Monday, November 21, 2016

November Pinterest Project

I haven't been very crafty OR stitchy lately. I'm thinking it's because my head is starting to spin a little bit because of the upcoming holidays. My December calendar is filling up with all kinds of stuff from appointments to actual fun events. Good reason? Probably not.

I did take some time to work on a project that I've been wanting to attempt for some time. It's called a captured bead chain maille bracelet and you can find the video instructions by Beadaholique right HERE.

I bought all of the supplies to make this bracelet at Michael's. I needed some 10mm jump rings, 6mm jump rings, 8mm round beads, and a clasp.

And there it is. It took me about an hour and a half to make this and that includes cat interruptions and ringing phones. I'd describe this as a good beginner project because it's all a matter of opening and closing jump rings, as well as inserting the beads.

I did take note of some comments on this video (and another similar video) about the rings moving around and then the beads falling out. Ugh. Who wants that? But I decided to try it anyway because I liked the look of this so much.

When I wore it to work I didn't have any problems with it, but earlier this week I wanted to show it to my sister, Sheila. Instead of wearing it, I stuck it in my jacket pocket because I was having trouble clasping it. (Note to self: use magnetic clasps whenever possible!). Here's what happened.
Somehow a bead worked out of it while it was in my pocket. So there was some truth to that comment after all! I've come to the conclusion that this bracelet will be ok A.) If you wear it and it fits well and B.) If you store it in a place where you can keep it straight and it won't get jostled around.

Next I wanted to know if it could be fixed by removing and replacing a couple of loops. The answer for me was "no". As soon as I removed the necessary loops, the next bead would fall out, and so on. I ended up re-doing the bracelet from the mishap to the end. And that wasn't too bad as the one that fell out originally was only the third one from the end. But after I thought about this for a while, I think there might be a easier repair method. Hmmmm, I'll try it if this happens again.
If it fell out in the middle of the bracelet, I would have had much more work to do.
Yay, it's repaired!
Would I make this bracelet again? I would, but only after buying different gauge jump rings. In the comments section of the video mentioned above, there is a link to some information on the recommended materials for a similar (more elaborate) project that uses some of the same rings. Honestly, I don't know what gauge jump rings I used; it didn't say on the package. So I would definitely look into that.

To sum it up, it's a really pretty and unique bracelet, and I'll keep wearing it. I'll always be on alert for escaping beads though.

I'll be back soon to show you the stitching I've (kind of) been working on lately!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Spooky October Pinterest Adventure

I'll admit that I haven't done much in the way of Halloween decorating in the past 10 years or so. This is especially true of the outside, where it's more of a fall theme, with a couple of potted mums and a pumpkin on the porch. But it seems that each year we get more and more trick-or-treaters at our house, so I decided to do something about the outside decor.

I saw this idea on Pinterest one day and thought it was so cute.
Some of you may recognize this little guy as Cousin It! And for those of you who don't know, he was a recurring character on a 60's TV show called The Addams Family. I know they made at least one movie about The Addams Family, but I don't know if Cousin It made an appearance.

Here's a picture of the little guy from the TV show.
I found the idea to make this on the Halloween Forum and you can get the really, really easy directions HERE. It's more of a list of stuff you'll need, but easy enough to figure out what to do. I improvised a bit and used three tomato cages, a Hawaiian party table skirt, sunglasses and a hat. The instructions say to use a wig head, but I didn't see a need for it. The hat perches perfectly well right on top of the tomato cages.

One other thing that I did was to attach both the hat and sunglasses to the tomato cages with yarn. We've had some pretty windy days and I could just see chasing that hat down the street! And for extra security, we anchored him to the ground with some things that looked like giant two-pronged metal things that look like elongated staples. I have to apologize for not knowing what they are, but right when I mentioned that he's probably get knocked down on a windy day, Mark said "We can use these!".

So not too spooky, but rather fun and cute, right? The kids who see him may not know who he is, but it's still something that might make them laugh. Oh, and I also mummified my front door with some bandages. Just a little more Halloween silliness.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Can Ikea!

Ikea is well known for its creative, unusual furniture, and also for its determination to make us all expert furniture assemblers. I didn't get any furniture, but instead placed an order for a Raskog Utility Cart. I had seen this particular cart in a lot of blog posts, especially ones which featured crafters' work rooms. This little cart looked like a practical and useful addition to my craft room, and at $29.99 (plus shipping) was a pretty good bargain.

So let the assembly begin! The box it came in was packed securely which kept all of the pieces in good condition during shipping. I quickly found the instructions, which, in true Ikea form, contained no words. There are only pictures with helpful arrows and close ups.

I started by making sure all of the parts were there and laying them out as I needed them. I also got out my trusty tool kit that I keep in the craft room.
Determined as I was to put this cart together by myself, I soon realized that for some of the steps, an extra pair of hands was necessary. So I enlisted Mark, who was happy to help. I do have to say, though, that I did most of the assembly myself. Yay. And it ended up being a very easy project, thanks to the good quality of the pieces and to the well-drawn instructions.
And there it is! The completed cart is sturdy and functional. The wheels roll easily on bare floors. I believe they'd also roll well on carpet, but I haven't tried that yet. The cart is great for storage, or for holding materials for a current project. That way you can keep your work table clear.

I am very happy with this cart and would recommend it if you need extra storage or just a handy organizer. The Raskog cart also comes in beige and reddish brown. I liked putting it together, but I don't know if I'm ready for a major piece of Ikea furniture!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pinterest Project For September

I don't know about you, but I get a lot of suggested pins on my Pinterest feed. They know that I like various crafts, so they send all kinds of crafty ideas my way. I kept seeing pins for coasters made of maps and I thought they were pretty cute. And practical. My son had just moved into a new apartment, which would become his and Steph's first apartment together. I decided to try some of these coasters for a cool housewarming gift for them. They have a lot of significant cities in their lives so I thought these would be perfect.

The instructions I used are no longer available on Pinterest, so I found a similar set of directions that you can use if you want to try these. Click HERE for the how-to's provided on the blog "Recycled Interiors".

I started with some 4X4 inch tiles that I found on Amazon. You can definitely find these at home improvement stores as well.
I made a template slightly smaller than the tile out of thin cardboard.
I didn't have an old atlas or any old maps to cut up, so I found a 2007 atlas on Ebay! Apparently people other than me find these useful. Using my template, I cut out squares of six different cities.

Next, each paper map was glued onto the tile with Mod Podge. I then coated each map with a layer of Mod Podge. Each one eventually got three coats of Mod Podge. I waited 24 hours between each coat because I read somewhere that this would prevent bubbling. I did have an issue with bubbling anyway - not too bad, but I was still slightly annoyed by this because I glued the paper on so carefully, smoothing out all bubbles. With each coat of Mod Podge however, some of the coasters would bubble up again. Luckily most of the bubbling dissipated as the Mod Podge dried.

When the Mod Podge was completely dry, I used a clear acrylic sealer spray to seal them. And this also caused some bubbling! Ack! Again, I waited 24 hours between each additional coat of sealer, ending up with three coats. If that sounds like overkill, I reasoned that I wanted these to be very durable.

I found some thin cork at Joann's and that worked perfectly for the backing. I used the template to cut out squares of cork and glued them on with craft glue. And here's how they looked when completed.
I liked creating these, and am happy with the result. When completely dry, the bubbling that occurred wasn't too bad. Only time will tell how they hold up, but I have a feeling that they'll look great for a long time. Matt and Steph liked them and that makes me glad.

I would recommend this project. Think about how many other kinds of paper you could use to make these - wrapping paper, origami paper, or scrapbook paper. Just think of the possibilities to craft some really unique coasters!

If you decide to make some of these, I'd like to see your finished product!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Secret Project Is Revealed

You may remember my mentioning my secret project in previous posts. I'm going to reveal it today, and the reason for the secret project is my excuse for not posting for most of September.

You see, last Saturday, September 17th, was the wedding day of our son, Matt, and our beautiful new daughter-in-law, Stephanie. My secret project was a wedding gift for them.
The design is "Two Shall Be As One" by My Big Toe. I chose a natural linen color for the fabric and used DMC bright white for all of the stitching. I enjoyed stitching this and love the way the border looks like lace. Sorry for the crooked photo, but I was trying to avoid glares and shadows. Good excuse.
A little closer and a little straighter.  

Some will ask why I didn't stitch this in a color, and the reason is that I really wanted that "wedding day" effect, with the white lace look.

And here's a photo of the happy couple.
I guess I was so preoccupied with the wedding that I ignored my blog a little, but I think that's a good reason, right? So now I'm back to stitching, concentrating on my blocks for the Rainbows for Peace and Comfort Facebook group. You can find out more info about this project HERE.

And speaking of stitching, who has seen the 2016 issue of Just Cross Stitch's Christmas Ornament issue? I think this is one of the best issues I've seen in a few years. It's just full of lovely projects. I'd like to stitch some for Christmas, but that will depend on my progress on other stitching projects. Isn't that the way it always is?

So check out this issue and see what you think. Which designs will be your favorites?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Talented And Crafty Friends

From time to time I like to include the craftiness of others in my blog. I hope that you like it. I feel that we would all be missing out on something if these non-bloggers' work isn't shown. I call this segment "Other Peoples' Creations" I haven't featured this in a long time, so today is our lucky day.

One of the reasons we look at crafting blogs is to see what everyone is up to in the creative world. Let's not let this creativity go unnoticed! This post is picture-heavy but I hope you'll have fun seeing all of the gorgeousness.

First off is Peggy's "Angel Of Summer" by Lavender & Lace. Peggy really likes to stitch big projects and is mostly a one-project-at-a-time stitcher. Nothing wrong with that. That kind of discipline is why she always completes complicated and large stitching projects in such a beautiful way.
All framed.
I've included a couple of close-ups so that you can see the detail. Look at that flower garland, so detailed.

My sister, Sheila, and I recently went to a wire wrapping class at a local bead store. It was fun and I did learn a lot, but Sheila is definitely the more talented wire worker of the two of us. At our last stitch day, she gave this as a gift.
Sheila took her wire wrapping skills and ran with it, creating this necklace made with wire-wrapped beads and wrapped loops. Just gorgeous!

Thea is talented at the sewing machine. She showed our group her latest project, a sewing/cross stitch organizer. She used quilted fabric in coordinating colors.
I really like this. It's such a pretty to carry all of your necessities! Thea calls this a prototype, but I don't think there's much to improve on!

In just two short weeks, Stephanie will become my daughter-in-law. She is also a talented knitter, quilter, stitcher, and seamstress. It's wonderful to have these shared interests and I always like seeing what Steph has created. Here's her latest.
Just look! A sweater! As someone who doesn't knit, I appreciate knitters' work all the more. And when you can make something that can actually be worn, it's more amazing to me. It looks so professional and well made. I'm sure that this will be perfect for those Boston winters. Oh, and the orange/yellow/red quilt in the background is another of Steph's projects.

Last and definitely not least, is a gift that I received from my friend, Suzanne, quite a few years ago. I don't know why I've never featured this here, but I'm finally going to show it off.
Yes, Suzanne made this beautiful knitted and felted bag just for me. I just love it. When I'm not using the bag, it is on display in the craft room.

I hope that you like this edition of "Other Peoples' Creations". I just believe that it's so inspiring to see what other crafters make.

Come on back to my CraftyCat blog and see what's going on. Comments are always appreciated, and I love getting new followers!

Friday, August 26, 2016

August Pinterest In Purple

As you probably know, I really like making beaded bracelets. One craft item I've never attempted to us is memory wire. I just never liked the idea of it, but lately I've seen many pretty memory wire bracelets on Pinterest and changed my mind. No clasps, no crimps, and how easy these are to put on your wrist!

I searched Pinterest for the best tutorial and found this one by Beading Times. Obviously I didn't follow this tutorial to a T. I used it for the basic technique and I like it because it's complete and very thoroughly explained. Another tutorial that I saw explained the process very well, but left out one important piece of information that every memory wire newbie should know. Pay attention here because this is crucial: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT cut memory wire with regular wire cutters because it could destroy your cutters! You will need (as specifically mentioned in the Beading Times video) a pair of memory wire cutters.
Who knew? I'm glad that I found out about this because I had purchased the wire and was all set to go and would have just used the wire cutters in my jewelry tools collection. Luckily enough, I saw mention of these specific cutters and ordered a pair from Amazon. Memory wire is made of steel and is extremely tough to cut and bend.

And this is what I came up with.
I'm not a good wired loop maker, but the loops I made were good enough to hold the beads on securely. Notice how I added charms to each loop to distract the eye from my less-than-perfect loops. And also because they look cute.
So what do you think, fellow crafting fans? For me, the result is good! It was an easy and quick project. I think it took me longer to choose the beads than to make the actual bracelet! Have fun with this - choose different bead combinations and you can choose more or less strands (or layers). Also, using smaller beads would result in an entirely different look.

I am extremely pleased with this project and give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. I'll be making more of these!