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Have Yourself Some Merry Little Christmas Crafting.

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

EXCEPT for the crazy crocheter with visions of grandeur still frantically crocheting her Christmas mouse!

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I told myself NO CHRISTMAS PROJECTS this year, despite all the wonderful ideas and patterns there are to read about in the blogosphere and on Ravelry for Christmas crafters.

But, right around Thanksgiving the Christmas crafting bug bit me and I decided that just one little, teeny, tiny, project that could be easily completed before Christmas came and went would be ok to make.

This project needed to be something small and simple that could be made with minimal stress and time. As I looked at my patterns and some ideas on line, I found this pattern for some amigurumi Christmas light bulbs and picked it to be my one and only Christmas crafting project for this year.

The pattern for these Christmas light bulbs is very simple and it only took a couple of Christmas movies for me to have 10 bulbs, 2 of each color, crocheted up. It took a few more Christmas movies to stuff the 10 bulbs, and then I had to stop watching movies altogether so that I could concentrate on the details of these Christmas bulbs. The devil is always in the details isn’t it?

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It took just a few minutes to stitch the tops of the Christmas bulbs closed once they were stuffed. I decided to use googly eyes instead of safety eyes, so, with the husbands help, it only took a few more minutes to glue the eyes on to each bulb. But now the long process of giving each bulb a smile and a personality started.

I tried big smiles, small smiles, v-shaped smiles, rounded smiles, and crazy zig-zag smiles but nothing looked good to me. I finally decided on smaller v-shaped smiles. I was using black yarn to make the smiles but the black yarn was not showing up well on the darker color bulbs so I tried white yarn instead. That looked awful, so I switched to some silver color yarn. After much trial and error, I completed the 10 smiles on the Christmas bulbs.

Now, what should I do with 10 Christmas crocheted amigurumi light bulbs? I could chain them together into a string of lights to make one Christmas decoration. Or I could put a bulb on a long piece of string or yarn and make it a necklace for all my friends and coworkers, but who wants a silly Christmas light bulb necklace? At last, I decided to make them up as Christmas tree ornaments.

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I dug through the closet and found some silver and gold metallic cording to make loops to hang these Christmas light bulb ornaments. I carefully cut even lengths of the cording, and threaded the cording through the top of each bulb. I knotted the cording, planning to twist the cording around and then hide the knot in the top of the bulb but this did not work.

The knots in the cording were too big to pull into the stuffing at the top of the bulbs. In hind sight, if I had stuffed the tops of the bulbs less, this would have worked, but I stuffed the tops good and plenty so hiding the knots in the top was not an option. I tried using yarn instead of the cording but that did not look as good. The silver and gold cording added an elegant Christmas touch to the bulbs. So, after much debate, I decided to just leave the knot at the top of the cording so it was still visible.

This was a great idea and a simple solution except that the bare ends of the cording knots frayed like crazy. I wanted the ends of the knots trimmed close but then the cording would fray and the knot would come untied. Flustered, I turned to the husband who said one word.

GLUE!

So thank heavens for clear drying glue. So, after carefully knotting and trimming the cording ends, I doused the knots and ends in glue to seal the cording, stop the fraying and keep the knot tied. After much patience with the knotting, cutting and glueing, the glue dried clear and the Christmas light bulb ornaments were done.

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At first, I did not like what I had made and I thought seriously about tossing the bulbs into the garbage can. But after they sat on the cutting table for a little while, their silliness grew on me and I now think that they are very cute silly little Christmas light bulb ornaments that my friends and family will be more than willing to hang them on their Christmas trees this year.

Until next time, Crochet forth and Christmas craft on!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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DSCN0801I just love to do Christmas crafting. The idea of making that something special for that special someone really gets me in the Christmas mood and gets my creativity flowing. I love baking holiday cookies, crafting that new ornament for the tree, or sewing that perfect gift. Unfortunately, my hopes, dreams, and ideas are usually bigger than the holiday season, and I never get everything done that I want to, but over the years I have learned to not let that ruin my holiday fun. This year was no exception. I was able to do some holiday crafting, not as much as I would have like to, but some and I am thankful for that.

Each Christmas season, my work has an auction for the Relay for Life cancer event and asks for donations. This year I decided that my Christmas crafting would be to make something to donate. I wanted to make something small that people would not mind spending a dollar or two on. So, when I found some fun snowflake patterns on ravelry, I knew that was what I wanted to make and donate.

DSCN0776The problem with that was that I don’t crochet with thread so don’t have any in my stash, or have any good small sized hooks to crochet with. So I wondered what the snowflakes would look like made out of 4-ply acrylic Red Heart yarn and my favorite size G hook instead? Let’s find out! And the answer is they turn out just great! I had a great time crocheting the snowflakes and changing up the pattern each time so that each flake was just a little different just like real snowflakes. When they were finished though, they were kind of boring. I needed to spice them up.

DSCN0780To do that I found a pattern for a star shape in a scarf pattern I had. That would work to spice up the snowflakes, but what color should I make them in? I started out with a light blue. What about dark blue? Oh, maybe black? No, silver! How about this blue variegated? It is Christmas, so why not some red and green too? I started making stars from all of the colors to see what I liked best and found that I liked them all. Some colors I liked a little more than others, and some colors the husband liked better than others, but all the star looked great with the snowflakes. I had to modify the star pattern a little and use a size H hook to get the larger sized star that I needed to match the snowflakes size.

DSCN0792I thought about stiffening the snowflakes, but I decided not to. Because of the yarn I used, they were already stiff enough. I did block the snowflakes and stars with water to help them lay even and flat. When I started to glue the snowflakes to the stars, the husband said they needed to be spiced up even more, so he helped me use spray adhesive to glue blue and silver glitter to the snowflakes before I used some tacky glue to attach the flakes to the stars.

DSCN0809And now my Christmas snowflakes were complete! With the changes to the snowflake pattern and the different colors of the stars, and the glitter, no two snowflakes are the same just like real snowflakes. These snowflakes were fun to make and turned out great. I hope they will make someone’s Christmas I little bit merrier and make a little money for the Relay for Life event.

In the meanwhile, while watching Christmas movies, I crocheted this little reindeer. I call him Rudy. He has the tiniest body for his big head but he is so cute! He was a fun and quick crochet and will accompany the snowflakes to the auction. Hopefully someone will get a kick out of a tiny crocheted reindeer with a big red nose!

Until next time, crochet forth and Christmas craft on!

Happy New Year 2014!

Wishing you and yours peace, joy, serenity, and happiness in the coming new year.

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Yes I know this is the year of the ‘listicle’ or Top 10 Lists, but I’m not going to waste my time or yours by posting one for you like everyone else will do in their end of the year blog posts. I’ll leave that up to David Letterman who can do a far better job than I can. I also won’t bore you with any ‘selifies’ of myself for that matter, because lets be honest here, you really have better things to do than to look at that!

Instead, I will leave you with a photo collage of some of the fun things I did throughout the year of 2013.

I had a very busy year as you can see here:

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There was plenty of sewing, mending, altering, crocheting, costume making, designing and crafting, laughing, crying, and gnashing of teeth to be done as usual around here.

It was a lot of fun and I sure learned a lot. I hope that you were entertained and learned something new too by reading all of my crazy adventures this past year!

Cheers! And here is to an even better coming new year!

Tis’ the season

This was not a big sewing Christmas season for me. With friends coming to visit at Halloween and a trip to see the parents for Thanksgiving, not to mention several Christmas concerts, parades, and trips to visit friends, I have just not had the time or been motivated towards Christmas projects this year. Although I did do a couple of things that I will share.

Last fall, Mom called and asked if I would embroidery the Denver Bronco’s emblem on a fleece jacket for my Dad for Christmas. Mom sent me the jacket and I was happy stitch it up for her (and for Dad). I have stitched this design before on a couple of baby sleepers for other relatives, but I had to reduce the size to fit the small sleepers. It was nice to actually stitch the original design at it’s original size and it stitched very well. Unfortunately with the dark blue color of the jacket, I had to pick colors that would stand out on it, so I did not get to use the colors I would have liked to, but the colors I used worked well enough and I am happy with the end results. Hopefully, both Mom and Dad will like it too.

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My sister sent me a pattern for a crocheted snowman ornament because she knows how much I like to crochet amigurumi’s. Since I have her name for Christmas this year, I decided to make her one to go with her Christmas gift. Although the snowman was very fun to crochet and worked up really fast, I was not totally happy with the pattern. Next time I will try to make his head more round instead of so pointed. I stitched his scarf a little longer than the pattern said so I could easily tie it around his neck and it would lie against his body instead of stand out. The hard part for me as always is stitching the crocheted parts together and the face. Even though there was very little to be stitched together on this snowman, it was still a fight for me. I am not totally happy with his smile either, but it was the best one out of several tries. For his eyes I used some glue on wiggle eyes instead of the black ones the pattern used. At first, I was wishing I had used the black eyes. His wiggle eyes make him look like he has had too much Christmas nog. After having him sit on my desk and smile at me for a while, I have become fond of his face. It has given him some personality. I hope my sister likes him.

This little taste of Christmas crafting has made me want for more. So, maybe next year I will be more organized and start my Christmas sewing and crocheting in July or even better yet January.

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IMG_2160That is the number of stitches that my embroidery machine stitched on embroidery day. I completed the embroidery design on my new shirt and on 3 baby sleepers. Then I also stitched 3 designs on 3 towels for  baby bibs. The final design I embroidered was a design on a blank for a Christmas present for someone.

All in all I had a great day, and it was lots of fun. Although I did not get the 4th or 5th sleeper done that I had the fabric laid out for, I do consider the day a success. I will post more details on the designs as I post the finished items, except for the Christmas present, but with only 48 days left until Christmas you won’t  have to wait too long to see a picture of it as well.

Right now, I am excited to get sewing and get these current projects finished so I can start more. Stay tuned!

Easier Said Than Done

That quote would be in reference to me trying to make a rice bag for the first time.

One of my friends asked me to make her a rice bag. Her old one was thread bare and the insides had turned to powder. I decided to make her one as a Christmas gift. I figured that a rice bag would not take alot of time to make nor be that difficult.  The first step was to call Mom for a little bit of instructions. Mom said, “Sew the towel together, fill  and lay level with rice, divided with a yard stick, sew your seams.” This all sounded simple enough, but, oh boy, was I wrong! 

 

img_3626I bought a couple of towels at Walmart and sewed them together. Next, I filled the towel bag with rice and leveled it out on my cutting table. I then divided the rice in the bag with a sawing motion of the yard stick and lifted the bag at the crease. The rice ran to the far end of each side of the bag. So far so good. With that I went to the sewing machine and that is when the troubles began. When I laid the bag down to sew the seam, the rice of course ran back to the center seam. I pushed it out of the way as I sewed but had a hard time keeping every thing straight so ended up with a crooked seam. I thought about unpicking this seam but decided this was my first try and so did not unpick it. I went back to the cutting table, leveled the rice out in the bag and used the yard stick again to make the next seam. This seam was even harder to sew because the rice was even closer to the seam, and once again I sewed a very crooked seam. I kept going this way and fighting the rice until the second to the last seam where there was no longer any room to move the rice out of the way. That is went the needle breaking started. I broke 3 needles on that seam. Dry rice is pretty hard and when the needle would hit it they just snapped in two. On the last seam, I broke 2 more needles and called it quits. Actually, I threw the rice bag on the floor and started to yell at it. I decided I was not supposed to make a rice bag even if it sounded so easy, and even if the neighbor kid had made several as a school project. 

 

img_0574After I calmed down and I looked at the rice bag on the floor, I decided I would not be beaten by a silly rice bag. My first problem was that I had too much rice in the bag. My second problem was that I needed a better way to control the rice during sewing. So, with that I grabbed another towel and went to work. This time I started by sewing vertical columns in the towel. Then through trial and error I found that 1/3 cup of rice in each column filled a 4″ square nicely. After adding 1/3 cup to each column, I returned to the sewing machine and sewed a seam across the columns. This worked so much better. I had solved my two problems. I was dealing with less rice at a time, giving me more control over the rice. After sewing the seam, I filled each remaining column with another 1/3 cup of rice and then sewed a seam across the columns again. I continued this until the top  column. And thus had completed a nice evenly sewed rice bag. So, I guess my friend will get a rice bag for Christmas this year after all! Which is a good thing ’cause I think the only thing Santa was bringing her was Coal!

The Slump

tistheseasonIt started before we left on vacation, but I ignored it. Maybe it’s the Holiday season but I am in a creative slump. I can’t decide what to sew next, so I am just not sewing at all. I have plenty of ideas, plenty of fabric, and right at the moment a little time. I say to myself “This is your chance to do one of those project that you never have time for.” But, when I go to pull out a project, I just stare at it and say, “No, I don’t want to do that.” then poke it back in the closet. It is driving me nuts. I miss sewing, yet I don’t want to sew anything. I sat down the other day at my pattern box and sorted through my patterns to see if one would stimulate my creativity, but it just seemed too overwhelming. So, I tried making a list to prioritize some projects to get going on, but that has not helped to motivate me at all. I guess I am going to have to force myself to just do one of the projects and see if it gets me started. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions to help jumpstart my creativity?