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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!

2015 Christmas Card Picture

 

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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Look WHOO’s Here For Thanksgiving!

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As I made my list this year of the many things that I am thankful for, I decided to include my fabric stash in the list.

YES! I am VERY thankful for my fabric stash!

Like a fine wine, it is a place for my fabric to age and rest until it is time to be sewn into something wonderful. It seems that the fabric I buy HAS to spend a certain amount of time in the stash to age and breath before I can use it.

That was not true for this fabric though…

Joann’s had a doorbuster sale on holiday fabric. At 60% off, how could I not buy some? Sitting on the doorbuster deal shelf was this cute Thanksgiving owl printed fabric. When I saw it, I knew I wanted a shirt made from it. So, I bought enough fabric to make me a typical shirt with it. Off I went straight home with it to the sewing room, bypassing the stash completely.

DSCN3819I pushed all of my other sewing projects aside and got started on my new Thanksgiving shirt straight away!

This was a very odd feeling for me…

Here I was ready to prep and cut this fabric within hours of purchasing it, and it had not yet spent its allotted time in the stash to properly breath and age. I blame the recently made Snoopy shirt for this reckless use of fabric on my part. After cutting and sewing such a precious fabric as the snoopy fabric, why not try using another recently purchased fabric?

I started the construction process by pre-washing the fabric and I am so happy that I did not skip this step.

This fabric shrank. A LOT!

DSCN3820I could still get my shirt from it but there would be little to no scraps remaining when I was done. After washing and ironing the fabric, I pulled out my collarless button front basic sloper pattern and the cutting process started.

Knowing that I had just enough fabric to make this shirt, I tried to cut carefully, but I did not cut carefully enough. I cut two right facings, and I did not have enough fabric left to cut a left facing. Since the facing on this shirt will not be seen, I thought about making the facings from a different fabric, but as I fiddled with the scraps of this fabric that was left, I determined I could cut the left facing from the scraps if I put a seam across the middle of the facing. Once again, since the facings will not be seen, I decided to try the seamed facings first. If it looked bad or was bulky or messed with the buttons or buttonholes, I could always cut out some new facings from a different fabric.

DSCN3821So with that, I began the process of sewing it into a finished garment.

The sewing of this shirt went smoothly. I have made this basic sloper many times without problems. When the shirt was completed, you would not have known that I had to piece the left facing together. The seam did not add any bulk to the front of shirt and it is in between the third and fourth button so no one will know it is there but me.

IMG_2870The shirt wore great as I gobbled down turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie in it on Thanksgiving Day.

The shirt is very comfortable and I have received a few compliments on it.

So with that I will add one more thing I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful to have a fun Thanksgiving shirt for one of my favorite holidays. I am also thankful that I did not make this fabric spend a year or two in the stash before sewing it up into this shirt.

I have wore it all month long now and with November nearly over, I can’t wait for next year just so I can wear it again!

Until then, sew forth and gobble till ya wobble on!

Who’s the Ghostest with the Mostest? Candy Filled Ghosts For Halloween!

Halloween Ghosts 2015 - 6 Red-ANIMATION

Look who’s giving out the Halloween candy this year! It is these cute Halloween crocheted ghosts and friends. These crocheted ghosts have their cups filled with Halloween candy ready for the trick or treaters to come a knocking.

I love Halloween time, the candy, the costumes, the fall weather, but especially the Halloween crafting. Whether its baking monster cookies, making a big pot of harvest squash or pumpkin soup, sewing up a cool new spooky costume or crocheting up a spooky ghost or two, I love this time of year for crafting.

So, it was not hard when I found this fun crocheted ghost candy container pattern from Twinkie Chan, to set my current amigurumi projects aside, and make several of these ghosts instead.

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The pattern for these ghost candy containers is quite simple. A ghost shape is crocheted and placed on top of a candy filled yogurt cup. The only bummer part of these ghosts is that I had to eat yogurt to get the containers. So, after I ate a yogurt, I throughly washed and dried the empty yogurt cup and then I got to crocheting!

I followed the pattern for the first ghost and he came out with a flat head. I did not like the flat head, so on the rest of the ghosts that I made, I added two extra rounds, one after the third round and one after the fourth round, to make a more rounded head. I also followed the pattern for the ruffle at the bottom of the first ghost, but after that I let my imagination go wild and picked a different ruffle design and flare for the other ghosts. So, the rest of the ghosts that I made had differing ruffles and flares or no ruffle or flare at all.

DSCN3554When it came time for faces, the husband offered to help, and I willingly accepted his help. (I am so thankful that the husband does not mind helping me with my crafting projects.) The husband first printed me out some ghostly faces to be used as templates and we cut them out of black felt. I knew I wanted a evil face for the first flat headed ghost but the other faces were completely at random, except for the ghost with no ruffle.

The husband had the brilliant idea of making that ghost a Charlie Brown ghost. So, after cutting many ovals from the black felt, the ovals were glued on randomly to copy Charlie Brown’s ghost costume from the show, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Of course, this ghost is now my favorite of the bunch since I am a huge Peanuts Gang fan!

DSCN3611I placed my crocheted ghosts with their black felt faces on their yogurt cups and declared them done, but the husband had other thoughts. One day while I was at work, he removed the yogurt cups and gave them a spooky coat of paint. He let his imagination run wild as he painted one of the cups with both orange and black paint, and added a face to another orange cup so it matched its ghost cover. It was a real surprise when I got home from work so see the painted cups which made these ghosts even more Halloween spirited.

The ghosts are now done and filled with candy, waiting to be treats for friends and family on All Hallows Eve. But, I wasn’t done Halloween crafting just yet. When I came across the ghost candy container pattern, I also came across this pattern for a candy corn rat. The pattern looked like fun, so I got crocheting right away. This rat was easy to crochet and stitch together and soon enough, Cornrat, the candy corn colored rat, was ready to help the ghosts pass out the Halloween candy this year.

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But wait, I was not done yet! I still needed a few other small ghosts to give away as gifts. So I found this fun tiny pocket pal ornament ghost pattern and it was just the right size and shape that I was looking for. This little ghost took about an hour to make from start to finish so I made two. I added an extra row to the top of the second ghost just to see if I liked a rounder head, but I don’t think the more rounded head added anything to this little ghosts cuteness.

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These little ghosts were a quick make and turned out great. I wanted one of the ghosts that I was giving away to be a girl, so on the way to deliver the ghost, I picked up some pink fabric paint and gave the little ghost some little pink cheeks. The recipient of the little girl ghost liked the ghost and its pink cheeks and thought it was really cute.
Halloween snuck up on me this year since my Summer was so crazy, so I did not do as much crafting as I usually do for this holiday, but what I did do was lots of fun. I had a great time making these Halloween projects and especially enjoyed the husbands help with them. I can’t wait for next year to do some more Halloween crafting.

Until then, Halloween Craft forth, and Holiday on!

Halloween 2015 Complete Ghosts 2-ANIMATION

Down, down into the briny deep we go! Where we will stop, nobody knows!

ARRpostcardRR!

Ahoy thar’ Me Matey’s!

Please be forgiven me for it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day and I’ve nothin’ ta say to ya robbers, scoundrels and thieves that be reading’ this here parchment of a declaration!

Bfootonchestsut please be enjoying’ yer day off from the netherworld as tomorrow I may have something’ more ta say to ye!

So off with the lot of ya. And be stayin’ out of trouble on this pirates bounty of a holiday or ya will be forced to walk the plank, the whole lot of ya!

Yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me! I’ll be off to findin’ me some RUM for to quench my ever lovin’ thirst!

Many landlubbers be offering’ FREE BOOTY on this day! Check out Long John Silvers Fish and Chips and Krispy Kreme Rings of Joy (Doughnuts). They be offering’ up FREE GRUB today!

Enjoy this here pirate video from the two pirate scalliwags that started it all!

Here be a great humorous tutorial in How to Speak Like a Pirate (PROPERLY)

So ye have decided that ye want to be a pirate have you? This here video be the one ya be searching’ for!

Here be a list of some great pirate moving pictures ya be wanting’ to watch!

And enjoy these other small bites of humor while ye be at it! ARRRR!

Dave Berry’s 24 hour Pirate Blog was the best! Ya be findin’ it here!

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pirate-day

Doubling the Edge

dscn0498dscn0527On one of my journeys into the stash, I ran across two fleece blanket kits that I had purchased on clearance many years ago. “Why had I purchase these?” I wondered to myself. A John Deer Blanket? A Christmas Blanket? “What was I thinking?”

Well I will tell you what I was thinking, they were cheap and they were fleece and they were blankets and I needed them to live in the stash. But alas, their time had finally come. They would no longer just live in the stash. They were blankets and since it would soon be getting cold, they needed to be made into blankets and used as blankets. I would not be keeping these blankets once they were made. They needed to go to a good home and to live with someone who needed a blanket. And even though they would be leaving, I would still get the pleasure of transforming them from a kit in to a useable blanket, and that is the real reason of why I bought them.

dscn0506Prepping the fleece was the first step in this adventure. At first I thought about making 4 single layered blankets from the two kits, but then I decided to make the kits just as they came and to make two double layered blankets. Because I wanted to crochet around the blankets instead of just cutting and knotting the edges, I had to attach the two layers together before I could use the skip stitch blade to make my edges to crochet.

Sewing the wrong sides together and turning the blanket, like I would if I was using flannel, would have given me too bulky of a seam with the 4 layers of dscn0528fleece along the edge. And I did not want that bulky edge.

Because the fleece would not ravel like flannel would, I decided to skip the turning part. So, after squaring the fleece, I held the wrong sides together and sewed along the edge of the blanket, about 1/4 inch in. This made the edge of the blanket only two layers thick. Next, using the skip stitch blade, I cut 1/2 inch from the edge of the blanket to make the slits for crocheting. I did not cut off the dotted lines part of the top fleece. These dotted lines were the cutting guide to be used if you were knotting the edge of the blanket together. I did not think the lines looked bad around the design and it made the blanket just that much larger.

dscn0505With the skip stitch portion done, it was time to start crocheting. Since both blankets were in masculine colors, I decided to make a simple edge, with no scoops or scallops.

The first row was the foundation row into the skip stitch cuts. For the second row I changed to the complimentary color and did a chain 3, skipping every other stitch. Changing back to the foundation row color, the third row was a chain 3 and then slipstitched into each of the second dscn0530rows chain 3.

I have made this edge several times before on baby blankets and it is a quick crochet and I love the look of it when it is done.

One difference between these blankets and some other blankets I have made, was that I got quite warm under these larger fleece double blankets while I was crocheting the edges compared to a lighter flannel baby blanket. This was actually ok this time of year, but I will not be making any of these large double thick fleece blankets in July.

Now that they are completed, these blankets are ready to find a needed home.

Until next time, crochet forth and blanket on!

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!

Halloween Time

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IMG_0012P1040200Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. I enjoy the decorations, the costumes and the candy. Each year, I like to make some new Halloween amigurumi’s. This year I made two, a devil and a ghost.

I found the devil’s pattern on Ravelry. I like the pattern, but I loved the devil one crocheter had made from a red and black variegated yarn. I knew this had to be one of my Halloween amigurumi projects for this year. My sources for purchasing yarn are limited, but I kept an eye out for some red and black variegated yarn.

While in Joann’s one time, I came across the Red Heart Team Spirit yarns and there was a red and black variegated skein. It did not really look like the yarn from the other devil that I had seen but it was the best that I had found so far. So I purchased a skein of it and I got started stitching it up.

IMG_0018IMG_0020The pattern for this devil is well written and crocheting the parts was fun to make. Unfortunately, the Red Heart Team Spirit yarn is not really a true variegated yarn. It is a long section of red then a long section of black and so on. So this did not give me the look I wanted, but the pieces of the devil were turning out cute anyway, so I kept crocheting.

I could have saved the money spent on this speciality yarn though and just used separate red and black yarns for a similar look. The devil stitched together nicely and his tail turned out very cute. I like the heart shaped point at the end. I also really like his folded arms, one of the features that attracted me to the pattern.

All in all, this devil turned out quite cute and is a fun addition for Halloween.

DSCN0514DSCN0516The next Halloween amigurumi I made was a ghost. What enticed me about this pattern was the bottom of the ghost.

As you crochet the bottom of the ghost, you decrease on one side of the round and increase on the other side of the same round. When it is time to stuff the ghost, part of the bottom is already crocheted together, so there is less to be stitched closed.

With the increasing and decreasing on this ghost, I was having difficulty keeping track of which round I was on while crocheting. I had to keep counting the rounds from the head down. This was a pain and it was taking a lot of time away from the crocheting. I finally wrote the rounds I had left to crochet on a post it note, and marked them off as I stitched each round. This worked great. I will remember this trick if I have a counting problem again on other amigurumi’s.

DSCN0521DSCN0520I did not add safety eyes to this ghost as I crocheted it. My intention was to use wiggle eyes when it was done, but when it came time to attach them, they just did not look good. This lead me to use some felt eyes.

After trying several variations, I decided on the three layer black and white eyes that I made. I tried a yarn smile on the ghost but that did not look good either so I tried a frown, then a jagged line. Nothing looked good. As I debated over the design of the mouth, I dropped one of the felt pieces I had been cutting for the eyes onto the ghost and the black “boo” shaped mouth came to life.

This round felt mouth was perfect fit for this ghost.

While making this pattern I had my doubts along the way, especially with the eyes and mouth, that this guy would turn out ok. Not only did he turn out ok but he turned out great. I think he is fun and ready to do some scaring on Halloween.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Until next time, Crochet forth and get your scare on…

ItsHalloween