When doing crafts with my seniors, I like to plan activities that are easy, fun and not too messy. After a friend showed me the charm bracelet she'd received for Christmas, I thought, "That's a great idea! And so simple to make."
You can buy bags of assorted charms on Amazon. They sell Murano-style beads, birthstone charms, colorful enamel charms... really, any kind of shape you can imagine, but I went with a large bag of silver-plated pieces. Each charm is different and I figured that the ladies could choose pieces that reflect their interests and personalities.
At first, I wasn't sure there was going to be a class because the home's rec director had forgotten to put me on the calendar. She made an announcement, though, and pretty soon, my whole table will filled up. Also, the director's new assistant was there for her first day of work, so she was on hand to help me out. She was thrilled that she just started and was already getting jewelry out of the experience.
For the actual bracelet, I simply cut strands of 18 gauge silver plated wire. I was going to use thicker wire, but I decided to go with material that would be lighter and easier for the seniors to work with. I went with a cuff bracelet design, with closed loops on each end, so they can easily take the bracelet on and off and don't have to worry about securing the hook.
The ladies had a great time choosing their charms. One is a self-described cat lady and went right for the cat charms. Another choose the fish bones because they reminded her of a scorpion and she's a Scorpio. And one lady chose the scissors charm, "Because if anyone messes with me, I'll cut them!" she explained.
These charms do have loops on top, but in order to get them to face forward on a bracelet, you need to add jump rings. I'd only brought one pair of pliers with me because I hadn't known there would be an assistant on hand. She used the pliers to open some jump rings, while I just used my fingers to handle the rest. Ouch! I broke a couple of nails in the process, but finished the job.
This was such a simple craft, but the ladies were pleased with their bracelets and liked that they reflected who they are. Here are a few of the seniors showing off their work:
I always enjoy being with this group and especially like hearing their stories. Many of the women are in their late 80s and 90s and have led interesting lives. They're such a kind and friendly group.
Next week, I'm teaching another cemetery class and I'll then be making glass earrings with the seniors. I always have something to look forward to!