Show-n-Tell, Knit Lantern Blanket

Are you a several-projects-at-a-time or a one-project-til-its-finished person?

I’m in the “several-projects” camp, and usually enjoy having choices, but working on this Lantern Blanket became my sole project from Fall until Spring. Shout out to my friend Ina who shared this pattern by @ Woolture by Sia Nv Estate. I think Ina knits blankets as quickly as I bake a tray of cookies because she has finished many blankets. Hon, this will be the only (and I mean ONLY) full size afghan I work on for a very long time. It took a ton of concentration, mistakes unraveled, rows re-done, and language not suitable for this G-rated blog. But, I did it! I finished this blanket before summer. One big goal accomplished. Whew!

Yarn info: Sueno Worsted HiKoo, 80% Merino Superwash, 20% Viscose from Bamboo, color Manatee

Source: Where else? Wool & Grace

Yarn Picks the Person Infinity Scarf

When deciding which knitting project to work on, sometimes I start with the pattern and sometimes I start with the yarn. When I found this chunky, variegated, green, wool yarn, I knew immediately who it was meant for. Using an easy rib pattern, I knit this infinity scarf as a holiday gift for my niece’s fiancé, Cherie. Looking forward the day when this pandemic is over and we can attend and celebrate the postponed wedding of she and Aline!

Want to know how talented Cherie, the stage manager for Hadestown, is? Click here to see all of her professional pursuits?

Happy holidays, hon!

 

Make Do and Mend, Hand Knit Market Bags Lined with Pretty Prints

“Make Do and Mend,” a philosophy of repairing and reusing clothes and material, originated in the UK during WWII. Though I often see alternate possibilities for household items and fabric (My family says I’m a pack rat. I call it being creative!), during quarantine the whole family was making do and mending. So, it’s no surprise that when I wanted to line my hand knit market bags (pattern below), I dug into our bag of bags and found the perfect liners:  pretty printed cotton shopping bags.

Steps to create liners out of cotton shopping bags:

  • Wash and iron bags.
  • Cut off handles.
  • Insert into knit bags and pin to fit.
  • Fold over and iron top seams.
  • Pin liners inside knit bags.
  • Sew.

During WWII, the British Ministry of Information released a pamphlet titled “Make Do and Mend.” It provided tips on how to be both frugal and stylish in times of harsh rationing. Readers were advised to create pretty “decorative patches” to cover holes in warn garments, unpick old sweaters to reknit into new styles, turn men’s clothes into women’s, as well as darn, alter, and protect against the “moth menace.”                                                    Green America

Pattern for Double Handled Market Bag from Plymouth Yarn.

DOUBLE HANDLED MARKET BAG

Yarn: 2 (3) 100g skeins of yarn

Gauge: 4.5 sts=1″ over st st on size 7 needles.

Needles: 16″ circular size 7. 24″ circular size 13.

Finished Size: Approx. 16 (20)” long. Bag will stretch.

BOTTOM: With size 7 circular needles, loosely cast 25 sts. Working back and forth in garter st, knit 46 rows or until square. Bind off loosely, leaving last st on needle. Do not cut yarn. Continuing with the circular needle, pick up and knit 96 its all around the base (24 sts per side). Place marker and join. Knit 1 round.

SIDES: Change to larger circular needle and begin pattern:

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: *(Yo, k2tog); repeat from* around.

Round 3: Purl.

Repeat rounds 1-3 9 (11) more times until there are 10 (12) sets of “eyelet holes” up the side. End with round 3.

Next round: Change back to the smaller circular needle.

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: Purl. Repeat these 2 rounds until there are 7 (8) ridges: 14 (16) rounds total. End with a purl round.

STRAPS: On next round: BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10. Working back and forth on these last 10 sts only–knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with a WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (1st set of knit sts) and holding and right sides together, work the 3 needle bind off–attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Reattach yarn to second set of 10 sts with WS facing. Knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (3rd set of knit sts) and holding the right sides together, work the 3 needle bind-off-attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Weave in all ends.

Abbreviations: K=knit, p=purl, st(s)=stitch(es), RS=right side, WS=wrong side, yo=yarn over, k2tog=knit 2 sts together, BO=bind off, st st=stockinette stitch

DIY Cabinet Makeover

Before.

After.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re at it again!

Hubby and I are shuffling rooms, something we’ve been doing ever since we moved in. When I had a home-based crafts business, a bedroom became my workspace. Fast forward to triplet toddlers, and the dining room transformed into a playroom. (I definitely wasn’t entertaining!) When those same toddlers woke up every day at the crack of dawn, our “sitting room,” a small room between our bedroom and theirs, was fitted with a couch, VCR, mini fridge, and individual containers of cereal. Guess who learned how to pop in Sesame Street and get themselves drinks and snacks? (I call it promoting independence!)

Shared bedrooms gave way to individual bedrooms and back to shared when our fourth child was born. A finished attic, which had been a guest room, became our son’s room when WWIII broke out every morning. The reason?  Triplet tweens fighting over bathroom access before school! (Hubby may or may not have turned the hot water off when certain people hogged the shower!) Tween girls sharing a room argued over bedtime routines and privacy, so we somehow squeezed a twin bed and night table into the “sitting room.”

The basement has been a playroom, party room, craft room, tween and teen hangout area, American Doll sanctuary and, during quarantine, Hubby’s temporary office. Time to switch again! My office is becoming Hubby’s and the “sitting room” is becoming mine. That leads me to my newest project…re-painting an office cabinet. Just like the desk refinished recently, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a quick drying paint that covers furniture without priming or sanding, and Clear Chalk Paint Wax, which seals the paint. They’re the same products used to turn three different colored wood dressers and a night table in a matching set.

Refinishing furniture isn’t just relaxing, fun, and satisfying for adults; why not pick a project that kids can work on? For an Easy DIY Kids Craft, let kids choose a piece of furniture (chair, night table, step stool, side table…there are so many possibilities) and paint color. This paint has minimal fumes, goes on smoothly, and washes out with water. It’s a win-win.

Happy DIY’ing, Hon!

Taping edges.

Painting on the porch.

 

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Silk Flower Arrangement

Not Just For Kids!

Looking for an easy, DIY Mother’s Day gift? I made this silk flower arrangement for my mom when I wanted to give her something pretty that required no care. I featured a photo of it on my blog before, but How-To instructions were posted in my guest post on middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life. If you’re like me, you have Styrofoam-from-packages lying around the house (because why throw away something that might come in handy in a craft project?) If not, supplies can be found at local art shops such as A Paper Hat Art + Design Supply (curb side pick up) and crafts stores such as Michael’s and A.C.Moore. 

Happy creating, hon!

Supplies:
  • silk flowers
  • vessel
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • Styrofoam blocks or pieces
  • moss
  • marker, serrated knife, wire cutter, scissor
Steps:
  1. Figure out how many pieces of Styrofoam will fit in and fill up vessel. With marker, mark where to cut Styrofoam and, using serrated knife, cut foam into correct number of pieces.
  2. Prepare flowers part 1. Determine how long stems need to be to sit inside foam and also stand above rim of vessel. Tip—hold flowers in a bunch, approximating the way they are to be arranged. This helps determine which stems are to be cut shorter and which longer. Trim stems with wire cutter.
  3. Prepare flowers, part 2. With scissors, cut off excess leaves, especially those that would sit inside foam. Too many leaves get in the way. Too few leaves may look bare. Tip–Save cut leaves to possibly glue to moss.
  4. Hot glue bottom of cut Styrofoam and secure inside vessel.
  5. Hot glue flowers stems, then stick stems into Styrofoam, carefully arranging flowers. Add extra glue to spot where foam and stems meet.
  6. Spread moss around top of Styrofoam. Lift up sections, then glue them down.
  7. Fill in bare spots of Styrofoam with more moss and cut leaves.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Spring Bling Countertop Container

Glass marble decorated Countertop Container.
Glass marble decorated Countertop Containers.

1. Measure height and circumference of can. 2. Cut cardstock correct measurements to wrap around can. 3. Glue cardstock to can with white glue.
1. Measure height and circumference of can. 2. Cut cardstock to correct measurements to wrap around can.

Glue cardstock onto can.
3. Glue cardstock onto can.

_________________________________________________________

Let covered can sit for a bit so cardstock is secure before applying glass marbles.
4. Let covered can sit for a bit so cardstock is secure before applying glass marbles.

5. Apply glass marbles in rows from the bottom up.
5. Apply glass marbles in rows from the bottom up.

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Applying glass marbles with glue gun.
Applying glass marbles with glue gun.

Creating a pattern with colors.
Creating a pattern with colors.

Fun and Easy Decorated Containers

One of the highlights in the five weeks since we’ve been quarantined was teaching a Zoom craft class. I had so much fun working with two girls who live in the neighborhood in one class, and my nieces and nephew in another. The idea for these Spring Bling Countertop Containers came from Creative in Chicago and was called “Bling Storage for the Bathroom” so, though this was a project my After School Enrichment 3-5 kids created, it’s a fun project for any age.

Need a party idea or DIY Mother’s Day gift?  Creative In Chicago recommended lining the inside of the can with cardstock paper, then covering that with Modge Podge, but we just worked on the outside of the cans.

Happy creating, hon!

Spring Bling Countertop Containers
Supplies:

–Soup Can (I took the top off with the kind of can opener that lifts the top off rather than slices it, so there were no sharp edges.) A glass jelly jar would also work if you don’t mind seeing glue lines from the inside of the jar.

–Cardstock paper

–Glass Marbles that are flat on one side (called “Decorative Fillers”in many colors at Michael’s craft stores), Other smalls objects would also work, such as pebbles, sea shells, petrified wood, pom-poms, small toys like cute erasers, Legos, etc.

–White Glue and Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

–scissors, ruler, pencil

Steps:

1. Measure height and circumference of can.

2. Cut cardstock to correct measurements to wrap around can.

3. With white glue, adhere cardstock to can.  Let can sit until glue dries. If using hot glue instead, glue will dry instantly.

4. Apply glass marbles in rows from the bottom up.  (By applying from the bottom, can will sit nicely on a surface. If applied top down, marbles might stick out over the bottom’s edge and the container will wobble.)

6. If there’s a gap in the glass marbles, they can be broken in half to fill the space.

7. Clean up the glue strings.

Enjoy!

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Spring Felt Bookmarks

Fun with Felt!

K-2 students made these cute, Spring-themed, animals bookmarks using the same steps as the Easy Winter Kids Crafts, Felt Mitten Bookmarks. Pick an animal and get creative with whatever decorative supplies you have on hand. Possible animals and insects besides puppies and birds? Cats, horses, unicorns, lions, butterflies, caterpillars, etc.

Happy crafting, hon!

Gather supplies.

Spring Felt Bookmarks
Suggested Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Sourcing supplies: Michael’s, Oriental Trading, Target or any local crafts store.
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. Measure ribbon. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Create a paper pattern by drawing animals. We drew a profile of a puppy head and  a whole bird. Also draw a coordinating pattern for the bottom of the bookmark. We drew a bone to go with the puppies and eggs and nests to go with the birds.
  4. Cut out paper patterns.
  5. Trace shapes on felt: two side of the animal and two sides of the coordinating object. Make sure the two sides are the same so that they line up when glued together.
  6. Match up animals and objects, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the cut-outs. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  7. Decorate bookmarks, either one side of each animals or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: DIY Stress Ball

DIY Stress Balls
DIY Stress Balls

Ease the Stress Stress Balls

(Kids craft that’s not just for kids!)

My daughter made a Stress Ball at camp and, since I liked it so much, she taught me how to make my own. It’s sooo fun to squish! It relieves stress! It’s easy to make!

When my daughter was helping me fill the balloon, I said, “Wow, I didn’t think it could fit that much flour.” My teen daughter replied (visualize an eye roll and sarcastic voice), “Mom, it’s a balloon.”

Point taken.

Warning: Flour will floof onto the floor as you fill the balloon.

Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional
Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional

1. Fill balloon with flour.
1. Fill balloon with flour.

2. Knot balloon closed. Draw on face. Tie pom pom to balloon under the knot.
2. Knot balloon closed. Draw face. Tie pom-pom to balloon under the knot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Stress Ball Supplies:

–balloon

–flour

–spoon

–permanent markers

–pom-pom, optional

Stress Ball Directions:

  1. Two people are needed.  One person holds the balloon open and one spoons in the flour. Flour will get everywhere, so fill over a bowl or plate. We used a lot of flour, filling until the balloon reached a squishiness we liked.
  2. Knot the balloon closed.  Draw a face.  Tie a pom-pom around the balloon knot, making sure the pom-pom knot is secured under the balloon knot.

Pom-Pom Supplies:

–yarn or string, same or different colors

–cardboard (we used an old cereal box)

–scissors

Pom-Pom Directions:

  1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half.  Trace a circle around a glass.  Draw another circle inside, about 1 to 11/2 inches from first circle. Cut out circles.
  2. Starting with about 2 arm spans of yarn, wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles. If you run out of yarn and/or want to change colors, attach a new piece of yarn to old one and continue wrapping.
  3. When yarn has been wrapped around cardboard circles several times, slip a scissors between the circles.  Cut the outer perimeter of yarn.
  4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.
  5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.
  6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle. Cut out circles.
1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle, about 1 to 1/2 ” from 1st circle. Cut out circles.

2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.
2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.
3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.

4. Slip a separate piece of between the cardboard circles and draw to center.
4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

5. Cinch separate piece of yarn tight. Knot that yarn, securing the cut yarn in the middle. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.
5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.

6. Keep end of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon.
6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

Stress Balls hanging out.
Stress Balls hanging out.

Stress Balls with personalities.
Stress Balls with personalities.

DIY Desk Makeover

When one of my daughters said she’d like a desk for her Manhattan apartment, I said, “Pick one.” Stored in our attic were two dark wood desks. She chose Hubby’s childhood desk, and our mother-daughter project commenced. After the desk and its coordinating chair were painted, waxed, and cured, they were moved to their new home in Manhattan. The makeover was complete when the desk was dressed up with new handles.

The secret to this DIY project? Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a quick drying paint that covers furniture without priming or sanding, and Clear Chalk Paint Wax, which seals the paint. I used the same products to re-finish three different colored wood dressers and a night table, as seen in the post DIY Bedroom Makeover.

Re-painting furniture is so easy, quick and satisfying! Shout out to my brother who says he and his kids pick a piece of furniture to re-paint every summer.

Hon, have you re-finished furniture recently? What were you working on and what paint or stain did you use?

Hon, I’m always interested in more DIY ideas!

Hannah painting white over dark wood.

The city desk.

Cold Weather Cowls, Squishy Soft Infinity Scarves

IMG_1797
Eli wearing her infinity scarf.

Holiday gifts for two of my beautiful nieces? Check!

Yay to knitting two more infinity scarves and finishing them in time to give as holiday gifts! I made both using the pattern below, but I made Gavi’s taller. When I’m done needlepointing a canvas that will become a pillow, I might knit another scarf…or a hat…or a sweater…or those cool, fingerless gloves…

So many fun projects to consider!

IMG_1759
Eli’s scarf.

Gavi’s scarf.

 

 

 

 

 

Squishy Soft Cowl

Yarn: about 120 yards

Needle: 18″ to 24″ circular, sized to work with yarn

Finished Size: approximately 30 inches in circumference and 6 inches tall

Directions:

  1. Using a long tail cast on, cast on 87 stitches.
  2. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist your work.
  3. *K4, P4, K4, P4.* Continue in pattern until about 3 yards remain.
  4. Bind off in Purl.

Source: Jill June at Studio June Yarn, studiojuneyarn@sbcglobal.net