Upcycled Crystal Light Container

Blogged under Design Ideas by Tammy on Tuesday 6 November 2012 at 2:55 pm

My husband and I are regular Crystal Light drinkers. As a result, we end up with a couple of empty containers each week. The containers are plastic with a sleeve-style label that easily slips off. The lids snap on and off, so you end up with a reusable container once you have used up all the packets of drink mix.

I have been saving these for month with the idea that I could up-cycle them. So far, I am having mixed results. I’ve tried adding stickers and then covering them with Mod Podge. I’ve also tried decorating paper and also covering it with Mod Podge. When I don’t get bubbles, the paper ends up look the best I think. Here are some photos of how I’ve been experimenting with various crafting ideas to turn the discarded containers into reusable gift boxes.

Cut the paper to size so that it will cover the container.

Use ink and rubber stamps or any number of paper decorating items to decorate the paper. Here is one for Christmas, but I also did a few that say “Happy Birthday.”

Using a foam brush and Mod Podge, adhere the paper to the container. Cover all of it with Mod Podge and let it dry.

Here are some other containers I decorated. For ones that are not totally covered with paper, wrap the gift in a little tissue first and insert that into what is now a “gift box.”

Just a few more…

LBS Visit & Crochet Project in the Works

Blogged under Design Ideas, Projects in Progress, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Friday 3 August 2012 at 5:25 pm

Today I had a chance to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in years. Neither of us are mall people, and both of us are crafty types. So we agreed to make a trip to a downtown area, stroll down the streets, stop by a few boutiques, and do lunch. We had a great time, even though, sad to say, the downtown is obviously struggling since there were many empty shops.

One shop that is thankfully still open is a bead store that I would estimate has been there now for around 10 years. It is really a beautiful store, well-lite, colorful beads and awesome and sparkly finished jewelry everywhere. However, as usual when I visit this place, I have a little sticker shock. I had the idea to buy some size 6 beads for doing some bead crochet. Normally, I’ve bought these in 40 gram tubes. I buy them on-line, and I have gone to a few retail bead shows over the years.

I was thinking of doing a bead crochet rope, which meant I would need a fair amount of beads. I figured that I needed at least two 40 gram tubes. Ah, yes, well….20 gram bags of size 6 beads were going for seven to eight dollars each. I just could not bring myself to buy them. Yes, I know the owner has rent, electric, insurance, and so many other overhead costs. All of this went through my mind while I was looking at all the fabulous beads in the store. And, I did not walk out empty handed. I spent a little over $20 and got a few small strands of Czech beads (which are working for my crochet jewelry experiment so far), two foil lined glass beads, and a few collapsible twisted needles.

My tiny bag of beads fit easily into my purse, and after my friend made her purchase as well, we were off to do more exploring. I’m happy with my purchase. I plan to make a simple pair of earrings with the larger beads, and hopefully, some kind of cool crochet necklace with the others. I know, too, that the high prices have probably helped to ensure that this shop is still open when so many other small shops and boutiques in the same area are now gone. I wish I was able to just buy any bead I wanted no matter the cost, but I can’t.

Luckily, the shop has somehow found a clientele to support it on a regular basis. It was pretty quiet downtown, no big surprise since it was August in Florida and at least 90 degrees. My friend and I are both Florida natives, so we are crazy enough to handle the heat. I suspect normal customers for this LBS are what we call “snow birds” down here. They have winter homes on one of the islands and only live down here from around January to April. They probably stop by and take a few beading classes and don’t have to really concern themselves with cost that much. Maybe they are the type that really have to see the beads before they feel okay buying them. I’m not sure. I am happy to still see this shop open, but wow, I am also very grateful that I know of lots of on-line vendors that I can afford to shop at as well.

Crochet Cup Cozy

Blogged under Design Ideas, Fiber Fun, Finished Projects, Free Craft Projects, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Thursday 5 January 2012 at 5:08 pm

Here is another little project that I crocheted as part of a holiday gift, a cup cozy. One of my sisters is getting into hot tea, so for her gift I purchased an assortment of teas from the Teaman (over at Etsy), bought her this funky cup from Pier 1, and then crocheted a cup cozy for it to help her keep her tea warm.

At the time, though I did look around for some patterns, I was in a hurry and could not find any that accommodated the handle, so I decided to just wing it with some left over cotton yarn and double crochet. To secure it around the cup, I made ties on both ends of the crocheted piece.

It turned out okay, but of course since then, I found a great cup cozy tutorial at All About Ami. Instead of a tie, it incorporates a big button, way cute!

My sister was very pleased with the gift, and this is something I plan to probably try again, only make a cozy with a button.

Don’t Forget the Jewelry Gifts!

Blogged under Design Ideas, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 10 December 2011 at 10:34 am

I have been making jewelry for years and often give my finished jewelry pieces as gifts, so you would think my gift recipients would get tired of receiving jewelry year after year. This is so not the case. In fact, years ago I remember purposely not making any jewelry for anyone when I was working on my holiday gift list, and boy, I found out how much they appreciated the jewelry. They were shocked and a little disappointed that I didn’t give them any that year.

So, now I try to keep that in mind and balance the jewelry with other items I make as well as purchase. Here are some links to tutorials for jewelry items you can make quickly and are always very popular:

The Tin Cup Necklace is a classic. Plus, you can make this using all kinds of different beads depending on what you might have in your bead stash and the personal taste of whomever you are making it for.

Don’t know the wrist size of your recipient? Not a problem…memory wire is the answer because it is one size fits all. Here is a link to a tutorial on how to make memory wire jewelry.

If you are not 100% sure on the taste of the person you are making jewelry for, you can never go wrong with pearls. I have a slew of pearl earring projects here for you.

Make a dangle necklace. You just need some chain, head pins, and a small number of beads to make something like this Lovely Lapis Dangle Necklace.

If you can squeeze in an afternoon of concentrated jewelry making, you can easily knock off a number of gifts on your holiday list.

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)!

Free Crochet Wash Cloth Tutorial

Blogged under Design Ideas, Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Wednesday 28 September 2011 at 5:58 pm

I know this is super duper simple if you have any basic crochet skills at all, but I wrote this tutorial (which you can download as a pdf file here: how-to-make-a-double-crochet-stitch-wash-cloth) for the way, way, super extra newbie in mind.

If you know of anyone who has wanted to learn how to crochet but has no idea how to get started, this tutorial has her/him in mind. Along with my own instructions, which I tried to break way down, I also include links to some wonderful YouTube.com videos.

My craft club is now making these to sell at a craft show in November as well as to give to a local shelter, so I have become addicted to making these. I love the instant gratification added to the idea of making something that is both pretty and useful.

Bead Soup Blog Party - The Reveal!

Blogged under Design Ideas, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 17 September 2011 at 10:29 am

The party is over! I’m talking about Lori Andersen’s Bead Soup Blog Party, which I joined last month. My partner,¬† Shiraz from Secret Song Designs, send me this amazing stash of bead soup.

And I ended up making 4 pieces for the soup party, though I plan to make more pieces with the leftover supplies. First, I made two necklaces. For one, I took the carved rose bead and inserted wire through it and made it into a pendant. Then I used white ribbon to make it into a necklace. It is long enough to be worn with the other necklace I made using the sparkling beads and glass beads she sent me, which I finished off with a hook-style clasp.

The other two pieces I made are a pair of earrings and a bracelet. I combined wire with some of the beads in my soup to make the earrings and dangled some of the butterfly beads from each one. For the bracelet, I used the toggle clasp I was sent and a mix of the glass, seed beads, Czech crystals, and more butterfly beads.

For a complete list of bead soup participants, head over to the Bead Soup Blog. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and check out some amazing jewelry designs!

Fashion and Crochet Trim, First the Holes!

Blogged under Crafty Products, Crafty Videos, Design Ideas by Tammy on Tuesday 26 April 2011 at 3:31 pm

I have been seeing a good deal of crochet integrated into clothing lately. For example, JJill.com has a cute crochet applique shirt in a recent catalog. I have seen patterns on-line and in magazine that show you how to create a similar look. For example, it might have you edge a t-shirt with a crochet trim around the neck. I like this idea a lot, especially since I live where it is very hot and don’t wear many sweaters. Wearable crochet pieces are not popular in Florida when it’s 90 degrees out!

One issue I have with many of these how-to patterns, however, is that they often¬† explain how to do the crochet part of the project, but they don’t always explain how to make the holes you need to attach the crochet. You need the holes first, right? The web site that sells the tool also has three different types of blades, so you can use different ones depending on how thick your fabric is.

Now I know you can make holes using a sewing machine and a needle with no thread in it, but that means dragging out my machine from the depths of the guest room underworld, a room that is now just plain scary to go into because we have filled it with so much, err, stuff. Also, not everyone has a sewing machine.

The solution? A tool called a Skip-Stitch, and in the video below is a demonstration on how to use it so make holes in fleece so you can make a crochet trim on it for a blanket. I haven’t used one of these but plan to do some more research. I could see how they would be great for making baby blankets using fleece or flannel as well as adding some cute trim to light-weight t-shirts.

Stringing Magazine Free Trial Issue

Blogged under Crafty Products, Design Ideas by Tammy on Thursday 17 February 2011 at 4:03 pm

For anyone who enjoys bead stringing, Stringing magazine is a wonderful publication. As the title suggests, it is all about stringing. While I like other types of jewelry making, I’m still very partial to beading, especially since my hands and wrists have had issues that don’t seem to want to go away.

Right now, Stringing is offer a free trial issue. Then if you like it, you can sign up for a full subscription, 4 issues for $21.95. My only beef is that it doesn’t come out more often, but eventually, it might. Very often fairly new publications start out as quarterly. This isn’t a super new magazine, but with the way so many are folding these days, we are lucky to still have such a great magazine around.

Glue and Yarn Don’t Mix So Well

Blogged under Design Ideas, Fiber Fun, My College Craft Club by Tammy on Monday 24 January 2011 at 4:50 pm

Some of the items we hope to make and sell for our craft club’s fun raiser are heart pins and clips. I found a great pattern for crocheted hearts at Planet M Files, received the okay from the designer to use her pattern and sell the finished hearts, and have been making them like crazy lately. My original ideas was that members could bring glue guns to one of our meetings and glue on the pin backs and clips.

Luckily, it occurred to me that I should double check how glue gun glue worked with yarn because, well, it doesn’t! The glue just does not stick! Crap-o-la! As I said, I was lucky only because I thought to test this out before I had members show up with their guns ready.

Glue test number two included tacky glue, an old favorite of mine. It does work, but you have to wait awhile for the glue to totally dry. I was hoping with the glue guns we would have instant stickiness.

Glue test number three was with super glue, which I invariably always get all over myself for some reason. Super glue was also successful, but again, it’s not an instant stick. Either way, with tacky or super glue, we will have to allow the glue to totally set before we can start selling our pins.

I’m now gluing some pins on my own so we at least have some to get started when our fund raiser kicks off in a few days. Then by the time we sell this fist batch, the next should be dry and ready to go.

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