Tag Archives: crafts

DIY: Braided Bracelets

Please excuse my lack of DIY posts as of late. I have some great projects lined up but I got set back a little bit because my sewing machine broke. Luckily, my grandma was more than willing to lend me hers, so I’ve been back at it. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to re-fashion a shirt that I have been meaning to do for some time. You can expect a post about it shortly (I just have to get around to getting some photos of it). But, in the meantime, I did whip together a very quick DIY that utilized the scrap materials from my re-fashion. That excites me (hip-hip-horray for recycling)!

Once again, I am thrilled to say that these cute little feminine bracelets are made of completely recycled materials. I grabbed a few of the scraps from the t-shirt I cut away at and a scrap of a floral fabric that I already had and then simply braided them together. The braid is then hand-stitched to an old stretchy hair tie.

MATERIALS 

For this project, you will need: three strips of scrap fabric, scissors, thread (in your desired colour), a needle, and a stretchy hair tie.

PROCESS

ONE: Tie the three pieces of scrap material together in a tight knot. TWO: Begin to braid the pieces tightly. Continue braiding until it is long enough to wrap around your wrist (with a little bit extra). When you have reached a desired length, sew the pieces together to secure. THREE: Begin sewing the braid to an old hair elastic. Ensure that the elastic is stretchy enough to fit comfortably around your wrist. Sew all the way around until the entire braid is attached. Voila!

They make great little bracelets that have a wonderful Spring vibe! They are so quick to make that I made a few of them at one time. I now have them on hand to add pizzaz to any casual outfit or to give as a sweet little gift. I also think they pair quite nicely with pearls (but I’m a bit biased because I love pearls with anything)! In terms of variation, you could sew your braid to a stretchy headband or even attempt a four-piece braid. Either way, they are simple, recycled, and very cute!

Thank you for stopping by and reading! I hope that you have a reason to find a smile today (you deserve it)!

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RE-FASHION: Bow Backed Shirt

I don’t know about you, but by the time the end of April comes around I get really really sick of my wardrobe. Perhaps this feeling is due to the beautiful weather or just a craving for something as fresh and crisp as the Spring breeze. In years past, this feeling would result in a nice little Spring shopping spree on my part, but since I will not be buying any new clothing for the entire year I needed to find a different solution. That solution, my friends, is a dandy little re-fashion!

My personal style is very comfortable and plain. I wear a lot of neutrals and greys, jeans and leggings, and love to accessorize with scarves and special details. This shirt is the perfect fit for that! It is a very standard long-sleeve with a touch of something special in the back. For some reason, I have recently been obsessed with adding special details to the backs of shirts. I think it is so under-rated and special. It’s like a good mullet–all orderly in the front but a party in the back. Classy.

The inspiration and idea for this re-fashion came from Donatella from inspiration & realisation. She has a beautiful blog about her sewing and fashion adventures. She finds a lot of great inspirations from some of the biggest (and most expensive) designers and then re-creates their pieces in her own way. This shirt was inspired by a t-shirt design by Red Valentino. Sure, it may not have the designer label but it is oodles and oodles of dollars cheaper and can be completely recycled (depending on where you get your supplies). I’ll admit that I re-fashioned this shirt three-or-so months ago so I will do my best to reiterate the steps. If anything is unclear, feel free to reference Donatella’s post for further clarification or ask below.

As mentioned above, my version of this shirt was made of completely recycled materials. The grey long-sleeved shirt came straight from my closet and the black meshy back panel came from a thrifted shirt. You could also use fabric scraps from projects past. If you decide to head to the thrift store to find some workable pieces, look for large pieces of fabric that are suited to your needs. You may perhaps consider using different colours or types of materials.

  • a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt that fits you
  • meshy fabric (large enough to create both a large back panel and a bow)
  • scissors
  • tape measurer
  • pen
  • pins
  • thread (that matches your t-shirt colour)
  • sewing machine
Let me first note that this will require the use of a sewing machine. My mother’s sewing machine and I do not get along (at all) so I opted to have my Mama help me with the actual sewing part. If you are unexperienced with a sewing machine, just note that this may be a bit of a challenge. But do your best and persevere because I’m sure it will turn out great!
ONE: Gather your materials. TWO: Lay out your t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt so that the back is facing up. Using a tape measurer or ruler, find the centre of the back. From the centre point, measure 4-6 inches down from the top (depending on the size of your shirt) and place a mark. Cut a straight line up the back, ensuring to leave the 4-6 inches at the top un-touched. THREE: Using your pins, pin the edges under creating a symmetrical triangle. FOUR: Turn the shirt inside out and cut out a triangle of the black meshy fabric that is slightly larger than the triangle of the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Pin the black meshy fabric in place. FIVE: Turn your shirt the right way out again. Using your sewing machine, sew the black fabric into place on the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Once it is sewn on, cut out any additional scraps from the inside. Creating the Bow: I can’t really give you step-by-step instructions for creating the bow. I personally used the sleeve of my black meshy shirt. I randomly scrunched the centre, sewed, wrapped fabric here and there and somehow came out with this bow. I then safety pinned the bow onto the back of the shirt and tried on the shirt to ensure that it was placed in an appropriate position. When I was satisfied, I hand sewed the bow onto the back of the shirt and voila!
There you have it! As I said before, this shirt can be customized in a variety of ways. Perhaps you could make the back panel out of a floral fabric or a bright colour. It can be dressed up (with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots) or could be worn very casually (with some leggings and cargo boots). It really is a fun and practical piece to create and have!
Always remember that there are ways to update your style and be economically and environmentally friendly. Thanks for stopping by!
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Notecards, Invites, and Letters, Oh My!

Hola Amigos! Have you ever been to one of those fun little “parties” at someone else’s home where a bunch of women get together, socialize, eat, and shop for tupperware, candles, candies, cosmetics, or kitchenware? As a child, I used to dream about the days when I would get to go with my mom to one of these suburban “house” parties. Well, guess what? Now I get to host one! And much to my pleasure, the title of host comes along with the opportunity to do all the fun party preparations (including making the invitations)! So I am going to share with you a dandy little post about

Making notecards, invitations, and other special occasion cards is one of my favourite things to do. In my opinion, homemade cards show love and care to the people they are specially made for. Quite honestly, homemade cards are a very enjoyable way to release some creative energy and to share the love! My crazy-one-man-assembly-line invitation making has inspired me to share with you some easy and practical ways to create your very own customized stationary.

I transformed my “customized stationary” into invitations for my party but this is a similar approach I take for making everyday notecards to have on hand. I like making a large batch at one time so I don’t have to pull out all of my supplies every time I need a card. I make them in basic colours so when I have a recipient in mind, I can just add a few extra decorations that are special for that person. One my favourite combinations are black and white patterned paper with a colour highlight. Black and white matches everything so it makes a great “base” paper for your customized stationary. However, depending on the time of year you can use holiday or season themed papers as your base paper.

If you’re adventurous enough, you can make your own card base. I prefer to buy pre-made blank cards because they come with envelopes and are more convenient. I then cut out a bunch of appropriately sized blocks of paper in various patterns. This allows very easy access to “grab and glue” to the base cards.

I like using unique scissors and shapes to create special features on the cards like this “curvy” edge. For my invitations I wanted uniformity, but when I make “everyday” stationary, I like to play around with placement and colour. Not one card looks the same as another. The perfectionist in me always notices some that I don’t like as much as others, but that is to be expected when playing around and trying different things.

When I’m all finished, I have a big stack of customized cards that are easily accessible for life’s little moments. They are great for sending encouraging little notes, adapting into birthday cards, or transforming into invitations. I did this by adding a few words on the front and the invite information on the inside. I even added a little stamp to fill the inside.

Creating your own customized stationary is one of the easiest things because it is completely up to you how they turn out. There are no expectations and so they always turn out wonderfully. Some things you may want to consider using is different patterned paper, recycled goods, unique scissors, punches, stamps, markers, ink pads, stickers, or add-on decals. Play around with paper shapes and colours. Experiment with making your own card bases and envelopes (for unique shapes) and using pre-made cards. Card-making can get pretty expensive but it doesn’t have to be. You can use old wrapping papers, scraps of paper, and recycled cards. It’s just a fun way to be a little bit creative and show a little bit of personalized love in a time and culture when mass-produced cards are chosen for convinience. Your customized stationary can be convenient too though.

Good luck on creating your very own stationary. Let me know how it goes!

If you are a little more daring, check out this challenge!

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Knitting 101: Slipper Mocs

For the first time, I attemped knitting in the round. I have always been very intimidated by the process and was determined to avoid it at all costs. However, I came across one of the most adorable knitting patterns for little baby moccasins. Much to my dismay, the pattern required double pointed needles. The baby mocs were so cute that I just couldn’t pass them by. So I pulled up my big-girl panties, drove to Michaels to buy my first set of double pointed needles, and sat down with enough determination to make a cute little pair of baby mocs.

Much to my surprise and delight they turned out absolutely darling! I was left on such a knitting high. My knitting hands felt unstoppable! I began to scan the interweb for a slipper pattern that I could adapt into a pair of knitted slipper mocs for myself. I came across a great slipper pattern that seemed do-able from the search for awesomeness but made a few adaptions to turn the slippers into Native-American inspired moccasins. I made note of all my adaptions and decided to share them with you!

Before I lay out the pattern I just want to make a couple of notes. First of all, this pattern will make a woman’s size seven slipper but it can be adjusted to make them larger or smaller. The pattern will note when these changes can be made. Secondly, this pattern requires using a double strand of wool. I have found it easiest to do this by using two separate balls of the same wool and joining the strands from each ball. However, if you only have one ball of each colour, you can still do a double strand by combining the two separate ends. This may just require a little bit of organizing and un-tangling beforehand. Finally, you may find it useful to have a scrap paper and pencil on hand to note how many rows you have done. Since this project entails making two separate slippers, you want to ensure that they match exactly. This requires that you follow the pattern precisely. Now let’s get ready…

  •  1 ball of wool in a main colour (MC) (I used Loops and Threads Impeccable brand wool in Topaz)
  • 1 ball of wool in a contrast colour (CC) (I used Loops and Threads Impeccable brand wool in Aran)
  • scraps of additional colours of wool for the sewn in design (I used Loops and Threads Impeccable brand wool in Chocolate and Vanna’s Choice brand wool in Brick and Silver Blue)
  • one set of US 8 (5mm) double pointed needles
  • large sewing needle
  • scissors
  • a stitch marker

Now let’s get to the knitting…

CUFF
Using two strands at a time, cast on 36 stitches in the CC. Place the stitches on three different double pointed needles, (12 stitches on each). Join the stitches to work in the round. Be sure that the stitches are not twisted.
Row 1: K1, P1, continue to repeat to the end of the first round. Place a stitch marker at the end of this round to mark the start of the round.
Row 2-12: Repeat Row 1 for the next 11 rows, for a total of 12 rows.
Change to your wool to the MC.
Row 13: knit.
Row 14: purl.
Repeat rows 13 and 14 an additional two times each, making a total of 6 rows.
HEEL
You will now prepare the needles to work on the heel component. Re-arrange the stitches so that the needle you will be working with next has 18 stitches on it. This can be any stitches, just be sure that the working strand is at the end of this needle. The other two needles should each have 9 stitches on them. These 9 stitch needles can be ignored for the next little while. The needle with the 18 stitches on it will form the heel. On this needle, you will be working the following back and forth:

Row 1: *(s1 knitwise, k) and repeat from the * until the end of the row. It will end on a knit.

Row 2: s1 purlwise, purl until the end of the row.

Row 3-15: continue alternating between these two rows for the remaining 13 rows. You will end on a Row 1 pattern.

Now you will do some decrease rows so the three-dimensionality of the heel will begin to develop. Follow these rows exactly.

Row 16: s1 purlwise, p9, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 17: s1 knitwise, k3, k2tog, k1, turn

Row 18: s1 purlwise, p4, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 19: s1 knitwise, k5, k2tog, k1, turn

Row 20: s1 purlwise, p6, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 21: sl knitwise, k7, k2tog, k1, turn

Row 22: s1 purlwise, p8, p2tog, turn

Row 23: s1 knitwise, k8, k2tog.

This will leave you with 10 stitches on your needle and the three-dimensionality of the heel beginning to show.

PREPARING FOR THE SOLE

Next you will have to pick up some of the stitches along the side of the heel that you just knit. To do this, hold your slipper so that the cuff is on the left, the back panel you just knit is down, and the heel shape is on the right. On a separate needle, pick up 9 stitches along the side of the heel panel. This new needle will be NEEDLE A.

Transfer all of the stitches that are on the two needles that have been ignored while creating the heel onto one needle. Do this by slipping 9 of the stitches knitwise onto the other needle. This needle will be NEEDLE B.

On the opposite side of the heel panel, pick up 9 stitches with another needle. This will be NEEDLE C.

Knit 5 of the stitches from the heel needle onto NEEDLE C. Please note that this will require you to break the working yarn and re-position it. Slip the remaining 5 stitches onto NEEDLE A. This will leave you with three needles (A, B, and C). NEEDLE A and C will each have 14 stitches and NEEDLE B will have 18 stitches.

  BODY OF SLIPPER

The total number of stitches will be 46. What you need to do is get back to the initial number of stitches (36). This will require you to decrease the number of stitches on NEEDLE A and NEEDLE C so that each needle contains 9 stitches. To do this, follow this pattern:

 Row 24: NEEDLE A: knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k1; NEEDLE B: knit across; NEEDLE C: k1, ssk, knit to the end.

Row 25: Knit entire round.

Row 26-39: Repeat these two rows an additional 4 times each. When this is finished, NEEDLE A and NEEDLE C will have 9 stitches each and NEEDLE B will have 18 stitches.

 Now you will begin just knitting in the round to build the body of the slipper. This section will affect your sizing. The following will create a Woman’s Size 7 slipper, but for larger or smaller slippers, adjust the number of rows. Note that the toe aspect of this pattern will be approximately 2.5 inches, so take that into account when adjusting the number of stitches.

Row 40: Knit the entire round.

Row 41-65: Repeat Row 40 an additional 24 times for a total of 25 knitted rounds.

NEEDLEWORK

This step really could be saved for the end, but I prefer to do it while the toe is still open for easy access to the inside of the slipper. You can now sew in a custom pattern to give your mocs a Native-American flare. I chose to use a light blue, rich red, and dark brown to create my pattern, however, the possibilities are endless. There is no rhyme or pattern to this, you just have to sew in whatever you would like. This is an image of the pattern I sewed in if you would like to use it or you can come up with your own!

Thread your needle with a long string of your desired colour. Sew in the desired pattern. Leave long tails to be sewn in when the slipper is complete.

TOE

When your needlework pattern is complete and you are satisfied, it is time to return to knitting. Using your A, B, and C needles, follow this sequence:

Row 66: NEEDLE A: k to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; NEEDLE B: k1, ssk, k to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1, NEEDLE C: k1, ssk, knit to the end

Row 67: Knit

Row 68-75: Repeat Row 66 and Row 67 an additional four times.

Row 76: Repeat Row 66. This will leave you with 3 stitches each on NEEDLE A and C and 6 stitches on NEEDLE B. Knit the stitches from NEEDLE A onto NEEDLE C so that you only have two needles.

FINISHING

Using a Kitchener Stitch, finish off the toe. Do this by threading your sewing needle with the working strand (double) and using it to finish. Look online for instructions on how to complete this stitch. It may look difficult but it really is not hard at all.

Flip your slipper inside out and sew in any loose strands. Flip to the right side again, fold over the cuff, and try on your new slipper!

Repeat for the second slipper.

There you have it, friends. A lovely little pattern for your very own pair of slipper mocs. Please notify me if there are any corrections or issues. If you make this project and use your own needlework pattern, please let me know! I would love to see how you personalize your own pair. Now to leave off, I thought I would show you the cute little baby mocs that inspired this project. If you are interested in making a pair, you can access the pattern from The Purl Bee.

If you would prefer to reference this slipper moc pattern in PDF form, you can access it by CLICKING HERE.

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Knitting 101: Easy Mistake Stitch Infinite Scarf

Holy cow. It is April. Can you believe it? All I can say is that just because it is unlikely that the snowflakes will fall, there is no reason to stash the cozy knit scarves away for the season. April has been known to have some chilly days. Break the chilly air (and your urge to knit, knit, knit) with this fool proof pattern for a thick, cozy, and quick-to-knit infinite scarf.

A while back, I saw a darling photo on Pinterest (of course) of a deep maroon purple scarf paired with a light blue collared shirt. I was instantly drawn to the combo. Maybe it is the artist coming out in me, but the contrast between the two colours was captivating. Not long after, I came across the perfect coloured wool on sale at Michaels and decided to knit one up for myself. Maybe you should give ‘er a try too!

If you’re a beginner knitter, this is the perfect project for you! I am not an old-pro at knitting and haven’t dared tackling the circular needles yet. Instead, I make my infinite scarves by knitting a regular scarf and then sewing the two ends together at the end. This is a very easy solution for those who aren’t comfortable with circular needles. There is a seam, but if sewn neatly, it looks uniformed and is usually tucked into the collar of my shirt or covered by my hair anyways.

This pattern was adapted into an infinite scarf from a pattern on The Purl Bee. As long as you know how to do a simple knit and purl stitch, it is essentially fool-proof.

For this project, you will need the following:

  • A set of 7mm straight knitting needles
  • Two balls of thick wool in your desired colour (I used Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Ease, Thick & Quick in Claret)
  • A large sewing needle

Cast on 39 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 2, Purl 2, K2, P2 (continue to repeat), finish on a P1

Row 2-end: Repeat the previous row over and over again.

That’s it. I know–easy, right? Continue to follow this pattern over and over again until you have reached a desired length. I have found that a good length requires nearly two full balls of wool. However, ensure that you have enough wool left to sew in the end. When you have reached your desired length, cast the scarf off your needles. Using the extra wool and a large needle, sew the two ends together. When finished, sew in the loose ends. And there you have it–a cozy, thick-ribbed knit infinite scarf.

If you desire alternating the pattern in any way (such as making it thicker or thinner), use increments of 4 +3 stitches. For example, if you would like to make it thicker, cast on 43, 47, or 51 initial stitches. Or to make it thinner, cast on 35, 31, or 27 initial stitches.

I just needed to share this photo that shows a very small fraction of my scarf collection. The scarf on the left is this Easy Mistake Stitch Infinite Scarf. You can never have too many cozy scarfs…that’s all I’m saying!

There you have it, friends. It is such an easy scarf to knit up. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. It may also be useful to reference the original pattern from The Purl Bee (you can do that by clicking HERE). Thanks for stopping by!

I hope you enjoy what April brings for you, whether it’s chilly or not!

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