Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Painted Beads

While living in Virginia I learned to really appreciate thrifting and recycling, not only for the household, but also in crafts, as I have said before.  There were great second hand shops in the city that I worked in which I still visit when I go to see our daughter who is in school there.  The people I worked with were also big into recycling and passing things along.  Which is a good thing as I worked for an environmental agency!  Every day you could walk into the break room and find a new treasure left by a co-worker.  Pottery, books, tea, coffee, craft items, electronics, wrapping name it.  Either myself or a friend of mine would take anything that was still hanging around at the end of the week to one of the area thrift stores. 

Remember the beaded seat cushions that used to be so popular.  Big wooden beads that you sat on.  Go figure.  How could they be comfortable.  I have to digress here.  My father-in-law had one of these things and it broke.  Before I could grab those beads he had spread them out over his lawn to let them rot into the grass.  AAHH!  Well, I finally got my chance because someone left one in the break room.  And a friend snagged it for me. 

I pulled it apart, as it was partially broken already.  You have no idea what a pain it was to remove all of those beads!  And I had no idea what I was going to do with all of them. 

Last weekend I was sitting in the backyard with our son while he operated his ham radio.  And I needed something to do.  I didn't want to knit outside as it was a bit windy and our neighbor's cats like to come over for a visit and I didn't want cat hair on any knitting due to my husband's allergies.  I wandered around the garage, where a lot of my craft things are stored, and found the bag of wooden beads.  I grabbed a couple of handfuls and my Sharpies and started decorating.

I don't know what I will do with them yet - maybe a big chunky necklace or bracelet, but it was fun just scribbling on these little wooden canvases.

Happy Crafting!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Decorative Jar for the Bath

My daughter and I went candle crazy last summer, buying about 8 big candles between the 2 of us from Yankee Candle.  The jars that these candles come in are very pretty - too pretty to recycle conventionally. I had to make something from one of these.

My downstairs bathroom is my bathroom, sort of.  I keep hair thingies and nail polish and a few other things in there for quick fixes.  My hair thingies were all over the counter and driving me crazy, especially when I had to clean.  I didn't want another basket so I thought of one of the pretty empty candle jars sitting in the cupboard in my laundry room. 

I eventually, someday, don't know when...hope to redo the downstairs bathroom in a cream color with burgundy accents.  I may not be in vogue when it comes to trendy colors, but I like what I like.  I decided, in anticipating this makeover,  that I would use cranberry felt to decorate this jar.

First I cut a piece of foam I had saved from some packing to fit the inside bottom of the jar.  I didn't want to drop anything in the jar, like tweezers or nail clippers and crack the jar.  I also cut a piece felt about 1/8-inch bigger than the outside base of the jar.

I placed the foam inside the jar.  I didn't bother to glue it in place.  Next, I cut a strip of felt about 2 inches wide and the length was the circumference of the jar plus a little wiggle room, about 1 inch.

Using overcast stitches, I stitched this strip to the circle base such that the stitching would be on the  right side of the jar when completed.  So I had to stitch neatly!

At least I tried to stitch neatly!  Once I had stitched all the way around the base, I overlapped the strip by about 1/2 inch and stitched this seam close.  I then placed the candle jar in the "cup" I had formed only to find that it was too big at the top of the strip.  I guess the felt stretched while I was stitching.  I thought about how to fix it (rip it out and start again - NO! or add elastic - nope).  Then I remembered some lace that I had and stitched that to the edge using a running stitch.  I just gathered up the excess, after placing the candle jar back in the felt cup and tied a knot to hold.  Fit perfectly!

I had a felt flower that I had made and goofed up on while making flower brooches.  Since I never throw anything away I dug in my felt bag and found it.  It needed a bit of sprucing up, including adding a few more petals.  I had already made the center from a similar lace so it matched the base.  I then glued the felt cup to the base of the jar and the flower to the cap. 

Here is another picture of it completed.  You can see the gathering at the top of the base cup. 


A bonus is that it still holds some scent from the candle (I believe this one was Clean Cotton) and it holds all my little hair thingies and gadgets neatly and prettily.  And, best of all, it didn't cost me anything!

Happy Crafting and Recycling!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

1970's Inspired Afghan

I've been away for a long time...since November.  It isn't that I haven't been crafting.  Between the holidays and some stressful events our family has endured, blogging was not a priority.  I have several projects to make up for lost time and to get back on track. 

A year ago to the day I posted about a project in the works, an afghan I was crocheting using yarn I had purchased second hand.  The colors were very 1970-ish and I just love them.  They remind me of home.  Well, a year later and the afghan is done.  I crocheted granny squares every time I sat at bowling league or bowling practice or drum lessons with my son.  I used up all of the yarn that came in my thrift store find in these colors and am very happy with how it turned out.  I had originally planned on using this in my guest room, but have decided that I will be giving it to my Mom for her 88th birthday.  (yup, you read that right.  Mom will be 88 on St. Patrick's Day!)

Here is the finished afghan.

Just granny squares (5 rounds each) joined together with single crochet.  First making rows and then joining the rows together.  This afghan has 80 squares - 10 rows of 8 squares each.  After joining, I single crocheted around the outer edge.  You may be able to see that the gold yarn in the joining rows is 2 different colors.  I ran out of one so I just used up another gold I had.  Next, I made an edging of 5 chains, attaching with a single crochet (SC) to the edging.  To attach, I skipped over 3 SC in the edging, attaching in the next through both loops on top.  To make the edging look more lacy, I did a second row.  This row, as you may be able to see in the picture below, was attached by SC to the middle of the loop of the previous row, and followed by 5 single crochets. 

Happy Crafting!