Work outings.  Yep.  They happen.  It’s a strange thing to be required to spend your free time with people you normally don’t like, doing something you normally wouldn’t do.  In my case, it’s a party in downtown OKC with free beer (read: Bud Light) and half-naked women dancing in cages whilst a DJ spins club jams.  Oh yeah.  Sign me up.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s a dress code that is, according to the flyer, “strictly enforced.”  Helpfully, said dress code is clearly outlined in the following ways: “Dress to impress.”  Right.  Obviously.  (According to the other, much more knowledgeable girls who are also required to participate in the Mandatory Fun, this means I need club wear.  Sigh.)

Now, as a professor and part time waitress, naturally my closet is bursting with all manner of trendy, club-ready clothing.  Yeah, not so much. After a good deal of closet shopping and improvising, I managed to find a dress that I thought would be workable. All I needed was a key piece of jewelry to bring it all together, give it some punch.

Since the dress is navy and black, I decided I needed a bright red bracelet.  I wanted something that had the heft and color of these beads:


but also had the cuff-like quality of this:

from Shop Ruche

Unfortunately, I’m not interested in spending $45 for a bracelet that I’m not totally in love with (à la Shop Ruche), and for an event I couldn’t care less about.  And, in order to buy enough of the Sino-Treasure version to make a cuff, it’d still cost about $42.  Pretty sure I can do better.

Off once more to the hobby store.  I found some lovely, rich burgundy beads that were exactly what I was looking for.  Thankfully, the sale gods were smiling on me again, and I managed to snag them for 50% off.

I bought two packages, giving me 4 strands of beads to work with at a total cost of only $5.34, including tax!  I already had stretchy beading thread on hand, but even if I hadn’t, it still would’ve only added $2.50 (plus tax) to the overall cost.

Rather than trying to figure out some way to fashion a single cuff (I’m a jewelry-making newbie, after all), I decided to make three individual bracelets that I would wear as bangles to get that cuff look I was going for.  In order to string them all together, I used a ribbon needle and double threaded the strands to give extra support for my bracelets. Wouldn’t want those guys breaking apart with all that exuberant rump shaking I’m sure to be doing.

A quick double knot on the end and I was ready to string those beads!  This was a fun project to do during commercials while I enjoyed a Law & Order SVU and red wine fix.  (I ♥ Det. Stabler. And a good Cab Sav.)  It’s pretty much goof proof.   Thread needle.  String beads.  Tie ends together.  Repeat.  Before Benson and Stabler had their first suspect in handcuffs, my cuff was good to go.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Beads:  $4.99 @ 50% off x 2 pkg. = $5.34

String:  already had on hand = free!


My total cost:  $5.34

Average of internet inspirations:  $43.50

TOTAL SAVED:  $38.16

Bring it, Mandatory Work-Fun-times. I’m ready for you.