Relax with Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 31 July 2011 at 3:45 pm

Take some advice form Coco and Chanel! Relax! Enjoy! Get crafting with some ideas from my fellow craft bloggers.

The Crochet Dudeā„¢
Drew reviews the Knook - a kit that teaches you how to knit with a crochet hook! (I have been super curious about this weird sounding concept!)

About Family Crafts
Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on your holiday crafting, and Sherri will help you get a jump start on making your holiday gifts.

Aileen’s Musings
This week Aileen offers you a re-post of her Chunky Canvas Bird Cage Tutorial.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi has a Crafter Companion paper fairy idea to show off this week!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to make recycled silverware journal handles, a chance to win a copy of 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes along with a recipe for fondant, an interview with the author of The Urban Biking Handbook and an inspirational quote and art from Camille Kuo.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Look at this cute coffee can recycling project. It also uses craft stash scraps, so it is both eco-nomical and eco-logical!

Mixed Media Artist
Continuing with her clothing obsession, Cyndi has taken out her acrylics to use on a summer dress!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See bling Stef designed after she was inspired by Margot Potter’s latest book New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry and win a copy for yourself!

Star Baby Afghan

Blogged under Finished Projects, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Friday 29 July 2011 at 5:23 pm

I finished up this star baby afghan last night. It is a variation on the Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket designed by Celeste Young, which is a free pattern on Ravelry.com.

My original idea was that this was going to be a gift for a couple we know who is having a baby in early October. I started out thinking I was going to do some kind of shell stitch variation, but when I started using the Bernat Berries and Cream variegated yarn for this, well, it looked weird. Since the color sections are pretty long, it ended up looking bloctchy, with a blotch of pink, then a blotch of yellow, etc. It just looked bad.

So I realized I needed to do some kind of pattern that started from the center and worked out from there. Granny square came to mind, but I wanted to try something a little different, and after looking through patterns on Ravelry, I found this star design.

Along with Berries and Cream, I used Bernat Lemon Citron in between. I’m not sure if I’m sold on this shade of yellow with the other yarn. When I hold it up to parts of the Berries and Cream, some of the yellow shade matches exactly, but then when you look at it at a distance, this is not as noticeable as the darker yellows.

As it turns out, I made a number of boo-boos on this, so it goes in the donation bag rather than a gift bag, and I will have to try this again, but I think it will work, and generally, I like the finished look to this afghan. This first attempt took 2 skeins and ended up to be 36 inches from star tip to tip. I plan to make the second one about 10 inches larger in diameter. Now I just need to figure out if I’m going to make it with all Berries and Cream yarn or use some yellow as well.

Knifty Knitter Goes Kapoot!

Blogged under Loom Knitting by Tammy on Wednesday 27 July 2011 at 4:45 pm

Of course, just when I find a good thing, it’s gone! Or at least, it will be soon. According to the Invisible Loom Craft blog, Knifty Knitters are no longer being made. She does mention a few other affordable sounding options, but some of them were you have removable pegs don’t sound that great to me. Removable could also be the same as pegs falling out.

Since getting my first round set of looms, I have done some searching to see what else is out there, and many looms I find are pretty pricey. Today, I went to my local Michael’s, which still has a fair number of them in stock, and purchased a set of 4 round looms for about $10, after my 40% off coupon. Considering that’s a little more than $2 each, that’s not too bad. These are for the craft club, and now I’m wondering if I should get a second set for it. I do have mine to share, but since having them, I just about always seem to have a project going on at least one of the looms. Share? Maybe not ;)

I’m sure the nicer looms are nicer, but when you are first learn a new craft, it doesn’t make sense (to me at least) to start with top of the line tools. For example, most people who start knitting or crocheting start with metal needles and hooks. An aluminum hook goes for less than $1 at Walmart versus a fancy rosewood hook that can go for about $12 each.

It will be interesting to see if other brands come in and take the place of Knifty Knitter, but I’m just glad I managed to discover these before it was too late!

Jewelry Book Give-a-Way

Blogged under Jewelry Designers/Artists, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Tuesday 26 July 2011 at 7:00 am


Margot Potter, famed jewelry designer, weblogger, TV personality, etc., has another new book out. This one takes a unique and contemporary approach to making bead and wire jewelry. It’s called New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry: Unexpected Combinations and Unique Designs, and you can read the full book review that I wrote about it over at my About.com Jewelry Making site.

After you read the review, come back and leave a comment answering the following questions: Have you mainly used beading wire just for stringing up beaded jewelry, or have you ever used it in a more 3-D kind of way or any other unique method? If you haven’t, is there a reason you haven’t? If you have, then what did you do that is different than the usual straight bead stringing?

I will have a random drawing for a copy of Margot’s newest book after the deadline for this give-a-way, August 26, 2011. So basically, you have a month to enter. You can post as many times as you like, but I will just put in one entry per name. Make sure you include your email address so that you can be contacted in case you win. Winners will have 72 hours after they are contacted by me via email to reply. After that, I will draw another name if I don’t receive a reply back. This offer is good only in the US or Canada. The winner will receive the book through USPS media postage. Good luck!

Kindle Sale Alert

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 25 July 2011 at 7:23 am

My summer is ebbing away, and while I did not read War and Peace, I did manage to get a fair amount of reading done over the past few months, and fingers crossed, I can keep it going in between all the paper grading and what-not I have to do when I get hit with fall classes full blast in late August.

I am loving my Kindle, and lucky me, there is a “big deal” Kindle book sale going on right now, which I’ve learned to take advantage of whenever possible. Here’s what I scored:

Weekend Crafting Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 24 July 2011 at 9:26 am

Sewing, jewelry, knitting, recycled crafts, mixed-media, quilting, cross stitch, paper-crafts - We cover all these crafts and more with some weekend links from around the web. Relax and enjoy!

Craft Buds
Mary and Lindsay went to the CHA trade show in Chicago this week, and show off some crafting technology along with some pretty fabric flowers and stamped metal jewelry.

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a vintage pattern for a knit sweater, an interview with Kate Bingaman-Burt featured in the 365 book, a Steampunk ring from 1,000 Steampunk Creations, and news about a new graphic design website-RockPaperInk.com, and call for entries.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Who doesn’t recycle cards and gift bags these days? This was a real simple recycling project. Look at the card Jackie gave Eileen for her birthday; and then how Jackie received it back on hers!

Lindsay Sews
Check out some highlights in craft booth design from the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in Chicago.

Mixed Media Artist
Make an easy-peasy summer breezy hair tie from a strip of lace, a button, a jump ring, and an elastic band!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to make digital camo quilt block inspired by the book Dare to be Square Quilting.

About Family Crafts
Bored kids? Browse through this craft kit guide, all listed by age, with your kids and let them pick out one or more that appeals to them!

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen took the inchie challenge this week creating a 1 inch book, and shows you how you can make one too!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi has a week of posts about the Chicago Craft and Hobby show.

Connie Gee’s Designs
Quilts are Connie’s favorite subject to stitch and she’s got a comfy one for you to stitch this week.

Loom Baby Hats

Blogged under Loom Knitting by Tammy on Saturday 23 July 2011 at 9:24 am

Using the smallest loom, I have made a number of baby hats. These work up wicked fast, but you have to use either bulky yarn or double strands. That’s one draw back with the loom. You can’t use thin yarn unless you double or triple it. Just for the heck of it, I tried using one strand of Bernat, which is I think considered 3ply, and it was a mess, loose, falling all over the place. Luckily, since I use so much baby yarn like this, I have lots of left overs in fairly good sized balls, and I was able to use two strands at once with some success.

Here’s one of the finished hats where I used one strand of Pale Blue yarn and one of Denim Marl:

Loom Knitting with Knifty Knitters

Blogged under Loom Knitting by Tammy on Thursday 21 July 2011 at 5:24 pm

Among the 9 blog posts I lost due to technical difficulties around here were some posts about my recent adventures in loom knitting. I picked up a set of four round looms as part of a Knifty Knitter kit I saw on JoAnn’s.com. Of course, I had a 40% off coupon, and I have been curious about these for some time, so I couldn’t resist. I’m glad I splurged. While I can’t say all my first pieces were perfect, I have gotten a lot better at using these, and boy, talk about fast! You can whip up a baby hat in just a few hours, if that long.

The kit I purchased includes four round looms in graduating sizes: 5.5 inch (14cm), 7.5 inch (19cm), 9.5 inch (24cm), and 11.5 inch (29cm). You can make baby hats, socks, and other small items with the smallest loom. The next size up is supposed to be for children’s hats. Then the next size is for adult hats. The largest loom is good for things like cowls.

I make a lot of baby hats for charities, and I am hoping the craft club will enjoy using these. I still don’t plan to give up my goal of learning traditional knitting, but for speed, I am loving the loom!

Decisions, Decisions, Craft Storage Decisions

Blogged under My College Craft Club by Tammy on Wednesday 20 July 2011 at 12:34 pm


As anyone knows who has done any type of crafting for more than 5 minutes, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself with lots of supplies to organize and store. One issue I’ve had to deal with since starting the craft club at the college where I work is what to do with all the supplies for the club. I do have my own office, and while I am very happy to have one, it’s not overly large. It’s made for the usual desk, filing cabinet, and maybe a book case.

Add to this boxes of yarn, bags of fabric, bins of glue, packages of decorative paper, jewelry tools, and well, you get a cramped little space with lots of stuff everywhere and no place to put it. At one point earlier this summer, it looked like an answer came by way of an office that’s just around the corner from mine being vacated, but plans to let me move all the way over there, like 6 feet, fell through. However, my sweet department chair had a great alternative, get a storage cabinet for my office, yeah!

Now, that’s my dilemma. She said to get what I want and not worry about the price. Well, sorry, I can’t do that; I do worry about the price, even though the money comes from the department’s funds and not my own pocket book. That’s just how I think. I’m frugal. I buy things on sale. I look for free shipping. On the flip side, I am not really into shopping a lot. I want what I want, and I want it at the price I want, and I don’t want to waste a lot of time trying to accomplish this goal.

So now I’ve looked at Home Depot (both in person and on-line), Sam’s (in person), Amazon, Target, Walmart, and I’m so confused! Most furniture like this is made of particle board, which makes me worry that it won’t be strong enough to handle books and supplies. Then there are the ones made of steel, but the ones that are large enough for what I need are too pricey for me.

Every day I don’t make a decision, I continue to have bags-of-stuff on the floor of my office. So today, no matter what, I proclaim that I will decide. I will pick a cabinet, even if it’s not perfect. At least, I will have one at some point when it is ordered, assembled, and magically shows up in my office one day.

Not Always Greener on the Other Side of the Web Hosting Fence

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Tuesday 19 July 2011 at 8:24 am

After spending weeks trying various options for my weblog, I finally cry, “Uncle” already! My current web host lost about 2 weeks of my weblog posts. And before anyone asks, “Didn’t you back up your blog?” Obviously the answer is no because I assumed the company I was paying to do two things - (1) connect me to the Internet and (2) store my content - would also backup my database.

During my own very short IT career, backups were considered IT 101. You did it religiously because that was part of your job. Apparently, that is not the case with this company, or I have to admit, other web hosting companies that I have spent a good amount of time researching since this happened to me with the idea that I would go to one that was reliable, had good customer service, and wouldn’t charge me a ton of money.

I have learned that what I was looking for does not exist. Sure, they say things like they support wordpress and they backup your information and they have great 24/7 customer service, but when you actually join and try to use all these resources you find out that all of this isn’t exactly true. Their idea of supporting wordpress is that the software is on their system. They don’t actually help you use it unless you want to pay extra, and then their more advanced tech support people might (yes might as in might not) be able to help. The same goes with 24/7 help. If you don’t want to spend hours on the phone or get email replies that only a Martian can figure out, then yes, that is extra too. And backup? Well, they do it, but if you want to make sure they do it, yes, you guessed it - that’s an additional charge.

So hat in hand, head held low, I am back to my old web host stomping ground. I figure if I’m going to be treated like crap, I may as well let the company who originally screwed me and who I just paid for service this past April continue to treat me like crap rather than let a new company enjoy doing it.

On the up side, I am checking into getting a new template, which is way down the road in the works kind of thing, and yes, of course, I will regularly backup my own database since I can’t count on the people I’m paying to do it.

I really missed not coming by here and journaling my crafting life. Even though it was an awful experience, it’s good to be back!

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