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I have returned from my week at the Outer Banks! It was super fun and I had a blast playing in the ocean, jet skiing, playing Scrabble and relaxing with the boyfriend. I unfortunately took almost no pictures (too busy playing!) and I did very little knitting. I did, however, get a lovely tan. Also, I did snap this shot of Joe when we went on a pedal boat ride:

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I also did some shell hunting and seeing as I woke up at five this morning and was out of the house at 7:30, returning to Virginia Beach at 10:30, I had some crafting time. With a couple little shells, I whipped up some stitch markers.

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I like this one because the stripes look like Nemo:

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They’re quite small; the Nemo one is the size of my pinky fingernail. I don’t know how long they’ll last (the shell are not especially sturdy) but I’ll enjoy them while they do.

Yeah yeah yeah. Anyway, I have a thing for keys, especially skeleton keys. There’s something delightful steampunk about them, and I do adore the steampunk aesthetic, even though I can only really pull it off in small doses. But who can disagree with floofy skirts, corsets, and Victorian style? Not me.

I made some key-themed jewelry! My favorite thrift store in Virginia Beach, where my parents live, is a Goodwill Outlet store. Basically, they take everything that hasn’t sold in a couple of weeks (or whatever) in the surrounding Goodwills and dump it in huge bins for people to sift through. They’re separated (roughly) into textiles (clothes, sheets, etc.), books, and everything else, with the larger items elsewhere. While sifting through some of the bins one day, I found a nice little pile of keys, which I promptly swept up given they cost pretty much nothing (the everything else section of the store is like $.65 a pound and keys are light).

Earrings:

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I really love how these came out. They went through a couple of different iterations, several not involving the chain, but in the end, I decided to include it. I’m running out of silver chain so I’ll have to pick up some more as I love how it looks in earrings.

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Necklace:

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The necklace was so easy it barely counts as crafting. I just threw together some jump rings, attached one end to the key and strung the other end on a (cheap-ass) chain.

I’m very pleased with my new set and also very pleased to have done something with some of those keys.

So beading… not my strongest craft. I don’t really have the finesse required. But I made things! I made earrings! I made three pairs of earrings!

For the first pair, I followed a tutorial by Mich L in LA

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I LOVE how these came out but they’re SO fiddly. The chain kept falling off the pin and the jump ring and there were ISSUES OKAY. Also, if you read through the tut, what Mich says about safety pins is true: THEY ARE SERIOUSLY ULTRA-HARDENED KRYPTONITE. It took a super long time to bend the ends of the pins into loops. SO LONG. It was definitely the longest part of the process.

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Still, I think they came out SUPER pretty, and Mich’s tutorial is fantastic. I’ll definitely have to make some more variations on these because they’re both punk and feminine-pretty. So yay!

The next pair of earrings I made were SUPER simple.

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Just a couple of jump rings and some leaf-shaped leather cut outs. They’re dangley and pretty and I like ’em.

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The last pair is like a combination of the above two:

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Simple leather shape on jump rings and some nonsense with a big red craft bead from a garland I bought at a Target after-Christmas sale (I have approximately 2397097837 of these beads) and a smaller bead cause the holes in the read beads are ENORMOUS.

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Of the three pairs, I like these the least but I do like the red-on-black color scheme so I imagine they’ll get a decent amount of wear.

Now I seriously need to make some sort of jewelry display as currently, all of my jewelry is in a jumble on either my dresser or table next to my bed. Should probably fix that so I don’t lose my new ones.

So remember the diy jewelry kit I got from that kit swap? Well, I finally had a chance to make the other earring:

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Jewelry is hard. It’s fiddly. It’s got small parts. I am not very good at it. But I’m going to try to get better cause I do love pretty dangley earrings, and it’s easy to find old jewelry to take apart and make into something else. I don’t know that I have much of a knack for designing jewelry, but I thought that about knitting at the beginning too, and now I’ve got like, six patterns under my belt plus I have a page of designs in my notebook. We’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’ll just follow other people’s directions. I think these earrings are great:

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Can you tell which I made?

So I recently participated in a swap on Craftster wherein I swapped kits to make a craft with other people. It was sort of round-robin style. The kit I made (a drop spindling kit) went to sugaree. I included a how to spindle pamphlet, a little sample of my early handspun, a drop spindle, some fiber, and a drawstring bag to hold it all:

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The bag:

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and the fiber:

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I included about 30g of alpaca fiber and about 125g of domestic wool top (from the pound I ordered when I started spinning) that I dyed. I call the colorway “Ocean Madness (It’s No Excuse for Ocean Rudeness)”.

The kit I received in return was from ChrisSews and it was for making jewelry. She sent so much cool stuff!

Here’s everything:

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Tons of findings:

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Tons of beads:

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as well as instructions and materials to make these earrings, based off some on my wists:

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I can’t wait to make the second earring so I can wear them, but I don’t think I’ll really be able to until I go back to school. There’s a lot of little parts and I don’t want to lose anything, so I’ll wait until I’m settled in my apartment at school and have a work space that belongs to me.

I finished an item from the challenge I posted about before! From these fish beads and little green beads:

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and some jewelry findings, I made fish earrings!

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I think the little green beads look like bubbles.

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I made two pairs: one for me and one for a gift, as per the challenge. But who is the recipient of this gift? Why, it’s one of you lucky readers! That’s right: This challenge has inspired our first giveaway!

To enter to win these earrings, leave a comment below (make sure you include your email address). For an extra entry, tweet or blog about the giveaway (feel free to use my picture but please credit it to me), then come back and post a comment with the url of your tweet/post. There are up to two entries per person, and open to everyone (regardless of location).

The contest will stay open until Friday, July 2 at midnight EST, a week from today, at which point I’ll draw a winner. Good luck!

This contest is now CLOSED

Remember the bird swap I mentioned a week or two (or three or something) ago? Well, I received from my partner PinkChick today!

She sent me a t-shirt with this pretty embroidery:

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and some lovely earrings:

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I love them! For more bird goodies, check out the gallery.

Now, on a different matter, I’ll be going out of town on Sunday (no use trying to rob me; the rest of my family still lives here). I’m spending a wonderful two weeks in DC with my lovely boyfriend, during which time my access to internet and my laptop will be somewhat limited. I’ll be doing my best to continue posting what I’m crafting (and perhaps some nice pictures of the city and such), and when I get back, I’ll have a nice big post about my trip. And then back to regularly scheduled posts about things I made. I have a few things to post yet, so that’s two posts I’ll schedule before I leave, but after that, it’ll be more sporadic.

So the other day I received an OWS package from one of my favorite OWSers, PheonixFireDesigns. She claimed me for a wisty surprise, and sent me a GORGEOUS necklace and a rubber stamp:

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I also made a necklace of my own:

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Basic necklace chain from AC Moore (usually a dollar, on sale for Memorial Day for half off), some thin wire, and some buttons from my stash. : ) It hangs a little funny, but I do like it a lot.

In other craft news: I’m expecting a swap packing round Thursday, I’m hard at work on more swap socks, and I have been working on another swap. So stay tuned for lots more crafts. What are you guys working on?

So received my package for the Futurama swap today! I was in a round robin, as I said last time, and the person who sent to me was Tygermane. Here’s what she sent:

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A box of goodies! With lots of pictures.

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Magnets! They will have a place of honor on my minifridge until next year, when they will have a place of honor on my apartment fridge.

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Brain slug earrings. Clearly I should not wear these when I’m supposed to be learning in class.

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Nibbler necklace. Cute! Though I may move it to a chain if I get a chance to go to a craft store.

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A totebag with an outline of Bender! I love it. It’s perfect for holding knitting.

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And my favorite, a keychain of baby Bender! It’s already on my keys.

If you want to see more crafty Futurama goodness, the gallery for the swap is here.

Seeing as this week is my school’s spring break so most of campus is dead (I got permission to stay in my dorm), I was under the impression that the post office on campus was going to be closed as well. I was anticipating needing to stop any packages I’d receive at the Fredericksburg post office and pick them up from there. Well, as it turns out, the campus post office is open this week. And I woke up this morning to THREE package notification:

First, I received my OWS package from ehinder, who claimed me for throw pillows:

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Aren’t they cute? I love the little birdies. They are squishy and wonderful and they are sitting on my bed, looking very pretty. Is it weird that part of the reason that I desperately want a place of own is that I want a couch I can adorn with throw pillows? Because it is. I have four I’ve received from various swaps, and I want to display them on a couch.

Anyway, next, I received my OWS package from padfoot, who claimed me for stitch markers and something from my wists:

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Pretty! They’re a bit small, but they’ll be perfect for socks and anything under about a US 5 needle.

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Bender embroidery from my wist! I love it! I already stuck it up on my wall (with a bit of packing tape–we’ll see how well that holds up). I am also doing a Futurama swap, and I had the embroidery on my wists for that swap. I hope Tygermane, my partner for that swap, didn’t have the same idea, or I’ll have two! Not that that would be a bad thing–it’s a lovely embroidery and I would definitely use a second one for sewing onto something like a bag.

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And knitting earrings! She sent me the knitting earrings from my wists! I’m so excited! They’re so cute, and if I were doing anything today besides lounging around my dorm room, I’d totally wear them and show them off to everyone. I guess I’ll just wait until school starts happening again.

The last package that I received was two 4 oz. braids of fiber from Lakehouse Loft on Artfire. They’re very pretty, but there was a snafu with her wool order or something and they ended up taking over a month to get to me from my order to today. Bleh. They are very pretty though:

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Corriedale in “Orchid Garden” and merino in “Storm Front Coming”. I can’t wait to start spinning them (though I have from shetland from Spunky Eclectic to spin first. Two-ply lace weight. Yeah. I’ll be a hundred before I get to these.)