Friendship Bracelet Patterns

I don’t make Friendship bracelets very often, so when I do it’s usually a custom order where someone requests that I make a bracelet. They usually ask what patterns I have, and I privately share the images, but I think what I will do now is just write a blog post with all the graphics and their names.

I have an i-Loom that has its own patterns, and I have a list of patterns not in the i-Loom, so I will show the patterns NOT in the i-Loom first. If you are interested in buying a pattern with a special button, please let me know by contacting me through my Etsy shop. My Etsy shop website is GayNerd.Etsy.com.

FBD 1FBD 2

These are the patterns that are in the i-Loom. These are broken up into their star ratings. The ratings aren’t rated by difficulty because a 4 star pattern might be just as easy as a 1 star pattern, and a 1 star pattern might be more difficult, so I think they are rated based on the amount of strands in a bracelet.

1 StariLoom 1

2 StarsiLoom 2

3 StarsiLoom 3

4 StarsiLoom 4

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Style Me Up i-Loom Deluxe Starter Pack

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My partner and I were at Hobby Lobby yesterday, and I saw this thing in the yarn section next to the latch hook stuff, and I wanted it. I didn’t buy it there because they wanted $60 for it, and I looked it up on Amazon and they were only charging $24.99, so I bough it and a Midnight Sky 12 pack for $5.99 so I could get free shipping. They offer free shipping on orders $25 or higher, so I couldn’t get free shipping over a penny lol.

iLoom Midnight Sky

I actually have a tool that’s like a clipboard called My Friendship Bracelet Maker, but it only goes up to 10 strands, maybe 12 strands if you let the 2 on the ends hang off the sides. This i-Loom looks like it can hold 40 strands of thread, which is awesome because I don’t want to be limited. You can also create your own patterns in the app and it’s on the screen of your tablet which is in the device, so you don’t have to print patterns. It also has the pattern on the screen according to the spot you are on, and you press the arrows to continue with your pattern to the next row, and you can save your place when you want to stop. You can’t do that with a printout.

I won’t actually get this thing until next week, so when I do get it I will make a video. I am super excited because I’ve wanted to make a bigger bracelet for myself for a long time. I also want to make bracelets for other people, and I would love to add new bracelets to my Etsy shop. It’s about time I start adding new products.

Of course, I don’t have an iPad, but the app works on Android, so I will be using my Nook HD+ since the app works on my Nook. My Nook doesn’t have a camera, so I will have to install the app on my phone and use that to scan the QR code of the patterns I will get from my order and the refill kit. It will appear in the Nook app after that. I hope…

I did have to buy the starter set in the app to be able to create my own patterns, and it still won’t let me create my own patterns, so I will have to find out what I can do when it arrives. I hope I can create my own patterns because I have a shit ton of patterns on my computer that I would like to add to the app. I’d also love to create some new patterns, so we’ll see what happens when it gets here.

Laminating One Side of Earring Cards

Laminated earring cards

Yesterday I tried laminating my earring cards and punching the earring holes with the sideways U’s, but it wouldn’t work because the plastic is too thick to be able to punch through. Last night I thought, I wonder if I was able to laminate 2 cards back to back so both cards are laminated on the front only. If I could laminate one side, perhaps it would be thin enough. I was right, because it worked.

Today I took half of my earring cards and placed them all back to back inside the business card laminating pouches and ran them through the laminator. I actually ran them through several times. When they all came out the other side, I cut them around the edges of the cards and then I used the earring display card punch to make the holes, and it worked without any problems. I watched my show and then decided to run more through doing the same thing, but this time it didn’t work the same way. I kept having the same issues I was having when I was trying to punch the card with a full lamination. It just didn’t want to cooperate with me anymore.

The business card laminating pouches are 5Mil and the full size sheets are 3Mil, so I think I will just toss the ones that I have and just work with the ones that I have already punched and not worry about trying to make any more since I haven’t actually sold any earrings in a long time. So it’s really just a waste of my time, but I wanted to see if I could get it done, and I have, so I’m happy. Who knows if someone will buy earrings in the future. It might happen, or it might not, I don’t know. All this work could be for nothing, or perhaps it might bring me a lot of referrals if one person buys earrings.

So I’m happy I was able to figure it out, and hopefully I can get it to work again in the future.

Laminator

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I have a funny story. My partner told me a few days ago out of the blue that he wanted a laminator to laminate his new insurance card that he recently got in the mail. I don’t know what happened to his last one that made him decide he wanted to laminate it, but I started thinking that this might be something both of us could find useful.

When I was in my early 20’s, I worked in a bath house. I was the guy in the office when you first checked in who took the money and gave you a key for a room or locker and handed you the towel. When a new customer would come in for a new membership, or when someone was renewing their membership, I would laminate the card for them. It wasn’t a huge laminator, it only laminated business card sized sheets.

When I was searching on Amazon for a laminator, I was under the assumption I could buy a small one specifically for business cards like the one I had at the bath house. I also naturally assumed they were expensive, like hundreds of dollars expensive. I was actually surprised to see how cheap they are. Well, the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator is inexpensive. I did a little more research and found some at Office Depot/Office Max that are $100 and up. $21.65 is more in my price range lol. The sheets are less expensive than I thought. I figured while I’m getting a full sheet size laminator and the business card laminating sheets, I might as well also buy AmazonBasics full size Laminating Pouches. I mean, I’ve never needed them, but it could happen.

One thing I know I could use the business card sheets for is my Etsy shop earring cards. I have a earring display card punch and I print the design on a sheet of business cards. The earring cards are nice, but they are very flimsy because the card stock isn’t that thick. I figured that perhaps laminating them would make them stiff enough that they would work better for earrings. I don’t know if I can cut them on the edge of the cards, but I’ll experiment when I get them and find out.

I can also use these to laminate regular business cards to place in the padded envelope with every order. There are many possibilities for laminating things, and I’m sure I’ll think of something later down the road, like post cards and bookmarks. Maybe place mats at the dinner table or for the dog bowls. Who knows? I’m sure I’ll come up with some new things as time goes by.

One thing I noticed was that these laminating sheets don’t come with a foil pouch. The laminator at my last job required using a foil pouch. You put the card in the laminating pouch, then place that in a foil pouch that is paper on the outside, and foil on the inside, then you run it through the laminator. This one doesn’t do that, and I know this because I watched a video and the guy who made the video ran a full size sheet of paper in a full size laminating sheet straight through without a buffer. I know technology has come a long way since 1992/94, but still. I would just naturally assume if I ran plastic through a machine that has to melt the plastic to create a seal, that if not protected inside a card stock sheet with foil inside, it might perhaps melt all over the machine. But from what I saw in the video, the guy ran the full sheet in full sheet pouch without any buffer and it didn’t melt. It makes me nervous lol. I’ll try it and see how it goes when it arrives.

Crafting Pains

I am a crafter. I think I was born a crafter because I love making things with my hands from raw materials. Everyone loves something that was made specifically for them to enjoy.

When I was 9 years old in the Cub Scouts, I learned to make keychains with 2 strands of Rexlace, or as some people call it “Gimp”. I made a few here and there at that age, but never went further with the craft until I was in my early 30’s when I remembered how fun it was to make, so I decided I wanted to learn all over again. I played around with the 2 strand keychains, but still didn’t know how to finish them, so I did what we did as kids, we burned the strands to melt them together with a lighter. That of course was the wrong way to do it.

Fast forward 10 years to a couple of years ago when I broke my arm and decided I wanted to make keychains again, but this time I learned how to properly finish them. I also learned how to make keychains with more than just 2 strands and in many patterns. I went overboard and opened an Etsy shop to sell my keychains. I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but it was fun.

I recently had an order for 200 mini DNA red and white keychains. Unfortunately my carpal tunnel syndrome got in the way, and I was only able to complete half of the order before I was forced to take a break. I shipped out the first 100 in the first week of October, and I just finished the second 100 and am going to ship those out in the morning.

This is a casual business for me. I’m not living on the profits, in fact, when I do get an order, which is very rare, it helps me buy some groceries, or it may help me pay for a new video game, or jewelry that I wanted to buy. I never intended on huge bulk orders like this. It’s nice that someone thinks highly of my work that they want a huge order, but my hands can’t handle the constant torture from pulling strands of plastic lace.

My hands are in so much pain that I wake up every morning in agony. When I go to the gym, if I have my hands up on the bars or on the top of the treadmill, the pain in my thumb is excruciating and I have to bring my arms down to swing.

As of right now, I’m retired from making anything in bulk. I don’t mind making up to 10 keychains,  10 mini or 5 regular size, but that’s it. I’m going to have to just stop the torture on my poor hands. I love the work, and appreciate the groceries and winter cycling gear I was able to buy, but it’s just not worth permanent damage to my hands.

Actually, as of right now I am on vacation from my Etsy shop lol. I honestly don’t even want to think about making keychains and earrings, or even the Friendship bracelets or anything that is repetitive.

Come to think of it, my hands are killing me from typing this blog post. I have to rest my right hand from typing every few minutes, so I’m just going to stop typing and get in bed.

Lanyards!

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Well, not only have I finally learned how to make lanyards after all this time, but I also bought enough plastic ID badge straps to be able to sell 100 ID badge lanyards. I also bought enough eGo rings to sell 21 lanyards. Why such an odd number? I actually bought 25 eGo rings, but I have 2 batteries and I sold 2 already, so there you have it.

I have the e-cigarettes, but I don’t actually smoke. I buy the no nicotine e-liquid because I just want the flavors. I don’t care to have any that taste like actual cigarettes, and I don’t have the nicotine addiction. My reason for buying them to begin with was because a Twitter friend and her husband have a website where they sell the e-juice. Well, I am the kind of person that if you tell me you want me to support you, I am there for you. So not only did I tell people about their website, but I actually bought a e-cigarette startup kit and they sent me some samples of their flavors. I loved some of them so much that I bought more from them.

Some people have asked me about the ID badge lanyards, and I figured if I’m going to make lanyards, I better buy the badge straps with the snaps on it. I could have just sold them with a zipper pull hook, but I would rather do it the right way. Of course I had to go all out with this and print up an actual ID badge for my Etsy shop lol. At the top is my shop banner and at the bottom it says CEO and crafter along with the link. I also have a Hello My Name Is… that I will use whenever I know I’ll have to write my name on one of those stickers. I would much rather just bring my own. It’s actually a good idea to do that because people will ask where I got it and I can tell them that I make them and give them a card. Win/win.

So what I was thinking for the price is that since the ID badge straps cost me a lot of money, they weren’t that much so $8 for those, but the eGo rings were more expensive, so $10 for those. I think that’s a fair price, don’t you? Because of this project I also had to buy some silver lobster claw clasps, split jump rings and a tool to open the split jump rings. So I’m hoping to recoup some of that money very soon. I also had to buy a few new colors like the metallic gold, the camouflage, the desert king snake (that’s what I’m calling it lol) and all 4 tie dye colors as well as a few others that I was running low on. I went above and beyond on this project, so I’m really hoping people who asked, will actually buy some lanyards to help me pay for what they requested.

Why should you buy from me? I try my best to give you the best quality products your money can buy. If someone asks me to learn a pattern, I go out of my way to learn it and then I make as many items as I can with that pattern to give more of a selection to choose from. In this case someone asked me to learn to make the lanyards and I bought a lot of things that I couldn’t really afford, just to show that I am 100% committed. Although, if I don’t sell any lanyards, I should be committed because I won’t be able to buy food this month lol.

I always tell people that you can go out to a store in the mall or to Walmart or Target and buy stuff made in China that may or may not last, or you can buy homemade from people who actually put love into everything they make. I put 100% of myself into every product I put in my Etsy shop because I want to make people happy. So, please buy some lanyards from me. I really do need the money lol.

Handmade Plastic eGo e-cigarette Lanyard

Handmade Plastic ID Badge Lanyard

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in 2007 after 20 years of crocheting started to take its toll on my hands. I didn’t just have it in one hand, I have it in both hands. I was given wrist splints to wear at night when I went to bed. I was told I didn’t have to wear them during the day, that they should help me when I sleep. Okay, no problem. I’ve worn them every night since then up until last year when I stopped using my bipap machine for my sleep apnea because I didn’t need it anymore because I had lost 70lbs. Wearing the bipap mask became uncomfortable because suddenly the pressure was too high.

I wore these wrist splints faithfully for 6 years from 2007 to 2013. They did help and last year I started making keychains and opened an Etsy shop. Since then I have added dangle, hoop and stud earrings and hemp and friendship bracelets. I received an order for 8 tassels for a company who makes purses, then they placed another order for 34 tassels and that took a huge toll on my hands. Someone else ordered 60 rainbow keychains. I made 36 of those and had to stop because it was hurting too much. She wanted them for her June wedding which apparently has been pushed back to November. That gives me more time to finish the rest of them, but I’m not quite sure they will follow through with buying them from me. I’ve had several people place a custom order and then not pay for it.

I’ve been working day and night making friendship bracelets over the last week. I really love making things. I don’t know if it is a gift or a curse. A gift that I can make something wonderful out of raw material with just my hands, but a curse that something I love to do can cause so much pain.

The pain is just too much on my hands. I wake up every morning with painfully numb hands and this morning my right hand was still numb for an hour after I woke up, and it was extremely painful. I put my wrist splint on and the pain and numbness eventually went away, but I am going to continue wearing the wrist splint for the rest of the day and perhaps wear it every day and night while I take a rest. I hope that helps.

Here are just a few things that I’ve been making. I am very proud of the hard work that have been doing that is ruining my hands lol.

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I had all these plans for the camouflage bracelets. I bought the different colors to make a red version and a blue version. I also had planned on buying the different shades of brown to make a brown one. People have suggested I go with a complete rainbow and make orange, yellow and purple camouflage bracelets. I can’t see that happening now.

The rainbow braid bracelet on the bottom is actually a bracelet I wanted to make for a very long time for a specific person. I actually wanted to make 2 of them, and I made this yesterday and last night I started a second one. I listed it just because it was very easy to make and if someone ordered it, well I could make another one. But now I’m not so sure about that. I do still plan on giving this one and the other one away to the specific people just because I like to give people gifts.

Well, that’s all for now I guess. Today is the first day of my new vacation from crafting. I love what I do, so I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to stay away from it. It’s addicting for sure lol. I will try though, because my hands are more important to me than making something that no one will appreciate or even buy even though they asked for it.