Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DIY: Friendship Bracelet Madness

Friendship bracelets really are the perfect summer craft.  They're quick, fun, floss costs like a quarter, and there are a million different kids to make.  Here is a round up of some of my favorites from summer so far.

from left to right

Ok, the first bracelet is so easy.  This twisty rope bracelet is a really easy way to combine fun summer colors (by the way, if you need color palette inspiration, Color Collective is the best blog ever).  To make this bracelet choose as many strands of embroidery floss as you want.  Cut them all the same length and hold them together at each end.  Now, while holding the ends taut, start twisting the little rope on one end.  Keep twisting, even though it will give you resistance, the more you twist, the better it will look.  Once you've twisted as much as you can, simply fold both of the ends together.  The string will twist up onto itself into a little wound rope.  It probably won't fold perfectly so just gently tug at the middle a little until it is even.  Tie a knot and you are done.

The pink and red one is a macrame style bracelet from a tutorial at The Purl Bee.  I made the striped one, and I must be tying my knots too tightly because it spiraled up on me. But that was ok because I actually thought that looked cool. Vaeh took this one from me, of course, because it was pink.

Figure 1
Figure 2
To make the fishtail friendship bracelet  in the middle, I first chose 5 colors to work with and twisted them together into a multi colored mega strand.  Then I cut it into 6 identical lengths.  In order to braid the 6 lengths, tie a knot in the top and arrange them as in Figure 1.  Then start braiding by taking the outer two strands (shown in red) and crossing them into the middle as in Figure 2.  Make sure you bring the strand from the left side over to the right side and the strand from the right side over to the left.  Now the strands that were previously the middle (shown in blue) will be on the outside. Repeat this step over and over, braiding the outermost strands towards the middle, until the bracelet is the desired length, and tie a knot in the end.  I made my bracelet extra long so that I could tie a figure 8 knot on the top (here is a good diagram of the knot).

Figure 4

The all blue bracelet 2nd to last is the most classic.  It is made entirely of figure 4 knots. To make it, choose as many colors as you like and knot them together at the top.  Then take one strand out from the group and wrap it around the rest of the strands and pulling through the triangle of the "4" to make a knot, as shown in Figure 3. Use your left thumb or index finger to create the point of the 4, and be sure to tighten the knot by pulling upward.  Make 10 knots with one color then return that strand to the group and pull out a new color create the next stripe, and so on, until you reach desired length.  You can experiment with patterns, colors and stripe thickness to create a million different designs. When I was a kid I made insanely long cords out of these and replaced all the pulls on my lights and ceiling fans. I love these things.     

The final bracelet is a woven one from The Martha Stewart Crafts Dept. They made it out of yarn but it works in floss too.  

As far as securing them, I'm not really a big fan of tying a knot, because then I can't take them off (which might be the point, but whatever).  I always close mine with safety pins, that way I can give them away whenever I want and have an excuse to make more.  As you can see there are so many different ways to make these bracelets, any that I have missed? Let me know.

Image Via Jezebel

P.S. Monday night I watched Clarissa Explains it All on the TeenNick 90s revival.  She was wearing no less than 5 friendship bracelets.  So if you needed any more proof friendship bracelets are awesome, there you go.  

P.P.S.  Can someone with more reliable access to a DVR and the ability to take screenshots please start some sort of tumblr of Clarissa's outfits?  Cause that would be awesome.  Come on Internet, don't let me down.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Air Guitar and Air Conditioning

It is hot, people, like way too hot. Too hot to cook, too hot to use my glue gun, and way too hot to be smashed up against people on the red line. All I know is, I want to marry my air conditioner and have its babies. Then our children would be part air conditioner, which I think would really help cool the apartment off.

Speaking of air, this Saturday our friends Nordic Thunder and Dry Ice will compete in the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships at the Metro in Chicago.  My first air guitar experience was earlier this year and it was really awesome.  The crowd was super into it and they put on a fun and entertaining show.  If you're in town I definitely recommend going (tickets here).  And check out this video they made (with Thundergland and Romeo Dance Cheetah) to get ready for the championships.  If you aren't charmed then you might hate fun... 

Chicago's Air of Supremacy from David Ayling on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


After some starts and stops, Summer is finally here in Chicago.  I can tell because suddenly everybody's window unit air conditioners are dripping on my head when I walk to my back gate, and because suddenly work is crazy busy.  July is by far the busiest month of the year for summer fundraising so crafting and posting have gotten a little slow.  Then yesterday I woke up ready to post, when a 20 minute storm knocked the power out for 14 hours. I'm calling it an Act of God.

Anyways, since I haven't spent much time crafting lately (this is soon to be remedied) I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures from Summer so far.

Coke Float Cupcakes for Heather's Birthday

Coke Float Cupcakes.  Do yourself a favor, bake these Pride weekend and then hold them while you wait for the red line. I was serenaded with Teenage Dream by some boys trying to get me to part with them.  Even though they were adorable, I was tough and delivered my cupcakes safely to Heather's party.  I found the recipe here and frosted them with a simple vanilla frosting (1 box powdered sugar, two sticks butter, splash of milk and vanilla).

Also can I just mention how I thought I was so clever decorating them with cherries and a little straw, just like a real coke float?  Well, yeah, a cursory google search will reveal that that is how everyone decorates them.  Ego deflated....oh well.

From our Nashville trip, Sam tried a beard on for size in a bookstore.  I'm not sure it suits him.

Even though we spent most of our time in Tennessee in what I affectionately referred to as "Hipster Nashville", we did manage to make it back to Sam's old teacher's farm.  We had previously visited in December when all of the calves were being born, so it was nice to see them again.  They are so sweet and beautiful.  I also learned on this visit that I am definitely a winter farmer.  It is a lot smellier in the summer, with a lot more flies. Maybe I could timeshare a farm with someone who is more of a summer person.

Speaking of farming, we finally got to harvest produce from our garden.  Here you see our peas, the virtue of which I successfully convinced Sam of, and a little Sunsugar tomato. Once more Sunsugars come in we will hopefully make some delicious tomato preserves to carry us through the winter.  Our purple tomatoes have yet to make an appearance.

Nothing says Summer in Chicago to me quite like The Puppet Bike.  I will gladly take a season of sweltering days to get to watch those little kitties and monkeys dance.  Also check out that little girl's sweet sleeve of temporary tattoos.

Loretta Lynn rocking the Taste of Chicago.  She was amazing.  Did I mention she is 76?  Can someone please tell Hugh Hefner that this is how you show off your enduring vitality?

I found these little finger puppets in the dollar bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I hot glued a little magnet onto their backs so they can live on our refrigerator.  Best dollar I've ever spent?  Yes, yes it is.

My brother at my cousin's wedding. Sorry ladies, he's taken.

It is all about this kid's awesome shirt.  And the fact that this is what his parents chose for him to wear to a wedding.

The last picture I took before I left the wedding.  Vaeh and my grandmother pretty much falling asleep. This is a nightly occurrence, they are terrible influences on each other.