Mini Tutorial: One Finding Form Four Ways

I like to figure out new ways to use a tool that I bought, and in this case it was the Round Ear Wire Jig by Artistic Wire.  I picked up a bunch of these jigs from Hobby Lobby when they were on clearance.  The jig looks like this:

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I made a loop in a 4″ piece of 20 gauge wire with my round nose pliers and put it on the large metal peg, wrapped down between the small metal peg and the large circle peg, around the large circle peg and back up to the first loop.  Like this:

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I removed the wire from the jig and then made these variations:

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Pretty neat!  Below I describe how I made each pair so you can try it yourself.  And you don’t really need a jig to do this, you can make a loop and wrap the wire around anything that you have handy.

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For these simple earrings, I strung a spacer bead, a 6mm fire polished bead, and another spacer bead before wrapping the end around the base of the first loop a few times.

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For the starfish earrings, I made a loop facing down to hang a charm with the end of the wire, then I wrapped the bottom of the shape with seed beads strung on 26 gauge wire. Lastly, I hung the starfish charm from the inside loop with a jump ring.

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These earrings featured rows of seed beads.  I wrapped the end of the wire to the base of the starting loop first to firm up the frame.  Then I wrapped 26 gauge wire around the bottom side three times, strung on random seed beads, then wrapped the wire three times around the other side.  Then I trimmed the excess wire from each side.  I repeated this process five times to about half-way up the frame.

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This last pair of earrings was made from leftover beads from a DIY bracelet kit that I picked up from Hobby Lobby.  I strung about 17 white seed beads, 3 copper seed beads, 5 teal beads, 3 copper seed beads, and finished up with 17 white seed beads.  Then I wrapped the end around the base of the top loop.

And here are the earrings with the matching bracelet:

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I am sure that I will be playing with this jig a lot more to come up with more variations!

Big Baby Bento Box Quilt Free Tutorial

When I found out that my sister-in-law was going to have a baby last summer, I naturally had to make a baby quilt for her.  Since it was their third child, they didn’t want to know if it was a girl or a boy, so I was rather torn as to what to do for fabric because I typically pick out something with an appropriate theme.  I don’t go to Walmart all that often, but when I do, I usually check out the crafts section, and I found the perfect fat quarters for only $1 each.  Then the problem came when I tried to decide what to do with these fat quarters, so of course I turned to Pinterest for help and found this design by a user named pcbatiks called Giant Bento Box Baby Quilt.  There was no pattern, just a finished size of 36″ by 40″.  I knew I had to figure out how to make this quilt, and I decided to share the pattern with you so you can make it too!  Here is the finished quilt:

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To make this quilt, you will need:

  • 2 fat quarters each of four different patterns (8 total), or four 1/2 yards
  • 1 1/4 yard fabric for backing, or if you are adventurous (or frugal), you can piece it from the leftover scraps and two or three more fat quarters
  • 1 fat quarter for the binding
  • Crib size batting (I used the fusible kind since I don’t like to baste!)

CUTTING:

If you are starting with 1/2 yard cuts, cut them in half on the fold to get two fat quarter sized pieces approximately 18″ x 22″.  To keep directional designs upright, each fat quarter pair will need to be cut on the long edge and the short edge, see the diagram below.

big-baby-bento-cutting-diagram-1

  1. Lay the first fat quarter so that the 22″ edge is horizontal and cut one 9 1/2″ and two 5″ strips.  Subcut the 9 1/2″ and 5″ strip to 10 1/2″ long, and the remaining 5″ strip to 15 1/2″ long. Lay the second fat quarter so that the 18″ edge is horizontal and cut two 5 1/2″ strips.  Subcut one strip to 18 1/2″ and the other to 14″.  Repeat with the remaining sets of fat quarters.
  2. Take your strips and arrange them as show below, making sure to keep the designs all facing vertically.

big-baby-bento-layout-diagram

IMPORTANT:  For these next steps, be sure to keep the strips in the same orientation as you laid them out, otherwise you will end up with blocks that don’t fit together!  I worked on one block at a time and put the sewn unit back in place to make sure I sewed the next strip on correctly.

SEWING:

1.  Sew a 10 1/2″ x 5″ strip to a 10 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ rectangle.

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2.  Next, sew the 14″ x 5.5″ strip to the unit.

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3.  Now add the 15 1/2″ x 5″ strip to the side.

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4. And finally, add the 18 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ strip.

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5.  Repeat this process to create three more blocks, and be sure to keep the strips of each block in the correct orientation; each block is different!  Lay out your blocks again and join them into rows and then stitch the rows together.

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6.  Layer the top with your batting and backing and quilt!  I just used a stipple design.

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7.  Cut 8 – 2″ x 22″ strips from your binding fat quarter and join the ends.  I sewed the binding on the back of the quilt, wrapped it around to the front, and zigzag stitched it in place, see the picture above.

8. Add a label and you’re done!

In case you’re curious about the back of my quilt, here it is:

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While it turned out awesome and used up all the leftover fabric, it took longer to piece than the top did!

Hopefully you enjoyed this tutorial, and I would love to see the quilts you make from it!

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial

Today I wanted to make some wire Christmas trees, and I have seen some neat ones on Pinterest and have made some using just round nose pliers, but it was hard to get them a consistent size and shape.  So I figured I would try it on my wire jig.  And I couldn’t stop at just one, so I made three sets for earrings.  Then as an excuse to make one more pair, I decided to make a tutorial and share it with you!  Here are the finished trees:

Wire Christmas Trees Ronda Cassens

Materials:

  • 20 gauge wire, one 8″ piece per tree
  • Cyclops wire jig by WigJig and 7 pegs
  • Round nose pliers
  • Nylon jaw pliers (optional)
  • Wire cutters

Step 1:  Set up your jig with the pegs as shown (you can click on the image to make it bigger).

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 2:  Bend your wire in half and cross the ends left over right, pulling the ends to make a small loop.  If you’re making earrings, do the same with the second wire, making sure that the wires cross the same way, left over right.

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Step 3:  Place the loop over the top peg and bend the ends up around the next two pegs.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 4: Take the left wire and wrap it around the left peg.  You’ll want to bend it down some.  Note that the left wire parallels the right wire in the center.  It will look the same each time you wrap.  If it doesn’t parallel, you probably forgot to flip the shape or wrapped the wrong wire.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 5:  Take the wire off the jig and flip it over, placing it back on the pegs.  This will help keep the shape flat.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 6:  Once again, take the left wire and wrap it around the left peg.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 7:  Flip the shape over, wrap the left wire over the left peg.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 8:  Flip the shape over and wrap the left wire over the left peg.  You may see a pattern developing!

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 9:  Flip the shape over, wrap the left wire over the left peg.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 10: Last time, flip it over and wrap the left wire over the left peg.  I bend the two wires up a little to make the base a little flatter.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 11:  Hold the bottom two wires tight with your thumb and twist them together to form the trunk of the tree.  Be careful not to distort the base and to keep the trunk centered.  I only do a few twists to hold it, then I take it off the jig and twist a little more with my nylon pliers.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 12: Remove the shape from the jig and trim the ends so that they are the same length.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 13:  Use your round nose pliers to curl the ends and you are done!

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

You can make these into earrings like I did, or you can adjust your pegs to make it bigger and make a pendant.  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!