Flashback Friday – Christmas Doily

I’m a fan of sparkles. I don’t exactly enjoy loose glitter all over the place, but I do love a little added sparkle, especially on holiday items. Years ago I came across some sparkly holiday yarn by Red Heart. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I must have been entranced by the sparkliness, ’cause I picked up a skein each of red, white, and green. I apparently also picked up a free project sheet, as I later found it in my crochet pattern binder and decided to put my glittery yarn to use. I made this:

It’s not quite a doily, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a centerpiece, either. The project sheet simply calls it a “table center.” A rose by any other name… Anyway, it took me a while, but I was finally able to track down an online version of the pattern for those who may wish to crochet their own. I made this as a beginner, so it’s a fairly easy pattern to follow. I wish now that I’d made all the motifs the same, rather than alternating like the example. Thoughts? I’m sure these motifs would also work for other projects, such as a pretty winter scarf. I’d love to see what you do with it!

 

A Little White Horsey (Ornament)

I started up this blog in order to keep track of all the things I create. I’ve been sewing since I was a little kid, though the first items I remember making weren’t actually “sewn.” (My mom taught me how to cut out ponchos for my dolls. My poor Ken dolls didn’t have anything to wear but red- and white-striped, sash-tied, square ponchos! Oh, the inequality of outfits!)

Anyway, though I’ve been getting better at remembering to take pictures of my crafts before I send them on their merry ways, there are still many, many handmade items that I don’t have pictures of. Maybe someday I’ll be able to post about the sweater I made for my mom, the layered skirt I sewed for my sister, the strange little nesting chicken I crocheted… But today I’m posting about an item I made just yesterday – a little horse ornament for a swap partner many miles away.

I had joined a swap for handmade ornaments, and my partner wanted either a white or gray horse, a deer, or a nativity scene. The first thing that came to mind was the little horse appliqué on the tractor afghan I made for my nephew. However, I decided to search for other, more three-dimensional characters. I found quite a few, but this little guy from Kristieskids won out (scroll to about the middle of the page for the horse pattern).

Mine turned out a bit longer and thinner, even though I was using a smaller crochet hook, but I think he’s pretty dang cute. I wasn’t sure about the colors, so I left the saddle and halter out, but I did give him some eyes made of blue seed beads. I added a silver ribbon for hanging, and sent him on his journey to the UK.This little amigurumi horse pattern could be used for several different things. He could probably be made into a deer if given some crocheted antlers. He sort of looks like a My Little Pony pony, as well – just stitch on a little emblem on his behind and give him a name!

Stocking Stuffers for Adults – A Helpful List

I have helped my parents with the stocking stuffers for my family since I was a kid. I enjoy it, whereas my mom doesn’t like shopping. I love finding fun and unique items (relatively inexpensive ones, that is) to stuff into my siblings’ stockings. But my family has changed over the years, and now most of us are adults. Gone are the simple days of dollarstore toys and tons of candy. So my stocking to-buy list has certainly changed, but it is just as possible and just as fun to fill up a good ol’ Christmas sock for an adult!

Here is a list of stocking stuffers I have used, plan on using, or think would be fun:

  • favorite snacks (from jerky to bulk chocolate-covered peanuts, to popcorn , everyone likes treats)
  • fruit (mandarin oranges are great this time of year)
  • keychains and key-toppers (adults tend to have keys – don’t let them be boring!)
  • Christmas ornaments
  • socks (dressy, work, cute, whatever!)
  • gloves, beanies, and scarves
  • ice-scrapers to keep in their cars (you can never have too many!)
  • hand-warmers
  • wallets for men
  • nail clippers
  • nail files, nail polish and other makeup items for women
  • small tools for men (screwdrivers, tape measures, Swiss Army gadgets, pocketknives, etc.)
  • duct tape (fixes darn near anything and comes in all sorts of colors now)
  • hair barrettes for women
  • small flashlights (great to keep in a car or purse/backpack/bag)
  • scented candles (mostly for women)
  • perfume or cologne
  • jewelry, cufflinks, tie tacks
  • contact or glasses cases
  • Tide pens
  • lint rollers (great for people with pets)
  • air fresheners and other small car accessories (gave my brother a dashboard hula girl once – it was a hit!)
  • good pens or pencils
  • fun notepads
  • $5 card to fast food joint
  • mugs with packs of cocoa
  • scissors (really!)
  • refrigerator magnets
  • lotion, handsoap, chapstick
  • paperback books and bookmarks
  • funny Tshirts
  • watches
  • small food containers (found some specifically for pizza this year)
  • underwear (generally best for a spouse!)
  • hobby-specific items (gloves and seed packets for gardeners; yarn and hook/needles for knitters/crocheters; thread, needles, measuring tapes for sewists; art supplies for the artsy; kitchen utensils for those who like to cook; safety goggles and nails/screws for woodworkers; fun things for gamers from ThinkGeek; sweatbands, tennis/golf/baseballs for athletes)
  • gum, mints, or breathspray (Perpetual Kid has some hilarious stuff!)
  • cards or other small games
  • shoe inserts (hey, feet can hurt after a long day!)
  • paperweights
  • laser pointers
  • USB flashdrives
  • CDs/DVDs
  • calculators
  • batteries
  • head-scratchers (sound funny, but are actually quite nice – and make a funny gift!)
  • cellphone and other device chargers
  • earphones/buds
  • fun USB-charged devices (I got my husband a USB missile launcher one year)
  • small packs of tissues (even cough drops for those with seasonal colds)
  • lap-sized fleece blankets (easy to make, too!)
  • stationary and stamps for someone to write to you (such as a college student)
  • items good for a laugh (fly-swatters, air freshener spray, feather-dusters, dryer sheets, kids’ toys)

Feel free to comment with other adult stocking stuffer ideas. I’m sure there are many, many more!

Nyan Cat Kitty Costume

Remember the Giant Felt Popt-tart? Well, here’s who I made it for:

Our cat, Shadow, went as Nyan Cat this Halloween. He enjoyed it immensely, as you can see.

Not familiar with the Nyan Cat phenomenon? Here’s the pastry cat in all his glory:

No, nothing else happens. There’s no need to watch the whole thing.

Anyway, I thought I’d give an update to the tutorial on how to turn a felt Pop-tart into a Nyan Cat kitty costume.

Nyan Cat Costume Tutorial

1. Follow the instructions to make a felt Pop-tart here, but before sewing around the pastry edges (Number 5), pin some rainbow ribbon or fabric into one of the short edges. I used three ribbon strands of each color (about 1 yard in length) because I coudn’t find any rainbow fabric, but fabric would be easier to deal with. If you use ribbon, running a regular glue stick across the inside edge of the felt helps to position and hold the ribbon before sewing.

2. Finish Pop-tart as per instructions. Then cut two small rectangles (mine were 2″ x 3″) out of felt, a stronger material, or both. (I made two of cotton and two of felt to cover them.) Fold the rectangles in half, and cut twice into the folded edge. Unfold.

Tutorial – Shoe Organizer

The other day I tried to put a bunch of shoes away that have been collecting under my dresser, and around it, and… well, let’s just call it a “shoe infestation.” I’ve been really into flats this summer, and I guess it shows.

Anyway, I found that I really didn’t have a place to put all of them in my closet. I have a shoe stand, but it seems better for larger shoes, not little flats. I can’t hang over-the-door or hangs-from-the-closet-rod organizers due to the accordion doors and limited space. But I was able to find one tall, skinny piece of wall left open that was just wide enough for a pair of shoes…

Suddenly, I had just had to make a shoe organizer.

I tried to take pictures and write down instructions as I went. This is my first tutorial… ever. So, here goes!

 

Fabric Shoe Organizer with Box Pleats

Supplies

  • About two yards of cotton fabric (for the length)*
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine (unless you really like sewing by hand)

*For fabric, I actually used a twin-sized flat sheet. Sheets have many uses besides just lying on top of beds – they are wider than most fabrics from the store and are often cheaper, so they make great fabric.

The space I wanted my organizer to fit was 70″ long by 8″ wide, so that is the size of my organizer. However, it would not be difficult to change the dimensions.

First, if you are using a sheet, cut off the hem down one side. (You are welcome to pick out the stitching to save fabric, of course, it would just take some time and for me this was a quick and dirty easy project.)

 

Next, starting from the top of the sheet (head), cut a strip for the back of the organizer. For simplicity’s sake, I added 1″ seam allowances all around, so my piece was 72″ long by 10″ wide.

 

I cut two strips for my backing to make sure it was strong (being that it was going to hold several pairs of shoes).

 

Now it’s time for the pockets. First I measured a pair of my flats across the largest part to make sure I cut the pockets big enough.

It took 3″ more to go around the tops of my shoes than straight across the back. I wear a size 8 to 9 in flats (is that weird?). If you wear a much smaller or larger size, or want to fit a more substantial shoe (though I woudn’t suggest boots!), you’ll want to measure your own shoes before you cut your pockets out.

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