Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beautiful Flowers

My friend Wendy gave me these flowers from her garden...aren't they beautiful? So now I want to plant a cutting flower garden and I think I have the perfect place. But this will be for next year...though I can start clearing the space for it. 

My plan for the blog was to take a few weeks off and work in the garden. Since the weather had been so bad here, I hadn't really done the spring clean-up work needed. But a few weeks turned into a few months! The biggest challenge I have with the blog is: do I want to post or do I want to craft, or garden, or walk the beach, or sew, or knit, or tat, or crochet, or read, or go to lunch, or go on day get the picture...trying to find the right balance. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dust Bunnies

Yes, I have proof where dust bunnies come from, look closely just above my logo and you will find one of those little devils. What you don't see in the photo is the spider web spun between the bunnies ears. Oh, my! Makes me want to re-think my bunny collection! (Smile)

I wish all of you a wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf in Chunky Weight Yarn

I was going to wait until early fall to do this post, but it has been so cold and wet here that it might just be the thing. Plus I bet this would be lovely in a linen blend or cotton yarn. Sometimes you find a skein of yarn that you really love, but there is only one, or all the skeins have a different lot number. So you just get one skein. Finding a pattern for it is always a challenge. 

Thanks to Bev at The Make Your Own Zone and her Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf this is my go-to pattern for Aran (4) medium weight yarn. I have also made it from DK (3) light weight yarn, it worked great.  And there are so many things to love about this scarf, it  is small enough to carry in your purse, it is not bulky around your bust-line, and it is quick and easy to make!  However, when one of my friends wanted me to knit her a scarf, only out of chunky weight (5) yarn, it just did not work with Bev's pattern. And I tried. Ran out of yarn with about 3 inches to go!

Here is my solution: Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf Using Chunky Weight (5) Yarn

Size US 8 (5.0 mm) Needles
Size US 6 or 8 Double Pointed Needles
Chunky Weight (5) Yarn - one 3.5 oz skein should be enough*

Cast on 2 stitches
1st Row: Increase in first stitch (I used knit front and back), K next stitch
2nd Row: Increase in first stitch, K to end of row
Repeat this row until there are 20 stitches
Work even in garter stitch (knit all) 2 more inches (total length from point is not quite 5 inches)

Loop Opening:
1st Row: * K1, slip next stitch to a double pointed needle, repeat from* across. There will be 10 stitches on the needle and 10 stitches on the DP needle to work later
2nd Row: K1, P1 (ribbing) across row
Repeat Row 2 for 9 more rows, 10 total
Place these stitches on another DP needle and break yarn 
Attach yarn by stitches being held on first DP needle work in ribbing as before for 10 row
Next Row: *K1 from the stitches being held on the DP needle, K1 from stitches being worked. Repeat from* across, 20 stitches on needle (loop opening made)

Continue to work in garter stitch for 14"

Narrow Neck:
K2tog, across row (10 stitches total)
K1, P1 across row (ribbing) for 10 rows total (narrow neck made)

K front and back across row making 20 stitches
Work in garter stitch for 2"

Shape Point:
1st Row: K1, K2tog, K across remaining stitches
Repeat  1st Row until 2 stitches remain
Bind Off

*You can see from the picture that there was not much yarn left (small ball on right)

This picture shows the Original Pattern by The Make Your Own Zone in black and the Chunky Yarn Pattern in the blue variegated yarn by Deborah Norville Collection in the color Stormy.

The loop opening is shown in this purple version made in DK (3) yarn. It is great that the main body of the scarf can be folded almost like a collar for those of us (me) with a shorter neck. Also you can wear the little points across your shoulder for a different look.

Hope you enjoy making either version of this scarf and if you are short on yarn you can make just one loop as in the Chunky Yarn Pattern. Send me a picture if you make one! 

Request a PDF version of the Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf Chunky Weight Yarn by using the Contact Form found under the Blog Archive on the right hand side of the blog near the top of the page and I will email it to you.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Easter Eggs! Third - Natural Looking Eggs!

I wanted to make some eggs that looked more like real eggs, spotted eggs.

Warning: these are not as easy to make as the eggs in the two previous posts, but still very do-able.
And I love love love they way they look!

Multi-color Textured Spray Paint (I used Rust-oleum Caribbean Sand)
Plastic eggs
Matte Mod Podge
Container to mix Mod Podge
Food Color (green, blue or both)
Paint brush (not shown)
Brown or gold paint
Old tooth brush (shown below)

The textured spray paint that I used knocked the plastic eggs all over the place. Oh my! I finally found a box to corral them and painted away. This takes some time. Oh, I used two cans of paint for a dozen eggs. Not an inexpensive project if you are on a budget. Next I mixed a drop of blue food color into a small amount of Mod Podge and painted a few eggs with it. Then I mixed in a drop of green food color into the blue mix, making an aqua color and painted more eggs. Now I had three slightly different colored eggs. 

Ready to put spots on them. I used some gold paint and some brown paint (not shown). Wet the toothbrush with water and dip into the paint, then take your finger and bend the loaded bristles, aim at the eggs and let go. Spots. Let them dry and do the other side.

Hope you make some!

Easter Eggs! Second - Antiqued Foil Wrapped Eggs!

Oh so easy foil wrapped eggs. You most likely have all that is needed on hand.

All you need is a little sheet of crumpled foil, eggs, glue and black paint or shoe polish. 

You can use whatever kind of glue you have on hand - I used Elmer's school glue. Plastic eggs were my choice, mainly because I doubt that I could blow out a real egg when I can't even blow-up a balloon! Tear a piece of foil and glue to the egg.Continue tearing and gluing until the egg is completely covered. Let it dry over night or at least 12 hours. Rub some black paint on the foil then wipe most of it off using a paper towel. Let dry. Tah dah!

Next time I may try some brown or gold paint to see how that looks.

Easter Eggs! First - Découpage Eggs!

All sorts of Easter Eggs...I'm sure you will find eggactly what you want, LOL. This will be the first of three Easter egg posts.

I started with inexpensive colored plastic eggs, the ones that come apart to fill with treats, because that is what I had on hand. 

Supplies needed:
Plastic eggs
Bamboo skewers
Scissors or garden clippers 
Emmry board
Mod Podge gloss (or use Elmers school glue and water it down  - half glue, half water then mix well)
Paper napkins (I found mine at the Dollar Store)
Scotch Brite
Matte white spray paint

First, cut off the little tab that holds the two sides of the egg together. Push the egg together and then sand off the rest of the tab using the emery board. Then rough-up the entire egg using the Scotch Brite. Stick the egg on a skewer and you are ready to paint it. After painting I stuck mine in some old Styrofoam to hold it upright while drying.

Or you can skip this step and use:

I found these Decorating Easter Eggs at Walmart...much later! Duh! Would have made this project so much easier!

Now take the napkins (or you could use tissue paper) and separate the layers of the napkins using only the top printed layer. Just cut-out or tear random pieces of paper and stick on the egg using a little Mod Podge to make it stick. Then use more Mod Podge to smooth it down. With this paper I like to use the writing as the background then cut-out little motifs to add last or not.

Let dry and coat again with the Mod Podge.

Aren't they great? They look so fragile, but don't break!

These have been all over the internet for years...finding the right paper makes them yours.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bunny Tea Pot

Getting ready for Easter? There are a lot of bunnies popping up around here. This one just makes me smile...

 And here is the top -

All you need are a few felt tip markers in Easter colors. Have fun being creative!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Wreath

Yeah! Today is the first day of Spring! And to welcome the season I have an easy Spring Wreath for you to make. 

It was made with items that I already had on more or less for free.

I purchased the tulips several years ago from the dollar store. I think that I bought eight bunches at a dollar each, then snipped them apart using some old tin snips.The grapevine wreaths I've had for about ten years...and keep changing them to suit my mood and season. The ribbon I got at Walmart two years ago at an after Easter sale for just a dollar. There was fifteen feet of ribbon on the roll and I used it all except for about two inches. Shown in the picture below are two pipe cleaners (chenille stems) one for each wreath that I had on hand from another project. Divide the tulips and start weaving them into the grapevine base. I used seven per side, leaving about two inches for the ribbon in between (fourteen for each wreath, twenty-eight total). No glue needed!

Cut the ribbon in two equal pieces.  Make four loops of ribbon to make the bow, then cut the ribbon,  take the rest of that piece and use it for the tails on the bow. Wrap it around the loops (two on each side) and secure in the back with one pipe cleaner. Secure the pipe cleaner to the grapevine wreath. Cut the ends of the tails on the diagonal and tweak the ribbon to show some movement.

Here are the finished wreaths guarded by Tilly my Havanese guard dog. She might lick you to death! So quick and easy!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May the road rise up to meet you...
I love St. Pat's you? Maybe I'll eat some potato soup or not. The only day of the year when I'm very Irish and so is this teapot - a little wear'n of the green...

Use a felt tip marker to draw a shamrock or other Irish design (a Celtic Knot?) on a porcelain dish or teapot. Make the design as simple or fancy as you would like. Remove it with a cotton ball dipped in denatured alcohol and you are ready for your next work of art. 

I machine embroidered two kitchen towels this year. The design "Shamrock Bow" ATG2517 is available at Ann the Gran - changed the red bow to a blue-green to go with my kitchen better. These will be used for spring and maybe summer, too.

That is all I did for St. Patrick's Day. Still makes me smile.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Make your pillow shams look more expensive...

Have you ever purchased one of those mini duvet cover sets and been disappointed in the pillow shams? Especially the micro-fiber ones. They have a tendency to droop and look old even when new. If you can sew a straight (or almost straight line) here is a tutorial for an easy fix.


Now after...

And a side by side comparison. Right sham transformed! 

All that you need to do is add some batting to the inside.

Items needed for this easy fix:
Pillow sham in need of a make-over
Thread to match the pillow sham
Sewing machine
Ironing board

Here is how:

Start by ripping out the stitching that creates the flange of the sham. Usually about two inches from the edge of the sham.

Rip it out - all the way around the sham. 

Then turn the sham inside out and press. 

Proceed by measureing the size of the sham. Mine was 30 inches by 25 inches. You will need to cut batting to fit whatever size your measurement is.  

Choose your favorite batting...a crib size should be more than enough for two shams. 

Place your cut batting on the inside front of the sham (on top of the front side when it is turned inside out).

Sew around the sham completely, just shy of the stitch line that holds the sham together. I recommend using a larger stitch (basting type). Turn the sham right side out and press just the edge.

Now sew the flange line (the stitch line that you ripped out in the beginning). You should be able to see where the stitches were and sew over the original line. Use a smaller stitch similar to the one you removed. Pop your pillow in and you are done.

Here is the finished project again...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A little bit of tranquility...

Kalaloch Beach - Washington Coast - in the fog. Photoshop can be so much fun! This reminds me of a John Ebner watercolor, if only!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Valentine Wreath

Valentine's Day is almost here! Can you believe it? Today I have a quick and easy wreath tutorial using items you might already have. I'm sure you have seen versions of this wreath around the web...hope you like my version and find my tutorial easy to follow. There are several options to make this wreath completely your own!

Items Needed:
Cardboard  (Amazon Box?)
Coffee Filters (about 65 total - 35 pink and 30 white. Wreath size approximately 14 inches by across by 11 inches tall by 2 inches wide to fill in) 
Permanent Double Sided Tape
Optional Items:
Rotary Cutter
Self Healing Mat
Freezer Paper
Red Food Color
Low Temp Glue Gun
Tabs From Two Soda/Beer Cans (no judgement here!)

Step One - optional: Color your coffee filters...they only take a few minutes to dry.

Use a small bowl and add a few drops of red food coloring then add some water and mix well. Just dip the fluted edges of the filters (10 or so at a time) in the bowl and watch the color move up. Separate and place on paper towels to dry. Note: If you make a larger cardboard form you will need more coffee filters.

Step Two - optional: Cut the fluted edges into petals as pictured below.

This makes the filters look a little like roses when they are gathered and placed on the cardboard form. Iron the filters if needed then stack them together and cut away!  You get a slightly different look when you don't do this step. Note: You can also use natural colored coffee filters.

Step Three - optional: Make the template for the cardboard form.

My finished template is approximately 14 inches across by 11 inches tall by 2 inches wide.  Cut out the template, iron to the cardboard and mark with a pencil or marker. (I like the pencil better because it makes a tiny indent for your rotary cutter...just a little easier.)

Step Four: Make the cardboard form.

If not using a template make a heart shape approximately 14 inches across by 11 inches tall by 2 inches wide. Cut out the cardboard using a rotary cutter or scissors. Note: If you make a larger cardboard form or one to fill in completely you will need more coffee filters.

Step Five - optional: Make the hangers for attaching the ribbon to hang the heart.

Yippee, you get to use your low temp glue gun. Bend your two soda tabs slightly and glue the portion without the hole to the cardboard form. Make sure to have the hole side of the tab on the top and place on the top portion of the heart with the hole flared away from the cardboard. Use lots and lots of glue and let it dry before proceeding.

Step Six: Gather the filters and make a flower shape.

Step Seven: Tape to cardboard form.

Apply your permanent double sided tape to the cardboard form then press a gathered filter onto the tape. Continue taping then gathering and pressing more filters until the form is completely covered in the design of your choice.

Step Eight - optional: Add ribbon to hang the heart.

I used two pieces of 1/2 inch satin ribbon, each about 22 inches long. If you skip this step then just push your cardboard onto your nail, still cute.

Step Nine: Admire!

I would love to see a photo of your finished wreath!