Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Joined Another Website


Have you heard of Bloglovin?

Well, yes, if you are an avid blogger or blog reader, of course you have.

I, however, had not heard of it.  I had seen those little badges that said "follow me on Bloglovin" on many of my favorite blogs, but I had never bothered to check it out until now.

The verdict?  It's so fun!  It's kind of like a Facebook news feed just for blogs.  You can add all your favorite blogs on there and any time one of them posts something new, the new posts show up in a neat and tidy list with all the other recent posts from your favorite blogs.  Love it!

You can also discover new blogs on there, which is a game I dove right into.  My favorite blog that I've found there so far is One Sheepish Girl.  She posts about all sorts of cool knitting projects and her pictures a bea-u-tiful.  Check it out.

Want to follow my blog on Bloglovin?  Click here:

Follow on Bloglovin

Happy blog-browsing!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, August 20, 2012

Painted Bottle Vases

Hi Guys,

I can't believe how fast the end of the summer is approaching, and with that in mind, I decided our apartment could use some flowers to brighten up our last week here in Ohio. And where there are flowers there also need to be vases, right?  In keeping with my upcycling kick, I looked around at what I already had instead of buying something new, and inspiration struck when I opened up our recycling cabinet.  Bottles!

Turning the bottles into vases turned out to be a snap.  All I needed for this project were the bottles, a little bit of masking tape, some spray paint, and an outdoor space to do the spraying.

Here are the directions:

1.  Start by washing out the bottles, peeling the labels off of them, and scrubbing off any leftover label glue.  I used powdered Comet to scrub away the leftover glue because it happened to be handy and it ended up working great.  Then dry off the bottles, take them outside, and place them on top of a surface you won't mind getting paint on.  (I used a big trash bag.)

2.  Use masking tape to cover any part of the bottle that you do not want painted.  I decided to only paint the bottom of my bottles to give them a dip-dyed effect, so I covered the top halves of my bottles with tape.

3.  Spray the bottles with several thin layers of paint.  To do this nicely, spray them from about a foot away and keep the spray can moving at all times.  If you linger anywhere too long, the paint will get too thick and form drips that run down the bottle.

4.  Let the paint dry.

5.  Peel the masking tape off the bottles once they are completely dry.

6.  Step back and admire your handy work!

I used two different brands of spray paint for this project because that was what I had lying around, and the pink Krylon Short Cuts Hobby/Craft Paint definitely worked better than the white Rust-Oleum PaintPlus.  My pink vases are perfectly smooth while the white one has teeny tiny bumps on it, so I definitely recommend Krylon paint for this project.

Don't these flowers look so bright and peppy?

Happy painting!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Good Morning!

Today, while I was drinking coffee and browsing pinterest, I ran across this old picture:

It's from the Imperial Wartime Museums website, and it caught my eye because the message is so different from how most people operate today.  These days everyone, including me, has a tendency to throw things away at the first sign of a hole or a change in fashion trends.  I understand why we act like that these days, I really do, but I also sense a change in the air.  There is a whole generation of up and coming bloggers who aren't just throwing things away, nor are they just making do with their old things.  They're using their scissors and needles and paint and creativity to turn their old things into new things.  They're upcycling!

Oxford Dictionaries defines upcycling as reusing (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

When I turned an old t-shirt into a tank top in this post back in April, I was upcycling, and I want to do it more.  Not only is it great for the environment because your stuff isn't ending up in a landfill, it also saves you money which is awesome because we all know how expensive crafting can get.
Here are a few examples of great upcycling projects from other bloggers:

1. Today's Nest made placemats out of old jeans:

2. My Tiny Universe turned an old t-shirt into this cute pillow:

3. Wood Pond Designs created these funny little stuffed animals out of old sweaters:

The moral of the story?  Next time you get sick of an article of clothing, google it to see how other people have upcycled it into something prettier, or get creative and make up your own new use for it.  The possibilities are endless.

Have fun!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

XOXO Coffee Cup Sleeve

A special hello to all you knitters out there!

Today I'm excited to share with you a fun and easy pattern that I made up.  It's a knitted coffee cup sleeve with my favorite sign-off message on it: xoxoxo.

You can use any worsted weight yarn for this project, just make sure to go down a needle size from the one recommended so the stitches will be nice and tight.  I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease worsted weight yarn and size US 7 needles.  This is a quick knit that uses less than one skein of yarn.

The goal is for the sleeve to say xoxoxo with a 3-stitch ribbing on either side.

Abbreviations used in this pattern:

  • C8F: Slip 4 stitches from the left hand needle onto a cable needle, holding the cable needle in front of the main knitting.  Knit the next 4 stitches from the left needle, then knit the 4 stitches from the cable needle.

  • C8B: Exactly the same as C8F, but hold the cable needle behind the main knitting.

Here's the pattern:

  • Cast on 22 stitches
  • Row 1: Knit 22
  • Row 2: Knit 3, Purl 16, Knit 3
  • Row 3: Knit 22
  • Row 4: Knit 3, Purl 16, Knit 3
  • Row 5: Knit 3, C8F, C8B, Knit 3
  • Row 6: Knit 3, Purl 16, Knit 3
  • Row 7: Knit 22
  • Row 8: Knit 3, Purl 16, Knit 3
  • Row 9: Knit 22
  • Row 10: Knit 3, Purl 16, Knit 3
  • Row 11: Knit 3, C8B, C8F, Knit 3
  • Row 12: Knit 3, Purl 16, Knit 3
  • Rows 13-18: Repeat rows 7-12
  • Rows 19-24: Repeat rows 1-6
  • Rows 25-30: Repeat rows 1-6
  • Rows 31-36: Repeat rows 7-12
  • Rows 37-42: Repeat rows 7-12
  • Rows 43-48: Repeat rows 1-6
  • Rows 49-54: Repeat rows 1-6
  • Rows 55-60: Repeat rows 7-12
  • Rows 61-66: Repeat rows 7-12
  • Rows 67-72: Repeat rows 1-5

  • Row 73 (beginning of button holes): Knit 3, Cast Off 4, Purl 8, Cast Off 4, Knit 3
  • Row 74 (finishing the button holes): Knit 3, Turn work around, Cast On 4, Turn work around, Knit 8, Turn work around, Cast on 4, Turn work around, Knit 3

  • Cast off 22 stitches

Now all that's left is to sew on a couple of buttons, slip your new sleeve onto your coffee cup, and enjoy!

Happy sipping!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mini Yarn Ball Buttons

Hi Friends,

Have you been watching the olympics?  I am officially a huge fan of our women's gymnastics team!  While I was watching them compete, I was fiddling around with some craft supplies, and I discovered a way to make some cute little buttons that look like mini balls of yarn.

They're really easy to make, too.  All you need are some plain buttons (I had an extra 20-pack from Joann's that only cost 99 cents) and some leftover yarn scraps.

Here are the directions:
  1. Thread the yarn through the buttonholes.

  2. Leaving a long tail, tie a knot to hold the yarn in place.

  3. Begin to wrap the yarn around the button.

  4. Every time you wrap the yarn around the button, turn the button slightly so each strand will sit next to the last one.

  5. Continue wrapping until the whole button is covered.

  6. Cover the whole button with a second layer so that it takes the shape of a ball.

  7. Tie the excess yarn in a knot at the bottom of the button and cut it so it's the same length as the first tail.

  8. Now you've got a finished button with two strings hanging from the back.  Those strings are for attaching the button to your clothes.

Aren't these buttons fun and easy?  I'm currently knitting up a little something, and I can't wait to attach these buttons to it!  I'll tell you all about that knitting project next week...

I also tried this button-wrapping technique with embroidery floss instead of yarn, and while the finished buttons don't look like yarn balls, they still look pretty fun.  See?

Happy wrapping!

** Update:  When I sewed these buttons onto my knitting project, I realized that the yarn tends to slip off the buttons as you pass the button through a buttonhole.  The solution?  Coat the yarn-covered button with a thin layer of mod podge or other glue that dries clear.  It'll harden up the yarn on the button, making it slip proof. **
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