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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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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!

I put a Curse on You, You evil Fabric Sale you!

Joann’s last sale featured some basic sewing supplies I was running low on, so I decided to take a journey to the sale. Before we left, the husband handed me an emailed coupon for 20% off my purchase including all regular and sales prices. Excited at the thought of saving even more on the supplies I needed, we headed for the store.

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When we got to the store, my list of needed supplies was quickly put in my pocket as the first rack of fabric was all leftover holiday prints 60% off. 60% off was a great price but then add my 20% off on top of that and I was in sale heaven! I quickly filled the cart with bolts and bolts of wonderful fabric which included holiday Snoopy and Mickey Mouse in both cottons and fleeces. After the cart was too heavy to push, I made my way to the cutting tables to have it cut.

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On the way to the cutting tables, I passed the licensed prints, at 40% off for the sale. You can do the math, 40% sale plus 20% coupon. How much more can I fit in the cart? How much more can I fit in the trunk of the car? How much more can I fit in the stash? Without answering these important questions, several more bolts of precious fabric made its way to the cutting table with me.

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After spending a fair amount of time at the cutting table, the husband, who is a real trooper, reminded me of the list of supplies that we really came for. It did not take long to pick those up and then we were off to the registers.

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After ringing up my piles of fabric and needed supplies, the young man behind the register handed me a coupon for 30% my total purchases for next week. The husband about burst into tears and I started to plan my trip to Joann’s next week to shop the sales again.

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And yes I do have to keep reminding the husband that if the apocalypse happens in the near future that I will always be able to trade fabric for food. If it wasn’t for that, I’m unsure he would let me continue to purchase more and more fabric for the stash.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Christmas time around the world and for the different religious beliefs means lots of different things to lots of different people. But in my experience, everyone does similar things around the holiday’s no matter where you live or what you believe.

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It usually involves traveling somewhere to spend time with friends, family and loved ones. Church, School and Work Holiday celebrations and parties. Enjoying all of the yummy foods and treats that seem to be everywhere you look this time of year. Looking at all the pretty lights and decorations. Trying to figure out that perfect gift for that perfect someone.

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I’m normally very busy at work during the holiday season so I don’t have a lot of time for Christmas sewing or crafts but I do what I can, when I can.

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For past Christmas seasons I have made new Holiday Table Runners, Tablecloths, Place mats and Napkins for the big family Christmas dinner at my house. One year I made a bunch of Toll Painted Snowmen as party gifts for one of our Christmas Parties. And other years I have made a new Christmas Shirt or Sweater to wear around the Holidays. One year I even made a festive Holiday Apron, so that I could wear it while I was making the several hundred Frosted Sugar Cookies I make every year to give away.

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This year I enjoyed making a few fun creations from the Christmas Things to Stitch and Sew book and it was also fun to follow along on Nancy Zieman’s 12 days of Christmas Blog Posts.

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What fun Christmas sewing and crafts did you get done this year? Share your thoughts in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

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Wishing you all a Happy and Joyous Holiday Season and Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men and Women!

Merry Christmas 2010!

Here is wishing you a most Joyous Holiday Season, a Very Merry Christmas, Bodhi Day (Rohatsu), Chanukah/Hannukah, Id al-Adha, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Yule, and any others I missed! I know that I have international readership and if I did miss yours please let me know what it is called by leaving me a comment and telling me when and how you celebrate your Christmas, Yule-Time, Yule-Tide, Winter Solstice, Winter Festival, etc. in your country.

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I would like to take this time to thank you for reading my blog this past year and I hope that it in some way gave you inspiration to do something creative. I really only started it as a personal journal for myself to keep notes of different things I had done in the past and what worked and didn’t work and maybe help someone else out along the way.

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I very much hope that it has done at least that for you.

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I know that we are all busy this time of year for the Holiday’s and the last thing on most people’s checklist to do is read a blog, but I would like to thank you again for taking the time to read mine when you can.

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I would hope that if you would like to see something covered or even if you don’t like something on here you would let me know in the comments so I can try to do a better job in the coming New Year!

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-Lanita