Today’s second post is brought to you by the letters “P” and “B” – for Perler beads and polar bears! (What do you know?! I’m becoming more kid-friendly all the time!)
I would be going with Kath into Madison (just between Athens and Huntsville) at noon, to dine sumptuously at the local Ruby Tuesday with our good friends Miranda (or Mira, as we’ll call her here) and Patricia, the polar bear. Though Mira is five years younger than Kath, they’ve really discovered they have quite a bit in common – a thriving appreciation for all animals (stuffie and otherwise), the arts, classic literature, and more. I was really glad we’d all be getting together on such a pleasant summer day, and Kath and I couldn’t help but want to enhance the mood by presenting them with a small token of our friendship.
We had decided earlier that friendship bracelets and beaded charms would be just the thing! Kath got Prudence (our resident crafty, “paws-on” girl) and me up just after sunrise, delved into the family’s overstuffed craft box for our supplies, cleared a space for us on the bed, and passionately declared that we’d have to work up our appetite, as breakfast could wait an hour or two. We didn’t mind that much, because we couldn’t wait for our creations to start coming together!
For those unfamiliar with the wonderful crafting experience that is Perler beading, I highly suggest you give it a try sometime. The beads, tiny and cylindrical, come in every color imaginable and are designed to fit onto any of several different shapes and sizes of pegboards. When you’ve made your design, you then need to place a thin ironing sheet (packaged with the pegboards) over the beads and briefly iron them to fuse them together. Craft stores usually stock the necessary supplies together in the kids’ aisle, but I’ve seen some diehard beaders come up with beautiful (and fragile!) pieces that would be fun for any age group.
We needed a little inspiration from Perler’s website before we started, so imagine our surprise when we found an adorable polar bear family template listed under their projects! It was intended for use with a larger square pegboard (which we lacked) and required hot-gluing several layers together to form the bears’ bodies, but we were certain Patricia would be perfectly content with only one bear’s face, perhaps with a hat and scarf added.
We started out following the pattern but soon realized our board wasn’t capacious enough for the complete face, so we improvised a bit and added our own touches, like the extra tufts of fur on the cheeks. We were so pleased that we didn’t end up bumping the beads in placing them, saving us lots of time and energy!
Here’s the finished polar bear. For the accents, we had intended to use Mira’s and Patricia’s favorite colors had we known them right off. We did know that they both loved peacocks, so we went with lime and turquoise for the hat and scarf.
Music notes, as we soon found, are easy and fun to make – though the ones in Perler’s idea booklet call for a square board, we improvised with the hexagonal one and weren’t disappointed at all! It took a little while to make sure both the note-heads were proportional, but in the end we were quite pleased.
That Prudence – always thinking! She suggested that the music note might be slightly less stable than the bear when ironed, and that it might need a bit of support, and with what better shape than a peacock-green heart! We knew Mira would quite literally love it.
As Kath went to iron our designs, we broke for a bagel, then started in on the bracelets. Continuing with the lime and turquoise, we interspersed the Perler beads with some faux pearls and strung a small red coil across the middle. We measured our own wrists to determine how tight Patricia’s should be, and Kath followed suit for Mira’s, though since the cord we used was elastic, the difference wasn’t that much.
The wearied but content beaders and their finished products! We drew and wrote a kind note in silver Sharpie on each of the bags for an extra touch.
For any and all curious, I briefly took out Patricia’s bracelet to model it. We really hoped she was close to our size, as our measurements were spot-on!