Thursday, December 22, 2011

Country Loom Winter Hats

I've been experimenting with adaptations to a basic hat pattern for the lovely bubbly Country Loom yarn by Loops & Threads.  It's available in so many colours, and I have many of them!  It works up super soft, warm and snuggly, and the regular yarn for the brim gives it a nice snug fit to keep your ears nice and warm.  The finished result is a fitted hat with a teensy bit of slouch.

I made several versions of hats with this wool, and although they were okay, they weren't quite right.  Finally, I think I've got it, and before I lose my scribble notes and the big tidy up to come in the next couple of days, I thought I'd document 'the pattern'.

Rib is worked on 8.0 mm needles with 2 strands of worsted wool.
Body is worked on 9.0 mm needles with 1 strand of Country Loom super bulky

For small, medium and large:

Cast on 44 (48, 52) stitches.  With 8.0 mm needles work in rib for 6 (7, 8) rows.
Switch to 9.0 mm needles and one strand of Country Loom wool.  Work in stocking stitch for 14 (16, 18) rows.   Decrease by knitting 2 together across, purl a row, knit 2 across, purl a row until you have 6 or 7 stitches left.  Cut yarn leaving enough to sew up seam.  Thread needle through remaining stitches, gather and stitch up seam to the ribbing.  With matching worsted wool, join the seam for the rib, and your hat is ready.

Easy peasy!

If you're interested, I'm selling these hats as well as some other styles  Click here for the Knit and Crochet section on my Etsy shop.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas T-Shirt Time


It's Christmas T-shirt time! I arrived home the other day to find hubby all decked out in his ChristmasT-shirt. Now, odds are it was on the top of a pile as I had recently washed it, but it made me smile and I chose to look at it as some Christmas spirit seeping in.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pom-Pom Ornaments

These little pom-pom bunnies are one of my very favourite home made ornaments. I used tiny plastic candy canes to make a toboggon which I embelisshed with ribbon. The bunnies are made with pom-poms and felt for the ears. I really think the bent ear is cute - and yes, it was deliberate.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Etsy Treasury Lists

Here it is two weeks to Christmas ... I've done no baking or cooking, in fact the cupboards are a little bare, and I have to go out Christmas shopping for presents still this week, and yet I am busy thinking about plans for next Christmas. I really must get a grip and focus. But I'm really not too stressed, which in itself is amazing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Little Trees

These are my little trees. Aren't they fun? They're an ideal size for a coffee table, side table, top of book case, office desk, ... in short, anywhere you have a little space. And, much like the wreaths, they pack away well and are a good instant-presto decorating touch as all the garland and ornaments are wired on.

The Trees are all Skirted

I have 6 Christmas trees this year, but one of them (which is just the top half of my big tree) is in a pot where a cactus once lived, so it doesn't need a tree skirt. The rest are all decked out with tree skirts of their very own as I managed to make 5 this year. Here is the finished product I last showed you in progress.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Good King Wenceslas and Old World Santa

I painted these large ceramic ornaments for Mum and Dad many years ago. They are similar in size and sit together at opposite ends of the dining room buffet. They were painted several years apart so it was interesting to see them together as an example of one with 'antiquing' effect and one without.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Wreaths

I have wreaths all around the house. These are such fun to make and you can customize them with all sorts of the bits and bobs that I just love to accumulate. You know - shiny, glittery things.

Old World Santa Cross Stitch #2

Wow, it's been almost a year since my first post which was my first cross-stitch and tiny seed beads Old World Santa series ornament kit - and here finally showing you is the second one that I made last year. I finished it JUST in time to give to Mum & Dad, and though I snapped a photo I never got around to posting it.

Cross-Stitch gets a whole new dimension with the addition of seed beads

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Glitter Balls with Santa Hats

This is my latest little 'upcycling' project with a Dollar Store ornament. I love poking around the aisles this time of year for things that can be turned into something else.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Decorating with Nutcrackers

Wikipedia says "Nutcrackers in the form of wooden carvings of a soldier, knight, king, or other profession have existed since at least the 15th century...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

1991 Revisited

The back of these painted ceramic ornaments say "Jane '91" which means they are twenty years old! Can you believe it?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Large Sparkly Snowflakes

It's been back to the snowflakes again around here - and this time with a different larger version which is clear. They're quite pretty to begin with, and I've used them on my own trees, but they'repositivey transformed when covered in glitter.

30 Days

The Christmas countdown clock says 30 days ...GULP! Why that's no time at all for cards and presents and wrapping and cooking and baking and cleaning and decorating and entertaining and ... phew. There is nothing to be done but embrace it. It's the Christmas season!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wired for the Bride

It seems ages since I did any of the crochet wire necklaces, and it was a bit of a fight with a spool of wire that thought it was a slinky toy today as I reaquainted myself with the technique, but I have a special project. For a very special friend it gets special beads, and this beautiful square glass bead is in the perfect shades to set the tone.

This necklaces is potentially for a very special occasion. My friend Lynn is busy knitting away a gorgeous red sweater with a lovely scoop neck and almost architectural detailing. The other jewelry being worn is gold with a more amber/orange. So we wanted something that would incorporate the spectrum through the golds, amber/orange and into cranberry.

The special event will take place on 11-11-11, so I have incorporated 11 different feature beads. If there is a theme, you may as well continue it. Seed beads in two golds and a shiny deep red run through as well, but we're not counting them - they're just foundation.

The main work is done, I've just left the back detailing and closure so that we can get the perfect length. If it doesn't work out to suit Lynn, I'll finish it up and post on Etsy as it would be particularly lovely for the holiday season. I held it up around my neck, and it is looking very nice indeed. But will the bride to be like it?

Beads in the post!

Beads in the post! I love getting beads in the post - especially when they're as pretty as these. And it's a fun development in my crafting that I am now seeking out specific sizes and colours to work up specific things. Of course there will still be a lot of 'opportunity' adding to the stock, but it's great to start finding places to shop when you need a certain 8/0 metalic gold bead, or 6/0 shiny purple. It's so much fun when they arrive and open new worlds of possibilities.

This is one my new favourite sources on Etsy - Wandering Star Beads

Foam Gingerbread House

Well I don't know about you, but the Christmas Countdown is starting to freak me out a bit. Just 51 days to go, and despite being busy with "christmas things" for some time now, I have that all too familiar 'how will everything get done' feeling. Ahh, the joys of the season already starting to creep in.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spiral Ornament Hooks

Lime Green and Red
How fun are these? The next variation of the ornament hook is a curvy style. I'm itching to put up a Christmas tree just to see how these look with little swirls of colour appearing below the branches to hold the ornaments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eureka! Beaded Ornament Hangers

Beaded Ornament Hangers in Red, White and Lime Green
Since I started making ornaments a few months ago with beaded hangers, I've been contemplating how I could possibly get to all of my packed away Christmas ornaments to add customized beaded hangers. I never did quite figure that out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Santa's turn today

Jolly little Santa's were next on the agenda while all the card making gear is out. I must say, I have memories of Mr. Dress-Up as I open the lid on my 'tickle trunk' of 'Christmas bits' and ponder one by one what to do with the various treasures inside.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Snowmen take over the dining room

I've taken over the dining room table today because I'm hoping this week to make some time for some serious card making. I have oodles of things to play with and they need a lot of space - it can be a little overwhelming - but this first project in the stash busting is nice and simple.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sparkle Snowflakes with Glass Bead & Rondelles

Looooook at these beads - aren't they pretty? The turquoise glass beads are about 18mm and have interesting flecks of other colours. The squishy looking Rondelles that I have recently discovered are perfect for an ornament feature as they catch the light from so many angles.

Friday, October 14, 2011

All that Glitters

It's back to the fun stuff - and this time it's snowflakes! Clearing out some of the drawers I came across a pack of snowflakes left over from last year. These guys were hiding, so they didn't get worked up into the Magic Snowflakes that I did in the Spring.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Relaxing with Wool

It's very crafty around here right now. Beads everywhere and I'm pretty sure I swallowed a sequin yesterday. Oh well, probably not the first and likely not the last, but I thought I'd have a change and enjoy the relaxation of wool (ignoring the fact that there is also wool everywhere).

Mum recently brought back to me several large bags of wool that I had passed along many years ago when clearing out the cupboards. One of the bags was all Patons Astra wool that I had been once using to make little dolls and ornaments - translation - only one ball of each colour. So, I'm crocheting that up into a childs play blanket. When I'm finished it will be a good size for playing on the floor, or for a child's snuggle blanket.

It would be a little intense for a baby blanket I think, but hey, I bet they learn their colours early! I have a few more colours to add into the sequence, and then I will be repeating. It's a very simple pattern: worked on 5.0 mm crochet hook it's two rows of double crochet. I recently learned a new technique for changing colours - pulling up the new colour with the last stitch rather than finishing the row and then joining - and it works very neatly.

One more thing - so I don't forget - the Patons Astra wool is gorgeous to work with! Welcome back lovely wool.

Over on the knitting needles - I'm experimenting again with the Bernat Baby Jacquards. I did try crocheting this, and although it was pretty and looked a bit like the sky, it seemed a waste for the Jacquard wool. The knitting - especially with 'striping' - really brings out the pattern which is rather subtle in this Boo Berries colour wave.

This - if I ever finish it because I really don't enjoy knitting with tiny (anything under 5.0 mm) needles - will be a small blanket for a premature baby. Because the wool pattern is so interesting I'm working up with a simple striping of gartar stitch and stocking stitch. A border of gartar stitch on top, bottom and sides helps it keep a nice shape.

You can find this pattern as well as a multi-colour and basket weave variation at Little Blankets by Nancy Hearne.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A New Venture: The Craft Kit

Hooray, the first batch of my first lot of Christmas Tree Ornament kits are done and up and running on Etsy, and I'm already filled with lots of ideas for more craft kit options. I'm very happy with how the packaging has turned out and they are nice and neat for having bulky gems inside. My listings were being 'favourited' as I was creating them, so I'm hoping that this will be a good omen!

These ornaments are super simple and don't take long at all to complete making them, I think, ideal for the novice as well as convenient for the more seasoned crafter. The end result is really lovely, and you don't need to purchase a bunch of different beads when you only need one or a few.

I've been making ornaments for the Christmas Tree (I now have 4 Christmas Trees) for more than four decades now, and there's something extra special about seeing each year the ornaments that you made yourself, or others that friends and family have made for you - they're just full of happy memories.

So if you're not a crafter, but think these are pretty, I encourage you to jump in and make your own. It'll be something really special! If you are a crafter, these are convenient and fun with a lovely end result.

My Etsy shop is now offering individual kits or a set price for 3 - which you can choose three of the same or an assortment. As for me, I've quite enjoyed the craft kit assembly process. This was an afterthought having made these ornaments, but I'm already looking forward to working up the next little kit. And the subject of Christmas Tree ornaments - a fabulous place to start.

Pattern: Pear for the Partridge Christmas Ornament

This is the pattern for the third of the set of 3 sparkle gem Christmas Ornaments that I'm working up into kits - the Pear for the Partridge. The golden green colour and shape of the acrylic gem, combined with cream and lime green accents, work up to look like a pretty sparkly pear.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pattern: Emerald Green Angel

This is the pattern for the second of the Christmas Ornaments that I'm working up into kits - the Emerald Green Angel. The smaller diamond acylics work really well to make up the angel's body and wings.

Visit my Etsy shop to purchase a kit for this ornament with all the materials you need.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pattern: Lime Green Diamond Christmas Ornament

Visit my Etsy shop to purchase a kit for this ornament with all the materials you need.

This is the pattern I've written out for the Lime Green Diamond Christmas Ornament which I'm putting together with all the materials you need as a craft kit, but if you don't get the kit you can of course use any variations of your own ideas.

Little Tube of Happiness

Little things make me happy. This little thing, for instance, made me really happy indeed. Recently I was very excited to discover these tubes of "Sparkling Gems". While green wouldn't have been my first choice of colour, it was the only choice available and I knew I had to have them to work into something magical. I'm still scoping for more colour choices.

Well, I think these are a 'big find' indeed, because after adding some other beads from my collection, I was able to come up with a variety of styes of Christmas ornament. They're very light - which is great for a tree ornament - and they'll sparkle like mad with the tree lights on.

We have these Marie Antoinette inspired large lime green diamonds. Can't you just picture Marie having a huge tree glowing green with diamonds? And they go perfectly with the opaque lime green seed beads which are among my many favourite things.

The next style is a very yellow green which I've capitalized on with cream coloured accents. They remind me of the 12 Days of Christmas - specifically "a partridge in a pear tree".

And the last of the little bits in the tube worked up perfectly to make these sweet little emerald green angels. A gold pony bead acts as the halo. When they're hanging - as opposed to laying flat in the photo - they look even more like little angels.

I've tied them together with a pretty matching bow to make sets of 3 - as that's the way I like things - but I am planning to make these up into individual Christmas Ornament kits that you can make yourself. Seems like a good starter project to experiment with ... stay tuned as it's well underway!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And now we have hats & scarves

Another mission on the great crafting "to do list" (which isn't actually written down, as that would be too overwhelming) is to work up some hats to turn the myriad scarves I have made into "Hat & Scarf sets". The scarves are crocheted and the hats are knit.

I actually prefer the 'co-ordinating' approach to a matchy-matchy set, and these first few versions have worked out pretty well. I love the softness of the Charisma wool in this hat, and think there will be many more of these to come.

Another job done today, the first batch of these sets is now available in the new 'Hats & Scarves' section of my Etsy site. Many more to come ....

Pretty Little Butterflies

Another item 'catalogued' today were these pretty little butterfly earrings. Being a natural subject, I thought I'd keep them in soft and neutral shades.