Monday, 21 December 2015

Yummy Brussel Sprouts

I love sprouts, I think they are delicious.  So when I saw these little beauties on folksy, I thought I must have one immediately.  Unfortunately they had already sold out, and I'm not surprised, they were total bargains and very cute.

My husband said, something along the lines of surely you could make one though?  How hard can it be. Ummm, actually not too hard.  In fact I now have a little army of sprouts, enough to give some to friends who admired and named them...

Thanks Jolly Spoon for letting me use your photo.

So to make these, you need to create three circles and one sphere and then sew them together.  Add eyes and you're sorted.

To make these ones I used a 3mm hook with double knit yarn, but you could use anything.  This is in American terms (sorry I know I chop and change between the two - it just depends on which patterns I've been using most recently).

Pattern for the circle:
R1: Chain 2
R2: 6 single crochet (sc) into the 2nd chain from the hook ( 6 stitches)
R3: 2 sc into each stitch (12 stitches)
R4: 2 sc into the next stitch 1 sc into the next stitch x 6 (18 stitches)
R5: 2 sc into the next stitch 1 sc into the next 2 stitches x 6 (24 stitches)
Leave a long tail so you can sew this onto the sphere

You need to make 3 of these.

Pattern for the sphere:
R1: Chain 2
R2: 6 single crochet (sc) into the 2nd chain from the hook ( 6 stitches)
R3: 2 sc into each stitch (12 stitches)
R4: 2 sc into the next stitch 1 sc into the next stitch x 6 (18 stitches)
R5 - R7: 18 stitches around
R8: 1 sc decrease, 1 sc into the next stitch x 6 (12 stitches)
Stuff your brussel now, I use the stuffing from an old pillow.
R9: 1 sc decrease x 6 (6 stitches)
Leave a long tail and then sew up this bottom

Now put them all together.  I glue gunned on the eyes and then ended up creating one for everyone I know...

By now I'd become a little sprout obsessed, and so I needle felted this little guy.

Here he is with his mates.

My son has claimed him as his own.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

April Showers

Today it is wet and miserable here, not so much April showers as April down pours. Bleurgh. It did remind of a lovely little decoration I'd been inspired to make after seeing a similar one.  A simple cloud, which I felt simply needed the addition of raindrops.  So I immediately got to work.  I used:
  • some thick beading wire
  • my heart punch 
  • some white paper
  • some insulation tape
  • some thin white cotton
  • some normal sticky tape

I shaped the beading wire into the cloud shape I was after and then wrapped it with the blue insulation tape to make it stand out a bit. Next I punched out several hearts and used those to create the rain drops (cut in half and slightly shaped).  I tied the cotton onto the cloud shape and added my half heart rain drops to the cotton and that was it.  I was finished.  Tah Dah.  A nice easy peasy craft that still looks super effective now.

I think you could possibly make this work as a coat hanger too, a flat bottom to the cloud, without the raindrops, and then add a hook to the top.  That would make it into something useful, as opposed to just looking pretty.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Another Little Flower Pattern

Imaginative title, I know.

I just wanted to create another little pattern for a flower.  The reason was exciting, I was off on a spa weekend with some friends.  Squeal.  Whenever I'm in a spa (every weekend - in my dreams) I'm always worried I'm going to end up with someone else's robe.  I don't think you'd even know until you tried to open your locker and discovered you couldn't because the key in your pocket isn't yours!

Last year, for a similar trip, I made everyone the flowers I made for my brother's wedding.  The pattern for those is here.  I think for me one of the highlights of our spa trip this year was that several people had kept and remembered to bring, the flower I'd made for them the previous year.

This year's flower is a more pointy affair.  It wasn't based on a particular type of flower, I just liked the idea of playing around with the petal shape.

Pointy Petal Flower Pattern

US terms.  Hook Size can be anything but I made these using DK yarn and 3.5mm Hook

Round 1: Chain (Ch) 4 and slip stitch (sl st) together

Round 2: Ch 2 and 12 double crochet (dc) into the circle, sl st together.

Round 3: Ch 1, 2 single crochet (sc) inn each stitch, and sl st together

Round 4: Ch 4, skip 3 stitches and sl st into next stitch, repeat to end

Round 5: sc, half double crochet (hdc), 2dc, 1 treble crochet (trc), 2dc, hdc, sc and sl st into each loop and finish off after the final petal.

Alternative Round 5 (for when you have very little yarn leftover!): sc, 2hdc, 1trc, 2hdc, sc and sl st into each loop and finish off after final petal.

To create the flowers for the spa I used tiny little scraps of yarn from my stash so I used the alternative round 5.

I am lucky that people know how much I love yarn and so I get some as presents.  This means that I have enough colours so that everyone can have a different coloured flower.  I simply added a safety pin to the back of the flower and then you have your very own robe marker!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Egg Doodle

I wish I could call this an Easter Egg Zentangle, but I think that would overstate this little doodle of mine.

Each year the kids enter an Easter Egg Colouring Competition, and I don't like to feel left out, so I photocopied one for me to have a go with too.  Obviously I didn't enter mine into the kids competition, tempting though it was it would have been a little embarassing to lose against the kids!

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter holiday, we're aiming to find as many Easter Egg hunts as possible to complete, but so far we've only managed one.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Crochet Cross Bookmark

A while ago my daughter was invited to a Confirmation Party for a friend.  I was not sure what the drill was for a confirmation party, as we're not religious.  However I did decide that it would be nice to make a little something for the little girl who was getting Confirmed.  I decided to do something more in keeping with the occasion than either a hat or a bag like I would normally do.

I searched the web and found this lovely pattern for a crocheted Cross Bookmark.  I thought it was perfect.

I found the pattern easy going once I'd understood the meaning of the long single crochet stitch (basically reaching further in than the standard stitch, but still using a single crochet stitch to do it).  It was probably the first time I'd tried working in anything other than DK yarn, so I was really pleased with how it turned out.  I still am if I'm honest!

I think this could make a lovely addition to my Easter Tree/Easter Decorations.  I'm just hoping that I'll have some need to make another one in the future as it was a fun pattern to complete.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bookcase Makeover

Recently my husband and I bought a new bookcase.  It was to replace one we inherited when we moved into our last house.  We didn't really like it, but we are both hoarders, and we needed storage.  Especially for books.  We still do.  I have a problem when it comes to buying books.  So even though we had replaced an old, unloved bookcase with something a lot prettier we didn't feel we could just chuck out the old one.  I really must remember to take "before" pictures, but I'm too impatient to get on with a crafty project to stop and take pictures.  So instead here is the "after" picture to start with!

Actually I didn't manage to take any of the pictures for this post, they were all taken by my husband. He was pretty keen on this project, in fact the whole thing was his idea.  Although up close this isn't the prettiest project in the world, it is functional and from across the room it is very pretty indeed.

I mentioned we were hoarders, but I think this project illustrates it perfectly.  Not only did we use an old bookcase we didn't really want, but couldn't throw out, we also found a 2000 UK road map whilst we were de-cluttering.  It didn't have any special memory attached to it, we didn't go on a lovely trip around the country in 2000 that we never wanted to forget.  We were keeping it, just in case.  Just in case the roads magically reverted to how they were 15 years ago overnight and no one else had a map perhaps?!

The bookcase we had inherited when we moved into the house, and was a black ash like this one you can buy from Asda (Walmart). Obviously, we forget to take a proper 'Before' photo, opting instead for 'Midway Thru' and 'After' photos only.

As a family we like maps (obviously we are hoarding them from 15 years ago), so it seemed logical to try and create something from the map and the bookcase.  When my husband suggested this I wasn't sure whether he was hoping it would go horribly wrong and that we could throw the whole thing out, or whether he was hoping it would work and would be able to house my ever increasing collection of cookery books.

We set to work, I did help, but mainly it was my husband deciding which parts of the part should go where.  We have London on the top shelf and a pretty coastal area along the bottom.

We used a glue and varnish in one (like modge podge) and just covered the whole thing.  We worked in sections, waiting for bits to dry before moving on to the next section.

Finally using the very last of a pot of glue, and the last couple of pages of the map we were done.

It is now proudly up in the kitchen with my cookery books and some board games on there.

And so finally, here's the after photo again.  We're really pleased with it.  It's a lot brighter than the black ash, and is certainly a unique piece of furniture.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Quick Little Project

I wasn't sure whether to share this, as it is something that I'm considering to create for presents, but it was such a lovely project to complete, and so quick I thought I should.

Some crochet covered coat hangers.  Yarn bombing on a small scale!

I organised a little craft evening, where everyone was bringing a project to work on and shortly before my guests were going to arrive I had a sudden panic - I didn't have a project to work on!  Oops.

I grabbed some sweetie style colours (at least that is what the remind me of) and a coat hanger that had been hanging around (pun intended) for ages waiting a restyle.  I had read a couple of tutorials and they all seem to go about this in the same way - create a rectangle of fabric and then sew together once you've made one big enough to go round the hanger.

I dislike sewing lots of stripes together, I've done it before it takes me ages and ages and ages and ages.  You get the picture.  So after one row I decided this would be a project best worked in the round, and it didn't really matter if it didn't work because I was just experimenting.

Obviously this technique is much easier before you get to the hook part, you can work it up off the hanger.  Once I got to the hook I simply kept the cover on the hanger and crocheted around and around.  It did take significantly longer to do the second half (twice as long maybe), and the hook seemed to get in the way a lot for the first few rounds, but soon I got into the rhythm and then it was finished.  My daughter loved it straight away and my son requested one for him too.  

I bought these hangers pre-padded, but I'm trying to work out whether I could fancy up some less pretty ones.  A project for another day.

Monday, 2 March 2015

New Sewing Machine

I was very lucky this Christmas and I got such lovely presents, particularly exciting was my very own sewing machine.   This is a very new craft for me, I've never been a seamstress before.  I have tried, but never really got on with sewing machines, or anything that has needed sewing.  Since having children, I've had to learn how to hand sew a bit - sewing on buttons and badges.  I've even managed a couple more complicated sewing projects, you can read about them here and here.  My poor Mum did try and teach me, but it never seemed to click, my siblings could manage fine and then I would mess up whatever it was that Mum was trying to get us to do.  But now, finally I'm going to crack it, well at least that is the plan.  I tried learning knitting as my New Year's  Resolution three years running and never mastered it, but I have my fingers crossed for sewing.

I got the same machine that my daughter has, and it is fab.  I love that they come in different colours, mine is yellow (my favourite colour).  It also helps that when I get stuck she can help me and it made threading it for the first time a breeze. It is a little embarrassing to have to ask your 9 year old for help, but she has been very good.

So far I have made a toddler dress out of an old shirt, it was meant to be big enough for my daughter, but doesn't quite(!) fit. The idea came from here, and I loosely followed the instructions on the tutorial.  

My daughter did try to squeeze into it, but I would guess it would fit a 2 or 3 year old.  You can see the quality of my work in these pictures.  It is going to take a while before I can produce something really beautiful.  Now it is hanging up in a cupboard and I'm not sure what to do with it, it isn't good enough to give to someone, but it is the first thing I did on my machine so I don't want to chuck it either!  

I also turned an old t-shirt into a shopping bag.  The top had a stain on it so I used the parts I had cut out to create some fabric flowers which I attempted to sew onto the bag, and then promptly broke the needle on my sewing machine.  

Doh.  In the end I reverted to a glue gun - this is probably an improvement on some of the materials I've been known to fix clothes with - sticky tape, staples  and paper clips...

Anyway, despite breaking the needle on my machine I'm really pleased with this, it is actually usable, and it gave me a chance to try sewing something stretchy.  It was easier that I thought - no doubt some false confidence for when I next try making something!

I'm planning on something a little more adventurous next time - outfits for World Book Day dress up for the kids for school.  I need a princess cloak and some wizard robes.  Could be interesting! 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Koala Accessories

A friend of ours had a baby boy recently and I wanted to make a little something.  I thought about making another little bunny cuddly, like I did here, but decided I wanted to do something new this time.

I've also made hats as presents and bags.  For a baby I decided that a hat made a lot more sense.  I umm and ahhed about whether to make an owl in more masculine colours for him, but I wanted something completely different. I've said before that I'm mad about owls, but my son is mad about koalas, so that was my inspiration.  

I used the same hat pattern as for the owl, but used grey yarn, changed the ears to pom poms and tried to create a koala looking face.  I did want to do bigger pom poms, but I was worried about whether they would be comfortable for a little head, so I went smaller.

Continuing on with the koala theme, I made a little coin wallet/purse for my son for Christmas.

I used the same method for this as I did with my stripy pencil cases, but used a 2 inch zip instead.  I think he looks cool and my son is very pleased with him.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Bits and Bobs

I have been doing some de-cluttering and tidying up around the house recently.  You know the type I mean, properly going through boxes and all the bits and bobs that I keep hold of because I'm a hoarder. Whilst doing this I found one of the little monster packages I talked about here.  It had been hanging around for a while and the playdough was no longer usable, but you can see the little kits we created and all the bits and bobs that were inside it.

I also found some things that the kids and I had used the marbling technique I talked about here and here.  I love that they didn't always marble their items, sometimes they just created the colours on the top of the water and dipped their item in.  It gives a totally different design.  

We plan to make some necklaces out of the washers.  I do think that this would make an awesome craft for a party, I'll just have to see if I can fit it into the party idea we come up with this year.

The pegs were going to be Christmas presents (may still use this idea at some point) with magnets on the back so they could be attached to fridges to hold lists/letter/important info.

We also moved a whole load of CDs which were on display into boxes and put something much prettier on display instead.  This wasn't even my idea, but my Husband's.  I love it, the kids call it the "wall of wool" which makes it sound so much more impressive.  Isn't it pretty?!

And yes, in case you're wondering I did keep all the above bits and bobs, though the crafty bits were returned to the crafty drawers we have, the marbled items are still awaiting somewhere to live.  Sigh.  Never mind if I'm depressed about my lack of de-cluttering skills I can always look at my wall of wool...