The Ericksons: Jewels by Julia… and Warfare by Duct Tape

Julia, Mark, and Steven Erickson are three homeschooled siblings who live in a log cabin with a big garden in rural Georgia, and they are all very creative. Hint: their favorite store is Hobby Lobby. 😉 The two boys like building with duct tape and LEGOs, while their older sister loves making unique jewelry creations that shine.

Jewels by Julia

Julia, 21, is a homeschool graduate who has a passion for colors and sparkle. Swarovski crystals, pearls, silver, and floral cabochons are some of her favorite materials. She also loves mirrors, chandeliers, and art glass like lampwork beads, cane glass, and milefiori. She started her business, Jewels by Julia, when she was only 14 years old. “I’m a jewelry designer. That is, when I’m not being a photographer, graphic designer, writer, blogger, reader, crocheter, dancer, or singer. 🙂 I have many hobbies. Jewelry-making just happens to be one of my first. I’ve been creating beaded jewelry since I was six years old.”

Julia specializes in fine glass jewelry, “each piece as unique as a personality.” Among her custom jewelry designs are bridal jewelry and other specialty projects. Each of her handcrafted jewelry designs is completely original and never made twice. She loves being challenged to create ever better jewelry designs, saying “Beads and crystals and silver are so much fun to combine into stunning, wearable designs.”

The artistic young woman also enjoys sharing her talents with others. She has produced a series of e-books that teach anyone how to create their own handmade jewelry with professional techniques. The e-books contain detailed step-by-step instructions, high quality photos, tips on what tools to use and where to find materials. (Visit the contact page of Julia’s website to get a lovely little mini e-book: “How to Make a Pearl and Ribbon Necklace”! You can make it with simple materials easily found at a craft store.)

Julia was homeschooled all the way and continues to live at home with her parents and brothers. She says, “I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me a wonderful family, with a loving, gentle Dad, a talented, amazing Mom, and two younger brothers ages 16 and 18 who are constantly astounding me with the ingenious things they do with LEGOs and duct tape.”

Julia adds, “I love the Lord with all my heart….All my inspiration and creativity comes from Him.” She would one day like to be a Proverbs 31 wife to a loving husband and a stay-at-home mother “to as many children as God blesses me with.” (Julia has said she wants to have nine kids!) A Jane Austen fan, someday she would also like to publish a novel of her own. Meanwhile, Julia does the web design for her dad’s landscaping company, her brothers’ Warfare by Duct Tape business (historically-based weapons – swords, shields, helmets – made with duct tape), and her brothers’ LEGO blog, called iBrick.

Every May, you can find a beautiful Jewels by Julia booth at the GHEA (Georgia Home Educators Association) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. This is Julia’s main jewelry event, but occasionally she sells at other homeschool conventions, craft fairs and shows. She also has a jewelry display at a shop called “Rescue Me,” which sells repurposed, vintage and handmade items.

Visit Julia’s website:

Read Julia’s blog:

Check out Julia’s Etsy shop:

See her Shining Star interview:

Julia’s other blog can be seen at: (no longer updated but still good)

Warfare by Duct Tape

Mark, 18, and Steven, 16, are two homeschooled brothers who love world history, have a passion for LEGO, and just like their older sister Julia they have very creative ideas. From an early age, they enjoyed various types of imaginative play, including the design and building of outstanding LEGO cities and other set-ups.

Their favorite pastime is heading outdoors, building forts, and battling with their own custom-made duct tape weapons. After experimenting with wooden swords, they realized the advantages of PVC pipe, cardboard, plastic bucket lids, foam, and of course duct tape. These materials are safer and more fun to use, plus they stand up to hours of history reenactment. The two brothers decided that this great idea needed to be shared with the world… and Warfare by Duct Tape was born!

Julia was preparing to sell her handmade fine glass jewelry at the 2010 GHEA (Georgia Home Educators Association) convention when the family discovered that the boys could join in on the fun and sell duct tape weapons in the same booth. This provided something for every customer who stopped by, whether boy or girl. Before the show, the boys’ mother had a brilliant idea. Why not write up an e-book with patterns and instructions to make the weapons?

Thus The Battle Book sprung into existence, followed by The Greco-Roman Book, The Barbarian Book, The Knight Book, The Armor of God Book, and The Armored Glove Book. For that one, Mark designed an ingenious Gauntlet Glove made entirely out of duct tape, cardboard, and plastic drinking cups, and he wrote down the complicated instructions on how to fashion your own.

The Warfare by Duct Tape e-books feature detailed step-by-step instructions, full-color pictures, and patterns based on historical styles. In addition, The Battle Book contains information about the thrilling game of duct tape warfare. Chivalry, rules of the game and even ransom money are discussed along with battle strategies. The e-books are available in an instantly downloadable PDF format, or you can purchase them on CD. (Scroll down to the bottom of their home page and download a free “Throwing Axe” booklet!)

Mark and Steven, who have been building with LEGO ever since they were young, are now TFOLs (Teen Fans of LEGO). Their favorite theme, of course, is LEGO Castle. Just recently they have become active in the online LEGO community. They also started a blog in which they tell how to create some of their own designs and write about other builders’ MOCs. (“MOC” standing for “My Own Creation.”)

Mark has also been competing in an online LEGO event called the “MocOlympics.” So far he’s made it to Round 4… which is no small achievement. In Round 3, he actually eliminated the builder who won the MocOlympics last year. Check out his entry page on MOCPages, a LEGO builders site, where he’s uploaded pictures of his entry, “Assault on the Underworld”:

Warfare by Duct Tape website:

Warfare by Duct Tape’s YouTube Channel:

iBrick blog:

Mark of Falworth’s Flickr Page:

Brother Steven’s Flickr Page:

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