Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April's Block of the Month - 9 Patch

April's block of the month is a 9-patch.  It is called this because it is made up of 9 squares.  Here are the two that I made for this month.  Notice how you can create a different look by where you choose to place the colors.  The following are a few different looks that you can get from a 2 colored 9 patch block.

For a 12" squared block, you will need to cut out nine 4.5" squares.  How many of each color depends on which color arrangement that you chose to do.

For these directions, I am making this arrangement.  So I cut out 4 purple squares and 5 floral squares.

I laid the middle squares right side together over the squares on the left side.  Then I sewed them together using a straight stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Then I laid the right side squares over the center ones, right sides together, and sewed them.

Next I ironed them.  Iron the light sides towards the dark fabric.  It is also good to remember to iron each section so that the folded ironed sides face different directions.  For example, the top and bottom sections was ironed towards the center square.  The middle section was ironed away from the center square.

Now lay the bottom section over the middle section, right sides together, and pin in place.

Notice how where the fabric was ironed, that the two sides' folded area butt up against each other nicely?  That helps to line up the block just right.  After you have pinned the 2 sides together, then sew them together.

You are going to repeat that with other section over the middle section.

Then iron the back of your block.  I have ironed all the lights sides to the dark sides.  This can be a little more tedious, but I did not want the dark fabric to show through the light fabric on the front of the block.  However you can just pick one side to iron toward and do that (example: iron all parts to the left).

Then trim your edges so that they are all straight.  Your block should be about 12.5".  It will be 12" once sewn to other blocks.  Enjoy and I look forward to seeing everyone's block :)  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Birthday Gloves

My mom received her birthday present this week.  I knitted her a pair of fingerless gloves out of Lion Brand's Homespun.  I had made her a hat and a scarf in the past out of Homespun that the gloves will go well with.  This was an easy pattern from Lion Brand's website.  I'm going to have to make myself a pair before the next winter.

Happy Birthday Mom!  I love you!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday's Tot Craft Time

Every Tuesday my local library has craft time for those little ones who are not in school.  My youngest loves to go to craft time, and then stay to play in the children's section.  I was looking forward to seeing what their Easter week craft was going to be.

Today's craft was cutting out paper sheep and glueing cotton balls on them.  Not very creative (no creative expression), but my son enjoyed doing it.  I cut out the sheep for him, because he is not old enough for scissors in my opinion.  Then we used a glue stick to cover the sheep's body in glue.  He loved placing all of the cotton balls on the sheep.  He didn't use all of the cotton balls either.  These will be cute hung up by his bed: counting sheep.  

How can we turn this into an eco-craft?  
- You could print the sheep onto the back of cereal and other food boxes.  Then cut them out.  Instead of cotton balls, you could glue scrap fabric, scrap yarn, stuffing from an old worn out toy (like the one the dog chewed apart), buttons, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, cut squares of plastic bags (with the glue in the center so that they are puffy), etc.  
- Another idea to make them counting sheep is to add a piece of velcro to the center of the sheep.  Then cut out a large number from a food box and place the other piece of velcro on it.  Kids love playing with velcro pieces like that. 
- If you have some felt around your home, make a felt story.  Cut some sheep out of the felt.  Then cut different shapes out of different colors of felt.  The kids can have fun decorating their felt sheep.  Ok, so I really need to make a new felt board to show everyone how easy it is.  My son is the right age for one, and his 3rd birthday is in a few weeks.  So this may not be a recycled craft, but it is a good one to help in your child's development.  They can be creative both artistically and mentally.  They can make up stories and songs about the sheep.  Felt boards are great for growing brains.

What are some of your ideas on how to turn this sheep craft into an eco-friendly craft?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fun with plastic

Movies make great crafting time.  Last night I added the stripes to my plarn bag.  Today I watched another movie while I bound off most of the bag, and I started knitting the handles.  Last night the bag seemed to say, "I don't want to be a tote bag.  I want to be a purse."  When finished knitting it, I plan on lining it with fabric.  One thing that I love about this bag is the subtle zebra-like striping of the different colors of yellow in it.  

Someone in the trash to treasure group on ravelry made a fused bag that she had woven with fused stripes.  I loved the way that it looked, and I really wanted to try and make one myself.  After our basement flood I bought some plastic laundry bags from the Dollar Tree.  Well they tore after one use.  So I fused them tonight to create a green and a yellow fabric.  Then I cut them into 2 inch stripes and wove them together.  Tomorrow I plan on fusing the woven sheet together and making a bag out of it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring is in the air

Spring has finally arrived here.  Nature is really amazing.  These flowers are a split complementary color scheme: purple, yellow, and green.  The veins on the petals are gorgeous.  You can even see where some of the yellow has fallen off of the centers.  So many different projects can be inspired by these flowers.  One thing that comes to mind is the sampler quilt that I am working on each month (block of the month).  My main colors are purple and green, but now I might add some yellow in there to.  I made the April block today.  I'll be posting the directions either on Wednesday or Thursday.

While the kids played in the back yard, I worked on my knitted plarn bag.

And my husband took pictures of different things.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Secret projects & other things

Last night I started crocheting a raving rabbit for my oldest son for Easter.  I can't get much done on it since I need to buy some stuffing and I am waiting to get a shipment of pink safty eyes in the mail.  I finished kniting my mom's birthday present a few weeks ago, but I finaly sewed it last week.  I mailed it yesterday, and she should get it before her birthday.  I'll post a picture of it after she opens it.  I also made the box exchange quilt block for my quilt guild tonight (can't post a picture until April or May due to secretcy).  I was suppose to exchange it last Monday at the meeting, but I didn't go (and I hadn't made it).  I'm going to exchange it with the next person on the list tomorrow.

Also tomorrow I plan on making the 2nd block in the Trash to Treasure's block of the month.  I will be posting directions for it on April 1st.  You can find the directinos for the 1st block here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Water Reflection

Water reflection was the theme of my senior thesis in college.  How can water inspire your creative side?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Knitted Yellow Plarn Bag

Here is the yellow plarn bag that I have been slowly knitting for a while now. I had ripped out the entire thing and started over. It was originally knitted on size 8 circular needles. It was a pain to work with it at that size. So I switched to a size 10.5 circulars when I started over. It is much easier to work with now. I cast on 45 stitches and knitted the bottom in garter stitch (as if on straight needles). Then I picked stitches on all 4 sides of the bottom. Now I am knitting the sides. It is my on-the-go project. Apparently yellow is a trendy color for the Spring and Summer this year.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Children's Eco-Crafts

Yesterday I looked through my son's room for items that he made from recycled items. Here are two of the many eco-crafts that he has made over the years. The fish one is a metal bottle cap. He put a round blue paper in it and a small plastic fish bone. Then I filled it with resin. We made a lot of these together one night. They make good game board pieces, ornaments, jewelry, and embellishments.

This project my son found on the Webkinz website. It's a milk truck made out of a milk jug. He used 2 dowel sticks, cardboard, and clay to make the wheels. He also used clay on the top and the handle. A Webkinz can easily fit inside to deliver milk. He no longer plays with it, but his little brother just loves it. Its nice when home made toys get passed along to be loved again.

What kinds of environmentally friendly things will you and your kids, grandkids, or other family members be making for Earth Day next month?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

American Textile History Museum

One of my New Year's resolutions was to finally go to the Textile Museum near my home. Its crazy that I have a bachelor's degree in Textiles and have not gone in the 3 years that I've lived here. My youngest son and I met up with a friend of mine who gives tours at the museum. She was the perfect person to go with, because she could answer all of my questions about different things in the museum. The above picture is of my son standing next to a large knitted snowman that was donated by a group of ladies from another state. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a raven on the snowman's right shoulder that is knitting the long scarf. The barrel has several knitted flowers in it.

This was the eco-fiber section. In the bottom of the case is a bunch of plastic bottles. The green layer is the shredded plastic bottles. The black layer is the next step in the process. The fleece coat was made from recycled plastic.

This picture shows how old denim jeans can be turned into fiber bating that is used for insulating homes.

This is such a great idea, especially for left over skeins of yarn. It is a knitted, crochet, and woven rug that looks like some farm land with a pond and stream. The whole mat seems to be woven. The water is crochet. The upper left side is knitted. It was probably attached to the woven structure. The houses are knitted. I thought that is was a fantastic idea.

Here is a rag rug that was turned into a pillow.

Apparently several children did the weaving using scrap bits of fabric on one of those tall wall looms.

This 8 harness floor loom was available for people to weave on. I wove 8 rows in blue. I just love the pattern.

Here are some beautifully woven pillows that were in the play room. They also had some similar pillows for sale in the gift shop. This really makes me want set up my loom and start weaving again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MIA & Have a nice St. Patrick's Day

I haven't been crafting, because we had our first natural basement flood from all of the rain. All of my craft items were in the basement. Thankfully I was able to get most of my stuff off of the floor before the water got to it. It stopped raining last night. Now we are in the recovery / cleaning stage. So I might not be posting anything for this whole week. Whenever I take a break from the basement I like to go play some games on pogo to relax.

I hope that everyone has a nice St. Patrick's Day, and happy crafting :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Its Easy Being Green Episode 15: Book Making

On the newest episode of Its Easy Being Green I showed how to make a notebook out of a juice pouch cardboard box. Any kind of corrugated cardboard can be used in the same way. The pictures below were taken last June. There are some small differences in how those notebooks were made vs the one one above. I'll bring up the differences when they arise.

Step 1: Open your cardboard box and lay it flat on a cutting mat.

Step 2: Using a cutting knife and a ruler, cut along the creases of the cardboard. You want to cut out the front and back panel of the juice pouch box.

Step 3: You want to cut these two panels a 2nd time to make sure that they have straight edges and that they are the same size.

Step 4: Measure one inch in from the side of both panels, then slice through one layer of the cardboard. Do not cut through both layers.

Step 5: Bend the cardboard along that cut line. This allows your notebook to open and close. The side with the cut is the inside of your notebook.

Step 6: Cut your paper a fourth of an inch smaller than your cardboard panels. I like to use 100% post consumer recycled paper, which your purchase at an office supply store.

Step 7: Pick out the paper that you want to use for the inside and the outside of your notebook. I like using scrapbook paper, but you can use recycled paper from magazines or old books. First cut your outside paper so that it is larger than your cardboard panel. Then cut your inside paper the same size as your pages (a fourth of an inch smaller than your cardboard panel).

Step 8: Apply glue to the front of your panel. The picture here shows the inside, so please ignore it. For the show I used a glue stick, which works great.

Step 9: Lay your paper down and smooth it out with a credit card or a bone folder.

Step 10: Bend that fold to make sure that your notebook with open and close easily once the glue dries.

Step 11: This is where the pictures and the t.v. show differ. In this one I have the inside paper glued down with the outside paper ready to over lap it. For the show I laid the inside paper over the over lapped outside paper. Which ever you choose to do, you need to cut off the corners of the outside paper. Then you need to glue it to the inside of the panel. See the picture below.

Step 12: For the show I then glued the inside paper in place. In the picture it was glued down before the outside paper. Just make sure to bend your panel along the fold line, because the inside paper will shift to allow the bend.

Step 13: Sandwich your pages and front and back panels together, and then clamp them together. These clips / clamps can be found at the office supply store. Next figure out how many holes that you want in your binding and measure them out. I like to take a scrap piece of paper that is 1 inch wide by however wide your notebook is. The 1" represents the space before the notebook bends. Then fold it in half 2 or 3 times along the length, then once along the width. The width line marks half an inch. The other folds marks the evenly spaced holes for the binding. Hole punch along the fold lines, lay it over the notebook, and mark with a dot. Then drill a hole through those marks, and through the layers of your notebook.

Step 14: Using a tapestry needle and ribbon or yarn, bind your notebook. For this notebook I drilled 5 holes. I stared at the top hole and went from the back of the book to the front in a spiral down the side. Then I went through the bottom hole a 2nd time. Then I went back up the the side and through the top hole a 2nd time. Then I tied a knot and clipped the yarn short. You can tie a bow or add beads and charms to it.

For the notebook at the top of this post, I drilled 3 holes. I went through the front of the center hole with a ribbon. Then through the back of the 1st hole, then the front of the center hole again, then the back of the 3rd hole. Then I tied a knot with the two ends of the ribbon over the center hole. Then I tied a nice bow.

These 2 notebooks were for my kids to use during our Disney World trip last year. They were perfect for coloring in, collecting autographs, souvenirs, adding pictures, and stickers. The only thing that I would do differently would be to add contact paper over the finished cardboard panels before drilling the holes. It rains a lot in Florida, and that did a little bit of damage to them (even when they were in our backpack).

I also added some scrapbook pages in random places inside of the book for fun.

These notebooks are perfect for kids and adults alike. You can also keep them unfinished for a fun Kool Aid or Capri Sun notebook.

I also showed how to make a matchbook notebook on the show. I will post that how to soon. You can view this show on my you tube channel (the link is on the upper right hand side of my blog) in 2 weeks.