Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yarn Bowls in Crochet

My friend Mrs. Tittlemouse, whose name comes from a Beatrix Potter character, is quite a crafty gal. She wrote about making crochet bowls on her blog here.

Being one to follow the leader, I was spurred on to copy her in trying to make similar ones.  Mrs. T's are prettier, but mine came out OK, too. Using these instructions for a crochet bowl, I made two different sized bowls.  This is a smaller one:

And this is a larger crochet bowl:

I sorta cheated on the second bowl, making it larger and without a pattern, but it worked out just fine. It is now holding yarn.  See?

Mrs. T. uses beautiful pale pinks and lavenders and and celery greens and cherry reds, her favorite colors I think, for her crochet and sewing projects.  Her pictures make me happy just gazing on them. Please take a look here at the lovely bowls she made.

I am going to use the larger crochet bowl as a roll basket on the table at Easter because the colors whisper spring to me.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thread Painting, Needle Painting

There is nothing new under the sun.  That Old Testament saying definitely applies to what I though was a "new" technique of painting with thread.  And here I thought that drawing my pup with embroidery stitches was going to be a state of the art gift for my husband.

Several years ago I painted our nine year old shih tzu Mercy, and the husband has been asking for a companion piece of our eight year old dog Libby Sweetpea to hang up in his office over his computer.

Mercy in Oils, 2006

So I decided to try and embroider the second dog using just threads to make her portrait (as a surprise Christmas present).

Half way through the project of stitching Libby Sweetpea's face in white wool threads, I found all sorts of references to thread painting.  Even an e book is available free from Quilting Daily entitled The Art of Thread Sketching: Free Thread Drawing and Thread Painting Techniques.  Just join Quilting Daily and you can download the book without charge (no charge to join Quilting Arts, either)  Excerpted from that e book:
Think of thread as you would paint: you can make dots, smooth strokes,or long, sinuous curves. Like paint,you can apply thread sparingly or very heavily.  Going over an area with several layers of thread can create wonderful texture, but you need to make sure our surface is sufficiently stabilized to support these layers without puckering. 

Pinterest has beautiful images of thread work, but does not allow for copying of their images.  If you log in, you can see stunning needlework pinned by others under the category of "needle painting" or "thread painting."

Here is a half baked version of Libby, and no, it was not completed in time for Christmas.  Still need to work on her eyes, nose and little buck tooth.

Wonder if Libby approves so far?

Updated December 30, 2014 (yes, after Christmas)...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Decorative Ice Buckets with Flowers

My mother toasting you from years ago! Note ice bucket in foreground.

(1995, Ann McCarroll)
I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.

It is that hot time of summer in the northern hemisphere, so time to make a few ice buckets.  Just because they are pretty!

Here is a link that will tell you all about how to do it.  Back in the day, I did not go to near that trouble, using a half gallon orange juice container with an empty wine bottle placed in the middle and layered flowers in the waxed juice box.  Then the entire container was frozen overnight.  After the ice block was frozen solid and just prior to serving, the waxed boxed was peeled away and discarded and wine was decanted into the empty wine bottle.

Updating on that picture from the 1990's, last week I layered flowers into a plastic bowl, freezing differing buds and flowers between one inch layers of water.  It came out almost as pretty as the what the supplied link showed. If you go over to Betty's blog, she shows one she made June 23; she suggests putting a votive candle in the middle.  That would be attractive for entertaining in the simmer dim hours.

The local craft store supplied the clear plastic container that holds the ice bucket, keeping drinks cold with extra ice cubes melting around the drinks.  This time, I did not make an indentation in the ice bucket, but did include a couple of tiny plastic fairies frozen in the ice for a teeny bit of whimsy.

That ice block held drinks cold for several hours, even in 90 degree temperatures in the shade.  A couple of friends came over yesterday for lunch and drinks on the patio.  It was almost a party!

Speaking of parties, today is Prince George's First Birthday!  His maternal grandmother, Carole Middleton, gave a Peter Rabbit themed party that the Daily Mail reported to be very 'middle class'.

read here that "the now defunct left-wing Inner London Education Authority banned him (Peter Rabbit) and his cousin Benjamin Bunny from London schools in the 1980's because it said the rabbits were too bourgeois."  Now can you imagine that Peter Rabbit would be too bourgeois? Ha! Sniff!  What would Beatrix Potter think?

Happy Birthday little Prince George!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Gift Enclosure Cards and Fiber

Everyone has favorite images saved on their computer, just because.  So take a few of your favorite pictures, sandwich them between plastic laminates or clear plastic sheets from recycled products and make some interesting gift tags or book markers with the help of your sewing machine and left over bits and bobs of ribbon, buttons or bows.  (Clear plastic sheets can be purchased at any craft store.)
Images are held between clear plastic pages, then stitched to separate pictures. Cut beside the stitching lines to create open topped envelopes.

Now an enclosure card, your business card, or just a quick "thank you" note can be slipped into the opening of the card you made.

Here are a dozen made within an hour.  (Be sure to discard your needle after sewing because the plastic will dull the point of the needle when sewing through the plastic.)

Joining in Finished Objects Friday and Fiber Arts Friday, here is a finished Looped Loop cowl made from Shetland hand dyed and hand spun wool.  It was completed right before going to Phoenix for the Scrabble tournament, but it was too warm there to wear it.  Never fear, more snow will blow in Colorado this March, so it will get lots of use.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dyeing Tencel Fabric

Apparently acid fabric dyes are not the best to use as a dye for synthetic fabrics like Tencel, according to several searches.  Acid dyes are taken up best by natural protein fibres like silk or feathers or wool. What most dyers use on synthetic fibres is a product called Procion MX.  But what I had on hand was my trusty Jacquards.  No worries, I plunged ahead using Jacquard acid dyes.  What was the worst that could happen?  Obviously I thought it was worth the risk.  The kitchen wouldn't blow up, right?

This link will lead you to a natural dyer of cotton and linen scarves, all with edges left unraveling for that couture effect.  She is French and sells her scarves for a dear price.  And they are pretty.  Go have a look.

Taking inspiration from her naturally dyed scarves, I played with a few colors on Tencel yesterday with interesting results.  Each scarf was dyed with three different compatible colors and set with steam (2 hours steaming in rice steamer), then dried and pressed.  Here are two pictures of the peachy tones and the greenish teal hues.

My husband was unimpressed and said I should hem the edges of the scarves.  What does he know.  He would not wear a scarf beautifully draped around his neck at any cost.

On to other things. I ordered a new scanner yesterday and am supposed to get it tomorrow.  The intention is to scan all the photos in all the albums collecting dust in the closet.  Once scanned, I will upload them to the heavens and see if Google asks for money for all that storage space. We shall see.  I started this scanning process a few days ago, and is it ever slow on the old clunker.  Maybe the new scanner will be miraculous and save loads of time.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sequins and Seed Beads and Styrofoam Ornaments

Ten years ago, I came across a magazine article that gave a tutorial on making ornamental holiday balls to use either as gifts, tree ornaments, or to group together in bowls for light reflection. These sequined balls look especially nice with candles placed close to the sequin and beaded balls, because the light plays off the surfaces and gives a soft, glowing effect.

In total, I have made about 20 of these sparkly ornaments, all in different sizes. 


  • Styrofoam balls in various sizes
  • 8 mm sized sequins
  • more clear plastic beads that come in one size at the craft stores, in packs of 100
  • 3/4 inch sequins (silver is preferred)
  • Beads with a hole big enough to fit on the pin and small enough that it won't slide past the head of the pin (size 9)
  • Ribbon, optional for hanging


1) Spray different sized Styrofoam balls with acrylic paint (silver or gold being the preferred color for Christmas, ensuring a base of color which will show behind the sequins);

2) after the paint is not quite dry on the Styrofoam, generously sprinkle silver or translucent glitter on the ball;

3) place a (silver) sequin on the ball, thread a seed bead through a size 9 dressmaker's pin, and then thread on a plastic bead

4) stick the threaded pin onto the sequin, holding all together, almost like a shish-ka-bob

5) repeat so that just a little of the glittery paint peeks between the sequins

Here are a few of the sparkling sequin and bead balls which we display each holiday season

Try making a few, they are fun to put together and will last forever if you carefully pack them away.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Making a Tree Fairy Ornament

Taking part in a fairy ornament holiday exchange, I first went to Pinterest to look at a few fairies.  This site from a Japanese blogger had a face that looked like it might work if I could craft it from clay or paper mache.  It appeared to be made from molding clay, so I began crafting a face with white Fimo.

After making the head and face, I stuck it on a cottonwood twig and baked it for half an hour, then wound some yarn over a pipe cleaner for fairy legs.

 Leaves and silk for her body covering

 Fairies gotta have wings!  Feathers glued underneath plastic butterfly wings, covered on the back with silk leaves in fall colors.

Now we have arms snapped off a bush

Tomorrow, the finished fairy.  Hold your breath that she actually looks like a wood fairy.  No peeking, PomPom.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shrinky Dink Charms: Downton Abbey Peeps

Making shrinky dinks is not just for kids, although they would have fun making them.  This site has a good tutorial, but you can just buy a package (six sheets per package) at your local craft store, instructions included.

These are Downton Abbey characters downloaded and printed on to the special paper (remember to dull down the colors as they become brighter once they are baked).

They are stitch markers used for knitting up this sock which is in progress.  Sock pattern here.

Linking to WOYWW.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Church Decoration for Ordinary Times

Recently, a post about Church Banners was written here with pictures of sunflowers on silk fabric.

Now all panels of fabric have been hung.  The resulting wall looks thusly:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sheep on the Wall

Why not have some sheep to keep me company in my craft room?  And maybe they could knit along with me. There's an idea.

Folk art has easy lines and is fairly quick to draw.  Inspiration came from Kathy's Needleworks in the form of canvases for needlepoint.  I copied John Blake's sheep from a canvas available at the needlework site.  After sketching them onto the wall, I then painted them in acrylics.  It is about half finished in the above picture.  If the next owner of the house does not want sheep in this room, a quick primer and another coat of paint will cover over the critters.

(Finished: inside dimensions 40" x 32")

Rough cut 2 inch firring strips frame the sheep; they are stained and add a barn-like touch.

But for now, those woolly gals are just making me happy and keeping me company while I knit Piper's Journey Shawl in a celestial blue that is 15% cashmere and 85% merino wool.

 The sheep approve.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Silk Painting continues

First posted here with an excellent tutorial on painting with silk dyes referenced here (including steam setting the dyes), this picture is the fifth dining room chair seat now finished.  The size before covering the seat was 25" x 25", with a bit of waste allowed on all sides for wrapping around the sides of the cushion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Embroidery: Urban Themes

Spending time over at the Flickr group on Urban Embroidery, some amazing artwork can be seen.  Here are some examples:

Sarah Walton has these pieces:

(I love the dimples in the back of the knees and the pensive look on the face of the dog.)
(Does this not just scream BFF! and dogs that are wary)

(Do you see these two out for coffee and the pup waiting for a bagel bite?

And from Lucky Jackson on Flickr:

You can purchase Lucky's embroidery patterns here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reupholstering Dining Room Chairs with Painted Silk

Supplies Needed to Reupholster Six Dining Room Chairs:

Silk Paints (Jacquard Brand), water based resist (note to self: purchase heavier gutta next time) and six yards of12 mm raw silk (only available on line): slubby and heaviest available.  The silk was ordered from Dharma Trading for about $6/yd.  Wash the fabric and dry in dryer on medium heat.  The product says there is an 11 percent shrinkage fabric on this silk.  This is correct!

Process: silk fabric was cut larger than the chair seat and a large canvas frame was turned over and re-purposed for stretching the silk canvas. A heavy staple gun was used to attach the fabric to the back of the canvas frame...the staples are easily removed after the project is completed.

Resist was applied and painting started.  Note: Allow paints to dry thoroughly and then steam following the technique using newsprint for wrapping and steaming (three hours).  I used this tutorial from Dharma.  Newsprint was purchased from the local art supply store.

As a learning experience, I used two types of silk fabric paint.  One product for painting on silk must be steam set for three hours to set the dyes.  The advantage of this type dye is that it allows colors to flow into one another and results in greater control of the colors.

These are a couple of pictures using this steam set type silk dye and paint brushes with the too-thin resist that spread much too freely, creating large areas that were barriers (resists) to the liquid paints.

Finished piece of painted 12mm thickness of silk before the steaming process:

This is the finished silk painting on the seat of one of the dining room chair cushions: steamed, dried, cut and stapled onto the bottom of the seat cushion:

The second type of silk dye is set by heat only (simply pressing on the back of the painted fabric with an iron set to the silk setting). This type of paint is thick and requires a $13 bottle of formaldehyde based thinner which some painters might not desire because of the associated negative environmental factors.

The above picture shows the same type resist was used (I was too frugal to purchase another gutta for the second chair cushion and wanted to start the second cushion while the first one was drying).  The paint is the heat set type product, with little room for blending colors.  Instead, the colors were applied one on top of the other.

Finished but not yet applied to the chair cushion: (note that the background is the natural color of the silk fabric):

Completed chair cushion with poppy motif:

Four more chair cushions to complete.  I will continue using the dyes requiring the steam method.  These cushions will NOT be matchy-matchy.  For people with OCD, this might make you squirmy, but it is OK in this household.

Update on 2/16/12, third chair cushion finished:

Update on 2/18/12, fourth cover completed with heat set dyes and little blending allowed:

5th chair cover:

Last one...a bird of paradise.  Who wants to sit on the bird of happiness?