Wednesday 31 October 2012

Happy Crochet Halloween

Last year I decided to crochet some Halloween decorations for our home; we didn't have any decorations and while I was okay with that, the girls were getting more and more excited about Halloween and their excitement was truly contagious. Decorations were needed, but I decided that if I was going to get into it, I was going to get into it my way - Crochet Style. Nothing scary. Nothing gory. Nothing big and plastic on the front lawn. Just some cute crochet Halloween friends. I could live with that.  Turns out the girls love these friends too.

I made this pumpkin last year.  The pattern called this a dishcloth, but I use it as a window hanging instead.

I also made Caspar the Friendly Ghost last year.

And this year, to add to the collection, I made this witch.  I just finished her yesterday...phew, sometimes I forget how much work it is and how much time it takes to make these crochet toys.  I am so happy with how she turned out.  It's too bad she'll be going back in storage soon...I may need to keep her out for a bit....she was a lot of work....

I'm not sure what I'll add next year.  Any suggestions?

Happy Halloween!

Monday 29 October 2012

Card of the Week: The Fall Collection Week Four

With Halloween only a few days away, I thought I would finish off my Fall Collection with one more Halloween card.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Scenic Route; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Spider: cut with Silhouette; Sentiment Font: Rustler; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, 3D Foam Squares

Silhouette Halloween Shapes have been on sale for the last week and a bit (there is still time to take advantage of this, the sale ends October 31) and I could not pass up the cute spider that I used on this card.

I hope everyone has a fun and candy-filled Halloween.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Three Things

Three things that are making me smile this morning.

Warm fall weather, clear blue skies, and the colorful leaves that are still hanging onto the tree in our backyard.

My red coffee cup.  She is always there when I need her, and some mornings I need her more than others.

Whimsical fabrics. I simply had to bring this fabric home from a craft festival I attended a few weeks back.  While the pieces are small, I am having lots of fun thinking about what I could possibly make. So exciting! Many ideas are rattling around my creative mind.  Until I decide, I'll just leave them laid out on the smile at each time I walk by.  

What has made you smile today?

Monday 22 October 2012

Card of the Week: The Fall Collection Week Three

All of the fall themed cards that I have shown you so far were either Halloween or Thank You cards, and both of these card types certainly fit the season.

But let's not forget other events that happen at this time of the year that also need celebrating.

Like birthdays.  Oh those lucky people who get to celebrate their birthdays during the most gorgeous and colorful time of the year.

Here are two birthday cards made with lovely fall themed paper.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Scenic Route; Cardstock: Bazzill; Circle Punch: Fiskars;  Border Punch: Fiskars; Buttons: American Crafts; Sentiment Font: Segoe Print; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Scenic Route; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Butterflies: Studio Calico; Sentiment Font: Segoe Print; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

Why not celebrate a Fall birthday with a fall themed card?

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Crochet Tote Bag

Inspired by some lovely cotton in my yarn stash and this lovely crochet bag tutorial I decided to make my own crochet tote bag. I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out and am incredibly proud of it! While it did take a while to make (I started it when we were on our family camping trip) it was quite simple and relaxing to hook up - the perfect project to work on while chatting with friends. In fact, one evening while crocheting with two of my girlfriends, I manged to crochet one entire ball of yarn into my bag; a great project and great friends made for a wonderful evening.  

I had six 2.0 oz balls of Floral Prints by Lily Cotton in my yarn bin which I used for my bag. While this yarn is mainly white, there are random spatters of pink, purple, orange and yellow throughout.  This random spattering of colors worked perfectly for my bag.  A quick check on the Lily site revealed that this yarn is no longer available, which does not surprise me as I bought it a few years back at a yarn sale, but they do have other spattered-type yarns that would work well if you were interested in making a bag of your own.

For the edging and the flowers I used Mod Pink by Bernat Handicrafter Cotton.  Again, this was in my stash and of all the pinks that I have, matched the pink in the Floral Prints best.    

I used a 4.0 mm hook for this project.  Even though the hook size recommended for both the yarns that I used is 5.0 mm, I chose a 4.0 mm hook; it made the stitches quite tight which worked out well for this type of bag. 

While I did use this tutorial as a guideline, I did make a few changes when working on my own project.   

For the bag itself, I followed the tutorial exactly with one exception: instead of changing colors on each round of the bag, I continued using the same yarn.  While I love the look of a multicolored bag, I am also happy with my own bag and how it looks hooked up in this lovely spattered yarn.

Here is what I changed: 


Chain 101
Round 1: sc in second chain from hook, and in each chain across (100 sc).
Repeat Round 1 seven more times.  Your handle will be eight rows of single crochet wide.
Make two handles

With outside of the bag facing you join pink to any stitch.  
Round 1: 1 sc in each stitch around, join to first sc with slip stitch.
Round 2: *chain 3, sc in next stitch* Repeat around top of bag, join with slip stitch to beginning chain.


Chain 6, join with slip stitch to make a ring
Round 1: chain 3, 20 dc in ring, join with slip stitch to first dc
Round 2: chain 1, sc in next stitch and then in each stitch around (20 sc)
Round 3: chain 1, sc in same stitch, *skip 1 stitch, 7 dc in next stitch, skip 1 stitch, 1 sc in next stitch*.  Repeat between ** four more times to make a total of five petals on the flower.
Make 4 flowers.

After attaching the handles and flowers to my bag, I added wooden buttons to the centers of my flowers.  

I am going to use this bag to tote my crochet projects around with me.  I hope you are inspired to make a crochet tote bag of your own.  It is a great project - useful and crafty.

Any questions about what I did here, please ask.

Monday 15 October 2012

Card of the Week: The Fall Collection Week Two

Here are two more cards that I made during my glorious afternoon of card making that happened a few weeks back.

grid card using gorgeous fall colored paper.  This paper was leftover from a layout I did for my wedding album nine years ago.  Clearly I hold onto scrap paper forever...and for good reason.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Scenic Route; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Rub-On: Pebbles Inc.; Buttons: American Crafts; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

And this Halloween card which I absolutely love - especially the drippy border and the little ghosts.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Basic Grey; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Font: Rustler; Border Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts; Ghosts: cut with Silhouette; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

Are you inspired to make your own fall cards yet?

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Red Candlesticks and an Important Spray Paint Lesson

These candlesticks were given to me by a friend.

While I loved the shape of them, the color was just a little blah for my decor so I decided to spray paint them Colonial Red (by Rustoleum) in a matte finish.

I bought the spray paint that I intended to use in the dead of winter - not at all a season conducive to spray painting - and then stored my paint next to my blah candlesticks on my project pile for months.      

When the weather was finally decent and I got to painting, I used the entire can of paint trying to cover all the twists and turns on these things.  Of course I missed a few spots, and as luck would have it Colonial Red in a matte finish was the only color, from the hundreds of colors made, that was being discontinued.  Seriously!!??

After a minor panic attack and several phone calls to every paint store I could think of trying to track down a rouge can, I bought a can of Colonial Red in a glossy finish, gave these guys another spray and called it good. They are a little shinier than I would have liked, but they will do.

From this simple candlestick transformation I have learned that I should not have bought the spray paint so long before using it.  Had I bought it, brought it home, and sprayed it, a second can may have been available to me when I needed it.  Because according to the paint guy at Home Depot they had just marked my paint as discontinued.  Lesson learned:  Buy spray paint and spray it....just in case you need a second can.  

See, every project has a story....

Monday 8 October 2012

Card of the Week: The Fall Collection Week 1

Last week I pulled out all of my autumn themed paper and got to making some cards.  It was one of those perfect card making afternoons - I was inspired by the fall weather and the gorgeous colors in nature, I was not at all tired and was feeling quite creative, and I had all the supplies I needed on hand.

I had a glorious day making many fall cards which I am going to share with you over the next few weeks.

First, a simple Halloween card:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Bo Bunny; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Font (cut with Silhouette): Rustler; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Foam Squares, Quickie Glue

And a thank you card that would be perfect to give your host or hostess on Thanksgiving:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Basic Grey; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Font (cut with Silhouette): Segoe Print; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Quickie Glue

I can't wait to show you the other cards in my fall collection.

Friday 5 October 2012

Why I Love Blogging

I started this blog less than a year ago and it has been a wonderful outlet for me.

I love the writing.  Before I started blogging it had been so long since I had actually done any writing and I forgot how much I enjoy it.

I love how through my blog I feel connected to other crafters who are sharing ideas.

I love the motivation blogging provides me to keep trucking away on projects.

And I love that when I am feeling a little run down by all the mundane chores and feeling like I have gotten nothing crafty accomplished, I can look at all the project posts I have done and breath a little easier.

This little blog of mine is a wonderful part of my life and I love it.

Thank you to everyone who has ever read here.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

The Garden Patch Granny Afghan: A Long Awaited Update

Oh dear, it was not my intent for so much time to have passed before I updated you on this big project of mine.  So sorry about that.

Here is where I am at:

I have been crocheting away quite vigorously on my squares.
Right now I have two of each rectangle completely crocheted and awaiting blocking and seaming.

I also have one of each of the five rectangles completely blocked and seamed together.  After I block a rectangle I label it with a piece of paper tied on with yarn so that I can keep track of which rectangle is which for when I seam the whole blanket together.

If you remember from the introduction to this project I have four of each of the five rectangles to make.  With one of each rectangle already completely blocked and seamed, and two of each rectangle crocheted and awaiting blocking and seaming, this means that I have only one more rectangle to crochet and a whole lot of blocking to do.  Excellent progress!

Here are the five rectangles that are blocked and seamed together.
Rectangle A

Rectangle B

Rectangle C

Rectangle D

Rectangle E

As I move along and block more rectangles, the blocking process does become a little easier.  One thing I have found is that the rectangles with many small squares (rectangles A and E) are definitely more difficult to block than those that have more medium and large squares.

Even though blocking is becoming easier, I would still choose to crochet. Crocheting is definitely the more fun part of making this blanket.

And I am happy to say that, as I vowed, I am putting my ends in right away which has made my life a lot easier.

And now a little bit about the yarn I am using - Vanna's Choice.  It is lovely yarn.  Great to work with and very soft; it is going to make a lovely blanket. And the colors are just gorgeous.  I do think  that I am going to have a lot of yarn leftover though.  I am working on my last rectangles now and have just started my second ball of each color.  But this does not bother me really, because the wheels are already turning as to what project I could make with what may remain.

I am really getting excited about my progress on this blanket.  It is coming together so nicely and I hope to have it done by Christmas which I think is a realistic goal.

How lovely it would be to curl up under my Garden Patch Granny Afghan and sip hot chocolate while the snow falls outside and the Christmas lights twinkle.

With that image in mind, I am off to crochet.

Back sooner this time with an update....

(To read all posts about this project, click the Garden Patch Granny Afghan box on the sidebar)

Monday 1 October 2012

Card of the Week: 4u

I have been spending some time scrapping our summer memories.  When I finished my layout, I had some paper scraps on my table so I used them to make this card right away.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Echo Park; Cardstock: Bazzill; Circle Punch: Fiskars; Letter and Number Stickers: American Crafts; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

Nothing fancy, but one great thing about this card is that I used a leftover letter and number from my sticker package to write a meaningful sentiment.

I always struggle with what to do with the leftover letters that do not spell anything, and the numbers that there always seems to be too many of in each package - combining a letter and number like I did on this card is a unique and fun way to add a sentiment and use up odd characters.