Christmas Is Here, Time to Freak Out!

Blogged under Crafty Products, etsy by Tammy on Tuesday 29 November 2011 at 6:11 pm

I made a short road trip and visited with some of my family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Of course, Christmas plans had to come up, and as we started discussing who was going where and what and when, I realized that my plans for making all my holiday gifts may have been a tad lofty. A few problems have come up that I had not anticipated.

First, school is ending a lot later this semester for whatever reason. Normally, I would put in grades and be gone for vacation between the 8th and 10th of December. Now grades are due the 12th, and I’ll be hanging around going to meetings (oh, joy) until the 15th.

Then top that with the fact that some of my family is going to leave a few days after this to visit with other family and thus require an early Christmas with them before they go, and I’m shall we say….screwed!

I had the idea that I would have a few weeks before Christmas to crank on the gift making, but I may have two days if I’m lucky. I have to say that I have done some gift making, but I’m not in a comfort zone as yet, so in comes plan B: Etsy.com. If I don’t have time to make the gift, at least I can find some hand-made goodies made by someone who does have the time.

I ended up doing com cyber shopping this past weekend, and now I feel way less pressure. If I make a few gifts to go with my Etsy purchase, great. If I don’t have the time, no biggie. The presents I did get will be great all on their own, and oh, how I would love to show off what I got! But, my lips and blog have to stay zipped for awhile because some certain people on my gift list might read about themselves, and that would ruin the surprise.

Craft Links & Where Is Florence Nightingale?

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Sunday 27 November 2011 at 2:49 pm

My Thanksgiving holiday is ending up not that great. While I did mange to get some crafting done as well as some school work that I had to do (yes, even on vacation), my hubby has ended up with a major cold. It started off the day before Thanksgiving with a soar throat and a few aches, but he put in half a day of work, and then came home and chilled with the idea of “nipping it in the bud.” Yeah, well, the bud was not nipped, and now he has a fever as well as major aches and pains. I’m hoping we can get him to a doctor tomorrow because not only does he feel awful, but he’s pretty much driving me crazy. He’s too hot. He’s too cold. He needs some soup. I need to check on him more. Then I check on him and end up waking him up when he was finally about to fall asleep. Where is his 7UP? What’s wrong with this pillow! Geez!

I was so not meant to be nurse, and the worst part of all of this is that I woke up with a tickle in my throat today, and there is no way I can miss school this week. I have early morning classes, student presentations that have to be done this week, and one last craft club meeting, not to mention all the research papers that are stacking up in my drop box for me to grade.

Hopefully, some of my fellow craft bloggers had a better holiday!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
This week Carmi has a little card tutorial featuring Popcorn the bear digital images.

Craft. You.
This week on Craft. You. we feature craft activist Corrine Bayraktaroglu a.k.a. Jafabrit.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a cool video on how to make moldable foam rubber stamps by Traci Bunkers, recipes for sweet potato pie with sesame praline, baked pestototoes (baked pesto potatoes), and being thankful for a cool spin on zipper design.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
It’s that time of year to harvest (or buy) hard shelled gourds for crafting. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Retrofabulous Christmas Craftabration marches on with some upcycled holiday greetings inspired by a 1966 Christmas Helps magazine!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi shares the sometimes frustrating process of laying out fabrics for a new quilt design.

Yarn Friendly Project Bags

Blogged under Crafty Products, Fiber Fun by Tammy on Saturday 26 November 2011 at 7:33 am

Like most yarn crafters, I usually have a few projects going on at the same time. I try to keep it to a minimum, but I have learned there are actually some good reasons, other than just getting bored with a project and having to put it down for awhile, to have multiple projects in the works. For example, say you hear that someone you know is going to have a baby soon. Ah, no worries because you are always working on a baby afghan in some simple stitch like granny square. This is one of those no-brainer projects you can pick up and work on no matter how late in the evening it is or how tired you are from work.

Another good reason to have a few projects going on is that it eases up on the joint pain. If I do too much crochet, I pay for it with joint pain and numbness in my fingers. In comes the wonderful knitting loom! It totally switches the way my hands are working, and so I try to move back and forth between crochet and loom knitting regularly to help keep my hands happy.

Then, of course, you need a small project that is very portable for those times you take a trip or have to wait in a doctor’s office. Baby hats and fingerless gloves are good choices for this.

Now that I established that there are reasons to have multiple projects going on, in comes the need for multiple yarn-friendly project bags. When my mom and sisters recently went on a cruise to the Bahamas, this is one of the things I asked them to bring back for me. I’m sort of bag and purse addict any way, but I realize I really do use them all. My criteria for project bags is first no Velcro. Yarn and Velcro do not work together, and I don’t think I need to explain why. For me, another super important part of a project bag is a zipper closure because I have 4 cats, and one in particular, loves to get into any bag she can find. The only thing stopping her is a good zipper. Finally, though this is not 100% required, an inside pocket to hold items like measuring tape, folding scissors, and stitch markers is very handy.

My mom and sisters did great with their assignment, and below are pictures of the two bags they brought me.

This bag is adorable, and has the zipper at the top plus a flip over snap closure too. As you can see, it is already at work storing some yarn for me. This is a great size for baby afghan projects.

How hippy-dippy cool is this bag? Seriously? I love it! Though one reason they bought it for me, other than they knew it screams “Tammy,” is they thought it was locally made. They asked the vendor who confirmed it too. Well, of course, it wasn’t. It’s got a tag inside that says something like “made in India.” This also has a zipper top and an inside pocket. A loom fits perfectly in it, and I have to admit that I like using it for a purse too. I’m planning a short day trip soon and will use this as my purse slash small portable project bag.

While there are some project bags made specifically for knitting and crochet, they can be on the pricey side. A good purse or bag can work just as well as long as it fills some basic criteria, so this is a possible idea to add to your personal gift list in case family and friends ask about what you’d like this holiday season.

Market Bag 1.0

Blogged under Design Ideas, Loom Knitting, Projects in Progress, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Friday 25 November 2011 at 10:04 am

I am determined to make as many gifts as I can this year, and one idea I had was to make market bags. Who can’t use one of these, right? I have been collecting and reviewing all kinds of patterns, and then I thought, “Hey, why not try to use one of my looms?” As it happens, I also had some Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in the color Sand in my stash, so I decided to try to design my own using the largest round loom that I have (11.5 inches), and then crochet the top and strap. I had mixed results.

Above is a photo of the “good” side of the bag, the side that I had no loom boo-boos on. (I stuck a few skeins of yarn in the bag to fill it out for the picture). The bag, not including the strap, is about 12 inches long. So it isn’t huge. You could use it for some fruit or your lunch, that kind of thing. Not too bad, right? Unless you see the other side of the bag….

This is the “bad” side of the bag, where obviously, I lost a stitch or two or three! It is still usable, but obviously, I would not want to give this as a gift to anyone!

I ended up using just one skein of Cotton-Ease for this bag, and I believe I know what when amiss, so I am thinking of trying to make Market Bag 2.0 now because other than the lost stitches, the top of the bag and strap turned out fine. It’s just, well, ugly (on one side)!

Some Craft Links for Ya!

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 20 November 2011 at 4:38 pm

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge finally whips her studio into shape!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi shares some tips for salt printing, sun printing, and playing with intensity on your hand painted fabrics.

About Family Crafts
Looking for some ways to dress up your Thanksgiving dinner table? Check out these creative ideas.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen show’s you how to make a Sparkle Berry necklace. It’s a perfect Christmas gift giving project!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi shares a little post about blogging for other companies.

Craft Buds
Paper-piecing gives you a precise look to your quilt designs, and opens up endless possibilities. Check out the modern paper-pieced “Noel” quilt block tutorial, part of the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along.

Craft. You.
TV Producer and Artist Avelino Pombo shares his recipe for success!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a chance to win a copy of the book Jewelry Lab along with a tutorial on how to make trapped felt and fabric jewelry, how to get started drawing, eye-candy with a good creative quote, and a recipe for slow cooker lasagna.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Come see The Artful Crafter’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade of crafts!

Doing the DECA Show Soon

Blogged under My College Craft Club by Tammy on Thursday 17 November 2011 at 12:53 pm

One of many tasks on my plate this week is to get ready for a local arts and crafts show called the DECA Show. My college craft club is doing it, but of course, that really means I am doing it, and hopefully, club members will be able to come by and help throughout the day.

Along with working on making blankets and wash clothes for a local shelter, members have been making jewelry, greeting cards, and loom knitted hats for this show. Many, many years ago (maybe 15 years?), I actually participated at this show as a vendor and did pretty well with my jewelry, so I am hoping we manage to sell a good portion of what we’ve made. There is really no telling, though, when it comes to these kinds of shows. Sometimes you can do great, or sometimes, there is a poor turn out or lots of people come but don’t buy. It’s all a big gamble, really.

Most of what we make we plan to put back into our charity work, so my fingers are crossed that this might be an annual event for the club to participate in and create a little revenue for us. The show is this Saturday in Ft. Pierce, Florida. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

My Late Crafty Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Tuesday 15 November 2011 at 4:18 pm

I usually do this on Sundays, and it’s Tuesday. Yes, my week ++ ha been that crazy!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi shares a second Humphrey the Elephant 3D cards.

Craft. You.
An inspiring interview with Crafty Mastermind Mark Montano!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to cut and lay a recycled end grain wood floor, a tip on how to cut tissue paper easier, a recipe for vegan white and milk chocolate and some wild crochet designs.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
How to make a tubular wine bottle tote from a cardboard mailing tube.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Retrofabulous Christmas Craftabration Returns to The Impatient Crafter Blog! Madge makes a retro inspired upcycled gift box!

Mixed Media Artist

Cyndi decides to make a companion piece to the hand painted and stitched silk quilt she just finished. Time to get painting again!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to crochet a cute striped Christmas tree skirt

When the Stars Don’t Align, Even with a Good Idea!

Blogged under writing by Tammy on Saturday 12 November 2011 at 5:21 pm

A few summers ago, I pulled out my sewing machine and reawakened my love of stitching. I also started to become a lot more active with crafting for charity, and as a result, I ended up creating a book proposal that sort of married the two ideas together. Actually, it was not just sewing as part of the book, but that was an element of it.

After working up the proposal, I sent it to an editor, and the reaction was kind of luke warm. She asked me to rework the proposal and send her three sample projects from it, which I did. Then she told me she would “get back to me,” which she didn’t. I tried contacting her a number of times and eventually just gave up because, well, who would want to work on a book with someone like that as your editor? Not me!

So I shelved the proposal, and I never sent it to another publisher. Today, as I was surfing around the net, I learned of a new charity crafting book coming out, and actually, this is just one of a number of them that I have seen lately. It kind of bakes my noodle for a few different reasons. First of all, the editor was very unprofessional and really wasted my time. Secondly, I allowed her to waste my time! And thirdly, I should have listened to my inner voice that knew I had a good idea, and I should have sent that darn proposal off to another publisher, but I didn’t.

School is working me over big time right now, so between that and other freelance obligations, I could not write a book right now even if I wanted to. Sending it to another publisher tomorrow is not really something I can do, at least not for a few more months. Even then, I will probably need to revisit it since it is two years old. Obviously, the idea is good, but now it may be too late since there are already so many books out related to the topic. ARgh!

How to Make a No-Sew Fleece Blanket

Blogged under Sew Simple by Tammy on Saturday 12 November 2011 at 11:58 am

Recently, I blogged about how my craft club is making no-sew fleece blankets for a local shelter. Now I have step by step photographs for you of the process we used, and let me note that there are many ways to make these. I am in no way claiming this is the only way.

First, you will need 2 yards of fleece (which is normally about 60 inches wide), scissors, a ruler, pen, and 1 inch wide painters tape. You also need a surface to work on. I have one of those folded up cardboard things used for sewing, and the only cat and dog free zone I could find to work on was my bed room. So I put that on top of my bed. If you have a good table to work on, you don’t need the card board thing you see in the photos.

Spread the fleece on top of your cutting surface so that you have at least one edge of the fleece flat and facing you.

Using the ruler, measure in 5 inches, and start rolling the tape onto the fleece. (Note: Some people use masking tape, but I have found that it sticks too much to the fleece whereas the painting tape comes off really easily without damaging the fleece.)

Flip the fleece so that you have another edge facing you, and repeat the previous steps, measuring and taping across. You need to do this on all four sides of the fleece, and yes, the tape will cross over each other, but you will see soon why that is a good thing.

Again, making sure that you have one edge facing you, use scissors to cut the corners, which are marked off with tape and form a square.

With a ruler and pen, mark 1 inch increments down the length of the tape. (Some people can eye ball this, but I’m not great at that, so I mark.)

Cut on the other side of the long piece of tape to make your first piece of fringe.

Now following the marks you made on the tape, continue to cut 1 inch wide piece of fringe down the length of the fleece.

Cut the corner squares and fringe all around the four sides of the piece of fleece.

Pull off the tape. If you plan to make more blankets, you can actually reuse the tape and already have the 1 inch marks handy for you.

Now it is time to knot the fringe, and this is where I have seen the most variations on these types of blankets. The first one I made (pictured way up at the top) I was told to cut the fringe thinner, tie to pieces of fringe together into a square knot, and then cut each piece again down the middle. The look is okay, but it took a lot of time. For these blanket, I just made the fringe thicker (to equate to the thickness of the tape), and I made one overhand knot at the top of each fringe. It still takes time, but not nearly as much, and I am happy with the way it looks.

Once you have knotted all the fringe all around the four sides of the fleece, your blanket is finished.

These are great gifts as well as charity donations, and very often, you can find the fleece on sale (usually 50% off), but you can also use coupons from craft stores to get a percentage off of one cut of fabric. So these can be pretty economical to make if you catch a sale or have a coupon.

Making Handmade & Buying Handmade for the Holidays

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Thursday 10 November 2011 at 12:20 pm

I am determined to do my best to make as many gifts this year as possible, but I know I can’t make something for everyone. Time is one factor, but the other is that there are only so many things I know how to make and not everyone likes or needs those things. My husband is at the top of that list. While he appreciates my crafting, he is not in dire need of a knit hat, for example. I did make him one about a year ago, but he wears it probably 2 days a year when we get into the 30s. Otherwise, it just never gets cold enough for him to wear it.

So when I can’t make the gift, I do my best to try to find items that other people make. This year, I am resurrecting (or perhaps repeating is a better term) a previous gift for my husband, a painted pet story board from Lorene Prell Studios. I bought one of these a number of years ago when we had our previous pet menagerie, and he loved it. Plus, now that they have all passed over the rainbow bridge, it is a wonderful keepsake.

Now I just need to pick out some decent photos. I took a few today of the dog boys, who can really be tough to photograph. Here is one of Rocky-Booboo, which I am very happy with. I managed to get him to sit still because I had a dog snack in my hand.

This is a cute one of Jasper, but he has those darn red eyes! She may still be able to use this if I tell her that his eyes are yellow/brown, not red! This boy loves to lounge on the couch (which I have to keep covered with sheets because of this!)

I still have to come up with a few more gift ideas for him because his birthday is in late January too, but this will definitely be one gift I know he will love.

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