Category Archives: jewelry



2015-12-27 10.44.37-2 anti-bling

Washed out photo courtesy of my husband, who wasn’t allowed to tough the dials on my camera and thus can’t really be blamed that I didn’t have it on the right settings! It’s hard to get photographs of projects that are worn by me!anti-bling2

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I have been pinning crocheted jewelry like crazy. I love to pin it, but I’d only ever tried to make it once as a gift. In the after-Christmas lull I decided to finally try out a couple ideas for myself. I have a stash of Curio yarn from Knitpicks because buying whole spools of cotton crochet thread at a Knitpicks sale is cheaper than trying to buy enough tiny little wads of embroidery floss to keep my bracelet-happy nine-year-old in business. (Especially when she has a mother who raids her stash for her own projects!) I made two pieces of lace, then starched them lightly with some watered-down Stiffy (not the Stiffy again!). The gray one was very hard to block. I had trouble getting all the points even, and then maybe I didn’t stiffen it quite enough because it still got a little misshapen when I was wearing it. I tied the gray piece with a small silver ribbon. I wore this on New Year’s Eve and when I came down with it on my oldest daughter said, “what did you tie around your neck?” So there you go. But in all honesty, I kind of like it in spite of its problems. The red one blocked much better although I’m not sure the shape of it lends itself quite as much to being a necklace. I attached it to black metal chain with jump rings.

Neck adornment



I hope my sister-in-law doesn’t mind her gift sharing a post with a dog collar! Both of today’s items go around necks that are dear to me. Giggle. This is a crocheted necklace I made as a birthday gift. I got this idea from Pinterest, and it originated on Craftsy. I used Gloss lace-weight yarn from Knitpicks because I already had some, then put it on a black metal chain. I felt like it needed to hold its shape so I soaked it in some Stiffy (why oh why is it called that?) that was a little watered down, and now it’s just right. It holds its shape without looking…stiff. Now that I’ve made this and given it away, I sort of feel like making another one for myself. I could just make sure not to wear it where Molly is, right?


I got some new embroidery software for my birthday. My embroidery machine is a simple, inexpensive model (the Brother PE 500), but it does basically all I think I’d want in an embroidery machine. I’ve considered upgrading to a bigger or more complicated model, but I like things that are simple and straightfoward, and I really appreciate owning things I can afford to replace if a rowdy child “accidentally” knocks it across the room. One thing I wished my machine had was more fonts, and the ability to lay out more than one line of text at a time. So for my birthday I got this Letter It! software. It’s great, and it makes me feel like I can now get even more out of my little machine. It works basically like a word processing program. It comes with a nice variety of fonts, and you can purchase and import more if you want. Then you lay out your text just the way you want it to look on your final product–with multiple lines, mixed fonts, and distortions like curves if you wish–and then just save it as a file that you send over to your machine. I tried it out on this collar for my dog Belle. I liked being able to line up her name and my phone number just the way I wanted it, and she likes not having a dangling metal tag.


And more goodies!


Earrings designed and strung for a friend (actually these were a holiday-season birthday gift). flower-hat

A crocheted hat for a small friend.

tagsAnd simple but sweet homemade tags. I don’t do anything fancy with my gift wrapping, but if I can stick a handmade tag on it then somehow the gift feels more lovingly packaged. This year I used scrapbook paper and craft punches.

Excitement is running high at my house! I’m baking goodies every day and I have almost all the wrapping done. I’m loving the age my kids are this year, and that as they get older the holidays seem to be both more relaxed and more exciting at the same time. We’ve got a routine to fall into and an expected schedule of when we’ll see our extended families, and without having to fret over the big picture events we can concentrate on the fun stuff–and just sitting back and letting it all happen. I don’t know if I’ll check in next week or not; merry Christmas to you and yours!


Gifts and summer pajamas


I put the home related sewing aside this week to make myself a pair of summer pj’s. Sleeping in old t-shirts and well-worn pajamas pants is comfortable, but sometimes I just want to feel a little cuter at night, even if the only person to notice might be my still-won’t-sleep-through-the-night toddler. I used a free pattern I found online for the tank, but I’m not going to link to it because I really didn’t care for it. I had to make many alterations and it still is a bit big, even though the pattern involved taking my own measurements before starting. It’ll work fine for sleeping though. I made bermuda-length sleep shorts to match by cutting around pants I already own and they fit perfectly. The pajamas are made from super-soft thrift store sheets in 100% cotton. I love the pretty print, and that new fabric could never be so wonderfully soft. (Aside: Wondering about that beautiful turquoise wall behind the pajamas?  That’s my bedroom! It used to be covered in “tropical” wallpaper. More on that project is forthcoming!)

This was a Mother’s Day project I’d almost forgotten to blog about. I bought some little silver charms at Joann that are intended to hold tiny photographs. Then I printed out a whole page of empty squares just the right size on cardstock and let Dorothy draw mini pictures in each one with pen and colored pencil. We chose our favorites and I glued them onto the charms, then we covered them with several coats of brush-on gloss glaze. The flower charm was a gift to my mother and the bird is now mine. We strung them on silver chains.

Dorothy had a major milestone this past week–she finished preschool! As much as I’m looking forward to having her home next year it was emotional and a little rough to watch all her treasures come home from school. It was like watching the sweet and nurturing space they’d created for her there being dismantled. She has laid her beloved resting rug on her bed here at home and has been sleeping on it, and we put together a small bag to hold her other treasures such a her photo album and name card. To honor the lovely women who have given her the treasure of such a warm and lovely year of preschool we made homemade shopping bags. Dorothy chose the fabric (from the same sheet as the pajamas) and helped me sew the seams on her little sewing machine.

Her confidence is a wee bit ahead of her ability, but the slightly off-kilter seams don’t show unless you’re looking, and they prove that the love and work of a five-year-old went into the construction. I made small drawstring bags so the teachers can easily stash their shopping totes into their purses or glove compartments.

Spring jewelry


Lately I’m really taken by the Groupon-like website Heartsy, which offers deals from Etsy sellers.  The beautiful jewelry in the offers (some of which I’ve also purchased) has inspired me to get my jewelry-making supplies out. I’ve been taking apart jewelry that I made in the past and using the pieces to make “new” items that are more in tune with my current style and clothing selections.

I did purchase a few update supplies, such as 100 inches of this black chain and some matching black findings (the clasps, etc.).

The colors in this red and amber set were inspired by a necklace I wanted from a Heartsy offer.  I would have bought it but the deal sold out too fast.  I may still ask for the inspiration piece for Mothers’ Day or something, since mine really only resembles it in color.  The other had pretty handmade clay beads that I do not have the tools to make, plus I wouldn’t want to just flat out copy another design.  I do like my set in the same colors in the meantime.

I also put together some earrings to match.

4th of July


I’d hoped to make myself a patriotic bandana to match the kids’ outfits for today but didn’t get around to it. I did pull out earrings and a bracelet I made from really neat red, white and blue chevron beads a while back. A friend once gave me the tip of storing sterling silver jewerly in itty bitty ziploc bags (available in the beading section of discount stores) and it works so well. I think this is the eighth year I’ve worn this set and I’ve never polished the silver parts, because they don’t tarnish in their little baggies during the rest of the year.

And here are my wee Americans, all decked out in their stars. Unfortunately the baby’s romper is too big, as I suspected, and in this picture the sleeve falling down his chubby little shoulder makes him look like he’s wearing a dress. Sigh. But in person I think he carried it off with masculine dignity! I designed this little card in Photoshop and had it printed at Walgreens through Snapfish to send to family. So much cheaper than ordering their cards and I can order just the right number (no pack of twenty cards when we only have two sets of doting grandparents). We had a great afternoon celebrating with family and neighbors, and are joining a neighborhood gathering for fireworks later tonight. I tried to explain the nature of the celebration to Dorothy, and I think she took in some of it. May she grow up to value diversity and tolerance in our great land, and to accept good-naturedly the fact that her father and I are about to torment her by singing the Star Spangled Banner on her kazoo.

A first swim


Since Dorothy ended up being available after all on Friday she got to make more beautiful beaded things. She made a lovely long necklace for me which I’ve been wearing with pride. (Although I can’t decide–is it better to have a child use the standard neon plastic beads and then wear her artwork knowing everyone will know it was made by a child, or better do to as I did and let her use “grown-up” beads, giving the final product a quirky and mismatched look for which there is no obvious explanation?) She also fashioned something that I never though of myself in all my years of beading–a beaded crown. She’s wearing it in the photo above. Unfortunately it won’t stay put very easily and she’s allergic to bobby pins after our experience trying to affix her ballet recital tiara to her straight, glossy hair.

We traveled to Cincinnati this weekend with my family and had a terrific time. In addition to taking in the aquarium and children’s museum we stayed in a hotel with a pool, which was probably the little girls’ favorite part. Baby Worth took his first swim and, um, got a taste of his first food–chlorinated pool water. Yuck! Highlights of trip included my brother kindly securing a wheelchair for my grandfather in case he needed to sit, Granddad refusing to use it, then my daughter and niece hijacking it to ride around gleefully squealing “we’re old! We’re in a wheelchair because we’re old!” And being seated at dinner over a table of bachelorette partiers wearing plastic tiaras (and nose rings and glasses and t-shirts that involved the word “bitch”) who were identified by my smitten niece as real princesses. She wouldn’t take her eyes off them the whole night!

Family jewels


I’d been wanting to do beading with Dorothy and had been waiting for the right day. Today seemed good, so I mentally reserved the late afternoon for some mother/daughter crafting. But then my girly, who spent the night with her Nana and Opa last night and apparently slept very little, sacked out all afternoon. After two hours of her nap I went ahead and got the beading things ready–just to have them out. After two and a half I decided to just start without her. I made myself a necklace inspired by the tag-style ones that are popular now. I put little screws in Scrabble tiles with the initials of my two kids and then strung them on a chain I already had with pendants I made from their birthstones.

Dorothy finally woke up from her over three hour nap and was very excited with the new craft. She dug right in (“I don’t need help, Mom.”) and went to work. I’ve had to practically drag her from the table to complete the day’s other activities. And now it’s nearly ten o’clock and as I type this she’s still stringing beads, arguing with her father about the necessity of stopping for the night. I just told her we could make more jewelry tomorrow and she said, “But I just want to do it tonight; I’m not available tomorrow.” Not true (she is, in fact, available), but oh so funny. And I think she’s making me a new necklace. Fun!

Retro shrinky fun!

Daughter and I are suffering from some cabin fever lately. I actually don’t mind having to stay inside on these obnoxiously cold and snowy days, being oh-so-pregnant, but Dorothy is really done with the cozy indoors. So yesterday we spent almost all day out running errands (in our newly fixed car–hooray!) and we came home with some new projects to try. I bought shrinky plastic from a crafts store and we went to town with permanent markers and the toaster oven, and now each have a collection of new shrinky plastic jewelry. So 1980s! I’m not sure I ever felt like there was a lack of shrinky plastic jewelry in my life, but we’ve certainly had a great time making it, and the materials were cheap. I’m not sure which part Dorothy likes best–watching the shrinking in the toaster oven, or using mom’s (usually forbidden) permament markers. I made the earrings above using a circle paper punch on the unbaked film. The little holes for wire are made using a regular paper hole punch. The pair below seems almost unbearably retro to me, but I realized last week I didn’t have any heart-shaped earrings to wear on Valentine’s Day (because why would I, really?), so now I do. Dorothy’s charms we strung on colored embroidery floss for her to wear as necklaces, but she is not inclined to pose in them for pictures right now. They are cute, though, and it’s been quite fun to have something new to do inside.