Saturday, January 5, 2013

Loopdedoo Bracelets for Girls, Dolls, Paper Crafting ..and Goodbye to Baer Fabrics

One of the gifts I gave my daughter this year, in an attempt to give her a new, fun, creative craft outlet this winter, was a Loopdedoo.  I went to the store to pick up a friendship bracelet kit I had seen- a different brand in fact- but the cool packaging and sticker announcing that this was a Toy Of The Year Finalist caught my attention instead.

What makes it super easy to use-- even for an 8-year-old like my daughter, is that the spinning tool turns the core threads as you cover them with wrap threads.  It turns manually-- no batteries or noisy motor! They tie off with a simple knot, leaving the end threads exposed. In a matter of minutes, my kiddo can complete a bracelet herself. Learning was so easy with the how-to videos created by the company (no searching Youtube, hoping other crafters have supplied instructions like so many other craft tools).  My kiddo has made tons of bracelets for herself, some for friends...and even some for her dolls!  (They also have just created an advanced video for making Loopde strands longer than 8-1/2" long.  So far, she hasn't needed anything that long!)

To tell you that she has been bitten by this bug is an understatement!  It is easy to use and comes with everything you need to get started--although I did donate an extra pair of embroidery scissors to the cause!  It came with 18 skeins of embroidery floss, but that went pretty fast once she started cranking them out.  I found bulk packs of embroidery floss at a nearby craft store (super cheap with a coupon) and then we scavenged my crafty space for bakers twine, ribbon floss, perle cotton, and crochet thread.  No fiber was safe!  We even tried using charms and beads.

She makes a 7" Loopde strand to make a bracelet for her wrist. The company makes charms on a strand that can be twisted into the bracelet, but we found adding a charm from my stash is easy enough to do one at a time.

She decided to make some for her American Girl dolls.

We learned that American Girl doll hands are different on each side.  The right hand is slightly more open, requiring a larger bracelet to get it over the right hand than the left!  For bracelets to be worn on the doll's right-hand wrist, my kiddo twisted a 4-1/2" Loopde.  For bracelets for the left-hand doll wrist, she twisted a 4" Loopde.  For doll ankle bracelets, she twisted a 5" Loopde!

I helped her to make a tiny attachment loop.  The directions say that the attachment loop should be a finger's width away from the hook.  For a doll bracelet, we made the attachment loop about two doll fingers width.

Making the attachment loop this small meant that we had to use a crochet hook to help tie off the finished bracelet!

It is even easier with a helper!
My daughter used three lengths for the core and 4 lengths for the wrap threads.  Three skeins of embroidery floss will make two doll bracelets and one doll anklet!

So, as I helped her and tried a few of my own for fun, I started to be reminded of a tool we used to sell at a fabric store I worked at that helped a seamstress easily twist fibers together to make trims.  It made me think of using the Loopdedoo spinning tool to make cording, frogs, and trims on accessories!  I think it is a great tool for paper crafters too!  I made a button closure for an envelope I am using in a journal.

I am still using the bulk bakers twine that I got from Country Clean Paper Supplies.

I used only two fibers for this:  embroidery floss and bakers twine.  I wanted a closure that was thicker than just bakers twine alone and this worked perfectly.  I measured out three lengths for the core and 2-1/2 lengths for the wrap.  I twisted a 6-1/2" Loopde strand (alternating between color block and swirl looping styles) and cut the core threads to finish at 7-1/2".  (The paper envelope was cut from Cricut Artiste at 3-1/2"-- page 33.  I cut off the scallop edge).  I glued the shank buttons on with E6000 plastic adhesive, catching the small attachment loop under the top button before gluing.

The Loopdedoo kit turned out to be a great purchase.  My daughter loves using it to make things for herself, for her dolls, and for quick gifts for her friends!  I found this one at a local Meijer store for about $29.  If you think this might be a fun tool for your kiddo, I would suggest also picking up a pair of embroidery scissors and a couple sizes of crochet hooks-- a small one for tiny attachment loops and a big one for chunky fibers!  They fit perfectly in the drawer under the tool.  The drawer is too small for the instruction booklet and all the embroidery threads and other fibers your kid will be sure to acquire so a little sewing basket or box is helpful too!

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I had worked at a fabric store a while ago.  Actually, I worked at Baer Fabrics for nearly 17 years.  I started there as a teacher, teaching teenagers how to sew at a Summer Camp.  I had just graduated high school the week I got the job, so I was a teenager too!  It was just supposed to be a summer job.  I quit for a few months, moving to New York for college.  I hated it and came home to attend the University of Louisville.  Baer's hired me right back. I was in sales for years there before being asked to do the visual merchandising for the store.  I did that for years and then was asked to manage the home decor department-- the 3rd floor of this fantasy-land for creative folks!  At some point, I took on managing the first floor as well, but when my friend who had left his job at Baer's had returned, as did several of us who left, I happily jumped to give him back the management of that floor!  (That friend, by the way, was my best friend and he later became my only attendant at my wedding.  Yes, I had a male attendant.  He and his wife -an ex-Baer employee- flew to The Venetian in Las Vegas for our wedding.  During the ceremony, to add to the strangeness of it all, we looked out and saw one of our Baer Fabrics customers watching the wedding with her family!)

I left again when I decided to just work for my husband and found out I was pregnant during my two-weeks notice.  My friends threw me another great shower; the first was my bridal shower the year before, where everyone made special keepsakes for me.  (The gifts from the bridal shower were so beautiful and all handmade-- meticulous, perfect and so impressive that my mother-in-law's best friend, who was in-attendance, jokingly lied when I opened a vase from her, telling everyone she had hand-cut the crystal.  I married into a loving, though uncrafty, family!)  It was quite a send-off!  I came back to Baer's a couple of years later when my husband sold his business, to start an Ebay department for the store.  I worked that and another full-time job at the same time, and finally quit again when my mother developed breast cancer and my husband's new business was taking off so that I could work just one full-time job, a horrible but better-paying job as a bookkeeper at a construction company.  The owner (and president) of Baer's was hard to say goodbye to and my two-weeks notice went on for months until he finally found someone to take over for me.  I considered that more than a compliment, as hard as it was.  After I finally left, while I was still at the construction company, I learned that Baer Fabrics was closing for financial reasons.  I went back to work at Baer's for the last day of business and I did so for free and without asking just so I could say good-bye to the people, the institution, and the owner who once told me I was like a daughter to him.  The folks there saw me through becoming a college graduate, through the deaths of my grandparents, through my sister's leg amputation, through my wedding, through becoming a mom, and through so many little moments too.  It felt like home.... with a dysfunctional family, but home!

I only mention this because I found out a day or so ago that the building is being prepared for demolition.  Farewell, Baer Fabrics!  I had more laughter and more tears there than in any one building my whole life.  I will miss seeing you from the expressway and from the downtown streets that always led me to you, the magic inside those walls, and the kind and generous people who worked and shopped there who made it impossible to stay away...

Thank you for checking my blog post today!  To see many of my previous projects, check My Project Gallery.  So see my previous doll clothing and accessory posts, check my Doll Clothes and Accessories page.


Unknown said...

How r u tying off ur ends? I'd love to know..wish we could get better ends vs raw strings

Nadia ( said...

Dorothy, we are keeping them raw. That is the look of all the friendship bracelets that my daughter's friends have and trade so she kind of likes it. I have seen jewelry findings that would do the trick though. They are called 'terminators' and you could use a cone or end cap -- finding the right size is the key and maybe the hardest part! We had those at Baer Fabrics, strangely enough. hahah I found some at Fire Mountain Gems: I would use E6000 glue to keep them hidden inside the terminator! I will have to do a blog post on this when we start making necklaces with our Loopdedoo! We will definitely be making them in the spring with shells and charms!

Threadbear said...

I love all the bracelets that Piper has made!! What a fun craft idea, using it to make the closure on your envelope.

I was sad to read that the building that housed Baer Fabrics for so many years will be demolished. Yes, it makes room for progress -- but here in the US we seem so ready to tear down old buildings to put up something new.

I got to spend some time in Europe at the beginning of Dec and was in Bologna, Italy. Their university is believed to have been founded in 1088, the oldest in the western world. So many of the buildings and structures we saw were old and had so much history. It was an amazing sight.

Amy said...

That loopdedoo machine looks great! I need to get one for my DD. The bracelets your DD made look adorable.

Sis Patterson said...

Nadia -

What an absolutely wonderful Christmas gift! I can believe Piper is winding her way through all the fibers in the house. She is doing great work. I love your journal envelope tie as well.

Thank you for sharing your love and insights into Baer fabrics. Although I never shopped there, I can picture it absolutely and completely with all of the wonderful employees, owner, and the fabulous creativity of all (including the shoppers). Thank you again for sharing.

byAnnette said...

Neat machine

moknowsall said...

Great post.


Queenie Jeannie said...

What a cool idea!! I'm betting my daughter would love to try that too!! Thank you for posting about it!

Happy New Year!

Scrap N Grow said...

Great post! Love the story. Piper sure looks to be having a blast making bracelets. It is amazing to see how many gadgets are out there. I recently had fun making pom poms with yep you guessed it a pom pom maker. I enjoyed reading your history with Baer, definitely a large part of your life. It is amazing to look back and see how different events have contributed to our current place in life. Way back when..I worked for Franks Nursery and Crafts. It had a pretty decent craft section. The chain of stores closed several year ago, I was sad too about that. It was a fun store. Have a great day!

Maria said...

It's always nice when you can get your kids involved in crafting and actually find something they enjoy. Piper looks like she's really loving making those bracelets! I'll have to look for the Loopdedoo. Thinking my almost 5 yo granddaughter would love it too!

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