Tuesday

Santa's Workshop

(click image for larger)

Last year Santa started delivering his gifts early... wrapped in brown paper and stamped with the postage it took to get there!

This is a really fun site to see under the tree and each person looks forward to opening these special gifts!

It's a really easy thing to do too....

1. Wrap in brown craft paper
2. Tie with twine
3. Apply stamps to your hearts content!

I do this for all my handmade gifts, so each person knows that a special gift is waiting under that simple brown paper!

Have fun with this one!

Thursday

Handmade Christmas Tree #2


Yo- Yo Ornaments!

This go together SUPER fast and they are adorable!

If you know how to make a yo-yo then this will be really easy for you... if you don't know how to make a yo-yo, then this will be really easy for you :-)

Here is a video on making yo-yo's if you don't... They talk quite a bit, but it was the best one that I could find.



Before gathering your yo-yo, insert a glass (or plastic I suppose) ornament into the center. Gather the yo-yo at the top of the ornament and you're done! Each one of these took less than 2 minutes to finish.

I used a 2 3/8 inch glass ornament and cut a 9 inch circle for the yo-yo. I did the finished edge mentioned in the video, but you could do a raw edge depending on what you're doing to the ornament once it's finished.

Like I said, quick and gorgeous! Good luck with these beauties and happy crafting!

Tuesday

Update: Thanksgiving Cookies!


So I finally got a chance to make these cute little cookies!

The original recipe is HERE, but I had to make a few changes.

I ended up making my own top pieces since my mom is allergic to peanuts and that ruled out the original toppers.

I made a caramel center from the recipe HERE, but I only boiled it to 230 degrees instead of the 244 listed. As a result it stayed more like a filling instead of a hard caramel, so it was perfect!

Grabbing from my stash of candy molds, I used the cherry cordial molds, coating the inside with dark chocolate. Let the chocolate harden completely before adding the caramel. I used a teaspoon to drop in the caramel and then covered is right away with more chocolate.

They turned out really well. A little note on these, when you're popping them out of the mold, DON'T SQUEEZE THE SIDES!!! Several of mine broke because I wasn't being careful!

Sadly I couldn't find any gluten-free cookies for the bottoms and I ran out of time to make them. So I used OREO Fudge Covered Cookies instead.

Here they are with both pieces together...


And now with a little finishing touch!


Too cute by half and even easier if you don't have to make your pieces from scratch!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday

Thanksgiving Cookies

I know we're all gearing up for Christmas... but there is one more major holiday between now and then that we can't forget!

Thanksgiving!

So to celebrate, I'm making cookies... these cookies! Here's the link from Woman's Day.


I love them! I will have to make some changes though, since my family has so many allergies to food.

Instead of using Peanut Butter Cups, I'll be making mine from scratch with dark chocolate and homemade caramel centers.

I'm so looking forward to trying them and I'll update when I'm done!

Sunday

Child's Harry Potter, Weasley Sweater!


First of all, I am IN LOVE with the way this turned out! It's an adorable little sweater and it only took about 8 hours total to make!

Great gift idea for Christmas! I've made several of these top-down raglans as gifts and they fit kids from 6 months all the way to 2 years if you make the arms long enough. Just roll 'em up while they're too long, then let them down as the child grows!

Anyway, on with the info on this sweater...

So, the first sweater that I posted as a Harry Potter Sweater HERE was crocheted. Way back when I didn't know how to knit yet!

This one is knitted. This pattern is fantastic! It is a top-down raglan sweater which means there are no seams to sew up and it's all knitted in the round, so no purling!!

HERE is the pattern that I followed, with a few changes.

Changes:
I only did 4 rows of ribbing for the neck, bottom, and cuffs. I didn't want a turtleneck, but I did want just a touch of ribbing and that worked out really well!

I did not add the additional 3 stitches indicated for the underarms, which gave me only 100 stitches when the sleeves were removed from the needles.

If you've never made a top-down raglan before, it can be a little confusing. Here are a few pictures of the process that will hopefully clear up some of your questions!


This is what the raglan sleeve looks like as you do the increases.



Here are the sleeves slipped onto holder string while the body is left on the needles to continue knitting.



This is the body finished with the sleeves waiting to be stitched. If you bind the sleeves off at the step where you normally place them on the holder, this makes a really cute girls cap-sleeve shirt!


No seams, finished sweater! Didn't the raglan increases turn out well!

After finishing the sweater I did a duplicate stitch for the initial. I found a great site HERE that has charts for all sorts of fonts for the initial!

If you don't know how to duplicate stitch, this is a great video!



Duplicate stitch all finished!


Weave in all the ends and you've got yourself a Weasley Sweater!

You could do the same thing with a top-down raglan pattern for an adult sweater too... Happy Crafting!


Thursday

Fun with Antiquing!

One of the gifts I'm giving is fairly large and I wanted a box that the item could be stored in.

I tried to find a really vintage looking box to go with 3 other hat boxes that I had already decoupaged. I failed.

The only hat box that I could find that was big enough looked like a giant bright red and white peppermint!


Not very vintage at all. Thankfully, I'm crafty ;-)

I grabbed some brown paint and a big brush and set to work "antiquing" the box.

video

Sorry for the wiggly camera work... I didn't have a helper right then!

I'm very pleased with the way the box turned out.



It will go really well with the other boxes I made... You can kinda see them in the background there, but I'll share more on those soon :-)

Monday

Buttons... Sew Many Buttons... Get It?

I was wondering through one of my favorite local antique stores this weekend and I found a great buy!

Three big jars of buttons for only $12.00!

Aren't they pretty?

This may sound a little silly, but a card (set of 2-4 buttons) of buttons at the craft store can cost as much as $4.95!

I ended up with 775 buttons (yes I counted) for the price of just a handful.

They were all vintage buttons and I can't wait to start using them!

So next time you're out and about looking for buttons, stop in at an antique store first!

Happy crafting :-)

Saturday

Steampunk Hardware Organizer

You guys are so lucky! You get to see all the Christmas presents early ;-)

I found this really cool lazy susan organizer at Pottery Barn and thought it would be great for organizing screws, nuts, bolts, etc... But it wasn't really the perfect match for the decor of the house it's going to live in after Christmas.

So naturally, I steampunked it.

Here is the original... it is now sold out at Pottery Barn stores.

I happened to find this one at the outlet store in perfect condition.


Don't get me wrong, it's pretty cute, but I just thought it could be quite a bit better. Also, one of the things that bugged me was that the only compartment on this 12 compartment organizer that was actually a drawer is the very bottom one!

I didn't like the idea of someone pulling on all the knobs only to find that it wasn't an actual drawer!

So first thing I did was remove all of the white knobs.

I grabbed some metallic spray paint in a bronze tone and sprayed the heck out of enough knobs to go back on the actual drawers.


For the rest of the compartments I found these really great clips from Tim Holtz.

I used some J.B. Weld to attach them to the wood. I had to get a little creative to keep them in place as they dried though. It took about 8 hours for the "glue" to stick; the use of a little brown box take came in handy to keep them still for the drying time!


I elected not to fill in the holes since I was going to cover them with some really cool paper that I found.

Really wanting a place for the soon-to-be owner to be able to write what was in each space, I was hoping to have little chalkboards at each space.

I couldn't really find what I wanted and was beginning to lose hope... what I found these!

Chalkboard paper!!


I cut them in half and clipped them on the organizer. You can actually use chalk on these and it erases really well!

Here is the finished product... I loooooove the way this turned out!


See you guys soon for more from Santa's Workshop :-)

Wednesday

Handmade Christmas Tree #1

I've decided to make a "handmade Christmas tree" this year! All the decorations will be homemade by me and I can't wait to see it all put together!

I wanted a really organic natural feel to everything, especially the tree topper.

This star turned out more perfectly than I could have hoped for, though it doesn't look like the pattern depicted at all!

This is the original...


And here's mine...



This isn't my first go-round at the crochet hook and I do know how to read a pattern, but for some reason, mine looks nothing like the original!

The original pattern is here and the finished size is listed as 5 1/4 inches finished... I used the indicated hook size and thread size and it ended up being 12 inches across!

No idea what happened, but I love it!

To keep it on the tree, I placed a loop of elastic from one side of the center hole to the other. It makes a wonderful holder without distracting from the beauty of this piece.

I did starch the finished piece as part of the blocking process so that it will stand up as the tree topper.

I can't wait to see it all together as we get closer to Christmas and I'm looking forward to you seeing the rest of the decorations!

Monday

Table Runner


Update:

I just took the table runner down from my blocking board and here it is on my side table!


I got a wild hair to make this really cute table runner that I found on Ravelry (I spend waaaaay too much time there!).

Here is the pattern!

I ended up not being able to find the color in the original pattern, which I liked alot, but I did find the brand in a different color and stayed with that! It is going to be a Christmas gift so I thought the more neutral cream would be better than the gray.

The finished product before blocking is actually tiny, but it stretches tremendously!

Here it is in the process of being blocked... I'll let it dry over night and then wrap it up for Christmas!


Here's a close up of the pattern. Cute huh?


Total time to make this project was about 5 hours. Not too bad!

Let me know how it comes out for you! Happy Crafting!

Friday

Candy Corn Update

Well, it took me a little longer to find time to test this recipe, but I was able to do it before Halloween!

I LOVED the results! I'm a huge fan of candy corn in general, but I'm pretty much the only one in my family.


However, even those who detest store bought candy corn loved this recipe! I give this two thumbs up for results... But, I'll tell you know, the process was tedious.

Get the recipe here.

Some changes that I made to the recipe:
1. I did use raw agave which caused the "white" color to be more of cream color.

2. Being allergic to corn products, I had to make my own powdered sugar, since store bought has cornstarch as the second ingredient. This is very simple to make though! Take white sugar, place in blender (I use a coffee grinder that is dedicated to non-coffee items). That's it!

3. Instead of the 1/3 cup of cornstarch called for in the original recipe, I used two heaping teaspoons of arrowroot powder. You can usually find this at a grocery store with a large organic or natural food section.

Results!

This is what the mix looks like after the boiling and mixing together of wet and dry ingredients.


The recipe said to allow the mix to cool for 20 minutes before working, but this was setting up too fast to wait and I started working it right away and adding the different dye colors.
Warning:
It is VERY hot!


Because of the darker color from the raw agave, I had to change the colors up a bit. Here it is ready for cutting... kinda looks like bacon!


The cutting begins!


Have at least one helper to assist with getting this done quickly. I was only half way through the "dough" before it hardened enough that I could not form the ropes but had to settle for candy corn "drops" instead!


The dough was fairly greasy from all the butter, so I placed the finished product on a cookie sheet covered in paper towels. It worked really well and soaked up all the extra butter!


Even my husband who hates store bought candy corn couldn't keep his hands off of these delicious morsels!


Let me know how they turn out for you!

Tuesday

Hemming Jeans: The Tuck Method

As requested, here is a tutorial on how to hem jeans that have a specialty thread. Or if you just want to keep the extra length as an option later.

I use this method when hemming jeans for children. Then as they grow, I can let the hem out and take up a smaller amount.

There are a lot of pictures for this tutorial... I hope you enjoy!


Hemming Jeans: The Tuck Method

Turn up the cuff to the desired length and measure from the fold to the hem. In this case, 2 inches.


Measure from the hem to the thread line. In this case, a little less than 1/2 an inch.


Add the two measurements together, place the ruler on the thread line and mark at the length.
Tailors chalk is perfect for this as it will come out with steam with you're done!


Take the chalk and, using a straight edge, mark all the way across the leg.


With both legs on top of each other, use a marking wheel to mark the line on the other sides of the denim.
Note: Because denim is so thick, you will have to push fairly hard and go over the line several times to ensure that you can see it once you move the legs away from each other.


This is what the bottom leg will look like after the marking wheel. It looks like it's a bold enough line, but trust me, it magically disappears once you get it over to the machine, so go ahead and mark all sides again with the chalk.


Here it is with the chalk over it, much better!


Fold edge of hem down to the chalk line.


Sew on the right side of the thread. It's orange in this case, but sometimes it will be navy. In that case, use the chalk to make the line more visible.


Flip the extra fabric inside the leg and make sure that you can see the original hem. This make require a tug on the hem, depending on how thick the fabric is.


If you are going to be leaving the extra length, skip this step!
If you know this is the perfect length, cut the extra fabric, leaving about a half inch of fabric all the way around the hem.


If you have a serger, sew the edge to keep the edge from fraying. If you do not have a serger, use a zig-zag stitch to do the same thing.
Note: Be sure to only sew the extra fabric. You don't want to catch the hem thread!


If you left the extra fabric, this is where you pick up!
Flip the serged edge inside the leg and sew on top of the fold, on the left side of the thread.


Once both legs are done, use a steam iron to remove the chalk lines.
Here's the top of the finished hem.


And here's the inside!


Happy crafting!