Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Fun Charms

During the summer we had a couple of swaps that had such fun and unusual charms. First was 'Roadside Oddities'. Remember those fun places to visit on long road trips like the world's largest ball of string--world's largest thermometer--motel rooms that look like TeePees? Each charm had the attraction and a map included in some way, along with a description.  So fun to see all the wacky things people see fit to commemorate. Another was 'Picnic Time' with all you would find on a nice summer picnic -- even ants! Amazing what realistic miniature food you can make with polymer clay. My charms had been sitting on my desk for the longest time while I thought of what I could do with them. Was thinking I didn't want to make bracelets with them but didn't know what I did want to make.  Last month we were going to a potluck and I got out my Hula Girl food covers.  I've had them forever and love to use them but when it's windy, they blow off the table so easily. I had thought of sewing on some metal washers to weigh them down but that seemed so boring. Weights! The oddities and picnic charms would make such fancy weights for my food covers!  I tacked on some ribbon to towards the bottom of the covers and attached the charms with their jumprings.  That way I can add on more later if I want (or if they weren't heavy enough and needed more).  Luckily I had joined for 2 sets of the 'oddities' so I had several to use.  I added a few other miscellaneous food charms I had also.  Here they are.....

and close ups .....

Aren't they the cutest ever? :)

Here are my charms for the swaps....

I made my ball of string out of Polymer Clay (great stuff!).  Love how Mr. Stephens refers to his 'largest ball of string - not twine', always emphasizing the 'not twine' so there is no confusion!  If you are ever in Weston, MO be sure to stop in to see it!

My other Roadside Attraction featured a favorite place we use to visit on our way to Palm Springs.  Along side the freeway stood two large dinosaurs - a Brontosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus. This photo was taken when Kyle was about 4 I think.  He LOVED dinosaurs and could identify any pictures of them you showed him and tell you all about each one.  His favorite bedtime book was a Dinosaur Dictionary... go figure :)  But I do wish I still had that book since Sammy is showing the same interest now.  He'd love it too.

From what I've read about the dinosaurs in the desert, it seems someone has bought the property and now has it set up as a little park (that you have to pay admission to) and added more dinosaurs so it's not quite the funky dinosaurs just sitting off the freeway in the desert.  Still would probably be cool to go see if you're in the area.

These cute little hamburgers were my contribution for 'Picnic Time' - they were also made with Polymer Clay.  That stuff is great!  So easy to use.  I definitely recommend trying it if you haven't done so already.  There has been some concern over it's safety since you have to cure it by cooking it.  The companies that make it ensure the fumes are non toxic if cured as directed, not letting it get over a certain temperature.  Just to be safe, I bought a toaster oven at a thrift shop and use an oven thermometer.  Since our weather permits year round use of the lanai, I also cook it outside.  On the mainland I used a dedicated casserole dish and just used our kitchen oven. That worked fine too.

Hope you had fun looking at these charms :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Long Time, No See!

Aloha!  Yep, it's been awhile....we've been crazy busy with friends and family visiting the island and we have taken full advantage playing tourists and travel guides and generally having a great time.  I have had time to play in my studio a bit as well and thought I'd share a couple of things with you on this pre Thanksgiving Day.

One thing I am thankful for is my great Art Charms group.  So many talented and clever people sharing their little art treasures.  Such a fun way of staying creative, making little goodies when I get busy with other things in life and don't have time for big projects.  And the best part is when my envie shows up in the mail.....

A recent swap was hosted by our oh so talented Dana James.  You know all those great buttons sitting around tins or coffee cans from Grandma or Great Aunt  Doris?  Well Dana thought we should dust them off and make some charms with them. What a great idea!

Aren't they wonderful?  Did I mention that I just love it when my package arrives?  Better than Christmas!  These are all so cute--I wanted to do something special with them.  I remembered seeing a bracelet made with buttons in a Easy Wire jewelry magazine and went through my old copies and found it!!  Woohoo! (I usually can't ever find the one article I'm looking for--and of course, it's lost again so I can't tell you which issue it was in--sorry about that!)  Went to work and here's what I made...

I love the way it turned out.  I used a heavy copper wire (16 gauge, I think) for the bangle part, curved it into a circle a half inch bigger than needed to slip over my hand.  I flattened out the ends with a hammer and drilled two holes in each side.  (I think the article said to rivet it but this was easier for me since my riveting skills aren't so hot)  I started with the big button in the front and threaded a long piece of 26 gauge copper wire through the button holes and into the holes on the flattened part of the 16g wire, then started wrapping and attaching the smaller buttons in each direction ending towards the back.  I did run out of the thin wire and had to ad more--just twisted one another long piece.  You can kind of tell on the left side in the photo but it wasn't really that noticeable.  I tried at first to use just a couple of wraps for each button but found the more wraps, the more secure the buttons were and they didn't slip around so much.  To end it, I just tucked the last bit under some of the wrapped wire and made sure none was poking out.

Pretty cute, yah?  But wait....  It's even better with everyone's cool button charms!

(it's hard to take a photo of your own wrist!!)

A BIG Mahalo to my Button Charm buddies and especially to Dana for hosting another great swap!

Hope everyone has a great day with family and friends tomorrow.  Happy Turkey Day :)