Fun Little Paper Mache Craft

Projects

I saw these cute little “bell” people and decided I had to get crafty. Some were made of ceramics and some I think paper mache. I decided to make my little bell person from paper mache. But I needed company, so I asked the kids if they wanted to make one as well. Everyone was on board.

We started by making a form to paper mache around. Ours were wadded up paper and fruit stuffed into a ziplock bag. Next, I poured glue into a yogurt container and added water to thin the glue and gave it a stir. Then we all tore newspaper into strips, dipped into the glue mixture, and squeeged the glue from the paper with our fingers and arranged the strips around our forms to create a bell shape. A few coats of this is recommended.

My son making the form for his person.

I then used magazines and paper mached the colored pieces onto the bell as if I were painting the piece. In this way I did not have to paint the piece in the end. I did paint my little guy’s facial features when he dried with black acrylic paint.

The kids decided to paint their guys with acrylic paint instead of using magazines. After they dried overnight, we put on a coat of clear varnish. Then it was time to string them up. I strung my little guy but his feet kept hitting each other and turning around. My son, on the other hand, had a perfectly aligned little man. So I asked him to string mine for me. He also finished his sister’s guy as well.

These bell people did take a while to make. However, we were having such a good time that we really did not notice just how long we were at it until we had finished.

My little man.

I really liked how my little man turned out. He makes me laugh. He is so cute. I have hung him above my desk so I can look at him. As I am writing this, I am amused that he is such a good dancer. With my fan blowing on him he has quite the moves.

My son’s man. So sofisticated.
My daughter’s man dressed in swim trunks.

We had fun using our imaginations to create unique guys with interesting personalities. Let us know what you think. As always, Happy Crafting!

DIY Toothpick Container

Projects

The toothpicks I bought came in a thin cardboard box. The typical packaging for toothpicks. I thought this annoying and a bit messy. What to do? The DIY toothpick container of course!

The thought of making my own toothpick container came to me as I was cleaning out the spice drawer. I came across a plastic spice container with a shaker lid, the kind with holes punched in the top to shake the spice out with. I decided to use this container to shake out my toothpicks instead. It was the perfect size to hold the toothpicks. So I washed it up and inserted my toothpicks. When given a little shake, the toothpicks pop out of the holes and I am able to grab however many I want.

For me, this DIY container is a much better option than the box the toothpicks came in. I am no longer finding toothpicks scattered about the drawer as they fall out of the flimsy box. I also like the fact that I did not have to spend money on a special container. It is always good to feel a bit more organized in the kitchen. As always, Happy Baking!

DIY Grab-It Potholder

Projects

Another day of making potholders. Today it is the grab-it potholder. It slips on and looks like a puppet. Handy for grabbing a cookie sheet or muffin tin from the oven. Let’s get started…

Supplies:

material

quilter’s batting

thread

sewing machine

scissors

needle

thimble

copy paper (for making the pattern piece)

pencil

ruler

self-healing craft matt

rotary blade tool

Step 1: Make the pattern. This piece is basically an oval that fits your fingers. Fold a piece of paper in half then in half again. Make one side of the fold the width and the other the length. When unfolded all sides will be the same. My dimensions are roughly: 2.5″ width x 4.5″ length with a curved side. See photos.

Width 2 1/2″
length 4 1/2″

Step 2: Unfold pattern piece. Pin to fabric and cut 2 pieces. Pin to batting and cut 1 piece.

Step 3: Make the pocket pieces by folding the pattern piece in half (widthwise) and then folding down 1/2″. Pin to fabric and cut 4 pieces. Pin to batting and cut 2 pieces.

Step 4: With right sides together, sew two pocket material pieces together. Iron seams open. Place one batting piece inside and fold over. Repeat making one more pocket piece.

Pin pocket pieces together
Press pocket pieces, add batting, fold over

Step 5: Sew 1/2″ seam around pocket piece and keep going to quilt a maze design on pocket pieces. This keeps batting in tact through use and washing.

quilted pocket piece

Step 6: Sandwhich the main piece of batting between the two pieces of oval fabric with the right sides out. Stitch 1/2″ seam allowance around the edge. Quilt a bit on this piece as well. Simple straight lines will do just fine.

Step 6

Step 7: Now take the pocket pieces and pin to the oval. Sew around curves leave the straight sides open.

Step 7

Step 8: Cut a long strip of fabric 2 1/2 ” wide. The length should be longer than the oval…don’t worry about making it exact. It is better to have this too long so that it can be fitted and cut when almost finished sewing. After cutting the strip, fold one end 1/4″ under on width side. Now fold it in half lengthwise and press. Then pin just the start of the binding to the edge of the potholder with raw edges together. Do not pin the whole thing as the binding will have to be stretched and shaped to fit as it is being sewn. Sew in place with a 1/2″ seam. When almost to the end, cut the binding with an overlap and fold under 1/4″ and finish sewing.

Cut binding 2 1/2″ wide with self healing matt and rotary cutter or by hand is fine too
Fold and press
Pin just the beginning of binding to potholder
Cut binding when almost finished leaving an overlap. Oh and don’t forget to turn the end under (not shown in photo) for a finished look.

Step 9: Almost done! The machine part of the sewing is finished. Get out a needle, thread, thimble, and scissors to complete the potholder. Turn the binding to the back. It should just cover the seam stitch. Hold in place and with a threaded needle grab a tiny amount of fabric from the potholder and from the binding and whip stitch all aroung the potholder. Press the potholder to flatten it out and bit. Voila! Now you are ready to take those cookies out of the oven. Happy crafting!

DIY Pot Handle Potholders

Projects

I am back to making potholders. Now that my pot lids are cozy, I decided my pot handles should be dressed as well. I drafted a pattern and made it in two ways. The first way I tried has a band to finish off the edges. The second and easier version has the edge finished first. I will give directions for both. My favorite is the second version. It is faster to make and takes less fabric. These can literally be sewn up in less than five minutes.

Let’s start with my favorite version first…

Supply List:

a sheet of copy paper (to draft the pattern)

pencil

ruler

scissors

pan (to make the potholder fit)

material

quilter’s batting

sewing machine

thread

Length of my pattern: roughly 6″
Width of my pattern: roughly 2.5″

Step 1: Cut the pattern piece for the pot handle. My pattern is roughly 6″ long x 2.5″ wide. I folded the rectangle in half lengthwise and then cut rounded corners. This can be adjusted to fit any pot or pan handle. Just measure the handle and make adjustments as needed.

Step 2: Cut out pieces. Material = 2 pieces / Lining = 2 pieces / Batting = 2 pieces

Step 3: For the batting pieces only…trim off 1/4″ from width on top edge (edge with squared corners).

Step 4
Step 4: press

Step 4: With right sides together, pin one material piece to one lining piece with right sides together at top edge. Repeat with the other piece of material and lining. Set batting aside for now. Sew a 1/4″ seam. Press open seams.

Step 5: Place the two material/lining pieces right sides together.

Step 5: Now to sandwhich the layers. Place the two material/lining pieces right sides together.

Step 5b
Step 5b

Step 5b: Place one batting piece on top of material. Fold over lining. Hold and Flip over. Repeat this for other side. Pin in place.

Step 6

Step 6: Sew a 1/2″ seam from top around to other side of top leaving opening at top width.

Step 7: Turn and place on handle of pot.

—————————————————————————————-

Now for the more complicated version with the band trim….

If using this method, a contrasting fabric will be needed for the trim. Not much… a tiny piece… Also needed is a needle and thimble as hand sewing is required.

Step 1: Same as above

Step 2: Same as above

Step 3: Sandwhich pieces together. (Do not trim the batting in this method.) Place right sides of fabric together. On top of this place a batting then a lining. Flip and place a batting and a lining on the other material piece. Pin together.

Step 4: Sew a 1/2″ seam around from top around to other side of top leaving an opening at width end. (same as step 6 above)

Step 5: Turn.

Step 6: Pick out a contrasting fabric for trim
Step 6: Cut trim fabric double width as pattern fold in half lengthwise then fold in half widthwise and sew seam1/2″
Step 6: Place trim over pot holder with raw edges together.

Step 6: Pick out a contrasting fabric for the trim. Cut a rectangle that is the twice the width as the pattern (5″) x however wide the trim is desired to be then doubled and allow for seam allowance of 1/4″ (1 – 1 1/2″). Fold trim in half lengthwise and press with iron. Next, fold the trim in half widthwise and press with iron. Stitch a 1/2″ seam allowance on width of trim. Slip this over the pot holder with raw edges together. Pin in place.

Step 7: Hand sew trim to pot holder with raw sides together
Step 7: Turn trim to inside and pin in place
Step 7: Whip stitch trim to lining
Pot handle potholder with trim

Step 7: Hand stitch the trim in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn trim to inside and pin in place. Whip stitch the trim to the lining only covering stitching. Place on pot handle.

My pots and pans are all dressed up and ready to use. No more burnt hands for me! The best part of this DIY projcet is that the potholders take very little fabric and can be made very quickly. The fabric I used were scraps leftover from other projects, so it did not cost me anything to make them.

Be sure to check-out my previous DIY post on making potholders for pot lids as well. As always, Happy Crafting!

Spanish Village Art Center – Balboa Park

Travel

The Spanish Village Art Center is located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. It is an art collective where members can create and sell their work. Artists can become members in the collective and share studios at the center. The studios are like a little village, each having a welcoming colorful door. It is a good place to catch artists at work and also be able to purchase original art from local artists. Woodworking, painting, collage, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, glass, tile, greeting cards, enamel, gourds, etc… can be found at the Spanish Village Art Center. The different art guilds also hold sales in the center at different times throughout the year. This is a super place to go for original art and gifts for family and friends. They are open seven days a week from 11 am to 4 pm.

My favorite thing about the Spanish Village Art Center are the colorful stones that lead through the center.
Beautiful glass vases, paperweights, and even pumpkins for fall! My favorite studio!
Glass ornaments
Potter’s Guild – Watch a potter throw on the wheel
Pottery for sale
Watch glass blowers in action
An outdoor studio
An iguana bench in the outdoor studio
Grab a cup of coffee and a snack at Daniel’s Coffee

Decorating for Fall with Pumpkins

Projects

Decorating for fall with pumpkins does not have to mean carving up a pumpkin. Pumpkins can leave an elegant accent to a table or buffet. Pumpkins are a fall staple and can come out in October and stay through November making great Thanksgiving statement pieces.

Source: thevspotblog.com

I love the elegant white “Cinderella” pumpkins. Simply purchase a white pumpkin and find a satin or velvet ribbon in a color of choice and a jewel or ornament to give it some sparkle. This very easy and simple idea looks quite expensive.

Source: anitafaraboverubies.com

This gorgeous design of pumpkins, greens, pine cones, candles, etc… set on a table runner makes for a very festive table. I can already smell the turkey baking in the oven and friends and family coming through the door. This idea is oozing with warmth.

Source: thedailybasics.com

Another very simple idea, this time the pumpkin is used as a vase. Keep the colors of the arrangement in the same family to make it sophisticated. Placed on a piece of wood for a natural feel.

Source: https://www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/mhplibrary/holidays/diy-pumpkin-decorating?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=OG_OMP_BC.COM_DSA_F20_CPC_TD&utm_term=pumpkin&utm_content=OPL_KEY_SRCHPNB_DSA%20-%20Pumpkin

I love the orange mum pumpkin. Since pumpkins are orange this works well to keep it natural yet the mums give the pumpkin a new texture and lovely smell. I am not such a fan of the yellow daisy pumpkin. I would perhaps choose white flowers instead.

Source: https://www.thesitsgirls.com/diy/fall-craft-fabric-pumpkins/

I thought this tutorial was brilliant. A little fabric cinched together with a running stitch and filled with stuffing and a pumpkin is born. These can be made more elegant depending on the fabric chosen. A country pumpkin could also be made with a lovely gingham fabric. A longer, flowing ribbon might also be a nice touch.

Source: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-pumpkins

This is just an adorable little knitted pumpkin. I could also see this as a “Cinderella” pumpkin in white. A great decoration for households with children.

Happy Fall!

Knitting Blankets One Square at a Time

Projects

Knitting a blanket may seem overwhelming but it does not have to be. Knitting a blanket can actually be a great project for the beginning knitter. Just take it one square at a time.

I found a wonderful pattern to knit a blanket and learn new patterns at the same time. The blanket is made up of twelve squares of different stitch patterns. The idea being to complete one a month. It only takes a day or two (depending on your commitment) to make a block, so this can be done much faster. All patterns only use the basic knit and pearl stitches. No adding or dropping stitches. No fancy stuff at all. However, the squares are beautiful. If this pattern can not be found there is no need to despair. Any knit patterns can be used to make uniform blocks for a blanket.

I chose to make my blanket larger than the one in the pattern by adding duplicate squares. I enjoyed making this blanket because it was satisfying to finish a square in such a short amount of time and is great to work on a little at a time. I am actually in the process of making a second one. This one will be larger yet and I am making it in one color instead of the multi-colored blanket that I made the first time around.

Assortment of squares for my next blanket

The squares are then sized using a steam iron and crocheted together. Crochet! Do not panic! I do not crochet. However, I found easy instructions to crochet the squares together. Believe me, if I can do it, it can not be that difficult. Give it a try. Happy Knitting!

Single Crochet Border

SOURCES: Pattern found at: Knit Simple Magazine Holiday 2017 issue Square-of-the-Month Knit-Along Pattern.

How to Crochet Knitted Squares Together can be found at: http://www.ehow.com/how_12097392_crochet-knitted-squares-together.html

How to Crochet a Border Around Any Knitting Project: http://www.thesprucecrafts.com/single-crochet-around-a-knitting-project-2115856

DIY Fashion Trends Fall 2019

Projects

Looking at what is trending this fall in fashion, I came across a couple of trends that caught my eye. These trends could bring out the DIY fashion designer and crafty side of me. Patchwork and feathers, need I say more?

https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/a26147021/fall-fashion-trends-2019/
https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/a26147021/fall-fashion-trends-2019/
Feather-Trimmed Boyfriend Jeans
Pradanet-a-porter.com$1,510.00

I love the idea of fashionable, wearable quilts. Not your grandma’s quilt! The idea here is to keep the clothing from looking like it could be grandma’s quilt wrapped around the body. The design needs to be fresh and the fabric trending. Looks like a fun challenge to me.

Feathers are always fun. Can anyone pull it off? Why not! The key here is how much feathers and how the item is paired with the whole outfit. These jeans are fun, but $1,510.00 of fun! I could easily see this as a DIY project. Why not make a feather cuff and attach it to the jeans with velcro or large stitches that can be removed when the trend dies down?

Speaking of feathers, I once admired a fellow student’s feather earrings. Reminded me of the 80’s. I asked her where she got them, but I couldn’t find them, so I made my own. Earring posts, a couple of beads, and feathers from the craft store. An inexpensive solution and made to my liking to boot. Now it looks like they will be in fashion again this fall.

Earrings I made

Whether or not to spend on a trend or DIY really comes down to money, time, and talent; also, whether the trend will be around long enough to justify the purchase. If it is not too complicated and money can be saved, why not DIY? This will make it original and some fun can be had as well.

Weaving a Pouch

Projects

I like to protect my cell phone before putting it into my bag by slipping it into a woven pouch. I custom made my woven pouch to fit my particular phone. This was a fun and inexpensive way to get exactly what I needed. I recently got a request to make another.

Here is how to make a lined woven pouch. It’s uses are endless. The size of the pouch depends on the size loom that is designed. A great feature of this loom is that the weaving is done in the round using both sides of the board. When done weaving the front it is flipped over and the weaving continues on the back and then flipped to the front and so on. There are no seams to this pouch. When done weaving, the top is tied off and it is a complete pouch. Let’s begin…

Supply List:

  • Matt Board
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Utility Knife
  • Ruler
  • Triangle
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Black Perle Cotton Embroidery Thread on spool
  • Bent needle (with eye large enough for yarn)
  • Yarn (all sizes and textures)
  • Muslin cotton fabric (for lining)
  • Thread (to match lining)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Straight Pins
  • Iron/Ironing Board
Making the loom

First, decide how big the pouch needs to be. If making for an object, such as a cell phone, place the object on the mat board and measure half an inch on all side around the object. This will be the size of the loom plus add 2 1/4″ additional length . On the top edge measure down 1/8″ and draw a pencil line. Along this line, make small marks every 1/8″. Make these same marks on the bottom as well. Make a line across where you will stop weaving with pencil.

On a self-healing cutting board, use a utility knife to cut out the loom. Next, cut the small marks along the top of the loom. These will be the notches that will hold the warp threads in place. DO NOT cut the marks made on the bottom of the loom. These are for placement of warp threads only and should not be cut as the pouch would not be able to be removed from the loom.

Cutting notches

Now it is time to attach the warp threads to the loom. Start at the upper right corner. Place the black perle cotton thread in the first notch. Hold the tail of the thread to the side with your left hand. Come down the back and up the front through the same notch. Go around the back from this notch across to the next notch and down the front and up the back always returning to the same notch and repeating the process. Follow in this manner until the loom is warped and on the end wrap around the notch and cut the thread.

Using Perle Cotton to Warp the board
Down the back and up the front returning to same notch.
Going from notch to notch
Ready to weave

Now onto weaving the pouch. Thread the bent needle with about 2 yards of yarn. Weave in an under / over pattern through the warp threads starting at the bottom right and working to the left. Leave a tail of yarn where first weaving stitch was taken. Once at the end of the row, flip the loom over and continue weaving. After weaving the front and back once, flip the loom over and start weaving on the front side again starting on the opposite side of the warp thread that has been previously woven. For example: if the first row was begun with going under the warp thread, now the weaving must begin by going over the warp thread. Never should weaving be the same in touching rows. The pattern will always change as you turn to the front side of the loom.

Weaving in progress

As the rows are woven, they need to be pushed down using the tips of your fingers to form very tight rows. The warp threads should not be highly visible. Keep working the rows down to eventually cover the bottom thickness of the mat board as well. This is important so that no warp threads are visible at the bottom of the finished pouch.

Push rows down to cover bottom thickness of mat board

To change colors or add more thread, weave a little back stitch row using the same under/over pattern as the row it covers. This is the only time to use the same pattern, so that the weaving stitches will blend in when pushed close. See pictures.

Back-stitching to change colors
Push back-stitching down-weaving stitches should match
Done weaving

When the weaving hits the pencil mark that is the finish line for weaving, simply stop weaving and cut the yarn leaving a tail. This tail will be woven into the pouch but leave it for now. With scissors, cut two warp threads close to the notch. Take the threads and tie together in a knot on the last yarn row that was woven.

Time to cut warp threads and tie off

Now turn the loom over and cut two threads and tie in a knot in the same method. Repeat this process of cutting two threads and tying until all threads are cut and tied. If an odd number of threads remain, no worries, just tie three threads together and carry on. Now, very gently, slid the pouch off the loom.

All tied-off and ready to slip off loom

Cut all warp threads short and close to knot. Thread the yarn tail onto the slanted needle and weave through a few rows of woven stitches on the inside of pouch. This will not show on the outside of bag.

Warp threads cut short / Weaving yarn tail on inside to secure

Thread the tail of the bottom of bag and make a loop to form a knot. Pull yarn through loop pulling a knot close to bottom of bag. Clip yarn tail off with scissors. The pouch is finished and now the lining can be added.

Knotting end tail

Take a piece of muslin and fold in half. The fold line will be the bottom of the lining. Lay the pouch on top of the muslin. Bottom of pouch should line up with fold line. Leave a half inch of muslin around all three sides of pouch. Mark and cut fabric to size.

Lining Fabric

Pin two sides of muslin sew seams with sewing machine. Before sewing second seam, be sure the muslin lining and the pouch will match up width-wise for hand sewing them together. If they do not, adjustments may need to be made to the sewing seam allowance. Turn the lining to right side so no seams will be visible. Measure down half an inch on upper edge and turn under to wrong side and iron in place.

Lining fabric turned right side out / Measuring half inch to turn under and iron

Take a sewing needle and thread, Slip stitch the top of lining to the top of pouch. Be sure to fold the top of pouch so the cut warp stitches are tucked under and stitch to the fold of the lining. See photo.

Hand slip-stitching lining to woven pouch

When the lining and pouch are sewn together, tuck/stuff the lining into the pouch. No seams should be visible in the lining. Voila! (If there are any questions, please leave in the comments.)

Lined Pouch compete – ready to tuck lining into pouch and use
Finished pouch
Other examples of various sizes

Knitting in the Large

Projects

I had the idea YEARS ago to knit a rug. For this I would need extra large knitting needles. Where to get such large needles one might ask? Ask your husband to make them of course.

So my wonderful husband made me a pair of extra large knitting needles (20mm round x 36″ long with a wheel on the end). However, I never did get around to using those needles, until now that is. It all started when my son accompanied me to the craft store. We were looking for something else entirely, which we found, when my son liked the feel of this REALLY huge yarn. It was extremely soft! Then it dawned on me, what a perfect yarn to use with my extra large knitting needles. Sold!

The yarn we chose was a Loops & Threads brand labeled 87 yds/35 oz – 80 m/1000 g / Super Bulky 6. It called for a needle size of 12 mm / US 17. Ha! What do they know! What this super bulky acrylic yarn needs are super extra large needles. I’ll show em!

At home that evening I got out the needles and proceeded to find a show on the television to knit along with. Of course, I chose MasterChef. But as I was about to sit on the sofa, I realized the needles were not going to work. I would need to bring in an armless dining room chair so my needles could move. They were too long to use on the sofa. Boy these were big needles!

I must say, the knitting does go by quickly with such big yarn and needles. Although, my project was a bit heavy. Since I was making a rug, the pattern was not hard. I decided to cast on twenty-five and knit until it was long enough or I ran out of yarn, whichever came first.

Compare the big needles to a size 15 and a size 8. Compare the yarn to regular size by Vanna.

I knitted until I ran out of yarn. Now what? It seemed a bit smaller than I had hoped for. The consensus around the house was to keep going. So back to the store we went to get another ball of yarn. Thank goodness this is on clearance as it is normally pretty expensive stuff.

Another night and more MasterChef to accompany my knitting project. But woah, this project was really getting heavy and I needed a bit of support. I marched into the dining room and brought back another chair. Then on second thought, I made that two chairs. I now supported both needles with the seat of a chair so my arms could support my project. How on earth did the manufacturer of this yarn think I could make anything on a size 17 knitting needle!?

Using a chair to support each needle as the weight of the project weighs me down.

After two trips to the store, two balls of yarn, and two extra chairs, my project is now complete. I do like the outcome. Would I recommend this project? Why not! I would caution, however, that the weight of the project after the first ball of yarn was a bit challenging. Maybe a few pushups or a bit of weight training before adding the second ball of yarn? Happy knitting!

Finished project! Approximately 30″ x 40″.