With four little ones every day is a bit chaotic. And that's okay. Because somehow I'm able to craft amid the chaos.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cowgirl Hat Dangle

I made this cowgirl hat rear-view mirror dangle for my sister-in-law's birthday present back in 2009. At the time I didn't know how to make jewelry, but I think I did a good job. She still has it up in her car, and other that a few of the colored crystals around the brim falling off, it is still intact.

Pink and Black Whimsy Cake

I made this cake back in 2009 for a ward party. I think it has been one of my most successful cake ever (as far as people liking it that is).

It is actually a little more whimsical that it was intended to be. It was supposed to simply be hourglass shaped, but because of one thing or another, it slipped off to be angled as well. Luckily, I loved the effect.
So here is what I did. I baked cake so that I had 4 eight inch rounds and 1 six inch round cake. I took 2 of the 8 inch and cut an inch off the outside leaving them 7 inch rounds. Then I stacked them in this order: 8,7,6,7,8. I put cool whip in between each layer which is (I believe) the reason it slipped later on when I covered the entire thing in white fondant. To help support the weight I stuck in some lollipop sticks that were the appropriate height (after trimming of course). Then I covered it in fondant and decorated it with colored fondant cut into little circles. I topped it off with fake daisy's that I bought at Michaels.

Goldfish Mirror

I love this mirror. It's so pretty. A little rough around the edges, but still beautiful. It's too bad I gave it away. I almost want to make another, but I won't. You'll see why if you continue to read down below, which is the original post from my old blog that was posted on March 20, 2009.
"Here it is finally. The bane of my existence that took a month to complete. I spent hours each evening (not every evening but a lot of evenings) getting this thing put together. It looks great, but it was a big learning process.

Now to how I made this thing. First I went online and found a coloring book picture of goldfish. I messed around with the size and arrangement and then put them into a paint.net file. I also put a square into that file where I thought the mirror part of the mirror would go. (It is an IKEA Malma Mirror with a small three by three mirror in a 10 by 10 wood frame.) Next I drew wavy water plants on a paper, scanned it into my computer and added it to the paint file. Then I colored the picture I had created.

After I had my goldfish picture complete I took the file and uploaded it into my cross stitch creation program "PCStitch Pro 9." It is an awesome program that lets you turn pictures into cross stitch patterns. Anyway, once I had the pattern made all I had to do was put the picture together in wait for it. . . beads. So I bought a bead loom and seed beads in the colors I wanted and began the tedious process of weaving together the picture. For the most part I did this in 10 bead wide strips. Here is where I met my first problem. My pattern was based in size on stitches not beads so the first strip ended up being too long. Not a big deal, I adjusted and went on accordingly. However, when I got to the part where the mirror interrupted the strips the adjustment made them too short. I eventually got this all worked out after I had the picture assembled in beads. Also the colors I had chosen for the goldfish ended up being wider beads than that for the plants and ocean so parts of the strips were wider in other parts. This made for some tricky construction later on. Also, did I mention this process was tedious. It took forever. I was so sick of it by the time I was done. Anyway, once I had everything beaded I used Modge Podge and glued it down to the wood mirror frame which I first painted an aqua color. The gluing was tricky as this was when I needed to make adjustments and if the beads somehow did not get securely glued down on the edges when I trimmed the strings beads fell off. However, my husband and I fixed it up as best we could and it ended up looking great.

Once it was finished, I boxed it up (packing it in Styrofoam peanuts, tissue paper, and bubble wrap) and shipped it off to my swap partner. Yes this was for a swap through Craftster. It was supposed to be a simpler swap, but you know me. I have to make everything more difficult and blow it out of proportion. I only hope my partner loves the mirror."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Magnet Board

"I made this magnet board for my father-in-laws birthday. I bought a surfboard shaped piece of wood from Michael's (it was the closest I could find to what I wanted). Then I painted it with three coats of magnetic paint (waiting at least 24 hours between each coat). The magnetic paint went on kind of rough and thick, but oh well. Then I painted over that with green but was unable to hide some of the gray from the magnetic paint from coming through. My husband said he liked it that way so I guess it was ok. Then using a Family Tree scrapbook kit I made a family tree for my father-in-laws family and modge podged it on. I also modge podged on some green leaf vellum. This also did not go as I wanted. The vellum rolled up on itself and bubbled horribly. However, I liked the end result with it bubbly and ripply so it worked. Last I took a few little painted wooden leaves and added magnetic strips to the back of them to make magnets. Perfect example of a project gone wrong that still ended up great."

Now that a lot of time has passed and I can see the overall gift. It's not actually used as a magnet board, but more as decoration. So I guess I could have for gone the magnetic paint. Honestly, I'm not sure I would still qualify this as great but . . . I guess it's the thought that counts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"We Love You Framed Art" Valentines 2009

For Valentine's Day I made a "We Love You" framed art for my in-laws. First I made letters to spell out "we love you." Then I dressed up my two children and put them in different situations and took a picture with each letter so that when you put all the pictures together it spells out "WE LOVE YOU." (My parents were supposed to get a card with the pictures in them because I didn't want to have to mail something so large to them. They got it, it was just very very late.) Then I went and cut fabric into various rectangle shapes and sewed them together. After that was done I glued the pictures down to the fabric, added some ric rac for decoration, and framed it. It turned out really cute and they loved it, which is what really matters.

Their  daddy got something similar, only he got a photo album and his said "We Love You Daddy."

Taggie Blankets

I made these back in February of 2009. I wanted to give one to a lady in my ward. I'm LDS and one of the things we do is go Visiting Teaching.  Basically we go with a companion to visit another woman in the ward and share a spiritual message and visit. One of the ladies I visited at the time was pregnant with her first baby and I wanted to make her something. A taggie blanket was simple and I knew that babies enjoy them. I had enough material to do two so I went ahead and made them both. The one side is green minkie. The other side is yellow flannel with farm animals and related items in oranges, browns, and greens. I figured it was generic enough to be a girl or boy blanket.

I think the second blanket ended up going out in a swap package, though it's been awhile so I can't remember for sure.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Glasses Case

"My husband has to wear glasses, but only for driving. So he always leaves them in the car. He just kept them on the drive shaft and so if I was driving and turned a corner they'd go flying off. This caused them to break and so he had to get new ones. Since glasses aren't cheap I didn't want his new ones to break, so I made him this case to keep his glasses in. I put stick on velcro on the back and stuck it up on the roof of our car. Hopefully this will solve the problem."

This was my original post from February of 2009. What I know now that I didn't back then:

The glue from the stick on velcro will melt when left in a hot hot car. In other words: total failure as the case soon fell off and refused to stay on.

So the glasses have gone back to the drive shaft and the case isn't used at all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fabric Ball, Bean Bags, and Jingle Blocks

"I made this fabric ball for my son. He loves it and chases it around the house. It was actually very simple to make. I found a tutorial at Purl Bee and used the medium pattern. They suggest buying 1/4 a yard of the four different fabrics. If you do this you will probably be able to make several different balls (plus left over fabric is always fun). I only made the one ball, but I plan on making several more with the fabric that is left over from it."

This was my original post from my old blog. The ball is no longer played with as often, though it is still occasionally pulled out, and is now covered  in blue marker. Oh, and I never did get around to making more.

These bean bags were also made for my son. They were a part of his 1st birthday gifts. (As was the ball above.) They are still played with, but a few may be missing.

These jingle blocks were a part of the gifts as well. They are still very much loved (even my 5 month old loves them). They are really simple to make. You just cut out 6 squares of fabric and sew them together into a box (making sure to insert ribbon tags every once and awhile). You want them to be inside out and leave one side unsewn. Then you flip them right side out, stuff with fiberfill, add some jingle bells and stitch it up.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snowman Birthday Party

In January of 2009 my son turned 1. For his party we went with a snowman theme. There were three little ones present: my son (of course), my daughter, and their cousin. So I made them cute little snowman hats.
I measured my children's heads but theirs still ended up slightly too small. They still liked them though. I actually made four but I messed up on the first one and it only got a mouth and nothing else. My daughter called it her ghost. The reason one of them is a snowwoman is because my daughter came in when I was making them and thought hers needed a hair bow. I found the tutorial for them at Family Fun.

We had a dinner of chili and cornbread to start off the party and I decided to make place cards.
So I made a small army of snowmen. They were very simple. Just styrofoam balls, ribbon, pipe cleaners, white pom poms, pins and beads. The tutorial for making them is from Free Kids Crafts. I modified it slightly. Instead of just pinning on the eyes I glued them and I got rid of the arms and song book.

Finally we have the cakes. First I made my son a smash cake.
It's a snowball. White frosting with crystal sprinkles.  He really loves to eat so I thought he would tear right into it. However, he ate a lot of the dinner, so he wasn't so hungry for dessert. He did make a semi mess though. (Later, after the presents were open he snuck back into the kitchen and devoured somebody's piece of cake that had been left down. Then he made a real mess.)

The cake for everyone else was, of course, a snowman cake.

I got the idea from Cake Central's cake galleries. I modified it of course to fit what I wanted. The snowman is made from styrofoam balls covered in frosting. His eyes and buttons are chocolate chips and his nose is an orange M&M. His scarf are three pipe cleaners and his hat his made from ribbon with some white pom poms.
The cake itself is simply white boxed cake with a little bit of almond extract and some aqua blue food coloring gel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Year Old T-Shirts and My Newest Obsession

 Actually, the shirts are older than a year. I made them in January of 2009 as part of my birthday present resolution. They are simple iron on transfers, though I believe I manipulated the images a bit first before printing them off.

 This first one I made for my brother. I don't know if he ever wore it or not. I had a hard time figuring out what I could make and send to him. I figured you can't go wrong with a t-shirt (although maybe you can, I probably got the wrong size or something). He really likes Monty Python so I thought I'd do a "Search for the Holy Grail" shirt.

The writing says: "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shalt be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out! Once the number three, being the third number be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thou foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

This one was for my brother-in-law. I know wears it because I've seen him wear it. Also his wife told me he wears it.

And my newest obsession. Yarn or fiber in general. I've yet to become a yarn snob, and have no problem purchasing acrylic. I have yet to find a store that sells anything but acrylic or acrylic mixes anyway. Well okay, I've seen one 100% wool yarn, but the acrylic is softer. Plus, it costs a lot less, and we don't have a lot of money so . . .  I have heard of a local yarn store though that I want to go check out. I read online about how wonderful LYS's are and I'd like to see for myself.

Why the obsession with yarn? I've been crocheting for little over a year now (self taught with books, the internet, and occasional help from my MIL). I'm pretty good at it and I usually enjoy it. (I say usually because there was a stretch there where I seemed to mess up everything I tried to crochet.)

Also, I've recently acquired a Cricket Loom. It's kind of fun to weave scarves on, and my 4 year old loves it. She even has a project of her own set up on it.

To go along with this, about a year ago I purchased a drop spindle to learn how to spin my own yarn. Just last month I finally picked it up and gave it a try. (All have a post about that later.) Since then I've been going online and oggling yummy pretty fibers.

Lastly, the last week or so I have been listening to knitting pod-casts. I started with my friends podcast Baubles and Purls and she directed me to The Knit Wits. Listening to them has made me want to learn how to knit. So I went out and got me some needles and with the help of the internet am going to learn how. So far, it's not going 100% great. I can cast on, knit stitch, and purl stitch, but somehow I keep on picking up extra stitches from somewhere. Not sure how that keeps happening, but hopefully I'll figure it out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jim Henson Inspired Crafts

When I first joined Craftser I learned about an awesome thing called swaps. Basically someone comes up with an idea or theme and any one who wants to craft in that theme signs up. Then you are given a partner and you craft for them and they craft for you. Sometimes, one of the partner flakes and someone who spent time and money sends out items only to receive nothing in return. When this happens a call is sent out for Swap Angels. The Swap Angel crafts for the person who received nothing and ships them off a box of goodies. In return they can become a Friend of Craftster (gaining access to certain parts of Craftster that not everyone can get to) or they wipe clean a record of their own flaking in swaps.

Well I really wanted to join a swap only you have to be a member for a certain period of time before they let you. While biding my time I decided to become a Swap Angel. The one that was available was a Jim Henson swap. So I went for it. And I really enjoyed it. I loved and love trying to come up with something that is perfect for someone. I also liked being able to craft in a themed area.

The first thing I made was a "The Dark Crystal" box. I found a book box at Michael's and painted it and then modge podged scrapbook paper and a picture from "The Dark Crystal" to it. And I believe I lined the inside with felt. Unfortunately, the pictures don't do it justice. It looked way better in person.

Next I embellished a t shirt. The quote is a favorite quote of the lady who I was making the gifts for (it's from the Muppet Movie and I think Kermit says it). It was pretty funny and I thought it would go great on a shirt (though it was a little long) and be a simple quick project. Boy was I wrong. I ended up having to cut around each letter (using an exacto knife for the o's,,d's, a's and other letters like that). What a pain. Still it turned out cute so it was all worth it.

I also made something for her little one. They are craft taggie jingle blocks with Fraggles from "Fraggle Rock" ironed on.

Finally I made her a bandanna bag with a picture of Sir Didymus from "Labyrinth"  ironed on the front. It is made from two bandannas. The pink was intended to simply be a lining, but it is technically reversible (with black polka dot handles for both sides.)

I used a tutorial by that I found on Craftster. It wasn't complete, but it gave me enough info to get started. I love how it turned out, plus it's easy and inexpensive.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Bag that Started It All

I made this reversible tote bag for my mother-in-law in January of 2009. It was one of the first things I'd made (besides some poorly done I Spy Bags and some coasters) that wasn't a simple baby blanket.   I chose to make a bag because I wanted to make her something she could use. She was teaching primary at the time and I thought a tote bad would perfect for her to be able to take her things back and forth from church in. To make it a little prettier, I decided to add a fabric flower pin to each side. (Tutorial for the flower can be found at Wise Craft).

So why is this the bag that started it all? Because while I was searching for tutorials for a bag I found the one I liked best here at a site called Craftster. If you go there I'm sure you'll understand. It is a community dedicated to a large variety of crafts. There are tutorials, discussions, pictures of things people have made, swaps, and so much more. Once I found Craftster I found the desire to make things, all sorts of things. It made me branch out into a variety of crafts and I found that I love it. Almost everything I will post on this blog (with the exception of baking related items) can probably be traced back to my becoming a member of Craftster.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2009 New Years Resolutions

I don't like New Years Resolutions. Possibly because I don't bother to keep them, so why bother making them in the first place. But in 2009 I decided to make some anyway, craft related ones. I decided that I would make 50 projects that year (easily done and then some) and to make a homemade birthday present for all of my family members. By that I meant parents, siblings, children, nieces and nephews, and of course in-laws. I don't believe I thought it through, but despite this I did really well. Until October that is. That's when it all fell apart. Which is sad really, I was so close. I had only missed 4 people, but miss them I did.

I've changed a lot since then. I've recently decided to be more discriminate in who get's a hand made gift. There is no reason to go through the time and effort of making a gift if it isn't going to be appreciated or used. It's no fun for anyone involved: the giver because it took so much time and effort, the receiver, well because who really wants to get a gift they don't like. This is not to say that I will never again give out a and made gift that the receiver is less than ecstatic about. Let's face it, if I get an idea in my head of something I really want to make, I'm probably going to make it. I'm just not going to spend hours searching and racking my brain trying to come up with something I can make someone just because I need a gift for them. Unless of course I know they appreciate hand made gifts.