Category Archives: Crafts from the Past

side view of completed wreath

Christmas Advent 2015 – Day 13 Icicle Wreath

Halfway done now, which means 12 days to Christmas! Start singing!

Years ago, I found in my possession some 12″ plastic icicles with loops on one end. By “some” I mean around 400 of them. I have used a few for my own holiday decorations, but there was no way I was going to use all of them easily. I also had a foam wreath form and I decided to use this and the icicles to make a wreath.

Materials:

  • Icicles (mine are plastic, wood dowels would work as well)
  • Foam circle
  • Silver spray paint
  • Green paint and brush
  • Tacky Glue
  • Hobby lichen in various shades of green
  • Mod Podge Acrylic Spray
  • 12″ piece of heavy wire (about 15 gauge)

finished wreath

First, I pressed the plastic icicles into the outside of wreath form, removed them, dabbed tacky  glue into the hole, and pressed the icicle back into the hole. I did this all around the wreath form alternating so that one was close to the front edge of the wreath and the next was close to the backside edge of the wreath. After this, I left the wreath for a couple of days to make sure the glue was dried really well.

icicles glued into foam circle

icicles glued into foam circle

Then, I covered my outdoor, cheapy, plastic patio table with wax paper and laid out my wreath in preparation for painting. I sprayed the icicles with the silver spray paint. I did a very light coat as I wanted the bubbles in the plastic to show through. I also just wanted to hint at the silver color. Once it was dry, I flipped the wreath over and sprayed the other side.

You should also add the hook for the wreath here. I did mine later and it was much more complicated to add. It would have been so much easier to do it before I started adding the lichen. I bent the heavy gauge wire into a hook and wrapped it around the wreath form with a hook at the top to hang it.

silver spray paint, last coat

silver spray, first coat

Fortunately, we have had some beautiful weather here and spraying outside has been very easy and enjoyable. I did not have to do this in the garage.

Next, I started squeezing on tacky glue and then adding the lichen to the foam wreath form, mixing the colors and styles of lichen that I had. This took several days as I took my time, and again, made sure that the glue had plenty of time to dry. I would gently shake the wreath occasionally to dislodge any loose pieces and add glue and more lichen where needed.

acrylic spray, first coat

Once the glue had dried, I carried my wreath back out to my wax covered table and sprayed Mod Podge Acrylic Spray. This gave a nice top coat and helps to hold the lichen in place.

close-up view of finished wreath

Then, I hung it (I knew it was big, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it fit on my door, I will be hanging it from my loft later) and took some final photos.

I am still trying to use materials I have in my house and spend as little money as possible on this advent event. The lichen we had was from about 10 years ago when my husband and I made some set pieces for our role playing gaming. We hadn’t used it in years, so I finished it off with this project. Plus, it suits us, our hobby of role playing games and artistic talent all in one wreath! I like it!

side view of completed wreath

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

 

 

Advertisements

Paper Punch Ornament

Okay, I am 2 days late with this post, but you will have to forgive me, between class, a major migraine, and a massive snowstorm, I have been a little bogged down.

In my last post, I used this wonderful paper punch and I just have not been able to resist using it again. This time, I used gift-wrap for the paper cut-outs. I have discussed before my one-time hobby of making temari balls. I have massive amounts of supplies left over from this hobby and I raid it regularly for other projects. For this project, I nabbed a wrapped ball that I had already made. I use stuffing and wrap it with loads of sewing thread. I was a little more proactive this time and added my hanger before I got started adding the paper punch-outs.

Paper ornament with paper punches

I cut out loads of the paper punch-outs and used beading pins and sequins to attach them to the ball. I started at the bottom of the ball and went around in a spiral adding paper punch-outs as I went around and up the ball.

Paper ornament close up

It is a really easy ornament to make and only took me about a 1/2 hour. This does not include the time it took me years ago to make the thread-wrapped ball, but that only took me about 20 minutes at most. You could also use a foam ball for your base as well.

I am really happy with how the ornament turned out.

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

Small photo of paper ornament.

 

Completed hotpad made from a washcloth and crochet

World’s Best Hot Pads – Made from Washcloths

Completed hotpad made from a washcloth and crochet

This is a very photo heavy how-to to make the best hot pads ever. I learned how to make these from my Aunt Harriet. She wasn’t really my Aunt, she was a friend of my Grandmother’s who the family adopted. Harriet Saine was a wonderful woman and is greatly missed.

Her hot pads are famous in our family. Every year at Christmas she would pull out this gigantic stack of hot pads and every woman (with a house or apartment) would get to pick two. Sometimes Harriet brought so many we would get to chose a third one. When Harriet passed away, I got her supplies for making these hot pads. In her supplies were her crochet hooks. There is one that is completely eroded down to a nub. I had no idea you could even do that to a metal crochet hook. I cannot even begin to create as many of these as Harriet was able to. I am amazed every year I am able to make these for the family that she was able to do this every year for as long as I can remember. This is my homage to Aunt Harriet.

Supplies for the hotpads

The supplies for these hot pads are very few:

Cheap washcloth (this means no embroidered stripes or thick edges)

Crochet thread

1″ plastic rings

Crochet hooks (size 4/2.00mm and size 8/1.50mm)

Pins (optional, though recommended)

Scissors

You really do need to use cheaper washcloths for this project. Cheaper washcloths do not have a high thread count and make it much easier to get the crochet hook through the fabric for the first round of stitching. You also are much better off using plain washcloths, the ones with no embroidered stripes or thick edges. The stripes are very difficult to get a crochet hook through. That is not to say impossible, but it will hurt your hands if you have to force the hook through these stripes very often. I have somehow managed to collect around 50 washcloths to make into hot pads. Eventually, I will have to stop buying them.

The crochet thread can be any sort. I now have a huge collection of thread from variegated, solid, metallic, to threads with differing thickness. I personally prefer the variegated for my hot pads. I really like the effect it makes. I currently have 2 Rubbermaid tubs of crochet thread, and like the washcloths, I may eventually have to stop buying new colors. (I have a bad habit of buying every new variegated skein I find.)

For the plastic rings, you can use any size you prefer, but I tend to buy 3/4″, 1″ or 1 1/4″. I just have to make sure that I grab two of the same size for the set of hot pads (I always make sets of 2).

I use a size 8/1.50mm crochet hook for the first round of stitching and a size 4/2.00mm crochet hook for the decorative round of stitching. The size 8 goes through the fabric of the washcloth much easier and I like a slightly larger hook to make the edging, this is just personal preference though.

To make:

You fold the washcloth in half  and pin it to hold it in place. As you stitch, it tends to drift and you will end up with a lopsided fold. Holding it with the fold closer to you, begin the first single crochet in the upper left hand corner, at the midpoint of the corner.

First single crochet stitches

Continue your single crochet stitching around the corner, the first short side, next full corner, and to the folded edge. Keep stitching along the fold, next full corner, and up the second short side of the washcloth. You stop your stitching at the midpoint of the upper right corner. At this point, you have single crocheted around three sides of the washcloth (1/4 of the way finished).

Single crochet around three sides.

Now you need to open up the washcloth and put the two midpoints together (be sure to remove your pins). This makes what in the origami world is called a balloon fold. You connect all four corners of the washcloth at the top of the hot pad and this creates 4 triangle shaped wings. The photo below shows this fold in a flattened view from the top. You can see the four corners of the washcloth stitched together, although in the photo, the edges are not yet completely stitched. Putting a couple of pins into the wings will again help keep your folds straight and prevent you from having a lopsided hot pad.

Start of second round of single crochet stitches

You stick your crochet hook through the two pieces of fabric at the midpoints of the corners and start single crocheting down the short side (from here on, all the sides are short sides). Continue around the washcloth (you will stitch over your first round of crochet as you go) until you are again back at the top. This should have closed all the sides and created the 4 wings and top and bottom points (1/2 way finished). You are now ready to start the decorative edging. You can also remove all the pins now.

Here the single crochet is finished and you are ready to start the decorative edging.

I switch hooks to the larger size 4/2.00mm hook and double crochet at this point. When I started making these hot pads, I used to make different types of edgings. You can experiment until you find one you like. I like this one and it is very easy and pretty. Single crochet twice and insert the hook under the first single crochet on the opposite wing of the hot pad. You will use this stitch as the post to stitch 3 more double crochet stitches around. Finish off with one single crochet. This completes one scallop. You will make one of these scallops in every other single crochet stitch from the first round.

dc in first sc, *dc around first dc 3 times, sc, skip single crochet and dc in next sc, continue from *

Double Crochet post stitch

First of the three DC stitches

Second of three DC stitches

Third of DC stitches

Decorative Edge Finished

Add Ring

When you finish the edging and are back at the top of the hot pad you will add your plastic ring. You don’t have to add a plastic ring, but so many people like to hang their hot pads from hooks. You can skip this part entirely if you don’t want to hang your hot pads. You single crochet around the ring making sure to completely cover the plastic ring. I finish the ring with one final single crochet back into the hot pad. I tie off the threads and pull the ends inside the hot pad with the crochet hook.

Finished Ring

You have now finished your first hot pad! As I said above, I always make these in pairs and would now start my second one. I can make one hot pad in about an hour (1 and 1/2  if I am interrupted a lot).

Pile of finished hot pads

I have tried to photo the whole process, but if you have any questions, or want another photo, just let me know. I hope you enjoy these hot pads as much as I and my family do!

Happy Crafting,

Kristin

Finished hot pad

Christmas tree ornament made of chenille pipe cleaners.

Ornament Advent: Day 19 Chenille Tree

I knew from the beginning that I would just have to make a tree ornament for this Christmas advent. I have had one in mind, but I had no idea to execute it. I watched Loryn’s and Cheri’s tree ornaments get posted and loved each of them. My goal was to keep the ornament very simple and easy to make. This whole ornament probably took me about 30 minutes and I was Google Talking (can I use that that way?) with Mom which slows me down as we each share what we are project we are working on.

Christmas tree ornament made of chenille pipe cleaners.

I used chenille pipe cleaners, cut in half, then wrapped candy cane style for the form of my tree. I know I keep mentioning temari lately, but I have a ton of supplies leftover and so I used some really cool fuzzy green thread from my temari stash to wrap around the chenille pipe cleaners. I really liked how the fuzzy thread looks like the needles on a pine tree. I tied the ends of the thread and glued my knots to ensure that they wouldn’t come loose.

Christmas tree ornament made of pipe cleaners.

I grabbed all the thread wrapped pipe cleaners in one group. ran some silver wire down the middle, and approximately 1″ in on the pipe cleaners, wrapped the silver wire around the group to hold it together. Then I bent all the wires down over the silver wrapping so that just the wire stuck out the top. I used this bit of wire to string the wooden star bead and make the loop for the hanger. At this point, it you didn’t put the hanger on the ornament, it actually looks really cool just as a decoration for your table, although I would recommend putting something under it as the pipe cleaners are a bit scratchy.

Ornament hook made to look like a Christmas tree.

I love the hanger I made for this ornament. Whoever said that you needed to have plain hooks for your ornaments? I made the hanger out of more silver wire, just bending it into shape and curling the end so you didn’t poke yourself with it.

Ornament hook made of wire to look like a Christmas tree.

Happy crafting!

Kristin

Thread ball draped with glass seed beads sewn into ribbon.

Ornament Advent: Day 15 Beaded Ball

Gonna Go Back in Time!

Thread ball draped with seed beads

So, I was not feeling at all well this weekend and missed my Saturday post for the Ornament Advent. To make up for it, I decided to splurge and make a slightly more difficult ornament. For this ornament, I once again raided my temari ball stash and used one of the green balls for the base. It is around 3″ in diameter. I then wrapped the ribbon around the ball tacking it down first with pins and then with basting stitches.

Thread ball draped with glass seed beads sewn into ribbon.

The beads are from the giant spinner of seed beads that Mom and I bought to take with us when we went camping (yes, we like to craft while camping). I strung the beads and crossed under the ribbon, trying to make a slight draping effect while doing so. It was interesting how much heavier the ball got by the time I was finished. All those glass beads weigh more than you would think.

Green thread ball draped with stands of seed beads.

I then decided that I needed a bead topper and found a lovely smoky gray glass bead in my oddments and leftovers drawer that looks great. I made the hook and I was ready to go.

Green thread ball draped with seed beads.

I am really pleased with how this one turned out.

Happy Crafting,

Kristin

Ornament Advent: Day 11 Foil and Scrapbook Paper Ball

I really wanted to make a simple ornament with aluminum foil. I have been wracking my brain trying to think of something and it hit me while I was driving home from work. I could make an awesome ball with strips of foil and paper.

Ball Christmas ornament made of strips of paper and aluminum foil

The ornament is a ball inside a ball. The style is reminiscent of a ribbon temari ball  that I made years ago. I cut strips of aluminum foil 1″ wide and strips of scrapbook paper 1/4″ wide (all the strips were roughly 12″ long). I folded the foil lengthwise to not quite in half. I then folded the other edge to give myself two nice, smooth edges. This made the foil strips about 3/8″ wide. I ran a bone folder over the foil strips to make them smooth and shiny. I glued the scrapbook strips to the foil strips and let them dry.

Paper and aluminum foil Christmas ornament.

After they were dry, I cut the strips to 10″ long, just to make them easier to handle. Then I wrapped the strips around a solid object (I used a small glass for the outer ball and the glue bottle for the inner ball), glued the ends down, and cut off the excess. I made four smaller rounds and 4 larger rounds. I made the inner ball first then added the larger strips to make the outer ball. I glued the top and bottom where the strips met.

Ball ornament made of strips of paper and aluminum foil.

I made a small circle of foil about 1/4″ wide and glued that to the top of the ball and attached a homemade hook and I was finished. I think the whole ornament took me about an hour to make.

I am really happy with it, although it is rather delicate. At least if it gets bent out of shape it is really easy to fix.

Happy crafting!

Kristin

Felt Christmas Tree ornament

Ornament Advent: Day 7 Felt Tree and Wreath

Today’s ornament was a massive lesson in frustration. Or rather, the ornament that you don’t see was. My original idea for an ornament failed spectacularly. My craft table is covered with parts, bits, and pieces. Around 10:00pm I realized that it was never going to work. Then began the frantic search. I dug through all of my supplies in the hope for a lightning strike. I didn’t get one until I was texting my sister that I was ready to give up. Right after I hit send, it hit me.

Felt Christmas Tree ornament

I love felt and I had a lot of fun last year with the pins and sequins ornament I made, so why not combine the two. The base of this ornament is a ball I made for temari. Temari is a Japanese art form that I played with a few years ago and kept all my supplies (go figure). You make the ball by taking a very large handful of stuffing and wrapping it with thread (one way to make the ball anyway). A lot of thread. You keep winding the thread around and around and around the stuffing until you get a round ball. This particular ball was my attempt to create a flattened ball to showcase a design on the front and back. I never did get around to completing the temari, but it gave me an excellent form to create my Christmas ornament.

Felt wreath side of the ornament

Next, I cut strips of felt around 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide and started cutting these strips into triangle pieces. Then I took my piles of pins and sequins and pinned the triangles to the ball to make the images of the wreath and tree. I used some fuzzy white thread to make a sort of frame to separate the two images by sewing it around and around the ball. I made a quick hook and voila! I was finished.

Side view of Christmas ornament
Here you can see the fuzzy white thread.

I really like the effect of the multiple colors of green for the Christmas tree and the stars in the wreath really make it pop. You could use anything for the form of the ornament, Styrofoam would be very easy. I imagine a Santa Claus/reindeer ornament would be very cute. Anyone want to try it? Send us your picture and we will post it! I would love to see someone else’s version.

Christmas tree side of ornament

Just goes to show that necessity really is the mother of invention.

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

Wreath of copper leaves

Crafty Challenge 11: Copper Fall Wreath

Hello Again! I feel like I have been incommunicado for a very long time. All the Crafty Sisters got together last weekend for our latest Crafty Challenge. This challenge was to make a fall wreath.

Wreath of copper leaves
The wreath is 15″ tall and 13″ wide.

Due to everything in our house breaking down all at the same time, I was under a bit of a money crunch so I knew whatever I made, I had to have all the supplies already on hand. It helped that as soon as we started talking about a fall wreath, I was picturing a leaf wreath made of copper. And as some of you might remember, we did that wonderful Copper Crafty Challenge a while back and I still had a lot of the copper discs leftover from the copper necklace I made. The discs are remarkably easy to cut with heavy-duty scissors and I knew that they would make beautiful leaves.

Here you can really see the oily effect that burnishing the leaves created.

So, I started cutting and cutting and cutting. I had some very interesting dimples in my fingers from the force of cutting the copper discs, but I had some amazing maple leaf shapes. I also knew that I wanted to burnish the leaves to create different colors. I pulled out my trusty propane torch and proceeded to burn the crap out of one of the leaves. I learned very quickly that you only wanted to brush the copper leaves with heat very quickly. If you wanted a deeper color, you just kept running the torch over the copper quickly and letting it cool a second and repeat to the color desired. Thankfully, the blackened portions just wipe off and you can burnish again to your hearts content. I then bent the leaves very gently with a pair of pliers to give them some depth.

I did not coat the copper leaves with anything as I really will like the aging effect on the copper.

I made the ring the leaves are attached to as well, the wreath frame that is. I had a length of copper pipe (again left over from the Copper Challenge that I never used) and I ran a wire through the pipe and bent it all in a circle. I used the wire to make a hanger at the top of the frame. It turned out that the length of pipe was not long enough, but as I originally planned to let the pipe show through in some places, I would just make sure the leaves covered the wire parts of the wreath frame. I then used one of my hammers and my anvil to flatten the pipe to make the leaves attach better.

Here you can see the depth of the copper leaves.

I knew that my personal soldering abilities were not good enough to be able to place the leaves exactly where I wanted them so I switched my connecting component to hot glue. This worked out very well and I was able to place the leaves precisely where I wanted each one to go. I then flipped the wreath over and poured hot glue all over the frame where it connected to the leaves. This gave the wreath lots of stability and now absolutely nothing moves.

Photo showing wreath hanging from my loft
This is where I hang my wreathes in the house.

I am so happy with my wreath and it is now hanging in my house and just looks gorgeous. I did have a good laugh at the unveiling though. You will find out when more wreaths are posted! Amazingly, working with all that cut copper, I never did cut myself. This may be the first project in a while that didn’t end with a few bandaged fingers.

Happy Crafting,

Kristin!

Finished chair

Crafty Challenge 9: Kitchen Chair Re-upholstery

Here we are! I managed to get my chair finished and before our display among ourselves even, although it then took me a week and a half to get the post up and ready.

The chair I chose to makeover is one of my kitchen chairs. Years ago, I received this wonderful 50’s table and chairs set from Memom (Mom to two Craftysisters and Grandmother to the other two). I loved the set, but the upholstery on the chairs was getting old and there were a few tears here and there. I decided that I would reupholster them, attempting to keep the same general style of vinyl, but more modern and more to my color scheme.

Original chair before re-upholstery

Original chair back with cruddy and old furniture tacks.
Here you can see the old and cruddy furniture tacks that I replaced.

I have actually already re-upholstered four of the six chairs and had started on a fifth when I made a common (well, common for me) error in judgement. I tried to used a piece of vinyl that was just a little too small. I was running out of material and didn’t want to buy some more (this even though I would need to buy more to finish the last chair). I have a tendency to make this sort of decision when I am too tired and should really just put the project away for a while. Well, maybe I learned my lesson this time. Anyway, I had already taken the chair back off and it was mostly finished, when the problems with the too small piece of vinyl really became apparent. There was no way to hide the staples holding the vinyl in place as the staples could not be placed in their proper positions due to the smaller size of the vinyl. At this point, my frustration in having to take all those darn staples out yet again caused me to set the whole project aside for about a year and a half. Of course, all this time the chair has sat upstairs in my loft as an impalement accident waiting to happen as the chair back was never put back on.

So, along comes this excellent opportunity to get back in the swing of chair re-upholstery and finally get at least another chair finished.

I found the color of vinyl that I wanted for the seats at Great Lakes Fabrics and bought quite a bit of it as I wanted extra for possible repairs later. The material is marine vinyl and I will eventually replace the backs with material from there as it is extremely durable. I wanted a marbleized effect that was reminiscent of the original fabric and this was similar and yet was much more my color style. I also purchased a large quantity of chrome half-dome furniture tacks from the same place. The white vinyl for the chair backs I purchased at Joann’s. I used high loft quilt batting from Joann’s for padding in my chair backs and a double layer of this for the chair seats.

Taking the chairs apart proved to be a great exercise is damaging fingers. I learned very quickly the importance of a good tack puller, pliers and wire cutters. There are over a hundred chrome half-dome furniture tacks on the back of each chair and that plus more than a hundred staples, makes taking the chairs apart a real chore. This is the step I really learned to dread more and more with each chair. I absolutely love the finished product though, so it is well worth it in the long run.

Finished chair

As this is my fifth chair to finish in the set, I can say that I have really learned a lot about re-upholstering kitchen chairs.

1. Always have excess material. You can cut off excess, you cannot add on more material after it has already been cut.

2. Wire cutters work very well to remove tacks and staples. The sharp edge grabs onto the tack or staple and pulls them out very handily.

3. Sub-staples, Sub-staples, Sub-staples. I got this from Craftysister Loryn who got it from Design Sponge. These are temporary staples put in at an angle and are meant to         be removed. Design Sponge has a series of wonderful upholstery posts that describe everything you would really ever need to know about re-upholstery. I really wish I had seen these tutorials before I got started on my kitchen chairs. This pretty much guarantees that I will be re-doing the first four chairs again.

Finished chair.

I am very, very happy with how my chair turned out and may actually get to the last chair in the set this week sometime. I am off all this week so, other than the heat, I have no excuse for not getting the last chair finished (other than the realization that I need to re-do the first four chair backs again anyway.).

Chair back with new chrome furniture tacks.

I just love how sub-staples make the finishing on the chair backs so easy! When I look at this chair compared to the first four, I just cringe.

Happy Crafting,

Kristin

Crafty Challenge Seven: Paper

Our sixth Crafty Challenge has come to a completion and was a rousing success. We will be posting the results one project per day this week. We hope you keep coming back to check them all out!

Crafty Challenge Seven is all about paper. For this project, your main material must be paper. By paper, we mean any paper product (e.g., cardboard, card stock, wrapping paper, tissue paper). This is a challenge to minimize materials, unlike some of our past challenges that were limited by cost or time.

Here are some of the other crafts made out of paper from our crafting history:

Paper flower garland

This is a paper flower garland made by Lynne for Crafty Challenge 5.

Scrapbook Paper Balls

These are Christmas ornaments made by Cheri for our Christmas Ornament Countdown.

Fast Food Folio

This is a folio made by Lynne for Crafty Challenge 3.

The project can be anything you like and it will be very interesting to see what all the Crafty Sisters come up with! The challenge starts today and we  have 2 weeks to complete our project. Our next reveal will be on April 29th (Happy future Birthday to Crafty Sister Cheri’s children, Jacob and Justin who were born on that auspicious day!).

Wish us luck and few paper cuts.

Happy crafting,

Kristin