Saturday, August 17, 2013

Donations - 7000 Bracelets for Hope ...and Other Things

So, I was sitting at my bench on Thursday, 100% totally frustrated at my attempts to bead a cabochon for Sally Russick's upcoming Cabochon Challenge. (Sally is having website issues so no link today! - Her site should be up soon - take a gander:  I do not seed bead...let me repeat that please...I DO NOT SEED BEAD! :)  Seriously - I have mentioned in the past to blog friend Christine that the problem is the teeny tiny holes in the seed beads, coupled with my old squinty eyes.  I told Christine that I broke 3 needles just on the first row! :)  I have more needles and tomorrow is another day and I will keep trying!  Sally has been posting great videos on her blog on how to do this - it is strictly user error on my part!

So, I trashed the needles and decided to whip up some bracelets for donation to the 7000 Bracelets for Hope Campaign.  This is one of my favorite organizations - a bracelet is gifted to an adult or child suffering from one of 700 rare, genetic disorders.  I gave a bunch of bracelets last year and it has been a few months since my last donation. The only real criteria for donating  bracelets is that they contain the color blue.  I cannot believe it, but I am so low on blue beads!  I will be hitting Etsy soon as I must remedy this!  Here is what I am sending off on Monday.

First up is this bracelet made with two sizes of Czech glass beads - I offset the blue beads with a smoky transparent bead.  When I make these bracelets, I make each one adjustable and I try to include an inspirational charm.  I did not have any in copper charms on hand, so I made these out of copper sheet.

That is a 1/2" disc - I wanted to stamp the word FAITH, but there was no way it was going to fit!  I have 3 sizes of stamps - and I used the smallest set.
The facets on these Czech glass beads really make the bracelet shine.

The bracelet above includes lampwork nuggets from InspireGlassStudio on Etsy - these are really pretty beads.

Love all the variations of blue!

The third bracelet, above, also includes artisan beads by InspireGlassStudio.  

The striations of yellows and greens really look beautiful in these beads!

Back to the Cabochon Challenge!  I have made 3 sterling silver bezel-set cabochons so far - and I am loving it!  The reveal date is September 18th - one week before I attend artBLISS!  September is looking good so far!

One last shameless plug - I am trying to move some stock in my shop on Etsy, so there is a 20% off sale on right now - no coupon required!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend - it is a glorious day in Virginia...and I intend to go outside and enjoy it!

Thank you for stopping by!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And the two shall become one

I have been blessed in my life to have 5 drop-dead gorgeous nieces - two belong to my sister, and three belong to my brother.  Jen, (my brother's child) is my eldest niece and she was married two years ago to Jason - a wonderful guy! Jason is an Engineer and I have to say, a nice guy to have a conversation with - very funny!  He is from Wisconsin to boot - my father's home state, and this family is full of Packer Backers! Jen is expecting not one - but two babies within the next few weeks (squeal!!!)   One of those babies is a boy - and we are super excited for both Oliver and Evelyn to make their entrance into this world!  I foresee lots of drives down I-95 with my mom in tow in the near future!  The arrival of these babies enhances my mother's title to Great Grandma! :)

My one and only Godchild, Rachel (my sister's eldest) was married in May 2012 to a sweetie pie southern boy from North Carolina name Jon.  He calls me ma'am....I don't know if that is his southern upbringing or the fact that he is in the Navy.  He truly treats Rachel like a queen, and I believe he would give his shirt off his back to help a stranger.  He is most definitely a keeper and I love him to death!

About a week or so ago, Sarah's (my sister's youngest) boyfriend Kevin proposed...and she said Yes!  Sarah and Kevin have been together for years now.  Kevin is another sweet heart  - he can build or fix anything (jealous!) and he is just so darn nice!  He is so loyal and has so much integrity - something I just don't see every day now.  She is so very lucky!

It makes me so happy that "my" girls have found their perfect mates!

All 5 of my niece's have HUGE beautiful eyes as you can see from the photo of Sarah and Kevin below - a trait that was not acquired from the Vanderbloemen side of the family....

Sarah and Kevin - taken on the day he proposed at the beach
So, Sarah wanted a unique way to ask her friend's to be her bridesmaids.  After much searching, she found an idea from a seller on Etsy - it was a neon pink stretch ribbon with a silver "star" charm attached, meant to be worn as a type of bracelet.  The seller had a cute little saying on a printed card and attached the makeshift bracelet to the card.  It was a really cool idea.  But, Sarah and I had a better idea - let's make a bracelet that someone could actually wear on a day-to-day basis!

I recently completed some custom jewelry for Sarah's friend (also named Sarah) that included sterling silver infinity links.... (purchased from Nina Designs) I had lots of these links left over, so I came up with this design:

Made from relatively thin, 16 gauge sterling silver wire, the link is attached via a simple loop on one side with a simple hook on the right.  After I made a sample in copper to get the measurements down, I made the bracelets all in silver.  I pounded the heck out of the silver with my rawhide hammer and bracelet mandrel to get the correct shape and hardness.  I tumbled these bangles for a solid 3 hours to harden and shine the metal.  These are also amazingly simple to put on, too!

So, Sarah, being a teacher and an excellent writer by the way (shameless plug!) came up with a beautiful saying that unifies the infinity link with her message and we made these cards to attach the bracelets:

Sarah had some cute ribbon to tie the bracelets to the card as well:

Being a self-imposed Office Supply Queen, I made some little labels to attach to the lid of the box indicating the date to mark their calendars:

And we called it DONE!  These went in the mail Monday morning...

Two of the Bridesmaids-To-Be replied today with pictures of themselves wearing the bracelets - that probably means more to me than Sarah as it is evidence that something I made FITS!

My sister and Sarah like the bracelets so much that I made one for each of them as well.  I am thrilled beyond words that Sarah entrusted me to make these for her - one of so many wonderful memories to come.  Thank you, Sarah, for allowing me to have this small part in preparing for your big day!  Love you!

Thanks for stopping by today!