Friday, July 3, 2015

Return to Bunting

Years ago, when I first decided to carve out a crafty space for myself, I did so in order to try my hand at making bunting.  I needed a place to store paper, ribbon, tulle, buttons, adhesive, scissors, and one or two hole punches, so I commandeered a 5 X 5 foot space from our basement, and began creating triangular paper bunting.  I eventually made some square and rectangular pennants too, but never the egg/oval folded-in-half style.  After my morning coffee, I decided today was the day to try it.

When I work with paper for a collage, bunting, or jewelry assemblage, I am a dumper.  I pull out a ton of paper in the colors and prints that I think might work, open up my ribbon drawers and toss a few spools up on the table, and tip over storage bins that are now full of many more paper punches, beads, buttons, and ephemera.  Dump, grab.  Dump, rummage.  Dump, AHA! 

I pull a length of ribbon across two or three patterned papers, decide what looks pretty, and then put materials I've decided ~not~ to use away.  If I had a larger workspace, I'm certain I'd just shove the pile over to the side, but the drawback of having to work on a smallish table actually contributes to the order and cleanliness of my craft room.  Ironic, no?

Here was this morning's process:

Smile.  Bliss.

It was a good day to return to bunting.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Patriotic Swap

Sarah at Makin' Projiks hosted yet another fun swap that I had to be a part of this summer.  Bring on the red, white, and blue!

Mikey made a wonderful two sided tag, featuring a denim flower on the front...

... and a Land of the Free medallion on the back, full of sparkle!

Tamera crammed so much patriotic goodness into her liberty basket ornament- I love it!

Sarah made this adorable paper hat...

Michelle and Ashley created a jar collage full of real stamps, and another ornament further down. Scroll, scroll, scroll!

Megan made this ribbon rosette...

... and this flag pin...

... A-N-D this wooden clothespin!

... and Michelle and Ashley made this wreath!

Unfortunately, Lady Liberty's body didn't survive the mailing process, but never fear, I KNOW I have a blue bulb ornament that I can use to fix her right up, which I know will please Beth:

What ornament did I make for the swap?

A little furry friend, ready to celebrate Independence Day!

Thank you Sarah and fellow swap participants!  We're decorating for the fourth of July in style!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Funk

My brain and body haven't settled into my usual summer rhythm yet this year, a surprise to me considering how predictable my routine has been in the past.

You see, after the last day of school I deep clean the house, even if it was just done for whatever reason the week before.  Then I sleep.  A lot.  So much so that my daily schedule becomes completely discombobulated.  I nap, then end up wide awake at midnight.  I catch up on recorded t.v shows, attempt to tend a garden, and begin to ease into the idea of seeking out classroom inspiration for the upcoming school year.  I blog.  I enjoy at-home movie nights with my family, and try new recipes as we return to eating three square meals a day together.  I have lunch with friends.  I wander through antique stores and thrift malls.  I craft (a lot) usually producing all sorts of red, white and blue items, closely followed by orange, black and beige for Halloween.  In July I listen to Christmas music.  I read education blogs and catch up on guilty pleasure reading between professional book study chapters. I watch TED Talks and explore new-to-me music videos. I pin ~like crazy~.

There have been "lots of feels" popping up this summer, unanticipated emotionality that though normal, throws me off because of its spontaneity.  The worries, misadventures, and sadness experienced by those around me are deeply felt in empathy, as are the validations and victories happening for family, friends, and strangers.  Connectedness is essential, yet so overwhelming at the same time, and I usually find relief from it all by walking downstairs, lighting some scented candles, brewing coffee, listening to music, and making things. Paper things, yarn things, bloggy things.  Celebratory things, gift things, shareable things.  Adornment.  Decor.  Visual happiness.  Patterns. Whimsy.

I haven't felt deeply reflective, but my brain keeps popping memories and wonderings into my brain during times when I'm trying to exercise my usual routine.  I'd like to think these interruptions are purposeful, but frankly, they feel inconvenient.  Are these deep seated questions to be resolved with some declaration of EUREKA to myself or just moody distractions?  I've never considered my usual summer routine an opportunity to stall life's momentum, but rather something between a reward to myself and an integral part of who I am, no matter where I'm spending the majority of my days.  I'm a maker, and summer is my time to swim in media: yarn, paper, paint, ephemera.

I've been walking around in a wading pool for over a month now.

Not.  The.  Same.

So I've dibble dabbled with this, and dibble dabbled with that.  I've worked through some tasks on my summer to-do list.  Splash with the right foot.  Spin circles into the water with the left.  Looking at it collectively helps a little.  Maybe it's a temporary shift.  Maybe I just need to crank more tunes and dance through the house to lift this funk.

I spent two days sorting loose photos.  Extended family.  Me.  The College Graduate.  The Rower.  The Almost Fourth Grader. Us.  Wedding.  Dear Husband.  I looked through a lot of pictures and found very few of them that felt personally relevant to me in the here and now.  An odd disconnect for me to experience over photographs, though as I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, apparently not unusual.

I corralled my yarn stash into a plastic laundry basket and am pleased to be able to quickly see what I have.

I have had these angels for most of my life, given to me by my late grandmother.  Their wings broke off after a move and I didn't glue them back on for years.  Y-e-a-r-s.  The wings stayed in a special spot in my jewelry box the whole time.  They're winged once again.

Thrift store and childhood kitsch, little treasures that mean something to me are keeping swap treasures and needles and thread from my late mother-in-law's sewing box company now. 

I have some magazines to catch up on. I miss getting lost in their pages. 

Recommend some music to me, will you?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Simple Laundry Basket

... has wrangled my yarn stash into some semblance of order.

The cut outs of the basket (even the handles) give me the ability to sneak a peek at what colors, weights and textures I have.  The little hand basket is where I tossed the crochet rosette lengths that I haven't yet twirled and sewn shut.  I took another small basket and a crochet hook upstairs for the living room, when rainy, lazy days keep me on the couch without a specific project in mind.  Granny Square City, in other words.

Organization makes me happy.

So does yarn.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Crochet: Spring Necklaces

On my last day of Spring Break, I wanted to work through a quick spring project.

Something fast.

Something easy.

Something that I could wear in the classroom this week to ease the shock of the plunge back into kindergarten-land.

Teachers understand this.

Searching for necklace tutorials, I came across this set posted by Tip Junkie, and stopped scrolling when I found:

The free pdf pattern is here (wish the author's name was included, I'd love to credit her).

Not having the same size crochet hook, I used an "I" and chained all of my links loosely to make a longer necklace.  Friends and I discovered some fun yarn on sale a few weekends ago when we visited the West Bottoms in Kansas City, and this was the perfect opportunity to use it.

 I don't usually crochet at my desk, but my feet were trapped, so I stayed put:

The necklaces worked up quickly, and it was fun finding bright embellishments to add to the pastel and green chains I made:

These will certainly add a ~pop~ of color to my outfits this week!


Heidi Bears shares a great crochet rose tutorial here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung, indoors at least.  My break from school is winding down, so it was time to find the bottle brush decorations, eggs, and bunnies, bunnies, bunnies:

I'm a mishmash collector, and therefore a mishmash decorator.  "Eclectic" is the fancy word for "mishmash," correct?

For example: European tole platter, cream bunnies, slightly tarnished silver bowl, a copper wall tile, and photos from my eldest.  Works for me.  Maybe I'll polish the silver this weekend.

These fellas stand guard at the kitchen island on a cake plate.  Bunnies ~everywhere~, I tell you.

I usually hang spring bunting throughout the house, across the mantle and windows, but a certain non-bunny that resides in our house has developed a thing for paper and ribbon.

Turns out he finds ~crinkly~ items, like seed packets, m-o-s-t interesting:

... as well as ALL things fluffy, like the remnants of a white boa I used to trim a t-shirt (I was a Star Bellied Snitch) for Dr. Seuss' birthday:

Scattered seeds and boa fluff count as spring decor, right?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Heart to Heart Swap 2015 Tutorial: My Ornament

If you stopped by yesterday, you saw the treasures I received as a participant (again!) in this year's Heart to Heart Swap, hosted by Sarah.  She made the beautiful butterfly ornament (tutorial found here), but I kept the ornament ~I~ created under wraps until today, so I could show you how I made it.

Here's what you'll need:

Yarn (white, blue, pink).  Gray polar fleece (felt would work).  Lace scraps.  Grosgrain ribbon (pink with red "stitch" detail). Craft mini flowers (wired with ends wrapped). Hanging hook.  Hot glue.  Crochet hook (size I).  Sewing or upholstery needle.

I crocheted a bazillion little pink hearts three or four years ago, adding them to a pile of valentine what-nots that remained untouched for... ~three or four years~.   They appreciated seeing the light of day again!  Unable to find the original pattern online, I found a great tutorial by Olivia at Hopeful Honey that you can use to make your own hearts.

For the baby blue backing, I quickly whipped through the following for each of the ornaments:

Chain 17
DC in 4th chain from hook
DC in remaining chains (you should have 15 stitches in all across):

Chain 3, turn, then DC across again for 15 stitches (I didn't crochet into the previous DCs but in the space between them):

Complete the row, making sure you have 15 stitches across.  Chain 3, turn, and repeat DCs between stitches, until you've created 6 rows in all:

Ending with blue, tie on your white to the end of the row, and add 4 SC to the corner (there's only 2 in the photo), working down a SHORT side of the blue rectangle first:

I put 3 SCs in each hole across the short side, tucking in/crocheting over the loose end of white from where I'd originally tied on (see the end sticking out?):

When I reached the second corner of the short side, I used 5 SC to help curve around so I could work on a long side.  I put 2 SCs between each blue DC stitch:

After making my way around the long side, I put 5 SCs in the corner, worked up the short side with 3 SCs in each "hole" or space created by the blue DCs, put 5 SCs in the next corner, and again put 2 SCs between each DC blue stitch on the long side of the rectangle. 

See that itty bitty stitch of blue?  I crocheted 1 SC into the first corner (making a total of 5 SCs) to cover it up and close the white trim.  I tied off the white yarn, and then found a needle through which I could thread it:

Away goes the tail-end of the yarn!

Next, I cut a 4 X 4 inch piece of gray polar fleece, though felt or a heavier fabric certainly would have worked too:

I folded the fleece in half and cut a simple heart out:

I loved the mix of nubby yarn and super soft fleece textures!  While the fleece could have been sewn onto the blue yarn, I wasn't in the mood to sew.  Hello glue gun!

Add a strip of leftover lace or trim:

Slide a pick of flowers through the center of a crocheted heart:

... and trim the back, gently bending the remaining taped wires or "stub" down flat against the back of the heart.  Use hot glue to not only hold "stub" in place, but to affix pink heart onto lace and fleece heart:

I cut a length of grosgrain ribbon that was a bit longer than the rectangle, cutting a dove's' tail in to both ends:

Then I wove the ribbon through the holes at the top (short end) of the rectangle, over under, over under, over under:

Finally, I tucked a hanging hook through crocheted stitches around the center of the top short side of the rectangle.  The ornament on the left is finished (see how all of the edges are laying flat?).  Use hot glue under edges of the pink heart if needed to keep it from curling up and inward.

I do hope my creation brings a smile to all of the swap participants' faces when they open it!

Happy Valentine's Day!