Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wool Coaster Tutorial

As promised, here's a short tutorial for some fun and easy coasters.

Trace and cut 8 circles from felted sweaters. The ones I made are about 4 inches across. I use a variety of things for templates - I believe this circle template might have originally been the cover to a yummy cream cheese container (after it's washed first, of course!).

Line up and pin two circles to each other.

Using a thin yarn, stitch a blanket stitch around the outside of the circle sewing the two pieces together. Before inserting your needle to begin a new blanket stitch, slip a bead onto the needle and slide it down to snuggle up to the last stitch next to the wool. 

TIP 1: Try to estimate how much yarn will be needed for the entire coaster before cutting. It helps prevent having to knot, end off and start a new piece of yarn.

TIP 2: You can make a small knot when beginning your stitching and hide it in between the two layers of wool by catching just a snippet of wool with your needle further into the circle's center and then your next [beginning] stitch can start along the outside edge.

Finish all four coasters in the same manner and you now have a great set of sassy coasters. Set them immediately on your coffee table or use a piece of ribbon or twine to tie them together in a neat little pile. It's a great way to present them as a gift! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

No's not me!

Now I don't want to say she's spoiled, but this looks like a pretty easy life...and yes, she's on the couch cuddling with a quilt I made years ago. Guess it's still  good for snuggling!

I'm just finishing a new tutorial for the coasters I just posted on Etsy. I hope to post it within the next couple days. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Drip, Drop, Slop

Yesterday morning at 4:20 am, I awoke to a dripping noise. After taking a few seconds to figure out what that strange noise would be, I quickly bolted out of bed. My toilet was overflowing. I don't know for how long. But by the looks of things, let's assume a long time. 

Now, it was not only dripping but it was actually a solid stream of water coming onto the floor of the room below it (through the ceiling light fixture).
What a thing. I spent the first hour bailing water - crying - calling plumbers - cussing - and bailing more water (up and down the stairs and out the back door - I certainly got my share of exercise in for the day!). Well, to say the least - it was a mess.

So instead of going to work as I normally would on a Friday, I spent the day with a father and son plumbing team.  As nice and helpful as they were....hmmm....I think I would have much rather enjoyed a stressful day at work instead.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pretty Posy Tutorial

I recently saw some very pretty flowers created with organza and had to try it myself. So, I don't want anyone to think that I made up this technique - because that would be just plain lying if I said I did. :-)

I thought it would be fun to make a little tutorial of my version of the flower. I chose to use recycled fabric that I got from the thrift store some time ago. When I first saw the fabric, I didn't know what I would do with it but figured I could use it for something. Of course it was purple - so it seemed obvious to me that it would come in handy some day. It began its life as the outside layer of a shower curtain.

1. Cut 4 different sizes of circles - about 6-8 pieces of each size. A nice thing about this project and is very different from my working with wool, is that the cutting doesn't need to be perfect at all. It's actually kind of nice if they are a bit mis-shaped.

2. Grab and light one of your favorite candles. It helps if the candle matches your fabric. Oh heck, I'm just kidding - but of course MY candle would be purple!

Gently run the edges of all the cut circles through the flame of the fire to softly singe them. You can do it heavier if you like, but do keep in mind that there will be a little black on the edges from the flame. (It only took me the time of one episode of Andy Griffith to do all the tracing, cutting and flaming of the pieces.)

2. Stitch all layers of the circles together starting with the larger circles and working toward ending with the smaller ones on top. I tended to thread my circles onto the needle in a little lopsided manner to give it more character (especially with the smaller circles). In other words, don't worry about putting the needle exactly in the center of each circle.

3. When you have all circles in place, sew some fun coordinated (or mismatched!) beads in the center. The number of beads you use is totally up to you. I think I used about 8 or so. Keep in mind, that you will probably need to use beads with a little larger hole opening in order to get your needle through. (Unless you have special beading needles that are very thin. Then you can use them to sew the smaller seed beads.)

4. Cut a small circle to mount/sew the pin-back to. I used a small piece of wool (using the circle of a spool of thread for a size template.) I felt that using a stronger fabric for this part would help make it more stable. Sew the circle and pin-back in place.

5. WaaLaa! Your pin is done! Enjoy it attached to your favorite jacket, sweater, bag, scarf, hat or anything else that suits your fancy! Or do as I plan on doing - and make several in different colors and have ready for fun, quick gifts for your special friends.

PS. After I made this purple flower, I remembered that I had saved a piece of silky edging from an old yellow wool blanket that I had previously cut up for a pillow. I decided that a fun, springy flower might be a great way to use this. Thank goodness that I saved it! It just goes to show you that it IS important to save everything! I already have a big problem with hanging onto too many things. And I think it keeps getting worse every day...

PSS. The purple fabric in the photos above is all the same fabric. In an attempt to save battery life, I would turn my camera off between steps. I guess I didn't get the settings the same in all photos. Maybe one of these days I'll learn how to control that better. And then again, maybe I won't worry about it at all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Sister. My Friend.

Had a fun visit with my sister this weekend.

She came to stay with me for the weekend and brought me Valentine's Day flowers.

So lovely...

Thanks for the flowers.

Thanks for the visit.

Thanks for the laughs.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chillin' Cherries

Sure. I know that they are not really cherries. It was just the title I liked best that sounded better than “Morning Frosty Crabapples Hanging on a Tree”. So for right now, I’m pretending they’re cherries. :-)

This is from a little tree that I pass every day as I’m heading into work.

One morning they were particularly beautiful when we had a “hore frost”. Of course, I didn’t think to bring my camera that day.

But I did remember this day – and I think it was equally as nice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Scarf Sold!

My scarf that I recently donated to the Hearts for Haiti Etsy shop sold last night. THANK YOU to the generous purchase-person! An additional excitement for me is that it sold to someone in Hawaii.  I haven't had the opportunity yet to send one of my wool creations to Hawaii!  What fabulous-felted-fun!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiti Help

I just found out about a special shop that Etsy has opened to benefit Haiti. Etsy shop owners can donate items to the shop and 100 percent of the sale cost goes to Haiti relief funds.

I just donated one of my recently posted wool scarves to my shop. I don't think it's been posted to the Haiti relief shop yet - their information says that it can take up to 48 hours for it to be available to customers.

I think it's a great way to help. I, personally, can't afford to give alot in the form of dollars, but if I can do something this way, I feel like I can help just a little in a different way.

(FYI - They have encouraged people to donate things with a "heart" theme - but there are other items as well. No hearts on my scarf! :-)

I encourage you to check it out. Even if you don't purchase anything, it's pretty "heart"warming to see how many people are willing to pitch in. As of the time of this post, they have already raised $25,612.54!