Got presents to wrap? If so, do not be afraid to think outside the box when choosing the gift wrap. There are other creative ways to wrap presents besides the obvious gift wrapping paper or gift bags.
Some options to think about may be…
Whether cutting back on paper or just being creative, alternative gift wraps are a fun twist on presenting a present. So, if running short on wrapping paper do not fret. Other options are available and may be appreciated even more as the wrap could be a bonus gift as well. Happy gifting!
While watching those fixer-upper home shows on television, I get inspired to do a little extra something around my own house. The most recent thing on my Honey Do List was to give a pop of color to our house. That meant changing the door color from a brown stain to a bright purple. Did I say purple? Yes, Purple!
Go bold or go home as they say. We’ll there was no where else to go. We were already home. But go bold we did. Regrets? No way! I LOVE it!
I chose purple because I love purple. It also goes with the flowers when they are in bloom in the yard. I chose a color of purple that complemented the house color as well. As there are so many shades of one color it is important to be sure that all colors work with each other. I got samples from the hardware store and looked at them with the house color. I also took a photo of the house and printed it on the copier. Then I cut out the door on my paper house and placed the color samples in the cut out door. This gave me any ‘idea’ of how the house might look with the color I chose.
I had always leaned on the “safe” side as far as colors go. Paint colors are so hard to choose. They never look exactly like the little paint sample. However, this time I decided to listen to those curb appeal shows and add a pop of color. I must say, I am very happy I did. A house needs a focal point and what better place to start than the front door. The point of entry and welcome.
That pop of color has made all the difference in the feel of our home. It has now a richness that it was missing before. It does not blend into the background anymore. It says, “I have personality, I am unique”. Amazing how much one tiny change can make such a difference.
Of course, if the purple had been horrible, the worst thing would have been another trip to the hardware store for a different color. One never knows until they try it. My husband did get a small sample of the paint and tried it on the door before investing money in the whole gallon. This is probably advisable as I said before, paint samples are never what they seem. Also, I might note that the color chosen should be a little brighter than desired as it will seem darker from the street view than it will up close.
When my children were little I decided to save some of their special clothes to “some day” make a baby quilt. Well that “some day” finally happened. The clothes were cut into squares and a quilt was made for each of my children using the clothes they used to wear. Ah the memories!
When making a baby quilt from baby clothes be sure to save enough clothes to make a good sized quilt. Remember, the clothes are small and only so many squares can be made from one little outfit. Also, be sure to use pockets and embellishments such as bows and patches. They add interest and function as well. A future child might like to stick something in that pocket after all.
I made my quilts simple and just cut squares in the same size. I arranged them to my liking and then sandwhiched batting in-between the top and the soft flannel backing I chose. I then quilted them via stitch in the ditch or quilting as close to the seam as possible around all sides of the squares. I did the quilting by hand. This is my preferred method. I can relax on the sofa and quilt and I feel I have more control as well. I learned to hand quilt through the excellent book That Perfect Stitch The Secrets of Fine Hand Quilting by Roxanne McElroy. I also use the Roxanne thimble when quilting. It has an opening for the fingernail with a little lip on top. After quilting I attached the binding made from the same material as the backing material. Voila!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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…
Self-healing cutting board
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)
Hand sewing needle
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!?
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!