Friday, March 15, 2013

A Shirt for Every Occassion

So I like to have shirts for whatever "day" is coming up --- Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc. Buying such shirts is easy because Wal-Mart is full of these things all the time. But, as you might expect, I really like to make them.

Here are a few that I've made recently:

Valentine's Day

This design is a heart cut from a grocery store doily and stick-glued to the fabric. I used a sponge applicator and stenciled over the doily. Then, I peeled the doily up and wa-la! Doily heart design on a shirt. Not the greatest, but kind of cute.

Probably should have defined my edges better...

St. Patrick's Day

For this one, I searched for Shamrock in Google Images and printed the one I liked best on heavy paper. Then I cut it out and stick-glued it to the shirt. I then used a sponge applicator to stencil around the design. Super easy! (Here's where I got my shamrock stencil ).

Not sure what's all over this shirt ... It wasn't like this the last time my daughter wore it. I'm running it through the washer again as I type.


Here the shirt I did for Easter. Peeps are my favorite Easter treat. Not necessarily to eat, but to look at. I find that I can't eat nearly as many of them as I used to. Anyway, I scoured the internet for a Peep template, printed it on heavy paper and cut it out. This time, I used a stencil adhesive to make it stick to the fabric, and, after the white paint was dry, I used a pencil eraser to put in the eyes and nose (brown fabric paint). Again, not the greatest, but kind of cute. (Here's where I got my stencil ).



That's it for now!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pinterest Test Success

I try quite a few of the things I find on Pinterest. In fact, much of what I make is inspired by Pinterest in one way or another. In spite of being a giant time suck, Pinterest is a fun place that's wonderful for igniting whatever creative flame you have deep inside. That being said, not everything I try works. For example, this cute little jar of Easter Peeps Bunny Smores did NOT turn out as expected. I followed the instructions, but mine ended up as a mess and so did my mom's. I don't judge the Bunny Smores project too harshly, though, because the jar turned out so darn cute.

My Pinterest test successes include DIY fabric spray, toilet paper roll air freshener, DIY fabric softener, and DIY fruit infused water . Now, I can add these cute little Easter eggs to my Pinterest test success list.

The idea isn't original. Blow up a balloon, wrap it in string/yarn/thread/whatever that's been soaked in some sort of stiffener, and let it dry. Then pop and remove the balloon. You're left with the string/yarn/thread/whatever in the shape of your balloon. I used 1/2 cup of liquid starch (you can find it at Wal-Mart) and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour as my stiffening agent. My material was either crochet thread, twine, or something that's like a really thick crochet thread (sorry, I don't know the name). The balloons were some we had in the closet from birthdays past. What's a little different about this project than most I've seen using this technique is that you put a little Easter surprise inside the balloon so that it's left inside the egg when you pop the balloon. Cute and fun!

First of all, this project is messy. Be prepared. Second, make sure you buy things that can fit inside your balloon. This isn't that big of a problem because you can carefully stretch the balloon neck quite a bit before it tears. So, I put my toys inside the balloon, blew up the balloon into something egg shaped, and tied it off. Then I mixed my concoction and soaked some string. I had no idea how much string would be needed so I didn't cut it ahead of time. Be careful about tangles, though (you cross stitchers will know what I'm talking about). I got the string good and wet and started wrapping.

The wrapping part wasn't nearly as fun as I thought it would be. Maybe it's my symmetry OCD? Maybe I left the string too wet? Either way, I had a hard time wrapping the string in what I thought was a visually pleasing manner. In fact, I got a little discouraged and didn't even wrap the last balloon I'd prepared. Maybe I was just having an off day.

Anyway .... when I thought I'd wrapped enough, I cut my string, secured the end onto the egg (under another string), and set this baby in a little Dixie cup to dry. The next day, they were all nicely dried and it was time to get the balloon out. NOT as easy as I thought. For some reason, I thought I could just pop the balloon and pull it out with a little pair of locking forceps leaving the toy behind. No. I popped the balloon and it shriveled up on the toy. So using my forceps and scissors, I had to CAREFULLY cut the balloon into a bunch of pieces and pull them out one by one. The end result was nice, but it was more labor intensive that I'd expected. Well, I mean it took a few minutes instead of 15 seconds. Gee.... I think I was having a bad day. Maybe I need to try this one again.

So here are my finished products. My daughter was very excited about this project. After I took the photos, I told her she could have all the eggs. They lasted about 2 seconds after that. This is a fragile project, guys. Don't give a 3 year old free reign over the final result if you want it to survive.

This bunny head is an eraser

The duck is an eraser (and this is the thread that I didn't know its name).

A cute little dinosaur

Another photo of the bunny egg

Here's a slightly blurry dinosaur

And the duck again

Overall, this was a Pinterest test success. Looking back, I must have been having an off day for craftiness. I think I'll give this one another try and maybe I'll enjoy it more.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oh, it's..... lovely?

Hello! I've been gone soooo long that everyone probably thinks I've given up crafting for good. Some of you may even be happy about that fact. Truth is that Christmas took a bunch out of me, things in real life were neglected, and I had a tremendous amount of catching up to do. The last 6 weeks or so have been busy!

I've got several projects in the works. One is a scarf that I didn't finish before Christmas. I'd been doing my knitting on plastic Knifty Knitter-like looms, but this scarf was on a wooden loom with metal pegs that are REALLY close together. The pegs being close together means the knitting takes MUCH longer. I'm roughly halfway done. It's going more quickly now since I'm a more efficient knitter, but it's still not anywhere as quick as the plastic looms. 

Another project I've been working on is a baby blanket. I think this is going to be a gift for a family member who is expecting a little boy this summer. This project is my first on the Martha Stewart knitting loom and I have to say, I'm liking it. I usually avoid Martha because she annoys me, but one day I broke down and bought her loom set at Wal-Mart. I like the adjustability (is that a word?) of it. You can create lots of shapes and control how close together the pegs are.

Last, but definitely not least, is my Etsy store. This was an idea that has been bouncing around my brain for quite some time. I really do love making things, but I run out of people to give them to and it gets a little expensive. So, I thought that if I could just sell a few things, it would help kill two birds with one stone. I'd get to keep making things, and I'd have a tiny bit of money to buy new supplies. So, if you're interested, you can visit my store . Tell your friends! I have some items that would make wonderful Easter or Mother's Day gifts, and am adding new items regularly.

Okay .... On to what I'm posting today. First, let me warn you that it's not the most attractive thing I've ever made, but I'm excited about it anyway.

Oh, it's .... lovely?

I know what you're saying.... That's the ugliest wreath I've ever seen ... but hear me out before you judge. Yes, it's a wreath-like thing. Yes, it's ugly. No, it's not for decoration. It's a yarn wreath for birds to use for nesting material! 

There is a whole lot of yarn in my house, and some of it is too small a quantity to really be useful in any sort of knitting project. I'd seen several projects where people put out yarn scraps and dryer lint for birds to line their nests (just Google it). I wanted to do the same thing, but definitely didn't want to buy any new supplies. So, I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt through the house for something that would work.

I ended up using an old metal coat hanger, a metal slinky, floral wire, and a bit of paper ribbon because, if you think it's ugly now, you should have seen it BEFORE I added the bow. I cut the hook off the coat hanger with wire cutters and put the slinky on the wire. Then, I fashioned a circle shape with the wire (I wrapped the wire around itself to keep the o shape. Then, I used florist wire to re-attach the hook to the coat hanger wire and to attach the two ends of the slinky together. I probably could have saved a step by not cutting the hook off the coat hanger. Anyway, then I cut my yarn into bird sized lengths (I have not idea what that means ... I just cut it into varying lengths so they could be pulled out individually), and stuffed it into the slinky. TaDa! Now you can make your very own yarn wreath! Oh, and I added the bow because it really was butt ugly and even birds shouldn't have to look at something that ugly.

That's all for now! Don't forget about my new Etsy store and hopefully I'll be back here posting new stuff soon!