19 entries categorized "tutorials"

A Crocheted Red Scarf

He needed a red scarf for a costume he wants to wear later this month; I needed a distraction from a marathon of Walking Dead episodes...so I crocheted him a red cotton scarf. He keeps wearing it. ☺️#alwaysmybaby #my_18yo

He needed a red scarf for a costume he wants to wear later this month; I needed a distraction from a marathon of Walking Dead episodes...so I crocheted him a red cotton scarf. 

Here's how:

I made the scarf with red cotton yarn and a J crochet hook.

I made a chain long enough to reach from one fingertip to the other of my outstretched hands (about 5-1/2 feet)

I then used single crochet until it was the width he preferred (fairly wide; about 6"). 

That's it!  

He keeps wearing it.  He's 18, but he'll always be my baby.  

How to Felt Wool Yarn Scraps into Balls (for Juggling! or...whatever use)

Ready for the easiest tutorial ever?  Like, ever?

Our little gal, 10, wants to learn how to juggle.  It all started with one tennis ball.  You can't juggle just one ball, she soon figured out, and said, "Mama, we need to buy more balls."  

But, see, this child moves onto the next thing in about .0006 seconds, so there wasn't time for the 4-mile trip to the store for more tennis balls.  I wanted her to learn to juggle!  "Who knows, she might become a clown," said her ever-sarcastically-supportive big brother. 

Since we'd been making pompoms for critters (from this craft book, which I highly recommend; we're rather smitten with it, and it's inexpensive!)... as I was saying, since we'd been making pompoms, we had leftover bits of wool yarn, so we made our own little balls!

Here's how we made little woolen balls:

1. Wrap 100% wool yarn into a ball shape (or, if you have little woolen scraps like we did, gather a bunch into a ball shape in your palm).  Create a ball shape larger than you'd like the felted ball to be - ours shrunk by about a third.

2. Fill a bowl with hot, soapy water (we used Dawn, but I don't know if that matters).

3.  Swish, swish, swish, the ball around until it felts!

And there you go.  It really is that simple to make your own felted balls.  And you said you're not crafty...

Our little gal is taking three balls for juggling practice, and I'm eyeing the others for possibly stringing together as a garland.  Do you have any other ideas for these little balls? I rather like making them, and could easily end up with far too many!

How to Make Lavender Dryer Sachets

I made lavender dryer sachets a couple weeks ago.  We're smelling lavendery these days, and now I cannot breathe deeply enough to satisfy my nose.  I love the smell of lavender!  

image from www.flickr.com

The dryer sachets last through several (or more) dryer loads.  I just use them over and over until they run out of scent.  And then I place the sachet in our linen closet just in case it has any lavenderness left.  I do love the smell of lavender (as I said).  Just in case you do, too, here is how to make your own Lavender Dryer Sachets:

1.  Put a scoop of lavender into a drawstring muslin bag (I'm linking to the place where I purchased my products, but by all means, let us know where you'd suggest buying them, too!). 

2.  Add a cotton ball to help keep the lavender from floating around your dryer and onto your clothes.  I, personally, don't mind having lavender cling to me, but my family members are not so appreciative. Lavender buds do look like little bugs, I suppose.  

image from www.flickr.com

3.  Draw up that drawstring.  I double knot it.  

image from www.flickr.com

And that is how ridiculously easy it can be to have your clothes and towels smelling like lavender, too!

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How to Cover an Ugly Stool (or, How to Make a Tuffet!)

Don't you love words like "tuffet"?  A word like that makes a word like "stool" sound so boring. I'd much rather call my little stool a tuffet. Anyway.  This is such a simple & quick project.  No sewing is involved! Since you're so smart, I'm sure you don't need a tutorial for this, but I felt like snapping pictures the other day, so here you are anyway.  Here's How to Cover an Ugly (or Wooden) Stool Tuffet:

1.  Find an ugly stool in a thrift shop or lying about the house or buy a pretty wooden stool at an unfinished furniture store.

2. Paint the legs and bottom (I used spray paint).  Be messy.  You're going to cover the top anyway.  2-1/2. Let the paint dry (I know you know that).

3. Assemble:

  • a staple gun (or hot glue gun)
  • pins
  • fabric
  • batting (optional)
  • rotary cutter or scissors

image from www.flickr.com

4. Lay the batting on the stool, then the fabric.

5. Strategically place pins into the fabric & batting to make them hold still, wrinkle free.

image from www.flickr.com
6.  Flip the stool over.

7. Fold and staple (or hot glue) the fabric over the batting, cutting as needing, folding around the fat little legs. No need to be a perfectionist.  Who would turn your stool over just to see if you folded perfectly? I promise I won't.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
8.  Then?  Well, then sit on your tuffet!  Like Little Miss Muffet, eating her curds and whey.  Or (yawn) use it as a lift for your sewing pressure foot because you requested a kitchen-height counter in your craft room and didn't think that through very well.

image from www.flickr.com


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Tutorial: A Knitting Pattern for a 'Woven' Scarf

A finished project!  A finished project! This is cause for celebration around here, that I actually finish a project (I'm more about the process than the product).  This year, though, I'm determined to do more finishing.

This project:  A little knitted scarf, the perfect size for our 6yo little gal. She wasn't available for a 'photo shoot,' so I threw it over the birds' cage:

You can make it, too! Here's how:

Cast on 16

Knit 4

Purl 4

Knit 4

Purl 4

Flip it over and repeat the above for 3 more rows, for a total of 4 rows.


Purl 4

Knit 4

Purl 4

Knit 4

Repeat that for 4 rows, too.  Then do another 4 rows starting with knit.  Then 4 more with purl.  And so on until the project is as long as you like.  

I used small bamboo knitting needles - size 4, I think.  They were small enough that this scarf took a long time to make (I swapped this project out with faster crochet projects when I needed a break).  Larger needles would be much faster.

(The blue bird was unimpressed.  I couldn't keep him awake.)

If you make a project using this pattern - or if you already have - let me know!  I'd love to see it.

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Handmade Christmas (& a tutorial on how to make a puzzle)

7. Putting the puzzle together again.

I told you we're trying to have a handmade Christmas this year.  "Trying," meaning "I'm not entirely sure we'll pull it off," meaning, "I haven't finished what I wanted to make," but we have been busy with our trying, anyway.  Our children have really gotten into this idea of making gifts.  It's been good for them to have to think creatively.  

Our ballerina likes to sew and bake, so deciding what she wanted to make everyone was easy. Our boys, though, needed to do some thinking.  Our little guy (8yo) decided to make stickers with my old Xyron sticker-making machine.   After drawing on cardstock with markers, he simply puts the paper into the machine, turns the dial, and voila!, stickers!  I've had that machine for years, but seldom use it, so I'm happy he's getting such enjoyment from it.   I'm also glad it's so easy for him to master alone.  Before he had the idea of stickers, he wanted to sew pillows.   That would mean that his mama (me, yes) is doing the sewing and he's telling me what to do.  I'm behind on my own need-to-do list, so I am especially supportive of his sticker-making idea.

Our 13yo asked if he could learn to use the scroll saw the other day.  Why not?  After laying out a few rules and making him quote them to me at least five times, he thought he'd use the saw to make puzzles for his sisters and brothers.  This is the one he made for his brother:

Step One:  Draw a picture outline on thick cardboard or thin wood (this cardboard was from the back of an old dresser, but any cardboard or thin wood would do - you can buy it new if you don't have an old dresser to tear apart)

1. Drawing the Picture on a Piece of Cardboard by you.

2. Drawing the picture

Step Two:  Paint the picture.  The entire surface should be covered in paint.  We chose acrylic paints -- those that you find in the little bottles at the craft store.

3. Painting the Pictures (with acrylic paint)

3. Painting by you.

Step Three:  Cut that picture into puzzle pieces (note to his Nana, my mom:  you might not want to see the next photos of his hands so close to that saw blade.  But we don't need to worry. He said the rules at least five times, remember.)

4. Cutting the painting into puzzle pieces. by you.

5. Cutting the painting into puzzle pieces.

6. The puzzle pieces cut out.

Step Four:  See if you can put the puzzle back together again!

7. Putting the puzzle together again. by you.

If you're working on projects, too, leave a link so we can see what you're doing!


An Apron to Sew

Fall weather makes me want to do things.  Does it you?  I want to Do Things like bake bread, stir stew, sew an apron...

my ruffled apron

And if I'm going to sew an apron, why not a ruffled apron for baking that bread and stirring those stews?  This apron was an easy one to make, even for me - a straight-lines-only amateur seamstress.  Want to sew one, too?  I'll try to help get you started. Here's how I did it...

First, a piece of muslin cut to the size of the apron (but a few inches less than the length desired):

strips on muslin by you.

Cut fabric choices into folded strips the width (horizontally) of your muslin, and twice the length (vertically) you prefer each strip to be. 

strips cut by you.

Fold the strips in half (into one long strip).  Sew the strips closed along the long side.  The strips will then have one raw, long side (with sewing stitches shown) and one folded long side.

strips by you.

Turn under the raw edges of the shorter ends and sew shut.


Sew the strips onto the apron, along the raw, long side of each strip.  I found it easiest to sew from the bottom of the apron up, allowing the last ruffle to hang over the bottom edge of the apron.

sewing ruffles by you.

For the tie, I sewed an extra long strip of fabric, folded it over the top edge of the muslin, and sewed along its length.  It looks like this...

tie by you.

And, viola!, an apron!  A ruffled apron, no less!

finished apron by you.

Oh, p.s., if you don't have a fancy machine, don't worry.  We don't need a fancy machine to sew things!  Mine is an old ugly thing after 16 years of sewing.  It was my first Christmas gift from that handsome man I married and still peek my eyes open to every morning.  It's humble, but it can still sew.  That's what matters to a sewing machine anyway.

my old sewing machine

How to Make a Spinning Top

top finished by you.


If you have a mini lathe hanging around on a workbench...oh, you don't?  well, neither do I, but it doesn't hurt to learn something new anyway, so..

if you have a mini lathe hanging around, or not, you might want to use it (or wish you had one to use it) to make a spinning top, like this...


Step One:  The woodworker keeps a box of circles with dowels in them.  I think you could create these circles with a door handle tool (I'm sure it has a more technical name than that!) and use a drill to inser the dowel pieces into the circle. 


Step Two:  He put the dowel-in-a-circle-of-wood on his mini lathe.



Steps Three and Four :  He's carving the wood to shape, using lathe tools.



Steps Five andSix are really the same step.  While the lathe is still on, he sands the top down.




Steps Seven, Eight, and Nine :  He draws with a Sharpie marker (no kidding!) while the lathe is still on.  This part gets "ooo"s from the crowd as the color moves across the wood.


Step Ten: Giving the top a dousing of spray varnish.


Step Eleven:  Cutting the spinning top off the lathe.  I think the lathe is still on.

Step Twelve (not pictured):  A little hand-sanding just on the tips where the top was cut from the extra dowel on the lathe.

top finished

Step Thirteen:  Give it a twirl and see if it spins!

In case you're wondering, those aren't my hands in the photo. I really hope you weren't wondering that.  They're not.  They belong to a very nice woodturner at the local heritage festival we attended Saturday. 

He sold these tops for just $3.  Less than a gallon of gas.  Who needs gas anyway?  With that inherited logic, and to support the arts (& crafts), all four of our children wanted one, custom made, in different colors.  Such an accomodating gentleman he was!   They were, I mean: my man who handed out the cash and the patient woodworker who handed out four tops.  I purchased a hairstick for me, which is yet another reason to put "mini lathe" on my Christmas list this year. 

Project: Knitting a Shawl Like Tasha Tudor's

I don't think you're supposed to keep the knitting urge when it's Spring and the garden is growing, but I do still have the knitting urge, so that's that.   I am a whim-follower.   This week, my whim is to knit a Tasha Tudor shawl.  Never mind that I'm knitting it in wool and we are in the middle of March and I live in the Deep South.  Never mind that at all.  I want a shawl like Tasha Tudor has, and I want to knit.

Here is Miss Tasha in her red shawl:

Tasha's shawl

Mine will be in Chestnut Brown. This is what the delivery guy brought today:


Chestnut Brown 100% wool (4 skeins) & size US4 29" circular Bamboo Knitting Needles


(those are the only things needed for this project but I also ordered, because I am a follower of my whims, a Bias Tape Maker and white wool to dye - neither of which I know how to do, but ... what fun is not trying, I ask?)


Do you want to knit a shawl like Tasha's, too? If so, here are a couple of links to photos and the free pattern:

Of course this is not the only knitting project I have going on.  I like to have several projects in the works at all times.  So, I'm also making a knitting bag, a scarf for my man (who absolutely will not need it until next "winter," and maybe not even then, but what else to knit a guy?), and finishing a purse for our Little Gal.  The purse was supposed to be a sweater until I got absolutely bored of the pattern and couldn't imagine spending months on it, so it's now being stitched up to be a bag/purse.  Whims.  You know.