Excuses For Not Blogging

April 18, 2014

I have been terrible about blogging lately, so I thought I would come up with a list of excuses why I haven’t been blogging.  Feel free to use these excuses when you find yourself slacking on your own blogging.  And comment with your own ideas of excuses that should be added to the list!

  • I haven’t felt like it.
  • Nobody reads my blog anyway.
  • I’ve felt uninspired.
  • I’ve been too busy.
  • I’ve been too tired.
  • I’ve been tirelessly cleaning my house from top to bottom.
  • I’ve spent all this time outside shoveling the snow that seems will never stop!
  • I’ve been donating all my time to untangling yarn balls.
  • I’ve made it my life’s goal to become an extreme couponer- seriously you have no idea how much time that takes!
  • The dog ate my blog project.
  • The cat threw up a hair ball on my blog notes.
  • My full time job is just too full time.
  • I’ve been spending all my time reading everybody else’s blogs.
  • Spring fever.
  • Pinterest – enough said!

 

In all seriousness, I’ve just been slacking. Don’t give up on me.  I hope that spring will set in soon here in Vermont (we had a taste of it last week with one day in the 70s and then it went right back to snow- that’s Vermont for you!) and that it will give me some motivation. In the meantime, at least I have plenty of excuses!

Reversible Fleece Hats

March 15, 2014

Winter isn’t  over here in Vermont.  We just got 18″ of snow this past week!  So I guess it’s not too late in the season to  be thinking about winter hats, is it?

One of my recent crafting inspirations was to make reversible fleece hats.  I searched the internet and found a free pattern AND tutorial from the Crafty Gemini, who has a blog, but more importantly, a lot of great YouTube tutorial videos.  You can download the pattern from her website for free and her video walks you through the entire making of the hat. She has even teamed up with a website that offers a nice selection on fleece at some really decent prices.

So, here are my very first attempt at making fleece hats:

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I learned about different kinds of fleece and while making these hats. Polar fleece is heavier, so  it makes a warmer hat but is harder to stitch through, especially where the seams meet up.  Micro Fleece is lighter in weight and much easier to work with, but the hat won’t  be as warm.  In either case, it’s important to use the same kind of fleece for both sides of the hat.

Also, keep in mind when choosing  your fleece colors, that your thread may show more against some colors.  For example, on my black/polka dot hats, the black thread blended in well with both sides so if my seams weren’t perfect, it wasn’t so obvious.  But for the black and teal hats, the black thread stood out against the teal side  and showed the seams really well. If you aren’t confident that you’ll have great seams, choose  your colors wisely.

The hats didn’t come out too bad, but my stitching isn’t great. I want to make more hats and improve my seams. Even with a sewing machine, it can be challenging to keep the seams perfectly straight due to the bulk of the fleece.  In the meantime, these first hats were still pretty good and were great donations to a local homeless shelter! 

Wrap It Up Placemats – Love of Crochet Spring 2014

March 12, 2014

I have another new design coming out!  My Wrap It Up Placemats are in the Love of Crochet Spring 2014 issue which goes on sale March 25th. These placemats are a cute table accessory or perfect for travel.  They include a pocket to place your silverware in so you can roll them up, tie them closed and be ready for the road.  Perfect for a picnic or camping trip!  To learn more about the Wrap it Up Placemats and the other designs in the Spring 2014 issue of Love of Crochet, click here.

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Doily Motif Rug

March 10, 2014

Here’s my latest design for Willow Yarns – the Doily Motif Rug, crocheted in Willow Burrow Bulky yarn.  The pattern is available for purchase on the Willow yarn website.  Just click here for more information.Image

Jean Leg Purse – Version 2

February 27, 2014

As promised, here is the purse I made out the second leg of the jeans.  I decided to make this one a clutch-style purse with a magnetic closure.  Refer to my previous blog post to see the general instructions for how to  make a purse from the leg of a pair of jeans. It’s a really quick and easy project,  not to mention inexpensive!

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Jean Leg Purse

February 24, 2014

I’ve been a little ADHD lately (excuse the term, but I can’t describe it any other way) when it comes to my crafting.  I’ve been delving into so many different things that it’s hard to finish any one project. My list of WIPS includes designing a sewing pattern for a balaclava, making reversible fleece hats, loom knitting hats,  weaving on a pin loom, making paracord bracelets, and I’ve been teaching myself to knit (which I learned to do when I was about 10 or 11, but got into crochet more). I also just got an Addie Express King Size Knitting Machine, which I am super excited about. I’m experimenting with that and have made my first had the day it arrived! I plan to blog about that once I’ve worked with it more.

One other project I’ve been working on are denim purses made from the pant legs of a pair of jeans.  I got the idea when I bought a pair of jeans off of Ebay and they were not in “Great” condition like they were supposed to be.  The jeans weren’t wearable or worthy of donation in my opinion, and I wanted to do something with them.  Most purses or bags made from jeans use the upper part of the jeans, but that was the problem area with these jeans.  So I thought, why not the leg—and if I folded it upward and stitched up the sides, I would automatically create three pockets.  Of course, I had to add the back pocket on, and I even made use of the belt loops!

Purse

This is really a quick and easy project, especially if you can use a sewing machine.  You only have one raw edge to work with.  I didn’t want to hem the denim, so I used Fold-Over Elastic.   This is the basic concept charted out.PatternUsing this and the photos, you can see how it all came together, but here are the Materials and Steps:

Materials:

  • Old pair of jeans

photo 2

  • Thread (I used a thread that matched the thread in the denim )
  • Fold-Over Elastic (unless you want to hem the raw edge).  You can also use bias tape, but the Fold-Over Elastic looks a little fancier
  • Button or clasp (optional)
  • Your choice of Purse Handle and Method of Attachment.  (I used a chain from the jewelry section of my local craft store )
  • Tools:  Scissors, Sewing machine (optional, but helpful), sewing needle
  • Also helpful to have pins, fabric pencil, thimble, seam ripper, Fabri Tac Glue

Steps:

  • Cut leg from jeans.  Remove any other parts you will  be using, such as pockets, belt loops, etc.

photo 1

  • Decide where you want you fold to be keeping in mind that you need the back section taller so that you have enough leg remaining to fold down as the purse flap.  Once you’ve decided, be sure the leg is trimmed evenly to the length you need   it.
  • Pin the Fold-Over Elastic in place around the raw edge. Make sure the ends meet where they will be on the underside of the flap. Ideally they can be hidden by the closure.
  • Fold the leg up to the proper position and pin in place. Sew along the very edge, bottom and other side no more than ¼” from the edge. Here a sewing machine is handy if you have one!
  • Place pocket in the position you want it and pin in place.  Sew in place.  You will need to sew this by hand.
  • Attach your closure, purse strap, and any other embellishments.

With this purse, you can see I used a belt loop for the closure.  I just added Velcro to the  backside.  I also used the belt loops for embellishments.  I simply glued those on with Fabri Tac Glue and they won’t be  going anywhere!  For the purse strap, I attached a mini slip ring to each end of the chain and then secured stitched the slip rings to either side of the purse.

Purse (2)

I have one more purse I am working on (from the second leg of the jeans). I’m not quite done with it, but will share it as soon as it is finished.

Diamond Escapade Afghan

February 1, 2014

I just thought I’d quickly share my latest design – the Diamond Escapade Afghan.  Made with Premier Ever Soft yarn, the afghan is available as a kit for purchase through Herrschners. The kit comes with the yarn, a clear vinyl storage bag, yarn needle, a label for personalization, and instructions.

Diamond Escapade

Chocolates Anyone?

January 28, 2014

Today is my mother’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Mom!  Though we aren’t celebrating her birthday today because she’s been feeling a bit under the weather, I had to at least bring her some of her favorite homemade chocolate-covered cherries.  I also  decided to throw in an extra surprise– chocolate-covered raspberries!

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Both are  super-easy to make.  I just use chocolate chips, always the store brand.It does make  a difference! For the cherries, I use maraschino cherries.  For the raspberries I use fresh raspberries.

Drain the cherries to get all the excess juice out.  I just empty the jar into a colander. While the cherries are  draining, line a baking sheet with wax paper and get your chocolate chips melting.  I have a special melting pot just for chocolates.  (If you don’t have one, I’ve found that melting the chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup and then setting the measuring cup in a pan of hot water works great for keeping the chocolate melted while you work.)

If you are making raspberries and cherries, I recommend starting with the raspberries first because the sugar in the juice from the cherries will gunk up the chocolate after a while.

Just drop a raspberry (or cherry) in the melted chocolate, gently swirl it to cover it with the chocolate.  Scoop it out with a spoon and drop it onto the wax paper. And repeat!  Add  and melt more chocolate chips as needed.  When you are done, put the chocolates in the refrigerator so that the chocolate will firm back up. Then they are ready to gift (or eat)!  If I am gifting them, I line the gift box with wax  paper or put the chocolates in mini baking cups.

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My mother likes my homemade  chocolate-covered cherries better than any other chocolate cherries that she has found. It  has  become a tradition that she gets  them every Christmas, birthday, and Mother’s Day.

This was  the first  time I made the chocolate-covered raspberries, so everyone had to taste-test  them and decide whether the cherries or  raspberries were the favorite.  The raspberries won over the cherries  3 to 2!   But mom still prefers the cherries :-)

And lastly, don’t  forget  the card!  I save a ton of money each year by making my own greeting cards.  It sounds  cheesy, but I have a couple of greeting card programs for  my computer that I paid less than $10 each for. I make all my greeting cards with this software.  Add to to software  one box of  greeting card envelopes  and  one package of  white card stock and I’ve been good stocked for several  years.    The nice thing about the greeting card software   is that I can totally customize the cards– I can add names, change the wording to be suitable, create  my own wording, add my own pictures, or anything else I might want to do.  In this case, you can see that I decided the card should  say that my mother should enjoy lots of her favorite  chocolates:

photo 1

Family have  really come to appreciate  these personalized  cards  because more thought has gone  into them. On the rare occasion that  I  have  “cheated” and purchased a card, they have actually been disappointed.  I really prefer  to make my own cards and love that  I don’t  have to stand in  the card isle trying to find the perfect card and then flip over the card and gape at the ridiculous price printed on the back.

Ocean’s Promise Cowl

January 26, 2014

It’s been about a year, but I finally have a new pattern for sale on the Kindle! The Ocean’s Promise Cowl is a quick and easy pattern to make.  This pattern is available for Kindle download, but you don’t have to have a Kindle to download it.  You can just download it to your computer.  You can also purchase it on Ravelry.

Ocean's Promise Cowl

Ocean’s Promise Cowl

Check out the other patterns I have available for sale on Amazon while you are at it.  Just click on the image to be taken to the Amazon page for the pattern:

Convertible Infinity Scarf

Convertible Infinity Scarf

Everything's Rosey One Skein Wristlets
Everything’s Rosey One Skein Wristlets

Men's Fingerless Gloves

Men’s Fingerless Gloves

Pink Ribbon Motif Pattern

Pink Ribbon Motif Pattern

kindle cover

Summer's Evening Wrap

Summer’s Evening Wrap

Heart Motifs

Heart Motifs

One Skein Garden Trellis Wrap

One Skein Garden Trellis Wrap

Kindle Cover

Ripple Granny and Rise and Fall Throw

January 24, 2014
Ripple Granny

Ripple Granny

Imagine my surprise when I found one of my designs in a Leisure Arts book recently!  A while back, I had done an afghan design for Candi Jensen. I knew it was intended for a book, but didn’t have any more details than that.  Time went by and it got pushed to the back of my mind.  I was on the Leisure Arts website the other day and just happened to recognize my design in Motif Afghans by Candi Jensen! I guess I finally found out where the design ended up.  LOL

Rise and Fall Throw

Rise and Fall Throw

And wouldn’t you know that on the very same evening I just happened discover my Rise and Fall Throw (which has been in the Mary Maxim catalog for quite some time) in The Best of Mary Maxim Ripple Afghans book, another Leisure Arts publication!  What an honor to have my design to be selected to be among the amazing designs in the book.  I had no idea!

Both of these books are available on the Leisure Arts website (click the book titles above).  You can also find them on Amazon.

Motif Afghans Cover  Best of Mary Maxim Ripple Afghans Cover 


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