New Design! – Artful Arcos Bracelet and Earrings

Hello, everyone!

I finally have another new design to share with you. This one uses three-hole Arcos beads and seed beads to make a square-tiled design. What do you think?

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Click through to get the pattern! 

So, I’ve been intrigued by Arcos for awhile now. I like the simplicity of their shape and the third hole seems really useful. I wanted to highlight the soft swoop of the curve on those beads, so I used different colors of seed beads to emphasize the shape.

For that first one, I used spring green 15/0’s, bronze Arcos, and Miyuki 11/0’s in Metallic Chocolate (461) and Salmon Luster (596).

Then, I wanted to try using a rainbow of colors. So, I used Black Arcos, gold 15/0s, and matte black seed beads (401F) for each unit and then different accent 11/0’s in nine different colors (all Miyuki and in order, as follows, 4491, 4474, 4481, 2074, 2075, 4490, 2047, 4470, 4458).

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I am SO happy with the rainbow gradient effect! It’s almost like a subtle pride flag.

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Since I’d only used Miyuki so far, so I also whipped up a pair of earrings using Toho beads. Not only did it work, but it was actually easier to maintain tension, since Toho 11/0’s are slightly chubbier than Miyuki 11/0’s.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have the bead name or numbers for the Toho 11/0’s. But the 15/0’s are matte cream AB Miyuki beads (492fr). I think the earring shape turned out pretty cute, though! There are instructions for both the earrings and the bracelet in the pattern.

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So, what do you think? Are these Arcos beads speaking to you at all? Any crazy rainbow ideas? I really enjoyed using so many bright colors. I might have to break out of my earthtones comfort zone more often!

 

 

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Use Your Stash Challenge – Jan 2018 – Art Elements Blog Hop Reveal

Hello, my dear beady friends! Do I have a delightful pile of jewelry to share with you!

So, Art Elements is hosting another Use Your Stash Challenge to start off the new year. You may remember a similar challenge that I participated in before. The general idea is to take this opportunity to pillage your stash of art beads and actually use them. No waiting for the “perfect” project or feeling like they’re too pretty to use. You bought them to make jewelry, not to collect them!

So, I hauled out my box of handmade beads that I’ve purchased over the years and got busy beading!

 

 

 

The first thing I made was this pair of earrings. The magpie feathers are from Scorched Earth on Etsy (who you will soon find out is a favorite of mine) and the beaded section is a single unit from my Daybreak Bracelet pattern. I didn’t want it to be too stark, so instead of making the beaded section in black and white, I used powdery green, matte silver, and mottled black. I was worried the proportions wouldn’t work out, but I ended up really liking it!

 

 

 

These next earrings feature some gorgeous leaves (also by Scorched Earth) that have this gorgeous blue/green sheen to them. Seriously, photos cannot do the gloss on these things justice. I used my Perky Pips pattern to make flowers for the top. I managed to find the perfect blue color to match the leaves and I think they turned out really special.

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I have a whole bunch of these little drops (again, from Scorched Earth) because Petra keeps making them in gorgeous new colors. Usually, I just pop them on kidney-style earrings and wear them plain, but I wanted to add some beading to these. I used my Diadem Bracelet pattern to make the diamond-shaped unit and really pushed myself on colors. The yellow is certainly out of my comfort zone, but I think it balanced those lovely little butterscotch drops.

 

 

 

I also have a ton of these spikes from Scorched Earth and I also usually wear them plain because the color is so rich and the long shape is super flattering. This time, I used my Dainty Duo Drops pattern to make the top section in matte gray, bright silver, and mottled blue. I think the top-heavy proportions on this one turned out really cool.

 

 

 

So, this pair is probably going to be something I keep instead of something I sell (since I just attached beads with jump rings, it doesn’t feel like I really did anything, haha). But, I combined more Scorched Earth spikes with these stunning mint glass rings from Thornburg Bead Studio.  They’re much lighter weight than they look and I love the combo of the glossy green and mint with the matte silver findings. They’re gonna be a little gift to myself. ❤

 

 

 

I wanted to push myself away from just adding art bead dangles to my usual earrings, so I decided to use some bigger pieces to make pendants. This gorgeous teardrop is a wood pendant with paint splashes in fuchsia, purple, and turquoise that I bought from Summer Wind Art. I used my Cup Blossom design to make a coordinating flower and then made it into a slider to go on some gorgeous sari silk in a purple/pink blend. It’s waaaay brighter than my usual color palette and getting the flower to sit right was tricky, but I think I finally got a handle on it.

 

 

 

After that, I picked up another Summer Wind Art pendant and used my Tetrabella pattern to make a fancy-pants little connector for it. If the last pendant was a color challenge for me, this one was pure indulgence. Matte gold and earthy greens and antiqued bronze? Oh, you are speaking my language. I love how it turned out and I miiiiight need to make a whole bracelet in those colors now. I love them so much.

So, yes, I was a very busy bee! I have tons more art beads in my stash (and I promise, not all of them are from those three shops – that’s just the inspiration I was feeling this month) and I am definitely feeling the inspiration to USE them. How about you? Are you itching to dive into your stash of hoarded beads?

In the meantime, check out everyone else who participated! The Art Elements team is full of crazy talented people, so I can’t wait to see what they made. ❤

Niky Sayers
Lindsay Starr

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2018 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years, everybody!

So, I LOVE New Years Day. I love fresh starts and making goals and buying calendars and all the fun motivation and emotional cleanliness that wells up in me every time we start a new year. It’s been especially enjoyable ever since I started making public resolutions on this blog. You can read about my 2016 goals here and my 2017 goals here.

Wanna join me in grading myself on my 2017 goals???


1. Read 130 Books and Review them on Goodreads – A+

So, this one I well and truly conquered. You guys may hve noticed that I keep a little Goodreads widget on the side of my blog (look to the right of this post and scroll down) that keeps track of what I’m reading. You can go straight to my personal profile here and become my Goodreads friend! I reviewed every book I read and beat my reading goal by reading 133/130 books.

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This year I did struggle a bit to meet my goal and I think I know why. For one thing, I haven’t read as many comics this year. Comics are very short and are easy ways to boost your book count, so that hurt me. I also started reading longer books (I think I read 3+ books this year over 1,000 words) AND I’ve been listening to loads more podcasts, which definitely cut into my audiobook time.

Click here for a cool infographic Goodreads made about the books I read this year!

2. Blog at Least Twice a Month – A

This one I technically did, as you can see by going back through my blog history. BUT there were a few months where a blog posts were a bit rushed and slipped in on the last day of the month about kinda flimsy topics. I wanna do better next year. Two GOOD blog posts a month that aren’t afterthoughts I tried to shove in at the last minute to meet my self-imposed deadline.

3. Finish that Purse!!! – A+

YOU GUYS I 100% DID THIS ONE. You can read about the whole embarrassing sage here. It took me from Nov 2015 to March 2017 and a failed New Years Resolution, but I finally finished that damn purse.

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4. Try More New Beads – C

I think I need to quit putting this goal on my yearly list of resolutions. My design process is very… serendipitous? I just kinda sit down and start putting stuff together and setting out to make a specific pattern with a specific type of new bead just doesn’t always work for me.

I really like getting patterns out that use new beads. Since I work at an online bead shop, I get to see the new stuff in person and sometimes I feel really inspired to work with them. I like feeling like I’m on the cutting edge and, to be brutally honest, it’s easier to sell patterns when there aren’t many other patterns that use the same bead available. But I think I’m putting too much pressure on my somewhat flighty muse.

I made 6 new patterns in 2017 and only 3 of them used new beads. In 2018, I think I just wanna make good new patterns, regardless of what beads they use.

5. Get the Business Side of Wescott Jewelry Organized – B

Ok, so this one I did! You guys may remember that I actually closed my Etsy shop for the month of January so I could get all my business ducks in a row. It was mostly a period of getting organized for me (finally figuring out tax stuff and making a bunch of spreadsheet templates throughout the year) and annoying, but easy stuff like registering my business name. It was boring and a bit confusing, but I eventually got it!

I’m giving myself a B because I did make all the spreadsheets and plans and lists, but I wasn’t very good at keeping them updated, so I’m still going to be sorting through a mountain of receipts come tax time. But! I did collect them and keep them sorted, even if I didn’t actually log them yet. So, B for good prep work, if lazy data entry.

6. Experiment More with Macrame and Bead Embroidery – D

Alrighty, this one I did not do. I did not do one single piece of bead embroidery of macrame this year. Not a single stitch or not.

So, why a D instead of an F, you may ask?

Because I did try new things this year, which was the spirit of this resolution. Just last month I learned an entirely new-to-me form of loom-like leather work, which I’ve been having an absolute blast experimenting with. You can read about that here.

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I also spent a lot of time this year learning how to take better care of nails and trying out different types of nail art! I wrote a post about that too and it’s been a really fun way of being creative.

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Are these the things I set out to learn more about? No. But! I did try new things this year and go out on a limb spending time trying techniques that I was initially bad at, which I think was my real goal all along.


I didn’t do too badly this year, all things considered!

I also did some really cool things this year, unrelated to Wescott Jewelry. Using Blue Apron, I learned to cook! I also lost over 50 pounds since May of this year. My husband joined an encouragingly successful band. I joined a book club and made a bunch of new friends after losing some core relationships in 2016.

I’ve become more responsible, learned a lot of self-control, and have finally conquered my fear of setting up appointments over the telephone. I only sometimes panic when driving somewhere unfamiliar and I’m better at driving in the snow.  I did a lot of growing up this year.

Now, if only I could learn to keep a house clean and be better at social events…

Here are my goals for 2018:

  1. Read and Review 125 Books (at least 44,000 pages) on Goodreads

  2. Write 2 Quality Blog Posts Every Month

  3. Learn Two New Crafts or Beading Techniques

  4. Do Business Paperwork Regularly, Instead of Procrastinating

  5. Do an Overhaul of My Beading Room – Declutter and Organize!

  6. Reach My Goal Weight (whatever that ends up being…)

I am ready for the new year and very excited to keep up the good things that started in 2017 and start a whole bunch of new good things. It’s going to be a good year.

Do you guys have any goals or resolutions? Anything you did this year you wanna brag about? Any suggestions of things I should try to do in 2018? Leave me comment and tell me all your 2018 dreams!

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Christmas Ornament Blog Hop – 2017 – Art Elements!

Hello, everybody! Merry Almost-Christmas, if you’re celebrating this year!

So, you may have noticed by now that I really enjoy the Art Elements blog, since I have participated in so many blog hops and challenges that they’ve hosted (1, 2, 3, 4). For this one, they have challenged us to make some handmade Christmas ornaments! You can read the original challenge description here.

So here’s what I made!

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These little stylized Christmas wreaths are made from my Vistella earring pattern, but tweaked a little bit to leave off the AVA beads.

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I did three different Christmassy color combinations and then strung them up on bits of sari silk to hang from the tree.

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Here we’ve got a vintage-looking bright red, dark olive, and antique beige.

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Then a modern twist with teal, snowy white, gold and wine red.

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And your classic holly berry red, soft gold, and warm green palette.

They were really fun to whip up and I had a good time making different versions of the classic Christmas color combo. I tend to get really wrapped up in tweaking the classic green/red/gold/white to get different moods. Remember my big color palette frenzy last year?

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Check out what everybody else made for the handmade ornament challenge this year. There’s lots of amazing stuff. Happy Holidays! See you soon with my New Years Resolutions for 2018!

Guest Designers
Art Elements Team

 

 

 

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Faux Loom Leather Wrap Bracelets

Guys, I learned a new technique and I think I am in love!

So, last month I noticed a class at Beaded Bliss that I desperately wanted to take. I rearranged my work schedule specifically so I could be there and I learned how to make this!

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Ok, so it isn’t supposed to curve like that, but it was my very first one! Trying a new technique is like making pancakes. The first one is always a bit wonky. I think I’ve figured out how to maintain better tension by now. But! Luckily, the weird curve on this one is completely unnoticeable once you put it on your wrist.

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So, can we talk about that blue? Those Tilas are Matte Azuro (#4556) and when the light isn’t on them or they are flipped over, they’re a kinda plain smokey gray. But when you flip to that blue side and hit them with the sun, BAM they are the most gorgeous blue.

The Half-Tilas I paired them with are Matte Metallic Copper (#2005) and I used a kinda chocolatey brown leather with 8lb Smoke Fireline.

So, the technique involves using two strands of leather, folding them, and then basically doing loomwork with seed beads or two-hole beads, using those strands of leather as the warp. I had never done loomwork before, but it wasn’t as tricky to learn as I thought!

I also had to do some wire wrapping to secure the button to the tail threads, which was WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone. My wire working is abysmal. I can’t even make a wrapped loop, you guys. But Cathy was very patient with me and walked me through it and I think it turned out just fine!

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*sigh* I’m in love, you guys. In fact, I enjoyed making this bracelet so much that immediately made a second one!

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And look! It is perfectly straight! Ha! So, I used a mix of colors for this one that I already had in my stash. There are three Tila colors (Matte Metallic Copper, Matte Metallic Blue-Gray, and Matte Metallic Green Iris – #2005, #2001, #2008) and there are four Half-Tila Colors (the same three as the Tilas, plus Matte Khaki Iris – #2035).

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I did put them in an arbitrary order and stick to it, but because there were more Half-Tila colors than Tila colors, the pattern shifted down as I worked and gave it a more randomized look. I used a silvery-gray leather this time and more 8lb smoke Fireline.

I did ask Cathy to supervise me again when it came to the wire wrapping portion, but I think it went ok! I also realized that I could use 6/0’s as decorations on the end of the strands. They slid onto the leather soooooo much easier than the copper beads I used in the first bracelet.

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But, yeah, I can’t get over how well the colors turned out on this one. It’s still got my trademark neutrals and earthtones, but I think the color placement makes it look like some sort of fancy tile work. I don’t know, but I’m enamored.

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So, that’s what I’ve been working on lately! I don’t get the opportunity to take classes very often, since I’m usually the one teaching them. In fact, I think this was only the second class I’ve ever taken. But I love taking them at Beaded Bliss and Cathy is a great teacher. If you’re in the OH/IN area, you’ve gotta seek her out.

So, thanks for indulging my new obsession! Has anyone else tried any sort of modified loom work like this? Does anyone do real on-loom loomwork? I’m thinking I might need to give it a try!

 

 

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Last Day of the 2017 Sale!

Just wanted to pop in and remind everyone that today is the last day of my big winter sale!

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Absolutely everything is discounted AND you don’t even have to remember some pesky discount code – it’ll be reduced automatically!

The response has been great this year and y’all have severely depleted my little shop. Luckily, I’ve got some new stuff on its way!

Hope you’ve all been enjoying the shopping season so far. Happy Beading and Happy Gifting, dear friends!

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Today is the Big Day! Holiday Sale – 2017!

Hello, my darlings!

Guess what time it is???

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It’s Sale Time!

“But, Sam”, you might say. “It is definitely not Black Friday yet. Nor Small Business Saturday. And Cyber Monday is next week. Have you gotten your dates confused?”

And to that I say, NO!

See, this year I decided to expand my sale from waaaay before Black Friday all the way into the beginning of December, so you guys won’t have to hustle over to my Etsy in the midst of a post-Thanksgiving pie-induced stupor, or while battling shopping crowds out in the brick-and-mortar stores. Take your time! Relax and browse! This sale ain’t going nowhere.

Peruse your stash and see if any of my 30+ original beadweaving patterns could be a fun new post-holiday project now that your relatives have finally left and you can bead in peace. All patterns are 20% off!

As far as finished jewelry goes, I’ve got a whopping 30% OFF my huge clearance section and 25% off everything else.

And the best part? You don’t have to remember any pesky coupon codes anymore – it’s all automatically reduced!

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And! I’m also offering gift wrapping this year!

So yeah, I’m stoked. You’re stoked. It’s a great day and y’all wanna go get shopping. So hop to it and go take a peek and the new stuff I’ve got available at those lovely reduced prices. I’ll try to post a reminder when the sale’s almost over so no one misses out.

Happy shopping, my dear friends!

 

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Playing with my Picasso 15/0’s!

Hey, everyone! I’ve been playing with those gorgeous Picasso 15/0’s I was telling you about in my last post and wanted to share what I’ve been working on.

First, I worked up a pair of my Dainty Duo Drop earrings with the Seafoam Picasso 15/0’s.

I used a combo of teal and purple beads with some shiny SuperDuos and a two-toned crystal drop. It’s not really in my comfort zone as far as colors go, but I like how they turned out!

Next, I used the Red Picasso 15/0’s to make these vaguely Christmassy earrings.

The earrings units an embellished version of the base unit that makes up my Barcelona Bracelet pattern. I added some brass chain and another set of two-toned Swarovski crystals to give the earrings some swing.

Then I made these earrings that I am obsessed with. I might keep these for myself, haha.

They’re these really cool pastel cream Swarovski rivoli crystals. I used the tan/brown Picasso 15/0’s and some mottled blue fire-polished crystal and tiny little Swarovski crystals. The pattern is called Rivoli Dangles by Gail Damm and it is my FAVORITE way to bezel a rivoli.

Lastly, I worked up a surprisingly spring-colored SuperDuo Rosette bracelet.

Weird colors for me, right? But I really liked that cream/turquoise/coral mix and the seafoam Picasso 15/0’s worked well as a border. It was an adventure!

That’s all I’ve had time to work on recently, but I finally got some photos taken in preparation for my big Black Friday sale coming up soon! So, keep an eye on my Etsy and Facebook for new listings and sale information.

In the meantime, you all enjoy your fall! Has anyone else done any beading with the Picasso 15/0’s yet?

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Oh happy day! Picasso 15/0’s are finally here!

Hey, guys!

I just wanted to pop in and share the good news!

If you haven’t heard the good news yet, Miyuki has finally put out 15/0’s with the Picasso finish! You may have noticed that I am in love with Picasso finishes.

In case you needed evidence of my obsession…

So, in case you didn’t know, I work at Beads Direct USA and when we got these babies in last month I about died. They’re so tiny, but the speckles still show up perfectly!

Look at ’em!

Miyuki Round Seed Beads 15/0 Picasso Seafoam Green Matte 8.2GMiyuki Round Seed Beads 15/0 Picasso Canary Yellow Matte 8.2GMiyuki Round Seed Beads 15/0 Picasso Red Garnet Matte 8.2GMiyuki Round Seed Beads 15/0 Picasso Smoky Black Matte 8.2GMiyuki Round Seed Beads 15/0 Picasso Chartreuse Matte 8.2G

I’ve got a pair of earrings going using the seafoam green color and I’ve got big plans for the brown and red as well.

Any other Picasso-obsessed beaders out there freaking out? I am so excited!

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SuperDuo Star Earrings 2.0 (with Kite Beads) – Rescuing an Old Pattern from Retirement

Hello, my dear friends! Are you having a nice fall? Things are finally cooling down around here and I am LOVING it.

So, quick story time. Back when I was a wee babe working at Beads Direct USA when it was still a brick-and-mortar store, I developed this earring pattern.

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SuperDuos were still a brand new phenomenon at this point (we’re talking, like, what? 2011 or 2012?), so the design is really simple, but I loved the clean lines and the perfect points of the stars. When I opened up my etsy shop, it was probably one of the first five patterns I put up for sale.

So, what’s the problem? Well, this pattern calls for 4mm top-drilled bicones and guess what you can’t find anymore.

Hmph.

Turns out, Swarovski crystal only makes top-drilled bicones in 6mm and 8mm. But! When I was developing these earrings, we sold a generic Chinese crystal that was top-drilled and 4mm. I assumed since we sold them that they were easily available elsewhere. That was several years ago, though, and we’ve since discontinued our Chinese crystal line at Beads Direct USA and, despite extensive Googling on my part, I cannot find another retailer who carries those tiny top-drilled beads.

What’s a girl to do? I tried using 6mm Top-Drilled Swarovski crystal, but that made the earrings floppy and ruined the star shape. GemDuos and DiamonDuos weren’t quite right either. Nothing made that crisp, pointed star that I loved so much. I was fairly certain about two months ago that I was going to have to discontinue my SuperDuo Star Earrings and, for the first time as a designer, retire my pattern. I was heartbroken.

But then, a miracle occurred!

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Kite beads to the rescue!

We got some Kite Beads in at work and I was suspicious that they might fit my endangered star earrings and they worked perfectly.

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Look at my beautiful pointed babies! I love them so much!

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So, I took this opportunity to re-write the pattern from scratch – it was one of my first patterns and wasn’t quite up to my current standards as far as illustrations and layout go. So I scrapped it and wrote and illustrated a brand new version. The pattern is now up on my etsy shop and you can purchase it here.

Now, what about you guys that purchased the pattern already and want the updated version? Well, I’m going to do the same thing I did for my Toying with Tiles update. Just shoot me an email or a Convo through Etsy and let me know you want the new version and I’ll send you the new PDF free of charge. However! Be sure to include the order number from the original pattern purchase, so I know you already paid for it. You can find that number in your Etsy order history.

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So, what do you guys think of my updated little stars? Got any color combos you wanna try out? I have a few more ideas in mind and can’t wait to whip them out. It’s such a simple pattern that you can stitch them up extremely quickly (perfect for all those last-minute Christmas gifts I know I’ll be making mid-December, haha).

 

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