Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Care Tags *TUTORIAL*

When I was making hats for my sisters, I realized that it is important to know how to care for a handmade item. I'm always nervous when I make things for others. Will they like it? Will it fit? Will they use it? I'd be mortified if a gift I made someone fell apart during laundering. To alleviate my (sometimes irrational) fears, I made simple care tags for each of the hats.

First, find a font you like. I used a "typewriter" font for mine. Then I found a free clipart image of yarn. (I found several of yarn and knitting needles, but the hats were crocheted, so I was not able to use them.) While I love Google, I have found that searching for free images is so much user-friendly on Bing. Print on cardstock, scrapbook or another heavy paper (i.e., Kraft paper would be cute).

If you have a paper cutter, this will be easy. If not, it will still be cute. Just think of your tag as having a more rustic appeal. Cut the tags, leaving more space in front of the image (or at the "top" of the tag).

Next cut out the individual tags.

Using a hole punch (I chose a little rectangular one), punch a hole at the top of the tag.

Using paper scissors, cut off the corners of each tag.

Using ribbon, embroidery floss, bakers twine, or crochet thread, attach the tag to the garment. (If you don't have an area that you can easily attach the tag to the garment, you can use a small safety pin to attach the string.)

Now you are ready to make and gift away. Your gift suddenly looks like it came from a boutique. (And, be warned, your friends may say silly things like, "Only people with chickens make tags." Crazy, but true.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So, I'm a Liar, Part II

So, you see. I am a liar.

I had been seeing some cute berets (and free patterns) online and thought, "Heck. since I am a hat person, maybe I should make myself a beret." And so I did.

I was a little unsure about embellishing the beret (it just seemed too plain alone, since I didn't use that fancy yarn from the pattern), so I came up with a few options ...

Above is a single jersey flower. (Which is actually the hair clip because I had been unable to find my yellow pin ... I have since found it, attached to this.)

Three jersey flowers (I think they hang too low).

A ribbon flower.

And a darker gray (wool/bamboo blend) crocheted flower.

What do you think? Do you have another idea or suggestion?

Monday, March 28, 2011

So, I'm a Liar, Part I

So, apparently, I lie. I should have known when I spoke the words, "I'm not much of a hat person," that it would come back to bite me in the butt. And, oh, it has.

You see, I love Spenser's cloches. (Is that how you pluralize cloche ?) Love them. And coveted them. And I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would like to wear one.

I found a gray yarn in a wool/bamboo blend and decided to go for it. I used the same pattern, just adapted it to fit my head. And when I finished, I loved it. So much so that I made another one for myself ...

in army-green wool. I wore one when we took the boys out for Scouting for Food, and the subsquent family birthday party, and basketball game. I wore it all day because I had a case of "hat head" after a few hours.*

But, no. I couldn't stop there. I made three more (in the gray wool/bamboo blend) for my three sisters' birthdays. This time I made the flower a little larger with three rows of petals.

I was late for one sister's birthday (January 1st), early for another (April 4th) and just in time for the other (March 23rd). I made sure each of them knew not to talk about the cloche to the others. Then, with each delivery, I texted them to let them know the secret was safe.

We're thinking we might take our picture together with our new hats this weekend.

*I recently read in one of my fitness magazines that, to avoid flattening your hair while wearing a hat, you should part your hair on the opposite side before you put the hat on your head. When you remove the hat, flip the hair back. (I did not have this information prior to my all-day hat adventure.)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Last Friday, while gallivanting around ribbon outlets, I stopped in at my favorite thrift store. Joe had a meeting in the same area as my favorite thrift store, so Sawyer and I went along for the ride. It's about an hour away, but well worth the drive. I never leave empty-handed.

At first when I saw the huge assortment of punch bowl cups, I passed them by. It may have had something to do with Sawyer having to use the bathroom within minutes of arriving, or it may have been the worker and her friend who were blocking the aisle. It didn't matter. I saw them and passed right by them.

The rest of the time I was in the store, I couldn't take my mind off the punch cups ...

so I headed back. The worker and her friend had moved along and I had free reign of the aisle. There were tons of cups.

I know you're thinking, "who even needs punch cups?" But we do. We like to use our punch bowl for little things and we never have enough cups. And how cute would a table display be with a bunch of mismatched cups?

So I bought 19. For 15 cents each.

And I'm totally thinking I need to have a party now. I'm ready.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ribbon Outlet

On Friday I went to the ribbon outlet. Yes, there is such a thing. The last time I went I was pregnant with Sawyer.

They've changed things around in the past 4 1/2 years. They no longer sell ribbon by the (generous) yard. They only sell it by the spool now.

I went in for some brown ribbon. I couldn't decide between satin and grosgrain. Then, I saw some gray (satin and grosgrain) and decided I needed some of that, too. I mean, how could I resist? Especially when I saw the prices ...

$1.25 per spool. Four spools of gray (light and dark) and two spools of brown. My total bill was less than $8. And the spools are huge!

Anyone have suggestions for ribbon crafts? I'm thinking about ribbon flowers, although none of the ribbon I bought has wire. Oh, and some belts.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Decorating with GREEN

I really couldn't wait to put away the Valentines decorations so I could put up some St. Patricks Day decorations.

So on February 15th, I did nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I printed the subway art and framed it (a few days later) and that was it. I kept up the Valentines Day stuff.

I thought about making a shamrock garland for our dining room mantle (we have three mantles in our house, but the dining room sees the most traffic). I looked for a shamrock paper punch, but couldn't find one. Then, duh, I realized I had one on a Cricut cartridge. I had previously looked for it, but didn't see it. So glad I checked again.

I made three-inch shamrocks from scrapbook paper and cardstock and then sewed them together. At first I wasn't giving much thought to it. Then I realized the shamrocks would likely be top heavy and I would need to sew them closer to the top. As you can see in the top photo, the first bunch are upside down.

Then I decided to replace Spenser's bedroom hearts with shamrocks.

I made two-inch shamrocks for her window garland.

She was pleasantly surprised when she came home from school.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Jersey Infinity Cowl Scarf *TUTORIAL*

I have a thing for things around my neck. I like to wear necklaces, and often play with them subconsciously. I like to wear cowls and scarves to keep my neck warm. (I'm always cold. You turn 40 and your problems and idiosyncrasies grow over night. Just wait. You'll see. And don't say I didn't warn you.)

I had a little bit of gray jersey left over from various projects and thought I'd sew it together to make an infinity cowl/scarf. It was so quick and easy that I decided to make another one and take you along for the ride. Hold on tight. Well, not really. It's not that long of a ride. You can probably even ride without your seat belt, if you're daring.

This is what you'll need:

1/4 yard of jersey/knit (60" wide)
ballpoint needle for your sewing machine*
coordinating thread and bobbin
(and sewing needle for hand sewing opening closed)

With fabric right sides together, sew along the long edge starting 5/8" from top.

Sew the entire length of the fabric. All 60" of it.

BUT, stop short 5/8" at the end. (Like in the beginning.)

Slide your arm through the tube and pull right side out.

With right sides together, making sure not to twist the cowl (unless you are attempting a moebius scarf), match the seams and pin.

Starting right before seam, sew the short ends together (right sides together) until you can't sew any further.

It will look crazy and twisted (and feel tight), but that's okay.

Turn in raw edges and hand sew the opening shut with needle and thread.

Now try it on! (I always put the hand-sewn seam on the inside of the scarf and place it on the back of my neck.)

You can wear part of it on top of your head, like a snood. You can even wear it when you run outside to tend the chickens in the freezing rain. You can wear it around the house when you're 40 and freezing. (Or, ahem, 41, and freezing.)

*I could have used my serger for this, but the serger and I are fighting again. She wants to stay unthreaded and I want her to stay threaded. She's winning this battle. We're taking a little break from each other. So, in the meantime, I'm trying to make her jealous.