Leather Strip Bracelet

Leather Bracelet
My whole family has just gotten over the flu, and today Atti got back from school with a fever for the second time in two weeks. So if I hadn’t gone in to Christmas wanting to keep things simple, Christmas has certainly become that way. But this bracelet is easy enough to make even from a sick bed. If you can pull yourself off the bathroom floor long enough to make it to the craft store, you can make this bracelet.

Supplies
You will need:
Leather strips – I got mine in a giant bag in the leather good aisle at my craft store. You could always cut your own, too.
Ribbon Crimps – This is a special jewelry clasp with teeth. Sometimes they’re called Ribbon Ends.
2 jump rings
1 larger jump ring
2 tassels – mine are leather tassels from Darice.

Step 1
The leather strips I bought were really thick and stiff, so the first thing I did was soak them in water overnight to make them more pliable. Then I picked out the strips I wanted to use and fed one end of them into one of the Ribbon Crimps. Use a pair of pliers to squish the teeth into the leather.

Step 2
Put each tassel onto one of the jump rings.

Step 3
Then put each jump ring onto the larger jump ring, and that jump ring onto the end of the clasp.

Step 4
Wrap the leather around your wrist twice to measure the length, then trim and attach the other end of the Ribbon Crimp.

Leather Strip Bracelet
I’m kind of obsessed with this bracelet. I think it’s so fashion forward. I love how, by decorating the clasp, you take the annoying propensity of the clasp to fall forward and make it work for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a feverish boy to snuggle.

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Monogrammed Wooden Coasters

Monogrammed Wooden CoastersI don’t know if it’s just that I’m coming off of a hard year and need to keep things kind of simple, or if it’s just happenstance, but every idea I seemed to have this time around could be made in minutes. I had to repeat the stencil idea from yesterday, but instead of freezer paper – which wouldn’t stick to wood – this time we’re using vinyl shelf paper. Another exacto session and a little paint drying and this project is done in time to give to the hostess of the Christmas party that evening.

SuppliesYou will need:
a square wooden piece – I got mine precut in a bundle of 2 at Michael’s, but you could easily cut a piece yourself. You just don’t want it too thick.
a vinyl stencil – If you’ve got a vinyl cutter this is even easier, but without one you just get your image printed out, tape it on top of the shelf paper, and then use an exacto knife to cut through both layers at once.
Paint
Wood Stain

Step 1Peel off the paper backing and stick the stencil to the wooden piece. Take care to burnish all the edges down really tight to make a good seal.

Step 2Paint your image. I found that a thick craft paint worked best for this. Wood stain or dye or markers – anything very watery – will get absorbed by the wood grain and bleed through.

Step 3When your paint is dry, peel off the stencil. Give the edges a good sanding and if you want to distress your paint a little you can give that a sand as well. I like to take down the sharp edges as I’m sanding because I think it gives it a really finished look.

Step 4Use a paper towel or shop rag to rub wood stain over the entire coaster. Make sure to get the edges and the back as well. Let it dry thoroughly.

Step 5Repeat this process until you have a whole set ready for giving.

Wooden CoastersI’m not normally a fan of the rustic – I’m all clean lines and polish – but there’s something about wood that makes me throw all that out the window. I think these are lovely enough to just sit on a tabletop all the time, but because it’s unsealed wood it will also be the most absorbent coaster ever.

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Stenciled Tote Bag

Stenciled Tote Bag
This is another project just like yesterday’s that came from my “Gifts for Dudes” brainstorm session, and once again, it will work for absolutely anyone. But what really inspired this tote bag is Bear. He will not carry a bag. He’ll carry a laptop bag if necessary, but otherwise he’ll just toss things loose in his car, he’ll stuff his pockets, he’ll do without, but he won’t carry a tote. This frustrates me to no end because if we’re together, it means his junk gets put in my bag. I wanted to make this tote to encourage him to carry his own dang stuff, but also to celebrate anyone out there who is caring enough about the environment to use totes instead of worrying about how cool they look.

Step 1
This is a simple freezer paper stencil technique, which is one of my mainstays. It is so very simple and so very effective. You just need a surface to stencil – a tote bag in this case – freezer paper, and paint. It has to be freezer paper (which you’ll find next to the tinfoil) because that has a wax coating on one side that will melt into the fabric just enough to hold it locked in to place.

To make my stencils I just work up my image on the computer and print it out. Then I tape that print out on top of the freezer paper, and use an exacto knife to cut through both layers of paper. Make sure you save the insides of all those letters because you’ll need those to make the stencil look right.

Step 2
Use a hot dry iron to affix the stencil to the tote bag. Those tiny little centers can be tricky, but you’ll want to take care to get those good and stuck. Your image will come out so much cleaner if you do.

Step 3
Then just paint your image. I use regular acrylic craft paint and I never bother with any of those fabric mediums. Especially not with a tote bag that doesn’t require flexibility. When the paint is dry give it a good iron to really heat set that paint in place.

Tote Bag
Not only is this a great project for anyone, but it’s a great super last minute gift. Depending on how handy you are with your exacto knife, you could have this project done and wrapped in a couple of hours. Now that I think about it, this would be a fantastic teacher’s gift too. Every teacher I know has to carry mountains of books and papers around, and if it’s an English teacher, you know they’ll enjoy the pun.

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Leather Cord Roll

Leather Cord Roll
This year when brainstorming gift ideas, I worked really really hard to come up with some good stuff for dudes. The stuff I thought up is really appropriate for anybody, but they fit in those categories that men often show a lot of interest in – tech, gaming, travel. So, see? Anyone, but since most DIY projects land on the frilly side of the fence, anything that’s not made out of toile seems to count as for menfolk. Anyhoo, gender theory tangent aside, my point is that I’ve got some awesome stuff coming up that would be appropriate for dudes (as well as ladies) and today is the first of those projects.

I spent the last month traveling somewhere every week. And that much travel in such a short period of time will really highlight some of the frustrations in the process. A big one for me? Cords. They turn into a snarled mess in my bag, but I might need them at any moment so I can’t pack them away somewhere that won’t lead to me unpacking my whole bag every time I need my wallet. This cord roll solves that problem, and made out of leather and suede, it’s manly enough for the manliest man. It’s also simple enough you could make it during a commercial break.

Supplies
You will need:
A piece of leather or suede cut to 11″ x 4″
A strap of leather about 18″ long
Eyelets
Exacto knife
Hole punch
Eyelet setter
Scissors

Step 1
Once you get your piece of leather cut to the dimensions you’d like, you need to cut the slits in them. If you’re using my measurements, cut each slit 1″ apart, and 1 1/2″ long. Then do it again 1″ directly below the first slits. I used an exacto knife to make my marks and then came back with scissors to get all the way through the leather.

Since there are no seams and no sizing, you can make this roll any size you want and it will work. My sizes were based on what was available at my craft store, and what I thought looked about right. SUPER scientific.

Step 2
Then it’s just a matter of coming up with a closure. I used my Crop-O-Dile to punch a hole through the leather strap and the edge of the leather body piece, and then used it again to press an eyelet into place. My leather strap was pretty thick, so I found it helpful to use a longer than average eyelet, like the ones Darice sells. But if your strap is thinner than mine a regular eyelet will work just fine. They only trick is to make sure your strap isn’t crooked when you install it, because once that eyelet is in place it’s not going anywhere.

Step 3
Bundle up your cord and slide it through the tab you’ve made in your leather

Step 4
To close it, just roll the leather up and then use the leather strap to wrap around it a few times, tucking the end under the loops you’ve made.

Leather Cord Roll
I made sure to make extras of this project so that everyone in my house wouldn’t be fighting over it every time we went anywhere. And really, it took so little time that I could probably crank these out for everyone in line with us at the airport. It would be a way better use of my time than digging through everything I own for the right charger.

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