Crochet Beaded Bracelets

My friend Gina sent me a link about two years ago showing some crocheted bracelets with button closures – so cute! I figured out the pattern, found different sized buttons, crocheted about twenty bracelets in varying lengths (multi-wraps are fun!), used jewelry o-rings to attach charms midway and started handing them out to friends on my travels.

Oh, the charms – they fell off in legions – usually after a household chore like doing the dishes…or walking across a room. Sometimes even before I was done with the visit (In Kauai I actually asked for some pliers and replaced the gifted charm with one from my purse. It probably also fell off soon after I left. Mrgh!)

I have not mastered the fool-proof closure of o-rings (does this exist, beyond soldering?).

Alas, a design failure the internet did not prepare me for. Also, I’m not sure how much I want to talk about how hard it is to BUTTON your own wrap-around bracelet…

New rule: Jewelry should not be a reminder of loneliness, or dexterity challenges, or a cause of any stress whatsoever frankly (right?!). Wait ’til you see how I’ve solved this!!! (P.S. o-rings replaced by stitching…why didn’t I think of that…first?!)

Magical Magnet Closures

I attended a presentation today of the San Diego Bead Society and was inspired to think again about what kinds of trades I could make for my next art retreat. I put 2 + 2 + 2 together and came up with: crocheted bracelet with beads and magnetic closure.

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Size 11/0 beads, Lizbeth variegated thread, size 10, gold magnetic closure

A couple hours before this creation I spent time looking up patterns for beaded amulet pouches and such, thinking that would be my thing. Then I remembered what I already know how to do and how many supplies I already have on hand. And how time works.

So I made the above prototype, using waxed nylon bead string to attach the magnetic ends to the crocheted piece, and also to thread the beads throughout. For the crocheters, I used a 2.25mm needle on Lizbeth size 10 thread. So far I’ve mapped a small bracelet (I have skinny wrists) like this:

  • Chain 60
  • Work a slip stitch in the 2nd chain from hook, and in all the rest to the end
  • Gauge: I worked these stitches fairly loose, to make way for the beads.

After that, I stitched the waxed bead string through a bead on one end and then worked a series of knots before attaching the magnet closure. Then I used the same waxed string to work my way back through the bracelet, attaching the beads on alternating sides.

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I aimed for every other stitch back and forth and it didn’t seem to need too much precision to attain a good effect.

I tried a couple of beading patterns (e.g. all on one side vs. alternating) and decided that going back and forth on the chain gave the best dynamic effect on the wrist.

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I used Dritz Fray Check on the end knots and wrapped the ends next to the magnetic closures with extra stitches. We’ll see how it holds up in the next few weeks.

The Front and the Back

 

So far it’s hanging nicely with beads on all sides and the magnetic catch falling to the bottom of my wrist. I’ll keep wearing it and see how it holds up throughout the week.

Favorite Discovery

Magnetic connectors do the work for you! And they come in really fun shapes – like fish and turtles. The ones I found were too wide to work with my current skinny crochet chains but I have plans for those magnetic turtle and fish connectors…just you wait…

 

 

 

 

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Zentangle: Is It Cheaper Than Therapy?

I’ve seen the word “zentangle” come up in “adult coloring” searches and have been thinking about it for awhile. This weekend I decided to do an image search on “zentangle designs” and I dove right into the vat of kool-aid. Now I’m a zentangle addict with some fine-tip Stabilo colored pens on order (due to arrive any day now, but who’s counting. I am. That’s who’s counting.)

It All Started with Chisel Tip Sharpies and a Kleenex Box

I *think* I bought this set of Sharpies for a banner that never got made (how else does one find oneself in ownership of a full rainbow set of large chisel tip Sharpies?).

Then there was the Kleenex box in my office that has white flower designs. I had a few Sharpies in my office pen holder and lots of time on my hands listening in on business meetings…so doodling began. Along the way I realized that these big Sharpie markers had a calligraphic edge so they got carted out to my office for further doodling (pictures forthcoming, once the masterpieces are complete…of course. Reminder: There are 6 sides to a Kleenex-box-work-of-art. Have patience people. Reminder to Self: This Kleenex box “work of art” is destined for the Recycle Bin. Art Everywhere!)

What Would These Sharpies Look Like in My Art Journal?

My mom is my first official Art Supporter and she enrolled me once in a brief calligraphy class that involved “nibs” and “ink” and some really cool lettering (I was probably 12 yrs old). As soon as I started messing with these chisel tip markers it all started coming back…

First I tried practicing the calligraphic strokes I remembered
First I tried practicing the calligraphic strokes I remembered, plus some general mark-making.

As you can see on the next page I started one of those “zentangle” designs we used to make in kindergarten (Instructions: scribble a big set of connecting loops then color the inside. The beginning of many refrigerator-art-masterpieces…not to mention adding wax paper, crayon shavings and an iron.  We were all artists in kindergarten and we still are!!)

Here’s another angle of the tangle (ok that was fun):

Crayons graduated to Sharpies...and more ideas are generated...
Crayons graduated to Sharpies…and more ideas are generated. I barely got done with the Sharpies before I was off and running in my sketch book with some fine-tip markers.

 

Taking It to the Image Search

Once I realized the similarity between our childhood scribble homework from kindergarten and the “official art form known as zentangle” I was off and running.

My favorite image search engine provided helpful filters (in lovely rainbow colors) to show me what everyone is up to in the zentangle world (it’s a whole world y’all). I saw “hand” and “step by step” and started making some marks.

Hand Patterns in Zentangle

When I saw what the world is doing with handprints and zentangle I had to get me some of that. So I made the old turkey beginning handprint with a pencil and started doodling.

Here' the first one I did of my hand using a couple of super fine black sharpies.
Here’ the first one I did of my hand using a couple of super fine black sharpies.

 

Here's my mom's hand with some different designs.
Here’s my mom’s hand with some different designs. I love the 3D designs and keep trying to emulate them.

 

The railroad tracks were the first design on this handprint (hard act to follow).
The railroad tracks were the first design on this hand print (hard act to follow, but easy to learn from the free online tutorial graphic). The “tendon design” on the thumb turned out pretty cool. The middle finger is a 3D pattern gone wrong (and saved at the last minute :).

 

And then I got hold of my daughter's Stabilo point 88 color markers...
And then I got hold of my daughter’s Stabilo point 88 color markers…Oh Happy Day!

 

Another "selfie" with colors
Another “selfie-hand” with colors

Shortly afterwards my daughter packed up her supplies/belongings for college and I was left to my own devices. I promptly ordered another set of markers similar to hers and am awaiting arrival…

I tried to use my “in-house” fine-tips to create more color tangles but they dried up after a few marks. I couldn’t wait for my ordered markers to arrive (Impatience IS  my middle name) so I went to my local craft store and dropped $5 on a sale set of fine-tip markers that bled more than expected in my sketchbook but still turned out some fun results.

Bigger markers - same fun
Bigger markers – same fun

Check out zentangle designs online y’all! It’s relaxing, fun and quick to spur new original designs. (I think these could make cool cards too! And rubber carving options – oh my!).

Which is my favorite? It’s a Tie!

My mom sent me a great text recently: “I have access to lots of ties – want some for your crafts?” You betcha and yes ma’am!

So here’s some of the lovelies she picked out for me. What should I do with them?!

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there’s art, upholstery, book covers…the possibilities are endless!
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crowns and a feather, we’re spanning some decades here
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the white and tan beauty in the middle defies tie-dom with its texture and lack of definitive creases – I think maybe it’s aiming toward sash-dom…on a party dress…

The purple one to the right of center might be my favorite (after I sing “Sailing” by Christopher Cross and “Lime in the Coconut” in honor of pineapples everywhere…wait, there’s no pineapple involved in that song?! P.S. I don’t want to talk about watermelon right now…unless you can quote a song that mentions it).

These ties are pure gold and all my thanks go to my mom, who took the time to pick them out and mail them to me. I can’t imagine what I’ll make with these beauties…any ideas?

Encyclopedias from the 1940’s

Oh what a great (free) find today!!

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Cover image from the 1940’s encyclopedias…ah the dreams…!

A few months ago I signed up for a site called nextdoor-dot-com (syntax to avoid spam) that has turned out to be a great app that keeps me posted on neighborhood happenings (I think it’s US-only in scope but surely there are others?) Subject matter ranges from lost dogs (I’ve posted in this category more than once, maybe because I live on a corner?) to police/criminal activity (good to know!) to free stuff (be still my heart!)…so an overall amazing channel to tune into as it relates to the streets around my house, right?!

This morning someone two streets over posted a note about “boxes of encyclopedias from 1947-49 with spine damage and some mold.” I think keywords “boxes” and “mold” might have scared off the average person, but this crafter was all alerts on the ready! Turns out it was just a few stacks of some vintage books I’ve been trying to manifest for about 2 years. Maps and everything y’all…and I’ve only seen a tiny suggestion of the possibility of moldish tendencies on one picture. a.k.a. A Gold Mine!! I’ll be stamping seahorses on these pages very soon…

Without Further Ado and For Your Viewing Pleasure
(my two favorite introductions)

The spine and cover already intrigue me – they almost look like leather!

Random Pages

So I started opening books at random pages (before M. started frantically boxing them all up – I think he only got the “mold” alert and was a little worried…understandably).

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The first page I opened: “Hostesses of the White House”
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Different book: We’re learning how to make arrowheads now…

I honestly didn’t try to find the CA map too hard (I still don’t know which parts of the alphabet I have in this book set – they went into boxes way too fast), but this opened up pretty quickly during my photo search and I latched onto the kismet.

 

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This is part of a six-page spread on animals and plants you’ll find in the “Rain Forest.”

Zoiks right? I can’t wait to look through all these books in my non-copious free time in which I am preparing my future artistic career. Getting right on that…but really, what a fun find. I better become a Certified Organizer immediately to deal with my ever-growing craft supply (I just made that up, but I feel certain people are making money doing that today…DIY!!).

Needle Lace…I’ve Been Inspired by an Artist

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a piece from this amazing artist: Ágnes Herczeg. She does a form of needle lace that incorporates natural elements to create amazing works of art.

Hanging proudly on my wall! By Ágnes Herczeg
Hanging proudly on my wall! By Ágnes Herczeg (link to more of her works on her facebook page)

Her work really intrigues me, and even when I hold it in my hand, I can barely comprehend how the tiny stitches came together into such a beautiful form (I’m still admiring it under a magnifying glass – such detailed work!!).

Needle Lace and Me

So of course I had to look this up and figure out how a lay person might give it a try. I found this super cool tutorial that walked me through the BASICS of creating lace on paper. So I gave it a try.

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Finished product – lots of room for improvement but an interesting experiment. (silk floss on outside/ribs, cotton floss on veins)

 

In Progress Notes

 

Using the cordonnet stitch to attach the framework
Using the cordonnet stitch to attach the framework. I think next time I’ll use broader anchor stitches instead of stitching each cord separately (the anchor stitches didn’t come out easily)

 

Working the buttonhold stitch up the leaf
Working the buttonhole stitch up the leaf

 

Adding silk thread to the veins of the leaf
Adding silk thread to the veins of the leaf (boy did it take me a long time to figure out the direction of stitches on each vein to get the knot to line up…I think I got it…)

I’ll definitely create more patterns to mess around with (and I’ll probably “have to” buy more embroidery thread because my stash colors are boring).

Until then…

Here’s What’s Blooming in the Garden!

Squash flowers are so beautiful!!
Squash flowers are so beautiful!!

 

 

Where Do All the Cigar Boxes Go?

I bought some more boxes, and now I’m wondering where all these amazing cigar boxes are going?! The cigar store owners seem to be very ready to get rid of them…like maybe it’s a problem related to selling cigars!

They're all so different!
They’re all so different!

I happened upon a new store recently and thought to ask about empty boxes. At first he said he sells them for $1.99 each, and that a man comes by every two months or so and buys them all – and he offers them to him for one dollar each at that time. I asked him what the man uses them for, but he hasn’t asked (ah well).

So then he offered me 11 boxes for $10. How can one resist? I mean, they’re so weird and different – every one! Some of them even have a little clasp to close them, like on my diary from a million years ago (e.g. childhood)!

So now I own “A LOT” of cigar boxes – some of which are being used for craft supplies (not labeled yet, so it’s a hunt-and-chase situation…mergh…:\ )

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They come in all shapes and sizes (what crafter isn’t “wow’ed” by that alone?!). The one on the left is a trapezoid (I think…whatever, it’s a weird shape!)

 

It has a magic slide top y'all. Seriously.
It has a magic slide top y’all. Seriously. Are cigar smokers doing magic now and we just didn’t realize it?

 

This box has a wooden partition in it that has the label glued on
This box has a wooden partition in it that has a label glued on the edge…which says “Hand Made.”

So much wow.

I think I’m officially addicted now to cigar boxes. (According to all the labels, I’m better off addicted to the boxes than the cigars…have to figure out how to remove all those useful labels…P.S. DON’T SMOKE…but check out smoke shops because they probably have some cool boxes sitting around that they want to get rid off).

 

Patterns and Rhythms, in Nature and Life

I’m busily sewing up this Alabama Chanin Stitch Corset featured (in pieces) in this post: Hand Stitching a Garment. I’ve since embellished it with beads and I’m putting in seams on all the pieces. There’s more before the end…pics to come.

Meanwhile, here’s some beautiful patterns I saw during our recent San Diego Arboretum visit.

a hollowed out log
a hollowed out log
These brown strands were not on every leaf...
These brown strands were not on the underside of every leaf…
I was so enraptured I forgot to read the sign telling me what this enchanting plant's name is...
I was so enraptured I forgot to read the sign telling me what this enchanting plant’s name is…

Lots of looking up for these pictures, and it was so worth it!

Quick Flower in the Rain: Vinca

I came across this flower pic last night when I was posting and meant to include it.

Today I decided it needs a post all its own. The lovely Cora Cascade Lilac Vinca after a spring shower (from the archives).

Cora Cascade Lilac Vinca

It’s not rainy here today…just remembering another soggy day while I’m stitching along. (I signed up for some jewelry making classes soon – so excited to try a new thing!)