Aug 30, 2012

Braided Bracelet Tutorial

So, this cute girl, who we all call Bug

Wanted to say

I'm hoping you remember that a few weeks back we had a little family craft fair.  Do you remember?  My girls were trying to earn a little bit of money to go towards school shopping.  They did ok and each of them worked hard enough, and sold just enough of their products to buy something special.  Something special actually really translates to mean, something I wouldn't buy them.   Darn it!  They have a practical mom.  So, it was really great for them to put in the effort and work towards a goal.

Thank you so much for supporting them!  

So, Bug, she sold enough braided bracelets and headbands to buy the boots she's wearing in the photos above.  And, she is very happy! 

To say thanks, we'd like to share a tutorial on how to make the bracelets ... now, if you aren't the hands-on type, I'm sure she'd love to make one for you and she still has several in my Etsy shop.  Just sayin'!

But, if you are the hands-on type, or you have kids that need a project, here's what you do...

Step 1:  You need to get some cotton braiding cord.  You can find it at most craft stores.  You can buy something similar at Walmart but it's not as good of quality.

Step 2:  Cut off three piece of cord and make a braid.  The specific length of the braid isn't as important as just making sure it will fit your wrist.  Ours were about 5 to 6 inches long.  You also need two metal crimp ends that have loops on them.

Step 3:  After you get your braid done, attach your metal crimp ends to the bottom and top of the braid.  You'll need some sort of pliers for this step and you want to make sure they are attached securely.

Step 4:  Once you get one braid done and the ends crimped, repeat the steps and make two more braids

Step 5:  Next, you need to attach the chain that will make the bracelet adjustable.  You don't have to, you could just attach your findings and a lobster clasp and call it done.  However, it's nice to have it adjustable so it will fit various wrist sizes as well as you can adjust the tightness.  On the end of each chain attach a jump ring.  Then thread each braid to the jump ring.

When you are done, it will look like this!
Super cute!

I love how they are pretty versatile and you can make them in multiple colors.  

You can also personalize them a bit too.

You all know how I feel about cancer so we personalized this one a bit by attaching a ribbon charm with the word "hope" on it. 

So, there you have it.  Thank you again for all your support!  All three girls had fun doing our little family fair and even though they didn't sell it all, they each sold some and it was great to see them motivated to work towards a goal.  It was a goal they wouldn't have reached without you, so again, THANK YOU!

Aug 27, 2012

Nativity - Camel

Oh, it's about time.  I'm sure that's what you are thinking, actually, I'm thinking that too.

So, without further ado, I give you the next tutorial in our 12 part Nativity - the Camel.

Aug 25, 2012

Summer's End

It's hard for me to believe that we are at the end of summer.  Already!

Here at Then She Made... it's been a busy week.  Just so I remember, here's a recap of what has been happening.

- School started for my Miss M - 10th grade, drivers ed, eeek!  Mom's taxi service has started up making trips to and from the high school twice a day.  Truth be told, I really don't mind.  That time in the car is time well spent. She spills the details of her day and I'm so glad she does.  I hear about her successes, let downs and all the stuff happening at school.  Sometimes the things she tells me breaks my heart.  Kids can be mean, even kids she knows well from outside of school who are supposed to be nice.  I don't get it and I can't change it.  But, I'm glad she feels comfortable to talk to me about it.  Because of that, those rides are nice.

- The other two girls don't start school until Tuesday so a lot of this week was spent looking for things to do. One of them found her way to a tree, climbed it - in flip flops - with her ukulele.  She sat in the tree playing the only song she knows how to play.  It's called "I am a Child of God".  She sang it and played it repeatedly for an hour.

- I helped my friend, who is the Relief Society President (a women's organization at my church) sew a few owls.  She made over 30 of them, she did all the work, cut them out, packaged them into little kits and I just helped her sew only a few of them.  She gave them out to all the women that attended our Relief Society meeting this month.  Inside was a note that said "Whoo shall I serve?".  While I can't take credit for the owls, it was fun to help and I did make the tree that they hung from.  

-  At that same event I was completely inspired by these giant tissue pom-poms.  They were so cute hanging from the pavilion.  They were made by Katie from Katiedid designs  She recently moved to Colorado so I don't know her very well yet but I'm in awe of her creativity.  If you get a minute be sure to stop by her Etsy shop.  She makes the cutest invitations and announcements.  

- Speaking of Etsy shops, I was busy maintaining my own shop this week.  Several orders were shipped, some are still in the process and I even made some new designs.  Remember the courage word pendant necklace?  It's been a popular item and while I still offer it as a circle, I've upgraded it a bit.  You can now get it on a chain instead of on hemp, and it comes in either an antiqued finish with a copper chain or you can get it with pink on pink with a silver chain.  Because the original one was made in honor of my friend and my mother-in-law who had breast cancer, I've also added a breast cancer ribbon design on the back of some of them and now you can choose the word you want, Courage or Hope.  They are up and ready, you can see them here: Then She Made Etsy

- I've learned two very valuable lessons this week. Both are too personal to share details but they have had me re-evaluating a lot of things.  Both are related to quotes I love, 1- "If you see a need, fill the need."  We tell our kids this but I've realized that it might not be such a good thing, especially if they are taking on burdens that aren't meant for them.  And 2- "I've often regretted my speech but never my silence."  I learned that no matter how much you explain something, if someone doesn't want to understand your point of view, they won't.  And it can lead to some pretty deep wounds.    

- and last but not least, we've been trying to enjoy the last few days of the pool.  It will close soon and I'm sad to see it go.  Tonight we had the whole pool to ourselves and we celebrated the fact that some of us, after practicing all summer, can now do almost perfect handstands.  And that is awesome sauce!

Next week all three girls are back in school, I'm sad to see them go but happy to return to our routine as well.  It means quiet days and more blogging for me.  Until then.....

Aug 18, 2012

Fall Projects

I love this time of year.  We are gearing up to send the kiddos back to school. The oldest just sewed a fall dress and is dying to wear her leather boots and sweaters.  The younger ones are looking up Halloween costume ideas daily and I've noticed a huge spike in reader searches on my blog for fall projects.  Could it be that time?  Time to start putting out the Fall decor?

I'm not there yet, but I'm getting close and I do have some new projects in the works.  However, since many of you are looking for ideas now, I thought I'd make it a little easier.  Here's some of my favorite past Fall themed projects and their page links.  I'll do a separate post for Halloween ideas at a later date. Enjoy!

Last year we took a back-to-gift to our teachers


Fall Baking
Fall is a time for baking.  And, who wouldn't love some yummy pumpkin muffins in a cute paper basket.


Planning a Fall Festival?
If you are looking for low cost games for a fall festival, here's a quick idea.  Make your own giant puzzle out of boxes and paint.


Gourd People
One of our September family traditions.  Makes for a fun family night.


and last but not least...

Toilet Paper Pumpkins
Yep, you read that right.  This is quite possibly the easiest way to make decorative pumpkins for your home.

Aug 17, 2012

39 Is just Fine!

I'm sitting in a quiet house.  Everyone has gone to bed and I'm waiting, patiently, for the clock to turn to mid-night.  I'm tired but it's important that I wait.

Mid-night marks the turn-over into a new year for me and I'm grateful that I get to do this alone.  I can think and reflect without interruptions.

I find it interesting that my first uninterrupted thought was that this is the year, that when I tell people my age, they will instantly think I'm lying.  Seriously.  How many times have you heard someone say they are 39 and you think sarcastically to yourself, "Sure you are!".   You assume they are really somewhere in their 40's and just don't want to admit it.  I've thought that before about people and I'm sure I'm not alone.
Being 39 means people will question my age.

I've thought about how at 39 I have to deal with all those uncompleted lists.  I have to own up to the fact that I have not become the person I thought I would be at this age.  I had in my mind a list of things I thought I would accomplish before I turned 40.  And, I thought I'd be a certain type of person. Can I realistically do all those things and become that person in one year?  Sadly, no.
Being 39 means I have to face reality.

My thoughts have taken me to my dreams and hopes.  The dreams from my youth are no longer valid and in some cases, I can't even remember what they were.  Some of my dreams though, I've consciously traded out for better ones.  Like giving up a career to be a stay at home mom.  That was a good choice for me.  Other dreams I just abandoned and I deal with the consequences of walking away from them EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I know what you are thinking, "it's never too late".  I could still go after them.  But, I know it's time to move on and let them go.
Being 39 means I'm older and wiser.

I've been wondering what will change in my 39th year?  Are there unfathomable opportunities out there waiting?  I've been wondering what 39 has to offer me.  Honestly, I've been thinking inward about being 39. And then it hit me, I've been wondering about all the wrong things.  Really the one thing I should be wondering about most is this, "what can I offer now that I am 39?"
Being 39 means I have a lot to offer.

Well, it's official, it's now past mid-night.  That magical moment when the clock goes from 11:59p to 12:00a has come and gone.

It's a new day.
I'm older.
I'm 39.
And it's going to be just fine.


In celebration of my new age, and the fact that this is the last year I can claim to be in my 30's, I've got a deal for you....

Starting today, August 17 and running all weekend, until Sunday, August 19th  you can get 
30% off you order from my *Etsy shop
All you need to do is type in the coupon code


at check out!

* Discounted price is for merchandise only.  Shipping prices are NOT dis-countable.

**  All photos on this post are taken by the man who will be making my birthday cake - The fabulous Mr. Kent Williams - thanks babe for letting me use your photos.

Aug 14, 2012

Teddy Bear Cast

Last year I posted about making an arm cast for a doll.  Do you remember?  (It's ok if you don't.  I'll explain it and link the post a little later on in this post.)  If you remember a little girl my daughter babysits broke her arm.  We came up with the idea to get the girl a little doll and make a removable toy cast for the doll.  It turned out to be a hit.  I posted about it and explained how to do it but never did a full tutorial with complete step-by-step instructions.  

Sadly, we've had to use this idea again.  This time a little boy that we adore broke his femur - OUCH!  Poor guy.  He's only two and has to be in a cast for 6 weeks.  So, we went to work.  This time though, I was smart and kept the camera near by.  That way, if you ever find yourself needing a cast for a doll or teddy bear you'll have access to a tutorial too.

Step 1: Go buy a Teddy Bear.  We bought this one....

It should be noted that we had major issues deciding which bear to buy.  I picked out one and Miss M picked out one.  We both over-analyzed and plead our case as to why the one we picked out was better for our little friend.  Finally, after about 10 minutes, we interrupted a store clerk and asked her which one she liked better.  She sided with Miss M.  Ugh!  Mine was cute, and while I don't like to admit it, Miss M was right too - this bear pretty adorable.

Step 2:  Bring the bear home and collect your other supplies.  You will need the following:

- hot glue gun
- white felt
- grosgrain ribbon (it needs to be grosgrain)
- scissors
- velcro

Step 3:  Take your felt piece and wrap it around the leg to see how big of a piece you need.  Then cut the felt down to size. 

After it's cut, re-measure making sure it's the right size.  It should look like the photo above. 

Step 4:  Next, take the felt off the bear and lay it out flat.  Cut your ribbon into strips that are slightly longer than the felt piece.  The ribbon pieces should hang over the edges by about an inch.

Step 5:  Take your ribbon pieces and fold the ends over and glue them in place to the back of the ribbon. (see above photo)  This will help to keep your ribbon from fraying.  Also, be sure that after you fold over and glue one end, that you lay the ribbon down and re-measure it to your felt.  When both ends are folded over and glued, your ribbon length should be the same as the length of your felt.

Step 6:  Once the ends of the ribbon have been folded over, run a strip of hot glue all the way down the back of the ribbon.  Then adhere the ribbon strip the felt.  Repeat the process and slightly overlap the ribbon strips.  

Note:  To make it look like a real cast, be sure to leave a little of the white felt showing on both the top and the bottom.

Here is it with three strips of ribbon glued down. 

And here it is with all of the ribbon strips in place.  Noticed the white at the top and the bottom.   

Step 7:  Next, it's time to add the Velcro.  Turn the felt piece over so the ribbon is on the back and you are looking at the white.  Then cut a piece of velcro that is same length (or close to it) as the end of your felt piece.  (the photo shows two pieces but it's just one piece that has been separated, hook and loop)

Step 8:  Secure one piece of velcro to end of your felt like shown. (sorry, I know the white on white doesn't show all that great)

Step 9:  Position your cast on the bear and measure where you need to place the other piece of velcro.  Make sure it has a snug fit so the cast won't fall off.

Step 10:  Once you've measured it, attach the last piece of velcro and then close up the cast.

And that, my friends, is how you make a cast for a Teddy Bear.  I know, I know, you will all sleep better tonight knowing this information.

Seriously, it's pretty cute.  Right?!  And, if it can help a little boy out, maybe give him something to snuggle, something that can relate to his situation, well, then my job is done.

So, here are the two cast together.  The teddy bear cast I made today and the doll arm cast from last year.  The process to make the arm cast is pretty much the same.  The major difference is just cutting it to make it look like it has a hole for the thumb.  You can see that post here:  Then She Made...Doll Cast

Aug 11, 2012

Who likes Country?

I interrupt my normal craftiness to share a video.

Now, I have to admit, I'm not a country music fan.  I used to be.  In high school I liked it but then I married an 80's alternative geek and well, Depeche Mode took over.  Now a days indie music and the Indigo Girls rule my play list.

HOWEVER, you have to check this out.  This guy, Jake Arave, is an up and coming country artist and the coolest part is my niece is the cute girl who plays his love interest in the video.  So, for her, I'm sharing this video.  Check it out!

Congrats Jen!  You did great!

And, don't forget the Williams Family Craft fair is still going on.  My girls have made no-slip headbands, braided leather boho headbands, bracelets and necklaces.  They are selling them to earn money to go towards their school shopping.  And, in an effort to try and drum up some business for them, if you buy any two items from my Etsy shop you'll get a free pair of earrings.

Aug 10, 2012

Nativity Show and Tell

If you are new to Then She Made... you may not know about our year long, 12 piece Nativity set we are making.  Once a month I post a new tutorial for one piece of the set.  It all started because last year, all year long, my family anonymously delivered one piece of a Nativity set to a few different families we knew.  Each piece was made out of clay and at the end of the year each family had a full, 12 piece Nativity set.  It was completed just in time for the Christmas season.  You can read more about here:  The Nativity Experience and also a Q & A about the project here:  Nativity Experience Q & A.  Plus, you can go back and find all the individual tutorials on the tutorial page.  They are listed under the Christmas section.

Anyway, my point in today's post.  I know several of you are following along and doing these tutorials.  So far we've completed, 3 Wise men,  2 Shepherd, and 2 Sheep.  Before we move on to the Camel, which is coming next, I thought it would be cool to share with you a few pictures that have been sent to me from readers who are making their own sets.

Wise Man - By JoAnn C

Wise Men and Sheep - by Kristi M

25 Wise Men - Tracy K

I know more people are doing the sets but these three lovely ladies sent in photos.  (thank you!)  And, here's a cool idea.  Tracy K is making her's 1/2 size.  All her little guys are smaller and she is making 25 sets - wow, right?!  I was pretty impressed with that.  

Anyway, if you are joining in on the fun, I'd love to see your creations or hear about how it's going for you.  You can email me at: thenshemade (at)

Aug 9, 2012

A Sweet Deal

Update:  8/19/2012 - The Free Earring deal has ended.

Ok folks.  The Williams Family Fair isn't going so well.  The girls have only sold two of their items.  It's ok, it's a good learning experience for them, they need to know that sometimes even the best laid out plans don't always work.

However, because I'm their mom and I want them to have the best experience possible, I'm working up a sweet deal.

If you buy any two items, the purchased items have to be something other than earrings, I'll throw in a pair of my earrings for free.  I know, I know, it's not a huge deal but it is a $4.75 free gift, and since those earrings come in a box, you could turn around and give them as a gift.  (Think of it as jump start on your Christmas shopping)

To take me up on this offer, just go to my Etsy Shop, browse all four pages of fun stuff, pick out two items, purchase them, and then in the comments section write FREE EARRINGS.  You can even choose your color: green, pink, pearl, red, dark blue, turquoise or yellow.

And just a couple of other quick things you may not know.  All of the headbands sold, including these, and other prints ...

and the leather ones too, have NOT been worn.  The headbands shown being modeled are for display only.  If you buy a headband, or two, just know that they come new and have not been worn.  That decision stems from me and it made the girls put in a little more work as they had to make multiples.  But, I'm not a big fan of buying headbands in the store because you know they've been tried on multiple times by multiple people and those people all have different levels of cleanliness -ewww!   Our head bands come to you clean and new.  

You can see all the headbands here:  Etsy, Then She Made - Hair Accessories

and, while you are looking around, don't forget to check out these...

The bracelets are super cute and a fun twist on the classic friendship bracelet.  The nice thing about these is that you don't have to tie them on.  They have a clasp which means you can take them on and off.  

And, the mustache necklace!  Ok, so I'll be honest, I wouldn't wear this, but I love it.  It's quirky and mustaches are all the rage.  I think the mustache necklace, that comes in colors too, would be a fun little back to school gift for some lucky girl.  Jet wore her blue one to church and several of the girls in her primary class asked if they could have one - so, I know they are on trend.

You can see the jewelry here:  Etsy, Then She Made - Jewelry  and don't forget, I am still selling my pendants and other items too.  You can see those here:  Etsy, Then She Made - Clay Jewelry