Wine Charms

Wine Charms

When I was much younger, I loved fiddling and tinkering with things, building little trinkets, putting bits and pieces together, deconstructing toys and objects to see how they worked, and trying to get them back together afterwards — not always successfully I might add. Duct tape and scissors were my very good friends, and I loved using my mother’s sewing machine to assemble miniature purses or hair scrunchies (I know, I know, but this was the 80′s remember?) with fabric chosen from her big treasure chest of scraps. And scoubidous, of course, I really liked scoubidous.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a crafty person, as nothing admirable ever emerged from my little fingers, but I loved how these activities sucked you in, making you lose all sense of time until suddenly you looked up, night had fallen, and it was time for dinner. Time also to show your family what you had made, and they oohed and aahed because they loved you very much.

As I grew older I gradually stopped doing those things, mostly for lack of time, but I realize now that it is this same urge to create things with my hands that drew me to cooking. That, and the fact that you get to eat the fruits of your labor, which did not work so well with the scrunchies.

I haven’t quite abandoned my crafty ambitions though, and I have drawerfulls of beads and strings and fabric, but to be truthful I don’t do much with them. Naturally, this doesn’t stop me from buying more when I see pretty things. But I did recently manage to complete one small project, and since it is somewhat related to the main topic of this blog, I thought I would share it with you. Ladies and gentlemen, I made wine charms.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, let me explain. I’m sure you’ve all been in this situation: you have guests over at your place, you give everyone a glass so they can drink some of that fine little wine you bought at your favorite winestore, and after about ten minutes of conversation nobody knows which glass is which. Sometimes telltale traces of lipstick might settle the case, but mostly everyone just laughs it off and adopts a random glass, assuring that they don’t have cooties (in French: “Ça va, j’ai pas la gale.”). And this is when wine charms come in handy, helping you identify each glass with a little thing that dangles from its foot. Smart, no?

Here’s the recipe. (Of course in my case, it might have helped to choose beads that were more clearly different from one another. Bead and learn, right?)

Wine Charms

- 6 little metal rings or hoops, with a cut opening
- 6 beads of different colors or shapes
- 6 two-inch headpins (also used to make earrings)
- 12 tiny identical beads

Serves 6.

On each headpin, slip one tiny bead, one color bead, and another tiny bead. Use round- or flat-nosed pliers to curl the end of the headpin around one of the metal rings. Cut the extra length of headpin with a wire cutter if you like (I didn’t, I just curled it around and around). Repeat with the remaining ingredients. To attach each wine charm to a glass, simply open the metal ring and clasp it around the foot of the glass.

FYI, I got the gear at the Parisian bead emporium La Droguerie, located at 9 rue du Jour in the 1st (01 45 08 93 27).

  • aude

    adorable et utile à la fois !

  • annastasia

    How fabulous! You are so talented! Not only a great chef but also a great engineer and may I say, inventor. Only in France there are such great combinations in people! The US is so underdeveloped on so many fronts, the Renaissance-man quality being just one of the things that simply do not “grow” here.
    Oh well. Time to move to la belle France soon.


    • nightlife seattle

      These are just amazing! I love them to death! There really needs to be more of these kinds of trinkets around. I will have to get something like this for my daughter for christmas. I know she will love them too.

  • Papilles&Pupilles

    My children love scoubidous especially my doughter (10 years old). I have plenty of them in the house !

  • B’gina

    Speak for yourself, Annastasia! :G: Taking nothing from Clothilde’s creativity (at least she’s doing something with it), wine charms have been available here for many years.

    I’ve always seen them in shops, but I never thought about making my own. I will now. As I’m just getting over the flu, keeping one’s glass clearly one’s own is seeming like an excellent idea to me at the mo. ;+) Excellent post!

  • Donna

    aha! Scoubidous = lanyards!

    I once read a little essay (Maybe by David Sedaris) about the lanyard (scoubidou) he sweated over at camp for his mother. He gave it to her with great pride and she oohed and aahed over it (because she loved him so much). Years later he found it in a drawer and thinking back to her response, he was astonished that she managed to make him believe that he had given her the most cherished of gifts, the absolute best gift a son could give a mother! Just a lowly lanyard! It made him appreciate her all the more!

  • sara

    I have to agree with b’gina! I love shopping at the local bead shops in San Francisco (where I live) to choose different little charms to make occasion-appropriate wine charms! It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s quick!
    Clotilde, your wine charms are gorgeous!! Although I agree the difference between them are perhaps too subtle to be differentiated as the night moves on and the wine continues to flow ;)

  • Alisa

    It has been years of me looking at wine charms at various stores, thinking how very much I would use them, then seeing the price, thinking how very much I can get by without them. Make them youself you say?! Just might do that.

  • foodscigeek

    May I suggest a craft that could combine your scoubidous with the wine charm idea? I once bought for my mother, beer bottle identifiers in a Texas theme. They were designed to look like a string tie, a strip of leather with metal ends a little pewter ornamenent that connected the two sides in a loop. You could tighten it to fit a wine glass (watch for the dangly bits though) or just drape it over the mouth of a beer bottle.

  • Alexis

    I recently made wine charms with slightly different materials — simple hoops, 6mm beads (2 of each color) & charms. Stick the beads on either side of the charm on the hoop. They were a set of 12, each with its own color & charm. But I like yours because they can’t move as much.

  • connie

    The wine charms are adorable, but I’ve learned that if your dinner party is going a little *too* well (ahem), at some point, people forget which wine charms are theirs. One hostess I know solved the problem by finding specially made paper rings upon which guests could write their names then insert them around their wine glass stems. After all, if you’ve indulged enough that you can’t remember your own name, well, maybe it’s time someone took you home.

  • claire

    I have always thought wine charms to be truly tacky, but in the hands of an elegant Parisian and her bon gout they are far from it. I might challenge myself to have a go.

  • Alison

    Alisa, I bought some wine charms at Casa for a couple of euros.

    Making them would be fun, too, but I could spend hours (and lots of money) in La Droguerie…

  • Kat

    love your charms! We have a La Droguerie in Osaka too. Enjoy your blog.

  • Anita

    What an absolutely adorable idea! I had seen butterflies to put on the glass rim but this looks so much more elegant!

  • Dave

    Perfect for a wine tasting.
    (kicked off your blogroll – ouch)

  • kayenne

    the wine charms, actually, we use them here in the philippines as take-home gifts/party souvenirs for the guest. they particularly love it, when personalized with their names or nicknames.

  • hilda

    cool! they are lovely! and they work as well as stitch markers too, for knitting! i love crafting, knitting and cooking, and love your blog, so i am delighted with this post today.
    by the way, have a great 2006.

  • Mona

    What a great idea. I swear my mom buys me a set for each holiday. I have turkeys and Xmas lights and Easter eggs and hearts. I love how yours are just simple and elegant and would go with just about any occasion wine is being served at:)

  • FilmStocker

    Very cute and tres crafty!

  • fanny from FOODBEAM

    What a good idea Clotilde. I wanted to buy some wine glas jewellery the other day but that was far more expensive than i expected.
    C’est sur ce week end je vais a la droguerie.
    Thanx again for the tip…

  • nancy

    I liked kayenne’s idea about personalizing the charms. I think your charms are sweet, however when they are too similar or thematic I find that people (i.e. me) are just as confused after 10 minutes without any charm. “What did I have a conch shell or clam shell?” or seasonally….. “a christmas tree or a snowman?”

  • Ivonne

    A creative mind will create no matter what the subject matter is … be it food or anything else!

    My compliments, Clothilde. They’re lovely!

  • Dreska

    I can’t believe it!
    Same minds think alike or it’s post-christmas ideas.
    I saw them in the shops selling for about £8/6pcs. and was rather thinking of making them myself.
    Yours look great!

  • nardac

    OMG! How perfect can you get?! It won’t be long before the C&Z empire reaches Martha Stewart proportions. CRAZY… and useful.

  • Ronica

    I have many sets, back home, and some were made by my former students. Love that they chose music beads–and I love hearing people exclaim, “Mine is the saxophone!”

    Got a good idea from my stepmom, too. If they are beads, you can leave them on when they are in the dishwasher. No reason to ever take them off, really, which can be tedious. I bought a couple boxes of cheap wine glasses at Cost Plus, and we use these for parties along with the cheap clear glass plates I got there. Works great.

    Of course, here in France in our teeny apartment, we only have room for 4 glasses. Tant pis!

  • Femme de Chef

    I use those glass rings when I organise weddings. American and English guests, most of the time they know what it is, but french customers are always very surprised… I always choose different ones for the girls and the boys…

  • fanny from FOODBEAM

    Finally got the beads. The same as yours as they were the only ones i could find in 6 different colours and because they looked so ‘chic’. I had already used them before to make my mother a bracelet.

    Anyway that costed around 20 euros (around 25US$). Not cheap, but would be a great homemade present.

  • kayenne

    hmm… those things don’t have to be expensive. go find a crafts store and buy beads of different colors, shapes, themes and hook ‘em up. likewise, little trinkets from home or lifestyle stores do elegantly as well. (baked)clay is also a good material to use.

  • iamchanelle

    i was so inspired by your “recipe” that i went directly to make my own!

    thanks for taking the time to share your great idea! i am looking forward to even more inspiration.

  • Anne

    Love the charms! These are great! They do make for great fiddlers while having the appéro, and keeping the hands out of the peanuts, n’est-ce pas?

    Love the digital art!

  • Emmanuelle

    I just discovered your blog yesterday and love it! Haven’t tried your recipes yet but the way you write and your photos “me mettent l’eau a la bouche”!
    I really like your wine charms too. Too bad I didn’t see that before I went to Michaels this morning… Oh well, I’ll just drop by once again…

  • jenny

    They are lovely and thank you for sharing the directions…I’ve seen them in the shops here for years and have thought they must be a relatively easy, inexpensive craft to do on one’s own, but have never felt ‘crafty’ enough to try. Now I’ll have to give it a go! I think they could make a wonderful host/hostess gift along with a bottle of wine.

  • Michelle

    Glad to see someone else finds wine charms valuable. I make them from different beads and hang a dozen on each bottle wine that we give to a hostess. No one can have too many wine charms and because they are made by you they are even more special.

  • Andi* in Vegas…..

    LOVE your charms…..
    I love beads and crystals,and cooking…always creative..
    busy hands etc…..((*))¿((*))…
    but ESPECIALY,chocolate and Zucchinni..
    you ALWAYS inspire me….
    I can’t thank you enough*…..
    never change…..

  • Andi*in Vegas

    I spelled your name wrong,please forgive me Clotilde….
    Names are unique and special..

  • Anita Charms

    I love to make glasses look golden. And I simply use broze tinfoil and golden powder.

  • Steve Holloway

    Have you ever thought of pewter for your charms.My shop might be of help to you. Steve

  • Gail Pueyo

    Bon Jour! I am Gail Pueyo, of Anchorage, Alaska & Bayonne, Basque Country France. I am the Inventor of the Wine Charm! I am Launching my handmade line in France this fall (09) you can contact me at!
    I will send you some of my designs!
    Gail Pueyo

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