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

Patterns not in the i-Loom app

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I have been having fun with my i-Loom. I’ve made 4 1/2 bracelets so far (the half is still in the i-Loom as a work in progress). One issue I do have with the i-Loom is that it doesn’t have patterns that were created outside of the app. I have a program called FBD which is short for Friendship Bracelet Designer, and I have used that to create and print patterns in the past, and I could still use that option for making bracelets, but why would I want to do that when I have this new system with the i-Loom?

So how do I get those patterns into the app? Well, this is how I do it. I took a screenshot of the app with a pattern loaded, then in Gimp I removed all the pattern stuff and replaced it all with the pattern I want to add. The only problem is, the only way for me to work on those patterns using this method is to create many images numbered starting with 01, then add them to the Nook, and I have to go into the image gallery, load the first image, work that row, then swipe the screen to show the next image. This way each image shows each row I’m on inside the pink lines. When I get to the end, I have to swipe back to the first image and continue from there. Here’s an example of all 14 images for the pattern I want to work on. It’s supposed to be a Finding Nemo pattern.

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This is not an option I will do instead of the patterns they have in the app, this is only an option for when I need to make a pattern that someone wants me to make that isn’t available in the i-Loom app.

I really love the i-Loom app, it would be nice if I could add more patterns because there are tons of patterns that I would like to make that I have in the FBD library. Fortunately for me they have some holiday patterns in the boutique already that I was able to buy, like the hearts patterns for Valentine’s Day, then there’s one with shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, and of course there is a pattern called Easter Baskets. Images below.

Happy HeartsHeart StripeI Heart YouLucky CloveEaster Basket

I’ve already made the first one that is the pink heart with the purple background, I currently have the same pattern in the i-Loom (that’s the one in progress) with red hearts and a pink background, I’ve made the heart braid, except I traded the darker pink with red. I haven’t started the 3rd heart bracelet yet, that one is TBD. Valentine’s Day is still 2 days away, so I’m probably going to skip over that and work on the Shamrock and the Easter Basket one soon.

The first 4 bracelets in the image above from left to right were made with the i-Loom, the other 2 were made with the printouts from FBD. I made the i-Loom bracelets according to the patterns for 7.5 inch bracelets, and naturally neither of them were 7.5 inches. They should’ve had another inch or so, but I made them from the patterns and didn’t go off course, I just stopped when the pattern told me to. Oh well.

And finally… the image next to the bracelets is my embroidery floss collection. I tossed all the i-Loom string because it’s crap, I’m using the DMC and Loops and Threads embroidery floss exclusively because it doesn’t break easily.

My bracelets are listed on Etsy with this link.

Print Artist 25 Platinum

Print Artis 25 Platinum

I have an Etsy shop, and one of the things a typical Etsy shop needs is a good graphics program for advertising their shop and products. You need business cards, post cards and brochures so people can see what you have in your catalog. My Etsy shop in particular uses business cards as earring cards. I already have those printed and even laminated. What I really need are post cards which are basically bigger business cards, and brochures to include in all orders. The post cards would have a graphic of a coupon on it with a coupon code for the customer to enter for their next order.

I’m actually quite familiar with Print Artist because I had it on my very first computer. Let’s go in the way back time machine to 1997. I don’t remember how I got these cd’s. It might have come with a printer I bought back then, or perhaps it came with my scanner, I don’t know, all I know is I installed it and loved it. It says there are 4 cd’s, 2 of them were for Mac, and my Aunt Louise had a Mac, so I gave her the other 2 cd’s.

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When I ordered the newest version of Print Artist 25 Platinum, I bought the CD’s on Amazon. I could have bought the digital download and gotten it right away, but I can wait for the box to come in the mail.

Amazon says it works with Windows XP, 7, Vista and 8, but I have Windows 10. I have seen some reviews from people who say it didn’t work on their computers with Windows 10, but I saw other people with newer computers say it works fine for them. My computer is still brand spanking new, so I am sure I won’t have any issues with installing and using it. At least I hope I don’t have any issues. I guess that’s why I bought it on CD, because if it doesn’t work, I can always send it back to Amazon. If it’s a digital download and it doesn’t work then I’m pretty much boned. The digital download price from their website and the price I paid on Amazon is the exact same price. I didn’t have to pay for shipping since it was over $25.

So  yes, I will mainly focus on making the post cards with the coupon code along with a picture of some of the products, as well as a catalog of most of the products I have in my Etsy shop. I think it will be an interesting experience.

Wish Wallet Stencil Template

Wallet 1

Your wallet is a very personal thing. You want it to have a certain amount of card slots and you want it in a specific fabric or color. Sometimes they don’t have the wallet you are looking for, and sometimes they have the right layout, but not the right color, or sometimes the right color, but not the right layout. It’s especially frustrating for me when I find the perfect wallet, but it’s like $60. I don’t have that kind of money for a wallet.

I found this on the Wish app for $11 plus $5 for shipping. All I need is the leather or fabric and to know how to put it together. Well, I have a sewing machine and I’ve seen enough videos to know how to put it together, I just need the material.

My partners wallet has a zipper, so I’m going to make both of us new wallets with a zipper and I will do his layout the way he wants with the material he wants, and I will make mine with the material I want with the layout I want. I actually like the layout in the left column on the very bottom in the image above. I also want to put a flap above the left side that comes down with a window for my ID. My partners wallet actually has that. Then when you lift the flap, there’s all your pictures. That is the perfect layout for me.

My wallet

My current wallet is falling apart. I thought it was real leather, but apparently it’s not. Honestly, I would rather it weren’t leather, but if fake leather means it’s going to fall apart, then perhaps I might be better off with thick fabric. I’ve always hated the layout, but it was the only one I could find that wasn’t expensive, and I wanted a chain wallet because I was constantly losing my wallet, and what’s funny is I took the chain off years ago.

Well, the wallet template will take about 3-4 weeks to arrive, and when it does I will make a couple of wallets and if I am good at making them, perhaps I will sell them. Price will depend on the material I use.

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.

AmazonBasics Laminator

Amazon Basics Laminator

Last week my partner mentioned to me on our way to Los Angeles that he would like to have a laminator so he could laminate some insurance cards to prevent them from tearing or wearing out in his wallet. I had to laminate my insurance card many years ago, but I didn’t have a laminator, so I simply covered it on both sides with clear contact paper. It did the job, but it doesn’t look as good as it would if it were laminated.

It got me thinking that I could use a laminator for my Etsy shop, so I bought one on Amazon. It’s the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator and I bought a box of 100 AmazonBasics Thermal Laminating Pouches, 3 Mil Letter Size for laminating full size sheets. I also bought the Universal Laminating Pouches, 5 Mil Business Card for my earring cards and my partners insurance cards.

Laminated earring card

I did an experiment with 1 of the new business card pouches to see if it would work. I have perhaps 40 business cards that I use for earring cards. I have the earring display card punch, and I have already punched all the cards. They’re just sitting in a business card holder waiting to be used. I laminated 1 of them and cut it around the edges of the card, then I used the earring display card punch to punch through the existing um… punch? Holes? It didn’t work, as you can see. I tried it on both of them, and you can see in the above image that it just shreds the plastic. But then I punched it on the left side of the card and it worked just fine. You can also see the plastic on the edge of the card.

So here is what I will have to do for future earring cards. I will have to print out the business card sheet and laminate it with a full size laminating pouch, then cut the cards out and then use the earring display card punch. That will be the only way I can do it that will make it look normal.

The reason I want to do this with my earring cards is because the cardboard is flimsy by itself. I’m sure when a customer receives their earrings, they will most likely toss the card in the trash, but it’s all about presentation and quality of the brand.

My partner didn’t want any of this, he just wanted to laminate 2 cards, that’s it. He told me to put it in my room because I can get more use out of it for my Etsy shop. If he wants something laminated in the future, well he can either ask or tell me to do it for him, or he can do it himself. It’s not his or mine, it’s ours.

I was thinking we could both use it to laminate our school papers from when we were children, but he told me that would ruin the charm of the paper. I still think it’s a good idea, but at the same time, all my school papers will be just fine in the plastic storage container in my closet. No one has ever asked to look at them, so it doesn’t do me any good to take them out of the box to laminate them. I do plan on printing some cool patterns to laminate to use as a placemat for our dogs food since she gets food all over the floor. I can also make placemats for the dining room table, not that we ever eat there, it would just like nice to me.

Update: Ok so I was wrong about being able to print a full sheet, cut the cards out and then stamp it with the earring display card punch. I cut a couple of cards out with scissors, and it looked like a 4 year old cut them out. I’m sure a 4 year old would’ve done a better job. Then I used the punch and it was horrible. I tried again with another card and the punch jammed, so that’s not going to work for me. I’m just going to have to deal with laminating the cards I already have printed out and used the earring display card punch, and just poke holes for the earrings. It’s not going to look professional, but at least the cards will be stiff. It’s really the best I can do since I don’t have any other option.

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.

Copper Hands

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Carpal tunnel syndrome sucks, I know, I’ve had it for a decade. I got it from crocheting for more than 20 years and doing other crafts. When I found out that I had carpal tunnel syndrome, I was told by the doctor to just stop doing crafts, which was actually harder than you think. Crafting for some people is an addiction, and as far as I know, there are no rehab centers or crafters anonymous meetings in my town. I did manage to stay away from crafting for about 7 or 8 years. I got the bug back a couple of years ago with keychains and opened a Etsy store so I could sell a keychain or a pair of earrings here and there, but it was never meant to be anything big.

Recently there have been people asking for bulk orders. One company asked me to make tassels for their Ensenada bags, and that was an interesting experience. When their bags sold out, they came back for another order, then another, and that was fine because they didn’t order a lot, but it was still painful after so many tassels.

Someone asked me last month if I would be willing to make 100 mini DNA keychains, and I said I could do it, and I don’t mind making 100, but then he raised it to 150, then when he placed his order it was for 200. My hands are in agony, and I’ve only made 80.

Today I called Michael’s craft store and asked them if they had compression gloves for people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and they told me they have the “As Seen On TV” gloves called “Copper Hands.” I saw those at Walgreens, but I didn’t buy them because it says on the back that they are NOT for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Another guy was at Michael’s buying the same exact thing this morning. He told me that he has Carpal Tunnel from crocheting.

When I came home and tried the first glove on, it was so tight that I thought for sure I got the wrong size. I bought L/XL which was the highest size they had. I checked the size chart on the side of the box and my hand was the perfect fit for L/XL, so I knew I had the correct size. I finally got the glove on and put the other glove on. They were very tight, but that’s what compression implies, right?

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They are so tight that the seams are splitting, literally. I’ve only had them one day and I’m already seeing wear and tear. I’m pretty sure this isn’t supposed to happen.

I am so disappointed in these gloves. Not just because they are splitting at the seams, but because they don’t help me at all. I know, they’re not for carpal tunnel syndrome, but aren’t they supposed to help stop pain? They are so tight that they actually cause pain and my hands go numb. And what the hell is the copper for? Or is that just a gimmick?

I’m just in so much agony and I almost feel defeated. I have 80 out of 200 keychains made. How am I ever going to make 120 more keychains with this much pain? Why the hell did I agree to this?

‘Tis the Season

christmas coupon

Every month I try to make a coupon for my Etsy shop to give people a reason to buy my craft items, on top of my already low prices. I am always adding new items, like this month I am creating packs of 4 pairs of studs for $8. I currently have several of those already listed and more to come. Of course I still have the single pair of studs with your choice of color 1 and color 2 for the new low price of $2 a pair.

My Etsy shop items make great stockings stuffers. The friendship bracelets are a nice gift to give to someone, the studs are super cute, if I do say so myself. I wear mine every day. The coasters are adorable and they last for years. I am still using the same coasters I made more than 10 years ago. My keychains are a nice addition to your keys. They help you identify which key ring has which keys.

I am still in the stage where my sales have not paid for my materials, so it would be awesome if people would buy my stuff so I can make a profit so I can buy Christmas presents this month. I don’t want to have to just give away my craft items, I would love to be able to pay off my credit card so I can buy presents. So you buying something to give as a gift, or keep for yourself, helps me give gifts and pay for my materials. It’s a win-win situation.

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