Crafting Day & Night

Eiffel Tower Day & Night

“As different as day and night” is a common expression. As we find our selves stuck inside, we’re often looking for ways to be entertained. For many, crafting is the answer. A little effort goes a long way, and everyone loves seeing “Before” and “After” photos. These crafts will surprise and hopefully inspire you to create a little crafting magic of your own.

Sledding Centerpiece

Before:  Wooden Sled Wall Art.   After:  Snowman & Friends Centerpiece.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Foxy Santa

Before:  Misfit Christmas Decoration.   After:  Foxy Santa with new hat and tail.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Seashell Plaque

Before:  Drab Wall Art Print.   After:  Seashells, Sea Urchin & Starfish Framed Art.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Piggy Before and After

Before:  Colorless Pig Statue.   After:  Pink Pig with lots of personality.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Before & After Pumpkins

Before:  Faded Lawn Decoration.   After:  Bold Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns
(Click here for how to instructions)

Headless Dog Before & After

Before:  Snowman with Headless Dog.   After:  Restored Dog.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Light House Before & After

Before:  Incomplete Candleholder.   After:  New Lighthouse Roof & “Light.”
(Click here for how to instructions)

Octopus Before & After

Before:  Monochromatic Candleholder.   After:  Blue Ringed Octopus Sculpture.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Sneak Peak of Upcoming Projects:

Candlestick Before & After

Before:  Difficult Candle Size.   After:  Candleholder for Taper Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

Leaves Before & After

Before:  Dull, “Muddy” Wall Sconces.   After:  Vibrant Tropical Leaves & Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

I hope you enjoyed these projects. Take a look around your home for any items that could use a little refreshing. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Good Luck!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

This Little Piggy Gets a Makeover

Flying Pig
We’ve all heard the expression, “when pigs fly,” implying impossibility. Well, the craft stores may be closed, but we won’t let that stop us from expressing our creativity!

Flying Pig Front
Sometimes you find your next art project in the most unlikely of places! I found this cute little winged pig at the local Rite Aid Pharmacy! Although it’s fine the way it is, I thought it would be nice to add some color. Break out your brushes and acrylic paints because we’re going to give this little piggy a makeover! In my excitement to get started, I had already painted the eyes when I realized I hadn’t taken a “Before” photo. In its original state, there was no color at all.

Flying Pig Back
Here’s a photo of the back. The wings are so cute.

Piglet
Before we get started, I found a photo of this piglet for inspiration. Please feel free to choose any colors you like. The mix of colors on the spotted pig featured at the top of this post would make a great color scheme as well.

Piggy Paints
To complete this project, you will need several acrylic paints and two paint brushes (1 large & 1 small). Clear spray paint is optional.

Painted Pig Details
Paint the details first, including the hooves, eyes, tongue, and the inside of each ear.

Closeup Facial Details
Here is a close up of his smiling little face. The eyes are painted brown, with black pupils and a dot of white in each eye to create a lively expression.

Pink Pig Front
Because the black hooves seemed to be too much contrast, I changed the color of the hooves to tan. In doing so, the eyes become the focal point. Mix white and fuchsia together to create the desired shade of pink, and use it to paint the entire body, except for the end of the snout, which is unpainted.

Pink Pig Back
Here is the back photo. The wings are also unpainted. If you like a challenge, you could come up with a unique scheme for the feathers, possibly using iridescent colors. To protect the acrylic paints, the entire statue was sprayed with clear spray paint.

Piggy Before and After
Before                                                             After

This fun and easy project is inexpensive and can be completed in a very short amount of time. All drug stores have a seasonal section, which is marked down after every holiday and at season’s end by as much as 50% -75% off. There are some great options for adults as well as kids.

Thanks for reading! Happy Crafts!

Creative Stress Relief III

Stressed Man
Stressful times help us focus upon the most important parts of our lives: family and friends. Together we will get through these difficult times. Each day, set aside a little time for yourself to relax and do something that brings you joy. Here are a few creative ideas:

Watch Making:
Watchmaking

Mask Making: – costume masks, wall art
Mardi Gras Mask
Purple & Gold Mask

Sewing: – clothing, home furnishings, costumes, stuffed animals & dolls
Clothing
Clothing

Home Furnishings
Home Furnishings

Quilting
Quilting

Costumes
Halloween Costumes

Stuffed Animals, Dolls & Accessories
Doll & Bear

Blacksmithing: – tools, weapons, fences, light fixtures, ornamental hardware, furniture
Tools & Weapons
Blacksmithing

Wrought Iron Railings, Gates & Fences
Wrought Iron Gate

Wrought Iron Furniture
Wrought Iron Table

Container Gardening: – decorative flower pots, planters, window boxes
Contemporary Glass with Rainbow Pebbles, Seashells or Sand
Glass Pots & Colorful Pebbles

Painted Rope-Wrapped Pot
Rope Wrapped Pot

Creative & Humorous Gardening & Art
His & Hers Garden Pots

Specialty Painting & Finishes: – egg painting, stenciling, Venetian plaster, tromp l’oeil, murals
Egg Painting
Egg Painting

Stenciling
Holly Stencil

Crackle Finish & Venetian Plaster
Crackle Finish and Faux Plaster

Tromp l’oeil
Mountain Path

Murals
Ocean-Themed Exterior Wall Mural

Basket Weaving:
Basket Weaving

Aromatherapy: – essential oils, body care, cosmetics
Perfumes & Diffusing Oils
Essential Oils, Air Freshener & Perfumes

Body Lotion, Scrubs, Cosmetics
Body Lotions & Scrubs

Massage Oils & Relaxing Sprays/Sachets/Balms
Lavender Massage Oil & Sachets

Last But Not Least:
Take a Nap
Cat Nap

When all else fails…take a nap! Stress relief is just one nap away. It’s also a great source of inspiration as well.

For more crafting opportunities, please read the first two parts in this series: “Creative Stress Relief” and “Creative Stress Relief II.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

A Crafter’s Nightmare Before Christmas

Snowman Detail
It may seem like an odd time to be talking about Christmas, but stay with me because this funny story could happen to anyone regardless of the time of year. Did you ever buy something without noticing a major flaw? I did, and it actually took a few days to notice. I purchased several wintry figurines for use in a Christmas centerpiece. There was a cardinal, a penguin, and an adorable polar bear. I also chose a cute figure of a boy building a snowman, which resembled one of those warm family scenes in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Original Headless Dog
I set up the sleigh centerpiece and surrounded it with the new figures. There it sat in our family room for a few days. Occasionally I would look at it, but didn’t notice anything amiss. Then one night, while watching television, I picked up one of the figures for a closer look. There appeared to be a snow-covered object leaning against the base of the snowman. What could it be? Maybe it was a tree stump or a rock?

Close Up Headless Dog
Curiosity got the best of me. I held it under a lamp and was shocked by my discovery! It was a headless dog! Unless you happen to be Tim Burton, a headless dog is a little too macabre for such a festive season. The store where I purchased it was closing, and all sales were final. Maybe I could fix it myself, but how? I considered breaking off the rest of it, but that would most likely damage the snowman. I began wondering if I could create a new head using three-dimensional paint.

Headless Dog Painted Brown
Because the white dog was leaning against a white snowman, it was very difficult to see. To correct that problem, the first step was painting the dog’s body with acrylic brown paint. What a big improvement! He was actually a cute little dog if you overlooked the missing head!

New Dog Head
Next, using white three-dimensional paint, I built up a small head in proportion to the body. Because the dog was looking up at the snowman, the head needed to be angled upward. After allowing it to dry, I added the muzzle and the pointed ears with the same dimensional white paint.

Finished Dog
The last step was painting the new head with brown acrylic paint to match the body, and a toothpick was used to add black eyes and a nose. The completed dog looked pretty happy to be in one piece again!


The repaired snowman figurine had been restored to a Rockwell worthy appearance. Sorry, Tim, maybe next year – lol!

Did something like this ever happen to you? How did you fix it? Please share your experiences in the comments section.

Thanks for reading and Happy Crafting!

Creative Stress Relief II

Stressed Woman
We all find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. The freedom to come and go as we please has been temporarily replaced by the need to stay at home to protect our families, our communities and ourselves. As we patiently wait for the danger to pass, it’s more important than ever to find enjoyable ways to spend our time and relieve the stress through creativity. Let’s take a look at a few crafts and hobbies for inspiration:

Fabric Painting: – hand painting, 3-D painting, tie dye, silk screening
Hand Painting
Fabric Painting

3-D Painted & Appliqued
3D Painted Fabric

Tie Die
Tie Dye TShirts

Craft Kits: – stepping stones, latch hooks, ornaments, suncatchers, soap, needlepoint
Stepping Stones
Stepping Stone Dragon Fly

Christmas Ornaments
Rainbow Sequin Ornament

Suncatchers
Suncatchers

Homemade Soap Bars
Soap Bars

DIY Holiday Decorations: – ornaments, wreaths, home décor, wall art, centerpieces
St. Patrick’s Day
Ceramic Irish Bear

Easter
Easter Duck & Bunny

Halloween
Finished Painted Pumpkins

Thanksgiving
Gourds Pumpkins Wreath

Christmas
Traditional Style Meets Contemporary Flair

Papier-mâché: – sculpture, figurines, masks, piñatas
Sculpture
Papier Mache Tiger

Piñatas
Dragon Pinata

Hair Accessories: – headbands, barrettes, floral crowns, scrunchies
Beaded Headbands
Beaded Headbands

Floral Crowns
Wild Flowers Crown

Photo display: – decorative frames, albums/scrapbooks, vision boards/collages, plaques
Decorative Picture Frame
Sea Shell Plaque

Photo Albums/Scrapbooks
Photo Album

Vision Board/Collage
Travel Collage

Decoupage Plaque
Finished Plaque

Still haven’t found the right craft for you?
Please read parts one and three in this series, “Creative Stress Relief,” and “Creative Stress Relief III.”

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Everything’s Better with Chocolate

Chocolate Strawberries
It’s that time of year again when stores are filled with mouth watering chocolate treats. With a few simple ingredients, you can make chocolate candy at home, including many of your favorites. Let’s take a look at the process and some of the options to get us started. Ready? Set. Let’s go!

Cacao
Cacao – Well, they don’t look like much in their raw form, but these cacao seeds are transformed into the mouth watering chocolate treats we have come to adore.

Chocolate Melts
Candy making is easy to do at home using small chocolate wafers called candy melts, which are available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and assorted flavors, such as peppermint and strawberry.

Melted Chocolate
When melted, they begin to resemble the chocolate we’ve been consuming since childhood, and the possibilities are endless.

Chocolate Molds
Chocolate molds are available in an extraordinary variety, including those for making solid chocolates, truffles, candy bars, and 2-piece chocolate boxes. Simply pour the liquefied chocolate into the mold and refrigerate per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Solid Chocolates
Most beginners start by making solid chocolates.

Marbled Chocolates
A marbleized effect is achieved by swirling two different kinds of chocolate together during the melting process.

Chocolate Egg Box
This chocolate egg box, perfect for any Easter basket, looks impressive and is easy to make with a two-piece mold. Be careful removing it from the mold to prevent breakage.

Chocolate Bonbons
Bon Bons, also known as truffles, are easy to make. Click here for instructions.

Chocolate Fillings
These truffles have a chocolate hazelnut filling.

Chocolate Cherry Filling
Cherry crème filling with a maraschino cherry is cloaked in chocolate and crushed nuts.

Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter and chocolate are a great combination. Coat the bottom and sides of the mold with chocolate. Add the peanut butter filling and top off with a layer of chocolate. Refrigerate and in a short time you will be enjoying homemade peanut butter cups.

Chocolate Krispy Caramel Bar
Have you ever eaten a 100Grand candy bar? It’s a delicious combination of crispy chocolate with a gooey caramel center. Click here for instructions.

Hand Dipped Chocolate
Chocolate dipping is fun for the whole family.

Kit Kat Bars
Are Kit Kat bars your favorite? Make your own version at home by chocolate covering vanilla sugar wafer cookies.

Chocolate Covered Cookies
Chocolate covered Oreos are a yummy treat. As an alternative, you could combine chocolate covered graham crackers with marshmallows to make S’mores.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Have you noticed how expensive chocolate covered pretzels can be? Make your own and finish with jimmies, crushed nuts, or rainbow sprinkles.

Chocolate Covered Bananas
Bananas and strawberries taste great dipped in chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Apples
Gourmet apples are very expensive. Melt some chocolate, place apples on sticks, and drizzle with icing or another type of chocolate. Set on a tray, and if desired add chocolate chips or shavings, or sprinkles.

Chocolate Salted Caramel
Chocolate covered caramels are sure to please. Melt caramels in a pan, and allow cooling time. When the caramel has hardened, cut into bars and dip in chocolate.

Chocolate Coconut
Chocolate covered coconut is a popular combo. Make coconut filling in a pan, cut into bars and dip in chocolate.

Finishing Touches
Presentation is everything. For a more professional look, use a cake-decorating bag, filled with chocolate or icing, to pipe on details, such as polka dots or stripes. You might also consider sprinkling the moist chocolate with coconut, cinnamon, or crushed nuts. A nice box or basket showcases your candy and is ready for gift giving.

For more chocolaty goodness, please read: “Chocolate – How Sweet It Is!”

Happy Candy Making and Happy Crafting!

At the Crossroads – Wall Art

Many people think the symbolic cross originated in Christianity, but the cross has been used for centuries by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Babylonians.

Ancient Egyptian Ankh
Ancient Egyptian Ankh
In ancient Egypt, the ankh represented “Life.”

Compass on Ancient Maps
Compass
Crosses have been found in prehistoric cave paintings, most likely indicating astronomical events as well as the cardinal directions, much like the compass shown on the map above.

Crosses can be found in very diverse places, such as cemeteries, churches, clothing, and even jewelry. Before designing a cross, let’s take a look at a few more examples:

Greek Cross
Greek Cross
The ancient Greek cross had equal length arms and resembled the letter “X,” while the more modern version has the typical upright design and the addition of three lobes at each end.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross
The cross tombstone in the photo above illustrates the intricately woven knots, which are an integral part of every Celtic design.

Ornate Sterling Silver & Turquoise Cross
Silver Turquoise Cross
Silver or gold, jewel encrusted crosses reflect light and dazzle the eye with ornate patterns and precious gemstones of all kinds.

Contemporary Stained Glass Cross
Stained Glass Contemporary Cross
Brilliant stained glass in a kaleidoscope pattern twinkles in the sunlight in this very contemporary window.

Maltese Cross
Maltese Cross
The Maltese cross has four V-shaped arms. It has a more subtle cross design, which in this case could be easily mistaken for a flower.

How to Design Painted Wood Crosses:
Three Painted Crosses
Instructions for 3) designs are presented below: Celtic, Jeweled Gold, and Jeweled Silver.

Raw Wood Cross
Raw Wood Cross
Each raw wood cross is sanded lightly, as needed. The supplies needed vary according to the design chosen. If you happen to have colored pencils or markers on hand, you might want to trace the cross onto sheets of paper and color a few samples to help narrow down your design choices.

Supplies
Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Cross (8-1/4” high x 5-3/4” wide x 1/4” thick)
Acrylic Paints – black, metallic gold, metallic silver
5) Bottles Fabric Paint – dark green, medium green, blue, purple, & metallic gold
1) Package – 12mm round Jewel Tone Rhinestones
1) Package – 12mm round Pastel Rhinestones
1) Package – Clear Diamond-shaped Rhinestones
Paintbrushes
Sandpaper

Cross Painted Black
Cross with 2 Coats Black Paint
Each cross design in this project starts the same way, by applying 2 coats of acrylic black paint as a basecoat.

The Celtic Cross:
Celtic Knots & Infinity Symbols
Paint the perimeter details using medium green fabric paint for a 3-dimensional effect. Single lines and infinity symbols make up this pattern.

Celtic Cross Inner Details
Using the same fabric paint, paint the inner details including woven chains, and a large Celtic knot design in the center. Create pairs of large round “beads” of paint at each end (top, bottom, left and right).

Celtic Gold Accents Finished Cross
For a more 3-dimensional effect, carefully apply a second coat of fabric paint. After it has dried, add the gold details using metallic gold fabric paint.  This completes the Celtic Cross design.

Gold Jeweled Cross:
Painted Gold Accents
Your first decision is how much gold versus black you want to have in the design. Using metallic gold acrylic paint and a brush, I created a starburst at the center, which radiates outward to the ends. A studded detail was created using metallic gold fabric paint.

Gold Cross Jewel Layout
Experiment with different colors and placement of the rhinestones. Do not glue them down until a later step. After seeing this, I decided to increase the gold areas for a more opulent appearance and because the blue “sapphires” look better against the gold.

Gold Cross Enhanced Accents
Here you can see how the gold has been enhanced, leaving only a few key areas black. All the inside and outside edges have also been painted gold.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 1
In this version, three colors of rhinestones, blue, green, and yellow, have been used.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 2
Here the rhinestone colors were limited to blue and green.

Gold Cross Jeweled Option 3
This is the finished version with blue and yellow rhinestones. The deep yellow coordinates well with the rich metallic gold. Use Elmer’s glue to affix the gems. This completes the Gold Jeweled Cross Design.

Silver Jeweled Cross:
Silver Pastel Jeweled Cross
I had pastels in mind for this cross. I started out by testing different combinations of pastel colored rhinestones. I liked the light blue and purple with the green center.

Pastel Silver Accents
Metallic silver and black make a powerful combination with maximum contrast and reflectance. The rhinestone colors were carried into an alternating painted “gem” pattern created using dark green, blue and purple fabric paint in gemstone shapes.

Pastel Silver Enhanced Accents
The remaining inner portions, including the edges, are painted with acrylic metallic silver paint. Layout the rhinestones, but do not glue them down until a later step. Clear “diamond” rhinestones are glued in the center along with one round blue stone.

Pastel Silver Stripes Part 1
It felt like a little more silver was needed. I painted stripes at each end of the cross and then added more stripes along the outer edges.

Pastel Silver Stripes Part 2
Feeling good about the design, more stripes were added throughout the design. I have never been a big fan of stripes, so I’m not sure why I did this. The nice thing about paint is that you can easily change your mind and simply repaint.

Silver Pastel Jeweled Cross Finished
It took 2 coats of black to cover the stripes. Metallic silver was painted at the ends, and only those edges were painted silver, while the remainder was black. This completes the Silver Jeweled Cross design.

Finished Cross Designs:
Finished Crosses
Each of these crosses has its own unique style, but they barely touch the surface of design possibilities. Take a trip to the craft store to see what kinds of decorations appeal to you as well as the different styles of wood crosses available. In fact, you might have so much fun making the first one that you’ll have to go back to buy more.

Happy Easter & Happy Crafting!

The Bunny Hop – Painted Wooden Rabbit

Before we begin this Easter-themed project, we’ll need a little inspiration. Let’s take a look at a few of Mother Nature’s color scheme choices in the adorable bunny photos below:

Tan Baby Bunny
Baby bunnies are just so cute! That’s a lot of love wrapped in a soft tan and cream coat.

Gray & White Bunny
This stylish rabbit is modeling the very popular gray and white color combo.

Tan & Brown Bunny
Wild rabbits often have a blended fur coat of brown, tan and black to help camouflage them from predators. The one pictured above looks perfectly content to nap where he is without a care in the world.

Black & White Bunny
Last but not least is this precious black and white baby. His delicate features, including his button nose, inner ears and the outline of his eyes, are a soft pink.

Now that we’ve seen a few ideas, let’s get started painting!

How to Paint a Wooden Rabbit:

Raw Wood Bunny
Thick wood has been cut out in the shape of a rabbit and has the advantage of strong, rectangular base. Both sides and all the edges will need to be painted. Due to the raw nature of the wood, it may require a little sanding, especially along the edges.

Bunny Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Rabbit (17” high x 8” wide x 1/4” thick) (Base is 5-3/4” wide x 4”deep)
Acrylic Paints – brown, black, gray, tan, green & white
Fan paintbrush, small detail paintbrush and thicker brush for base coats
Sandpaper
Optional: Fabric paints – black, brown, white (Refer to Advanced section below)

Painted White Bunny
Step 1 – Paint the rabbit with 2) coats of white acrylic paint, including both sides and all edges.

Painted Back Bunny
Step 2 – Start painting the fur on the back. Experiment with colors and brush techniques. I poured black, brown and gray paint onto an artist’s palette. Dip a fan brush into each color and then apply to wood surface to create a fur-like effect. Because the paints have not been mixed, each new brush stroke will have a slightly different combination of colors, just like real fur. Repeat thus process until the back is completed. The white tail will be added later.

Layout Details Front Bunny
Step 3 – On the front, draw the face (eyes, eyelids, eyelashes, muzzle with nose, mouth, whiskers), ears and feet with a pencil. Paint the inside of the ears and eyelids tan.

Painted Front Bunny
Step 4 – Create the fur by repeating the procedures in Step 2. Be sure to make long brush strokes along the edges of the ears to resemble thick fur. You can leave the eyes, muzzle, and feet white for now. These areas will be detailed in the next step.

Bunny Closeup1
Step 5 – Paint the facial details. I painted the eyes, eyelashes, nose, mouth and whiskers black.

Bunny Closeup 2
Step 5A – This is an alternate version for the eyes and nose. A brown iris has been added to each eye, the eyelashes have been extended, and brown nostrils define the nose. For a more lively expression, don’t forget to put a dot of white in the pupil of each eye.

Finished Bunny
Step 6 – The finished rabbit has white feet with black lines to define the toes. The base was painted with two coats of green.

Finished Bunny Tail
Step 7 – Paint a big, white fluffy tail on the back.

At this point your project is finished and ready to display. If you would like to take this design to the next level, please follow the steps below.

Advanced Rabbit in 3D
Followers of this blog know how much I love creating 3D details on wood projects using fabric paints. If you appreciate three-dimensional effects, this section is for you! Unless otherwise noted, all paints listed below are dimensional fabric paints.

3D Bunny Face
Start by painting 2 thick coats of white fabric paint on the muzzle, and brown paint for the eyes.

3D Bunny Feet
Next paint the feet with 2 thick coats of white paint.

3D Face Details
To complete the face, use black paint for the nose, mouth, whiskers, eyelashes, and the outline around the eyes. Add a black pupil in each eye. Paint a white dot in the center of each pupil, and use brown paint in each nostril.

3D Body Details
Add long brown fur along the inner edges of both ears and define the two front legs using the same paint. Add the black lines to define the toes on each foot.

Detail Facial Fur
Using short strokes, bring the black and brown fur mixture up into the face.

Detail Legs and Feet
Layer additional black and brown fur to define the body, and add the two back feet.

Finished 3D Bunny Front
Because the rear legs are in the background, keep the paint lighter by using tiny strokes with just the brown paint in an upward direction. If you want additional fur texture, you could use acrylic paints and a brush to thicken the fur coat with highlights and lowlights.

Finished 3D Bunny Back
The last step is painting the tail with 3 coats of white fabric paint.

Mission accomplished! This cute little guy is ready to be displayed in your home, bringing joy to your life for years to come.

Happy Easter and Happy Crafting!

Yarn Crafts 101

Yarn Skeins
From pastels to neutrals to the most vibrant colors under the sun, yarn has it all. Natural or manmade fibers and blends are available as thin as thread, and as thick as cord. Whatever your preferences or skill level, there are many amazing opportunities for creating with yarn.

Needlepoint:
Needlepoint Pillow
Needlepoint kits include a preprinted canvas, all the colorful yarns required, and detailed instructions. You will need good lighting, and depending upon the complexity, a certain degree of concentration to ensure the various stitch types are placed correctly upon the canvas. The finished needlepoint can be incorporated into home furnishings, such as pillows, ornaments and wall art.

Needlepoint Deer
While working on your project, the canvas backing will become softer and more pliable. If you plan to have it framed, be sure to have the finished needlepoint blocked to straighten the stitches and restore the design to the intended shape. A good framing shop will be happy to help.

Knitting
Knitting Fabric
There are so many cozy yarn choices, suitable for knitting the plushest scarves or sweaters, and even the blankets for our most precious family members, babies! A skein of yarn and two knitting needles are all you will need, to get started. There are many instructional videos online.

Knitting Snail
Knitting isn’t just limited to wearable items. This adorable snail will be a constant companion for your little ones, and joyfully, for busy mothers, he’s washable too!

Macramé:
Macrame Bracelets
Macramé seemed to be a lost art for a while, but it’s making a comeback. Thick yarns, called cords or ropes, are knotted into interesting patterns. Wearing multiple macramé bracelets, in bold colors and patterns, has become a popular trend.

Macrame Dream Catcher
These dream catchers are perfect examples of this artful craft. Macramé can be used to create wall art, plant hangers, jewelry, and handbags.

Hand Hooked:
Hand Hooked Rug
Hand hooked rugs are made by pulling thick wool yarn or wool strips through a backing fabric such as burlap or linen. The stitches create the surface texture, while a liner fabric covers the back. Each hand hooked creation is a treasured one of a kind. Sizes vary, but a room size rug is a real labor of love.

Hand Hooked Pillow
Due to the bulkiness of the wool and backing fabrics, hand hooked items tend to be larger scale items, such as pillows, rugs, and tote bags. The level of detail is quite impressive. Stitches are made using special hooks, and can be made in a linear fashion or in more random fashion, whichever you prefer.

Latch Hooked:
Latch Hooks
Latch hook kits consist of an open weave canvas, and short lengths of yarn in multiple colors. A tool, called a latch hook, is used to pull individual pieces of yarn through to the front, creating a plush surface similar to cut-pile carpeting. Both of these latch hook kits are available at Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Embroidery:
Embroidery Jewelry
Clothing and accessories are often embroidered with intricate patterns in bold, colorful designs. Fine, lustrous yarns, called floss, are stitched through fabric by hand or by machine. Today, embroidery can be found on sneakers, tote bags and monogrammed towels and linens.

Embroidery Hand Beaded1
A combination of embroidery and hand-applied beading adorns designer evening gowns, clutch evening bags, and accessories. Many sewing machines include some basic embroidery designs. For optimal selection, there software programs for embroidery machines that will dazzle your fashion sense.

Cross Stitch:
Cross Stitch
If learning multiple stitch types seems too daunting, cross-stitch may be the needlecraft of your dreams. There’s only one stitch to learn, in the shape of an “X,” and it is applied to cotton fabric.

Cross Stitch
Another advantage of cross stitch is that it can be applied as an accent, and does not need to cover then entire surface, nor does it require blocking like needlepoint.

Crocheting:
Crochet Squares
With a crochet needle and a few skeins of yarn, you’ll be completing projects in no time. It’s easy to learn and the repetitive stitches make it an ideal craft to do while watching television. Granny squares are made one at a time and set aside until you have enough for an afghan, making this a very portable past time. Matching yarn is used to sew the squares together in rows and fringe is typically added to the ends.

Crochet Violet
Crocheted garments, accessories, toys and home décor are just a few of the possibilities for this creative and flexible craft. There are a multitude of patterns, and in time you may come up with a few stitches of your own. Once learned, you never forget how to crochet.

Fabric Weaving:
Weaving Fabric
Fabric and rugs have been woven for centuries upon freestanding looms. The vertical yarns, called the warp, are loaded onto the loom, and the horizontal yarns, called the weft, are added one at a time through the use of foot pedals and a shuttle, which is the boat shaped item shown in the lower right corner.

Weaving Fabric
The pattern is determined by the way the yarns are attached to the loom, which is a time consuming process. The beauty of the finished work is well worth all the effort. Commercial textile mills utilize large mechanized looms to produce large quantities of woven goods, but many textile designers continue to create beautiful hand woven textiles as their ancestors did.

Woven Art:
Woven Art
Woven artwork is made using a round or rectangular hand or tabletop loom. The size of the piece is limited to the frame size and wall hangings are the most common type of woven art.

Woven Art
The yarns can be tightly woven together to form a solid surface, as shown in the previous photo. Alternatively, fancy yarns can be randomly added in a loose open-weave to produce a light and airy landscape, similar to a painting.

With the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere, silky yarns are great choices for cardigans on those breezy evenings, and crocheted swimsuit cover-ups for days at the beach. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, fall is the perfect time to curl up under a handmade afghan and dream about your next crafting project. Let your imagination soar.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Crafting!

Luck of the Irish

St Patrick's Day BannerLeprechauns and a pot of gold are certainly hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day. Below are a few crafting ideas to help you get ready for this upcoming celebration of all things Irish.

Shamrocks
Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle, is famous for its shamrocks. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a four-leaf clover. Notice the almost woven effect created by the natural layering of these leaves. Irish knot work patterns, such as the one illustrated below, are inspired by the natural world.

Carved Marble Knots
Eternity knots can be found on everything in Ireland. The pattern shown here has been carved into marble. It could also be carved or burnt into wood, stenciled onto a wall, or drawn and/or painted onto t-shirts, handbags, or even a comforter. Jewelry makers include knot designs for their beauty as well as the symbolism of eternal love.

Cookies & Irish Coffee
A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with a few shamrock cookies and a creamy mug of Irish coffee. In case you didn’t know, this coffee gets its high-octane kick from a shot of Irish whiskey.

Irish Soda Bread
Store bought Irish soda bread is usually made ahead of time and may be too dry. It’s best enjoyed straight out of the oven.

Jewelry Charms
The four-leaf clover is a very popular good luck talisman. A leather cord is a very inexpensive way to make a necklace. The cord can be cut to the desired length, and special cord tips are attached to the ends along with a spring ring or lobster claw clasp. Any charms with a large enough bail can be slid onto the cord and easily changed for a new look. Prefer ready-made jewelry? Ready to wear cords can be purchased with the charms of your choice.

St. Paddy's Day Parade
Of course you’ll need to wear something green to really get into the spirit of the holiday. A little green fabric is all you need – a hat, scarf, socks – anything will do.

Irish Icons
These icons are often found on everything from mugs and T-shirts to bumper stickers. Iron-ons are inexpensive and easy to apply. Craft stores also have stickers, as well as temporary tattoos, which have all the cool designs without any of the commitment.

Irish Embroidery
Embroidery is a great way to dress up any garment with lively, eye-catching graphics and funny sayings.

Shamrocks Crochet
If crocheting were your specialty, these three leaf clovers would make a very unique scarf or hat. They could also be used as decorative accents on a pillow or afghan.

Beer & Shamrocks
There are plenty of colorful holiday-themed sheets in the papercrafting aisle, or you might want to design your own. If there’s a subliminal message in this design, I suppose it would be: “I love shamrocks and beer!” Who doesn’t? (lol)

Art Clay
Working with art clay can be a fun activity for the whole family. Figures like these pictured above could be used as jewelry pendants, or attached to hair accessories or refrigerator magnets, just to name a few.

Irish Angel Stained Glass
Stained glass is a beautiful way to incorporate holiday themes and of course the color green and requisite shamrock for luck.

Ceramic Irish Bear
Belleek, is a well-known brand of Irish pottery, recognized by its neutral cream color, which often includes hand painted shamrocks. You can achieve the same look, at a fraction of the price, by visiting a ceramics studio to paint your own using a similar color scheme.

Lucky Horseshoe
An up-turned horseshoe has always been considered good luck. The addition of a four-leaf clover may be all that’s needed to amplify good fortune to the next level. well, it’s certainly worth a try.

On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody is Irish! So wear something green, enjoy a pint, and keep an eye out for a rainbow – there might just be a pot of gold under it waiting to be discovered!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Crafting!