Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sewing Projects: Felted Wool Mittens

I've gotten a bit of a reputation in my family for making handmade gifts.  This is great, because I think my family is starting to understand and appreciate all that goes in to a handmade gift - the thoughtfulness and the time especially.

It's been harder to make gifts for the men in my family, given that they don't particularly like to accessorize or decorate.  So when my brother-in-law says, 5 days before his birthday, that he'd love a homemade gift, I was a little stumped.  Normally I would knit or crochet something, but I didn't have the time.  Luckily this idea came to mind:  felted wool mittens.  Read on to learn how I made these.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Craft Projects: Map Wall Art and Fabric Flower Necklace

So I'm a new member on Pinterest, a very addicting site where people collect and show interesting things they've found on the Internet.  I'm mostly looking at craft ideas and recipes, and there's a lot of cool ideas out there!

The problem with Pinterest is that I've amassed a bunch of creative ideas for projects, but it's so hard to pull away from the computer and actually ACCOMPLISH any of them!  Two weeks ago, though, I was able to finish two Pinterest projects in one day.  Here they are:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just Around the House

Just want to share a few things that are going on around here.  First of all, look at the new spools of yarn I bought for $3 each at an antique fair!

The blue cotton is already being worked into a knitted scarf for me!
Also note the beautiful antique embroidered tablecloth that my mom gave me as a wedding shower present.

Another project that I've been meaning to blog about (but probably won't do a full post on now that it's so late in the season) is the garden we've kept with my parents.  It's been a joy to see such a full garden grow from just tiny seeds.  The squash has really taken over this year!  We've learned a lot from doing a garden, and have had fun using the produce.  Tomorrow I'll be making pesto with my mom, and Wednesday I'll be learning to can tomatoes and salsa with my grandma.  Anyway, here's a couple photos of the small harvest we took home with us after a weekend at my parents'.
Acorn squash, watermelon, spaghetti squash, crookneck squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, and carrots!
Look at these crazy colored carrots!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sewing Projects: Fall Table Runner

Back at long last!  Sorry for my absence - I've been off discovering the world!  Well really, my husband and I were gone for six weeks in South Korea, teaching English.  Considering that time, when I was creating lesson plans (and some beautiful photos which I'll share soon!) instead of craft projects, I did not have much time or things to blog.

Now we're back in Michigan and excited for the fall season, which in the blink of an eye has already arrived!  To welcome the season, I tried out a new technique - reverse applique - to make a table runner/placemat for our coffee table.  Here's the how-to!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crochet Projects: French Press Cozy

This was a quick project which I gave to my dad as a Father's Day present.  When a friend found an extra large Bodum french press in perfect condition at a garage sale, my husband had the great idea of giving it to my dad.  However, it was missing the wrap which keeps the coffee hot.  My dad has always been impressed with my crochet projects, but I have never made him anything. A crocheted french press cozy was the perfect homemade touch to the gift!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Crochet Projects: Jean Rug

 This started as another home decor project which just happened to include crocheting.  We've been wanting a rug for the back door, to catch all the dirt on our feet from going in and out, usually to sit and drink coffee outside or water our plants.  With several worn out pairs of jeans on hand, I searched for a rug pattern and found this tutorial.  A few days later, and my husband and I have a new rug.  My husband has named it "Jean Valjean", pronounced without the French accent of course, as he finished reading Les Miserables at the same time I finished the rug.  Here's my own version of a tutorial on how to make this rug:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Crochet Projects: Baby Sweater and Shoes

Since a close friend and neighbor has recently had a baby, I've really enjoyed making cute baby stuff for her!  Baby things are super fast to make, and they use relatively little supplies.  I had some left over yarn from my niece's baby blanket, so I put it to good use as a sweater and Mary Jane style shoes for our neighbor.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photography: Spring in Holland (MI)

I just want to share with you a few of the photos I've taken since the world came back to life after winter.  It's so refreshing to watch spring unfold in Holland, where daffodils and (of course) tulips and flowering trees abound!

Click below for more photos, and enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Crochet Projects: Mother's Day Totes

In the last year, my appreciation for homemade gifts (both given and received) has increased very much.  As a girl, I was always encouraged to make things to give to my mom and dad, particularly on Mother's and Father's days.  Without any income (besides an allowance which our parents gave us anyway), time to spend personalizing a card was all me and my sister had to give.

So for Mother's Day this year, I was really excited about another opportunity to make a homemade gift.  Both my mom and my mother-in-law really liked the Starling Handbag I made during the winter.  Why not make a springy-er version for each of them?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sewing Projects: Infinity Scarf

It's been a few weeks!  I've been so busy making things that I haven't had any time to post about them.  I guess that's a good thing, although crafting under a time constraint is a little less than relaxing sometimes.  Anyway, before the busyness of Mother's Day craft projects set in, I had time to make this infinity scarf.  What's the bonus about this project, besides having a new wardrobe addition?  It cost me nothing to make!  Here's how:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Blog Design

Hey friends,
Thanks for the recent support and encouragement about this blog.  Although I started this as an unpublicized way of organizing my craft projects, it does mean a lot to have others appreciating what I've made and finding their own inspiration from it!  Crafting has always been a hobby of mine, but it is something that I've been careful whom I talk to about it.  I've been afraid that most peers would think I was a nerd for enjoying "old lady" things like sewing and crocheting.  So thank you for being the ones who haven't judged!  I am so blessed by the opportunity to be creative, and I hope you are too!

For those of you who normally read these posts through a feed subscription, come check out the actual blog!  I've just made my own header, and I'm kind of excited about it :-).

Thanks again,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Card-making: Wedding Invitation

As wedding season approaches, I'm beginning to reflect back on my own wedding almost a year and a half ago.  A friend recently asked how I designed our invitations, and I was both flattered and more than happy to share with her how I made them.  Now I'm sharing the idea here for anyone who is interested.  Be warned, these are not the simplest invitations to make, but hopefully my instructions and templates will give you a few ideas to get started.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crochet Projects: Baby Elephants

Perhaps my favorite project yet! I stumbled on this pattern from Lion Brand's website a few months ago. Knowing that a close friend is expecting a baby at the end of April, and also that she is planning a jungle-themed nursery, I knew this precious little elephant would be a perfect shower gift!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Crochet Projects: Tote Bag

Just a few weeks ago I finished this tote bag as a project carry-all for craft night with my friends. This was a major stash-busting project- more so than I anticipated! I began with almost a full skein of some cheap medium-weight sage green yarn (I forget the brand) and a decent amount of some similar lavendar yarn. Then I found this pattern on the Lion Brand yarn website (one of my favorite places to find patterns, if you haven't noticed).

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crochet Projects: Glittens

These began as a Christmas request from my sister-in-law for some long-cuffed convertible glove/mittens, also called "glittens" (or perhaps mloves). I made a bold decision while wandering around Target one night, thinking to myself that I could more easily make such a pair than I could find in a store, and for cheaper too! I left Target and went to Michaels, bought the perfect color yarn, then went home hoping that a free pattern existed. I was lucky to find this pattern, which with some slight adaptations turned out to be perfect! I was not so lucky with my yarn choice, though, as the Super Bulky yarn worked up to make oven-mitt sized gloves. Not good! So as I hinted in a previous post, that yarn became other things and I bought a new yarn. After my sister-in-law was so happy with her pair (she wears them every day!), my husband and then my mom requested a pair also. I do not have a photo of my sister-in-law's pair, but I will include details of what yarn I used and what changes I made to each set of glittens.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crochet Projects: Warm Headband

Before it gets too warm outside (and yay, spring seems to finally be around the corner!), I better share a few more of the cold-weather accessories I made this winter. This headband has already seen a lot of use- it's perfect for quick walks or longer cross-country ski trips, especially to wear with a pony tail. The back is tapered so you can move your head around without the headband slipping too much.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crochet Projects: Simple Beret

This project was one of the first of the season. I'd been hoping to make a hat which would be easier to wear without squishing all my hair flat. After I found this bamboo yarn, Bamboospun in Sea Blue, I was so excited to start the project! This helpful video from Threadbanger taught me everything I needed to know about making the hat. I basically followed the directions closely, but ended the hat with a row of double crochet to make the hat tighter and to add an interesting edge.

The hat took about 1 1/2 skeins of the yarn, which is unbelievably soft, with enough left over to make my sister-in-law a nice cowl for her birthday! If I can get a photo of that, perhaps I'll share soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Photography: Cedar Waxwings

This post is quite unrelated to the other recent posts, but I am still excited to share this! As I gave up Facebook for Lent, I thought this might be an okay place to share. A few days ago, my husband discovered some Cedar Waxwings hanging out in the berry trees near our home. When I came home soon after, he turned me right around, handed me my camera, and told me I had to come see them. We've only seen these birds once before (from a distance) as they usually just pass through our area of Michigan while migrating further north. They arrive in a flock, eat all the berries, and are gone within days. Sounds a bit like a swarm of locusts, but they are SO beautiful that you can hardly hate them.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from our photo shoot with the birds!

Knitting Projects: "Grimace" Cowl

Thanks to my husband for the nickname of this cowl. He says the color reminds him of the McDonald's purple monster character. I guess I see his point...

Knitting and I do not always get along. I find it to be much slower and more repetitive (boring?) than crocheting, but to use new techniques (different stitch patterns, changing colors, etc.) is too intimidating to me. Crocheting just one stitch at a time makes much more sense to me! Also, making a knitting mistake or dropping a stitch stresses me out because I don't know how to fix it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crochet Projects: Convertible Cowl

This will be the first of a few wearable winter projects, made mostly for me and mostly out of left-over yarn. Also, this is my first (embarrassing) attempt at photographing myself wearing some of them. Let's just say my husband and I had a laugh at some of the expressionless, face-on shots which now rest in my laptop's recycle bin...

Anyway, this cowl pattern is one that I adapted from Jaida Louisa's "half hour cowl". Instead of joining the beginning chain, I just crocheted one flat panel. To one end I added three buttons. That way, the cowl can be worn three different ways. There are no button holes, because the open pattern leaves more than enough space between stitches to fit the buttons. Sometimes I just wear the cowl with a long-sleeve t-shirt as an accessory. It can also be worn with a coat to keep your neck warm in the cold. And cowls are much less bulky than long scarves when worn under a coat. Great new trend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sewing Projects: Bath Puppets

This has really been a season for homemade gifts. Between Christmas and all the surrounding family birthdays, making gifts has saved both money and frantic time spent last-minute scrounging at the store for the perfect gift. Plus, it gives me a great reason to sit around crafting without being selfish!

The most recent homemade gift was some bath puppets for our niece's first birthday in January. The idea and pattern for these puppets came from Martha Stewart's website. I got the washcloths from TJ Maxx and the felt from Hobby Lobby. I wanted a more finished look for my puppets, so I made the pattern about 1/4 inch wider on all sides, then sewed 1/4 inch seams around and flipped it right-side out. The felt noses are glued on with fabric glue, and the eyes and pig's nostrils are just small french knots of embroidery floss. The kitty I came up with, and those ears were kind of a struggle! They are a smaller version of the pig's ears.

One difficult thing about the finished product is that the cut edges (which are inside the puppet) of the washcloths leave a little fuzzy snow wherever they go. Perhaps the original method of zigzagging all the edges would've prevented that. Oh well!

Overall, I think our niece loves the puppets at bath time, although my sister-in-law says they're too cute to actually use for cleaning!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crochet Projects: Starling Handbag

A recent project, this one combines a few things I've been wanting to do:
(1) I finally get to try out futuregirl's Starling Handbag pattern.
(2) I get to use up the leftover yarn from my husband's glittens (post on those to come).
(3) I get to try felting.
(4) I get to use my sewing machine.
(5) I get to make something for me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crochet Projects: Stash Basket

Another functional crochet project that I made recently is a basket to hold all my scrap yarn! I made one of these (in one solid color) for my mom for Christmas. This one is perhaps a little less attractive, but it was a great project for "busting" my stash a bit also- all of the yarns I used were really old!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Crochet Projects: Pillow

As I type this, I am actually using the pillow that this post is about! About a month ago, I made this pillow as a wintery addition to the two green couch pillows we had. I learned how to do front and back post double crochet stitches, and I got to use a soft and fluffy cream yarn for it. For the back, I wanted something different than the pattern suggested, so I just made two panels of all double crochet which overlap on the back and fasten together with big buttons. The pillow is stuffed with another homemade pillow form.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Crochet Projects: Coasters

The most common question we were asked when first married was something like "What are the little quirks that have come out now that you're living together?" I would usually say that I found out my husband is an avid dish rinser and meticulous dish washer (I'm so lucky, right?). Among other things were our differences between storing glasses upside-down or rightside-up, tucking or untucking the bottom of the sheets, just little things.

Another little difference is how my husband insists on using a coaster and how I can never seem to remember to. I think this goes back to our parents' habits; my husband's grandfather owned a prominent furniture company in Grand Rapids and therefore his family had many nice sentimental pieces, while my parents preferred to buy well-loved (and sometimes banged up) antique pieces.

Anyway, this winter I made a few coasters for our place, which has a nice blend of banged up antiques, thrift store finds, and a piece or two from Grandpa's collection. Using some old Lily Sugar 'n Cream yarn (in Ecru, if I had to guess the color), I made an assortment of random coasters. These were quick little projects to make in a sitting and to use up some extra yarn. I can't really account for where I found all these patterns (all free online somewhere), but I know that one I made up, one came from this website, and another came from this website.

All the coasters turned out a bit different in size, which I like. And I've actually started to use them more often than not! Although, our coffee table is one of those banged up sorts that we've been meaning to refinish anyway...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crochet Projects: Hook Holder

To start out the crochet projects I have made this season, here is perhaps the most functional- a holder for all my crochet hooks! I finally got a bit bored with the plastic case the hooks came in, and the pattern for this holder by Allicrafts was perfect! The star pattern was really fun to do and very easy. I was a bit skeptical that my hooks would fit into the center of each star, but they did with just a little wiggling. My holder did turn out a bit on a diagonal, and I'm not sure why, but overall it works just fine.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sewing Projects: Lumbar Pillows

So we have this couch. My husband saved it from being thrown out at the local rescue mission where he worked. After a summer of wear-n-tear from a bunch of day campers, the couch had a large hole in the top. But my husband adopted it. It spent a few days on a friend's lawn, then was squeezed into a small apartment, then into another, then into a spare room at the grandparents', then into a skinny old house (where it left some scuff marks on the wall), and finally into our townhouse. The hole has finally been fixed (yay for handy sewing skills!), and although I like to complain about how big it is and how black-leathery it is, truth be told I will miss it if it can't come with us to our next residence. To make the back cushions a bit more comfortable, last summer I made a couple of lumbar pillows (aha, the real subject of this post!). I always like to learn something new with each project, and with this one I learned how to sew piping into an edge seam. I still plan to put buttons on the backs to close them up better, but I have yet to figure out the button-holer on my new sewing machine. Until then, the pillows still work just fine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sewing Projects: Tufted Pillow

Last summer, I set to the task of making our bedroom more cozy. To me, of course, this meant adding a decorative pillow (or two, or five) to the bed. To my husband, this seemed an unnecessary and undesirable addition to the room. Why add another step to making the bed? This pillow admittedly spends most of its time on the floor, as we rarely make our bed anyway, but it was still a fun project! And my husband doesn't mind it too much after all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home Decor Projects: Fern Picture

Along the lines of the last post with pressed flowers, last summer I pressed some fern leaves for a picture for our bedroom. Found while hiking on a weekend retreat to Cran Hill Ranch, the ferns are really pretty and they also have some sentimental value. The picture frame was $2 at a local thrift store, Bibles for Mexico, and I just flipped over the ugly picture that was in it and used it as the background for the ferns! Yet another cheap project!

Home Decor Projects: Bird & Forsythia Picture

This is a project from last spring. After a banquet with my husband, we got to take home a vase of flowers which included pussy willows (my favorite!) and some forsythia (a new favorite!). I pressed some of the forsythia blossoms and created this picture for our living room:

This is just black construction paper, onto which I traced a bird image that I found online, then free-hand cut. I used an old frame that we already had, so again, cheap project! The only downside is that the frame's glass had cracked and I took it out. Now the flowers are starting to come unglued because they are not pressed in by glass. Although, I do kind of like the 3D effect!

Home Decor Projects: Cork Board

An early project was a bulletin board made out of wine corks. I got the idea from my decor-savvy best friend Brenna, and then luckily got a job working at an Italian restaurant where they decorated with left over corks! There were window boxes and planters full of them, and the generous owner let me take many home. Brenna also gave me all her extra ones which had already been cut in half. As I don't have a band saw (or whatever you might use to cut corks), I left all of mine whole and created a tic-tac-toe pattern.

Home Decor Projects: Intro

To start out this craft log (could we call this a clog?), here's a few projects from the past year or so. These projects were all part of a major nesting phase I went through recently after getting married. On a mission to decorate our first home cheaply, I'd say I got pretty creative with some of the cheapest (free) materials I could find.

"Decorating for two" was a challenge. I would often go to the craft store (Michael's or Hobby Lobby) with a project in mind, and then talk myself out of it either because I wasn't sure my husband would like it or because I felt guilty spending the money. Several times I brought fabric samples home and then either he or I or both decided against it. At any rate, these projects have sprung out of our mutual tastes, more or less, and my husband has been really supportive of them! I guess you could say that together, we are the warp and weft of our "woven home".

ps: I think I'll publish them as separate posts. Maybe it will be easier to search for them later?

Welcome to the blog!

Hello, and welcome to my first blog, The Woven Home! Congratulations on finding it!

My hope with this blog is not to advertise to the world everything that I'm doing, making, and crafting. Rather, I plan to use it as a personal online three-ring binder of projects, patterns, and pictures. This blog will hopefully be a convenient way to organize my projects and to remember what I've done and where on this wide web I might have found the inspiration for it. If someone happens to stumble upon it and find their own inspiration, all the better!

Winter is a time when I find myself pulling out my stash of yarn and crocheting or knitting some cozy things for gifts and for myself and my home. I'm still on that kick, so many upcoming projects will probably be related to crochet or knitting. In the next few days, I will also post some previous projects I have done during the past year (first year of marriage = much nesting!).