Ornament Thursday: Pencil Grip Jewelry

I thought and thought about ideas for this month’s Ornament Thursday. I had a lot of fun ideas up my sleeve for the theme “Academia”, but honestly I didn’t have time to execute them the way I wanted to. But I did pull through! I stopped by Wal-mart on my way home for coffee with my friend Retta and checked out the school supply section. I marveled at the thought of making some mini Sharpie earrings (you know the ones with the little hook for your keychain), a wrist bracelet out of a rubber ruler, and a really fun necklace connector out of a gigantic silver paper clip. But I ended up purchasing these, because they were just so colorful and fun…oh, and I love the jelly/plastic look (I always have…I had several pairs of jelly shoes as a 6 year old).

pencil grips

I decided to whip up a fun and colorful spring bracelet and pair of earrings to match. I love, love color and decided to use bold pops with wooden, glass, and faceted beads.

pencil grip earrings

pencil grip spring bracelet

Just simple and fun and a great project that you can make with your kids after school…I think spring bracelets are one of the easist jewelry projects to make with kids and they just love wearing them, especially when the beads are big and bold.

I will post more Ornament Thursday posts tomorrow.

Here they are:

Art Bead Scene & The Golden Rule
The Art Bead Scene editor shares a few words of wisdom for jewelry designers.

Back to School-Make your own Pencils
School is back in session, everyone needs new pencils. Why not glass?

BeadStyle goes back to school
Lindsay Haedt’s on her way to the classroom, but not before Linda shares one of her recent designs.

Beading Help Web Wires Up Academia
Lynn Kvigne to read! While you can easily use a scrap of paper or an old magazine subscription card for a bookmark, why not whip up a stylish book mark instead?

Check out the “homework” project from Joolz by Lisa
A collab effort works out great when you plan ahead

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy’s learned how to Mail!

First Day
Michelle’s School Book – it’s academic!

Michelle’s Edumacation
Michelle has yet another go at decorating Helen’s workstation, this month, less scary than last but oh, so funky.
http://www.http-design.com/2008/08/michelles-edumacation.html helenbrelaz

Until then, Swellions, have a great night!

A quick digi project and this and that


So, I whipped up this project last night on the fly. It’s for a friends’ coffee table. Several other people I know are makine 6×6 canvases to go under his coffee table as well as an interesting art series all focused on bugs.

I am feeling a little icky today over dealing with confrontation. I really hate doing it and don’t have to in day in day out situations, but you know when something rears it’s ugly head, sometimes you just have to approach it even when you don’t want to. I’ve always had anxiety over such things and don’t always feel equipped to deal. I guess I need to just do it and learn and experience…seems like most times it is not usually as bad as I seem to make it out to be in my head. Just not fun.

I just went to Subway. Why is it that I always gravitate toward the same type of sandwich? Anyone else do this? My favorite is the Italian BMT on Italian herbs and Cheese. I guess when you find something you like it’s hard to change. Thankfully, though I’ve gotten over chicken finger ordering at nice restaurants. That used to be the thing I always got. Now, I figure it’s one of the worst things I could get on the menu health-wise, so I tend to avoid it.

I’m all by my lonesome today at work. Just the sound of me typing and the air conditioning going. I really hope this afternoon goes by quickly. I plan on going to the arboretum later tonight and out to eat. Trying to make an exercise plan. Last night, I rode around my neighborhood 4 times. It’s actually not that much, but I was still sweating by the time I got through. I came back in and I had only been gone for 15 minutes. Geez. Well, atleast it was something!

Until tomorrow Swellions. Have a great day!


?#@*%! Bleepin’ Bleach Bag

bleepity bleep bleach bag

Grocery stores have their annoyances. Whether it be that slow-paced old woman in the frozen foods section or the unpleasant clerk who clearly doesn’t believe that the customer is always right, a shopping trip can strain your last nerve. So, the solution? Create this bag that says exactly what you are thinking, without saying anything at all. It’s a quick and uncomplicated project that you can whip up in an evening. Here’s how…

– Recyclable cloth bag (I got mine from www.reusablebags.com)
– Clear contact paper – 12″w x 8.5″h
– Black dimensional fabric paint (I used SoSoft dimensional writer)
– Bleach
– Exacto
– Scissors
– Freehand pattern (or pattern printed from the internet, see link below)
– Ruler
– Pencil, permanent pen
– Tracing paper
– Spray bottle
– small bowl
– Foam brush
– Self-healing cutting mat
– trash bag or cardboard


1. Draw out your design or click on the picture below for a free pattern to print off and create one like mine. If you are using your own pattern, don’t make it too complicated, as this will not transfer well during bleaching process.

2. Measure and cut out contact paper sheet. Seperate sticky part of contact paper sheet from backing. Slide in paper pattern.

3. Using Exacto,on self-healing cutting mat, cut out bubble design on contact paper.
cutting out

4. Peel off contact paper backing and place contact sheet sticky side down in center of bag. Press firmly into place.

5. Place cardboard or trash bag inside of bag to protect from bleaching through bag

6. Dip brush in small bowl of bleach. Dab inside bubble design sparingly, especially around outer areas, to prevent seepage. You can also just sparingly spray inside bubble using spray bottle, if you prefer.
bleach fill in, spray

7. Using spray bottle a couple of feet above project, mist all over front of bag and handles. Let dry.

8. Peel back contact paper to reveal finished bleached design.

9. Using pencil, trace and transfer explatives from printout into center of bubble design.

10. Outline bubble design and letters using SoSoft Dimensional Writers. Let dry.
fabric paint

Special thanks to my friend,Retta, who provided me with the materials and idea to get this project rollin’! I think it turned out fun and is a great way to make a bag a lot less blah, and a lot more ?#@*%! cool!

Also, here’s an alternative idea: My friend Chris, made a sumo wrestler shirt (he placed it on the side of the shirt). At first, it was so intricate and seeped so much that it looked like a blob, but Retta saved the day by going over the stencil again with SoSoft fabric paint (not the dimensional kind I used). It made for an interesting effect…

sumo image

Have a totally, ?#@*%! awesome day , Swellions!


All content/photos copyright, © Alexa L. Westerfield, 2008

Recap and the week ahead

finished earrings

The weekend is over, sorry to say. I need just one more day. Oh, man, I rhyme. Anyway, I got my sunglass earring project up on www.venuszine.com. I think it turned out pretty cool. It’s a good way to recycle some old shades into something totally cool…check out the link here

I went on the search for shoes this weekend for CHA. I wanted to get a pair of black flats that could be dressed up or down (ones of the everyday wear variety). I went with my friend Jessica yesterday and picked out a pair with a little peep toe, but after I purchased them and really thought about it, I was disapppointed with them and decided I wanted something else. So, I went on the hunt again today at this place called G.B.’s Shoe Warehouse. They had so many shoes! I didn’t find the perfect pair I had envisioned in my head, but I did walk away with some cute ones that are going to be very comfortable. The insole has contoured padding and little bubbles, so they are very cushy.

I also went today to this 1/2 price books place. It bought and sold new and used books. It was a really cool store and I found several craft titles that they don’t carry anywhere else in Lexington. I was impressed by that. I also picked up the Amy Sedaris craft book for a steal and a book to read on the plane to LA.

I completed all my projects and articles for Creative Techniques and I’m glad to have that off my shoulders. I personally find the step by steps to be very tedious, cause you have to tell them exactly how to use the program (I was teaching them how to do techniques in Photoshop Elements 4). Anyway, it is so easy for me to whip through it and do it, but telling it is so time consuming. One set of detailed instructions takes me 2-3 hours. I work hard for the money.

Gotta finalize some stuff this week…finish up some jewelry, pack, clean my place, take care of financial stuff, etc. before I go. I know I’ll get it together. I’m not too stressed like I was last week. Work, friend stuff, and getting stuff in by deadline was kicking my butt. I seriously think I was suffering from exhaustion. Hopefully this week will be better smooth sailing.