Quick and Easy Jewelry Gifts

Guest Post by Debbie Blair

It happens every fall. Around September, I vow to get a jump start on my handmade gifts for Christmas. But once December rolls around, I haven’t started on a single thing. Now here we are with only weeks to go until the big day and I find myself digging through my stash for materials to make the perfect necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings for my friends and loved ones.

If you are in the same boat, read on, my friend! I’ve rounded up a list of ten favorite jewelry projects that are quick and easy to make but aren’t short on style!

10 Quick-and-Easy Jewelry Gifts to Make This Season

Easy and Quick Holiday Projects-Gold Tube BraceletsGOLD TUBE BRACELETS

My friend Megan—easily the most stylish young woman I know—will love these gold tube bracelets, with their leather and colorful cords paired with curved gold tube beads. The gals over at Honestly WTF have put together a great photo tutorial that details how to form the knotted ends, making them completely adjustable.

Quick and Easy Holiday Gifts-Leather Tassel Earrings


I love love love these painted leather tassels by my friend, Candie Cooper. Brush a bit of turquoise and gold patina paint onto pre-made leather tassels, then add druzy beads, wire hoops, and ear wires, and voila! Instant chic! Find the tutorial here.

Easy and Quick Holiday Gifts-Painted Wooden NecklaceCOLOR BLOCK NECKLACE

These super-sweet color block wood beads can be customized to suit any taste. Perhaps your niece loves pastels, while your BFF dons vivid patterns and hues. This project just requires a length of chain, some painter’s tape, and a handful of wood beads and acrylic paint from your local craft store. Head on over to Swallow’s Hart for the complete how-to.

Easy and Quick Holiday Gifts-DIY Leather Cuffs


While I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a repurposing junkie, I do love getting ideas of how to upcycle items commonly found around the house. These shabby chic leather cuffs by Make It, Love It are made by adding scraps of lace and cord to old belts that you can pick up at any Goodwill store. You can even dab on a bit of acrylic paint and buff off the raised areas to bring out the textured designs.

Quick and easy Holiday Gifts-Chain Collar Necklace


What I love most about this piece is the fact that it looks way more intricate than it really is! By joining two lengths of curb chain together with embroidery floss, then adding a cup-chain trim, you get a chunky chain necklace with a dash of femininity. Get the full how-to here, including great step-by-step photos.

Quick and Easy Holiday Gifts-Fringe Earrings


I can’t believe I have yet to make these fabulous fringe earrings from Candie’s archives! Grab yourself some cup chain (plus connectors), ball chain, slide connectors, and arrow charms and get to work! Whip up a pair (or two!) for yourself while you’re at it!

Quick and Easy Holiday GIfts-Mod Podge Necklace


I’m not sure about you, but my decoupage projects have never looked half as sophisticated as this pretty floral necklace! You might already have all the supplies you need on hand (I know I do!). Find complete instructions here for using your favorite scrapbook paper (this is actually a seed packet from the Dollar Store!), a wood pendant, and Mod Podge.

Quick and Easy Holiday Gifts-Patina Paint Earrings


Traditional patina methods sometimes intimidate me. Luckily there are great products like patina paints and inks that are easier to use—and less smelly—than liver of sulfur. But if you don’t have those at your disposal, Rebecca at the Crafted Sparrow shows how you can get similar results using acrylic paints. Check out her blog for the how-to.

Quick and Easy Holiday Gifts-Ombre Tassel Necklace


While this project may take a little more effort than the others on the list, it’s still super-doable, and really fun to boot! RIT fabric dye and embroidery thread are used to make a set of tassels in graduated shades (I’ve used the same method using untreated wood beads). Full instructions can be found over at Oh The Lovely Things.

Quick and Easy Holiday Gifts-Gold Animal Ring Dish


Your friends will never guess that these custom ring holders are actually made from plastic animals (get the toy animals and little white bowls at the Dollar Store). Simply spray them with gold spray paint, let dry, and glue the animals to the bottom of the bowl using E6000. Check out the Taylor Bradford blog for lots of fun photos!

Any of these projects will make a great gift, and your friends and family will have as much fun opening and wearing them as you’ll have making them!

Happy crafting, and happy holidays!


Fringe Benefits: DIY Tassels

This post brought to you by Beadalon–Makers of great findings and DIY jewelry supplies.  Thanks Beadalon for the sponsor love!IMG_1057Tassels are still having their moment.


I ain’t mad about it either.  I love flair.IMG_0986You can make your own tassels super easy with Beadalon’s tassel maker and some of that embroidery floss you were gonna use for that cross stitch project.  For a tip-I like suctioning the tool to the top of a plastic bead storage box.IMG_0985This is the tassel maker.  You can adjust the mandrels and make a ton of different sized tassels.  In this tutorial, I’m showing how to make tassel charms.  You can also loop a wire through and make a wrapped loop if you want to add a bead cap over the top of the tassel (see bracelets above).IMG_0984Either way, I like to tie off the top of the tassel so it is bound.  You can use a contrasting thread color too.IMG_0982Loosen the mandrels and slide the bundle off.  I tied mine at both ends so I could get two tassels for the work of one.IMG_0981Cut the bundle in the middle to create the two tassels.IMG_0979You can leave them like this or….IMG_0988Comb them out with a fork to make them nice and fluffy.  You can also wrap wire around the tie or add seed beads.IMG_1052Get the tassel maker tool from Beadalon.com.IMG_0978IMG_1053You just never know where a quick little project like this will take you…All you have to do is start.

Easy Chex Mix Recipe

Chex Mix RecipeThis is the view from my desk.  It’s officially holiday crunch time.  Literally and figuratively.

Every year (but, it’s become more of a year-round recipe), my gram or parents make a batch of this.  We eat it for breakfast, for lunch, as a snack, for dinner…  Chex Mix.  It saves during the holiday hustle.  I’m not saying it’s healthy.  There’s a ton of butter in it.  But, I love it because it’s filling plus I get fiber and protein.  Be warned, this recipe is pretty simple on flavor too.  That’s another reason I actually love it.  I’ve tried the other recipes, but quickly I get tired of the ranch seasoning or whatever spices are in it.

This makes a ton–you could always half it.  Enjoy!

  • 1 box each of rice, corn and wheat cereals (the smaller boxes–not the huge ones)
  • 1 stick + 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1 1/4 C. Worsteshire
  • Large can of peanuts
  • Red hots (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Pour all of the cereals and nuts into a big pan and toss.

Melt the butter, mix with the Worsteshire, then pour over the mix.


Bake 15-20 mins stir, repeat 3 to 4 more times

Let cool and store in tins.  You can also add in red hots.

ACTIVA Products sampler Giveaway!

This post brought to you by ACTIVA Products!ACTIVA Newsletter headerDid I ever tell you I was an art education major at Purdue?  I was.  From time to time, I post projects that reflect that part of my history and love:  teaching kids to make things with their hands!  That’s how I got to know ACTIVA Products.  They make all sorts of amazing air dry clays and super colorful sand.  These days, I design projects for them like this Message in a Bottle.Message in a bottle party invitation idea from Candie CooperHere’s a link to the project in case you want to make a couple. Pottery in Mexico Lesson PlanAnd then this is the kinda thing I design for ACTIVA and teach at my art camps that I teach in the summer here in town at the Honeywell Center.  The kids love making pottery pieces.  No, they can’t eat out of them, but they can put other goodies inside.  For this project, we learned about terra cotta clay and looked at pottery from Mexico for inspiration.  The best thing about Hearty clay is that the clay sticks to itself really well and doesn’t fall apart once the clay is dry.  Nothing is more discouraging to a kid then when they put a lot of time and effort into something and it crumbles.  Want to make your own bowl?  Here’s a link to the tutorial.

Now for something extra fun!
ACTIVA sampler giveawayThat’s right!  We are giving away an ACTIVA sampler pack!  Sand, CelluClay, Rigid Wrap and Hearty Clay.  You get a little bit of everything so you can get crafty this fall!  Experiment and play until your heart is content, on us! Not into clay?  Give it to your local art teacher–you’ll be their new BFF!

Fingers crossed for you!  Click and follow below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Message in a Bottle Party Invite

This post brought to you by ACTIVA-makers of colorful sand and air dry clay.DIY Party Invitation idea Message in a bottleMessage in a bottle party invitation idea  Add a handwritten noteThis is one of my absolute favorite projects to make with kids and adults!  You can write an invite, a love note, words of encouragement or a wish.  Whatever your message, roll it up, keeping it as skinny as you can.

Message in a bottle party invitation  Seal up the note with washi tapeSeal with washi tape or string.Message in a bottle party invitation idea with ACTIVA Scenic Sand and Republic of Tea bottleFor this bottle, I’m using a recycled Republic of Tea bottle.  You’ll also need some colorful ACTIVA sand, shells, glitter, aquarium stones, and ribbons or yarn.Message in a bottle party invite idea using Republic of Tea bottleThis is the Republic of Tea bottle I mentioned.  I love the curve and height of it (and the tea that was once inside). Message in a bottle sand craftUse a funnel to pour the Scenic Sand inside.  I put about an inch in the bottom.
Message in a bottle party invitation idea  don't for get the glitterNothing adds a bit of magic like retro glitter…or any glitter that you have on hand.  Shake the sand and glitter together after you pour.
Message in a bottle party invitation idea with ACTIVA sand and glitterDrop in the aquarium stones, shells, marbles, gems (Ooo!  Gems!) or whatever you like.
Message in a bottle party invitation idea using ACTIVA sandMake a message in a bottle party invitation ideaThe letter goes in next followed by the cap.  I’ve also used antique bottles and topped them with an old wine cork.
DIY Message in a bottle invite with recycled Republic of Tea bottleTie on bits of ribbon, yarn, crystals etc…
Message in a bottle party invitationAnd it’s ready to give.
Message in a bottle party inviteOr hang on a mailbox…or to drop in the ocean and make a wish!Message in a bottle party invitation idea from Candie CooperP.S.  I really think these would make the coolest wedding invitations.

Purse Revamp with LeatherCord USA

This post sponsored by LeathercordUSA.com.DIY Fashion; Purse Makeover on Candie Cooper's blog with Leathcord USA flowersOnce upon a time there was a purse put on the clearance rack when spring came for $12 because, well it was time for spring colored accesories.

I rescued her and this is her story.
LeatherCordUSA.com Flowers for DIY projectsWhen I visited LeatherCord USA headquarters, I got to pick out parts and pieces for future projects.  I’ve been so smitten with these vintage looking leather flowers and thought they would be perfect to jazz up this old girl of a purse.Loctite gel for leather craftingBut first!  I added two strips of the metallic Kansa colored leather strap using Loctite Gel.LeatherCordUSA.com for beautiful leather flower embellishmentsRemember that post where I talked about forming leather flowers?  That’s exactly what you do here.  Then I bought some small rivets and used the Loctite to glue everything together.  Piece of cake.  Great excuse to sit in front of the tv and work.
Purse revamp with Leathercordusa.com flowers and strapUse the same Loctite glue to attach them to the purse in a random fashion.
DIY Purse Revamp from @candiecooper and LeatherCord USADIY FASHION Purse REvamp with LeatherCordUSA.com flowers and leather strapDIY Fashion Idea Purse Revamp from @CandieCooperPurse Makeover idea

Bead Crochet GIVEAWAY!

Candie Cooper bead crochet kit giveawayYou know what I’m excited about?!

MY NEW VIDEOS WITH INTERWEAVE!!!  I did four of them, but the one that I’m celebrating today is “Bead Crochet!”  This is one of my most very favorite techniques that I just happened upon doodling around one day in the studio (and Universe, it would be great if these moments could come a little more often).EP12670In this video I show you how to make a necklace and earrings with super stretchy beading elastic, Elasticity.Bead Crochet Giveaway KitJewelry Making DIY Bead CrochetThe cool thing about it is the necklace can convert easily into a bracelet like this.  I’ve taught this class multiple times at Bead Fest and each time it sells out.  Now you can enjoy it in your lazy-girl chair and pjs right at home. Giveaway from Clover Needlecrafts, JesseJamesBeads.com, Candie Cooper & Interweave

To celebrate this video release, my friends at Clover Needlecrafts, JesseJamesBeads.com, and Interweave are kicking in everything you need to create your own bead crochet necklace.  Thanks guys!  See below for how to enter and lots of luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Clover LogoJJB_Logo-1Interweave-Home-Logo

CONGRATS TO KAREN G-R!!  Happy crocheting!!