Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flower Brooch Tutorial

One of the things on my 2010 crafty list was to make a brooch to wear with my (cream) sweater. Originally I was planning to make it out of felt, but seeing as the sweater is wool I thought it might be better to have more contrast.  So I came up with this:

To make one of your own you need:
  • Scrap piece of linen (I used teal)
  • Scrap of natural coloured canvas
  • A bit of lace (two types)
  • Brooch back or safety pin
  • Scrap of felt
  • Matching thread

Step 1: Cut the pieces
Cut three blobby shapes out of the teal linen and two out of the canvas.  The smallest blob is about 1.5 inches across and the largest is about 3.5 inches.  The layers should alternate colours so the first blob is cut out of coloured linen, the second out of natural canvas, etc.
Cut a piece of lace, 7-8 inches long, from each of the two laces.  I used one that had thicker thread (almost crochet looking) and one that had thinner thread.
Here's another shot of the blobs, with a ruler for reference:

Step 2:  Sew and gather the blobs.
Using matching thread, sew around the blob, about .5 inch from the edge.  Use a largish stitch length and don't backstitch at the ends.  Holding onto both bobbin threads (the ones on the underside) or the top threads loosely gather the blob to your liking and knot the ends.  (Knot the bobbin threads together and the top threads together, two knots per blob.)


Step 3:  Sew and gather the lace.
Layer the two pieces of lace on top of one another and sew along the "flat" edge without backstitching at the ends.  Gather tightly and form the lace into a rosette.  Secure the lace in this shape by taking stitches on the underside.

Now your pieces should look like this:

Step 4:  Layer and secure the blobs.
Layer the blobs on top of one another, alternating colours and take a few stitches to secure in place (they will be covered later so thread colour doesn't matter.)


Step 5:  Add the rosette.
Place the lace rosette in the middle of the blobs and take a few stitches to secure in place.

Step 6:  Attach a pin.
Ideally I guess you would use a flat backed brooch pin but I didn't have one on hand so I used a safety pin.  Either way, secure your pin of choice in place with some (or in my case a lot of) stitches.
Step 7:  Make the back look pretty.
Not that anyone will see it, but I thought it would be nice to finish off the back to hide all the stitches.  Cut a small leaf shape from the felt, making sure it fits between the pin ends, and stitch in place using matching thread.
And you're done!  Hooray!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On Second Thought...

The tutorial on the mini notebook (alluded to here) is not going to happen.  I should have bought the one I saw at Michaels!  Things started going wrong after this step:

The outside looked great and I thought letting the thing dry folded up was the answer to my problem.  Until I put the lining paper on and after drying folded it doesn't have enough give to let the book open flat.  I'm still going to finish it off but I think I need to find a tutorial rather then write one!

Another project that has been redirected is the knitting of a scarf out of this:

After knitting about half a dozen swatches I couldn't find a pattern I could get excited about knitting and wearing so I'm reassigning the wool to leg warmers.  It's good to be flexible after all!

Of course some projects go well from the start - I made a brooch today and it turned out how I pictured it (don't you love when that happens?).  Tutorial coming up on that one!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Olympic Excitement!

This past weekend I was in London (Ontario, not England!) watching the national championships of figure skating.  The results from this competition decide who makes it onto the Olympic team and I think everyone rose to the challenge.  There were lots of good performances as well as a couple truly amazing ones that blew me away!

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are always a treat to watch and this was no exception - their program seemed to fly by in half the time of any of their competitors!  Patrick Chan was the other skater that really stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

At the end of the weekend they announced the Olympic figure skating team and it was great to see how excited these athletes are to be representing their country in the Olympic Games.  It made me a *teeny* bit less excited about going as a spectator (not nearly as exciting as going to compete after all) but since I have neither the dedication, drive or passion to pursue anything at an Olympic level I will be very satisfied with watching others and cheering them on. Much less pressure that way!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Small Pouch Tutorial

I love my Birdie Sling but it does need some help in the organization department.  Particularly for all those little things that can so easily get lost in the roominess of the Birdie Sling (bandaids, Tylenol, lens cleaning cloth, wet wipes, etc).  I already have a couple envelope pouches stashed inside but I wanted something with a zipper to keep small bits contained.  Enter the small pouch!

What you need:
  • Two pieces of fabric 6 by 4.5 inches (or whatever size you fancy really)
  • Zipper longer then 6 inches

Step 1: Pin the fabric (wrong side down) to the zipper (right side up).  The long edge of the fabric and the edge of the zipper should match with the fabric being roughly centered on the zipper.  Sew as close to the zipper as you can get (along what is the upper edge in the photo), backstitching at each end.

Step 2: Fold the fabric back, away from the zipper, and press.

Step 3:  Pin the second piece of fabric to the opposite edge of the zipper, sew in place, fold back and press as you did for the first piece of fabric. 

Step 4:  Top stitch along either side of the zipper.  (Not really necessary but I like the finished look it gives.)

Step 5:  Undo your zipper about half way (so you can get the pouch right side out after sewing!), fold your work in half along the zipper and pin in place.

Step 6:  Sew along the three non-zipper edges, going back and forth a couple times at each end to secure the zipper.  Clip the corners and cut off excess zipper.

Step 7:  Turn the pouch right side out, press if desired, and enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A "Love"ly window

I love hearts!  My favourite shape is a heart.  So after seeing this photo on One Pretty Thing I was inspired to make my own.

Lovely addition to the crafting corner!

I had all the hearts cut out and ready to go (did that while watching something or other on TV) so sewing them up and hanging them went quite quickly.  I made one super long garland and then cut to length as I hung them.  Easy peasy but so effective!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Canada Scarf

So I finally found the red fleece I was hunting for at Old Navy, already in scarf form.  All I had to do was add the maple leaf (luckily acceptable white fleece was not as hard to find as red).  It was my first applique attempt and it went something like this:

Find a maple leaf pattern (via Google Pictures) and create paper pattern.

Cut one out of fleece.

Cut another out of Stitch-Witchery.

Arrange the applique pieces on the scarf (Stitch-Witchery in between!) where you would like them and iron to set.  Sew around the edge of the applique with a medium zig-zag and short stitch length.


Admire how nicely the back turned out and puzzle over why the picture of the back turned out so differently then the one of the front when all I did was turn the scarf over (really, that's it! Same camera settings, same location).

Take the scarf out for a test run.

Or rather, a test skate.

It's been over 6 years since I was skating and it was nice to get on the ice again.  Something I've been meaning to do for the last few (or probably 6) winters.  My sister and I walked to a neighbourhood rink (outdoors as you can tell) and had the "little rink" to ourselves.  Luckily she is a much better skater then I am and was willing to skate around with me and then help me stop before she let go!  Hopefully we'll go again this winter.  After I buy myself a pair of skates. (I'm wearing an old pair of my sister's skates and as her feet are a size smaller then mine my toes weren't so happy.)  Oh good!  Another thing to enjoy in January.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year, New Projects

Now that Christmas is over it's time to start some new projects.  I haven't had any non-Christmas projects on the go for the past month or two and it was a little strange to start in on something that was not a) intended as a gift or b) in red and green.

Last week I was at Michael's and saw a little notebook titled "Ideas".  I almost bought it (it was only $1.50 after all) but then decided it would be a better idea to make my own, reusing some paper printed only on one side and perfectly fine for notes and scrap paper.  I had my cover beautifully covered in chiyogami paper and everything was great until I tried to refold the pre-scored cover.

I obviously forgot to account for the fact that a scored piece of cardboard will be "bigger" when bent then when lying flat (which is how I applied the paper and let it dry.)  Back to the drawing board on that one!  The good news is I am planning a tutorial so you can learn from my mistakes!

Also in progress - or more like the planning stages - is a scarf made out of this "chocolate mint" wool. 

I thought "knit a scarf" sounded so simple but I'm having trouble finding a pattern that I want to a) knit and b) wear.  I'm going to knit a couple more swatches tonight and hopefully decide on a pattern!

What new projects have you been working on?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A New Skill

A quick break from crafting to share this video which isn't craft related but definitely useful. 

I don't know about you but my fitted sheets always seem to end up in a big blob instead of anything resembling anything folded.  This video really made sense to me and I can now fold fitted sheets that Martha could be proud of!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hot Chaud

Years ago, when my mom was a teacher (i.e. before me!) one of her students introduced her to this drink that she called "Hot Chaud" (which doesn't really make sense because chaud is French for hot, so the drink is called "hot hot" but anyways it tastes delicious!)  Basically it's hot chocolate topped with ice cream.  Here I've used Candy Cane Crackle for a minty hot chocolate but usually I add vanilla ice cream.  As it melts it makes a wonderful creamy foam on top... yum!  Too sweet to have very often but delicious when you do.  And the ice cream cools the hot chocolate off so you don't burn your tongue!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In the Moment - January

I have to say January is not one of my favourite months.  Definitely in the bottom three because we are in the beginning of winter (cold!) with spring still so far away.  However, there are things to enjoy like...

  • Longer daylight hours!
  • The end of the hustle and bustle that is December - now there's time to do something like watch a movie or roam around blogland.
  • The beauty of snow (particularly if there is no shovelling that needs doing).

hmm... not a long list is it? 

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010!

I warn you this is a bit of a mish-mash of a post. 

First off I have to show you the coffee sack bucket that I mentioned in the last post:

Also cute (possibly cuter) when the top is folded down.

And next, some felted rocks that I made for a very good friend.

For New Year's Day dinner I made these little matchboxes to put at each place...

And filled them with mini chocolate bars!

I used an old (i.e. 2009) calendar to make the box and wrapped them with pieces cut from a festive looking card.

2009 was a great year for crafting - I continued to develop my recent re-interests in knitting and sewing, started a blog, opened an Etsy shop and then the year culminated in with the madness of sewing an entire doll wardrobe as well as making lots of my Christmas presents!

What will 2010 bring?  I have a craft "want to" list, some things leftover from 2009 (including those "it'll have to wait till after Christmas" projects), some new things and more yet to be discovered I'm sure!  Alright, the 2010 Want-To List:

  • Make the maple leaf scarves for which I needed the red fleece.
  • Sew a pin cushion for my fancy new pins from Lupin.
  • Try spinning with my drop spindle (which is carried over from the 2007 list!)
  • Knit the mitts from the kit I got at the Knitter's Fair.
  • Knit myself a scarf with "mint-chocolate" yarn, also from the Knitter's Fair.
  • Scrapbook the photos from my trip to England.
  • Experiment with paper garlands.
  • Dye yarn & unspun wool (for felting/spinning.)
  • Make a brooch, something felted I think, to wear on my new sweater (because the Christmas tree one isn't going to cut it anymore!)
  • Try out LiEr's katybag pattern.
Well I guess that's enough to get me started!  We'll see how much actually gets done!

Thanks for reading! (Which reminds me, one of my other "want tos" for 2010 is to blog more regularly.)