This One’s for the Doggy Paddlers: Craft Hall Gifts

12 Aug

This post is dedicated to all the boys I gave my craft hall jewelry and 4-H nametags to.

I can’t swim. I can’t jump rope either. And it took me a whole summer to learn how to somersault (I just like my neck and head where they are, thankyouverymuch). I feel comfortable saying that now because as a child, I tried saying everything else to get me out of those activities: Practicing gymnastics in the backyard? Think I’ll head on home. Somersaulting is so 1990. Jump Rope for Heart Day? None for me thanks, I’m having heart palpitations. And I have a loose tooth. And I think I just had my period for the first timeagain.

But the hardest excuse to come up with was every year on the first day of 4-H camp. What perjurous falsehood can I lay upon my counselor to get me out of this #%@$ing swim test again? What illness could I fake? What injury could befall me? Did I have any semi-healed wounds that could be forced back open and provide enough ooze to convince them that having me in the lake would be a bio-hazard? The no-fail answer for me became: the craft hall.

Rather than cause the lifeguard to jump in after me with his buoy (again), I chose to meander down the wood chip path toward the lesser-liked free time activity, and craft with campers who had broken arms, severe sun allergies, and  leech phobias. The counselors welcomed us with  enormous plastic tubs of beads, flourescent yarn, and glue guns, with a Top-40 mixed tape blaring in the background. My cabin-mates would eventually wander past after the lake had been cleared because somebody found a floating turd, and I would wow them with my mad braiding, beading, and decoupaging skillz.

Maybe we don’t all have fond craft hall memories, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for beaded necklaces and friendship bracelets in the summertime. Even swimmers have gotta admit that getting homemade jewelry from someone you love is better than triple belly flop and a dolphin kick…or whatever.

In case you forgot, or were too busy swimming, here’s how to make a Craft Hall Friendship Bracelet:


-embroidery yarn in various colors

-a safety pin or some tape


-a porch, a pal, and a drink


Pick out four different colors of thread. Your favorite color, your friend’s favorite color, her crush’s favorite color, and Justin Bieber’s favorite color (there’s a purple/blue debate).

Cut a yard of each color but if you don’t have a measuring device, I just cut a piece that’s about as long as my arm.  Gather all four strands together and knot them, leaving about 2 inches at the end. Then pin the bracelet-to-be to your jeans or tape it somewhere like a tabletop or a notebook.

Take strand 1 (your favorite color) and wrap it over, then under strand 2 (your BFF’s favorite color) and make a knot. Tighten it. Repeat. That’s two knots. Then, fughetabout strand 2 and make a two more knots with strand 1 and strand 3. After that, fughetabout strand 3 and your favorite color (1) and Bieber (4) can do some knotting of their own. In other words, you’re making two knots with strand 1 and every other strand.

When you’re finished with that, congrats, you’ve made your first row. To make the next row, pick up strand 2 (which is now all the way on your left, in strand 1’s place) and repeat the above process, knotting strand 2 twice with strands 3, 4, and 1. Each time you make a row, the strand on the left should eventually end up on the right.

Keep doing this until you’re satisfied with the length of your bracelet, then knot it off, unpin that sucker, and stick it on a friend. The rule is they have to wear it until it falls off or they’re not a true friend. If, let’s just say hypothetically, you happen to be folding laundry one morning and notice that the friendship bracelet you made for, let’s just say, your boyfriend, is carelessly strewn on the floor, not three days after you made it for him, the traitor must answer a series of questions (what’s my favorite ice cream flavor, who’s my celeb crush, when’s the last time I embarassed myself by farting in public?) to prove their worthiness of a friendship bracelet. It’s either that or four laps around the pool.

Guess who’s never lost a friendship bracelet?


3 Responses to “This One’s for the Doggy Paddlers: Craft Hall Gifts”

  1. Stephanie August 14, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    I wanna make one of these….just need to get some embroidery floss 🙂

  2. M. A. S. September 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Okay, so here’s the deal: I’m not really that “into” crafts and all that, but I still read your blog. Why? Because you’re a great writer and have a way of reminding me of my [real] childhood memories when you recount yours. And, they’re always recounted with such great humor. So many blogs/books take the traditional [read: mundane] let’s-crochet-the-world-an-afghan-and-then-brew-it-some-delicious-herbal-tea approach. Yours are real-world ideas for people who exist outside of Martha’s Fantasy Land. Please keep us in great writing and (I suppose for the sake of your other readers) gift/craft ideas.


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    […] homemade friendship bracelet, made especially for you in the colors of a summer sky at twilight […]

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