Aztec Secrets: Jewelry Set Project

10:49 AM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
It is such a pleasure to be able to work with Swavorski crystals. They glisten! They shimmer! They radiate! This set of jewelry is inspired by Aztec treasures, in delectable hues of copper and teal.




What's The Plan, Stan?
We're going to use some lovely copper Swarovski beads, mixed with subtle turquoise hieshi beads and delicate fresh water pearls to create an Aztec Treasure of our own.

Ingredients:

Tools Of The Trade:
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Bent Needle Nose Pliers
  • Wire snips
  • beadboard (not required but highly recommended)

Process:
  • First, you want to set out your beads on the beadboard. This necklace will have two main sections, each on eyepins. The first section: freshwater pearl, Swarovski cosmic copper bead, freshwater pearl. The second section: Swarovski copper faceted round, 3 turquoise hieshi beads, Swarovski copper faceted round.
    • Over all Pattern: Section 1 in the middle. Either side of necklace: Swarovski Smokey Topaz Ring Channel, Section 2, Swarovski Smoked Topaz Ring Channel, Section 1, Swarovski Smokey Topaz Ring Channel, Section 2, Section 1
    • End with a third section: fresh water pearl, Swarovski copper faceted round, freshwater pearl


  • Take all of your sections and place them on silver plated eyepins. Close eyepins with loop. Do not use a wrapped loop, since it will not match the opposite end.(Note that you will need to be extra careful, making sure that all of your loops are entirely closed so the necklace doesn't fall apart).


  • Attach a 4mm jumpring to either end of each section, including the Swarovski Smokey Topaz Ring Channels
  • Attach a 5mm jumpring to both 4mm jumprings on each section
  • Attach each section together using the 5mm jumprings


  • Attach the chain sections to either end of the necklace using two 4mm jumprings
  • Attach clasp with two oval jumprings
  • For the bracelet, follow this pattern:
    • Working left to right: 
      • 3 freshwater pearls 
      • 2 turquoise hieshi beads, 
      • 2 fresh water pearls, 
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round, 
      • 3 turquoise hieshi beads, 
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round, 
      • 2 freshwater pearls, 
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round, 
      • 3 turquoise hieshi beads, 
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round,
      • 2 fresh water pearls, 
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round, 
      • 3 turquoise hieshi beads, 
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round, 
      • 2 freshwater pearls
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round
      • 3 turquoise hieshi beads
      • 1 Swarovski copper faceted round
      • 2 fresh water pearls
      • 2 turquoise hieshi beads
      • 3 fresh water pearls
    •  End with a crimp bead, attaching a 5mm jumpring to either end. Use a silver plated crimp bead cover. Attach small toggle clasp to jumprings
  • For the earrings, first place a 2.5mm Swarovski dark indigo bicone on a silver plated headpin. Then the Swarovski cosmic copper bead, lastly the freshwater pearl. Close with a wrapped loop, attaching the silver plated french earwire.

C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
You work could be right here! Submit your own version of Aztec Secrets to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

More Similar Fun Stuff!
Sparkling Wine: Necklace Earrings Set Project 

Sparkling Wine: Necklace Earrings Set Project

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Have you ever toured a vineyard in the autumn?  The colors are nothing but inspiring. The leaves are still that lovely green, twinged with the gentle turning of yellow autumn. Every vine is heavily hung with clusters of purple and green. This vineyard-inspired necklace is simply stunning.




What's The Plan, Stan?
  •  We are going to use Swarovski crystal beads to create this necklace and earrings set, combined with delicate amber chips and soft green freshwater pearls.
Ingredients:
Tools Of The Trade:
  • Chain Nose Pliers
  • Needle Nose Pliers 
  • Angled Needle Nose Pliers (optional, but helpful)
  • Bead Designing Flockboard (also optional, but also very helpful)

Process:
  • First, set up your bead board with all your lovely ingredients. Admire them! There is nothing like the pleasure of working with wonderful beads! The pattern for this necklace is fairly simple.


  • We are going to start with the pendant part. The Filigree Sunflower goes in the center. Attach the Gold Plated eyepin to the sunflower. Add first the 6mm Olivine Bicone, an amber chip and a Colorado Topaz Roundell. Create a wrapped loop at the end. 


  • Next, lay out the elements for the actual necklace. I am going to list the beads for one side of the necklace. Repeat the same exact pattern for the other side:
    • Amber Chip
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Colorado Topaz Roundell
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Colorado Topaz Roundell
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • Pearl
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • 6mm Olivine Bicone
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • Pearl
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Colorado Topaz Roundell
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • Pearl
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • Pearl
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Colorado Topaz Roundell
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • Pearl
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Colorado Topaz Roundell
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • Pearl
    • 2 Amber Chips
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Colorado Topaz Roundell
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • 5 Amber chips
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • 3 Amber Chips
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone
    • Gold Plated Crimp Bead
    • 4mm Olivine Bicone


  • Next, finish the strand by looping through a 4mm gold plated jumpring, stringing back through the 4mm Olivine Bicone and crimping. Add 3 more gold plated jumprings.
  • Once you have done this for both sides, attach the gold plated spring clasp to once side and the 8mm gold plated jumpring to the other. Now the necklace is done!
  • The earrings are super simple. Place the amethyst teardrop beads on the headpins. Next, add the Colorado Topaz Roundell, and the 4mm Olivine Bicone. End the headpin in a loop (or a wrapped loop if you have enough room), attaching it to the ball post earring findings.



C'est Fin!



Bead Artist Showcase
You work could be right here! Submit your own version of Sparkling Wine to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

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Necklace of Intrigue: Project

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Swarovski Color-Changing Crystals 


Feminist Jewelry

1:55 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
Since I decided to relaunch my jewelry making business with new vigor, I have been intrigued with two ideas. The first – to make eco-friendly, recycled jewelry. Whether you believe in climate change or not, most people agree that everything we do impacts the environment. I feel that there are many small (and some big) things we can all do to help reduce this impact. I have been experimenting and researching various ways to explore this in my jewelry designs.Check out 'Recycled Jewelry: Idea Introduction."
The second idea came to me as I was thinking about the future of this proposed career of mine. I am minoring in Women's Studies - something I have been interested in (through perhaps not knowingly, or by that term) since my early middle school days and the more I learn, the more passion I gain for this important movement. I thought - I can make feminist jewelry. What the deuce does that mean? Well, to be honest, at first I didn't have a clue either. I have taken some time to explore and develop the thought: Feminist Jewelry is jewelry, which celebrates the power, beauty and equality of womankind.
I have lately had some ideas on how I might begin to enter the realm of feminist jewelry. I have been working with creating collage style scrabble tile pendants and charms. Well, I am thinking of creating themed sets, each dedicated to a historical feminist, or perhaps even a modern feminist. Each set will come with a card explaining the significance of the feminist.

To learn more about feminism, check out some of these links:

CD Charms and Pendants! Tutorial

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“Music is an outburst of the soul.”
 Frederick Delius


Express your own love and passion for music in these fantastic, handmade cd charms and pendants



What's The Plan, Stan?
Well, this is a bit of a complex one, folks, but we are going to make some incredibly unique and super cool charms and pendants by semi-melting old and used CDs.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE:
Semi-melting these disks gives off potentially dangerous fumes. I am sure the State of California would have warning labels ALL OVER this tutorial. The point? Be careful, please. I did this project in a spray booth - - a small room with a massive fan/vent, sucking all the harmful fumes away from me. Despite this, I did get a slight headache. Ok, the headache could have been caused by the annoying sound of the massive fan the the whirr of the heat gun, but all the same... If you are sensitive, take extra precautions!

Ingredients:
  • Old and used CDs 
    • NOTE: You can use all kinds of CDs and DVDs. Different brands and types will have different effects and colors once you heat them. I just rummaged through my ever growing stack of burnable CDs that I no longer need or use. Play around. I would not, however, go out and buy some CDs for this project. For goodness sake, just use the old ones.
  • Glossy Accents (optional)
Tools Of The Trade:
  • Heatgun
  • Pliers (you are going to want at least two pairs for easy maneuverability)
  • Pushpin
  • Scissors or wire snips

Process:
  • To begin with, you should note that a CD or DVD has two layers. One is a sort of metalic layer, and the top layer is like a thicker plastic coating. You can separate the layers, and work with the metallic layer alone, or you can fuse them together. The metallic layer on its own is a little weak, however.
  • If you want to fuse both layers together, which I suggest, start by cutting a CD or DVD in half. Hold one half over the heatgun with a pair of pliers. Obviously, don't get your hand in the way of the heatgun. No one likes burns. 
    • Every CD or DVD reacts differently. Here are some general rules. Keep the metallic side towards the heat, the plastic side away from it. The plastic has a tendency to bubble in cool ways, but it will also crack and may fall off the piece. You don't want that to happen. The metallic side and the edge of the disk will go through a unique and interesting transformation as they heat. Remember to be patient, but also take it slowly. Allow yourself to get to know the process and become familiar with what the heat gun does to the CD. It may take you a few tries to find something that you like.
  • Once the metallic side is nice and melted, and the plastic side is fused, turn off your heat gun and cut out some fun shapes in the CD. You will notice that the CD cools down relatively quickly, but still, please be careful and don't burn yourself. Make sure you gently trim your edges with a pair of scissors to make sure they aren't sharp. Use the heat gun once more to further round the edges and add any more fun bumps and bubbles to the design.
  • At this point, you will want to make your holes so you have delightful, string-able charms and pendants. I just used and pushpin and worked it through. You may be able to heat up a straight pin over a tea light and work it through that way, or perhaps a wood burning tool.
  • You may wish to protect the plastic side of your charm/pendant, especially if it has become very cracked. I used glossy accents, but you could try a coating of resin, or diamond glaze.
C'est Fin!



Here's an example of a pair of earrings I made using charms I made from a DVD. These earrings, called Purple Days are available for sale on Etsy.

Bead Artist Showcase
Your work could be right here! Submit your own upcycled CDcharms or pendants to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

More Similar Fun Stuff!
The Heatgun's The Boss! Embossing Technique
Recycled Jewelry: Idea Introduction

How to Make the Most of Your Money: Tip 1

10:02 AM Posted In , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Making jewelry is expensive. There is just no way around it. So, I'm going to start handing you tips and tools for making it much more affordable, and in some cases free. Remember, the goal here is saving a dime, but also saving the environment.


What's The Plan, Stan?

  • Raid your (and your friends') recyclables and trash
    • Ok, I don't necessarily want you to go dumpster diving, but keep and eye out for:
      • Soda and beer cans
      • Bottle caps
      • Plastic water, soda, juice etc bottles
      • # 6 recyclable plastic - it will shrink when you heat it up (a fun tutorial to follow in the near future)
  • Go through your magazines
    • Most magazines have some pretty sweet pictures (after all, most of us only look at the pics anyways! Use 'em to make some beautiful beads, like the Tutorial on Scrabble Tile Pendants and Charms
    • Keep your eye out for cool text and stuff (a sweet tutorial using these little treasures is sure to show up soon)
  • Rummage through your drawer of miscellaneous hardware
    • Look for cool string-able stuff, like washers. Or look for funky little stuff that you can glue on to make fantastic designs, like steampunk jewelry.
  • Broken Technology
    • We all have broken or old technology around. Take it apart and find some really sweet stuff to make nifty, geeky jewelry with
      • Calculators
      • Keyboards
      • Ancient computers
      • Those annoying broken remotes
      • Ancient and broken phones (if you have ancient but working phones, you really should donate them to people who need them)
  • Broken Watches
    • How many of us have stupid non-functioning watches just kind of hanging out in our dresser drawers in the blind hope that one day they will miraculously begin ticking again. I'm not saying you should destroy your Rolex, but old and not especially valuable watches have some really nifty parts in them.
      • The glass
      • Rotart parts, hands etc
      • Chips etc, if a digital watch
  • Old Board Games
    • What happens once you lose one of your game pieces? You can't exactly play the game, so it ends up collecting dust in some closset or cupboard. Instead, raid 'em for some wicked sweet jewelry
      • Dominos
      • Mahjong tiles
      • Checkers
      • Scrabble tiles (of course)
      • Use your imagination!

Do you have any cool recycling/upcycling ideas? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or email me at cagarp@plymouth.edu.

The Heatgun's The Boss! Embossing Technique

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While you may think embossing is for cardmaking and scrapbooking, it is actually a powerful tool to add to your bead making repertoire.



What's The Plan, Stan?
We're going to go over the basic technique of heat embossing. Try out your skills on one of the many projects and tutorials listed below. Come up with anything fantastic? Share it! cagarp@plymouth.edu


Ingredients:
  • Embossing powder (I suggest using clear, but there are a wide variety of colors available out there)
  • Pearl Ex Pigments (optional)
  • Ink (there are literally tons of kinds of inks out there. I recommend using Stayz On)
  • Stamps (these can cost you lots and lots of money. I search through the $1 bins at Michaels, Dollar Stores and I make my own)
  • Object to emboss on (such as a pre-drilled scrabble tile, or domino)

Tools Of The Trade:
  • Heatgun (there are some good and some not so good heatguns out there. Having only worked with one, I'm not in a position to recommend a specific one. Check out different websites and read the reviews)

Process:
  • Clean the surface of the object you are going to emboss on. (EX: if you're making a domino pendant, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol)
  • Ink your chosen stamp (don't use too much ink, especially on a non-porous object. Try blotting your stamp on a tissue etc before stamping it.)
  • Stamp your image! Lay the stamp down on a table and press the object on top of the stamp, rather than the other way around. This way the image will be placed exactly where you want it.
  • Sprinkle with embossing powder over a piece of scrap paper. Tap your object to get off extra powder, and sift back into container.
  • Heat the ink/embossing powder - - don't hold the heatgun too close so it doesn't actually burn it :) You'll see powder transform into bubbles and voila!
A note about Inks:
  • Many of the projects bead artists will create use non-porous objects, such as dominoes, glass slides, etc. Regular dye-based inks, while still great on porous objects like scrabble tiles, won't stick on these surfaces. Also, if you intend to use alcohol inks with a stamped image, the alcohol will bread down dye-based inks and ruin your image. Remember these simple rules:
    • If you're working on a porous surface, and not using alcohol inks - use regular ink.
    • If you're working on a porous surface, and using alcohol inks - use "Stayz On" or "Metallic Inks"
    • If you're working on a porous surface using alcohol inks and you want to create a resist image, use regular ink.
    • If you're working on a nonporous surface, alcohol inks or not, use "Stayz On" or "Metallic Inks"
A note about Colored Embossing Powder:
  • As I mentioned above, there are tons of beautiful colored embossing powders out there. However, why spend the extra cash (which many of us are so short on!) when you can make your own?
    • Mix a small amount of Pearl Ex Pigment into your embossing powder and you have created your own unique color :)
C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
Have you made something beautiful using an embossing technique? Your work could be right here! Submit your stuff to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

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Go Buy Some!
Embossing Powder
Addicted to Rubber Stamps

Why Hand Made?

12:14 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
In the age of Walmart and Amazon, we have gotten used to the idea that the lower the price tag, the better the deal. I know I'm guilty of this - I buy my books at the cheapest website, search out the best deals on clothes and coupon clip my way through life. So why then should we, as bead and jewelry artists and jewelry buyers (equally important) bother with more costly Handmade jewelry and beads?


What's the Big Deal?
  • Jewelry handmade by jewelry and bead artists weren't made in some underground sweatshop. You can wear it completely guilt free.
  • You are supporting an artist, doing your part to help the creative community.
  • Unlike the stuff you buy at New York & Co etc handmade jewelry is exactly that --Handmade. Someone took a great deal of time and effort to m ake something entirely unique and beautiful for you to wear. That should be celebrated. In buying a bead/jewelry artist's piece, you are, in a way, buying a piece of them.

Bead Artist Showcase
Do you make handmade beads and/or jewelry? Your work could be right here! Send me a pic and some info to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu.

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Check out one of my fair trade necklaces

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Pledge Handmade
Craftism
Handmade Theory

Necklace of Intrigue: Project

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What is the draw of the Mona Lisa? The subtlety, the mystery. Create your own mysterious intrigue with this Mona Lisa inspired necklace.





What's The Plan, Stan?
We're going to use a scrabble tile to make a beautiful unique pendant for this vintage-like necklace

Ingredients:
  • For Pendant:
  • For Necklace:
    • 34 wooden oval beads (dyed red)
    • 16 3-4 mm faceted garnet rounds
    • Four 6 mm onyx rounds
    • 16 flat oval garnet beads
    • One gold plated jump ring
    • Two gold plated crimp beads
    • One gold plated clasp
    • Wire for stringing - I use fishing line, actually :)

Tools Of The Trade:
  • For Pendant:
    • Drill with small bit
    • Scrap piece of wood
    • Paintbrush
  • For Necklace:
    • Needlenose pliers
    • Beading board (optional, but most helpful)
Process:
  • Drill two holes in the scrabble tile - one on the top, one on the bottom
  • Glue your image onto the tile. Let dry, and coat with another thin layer of glue. Re-pierce holes with a pushpin or safety pin.
  • OPTIONAL: Add more detail with Pearl Ex Pigments and watered down glue. Allow to dry.
  • Coat entire tile with glossy accents. Allow to dry completely.

  • Place jump rings though both holes. Attach eyepin to bottom jump ring. Add first garnet, then onyx beats. Close with a loop.
  • Bead Pattern for necklace:
  • Wooden bead: Garnet Round: Wooden Bead: Garnet Oval:Wooden Bead: Garnet Round:Wooden Bead : Onyx Round. 
  • Make sure to place your crimp beads between two garnet rounds, rather than right at the end of the necklace. This will prevent it from being worn too much and breaking. End one side with a jump ring and the other side with the clasp.
C'est Fin!


Bead Artist Showcase
You work could be right here! Submit your own Mystery Woman Necklace to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

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Childhood Checkers Earrings: Project

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Do you remember those fun times, playing checkers when you were little? Or maybe you still play checkers! Either way, show off your checkers skill with these beautiful checkers earrings.



What's The Plan, Stan? 


We are going to make some super fantabulous earrings, using plastic checkers pieces, not the old fashioned (but equally sweet wooden ones).


Ingredients:



  • Two checkers pieces (For this project, I used the white ones, however, you can use the black ones for a totally different effect.)
  • Alcohol Inks (One or two colors - I used Wild Plum and Stream)
  • Alcohol Ink Blending Solution
  • Alcohol Ink Applicator and felt rectangles
  • Stayz On opaque white ink pad (NOTE: When embossing, and then coloring with alcohol inks, regular old ink pads simply won't work. For the vintage earrings, we used that technique to create a resist technique, which is cool, but not what we're going for in this project)
  • Floral Stamp (I used a beautiful one I found in the Michael's $1 bin)
  • Clear Embossing Powder
  • Silver Pearl Ex Pigment
  • Glossy Accents

Tools Of The Trade:
  • Drill with small bit (NOTE: you won't want to use too small of a drill bit, as it is more likely to get stuck and or break on you. I've done this - please, learn from my mistake)
  • Scrap piece of wood
  • Heat Gun
  • Trash bag (hopefully one devoted to art use)

Process:
  • Drill your checkers pieces, close to the edge, but not too close :)
  •  Mix clear embossing powder with a pinch of silver Pearl Ex Pigment in your mixing tray (or baby food container top :)
  •  Cover your work surface with a trash bag : Prepare to Alcohol Ink! Apply your two alcohol ink colors to the felt and stamp away. Add the Blending Medium as you like. Let it dry, then do the opposite side, and the edges. Once you are happy, allow both checkers pieces to dry completely.
  • Stamp one side of the chipboard with stayz on opaque white ink. Sprinkle with embossing powder/Pearl Ex Pigment on top of the stamped image and heat with your handy dandy heatgun.
  • Allow to cool. At this point you can gently add more Alcohol Ink and or Pearl Ex Pigments. I left mine as is.
  • Coat with Glossy Accents (or similar). Allow to dry completely
  • Add jumprings and ear wires and voila!

C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
You work could be right here! Submit your own BLANK to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

More Similar Fun Stuff!

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Summer Fun! Flip-Flop Charm : Project

8:31 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
 
These super cute and super fun Flip Flop Charms are sure to please! I came up with the idea as a sort of goodbye gift for my friend and Assistant Manager - I'm leaving to head back to Plymouth State University on Monday - Kali. They're so great, I couldn't resist sharing them with the rest of you.
What's The Plan, Stan?
We're gunna make these wicked sweet charms with scrabble tiles (yes, they seem to encompass most of my bead making ideas of late) but rather than the more traditional methods, we're going to decorated them using an embossed flip-flop stamp and acrylic paints.
Ingredients

Tools of the Trade
  • Drill and tiny bit (Just gotta love power tools!)
  • Small paintbrush
  • Flip Flop stamp (I was given mine a long time ago, so sadly, I have no clue where it came from)
  • Heat Gun
Process
  • Drill Tiles
  • Paint entire tile with white acrylic - careful around letter
  • Stamp and Emboss

  • Paint background, edges. Paint flipflop. May take several layers.
  • When happy, allow to dry completely. 
  • Glossy Accents - DONT TOUCH FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR! Or you will be sorry. I was supposed to end up with two charms, thus make a pair of earrings. Instead I have a necklace pendant. You must consider yourself warned. 
  • On a lighter notes, once the Glossy Accents has dried to a hard surface, the charms are done and you can use them in your super fun beading projects. :)
 Bead Artist Showcase
  • Your work could be pictured right here! Submit your own completed flip-flop charms to Creativity In A Nutshell via email : cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel Free to include plenty of pictures, new stuff you tried, sweet new ideas and suggestions.
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