Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charm bracelet

We had a lovely visit with my in-laws last week.  They arrived on Thursday and stayed one night at our house.  I took Mama to the Milwaukee Art Museum for a quilt exhibit on Friday, then on Saturday we joined them farther up in Wisconsin for a family reunion for Steve's father's mother's side of the family (do I have that right?  There are so many connections it gets confusing!).  On the way home Steve and I stopped at the National Railroad Museum while Mama and Papa continued their visit with Steve's Aunt Charlotte and family in Wauconda, Illinois.  The long weekend was really nice, and we have enough pictures for 4 double-page layouts, I think!

I didn't want to blog some of the projects I was hurriedly working on because I wanted Mama to see them "live" before seeing pictures here.  Now that they're back home, the floodgates are opening!

Today's project is a charm bracelet I made for Mama.  She had sent me a few charms that she's had forever but didn't know what to do with.  I told her I'd make a bracelet for her.

I got a foot of chain and a few charms from the local bead store, and they told me that each link was cut, so they could be used like jump rings.  That was perfect!  I bought a number of charms at a bead store in Cedarburg, Wisconsin to go with those that she had sent.  I chose "meaningful" items based on where they live, what she likes to do, etc...

Since I had a foot of chain but only needed 7 inches for a loose bracelet, I decided to make the middle a double layer so I would have no leftovers!  I took off the links needed for the charms, attached the chain, then organized the charms:

The charms are:  a telephone for how far apart we live, a sun for Florida (where they live), a charm she sent with "Tim" (Papa) on one side and "Elaine" (Mama) on the other - I put a flower on Mama's side to make it more feminine, a sewing machine, Papa's Coast Guard charm he received when he retired, a needle and thimble, a cat, a boy's head with Steve's name and date of birth, and a "Made with love" and heart charm to represent me.  I alternated the charms on each of the chains to keep it balanced.

Here's how it looks all put together:

I gave the bracelet to her shortly after she arrived last Thursday, and she loved it!  She put it on right away and kept commenting on how nice it was.


I used a magnetic clasp, thinking it would be much easier for her to put on.  It was difficult to attach because the clasp kept sticking to the charms, the links, my tool, etc...  Yes, it was easy for Mama to put the bracelet on, but it also came off easily, and she almost lost it twice.  So now it's back in my possession, and I need to put another clasp on it.  Magnetic clasps seem to be good for necklaces, but for bracelets... not so much.

This is a great idea for those of you who don't really make jewelry but would like to give a special, custom gift to a loved one.  All you really need are a few pairs of pliers (I use needle-nosed pliers for this sort of thing), the chain, a clasp (I suggest a toggle or snap clasp after the magnetic debacle), and some charms!  This bracelet took me well under an hour to make, and it's so cute!


  1. That is beautiful!! You did a wonderful job and I can see why your Mom was thrilled.

  2. Great bracelet but I agree about the magnetic snaps. My sister gave me a pretty cool bracelet with two granboys names on it but the magnetic clasp kept doing weird things--like flying of my wrist and attaching to the handle of the shopping cart at WalMart and to the bottom of a boat we went riding on. Anytime it came near anything metal it would just come unhinged and attach itself to the other metal. They should have put something like that in the last Harry Potter book....hahaha.
    Have a great day, Traci!