Friday, December 27, 2013

FO Friday: Christmas Crafting Edition

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a great holiday. It's been so nice to relax and get to spend time with family, at home (since my husband and I both work full time, a day to just "be home" is a rare treat), and take a step back to appreciate how blessed we really are. We are quite fortunate to have absolutely 0% stress with our family plans for Christmas, as we do the same thing every year: Christmas Eve with my in-laws, and Christmas Day with my family. It was great.

Now that all of the gift-giving is done, I can finally reveal what I've been working on lately! I took a much smaller-scale approach this year - last year I knit or sewed every single present. A little crazy, a lot of fun, but not something I wanted to do again. So this year I decided that every family member who had not been knit for yet needed a knitted gift.

I ended up doing a few jewelry projects along the way, too. Compared to the other crafts I do, jewelry making always feels so fast to me. I forget how enjoyable it is! So that this doesn't turn into a ridiculously long post, I'll share the jewelry projects today and the knitting projects in a later post.

Nest Earrings

I stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest. There are a ton of tutorials out there, but the basic idea is very simple: string a few beads onto your wire, twist to secure, and then just start wrapping the spool end of the wire around the beads until you've achieved the desired effect. I used very thin copper wire (26 gauge, I think), and since it was so thin I decided to secure it in three places with small wraps. Here's a nice photo tutorial if you'd like to make your own.


These earrings were spawned by a totally random idea: "I wonder if I could freehand some wire pieces to look like birds?" I have no idea why that popped into my head. I started by drawing a very simple bird shape, trying to eliminate as many details as possible to make an outline that was still recognizable as a bird. Getting the wire to cooperate was much more difficult than I thought, but I eventually got it down. I used round-nose pliers for the curved bits, and a small pair of needle-nose pliers for the hard angles in the tail and beak. A few tips: 1) DO NOT use your desired end-product wire when practicing, and 2) it's easier if you turn the template upside down. For some reason my brain was able to better interpret the angles and curves when I stopped trying to make a wire bird, and instead tried to bend the wire to look like the picture (which did not look like a bird when upside-down). If anyone is interested in a step-by-step tutorial, I could put something together. Let me know!

Tree of Life Necklace

Another winner from Pinterest! I had never seen these before, but found oodles of them when browsing the "jewelry DIY" section of Pinterest. Seriously, there are some great projects on there. I looked at several tutorials and came up with a mashup of techniques, but this tutorial is very similar. I didn't have any wire thick enough for the circle, so I used two strands twisted together to form the ring. I like the extra bit of twistyness. This was a very gratifying project. It looks complicated, but with a bit of work I think even a beginner could do just fine. 

'Til Next Time...

I'll post the gift knitting in a few days, but for now I'll leave you with a couple shots of an instant-gratification knit I started AND completed yesterday. Super-bulky yarns for the win! Full details on Ravelry here. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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