When making my jeans, I tried hammering the ring style rivets I was using on an anvil block, and saw that the tops of the rivets were flattened some.  I found an inexpensive jeans rivet setting kit on Gold Star Tool.  This was helpful, but I think the die was set too deeply into the hand setter, so I still had to finish tightening the rivet by hammering it from the back onto an anvil.   I do think this method did less flattening of the rivet center.  Here is the rivet hand setter kit for ring style rivets.  I'll show this method in case people want to try it, and will also show setting a nipple style rivet with a different hand setter that does work really well.

This shows the shaped end of the rivet setter and the shaped little anvil it comes with.

This shows the shaped end of the rivet setter and the shaped little anvil it comes with.

These are my denim samplers.  I used these for trying out different rivets styles, practicing riveting techniques, making jeans buttonholes, and attaching jeans buttons.  Some steps of tutorial are shown using the denim sampler.


Two types of Jeans rivets - Ring rivet and Nipple style rivet:



Tools Needed:

For Ring style rivets:

1.  Fabric marking pen

2.  Awl

3.  Jeans rivet - ring style rivet hand setting tool and anvil set (available from Gold Star Tool)

For Nipple style rivets:

 1.  Fabric marking pen

2.  Awl

3.  Jeans rivet - nipple style rivet hand setting tool and anvil set (available from Tandy Leatherl)

Directions For Setting A Jeans Rivet:

1.  Mark the placement of the rivet with a fabric marking pen.  Then use an awl to carefully make a hole where you want the rivet to go.


2.  Put the rivet back in the little depression on the anvil.  I use solid instead of hollow rivet backs as they are easier to cut down to size without distorting the shape of the rivet back post.

Rivet back sitting in anvil depression.

Rivet back sitting in anvil depression.

3.  Put jeans on top of rivet back with inside facing down and with rivet post going through hole in the jeans.

Rivet sticking out of denim too much (denim sample shown here)- needs to be cut down.

Rivet sticking out of denim too much (denim sample shown here)- needs to be cut down.


4.  Use Wire cutters to cut off rivet post excess.

Cutting off extra rivet length

Cutting off extra rivet length

5.  Put cut rivet back with jeans back into anvil depression.

Rivet sticking out correct amount after cutting off a little length of rivet back post.

Rivet sticking out correct amount after cutting off a little length of rivet back post.

Making sure rivet back is sitting correctly in anvil depression.

Making sure rivet back is sitting correctly in anvil depression.

Rivet back now in anvil depression.

Rivet back now in anvil depression.

5.  From outside of jeans, put the front part of rivet over rivet post and push down so it is sitting flat.

Rivet front sitting flat over rivet back post.

Rivet front sitting flat over rivet back post.

6.  Press rivet front down onto post of rivet back.


7.  Place rivet setter over rivet front so rivet fits into depression of rivet setter.


8.  Hit end of rivet setter with rubber mallet or hammer.   Hit Rivet setter several times with mallet until rivet front is flush with jeans.  Be sure to keep rivet setter as vertical as possible.  


9. To get rivet front tight against jeans, turn rivet over so it is facing down.  Place rivet on anvil, and hit back of rivet from behind with metal hammer until rivet is sitting tightly on jeans.  Try not to hit the rivet too hard to avoid flattening it.



Finished rivets on jeans.


Part two - Nipple Rivets

I got this rivet setting kit on eBay.  This set is also available at Tandy Leather.  The set has 4 other hand setters that come with it.  This rivet setter works with nipple rivets.


To set a nipple rivet, follow the steps 1 - 8 for ring rivets but use the hand rivet setter for nipple rivets.

Rivet front is sitting over rivet back post.

Rivet front is sitting over rivet back post.

Hammer hard to set rivet flush with jeans.  If rivet back post is cut short enough, the rivet front can be hammered flush with jeans without post coming through the front.

Hammer hard to set rivet flush with jeans.  If rivet back post is cut short enough, the rivet front can be hammered flush with jeans without post coming through the front.

Finished Nipple rivet.


Tutorial - Getting Started with Procreate iPad Painting App


Procreate is my favorite digital painting app. The basic tools are easy to use, but if you want to delve into sophisticated, complex digital work, you can with Procreate. A 189 page handbook comes with the app and goes step by step through Procreate's various tools and techniques, including brushes, layers, iPad gestures for Procreate, transform (enlarge, reduce, or distort a layer), and selections (select area, then copy and paste).

When you open the Procreate app it brings you to the Gallery. Click on the plus on the top right corner. Pick the size canvas you want and the canvas view will open.

Gallery view
Gallery view

Below is the Procreate canvas with icons around the top and right sides. Clicking on Gallery takes you and your current painting to the gallery. Paintings are saved there with their layers intact. The second icon from the left, the little wrench is the Actions menu. Here you can import photos, export the painting, flip or copy the canvas, and get help with the app. You can also save directly to the photos app, upload to Facebook or Twitter, or even email a painting.

The next two icons, Select (lightning icon)and Transform (up angled arrow) are not needed for basic work, but are covered in the handbook if you want to explore using them.

Procreate canvas
Procreate canvas

Moving along the top of the canvas to the right, the next icon is Brushes. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu from which you can select the brush you wish to use. There is a large selection of brushes. Clicking on one selects it and a double click on a brush turns the menu over to an options menu for that specific brush. This gives you a lot of variety for each brush.

brushes menu
brushes menu

Next to the Brushes icon is the Smudge icon.  Clicking on Smudge, then rubbing on a painted part of the screen will smudge the colors.  The icon to its right is the Eraser icon.  It uses the same  brushes as the Brush icon and can vary size and opacity using the sliders on the side of the canvas.

Eraser icon drop down menu
Eraser icon drop down menu

After you select a brush, you can vary its size and opacity using the two sliders on the right of the canvas. The top one changes the size, increasing it as you slide up. The bottom one changes the opacity, increasing it as you slide up. Below the Opacity Slider is the undo arrow with 250 undos.

Size and Opacity Sliders
Size and Opacity Sliders

Clicking the colored square icon in the top right corner of the screen opens up the Color popover. There are hue, saturation and brightness sliders that can be adjusted to pick precise colors.

Color Palette
Color Palette

Now you have picked your brush type, size, and opacity and your color. You are ready to start painting. You can use your finger to paint with, or a stylus like the Wacom Bamboo stylus shown below. I like using a stylus, as it feels more precise than my finger and also lifts my hand up off the screen some so I can see the area I'm working on better.

Wacom Bamboo stylus
Wacom Bamboo stylus

The icon to the left of the color swatch is the Layers icon. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu showing all the layers. Your first strokes will automatically go on the first layer.

Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.
Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.

First strokes appear on Layer 1.

first stroke on Layer 1
first stroke on Layer 1

Here you can see the different effects you can get from using various brushes.

To add a new layer, click on the + icon in the Layers drop-down menu. The added layer has a black background meaning it is the active layer. Paint strokes will appear on the active layer. You can change the active layer by clicking on the layer you wish to be active.

Adding Layer 2
Adding Layer 2

Here I painted with different brushes on the second layer.  They appear above Layer 1 both in the Layers drop-down menu and on the canvas.

Layer two is on top.
Layer two is on top.

Here layer two has been moved down below layer one. It shows as under everything on layer one and now becomes the background. You can move layers by holding on the layer you want to move until it appears to lift up. Then drag it to the layer position you want.

Layer 2 moved to bottom
Layer 2 moved to bottom

Now strokes on Layer 2 are below layer 1 strokes.

Layer 2 on bottom
Layer 2 on bottom

Layers are very helpful in working in Procreate. I tend to use a lot of layers and like to keep backgrounds on separate layers and objects that are touching or on top of one another on separate layers.

If I am doing a face, I would keep the outline, the fill color, the face details - eyes, nose, mouth, and hair all on separate layers for working. Then if I want to change the hair, for instance, it is easy to do without messing up the face outline or fill.

When the layers are at a point where you are satisfied with them, then you can merge layers by pinching the layers together in the Layers drop-down menu or by clicking on the layer you wish to merge and click merge up or merge down on the Layers Options pop-up menu that appears. (Sometimes you have to click more than once for the pop-up menu to appear.)


A Few Tips for Working: Painting on such a small surface as an iPad makes painting details hard to do precisely. To magnify and get a close-up view, pinching out with two fingers works in the app as it does in Safari and many other iPad apps. I use this option for anything that needs precision.


Also a quick pinch together and then lift of two fingers sizes the painting to fit the shown canvas.

Have fun trying out Procreate. If you would like to show what you have created with it, you can leave a comment with a link to your painting.

Tutorial - IPad And ArtRage for Help with Painting Design Decisions

painting in progress before putting into ArtRage app I like using the iPad for decision making when I get stuck on where to go next in the painting process in acrylic painting.  This technique can be used for any art medium. I  I use either the ArtRage or Procreate apps.   In this tutorial, I am using ArtRage.

To get the painting into the iPad, I take a photo with my iPhone or iPad of the painting trying to get close enough so the painting covers as much of the painting as possible.

I open a new painting in the ArtRage iPad  app.  Below is a screenshot of the ArtRage interface with a new blank painting.  As you are working, the row of tools and the color picker will disappear when you click on the active tool and color giving you more canvas to view and work with.

ArtRage canvas with blank document

Then I import the photo of the painting into ArtRage.  Click on the second to right bottom icon to import the photo.  It comes into the program as a tracing image at 40% opacity.   To see the painting at full opacity, click on "Convert to Paint" under tracing options.  Tracing options is the third icon from top in the same bottom icon.  It looks like three horizontal lines one below the other.

painting brought into ArtRage -click on "Convert to Paint"

Then click on the eye icon , and the painting will show at full opacity.

click on eye icon

I add a new layer above the painting so I am not working directly on the painting. The fourth icon fron the right on the bottom of the ArtRage interface is the layers icon.  I paint on new layers, keeping objects and new painted effects on separate layers.  This way I can turn on or off the visibility for each layer to see what I like or don't like.

Adding new layer to paint on

I generally use the watercolor or oil brushes, but may also use crayons and color pencils.  Each brush has several settings for different paint looks.  You can change size and properties of each brush by clicking the two left bottom icons.  Both control different brush properties.

For this painting, I was unsure if I wanted to add a planter and flowers.  I added a planter on the floor.  Then I added flowers and a plant -- all on separate layers.  I turned on and off the visibility on the various layers and saved versions or took screen shots of the various versions.  Although the added objects will not look the same when added to the painting, they are similar enough to help me decide if I think they will be good additions.

trying out pot and flowers - each object is on separate layer

Here is the finished painting.  You can see that I did add the planter, but not the flowers and plant.  I also experimented with adding layers of color to certain areas and did so on the painting itself.

finished painting


Blending AutoPainter App (or any App that Reduces Resolution) with Original Photo – Tutorial

After much frustration trying to figure out why I could not successfully blend a version of a photo that has been worked on in certain apps with the original photo, I found these apps actually reduce the size of the photo when they save it. Then when you try to blend the altered image with the original image, they can't be aligned.   Although some of these apps create wonderful effects, their low resolutions decrease their usability. One such app is AutoPainter. Here is an easy fix for the problem. In this tutorial, I will be using AutoPainter, but the process will work with any app that reduces the photo resolution when it saves the photo.

I will use this photo of Boston townhouses and make a painted version using AutoPainter.

townhouse photo

Tutorial - Blending Autopainter Version with Original Photo


1. Apps:

  1. AutoPainter HD, AutoPainter, AutoPainter2, or AutoPainter 3
  2. PhotoSize (Danny Goodman)
  3. IResize
  4. Image Blender

2. IPAD or IPhone

3. Photo in Photos app Camera Roll


1. Open AutoPainter. Click on folder icon at bottom of screen. Select photo. Select artist style (or art style if using AutoPainter2).  Here I have selected Benson.

photo in AutoPainter

2. (optional) If you want to mask area to retain more detail, click on the brush icon. You are taken to a masking screen, where you can use the brush to roughly mask in areas. You have a choice of three brush and three eraser sizes. When you are finished with the masking, click the check mark on the bottom right of the screen. You are taken back to the painting screen.

AutoPainter blending mode

3. Then click the green circle icon with triangle. The program will start the painting in the style you have chosen. You can click on the "X" icon at the bottom of the screen at any time to stop the painting process if there is a stage you like. Here I let the program completely finish its painting.

AutoPainter rendering started
Here AutoPainter is further along in its painted rendering of the photo.
AutoPainter rendering further along

4. After AutoPainter is finished with its rendering, click on the down-facing arrow icon at the bottom right of the screen to save the altered photo.

AutoPainter rendering finished

5. Now open PhotoSize. Choose original photo and write down the dimensions. Then choose AutoPainter photo and notice that the resolution has been reduced.

original photo in PhotoSize
AutoPainter version in PhotoSize

6. Open IResize. Click on Photos at top left of screen and choose the AutoPainter version photo.

AutoPainter version in IResize
7. Click on Resize. Clear out numbers in height and width fields and type in the values from your original photo. Click Resize and Save.
Resizing AutoPainter version

9. Because you have resized the AutoPainter version of the photo, you can now go into Image Blender and both photos will be the same size for blending nicely. Click on the square box on the bottom left of the screen. Then select the original version of photo or the  resized rendered version for the bottom layer. Click on the square box on the bottom right of the screen to add the other version.

AutoPainter version in Image Blender

9. If you want to mask part of the top layer or move it, tap the screen to bring up the pop-up mask/arrange window. Click on mask or arrange to go into the masking or arranging mode. In the masking mode, you can use an eraser to erase areas where you only want the bottom layer to show. In the arrange mode, you can move and resize the image. Here I am leaving the top image image as is.

Image Blender showing mask/arrange window

10. As you are working in Image Blender, you have more options. If you click and hold on the screen you get another pop-up window with copy, switch, and flatten options. You can switch the top and bottom layers, copy the image you have blended on the screen, then flatten the layers. Then you can add a third image or add the copied image by clicking on the bottom right square. One of your options will be to select from pasteboard. That option will add the copied version. For this image, I am leaving the photos as is.

Image Blender showing copy, switch, flatten pop-up

11.   Moving the slider at the bottom of the screen will determine the opacity of the top layer. Moving it to the right will make the top layer more opaque. Moving it to the left will make it more transparent. Clicking on the Blend button at the top left of the screen gives you many different blending options. You can go down the list selecting them and saving the versions of any you like.

Image Blender showing blending options window

Here is my finished blended photo incorporating the original photo and the resized AutoPainter version.

Blended photo



Design and Make a Favicon Tutorial

dark background with white initials

I just learned how to make a favicon, so thought I would do a tutorial on designing your own favicon.  A favicon is a small graphic image, 16 x 16 pixels in size, that can have up to 16 colors.  It is saved in a special format, .ico, so browsers will recognize it as a favicon.  Once it is created, you can upload it to the root folder of your website and it will show at the beginning of your url address at the top of your browser, in bookmarks of people who have bookmarked your site, and on browser page tabs.  It is a fun way to give your site a little  more individuality.  (See my new teddy favicon on my browser blog address.)


  1. graphic program that uses layers and can have the file height and width set in pixel units - such as Adobe Illustrator.  I find a vector drawing program is easiest for designing favicons as flat shapes are easily created and you get smooth lines and curves when you draw.   Also, the sharpness of the image doesn't change when you increase or decrease the magnification.   Inkscape is a free vector drawing program that is easy to use.
  2. design sketch - optional.  You can work from a sketch or just design from scratch in the graphic program.

Directions- Design and Make Favicon Tutorial:

1. Open up a graphic program that uses layers.  I am using Adobe Illustrator, a vector drawing program.     Open a new file 16 pixels by 16 pixels in size.

graphic program with 16 x 16 px file open

2. Change the file magnification so it is a good working size for you.  I am using 800%.

16 px x 16 px file open in graphic program

3. Decide if you want your background dark or light. For  favicons to show up well, either a medium to dark colored background with a light colored image or a bold dark or bright image on a light background works best.  There needs to be enough contrast for the image to read well in such a tiny space.  The image should also be bold enough to show up well, as thin lines tend to disappear in the favicons.

4. The first layer will become the background layer.

Here I have made a square to work as both a border and background.  I used a dark color for the border and a medium color for the background.  I drew the square from one top corner to the opposite bottom corner starting and ending exactly on the artboard corner edges.  Holding down the "shift" key will create a square rather than a rectangle.   I set the border stoke to "align inside".   This keeps the design from going outside the 16 pixel size.  This square is on the bottom layer and will become the background for the design.

square background same size as file

5. Now add a new layer.  We will draw our design on this layer.

new layer added

There isn't a lot of space to make a very detailed design, so it's best to keep your design fairly simple.  Initials can make a simple, but effective favicon design.

6. Pick a font you would like to use.  The letters will show up better if they have thick lines.  You can try out different fonts on the space outside the artboard.  You can type two letters one after the other or type them as separate objects so you have more control over their placement.  If they type out black, you can select them to change the color.  These initials should be on the second layer which is on top of the first layer.

trying out various initials

7. Type usually appears in black as default.  In the previous image, I have selected all the intials.  Then I changed the color to red for more variations.

trying out various initials

8. I can select the initials individually to try out and compare several colors.  I can also change the stroke size to make thin letters thicker.

trying out different color combinations

9. Here I have selected an initial set and moved it over the square background.  Because it is in a separate layer above the square, it automatically appears over the square.

trying out initial-background combination

10. The initial set is too large.  I use the free transform tool on the tools panel to resize it to fit inside the square.  I can hold down the shift key to keep the original proportions, or change the proportions to fit the square better.  Then I move it to the desired position.

resizing initials to fit inside box

11. Here is the first finished favicon design.

favicon design option 1

12. You can layer background shapes under your design layer.  Put each object on a new layer to keep all objects separate for easy modification later.  Here I have added a red octagon over a pale blue square.

octagon added in new layer

13. I am using the same initial set with new colors (purple stroke and white fill) to place over the background shapes.

trying out intial design over octagon

14. Again I have to resize the initials to fit the square.

resizing initials

15. Here is a second finished favicon design option.

favicon option -2

16. After you have finalized a favicon design, you can save it as a gif. or png.  I saved it as a gif.  The design is the same size as the file.   The program will automatically save what is on the artboard.  I have used "save for web and devices" as this gives me easily seen options for number of colors.  If your favicon design is more than 16 colors, reduce the colors to 16 and then save it.

17. You can also use simple drawings for a favicon.  Here I have drawn a ladybug over a white background.  I used bright and dark colors so it will show up well.  The second image shows the ladybug drawing over a background square with a border.

simple drawing without background color

ladybug design with colored background and border

Here are some more examples of favicons using initials.

favicon option favicon option

18. After you have saved your image, you can generate an icon from it using an online favicon generator such as: the FavIcon Generator at or FavIcon from Pics.  On the site you can browse to find your graphic, upload it, and it will be saved with the favicon required .ico format.  You then download it to your computer, and upload it to the root folder of your website.  If you have problems with the favicon showing up, you can add this code to your header section:

<link href="favicon.ico" rel="shortcut icon" />

Favicons can also be added to your blog.  Here are some posts on how to add a favicon to various blog types including self-hosted blogs, Blogger, and blogs. "Creating a Favicon" "Favicon for your Blog - How To" "How to Add Favicon to Blog"

For inspiration on designing your own favicon, Daniel Burka of Delta Tango Bravo has a collection of favorite favicons he found on the web here.

Tutorial - Sophie's Easy European 4 in 1 Chain Mail Bracelet

Please enjoy this guest blogger tutorial by my daughter, Sophie. :-)

Sophie's Easy European 4 in 1 Chain Mail Bracelet Tutorial


I first learned chain mail a few years ago in a class at SPLASH, a yearly event held at M.I.T which lasts three days.  At SPLASH, M.I.T (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts) students offer hundreds of different classes which they teach to high school students.  The class subjects range from integral calculus to chocolate sculpture to cheese tasting.  This bracelet uses the most basic chain mail pattern: the European 4 in 1.



1.  rings - I used approximately 85 rings (which makes 17 chainlets) size 14 guage, 5/16" inner diameter, in anodized aluminum.   If you use smaller rings, you will need more of them to cover the same distance.  I bought mine from The Ring Lord.  They have a nice variety of metals including steel, aluminum, sterling,  gold, brass,bronze, copper, 12 colors of anodized aluminum and also carry rubber rings.    The site tells the approximate number of rings in a square foot and the approximate number of rings in a pound for the each of the different sizes.  There are other online chainmail supply sources, and jewelry supply and beading suppliers may also carry them.

2. 2 flat-nosed pliers - available at jewelry or beading suppliers.

3. One jewelry clasp set - available at jewelry or beading suppliers.

General techniques:

To open ring:    Use the two pliers to grip near the ends of the ring.  Turn the pliers in opposite directions, twisting one plier towards you and one away from you, to further separate the ends.  DO NOT PULL the ends away from each other; just twist.



To close ring:    Just turn the pliers in the opposite directions until the ends of the ring are flush.




1. Open one ring and close four.  These five rings will make a chainlet, the "building block" of the bracelet.

4 closed rings and 1 open ring for making chainlet

2. Thread the four closed rings onto the open ring, then close the openring.



3. Repeat steps 1-2 over and over until you have the amount of chainlets you  need for your bracelet.

4. Take one chainlet and lay it out flat exactly as shown.  Now we can refer to the center ring, the two top rings, and the two bottom rings.


5. Lay a second chainlet directly under the first.  It must be in the EXACT same orientaton; the center ring crosses under the bottom two rings and over the top two.


6. Open a single ring.  Thread this ring under the bottom two rings of the top chainlet and over the top two rings of the bottom chainlet.  Close the open ring, making sure not to lose any of the rings you just threaded on.  Now there should be three center rings, all threaded the same direction.





7. Keep adding chainlets to one end of your link by repeating steps 5-6, making a longer and longer chain.  Stop when your bracelet is large enough.



8. Open a ring and thread it through the final center ring on one end of the bracelet.  (See photo in Step 9.)

9. Now thread one part of the clasp through the open ring: if the clasp opening is too small, attach the clasp to a split ring, then thread the split ring through the open ring.  Close the ring.


10. Open another ring and thread it through the last center ring on the other end of the bracelet.  Thread the ring through the other part of the clasp, then close.




Your bracelet is now complete and ready to wear!

Kool-Aid Dyeing - A Simple Mohair Dyeing Tutorial

Mohair samples before and after dyeing

Mohair samples before and after dyeing


  1. Mohair - fabric rectangle, cut pattern pieces, or cut and sewn pattern pieces
  2. Kool-Aid
  3. microwave
  4. White vinegar
  5. Water
  6. Casserole or microwave-safe bowl
  7. Wooden spoon
  8. Rubber gloves
  9. Plastic Wrap
  10. Paper towls
  11. Plastic drop cloth - optional

Please note - any containers and utensils used with dyes, even Kool-Aid should not be used for food. Fabrics or yarns may also have chemicals that shouldn't be ingested.


Here are the steps I take to do the dyeing for smallish bears, 10" tall and less.

1. Lay plastic wrap on counter. I also cover floor with plastic drop cloth to protect it from dye.

2. Prepare the mohair:

A. Piece of uncut mohair large enough for all pattern pieces - You can dye enough yardage for your project by laying out the pattern pieces on the mohair, then cutting out a shape that is big enough to incorporate all the pieces.

B. Cut out mohair pattern pieces - You can cut out the individual pieces for the pattern and dye them.

C. Sewn but unstuffed mohair pattern pieces - You can cut out and sew - but don't stuff before dyeing! - the individual pieces for the pattern and then dye them. This will give the seams a little extra darkness which can be nice.

2. Fill a large microwave-safe bowl with hot water. I use a casserole.

3. Put the mohair fabric or cut pattern pieces into the water. Stir with a spoon, and let the mohair sit a few minutes to absorb the water.

4. Take the mohair out of the water and set aside.

5. Open and pour out 1 to 2 pagkages of Kool-Aid into the water-filled bowl. Stir to distribute dye evenly. I am using one package here because I am only dyeing a few small pieces.

6. Add 2 tbs. to 1/4 c. white vinegar. I used 2 tbs. here because I don't have a lot of water. Stir.

7. Put the mohair back into the bowl and stir again.

8. Cover casserole with plastic wrap, leaving a small opening to release any steam. Put bowl into microwave and microwave for 2 minutes.

Here is mohair in Koolaid dye bath after dyeing:

9. Take out a piece and check the color.   Note - I'm wearing rubber gloves for this.

Wool felt dyed in Kool-Aid:

10. If you want a darker color, repeat the cooking for another 2 minutes. Then check mohair again. I repeat this until I get the desired color. Remember, the mohair will dry a little lighter than it looks wet. Some colors are stronger than others, so the first time you dye with a color, it is good to be conservative with the time, checking often so the color doesn't get too dark.

11. When mohair is desired color, remove it from bowl and rinse until water is clear. I then wash gently by hand with dish soap or Woolite.

Washing mohair after dyeing:

12. Cover plastic wrap with paper towels and lay mohair on top to dry.

Photo below shows:   mohair drying on paper towel - The sewn pieces are a deeper shade because they were beige before dyeing. I also microwaved them twice. The cut pieces were white before dyeing.

I found that the wool felt I used took longer than the mohair to absorb the water well, and also took longer to reach the desired shade.

You do not have to start with a white or cream colored mohair. Medium shades will look beautiful over-dyed, too. You can add more than one color of Kool-Aid into the same dye water in order to expand the range of possible colors. You can also dye a color, then overdye with a different color.

Have fun experimenting!

How to Make a Charm Necklace - Easy Charm Necklace Tutorial

Charm Necklace Tutorial

Finished Charm Necklace
Finished Charm Necklace

Charm necklaces are easy to make and fun to wear. Once you have all your charms and the chain necklace gathered together, a simple charm necklace such as this can be made in a few hours or less including design, layout, and attaching charms.

So first you should gather your supplies together.

Materials and Tools:

Supplies for charm necklace
Supplies for charm necklace
  1. Charms - I love vintage sterling charms, but you can also use new charms, or make your own charms. Once you have your chain necklace, you can lay the charms around it and decide how many you want. You can always make the necklace with just a few charms, and add more as you collect them.
  2. Chain necklace - I am using a vintage sterling chain here, but you can use other metals and even make your own necklace with a length of chain and a clasp set. You can find chains at jewelry supply stores. Metalliferous has a large selection of chains and findings in both silver, copper, and brass. (They also have jeweler's tools including the pliers needed for this project.)  The individual links of the chain must be large enough to put a jump ring through though, as all the charms will slide to the center front if the chain is just slid through the jump rings.
  3. Split ring jump rings - I am using 5mm. sterling split ring jump rings for the sample. These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.   Split ring jump rings are much more secure than unsoldered regular jump rings.  Here is one source for split ring jump rings - Metalliferous sterling split rings
  4. Split ring pliers- These are the ones with the black handle in the photo. They have one flat pointed jaw and one hooked jaw end. The hooked jaw end slips between the two wires of the split ring jump ring to separate them.  These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.
  5. Chain nose pliers - These are the ones with the yellow handles. They have pointed jaws that are flat on the inside (where they meet when closed).  Make sure the pliers jaws are smooth, not serrated on the inside.  If they are not smooth, they will mark the jump rings.  These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.
  6. Wire cutters- These are the ones with the pink handles. You only need these if you have any old soldered jump rings that may still be on the charms and should be removed before adding the new split ring jump ring.  These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.
  7. Ruler - for measuring distances between charms.
  8. Thread - optional for marking links (especially center front) where you will add charms.  Pins are another way to temporarily mark links, but will tend to fall out of link easily.


1. Try on the necklace chain and decide where you want the last charm on each side to be. The charms will lie nicer and be more comfortable if they are an inch or more down from your shoulders. You can hold the spot with two fingers as you take off the necklace, or turn the necklace and measure from the clasp to the point on the chain where you want the last charm.

example of last charm on one side marked
example of last charm on one side marked

2. With the last charm point measured, fold the chain in half and also mark the center front. You can mark the last charm point and center fronts by putting a pin or loosely tying a piece of thread through the appropriate links.

Center front of chain necklace marked with thread
Center front of chain necklace marked with thread

3. lay the chain necklace down on a table in an oval shape. I like to put down a large light blue sheet of paper under the necklace so the charms and necklace show up well against the background and are easier to see. Place the charms around the necklace as desired. I start with the middle chain in the center front.

If you want your charms to be evenly spaced, you can measure the spaces between the charms, or count the links. You can play with the layout until you find a design you are happy with. I try to have the charms balanced as far as size and shape on both sides. If a charm is larger than some of the others, you may want to leave more space between it and the one next to it closer to the center front, so the spacing appears more even. It is easiest to design a charm necklace with an uneven number of charms. Then you can have one at the center front, and the same number of charms on each side of the center front.

designing necklace - placing charms
designing necklace - placing charms

Charms from upper left to upper right:

  • six pack of enameled Coke bottles
  • rocking horse with enameled details
  • enameled eggs and bacon in pan
  • enameled ice cream sundae with enameled cherry
  • enameled birthday cake with pop-up candles
  • enameled ball of yarn with needles
  • toaster with enameled pop-up toasts
  • sled with enameled riders
  • Pet Milk can with paper label

4. Using the split ring pliers, hold the split ring jump ring in your non-dominant hand. With the pliers in your dominant hand, push the hook through the space between the doubled wire of the jump ring close to but not at the end of the wire. Push hard enough to separate the wires. The two jaws of the pliers will be touching.

split ring pliers opening split ring jump ring
split ring pliers opening split ring jump ring

5. Push the wire end through the charm hole of your first hole.

Attching jump ring to charm
Attching jump ring to charm

6. Remove the split ring pliers. With the chain nose pliers (or I even just use my fingers sometimes) turn the jump ring until both wires of the split ring are going through the charm hole.

Turning jump ring with chain nose pliers
Turning jump ring with chain nose pliers

7. Now take the charm with the added split ring and open the split ring again with the split ring pliers.

Charm with Link Attached and opened with split ring pliers
Charm with Link Attached and opened with split ring pliers

8. This time, put the wire through the center front link. Turn with chain nose pliers (or fingers) until both wires are going through the link.

Attaching charm to chain necklace link
Attaching charm to chain necklace link

9. Your first charm is now attached.

charm attached to necklace chain
charm attached to necklace chain

Charm partially attached to necklace chain - split ring not completely through here.

charm fully attached to necklace chain
charm fully attached to necklace chain

Charm fully attached to necklace chain - split ring completely through here.

10. Repeat steps 4 - 8 for each charm. I like to do the charm next to the center front on each side, then the next charm up on both sides, so I am working up the sides from the center front going from left side to right side and back to left side again and am continuing to see a symmetrical necklace as I work.

Your charm necklace is now finished!  Put it on and go enjoy the day. :)

W.I.P. - Tea Bath for a Ted: Tea Dyeing in a Cup

Today I want to tea dye a teddy bear. This will be a little panda with darker ears, arms and legs. I've sewn the pieces but they aren't stuffed or jointed yet.  

teapot water boiling
teapot water boiling

I'm just heating up some water in a teapot. The flame doesn't show up very well, but the water is boiling. Because the pieces are so small, I can just use a Pyrex measuring cup for the dyeing. I dyed a scrap first to check time needed for the result I'm looking for. If it comes out too dark, I know to keep the actual teddy pieces in the bath for a shorter time.

teddy pieces before tea dyeing
teddy pieces before tea dyeing

Here are the undyed teddy pieces ready to go into the tea bath.

teddy pieces in tea bath
teddy pieces in tea bath

The teddy pieces in the tea dye bath.

dyed teddy parts
dyed teddy parts

Tea dyed teddy pieces. I'm happy with the color I got. Now the panda will be stuffed, jointed, and the face and claw detailing finished.