Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Handmade Holidays - Gifts for Kids

For those who have kids in their lives, here is a handful of gift ideas for the little ones.

Here's a cute little tute for a baby doll sling from Domestic Dork.

I Love to Create has a cute little tutorial for making a puzzle with pictures of distant loved ones.

Of course, Futuregirl's Sigmund the Octopus is always an adorable choice for the kids.

Keeping with the water theme, here's a tutorial for a kid's aquarium (for that child who may not be able to care for their fish...)

Here's a Martha Stewart tutorial for making snap-on felt appliques for kids clothes.

These elf slippers from Maya Made would be great for the child (or child-at-heart) in your life.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Handmade Holidays - Kitchen/Food, Part 2

Here is the second group of kitchen and food gift tutorials. The problem with posting these is that they always make me hungry...

Not Martha has a tutorial for an adorable little gingerbread house that perches on the side of your mug of hot chocolate (or hot toddy...)

I love hot chocolate during the holidays, and hot chocolate spoons, like these from Do It Yourself Gifts, are great little gifts.

For those who like chai, why not make your own? My boyfriend has been making his own for years, partly from spices my mom brings back from the middle east – it let's him really control the spices and make it just to his taste. Here's a recipe from Tasty Kitchen to get you started. What a lovely gift!

Another lovely idea form Tasty Kitchen is making your own vanilla extract. Great for the foodie in your life!

Know someone who wants to cook, but can't bring themselves to gather the ingredients or recipe? Make them a gift of cookies in a jar, like these from about.com.

Along the same lines, Urban Threads has a recipe for gingerbread in a jar, as well as cute gingerbread men Christmas ornaments.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tutorial - Easy Felt Holly Cards!

These felt holly holiday cards are super easy to make - complete instructions after the jump!

Materials and Tools:
-felt (green and red)
-matching thread in green and red
-sewing needle
-card stock in desired finished card size

Step 1:
Cut out two pieces of green felt in the shape of holly leaves. You can wing it or draw a template on some scrap paper and follow that. Cut out a piece of red felt shaped like three berries.

Step 2:
Arrange the felt pieces on the card to decide where to attach them.

Step 3:
Thread the needle with the green thread and make a large knot in the end. Pull the needle through the first holly leaf so that the knot is on the side that will be facing the card, near the end that will have the berries. Doing this, the knot will be hidden behind the leaf.

Step 4:
Sew the leaf to the card down the length of the leaf, stopping short of the end. Make sure you use long stitches as the holes formed in the card will weaken it.

Step 5:
When you get to the far end of the leaf (I like to stop about 1 cm from the actual leaf tip), make a knot in the thread on the back side (inside of card). Once the knot is made, thread the needle and remaining thread back to the front of the card. Cut off the thread as close to the card as possible. This will hide the end of the thread.

Step 6:
Repeat with the second leaf, securing it in place.

Step 7:
Attach the berries in a similar way, working the stitching from the center of the berries to the indent representing the divide between the berries. This will add definition, making the felt look like a cluster of berries. Secure ends with knot similar to the leaf.

Enjoy your work and share with loved ones!

Handmade Holidays - Kitchen/Food, Part 1

Edible gifts are great for just about anyone on our list who we can't think of what to get them. Everyone eats, and everyone appreciates tasty treats, especially when well-presented.

I got so many tutorials for food and kitchen items, I'm going to split them into two batches.

These lovely cookies from Toads Treasures could easily be adapted to the Holidays – some gingerbread wrapped up with cute stickers... could be fun!

I have always wanted to try making mulled wine, but have never gotten around to it. Well, Martha Stewart has a simple tutorial for making mulling sachets as a gift:

This cast resin tray from Chica and Jo gets my creative juices flowing...

Nigella's recipe for chocolate pistachio fudge sounds mouth-wateringly good...

Here's a cute idea for a cupcake bouquet from Carrie Rousseau. Frost them green, and it will look like a topiary!

These handmade sewn bowl covers from Collecting the Moments... are a fantastic idea. My grandmother uses shower caps, but they are such a pain in the butt to clean...

Come back tomorrow for more kitchen tutorials!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Goodbye Desert Bus

Well, another Desert Bus for Hope has come and gone and, once again, the folks at Loading Ready Run have raised and unfathomable amount for Child's Play. As of today, the total is over $197,000 and counting, and the boredom of Desert Bus went on for a ridiculous 141 hours.

Thanks to everyone who donated to help the kids and torture the players. My silly little underwear raised $125. I think next year, now that I know about the craft along, I'm going to start sooner and make something a little more involved. Also, I'm going to try harder to win the auctions I want, and not let another awesome set of sushi plates slip away from me. Helen, they are beautiful.

But most of all, thanks to those crazy kids at LRR for putting themselves through this. Also a quick thanks for the mention of my blog!

Handmade Holidays - Holiday Decorations

This holiday season, I have decided to make most of my gifts handmade. This wasn't a conscious decision, but when thinking of what each person would like, in most cases, something really personal and handmade came to mind. Unfortunately, I clearly can't post those gifts here, or the recipients would lose the surprise.

Luckily, I have been exchanging handmade ideas with my swap-bot partners, and have a huge list of tutorials that came from everyone. I'm going to post a handful a day, separated into categories, so that I can share them instead.

I decided to start off with some holiday decorations to get everyone into the holiday spirit. Enjoy!

Here's a cute little advent calendar from Martha Stewart made from baby socks.

Or, Freshly Pieced has a tutorial for making a wall hanging advent calendar. She even sell all the fabric to make it in one custom fat quarter, though it may be a little late to order and make in time for Dec 1.

Eat Drink Chic has a tutorial for some adorable little holiday goodie bags.

Jolly Allsorts has a cute tutorial and pattern for a decorative felt Christmas tree.

Here's a tutorial for making a lovely little money tree from Do It Yourself Gifts.

These Dorset buttons from Trish Alan make adorable Christmas decorations.

I love these flower ornaments made from recycled paper towel tubes from Michele Made Me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blocking Scarves

The reversible cables scarf is finally finished!

I never really understood the importance of blocking scarves until I read this tutorial from Craft Nectar on how to block a scarf. While blocking the reversible cables scarf, I went back to my previously made scarves and pulled out the green one in the picture to re-block it. I didn't understand the importance when I created it several years ago, and so had just hung it over the shower curtain rod to dry. As a result, it hung in a very awkward shape, all wrinkled and fanning out at the ends.

I made this scarf to test my knitting skills, and I'm pretty proud of the lovely leaf pattern on it. There are a few problems with it - mostly that it's too short. I bought the yarn at a second-hand shop - there was a whole bag of this stuff - and so, could not get any more of it.

I also failed to notice until the scarf was nearly complete that the two balls of yarn I used to make it were actually slightly different colours - one of them has brown accents, while the other is gray. It's pretty subtle, but it bothers me whenever I take a close look at the scarf. All the same, I put A LOT of work into this scarf, and there is no way in hell I'm going to undo it after all that work...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Desert Bus Begins!!!

Desert Bus for Hope has finally begun, with all proceeds benefiting Childsplay. Be sure to check out all the awesome crafts up for auction, or make a donation and see how long they can play the worlds most boring video game!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coraled Earrings

Now, I don't do a whole lot of beading, but when I stumbled across this tutorial for how to make beaded earrings using the coraling technique, I had to try it. The finished product looks so organic and elegant. I don't think they turned out half bad for a first try!

I am so lucky to live right around the corner from Country Beads...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cupcake Pincushion!

I made this little cupcake pincushion from scraps I had around. It's mostly felt and stuffed with fabric scraps. All the little "sprinkles" are stitched by hand (I've been watching a few movies to pass the winter blahs). The creases in the cup are made by sewing thin pleats, slightly thicker in the bottom than near the top, so that it flares out.

Best of all, it has a wrist strap to keep your pins nice and handy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Felted Phone Cozy

I bought a pile of Nashua Creative Focus Chunky wool yarn in "Emerald" a while back with the idea of knitting up a cute little cardigan, mostly because I REALLY love the colour. The only problem with it is that it sheds bright green fibers all over the place. Seriously. Whenever I worked with it, I would be covered in green fuzz. I found green fibers all over my apartment, and they even started popping up in other places. Like my office...

So I decided to unravel what's been made of the sweater and save myself getting covered with green fuzz all the time. But what to do with all that lovely green yarn.

It sat in my project pile for months and months, and then I thought - maybe if I felt it, the fibers won't come out so much. This phone cozy was a test (I also just bought a new phone). It felts beautifully, and the fibers don't come out as frequently as before, but they still do.

I'm thinking of knitting the rest up into a felted messenger bag. I'll add that to my to-do list...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Crafty Links

I was recently directed to the free 42 ways to recycle e-book here. It's full of projects to make out of items we throw away every day - after my own heart!

In the direction of my ever hopeful, here is an awesome tutorial for a super simple skirt. I love making pencil skirts out of jersey knit, but hadn't yet found the best way to make a waistband - this may just be it. Shirring is super simple and I have loved the look of it since I was a little girl. I want to make about 5o of these skirts...

I just discovered the knithacker website. Some of the projects posted are so amazing!

Many people I probably won't have to say anything about this, but I have also discovered Craft Leftovers. How has this site escaped my attention until now? So lovely!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reversible Cables

I've been reading about reversible cables lately and thought I might try my hand at it. The trick to reversible cables is to make them in 1 x 1 rib knit. The cable will then look identical from both sides.

This scarf is made in Nashua Wooly Stripes in "Eathy" and is knit on 5.5mm needles. The pattern is simple:

Cast on 31 stitches. (K=knit, P=purl)
Row 1: K 5, *(P 1, K 1) four times, K 5. Repeat from *
Rows 2 through 7: Repeat row 1.
Row 8: K 5. Place 4 stitches on cable needle and hold in back of work. (P 1, K 1) twice. Place cabled stitches back on needle. (P 1, K 1) twice, K5. Place 4 stitches on cable needle and hold in front of work. (P 1, K 1) twice. Place cabled stitches back on needle. (P 1, K 1) twice, K5.
Repeat rows 1 through 8 until desired length of scarf is achieved.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spray Painting Fabric!

I finally made myself a new shirt using the pattern I made a couple of weeks ago, and I'm really happy with the results.

I decided to add a pattern to the fabric by laying some lace over it and then spray painting the whole thing - the spray paint passes through the holes in the lace, and you're left with a negative version of the lace pattern. The picture above is one of my test swatches.

Spray-painted fabric is surprisingly durable in the wash - I just throw mine in the washer and dryer with the rest of my clothes. It will probably fade over time but, really, I can always make a new one!

The only downside I have found is that sometimes you get a lingering scent of spray-paint coming off the shirt, but I'm sure that will fade after a handful of washes. I am so happy with the way this project turned out!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Modular Origami Night

Moday night was Modular Origami Night at the Vancouver Hackspace, and it was so much fun! We each made on of the dodecahedrons (twelve-sided bodies) above. They are tough until you understand what you're doing, then it's mostly just repetitive, but the paper's colourful, and the company was great.

Each dodecahedron takes 30 sheets of origami paper to complete, and about 2 hours of your life, but they are beautiful and totally worth it. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going to display mine - I'm thinking I might bring it to my office at work, but I get some interesting comments from people when I take it on transit!

I kind of like it displayed on my Iqaluit carvings. By pure chance, it wound up in the display with our origami from Heavy Rain...

On a completely different note, this recipe sounds amazing. I want some right now: Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fun Crafty Links

As soon as I saw this post on how to make felt flower arrangements, I fell in love. Normally, I don't like fake flowers, but I suddenly find myself wanting oodles of these all over my apartment...

I love the Blue Mollusc blog. Lovely projects and writing!

I am seriously digging this crochet top. I don't quite think I'm ready to make fitted clothes yet since my gauge is all over the place, but when I am, look out!

I want to make myself a felted hat like this one, though without the frilly accents.

I love the clothes and photographs at Vintage Vivant. So lovely! I love the vintage style, and I think my new hairstyle calls for a little more 20's inspiration in my wardrobe, but she just pulls it all off so well...

I also love these sock lights. I'm getting many ideas on how to make fabric lampshades...