Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just thinking...

As I finished up my post from yesterday, I sat thinking of how many of us enjoy crafting and creating. Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed thinking that there is nothing special about my creations and that they will not be unique. But then I realize that,although we may all make the "same" project, every one finishes up a bit differently. Our own tastes and skills are all shown in the final project. So no matter how many times someone may make the Easter Bouquet featured yesterday, every one of them will be different. Just as two people can look at the same scenery and see different things, the individual's personality shines through in what they create, even when that creation is based on the idea of another person. So enjoy yourself and the beauty of what is around you as you create in your own unique way!

Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Bouquet

I wanted to make a new decoration for Easter this year, but didn't want to put a lot of time into designing and making. Dollar Store Crafts to the rescue!! I saw this bouquet on the Dollar Store Crafts website and thought I would use it as a beginning to design my own!

I couldn't find the same items used in the bouquet pictured above, like the eggs already on sticks for an arrangement, so I had to make things up as I strolled the aisles of the local dollar store.  This is what I found.

 I bought the small eggs to keep in proportion with the bucket.  Although you can't see it in this picture, the bucket has an Easter design on it also.  The skewers are some that I had for other projects.  I found those at one of the bigger department stores, but the dollar stores may carry them also.  

I painted the skewers using paint that I had on hand and my fingers!  No pun intended... It was quicker to just dip my fingers in the paint and run them up and down the skewer.  I mainly used pastel colors, other then painting a couple of them purple.

You can see the design on the side of the bucket in this picture.  (And my paint fingerprints!)  These dried pretty quickly as I was outside and it was windy.  Not a good idea to do this craft outside when it is windy.  Things were blowing everywhere!

Next I randomly grabbed an egg and a skewer.  I didn't care if the colors matched or not as they were all pastel.  These eggs had holes in them, which I failed to mention earlier, so inserting the skewer was simple.  I pushed the skewer into the floral foam that I had placed in the bottom of the bucket.  This part was a bit tricky.  Due to the size of the bucket, it became a bit top heavy and, because of that lovely breeze, it kept toppling over onto the ground.  Along with my camera, and the paint, and everything else!  I would suggest waiting until you have all of the eggs on skewers before inserting them into the floral foam.  But, as I've said before, I'm not always patient.  

After arranging the eggs in the foam, I placed it in the bucket.  It didn't sit quite properly, leaning to one side, so I had to pack the grass in more on one side than the other.  

Between the wind and the lop-sidedness of the arrangement, I still think it came out quite pretty.  I added loose eggs around the base of the skewers to fill it in a bit.  Thank you Dollar Store Crafts for the inspiration.  

Happy Crafting!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Felt Shamrock

This is the shamrock brooch I made using the yarn roses that I posted about yesterday. I had originally thought that I would use three green roses to make a shamrock, but it didn't look right as I was laying it out. This is what I did instead:

In my profile I say that I like to use materials that I have recycled. The rose on the shamrock is made from yarn that was leftover from another project. The bead is one of MANY that I purchased second hand at an estate sale. The felt, although new, is made from recycled materials.

This project only took about an hour to complete.  I started by freehand drawing a heart on a piece of scrap paper. Sometimes I'll just eyeball something like this, but since I wanted all of the hearts the same size, I made a pattern. I then cut out 6 hearts. As this felt is a bit thin, I wanted to make sure that the brooch had some bulk to it so that it wouldn't sag or tear when worn.

I stitched 2 hearts together using matching thread and an overcast stitch. I made the stitches very tiny and as even as I could around the edge. I also cut out a stem for the shamrock. This I did eyeball, using the curve from one of the hearts that I had cut out as a side. I also doubled the stem for stability.

I laid the hearts out point to point, as shown above, using the stem as a base.  Starting at the outer edge of the heart, I again overcast stitched the petals to the stem.  When that was completed, I stitched the rose to the center of the shamrock where the heart points meet.

I thought it was a bit plain and wanted to fancy it up a bit without going overboard.  Digging through the bead stash I found the bright gold bead (thinking about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!) and then used some gold thread I had to outline stitch the petals and stem.  I added a pin to the back. 

I won't be getting pinched on Saint Patrick's Day! And having a bit of Irish in me (Kathleen Margaret is my full name), I love to display that on March 17th.  It is also my mother's birthday, her 87th this year, so it is a date that is very special to me. 

I hope you are inspired by this! 

Happy Crafting!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vintage Yarn Roses

Many years ago, my grandmother taught me to make yarn roses that were woven on a circle of cardboard.  I was very young at the time, 9 or 10, but remember sitting with her in her living room making them.  She used to make them for sales for her woman's group.  Anyhow, I have never been able to recall how they were made.  I searched the internet but, not knowing what to call them, never came up with anything that resembled what she used to make.

Now I also collect old craft magazines and books.  Recently while looking through one of them, I found the instructions to make the same roses that Grammy used to make.  I was thrilled!  My grandmother passed away in 1994 at 94 years old so finding those instructions brought back a flood of memories for me and made me very happy.  And I want to share those instructions for this vintage craft.  Just to let you know, this is a long post!

This is the magazine that I found the instructions in:

It is a December 1977 issue of the magazine.  And these are the yarn roses.  My grandmother made them into brooches for sale.
The supplies are simple:  a piece of plastic or sturdy cardboard (I used the lid from a take out container), about 3 yards of yarn (worsted or baby weight), a yarn needle, 4 inches of wire (22 gauge works well), and scissors.  You will also need a marker to make a pattern on the plastic.

First step:  Trace a 3-1/2 inch circle onto the plastic.  This doesn't need to be exact.  The magazine came with a template, but it isn't necessary.  Draw lines across the center point of the circle such that it is divided into 8 equal pie pieces. Number them as shown in the picture.  Also notice at the outer edge of the circle where the line meets, an indentation has been drawn to hold the yarn in place.  Cut out the circle, including the indentations.
Time to wrap the yarn.  This proved to be a bit difficult  - don't ask me why!!  I had a heck of a time holding the yarn such that it overlapped in the center.  Thread the needle to start with the yarn needle.  Starting in the center, extend the yarn about an inch past the center dot.  ((My plastic cover had a dot raised right in the middle.)  Bring the yarn up to left of the 1, straight down to 2, across to 3.  This is where it gets frustrating.  Since they aren't exactly across from one another, the yarn won't intersect the center.  Just keep going, ending at 8.
You have to push and pull on the yarn spokes to move them back to the center.  Then hang on!!  The back of this will look fine.  So why not use the back?  Because the yarn will be on the front and you won't be able to wrap it properly.  But now that I'm writing this there is a way...duh.  Just do one final double wrap around 1, I believe, and bring it around to the back.  Oh well.  Trial and error!

Next you want to anchor the spokes.  Starting at yarn 1, just bring your needle over and under the spokes, ending back at 1.  Pull firmly. It will then hold the spokes in place, as shown below.
Now to begin the rose.  When you completed anchoring the spokes, you should have ended up going under spoke 8.  Take the yarn and go over spoke 1.  Sorry that the numbers are no longer visible.  They wore off as I worked on this.  I would suggest etching them in using a dried up pen.  After a few roses, you won't need them any longer.  Next go over spoke 3 and hold loosely in place. Take the needle and go back over the top of spoke 3, under spoke 3, and through the loop made, as shown below.  This picture is a little further along in the construction, but still the same steps.  Pull snugly up to the center of the spokes. 
Continue in the same manner around the spokes until all of the yarn is used:  over and under each spoke.  When I had about 1-1/2 inches of yarn left I tied another overhand knot on the spoke to anchor in place.
 Flip the piece over and cut the yarn in the center.  It will look like a yarn spider!
 Take the 4-inch piece of wire and insert it through the middle of the rose.
 Make a small hook on the end of the wire and draw it back down through the center of the rose.
You will need to manipulate it through as you don't want it too close to where you first inserted the wire.   
Flip the rose over. and twist the wires together.
I used my jewelry flat-nosed pliers to do this, but you can easily twist it by hand.  Flip the flower over to the right side, holding onto the wire as a stem.  Take the loose yarn ends and pull them down such that you are holding them and the wire like the stems of a bouquet.  Slightly push up on the bottom of the flower to give it fullness.  I then wrapped the wire around the the yarn, close to the bottom of the flower to keep the fullness. 
Trim the yarn ends slightly, cutting off about an inch.  The magazine suggests wrapping with floral tape.  I want mine to lay flat so I wrapped the entire wire length around the yarn ends and will trim the remaining yarn off. I'm not sure what I want to make from these yet.  I wove 3 green roses to make into a shamrock for Saint Patrick's Day.  For these I will mount the roses on a felt shamrock for stability.  I'll share that later this week.  But for now, I am happy to have found the instructions for this vintage craft.   I hope that you try this and enjoy it.  Please share with me if you do.

Happy Crafting!


Friday, March 1, 2013

Elegant Lighting

Whoever would have thought that this pretty lamp could have had such humble beginnings?

Several years ago, my husband bought me a bottle of Galliano Liqueur for a Christmas present. The bottle was too pretty to throw away. It kind of reminds me of a genie's bottle for some reason. Anyhow, I held on to it because "I can make something out of that". (My answer to "Can we throw this away?") I thought it would make a very pretty lamp. I love the color blue so I filled the base of the bottle with blue flat marbles that I bought at the Dollar Tree. I used almost 2 bags in the bottle, keeping out just enough to decorate the base. For the base, I found a clear glass plate at a thrift store that fit the base of the bottle perfectly. Since this plate is scalloped around the edges, I glued some of the flat marbles onto each scallop using Super Glue. I also Super Glued the base to the plate.

I purchased a lamp-making kit at a local hardware store. I'm not going to provide instructions for wiring for safety reasons, but the kit comes with easy to follow instructions. (Also, I'm not endorsing a particular brand.  This was the brand available.)  I did have to make some modifications to the kit, as the adapters provided were either too large or too small for the bottle opening, as you have to set the adapter and threaded nipple into the throat of the bottle. I used a wine bottle cork that I had saved (naturally!).  I won't share the "discussion" I had with the cork and the bottle. Let's just say it took me a while to get it fitted properly.

The bottle adapter kit I purchased did not come with an the harp bottom and, because my lampshade is the type requiring a harp, I did have to find that separately. As I make cut and pierce lampshades I had many lamp parts in my stash and was able to find both the harp and the bottom.  I believe, though, that they are not too expensive.  I found the lampshade at a thrift store and think it adds the touch of elegance that this lamp needs. The cost of this lamp was low, relatively speaking. The bottle was recycled, the base plate was about a dollar, 2 bags of flat marbles were $2, the shade was about $3, and the adapter kit was the most expensive piece at around $12. So, it cost me less than $20 to make this lamp. Maybe a bit more than I spend on an upcycled project, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. And it is a one-of-a kind!

What do you think? This lamp will be going in my living room for accent lighting. I used a low wattage bulb (40W) in it and it gives off a very pretty glow.  (Sorry about the wrinkles in the background.  I'm always too anxious to get my pictures taken and posted!)