Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Gift for a Sweet Girl

My three sweet grandchildren have now returned to their own home. This is a good thing because it means their daddy was well enough to be released from the hospital. Their lives have been turned upside down for the past several years by the cruel reality of a world in which their father fights a moment to moment battle with cancer. Stage IV kidney cancer, to be more precise, with all its horrors and coupled with massive radiation and chemo treatments, the side effects of which can be as devastating as the disease itself.

This lovable, lively,  cottage cheese mooching fellow, Champ, who also stays with us during these periods, went back home with the children.

You might have guessed, he is begging for a morsel!
 We love them all dearly, but hope they will not have to come back for quite some time for any extended stays. We hope their dear, sweet daddy will be enjoying some really good days at home! That is our prayer.

It is no secret that I am a (cheap)frugal lady. It brings me great pleasure to find a really good deal on something I can truly use. Two of my favorite words are "practical" and "serviceable." A good deal can be both.

Several years ago, I came across two packages of beads on clearance at Walmart. Each package was actually a kit, complete with instructions, for assembling a large necklace comprised of three separate strands of beads, entwined or twisted to make one large necklace. I had no idea, at the time, what I was going to do with these beads, but I  was certain I could use them for making something pretty, though probably not the three-stranded necklaces for which the kits were originally purposed. I tend to be spontaneous and adventurous, by nature, so I frequently like to change things up a bit. The sensation of "flying by the seat of my pants" is familiar to me when working on a project. I sometimes find the fun is in seeing what is at the end of an uncharted journey! It keeps things interesting, to say the least!

Therefore, I decided to shell out the enormous sum of one dollar each for these fabulous kits that contained some beautiful beads in ocean-inspired and sea colors. One contained the colors of ocean sands, mother of pearl and seashells.. The other contained the more neutral colors of the ocean sands, mother of pearl, sea foam and aqua sea glass.

Here is a photo of one unopened kit, a picture of the top of the package from the other and, in a plastic freezer bag, the many beads left over after I finished the project I am posting about today. In the picture is the only actual jewelry making tool I own. You can clearly see the red tags stating $1.00 on each. One was marked down to $1.50 before it finally went down to $1.00. From the tag on the other, it appears that both kits had originally probably cost $5.96.

As I recall, the little jewelry tool is called a 5-in-1 tool or something like that. It can be used for a number of jewelry making tasks and really is invaluable for cutting wires and headpins, rounding off the headpins to make nice, clean connections and for making round loops. It can also be used for opening and closing jump rings, split rings, closing loops and rings, etc. As you can see, there are a ton of beads left over from my project in the quart sized freezer bag.There are enough beads there for many more sets of earrings, necklaces or bracelets. Now that is, literally, stretching a dollar!

As I have stated before, I am positively NOT an expert jewelry maker, but I enjoy the process of learning. Someday, if my hurting hands will allow, I hope to take a course or two in jewelry making, so that my projects will look a little more sophisticated and polished. I am afraid surgery for one hand is in order, but I do not have the time or the inclination for that right now. As with many of my hobbies, I have used the internet, magazine articles with tutorials, etc. to gain a little knowledge about the subject over the years.

Since a friend was having a birthday, I decided to make a pair of drop earrings and a one strand necklace for her. I changed my mind, started over, and made two coordinating bracelets instead. In my stash of (findings (supplies), I already had some stretchy jewelry stringing thread, for assembling the bracelets, and some hooks and long jewelry headpins for making drop earrings.

This is the finished set.
I adore the colors in this set and how the bracelets are the hues of ocean waters. They also contain faux pearls and one of them has large blue/green beads that remind me of sea glass! I think sea glass is positively wonderful and I certainly hope my friend likes this ocean inspired set! 

Do you think you might enjoy creating a few pieces of jewelry? If you want to try your hand at some simple jewelry projects, it does not have to be expensive. You can do like me. I look for bargains on materials and supplies and I recycle other items of my own or from other places, such as broken and/or discarded jewelry finds. You know how much I like to keep things out of the landfills when I can. As the saying goes, "One woman's trash............." or something like that! 

There are any number of sources with tutorials on the subject on the internet. Of course, there are books at the library and even free brochures at hobby and craft shops and stores. For example, here is one link I found today: This is just one source. There are any number of free sources to be found on the subject. 

For me, it is a hobby that has been a lot of fun over the years. It is nice to be able to craft something special and unique, from time to time, for yourself or to give to that special person. Please be encouraged to try this for yourself. Let your spirit of learning soar to another plane. Try something new and different. Go for it! Take that uncharted flight, you might just be surprised at how much fun and how rewarding it can be. You, too, can "fly by the seat of your pants" and you might love the place where you land!
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