A few months ago I received a package filled with all kinds of great little goodies from my parents. As I was unpacking the box, I found a little baggie that had a handful of thimbles with a handwritten note from my Mom. The note said, “These thimbles are from your grandmother and great grandmother, jewelry maybe?” I love receiving items that belonged to my relatives, especially since they both have passed away and I still miss them dearly. I took all of the thimbles out of the bag to check them out and found they were in pretty good shape! I love to make jewelry that has some meaning or history behind it, even if it only means something to me, so I cleaned up the thimbles and started thinking of some fun and cute ways to use them.
Some of you may already know, but I just love enamel beads! My first idea was to make a flower basket using enameled flowers from C-Koop. I went to work on transforming one of the larger thimbles into a basket, using a metal punch to punch a hole on each side of the thimble opening. Some wire that I shaped and flattened slightly then became the basket handle. Next, I made my flower stems using balled head pins. I strung on my enameled flower bead and secured it with some wire wrapped around the head pin, pushing it tight up against the flower. I applied a little Hypo Tube Cement to make sure the flower was secure. Once all three of the flower stems were dry, I added some dark green crystal clay into the basket to become the grass. After bending the stems of my flowers with round nose pliers, I pushed them into the clay, making sure to press the clay all around the stems so they would stay put. Once I had all of my flowers placed where I wanted them in the clay, I brushed the clay with the green pearl ex powder to give it a little shimmer and set it aside to let the clay dry completely. After it had cured, I brushed off the excess powder and attached some chain to the handle. Now I have this adorable necklace that just makes me smile every time I look at it!
My second idea was to make a charm bracelet with a sewing theme for my mom, since she is a quilter. I used a small drill bit to drill a hole into the top of one of the thimbles and attached it to a length of chain with a messy wire wrap. I picked out some cute charms to go with the thimble and attached them to the chain with jump rings. To add just a little bit of color and sparkle to the bracelet, I attached Swarovski Crystal Blue Shade Rondelles to the chain using our wire wrapped center drilled bead bail technique, and finished them with a messy wrap to make it uniquely my style. I think it turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself!
Now my Mom and I both have a piece of jewelry with a little family history! These are just a a couple of ideas on how to use old thimbles in your designs; you could use them in so many fun and different ways! For instance, if you had two matching thimbles, you could make a fun pair of earrings or you could turn them into cones for a multi-strand necklace or bracelet. The creative possibilities are endless!
Happy Beading! -Cody