A New Found Love for Junk

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

When it comes to anything but craft supplies, I'm a serial thrower-away'er. If it sits on the table for more than a few minutes without finding a permanent home, into the trash it goes! This helps to keep the house clean of clutter but sometimes backfires (like when I throw away stuff we actually need :)).

Well, that's never going to be an issue again because I'm transitioning from a junk tosser to a junk hoarder, thanks to a Junk Journal swap I recently participated in on Craftster. The challenge was to make a blank journal from junk that our partners could fill up however they want!


Junk journals are just what they sound like, journals made from pages of junk!! I stockpiled crap from the mailbox, magazine bins, ephemera collections and scrap piles, made signatures out of them and used coptic binding to make them into a book, of sorts.


Some pages I left as they were for the future owner to embellish as they wish. Others, I painted with gesso or acrylics and decorated with washi tape, burlap, lace and other bits and bobs for my partner to build on however they saw fit. I tried to stick with a red and white theme throughout to bring some symmetry to the otherwise completely random assortment of junk.




I added envelopes and little pockets (like the burlap pocket below) to tuck stuff away in later.


My partner likes ATCs so I put some blank cards throughout the journal that she could alter later.



I used old grocery bags for the cover that I had soaked, crinkled up, dried and then ironed for a junky looking texture. I glued the paper to thin cardboard to make the front, back and spine of the journal. I added a piece of twill tape as another tuck spot and slid in a gessoed bingo card that my partner can decorate as she wishes.


This was such a fun swap and a great excuse to make a HUGE mess in my craft room. And since my craft room is already destroyed, I figure I might as well make a couple more junk journals!! 

No Prob-llama Felt Badge

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Monday, July 4, 2016

I made this little fellow for a recent felt badge swap that I organized on Craftster. My partner likes whimsical animals and llamas just seem full of silliness and whimsy to me!


He's stitched on wool felt with 2 strands of various DMC flosses. The design was inspired by an adorable illustration by Lamai McCartan.


I was also inspired by these adorable guys that I had the chance to meet on a recent visit to Pasado's Safe Haven. Aren't they full of personality?!


Happy 4th of July to anyone celebrating in the states! I'm mostly celebrating having a day off from work :). 

Braidsmaid Shawl

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

I recently made Martina Behm's Braidsmaid shawl for a swap and fell in love with the pattern. It was really fun to knit - just the right balance of ease and interest. It's mostly garter stitch so limited purling is involved. Phew. 


I added a full repeat of body pattern I, making the shawl wider and longer...and using up quite a bit more yarn! I like the resulting size though. It's big enough to really curl up in.


The yarn I used a silk blend yarn from Manos del Uruguay. It was a delight to work with!! It has a soft and shiny texture but still feels cozy and warm.


I usually don't like knitting the same pattern more than once (just like I don't watch movies more than once :)) but I think I'd make an exception for this one. I want to make one for myself!

Seattle in a Box

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I recently swapped with a crafty friend from the Netherlands. One of my favorite things about international swapping is learning and sharing more about each other's hometowns so I wanted to include something to represent my Seattle pride!! This little matchbox is what I came up with.


Of course the outside had to have some painted raindrops! The inside is filled with a collection of things that I associate with the city. They are handdrawn doodles with some water color accents.


I hope my swap buddy enjoyed learning a bit more about my hood!

Making My First Dotee Dolls Was a Hoot!

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Have you heard of Dotee dolls? I've seen them on Pinterest and around Craftster but have never made or collected my own, until recently!

Here's a good description of what the dolls are...

A Dotee Doll is a simple handmade cloth doll, usually about 4 to 6 inches in height. It is generally just a simple soft sack body with no arms or legs, and a drawn or embroidered face - but this simple body is your canvas to embellish to the limits of your imagination! 

I participated in a tiny bird swap and my partner is an owl lover and dotee collector so I figured it was a good chance to try my hand at the craft. These little hooters were the result!



I made them both out of linen fabric. I painted designs on them and then added embroidered details for extra texture and interest. The wings are made of wool felt and were sewn to the body with buttons. Little beads were used for final embellishments!



I don't have a single inch of wall space available to start my own dotee collection but I can see why people get addicted to making them! They are fun to put together.

I didn't follow all of the "rules" for making these dolls but I think that's kinda the point - so I'm guessing I won't be ticketed by the dotee police anytime soon :).

Hope 2016 is off to a good start for everyone! 

Driftwood Yarn Bombing

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

We spent the weekend on Vashon Island celebrating my wonderful Mom and Dad (whose birthday happened to fall on Mother's day this year :)).

It was a beautiful weekend so we didn't waste the opportunity to do a bit of beachcombing. My Dad has always been a collector of found objects - beach glass, crooked pieces of drift wood, shiny pebbles - and I know this trait has rubbed off on me because I can't leave the island without a bag full of craggy sea worn twigs!

This is one of the many branches of driftwood I picked up on our walk. It looked like it needed a little sweater so I yarn bombed it!


I used neutral toned yarns that I associate with coastal colors. The yarns are all different weights but I used size 8 needles for all of them.


I knit each small gauge flat and then sewed it around the branch, using a mattress stitch to attach the two ends together. They are nice and snug so they shouldn't move or slip.


I think it kind of looks like an octopus. Can you see it?


This might be the most impractical thing I've ever made. Jake asked me why I was "making leg warmers for a tree" but once the idea was in my head, I couldn't shake it!!

As silly as it is, I kind of like it. I plan to take it to the office as a reminder of two of my favorite hobbies - knitting and beachcombing!!


Happy Mother's day to all of the Moms out there! I hope you had really special days.

And to my Mom and the birthday boy (aka my Dad), I love you both a ton and appreciate everything you've taught me (like how to spot good pieces of driftwood in a pile of logs)!!

Felt Basket Tutorial

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

I'm hooked on these little felt baskets. I'm stockpiling them for future gift giving! I snapped some in progress photos of my latest version so that I could share a simple tutorial! 

I've been making these so they fit a 4 oz jam jar. I like using the jars since you can plant succulents in them or make a small bouquet. You certainly don't have to use a jar though. The basket is cute and sturdy on its own!


Step 1: Gather your supplies

- Wool felt (about a 9" x 9" square) 
- Embroidery floss
- Embroidery needle
- Pencil and paper
- Ruler
- Scissors
- Optional embellishments (felt, buttons, beads, whatever!) 


Step 2: Make your pattern

Use your pencil, paper and ruler to draw a simple cross pattern. Each side of the basket is 2 3/4" wide and 2 1/4" tall. The middle square that will become the bottom of the basket is 2 3/4" x 2 3/4". 

Cut out the pattern. 



I like the look of rounded edges on the sides so I used a 1/4 teaspoon to draw rounded corners on the pattern too. You can skip this if you prefer straight edges. 


Step 3: Cut out your felt

Once your pattern is cut out and ready to go, pin it to your felt and trim away! 



Step 4: Embellish

Now is the time to decorate! I chose to add felt details, a button and some beads but you could really do anything - stitch an embroidered pattern, stencil a pattern with fabric paint, sew on a fabric design or just leave it blank. 

Avoid decorating the middle since that will eventually become the bottom of the basket. 



Step 5: Sew up the sides

To make the basket you'll need to stitch together each side panel. I used an "x" pattern but you could also do this with a simple whip stitch or basket stitch. 

Pinch two of the sides together, lining up both the sides and the top edges. Start stitching from the top and work your way down to the bottom corner. 



Once you make it to the bottom, push the needle to the inside edge, push out the corner a bit and tie a knot to secure the stitching. 


Voila! One side done. Now just repeat that 3 more times. 


Step 6: Fill your basket with something cute (or just leave it as-is, that's cute too!) 

I put a 4oz jam jar inside. The measurements used for this fit one perfectly. 


I put a little water in the jar and added some bright purple flowers! 


I'm keeping this one for myself since the colors happen to match the mint green in my kitchen! 


With a good sturdy felt, you could make these in any sizes! The original inspiration for this is a big 'ol basket!! I'm very tempted to make a teeny tiny (and totally impractical) version too. 

Thanks for checking it out! Let me know if you have questions. 

Succulent Sleeping Bag

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I had a lot of leftover wool felt after the journal cover I made recently. I decided to put it to good use to make a sleeping bag for one of my succulents :). You know, cause they like to be warm!


I used this felt storage bin for inspiration but mine is much much smaller. I also added some simple embroidery stitches for extra pizazz!



It fits a small 4oz glass jar, which seems to work well for little house plants like this. It could also store jewelry or spare change or keys or whatever!


Here's a picture with my hand for scale.


I think I'd like to try to make some larger sized versions of this in the near future. I have plenty of felt for it!

Thanks for checking out my silly succulent sleeping bag :). 

Felt Journal Cover

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

I recently organized a Journal Cover swap over on Craftster. We all made replaceable covers to fit standard composition notebooks and this is what I came up with for my partner!




I used 100% wool felt for the cover and the circles that I decorated it with. I added a few circles to the back and the inside folds too. I decorated the circles with buttons and beads and simple embroidery stitches.

Once I got in the round groove, it was hard to stop!





It was a fun swap and all of the covers sent were great. I'm hoping to organize another round soon. You can never have too many journals, or journal covers!

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