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Monday, March 7, 2022

Reflective

 One of the types of yarn I enjoyed using was the Red Heart reflective yarn.  Here is an example of my using it as a contrasting band in a hat.


I've also used it in entire hats, as well as to make high-visibility wrist bands.


Unfortunately, none of the local yarn stores carry it anymore, and while I can buy it online, I really prefer not to, if possible.

Instead, my darling husband found an alternative for me.


This is a nylon reflective sewing thread. This is something that can be used in sewing machines, if desired.

Here is how it looks with flash.  



The beauty of this is that I can use it to make any yarn reflective.  I tested it out by making a simple bracelet.

First, in normal light.


Now with flash.


I think that worked our rather well!


I look forward to using it with other types of yarn, or even with crochet thread.  There's a lot on the cone, so this is something that will last for quite a few projects!

I'm quite pleased with it.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Our 2021 Christmas ornaments

 Oh, my goodness!  I can't believe it's been 2 years since I last posted here!  But then, I think the past 2 years has been a blur for a lot of people, lately.  

Honestly, I haven't been doing much crafting lately.  Since our move to an acreage, 4 years ago, our focus has been elsewhere, and for the past 2 years, my focus has been more towards gardening, on top of other outdoor work.  This has had an unfortunate affect of making my hands very rough, so I can't really handle yarn much.  Especially the fussier or delicate yarns.  I also find I am increasing losing strength and dexterity in my hands.  Arthritis sucks!  Still, I do what I can.

And this year, doing what I can meant cans!

(Warning: this is going to be a very photo heavy post! :-D )

We don't often buy canned goods, but every now and then, we pick up canned chicken at Costco.  These are larger cans than what I see in the local grocery stores, and I really liked their size.

For this year's decorations, I decided to create little scenes inside the cans.  This turned out to be a collaborative effort with my daughter, who started things for me by using her gold spray paint on the cans.




This job took several days and several coats of paint.  Normally, this would have been done outdoors, which she tried with the first coat, but it's just too cold out right now.  The paint doesn't like the cold!  Thankfully, she found a way to finish it indoors.

For the scenes, I rifled through my craft supplies and got other things at a dollar store.  A family member had gifted me with a box of wooden items, and I finally got to use some!



I started off by wood burning details on some of the wooden pieces, which I then passed on to my daughter for painting with her acrylics.


I got glitter paper in gold and silver, and used the cans to mark out circles to fit inside them, as backing for 4 of the cans.


I had some metallic card stock and used a can to mark off the dimensions to create a platform to set scenes on.


I used what adhesives I had to fix the backing paper to the cans, and the platforms to the backs.  The main thing was to have the adhesive dry clear. 


The first platform fit perfectly, so I used it as a template to make three more.  

Having a scoring tool to create the folds made things much nicer.


One of the easiest decorations to make was the car.  Among the wooden items I was gifted with were several of these cars, and it fit just perfectly!


I'd picked up packages with strips of mixed ribbon and cord at the dollar store, in gold or silver, with a few that had both.  After choosing a ribbon and cutting it to size, I hot glued it in place.


For a final touch, some fake snow was glued on as well.

This one was done very quickly!

The next ones used the pieces my daughter painted for me.



Don't these little books look fantastic?  I love the metallic gold details.  Just gorgeous!


They were hot glued together to fit into the can.



Then they got hot glued onto the platform.  After this, they got a ribbon around the edge, and this one was done.

The next one was not quite so easy! :-D



I found some floral wire made to look like sprigs of pine and used them to create little trees.  They were positioned so that the larger ones would be behind the church, and the little one in front of it.  The stems were punched through the paper, bent and glued in place, before fitting the whole thing into the can.  It needed some time to dry before I could continue!



I just love the tiny details my daughter put on the church!


I added some fake snow to the church...



... as well as onto the trees.


The church was almost too tall to fit into it!  

Once the church was hot glued in place, I spread white glue around the platform and added more fake snow.  A rather messy job! :-D  Once that was done, instead of a ribbon around the edge, I added more of the decorative floral wire that I used to make the trees.


In one of the cans that did not get a backing or platform, I glued fake snow to the back and a bit on the sides, then added moss as a nest on the bottom.  One bird was glued in place, then the ribbon added before the second was glued in place.  Another quick and easy one!

The last one with a platform ended up taking a couple of days, to allow glue to dry.  I used the same floral wire the trees were made of, to make a tiny wreath.


I had decorative gems that were way too big, but my daughter happened to have these absolutely miniscule ones!  

I could not have done this without craft tweezers, and even then some of those gems were so small, I could barely handle them!



The rest was much, much easier!  

For the last can, I added some fake snow on the background.  I then had to drill a hole, so I went ahead and did all of them.



Where the holes for the hangers were drilled was determined by where things were inside, and their weights.  I used a carving bit on my Dremel to make the holes, as that was the only thing that worked.  The curved metal was a bit of a challenge to work on!

The third hole in the one can was to hang bells inside.



I used more of the decorative floral wire to create a loop to hold the bells on the inside, pulling it tight before bending it at the top to hold it in place.


I'd added fake snow to the bells before hanging them, then more fake snow was added to the bottom and a bit up the sides after the bells were in place.


I selected an extra wide ribbon to go around the can, so it would also serve to hold the wire in place.

The final touch was to thread the hanging cords through the holes. With some of them, I had to use craft tweezers to manipulate the cords inside the cans.  The church one had very little room to work in! :-D


Here they are, all done and ready for hanging!

I am very happy with how these turned out.  


I just had to take a flash picture to show how shiny they are!  I think the gold details on the books are my favourite.  

These are too big to fit on our Christmas tree.  With so many cats in the house, we have a smaller tree hanging against a wall, out of their reach, so these are now hanging with some lights and garlands we have hanging near the ceiling between our living and dining rooms.

These were a lot of fun to make!








Monday, December 9, 2019

Wood slice Christmas ornaments: complete!

Here are the finished wood sliced ornaments.


I decided to keep it simple, and just used hemp cord through 7/16" screw eyes.


I think they look just dandy in the tree. :-)


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Wood slice Christmas decorations

Since moving back to the family farm, I haven't been able to do a lot of crafting.  I have, however, been finding all sorts of potential crafting materials!

Years ago, I had to drop what had been an annual Christmas tradition: hand making ornaments, for our tree and for gift giving.

This year, I've finally started this up again, collaborating with one of my daughters.

I've been pruning a lot of trees over the past two summers, plus cleaning up storm damage and taking out dead and dying trees.  Some of this, I've been setting aside specifically to use as crafting material in the future.

The wood slices I am using for these ornaments are from crab apple tree branches I pruned last year.  I cut some fairly thick discs and, little by little, sanded some of them smooth.  Since this is an experiment, for the most part, I started with only 4 slices.


I penciled in some sketches, in some places using the colours and shapes that were already in the wood in planning the designs.

I broke out my wood burning tools for the first time in ages.


Since I was out of practice, I started with the simplest design - the snowflake - and worked my way through.  I used the same wedge shaped tip for all of this, though I really should have changed tips for things like shading.  I wasn't too worried about the detail, though, because after the designs were burned in, I passed them on to my daughter to paint.  She questioned me on what I had in mind, which was mostly just using white to highlight details, but mostly, I just left it to her.


This is the result!

I love her use of the gold!

Once the paint was dry, I screwed in tiny eyelets.  At this point, we could just add wire hangers that we already have and call them done, or I might string on hanging cords and add other small decorative elements.

If it works out, I've got a whole bunch of apple wood slices just waiting to be sanded, to make more. :-)

Happy crafting!


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Waffle Weave

As usual, real life has made blogging here rather sparse!

I have, however, actually managed to get some crafting done, in between moving my office/craft room to another room.

One of the things I recently finished, having put it aside to complete other projects, is something I intended to use as a chair seat cover.

Our cat has other ideas.


In moving back to the family farm, we are using some of the furniture that was already here, including the mish-mash of dining chairs.  All of which have big granny squares my mother made, covering the seats and some of the backs, as well.  Unfortunately, my mother did not have access to good yarn.  She also used whatever scraps were at hand.  So... they're a little hard on the eyes.

I was entertaining the thought of replacing them with different covers, all using the same yarn - blanket yarn was used in my tester - and done in a dense waffle weave stitch.

No, not waffle stitch.  Waffle weave stitch.  I found the stitch featured in a crochet magazine some time ago, and have since seen it with a different name.  I've completely forgotten what that name was.  I was, however, able to find a tutorial for a waffle weave baby blanket, so here it is.


The end result is a very thick, insulating fabric.  I ended up using the stitch to make a scarf, headband and hat set for a friend.  They are incredibly warm; perfect for the blistering cold temperatures we've had this winter!

As a note about working up a hat; the stitch can be done in the round, but the work must be turned after joining each round.  Which makes working from the bottom up, much more practical.  I normally work my hats top down.

It also helps to use a larger hook than you normally would for the yarn weight.  I couldn't really do that for the blanket yarn I used for the test chair seat cover.  I used a 10mm hook, because the next size up I have from that is 25mm, which I use mostly as a nostepinne when reballing yarn into centre pull cakes.  If I'm going to do this stitch with this yarn again, I would need to pick up some larger hooks.

I don't think I'll be doing that.  At least not to make chair seat covers.  For the cost of yarn and amount of work involved, it would make more sense to just buy a set of chair pads.  Especially since I would want to get some extra thick ones, to make it less painful for my husband to sit at the table.

I will definitely use this stitch for other things, though.  The super thick fabric it makes would be perfect for things like hot pads, using cotton yarn.  The insulating qualities makes it perfect for warm winter hats.

As for my test chair seat cover...

Looks like it's going to be a cat blanket!

Monday, October 29, 2018

New Toy

The weather has been getting cooler, and I've accomplished the goals I set for myself, in cleaning and clearing out the yard.  We even had a couple of nice, warm days that allowed me to do some of what I was leaving for next year - at this point, any more clearing and cleaning outside is just gravy!  Over the summer, we have been able to clean up, clear out and prune the maple grove, the trees behind the "spare" house in the yard, the north perimeter and east fence line of the spruce grove, and I've even managed to get some progress on the south fence line along the spruce grove.  All of which involved clearing out shocking amounts of junk.  On top of that, I've been working on building up a smallish garden next to the house that had been mostly a flower garden, but my other also used for things like onions, mint and chives.  It has a couple of ornamental apple trees in it, rhubarb, a lilac, a couple of white rose bushes, some honeysuckle, and even some asparagus, in there.  Unfortunately, much of it was overtaken by invasive flowers and vines, so I've covered it over with cardboard, then built up layers of leaves, straw, and more leaves.  If all goes to plan, I will put a small retaining wall at one end, and build it up to be level, too.  Being so close to the house, it will make a good location for a kitchen garden.

In the middle of all this, I've actually managed to do some crafting!  I was able to do a hat and two scarves for a dear friend, in crochet.  I'm currently working on a Tunisian stitch cat blanket.

I was even able to do a local market!  It was a last minute thing I signed up for, and the first market held in this neighbouring town.  We got our first snowfall that day, yet it was a fantastic success.  My best market, ever!  I even had some costumers telling me about other popular local markets in our region that they recommended I sell at.  They tell me no one else has an inventory like mine.

It was not something I was expecting to get into after the move, but I will give it a go, when the markets start up again next year.

Which means, I need to build up  new inventory!

So I expect to be doing a lot more crochet over the winter, as well as trying out some new crafts.

Allow me to show you my new toy.

The girls and I went into the city today, and I was finally able to swing by a Lee Valley store.  There was a small, battery operated engraving pen I had seen in their online catalog that I wanted to get.  At only $20, I figured it would be an inexpensive way to try out a new craft.

After talking to the saleswoman, however, I ended up getting this, instead.  It was only $10 more.  I was thinking I didn't want something with a cord, but the battery operated one slows down as the batteries die.  I can see that becoming annoying fast!

This one has adjustable speeds.  It is small enough to handle easily, and the tips are interchangeable.  It only comes with one, but I looked at complete kit of engraving tips, too.  A bit beyond my budget, right now.  I will see how things go with this, first.  If it works out, getting more tips will be worth the investment.

For now, what I am looking to do is engrave into wood.  Some of the trees I've been cleaning up and pruning included apple and lilac. Lilac, I've discovered, is a surprisingly hard wood, and it has purple in it!  I also have maple, elm and poplar to choose from.

Right now, I have some apple that was pruned last summer, before we moved out here.  I've cut a few disks to do some experimenting on.  Depending on the size of the wood, I plan to make everything from earrings and pendants, to coasters and trivets.  Along with the engraving, I also want to do some wood burning.

The engraver is something I also want to try on some of the beach rocks I've collected.

But not until after I've had some practise on wood, first!!




Friday, August 10, 2018

It's been a long time!

Obviously, I haven't been posting much lately!

Here is part of the reason why. :-D

This is my crafting space.  Full of cat!

I've been doing a bit of experimenting with painting rocks in a space at the front of the table that's about 8 inches between the Styrofoam and the edge of the table.  Keeping them free of cat hair is a bit of a challenge!

The cats both love this spot, but Freya has truly claimed it as her own!  As I write this, she is in it, lounging against the book, which she had been using as a pillow just moments ago.

Since the move, I have been doing very little crafting at all.  Even my crochet, for which I had a corner set up for in the living room, has gone by the wayside.  Partly due to the summer heat.  Partly because I've been working outside in the yard as much as I can.


Okay, yes, this is partly an excuse to show a cute kitten (two of the outside cats that we inherited with this place have had litters for a total of 6 kittens altogether!).  However, this is one of the areas I've recently worked on.  It had been completely overgrown, with several dead trees that I've taken down so far.  There are a couple of trunks on a maple in the background that are also dead and will be coming down, though I may wait until the current heat wave passes.  This is one end of a grove of trees I've been working my way through this.  Once it's done, I'll start on the OTHER grove of trees, though I expect to only work the perimeter of it, before winter sets in.

So lots of manual labour (and kittens!), and very little crafting. 

If all goes well, I'll be back at it in the winter!