Favorite Thing Friday: Arrow Bracelet

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Sometimes being a fangirl is what gets my muse inspired. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I love Arrow (see 10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome), so it was only a matter of time before my crafting skills would apply to this obsession.

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While wandering through the bead aisle at my local craft store an idea hit me. Hmmmm, I wonder if they have a charm in the shape of an arrow? Within five minutes I found one:

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Vintaj Straight Arrow Charm

Now came the serious job of brainstorming how to turn this little charm into a piece of wearable art. I settled on creating a bracelet because I still love my compass necklace way too much to give it up. Instead of the usual chain or bead combination, I decided to make something a little different. I went into the leather crafting aisle and found the perfect thing! A leather snap bracelet with stitching holes along the side.

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Darice Leather Snap Bracelet

To fill in the stitching holes, I went straight to the cording aisle. After much contemplation, I settled on some thin green hemp cording, (green is Arrow’s signature color). Not only is it strong stuff that doesn’t fray, but it’ll give the bracelet a rustic look.

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Hemptique Crafting Cord

When I put it all together, I ended up with a great Arrow Bracelet:

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Arrow Bracelet

Here’s how I did it:

First, I split the hemp cord into a 2-ply string instead of 3-ply.

Then, using an embroidery needle I backstitched the cord into the pre-punched holes on the leather strap.

I left the ends long and then tied them off in a square knot. To hide the ends, I wove them into the stitches (just like a knitter!).

To attach the arrow, I took a leftover single strand of hemp cording and wrapped it twice around the base of the arrowhead. Then, I used a needle to pull each strand through the bracelet holes. I tied the ends into a square knot and wove in the ends.

I repeated the same process at the base of the fletching.

Lastly, I slightly bent the arrow charm to follow the natural curve of my wrist.

All told the whole process took about 30 minutes. How’s that for some awesome fan art!?

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

 

Just Believe

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The first time I heard the name Mary Wollstonecraft was back in college during a women’s studies history class.  I admired her right from the start for not only having a strong voice, but the courage to use it at a time when women were largely expected to be silent.  Her writings have an air of elegance, but they are also among the first to advocate equality between genders, which made her one of the first feminists in history. She had guts, intelligence, and fortitude when the whole world told her women had no right to any of those things. Still, she believed.

Wollstonecraft died well before the women’s rights movement took off in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, so she never got to see the ideals she supported take shape.  Seneca Falls, the suffrage movement in Europe and America, and a slew of other gender related battles took place long after her words. Long after there was any hope of them coming true.  She still believed, when all seemed impossible.

There are, of course, many individuals who contributed to the long journey of women’s rights, but I have a soft spot for Wollstonecraft.  She understood the importance of believing in something even when it seems so far out of reach.  While an incredibly difficult thing to do, it is well within our grasp if we make the choice to believe.

For the last two years, I’ve chosen “believe” to be my word of the year.  It appears throughout my home – on the refrigerator, end table, dream board, as well as several hidden places where I’ll unexpectedly happen upon it one day – to help keep me focused.  A couple of months ago I made a necklace with a “believe” charm to wear on days when doubt threatens to steal my determination.

"Believe" Beaded Necklace, created by c.b.w.

Each strand of the pendant has charms that I chose for both meaning and sparkle.  I’ve always loved leaves and their ability to bloom even after a cold winter, while dragonflies are the epitome of strength and grace.  On the third strand is the all important “believe” ring, an infinite tribute to the idea of believing without fail.  Just as Wollstonecraft kept writing, so will I.

My goals for this year are daunting and the propensity for rejection is immense.  How easy it would be to give up, but . . . I won’t.  I must believe.

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Factoid: Wollstonecraft’s daughter is Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame.

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c.b. 2012

Finding True North

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On more than one occasion, I’ve uttered the words, “Oh, great.  I have no idea where I am.”  For a directionally challenged person such as myself, this is a common phrase! Back in 2005, I added Beijing to my list of international cities where I’ve been completely lost.* In a place where English makes a rare appearance and tourists from the West stick out like a sore thumb, it becomes vitally important to find the way back to home base as soon as possible, (nothing attracts a pickpocket or worse than a confused looking tourist!). What set this event apart from all the rest was the fact that I had a compass keychain dangling from my belt loop.  Between a city bus map display, my street map, and the needle of a compass, I was able to find my way back to the hotel by matching up Chinese characters and traveling North and then East. My compass saved me that day by showing me where I needed to go and I’ve never forgotten that gift.  Seven years later, it’s still my lifeline.

I’ve often referred to my recent journey to London as a life-altering experience, despite my struggle to understand the full impact it has had on my life.  Some changes are obvious, but the deeper meaning dangles in front of me like a clue in a mystery waiting to be solved.  I am different in a place so hidden and so deep I can’t see it or even begin to comprehend it’s significance. All I have is the unrelenting sense of a huge shift towards something.  It’s a lot like standing at a fork in the road without knowing what the choices are or why they exist.

Essentially, I am lost all over again without knowing the language. Being lost in this way is both wondrous and frustrating.  Sometimes I revel in the confusion and the inspiration it brings, but there are times I wish I had a road map that at least reveals the basic layout of my new landscape.

Upon returning from London, the feeling of disorientation was overwhelming.  I couldn’t shake the duality of being excited to go home, while at the same time feeling as though I was leaving home. Torn in two, I oscillated between a life I loved and a life I didn’t know was possible, (and loved just as much). Nothing seemed real. In the months that followed, that surreality never left and I grew increasingly restless.  My perspective had changed so drastically, it effected every element of my life and made even the most the familiar things seem foreign.

I remain directionally challenged and my reliance on a compass has manifested itself in an entirely new way. About a month after my return, I was out shopping with family when I spotted a necklace with a compass pendant.  It was beautiful, not only in terms of design, but for the fact that it represented something very special to me.  With every spin of the needle, I am reminded that as lost as I sometimes feel, I will find my way to true north.

My compass necklace wrapped around the place that changed everything.

I wear my compass necklace almost every day so I don’t forget to follow my instincts and listen for hints that will eventually lead to the answer I seek.  All I know for certain is London taught me I am a lot stronger than I ever believed and that serves as my anchor.  At the moment, I walk this path with a smile on my face and growing curiosity of what lies ahead.  Just as it always has, my compass will point me in the right direction.

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*Oh, the stories I have from London, Paris, Rome, Prague, and Dublin!  I suppose that’s another post for another day.

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c.b. 2012