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  • Join The #HumansThatYarn Movement From The Craft Yarn Council

    The Craft Yarn Council (CYC) represents the leading yarn companies, accessory manufacturers, magazine, book publishers, and consultants in the yarn industry. For more than 35 years the Council has sponsored a wide range of promotional and educational programs, including its highly acclaimed Certified Instructors Program, Discover Knit and Crochet classes, and its popular I Love YARN Day event (the second Saturday in October), which offers a virtual meeting place for the nation's knitters and crocheters. They're working on a great campaign right now for Fall that's meant to break you out of your crafty comfort zone, and encourage you to see how yarn can have multiple functional and fashionable uses.

    A New Way to Play With Yarn From The Craft Yarn Council

    Craft Yarn Council

    Yarn encompasses a wide array of crafts, including knitting, crochet, macrame, weaving, punch needle and much more. But more than that, yarn encompasses a wide array of people. Rather than focus on one specific type of yarn project, the Craft Yarn Council’s Fall 2018 campaign will focus on the people behind yarn crafts. Humans That Yarn is an inclusive campaign that aims to showcase all the different types of crafts that can be made with yarn and the different types of people who identify as a 'yarnist'.

    Craft Yarn Council
    The campaign has several goals aimed at making the fiber world more inclusive. One of those goals is to break down the barriers of entry for people who may see yarn crafting as too difficult or uncool. Another is to encourage people who already craft with yarn to take up a new yarn craft. Craft Yarn Council studies have shown that the most common reasons for not participating in yarn crafts are lack of knowledge on how to get started (32%) and the perception that knitting/crocheting (and other yarn crafts) are difficult to learn (28%). Recent research has also shown that 48% of non-knitters and crocheters use yarn in other ways, whether they are wrapping yarn around a dowel for a wall hanging or around cardboard to make pompoms.

    Craft Yarn Council

    How To Be The Very Best #Yarnist

    Through social media interviews, videos, photography and blog posts, the campaign will increase interest and conversation about yarn crafts. The term “yarnist” will be introduced alongside the campaign to demonstrate that no matter how you use yarn, you are a “yarnist” (yarn artist). For inspiration, ideas and tips for teaching others a new yarn craft, free patterns, yarn project ideas, giveaways and more, make sure to check out our social media pages, including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Tag your posts with #humansthatyarn and #yarnist. Here's some inspiration from us on how to be the very best!

    Dare to be Bold.

    Humans That Yarn Rainbow Yarn Vases - Yarn Crafts

    Yarn can be used for so many crafts, and can create so many new life hacks and trendy home decor projects. Just like these rainbow vases (above), you can use yarn to create endless possibilities for your common home decor items!

    It's not just for Crochet and Knit!

    Humans That Yarn A New Twist on Macrame - Wall Hanging

    Yarn is associated with popular crafts like knit and crochet, but those aren't limiting the medium at all! You can create hybrid craft projects all the time using yarn, just look at this stunning macrame project (above).

    The Best Yarnists Share!

    Humans That Yarn Yarn Crafts - Pom-Pom Wreath
    Humans That Yarn Yarn Crafts - Arrow Wall Hanging

    Yarn gifts make for the best soft and cuddly gifts around. Why not make as many as possible and share the love? People can never have too much wall decor, especially during the holiday seasons!

    As you can see, there are tons of unique ways to become a #yarnist and join the movement. So, what are you waiting for? Go out into the world of yarn and go buy some baubles. Discover a new side of creativity as you hashtag your way through the next few months, and become part of the #HumansThatYarn Movement.

    Have fun, Yarnists!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Wall Hangings That Will Bring Out The Interior Decorator In You

    We've all done it. We've seen the fancy fiber art wall hangings that are typically in niche home decor stores, or luxurious art galleries, and take it off the rack, ready to give it a new home. But then you feel the cold stab of betrayal as you flip the price tag and see that the wall art you loved so much, costs a lot more than you would like to spend. Et Tu, department store markups?

    That's why we had Sharon Silverman come in to save the day with her awesome guest blog, and show you that you can teach those department stores who's boss! You can learn to craft beautiful crochet wall hangings that won't break your bank, and will make you look like you vacation in Cabo every third Wednesday.

    Take it away, Sharon!

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    I love browsing in furniture stores, don’t you? It’s so much fun to see the vignettes they have set up for home, office, and outdoors. Being a fiber artist, I always pay particular attention to the accessories. What kinds of rugs and afghans are popular? How about the pillows? What type of art is on the walls?

    There are plenty of furniture stores to explore in and around the newly expanded King of Prussia Mall, just 35 minutes from my home in Pennsylvania: Arhaus, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and more. Recently, I started to notice a common theme in their textiles: lots of fabric and yarn wall-hangings, including some that took me right back to the macramé days of my youth! Seeing those put a smile on my face, but the price tags didn’t. Hundreds of dollars for pieces that I knew I could make myself for a fraction of the cost—and so could you.

    That was the beginning of the idea for Wall Hangings.

    Wall Hangings Wall Hangings

    Once I got the go-ahead from Leisure Arts, I started coming up with designs. I wanted to incorporate flourishes like tassels, pom-poms, and fringe in some of the designs. Exuberant Embellishments uses a variety of yarn weights and textures from Lion Brand Yarn: LB Collection Wool, Romance, Color Clouds, Vanna’s Glamour, and Glitterspun. 

    My Wall Hangings

    Wall Hangings Exuberant Embellishments

    The neutral colors of the piece let the textures and finishes of the yarn stand out. Even though I am usually a fan of lightweight yarn, I really love the chunkiness of the fringe and some of the larger stitches.

    Winding Links also incorporates pom-poms and tassels, but this time in a consistent yarn weight. I used Red Heart Super Saver in brown (Coffee) and Aqua (Aruba Sea), but you could choose any two contrasting colors that complement your décor. 

    Wall Hangings Winding Links

    Winding Links is made in segments and then hung on a dowel. I-cords are used to hang the segments at various heights and to connect them to each other. If you haven’t mastered crocheted I-cord, this is a good chance to practice. After a few tries and misfires, I discovered that I love making it!

    The choice of stitch patterns creates the texture in Fur & Loops. Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo is worked in the loop stitch for the persimmon section, and the fur stitch for the hyacinth section. Looks challenging, right? Don’t tell anyone, but the fur stitch and loop stitch are easy variations on single crochet. They are actually the same stitch, but for fur stitch the loops are cut to make them shaggy.

    Wall Hangings Fur and Loops

     

    The natural world inspired several of my designs. Spiral Stems uses a sturdy twig as the hanger for the individually crocheted spirals in greens and greys from Patons Décor.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems

     Some of the spirals are long and skinny, some are shorter and thicker, just like the variations found in plants and trees.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems Close Up

    When I worked on a yarn installation at Hagley Museum and Library, the original site of the DuPont powder works in Wilmington, Delaware, I used a lot of crocheted roses to adorn the iron gates.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Detail

    I was reminded of them when I worked on the Wall Hangings designs. They’re fun to make, cheerful to look at, and bring a great pop of color to a room! I used various shades of pink and yellow, as well as green leaves, for Rose Arbor. The flowers are Red Heart Super Saver, and the leaves are Lily Sugar ‘n Cream.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor
    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The monochromatic panels in Windy Sails gives that project a classic look, updated with coiled I-cord decorations at the bottom. Panels use different stitch patterns to create interest. Dowels at the top and bottom keep things neat.

    Wall Hangings Windy Sails

    Leisure Arts holds onto the finished projects, but I liked Curves & Lines so much that I made one for my dining room and another one for my son’s apartment. (I did his in blues with some black and white thrown in, and made the fringe in an arc shape to mimic the trajectory of a rocket after launch. When you’re the mother of a rocket scientist, you get some unusual requests!) All of the projects use Patons Lace. I picked a straight dowel to go across and extend beyond a quilting hoop because that arrangement kind of reminds me of Saturn.

    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines
    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines Alternative

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I try never to miss an opportunity to add beads to my work, and this leaflet was no exception. Beaded Tapestry uses a variety of beads in earth tones on a background of blue Lily Sugar ‘n Cream to create a pattern that’s just abstract enough to make you wonder what it is. A bird? A fox? Just shapes? You decide.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry
    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The fringe below is adorned with beads of various colors at different heights to finish off this long, graceful hanging in style.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Detail

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on Wall Hangings. Along with doing the editing and photography, they staged the pieces in a variety of attractive settings.

    I encourage crocheters to make wall art using these patterns, rather than paying inflated prices for finished products. The projects are rated Easy, but even experienced crocheters will find them interesting to make—and may even learn some new techniques and stitch patterns along the way. Wall hangings make great gifts, too: one size fits all! 

    As for my professional background, I am the author of 16 crochet books and a private line of patterns. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. My crochet work includes large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I am a crochet instructor for Annie’s Online Classes.

    I’m inspired by everything from the beauty of nature to the stunning creations of architects and furniture-makers. And, of course, by yarn! 

    Please join me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry, YouTube, Etsy, and Instagram at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com.

    Happy crocheting!

    Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman

     

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    Are you ready to make your own Wall Hanging? What are you waiting for! Go get Sharon's book, and show off your newly learned crochet skills.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • DIY Beauty Queen Stephanie Rose: Make and Give Home Apothecary!

    We are honored to have Stephanie Rose, author of Make and Give Home Apothecary, give us some insight on why she made the massively popular book on making DIY beauty products. Read what drove her to create these unique and natural health and beauty staples!

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    DIY Beauty Products Minty Sugar Scrub

    Why "Make and Give"?

    I think it’s just as much fun to give a gift as to receive one, especially when it’s one of the handcrafted creations from my new book, Make & Give Home Apothecary – Easy Ideas for Making & Packaging Bath Bombs, Salts, Scrubs & More. I had so much fun creating the projects for this book, and I know that you will to. They are easy to master, look beautiful, and smell fantastic. And after you craft them up, you will have a pretty great stash of gorgeous gifts to give away.

    DIY Beauty Products Botanical Salt Gifts

    Homemade gifts are not only a joy to make, but they are also a meaningful way to share a sentiment that comes from the heart. When someone has a new baby, moves into a neighborhood, or becomes suddenly ill, we share a piece of ourselves to mark the occasion. A casserole for the new parents. Freshly baked muffins for the new neighbors. Or a get well soon card for somebody who's fallen ill. It's these little gestures that bring us together as a community and allow us to feel connected in the highs and lows of our lives. 

    DIY Beauty Products Handcrafted Lip Balm

    Why DIY Beauty Products?

    It was one of those occasions where I learned about the power of herbs. Unfortunately, I was the one who became suddenly ill, and as a consequence, I made huge changes to my life. One of the biggest changes was looking at what products I used on my skin. Many of us go to great lengths to be sure that what we eat is natural and healthy, but often the products that we put on our skin go overlooked. 

    DIY Beaut Products DIY Perfume Rollers

    Once I learned a few basic recipes, I was hooked. From just a few ingredients—many of which I found in my kitchen or grew in my garden—I was able to make a wide variety of real products that soothed and pampered my body. I was astonished that those small changes made such a huge difference in how I feel. The balms made my skin feel like silk, the herbal baths eased away the aches and pains, and the fragrances helped to lift my mood and settle me down. This lead me to create a home apothecary, filled with natural ingredients that could be whipped into a variety of lotions and potions to for myself, my family, and my friends. 

    DIY Beauty Products Coffee Bean Bath Melt

    Since using plant-based skincare products have made such a positive difference in my life, I’ve swapped out the casseroles for wonderful concoctions I create from my home apothecary. Herbs, flowers, cocoa butter, plant oils, beeswax, and essential oils can make an abundance  of homemade gifts that look like they should be on the pages of a magazine. From decadent cocoa butter lip balm to botanical salt scrubs, luxurious bath bombs, stimulating massage bars, healing foot soaks and more, the recipes contained in the following pages all draw on the healing power of plants in the most beautiful way possible.

    Make and Give Home Apothecary Botanical Salt Mixture

    Can Anyone Make These Products?

    The projects that I’ve shared in Make & Give Home Apothecary show a variety of techniques that you can easily replicate or personalize to suit your own tastes. Plus they give you the opportunity to customize the products so that they suit the person you're giving them to. Once you’ve completed them, I’ve included a creative way to package each product for gift-giving that makes them extra special. You can scale the projects up for wedding or event favors, or give a single gift for a special occasion. Package a few of the projects together for a gift basket or sell them at a fundraiser or craft show. No matter how you choose to give your gifts, be sure to make some extras for yourself because you deserve a gift too. 

    DIY Beauty Products DIY Floral Bath Bombs

    Be sure to check out Stephanie's new book, Make and Give Home Apothecary! Create these beautiful and natural gifts for the ones you love, or make some for a rainy day of relaxation. Click the picture for the link!

    DIY Beauty Products Home Apothecary Cover

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Must-Haves for Fall: Cozy Shawls and Scarves With Christine Naugle!

    Fall is coming up soon! The season of color and pumpkin spice. We love fall here at Leisure Arts, and so does Christine Naugle, author of the freshly released book, Cozy Shawls and Scarves. She's joined our blogosphere today to give us some insight into her creative and versatile ideas for these Fall fashion staples. Take it away, Christine!

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    Hi, my name is Christine Naugle, I am the designer behind the Cozy Shawls and Scarves booklet with Leisure Arts. I am beyond excited to see these patterns in print, available for all of you. With 7 different designs, there is one you are sure to love!

    So, Tell Us About Your Cozy Designs!

    When I was asked to design multiple scarf patterns, I knew my designs would have to be a variety of styles and yarns to appeal to multiple crocheters. I love the look and style of so many scarves, shawls and wraps, and how they can change the look of an outfit to fit nearly any outing. A shawl, scarf or wrap is more of a wardrobe piece that can add to any outfit. I am a big fan of the great outdoors, and love spending time in the mountains especially on brisk mornings or cool evenings when there is a chill in the air. The 7 designs included in this booklet are all designed and named after my favorite mountain range in the Northwest, the great Sawtooth Mountains.

    Alpine Scarf

    The first design that I knew I had to include was the popular triangle shawl. I love the simplicity of these patterns, and how lovely they drape around the upper body, creating a beautiful wrap. Alpine Lake is set deep in the Sawtooths and is surrounded by lush pines, so I had to use a beautiful and vibrant green of Lion Brand Heartland yarn. The yarn is a perfect weight when worked in the carefully calculated stitches to create a lightweight, yet warm wrap.

    Cozy Fall Fashion Alpine Scarf

    The Toxaway Scarf

    While designing the Toxaway Shawl, I knew it had to be a full body shawl, but include a unique stitch pattern to draw interest to the design. I incorporated a fun extended cross stitch that is fun and quick to work (cream rows) and then used a ruler to help create the attached fringe look in the brown rows. Believe it or not, this shawl works up quick and is really fun to make!

    Cozy Shawl Toxaway Shawl

    The Twin Lakes Infinity Scarf

    Infinity Scarves are very popular right now. I wanted to design a simple infinity scarf, but add a unique touch to it. The Twin Lakes Infinity Scarf is just that! Pick your favorite colors to make this a personalized eye catching braided infinity scarf.

    Cozy Scarf Twin Lakes Infinity Scarf

    The Trinity Capelet

    One of my favorite lakes in the Sawtooths is Trinity Lake. Falling back on my religious background when I think of the Trinity, a triangle comes to mind, so I had to incorporate the triangle stitch. Making a capelet in the soft Lion Brand Landscape was a must, and I adore the mustard color. The soft grey touch adds a classy point of interest, and makes the Trinity Capelet a wardrobe must-have.

    Cozy Shawl Trinity Capelet

    The Trail Creek Neck Warmer

    Trail Creek Lakes are a series of 5 small glacier alpine lakes in the Sawtooths. The glacier water is very cold and makes me think of staying extra warm with a soft, warm and fuzzy neck warmer. The Trail Creek Neck Warmer is a smaller piece to make, but don't let that fool you. It is full of texture, with raised angled stitches that really set the style. But, it isn't only for style, add a warm and fuzzy inner lining to keep you nice and toasty!

    Cozy Scarf Trail Creek Neck Warmer

    The Alturas Shawl

    Shawl in a Ball yarn has always grabbed my attention when browsing the yarn isles. But, I could never find patterns featuring it that I loved. So, I jumped at this opportunity to design a lovely shawl/wrap using the delicate yarn with the amazing color changes that the yarn creates. The Alturas Shawl is an stitch that creates a luxurious look when worked with the Sawl in a Ball yarn. The top of the shawl is designed with a closed stitch pattern to keep you covered and warm,  while the bottom of the shawl features a beautiful triangle (pine tree) pattern to create an eye appeal that makes your shawl a fashion forward Fall piece.

    Cozy Shawls Alturas Shawl

    The Imogene Infinity Scarf

    I love a big bundle of warmth around my neck when it is chilly. The Imogene Infinity Scarf does just that! Made with the soft yarn of Lion Brand Scarfie, the Imogene pattern works up fast and can be wrapped once, twice or three times to keep you as warm as you need. It's just like getting a big warm hug on a chilly afternoon. What could be better than that?

    Cozy Cowls Imogene Infinity Cowl

    There you have it, all 7 designs that are included in my new book, Cozy Shawls and Scarves. I hope you found one, two or more that you cannot wait to add to your wardrobe this fall. Keep in mind all of the people on your gift list for the holidays. These shawls, scarves, wraps and capelets make amazing gifts for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, co-workers and so many more!

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    Don't you just love her designs? Go out now and purchase Cozy Shawls and Scarves to try your hand at them today! Paired with your choice of color and yarn, you can have a unique accessory with every look you pull off.

    Happy Crafting!

    Leisure Arts Team

  • Make A DIY Magic Fairy Garden - With Kristi Simpson!

     

    Is there anything more magical for adults and children than an enchanting DIY fairy garden? No. No, there isn’t. If you find yourself mesmerized by tiny worlds filled with itty bitty tire swings, fire pits, hammocks, bridges, mushrooms, and more, then congratulations! We adore you, and we’re unequivocally sure that this DIY Fairy Gardens book will inspire miniature greatness in you. 

    Fairy gardener and all-around crafter Kristi Simpson has designed five unique gardens for you – including the Beach Garden, Rose Hut Garden, and Moss Hut Garden – each guaranteed to make you smile and provide hours of fun and inspiration. So, gather a container (or five), lots of nature, and many things already lying around your home, and voila! Instant magic. Join our guest blogger, Kristi Simpson as we take a walk through the fairy gardens. 

     

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    Hi! I’m Kristi Simpson, designer of DIY Fairy Gardens from Leisure Arts. As much as I love to crochet and knit---I also love getting crafty! I thought of my kids and niece when I was developing this fairy garden book and it just pushed me to make things not only crafty for adults, but kid friendly too. 

    Let me ask you, do your kids run out to craft with you as soon as you grab your craft supplies? Mine do, it never fails. So, with that in mind, I wanted to make this book something to be enjoyed by all ages.… gathering items, rolling clay, painting signs, building, sand layering, and of course, playing with the garden. It's all hands-on fun!

    I could just imagine them playing with these indoor themed gardens and helping me make more features along the way. I can’t wait to walk you through the different gardens and their miniature awesomeness.… let’s get started!

    Moss Hut Garden

    First up, the Moss Hut Garden, the one that's on the beautiful cover!

    Garden Moss Garden Hut - Finished

    It has so many cute and fun features, like a tire swing, trellis, wooden steps, fun decor and of course, a cute hut!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Moss Garden Hut
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Steps
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Roof

    I really tried to use things you could find naturally, be it around the house, walking through the park or at the craft store, I wanted you to craft without too much hassle. 

    In the book, I step you through what you'll need for each garden, and how to make each and every item--and they're all easy!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Moss Hut Garden
    DIY Magic Garden Detail - Wood Steps

    You can use any type of container, just like I did. My options were a vintage white bowl, a painted bowl, wooden round crate, glass lantern and a cute rectangle box. I loved looking in thrift stores, yard sales, and going through my own crafty stock--and I even drafted family to help me find unique things that didn't look 'brand new’. I wanted a natural look, something I would normally have in my home. Since I chose to use artificial flowers, I used floral foam as the base and topped it with potting soil.… so, needless to say, the container doesn't have to be waterproof. 

    Garden Base - Roof
    Garden Greenery - Roof

    OH! Quick note for all of the non-green-thumb people out there. Don’t tell, but all of the beautiful succulents you see are not real.... shhhh! There are so many real-looking plants at your local craft store that you can use and not worry about watering. Your fairies will thank you for the year-round green garden!

    Beach Garden

    Next up, the Beach Garden.

    Fairy Beach Garden Fairy Beach Garden

    I used a glass candle lantern for this project. I wanted to be able to see the layering of the sand and all of the accessories through it instead of them being ‘on top’ of the bowl or container. I thought about using different color sand to make the garden even more inviting for fairies--but I’ll leave those extra special touches to you when you try it out! 

    Garden Beach Garden - Before
    Garden Beach Garden - Aerial View

    This project was special to me because my family loves the beach. We had most of the supplies on hand: shells, extra sand, drift wood and sticks. Plus, you can always look for things from your home to decorate your garden with, too. Make it personal, and fun!

    Rose Hut Garden

    One of my favorite gardens is the Rose Hut Garden.

    DIY Magic Gardens Beautiful Rose Hut Garden

    It has a sweet swing made with sticks and cotton rope, a painted sign and a clay hut. In the book I teach you how to make the hut--it’s super easy! You just roll and twist the clay, lay it out in the shape you want, bake it, and paint. I have photo guides included, so have fun!

    DIY Magic Garden Detail of Rose Hut Garden

    The rose is SO EASY when you follow the steps--it’s made in layers so don’t overthink it.… just get creative!

    Pinecone Hut Garden

    The next hut, the Pinecone Hut Garden, was so neat to make! It’s made with hot glue, pine cones, sticks and popsicle sticks. Seriously creative! The base is a toilet paper roll and birch bark! Fairy gardens are cute and homey, and these designs really bring the outdoors in. 

    Garden Pinecone Hut
    Garden Pinecone Hut Close Up
    Garden Pinecone Hut- Fence Detail

    Do you see the fence? Flower accents? I love adding color with florals! The house looked tall for the container, so I matched it with a tall fence and made it look great with extra tall flowers. You can’t go wrong when you’re making fairy gardens.

    Cord House Garden

    Last, but not least is the Cord House Garden.

    Garden Cord House Garden

    The fairies love this garden with the Cord House, bridge, mushrooms pebble creek and banner!

    Garden Detail - Cord House
    Garden Floor of Cord House Garden
    Garden Detail- Mushrooms in Garden

    So much can be added in small spaces when you think like a fairy. Use your imagination and add tiny details along the way to make it special.

    Thank you for joining me as we walked through the different gardens. I hope you and your kids, or your friends and family are inspired to grab your supplies, and buy this book to make your own fairy garden (or two, or three!). 

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    Isn't she awesome? Which garden is your favorite? We certainly can't wait to make our own favorite fairy gardens! Go out and buy DIY Fairy Gardens now, and bring your own little wonderland home for the family.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Wildlife Afghans: Choose Your Own Adventure Crochet

    Wildlife Afghans lets you mix and match your favorite wildlife and side panels to crochet your own afghan masterpiece.  Do you remember choose your own adventure books? Wildlife Afghans is the crochet equivalent.  First you choose between a bear, moose, deer or wolf.  Then you choose your favorite side panel and corner pieces and you have a one-of-a-kind afghan! We love Wildlife Afghans so much that we invited today's guest blogger, Christine Naugle, to talk about the inspiration for her fabulous designs. Welcome Christine!

    Hey everyone, this is Christine Naugle, the designer behind the Wildlife Cable Afghans book. I am so excited to see the release of this book with Leisure Arts. I am even more excited about why this book is unique, it is unique because you get to design your own blanket!

    https://www.leisurearts.com/wildlife-cable-afghans.html Wildlife Cable Afghans by Christine Naugle

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    When I decided to design a new set of blankets I wanted them to focus on the outdoors and wildlife. I wanted the blankets to be appealing to the men in our lives and/or have a more rustic feel to them. So many designs feature beautiful flowers and romantic colorways that I adore but, to put it simple, they are more feminine. In this new design set, I wanted the afghans to be all about creating unique and eye catching textures, I wanted them to be perfect for someone like my Husband, Dad, or Grandfather. For inspiration I scoured Pinterest for Cabin Decor and found many framed cabin images and sayings. So, I went to my sketch pad and started jotting down multiple frame ideas. The idea of a silhouette came to me first and I decided to try a deer.

    Deer in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle. Deer in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The deer was fun to draw, my husband even got involved and taught me the differences between mule deer and white tail deer. He was excited about this blanket design which made me even more excited too. Next up was the side panels. I knew I wanted rich textures, cables, and an eye catching design. Many hours where put into making swatches of different stitch combinations and finally the panels where coming together. Boy, it was so much fun to see this project working out like I envisioned. The corner squares where fun and quick. I knew I wanted them to represent a wagon wheel but in my own design style. Boy Howdy! It worked. I knew immediately that I had to do another afghan design.

    Moose in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle Moose in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The moose was next up. I loved the prints along the side panels with the simple embossed-like diamond corners. Again, some rich texture to pull the blanket together with the striking silhouette was a success. I was on a roll and had to do at least 2 more designs.

    Bear in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle Bear in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle
    Wolf in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle Wolf in Wildlife Afghans by Christine Naugle

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The bear and wolf blanket designs where just as fun to work up. The bear was extra fun because my children call me, "Momma Bear". My favorite part of the wolf design is the feathered or arrow look to the panels, it is unique and fun to work up.

    But, once again, the best part about these blankets is that you get to decide which pieces you want to work up. The Wildlife Cable Afghan book is designed for you to pick and choose each piece of the blanket to make it unique and to your liking. Simply choose the animal silhouette you like best: deer, bear, wolf or moose. Next select the side panels. The panels is where your texture will really begin. Each panel has a unique cable like pattern that will draw your eyes to the blanket as if it were a photo being displayed. Lastly, you get to select the design of each corner piece. Again, each one of these pieces is unique and feature different looks from a diamond accent, to a dream catcher whimsical design, to a circular cluster (almost wagon wheel effect), to a more simple cabled square. No matter which piece you select, your finished blanket will be personalized to your liking and will be a masterpiece when you are completed.

  • Crochet Monster Playsets

    Do the Monster Mash all year round with these adorable crochet Monster Playsets for babies and kids in Monster Playsets by Michele Maks.  We love the cuddly cute designs so much that we invited today's guest blogger, Michele Maks, to talk about her fabulous designs in Monster Playsets. Welcome Michele!

    screen-shot-2017-10-18-at-2-38-43-pm Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks

    It’s Playtime! Creating playwear for your little monster can be quick and easy - I designed these pieces that way!  I’m Michele Maks, the mother of 5, grandmother of 3, who knows that with the patter of little feet that stitching time is often at a premium while monsters take over the house!

    screen-shot-2017-10-18-at-2-39-09-pm Little Monster Hat & Leggings from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks

    Back zipped hoodies a will make your baby or toddler seem scary cute!  The hoodie, like all the pieces in Monster Playsets, can be crocheted in the following sizes: 6 months, 1 years (12 months), 2 years (2T), 3 years (3T), and 4 years (4T).

    screen-shot-2017-10-18-at-2-41-52-pm Furry Hoodie from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks

    Babies and kids of all ages will squeal in delight at the Little Monster blanket.  Theses cozy blankets are stitched with two strands of yarn.

    screen-shot-2017-10-23-at-4-03-50-pm Little Monster Blanket in Blue & Red from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks
    Little Monster Blanket in Pink & Purple from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks Little Monster Blanket in Pink & Purple from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks

    Two different colorways, with matching hats and leggings, will give new meaning to the phrase BITE ME!

    Little Monster Hat in pink and purple from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks Little Monster Hat in pink and purple from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks

    It's amazing how a change of colors gives the crocheted Monster Playset a completely different look!

    Furry Hoodie, Little Monster Hat & Leggings in pink and purple from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks Furry Hoodie, Little Monster Hat & Leggings in pink and purple from Monster Playsets by Michelle Maks

    What could be more huggable, or fun to stitch, than these Monster Playsets?

  • Thoughtful Shawls

    Crocheted Shawls are classic additions for your wardrobe. We love all the stylish and cozy shawls in Thoughtful Shawls so much that it's hard to pick our favorite. Today's Guest Blogger, Michele Maks, is here today to talk about the inspiration for her fabulous designs. Welcome Michele!

    Welcome! I’m Michele Maks, designer of the patterns in Leisure Arts' recent publication, Thoughtful Shawls. Though I’ve been designing professionally since 1985 , I still LOVE to crochet!

    screen-shot-2017-05-11-at-10-21-40-am Thoughtful Shawls by Michele Maks

    Shawls are such versatile garments, and since there is very little shaping in the designs, they make excellent projects for beginners, or someone who is looking for an easy, don’t-need-to-think-too-hard-about-it stitching experience.

    Hudson Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls Hudson Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls

    Hudson Shawl: My inspiration for the Hudson Bay Shawl was in both wanting a simple stitch sequence, suitable for beginners, and the look of traditional North Woods blankets.  You don’t have to be at a logging camp to enjoy this one- imagine it cozying your shoulders as you safely watch a few episodes of Frontier in your apartment!

    Granny Square Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls Granny Square Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls

    Granny Square Shawl: Granny Squares are traditionally used for afghans, but I love them so much, I decided to create a shawl using basic granny techniques. What could be cozier and more open to interpretation than this? How many different color combinations can you imagine? Bet you can’t make just one!

    screen-shot-2017-05-11-at-10-23-41-am Stripes Stole from Thoughtful Shawls

    Stripes Stole: Similar granny styling is used for the stole version of this piece, but this time the colors are determined by the self-striping yarn. Just choose your favorite colorway, and most of the work is done! The yarn and the stitches will flow through your fingers like magic. Again, it will be hard to create only one.

    Patchwork Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls Patchwork Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls

    Patchwork Shawl: Patchwork  is both fun to stitch and fun to wear! Combining your own favorite colors will allow this project to be completely your own!

    Meditation Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls Meditation Shawl from Thoughtful Shawls

    Meditation Shawl: Simple combinations of basic stitches make the cover shawl both a pleasure to stitch and to wear. Your morning yoga poses will never be chilly again when you have your Meditation Shawl with you.

  • Patricia Lee | The Wrapping Scarf Revolution

    What a thrill to be blogging for Leisure Arts! It has been such a pleasure to work with the wonderful staff to get The Wrapping Scarf Revolution published and I have become thoroughly convinced that the world would be a much better place if we all had the lovely manners of the southern ladies down in Little Rock.

    Yesterday was a beautiful crisp autumn day here in Connecticut. My friend Tracy invited some friends over for lunch and I decided to bring some mandu which are tasty Korean dumplings. You may have tried Japanese or Chinese dumplings which are similar to mandu but I highly recommend you try Korean dumplings if you ever get the chance.
    Mandu is delicious steamed or boiled in a soup, but for Tracy's, I decided to pan fry in healthy grapeseed oil, so that the ladies could enjoy a fun finger food. To make things easy for the hostess, I love to bring food that is already nicely displayed in a dish. Transporting odd shaped dishes of food is a cinch with a wrapping scarf. I was also bringing some cookies in a separate covered container so I stacked the mandu on top of the cookies and wrapped it all up with a wrapping scarf. I used the lotus wrap which you can see demonstrated in this video.
    We had a ball catching up with each other's most recent sagas of childrearing disasters and workplace woes. The mandu was a big hit and I'd love to share the recipe with you sometime in a future post! Until next time, happy wrapping!

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