Lions rock!

Here’s my latest rock painting of one of my favourite majestic creatures.

Painted in different shades of brown and cream acrylic — it’s the same process as my ladybugs… rough pencil sketch of the lion’s face on the rock, then paint in the colours.

Speaking of ladybugs… I painted a few big ones for my mother’s garden. You can see them below with their tinier friends.

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Repurpose your hoodie

Add a device pocket to your hoodie

I discovered another old cross-stitch project that I’d finished and tossed into a storage bin years ago, so I thought I’d put it to good use.

I turned it into a device pocket for my favourite hoodie, so now I can carry my Kobo eReader around in it… if I can ever go out again in the near future 🙂

Carrying around an eReader with a good book on it can be a blessing when you’re stuck in a lineup or sitting in a waiting room… which I hope to be doing again someday…

Well, I’ll be prepared just in case, anyway.

So, what can you make with a big bag of buttons?

The last time I was out shopping, a bag of blue and green buttons caught my eye (most normal people would be excited about buying new shoes or bags—for me, it’s a bag of buttons for $1.25).
I bought it, thinking right away that the buttons would be perfect for embellishing a t-shirt in some capacity. The mix of blues and greens made me think of the sea, which made me think next of sea life. When I got home, I dug a plain white t-shirt out of my stash, peered at for a few moments until a picture of a button mosaic in the form of a big fish popped into my mind. Little did I know that this would be the only easy part of this project.

As I usually do, I made up the process as I went along, so bear with me.

(Note: I am a very impatient person, which makes it quite astounding that someone with my personality would even remotely enjoy doing artsy craftsy things. If anything takes too long or is too fiddly, I get super annoyed and start trying to take shortcuts and, I’ll tell you, I was almost constantly annoyed with this project. But I’m glad I stuck it out because (a) it was a great learning experience, and (b) the end result is really pretty cool!

1. Using a pencil, I lightly drew a rough outline of a fish on the front of the t-shirt.

2. Dumping my bag of buttons on my desk, I laid out the buttons on the t-shirt within the pencil sketch so that the different button sizes and colours were fairly evenly distributed, then I took a photo of my layout.

3. Next, I cleared all the buttons off the t-shirt and grabbed my can of temporary spray fabric adhesive. I sprayed the adhesive carefully within the fish pencil sketch. At this point, I had to move quickly before it dried, so looking at the photo I’d taken, I attempted to lay the buttons out on top of the fabric adhesive in approximately the same pattern as the photo. It worked. Everything stuck nicely into place. But then, the next part was more frantic—I had to sew each button down into place, since the fabric adhesive was only temporary. Why do I do these things to myself?

4. Grabbing some blue thread and a sewing needle, I laid the t-shirt out on my lap, rolled the bottom up so I could more easily get my hand in between the front and back layers, and began to sew down each and every button. What a helluva job!!! There was a lot of cursing going on!!! (…and bloodstains on the inside of the t-shirt where I kept sticking my fingers with the damn needle.)

5. Once the buttons were all sewn into place, I looked at it and thought, “Ok. I’ve got a big blue and green fish on my white t-shirt. What can I do to make it a little more exciting?” Sequins would work. I dug some green and blue sequins out of my sewing cupboard and began to sew them here and there, in between the buttons, along with using them to embellish the tail fin. So far, so good. So, what next?

6. I’m always up for a bit of whimsy in my crafts, so I thought a saying of some kind embroidered around the fish would add some interest. So I looked online and discovered a cute saying that reminded me of certain politicians and celebrities: “If the fish hadn’t opened its mouth… it wouldn’t have been caught.”
Loved it.

7. Using some lettering stencils, I wrote the saying out onto tissue paper in the size of lettering that I wanted. Next, I laid the tissue paper out in a way where the words would fall into the right spacing around the fish. Next, I thought to myself, “Ok. How do I transfer the lettering from the tissue paper onto the t-shirt?” When I craft, I have a habit of leaping into things feet first without doing any advance planning. I kind of let things flow as I go along, which we all know isn’t the smartest way to work on a project. But guess what? It always seems to pan out for me in the end. And I’m a firm believer in learning from your mistakes, which is a probably a good thing since I’m continuously learning from mistakes. J

8. Anyway, I had the idea to poke a fineliner pen through the tissue paper around each letter so that dots would outline the letters onto the t-shirt. It worked, and that’s how I transferred the lettering onto the t-shirt. I only did it that way because I knew I’d be embroidering over the dots, so they’d eventually be hidden.

9. Next, I dug out some blue and green embroidery floss and just did straight stitching from dot to dot around each letter. After finishing the outlining, I made lots of little straight stitches inside each letter to fill them in more solidly. Of course, as will happen to someone who neglects to plan ahead, I realized I wasn’t happy with where I’d placed the words “opened its mouth” (originally under the tail fin). Remember what I said earlier about learning from my mistakes?? It just didn’t look right.
I absolutely did not have any desire to pick out all of that stitching and after fuming for a day or so, I decided to try just covering it up with a piece of fabric. I found a nice piece of fabric in my stash with sparkly speckles on it that looked like it could have been bubbles in water. By the seat of my pants, I cut it out and stitched it down on top of the wording that I wanted to cover up. Then I found a silver fish charm to sew on top of it so it would look like there was another little fish swimming through the bubbly water. It ended up working out ok, as you can see in the picture.

10. Then, I used my pencil to just haphazardly write “opened its mouth” in the open space above the tail fin. I was getting sick of this project by now, and couldn’t be bothered to use the stencil and do it properly. That’s me in a nutshell. Impatient as all hell.

11. Last, I wanted to add one more bit of whimsy to my embellishment, so I invaded my husband’s workshop when he was out somewhere, digging through his old tackle box until I discovered an appropriate fishing lure that I could incorporate into my design. I used one of his pliers to break off the barbed end, then stitched it on in the area of the fish’s mouth, using my glue gun to affix the curved end to one of the “mouth” buttons.

12. Phew. I was finally done with this project. But I was also really happy with it! This summer, I will wear it with pride! (Now, how I’m going to wash it is another story. I supposed I’ll be stuck hand-washing it. Ugh.)

P.S. Later, I found a green googly eye in my other button stash and decided to glue-gun it to the collage, as you’ll see in the last photo.

And finally…

The moral of this story: Next time you see a bag of buttons in the store, keep walking! 🙂

It’s the cat’s house… we just pay the mortgage!

I saw this saying somewhere (it’s not far from the truth—most days, our ragdoll cat, Otis, likes to think that he owns our house and us too!:) and knew I had to incorporate it into a craft project.

I decided to make a wall sign for our front porch from a flat piece of log shaving that I had picked up at the logging display at last year’s Markham Fall Fair. I left the wood plain and untreated.

Next, I used sticks collected from a walk in the York Region forest to make an outline of a house—then glue-gunned them into place on the wood.

Once that was finished, I dug into my bag of wooden letters that I’d purchased at the Dollar Store, and used my glue gun to set them into place in a whimsically crooked style.

Last but not least—I wanted to make a replica of Otis. I had bought a coconut a while back and squirreled away some of the broken shell pieces for a future project. It just turned out that one piece was well-shaped for the cat’s face, and the brown tone worked perfectly for part of his colouring. I had two more small pieces that made perfect ears. I painted the face and eyes to match Otis’s colouring, and glued down plastic thread for whiskers. Then I glue-gunned my “coconut” cat into place inside the house frame.

Everything just seemed to fall into place, as often happens when I get an idea for a project.

I’m always collecting interesting objects and storing them away in my craft cupboard until I get an idea that will put them to good use. When you’re addicted to craftiness, you never know when a pinecone or stone or an unusual bit of wood will come in handy!

 

Warm up with a crocheted Cocoa Tweed Poncho

I really liked the look of Bernat’s brown tweed yarn, so I picked up 2 skeins and decided they would look good crocheted into a poncho. The yarn was really nice to work with, and it did indeed make a nice-looking finished project!

COCOA TWEED PONCHO
Materials:

2 skeins Bernat Premium Tweeds (7oz/198g/360yds/329m) Chocolate Tweed

8 mm hook

Shell = 3 dc in indicated sp

Note: Make 2 panels using the pattern below. I didn’t bother blocking this project since the yarn didn’t seem to need it.

Panel A:

Ch 60 + 2.

Row 1: sc in second ch from hook, *(sk 2 chs, shell in next, ch 2, sk 2, sc in next), rep from * to end, turn.

Row 2: ch 5, sc in first dc of next shell, *ch 5, sc in first dc of next shell), rep from * to last shell, ch 2, sk 2, dc in last st, turn.

Row 3: ch 1, sc in same st as ch-1, *(shell in next sc, ch 2, sc in third ch of next ch-5 loop), rep from * across, shell in last sc, ch 2, sc in top of beg ch-3, turn.

Repeat Row 2 & 3 consecutively for 34 rows (ending with a Row 3), or until your rectangle is approximately 35” long.

Follow directions for Panel A to create your second rectangle (Panel B).

Construction

With wrong sides facing you, use a yarn needle to whipstitch the panels together as shown by the pink X’s.

Next, with wrong sides still facing you, fold the edge of Panel A over to the side of Panel B as shown by the arrows below. Whipstitch to seam together. When you’ve finished, turn right side out and smooth out into poncho shape.

Neckline

For a cleaner look and a better fit, we’ll make a border around the neckline, working on the right side. Attach yarn with a slip stitch anywhere on the neckline, and do an even row of sc around. Instead of joining when you arrive back at your first sc, use a marker and do continuous rounds so there’s no seam line. Do four more rounds of sc, then fasten off and weave in end.

Bottom Border

Also working on the right side, attach yarn with a slip stitch anywhere on the bottom edge, and do an evenly spaced row of sc right around. Again, use a marker and do continuous rounds for a better-looking finish. I did five rounds of sc for my border, but you can continue with more rounds if you want to make the poncho longer. After five rounds, fasten off and weave in end.

My little dolly is tutu cute!

I was playing with the versatile Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn and made this little doll, just because.

I didn’t write out the pattern as I went along, but if you can crochet in simple rounds, then you can make her too. She doesn’t have to be perfect—experiment and make her any size you like.

Materials:
• Bernat Handicrafter cotton in hot pink, orange and yellow (or any choice of colours)
• 3.75 mm crochet hook
• Yarn needle for sewing
• Scrap yellow yarn for the hair
• Fiberfill stuffing
Optional: scrap of fabric netting to make the tutu

Instructions:

Head: Using yellow cotton, ch 4 and make a ring;

Round 1: 4 sc in ring (use a marker and crochet in continuous rounds)

Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around (8 sc)

Round 3: 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 2 sc,
*2 sc in next, sc in next 2; rep * around

Round 4: 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 3 sc,
*2 sc in next, sc in next 3; rep * around

Rounds 5 & 6: sc in each sc around

Round 7: start decreasing rounds: *sc dec in first 2 sc, sc in next sc,
rep * around. Stuff head as much as you can, then continue rounds.

Rounds 8-10: Keep decreasing around until you can slip stitch opening closed. When you fasten off, leave a long tail for sewing head to the body.

Body: Start out same as the head, but increase more and add more rows of sc to make bigger and fatter. I did half the body in hot pink and the other half in orange.

Legs: I used yellow for the first few rounds, then variegated pink and orange for the rest of the legs. Start out same as the head, just make sure to only increase in the first couple of rounds so you’ll make tube shapes instead of ball shapes, add more even rounds of sc to make the shape longer, and then start decreasing when the legs are long enough. When you fasten off, leave a long enough tail on each leg to sew to the body.

Arms: Same as the legs, just shorter. I made half the arm orange, the other half pink.

Use yarn needle and yarn tail to sew arms, legs and head onto body.

Hair: Using the yellow scrap yarn, I cut many lengths of about 5”. Then I started at the top of the head and, using the yarn needle, pulled a piece of yarn through and around one sc, made them even, then tied a knot around the sc. I did that with each piece of yarn until I’d covered the top and most of the back of the head. I cut shorter pieces and did the same process at the front to make bangs. Then I pulled through about 6 pieces at the top and tied a piece of pink yarn around them to make a little ponytail that sticks up. Once finished, I trimmed the “hair” so the back would be relatively even. But I didn’t expect it to be perfect, so the hair is a little choppy in areas. She’s perfectly cute even if she isn’t perfect!

Face: I used size 3 crochet cotton thread in dark grey and red. First, I used the grey to make two French knots for eyes (wound it around the needle a good three times so the eyes would be prominent). Then I used the red to stitch on her mouth.

Optional tutu: I was impatient to finish her off at this point, so I didn’t sew this as neatly as I should have. Anyway, I just cut a piece of fabric netting a bit larger than the width of her tummy. Then I folded over the top about a quarter inch and stitched it down with a needle and thread so that it left a pocket along the top that I could run a piece of yarn through. I also roughly seamed together the back ends. Then I used my yarn needle to run the yarn around the top, pulled the tutu up to her waist, and tied the yarn in a bow, which made the tutu gather at the waist.

Hope these instructions are clear enough. As I said earlier, if you can crochet in rounds, then you won’t have any problems making this doll.

Crocheted Victorian Lattice Poncho

I discovered the loveliest crocheted square design called Victorian Lattice Square, designed by Destany Wymor and offered free on her Ravelry page at: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-lattice-square

The minute I saw it, I decided that I wanted to use it to make myself a really lightweight poncho that’s almost more like a top that I can wear over a camisole or t-shirt. So I sketched out a rough poncho layout that had been simmering in my mind. Then I selected three colours that I love from the Loops & Threads Woolike line of yarn—it’s a super-fine yarn that I’ve fallen in love with because it’s so soft and a bit stretchy—and I began working away on the squares.

Here’s how I made my Victorian Lattice Poncho.

  • 5 mm crochet hook
  • Loops & Threads Woolike Yarn (678 yds/3.5 oz./620 m/100 g)
    2 balls Tan, 2 balls Pumpkin Spice, 1 ball Golden Yellow
  • Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Squares are 7-1/2 x 7-1/2, unblocked.

The size shown is a medium. You can increase or decrease the size of your hook to change the size of your poncho.

Following the Victorian Lattice Square pattern at the link above, I made:

4 Golden Yellow squares (GY); 8 Tan squares (T); and 12 Pumpkin Spice squares (PS).

When I started making the squares, I had a vague idea of the colour pattern I wanted to follow, so just to be able to see a visual of it, I initially tied a bunch of squares together with pieces of yarn and also tried it on over my head to make sure the neck opening would be big enough. The 7-1/2 x 7-1/2 squares were the perfect size.

Once all the squares were complete, I seamed them together, right sides facing, stitching on the wrong sides, into 6 separate strips as shown below (I used the Tan yarn for all seaming):

Two squares seamed together.

Seamed strips laid out to match final layout.

Once the strips were complete, I laid them out side by side in the pattern below, wrong sides facing up, and pinned them together. The grey square in the middle represents the neckline opening.

Then, I seamed the strips together one by one.

Once the strips were seamed together, I turned the poncho back to the right side so I could work on the neckline. I simply did one round of single crochet around the neckline in each colour—starting with one sc round of Golden Yellow, then one sc round of Pumpkin Spice, then two sc rounds of Tan.

Finally, I finished the poncho with striped edging in all three colours: first two rows of dc in Golden Yellow, then two rows of dc in Pumpkin Spice, then two rows of dc in Tan.

Lastly, I blocked the poncho by dampening it with a spray bottle of water, then pinned it to a huge piece of foamcore board. Optional: you can add tassels or fringe if that’s your preference; I was fine with just having the striped edging.

I would love to make another one using the same yarn, which is wonderful to work with, but in different colours.

This is the top and pants combo I plan to wear it with.

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