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For a fun winter craft project, try making beaded jewelry

Creating beadwork gifts for family and friends can be a fun winter craft project - one that takes just an afternoon, or one that can be an on-going activity, depending on how many gifts you plan to make. To make a bracelet to fit most adults, you will need 70 gold or silver safety pins, available from variety stores or craft and hobby shops. You will also need 81 of each of two colors of beads - white and gold, for example. (Be sure the holes of the beads fit over the shafts of the safety pins.) It might be a good idea to ask Mom or Dad to help supervise the project. How to assemble:

First, transfer both beads and pins to clean plastic margarine tubs. Use a cookie sheet or other tray with raised edges to keep the beads from rolling away during work time.

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To begin each bracelet, string three beads of the same color onto the shafts of each of 27 small safety pins. As the pins are filled, close them until it's time for the next step. Repeat this step with 27 more safety pins and beads of another color. When this step is completed, you will have 27 pins with gold beads and 27 pins with white beads (or whatever two colors you have chosen). The remaining 16 pins will fasten the bracelet together.

Lay the beaded pins out on the work tray in sets of three, alternating colors row by row. All the pins should face the same direction, top to bottom. A row of three gold-beaded pins will be followed by a row of three white beaded pins, followed by three more gold pins, and so on. Line them up like a marching band, all facing the conductor (in this case, you!). Pins should be spaced so that the holes in the tops of one row are separated by the holes in the bottoms of the following row.

Then, simply thread the point of a fastening pin through the holes. The point will go through the top of a gold pin, the bottom of a white one, the top of a gold, and so on. The connecting pin will have six beaded pins on it.

This step is repeated with another fastening pin, using the tops of the already threaded whites and the bottoms of the next loose row of gold pins. Continue to assemble alternating rows of color until the whole bracelet is assembled. If it's the wrong size, add or substract rows until it's a perfect fit.

After this bracelet, you may want to go on to make other jewelry, like a matching necklace or ring to go with the bracelet. Simply add more rows of beaded pins for the necklace, until you are happy with the length; use fewer rows for the ring.

More than jewelry can be made this way. Headbands and belts are also easy to make. Be sure these are big enough so that they don't get stretched and pop open accidentally to scratch someone. Whatever the gift, beadwork is a good indoor activity. It's not messy (unless the beads spill!), and best of all, you have a project you can proudly offer as a gift to loved ones.

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