Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ding Dong Fail (Kind of...)

Years and years ago my dad's Aunt Ida (I've only ever heard of her - I'm not even sure where she hangs in the family tree) sent us six beaded bells in different colors. They look like this:

When I tell you that I have spent an obscene amount of hours looking for directions for these I am not lying. A few months ago I met with success. I found some ooooold scanned pages that had the instructions for these on some website. I bookmarked them, but when I went to use them the links were dead. Luckily (and almost unbelievably) when I began searching again I found a kit for them! The beads were different but oh well--the colored ones like those above are cheap and easy to find. Here's what the kit bells look like:

Then I got my hands on them. I am not a beader. I like beads. I think they're pretty. I'm envious of people who make functional items out of them. But I'm all thumbs when it comes to working with them. My first attempt I thought was a little too tight and that was maybe why it was a tad misshapen:

The basic idea is there but it's a bit flat-topped. So for the second one I worked a little looser. Giant no-no. This one is almost funny. Look at that one just sticking out on the side, and how lop-sided it is!

At this point I didn't want to invest any more time in something that wasn't working out great so I put them aside. The basic put-together premise is quite simple and a bit fun (though working with that fishing wire stuff you string the beads on is fiddly and annoying). I'm wondering if the beads aren't proportioned properly for this. The long white beads on my aunt's bells are a bit longer than the long gold ones in mine...I'm thinking that's where the problem is. If any of you are beaders I'd love to know any thoughts you may have...

I am determined to make these, though, as I think they'd make really sweet presents. But I'm going to wait until we get the ornaments out of the attic so I can give Aunt Ida's an up close and personal inspection.

For now, they're on the mantle. We have an old-fashioned Santa Claus amidst a sea of holly and greenery and other Christmassy bits...he has a large staff in his right hand (I guess Santa is a shepherd in the off-season?) and now he carries these in his left hand, and you don't even notice the not a total fail :)


  1. Good job on finding some directions to make more. But wow, they look hard!!!!

  2. Oooh, I would have thrown in the towel lóng before you have. Great work, you did your aunt ida proud ;-) I have to patience for 'small things crafting', I'd rather make a bag than a cosy, if you know what I mean! :-)

  3. I totally hear you with the whole beading is not my thing. My Mom doesn't seem to understand this, and I own all kinds of beading stuff that usually ends up being used in other craft projects and not for it's original purposes. Those bells are pretty neat looking though. And your versions didn't look so bad. Kudos for at least attempting, I probably wouldn't have.

  4. They are pretty..congrats Bethany.. !

  5. Hee hee hee hee hee, sorry, I'm one of precisely 2 people sitting in my office right now (instead of the usual 60 odd in this area alone) because of bad weather, and I've been giggling a little at these while the other guy on the other side of the room is trying to pretend the mad crazy woman in the corner isn't sitting laughing to herself in a slightly maniacal way... Anywho, well tried, but I think it's definitely a tension issue you have there. If I understood better how they went together, I might be able to help, but lacking that, I hope good old Aunt Ida, whoever she may be, has well constructed bells you can try and figure things out from.



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