Linen : Friend or Foe

I decided once and for all that wrinkled linen is A-OK.  For a time; I searched the web for ways to minimize the wrinkles.  "There must be an ancient Chinese secret", I thought.  After all, look at the gorgeous linen pouches in the PilliPillihandmade etsy professional... so very pretty. sigh.  But alas, if there is a secret, the Chinese probably hid it somewhere in the Great Wall because I can't find one. double sigh.

So I abandoned my quest with this conclusion : 'hey, linen with it'.  Instilled with this philosophy on linen, I released myself from comparing my projects with others and feeling that I suck.

The one thing I do when working with linen is to add an iron-on interfacing before I cut out a piece.  This helps with minimizing the fraying and more importantly to give the fabric a means to hold itself nicely together to avoid ending up with a parallelogram when cutting a rectangle.  Wrinkles? .. yup, still there.

Okay, enough with linen talk....I'm so excited to show you my latest project....EMBROIDERED fabric house tags.... I just LOVE them!

this is the front

..and this is the back (or inside the house)

The embroidery is all free hand.  I'm not to type to have a detailed plan of my projects...I kind of just 'do' as it goes along.

Here's the second one ..


and inside the house
I like it when a project makes me smile inside and out.  I can't wait to see what the next house will be! 

These two will be in my etsy shop...

Monster fun

Click Clack Click Clack...a fun surprise will greet my nephews Dylan, Lincoln, and Poomai, when each opens his birthday envelope. 

I copied this idea from a project my son the cartoonist did.  That thing-a-ma-jig in the lower pic is made from a paper clip ( a large one ), a rubber band, and a small washer (about the size of a nickel).  The rubber band broke so I tied it to the clip for this pic but what you would do is to bend a loop on both ends of the paper clip to secure the rubber band.

Then the fun begins!  Twist the rubber band several times then carefully place the thing-a-ma-jig into the envelope (oh and don't forget the cash or little trinket) and seal.  When the envelope is opened the thing-a-jig will unwind to make a 'washer hitting paper' noise.  The kids will love this!

To decorate the envelope front, I simply cut out a monster shape from a transparency (the same way I make the kokeshi doll faces) and apply color using a rubber stamp pad and a dauber (the dauber works like a stenciling brush except that it's a sponge).  To finish, I cut out the eyes from felt and drew in the mouth with a sharpie pen.

I think my nephews will like this.

Yikes the Elephants Have Escaped..

Watch out ! You will absolutely fall in love with these kawaii mini crochet elephants...I did.  My heart pounded boom-boom-boom when my eyes spotted them online in a Japanese craft book.  I had to make them...and 2 aspirins later...voila!  Why the aspirin??? Well, these guys are so tiny and although the elephants are flat, the process is similar to an amigurumi.  The body, legs, ears, and nose are crochet separately then assembled.  I tried to figure a way of crocheting the legs along with the body but no luck.  I gave up a couple of times because of the tiny pieces...but hey, love is love.

these little guys are about the size of a half dollar coin

Here's my interpretation of the pattern if you'd like to give it a try

Embroidery Floss (6 strands) or Crochet Thread ( 2 colors for the elephant and 1 for the flower)
Size 5 or 6 needle

Elephant Body 
Row 1 - If you know how to start with a 'wa' then go ahead and ch 7 single crochet (sc).

Tip A : An alternative to a 'wa' is Chain 2, then 7 sc in 2nd chain from hook.
Tip B : To keep track of the rounds, I use a 3-4 inch thread to mark the spot of between where one round ends and the next round begins

Row 2 - Chain 1, sc in first chain, then 2 sc in the next chain (increase of 1 sc).  Repeat - sc, 2 sc (10 sc total)

Row 3 - Chain 1, sc in next 2 chains, then 2 sc in next chain (increase).  Repeat - sc, sc, 2 sc (14 sc)

Row 4 - Chain 1, sc in next 4 chains, then 2 sc in next chain. Repeat sc, sc, sc, sc, 2 sc (16 sc)

Row 5 - Chain 1, sc in next 5 chains, then 2 sc in next chain. Repeat sc, sc, sc, sc, sc, 2 sc (19 sc)

Row 6 to 8 - Chain 1, sc in each chain (19 sc)

Row 9 - Chain 1, sc in next 8 chains, decrease 1 sc over next 2 sc, sc in next 7 chains, decrease 1 sc over next 2 sc (17 sc). END

Legs - Crochet 2 legs
Row 1 - Begin with a 'wa' then 6 sc OR chain 2 and 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook

Row 2 to 3 - sc in each chain.  END

Row 1 - Chain 5

Row 2 to 3 - sc in each chain.  Fold in half and sew close with sewing thread

Row 1 - chain 4, double crochet 4 times in 4th chain from hook. END

Flower  (optional)
Row 1 - Chain 4, join into a circle

Row 2 - 6 sc in the circle, join

Row 7 - Chain 3, slip stitch in next chain to create loops.  Repeat - chain 3, slip stitch in next chain.

Assemble all the pieces. I find using sewing thread is much easier than working with the embroidery floss/crochet thread. Then 2 aspirin if you have a headache.

I am a Pop Tart Addict

I love pop tarts.  I eat one almost every morning for breakfast.  The other morning started as most mornings as I woke up looking forward to my favorite eats.  After going through my morning beauty routine, I headed into the kitchen, opened the cupboard, then another, then another....waahhh, what happened to my pop tarts!??!  That was 2 days ago. I found my pop tarts today.  Don't ask. Let me just say this, 'no, the pop tarts were not under my pillow'.

I'm a crafter so an empty box is not just an empty box but a future project.  Today, I share with you a bird ornament using my pop tart box.  The best part of this project is NO SEWING.   The bad part is that you'll end up with gooey gluey fingers.

Okay, let's get started...

Step 1 : Get your pop tart box. Empty the box and send me the pop tarts.

Step 2 :  Cut out 2 ovals.  Here's a template if you need it.  Place one oval aside for the ornament backing.  Cut the remaining oval in 3 pieces as shown below.  Discard the bottom tip.

Step 3 :  Cut out batting or flannel for the 2 pieces. Cut the bottom tip off the oval that was set aside.

Step 4 :  Pick lovely fabrics from your scraps.  Trim to the same shape as your pattern pieces with a 1/2" - 3/4" allowance.

Step 5 :  Add glue to the back of a bird cage piece.  Tightly pull fabric over the edge and to the back.
( Use a tacky glue such as Aeleene's glue )  Repeat for remaining pieces.

Step 6 :  Cut the bird out of felt.  Give your bird an eye.  I used a small french knot but beady eyes, button, or felt eyes will work too.  Glue your bird to her cage.  Cut rick rack in a length where you can wrap it around 3 times the bird cage with a bit extra.  Add glue to your rick rack (not the entire length, just enough to fit the front).  Starting wrapping the rick rack from the center; leaving a 1 1/2" - 2" tail.   Tightly tug at the rick rack from both ends as a way to smash the rick rack against the bird and bird cage until the glue dries.

Step 7 : Adding glue to another third of the rick rack to the right of the middle.  Glue another portion of the rick rack, then wrap to the left of the middle.  Then to finish this step, glue the 2 rick rack ends to the back.

Step 8 :  I sewed a bead hanger thingy (in above pic).  This is another step where you can do what's comfortable for you.  Sew a loop with the same rick rack, a cord, or ribbon.

Step 9 :  Putting it all together ~ Glue bird cage pieces to the backing.  It's okay to be done at this point or embellish, embellish, embellish.

Post Note : I didn't have a tacky glue on hand so I had a really difficult time using my paper glue (yes, I should know better) for the rick rack and pom pom garland.  I ended up tacking the pom pom garland with a few stitches in the back.  This project is a quick project but the gooey gluey fingers were not fun to deal with.  I'm thinking that the fabric pieces could be attached to the 'box' with a simple gathering stitch. Will this work?

I love Martha

I wish I lived next door to Martha.  I would go through her trash can to find any craft leftovers...Trash and Treasure of the Martha-kind. How's that for a recycle, reuse, re-something ( I can never remember the 3rd 're')?

I should stop dreaming now and show the button ornaments I made a couple of years ago after seeing a how to on Martha's website.

How fun are these for an ornament exchange or for gifts?  The best part is that these cuties are easy and quick to make.  This is one of those projects where you use a basic technique to create something wonderful out of something ordinary. So turn on that Christmas music, make a cup of hot cocoa or frozen hot cocoa (Serendipity style), and simply enjoy.

What you say?  Oh, it's October.  Please bookmark this posting and read it again in November.  hah.

Tips ~ Find buttons with BIG holes that the pipe cleaners will fit through.  Use wooden beads in addition to buttons to dress up your ornaments.

Quirky Fabric Bookmarks

I often sit at my craft table thinking of what to make...going through my craft books for inspiration...then going to the kitchen for a snack...then back to my craft table to think again...then to the family room to watch tv...It's a process.  And maybe on a lucky day, I'd actually come up with something that I like doing.  The funny thing is that I find ideas come a lot easier when I'm not thinking...go figure.

One day I started to make these fabric bookmarks.  And I just loved making them...I think it's the same one would feel when making a softie or amigurumi.  The little ones come to life and have personalities of their own.  These sweeties make me smile. 

We recently were on a trip to VEGAS.  And as usual, I brought a book along to read on the plane (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami...very good reading).  My bookmark? A NAPKIN.  My husband looked at it and asked what happened to your bookmarks? Ah, excuse me but those are for my etsy shop and sadly not for me. sigh. 

Here's another set of bookmarks..this one is full of elephants!  I loved dressing these gal pals with little crochet accessories, 

...and now I'm waiting for the next idea to hit me...I think it's time for a trip to the refrig.