Category Archives: How to

Close up of Christmas ball earrings.

Christmas Advent: Tree Pendant and Christmas Ball Earrings

I had to make a necklace and earring set for myself for Christmas this year. I realized that I do not have any holiday jewelry and that just seemed to be a very strange oversight on my part. So, here are my Christmas ball earrings and tree pendant. I am really happy with how they turned out. I did a happy dance!

Pic of tree pendant and Christmas ball earrings

I used sterling silver 18 gauge wire for the tree and ball shapes, 26 gauge for the garlands, and 21 gauge for the ear wires. I have some really pretty glass red florets, glass green diamond shapes, and silver delicas that I used to make the garlands.

Close up of tree pendant

The pendant was a lot of fun to make. I just used a pair of flat-nose pliers to make the shape, bending it until I liked the general style.

Close up of Christmas ball earrings.

I just love the Christmas ball earrings. I did hammer the 18-gauge wire after I made the ball shapes.

I am so happy with how these turned out and will be wearing them to work tomorrow (probably every other day until Christmas too).

Happy Crafting,

Kristin

Easy Scrapbook Paper Star Garland

garland2

Loryn:  This scrapbook paper garland is so easy to make! All you need is a few sheets of paper, a star-shaped punch, glue, and fishing line, nylon thread, or any other white/clear cord to glue your paper to (even dental floss if you’re crafting late at night and grab the first thing you can find!).

garlandall

The first step is to cut stars out with your punch.

garlandstep1

Then fold two in half and glue the halves together. For this garland, I used two pieces of the same color and an accent for each bauble.

garlandstep2-a

Then put your thread or fishing line into the fold and glue the third star onto the first two. That’s it! Just repeat to make the garland as long as you want. I don’t know how many stars I used for this. A lot!

— Loryn

garlandgkr 

Christmas Ornament Advent Countdown

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Lynne : This is my second ornament for our 2013 countdown. I am in love with trees right now and have been drawing them over and over so it seemed natural to find an ornament that looked like a tree. I was browsing through google images and I found this article from Just Something I Made by Cathe Holden about how to make bottle brush trees. Since I do not have much need for bottle brushes any more I was delighted to find that she uses rope and wire for her trees and shapes them with scissors. And as a bonus I could use my Copic airbrush system to color the trees.

Cathe Holden website:
Just Something I Made by Cathe Holden

Here is the tutorial:
Handmade Colorful Bottle Brush Trees

You will need these things:
Wire
Wire cutters
Rope (sisal, jute, or any twisted fiber)
Drill
Hook (shaped from a wire coat hanger or from a small S-hook)
Vise (or something that will hold the wires securely when twisting them with the drill)
Pliers
Copic airbrush (optional)

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I already had some jute, but when I untwisted the fibers I thought they were too fuzzy and too fragile. I made a trip to the hardware store and found some thick rope that is used on farms. (I remember swinging on the hay ropes as a child. When my grandparents weren’t looking of course.) I cut my rope into lengths of 3 to 4 inches and then began to untwist the fibers. When I had an amount that looked like it would make a full Christmas tree I laid the fiber between the wires as described in the tutorial. It is so nice that you can make two at once by cutting on the diagonal.

I didn’t have a wire coat hanger to make into a hook for the drill because I don’t like the sound they make rattling in the closet. So I took an S-hook and straightened one end so that it would fit into the drill. You can see it in the drill in the photo. I put the wire ends in my vise and inserted the hook in the top of the wire and the wire began to spiral just like it was supposed to. I noticed that the fiber also tangles and you do need to spend some time straightening and combing the fibers to approximate the shape of your tree. Then I used small scissors to cut the final shape. It’s best to do this over something you can throw away because the fibers are very small and sticklish.

When I had the shape I wanted I looked for something to hold them while I spray painted them and found an empty Kleenex box. The wires poked in easily and the setup worked, but I think I’d rather have had a piece of styrofoam. I’m sure we’ll have some after unwrapping presents and I intend to save a piece for a painting stand.

To color the trees I used mostly blues and yellows and finished with a dark green. I start with the lightest yellow and spray the whole tree. Then I concentrate yellow on the ends of the branches using what yellows look good on the fibers. I then use blues from the lightest to the darkest making sure that the lightest yellows remain as free as possible of the blues. The yellows and blues make a lovely variety of shades of green as they are sprayed one on top of the other. I use a dark green to deepen the shadows between the branches to create more depth in the tree. I touch up the yellow and the tree is almost done.

I bent the stem wire with pliers into an X-shape for the bases, but you could use cork or wood or just about anything for a base.

These trees look so good and once you have everything laid out, they work up very quickly. I hope you have as much fun making them as I did.

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.

 

3D Origami Snowflake

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Lynne
The other day I was looking through pages and pages of Google images of origami figures for some new ideas when I saw this terrific dragon. Red Dragon Origami from Papercraft

I was keenly interested in how it was made and I began to search for instructions. I found that the process was called 3D origami and involved folding small rectangles of paper into triangular pieces that could be interlocked to build figures of amazing complexity.
Of course I turned to youtube and began to look for instructional videos. I find that I can learn better by watching than by reading complicated directions. So I will give links to a couple of videos that were very helpful in the process of making these intricate Lego-like pieces. There are many other videos and each one has something different to show. Watch as many as you can.

3D origami tutorial
3D origami tutorial 2

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I hoped that I could use this folding technique in our Christmas challenge and I found this video on how to make a snowflake with a little less than 50 pieces. It’s a good way to learn how the process works and still have something creative to show for your time. The video is well done, but I found that I did not pay enough attention to the position of the pieces as they were interlocked. The second color is placed differently than the first. If you look closely you will see that how the pieces are shown is how they are attached to the model.
3D origami snowflake

I made my first snowflake using two colors of copy paper as shown in the video to help me understand what I was doing, but I wanted a subtler change of color on my model. I have recently discovered the Copic airbrush system and on my second effort I used that system to achieve the color and effect I wanted. I really like using markers for airbrush painting. It is easy to switch colors quickly and there is very little mess to clean up. Here is a link to a video of the air spray system in action.
Copic airbrush system

I attached a button to the front of the star and then used a light coating of spray adhesive to adhere some glitter for a reflective shine. I used some fishing line to hang the ornament but ribbon or string would work just as well.

I hope you have fun as much fun making these snowflakes as I did and I will post again in four days with another project.

Side view of wreath

2013 Christmas Advent: Paper Wreath

Happy Holidays!

Hello, and yes we are still alive. We are doing our annual Christmas Advent. This year we are covering Christmas Decorations. I decided to to do a Christmas wreath and have been playing with paper lately and thus my Christmas Paper Wreath was made.

Finished paper wreath

For supplies:

Foam wreath shape, burlap ribbon, scrapbook paper (paper cutter optional), pins, sequins, paper punch (twine and bells optional)

Supplies needed for paper wreath

The paper punch I chose cuts out a 2 1/2″ shape, so I cut my scrapbook paper into 3″ swathes. This I then ran through my paper punch and cut out my florets.

Paper punch

Once I had all my florets, I wrapped the foam wreath with the burlap ribbon. I used pins to hold the burlap in place (I was trying to keep my supplies to a minimum, but you could use hot glue here if you preferred).

Burlap wrapped foam wreath

I attached the hanger and bells at the very end, but realistically, this would have been the best time. It worked just fine adding these at the end of the project, but I could have hidden them better had I tied them around the wreath before adding the florets.

Next, I started attaching the florets. I have to tell you about my error now. I bought large head beading pins for this project and thought they would be large enough that they would hold the florets by themselves. However, once I tried to hold the florets in place with the pins I discovered that I was wrong. I needed something to go between the pinheads and the florets. You could use just about anything, I chose to use silver sequins. I imagine that small beads would also have been lovely.

Once you put the pin through the floret, use your fingers to bend the floret up into a flower cup shape. This is what gives the florets three dimensions.

Attaching florets to wreath

Just keep pinning the florets to the wreath all the way around, being sure to cover the inside and outside of the wreath.  I made sure that none of the florets were flat on the wreath. I would pull up the edges of the nearby florets so that the edges were all up and none were flat.

Here you can see the burlap ribbon under the florets, but once the wreath is complete, you cannot see the burlap from a regular distance away.

Paper Wreath Close Up with Burlap2

I love the way it turned out. It looks great hanging on my front door.

Side view of wreath

Finished paper wreath

Happy crafting!

Kristin

Paper Wreath Close Up CG

Purse Project

bag 021713 003Purse project

Cheri-Okay, I do have to admit, it was hard. It was really hard to try to top the purse I made last year. It may not be as nice, but it does fill my needs.

Supplies

Sewing machine

2 belts-khaki

pillow sham

fabric

Pillow shams make great purses. The shams are often quilted and they are normally the right size.

Wash and dry the sham, and lay out flat. Cut off the back fabric and lay a coordinating fabric on top. Cut the fabric to fit. Put the fabric and sham right side to right side and sew around the entire sham leaving a small opening so you can turn it right side out.

After you have turned it right side out, put the fabric together again with the right sides together. Sew up each side to make a sack. You could make a tote by just adding handles at this point, but I like to make my bag a bit more interesting.

When I am at sales I have a tendency to pick up webbed belts. Not only is the hardware handy but I like to use the fabric on purses. I took a belt that was wide and sewed it all around the purse. I used the clasp part for the purse closure. I also used what I had cut off to make loops to hold the handle.

In the end I am really pleased with the finished product. I would like to make an organizer to put inside of it. This would make it even more functional.

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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

Crocheted earmuffs in cream and black wool yarn.

Crafty Challenge 12: Headwarmer – Earmuffs


Crocheted earmuffs in cream and black wool yarn.

Our most recent crafty challenge was to make a headwarmer. This could be in any color, material, style or shape. Cheri was ahead of us all and posted her adorable recycled sweater hat here. We gave ourselves 3 weeks to make this particular challenge as we were all still recovering from the holidays. I had mine done in less than a week and then had to try very had not to talk about it or brag about it. Of course, this early birdness of me is now completely offset by my late posting.

I love earmuffs, but have never been able to find a satisfactory pair. The never stay on my head or they don’t cover my ears very well. I also hate hats as I have very static prone hair. I knew as soon as we started talking about a headwarmer challenge that earmuffs were my challenge.

I bought a cheap set of fleece wrap-around earmuffs for less than $2. I then cut the fleece off the wire and used the wire for the base of my earmuffs. I have some lovely wool yarn, one skein in cream and another in black. I also received this gigantic spool of very fine black alpaca yarn on year for Christmas. I took all three yarns and crocheted my earmuffs with this lovely and warm combination.

Crocheted earmuffs made on wire frame.

I crocheted 4 circles in double crochet, all the same size and just big enough to cover my ears. I then held two of these circles on either side of the ear part of the wire frame and using half-double crochet, I stitched the circles together. I really wanted the double thickness which provides amazing protection from cold and wind. You could also put some stuffing or quilting in between the two circles if you wanted poofy earmuffs (this would be very cute for a child).

After stitching both circles on the frame, I then single crocheted around the length of wire between the ear pieces. To keep from having to weave-in ends, I folded the ends from the ear pieces under the single crochet. This made the back wire a little thicker and made it so I only had the ends from this last stretch to weave-in.

Crocheted earmuffs in black and cream wool yarn.

This completed my earmuffs. This project took me all of about 2 hours and most of that was just figuring out what stitch I wanted to use to make the circles. I have been wearing these for weeks now and just love them. They are comfortable, very warm, and I haven’t had cold ears at all this year!

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

Christmas garland made of wrapping paper.

Ornament Advent: Day 23 Christmas Wrap Garland

One of the greatest benefits of having a crafting family are how ideas are bounced, re-imaged, and re-shaped among us. I really love the Star Ornaments that Loryn made and I also just love the Chinese Fortune Garland that Cheri made. I decided to do something similar to Loryn’s stars and follow Cheri and make a garland. I am very happy with how it turned out!

Christmas garland made of wrapping paper.

Supplies:

Christmas wrap

Paper punch (I used 2″ seal punch)

Glue stick or pen

Yarn, string, or ribbon

Christmas garland made of Christmas wrap and shaped into a wreath.

I had some really shiny Christmas wrap and also had this 2″ seal paper punch. I used the paper punch to cut around 120 pieces out of the Christmas wrap. I then pulled out some thick crochet thread that is a sort-of soft gold color and is ribbonish (flat and about 1/8″ thick). I spread glue on two cut-outs and glued the crochet thread between the two pieces. You do have to be sparing with the glue as the Christmas wrap is very thin. I left around 1/4″ of the yarn visible between the cut-outs.

Christmas Wrapping Paper Garland

My garland is around 12′ long and looks great on a tree! I think this whole garland took me around 45 minutes to make. The other nice thing about this garland is that once you fold up the shapes, it takes up so little space and stores very well.

Christmas Garland made of wrapping paper.

Happy Holidays and Happy Crafting!

Kristin