Saturday, December 17, 2011

Simple Gifts #4

Holiday Greetings!  Busy bee as usual around here, rushing now since its only a week til the big day!  Today's simple gift was made for my mom, who has a December birthday and loves candles of all sorts!

This project was lovely to make, smelled divine and was pretty easy!  And, if you keep your eyes pealed for deals it can be made very inexpensively.  Wanna make one too?  Here's what you need:

-any size or shape candle holder (i used a square one found at the Dollar Tree)
-decorative cinnamon sticks (found on sale at Michael's for $1.99)
-E6000 and/or hot glue
-Jute Twine (another lovely dollar store find!)

for the flower (optional)

-one inch circle punch
-old book page, scrapbook paper, sheet music, etc.
-one inch flat back marble
-one inch wooden circle or button

Step One:  Cut your cinnamon sticks to size.  I cut mine just slightly taller than the top of the candle holder.  I wanted them to not be uniformly cut to look more rustic, so I didn't measure much.  I used a pair of old wire cutters to snip them because I don't have a small saw.  This worked fine but you may want to wear safety glasses, sometimes shards of cinnamon sticks will fly!  This step is lovely because you get to smell yummy cinnamon the whole time!

Step Two:  Once you have your sticks cuts, start arranging them around the candle holder, gluing in place as you go.  For this step, I used E6000 because I thought it would be too messy with hot glue.  Do just a few sticks at a time, arranging as you like.  Hold in place with a rubber band and allow to dry ( I left mine overnight even though it probably only needed an hour or so to set!)  If you are using hot glue to adhere the cinnamon sticks you can skip the dry time and on to the next step!

Step Three:  Wrap several times with the jute twine.  Just wing it here, I wrapped it a lot because I was working with a pretty large candle holder and wanted it to be nicely centered.  I put a bead of hot glue every couple of wraps to help secure it.  Once you're satisfied with the number of wraps, tie a secure knot in it and tuck it under and secure with a little bit of hot glue.

Now, ERL saw it at this point in the process and said, "That looks really cool, you should leave it like that".  I do love the way it looks, but felt it needed just a little bit more, so I punched some circles with my 1" punch and did a little arranging to make the flower.  While working with them, I realized that I had randomly ripped a page out of the old book that just happened to have the word Christmas on them!  That told me it was meant to be!

Step Four:  I didn't take any step by steps of the flower, since I wasn't really sure what i was doing at the time!  Punch some circles, distress (if ya like), glue together, then slightly curl the edges with a pencil or a bamboo skewer. You can make the flower as simple or as elaborate as you like.  If you want to accentuate a word on your book page, glue the circle with the word on to a one inch flat backed marble, allow to dry thoroughly before gluing it to your flower.

Step Five: Once you have your flower assembled and decorated (how about glitter???), glue a wooden disk or button to the back of it with E6000.  This will give your fragile paper flower a little more stability and help it hang on to the jute twine.  Once your glue is dry, take your whole flower and stick it right on the twine, again I recommend E6000 because its a major adhesive that is very hard to get off once its dried!

Voila!  Fancy looking, yummy smelling candle holder complete!

I am so happy about this project, it can be simplified or fancied up in so many ways!  Tie a ribbon, add some bells, or just leave it plain and rustic looking!

Hope this mini-tutorial brings you inspiration!  Please let me know if you have any questions or run into any problems with this project.

Thanks to new readers and wishing you happiness for the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Simple Gifts #3

Super Easy Any Way You Like It Scarf!

Here we go with my very first tutorial/pattern, but really its much more of a guideline than anything.  I can't claim this pattern to be 100% mine, I'm sure there are plenty out there like it because it really only requires a few basic crochet stitches and is easily customized.

This scarf can be made with any weight or style of yarn, with any size hook you have lying around, and can be as wide and as long as you like.  For this one, I used Caron Dazzleaire which is categorized as a bulky yarn but I would call it worsted weight.  Its really lovely for a gift because it has a slight shimmer to it and is very soft.  But I have also made it using a chunky yarn as well as holding two strands of contrasting yarn together, which gave it a nice tweed look.

Scarf as shown is 3 1/2" wide by 66" long, not including fringe

Here's what you'll need:

-Any weight yarn, at least 100 yds if you're using ww but more for bulky yarns
-Any size crochet hook (I prefer larger than K to give it a holey look)
-Yarn needle for weaving in ends
-Measuring tape (or not, I personally avoid measuring as often as possible!)

What to do:

Beg- Chain an even number of stitches to your desired width.  (for example, I did ch 8 with a size N hook)

Row 1- Half double crochet (hdc) in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across

Row 2- Chain 2, turn, hdc in each stitch across

Row 3-???- Repeat row 2 until scarf is desired length.

Fasten off, weave in ends.

So simple and so pretty!  Also very nice to just sit in front of the TV and work on, since there's no counting rows or stitches!

Don't know how to do fringe?  I didn't either but found some easy peasy instructions in my trusty Readers Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. (I know I've mentioned my love for this book before, but seriously if you come across it at a thrift or used book store, snatch it up!) I didn't take photos while working on the example because it was too dark, but I dug up a WIP to show you!


-Cut a piece of cardboard slightly longer than you would like your fringe to be, mine is 4 1/2" long

-Wrap yarn around the cardboard many times (I did this step twice due to not wanting to cut through a huge   chunk of yarn at once and laziness about doing the math for how many I would need!)

-Cut the yarn across the top so you end up with a nice pile of strands

-Seperate number of strands you want each tassel to be (ex. is three strands)

-Insert hook into stitch and wrap yarn around hook in the middle of the bunch

-Draw folded end of yarn bunch through the stitch

-Wrap hook around yarn bunch, pull through the loop and tighten knot.

-Make sure you are doing this on what you would like to be the wrong side of the scarf, the knot will look like this on the back:

-The right side of your fringe will look like this:

Well, there ya have it!  I hope you've enjoyed Spidermom's very first tutorial ;)  Please let me know if you have any questions and I'll be right there to help!  Now, go!  Make an easy, stress free gift for somebody special!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fluffy Clouds Tunisian Wrap

It's been a little longer since I've checked in than I had intended, but I assure you it is because I have been a very busy bee working on lots of crafty projects!  Today I just had to show off my very first completed project in Tunisian Crochet!

I actually finished it several weeks ago, but it was shipped all the way to Canada for a dear friend who is expecting in January.  I wanted to make something that would be warm and comforting in those last few months of pregnancy (the absolute WORST in my opinion!) but also something that could be used to snuggle a newborn close or even a nursing cover up.  It is made using the softest yarn I have ever touched, Sensations Angel Hair, seriously, feels like a fluffy cloud!!!

I used the Tunisian crochet book ERL bought me a couple months back as a guideline for increasing and decreasing and loosely followed a pattern for an asymmetrical shawl in the book.  It is done in Tunisian Simple Stitch throughout with a size N afghan hook, which really made a nice, dense fabric and should make it very warm.  I really should have measured the finished product, as I have no idea how long it is, but it can be draped in a number of ways.

Thanks for stopping by!  Coming soon, more Simple Gifts and maybe even a tutorial!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Simple Gifts #2

Today's simple gift comes courtesy of a great new blog I've discovered, Crafting Rebellion.  This Purse Sized Notebook was so simple and inexpensive I couldn't wait to try it out! 

Crafting Rebellion has gifted us with a fantastic tutorial here.
Go there right away and try one out for yourself!  I have a feeling once you make one you will want to make many!  I've made two so far, one was made and gifted to a friend who was under the weather and not photographed, and here's a shot of my second attempt:

The beauty of this project is that you can make it as plain or as fancy as you like.  I didn't have a good coordinating color to ribbon wrap the ring, but i like the simplicity of it as is.

I always claim to not like the color orange, but I seem to find myself going with orange and other fall-ish colors this time of year.  Who could blame me when you see the wonders of autumn in Denver all around?

Go out and crunch some leaves under your feet, enjoy a little bit of autumn!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Simple Gifts #1

I've mentioned the huge family and wanting to make everyone a little something this year for the holidays, so I thought I'll take you guys along with me by providing links, guidelines and mini tutorials of inexpensive, quick and simple projects.

I spent a lot of time browsing around the craft blogs this week and came across this wonderful tutorial on Yarnista.  I was able to get out and about and made my way to the Not So Stinky Thrift and was lucky enough to find a styrofoam wreath, a steal at 99 cents.   Here's a quick in-progress shot:
I did a bit of searching for fabric flower patterns, but in the end settled on the felt flowers in the tutorial.  The finished result is so sweet on its own, I love the imperfection of them, as I hate to measure!   Here's one I did using pinking shears, the second shows one cutting the circle with a little bit of a scalloped edge.
 These flowers would be perfect for many projects, embellishing headbands, attached to a clip or pin for a sweet little barrette, or even grouped together for a nice brooch.
I was fussy about placement of the flowers and had a serious fear of over-embellishing, so I didn't use either of these on the finished wreath.  All in all the project would have only taken around an hour, had I not been interrupted several times to tend to Babygirl and other domestic duties! :)
I love the simplicity of it, so pretty and all in all cost maybe two dollars in materials.  I'm having a hard time deciding how to finish it (as usual) so I haven't done anything with the hanging part yet.  I'm thinking maybe some wide ribbon...suggestions?
Yarn Mountain De-Stash Value=  half a skein of soft boucle, which I have quite a bit of, so there will likely be more wreaths in my future to get rid of it!

Ok, I confess, I also bought yarn at the above mentioned thrift store, but really, how could I resist this lovely wool/mohair blend in my favorite colors???
More projects to come, Happy Friday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rediscovering Cross Stitch

Way back in the middle school days, I took an afterschool class in cross stitch.  I remember enjoying it, but quickly dropping it since it wasn't exactly the cool thing for a 13 year old girl to be doing in her spare time!  Years passed and I decided to give a stamped cross stitch blanket kit when I was pregnant....never finished it.  See a pattern here?!  I always liked it, but seemed to lack the motivation to take it further.

In my never ending quest to be buried alive by books, I picked up the hilarious book Makoto's Cross-Stitch Super Collection.  It is so funny and full of small charts that are funny and simple enough for a beginner x-stitcher such as myself, as well as some modern project ideas.  Anyway, I've done a couple of the charts for little things like bookmarks and then while flipping through it one day, was inspired!

I had been in a bit of a slump and had to make a book for the One Tiny Book swap over on Craftster, and this seemed a perfect time to attempt to combine fabric and paper!

The base of the book is a 3" by 3" children's board book that i covered in scrapbook paper.  Edges are painted due to my lack of skills with the Exacto knife, but the color was a perfect match straight out of the bottle!

My partner was the lovely hgddm and she had a wonderful Pinboard full of nautical stuff.  Each page is wrapped in jute twine that I picked up at the good ole Dollar Tree.

Isn't the crab great?!  Too funny!

My favorite:  the shark!!!

...and the front and back cover, octopus is yet another Dollar Tree Treasure!

This project was VERY time consuming due to all the stitching and waiting for glue and paint to dry, but absolutely worth it!  I will definitely do it again with another theme in the near future :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Again with the embroidery!

Just can't help myself!  Here's my latest project, which presented an ENORMOUS challenge for me, but I fell in love with the pattern, provided for free by Gina Matarazzo (thank you!!!) so I welcomed the learning opportunity!

Its mostly done in back stitch but also some satin, split and the squiggles on the birds were done in the scalloping chain stitch I found in the Sublime Stitching book.
Oh!  and a special thanks to the Sublime Stitching website, for having a great tutorial on the french knot!  I went through four needlework books instructions and couldn't figure the buggers out until I found their tutorial.
I actually did count the french knots in this piece and there are 220!  Whew!
A few close ups!

Have a lovely week!  I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stitchin Away

Remember that time Spidermom wrote a blog post about a Yarn Mountain that was in serious need of de-stashing?  Yeah...about that...I have a tendency to be easily distracted when it comes to crafts.  I set out to do a lot of practicing crochet technique this summer, making small projects.  I promise I really did that, for a little bit.  But then...I found an afghan hook looking sad and unloved on a clearance rack and raced home to pull out my favorite craft book EVER, the Readers Digest Complete Book of Needlework from 1979 that I rescued from a thrift store (not the Stinky Thrift, but a rather fancy one on the other side of town, we'll call it the Not Stinky Thrift)

I followed instructions for basic Tunsian Stitches and made a little pouch., which, to the amazement of my family (i.e. NinjaBoy) it looked like it had been knitted!  How could I not have to play with that for a while?  So ERL bought me a book on Tunisian crochet and the completely awesome Denise Interchangeable Crochet Hook set and I'm now working on two projects, one for a friend, and the other is actually for me!

Anyway, that is my excuse for not following through with my goals even after I publicly set them!  This post is supposed to be about stitching, of which I have been doing TONS.   I am crazy for embroidery.  I've always touted the relaxing qualities of crochet, but I'm starting to think that embroidery may top it.  It can be dangerous, however.

This wicked iron burn is from cutting out a transfer on the ironing board while the iron heated up.  Duh.  That's my first craft related injury in a long time.  The kids all think its cool and NinjaBoy said its gonna be an awesome scar.  Thanks buddy, but there goes my dream of becoming a forearm model.

The embroidery binge was started by being contacted by the fantastic artist Spooky Pooky to do a personal swap, after she saw this piece that I made for a Doctor Who swap over on Craftster.
Lady Cassandra is a bizarre and often forgotten villain on Doctor Who, but one of my favorites because she is just so very weird.  It's a 4" hoop and all my own design, of which I am very proud.  It makes me laugh, and for those of you who don't watch Doctor Who and are thinking "nerd alert! nerd alert!" behave and give it a try, its really so much fun.  Kids even like it, and you know kids have the best taste in TV. ;)

As far as other people's desings go, I am in love with Aimee Ray's designs and picked up Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection which I highly recommend and adore.  Stitched this hoop up for lanikins for a birthday gift (late, because she's really hard to make stuff for because she's an incredible artist).

I love this tree, and had some fun with different stitches (sorta, still consider myself very much a novice!).  Tree trunk is stem stitch, flowers and circles are back and satin stitch.

How bout some artsy shots?

I have a new camera, but am still working on using it to its full potential and I have really weird lighting in my house and/or I have no patience to wait for optimum light to take pictures of stuff I make.

Stay tuned, more projects almost finished in the works and cross your fingers next post will be wound free!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yarn Mountain

About a week ago, I came home happily clutching my bag full of yarn from my last trip to... wherever it was, there was a deal I just couldn't pass it up....I realized that I actually had no where put it.  Yarn Mountain appeared to be above capacity!  What a mess!  I did not take a before picture, it was just too scary to commemorate with a photograph. I did spend around and hour and a half cutting off WIP's, balling yarn and generally organizing.   Yarn Mountain is now all neat-ish and not quite embarrassing (aside from the messy bookshelf beside it!)
When I took the photo I realized I may have a problem.  Especially when there was still another pic to be taken:
For honesty's sake, I'll admit that there are still a few bags/cubbies that have yarn stashed in them, but I won't bore you with those.  My yarn stash is ridiculous, and I have been inspired.
Took a walk through the city with the family and found a construction site that had crochet flowers lining the surrounding fence.  Yay! Yarn Bombing!  Love it.
I made a mini pledge to myself that I will spend the summer getting better at crocheting.  I want to feel confident that I can do a difficult pattern, and be able to "whip things up" without stress.  Further inspiration came when I read this article over on Crochet Spot.  Perfect!  I love the idea of making small projects throughout the summer and storing them up, I have a lot of extended family  out of state and I would love to be able to send Xmas gifts to them.  So, I have been crocheting like crazy!
Two top secret small projects off on an adventure, elusive too, they haven't even been photographed!  I got the new Ana Paula Rimoli book Amigurumi Toy Box and have completed two projects from it, my favorite, for my little buddy way up North, who has named him Mr. Fock:
He's wonky, but I love him.

And a teeny cake for Shorty's BFF's birthday:

Sunday I sat on my mom's patio with a big skein of sorta ugly cotton yarn and made her a pair of slippers.
Came home and made a coaster for my desk, with same sorta ugly yarn.  Seems not as ugly on the coaster, don't you think?  Or maybe I'm just getting used to it and getting attached....

I'm going to work my way through Yarn Mountain and make something, even if its a coaster, every single day.  By the time I make that pile of yarn smaller I hope to be able to feel justified in buying that higher end yarn, for now, I've got a lot of cotton and acrylic to work with.  I see a lot of Amigurumi and potholders in my future....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

Spring is a hectic time in Mommyville.  Band concerts, field days, and picnics abound!  I have a mixed feeling of dread and relief when it comes to the summertime approaching, love the lazy days but hard to keep the wee little monsters occupied for two and a half months!  Amid all the chaotic days I have been crafting like crazy but too busy to share.  So here we go, catching up on all you've missed while I've been in hiding.

I have an awesome cyber-buddy/penpal/friend that recently had a birthday.  I've had a list of ideas for birthday gifts running for months prior, so it was hard to whittle down the list due to time constraints, with her living in another country and all!  A while back I scored a stack of vintage iron on embroidery transfers and in that stack was an adorable set of Days of the Week patterns, that are, well, lets just say a little politically incorrect.  I've been unable to figure out exactly when they were made, but my mom said probably 1960's at the earliest due to something about the printer having an address with a zip code. At any rate, I just love them to death and really had a hard time sending the first two days of the week off, but I knew they would be appreciated, especially for one who has just purchased a new home.

I intend for this lovely lady to have the whole weeks worth of international tea towels by the end of summer :)

Among the list of things I wanted to make was this lovely little bookmark, the great, easy to follow tutorial found on How About Orange.  This was a quick, fun project and I intend to make lots more.

Of course I couldn't send a package without making a little something out of yarn.  This headband was a pattern from Ravelry that I altered a bit to accommodate the fine yarn, and I dumped a huge jar of vintage buttons to find the lovely one I used in the center of the flower.  Bonita wears it well, but I'm willing to bet the recipient looks even cuter in it!

All in all, I hope she had a fantastic birthday!  Many more projects to share, check back soon!

P.S.  If you aren't reading Ruby Murrays Musings you are really missing out!
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