow for the other pieces. I also painted some letters to spell out “fly”, “run”, and “soar”. (I actually did both “fly” and “live”, since I hadn’t decided between the two.) I added white dots and stripes for a little detail.

Paint Details

Once the pieces were dry, I could start putting everything together. First I glued the dowels into the holes, then the spools onto the dowels.

Gluing in the dowels Adding the painted spools

Finally I added my words (decided on “fly” to celebrate Dumbo!) and put the vintage-looking buttons on the ends of the spools.


Once I put hangers on the back (which I’d forgotten at JoAnn’s), I hung up my rack and added all my bling!

Bling rack with bling



Ornament Exchange

Filed in Christmas

A while ago, I participated in an online handmade ornament exchange for a few years in a row. For these exchanges, each participant was assigned a group of 8-10 other participants. We each made enough ornaments for the others in our group, sent them out and waited for our 8-10 ornaments to arrive from the other group members.

The first year I participated, almost all of the ornaments I received were great – I loved them, and, in fact, still hang many of them on my tree. Second year, about half of the ornaments were great, and they still hang on my tree each year. Third year? Only a couple were worth keeping. The last straw was the ornament that consisted of a piece of white felt, cut in the shape of a candy cane with a few red stripes of puff paint. These are the ornaments *I* sent those years:
Swap ornaments Blanket Bear Ornaments Cookie cutter ornament

I couldn’t really say that the felt-candy-cane person didn’t fall the rules of the exchange — the only real rule was that it had to be homemade. I quit after that.

This year, I decided to gather a few of my crafty friends and do our own ornament exchange. I knew they wouldn’t phone it in. And I was right!

Here are a couple of the ornaments I made this year:

(I was inspired for these ornaments by Mamie Jane; Pinerest link.)

Then I started getting ornaments from my friends, and they were wonderful! Here are all this year’s exchange ornaments on the tree:

I made a couple of extra ornaments – they are all one-of-a-kind. Want one? Let me know the favorite ornament on your tree right now. Comment by Saturday, Dec 15 at midnight EST. I’ll announce a winner on Sunday.

Update We have a winner! Congrats to Jenny who wrote:

Fun! My favorite is a super-old one we had on our tree when I was a kid (and probably when my mom was a kid too)…It’s a (real) eggshell with the front cut off and a little angel inside.

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Handmade Halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday…with Christmas a close second. Needless to say, I love Halloween crafting as well. One of my favorites is a “Spooky Countdown” that I made a couple years ago. I still hang it every year and use it do count down the days to Halloween.

I started with a plain jelly roll pan – it’s in important to have a pan with a small depth, because the countdown magnets are kept on the back of the pan. This is convenient not only for the month of October during the countdown, but for storage during the year.

I covered the back of the pan with strips of Halloween-themed papers and then cut the numbers 1-31 out using my Cricut. I laid the numbers out in a grid along with the words “Spooky countdown” and “Halloween”. I used my Crop A Dile to punch holes to tie a wire-rimmed ribbon for hanging the countdown.

Next was the fun part – I cut out 31 squares of different colors then decorated each with Halloween cut-outs, chipboard, brads, buttons and stickers. On the back of each I hot-glued on a small magnet.

It’s so fun to watch the calendar fill up as Halloween grows closer and closer!


Scrapping with friends

Filed in Scrapbooking

I do most of my crafting by myself, but that’s mostly because it can be so hard to coordinate my crazy schedule with my crafty friends. But I love, love, love when I find a day when my friend Laurie and I can get together to scrap. Usually we start at about 10AM and go until 10PM, 11PM, or midnight.

My friend Laurie and I have been scrapping together for over 6 years. She and I have very different styles – she loves clean lines and uses just a few pictures on her pages where I love a bit of chaos and I use as many pictures as I can reasonably fit on the page. I think our different styles complement each other when we’re scrapping side-by-side. I’ll ask her about embellishments for a page or a title or where to put journalling, and she always has great suggestions. And I can usually pipe up when she needs a second opinion on what she is working on.

Our scrapping days usually have a similar pattern – when one of us arrives at the other’s house, we bring in our stuff and immediately start chatting. We both share some of our latest projects that we’ve finished since our last get-together. We slowly bring out our current projects, though we concentrate more on catching-up than on our projects. Many times we decide that we absolutely must go to the scrapbook store, so off we go, grabbing lunch while we’re out. Rarely do we finish our first pages before 3PM. Right about then, we decide that we really need to get some work done, so we settle in, chatting a little but scrapping more and more. We break for dinner, usually ordering in pizza or sending our husbands out for something. Then we work into the dark hours of the night until the one visiting decides that they had best drive home before they get too tired to drive. Always a fun day.

Over the course of all of our scrapping sessions, Laurie and I have discovered that the first rule of scrapping is that we will expand to fill whatever space we are given. We embrace this rule, as illustrated in the pictures (and yes, that’s Laurie looking cute at our last scrapping day).

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