Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wire Crochet Dreams DO Come True!

As promised, here are my wire crochet earrings that I matched with my necklace. I just have to say that I love them! They were fun and a bit challenging and I think I was super rewarded with the outcome. I will be honest I had no idea what I was doing. I just made it up...and that is why I am so proud of them. They turned out just how I wanted them too!

The biggest challenge was the crochet hook. An I or J sized hook is recommended, I have always used a G size because I am stuborn (or lazy)'s what I already had and I don't want to buy another one. So, G is already smaller than the suggested size and it makes it a bit tough. For these earrings I used a size D (which I already had, thanks to all the wonderful things I inherited from my mom)...lots smaller than a J or I...and it made a difference! Holy Cow! But oh so worth it!

So I started out just making a chain without beads. I did about three inches long and it really was perfect! Remember to keep two to three inches of tail on both ends. 

Once you get your three inch chains done, you just want to coil it up. Can you see how I just kind of wrapped it around each a spiral

It ends up kind of looking like a nest...

Next you want to "sew" your nest together so it doesn't unravel. So I just took one tail and threaded it through the loops connecting them all together. Be sure to end with your sewing tail coming out the back.
(Gross! I know what you are thinking, and yes I do believe in washing my hands. This is what happens when you work with metal...your fingers get dirty. And sore, just a heads up)

Now you want to string your bead onto the other tail. Then thread that tail through the back.

Just do a little, gentle (remember you don't want to work this wire too much) twist-tie action to connect them together. Clip them close, then kind of bend the wires into your stitches so they don't get in the way of your earring posts or poke your ears. I just used my flat nose pliers to bend them in.

All that is left is assembling and waiting...(probably the hardest part!). There are a few jewelers or metal glues you can use. My absolute favorite is E-600. I sell it to anybody who will listen to me at work because I love it and it works wonders! This glue will hold hard to almost anything you adhere it to. Just put a good little blob on the earring then squish your post into it. I held it for just a few minutes then put them down to dry...I say let it sit and dry at least four hours. I usually let my stuff sit over night, just to be safe and I haven't had anything fall apart yet!

And there you have it. My dream come true!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No Fail! Wire Crochet!

About two months ago I bought these blue beads with a particular project in mind. Boy was I so sad and disappointed when it didn't work out. Who knew the holes would be too big for my nylon cording? Not me. So there they sat, in my bead box as a reminder of my lack of judgement. I couldn't stand it anymore. I felt like their one purpose in life was to taunt me. They are so cute but I just couldn't figure out what to do with them. It shouldn't be that hard, really! They are just round beads. And then the light bulb turned on...what is a no fail-no-matter-how-much-you-mess-up project, besides earrings? Wire Crochet! Anything and everything looks perfect with this technique!

This is all you need. Just a few different beads, wire, crochet hook and a clasp. The mug is a plus (completely recommended. It will make your life easier)

I gave the basics and tips for wire crocheting in my Wire Crochet Earrings post but I didn't go into much detail, so I will try to do it for your here.

First of all, if you aren't familiar with just a basic crochet stitch, I suggest you learn and practice with plain yarn so you don't waste a bunch of wire.
Just tie a knot, but don't tighten it, so you have a loop. Make sure you leave about a four inch tail. Then you are going to slip your hook through the loop, up from the bottom. Wrap your wire/yarn (from the spool, not the tail) around the hook, coming from the back then pull it down through your loop. Just repeat that until you get the feel, soon you'll find your groove and wont even realize how much you have done!

Okay, so for the necklace. My necklace is made of three strands. You can do whatever you want, although I wouldn't just do one. I used three different beads, one strand per bead kind. But you can mix this up too if you want. If you do mix up your beads on each strand, just remember not to stress too much about a pattern or the order they go on, because once you get the strands all together, it won't matter.

So lets start!
For my purple necklace I had one bead type that was 6mm and then two different beads that were 4 mm. For the strand with the 6mm I used 25 beads and then 32 each of the 4 mm. It fits my neck about like a choker, it's a little bit looser than that, but pretty close.
I wanted this necklace to be longer than that, but not too much, like down to my collar bone. So I added three beads to each strand and about an inch of extra wire on each end. So I got about 3 more inches of length.
My blue beads are 8 mm. I'll be honest, this was pushing it. They were pretty big, especially for a G hook. But like I said, this is my no fail, so it worked out just fine!

So to start your necklace just drop your wire spool into your mug and string all of your beads for the first strand onto the wire. Make your starting loop, then do three or four stitches. Next bring a bead up and do a stitch...(like in the picture). And that's all there is to it. One empty stitch, one stitch with a bead. I have to think about it as I go and say to myself "yes" for a bead and "no" for empty. Yes, no, yes, no...for the entire thing or I forget, but really it isn't that hard to look and see if you did an empty stitch or not. It just helps me, so I don't have to look. Also, if you do forget to do an empty stitch, or if you do two empty stitches, you really won't be able to tell once you get all your strands together. I was actually talking to my dad while I was doing my blue bead strand, and you could tell. I had a couple of beads together without any empties, and I had like 3 empties before another bead. No fail! Once I got all the strands together I couldn't even tell how bad I had messed up on it.
*Note* Because of my larger bead I probably should have done two empty stitches in time
 (I forgot to put my empty stitches in, just in case you are looking at this, and can't figure it out. This is just bead after bead.)

So you are going to make three strands all the same way, just different beads (or not, if you want all the same, which would be really pretty too!)

Once you have all three strands, take two of them and kind of wrap one strand around the other. Then take your third strand and wrap it around the two. You can also braid the three strands together instead of wrapping them. That is super pretty too! 

To finish the ends, take your tails and gently twist them together. Remember that this thin wire can break if you twist too much or pull to hard. Clip the wires so they are even. Thread the wires through your clasps then just kind of wrap the wires around themselves to finish it off. You can put your clasps right up to your stitches or give it some space if you want a bit more length.

And that's it! Voila!!!!

Come back tomorrow to check out my matching earrings! So cute and completely different from the wire crochet earrings I made before!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hope of America

Has anybody heard of Hope of America? I didn't know anything about it until last night...until we got there.

This is how everything played out. It all started on Monday. Jason got a call from his dad asking us to go to his little brother's performance Tuesday night at 7:30 and take pictures because he couldn't be there.
When Jason got of the phone this was our conversation:
Jason: "Can we go to Jacob's performance tomorrow at 7:30?"
Me: Sure, where it is?
Jason: The Marriot (this should have been my first clue it was huge, but I didn't pick up on it)
Me: What is he performing?
Jason: It's a school thing
Me: Okay sounds fun

So I'm thinking, it's just a small school performance and it's at the Marriot so there should be plenty of seats, no need to go super early. (I'm from a small 2A school where any performance we had was in our gym. So I hear school performance, and automatically think small.) We got there about 7:15ish and had to park forever away. Luckily for us we had some of Jason's family there that saved seats for us, or we would have been seatless.

It was a school performance all right, he just failed to mention that there are like 40 schools participating!

It was so cool!!!! I teared up a few times. The whole night was about America and the flag. In the beginning they had any of the kids and families in the schools that had a family member serving in the military walk across the floor waving flags and everybody was standing up and clapping. The kids performing were waving their own flags. It was so cool and super sweet. I have a cousin that is being deployed in May and I am so sad about it all, so this part made me cry. But it also made me so Proud to be an American! Standing and clapping with such a huge crowd!

So there was singing from the kids and then they had some dance numbers in between. One of the dance groups was Jeans Golden Girls. It's a group consisting of ladies over the age of 40 (I think). It was fun to watch and there is a 90 something year old lady that does the splits! My brother-in-law's mom performs in it, so it was fun to track her down...not hard since she was the only one with bright red hair.

The finale song was probably my favorite! They turned off the lights and all the kids had flashlights and there was a disco ball...really. And the song was super special.

After the program Jason and I waited in the parking lot for 25 minutes trying to get out. That was fun. Then we met up with his family at Arby's to visit and have a chocolate turnover (I have been craving one for months!). Jason's mom came up from St. George and his grandma was there along with a few cousins and his younger siblings. One of Jason's brothers is in the Marines and was in town for a few days before he heads to Japan for a year.. It was really sad to say goodbye to him

It was a good night!

Moral of the story: Hope of America is super cool! You should go...tonight. It's your last chance until next year. It's at the Marriot Center in Provo, starts and 7:30 and it is FREE! No excuses! Also there is kind of a pre-show that I heard was really cool so you should go early enough to see that!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mod Podge to the Rescue!

So a few years ago a bought a cookie jar at the DI for $2.00. YAY! I was looking for something ugly and I found the perfect one! Back then I thought it fit perfectly in our kitchen, filled with cookie goodness.

But now that I have gotten married and "matured" a little bit, I am realizing that only an actual Grandma would want this cookie jar in their kitchen. So I had to rethink things a bit.

Someday when I have a kitchen that I actually love and take pride in I will decorate it. And when I decorate, it will be so cute. Greens and Oranges...and Frogs.

Digging through my craft supplies I found lots of paper and a bit of Mod Podge. Perfect! My wheels began to turn. 

Once I decided on my paper I started ripping it up into little pieces...
(This is the perfect project to use up your scrap paper.)

Then I randomly Mod Podged them onto my cookie jar. Completely covering it.

Bye bye Grandma

I covered it in orange paper then added some cute frogs using my little Cricut and the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge.

When I finished with the Mod Podge, I took it outside and sprayed it down with a few coats of some clear coating/sealer. This way my paper wouldn't peel off and I will be able to wipe it down and stuff in the future.
Now, I could have just used my Mod Podge as a sealer and it would have worked just fine. But I didn't because a) I didn't have enough Mod Podge to do that and b) I didn't want a lot of brush stokes.

When it was finished I felt like it needed...something. So I added a bit of ribbon to the lid.

The entire process is pretty easy. But I would be lying if I said this was a quick and easy project. It isn't. I'm not exaggerating when I say it took me all day to do it. I did all the Mod Podging yesterday then sprayed it down today.

But it was a lot of fun and I love how my new cookie jar turned out. Some day it will look perfect in my super cute kitchen, nestled on a counter all comfy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Good Day for Earrings

I woke up this morning in a jewelry making mood. Earrings are my favorite things to make. They are quick and easy and oh so cute! But today I wanted to make a necklace with some new beads I got the other day. A few hours later I finished...and decided it was completely hideous and I knew I would never ever wear it. So to make myself feel better I made a pair of earrings.

This pair is made in two separate pieces consisting of wire wrapping and briolette beads.

I started out with the bottom piece, the briolette beads. (Briolette Beads are beads that are strung along the top, out the sides...instead of from the top and bottom)
I used about 3 inches per bead of 20 gauge German Wire (super good for wire wrapping). Its really simple, just string the wire through the bead about a 1/3 of the way. Press the long side up snug to the bead.

Next use your chain nose pliers to straighten the long wire. Then bring the shorter wire up snug against the bead crossing the two wires. I like to have my short wire go behind the longer one.

Just twist the wires together. You can do it like a twisty tie or you can twist the small wire around the long wire like I did, using my pliers at the end to get the tip of the wire twisted close.

Repeat these steps for the other earring.

Next make your loops by clipping your wire to about 1/2 inch long and use your round nose pliers to make your loops pretty.

Moving on to the wire wrapping! This was fun! Just remember it doesn't have to be perfect and they don't have to match!

I used 10mm jump rings and the same 20 gauge wire cut into two pieces of about 5-6 inches each.  I started out with a little loop at one end of my wire and looped it onto the jump ring. Then wrapped it around a few times, changing directions to get the criss cross look. Be sure to make a little loop at the top by tucking the end of your wire into the wrapped wire to connect it to your earring (or you can just directly connect the earring to the ring itself).
(I didn't use the entire strand of my wire. Its good to have extra wire to work with when you are wire wrapping. It's is so much easier to snip off the excess than it is to try to work with the very last bit and make it do what you want.)

To complete it, just connect the bead to the jump ring, then the jump ring to your earring. That's it, piece of cake!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Mini Vacation!

Wednesday last week found us in the car heading South, to St. George. It was Spring Break, not that, that really means anything to us since we aren't in school. But, nonetheless we used it as an excuse and went on a little vacation! We joined forces with two of my sister and their families and my little brother. We didn't have a ton planned, our main objective was to enjoy the sun and to get away from work for a few days. Mission Accomplished!

This is us on our way down...

Wednesday night we met up with Jason's mom and step-dad for dinner at delicious Cafe Rio. Yum! It was a lot of fun to be with them. Lots of good visiting! We don't get to see them near enough!

Thursday we met up with everyone at Dixie Rock. I guess it's a place the pioneers liked to come and play. I can see why too. I'm not into the hiking thing too much but this place was a blast. A bit scary with the drop offs and lizards and probably snakes living in the rocks (luckily we just saw little lizards running around), especially with a bunch of little kids. But seriously so fun! And sunny and warm!

There was a crack in the rocks that most everyone squished through...okay it was all the little kids, my little brother and my husband. Oh, and on a second attempt a brother in law worked his way squirming inch by inch on his side along the ground. Wish I would have gotten a picture of that, but you couldn't see it very well. It was pretty funny to watch, we all thought he was crazy! But he made it!

Most of the kids went through twice. This little one would have done it all day if we would've let her.

Haha! This was funny I had to put it this wasn't posed, just perfect timing. I feel like it should be the CD cover for a band or something.
(Just below Jason's feet is the exit of the crack.)

The beautiful view from the top of Dixie Rock...see the St. George Temple?

From Dixie Rock we went to a place called Jumpin' Jack's.
You know the bounce houses that we adults are never allowed to enter? Not the case at Jack's. Anybody could play here...and we did for a couple of hours. Needless to say we were exhausted. But we had a blast!

Friday we went over to the Temple and the Visitor's Center. It was really nice. We watched this video about a family and the different milestones they went through and how the knowledge and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ helped them get to where they wanted to be. Ending at the temple and eternal families. I'll admit I cried. It was really touching and hit home a bit!

Later in the day we went to Lazer Mania and did some black light mini golf. I have been there a few times before with some friends and told everyone we had to go. It was so fun!

I wasn't thinking and had my flash on for most of the time so I didn't get a lot of pictures showing the black light awesomeness. But here is one. We were in Oz at this point, following the yellow brick road to the hole.

After we finished our game the kids had some fun in the arcade winning tickets and spending money. These four hit the jackpot at the claw (under the direction and guidance of their dad). Each winning a little stuffed friend. Then went on to win me a frog and Jason a ball. It was fun! And my little frog is sooo cute!

We ended our trip Saturday morning/early afternoon at the park in the 85 degree weather. Do you remember doing the spider on the swing with a friend? I always imagined looking different when I did it.

We watched conference Saturday and Sunday at my brother in law's grandma's house (that's kind of a mouthful) and drove home in a snow storm. I guess that's what we get for trying to cheat Utah weather. Try as we might, we can't escape it!

It was a ton of fun! Part of me was really sad to leave, but as always at the end of a vacation, I was glad to be home.