I made a set of gift tags for you too! If you'd like to add these tags to add to your gifts, click the image above to see larger image, right click and select "view image" and print at actual size (100%).
Need to make a last minute gift? Take an old ornament and make it new again. I chose 10 quick and easy ideas that I found on Pinterest that I think would make an excellent holiday gift.
1. Personalize an ornament with a name or initial.
2. Make an ornament into a favorite Christmas character - Frosty or Rudolph come to mind.
3. Add glitter squiggles - www.brittanyestes.com
4. Add glitter to the inside of the ornament - www.brittanyestes.com
5. Decorate with twin, yarn, ribbon, etc.
6. Add confetti for a colorful holiday ornament - www.brittanyestes.com
7. Make ornament characters
8. Add sequins - foxhollowcottage.com
9. Paint a pattern - creativeinchicago.com
10. Metallic marker a pattern
(My dog is positive that these cookies are for him every year!)
Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 11 min. per batch
Oven: 350 degrees
Makes: about 24 cookies
4 1/2 c. flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. sugar in the raw
Mix together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves & salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat shortening with a mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until combined; add eggs & molasses and beat until combined. Using mixer, add half of the flour mix. Add the remaining flour mix and knead with your hands until all ingredients are combined. This can be messy...I always seem to get cookie dough all over the place between the mixer and the kneading. Wear and apron!
Pour the sugar in the raw on a plate. Roll 2 in. balls of dough in your hand and then roll in the suar in the raw until the ball is coated. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and gently push flat.
Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring. They are very soft when they come out of the oven and fall apart easily. So definitely let them sit for a few.
These babies are delicious! Happy Holidays!
Designed by: Sara Oehler
Have you ever purchased beads and found that once you get them off of the thread, the holes are itsy bitsy? This seems to happen most often with gemstones as there is no standard drilling size. Additionally, gemstones are abrasive so I never feel really confident about stringing them on our very fine diameter of wire without reinforcement.
The above design offers a solution. I braided three strands of .019 diameter and then fed .010 through the braid to add the beads. This is a great way to feel confident that your design is strong and will have longevity but also allows you to use those very dainty beads with such small holes.
What do you do when you have beads with small holes?
Product Reviews 8:00 AM
It is the season of gift giving. I have 5 books that I'd like to share with you today. Maybe you can hint around to a loved one that you'd like a copy or maybe you can buy two copies and give one to a friend. Then, you can pick a project to complete together. Wouldn't that be fun! The best gifts do come with an experience!
by Rebecca Ann Combs
I have had the good fortune of spending time in Rebecca's bead store in Tucson, Arizona as a teacher. I've seen first hand how knowledgeable her customers are due to her non-stop class schedule. It was no surprise to me that I would love her book. Kumihimo is something that I have been exploring more and more with Soft Flex beading wire. So, it is perfect timing to have a book in hand with some new pattern ideas that I can try. Are you familiar with kumihimo? It is "fast, relaxing, portable and offers endless possibilities." Basically, you are creating braids using a round board with notches in it. The basic foam board is inexpensive and you can really use almost any thread, fiber or wire that you like. So the start up cost is minimal. I think that this book coupled with a Kumihimo board would make a wonderful gift!
by Amee K. Sweet-Mcnamara
I shared a Jewel School appearance with Amee. She was wonderfully candid and very passionate about what she could do with soutache. I enjoyed spending time with her. At the time, her book was in the editing process, but I could see just how excited she was for it to come out. Soutache is so colorful and fun and therefore this book looks beautiful! The projects just jump right off the page. "Inside you'll find: 18 detailed projects for beginners to intermediate stitchers, each demonstrating a new technique or design idea, a thorough basics section with techniques for working with soutache and a beautiful gallery of the author's work to inspire your own creativity." Are you familiar with soutache? "Soutache is a braid made up of fine fibers wrapped figure-eight style around two cords." So soutache is actually the material used and this books shows you several ways of using it. By stitching various colors and adding beads, you can make some really amazing designs. This is another good beginner start up gift as it doesn't require any major tools to get started. This book paired with some soutache cord would make a perfect gift!
by Kristal Wick
I've only dabbled in metal clay at a CHA show but have never tried it at my own work desk. I love to learn new things, so I enjoyed reading through this particular book. "Kristal will show you how to: select the metal clay, materials, and tools you need to get started, condition, sculpt, form, fire, and finish metal clay, create your own custom findings, beads, and components from metal clay, make 23 fabulous beading projects combining metal clay and beads and much more!" I must say that I am intrigued by the idea of making my own findings and components. I think that I'd really enjoy trying this sometime. I love that this book includes a lot of pictures so that you can clearly see what is happening the project. I definitely learn through pictures better than text. If you know a more advanced jewelry maker who is looking for a new technique with a different material, this book is right up their alley.
by Kaska Firor
I get asked all of the time about wire wrapping a cabachon or found item that doesn't have a hole. I was pleased to see a book that showcases some options for this problem. "You'll learn how to: work with five different wire weaves: over-over weave, over-under weave, coiling, circular weave, and looping, complete 20 beautiful step-by-step projects designed to showcase those weaves, including a 'design your own' challenge pendant, and construct and finish each piece with professional results, following the comprehensive basics." I particularly enjoyed Chapter 1 which showcased the various weaves used within the book. It made me want to break out my Soft Flex craft wire and weave a baby bird nest! If you or a loved one are into using craft wire, this is a great book for learning new techniques to pursue a more complex design.
by Marcia DeCoster
I'm fidgety! I love jewelry that I can fidget with - especially if I am nervous. This book has some very creative and beautiful designs that actually "spin, sway, swing and slide." I would wear every project in this book. I do have to admit, this book is more of an advanced seed beading book. Even with my many years of experience in beading, I would be a little intimidated to try some of these projects. However, there are wonderful step-by-step drawings that I think could guide just about anyone through accomplishing a project. The final result would definitely be something that you would cherish and wear regularly.
This cute little wreath is so simple to make. I used a mixture of Swarovski crystals that were left over from other projects. The crystals vary in color, shape and size - but it looks really cute that way!
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Soft Flex Craft wire in 24g non-tarnish silver plated
19 green 6-8mm crystals in round or bicone
2 clear dichroic beads (we have some on clearance!)
Chain nose pliers
Nylon jaw pliers
Using 18g craft wire, create a wire wrap loop on one end.
Shape the wire into a ring by using a round item. I used a Soft Flex beading wire spool. Wrap the wire around the base of the wire wrapped loop and then shape a second ring around the round object.
Wrap the wire around the base of the wire wrapped loop and then shape a third ring around the round object.
Wrap the wire around the base of the wire wrapped loop. In this case, I took the wire off of the spool and reconnected.
Finish the ring by wrapping the wire around the double wrap loop several times.
Using a long length of 24g wire, wrap around the wire wrap loop at the base.
Wrap the wire around all 3 18g wires. Add a crystal and wrap the wire again. Repeat this 18 times to decorate your wreath with 19 crystals in varying sizes and colors.
There you have it. A simple but fun wreath ornament. It looks great on my tree!