Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If you give a knitter some yarn!

My pal Erica has been home with sick kiddos for almost two weeks now. Talking to her one morning on facebook, I asked her if there was anything she needed.  I was going to be driving by her place on the way out in the morning and know what it's like to be trapped with sick kiddos.  She jokingly replied to me "yarn" and the crafter in me responded to her heart's cry.  I just happened to have the perfect "care package" to give to a friend in need of a yarn fix.

I recently attended the "Fave Crafts Blogger Event" at the Craft and Hobby Association Trade show. One of the perks for attending the event was a fabulous box of goodies to play with when we got home. My box contained a bag from yarnspirations.  Inside the bag was some of the new Bernat "mega bulky" yarn in the color of "new gold." 
  

 So grabbing the bag and the yarn, I made a mad dash for my friend's house, stopping only to get a quick "I LOVE YOU" from the weary mom, I quickly ran out the door not to be infected by the creeping crud. (Actually it was more like..."Oooo infinity scarf.." but I know "I Love you" was in her heart....ok who am I kidding..she saw YARN!)

You know how it goes"If you give a knitter some yarn...." it wasn't long before I had these pictures gracing my inbox.
Erica found something productive to do during the illness induced nap time of her children. I love the infinity scarf she made and can't wait to see her wearing it... but maybe after flu season ;) 

Thanks Bernat for sponsoring the Fave Crafts event and sponsoring a few creative minutes for a friend with sick kids!!!

To see more fabulous projects from Bernat visit their BLOG.















Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Most Magical Place on Earth--CHA Show Recap



When you go to a magic show are you the type of person that wants to know "how did they do that?" I sure am. While I understand, a good magic show takes skill, technique and a whole lot of practice, I also realize you need to know "how the trick was done."

I recently returned from what I consider to be the "most magical place on earth." While I did go to Anaheim, California, my purpose there wasn't to visit a mouse, my purpose was to attend the Craft and Hobby Association trade show commonly referred to as CHA for short.


Art for me is magical. It transforms the creators thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, ideas-- into a tangible and visible form, able to be shared with others. Before you get into a big debate with me over the word "magic" consider the definition:

mag·ic/ˈmajik/
noun
1. the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
2. wonderful; exciting

Art for me is wonderful and exciting, I love how someone's work can take me on a mysterious journey into their inner thoughts, it can convey emotion, art shares a memory. Art can also be a form of self expression or a way to make "cool stuff" and bring beauty to the world around us. Yet sometimes that whole creative process can be a bit mysterious, therefore, art to me is magical. 


While I appreciate art and love creating, and I do not consider myself an artist, yet somehow, the creative industry has embraced me as one of their own, because of this, I am able to attend the Craft and Hobby Association trade show. The purpose of CHA is to bring together; creative professionals, businesses and manufacturers to further the creative industry. At the CHA show we learn about the latest products, learn new techniques, and connect with others in the industry. I like to think of it as my chance to learn the"how did they do that?!?!" to the magic of creating.


Sometimes the "how did they do that" comes from a fabulous new product designed to make something easier or create a cool effect. Other times the "how did they do that" comes from learning from other creative professionals that share their techniques, and skill with us. All the time it's a chance to connect with old friends and make news ones and celebrate the "magic" that is the creative industry.

So come with me to catch a glimpse of the 2015 Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show and see why I call it "The most magical place on earth!"




 

For those wanting to view via You Tube you can find it HERE



Monday, January 5, 2015

Quick Gift Set!

"Mom I need a birthday gift would you make a scarf and maybe a headband?..."

This question was posed to me in the middle of the store. So off we ran to the yarn aisle hoping to find colors suitable for her friend. Thankfully we found a lovely assortment of Lion Brand Yarns in yummy colors such as Oatmeal, and Little Rock Granite. Grabbing a skein of each we set off for home.

At home,  I was told her friend loved a bit of sparkle, thankfully I had some fun "Lion Brand Bonbons" the "party" collection, I had offered a whole rainbow of yummy sparkly colors including a gold that added the perfect touch of sparkle my daughter was looking for. After deciding she wanted a chunky infinity scarf, I went to work arm knitting a scarf, thankfully because of the size of the stitches, the scarfs are pretty quick to knit. I was able to finish it in about 1/2 an hour.

For the headband, I chose two of the three colors used in the scarf, I followed my "fast finger knit headband" pattern altering the ending a bit to keep it three rows throughout the entire headband. The finishing touch was a flower created using the flower loom by the Crochet Dude. We choose the Little Rock Granite and the Gold Bonbons to create the flower.


Naturally my daughter needed to model the finished product. I think the set turned out quite cute!


It's now safely wrapped up ready for her to take back to school and gift to her friend. 

*edited to add, her friend Rosalle loved it! She even sent me a photo of her wearing it as a thank you!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSALLE!!








Monday, December 29, 2014

Finger Knit Headband-the next generation!

This past Saturday, we celebrated Christmas with my husbands side of the family. In the midst of the family celebration there sat my daughter and niece working on knitting and crocheting projects. My 13 year old niece is an avid knitter/crocheter and even sells some of her creations to family and friends. My 13 year old daughter, while enjoying crafting in general, never mastered the skill of knitting and was getting pointers from my niece. It was exciting to see "the next generation" pick up needles and enjoy the satisfaction of handmade.

Never being one to pass up an opportunity to make something, I grabbed a couple of skeins of yarn they were not using and proceeded to create my "Fast Finger Knit Head Band" in between helping with dinner dishes and opening presents. My niece was fascinated with the technique and actually put down her piece to learn how to finger knit.

This project is a favorite because from start to finish it takes less than an hour and turns out cute, so perfect for a young teen to create while waiting patiently for the adults to finally say "it's present time" ;)  I typically use one skein of heavier weight yarn to create this project, but since that wasn't available, we used two skeins simultaneously to get the bulk/weight for the headband. I loved the way it turned out.

It did need a little something though. I wanted to create a flower for it, but didn't have my trusty Crochet Dude Flower Loom with me. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and so I got creative. Grabbing a corner of a gift box, I cut a square about 3" x 3". Then I notched the sides and cut a hole out of the middle, in essence creating my own loom. The notches were for making the petals, the hole in the center was for tying off the flower.


Starting at one corner I wrapped diagonally across the form, moving over one notch with each wrap. When I got back to my starting point, I started tying off the center through the hole I created in the cardboard. When I was finished tying off, I had to figure out how to get the flower off the loom. Since folding down the tabs and releasing the petals didn't work, I ended up having to cut/tear the cardboard away but I was quite pleased with the results.



I ended up giving the headband to my niece, we decided it needed a button in the center, and so she was going to take it home to finish it up.  Her headband turned out fabulous as well!



If you would like my pattern for the Fast Finger Knit Headband, you can find it in a free ebook published by "Fave Crafts" Best Blogger Crafts




Monday, December 22, 2014

From Ugly to Uglier!

What's a gal to do when she has an ugly sweater party to attend, and doesn't want to wear the same sweater as last year?   

I love wearing costumes and ugly Christmas sweaters are no exception. This year we had two different "Ugly Sweater Parties" to attend. Not wanting to wear the same sweater to both parties, I decided to do a bit of a "make-uglier" to a thrift store find. The vest I found had good "bones," the wool fabric and  colors worked for Christmas and I thought I could carry through the eclectic button look with my design . Plus there was a lot of empty space to create on. 


Grabbing some embroidery floss, I went to work. I decided my theme would be "duck the halls" (bah-dum-dum-ching!) I started by adding the wording to the right side of the vest. 

I decided to embroider "free hand" because the houndstooth provided guidelines in a sense for me to follow. I simply counted checks to get my lettering right.

I then concentrated on the tree. I wanted my little duck friend to help decorate the tree. Cutting out three triangles of wool felt, I  layered them, appliquéing them with a simple basic stitch to hold in place. I then added the trimmings. For garland, I used an upholstery trim, I loved the gold and felt the loops on the trim gave it more of a "garland-y" feel. 


To continue on with the button theme, the sweater already had going for it, I grabbed some buttons from my vintage button jar, to add as ornaments. The star on top was a purchase from "Dress it up." To finish it off, I took apart, a blinking light necklace. Starting at one end I tacked it down towards the bottom, then looping around by the ducks mouth, I continued on over the tree, stitching it into place, to hide the battery pack, I cut a hole into the wool near the top of the tree, stitching it into place. To give the battery pack some extra support I used a safety pin. By pinning it vs. stitching the battery pack, it allows me easier "spinning"  to untwist the casing when it comes time to change the batteries. 


My sis-in-law, helped me put my hair up into a french twist that I then adorned with curly-q's of ribbon tied to bobby pins. (The up-do was more for the fact I was going to be serving food and didn't want my long hair to cause problems. I added the ribbon to make it more festive.) I finished off the look with a holly covered turtle neck. After all you want to "Duck the Halls" with "arms of holly" ;)  (I quack myself up sometimes! ) ...Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

When Home Depot Comes to Visit!

We are a part of a fabulous homeschooling cooperative called Potter's Hand. In addition to regular activity days, field trips, and spelling bees, one of the events our family looks forward to every year is our Christmas Activity Day.

This year instead of the parents teaching individual project classes for the day, Potter's Hand invited the wonderful gals from the Home Depot Kid's Workshop to come in and do a woodworking project with the kids. They were awesome! Not only did they instruct the children on creating their projects, they brought in all tools and supplies as well.



The kids worked diligently, gluing, hammering, and then painting and decorating, and had fun doing it.  The projects ranged from painted holiday yard stakes, to tool boxes and coasters.  Even our "hard to please" pre/teenage boys group got into the projects enjoying the fact it wasn't your typical "cut and glue" Christmas craft.





Due to the "sensitive nature" of the projects created, my children would not let their "finished projects" be photographed. But I did manage to get a picture of some of the projects from an earlier class while they were drying! (They turned out adorable!) A huge thank-you to the ladies from the Frankfort, IL Home Depot!



Monday, December 8, 2014

Cookies!

Volunteering at the local teen center is a lot of fun, especially when you get to take 15 teenage girls to a nearby church to bake some Christmas cookies! We tried to contain the mess but with 15 enthusiastic bakers it can be somewhat difficult especially when a flour fight occurs. Mess aside, the girls had a ton of fun baking and decorating their cookies. It was agreed though the best part was EATING them!


(And we didn't save ANY for the guys!)