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Tag Archives: holidays

  • Halloween Tote: Reflective® Finish

    My last blog entry told you about my trials and tribulations while learning how to crochet in the round. I shared with you my swatches and what I learned from each example.  I was very anxious to get started using the yarn specific for the project, Halloween Tote.  The project is one from Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.

    All the projects in this leaflet use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.  October 31st is fast approaching so let me make one more review of my project instructions and off I go to get started!

    Having crocheted multiple swatches earlier, familiarized me to the pattern instructions, as well as setting my expectations of working with multiple strands of yarn. Not that some unexpected twists and turns couldn't happen, but I thought I was prepared. Oops; a snag!

    I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful! I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful!

    Both of these snagged areas looked worse than they were! I could easily tuck any loose fibers in between all four strands of yarn. I finished the bottom and was pleased that I did not have large holes in the composition of each stitch.

    The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P, 11.5 mm. The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P [11.5 mm].

    I chose to work with the middle hook as pictured above. The size stamped on it says Size P [11.5 mm]. This is smaller than the millimeter hook range as listed in the book's project instructions (SizeP/Q [15 mm]) but I was pleased with the results and the hook was comfortable to hold.

    As I approached Round 11 I took a closer look at my rounds and was pleased, except...except for the joining stitches! I couldn't understand why each stitch looked so loose on several rounds. Then I counted my most recent round and had one too many stitches! OUCH! I was very frustrated because I thought I marked the proper first single crochet stitch and managed the tension successfully while holding four strands. Quite the contrary!

    I did some research about the joining of rounds and what pitfalls crocheters experience. The reply by Karen of Colour in a Simple Life to one of her reader's problems addressed this issue. Karen showed a marked photograph, as well as a written explanation, which solved my dilemma; read it here in the blog entry, Colour in the Winter Blues from 2013.  Thank you, Karen!

    I do not have a picture of the ugliness of the five rounds before I ripped them out. But I was relieved to know that there was a solution -- and it really worked. I'll show you several pictures of the corrected rounds with their joining stitches looking neat and blending in with the other single crochet stitches quite nicely.

    The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker. The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker.
    The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try. The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try.
    Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round. Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round.
    Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round. Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round.

    I was happy to continue with my orange for the tote's body. Soon, I must change colors to black for the top section which included making handles. Another challenge since I had never done anything other than a flat pattern. It's tricky to work with dark colors because it really is challenging to see the stitches. Thank goodness I wasn't learning a new stitch on top of using a dark color for the first time!

    Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch! Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch!

    I did have to rip out the first handle once, but after that I "saw" the stitches more clearly and could complete the handles successfully. If I was an experienced crocheter, I might have opted to make the handles thicker. I say this because if this tote bag will be used by an avid trick-or-treater who might gather multiple pounds of candy, while swinging the bag to-and-fro, I might try to add another round to the handles.

    It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK! It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK!

    Okay - let's make this tote bag Halloween-ready...

    Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun! Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun!

    The spider web was not difficult to do. Just count the number of stitches/spaces to determine where to stitch your web in a fairly symmetrical placement on your Halloween Tote. Ta-dah, done! I love it, and not in a braggadocios way, but in an accomplished manner. It is a very compact and sturdy tote bag.

    Have fun getting revved up for October 31st by planning your decorations, costumes, and trick-or-treat travel route. Happy Halloween!

    Martha

     

  • Pumpkin Craft Dioramas for Gnomes & Fairies

    Can you tell it's coming? Or, have you already felt it, smelled it, seen it?  The changes are happening. Whatever you call it, autumn or fall, for the Northern Hemisphere September brings the autumnal equinox. For many, it is a much-awaited time of year bringing in crisp weather, football, school activities and....pumpkins! If you love pumpkins, you will want to incorporate them in your seasonal decorations with gnomes and fairies by updating your fall home decor with a pumpkin craft diorama!

    In recent years, I have admired the creative displays showing different methods to decorate pumpkins. I have wanted to make a pumpkin craft diorama but was always tentative with the planning, carving and decorating. This year, I have my gnomes, fairies and accessories, so it was time to take the plunge and make a pumpkin craft diorama!

    First, I needed to purchase a pumpkin; a fake pumpkin. I opted to get a pre-carved artificial pumpkin ready for diorama creativity. One is good, two is better. I bought two pumpkins; a 13 inch tall orange pumpkin, and a round 9 inch white pumpkin. I also purchased mosses as my artificial terrain for inside the pumpkins.

    Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin. Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin.

    The next decision I made was not to permanently adhere anything to the pumpkins. I did not use glue or pins or tacks. I also did not carve any other architectural designs in the frame of the pumpkins; I did not add any windows or other doorways. I used mounting putty to help place the mosses and accent pieces from my kits.

    Sheet moss to fill fake pumpkin while creating your pumpkin craft. Diorama terrain will be created using preserved Spanish Moss, preserved Sheet Moss, mounting putty, battery operated tea lights, and polyester fill.

    Hmmm--what else might I try to include in my pumpkin craft dioramas? I used a brand new book as my guide; I relied on Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! as my go-to resource for both the dioramas and other decorative ideas. In addition to my new Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! book, I chose various accent pieces from my kits by Leisure Arts that include  #47858 - Woodland Garden Kit, #47870 - Fairy Garden Kit, #47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes, #47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies:

    Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkin craft by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface! Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkins by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface!
    47858 Pieces included in item 47858 - Woodland Garden Kit.
    47870 Pieces included in item 47870 - Fairy Garden Kit.
    47961 Gnome figurines included in item 47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes.
    47962 Fairy figurines included in item 47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies.

    Now to begin! Review the size of your pumpkins, including their height, the height and width of your carved opening, the diorama pieces and then start arranging. TIP: Make a few sketches of your design arrangements. Just in case one idea doesn't work, a back-up plan has already been formulated! Start by placing some polyester fill into the bottom of your pumpkins, add your artificial turf of choice and move on to your decorative pieces.

    Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss. Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss.

    To incorporate the look of outside terrain being part of my pumpkins, I used two different kinds of mosses to give different textures to the terrain. I tacked up some artificial leaves on the inside back wall of each pumpkin, and some on the outside, too. Thinking of a tabletop display, I also placed a fairy and a gnome outside of the pumpkin craft diorama standing among the fallen leaves as if they were visitors.

    Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities. Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities.

    Remember, I am not permanently gluing anything to the pumpkins. This can be tricky when it comes to placing the figurines, especially since I am also trying to create the effect of a hilly meadow! I didn't want the gnomes and fairies to fall face down into the moss. I purposely placed a mushroom in front of this fairy to help steady her stance on the hillside. The mushrooms are on long wire stems. (They easily pierced through the sheet moss into the polyester fill underneath.)

    The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches. The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches.

    I incorporated artificial lighting in my diorama by hanging some tea lights using mounting putty for a very low-light effect; these images do not reflect a low-light setting.

    More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air. More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air.

    The pattern templates for the bats and black leaves are included in Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! It's a great additional effect to remind us of the changing seasons - or even to precede the Halloween festivities coming in October!

    I am pleased with my first attempt at pumpkin craft dioramas. Since none of my decorations are permanently adhered to the pumpkins, I can change everything from the backdrops and terrain, to the accent pieces and surrounding thematic settings. Another wonderful positive about the dioramas having changeable pieces is the invitation for interactive play. How awesome it would be for youngsters to play with these figurines in a setting like this!

    A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkins used to house all mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes! A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkin craft dioramas housing mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes!

    Now I have plenty of time to plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. I wonder what the gnomes and fairies will be up to during November and December? I bet they'll have something fun in store for us!

    Until next time, have some creative fun!

    Martha

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!

    Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Coloring Books Make Easter Egg Artwork

    During early spring, the elliptical egg shape represents Easter better than none other. I have baskets, decorative eggs and ceramic bunnies, but a simple egg shape in springtime colors was lacking in my home decor. This void gave me further inspiration to find new ways in which to showcase my love for coloring!

    I knew I wanted to use an egg shape and pages from my coloring books. Now the decision was to find the right project. I was inspired by this Pinterest project Paper Strip Easter Egg Art  but wanted to use my own interpretation of the project to make it in my own style. I loved how this project kept evolving during my preparatory steps; here's what I did.

    I gathered my supplies. I used lightly painted coloring book pages instead of scrapbook paper for the paper strips. To assist in applying a thinner coat of acrylic paint to the pages, I first dipped my sponge brush into water, then blotted the excess water from the sponge. Blotting prevented the paper from getting too wet. To prevent the pages' corners from curling while drying, I held them in place with wooden clothespins. I repeated the painting procedure for the back side of each page, too.

    Preparing and gathering supplies. Coloring book pages painted using various acrylic colors. Cellophane tape and spray adhesive (not pictured) were both used later in the project. Preparing and gathering supplies. Coloring book pages painted using various acrylic colors. Cellophane tape and spray adhesive (not pictured) were both used later in the project.

    Here is how the coloring book pages looked once the paint dried.

    Pages from 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Pages from 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    There is some variation in depth of color due to the application of the acrylic paint. You will cut varying widths for your strips from each page so a little striation of color will not take away from your final project.

    Close-up of painted pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Close-up of painted pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    I prepared my paper strips by cutting them between 0.75"w - 1.5"w. Next, I arranged them in a color pattern that I liked on top of a piece of 12"w x 9"h construction paper.

    Various paper strip widths cut from painted coloring book pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Various paper strip widths cut from painted coloring book pages; 6705 - Living Wonders Color Art for Everyone, 6707 - Kaleidoscope Wonders Color Art for Everyone, and 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    Next, you will have to decide on the size and shape of your ellipse or egg-shape. During my painting, I decided to cut my sample egg-shape from a piece of paper in landscape mode, instead of portrait mode. I used my precision single-edged blade to cut my final egg-shape from my practice piece of paper when it was turned to measure 11"w x 8.5"h.

    Egg shape cut from blank paper; choose a size for your project. Egg shape cut from blank paper; choose a size for your project.

    After viewing my strip pattern through the egg-shaped cut-out, I firmly decided to use another coloring book page as the top 'layer' or mat over the cut strips. Just to make sure, I made a sample of the coloring book page.

    Testing a coloring book page as the top mat from which to cut my egg shape; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers. Testing a coloring book page as the top mat from which to cut my egg shape; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    I definitely liked the potential of this design! Once I made the final arrangement of the cut strips, I taped the ends of each strip to the construction paper. I started coloring a few of the flowers on the coloring book page that would become the top mat. The flowers were colored using colored pencils and markers; 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers.

    Thinking about the life and use of my future-finished project, I considered laminating the completed art pages together. Lamination would allow me to use my project page as a placemat or other table decor that would not get harmed by the elements or by frequent handling. But just in case I wanted to hang my project, I looked for a smaller egg-shape allowing extra space around the edges of the coloring book page as margins for a mat and/or frame.

    After the final egg-shape was cut from the finished coloring book page, I applied spray adhesive to the back of the coloring book page and mounted it over the painted paper strips onto the construction paper base. I trimmed the excess construction paper away from my coloring book page. Now I'm nervous -- it's time to laminate! There's no going back after this step. I have to understand that if I make a mistake, to accept the project as is; I can't undo lamination.

    Yes; I decided to use a coloring book page as my top mat over my painted strips of paper. I held the painted paper strips in place with tape on a piece of construction paper as my bottom layer. Yes; I decided to use a coloring book page as my top mat over my painted strips of paper. I held the painted paper strips in place with tape on a piece of construction paper as my bottom layer.

    YEAH; the lamination worked well; the page looks great! Notice below how I placed my laminated project page on top of a blue linen so that viewing the margins between the coloring book page and the edge of the laminated cover would be visible.

    Use an adhesive spray to mount the coloring book page on top of the paper strips/construction paper bottom layer; then laminate. Use an adhesive spray to mount the coloring book page on top of the paper strips/construction paper bottom layer; then laminate.

    I placed my finished, laminated page in a frame with a mat. See the close-up of the finished product.

    Close-up of laminated Easter Egg Paper Strip Project. Close-up of laminated Easter Egg Paper Strip Project.

    Save your leftover painted pages for another project.

    Leftover painted pages will be upcycled for another use. Leftover painted pages will be upcycled for another use.

    Shred the excess pages. Now use the paper shred around a potted plant as filler, or...

    Here are the leftover painted pages - their new use is as shredded paper as filler for baskets or potted plants. Here are the leftover painted pages - their new use can be as shredded paper filler for potted plants.

    ...as Easter basket grass!

    Finale - Easter egg coloring book paper strip project. In the foreground: unused painted pages shredded for use as Easter basket grass! Finale - Easter egg coloring book paper strip project. In the foreground: unused painted pages shredded for use as Easter basket grass!

    Enjoy making something new this season; wishing you hoppy days!

    Martha

  • Using Coloring Pages for Another Craft

    020

    What do you do when you finish a page in a coloring book for adults?  I was going to be flippant and say "You're an adult. You do whatever you want with it.", but now I'm curious about what you do with your own coloring books at home.  Do you stick pages on the fridge you own because you're an adult?  Use a page as a bookmark in a coffee table book on your grown-up coffee table? I decided to turn one of my coloring pages into a craft.  Here's a page I colored a while back.  It's a nice leafy-looking page from Natural Wonders.

    010

    And here's my gratitude tree.

    034

    I n case Pinterest hasn't told you, a gratitude tree is a fun Thanksgiving craft where you write down what you're thankful for on scraps of paper and then affix them to a branch.  I found this branch on the sidewalk while on a walk last week and brought it home just for this.  It's a little bit too large for our table, but my little girl thinks the seed pods look like bats and she loves it just as it is.  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces of paper with some scrapbooking paper and she's been practicing her handwriting while we think of all the things we're thankful for.  Last year, we did 3 or 4 leaves a day and it was a lot of fun.  I also really like emphasizing all the people we love and all the good things we have before the season of Christmas advertising and the subsequent begging for every toy in sight begins.  Look closely! There's a leaf on the right that says "Mom"!  She's thankful for me and I have it in writing now!

    024

    So back to my coloring page.  It has leaves.  I have a tree. So  I cut out a few pieces of leaves.

    011

    And wrote down a few things I am thankful for.

    017

    And as for the rest of the paper?  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces.

    019

    It's good to have a stash of leaves.  I've even gotten ahead of the game this year and added some yarn loops by threading a tapestry needle, pulling it through the paper, and tying the ends together in a knot.  You can use Christmas ornament hooks or a hot glue gun and it will work just as well.  Because we're all adults here, and (at least when it comes to crafting) we can do whatever we want.

    But for real, let me know what you do with your finished coloring sheets if you feel like sharing!

  • Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I love all the decorations. I like to drive around and look at everyone else’s decorated yards. I leave my decorations up until the day after Day of the Dead. I was looking for something quick and easy project to do. Something that I can work on in and out of the car this week while waiting in the carpool line at school or while waiting on after school activities. I went through all of my Leisure Art Books and found this cute Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin dishcloth in a book called A Dishcloth a Month.

    I was just finishing tucking in all my ends when my friend asked me if it was a new coaster for our table at the new knit shop. I said I had not planned on it but why not. It is slightly big for a coaster but it is really cute idea for decorating a table. So I am in the process of making a few more for our knit/crochet table. I am even going to crochet some without the Jack-O-Lantern face. You just follow the pattern and as if you had changed your color from orange to black. My favorite part I will only have four ends to run in or tuck in. Whichever way you want say it. You can even use brown for the stem instead of the green. Since it is fall I can keep the ones without faces through Thanksgiving. It’s a win! Win! I hope that you have had as much fun with this Jack-O-Lantern pattern as I have. I used 100% cotton. I am going to check and see if Sugar n Cream has a variegated fall colored yarn for some of my solid pumpkins. I think that would be really cute.

     

  • Pumpkin Hat

    100 Hats to Knit & Crochet

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I have a friend with a new baby. So, I thought I would crochet him a cute little Pumpkin Hat. I used Crème de la Crème 100% cotton. I used three different colors orange, brown, and green. This pattern will fit an infant/toddler. I didn't get this pattern from a Leisure Arts book. 100 Hats to Knit and Crochet has hats that you could modify to work for your needs.

    Pumpkin Crochet Hat

    With a size G hook. Chain 60 stitches. Join in the round with a slip stitch. Be careful not to twist!

    Row 1: With main color (orange) chain 1, single crochets all the way around, and slip stitch into the chain 1. Row 2: Chain 3, double crochets all the way around. Continue Row 2 until the hat is about 3.25(3 ¼) to 3.50(3 ½) inches tall.

    Decrease is chain 3, 7 double crochet, and crochet 2 together, then 8 double stitches and crochet 2 together. You are going to continue decreasing by 1 stitch until you finish the chain 3 and 3 double crochet and crochet 2 together, 4 double crochet and crochet 2 together.

    Color change/Stem: To join the brown yarn slip stitch where you slipped the last stitch, chain 2, double crochet around. I didn’t crochet 2 together on the first round, because I did 2 regular double crochets into the next two stitches. The 3rd and 5th stitch a double into the middle of the lower stitch, and the 4th double crochet I went into the lower stitch. Continue this all the way around. The next round start your decreases chain 3, 2 double crochet and crochet 2 together, 3 double crochet and crochet 2 together. Continue decreasing by 1 stitch until you get to six stitches left and do double crochets until you get the stem length that you want then crochet 2 together 3 times.

    Green curly cue: Chain 35 stitches or however many you want to do. Do 6 double crochets into the 2nd stitch and 4 more stitches into ever chain stitch. Bind off when you get to the end. With a darning needle or crochet hook attach where ever you want it.

  • Boot Cuff

    Cool-Weather Family Fashions

    I needed a quick project to take on the go this week. I looked through all my Leisure Arts books and I saw these really cute Boot Cuffs in Cool-Weather Family Fashions. I used a bulky wool yarn. I have no idea what the name of this cream colored yarn is. I hate when my labels fall off. It was a yarn that I had in my stash.

    FullSizeRender (36) Use a place marker on the knit row side. This is the right side.

    Finished Cool Weather Fashions Boot Cuff

    I knitted the Boot Cuffs on size 11 straight needles. I love the pattern that this makes. It is quite a lovey stitch. One row is a rib stitch and the next row is a knit. I’m going to do a scarf or a cowl next with this stitch. If you want to knit this and you don’t like sewing up the sides you of your projects. You could cast on the number of stitches that you need for the size you require onto double point needles. Join in the round making sure not to twist. I know that is what I’m going to do next time I knit these. Remember Christmas is just a little over 3 months away. These would be a quick and easy project for someone who loves to wear boots.

    Boot cuffs as ear warmers Or a boot cuff for a dog cowl or earmuffs. Just kidding!!! I am not that bad!
  • Sewing??

    I haven’t wanted to sew on a sewing machine since I graduated from my year of home economics in high school. I have probably had nightmares over the years over my experience in home economics. The first semester was cooking and the second semester was sewing. Cooking wasn't a problem. I had been cooking with my mother and both of my grandmothers since I was probably four or five. My mother picked my first sewing project and bought all the material for it. This could be part of my problem because it wasn't something that I would ever have chosen for myself. She chose a jumper like the ones that you see kids wear to private school for me to sew and the material was tan khaki cotton. I should know - I wore one myself when I started to school. I was in a private Christian School; my jumper was red, white, and blue plaid. In fourth grade I switched to public school. Cutting the pattern wasn't the problem, it was sewing all the pieces together. I had so many holes from ripping out stitches. I dreaded the day that we had to wear our finished projects to school. I packed an extra set of clothes to change into right after class. I never wore that jumper again. I now have a fear of sewing machines.

    I am more comfortable making and sewing things by hand. The last couple of years I have contemplated overcoming my fear of the dreaded sewing machine. Both of my grandmothers sewed quite beautifully; even my mother can sew. I was going through the Leisure Arts' website looking at books on everything but sewing when I stumbled across Pat Sloan’s book I Can’t Believe I’m Sewing. I thought to myself that it was time to overcome my fear of the sewing machine. It was easy not fretting over sewing on a sewing machine if you do not own one. I asked my friends on Facebook if they sewed and if they did, what is the best machine to learn on. One of my friends said that they had a new sewing machine still in the box and asked if I would like to use it. Yes!! Please!! So I have her new machine - don’t laugh, it’s a Hello Kitty sewing machine. But hey it works.

    With the book and my friend who lives next door neighbor came over and gave me a quick review. I was surprised about what all I remembered from my home economics class. The only problem that I had with the machine is my bobbin kept shooting out at me. Seriously!! It was shooting out at me like it was possessed or something. I finally tilted it back a little so I could try inserting the bobbin one last time and the problem was I wasn't getting it into a little notch. But once in I had no more shooting bobbins. My first project on the sewing machine was small. I chose A Coaster Set from Pat Sloan’s book. I used tracing paper to trace the pattern and cut it out so I would cut all my material the same size. They aren't the most perfectly sewn coasters. My lines maybe a little wonky but hey I did it. I am ready for my next sewing project. I have some extra material; I will practice on some more coasters. I might even make some for gifts.

    FullSizeRender (15) Coasters

     

  • Birthday and Mother's Day Cards

    I have been so busy with making birthdays gifts in April that I completely forgot about Mother’s Day. So please don’t tell my mother!!! Even with all the TV and radio ads I guess in my head I thought I still had plenty of time. I like making my own gifts for my friends and family. I know in a previous blog post that I said my new favorite book is Crafting with Buttons and Ribbons by Leisure Arts. In this book I think my gift cards are called Gift Tags I thought they would look really cute cutout and glued onto blank cards that I found at Michael’s craft store.

    Birthday Cupcake Birthday Cupcake

    They have the templates in the book to help you make cards or tags. All you have to do is make a copy of it or trace it. I used tracing paper to trace the cupcake and the bird. You could probably even use white tissue paper if you don’t have any tracing paper. For the birthday cupcakes cards I used felt for the icing and the inside of a sleeve that they use for hot cups at Starbucks for the bottom. On my next cupcake that I plan on using tiny buttons for my sprinkles instead of tiny colorful bits of felt. But for my mother’s day card I used a piece of scrapbook paper for the bird, a piece of felt for the wing and a button for the eye. I just used good old fashioned Elmore’s glue to glue all the pieces onto the cards. Good Luck! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mamma’s from two legged babies to four legged fur babies!!

    Mother's Day Mother's Day

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