Monday, January 26, 2015

Making Valentines




Every year I make hand-made Valentines for some of our customers. I can't make them for everyone-although I'd like to!- but we create a mostly random list* of customers who get a card. The cards are different each year, and we send out 200+. Some years the cards contain candy, some years a gift certificate or coupon. I'm not saying what will be in them this year...

Each year I have to think really hard about what they'll look like. I do some Pinterest searching...and try out an idea or two before settling on a design that I enjoy making and that looks interesting. This year, I was inspired by my ever-growing selection of spray paint and some really cool spray-painted wrapping paper I saw at Edge of Urge this last holiday season. My oldest daughter ('Mom, I LOVE spray paint!!!!') helped me get the process down. We started out just setting the heart templates down on the cards, but the spray paint blew them off. We didn't want to tape or glue the hearts down because I envisioned painting the layers quickly, moving the hearts around as the paint was applied. After a bit of  experimenting, we created these finely crafted (ha!)  heart sticks. We did this by taping hearts to the ends of wooden chopsticks. The sticks make is possible to safely hold the hearts down and spray paint around the edges. No paint on fingers, or not much paint on fingers! 

We'll keep working on Valentines this whole week...and hopefully start mailing them out next week. After we make the cards, I sit down and address envelopes and write messages inside.

Do you want to make sure we have your name and address? Just call the store at 919-834-6260 and ask them to check if your info is updated in our system. We are pretty old-school, so just because you get an email from me, or are subscribed to the blog, I can't promise we have your updated address. Calling the store will make sure we have all your info. 


*How random is the list? Pretty random. Our system will generate a listing of names and addresses for us. If the address looks faulty, or the person got a Valentine in the past and it was returned to us because of a bad address, we remove the name and replace it. Staff and instructors also add in customers that need a bit of extra love this year. We aren't above bribery, baking us treats gets you on the list! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cynthia is on Beads, Baubles and Jewels. Watch it here!

Have you watched my most recent project on BB&J lately? It's up on the site, now...check it out by clicking the picture link.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Class - The Tooled Leather Cuff

click the pic to learn more

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wish for 2015 - a party project


On New Year's Eve I'll be with a group of friends and neighbors, watching our children and chatting. We'll laugh and get silly in the big group, but I want to make sure some more quieter, meaningful connections are made that night, too. I'm going to set up a Wish for 2015 bracelet-making area. These bracelets are like friendship bracelets, and long enough to be worn as necklaces. They will serve as tangible reminders of the wishes the wearer held for the upcoming year, and I hope I'll wear mine until it wears out. I want everyone at the party to participate in this, so the project is easy and the knots simple enough to tie while chatting.  I'll make sure the materials speak to men and women, boys and girls, so everyone can create one.

So, how can you set up a bracelet-making area for New Year's Eve? 

Find a space with seating for 3-4 people. This will be popular, but in my experience folks will wait their turn. Intimate is better, too many beaders and the conversation will splinter and no one will really connect. This craft is about the conversation, not the specific knots or beads or buttons. Talking while crafting can often free people to share and open up in surprising ways, especially if the group isn't too large. As our hands are busy, our tongues are freed. 

On a large tray, using small bowls and containers, arrange the following:
-5 foot coils of waxed linen or hemp cording (these will knot into 18" wrap bracelets) If your group is larger than 8 people, you'll save money by purchasing a spool of the linen. Go with an exciting color like orange or red and tell folks it will remind them of their wishes every time they see it!
-beads that fit on the linen or cord - I'm doing a mix of many kinds; seed beads are great, as are Czech glass or wood, it depends on the taste of the knotter
-a mix of buttons with 2 or 4 holes
-scissors
-a ruler
-the instructions for how to make the knots (see below)
-a sample of the finished bracelet (the one I show above is 18" long)

scatter around the tray several slips of paper with prompts, such as:
what is the best thing that could happen to you in 2015?
what would you like to learn how to do in 2015?
what food do you want to eat more of in 2015?
what one person do you want to spend more time with in 2015?
what is one healthy thing will you try to do more often in 2015?
what fun thing will you try to do in 2015?
what would be your dream trip in 2015?
what book do you want to try to read in 2015?
what place do you want to visit more often in 2015?
describe your very best 2015 day?
what one thing do you want to celebrate at New Year's Eve 2015?
how can your friends help you with your goals for 2015?
etc.

The bracelet is basically a variation on this bracelet, or this necklace with only one strand of linen.

Choose a button. Start by doubling the 5 yard piece of linen over and tying a knot to create a loop. You'll want the loop to fit over your button. Set the button aside and begin stringing and knotting beads, in a random pattern, along the length of the bracelet. Take time to talk through the upcoming year. Take time to consider what you can do to help your friends make their upcoming year as wonderful as possible.

My wish for you in 2015? 
More intentional, conversational crafting. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Giveaway and a Muffin Tin Challenge

I just might be joining in Heather Powers Muffin Tin Challenge.

Maybe.

Possibly.

If I do, this MIGHT be the tin I use. These MIGHT be the projects I finally get done.

Maybe.

If you are taking part in Heather's challenge, you know what I'm talking about. If you aren't participating, well, you might...read about it here.

The general idea is that you fill up a muffin tin with all the things you need to complete various projects and then just SIT DOWN AND DO IT. No distractions.

What a concept!

My twist? These are almost-done projects or sketches of beady projects that aren't done...or aren't even started. Some are parts of projects for books or magazines that I took apart after they were made to repurpose the parts. Some are things that just didn't work the way I wanted them to. Some are for me personally, some are for friends, some are for the blog or a tutorial. No matter what, they aren't done and should be.

Wow, I kinda sound like I AM doing this.

Hop on over to Heather's blog (here) to read about the challenge and join in. Want to win something? Share a few words about ONE PROJECT you need to complete in the comments down below and you could win one of our Inspiration Bags. These are $9 collections of beads, findings, half-made samples and etc. that we sell at the shop. See, that's what I usually do with my muffin tin cups full of almost projects, I just bag them up and hope they inspire someone else...

Monday, December 22, 2014

these sweet Gnome Family kits are now half-off
each kit makes 4 gnomes

these are perfect for Christmas-eve crafting with the family!
click on the picture to learn more!