A Craft Gift for All Seasons - Make a Holiday Table Cloth

Blogged under Design Ideas, Free Craft Projects, Sew Simple by Tammy on Sunday 30 November 2008 at 6:13 pm


Though it’s raining today in sunny South Florida, we manged to get our Christmas tree, which is now dripping wet in the living room, ugh! The introduction of the tree means I will slowly start pulling out the odd assortment of Christmas decorations we have, most of which will go on the tree but some of which will be scattered around the house, including the kitchen. Today I put away the pumpkin table cloth and pulled out the snowman table cloth, both past presents from my big sis. A few years ago, she made me three table clothes for my kitchen table, one with snowmen, one with pumpkins, and another with watermelons on it, and I still love all three and use them all the time.

Her idea is simple and genius: purchase a large square of fabric in seasonal print and hem the edges. Voila! You have an instant table cloth. Even if you can’t stitch a straight line or don’t even own a machine, you could use fusable webbing or fabric glue to faux-hem the edges of the fabric and get the same results.

Now I just have to pull out my snowmen place-mates, add a centerpiece decoration, and my table is ready for Santa.

Read the Fine Print When Crafting for Charity

Blogged under Charity Crafting by Tammy on Saturday 29 November 2008 at 11:26 am

This is the time of year that many of us think about the needs of others less fortunate. We dig out items from our pantries for local food drives, send checks to our favorite charities, and drop loose change in those familiar red buckets when we leave the grocery store. As crafters, we can also use our crafting skills year round to help others, but when you do decide to take on charity crafting, make sure to read the instructions before you get gung-ho with creating. I’m not saying that there’s anything tricky about the instructions, just that you need to make sure you follow your chosen charity’s guidelines in order to make what they need.

As an example, I blogged recently about the scarf drive for the Special Olympics. Sounds easy enough, right? Just make a scarf. Even a beginning knitter or crocheter can easily make a scarf; however, when I read the “fine print” the instructions ask that you use a specific color of blue and white available from Red Heart, Super Saver Delft Blue and Soft White, which is understandable because they want all the people wearing the scarf to have matching scarfs. Blue, especially, can vary considerably as far as hues. When I went to Michael’s yesterday to scoop up on the killer sales (Red Heart Super Saver was on sale for 2.19 plus an additional 25% off), I looked for these colors. But, alas, they didn’t have either color. I’ll keep looking, but that really put that project on the far back burner to say the least.

As I finish up my super large afghan, I am looking towards my next crochet project and plan to make some smaller blankets for the Project Linus Program. The closest chapter is a few counties south of me, but luckily, it has a very good web site with all the information I need about making and sending the finished piece, and the instructions are pretty detailed, including size requirements, types of yarn to use and not use, how to wash it (making sure not to use solutions that could be harmful to babies’ sensitive skin), no fringe or anything hanging off that a child could choke on, how to wrap and send the finished blanket, and more. Again, just like the scarf instructions, these requirements are very understandable. Who would want to harm a new born baby with their donated hand-crafted blanket?

So, if you decide to start donating your craft skills to charities (and there are lots of them out there), just remember to spend the time before hand to read the fine print so that you make a finished piece that will be appreciated as well as used.

Craft Bloggers Unite 11/28/08

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Friday 28 November 2008 at 9:27 am


Today is the official beginning of the holiday sales season, and while I’m usually more of a web shopper, even I am feeling the strong pull of the sales that are going on off-line, especially those at my local Michael’s craft store. I honestly don’t have much I really “need” at the moment, but with 25% off your total purchase including sales items, I think this is a good time to stock on staple items like yarn, ribbon, jewelry findings, and such. One lesson I’ve learned over the years crafting is that it is important to have a fully stocked supply of craft materials. I hate it when I am in the middle of creating and don’t have some particular item. Many other jewelry making and other hobby supply vendors are having wonderful sales right now, so it may be a good time to stock up on those often-used items. Then you can be free to create like these other crafty bloggers!

Cross Stitch at About.com
Connie’s been counting patterns instead of stitches this week and realized that there are over 500 free patterns posted at About.com Cross Stitch now. Check them out today!

The Impatient Crafter™
Don’t toss those tags on your next fashion purchase, turn them into “ornapendants!”l

Aileen’s Musings
As promised Aileen’s posted another EZ Christmas project #2. Come find out why dominos aren’t just for playing anymore!

Cathie Filian
Check out this video on how to infuse vodka with berries for holiday martinis. Bottled and bowed, the infusions also make great gifts!

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
The week at Craftside you can learn a bit of Photoshop work with a cool Technique from Essential Fashion Illustration, three ways to hem from Singer New Sewing Essentials and a floating ATC frame in an altered book with a free tattoo graphic download.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Every thought of starting your own craft blogging group? Here are some questions and answers about the process.

Layers Upon Layers
Carol Wiebe is a mixed media artist who will inspire you to let go of the inner judge!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Check out how I cut things up as a child with a vintage paper plate turkey Thanksgiving Day decoration.

About Family Crafts
If you do any traveling with kids during this holiday season, you will definately want to check out all of these creative travel activities.

Crafty Thankfulness

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Thursday 27 November 2008 at 2:03 pm


Here’s to a wonderful Thanksgiving to all my readers in the states! I hope you and your family are enjoying a relaxing time together today and still have time to think about what you are thankful for.

I have a lot to be thankful for myself, and just to name a few, I am thankful for a supportive family, a wonderful “real” job that I love to go to every day, my super fun craft career, and the amazing people I’ve met on-line over the years both in the blogosphere and beyond.

Crafty Picture Hanging Idea

Blogged under Design Ideas by Tammy on Wednesday 26 November 2008 at 7:43 am


I purchased this inexpensive picture from Bed, Bath, and Beyond awhile ago, and when I brought it home and started trying to hang it up, I realized that it was not going to be that simple because there are two plastic hanging thing-a-ma-gigs on the back.

This meant that I would have to come up with two nails spaced perfectly apart and aligned perfectly in order for this thing to hang right. Not only was that not going to be easy, but I was also concerned about the picture leaning forward too much, again because of the way the attachments on the back were configured, so I came up with plan B.

I took two yards of 1mm hemp, held them together, and tied an overhand knot in the middle.

Then I inserted the ends through the each of the two plastic attachments on either side of the picture.

Then I tied knots, checked to make sure the hemp was even on both sides of the overhand knot I first tied, and then tied another knot on the hemp ends connected to the plastic attachments.

To hang it, I just stuck a clear colored tack in the wall and put the loop at the top of the picture onto the tack.

Voila! Simple yet affective - You could jazz this up by adding beads either on the strands between the overhand knot and picture or danging around the overhand knot.

Country Mouse Looks at NY Yarn Studio from Afar

Blogged under Around the Web, Fiber Fun by Tammy on Monday 24 November 2008 at 10:43 am


I can’t help but think of the story of the country mouse when I read about very cool city-fied things like a yarn studio, my, my. Lion Yarn has opened up just that and you can read about it on its blog and even cruise through some of the wonderful pictures of its grand opening located on the company’s Flickr page, though I borrowed a few images for you to see here. The color and textures are like a giant craft-lovers’ magnet!


I have two places I can buy yarn around here: Michael’s and Wally-World. And, don’t get my wrong. I love my local Michael’s (Wally-World not so much, would rather have a root canal then step a big toe in that place). In fact, Michael’s just opened this past year, and before that, it was at least a 40 mile round trip to get to the one in the county south of here. So, I’m very grateful. But……

How can I not be totally jealous when I see all this yarn?

Pie Oh My Thanksgiving Pin Project

Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Sunday 23 November 2008 at 10:28 am

I’m totally tickled about my latest and last Thanksgiving jewelry project, or at least the last one for 2008: Interchangeable Thanksgiving Pin. I used Velcro so that you can switch out the pins; one pin front says “Pumpkin Pie,” and the other pin front says “Officially Stuffed.” So you can wear the “pie” front during dinner and the “stuffed” front after dinner.

Felted Ornament Update

Blogged under Fiber Fun by Tammy on Saturday 22 November 2008 at 10:11 am

I managed to get this far on the felted ornament I mentioned previously. I actually ended up washing it a few times, and the second time, I tossed it into the dry to boot because it wasn’t looking “felty” enough to me. It didn’t really seem to shrink much either, though the article said to expect it to shrink about 25%, which I guess is not that much.

Now it’s ready to decorating, and I’m thinking of a way to include some sparkle on it in the form of beads and fiber. It’s fairly dense now, so I think what I’ve got planned will work, but I’ll let you know. With turkey day on the horizon, I don’t see me getting to play with this again until after next weekend. (sigh)

Craft Bloggers Unite 11/21/08

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Friday 21 November 2008 at 7:49 am


Taking the career path into crafting is not always an easy direction to take. We often hear from well-meaning friends and family statements like, “Why do you spend so much time on that? How can you be sure you’ll make any kind of money ___________ (fill in your chosen craft medium)?”

I had many of the same questions and doubts when I returned to school a few years ago for another graduate degree. And those doubts started to hammer in my head as well. I knew what I was doing was a big gamble. I was gambling money and time as I continued to pay high tuition costs out of my own pocket (no fellowships, student loans, zip). I also scaled back on my career opportunities, taking lower-level jobs so that I could make school a priority. What would happen when I graduated? Well, I wasn’t exactly sure. Luckily, it worked out in a big way. I got the job of my dreams, and just about on a daily basis the gamble I took paid off.

This experience only validated what I’ve always believed: listen to your gut no matter what and go for your dreams! I thought that since many of my craft blog buds have done the same thing as they continue to build their craft careers that this was a good time to mention this, especially with a new year on the horizon.

The Impatient Crafter™
Join Margot for the first in her new series of Crafty Quickies how to video shorts. One simple technique demonstrated in under 2 minutes and geared to the time and technically challenged.

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
So much to be thankful for over at Craftside like a “cutting edge” die cut design, a One-Piece Wearable done recycle style, fun Felt Club 2008 photos, and a “Blue Christmas” decoration project.

Cross Stitch at About.com

Stitch some Thanksgiving characters with these free patterns. No, Connie’s not talking about your weird Uncle Ed. We’re talking First Thanksgiving here.

Layers Upon Layers
Cyndi has a whole new set of mixed media artists for you to have lunch with this week!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
No, not a turkey sweater! A turkey made out of a sweater!

Swelldesigner a.k.a. Alexa Westerfield
Alexa shows you how to make a blingtastic earring and ring set on the cheap!

About Family Crafts
Does your family have any unique and creative Thanksgiving traditions? Please share your stories with us and read others’…

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen shares an EZ Christmas Ornament idea. If your looking for a quick gift for a teacher, secret santa or an ornament exchange this is a perfect idea. Aileen has even put together a kit if you don’t have the supplies you need.

Cathie Filian
Get ready and get inspired for Thanksgiving, by checking out a recap of Cathie Filian’s Thanksgiving blogs.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy shares her thoughts on the Sundance jewelry catalog, and oh, how cool it would be to sell to them.

Adorable Crochet Purse Project

Blogged under Fiber Fun, Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Wednesday 19 November 2008 at 1:19 pm


Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs has a wonderfully detailed tutorial on how to make the purse pictured above. First, she shows how to crochet the purse and attach the handles, and then in an additional tutorial she shows how to make and attach a lining for the same purse.

Don’t get put off by the length of the tutorials when you go over there. I looked through them pretty closely, and basically, she is just showing you a lot of detail, which is great to see. The actual process doesn’t look that involved, especially considering what you end up making. I think the only issue I would have is the fact that you have to use 3 different skeins of yarn, holding them together as you stitch. For me at least, that would be a little difficult, especially since I’m usually working with either my cats or dogs around who are fascinated by yarn. The dogs think a skein looks like a great chew toy. The cats just have a hard time resisting the temptation to grab at it while I’m working.

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