Saturday, January 9, 2010

Birthday Parties and Presents


Little Girl's Birthday Parties.  These are the social event of the season and the price of admission is your gift to the Birthday Girl.  The way my youngest and her classmates carry on about birthday parties, you'd think they were the equivalent of the Debutant Balls of the South.  We discovered really quickly that birthday parties are expensive. . . . not only HAVING a birthday party, but GOING to birthday parties.

My two kiddos average about ten birthday party invitations per year, each.  We tried a budget of ten dollars per gift but, with twenty invites, that's still expensive.  Besides, have you seen what's available for ten bucks?  Not much.  We started making our gifts. 


Girl Gifts are a lot easier to make which is why I am glad that this weekend my youngest has a birthday party for a little girl.  I am not up to being too terribly creative today.   Here's what we did.


 

We made little girl's bracelets and put them in a really cute, very inexpensive box.  The bracelets themselves are really cheap to make but you do need to start out with a "beginning expense".  At your local craft store, you can find all-inclusive Jewelry Making kits.  It includes your beads, wire, clasps and crimps.  They're anywhere from $10 to $20 and up.  If you have a Michael's in your area, sign up for their email list and get 40% off coupons sent to your inbox.  That makes this expense pretty low.  Out of a large kit, you can get a few dozen bracelets.


Here's how you do it: 

 

First, pick out your beads.  I like to lay them out in a line and make sure that I have enough to make the bracelet but that's not always possible.  This selection made it impossible because of the shape of the beads.  




These are the tools and supplies you will need.  The wire comes in a jewelry making kit.  The little silver beads in a bag are called crimp beads.  They're soft beads that you'll smash with the green handled pliers.  Those are regular pliers.  The blue handle pliers are nippers.  That's what you will use to cut the wire.  You can also get a pair of chain nose pliers if you want. . . I use them and will show you what I use them for but it's not necessary for bracelet making.

 

Cut your wire to length PLUS a few inches.  There's nothing worse than spending the time to string the wire and not have enough to finish the job.   Put a crimp bead on the end, string the wire THROUGH the clasp and back through the crimp bead.




Smash the crimp bead with your pliers.  Now the clasp is firmly attached to the wire.



String your beads in the pattern you want.  



Put a crimp bead on the end.  I like to put a piece of chain on the end so that the length is adjustable and the bracelet can fit through some growing.  I put the wire through the chain and then back through the crimp bead.  Smash that crimp bead flat and trim the excess wire. 



I like to put a dangle on the end of the chain.  Use a headpin and put one small bead on it.  Headpins will come in your Jewelry Making Kit.



Bend the headpin at a 90 degree angle.



Use a pair of chain nose pliers to make a loop.  



Use the chain nose pliers to hang on to the loop.   It should be flat inside the pliers.  Take your regular pliers and grab the end of the wire sticking out.  Wrap it several times around the wire between the chain nose and the bead.



Clip off the excess wire.  Mine tends to get mangled a bit when I twist it around the wire but it doesn't matter because you cut it off.  Carefully separate the last link of the chain on the bracelet and slip this bead on.  Close the chain.



We made two bracelets.  They turned out quite nice.  



Keep an eye out at the dollar store or department stores for really cheap, cute boxes.  Or, you can purchase a "lot" of them online on eBay.  Don't forget to take shipping charges into account when you buy them.  We pair these with a card we print off the computer using Word and wrap them in whatever wrapping paper we have available. 

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