Knot Your Normal Knot Bracelet!

Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Tuesday 18 August 2009 at 3:27 pm

This is one of those techniques from the way-back machine, but I have to say I had totally forgotten how to do it! Thank you so much to Jean Campbell over at Beading Daily for posting a wonderful tutorial on How to Tie a Sliding Knot.

This type of knot makes the bracelet a little more adjustable because you can push the knots out (away from each other) to tighten the bracelet, and move them together to make it larger. One issue with bracelets is getting the size exactly right since most women will wear anything from a 6 1/2 inch to an 8 inch bracelet. The diameter of the beads can also affect the overall fit of a bracelet, so the sliding knot trick is very handy to create bracelets that can fit a range of wrist sizes.

Big Crochet Fun in Little Crochet Books from The Crochet Dude

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 17 August 2009 at 3:12 pm

The Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky, has four new crochet books recently published by Leisure Arts. While they are called “Little Books” by the publisher, I think size can be deceiving here because each 32 page book actually has a fair number of project in them, especially when you consider that they retail for only $3.95 each. I’ve seen just one pdf file project go for that much.

  • The In All Caps book includes 6 hat designs for women. I especially like the slouchy beret that’s on the cover. Even if you aren’t into hats much, there is a cute headband pattern that could keep your ears warm and not mess your hair up.
  • If you are into roomy totes and purses, then you’ll want to check out Must Have Handbags. It includes 6 crocheted bag designs. A few of the bags, like the one pictured on the cover (the Hobo Tote), look like they’d work well as book bags.
  • All Washed Up includes 9 dishcloth patterns. These are perfect for anyone who is just learning to crochet and wants some very do-able projects. Though these have a lot of texture going on and were obviously designed for dishes, I don’t see why some of these (like Put Your Heart Into It! or Real Men Do Dishes!) couldn’t also make nice wash clothes. Add a fancy bar of soap, and you have a super easy gift idea.
  • Finally, Sweet Pet Comforts has some adorable projects for your favorite cat or dog. Of course, my cats and dogs think everything I crochet I’m making for them, but still, it is nice to actually make items just for them. They seem to appreciate my efforts more than some humans I’ve gifted crocheted items to! This book has 7 designs including a few pet beds and toys. I’m not sure if I’m sold on the Dog Toss project, but I’ve always had big dogs, and toys like this last about two seconds with them. However, the Catnip Toy looks like a winner for cats to me.

The most difficult thing with these little books is picking what project to start with first! I’ve been on a wash cloth kick lately, so I’m leaning towards that. However, I’ve been hording some organic yarn in dark blue that I think will make a perfect beret! I’ll, of course, show my efforts here, and I’d love to hear from anyone who has already tackled some of these projects.

Craft Bloggers Unite 08/16/09

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 16 August 2009 at 2:05 pm

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a fun mixed-media cupcake jar topper project, a how-to on making bottle cap bookmarks, a tutorial on painting over a photo to create a multi frame effect, and a fun beaded fan design. And the tables are turned, leave a question and you are entered to not only win a free book but also a Wrights SideWinder bobbin winder!

Sister Diane shows you how to embroider on a perforated metal beading disc!

Cross Stitch at
A saying from the Bard inspired Connie’s latest free pattern. Stitch the saying alone or combine it with floral motifs for a larger sampler.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge transforms a Kraft paper lampshade from Target into a sophisticated accent piece for a teen’s room in this post for I Love to Create.

Vickie Howell-Craft.Rock.Love
A no fuss, no muss t-shirt project for the kiddos!

About Family Crafts
Do you paper mache? Share your projects and stories!

Aileen’s Musings
This week Aileen’s been busy altering cabinet cards. Check out her newest funky cabinet cards and download more freebie images for you to alter yourself.

Cathie Filian
Cathie and Steve spoof their love of Mod Podge in their latest video.

Mixed Media Artist
Sometimes a jolt of new-ness is just what vintage imagery calls for. Learn how to combine cartoons with vintage pictures, digitally!

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen takes everything from a vintage clock to an Etch a Sketch and coverts it into a funky picture frame.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
The scissors are set aside this week and a vintage green marble gets re-purposed into a cool modern necklace with a technique from the book Contemporary Copper Jewelry by Sharilyn Miller

The Artful Crafter
Read some suggestions for preventing your polymer clay projects from cracking.

Loads of Free Yarn Crafting Patterns

Blogged under Around the Web,Fiber Fun,Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Saturday 15 August 2009 at 8:30 am

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, then you already know what a big fan I am of the Lion Brand Yarn site and the numerous free patterns over there. Like a lot of folks, I get tired of having to “join,” even for free, every single site that has free information on it; however, I have always felt that it was worth it for this site. Now you can times that by 2,700 because that is the number of free patterns over there right now. In a recent newsletter put out by the company, it has announced that all patterns owned by Lion Brand Yarn (as in not including patterns created by outside designers but still sold through the site) are now free.

Now there used to be a ton of free ones any way, but this is still big news because that means even more free crochet and knitting patterns. Plus, I also recently found out that it has (for some time now) allowed the use of its patterns (again the ones owned by LBY) for use by anyone who wants to sell the finished products. So if you’ve been thinking of selling some of your finished crochet or knitting pieces but haven’t been able to because you aren’t into making your own patterns, now you have a place to get the patterns for free and sell the finished products.

Thank you Lion Brand Yarn!

Re-Purposing Craft Materials

Blogged under Design Ideas,Fiber Fun,Finished Projects by Tammy on Thursday 13 August 2009 at 5:11 pm

One of the cool things about crochet that actually is similar in many ways to jewelry making is that you can re-purpose a lot of the supplies. For example, you can take a beaded necklace apart and a large percentage of the materials are easily recycled into new jewelry. The same goes for yarn. With knitting or crochet if you don’t like how something is turning out, you can unravel and either start over or reuse the yarn for a different purpose.

Here’s another example of what I’m talking about pictured above. I was originally using the peach and brown variegated cotton yarn to make a purse. I stitched and stitched and then realized when I was pretty far into the project that I was not happy with how it was turning out. So I set it aside for awhile to rethink the design. I thought of a different approach, but that means different yarn. But no biggie because my crochet group is now making wash clothes for a woman’s shelter. Ta da, I unraveled the purse and now this yarn is making up into some handy wash clothes.

Awesome Crochet Book Give-A-Way

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Tuesday 11 August 2009 at 5:56 pm

I plan to write a more detailed review about Drew Emborsky’s new little book collection from Leisure Arts, but while I’m working on that, I didn’t want any of my readers to miss out on a chance to win these babies!

That’s right. Drew is away on a crochet-business trip, so while he’s gone and not blogging, he is offering everyone a chance to enter and win all four of his new books! See his post “Luggage Inspired Give-a-way” for details on how to enter this contest.

Craft Bloggers Unite 08/08/09

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 9 August 2009 at 9:56 am

I spent a little time today updating my Etsy Shop, so if you haven’t been by in awhile, check it out. I still have my favorite little silver star charms and various beads and components for sale, but I’m thinking of adding a few new pieces this week now that I’m on a bamboo bead kick. Speaking of Etsy, we start of this week’s list of links with a post on that very topic. Hmmm….

SisterDiane interviews a top Etsy seller who decided to downsize her business.

Cathie Filian
Join Cathie Filian on HSN August 17th where she will be showcasing the new formulas of Mod Podge, Chalkboard Paint and Texture Paint.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a how-to on making a Traveling Mail Art Kit from the soon to be released book-Good Mail Day, a tutorial on how to line a flap and step by step directions to make a painted fusible web postcard. Be sure to answer the week’s questions to be entered to win free books while your getting your fill of crafty goodness.

About Family Crafts
Hurry on over and submit your photos and ideas! Sherri is now accepting Halloween submissions. Share your costumes, haunted house ideas, more and browse through the photos everyone else has submitted.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen is offering a book giveaway! See how many ways you can get your name entered in her drawing to win a Ties That Bind Collaboration of Love book…

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Alexa shares 3 great photography tips for taking better photos of your crafts. You don’t even have to have an expensive camera!

The Artful Crafter
Eileen blogs about learning photography – one frame at a time.

The Crochet Dude
Drew is giving away all his latest designs that are included in his new line of patterns that just launched nationwide! To enter you just leave a comment on his blog!

The Impatient Crafter
Make a super cute pair of flip flops with your kid or teen for your end of summer vacation! Madge shares the 411 in this post for I Love to Create

Cross Stitch at
Help Connie decide a caption for her free Bat Cross Stitch pattern.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has an imaginary friend named Jim…from 100 years ago!

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen dishes up a recipe for making a pin cushion out of vintage tin.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Earrings made with something old, something new and a how-to from the new book- Simply Gemstones by Nancy Alden

Discount on Craft Books 4 My Readers!

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Friday 7 August 2009 at 8:07 am

Do you like to “make stuff”? I’m guessing the answer is yes since you are reading this blog 😉 So you will also be interested in a wonderful offer from Black Dog Publishing to Crafty Princess Diaries’ readers. It includes 50% off two new crafting books that tell you how to, well, you know, make stuff! This offer is good until August 31, 2009. Read on to find out a little about both books and how to take advantage of this great deal.

First there is Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book edited by Ziggy Hanaor and Victoria Woodcock:

“Making Stuff simultaneously rejects and embraces traditionally old-fashioned activities like knitting, embroidery, crochet and felting. Whilst these skills remain the same the results have a modern edge: an eclectic mix of the useful, the hip, the beautiful and the downright weird. A section at the beginning lays out the basic skills you need to make something out of nothing: knitting, sewing, crochet, felting and appliqué. Over 50 ideas are then laid out with clear illustrations guiding you every step of the way.”

The next book including making stuff again, but this time, the focus is on children under 10, Making Stuff for Kids edited by Victoria Woodcock:

“Well-loved favourites, like piñatas, potato printing and kaleidoscopes are explained and illustrated, as well as felted puppets, wacky worms and nautical mobiles. Alongside these is a chapter of ideas that adults can make for their little ones — this includes bibs, booties, hats, toy boxes and a whole selection of Halloween costumes.”

How to Get Your 50% Discount:

1) Email Jessica Atkins at
2) Include your delivery address in the email.
3) Put “The Crafty Princess Diaries Offer” in your subject line.

Remember the offer is good until the end of this month, August 31, 2009.

Are We Loosing a Generation of Crafters?

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 5 August 2009 at 10:38 am

I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. As a little kid, I would take my mother’s sewing scraps and orphaned socks from the laundry and make puppets. Every birthday deserved a hand-crafted card from moi, which often included a very poorly rhyming poem.

My sisters were not far behind me when it came to making things, and really, our whole family had at least something in the works at any one time, even if it often was done from necessity such as my mother sewing us clothes to wear or my dad making furniture for the house.

Lately, though, I’ve been wondering: Has the enjoyment of crafting (or even the need to I suppose) skipped a generation? Clothes are now very inexpensively available from Wal-mart. Even furniture can be found pretty darn cheap. Video games, cable TV, and the Internet seem to be much more compelling then playing with a strand of beads or a skein of yarn.

Recently, we had relatives down, which meant  my parents’ house was full of teenagers and toddlers. I came as well to meet, greet, and craft. I had food and beads and yarn, all items I thought would lure maybe at least one youngster into crafting. The food, of course, went over well, but alas, it was just the old folks who were making jewelry and hanging out. The rest were off watching videos, or if they were there physically, they were text messaging with friends or surfing the net on their laptops.

Now, I realize that when I look back on my own sporadic meetings with aunts and uncles I wasn’t glued to their sides hanging on every word, but I do have some wonderful memories of us all making stuff together. One summer in Colorado we were all on a tie-dye kick, and if you stepped into my aunt’s house with anything white (socks, t-shirts, canvas shoes), you left much more colorfully attired.

Can I really blame this change on the digital age? Maybe I’m totally off and it just happens that our own little group have not inherited the crafting gene? How do you urge young people to craft without making it into some kind of chore (turn off the video games and get to those earrings!)?

Discovered and TV

Blogged under Crafty Videos,Social Networking by Tammy on Tuesday 4 August 2009 at 10:16 am

I saw a fellow crafter (Bernie Berlin) mention on Twitter that she is on one of the videos over at, and wow, what a cool site. There are projects, a gallery, tool information, and of course, some very neat crafting videos. You can see Bernie in episode 99 showing how to make ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). See what you miss if you aren’t Tweeting?

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