Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beaded Watchband tutorial

Beaded watch bands are all the craze right now. I've seen them all over at craft boutiques, but never saw one I fell in love with. Either the colors weren't right, or it didn't fit. But I finally decided to try my hand at making my own. Perfect! Now I can make them the way I want them. I craft with a friend, and I love seeing the difference between our styles. We each like our jewelry different - she likes bigger beads, I usually go for a bit smaller. I like more symmetry and balance, she likes random.
And look at my variety! I think I have a watchband to go with any outfit, now. And the pink and orange on the left are my youngest daughter's. So many options . . .
I thought I'd share some instructions for making your own, if you so desire. The hardest part is choosing your beads. Besides beads, you need stretchy cord, found at the craft store, in at least .7 mm. I prefer the 1 mm, but a few times, I've had a bead that doesn't fit. Then I've used .8 mm. The bigger the number, the stronger the cord. Stronger is better. The rest of the supplies needed are 2 connectors, 4 lobster clasps, and super glue. (Plus your watch face.)
As for the beads, I choose 3-4 similar sized beads, matching or coordinating the colors. Then add a few silver or clear. You might need a few small beads to be able to even out the spacing and make each side the same size.
(This part is easier if you lay it out on a bead tray or a dishcloth/dishtowel/etc so your beads don't roll away.) Start by laying out your beads, and design the order of your watchband. Typically, in the boutiques, watchbands run 4.5" (small), 5" (medium), 5.5" (large), and 6" (extra large). I have big wrists, and like mine loose, so I make mine 6.5"-7". My 11 yr old skinny-minny is 5.5" - I don't know who would wear a 4.5".

As you lay out your beads, remember to plan the 2 connectors, dividing the band into 3rds, the 4 lobster clasps, 2 on each end, and a bead (or 2) between the clasps to hold them apart. I try to balance the size of beads so each side has equal weight, and the weight is spread along the length, as well. It can be tricky, but I have no tricks. You just have to try it a few times to see how you like it, and get a feel for the placement. On this watchband, I think this will work.
Now, you won't know for sure if it works until you start stringing. Cut a 15"-18" piece of cord and start stringing at one end of the watch, placing the 2 clasps and the bead between them in the middle of the cord. Then string the beads up to the first connector.
I like to hold mine up, here. It makes it easier to see if both sides are coming out equal in length. Sometimes, the connector might be crooked, so you'll have to unstring a few and add, take away, or switch around some beads. It takes practice, and sometimes a fair amount of luck. So far, this one is matching up nicely.
Until I got to the end, and I didn't like those 2 silver beads so close to each other.
Take a few off, switch them around, and I like this better.
Now, as you finish, have your two ends of cord meet NOT next to the clasps. When you super glue the knot, you don't want it getting on the clasps because as you use your watchband, the super glue with weaken the cord if it rubs on the clasp. I try to find a bead that has a larger center so I can pull the knot inside it.

When the band is how you like it and you've finished stringing all the beads, tie a modified square knot. Right over left, left over right . . . but wrap the second one twice. So, right over left, left over right over right.
See how my knot will fit in the silver bead after I glue it?
I'll go ahead and pull one end of the cord through now to help me hold both ends with one hand so I can stretch, glue, and take pictures for you.
Get that knot pulled away from the beads, and pulled tight. This can be extremely tricky with one hand. I usually end up wrapping the cord around a few fingers, effectively cutting off my circulation. Now, squeeze one drop of super glue onto the knot and HOLD. Hold the knot away from the beads as much as possible, for as long as possible. I try to hold it for 10-15 minutes so the glue won't stick to any of the beads and get stuck. But you do need the glue in order to hold the knot.
After the glue dries, pull the knot into a larger-holed bead (if you have one) . . .
. . . and trim the ends of the cord
That's it! Now, wear your watch and plan your next watchband to match the next outfit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Non-Sleepover Slumber Party

Yes, for her birthday, my daughter wanted a Slumber Party. Well, we don't do sleepovers, but a Slumber Party still sounded like a fun birthday party theme. It turned out to be very easy. Here's what we did . . .

First, any sleepover (and any party) needs the right food. I gave Katie the choice of pigs-in-blankets or pizza, and she chose the piggies. I made 2 versions, one hot dogs and cheese wrapped in a biscuit (I cut the hot dogs in 3rds) and one little sausages with no cheese.

Chips, fruit and dip (8 oz cream cheese with 1 jar marshmallow cream), and veggies and dip. Plus, fun drinks and cupcakes and ice cream.

I sewed up some quick pillowcases and each girl got to decorate one. I really love the new Sharpies I found. They look like they were designed for the new craze of coloring on Converse (or clothing). They're called Stained, and they are really bold color.

The girls each got to decorate their own mirror, because what girl doesn't need more glam in their life. You could just buy a mirror, even at the dollar store, but I opted to make these just to save a few dollars.

We also made our own hair elastics. I let the girls choose their own ribbon and tie them on an elastic, making pompom style ponytail elastics.

And finally, I set out some new, cheap makeup (dollar store!) and q-tips for application and let them play make-up and do each other's hair while watching a movie.

While not on my agenda, the party did end with a pillow fight.

A complete success. Katie had a blast, and the girls haven't even asked for a sleepover since. (2 weeks ago. Yeah, it's taken me a while to post. . .)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Better Late Than Never

I know school's already out, and it's too late to prepare teacher gifts (except for you year-rounders), but I thought I'd share these ideas, and you can remember them for next year. Otherwise, I'll forget to post them early enough next year, too.

I whipped this sign up quick for the teacher I was a room mom for. Grabbed a board 1x6 (about 14" long) that was already sanded, painted it black, cut the vinyl on my Silhouette, stuck it on, and sprayed it with a clear sealant. I think it turned out great.

Both my girls made these candy bar posters for their teachers.

I found other candy bar ideas online, grabbed a few candy bars, then came up with this to use what we had.
*Teacher's name*
You're the RIESEN we SKOR so high. You took us AIRHEADS and DUM DUMS and taught us a THINGAMAJIG or two. We're no longer NERDS and (MILK) DUDS. You deserve 100 GRAND PAYDAY for turning us into SMARTIES. Don't SNICKER, but I really enjoyed learning MOUNDS about the MILKY WAY this year. BeTWIX the two of us, you (POP) ROCK(S). Hope your summer is (STAR)BURSTing with FUN (DIP). Enjoy your EXTRA CAREFREE time. You're a LIFESAVER. HUGS and KISSES, child's name.
(Although, I forgot the Hugs, so we just signed off with Kisses.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What happened to May?

June? Really? Already? What happened to May? Well, I guess I've been busy, even though my semester's over. It will take me a few days to catch up on all the things I've been wanting to share. For now, here's a bit of end-of-school-year fun . . .

Katie's been in the choir this year, and this is their last concert. She loves singing.

Isn't it funny how silly they can be? Katie's the cheeser in white right in the middle.

When no ones looking, she has the most bored look on her face.

Annual 6th graders vs. the teachers softball game. Jess was in the minority that made it on base, and one of only about a dozen that made it in home. (Sorry, forgot to turn the pic - I'll fix it someday . . . if I have time.)

And last, 6th grade Advancement Ceremony. The entire 6th grade sang us "Because You Loved Me."

Yeah, turn your head. Love the look on her face.

Jessica's teacher, Ms. Brock.

My friend had this fun idea for a treat for her 6th grader, so we made them together. The candies are pinned and poked into styrofoam, with a poem attached that reads:
Not Nerds or Dum Dums,
Not Milk Dud or Air Head
You rose through the grades
You're a smartie, instead!