Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow time is kid project time

Look at all this beautiful snow that we've had this last week.  Can anyone say snow man time!  Then coco with lots or marshmallows.  


Snow time is also project time, and snow puppy time.  Notice that the snow puppy has a stick tail, because no snow puppy is complete without a proper tail.

Awhile back my boys wanted some angry birds t-shirts.  We couldn't find any in their sizes at the stores so I had an idea that I could stencil some on plain t-shirts for them.  I had the shirts and the paint but not really a whole lot of time.  Then my mom sent the kids some official angry birds shirts that she bought in the States, and the project got shelved indefinitely.

Because of all the snow this week, the kids and I have spent a lot of time in-doors warming up after our outdoor snow related activities.  To keep my sanity I needed to find some projects for them to do.Thus, I revisited the angry bird t-shirt project with one minor adjustment.  They could paint the shirts for themselves. 


After I set up the shirts by backing them with freezer paper and a small sheet of cardboard so the paint would not seep through to the back, I asked each boy to paint their own version of an angry bird shirt.  My goal was to not interfere with them or give them examples or pictures to draw from.  I want to help them to learn how to properly use different artistic mediums, but I don't want to control or limit their own creative ideas.


While the boys worked diligently on their projects, I had the opportunity to watch each boy's artistic process.  Normally, I'm too involved in directing their progress or keeping the peace to observe how each child works.  My five-year old just dives right in.  He is spontaneous.  My eight-year-old is a planner.  He plans out his design and will sit looking at the blank spot he wants to fill for minutes before deciding what to paint.  


My little son decided to go with a star wars angry bird theme.  I just love his pink angry bird and his bomb angry bird.  My older son went more traditional with the pigs, stolen eggs, and angry birds.  I had to laugh when I noticed that both my artists signed their work. :)

I'm so glad that I stepped back and let the boys do what they wanted.  It's a fine line between teaching without controlling, and I'm just amazed with how good their shirts turned out without any additional mommy help.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Crochet Christening Gown

Another week has passed already?  Where does the time go?  I've been working on more crochet, some quilt blocks, and school work again.  I tolerate enjoy college, but I think I've gone insane again this semester by taking two classes at the same time.  It's just a lot of stress, and it really cuts into my crafting and blogging time!

But, my lack of substantial progress on other projects gives me an opportunity to share the crochet christening gown that I finished back in the fall.  I started this project without any real plan on who I was making it for.  I was only going to test the neck line to see if I liked it, and then I just kept trucking away at it over the next three months.


I love the simplicity of this gown accented by a detailed neckline and gathered sleeve.  The pattern calls for size 20 crochet thread, but I went up to size 10 and this increased the gown to a 6 month size.

It's not a hard pattern, but it gets a bit tedious after row 40 and the small metal hooks hurt my fingers if I go for more than an hour.

You can find the pattern here, or you can go to it's Ravelry page here.


Once I finished the gown, I decided that it had to have a bonnet to go with it.  Yep, that's me.  I spend 3 months making a homeless christening gown and then once it was all done I decide that it had to have a bonnet!  I'm starting to see a pattern in my life :)

I came up with a few different designs for bonnets, since I was making a blessing bonnet for my sister's baby (she already had a christening gown that's been passed down in our family, but the matching bonnet got lost somewhere along the way).

This bonnet has a spiral back and then shells on the sides and front.  It is the more feminine bonnet, and the shells match the gown skirt.



The second bonnet is more masculine with a ribbed band at the front and an eight pointed star on the back.  This one is very similar to the one that I made for my sister's little boy, and I was trying to balance pretty and heirloom without going frilly so that it would look right for a boy.



One of these day's I'll finish writing up these patterns to share.  I actually sold this gown and one of the bonnets on my Etsy shop.  I just started my shop a few months ago and it really has nothing in it yet, but I'm trying to get some good pictures of the crocheted items that I make so that I can do custom hats and other items through Etsy.  I love to shop on Etsy and have to give credit to all those people who have established shops.  It's not easy getting all the photography together and deciding on prices.

For those who don't know what Etsy is, you have to check it out at because it's a wonderful site for hand made goods and supplies.  I love shopping there and have many favorite sellers that are just incredible.  It's addictive. :)      

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Antique Rose Crochet Hat

Last week I was telling you all about the numerous crochet hats and legging that I've been making here lately. I wanted to share some images of my designs, but my portable little blue Nikon has been taking kinda iffy pictures (might be operator error) so I haven't had a lot to show.  Thanks to a my beautiful model and customer Kacey, I've got a really nice shot of my new wildflower hat in a chic black and pink color combination that Kacey requested.

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 I've made this design in a few color combinations for little girls, but this is my first one in a ladies sized hat. The goal was to keep it whimsical while making it romantic and chic. I wish that you could see the shades of pink and mauve in the flowers a bit better, but black hats are notoriously hard to photograph well.  The colors are much nicer in person.

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I think that the color combination and the scale of the wildflowers brings it all together. Of course, the best accessory that a nice hat can have is a beautiful woman to wear it :)


I know that the wildflower I'm using has probably been done before, but if anyone wants to make this simple four petal crochet wildflower, I've included some instructions below. I don't really write patterns for other people so I hope this is understandable.

Four Petal Wildflower
Hook: K
Yarn: Worsted weight Vanna's choice

1. ch 4, slst in 1st ch to form a ring
2. in ring, ch3, 2dc, ch2, slst; *ch 2, 2dc, ch 2, slst* 3 times weave ends around ring and cinch it up slightly.

Green accents
Take a length of green yarn and loop it in each petal spaces twice. Weave ends at the back leaving a long tail to use as the leaf. Using the tail and an F hook, ch 9; pull end through the last ch and then weave excess yarn up and down back through the chain towards the flower. Secure the ends under the flower.

My flowers end up just under 2 inch in diameter.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Blogaversary and Buttons

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I can't believe that it's already been a year since I started posting on this blog. Wow, the time has flow by and I'm proud to say that I had a few good posts and lots of fun with the many people that I've met in the blogging community. Thank you all for making this experience fun and rewarding.  Let's have a birthday donut to celebrate!

Lately, I've been making a ton of hats and leggings for my local people. Many of these hats feature button accents using the vintage buttons that I have in my stash. Lots of these buttons have great shapes, but the color is not right for my project or the white makes them look cheap. The solution, dye. Yep, you can dye many plastic buttons with plain ol' Rit dye. They have instructions on their web site on how to do it.


I love these buttons because they look like smarties candies, but the white doesn't do anything for me.  I followed the Rit dye instructions, but I wanted a much deeper color so I ended up leaving mine in the dye bath for about 1hr along with this next set of buttons that I also just love because of there unusual texture.  Don't they look much more elegant and expensive in the brown.


I think that they really turned out great and for those of you who have wanted to try button dying, it really does work. The only thing I might warn you about is to test your color combinations out before committing special buttons to the dye bath.  I wanted a brown with a hint of green so I used dye combination brown #3 using 1tsp of Coco brown and 1tsp of dark green in the powder.


You can also use the dye bath to tint colored buttons.  I have a set of pink buttons that are super cute, and I wanted to use them on a pink and mauve hat that I made.  The problem was that they were just too bright, so I brought them down a notch in the same dye bath that I used on the other buttons.  The only difference is that I only left them in for about 1.5 minutes so that they were only tinted and didn't completely loose their pink coloring.


The brown buttons go much better with this green hat than they would have if they were left white.  While this is not really economical to do for just a small amount of buttons (since dye costs about $2 a box), it would be worth it for a larger batch of buttons or for coloring special buttons that you want to use on a specific project.  I defiantly will be doing this again in the future.
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