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Advent Calendar for the "Away from Home" Students

As I've mentioned before, my baby boy went off to boarding school for high school this year. One of the big traditions in our family is the advent calendar, which is a cabinet with small numbered doors. I add things in each compartment for each day. I start by adding the Playmobil nativity set pieces that we've had since the kids were very little. Here are the sheep before I closed the door for them to wait their turn to be revealed.

Then I add fun stuff....mostly candy.
I was feeling bad that my oldest wasn't going to participate in the daily ritual of seeing what was in the calendar for the day. And while his enthusiasm in this tradition had waned in the last couple years, I was pretty sure he would still miss it.
So I started brainstorming how I could create something just for him, to fit his current status being similar to a college student. Here's what I came up with:
Basically I made envelopes out of Christmas themed scrapbook paper I had on hand (from a project I planned 5 or 6 years ago and never completed...or started).
I filled them with stuff a student living away from home would like. What kinds of things? $5 Gift cards to places they like that are within walking distance, candy, hot chocolate packets, cash, playing cards, lip balm, or anything else you can cram into an envelope.
You can find tons of envelope templates online. However, I have a thing I bought about 10 years ago called Kreate-a-Lope, which is fast and easy to use.
Select the paper you want to use and the size envelope you want to make.
Line up the template.
Tear the paper against the template. I usually clean up the edges just a little bit with the scissors.
Place the center portion into the template while it is still lined up with the paper you just created with the template with the printed side down.
Without moving the center portion, remove the template.

Fold the two sides against the rectangle first, then fold the bottom up, pressing crisp lines along edges as you fold.

Fold the top edge down last. Then remove the rectangle from the envelope.

Here are all the envelopes stacked up before filling.

I needed a way to seal and number the envelopes, so I decided to use my snowflake paper punch and the scraps left from the envelopes.

Then I stuffed the envelopes, glued the snowflake to seal, and numbered them.

He was pretty excited to get them in the mail. I wish I had thought of it earlier so I had time to do this for my niece who is attending Purdue this year as a freshman.

Let me know below in the comments what you think of this project and any other ideas you have for stuffing the envelopes. I will start my list for next year. Feel free to pin this idea to Pinterest.

Tomorrow is the ornament blog hop and I am super excited to show you what I got from my partner!

-Jen

Got Copper Sheet Scraps? A Tutorial on Creating your own Components from Scraps

 

If you've got scrap copper like the piece above....or even totally different than the piece above, or if you don't have any, it's time to make something so you do have some. Then check out the tutorial I wrote up on Art Jewelry Elements on how to torture upcycle your metal into an interesting sculptural jewelry component seen below (it will be a pendant once I get back to my studio....hanging out at the lake house this week). You never know what will happen when a stressed out girl heads to the studio...

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment telling me what you think. Definitely show me pics if you try it out.

Jen

Rejects make me mad, but bring joy to others

Reject bead used for gifted necklace jen cameron

Conversation with my mom (who is the power of attorney for one of the residents at the nursing home where she works): Mom: I was wondering if you could make a necklace for Jane* with one of your reject beads. Nothing fancy. Me: I'm offended you think I ever make ugly beads! Mom: That's not what I was saying. Me: I'm pretty sure that is what you are saying. Mom: I know you make beads that, for whatever reason, aren't good enough by your standards. I know Jane* would love to have a necklace made with one. Me: As long as you don't tell anyone I made it.... I just happened to have one sitting on the kitchen counter right next to me as we were having this conversation. And while I said I didn't want anyone to know I made it (people, I HATE this bead!), here it is in all it's fugliness. I used 16 g bronze wire to make the headpin, used a crystal...I don't know what its called because I bought them forever ago. Because the resident is elderly, I simply strung the pendant on a length of leather long enough to slip over her head. Mom will be giving it to her this afternoon. Based on the stories I've heard about her, she will be overjoyed to receive it...which is better than that ugliness hiding at the bottom of a drawer. *not her real name

November Component of the Month Reveal

The lovely and talented Lesley Watt was the hostess for the November component of the month challenge. And it was definitely a challenge! I adore Lesley's work, and when she posted photos of the component of the month, I was practically salivating. I already had a design in mind (a stacked ring). Then it came in the mail. And my design plan was discarded. Because this thing is huge!

I wish I had taken a photo of me holding it before I started designing with it, but totally spaced it. I received the snowflake like the one in the top right corner of the photo. I don't have a ruler handy, but Lesley states these are 35 mm, which is almost 1.5" for us metric challenged types.

So I decided on a cuff like thing. I started with this gorgeous yarn:

And I knit a rectangle using large-ish needles...maybe size 15 US. I chose this particular color because it makes me think of a dramatic night sky.

Then wearing gloves and using super hot tap water, I felted and then blocked the rectangle:

While this dried, I made several attempts at getting glass to bend to my will. However, it was not cooperating. Eventually I did manage something halfway acceptable, which I stacked on top of the snowflake component. Using fireline, I sewed the stack along with a small bronze faceted bead to the rectangle of fabric.

In my mind, this piece is flexible. Meaning, I wanted it to be a cuff thing or a pendant. To achieve this and not look stupid, I made a coil of wire, pulled the coils apart, and threaded the coil onto both ends of the felt.

I created three lengths of 2 in 2 chain using bronze jump rings. There are several reasons for this. The first was that I don't own ready made bronze chain. Second, I wanted the chain to be heavy to overcome the weight of the stacked beads. Third, I needed three lengths so the cuff didn't go wonky while wearing it.

Here's my issue...I am not near my studio. If I was, I would have created a handcrafted bronze hook for both ends of all 3 chains so they can easily be added and removed. I also would have given the links and coil a light heat treatment to bring out more color in the bronze.

In addition to wanting the piece to be flexible, I also want it to have a sprinkling of seed beads for a bit of sparkle. After trying out several different colors, I stuck with bronze colored beads because using something else either didn't have enough contrast with the fiber, or looked too busy. However, that part is taking this girl forEVER since I am not particularly handy with sewing or seed beads. The plan is to have lots of seeds closer to the component, and getting less dense further out.

So that's it for now. If this blog post looks wonky, I apologize. I'm trying out a new app on my iPad to write this.

Make sure you visit the other blog participants. The list is located at Art Jewelry Elements.

 

 

Beads of Courage benefit auction final hours

The art charm auctions all end this afternoon and this evening. If you've had your eye on something NOW is the time to bid. We are SO CLOSE to my personal goal of raising $500 for Beads of Courage (currently about $17 short). Some of these charms are priced WAY below retail. And if you win one auction, you pay shipping once....as many charms as I can stuff into a flat rate box for one low flat rate price.   Here are a few charms I haven't featured here yet (all photos are clickable and will take you directly to their listing) [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Robin Koza handmade art charm Art charm by Robin Koza. There is also a blue one being auctioned off[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Shelley Graham Turner handmade art charm Art charm by Shelley Graham Turner. There is also a lime green one being auctioned.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Shirley Moore handmade beaded art charm Art charm by Shirley Moore[/caption]

Stephanie Haussler handmade art charm

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Susan Kennedy handmade art charm Art charm by Susan Kennedy[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Toltec Jewels handmade art charm handmade art charm by Toltec Jewels. There are 2 additional variations of this charm being auctioned.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Vanessa Gilkes hanmade art charm art charm by Vanessa Gilkes[/caption] Time's wasting! Go bid while you have the chance to own one of these wonderful miniature wearable pieces of art.

Day 3 of Beads of Courage Benefit Auction

We are doing great on the auctions so far, but we could be doing so much better! It would be super amazingly awesome if we could raise more than $500 for Beads of Courage. We are currently sitting at just over $300 raised (based on bid totals).  Every single one of the charms up for auction has been handmade, and most are sitting at FAR BELOW their retail value. Erin Prais-Hintz would sell her "chirp-up buttercup" charm for $18 and the current bid is $4.25... Now for the eye candy. Each photo is linked to its auction. First up...I FINALLY got photos of my auction charms. I forgot to take the pics when I did the rest of them, and by the time I got through listing 54 charms, I didn't have the energy to do more. The last 2 days have been one adventure after another...like 4 brand new tires for my car yesterday when I didn't realize I needed new tires... So here's what I contributed to the auction: [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="486"]Jen Cameron handmade lampwork alien art charm blue lime green Art charm by Jen Cameron. Click photo to go directly to listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="454"]Jen Cameron handmade lampwork alien art charm red Art charm by Jen Cameron. Click photo to go directly to listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Emma Todd handmade art charm resin and polymer clay Art charm by Emma Todd. I've shown this one already, but she has 2 charms up for auction and this one doesn't have a bid yet....Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kia Dallons handmade art charm Miniature book with actual story and illustrations by Kia Dallons. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kimberly Roberts handmade art charm steel resin Charm created by Kimberly Roberts. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lea Avroch art charm Lampwork and penny art charm created by Lea Avroch. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Leslie Schenkel handmade art charm Art charm by Leslie Schenkel. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="481"]Linda Florian polymer clay cupcake charm Polymer clay cupcake charm. Do not eat, no matter how yummy it looks. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lynnea Bennett art charm Charm created by Lynnea Bennett. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Marcy Lamberson handmade lampwork robot charm Charm created by Marcy Lamberson. Clicking the photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="494"]Monique Urquhart handmade art charm The detail that went into creating this charm is pretty incredible. And lucky for everyone, there are TWO of these charms being auctioned. Clicking photo will take you to one of the auctions.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Natalie McKenna handmade ceramic art charm Created by Natalie McKenna. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Renetha Stanziano charm Created by Renetha Stanziano. Clicking the photo takes you dirctly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="493"]Rhonda Hagerman polymer clay charm Created by Rhonda Hagerman from polymer clay. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption]  

Charm Highlights for Beads of Courage benefit auction, Day 2

For the next few days while the auctions are still live on Ebay, I will be highlighting some of the charms. However, I urge you to do some of your holiday shopping buying handmade art charms where 100% of your purchase (minus cost of shipping) goes directly to Beads of Courage. I will be eating any Paypal or Ebay fees accrued. On to today's bit of eye candy: [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="496"]Jean Peter cupcake art charm 2-sided art charm by Jean Peter. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="485"]Ginger Bishop art charm Beaded bead art charm by Ginger Bishop. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Jeannie Dukic handmade polymer clay sand dollar art charm Art charm by Jeannie Dukic using polymer clay. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Inge von Roos handmade art charm Art charm by Inge von Roos. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="498"]Erin Prais Hintz art charm Handmade art charm by Erin Prais-Hintz. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Charlene Jacka handmade art charm Art charm by Charlene Jacka. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Cassi Paslick handmade art charm Art charm by Cassi Paslick. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Carolyn Chenault art charm Art charm by Carolyn Chenault. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Carol Watson art charm "giggle" art charm by Carol Watson. Clicking on the link will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Alenka Obid handmade polymer clay art charm art charm from Alenka Obid. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kristi Bowman copper art charm art charm by Kristi Bowman. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Mallory Hoffman eggs and bacon handmade art charm art charm made by Mallory Hoffman. Clicking on the photo will take you directly to the auction.[/caption] Visit these and all the other listings and bid early, bid often, bid high. Remember that the gift giving season is just around the corner...

Highlighting Charms for Beads of Courage Auction Day 1

For the next few days while the auctions are still live on Ebay, I will be highlighting some of the charms. However, I urge you to do some of your holiday shopping buying handmade art charms where 100% of your purchase (minus cost of shipping) goes directly to Beads of Courage. I will be eating any Paypal or Ebay fees accrued. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lori Greenberg Charm by Lori Greenburg Click photo to be taken to ebay listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Deb Kauzlarich Charm by Deb Kauzlarich. The little sign says "break for emergency laugh" Click photo to be taken directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="487"]Alicia Marinache Charm by Alicia Marinache. Click photo to be taken directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="410"]Shannon Hicks Charm by Shannon Hicks. Click photo to be taken directly to ebay listing[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Shelby Foxwell Charm by Shelby Foxwell. Click photo to be taken directly to listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Shaiha Williams Charm by Shaiha Williams. Click photo to be taken directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="465"]Marsh Neal Charm by Marsh Neal. Click the photo to be taken directly to the ebay listing for this charm.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="404"]Cheryl McCloud Charm by Cheryl McCloud based on a carnival ride. Click the photo to be taken directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Emma Todd Charm by Emma Todd based on bubbles. Click the photo to be taken directly to the ebay listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="478"]Perri Jackson Charm by Perri Jackson. Click the photo to be taken directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="489"]Babette Cox Charm by Babette Cox. Click the photo to be taken to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Maureen Connolly Charm by Maureen Connolly. Click the link to be taken directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Cheri Reed Charm by Cheri Reed. Click the photo to be taken directly to the link.[/caption] Visit these and all the other listings and bid early, bid often, bid high.

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party Reveal

Kalmbach Bead soup glass addictions

Remember way back in September when I showed you this?

Bead soup from Heirloom Classics glass addictions jennifer cameron

Today you get to see what I made with the bead soup provided by Heirloom Classics (located in Indianapolis, my personal favorite city and the place I would choose to live above any other if I could pick up and move...I've already lived there twice). Here it is:

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal jennifer cameron glass addictions

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal jennifer cameron glass addictions enameled beads

I admit I struggled with this soup. Here is the focal and clasp alone:

Focal and clasp from heirloom classics glass addictions bead soup

The focal was my biggest challenge. I don't really work with stone. Also, when placed against the skin, the stone kind of goes blah looking. So the first thing I needed to do was back it with something. I decided on cutting a piece of 28g sterling silver sheet in a similar shape and size and giving it a bit of texture to add interest.

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal glass addictions jennifer cameron enameled copper beads

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal glass addictions jennifer cameron enameled copper beads

Then I decided to add a bit of color. Because I don't really do neutral. I had a curl of copper sheet that I had cut something...I don't remember what (don't throw anything away!) that made this really cool shape. So I enameled it in a turquoise color

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal glass addictions jennifer cameron enameled copper beads

Then used some of the seed beads included in the soup, strung it onto fireline, and made a bail to assemble all the focal pieces together.

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal glass addictions jennifer cameron enameled copper beads

I wanted to use the blue again somewhere else so it didn't look like it didn't belong. Also, I knew I wanted to use some kind of fiber. So I enameled some of these filigree cones in the same blue, and braided some recycled sari silk yarn with some gunmetal ball chain and attached both ends to the filigree cones.

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal glass addictions jennifer cameron enameled copper beads recycled sari silk yarn

I wanted to use the black beads from the soup, but the scale seemed wrong. So I used some of my black enameled beads to finish things off. The clasp was my absolute favorite thing in the soup from Heirloom Classics, so I wanted it to have a starring role:

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party reveal glass addictions jennifer cameron enameled copper beads recycled sari silk yarn

Which gives the necklace a slight asymmetrical look, but I definitely didn't go crazy or anything... So out of the soup I was given, I used the focal, clasp and some of the seed beads. I would like to share the bounty of what I received. Leave a comment to be entered to win the remainder of the soup (minus the seed beads...they are all over the place!). I look forward to seeing what others made. Kalmbach will be showing photos of bead soup party creations on their facebook page.
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