Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fast Finger Knit Headband

Senior picture time is upon us and being my daughter's name is Winter, naturally we wanted a few photos out in the snow. This being the case we had to find a "cute coat." Even though we scored an adorable wool coat for $15 something was missing. Enter in my new found hobby of "arm knitting." Finding yarns to match we quickly realized even with a scarf something was missing, she needed something for her head. Remembering finger knitting from my childhood, I set out to see if I could create a headband to match her scarf. And voila` the finger knit headband was born! Decorating it with a flower made from "The Crochet Dude's -Bloom Loom" it turned into the perfect head ware for her cold snowy pictures. Because my daughter loved it so much and has received so many compliments on it, I have been making them like crazy for friends and family! 

This being the case when I was invited to participate in the "Fave Crafts Best Blogger Craft Contest" I knew I had to enter  my headband project! To view my project and to cast your vote go to  Fave Crafts Best Blogger Craft  you can only vote once and the contest ends March 11, 2014.  My entry is called "Fast Finger Knit Headband" by Betsy Burnett. 

Supplies used: Lion Brand Yarn, "The Crochet Dude"-Bloom Loom, a random button, and fingers! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Arm Knitting

In the world of art and crafts one of the mediums I am not so skilled at is knitting. My mom tried her best to teach me, in fact we laughed our way through chemo as she rather unsuccessfully tried to teach me to cast on, keep my stitches even, not drop stitches and the like. I would joke that "I knit holes."

Last month at the Craft and Hobby Association, I was walking by the Bernat yarn booth when I saw this group of people sitting around knitting, but they weren't using needles, they were using their arms! After watching quite fascinated for awhile, I decided that I should learn this funky skill, after all it seems to do what I could "knit holes."

With arm knitting, you use your arms as your needles. The results are wonderful chunky projects that go quick because your needles are so big.

The wonderful Vickie Howell was teaching. The first thing she attempted to do was teach me to cast on. I was pretty skeptical BUT I found something out, once I got the sticks out of the way casting on was pretty easy! Before I knew it I was knitting along with the best of them!

Vicki and I and my finished project.

The funny thing about my new found skill, I couldn't stop thinking about it. With the polar vortex taking it's toll on the Chicago area, I kept thinking about all the outfits and such I would love to have a scarf to wear with. So I started playing around with it. When I learned to arm knit we learned a 4 stitch, 4 skein of yarn, chunky scarf. I decided to play around and see what fewer skeins and more stitches would look like.  Also instead of making the scarf infinity style, I left it open and added fringe. The result was this. 

My lovely daughter modeling a scarf I made.

In the two weeks following the show I must have made 5 scarves. As I said they went quick, I found the motion soothing and creating therapeutic. The only downside was the fact I was literally "tied up" until my project was finished. As word got out to my friends they wanted to learn as well. So Super Bowl Sunday I taught my first "arm knitting class" to some friends and their daughters. Everyone had a blast and their scarves turned out fabulously.

Thanks Vicki for taking the time to teach me and Bernat yarns for sponsoring the make and take. If you would like to see more of Vicki's work check out her website: Vicki Howell. She does amazing work and even uses those pesky sticks ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Craft Fantastic Bracelet.

Two years ago, at the St. Charles, IL Scrapbook Expo, I met a fabulous company called "Craft Fantastic." I loved the simplicity of making jewelry with their pre-sized images, and realized the endless possibilities with my own images. This past CHA I was surprised and pleased to run into them at the show as a manufacturer offering wholesale for the first time. Needing someone to fill in and demonstrate for them, I spent a few hours teaching make and takes at their booth.
Working at the Craft Fantastic booth at CHA this year. 

The coincidence was that on my desk waiting for me when I got home from the show was a Christmas present in progress for a friend, yes it is January, no I had not finished it yet. Christmas was a rather emotional time for me. I love (and I mean LOVE) making Christmas presents, but it was my first Christmas without my favorite recipient so making gifts this year took a back seat to just allowing the holiday to be and deal with the emotions of the day. So by the time January rolled around I was ready to get back into the creative swing of things and decided to attempt to make something that I had been toying around with in my mind for awhile.

The gift was for my editor. I work for Chicagoland Scrapbooker Magazine and being that I work with our social media I get sent the cover images for the magazine. The idea was to use Craft Fantastic glass and glaze & glue to create a one of a kind charm bracelet using the cover images of the magazine.

Close-up of the cover charms.

By reducing the images to a bit smaller than 1 inch square I was able to use the 5/8" square glass pieces to make the charms for the bracelet.  I added beads I strung on head pins and then a cute scissor charm as an accent. I love the way it turned out and hope that Carrie enjoys the memory celebrating our first year and a half as well.  
Finished bracelet.

Supplies used: Craft Fantastic 5/8" glass squares, Craft Fantastic Glaze & Glue, bail plates, E600, craps of patterned paper, glass beads, silver chain, T clasp, jump rings, head pins.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

CHA Mega Show 2014-Sights around the show!

While the reports from back home were telling me of the cold and snow, I enjoyed the 70 degree temperatures and sunshine, the palm trees swaying in the breeze.  Well at least on my way to the show! Other than that I was too busy to enjoy the view out of my balcony!

Every once in awhile you see something created at the show that defies your "limits" for a project. The largest thing I have ever created out yarn was a giant spider web stringing and knotting yarn through all the surfaces, handles and what not of my bedroom when I was four. For those wondering my inspiration, I wanted to be "Charlotte" from the book Charlotte's web and was creating her web.  You don't need to guess at the inspiration behind these yarn creations, Lion Brands used the "Wonders of the World" The Taj Mahal, Tower of Pisa, The Spinx, Stone Hendge and more all knitted or created out of yarn. The amazing thing to me was they were created out of yarn (well they used forms for shape.) 

The Taj Mahal  in yarn! (you can see the "Tower of Pisa" in the back)

The sphinx also in yarn (the Pyramid is in the background)

Several years ago I taught a class called "Duct Tape Art." I loved that class. Each week we would learn to create something out of Duct Tape. My Jr/Sr High school students, loved using the ordinary and turn it into something they have created.
Did you know there is a "Duct Tape bus"? 

I love flowers and bling which is why I could just gaze for hours at Prima Marketing's booth. To the point I have to set a time limit on how long I can look! All of the projects were my favorite. Each one more lovely than the next until I came back to the one before and it became lovelier ;)
A gorgeous project from Prima!
Some more Prima lovliness.
One bus I wouldn't mind being thrown under ;)

I love my Mod Podge. So stopping by for a quick "photo op" with Glossy their mascot while I was running between activities was a must.

Me and Glossy the Mod Podge mascot! 

Like the yarn sculptures out of yarn, sometimes you see something that gives you a "eureka" moment. My friend Angela Daniels aka "The Guilty Crafter" now works with Rit Dyes. She has been posting sneaks of elements from their booth. Including furniture and a baby grand piano all of which have been dyed using Rit Dyes. Takes their product to a whole new level for me.

I love how Rit used their dyes to decorate everything in their booth.
Button, button, "who's got the button?"Button's Galore sure did and their flowers were gorgeous in this display!
The adorable display at Buttons Galore and More!
During a press event at "Spellbinders" Stacey Caron said something about the redesign of their booth. "For crafters, crafting isn't just a hobby, it's a life style." They wanted to reflect that in everything displayed in the booth. So you didn't see actual dies and product on display in their booth. The entire booth was what was created with their dies and products! 
Stacey talking about the product used to create the booth!
Check out the light made from Mason Jars

The detail on this purse,
it used dies and letter press for the detail on the fabric

Loved the "people"

Even the chandelier 

They did have projects on display too, in their craft room!

Friday, January 17, 2014

CHA Mega Show 2014-Top 20 Hot Product

To anyone in the craft industry the annual Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show is a cross between  a class reunion, creative escape, and exam week in college. Even though it is a lot of work, it is a lot of fun as well and I look forward to the show every year, not just for the creative side of things but this midwestern gal loves to be able to shed her layers of winter winter wear for a few days during the bitter cold of January for the warmer weather of Anaheim.

This year I attended the trade show as press representing both "Aim Happy" and Chicagoland Scrapbooker Magazine. Having "press" status allowed me in to a sneak peek event for the Top 20 Hot products being introduced at the show. Here are a few of the products that stood out for me. 

Air brush art was a pleasant surprise in the top 20. My friends from  Craftwell USA,  introduced their  "eBrush"an electronic air brush tool able to be used with paint, air brush make-up, etc. and also had a marker attachment designed for popular versions of alcohol markers on the market. For those not wanting to go with a professional model, Tim Holtz and Ranger Inc. introduced an updated version of a marker air brush, called the "marker spritzer" a plastic attachment with a balloon style pump, that will clip on to markers, allowing crafters to get a spritzed effect with their markers. 
The "marker spritzer"
The Tool-n-one a multi-purpose brush tool designed by Spellbinders to help those using intricate dies for die-cutting get all those annoying leftover pieces that get stuck in the die. Also at the event we saw upgrades to the "Crystal Katana" put out by the Crystal Ninja a tool designed to help with placement of individual crystals but also is great for placement of other small embellishments. 

Spellbinder's "Tool-in-One"

Having used molding putty before and having a box of used molds in my craft space, I was quite interested in a substance called "Composi-Mold" this non-toxic reusable molding compound can be melted and formed to create your mold to cast with, and then remelted down and reused to create an entirely different mold. It works with plastic, concrete, wax, plaster, soap and even edible treats! I talked to the creator for quite some time. He said the compound can be melted and recast 36 times. (He actually said he melted and recasted 37 times during product testing and decided to stop there because you "need to have a number" 

Fiskars showed off their new 12 x 12 Rotary Cutter, Ruler Combo. This rotary cutter had a 12 x 12 clear plastic grid ruler to allow sewers to measure and cut multiple layers of fabric in one step. Also of interest to me was the "Little B's" perfect positioner. A sticky mat designed to give manual die cutters a surface that will hold paper and dies in place so they don't shift during the cutting process resulting in a more accurate cut. 

For you marker enthusiasts the Chameleon Art Products "Color Tone" Pens were pretty amazing. Using a mixing chamber with a toner medium, from one marker you can get a full range of shade from lighter to darker, allowing for flawless blending in your coloring. 

The full list of the "Hot 20 Awards" as presented by the Craft and Hobby Association:

Craftwell eBrush: a portable airbrush system used by crafters, cake decorators and beauty enthusiasts alike for scrapbooking, makeup application and more.

Brother International Corporation ScanNCut machine: a revolutionary new home and hobby cutting machine with the convenience of a 300 DPI built-in scanner.

Spellbinders Tool-n-One: a portable tool that performs multiple craft functions, including piercing, folding, paper removal, inking, distressing, curling, and more.

Beadlon Artistic Wire Findings FormsTM: patent pending fixed peg jigs that allow you to make your own findings from a range of gauges of Artistic Wire and Beadalon German Style Wire.

Beadalon Knot-a-Bead™: patent pending desktop knotter tool to tie knots naturally with two hands for professional-looking jewelry.

BIC® Magic Marker® brand Window Marker: high quality marking and drawing tool designed to adhere to glass surfaces resulting in bold, vivid marks for window or glass writing occasions.

Chameleon Art Products Ltd Color Tones Pens: pens for creating art effects, including 3D and airbrush, smooth transitions, highlighting, shading, blending and gradations.

ComposiMold PowerMold Modeling Compound Push Mold Kit: make push molds of objects and textures from Modeling Compound castings. Crystal Katana: a patent-pending rhinestone and crystal pick up tool that picks up paper, embellishments, nail art, multimedia items and Swarovski Crystals.

DecoArt Chalky Finish Program: a complete program offering paint, waxes, varnishes, stain blocker, brushes and stencils that easily achieves a vintage, time-worn look for home decor and furniture pieces.

DESIGN MASTER TintIT™: multi-use transparent dye that fabricates color from just one can.

Ellison/Sizzix Modern Surrealist by Marisa Pawelko: 20 Originals steel-rule dies that create fashionable clothing appliqués, cards, stickers, notepads, and locker décor for teens and preteens.

Fiskars Brands 12” x 12” Rotary Ruler Combo: a rotary cutter with a ruler attached for measuring and cutting multiple layers of fabric easier.

ICE Resin Susan Lenart Kazmer Iced Enamels®: makes torch-fired or kiln-fired enamels with no fire required.

iLoveToCreate Aleene’s® Quick Dry Fabric Fusion®: an easy alternative to a needle and thread, remains durable and incredibly flexible, wash after wash.

ImpressArt Soft Strike™ Metal Stamping Blanks: A collection of metal discs specially made for metal stamping making it easy for metal stampers to leave deep, clean impressions and achieve professional results.

Little B Perfect Positioner: a unique adhesive mat designed for any die-cutting tool platform and any thin metal dies -- never waste a piece of paper again.

Lumi Inkodye Black: a sunlight-activated fabric dye that allows you to print your own photos onto fabric -- now available in black.

M-D Building Products Metal Sheets: perforated metal sheets, magnetic chalkboards, metal tools and other unique metals to add more dimension to craft projects.

Plaid Enterprises Mod Podge Mod Melter: a tool used to fill the Mod Molds with the Mod Melts. It allows the crafter to fill the molds with ease for molded embellishments, home décor, paper crafts and more.

Ranger Industries Tim Holtz® Distress Marker Spritzer: the perfect tool for creating airbrush effects on craft projects.

About the Craft & Hobby Association The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is an international nonprofit trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of products worldwide in the U.S. craft and hobby industry. For more information about CHA, membership or its award-winning CHA Conference & Trade Show, visit

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mixed Media Clocks

Now that the holidays are over I can finally share my class project. A few weeks back I taught a "mixed media canvas clock" class to high school students. The finished product was to be used as a Christmas present for their families. For many of them this was their first taste of mixed media anything. Some were a little intimidated when they saw bottles of color spray, jars of mod podge, die cut machines, stencils, masks, and more. By the time class was over they were old pros and all of them had a blast.

A little intimidated at first by the color shine spray and stencils but they got the hang of it! 

Mod Podging! 

And more Mod Podging!

A few of the samples!

and some more!

Each one was amazing!

The clock my daughter made! Dr. Who inspired, she gave it to her friend Emma for her birthday. As you can see Emma loved it!

Supplies used: 8 x 10 canvas, Mod Podge, Heidi Swapp Color Shine, Stencils-The Crafter's Workshop, Dies (font and clock)-Tim Holtz, Clock Mechanics-American Science Surplus.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Fun!

Around here we are BIG Doctor Who fans! So when we were out on New Year's eve and saw a car in the parking lot of our local Wally-world with a "My other car is a Tardis" bumper sticker we had to have some fun!

Bad Wolf
It was all we could do to keep from staring at the car as we walked into the store. BUT we did happen to catch the owner out of the corner of our eye. He was just as amused as we were and snapped a photo before driving away. I'm sure somewhere out there in cyberland there is a matching photo!