My mother is an avid creator. If she is sitting down, she has a project in her hands. There are projects in every room, in fact, and many more waiting in her mind.
Growing up, those projects always found a place under our Christmas tree. I do not remember a single year when I did not receive something she made for me. There were knitted sweaters, rag dolls with soft yarn hair, Barbie clothes, and always, always, a Christmas dress.
One year, she made a giant stuffed Panda bear. It should have been mine, but my mother accidentally packaged it up and sent it to Texas for my cousin.
Because of my mom, and my grandparents before her, I love homemade things. I love giving them and I love getting them. Sadly, I do not have the skill set my mother has. I do not knit or crochet and I’ve never quilted a thing in my life (except that one time when I thought I would, and didn’t).
Also, I am busy. I have nearly twice the children my mother had, and not all of them are as perfectly angelic as I was. Consequently, my homemade gifts have to be a little more simple. There are no giant Pandas coming out of my house and there never will be, unless the Chinese government finally recognizes that my house is, in fact, a zoo.
It’s a good thing I don’t think simplicity has to equate to boring or thoughtless. A simple gift can be lovely, especially when it is made by you for someone you love.
Today’s Simply Homemade project is about as simple as it gets. In fact, if you have children, they will love to make these for their teachers, grandmas, and favorite cousins.
(If there’s one thing I love, it’s outsourcing the homemade component of some of these projects to my children. That is, after all, why I had so many of them. Children, that is, not projects.)
Now, on to the gift-making!
Christmas Lights Bracelets
The colors in these bracelets remind me of Christmas lights. They sparkle and catch the light and look so cheerful on a winter day. l find I wear them all the time because they go with everything. You can wear them with a dress or with jeans, and with just about any color in your wardrobe.
Of course, these Christmas Lights bracelets couldn’t be easier to make (that’s why we’re making them for our Simply Homemade series, you know). All you need to do this project is elastic thread and silver-lined seed beads, the kind you can get at the craft store for next to nothing.
I also chose two accent beads: faceted, silver beads and larger, multi-colored seed beads–the exact same seed beads as the others, only larger. You can see them in the blurry picture below (no, it’s not your eyes).
I strung the beads in a simple pattern on the elastic thread using a beading needle. A beading needle makes life so much easier because those beads are tiny and my eyes aren’t what they used to be (note: blurry photo above).
As you can see from the photo, I began the pattern with one faceted metallic bead. These really catch the light and make the bracelets sparkle, so don’t skip that part! I followed the faceted bead with one of the larger seed beads (a different color each time), then sandwiched it with another metallic bead. Finally, I strung ten small seed beads in a row.
I repeated the pattern seven times per bracelet, but you might need to adjust the repetitions based on the wrist size of the recipient.
I made five bracelets for this tutorial, but I’ve given as many as eight at a time because the impact of this gift is in the quantity. The more bracelets you have, the more beautiful it becomes.
Tie all the bracelets up in a ribbon for gift-giving. This keeps them neat and pretty in the box, and that’s important if you have present-shakers in your house like I do.
Simple, right? Seed beads and elastic thread–that’s all it takes make someone’s season merry and bright.
Variations: Seed beads come in all the colors of the rainbow. You do not have to choose jewel tones. Pick the colors your loved one likes best. You can also try using crystals or pearls as accent beads. Have fun!
Tomorrow’s Simply Homemade project will require butter, sugar, and a candy thermometer. Yum!