Friday, December 12, 2014
Need a gift for that hard-to-shop-for fashionista on your list? Wrap bracelets are all the rage, and you can spend big bucks on the pricey designer brands, or make one yourself in an hour or two at home!
I love these leather wrap bracelets because they’re casual enough for jeans and tees, but they also can be dressy, depending on the beads and stones you choose. I’ve even seen them done in pearls and white leather for brides!
You can make a single wrap, double wrap (like I’ve made here) or if you’re ambitious, try 4 or 5 wraps for a dramatic boho style.
I’m going to show you the way that I create my wrap bracelets, but there are lots of different tutorials and videos on creating the same look, with slight variations on methods or final appearance. I’ve taught lots of people to make these bracelets, including my students at Creative University, but this is the first time I’ve tried a jewelry tutorial. This is going to be a long post, so if you get lost and need a video tutorial, try this one, which has some very good tips and is easy to follow.
You’ll need leather cord, nylon beading thread, a small needle and beads. I’ll discuss more about the supplies as I go along, and check the bottom of this post for links to some supplies.
Begin by cutting your leather. For a two-wrap bracelet, you’ll need enough to wrap loosely around your wrist four times, then add 12” for the closures. Fold your leather in half and add a button, then tie an overhand knot under the button.
Attach your bracelet to a firm surface. I’m using a cutting board, but sometimes I use a clipboard. I don’t like working directly on the table, since I usually need to move my project before I’m done, so use something portable.
Attach the free ends to the bottom of the board. If your board is short, just clip the leather at the bottom to keep it taught. You can readjust as your bracelet gets longer.
Cut your thread. You’ll need 10 feet for each wrap, so I cut 20 feet of thread. Yes, that’s a LOT of thread, and the biggest challenge will be to keep it from tangling while working. I have a few hints, but the best advice is to be prepared and don’t rush, and maybe have a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa to relax before you begin.
You’ll need to use beading thread for this bracelet, don’t try it with regular sewing thread. There are no knots in this bracelet except at the start and end, so if your thread breaks the whole bracelet goes. Nylon thread is super strong and very thin, it will hold up to lots of wear.
Thread your needle. I use a fine embroidery needle for my wrap bracelets, it’s easy for me to thread and hold onto. I have a hard time with beading needles, no matter how hard I try I just can’t get the hang of threading them and they usually break on me, so I’ve come to an agreement with beading needles… we leave each other alone and I won’t bad mouth them.
You’ll need to double your thread, so after passing through the eye of the needle, bring the free ends together. Don’t tie in a knot just yet….
Wax your thread. I like to use beeswax on my thread to keep it from tangling and it makes the thread stronger. Hold the wax in one hand, trap the thread over the block with your thumb and pull the free end. Do this several times until the two pieces of thread stick together and appear as one.
P.S. I use beeswax when sewing buttons onto my clothes, you’ll never lose a button again!
Attach your thread to the bracelet. After you’ve waxed your thread, tie the end in a knot. Then slide the needle through the leather knot on your bracelet, so that the needles exit the opposite side of your leather loop with the button. (Come out of the bottom of the knot). Pull the thread through and nestle the knotted end of the thread in the leather knot. Trim the loose end of the thread and add a drop of hypo cement to secure the thread in place.
Secure the thread before beading. Using your needle, go under one of the pieces of leather and up through the middle. Do this two or three times, until you have wrapped the thread a few times around one of the “legs” of your bracelet. Keep these loops tight, up close to the leather knot (my photo below shows a loose wrap, which it does when you let go of the thread to take a picture).
Begin beading. Beginning on the right side, bring your needle under the right leg and up through the middle of the bracelet, between the two legs. Add a bead to the thread, nestling it between the two pieces of leather.
A couple of notes: I’m a lefty with a pencil, but a righty with a needle. So I’m using left and right directions for right-handed beaders. If you hold your needle on the left, switch any left/right instructions.
Also, you’ll notice that I skipped ahead on my beading progress to show you the bead threading. It’s easier to see how the threading works when you can see a few beads already on the bracelet.
Here’s another view (below). I just love those black and white beads!
Left side: over and back through. After adding your bead, the thread will be on top of the left leg. Bring your needle under that left leg and pass it back through the bead, coming out on top of the right leg. Pull it out of the right side of the bead. Go slow, you will now have four layers of thread inside the bead, and you have a lot of yards of thread that need to pass through. (See tangle tips below to keep your thread from knotting).
Once you’ve passed the thread all the way through, you’ll have a nice snug loop on the left side, holding the bead against the left leg. Your thread is now on top of the right leg.
Begin again, and again, and again. You’ve completed your first bead addition. Your bead is seated between the two leather cords, and the thread is on the right side, with the thread on top of the right leg. To add your second bead, pass the needle under the right leg and up through the center, adding a bead as you do so. Do you remember that part from the first bead? Now you can continue with the under/through/over/under/through pattern until you have added enough beads to wrap around your wrist once.
You can stop now if you have a single wrap bracelet, or continue with the same beads if you want all one bead style, or you can change to a different bead for your second wrap.
Tangle Tips: The first few beads are the hardest, and it does get easier as you use up more thread. The biggest frustration is dealing with all the thread and preventing tangling. Clear your workspace on both sides, so that nothing catches the thread - that means no scissors, extra beads, etc. Put everything on the table in front of you instead of on the sides. After passing the needle through the bead, I find that it's easier to park the needle somewhere at the top of my workboard, instead of holding it in my hand while I pull the thread. This allows me to pull with two hands and keeps the thread from doubling back on itself.
Changing bead sizes. I like a little variation in my wrapped bracelets, so I switch beads at the half-way point. This sort of makes it look like you have two bracelets instead of one, but there’s only one clasp to mess with. I usually pick a sparkly or metallic bead that coordinates with the stone or glass bead I started with. In this bracelet, I’ve not only switched the type and material, but I also changed the size to a much smaller size. When doing this, you’ll notice that your leather “legs” need to be manipulated a bit to get them to lie smooth in the transition space. Take your time and smooth your bracelet as you work, rolling the already strung beads to get them to the most pleasing position so that the entire band lies flat and doesn’t bulge or warp.
Finishing your bracelet. Check your bracelet length as you get closer to the end of your leather. Make sure that you don’t make the bracelet too long since your closure will account for a few of the last inches. When you’re satisfied with the final length, tie off your thread, leaving the needle still attached. Remove the bracelet from your board and tie the free ends of the leather in an overhand knot.
Pick up the needle and pass it through the leather knot, then snip the thread flush with the other side of the knot. Use a dot of hypo cement on either side of the knot where the thread enters and exits, as well as on the thread knot to keep it from untying.
Using your button as guide, tie the free ends of the leather cord in a second knot, leaving a gap between the first and second knot, large enough to slip the button through. Trim the cord, leaving a short tail. If needed, add some hypo cement to keep the leather knot from slipping.
Enjoy your finished bracelet!
Supplies (click to shop at Auntie’s Beads) 2 mm Black Leather Cord
Nylon Beading Thread, size D
8 mm Black & White Calsilica gemstone beads
4 mm Black Crystal beads
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Border stamps are one of those essentials that add that little extra something to your projects, but they also can be forgotten because they aren’t the star of the show.
In my latest video lesson for Curious, you’ll learn to look at your border stamps in new ways with simple techniques and ideas get the most out of the stamps you already own.
If your idea of making a border stamp look different is to change the ink color, you’ll find many suggestions for making your border stamps wider, thinner or using them as backgrounds. I also include a detailed tutorial on how to miter corners when making a border frame.
All of the techniques in the lesson use simple materials that most papercrafters already own. This video, along with the others in the Start Stamping series, is designed to give new life to your existing products without complicated techniques or an expensive shopping list.
If you enjoy my goofy intros and bloopers in my videos, I think you’ll really like this particular one. Nothing like a little cross-dressing in public to test how brave you are.
The next time you’re ready for a stamping session, you may want to head for the border!
Enroll in Creating Custom Stamped Borders now! Watch the free preview for a lesson introductory, class price is just $1.99. Thrifty tip: You can save and purchase your curious credits in advance and get more for your money!
Monday, December 1, 2014
I’m so excited to share this amazing deal available today only! You can purchase any of the Close to My Heart cricut collections for just $79.20, a savings of 20% off retail.
I’ve been a consultant for a long time, and this sale is monumental. The best price you’ll ever find on all the cricut collections, so grab one (or more) while you can!
Bonus! Shop through my Cyber Monday link on my website and your name will be placed in a random drawing to win a free paper pack or stamp set!
To see the collections and purchase this deal, visit my shopping website. To be entered into the drawing, make sure to click the “Join Cyber Monday Sale” link when you’re ready to shop.
Monday, November 17, 2014
It’s so good to be back! You may have noticed my blog has been pretty quiet lately. I’m blaming my crazy schedule all through the Halloween season for my lack of blog posts, sometimes we just can’t do it all! Working at a haunted theme park as a makeup artist (pictures to come) and co-directing an all-school haunted house for the middle school tends to take away from my time for scrappin’ and stampin’.
The good news is that I’ve been making steady progress on my Start Stamping Videos for Curious. My newest video, Background Stamping Techniques is now available!
Have you ever spent too much time searching through your stash for the perfect patterned paper, or even gone to the store just to buy paper that coordinates with a single layout that you’re trying to complete?
As a stamper, I use plenty of pre-printed papers. I love all of the My Reflections paper packets by Close to My Heart, with their coordinating cardstocks and patterned background and texture papers (B&T paper). But often I want something that is customized to my project. I also get real satisfaction from creating a project that’s completely unique, from the color choices to the pattern of my backgrounds.
My latest Curious video shows you how to create your own patterned background papers using simple techniques that don’t require specialty tools or supplies. Using stamps, inks, cardstock and standard craft tools, you’ll learn about masking, direct-to-paper, overstamping and more!
For this video and others, please visit my Curious page.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
One of the things I love about stamping is the ability to alter the design and appearance of the stamp using techniques.
I was an artist before I was a stamper, and I worked in many different mediums. Paints, pencils, airbrush, inks, you name it. But I somehow missed out in my art education on the versatility of rubber stamps, and I thought that a stamp was nothing more than the image shown on the block. Boy, was I wrong!
Nearly 15 years ago, my neighbor invited me to a Close to My Heart event. That evening, my eyes were opened to the possibilities of stamping, and “the Stamp Goddess” was born!
Learning new techniques is the best way to get more looks from your stamp sets, and the more techniques you learn, the more choices you’ll have.
If you’re curious about new techniques, check out my newest video, Masking Techniques for Stamps.
Learn how to block out portions of your stamps using simple materials like copy paper and masking tape.
See one of my favorite all-time techniques for adding color when I need to create a LOT of images. Reverse masking has saved me so much time, and the images turn out consistent and beautiful every time.
My latest videos, Masking Techniques for Stamps is now on Curious. It will be affordably priced, like all my Curious videos, and once you enroll in a Curious video lesson it’s yours to watch for life.
If you hurry on over to my Curious page, you may be able to catch the free preview period for this video, before the price is added. The lessons are always a great value, but free is good while you can get it!
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Halloween is just around the corner, but it’s not too early to start planning your Christmas stamping!
The October Stamp of the Month, Home for the Holidays, is available only until October 31. You can purchase it for $17.95, or you can get it for just $5 when you place an order of $50 or more on my website.
This stamp set coordinates with the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge. Home for the Holidays is perfect for homemade gift tags and package decorations. I love that little gingerbread house, and the polar bear!
Do you like surprises? I do! When you place an order of $50 or more, you’ll receive a free roll of Chevron Ribbon! Five yards long and 3/4” wide, this is a lot of ribbon for a great price… nothing, zip, nada, zilch! The color will be Ruby or Outdoor denim, that’s the surprise, so you’ll have to wait to open your order box to see what you got. Original retail value $6.95, it’s like getting a little Christmas surprise early!
*Offer valid October 1–31, 2014 while supplies last. No tax will be charged on the free items. Shipping/handling is calculated based on the full retail price of the free item ($6.95 USD)
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Ready for more Fabulously Artsy lessons on stamping? My latest video for Curious is now available!
Wondering how to add color and pizzazz to your plain outline stamps? Learn 8 simply spectacular techniques to make your stamping stand out! No need for fancy tools or expensive supplies, in this lesson you’ll learn how to use your stamps, inkpads, cutting tools and markers to add color, depth and texture to your outline images.
Learn how to fussy cut and paper piece for multi-layered images.
Create beautiful hand-painted cards with nothing more than a paintbrush and a few inkpads.
See the quickest way ever to fill your outline stamps with solid color!
Visit my Curious teacher’s page to watch Outline Stamping Techniques. This video is just $1.99 to watch, and you can watch the introduction to the lesson for free to decide if you’d like to enroll. All lessons on Curious have a money back guarantee, and you can also save money by pre-purchasing credits in advance.
If you’d like to watch a free lesson, visit my teacher’s page for more videos.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Cardmakers rejoice! Scrapbookers celebrate! The wait for Artfully Sent, the newest Close to My Heart Cricut cartridge is now available for purchase. Keep reading to find out how you can get a free bonus products when you order from me!
Close to My Heart Cricut collections are so much more than a cartridge and some shapes. Artfully Sent includes three perfectly coordinated stamp sets. You also get 700 shapes on the cartridge, including a font. Along with all that, you’ll receive a 24 pack of White Daisy cardstock. Just the stamps and paper alone is worth over $63!
To see all of the CTMH Cricut Collections, click here.
Artfully Sent is for cardmakers AND scrapbookers!
First, let’s talk about how this collection can take your cards to new levels. You’ll find 5 card types, with 25 themes each, which gives you hundreds of card options. The sentiment stamp set included everything from birthday to holidays to just because occasions. Imagine making a pop-up card with just the click of a button, no complicated patterns and hand cutting!
Now, don’t think we forgot about you scrapbookers! If you like the quick and easy style of pocket scrapbooking (like Picture My Life), you’ll find the pocket card type will let you cut custom insert cards for your pocket pages. (That’s a lot of pockets in one paragraph!)
Scrapbookers can also adapt the pop-up and sleeve card types to make interactive album elements, and the scene and sentiment options will give you even more scrapbooking choices.
Want to learn more about the Artfully Sent collection? Watch this video from CTMH, and don’t forget to scroll down for my September Special Offer to earn FREE products when you purchase Artfully Sent!
Three Fabulously Artsy Special Offers:
Get MORE when you buy the Artfully Sent collection in September!
1. Free Paper Packet
Receive a paper packet of your choice (retail $9.95) when you order through my website using the September Special button. Choose any one of the 9 My Reflections paper packets, absolutely free! Each My Reflections paper packet contains 6 double sided patterned papers (B&T Duos) and 6 assorted solid colored cardstocks. Perfectly coordinated, and perfect to get you started right away with your new Artfully Sent Collection!
To receive your free paper packet, shop on my website using the September Cricut Special button (look for it on the right side of the page here). Once you’ve clicked the JOIN button you can begin shopping. After you have finished your order and completed the payment, I’ll email you within 24 hours to ask you which paper packet you’d like to receive for free.
This offer is available through Tresa Black, CTMH independent consultant and not offered by Close to My Heart. Order must contain one or more Cricut Collections by Close to My Heart, and order must be placed using the September Cricut Special button. To receive the free paper packet of your choice, please respond to the email request, check your inbox and/or spam box within 24 hours for my offer. Free item will be sent separately from your online order.
2. Add the September Stamp the Month for just $5!
When you purchase the Artfully Sent Cricut collection, you’ll qualify to receive Family Is Forever, the September Stamp of the month for just $5 additional. This set is priced at $17.95, so you save 13 bucks!
3. Want more? Get Hostess Rewards for more free products!
Take advantage of the Close to My Heart’s hostess rewards program and earn $25 or more in free products when you purchase $150 or more in products, (including the Cricut Collections). I’ll even throw in the FREE paper packet for your purchase of Artfully Sent collection if you place the order in September, so you’ll be even more for free!
With orders over $250, you qualify to earn the Cricut Collection of your choice or any other catalog item for half off!
Gather orders from your friends, or just have a one-person order, you’ll get hostess rewards for any order over $150. Contact me for more details or to place an order and receive free hostess rewards.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
It’s not easy keeping up with the latest styles. Luckily, we have Close to My Heart to do that for us.
One of the reasons I’ve been a CTMH consultant for so many years is that the company is committed to lightning fast changes to follow styles and trends in the scrapbooking and stamping industry, without sacrificing core product availability.
What does that mean to you? It means you can count on Close to My Heart to bring you three catalogs a year with new products that are right on trend with what you’re seeing the the magazines and online. You’ll find fresh color combos, hip new stamp designs and hot paper patterns.
But you’ll also find a solid collection of traditional alphabet and image stamps, 42 cardstock and inkpad colors, and high quality tools and accessories.
Trendy or traditional, I love CTMH!
Born to Roam stamp set, $9.95. Click to shop.
Free Stamp Set!
Purchase $30 in stamps and get the September special #30yearsofhappy for free!
Get this set only during the month of September, with your purchase of $30 in stamps.
Bonus! Spend $50 total (stamps and any products) and you can add the September Stamp of the Month to your order for just 5 bucks. Imagine how much fun you’ll have with all your new stamps, and with the free set and the $5 special you’ll be stamping like the stamp goddess!
September Stamp of the Month, $17.95 or $5 with $50 purchase.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Are you a bad stamper? Do you suffer from blurred lines and splotchy solids? Do you wish your could make a good impression every time you stamp?
In episode 3 of my Start Stamping course for Curious, I’ll show you why you’re making a bad impression, and how to start making more consistent and even stamped images each and every time you create!
In my video class, you’ll learn how block size is important, and what to do if you don’t have the correct block for your stamp.
Ever stamped with a plate? You might need this tip in the future. I’ll tell you why in my lesson.
I’ll teach you how to ink your stamp with just the right amount of ink, and why different stamps need different types of pressure to make the perfect image.
What do you do if you DO make a bad impression? Don’t give up, I’ll share four ways to rescue your stamped piece. No crying necessary.
Ready to learn? Join me on Curious and watch Making a Good Stamped Impression. If you have already watched the lesson, leave me a comment here on my blog and let me and other readers know what you think!