Figure It Out Friday…

…Or what the heck should I do with these. 

I’m taking the day off crafting today because of a silly crafty mishap.  Wednesday I poked my finger with a pin, we’ve all done it, it hurts, there’s usually a little cussing, a little blood, and we get over it, but not this time.  All that pop tab crochet has aggravated it and that little poke is now infected and very tender.  Don’t worry I’ve soaked it in hydrogen peroxide and now it’s covered in antibiotic ointment and a Yoda band-aid and I’m sure it will be all better soon, so in the meantime I’m back to cleaning and unearthing crafting treasures from my basement.

Years ago (like six or seven) I worked at the Holiday Inn delivering room service.  In room service everything is little and fancy (and overpriced): tiny little salt and pepper shakers, miniture bottles of soda, and a itty bitty jars of mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise.  Little glass jars, with metal lids and I couldn’t just throw them out.  I have at least 100 of these little jars (probably a lot more), 1.2 oz., metal lids, glass, and about 2 inches tall.  They’re so cute and smaller than baby food jars (I have some of those too).figure it out Friday 1-29-10What should I do with them?  I don’t want to use them to hold supplies, I want to make something with them.  Originally I saved them to put single use/sample sized bath salt in, but I haven’t really made any bath products and probably never will and if I did I don’t think I really need 100 little jars of bath salt, so lets hear your creative ideas.

Have a crafty weekend and I’ll see you all next week!


Pop Tabs: The Obsession Continues

That link from Craftster yesterday was a bust, it was vaguely helpful, but the stitch counts were seriously off.  It took me all afternoon, but I did figure it out, yay!pop tab sample

I would like to share, but I’m going to need photos and maybe video to explain some of this stuff and I want to perfect my technique a bit more.  Here’s a shot of the back, sometimes seeing what the back looks like makes the process clearer for me.

pop tab sample 3 I’m making a copy of a purse I’ve seen online and I need 14 of these hexagons (I know they look like flowers, but they are hexagons, humor me).  I made five last night, it takes me about 45 minutes to make one, hopefully I’ll get a little faster.  It is also very hard on a crochet hook, mine is all scratched up and I won’t be able to use it for anything else without snagging the yarn.

pop tab sample 2Only 9 more to go, we may have carry out for dinner.  I’m so excited that I figured out how to do this I just can’t stop, and now I know that I can also make smaller and larger motifs and squares too!!!


Pop Tab Purse Prototype - Completed

I have finished my pop tab purse prototype (ahem, I know I said a week, note to self be more vague about time on blog).

pop tab prototype 4 I really like how the red fabric looks showing through the holes in the tabs!

pop tab prototype 3I added a zippered pocket on the inside, just a little something I really like in a purse. I also like the round zipper pull. I found this zipper in my stash of reclaimed zippers, I don’t know if I will be able to find something similar that is in the budget for this piece, but I can always adapt a zipper pull.

I would say my satisfaction level is about 85%, not bad for the first try of this style. What I learned putting in the linings: the inner lining would be easier to add before sewing the ends on, I’m not sure that the ends need to have pop tabs (they just make the bag hard to turn and the side seams of the lining shows through), need to crochet the top of the bag a bit taller so I can sew the zipper in using the sewing machine instead of by hand, and I need to add a strap or handle to the bag. Now I need to make a “real” one, I’ll take plenty of photos along the way, maybe I’ll even make a tutorial (some day ;-D).

There is also an interesting post on craftster about pop tab purses with hexagons that I’m looking at, I may have to give it a try, I really like how the strap looks where it attaches to the bag.


Cocktail Ring for a Voodoo Queen

We all know that Voodoo Queens get invited to a lot of cocktail parties and now they can have a stunning ring that conveniently keeps their pins handy and sharp for poking dolls.  Next in the design sketchbook:  Voodoo doll bracelets and purses.bottlecap pincushion ring 1Okay, seriously, last Friday I had a pincushion ring featured in my favorites.  It was really cute and it reminded me of when I first showed my friends the bottle cap pincushions I was making, someone (I don’t remember who, Kelly, Christy, ???) suggested I make them into rings and I finally have.

An adjustable ring base, a bottle cap, E6000 glue, felt, embroidery floss, rick rack, and stuffing is all you need to make one of your own.  bottlecap pincushion ring 2I started by sanding the bottom of my bottle cap lightly to help the glue stick.  Then I traced around the bottom of the bottle cap on felt and cut it out.  In the center of that felt circle I cut a little slit and slipped the pad part of the ring base through the hole, just like a button.  I put a dab of glue on the pad and stuck it to the cap.  I left the felt unglued so I could sew it easier.

Then finished cutting out and sewing the pincushion (see this picture tutorial).  I think that the embellishing is what really makes these little things, I like to add rick rack around the base of mine.  Quick tip: rick rack is polyester, to stop it from fraying where it’s cut use a lighter to lightly singe the raw edge, this melts the fibers together and keeps them from unraveling.bottlecap pincushion ring 3I love how it turned out, so cute and handy.  I’ve really been loving this red and turquoise color combo lately, I hope you guys aren’t getting sick of it.  I plan on making a few more of these, but I want to order some nicer adjustable ring bases.  The one I used is okay, but there are better ones available online.


Friday Favorites

I guess it’s been a while since I shared some of my favorites from etsy, so here are the latest (as always from left to right, top to bottom):

friday favorites 1-22-10 Flamingo Chandelier – palmerschallon

Handmade Vintage Inspired 50’s Pin Up Girdle - dottiesdelights

Perpetual Paris Photo Collage and Perpetual Calendar – littlebrownpen

Dichroic Glass Runes – Triplelle

Pincushion Ring – artnestshop

The Wife Ring - petekguven

I will gladly accept any of these items as gifts :), I really want that flamingo chandelier for my craft room. Have a crafty weekend and I’ll see you Monday!


Vintage Sewing Notions

I love vintage sewing notions, the packages are so interesting and colorful and the display prices are so cheap.  I also really like wooden spools of thread.   I have a small collection of vintage supplies and I plan on displaying them in a shadow box of some sort in the craft room.  Here is a sample of my collection, the needle book on the bottom is one of my favorites and I also like the snaps and hooks and eyes cards, especially since they are missing some and not in perfect condition.vintage sewing notions 2It is surprisingly easy to find vintage supplies (not in mint condition)and most of mine have been found at yard sales or in “grab bags” from thrift stores.  I also got a nice selection out of the sewing cabinet that I purchased this fall.  The only thing I haven’t had much luck finding is decorative buttons on their original cards, but I do have several nice loose vintage buttons.

I got this box at a yard sale, some of the vintage quilt fabrics/squares inside will become part of the background for my collection, I might even try to incorporate the box, it’s really interesting.vintage sewing notions 1I also finished my amigurumi dolls from yesterdays post, aren’t they cute!  I definitely need an army of these with a few ninjas thrown in.

amigurumi kokeshi dolls 3I ended up making all new hair for both of them and adding weight to their bottoms so they could stand on their own.  I think I may need to embellish the hair on the right one a little more with some bows or French knots or something.

BTW, If you have any super ideas how to display my vintage notions be sure to share by leaving a comment.  My collection has been hidden in a box for to long and I’m ready to get it out and on display.


My First Amigurumi

I am still cleaning away and I have been finding yarn, boxes and boxes of yarn (really these aren’t all of the boxes, but I had to stop). yarn box 1yarn box 2 yarn box 3Now you know I’m not going to throw perfectly good yarn away, so I need to start using more of it.

A lot of it is acrylic yarn, vintage acrylic, which is rough and scratchy. Really the only thing this stuff is good for is pot scrubbers and amigurumi.

I checked my ravelry favorites and found this free pattern for Kokeshi dolls and just went for it.amigurumi kokeshi dolls 1I really like how they are looking. Now I just need to embellishing them and stuff them, which I think will make them look even better. My first hair attempt was a little to big, so I did have to make a smaller one, I’m still not sure about it (right side doll). I’m really liking the tall bouffant hair on the left side doll.

Now I have a strong desire to make a giant one, I don’t know why, maybe I’m just trying to use up more yarn. This is a nice and easy pattern with minimal seaming. The embellishment possibilities are almost endless and the yarn color options are varied. I think I will make a whole army of kokeshi dolls and if I want I can even sell the dolls I make! You know, I think that a giant felted kokeshi doll would be awesome and I know I have a bag of felting yarn around here somewhere! Does anyone know if amigurumi has to be crochet or can it be knit too?


Is there a Hoarders Anonymous?

I know that there are TV shows that will come to your house and make you throw away or sell all your stuff, but is there a group program.  I guess I would have to want to get better and I’m not sure I’m there yet, I think I just want to get organized.

I sure it is no surprise to anyone who has noticed that the background in all my photos is always cluttered, but I really have a problem.  I am going to share some shocking photos with you guys today, because I know I’m not the only one with this dirty little secret.  My theory is that being creative requires a little chaos (I’m extra creative, so I need a lot, which translates to: I don’t have time to clean, I’m creating!!! )

Before we bought our new house in May 2009 we lived in a tiny apartment and kept a lot of our stuff in storage.  When we moved in here everything that was in storage got put directly into the basement, semi stacked, but mostly randomly.

hoarders anon 2 Um, yeah, so this is what my basement looks like right now, there is more, but I could only get this much in the picture.  About 60% of this stuff is mine, most of it craft related.  This space is supposed to be for my husband to have his little nerdy man cave, as you can see, he’s getting a lot of use out of it.

hoarders anon 1 This was, (yes was, I’ve been cleaning) the doors to my craft room, it is not that large of a room, but it does have a closet.  I have tidied up a lot and moved the furniture around and hauled up some stuff from the basement and now it looks a little better.

hoarders anon 4

Here is my sewing table and a large wall shelf that is holding all my gallon sized storage containers.  The middle shelf is not tall enough, but I have a lot of other jars and do dads to put there.  I’ve organized my sewing notions and they are all nicely tucked away in the drawers of the sewing cabinet that I got at a yard sale, I still have the old machine that was in it if anyone is interested.  (I have a collection of things that need to be put on a yard sale or donated to charity downstairs also).

hoarders anon 5 This is my crafting table, I found out that the three rolling carts (you can only see two here) fit perfectly under the table if I took the wheels off.  The real question is what to do with the wheels, so I can find them if I need them again.  Most of the drawers are still empty, which means that there is room for me to haul some more stuff out of the basement.  On the left in the corner is the shelf that is going to be my ironing center where I’ll be keeping all the equipment I need for pressing and probably current projects.  The ironing board will be along that left wall, where I can leave it out all the time.

hoarders anon 6

Here is a shot of the closet, it is packed to capacity with shelves, on the very left, not easily seen are the shelves holding my freshly folded and stacked fabrics, there is still a lot of room for more (and I have more waiting in the basement).  The center shelf will hold all of my containers for different crafts, I expect to find the rest of them in the basement also.  The right is a sweater organizer that is totally empty, not quite sure what I’ll put in there, maybe yarn.  Not pictured is a organizer of small drawers mounted on the wall containing all sorts of small bits and bobs.  That mess on the right is a gift bag and wrapping paper organizer that is going to be relocated upstairs.

I am slowly making progress, every box I open needs to be sorted through and organized and then put away, there was no method to the madness when we packed.  I’m starting to get really excited to finish, it’s going to be so nice to have everything put away and easily found.  I’ll share more as I accomplish it and hopefully I can avoid Hoarders Anonymous and avoid anyone calling a TV show to make me clean up.  Please tell me I’m not the only one with a clutter problem.


Procrastination Knitting

I have seen the signs and it seems that I may be knitting to avoid my other crafty pursuits.  I have several projects waiting to be started and finished, including some new supplies that I just bought yesterday.  These are projects that I really want to do, but yet I am putting them off to knit.

What I have accomplished is this: two hats and matching booties for a relatives new baby,baby hat and mary janes 2a smaller hat to go will the little button loafers,baby hat and loafers 3 and I am half way finished with a manly yet luxurious (silk and bamboo yarn) scarf for my father in law as a belated holiday gift.pine cone scarfI’m going to assume that my sinus cold/infection is causing me to be a bit lazy with my crafting, at least I am knitting while I veg out and watch TV!  I’m sure once I finish up that scarf I’ll be back working on my other projects, I’m feeling better already.

In other news it’s been a great week so far, I’ve sold my first instant cemetery of the year and my home made watercolor tutorial made the Best of Craftster 2009, I imagine it will only get better!


And Now A Little Girly Set: In Progress

Yes, I bought another new knitting pattern, I am justifying it by saying that it is multi-sized and I can make one for every girl I know, if I want to.  Really, I have been admiring it for a while and I just really needed a super cute little girl hat to knit for baby gifts.  The Bow-licious Babe hat from Connie Haney was just too cute to resist.

baby hat and mary janes 1

The bow just makes this pattern, which is simple, but adorable.  The pattern is easy to understand and uses basic knitting skills and easily found yarn, all pluses.  It is also sized for newborns to adults making it super easy to make one for every female you know.  The only thing that I did differently was picking up the bound on edge and knitting it together with the hat (like in the little skater hat pattern) so I would not have to sew it up later.  The really awesome thing about this hat is that the bow is removable, just think of all the possibilities:  a bow in every color, ribbon bows, hair clips or giant flowers all can be easily attached where the bow goes!

Also pictured is bootie number one from the Saartje’s Bootees pattern (pattern link on right side bar).  This bootie pattern it a bit more advanced, but do-able by most knitters.  It work up quickly using all garter stitch and I think it is a great compliment to the Bow-licious hat.

baby setsHere are my two sets.  I really think that skater hat is just to big for the booties.  I think I will make a masculine version of the bow-licious hat, I think it’s size is perfect for a newborn.  The skater hat will be grown into later.

I am really enjoying knitting little baby things, I’m even thinking about making a little sweater.  I guess it’s time to go a make bootie number two, have a great weekend.


Pop Tab Purse Prototype

I wanted to share some of the processes that I use when working on a new design.  I think a lot of times we forget how much time and effort go into producing a new product and I wanted to show a little of how my mind works. 

I have been assembling the pop tabs for this bag for three days (pop tab crochet is a little hard on my hands, so there are a lot of breaks ;) and there have been snow days from school and that means less design time).  I will probably take the rest of the week to get the linings installed and the zipper put in. 

Once I finish a prototype I reassess how I put the bag together and see if I can find a more efficient way to assemble it and if there are any constructions steps that need to be changed.

Here is what the outside of the purse looks like and now I will begin working on sizing the linings.  I really like how it is turning out so far.

pop tab prototype 1 This one is a clutch style, I might add a removable strap to the final design.  I used 240 tabs and nylon thread.  The tabs are crocheted into rows and then the rows are slip stitched together.  I already know that I need to find a better way to connect the rows together to reduce the amount of ends that I have to finish.  I attached eleven rows and then crocheted a border around the edge.  Strips of tabs were attached to the ends to finish the outside.  Turning the final bag was difficult and I need to make sure that I don’t bend any of the tabs (see top photo, right side.  I was able to bend it back, but I need to be careful).

pop tab prototype 2 I will be putting in a double lining.  There are gaps in the tabs for fabric to show through, so I’m using plain red for the interlining to peek through these holes.  I will be using a floral with black and red for the lining you’ll see when the bag is opened.  I am also thinking that a heavy duty zipper with silver teeth and black tape would look really good, instead of just a regular black zipper.

I am going for a couture styled bag, not a crafty/folksy look and will achieve this look by using quality fabrics for the lining, super clean finishes on all seams and edges, and unique details like a custom zipper pull.  I will be testing this bag myself and once that is finished I will tally up how many hours it takes to produce one, cost of supplies, and research similar bags and formulate a price and maybe with luck I will have one listed in my etsy store in a month, whew, makes sewing from a pattern sound simple. 

I am always super excited to finish a new design and try it out and this one is no exception.  My last pop tab bag was a one of a kind and never made it to “production”, it just wasn’t quite right, this time I think I have it. 

What do you guys think, any suggestions?  Look for the finished bag next week.


Skater Baby Hat and Booties

Last week I was in the mood to make little baby things, the advantage is that they work up really fast.  I used the Skater Baby Hat pattern from Emily at CoffeeBra.  Make sure you look around her blog a bit there are also special instructions how to make and insert the bill.  I think this hat turned out sooooo cute, although it seems like it might be a bit big for a newborn, but oh well he’ll grow into it.

baby hat and loafers 2I also made a pair of Little Button Loafers to match, they are so tiny, I may need to make the next size up to make sure I have a pair that will fit. 

Now I’m on the hunt for a cute coordinating fabric to make a tie appliqué for a little shirt.  I will be making a few more hat styles out of the left over yarn (it’s I love this cotton from Hobby Lobby in old leaf, burnt sienna, and white), I don’t think you can ever have enough little baby hats.