Back in January, the super creative and talented Karen of posted this leather and stamped metal bracelet that really resonated with me. I won’t give you the full tutorial as Karen has already done it perfectly. So if you are inspired by either the original or my take on it,  jump over and follow Karen’s tutorial.

Believe Bracelet with leather starp and stamped metal tags


“The Girls” – that would be my High School Sisters-by-Choice – were getting together after the craze of the holidays for a bit of unwinding (adult beverages), sharing (whining, advising, consoling, razzing and laughing) noshing (definitely indulgent girl fare) and crafting (if they indulge me).

So I headed to Karen’s store, Urban Arts + Crafts, and gathered up the supplies needed for these bracelets. Yes, I modified the design a bit to keep my expenses down since there would be 7 of us. But the general concept is the same.

To shorten this backstory up a bit, rather than all individual messages, The Girls decided on a common message of our initials: J, K, C, V, D, T, B.

That night, Kathy mentioned a short prayer that has become her mantra as she struggles with aging parent issues: God grant me strength and wisdom.

I loved the simplicity. It was perfect … well almost. I’ve always been compelled to also seek Grace. I’m inherently a Fixer, and let’s face it there are somethings that just can’t be fixed and I need Grace to accept and embrace them as is.

So I came to realize that my reminder should be: Strength, Wisdom And Grace. Ah Ha! SWAG!

It is through “The Girls” (and my family) that God channels to me all the SWAG I will ever need.

So my bracelet has the 7 initials all willy nilly on the little round disc, with SWAG as my message.

Leather strap with SWAG stamped metal tag bracelet on wood table.



So where did I stray from Karen’s original design and instructions? I substituted a lobster claw style clasp and jump ring for the “pinch end style clasp and hook” and the extender chain.

Finished leather and stamped metal bracelet on a white plate

On the short 3” side, that is one large loop of leather with one end threading through the hole in the pendant.

Finished leather and stamped metal bracelet on wood table

The other side of the pendant has the long piece of leather that threads through the other hole and ties off with the silver wrapping. Then we threaded the jump ring of the lobster claw clasp through the free end, folded it back and wrapped with the silver wire.

stamped metal with bnlack paint for emphasis

I didn’t have the Gilder’s Paste Karen recommends, so I rubbed a little black silk screen paint (because it’s thicker) on with a cotton swab and then polished with a soft cloth.

Ta Daa! Our leather and stamped metal bracelets were done.


Our oldest, but still our little girl, a USMC Captain called with the news I’ve been dreading for 10 years now – ever since she decided she wanted to go to the US Naval Academy as a 17 year old.

Yes, she is heading to Afghanistan.

Typically, before deployment, there is a week of leave to visit family and enjoy a proper send-off. Katie’s training checklist and her accelerated schedule did not permit this, so she buzzed home over the 3-day President’s weekend. Her brothers rearranged their schedules and we did our best to pack a week’s worth of vacation fun in 72 hours. I won’t bore you with all the details. But I do want to share this one.

Katie loved my SWAG bracelet I had made with “The Girls”and what it meant. We decided we needed matching SWAG’s to wear during her deployment. [Katie could not wear it in uniform, so it hung on her bunk reminding her of the gift of God’s SWAG to her.]

So we quickly hammered out SWAG twice; me holding, Katie swinging the hammer – and she only got me once! Then we wrapped the silver wire around the leather loops to hold everything together.

Finished Strength, Wisdom And Grace bracelet on wrist.

Our leather strand wraps around our wrists 4 times and then the clasp grabs onto the large leather loop.

Cheezy Alert:

Mother & daughter's hand making s heart both wearing their SWAG bracelets.

One would think that after almost 9 years of putting her on planes to the East Coast (4 years at Annapolis, then 2 years of grad school and  2 1/2 years so far with the fleet) I would be able to hold it together at the airport. Sometimes. But this last time – not even close!

I finally managed to pull myself together and was almost to the car, when from the gate she texted me a picture of her wrist SWAG rather than her usual “Love you Mom”.

So glad the youngest brother who was with me this go around was old enough to drive.

I wish you all a life filled with God’s gifts of Strength, Wisdom And Grace.


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