Monday, December 30, 2013

Quiet Books for Kids

So this what my giant undertaking for Christmas. I decided to make quiet books for my niece (age 5) and my nephew (age 2). I love giving quiet entertain-yourself gifts to kids, and of all the ideas, this one seemed the best for travel also. I don't have kids, so I did a lot of guessing and research to figure out what would be best for the kiddos, and I learned alot.

All of the books are grommetted and then joined with those metal embroidery loops, so that pages can be added, removed, or exchanged as the kid grow in and out of things, or as pages need repair.

For the 5-year old, some things detach from the book, but have a storage space in one of the pages. For the 2 year old, everything is tied down.

Ok before we get into the pictures - Things that I learned:

#1 - Grommets only go through 2-3 layers of felt. I should have done the decorating on MOST of the page, but left a border for the binding only.

#2 - Sew EVERYTHING on. I glued a bunch of things to save time and energy, and those were the first things that got ripped out of the book. Oops. Live and learn I guess. Most of them were decorative elements more than anything, but if I could do it all over, I would just reduce the number of pages and sew every last thing.

#3 - Page size consistency! I bought packs of felt as well as individual sheets. I also cut  some from larger sheets of plastic and/or felt. Even though all of them were *supposed* to be 9"x13" - the only ones that were actually sized right were the ones I cut out. A template that was 8.5"x11" (with a 1" margin for binding) would have saved me SO much trouble in the end. But I didn't find out until I went to bind the books, and by then it was too late.

Ok, so here are the books!

Sophia's Cover Page!
The books velcro shut.

I-Spy Page
Made of plastic scraps I had and filled with beads, buttons and glitter.
I took a photo of everything and included a "find me checklist" in the book.
Inspiration Book

Everybody needs practice tying their shoes!

Clock Page & Telling the time!

Garden Pages

Flower Garden
The petals are individually button-holed and she can mix and match them.
Inspiration Image

Veggie Garden Page
The carrots are tethered in with ribbon but they can be harvested!
Inspiration Page
Dress Up Page
Pattern Here

Kitchen Page 1
The Grocery Bag holds all the food cut-outs.
Pattern page

Kitchen Page 1
to show the frying pan and eggs!

Kitchen Page 2
The plate, napkin, and silverware are sewn/glued down.
Pattern Page

Sandcastle Page 1
The pieces are stored in the bucket.
Pattern Page

Sandcastle Page 2
Pattern Page

Luke's Cover Page
Lion Page
I really didn't get this, but I saw it in a number of places.
As it turns out, Luke was captivated by this page!
Inspiration, Another Inspiration
Bead Page
I double stitched each end of each strand, plus the border!

Buttons Page
"Touch and Feel" Page
This page started out with a spare piece of trim, and I added the pom-poms to bring it together.

Shapes Page Inspiration

Zipper Page
Inspiration, Inspiration, and more Inspiration

Froggy Page
The flies are made of the fluffy part of velcro.
The loops/tough part is on the other side of the frog's tongue.
Inspiration Page

Matching the Socks Page
I don't remember where I got the idea for this one, but the socks are
tied down inside the basket.

Airport Page
The kids know that Uncle works at the airport, so Luke got this page.
I used the pattern provided on this site, and added the person too.
Because this is the baby's book, everything is attached.
Roads Page
I saw roads pages in other places, like here but I didn't like them.
I added this one at the end. I got the cars and tied the ribbon onto the underside.
Then I glued velcro to the car and to parking spots on the page.
I don't know if you can see, but I sewed the roads down with yellow lines down the middle.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Crochet Origami Bag

So, I stumbled across this pattern on Pinterest, and I loved the concept. I'm not a big fan of crochet bags, mainly because I hate having to line them. This pattern, however, is the perfect solution. The body of the bag is worked flat - it is seriously just a rectangle. You can make is as big or as small as you want, just keep in mind that you need a specific height/width ratio to get the bag to fold up correctly. Then you can line it by sewing a flat rectangle onto your flat crochet piece! Too easy.

Once you've got your lining sewn in, you fold up the bag and seam all of 2 seams. Then you can add whatever strap you want!

I think the striping really makes this bag pop, so I did the same thing, but I also added a simple shell stitch border (skip 2 sts, 6dc, sc into next st) around the whole thing. The strap was just a single row of dc's with the same shell stitch border along both edges.

Pattern: The Masa Bag
Hook: 6.5mm
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Passion, Dark Chocolate, and Autumn Maize (less than 1 skein of each)
Lining: Plain cotton fabric from the quilting dept at Joann's (I bought 2 quilters quarters because the line for the cutting counters was hellacious...)

Folding Instructions Here

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Settlers of Catan Quilt

This was my first adventure into quilting, and I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself for this one! Lucky for me there are quite a few quilters in my family, so I had plenty of places to turn to for help.

If you've never played Catan, you really should check it out. Here's the game board I was working with:

I could have crochetted this project, and probably quickly too, but I loved the idea of capturing the pattern and picture of each hex. I got fabrics that really helped to accentuate the meadows, fields, and forests just like the tiles on the real game.

I did a lot of online searching for other projects, and there are quite a few other people who have done variations on this theme, but none that I fell in love with. I decided to try doing my own thing.

Each hex was 6" from side to side, with a 1/4" seam allowance on all sides. The finished quilt was 36" from side to side and 42" from corner to corner. I ended up putting little triangles around the edges so that I had flat sides to deal with when it came to adding the edging. I machine stitched the top pieces together, and then I hand-quilted it. I was planning to hand-quilt the edging on, but I was worried about it holding up to frequent washing, so in the end I machined the edging.

Ok! Here are the pictures!

Picked out the fabrics for the center!

Cut all the pieces and started assembling the top.

Top assembled, pinned out with batting and backing.

Quilting done, pinned on the edging.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Granny Infinity Fringe Scarf

I love infinity scarves, and I love fringe - so here is a quick and easy pattern that combines the two!

Hook: 6.5mm
Yarn: Worsted [4] Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda (teal), Passion (fuscia), and Autumn Maize (tan)

Chain 92, slip stitch in first chain st to join.
Round 1: Chain 3, dc in each of the next 2 sts, *Ch 1 and skip the next ch, dc in each of the next 3 sts*. Repeat from * to * until you reach where you started.

Here’s how it becomes an infinity pattern – instead of joining, swap to the underside or back side of the granny row you just made. If you’re not familiar with making an infinity pattern, you’re going to flatten your work as if you were going to join, but add ONE HALF twist in order to reach the back of your work. Normally when you join, this is the thing you’re trying to avoid, but today, go ahead and embrace it.

You’re basically making a moebius strip, and if you never made one of those in school, check out this video for the basics.

Ch1 and then 3 dc in the first ch1 gap (made when you skipped one ch st in the first half of this row) continue to *ch 1 then 3 dc in the next ch 1 gap* until you’re all the way back around at the first ch 3 you made at the beginning of the round. Sl st in the top of that ch 3 to join.

From here on, it is pretty simple.

Future Rounds:  Ch 3, 2dc in that ch 1 space. *Ch , 3dc in next ch 1 space* all the war around until you’re back where you started. Ch 1 and sl st into the top of the turning chain to join.
Stripes can be interesting, because they will always add onto the outside of the work. I did 4 complete rounds of teal, and then 1 round of my accent color.

I also added a fringe to mine. I cut pieces of yarn that were approx. 14” long, and then knotted them onto HALF of the edge (it actually goes all around the circle on one edge….though of course a moebius strip only really has one edge, so just keep adding fringe until you feel like you’ve got enough).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gigi the Giraffe

Ok, so among all of the other works-in-progress, I DID manage to find time to make this adorable little critter for baby Enora's first birthday present!

The Gigi Pattern is a free download on Ravelry, so sign up if you haven't already!

Ok, so I was very bad about it, and I didn't write down the yarn, the hook, or ANYTHING! I think that I ended up using a 4.5mm hook, because I have NO idea where half of my hooks went! What is going on in the world?!

You came for the pictures of Gigi, so here they are!

I struggled a bit with attaching the head to the body. I really could not find an angle or arrangement that made me happy. I kinda went with it, and in the end, I added the mane to help hide the crazy neck angle thing (that you can sorta see from the side angle). I think it did the trick, though I wish I had decided to add a brown strand or two into the tail now.

Anyways, it seemed that Enora loves Gigi!

P.S.: Yes, I am still working away on my veil. I thought I had finally got to the point where I had the circumference done - so I pinned it on to a scrap piece of tulle to measure. And I discovered that after almost 18 FEET of lace still wasn't enough, I pretty much put it down. I still have to finish another 1.5 feet of lace for the first round, go over all 20 FEET of lace with a (simpler) round 2 of stitches, dye it to match the ivory of my dress, and sew it onto a final piece of ivory tulle. Hooooo Boy.

Friday, August 16, 2013

King-Sized Blanket

So, first and foremost, let me apologize for my long absence. It has been a CRAZY year thus far, and we're only at August!

I chose a pattern for my Lace Veil and I've been working slowly but surely away on that. I've also been busy with some home improvements. I re-did the laundry room so that I have an organized place to store ALL my bins and bins of yarn! Yay!

Anyways, all those other projects aside....

I bought the yarn for this project back at Michael's Black Friday Sale (that happens on Thanksgiving evening, instead of Black Friday). There is generally very little crowd, the deals are still incredible, and I picked up six Jumbo Skeins (744yds) of Red Heart for only $3 a piece, before my 30% Off coupon!

I know that I don't like making blankets, mainly because they take so long, but I figured that I could hold 2 strands of worsted weight yarn together to make a bulky strand, and work with a 10mm hook and it would go faster.

I planned to make a queen sized blanket, and even cast on with one of the stitches from The Complete Book of Crochet Stitches. Unfortunately, because the 2 strands I was working with were different colors, the color of the resulting stitches totally hid the pretty stitch pattern. Plus, it was a 3-row repeat pattern, which meant I spent half of my time looking up the pattern to see what row came next. I ended up shelving the project for the better part of six months.

Well, two weeks ago, the hubby and I decided that we needed a new mattress. Plus, if we're getting a new mattress, we should probably upgrade to a king-sized bed so that we have room for our 70lb German Shepherd bed hog.

"But if we get rid of the queen, we're going to need all new blankets!" I said, "and we've already got oodles of queen sized blankets for the guest-room!"

So, I pulled out the queen-sized blanket that I had started and frogged the whole thing. Yes, You heard me. I took 12" of beautiful queen sized blanket and I frogged it. And I cast on for a king.

And do you know what? I finished it. In 2 weeks. Booya!
I did end up having to hit the craft store for more yarn there at the end, but those 6 skeins would have easily finished a Queen Sized Blanket.

Ok, so here is what you came for:

Pattern: Shashaholic's Brain Dead Afghan
Hook: 10mm
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Aran and Coffee (744 yds per skein, 4 skeins Aran + 4 Skeins Coffee)
Notes: I LOVED this pattern! It was easy, it was simple, and it was QUICK!

I began with ch 228, and that was about 84" after the first row. By the time I finished 6" of pattern, it was only 66"! Oh no! So that became the height of the blanket, and I just kept going until I had sufficient width. At the end, I went over the first and last rows freehand to even them out (I didn't want the wavy edge) and I added 2 rows of hdc in just white + 3 rows of dc in the mixed colors just to add a little extra flair.

Find it on Ravelry!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Re-Useable DIY Journal

I don't know about you guys, but there are days when you just need to vent. For me, those are usually the days when the fiance is already sick of hearing about it, and the friends are all busy at work or something. Hence the journal.

I've been meaning to pick up a new one for a bit now, but I haven't had the time. Today, I figured I'd tackle one I saw on Pinterest a while back.

The Reusable Nature Journal Tutorial and Template was a great start for this project. No, I didn't print out the template. I wanted to make mine a little larger and sturdier too.

I followed all the basic steps, adding 4 changes:
My pages were full 8.5" x 11" pages, folded in half and sewn
My cover material is the same height as my pages (plus about 1/4")
I put grommets on the holes for the laces (I had them, and it makes it more durable)
I hot-glued white cardboard (from an old gift-box) to the inside covers

Material I used was leftover red pleather, and I used 1/4" elastic instead of elastic cord - both things that I already had in the stash. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lace Samplers

Well, I figure its almost crunch time for me to get started on making the lace for my veil. I'm planning to make an oval, full-length, mantilla veil that can be worn several ways and passed down to other friends and family who are getting married. Traditional mantilla veils seem to have 3-4" wide lace all around the border. Knowing that I need ~17' of lace to go all the way around my border, I think 4" is a bit over-ambitious. So I've played around with different patterns that are anywhere from .5" to 2.5" wide.

I've posted a few bracelets before, but as pretty as the lace is, I haven't loved the look of it for the veil. Here's my previous post.

And here are the new patterns I've worked up:

Similar to the lace I did last time.
Pattern #147
I wanted to keep it simple, but I like the more romantic look of a shell pattern.
Pattern #73

I went for something wider, and I really liked it.
Wide Scallop Pattern
This is probably my favorite. It has the shell pattern, but it is more of a "lacy" look than pattern #73.
Pattern #3018

So I've had several people tell me that they like the simpler edging. I can see that it would have more versatility. However, they are both worked into the base chain long-ways. Meaning I would chain 17' and then work 17' of sc into that base chain. If you've ever done base-chain work with lace, you know you can only do a limited amount in a sitting before your fingers are in agony. The larger two pieces have a short base-chain, and are then worked one motif at a time, across. This would be a bit easier on my hands. Also, I feel like if I'm going to spend approximately 80 hours working into the base chain (based on some preliminary calculations) that I would want the lace to be pretty damn impressive.

Ok, folks, what do YOU think?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Sweet Dollhouse

So for Christmas this past year, Ryan and I teamed up to make his (almost) 4 year old niece a dollhouse. I've seen quite a few tutorials out there on how to make a "bookshelf" dollhouse or something similar, so I tried to pull from those ideas and make little miss Sophia something really original, fun, and safe to have in the house with her baby brother. (No itsy bitsy pieces).

The House
Ryan was in charge of this part, and he made it all from scratch instead of using a bookshelf to start with. The main part of the house is 24" tall by 24" wide by 8" deep. The roof is 12" tall. The chimney was added for additional support, and there is a piece of trim to bridge the gap on the back where the back of the roof meets the back of the main house. We primed the whole thing white and then used a nice semi-gloss trim paint. The back wall of the 4 main rooms are painted with acrylic paint, and the back wall of the attic is "wallpapered" with a piece of 12" square scrapbooking paper cut on the diagonal, and glued with Elmer's glue.

The Furniture
Buying this from the store can be expensive, and as beautiful as those pieces are, they are NOT sturdy. I know this from experience. So instead, I wanted to make Sophia things that she could really play with, and yet nobody would be upset when things eventually break, as all toys tend to do. I hit the wood crafts aisle at Joann's and picked up a couple big pieces of 3/8" thick balsa wood, some 1" wooden cubes, and some 4" and 6" pre-made plaques. I used an xacto knife to cut the balsa to the correct size. You're also going to want some wood glue, medium grit sand paper, and a couple of clamps if you can find them.

The chairs are each made of a 1" wooden cube and a 1" wide piece of balsa wood, simply glued and painted. 
The kitchen table is all balsa wood, with 2 interlocking squares of balsa as the base. This was tough to get level though, so be prepared for some sanding. The beds are a combination of balsa wood and the wooden plaques. Ryan cut these for me on the table saw, but you could do it with a hand saw. the twin beds got the plaques cut short-ways and the king bed is cut long-ways. The frame of the bed itself if just 3 pieces of balsa wood, glued together and then to the headboard/footboard made from the wooden plaques. The clamps were handy for this part, but left impressions in the soft balsa wood, so maybe add a piece of cardboard or something to protect it. We painted the beds white just like the house, and I sewed little sheets and pillows out of some 1/4 yd pieces I got on clearance at Joann's. I pressed the edges of the sheets so that they would bend over the edges of the bed, and I feel like this really made the difference.

The couch is made from yet another plaque, cut longways. I built the seat out of balsa wood and sanded it to make the edges rounded after the glue was very dry. Balsa sands very easily, so it should be quick to get the edges rounded. The coffee table is just balsa wood again.
The toy chest in the attic is just a box that I bought from the woodcrafts aisle at Joann's and painted. It makes a nice place to store all the little items.

The Decorations
This was the most fun. The fireplace and the kitchen counters/fridge are all just images that I found online and printed off. I glued them to the back wall, and voila! I also added a dresser & mirror to the one bedroom, a plant & rug in the living room, and some family photos! The frames in the living room are actually scrapbooking stickers. The other photos just have a white border around them. I also did some printable miniatures for the cereal boxes and games. They're just paper and they were free, so nobody is going to be upset if they get lost. Check out Jennifer's Free Miniature Printables, and Jim's Dollhouse Printables.

We did buy the actual dolls and the Christmas tree from the little dollhouse store in Plymouth. Other than that, the whole thing was DIY! Please check out some of these other great blogs/sites that I used for Inspiration!

The Homemade Dollhouse
The DIY Dollhouse by The Busy Budgeting Mama
The Neapolitan Dollhouse by Simply Kierste