Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Reviewing The Fun of Stretched Canvases

Do you remember the fun you had as a child when you got given a new colouring in book?  I'm sure that is part of the appeal of colouring in books for adults.  The other part is that colouring in can be a fun way to alleviate stress.

Stretched canvases for colouring in
Image by Lou16, created on Canva

Our state called a snap 3-day lockdown a couple of months ago and I was in a local discount store on that day looking for something when I noticed the printed stretched canvases waiting to be coloured in.  The next thing you know they were in my shopping basket along with some felt tip pens.

As it happens the lockdown wasn't extended past the three days so I didn't need to have lots of things to keep me busy.   The 3 days were long enough for me to find that I really enjoyed the colouring in.   

As it happened a few things happened in the following week that I found very frustrating and that is when I discovered that colouring in was very calming for me.   I started to spend a few minutes every day doing a little colouring in.   For me, I felt it was like other's feel when practicing meditation (my mind doesn't like to quiet itself during meditation, but it does during colouring!).

I started to do a little colouring in every day and I really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, I can't find the exact canvases that I did online.   I went back to the store where I got my two canvases and the remaining ones are clearly designed for children and I found the same lack of printed canvases for adults when I looked online.

Feeling a little frustrated that perhaps my colouring in activities was going to have to change to a book or be replaced by something else I discovered another option in an unusual place - Facebook!

As I'm sure you're aware there are groups for just about anything on Facebook and I belong to quite a few of them.  One group that I belong to is dedicated to a popular store here in Australia and in this group, I came across a really cool idea.

This store sells amazing black and white printed canvases with images like koalas, kookaburras, zebras, elephants and more.   One day a lady in the group showed off one of the black and white koala canvases - she had coloured in the background and added some details.   It was amazing.

This thread soon exploded with a plethora of images from different people across the country who had taken these prints and added colour - sometimes colouring in the images, sometimes just the background.   Basically, adult colouring in just turned into designer art pieces for the home!

Allowing a little creativity into your life is a great way of balancing out the stresses in the world while having fun and I think colouring in is a great way of doing this.

Of course, if you don't feel up to tackling an entire canvas by yourself you could always look at one of the amazing colouring books for adults that are available.





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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories

Acrylic fabric paints, iron-on appliques and other embellishments are a fun and easy way to transform ordinary t-shirts, sweatshirts, denim jackets and jeans into special, one-of-a-kind clothing designs. 

Even if you don’t feel especially artistic, it’s extremely easy to add striking hand painted designs to basic wardrobe items by applying acrylic fabric paint through a stencil with a foam pouncer. 

Embellishing clothing with fabric paints is also a wonderful project to do with kids. Both my fashionista niece and her younger brother used to love taking solid color T-shirts and creating their own hand painted and stenciled designer tees, which they wore with pride.

Some fabric paints also work well on other materials, including leather and vinyl, so they’re great for painting shoes, sandals, handbags, belts and other accessories to give them a whole new look with fresh colors, color blocking, patterns or painted accents.

I have researched and used different types, brands and formulas of fabric paints in different price ranges. In this review I will share my favorite acrylic fabric paints for decorating clothing and accessories. 

The Best, Most Versatile Acrylic Fabric Paints for Embellishing Clothing & Accessories

Why Use Acrylic Fabric Paints?

Acrylic fabric paints, also called acrylic textile paints, are formulated specifically for use on fabric clothing and other textiles. Unlike fabric dyes and alcohol-based textile paints or inks, they do not spread and saturate the fibers. Most work best on untreated or pre-washed, natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics whose fiber content contains at least 50% natural fibers. 

Acrylic textile paints are usually thinner, penetrate fibers better and dry more flexible than standard acrylic paints formulated for art or craft uses. Fabric paints also contain a binder that helps them adhere much better to natural fibers after the paint dries and is heat-set (usually with an iron). This binder makes the painted designs more durable, so they can better withstand repeated washing and resist cracking, peeling or flaking when the fabric is gently stretched or folded, such as when you put on, move around in, take off or put away your painted clothing.   

More transparent colors usually have a thinner consistency and are softer to the touch when dry compared to more opaque fabric paints. They are great for lighter color fabrics, since the color of the clothing will show through them. For the same reason, opaque fabric paints will show up much better on darker clothing, although they are slightly thicker and will dry a bit stiffer than more transparent formulas.

Good Quality Fabric Paints Give the Best Results

Jacquard makes moderately priced, high-quality, highly pigmented paints, dyes, mica powders and other art and craft supplies. Jacquard's Textile, Neopaque and Lumiere lines are my go-to acrylic paints for painting fabrics.

Photo of Jacquard Textile acrylic paints "Exciter Pack" assortment

Jacquard Textile 

Jacquard Textile paints have a medium- to light-bodied consistency and come in 39 semi-transparent colors. Mixing any of the other colors with 123 White will create a pastel shade. You can make any color more transparent without affecting the quality or consistency by mixing it with Jacquard Textile 100 Colorless Extender. (Another option, which I don’t recommend, is diluting the paints with up to 25% water, since it will reduce their viscosity and negatively affect the quality.)  Mixing any other Jacquard Textile color with #220 Super Opaque White will make it more opaque. 

The Jacquard Textile Color Exciter Pack is an economical assortment that includes small bottles of nine of the most useful colors in the line. It's a great way to try these paints without investing a lot of money.

Jacquard Textile colors can also be mixed with Jacquard Lumiere, Neopaque or Dye-Na-Flow paints or with Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to create custom colors and effects.

Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere

Neopaque is Jacquard’s line of light-bodied, opaque acrylic paints. They come in 21 colors plus a Flowable Extender medium that can be used to make the colors more transparent without altering the paint’s texture, consistency, adherence and other key properties. Lumiere is a companion line of 33 beautiful metallic and pearlescent paint colors designed to complement the Neopaque solid colors and have similar characteristics. My favorite Lumiere paints are the color-shifting duo-chrome colors!

Even though the Jacquard Neopaque and Jacquard Lumiere lines have not been optimized specifically for painting on fabrics, like the Jacquard Textile line, they have many of the same characteristics and are also considered fabric paints. After they have dried and been heat-set, both Neopaque and Lumiere paints adhere to textiles very well, remain flexible and resist cracking, peeling and chipping. I have used them to paint fleece sweatshirts, both freehand and with stencils, and they have withstood many washings well.

Both formulas are opaque, highly pigmented and provide good coverage, even on dark fabrics. You can mix any Neopaque or Lumiere shade with Neopaque Flowable Extender to make it more transparent without changing its consistency, thickness, flexibility, adherence or other important characteristics. 

Similarly to the Jacquard Textile line, you can mix pastel shades by blending a small amount of Neopaque White into any of the other Neopaque colors.

Photo of Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paints
I've been using my first Jacquard Neopaque and Lumiere acrylic paint Exciter Packs for many years. 

There are also a Lumiere Exciter Pack with 9 pearlescent and metallic colors and a Lumiere & Neopaque Exciter Pack with 7 metallic Lumiere shades plus black and white Neopaque. As with the Textile line, these two Exciter Packs are a great way to get a nice variety of colors in smaller quantities for a very affordable price. I have purchased both of these Exciter Packs as well as full-size bottles of the Neopaque black and white and Lumiere duo-chrome colors I use most. I recently bought another of the Lumiere assortments because some older colors have been discontinued and newer ones added.

Another advantage of Jacquard Lumiere and Neopaque acrylic paints is that they adhere well to a wide range of surfaces including paper, wood, rubber, vinyl, leather and rubber, in addition to fabric, and can be used for many different types of projects. I have gotten more than my money’s worth out of mine. 

For example, I completely transformed an old pair of boring, frumpy, beige comfort sandals by painting the leather with Lumiere for the uppers and black Neopaque to edge the sole, and then sewing on some faux jeweled trim. 

Before and after photos of beige sandals painted aqua and blue

Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium 

You also can achieve successful results by mixing permanent, highly pigmented art or craft acrylic paints 50/50 with a good quality fabric medium, such as Golden GAC 900 Heat-Set Fabric Painting Medium or Martha Stewart Tintable Fabric Medium. 

Pébéo Setacolor

If you are painting a very special piece of clothing or textile, you may want to consider the Pébéo Setacolor line. These superb fabric paints come in an extensive range of beautiful colors and finishes. Although they are more expensive than the Jacquard fabric paints, superior quality, performance and product selection make Pébéo Setacolor products a favorite among many professional painted clothing artists and enthusiasts. 

Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics are transparent and include 44 matte, metallic, glitter, and fluorescent shades. Pébéo Setacolor Opaque comes in 77 matte and “shimmer opaque” shades with glitter, pearlescent, metallic and iridescent finishes that dry softer, smoother and more flexible than most other opaque textile paints. There are also Pébéo Setacolor 3D fabric paints that come in tubes with small nozzles that are great for adding raised outlines or dimensional accents to your painted clothing designs. 

The most affordable way to try these terrific paints is with one of the 10-color introductory sets, the Pébéo Setacolor Light Fabrics Discovery Kit or the Pébéo Setacolor Opaque Discovery Kit

Use Fabric Paints and Stencils for Beautiful, Affordable, One-of-a-Kind Handmade Gifts 

Stencils are made in just about any pattern or theme you could want and require no artistic talent to use.

I have used inexpensive fabric stencils of flowers, gardening tools and bees to decorate a sweatshirt for my mother-in-law who loves to garden. 

One of my husband’s favorite gifts from me is a forest green sweatshirt I purchased for him many years ago and stenciled with a cascade of metallic and pearlescent autumn leaves. It has been worn and washed so many times that the fleece is pilling, and the color has faded. By now, the paint isn’t quite as bright or shiny as it once was, either, but it’s still hasn’t cracked, flaked or worn off, and he still wears it proudly.

Photo of man wearing dark green sweatshirt with a stenciled metallic leaf design
My husband still loves and wears this sweatshirt I stenciled for him many years ago. 

You can use alphabet stencils to personalize a T-shirt, hoodie or other garment with the gift recipient’s name or add a meaningful word or message. 

Older children will also love using fabric paints and stencils to turn simple, inexpensive pieces of clothing into personalized gifts for special friends and family members.

Stenciled or hand painted tablecloths, napkins, placemats and table runners also make wonderful gifts. Painting them with snowflakes, pointsettias and other seasonal designs makes any holiday a bit more festive. 

I hope I have inspired you to give fabric paints a try!

The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories


The Best Acrylic Fabric Paints for Painting Clothes and Accessories by Margaret Schindel


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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Baking Clay a Hobby for All Ages and Stages of Life - A Gift Review

This year I will learn a new Hobby!  I will share it with the world and my granddaughter!

If we have learned anything this year, it's that our hobbies will keep us from climbing up the walls when we can't do the things that we are used to doing.  Pandemics and the need to keep ourselves isolated from harm, can do some strange things to people's psyches.  Don't fall into that trap or let the isolation rule you.  Learn to do something new and interesting to keep the depression/isolation at bay.



Crafting has long been a way to fill in "spare time" or do something that we enjoy.  It could be knitting, crocheting, baking or a host of other activities that will keep our minds and hands busy.  Photography, painting, leather crafts and paper crafts all fit that bill. You will find a host of "Hobbies" on Review This Review right here!

Today I'd like to offer another way to do that and it could be a way to connect with our children and grandchildren.  Time spent together is always time well spent.

Getting ready for the holidays is another way that we connect with each other.  This year though we may not be able to do quite as much of that as we would like to do.  But don't despair, there are other ways of connecting that will give you just as much pleasure.  You might even find in years ahead, that this was one of the best ways to connect with our loved ones.

So let's get on with it, shall we?

One of my Granddaughters this year has made a request that I really like.  Not only because she asked for this, but it will let her creativity and imagination come out in something physical!



Using her hands to create something that is in her mind, will help her and us to appreciate what a crazy imagination and vision she has.  There is no right or wrong with creating what is in your mind's eye.   Purple Polka Dotted Cats or Dogs are acceptable!  It is a place where everyone can let loose and show the rest of the world what is happening in your own personal space.  So what is it that will let her do this?

Well, it's not new, although it is much improved from the last time I looked at this product, and I like it much better than Play Doh (sorry playdoh)!  It allows you to create and  oven dry your creation, so that it is a finished product!





I love this oven dry clay, that comes in so many different colors (that's one of the improvements)!  This starter kit has 46 different colors of Oven Bake clay!   It is neatly organized in a container that keeps the clay and tools all in one place!  It has a whole range of tools and  findings (earrings, necklaces and brooches) so that her creative side can be "showcased" in something she has made for someone special in her life.  Mom, Grandma or friends can be "gifted" with one of a kind creations made by yours truly.  Or she can make something for herself!

But here's the twist!  I'm ordering two of these sets.  Why?  Well, one will be for my granddaughter and the other one for me!  When she and I are ready we will Facetime or Zoom and I will create something for her and hopefully she will create something for me!  I know she will enjoy this exercise in creativity and I will wear whatever she makes with the pride!  

You can bet that every time we are together (media wise) I will don my granddaughters gift so that she knows how much I enjoy her talents.  Hopefully the feeling will be mutual when she sees what I make for her.

These are the gifts that make hearts sing and add to memories that just can't be exchanged for "things" that you can buy.  I imagine that we will spend a great amount of time sharing our creativity and the joy of making something that no one will be able to copy!  One of a kind gifts that provide something to do and teach a new talent to young and old minds alike are winners in my book!

When all of the pandemic is over (hopefully soon) and we are able to come together again, I'm sure we will laugh about our "seeing" each other in all our creative glory!







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Monday, November 30, 2020

Reviewing Fragrance Oils from Bramble Berry

 I have recently begun making my own soaps. While making soaps, I've started to purchase fragrance oils and I am already learning which fragrances I prefer. Which fragrance oils I can depend on. Bramble Berry is quickly becoming my favorite fragrance oil supplier.

Reviewing Bramble Berry fragrance oils 


Bramble Berry Fragrance Oils

I discovered Bramble Berry while looking for video tutorials related to soap-making.  They have a channel with many tutorials. I learned that they also offer supplies: molds, fragrances, oils, and more. Initially, I continued ordering supplies from Amazon - based on fragrance rather than brand or supplier.

One shipment from Amazon (from one of "these sellers") arrived and despite seemingly being packaged adequately (including bubble wrap) the oils had leaked making both a mess and triggered a migraine from the over-powering scent.

Other fragrances I've ordered work great in Melt & Pour soap recipes, but end up loosing strength in the cold process soaps I'm learning to make.

So far, the fragrance oils from Bramble Berry have been wrapped so that they don't break or leak during shipping. The lids are taped (or shrink wrapped?) to ensure they do not leak. These fragrances are rich-smelling and as described. The Bramble Berry scents remain through the saponification process (when the lye and oils turn to soap while some of the other scents I've used have weakened to the point of creating a nearly unscented soap.

The Bramble Berry fragrance is immediately one of my favorite oils. I have a cold process wine soap loaf curing now. The apartment smells divine. The Bramble Berry site describes this fragrance as:

"It is a sweet scent of bergamot, blackberry, raspberry, peony, honeysuckle, and violet leaf. Notes of white woods, golden amber, and musk add complexity and depth"

Even if you aren't interested in making soaps, people use fragrance oils for a variety of things: lotions, home and office oil diffusers, cleaning supplies, vaporizers, candles, and more.  

Pros:

  • wonderful, rich scents that smell as described
  • scents that remain through the saponification process; creating wonderful scented soaps
  • a variety of fragrances to choose from
  • packaged to prevent breaks or leaks
Cons:
  • compared to Amazon prime's very quick delivery, receiving an order from Bramble Berry takes longer (but delivery is within the time frame given).
  • some of the packing (padding) materials are large in size and while they are printed with recycle symbols, it seems like a lot. (Then again - I'd complain if the bottles leaked during transit wouldn't I?)
If you are interested in learning more about Bramble Berry, visit their website.

Related Link: Bulk Apothecary (Nature's Oils) on Amazon

When I MUST have a fragrance a few days sooner than Bramble Berry can pack and deliver, I do order with confidence from Amazon. But only when I order from the Bulk Apothecary Amazon store. They offer a "Nature's Oils" line of fragrance oils. 

My favorite scents from Nature's Oils are the Cinnamon, Orange, Clove and the Roasted Oatmeal Stout.





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Monday, October 19, 2020

Reviewing Beginning Soap Making Supplies

 I have always wanted to learn soap-making but have been intimidated by the recipes and working with lye. This year I tried an even more basic soap-making process with Melt & Pour soap base. I completed two batches using this easy method. It was an excellent start and required only a short list of supplies.



I ordered the Honey Melt & Pour Soap Base, a silicone soap mold, and a mixing cup with a pour spout. I already had essential oil, inexpensive mixing spoons, a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, a cutting board and a knife.  The only other thing needed is a heat source. Most people use their microwaves for this process and some use a double boiler pan on the stove. 

The shortened version of melt & pour soap-making is:

  • purchase a melt & pour soap base
  • cut that base into small chunks and melt in the microwave using very short bursts of time
  • once melted, add in a very small amount of essential oil 
  • stir very gently (in order to avoid making bubbles)
  • pour into a soap mold
  • spritz the top of the soaps with alcohol (this removes the bubbles and is not a required step)
  • allow soaps to dry before removing from the molds

The Melt & Pour soap bases come in a variety of ingredients. I chose the honey base first. And so far it has been my favorite. I have since used a Shea Melt & Pour base. 

I used this silicone soap bar mold and I like it a lot. It came in a pack of 3. 


With the silicone soap mold, the bars popped out easily (pushing them from the back side) once they dried. Also, with 3 molds, I didn't feel pressured to make then pour the exact amounts needed for the mold. I just poured bars of soap until my mixture ran out. I made small batches so that was only about 6 bars of soap. 

Using Melt & Pour soap base is a great way to get over your fear of beginning soap-making. After I made 2 batches of soap using this process, I did move on to making a batch of soap using lye.

Soap making with lye can be done using either a hot process or a cold process. I used the cold process as it seemed the next natural step after using melt & pour. Someday I'll advance to the hot process of soap-making using lye.

In addition to using Melt & Pour as a beginning step in learning soap-making as a hobby, I highly recommend this as an activity to do with the children. Note: the melted soap base is very hot so children should be fully supervised and assisted. But like cooking and baking, making soap would be a great quality time activity with the kids. 

I do not feel qualified to instruct you in making Melt & Pour soap. There are many video tutorials if you search using the terms "melt and pour". I do highly recommend the honey base I've shown and the silicone molds I purchased. The initial cost for these items is not too high. And when finished, you'll have your own soap to use. 

With a little creativity, you can personalize your soaps. I used my favorite spiced orange essential oil in one batch. In another batch, I added some pulverized tea leaves and aloe vera from my plant. That batch ended up as an ugly bar of soap in appearance but I LOVE what it does for my skin. Melt & Pour is limited in that you cannot add large amounts of additional ingredients or you will change the ratio that is what makes it soap. However, just a few drops of essential oils goes a very long way. 

If you have been wanting to try soap-making, but haven't yet, consider giving Melt & Pour a try.

My first batch of soap: Honey Melt & Pour base.






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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Craft Reviews, DIY & Craft Tutorials on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews! 


We are blessed to have several experienced crafters on Review This Reviews!  Not only are we home to a few crocheters & stitchers, but we are quite proud of our contributors who make their own DIY craft projects.  We all get pretty excited when a new and original craft tutorial is published here.   It is awesome to be surrounded by such creative talent.

If you would like to make an original cat bed, Renaissance Woman shared her very own creation and tutorial.  She has also taught us how to make a gorgeous birdbath and bird-feeder for our gardens.

If you prefer creating beautiful crafts from kits, our contributors have reviewed some pretty awesome kits that make crafting easier for anyone.  Some are made just for kids, while others will appeal more to adults.  Children can enjoy painting rocks or make a water globe, to name a few, while adults may prefer the challenge of a Quilt Magic kit or beaded ornament kits.  Plus, Bev reviewed a paper flower kit that is recommended for children, but adults would also enjoy.

If you don't wish to be confined to the contents of a kit and would rather select your own fabrics & embellishments, you will find multiple tutorials for creating a craft using your own materials & supplies.  Dawn shared a very popular detailed tutorial for making easy Christmas ornaments, while Mickie shared how to make a mosaic flower pot with tiles, broken dishes or pottery.

In addition to kits and tutorials, a few of our contributors have opened Etsy stores and sell their own handmade items.  They make awesome gifts and home decor.


Plus, there are many craft books, patterns, craft supplies, and featured offsite craft projects reviewed right here on Review This Reviews.  



Join us in our creative world of Crafts, DIY & Tutorials!


A Review This Reviews Pinterest Board - Craft Reviews, DIY & Craft Tutorials


The board below features 30 of our most recent reviews.






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Friday, July 3, 2020

Just CrossStitch Magazine in Print, on Kindle, & DVD Reviewed

Just CrossStitch Reviewed
Very few magazines are interesting enough for me to pay for a subscription, especially since just about everything can found on the internet.  However, I do subscribe to Just CrossStitch.  Every time a new issue arrives, I drop whatever I am doing and browse the pages.  Then I set it aside for later, when I have time to really examine the patterns and mark what I might want to stitch.

Just CrossStitch includes beautiful pictures of each finished project, plus easy to read full patterns.

I have saved years of back subscriptions of Just CrossStitch!  I never know when I will feel the itch to stitch and I do love having a variety of patterns available.  

Long before I started my subscription, I would buy the issues every time I visited Barnes & Noble, which used to be quite often before I was gifted with a Kindle.  It was our favorite date night to dine out and then head over to B&N.   
 


Just CrossStitch Magazines


 Just CrossStitch Magazine -Single Issue
December 2017
Check Price
Unlike books, a magazine is very lightweight, which makes it easy to carry when we travel. I always carry either a cross stitch project or a crochet project with me in the car or on a plane.

I well remember cross stitching a bookmark from a Just CrossStitch magazine pattern for my son in the airport on a layover with a flight delay.  It was such a restful way for me to wait.  I didn't stress at all over the delay.  As a matter of fact, I remember thinking how I wished I had time to make a bookmark for our daughter too.

Every time I see my son using that bookmark, I think how glad I am that I used that layover time to make something special for him.  I am also glad the magazine had just the right pattern within its pages.  Of course, that was probably why I selected that particular issue to carry with me.  

Tip:  Patterns for bookmarks only require being small single images pulled from any cross stitch design.  They don't have to be titled "bookmark" for the pattern to work well on a bookmark.

You can purchase the individual issue that you want like I did in years past, or you can subscribe to receive your issue in the mail.  An annual subscription includes 6 issues, plus the Christmas Ornament special edition.

Surprisingly, the Just CrossStitch magazine is now available on Kindle!  I haven't personally tried viewing the magazine on my Kindle since I have the print issue subscription, but I can see how it would be awesome to get them on my Kindle Fire.  (The Kindle Fire will provide color pictures.)



Just CrossStitch DVD's

Just CrossStitch Collection 1983-–1990Just CrossStitch Collection 1983-–1990Check Price
Don't stress if you wish you had discovered this wonderful magazine years ago!  You can purchase DVD's that have the back issue patterns for multiple past years. 

The DVD's contain every issue of the years noted of the Just CrossStitch magazine.  They consist of PDFs that are searchable, plus provide printer-friendly charts. Therefore, you can print out a pattern and carry it with you wherever you go.  Even though I have the magazines, I like having the convenience of the DVD for searching out a pattern of choice.  

When you insert the DVD into your computer's DVD-ROM drive, it will open a list of file names. Simply select the year, then the month you wish to view and open using the free version of Adobe Reader. You can print the patterns by clicking on the print icon of the Adobe Reader.




I Prefer to View On Full Screen and click my mouse to click through the pages. 
 (use the ESC key on your keyboard to close the full screen viewing) 


There are also Halloween or Christmas patterns from the Just CrossStitch magazine available on DVD.








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Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Make a Very Easy Afghan with Loop Yarn

Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan! No needles or hooks are required. All you need are your fingers and small scissors.
Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan!   

Even someone with arthritis who can no longer grip a crochet hook or knitting needles can make a loop yarn afghan that is beautiful.  This would also be the perfect afghan project for those who don't know how to knit or crochet.

Loop yarn is not a normal string of yarn, it is made with loops.  Most of the patterns either say knit or crochet, but you really are not doing either.  No needles or hooks are required.  You only use your fingers to weave the yarn.

When I first spotted Yarnspirations loop yarn, I knew I wanted to make something with it.  Normally, I would find a pattern and want to make a specific item.  However, in this case, it was the yarn that called to me.  I bought the yarn, then went on a search for a pattern.  I knew exactly what I would make when I discovered this afghan pattern that resembles a cable stitch. 

The Bernat Alize loop yarn is the softest yarn I have ever touched.  When my son first touched my afghan while I was making it, he said if felt like a chinchilla.  He is absolutely right!  I had been saying it felt like petting a baby rabbit, but it really is softer than a bunny.  This yarn truly is a joy to work with and to touch.


Loop Yarn Easy Afghan Pattern


I discovered this fabulous video that taught me how to make the pattern I love.  Instead of trying to write out instructions, I'll share the video.  It is very easy to follow and makes a lovely design.  

I do have a few tips to share before you begin.  

  1. Have a pair of small scissors available.  You start the project by cutting a few of the loops open.  You will also need them each time you start a new skein of yarn.
  2.  Decide how wide you want your afghan before you start.  I opted for a throw size afghan (100 loops - 60" wide), which is approximately half the size of a standard throw. 
  3. I originally purchased 10 skeins of yarn, but that was not quite enough for my desired length.  I actually needed 12 skeins.
  4. After you have completed the first few rows, the pattern design is easy to see, which makes continuing each row very easy.
  5. Instead of sitting at a table, I use a lap desk that sits on the arms of my recliner.  That allows me to watch a movie while making my afghan.

As you can see in my photos, I used a variegated denim blue & white colored yarn.  This yarn is available in 10 - 12 different colors (see below).  I highly recommend using the Yarnspirations Bernat Alize Loop Yarn.

 



My Lap Desk


In case you are interested, you can purchase a lap desk just like mine on Etsy.  Clearly, you can use the lap desk for a lot of other things as well as crafts.  It even has a groove on each side for pens, pencils, markers, craft tools, etc.   

Click my image below to see the actual Etsy listing and shop where I purchased mine. 

 Lap Desk Available on Etsy

To See Several Colors Available, Click Here!





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Friday, January 3, 2020

How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Reviewed

Last year I made a Quilt Magic wall hanging for each of my children for Christmas.  They turned out to be really beautiful gifts and a surprise that I hope my children will treasure.  

How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Reviewed
Quilt Magic Kits are awesome! They make a great beginner craft, as well as a unique project for more experienced crafters.  The kits take more time than you might expect, but that is part of the value of a finished project. 

I am well accustomed to working with fabric.  After all, I have been sewing since my early teens.  As an experienced crafter, I enjoy taking on new crafting challenges.  I tend to consider any new craft technique a call to action.  The Quilt Magic kits caught my attention immediately and seemed to beckon me.  Needless to say, I answered the call.

I immediately purchased a fabulous Quilt Magic wall hanging to make for our son.  However, I needed one for our daughter.  It took me two years to find the right kit for her, but as soon as I laid eyes on the elephant Quilt Magic Kit, I knew I had finally found the right one.  Then the fun began!


Quilt Magic Kits


The kits include almost everything you need.  You will also need scissors, an iron, and a punch tool for pushing the fabric into the form.  You can use a dull kitchen knife, but I highly recommend purchasing the Quilt Magic punch tool separately.  A standard kitchen knife doesn't have a pointed end, which you need for some corners.


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Reviewed
Kits Include:  Pre-cut Form, Easy to Follow Pattern, & Fabric Pieces (to cut)


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Picture


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging
I know you will be excited to get started on the project, but you need to iron the fabric first.  This is extremely important!  You will not want the fabric to be creased.  You need it to lay flat when "punching" it into the form. 

I cut out the pieces from each fabric, pinned their numbered pattern piece to the cut fabric, and placed them in a baggy until I was ready to add the piece.  I had a separate baggy for each fabric.

Start with the border & back.  The back piece is one large piece that you attach to the form by folding the ends over the front side and pressing the edges in the border grooves.  You will need to trim the fabric at the corners twice to make the fabric slip into the cut corner grooves.  Be careful not to cut too much off.  There is no extra fabric included for mistakes.

Note:  The corners of the form are not pre-cut deep enough to hold the fabric.  You will need to cut the corner form groove with a sharp knife per the enclosed instructions.  Otherwise, all of the grooves are pre-cut for you.

   

From here on, it is pretty smooth sailing.  You simply match the number on the piece to the number on the pattern and push the fabric into the pre-cut grooves for each section.


How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging


I opted to add the the pieces cut from each fabric all at one time.  However, you may prefer to add the pieces section by section, left to right, or whatever type of layout organization works best for you.  I have friends who would rather see the project come to life one area at a time.





 
The Quilt Magic no-sew kits are easy, but they do take longer than advertised to make.  Each picture kit took several days to cut and assemble, but the end results were definitely worth the time.

How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Tutorial
Quilt Magic Wall Hanging Gift for My Son
 
How to Make a Quilt Magic Kit Wall Hanging Tutorial
Quilt Magic Wall Hanging Gift for My Daughter

You may or may not wish to frame your finished Quilt Magic wall hanging.  Both of my children opted for a Quilt Magic Frame for easy hanging.  But, they are not necessary.




A Variety of Quilt Magic Kits Are Available


Quilt Magic Kits are available in many different styles, colors and themes. There are even holiday Quilt Magic Kits for those who enjoy holiday wall decor.

See More Quilt Magic Kits by Clicking Here!

 

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House of Sylvestermouse





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Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: Hello, Crochet Friends! by Jonah Larson

This little book packs a powerful punch! Hello, Crochet Friends: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy written by young Jonah Larson and his mother Jennifer Larson is the most uplifting and motivational book I've read in years.

Hello, Crochet Friends! written by Jonah Larson


Hello Crochet Friends!: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy is one part autobiography, one part inspirational, and one part crafts. It includes topics of international adoption, school behavioral problems, and the importance of finding one's passion. 

Jonah Larson is an 11 year old crocheting phenom. I came to know about him from looking for crochet patterns and tutorials on the internet. This young man has a gift with crochet. His talent is nearly unbelievable. Watching his little hands fly as he works on his current projects is mesmerizing to me.  And all the more impressive when I learned a bit more about him.

Jonah was adopted by the Larsons when he was a baby. He began crocheting at age 5 by accident - when a single crochet hook was found in a bag of items. It became clear very quickly that crochet was his thing.

I work with children in a school that is focused on addressing their behavioral and learning difficulties. I run a small crochet club, teaching them just the basics (sharing my limited skills), because I know that crochet is a wonderful coping skill for some children. I ordered Jonah's book so that our students could read about a child who loves crochet. 

I was moved to tears when I received the book and read how Jonah also struggled with significant disruptive behaviors in school and how crochet helped him. And not only has crochet helped him manage his behaviors in school, he is using his art to give back to those in need in the country he was born. An astounding story and life lesson for all of us.

What this book is:

  • an age-appropriate picture book about an 11 year old who was adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage
  • a book that is written in a gentle, uplifting, honest and encouraging voice
  • an inspirational book - encouraging everyone to find their passion and do it
  • a helpful book for teachers and school staff - showing the positive results of thinking outside the box and helping students identify what calms and encourages them
  • an encouraging book for children who struggle with behaviors - helping them to feel as though they are not alone and that something can change
What this book is not:
  • this is not a book of crochet patterns
  • this is not a crochet tutorial
I'd like to express my gratitude to Jonah and his mother for writing this book and sharing this story. It has touched me and has been well-received by the students in my little crochet club. You are inspiring to so many others.


From the Amazon listing: "Hello, Crochet Friends! is the first title in the KWiL Publishing's Rock Star Kids series of books about young people doing incredible things in the world". Personally, I am looking forward to future books in the series!

Related Links:

While I am not as talented as young Jonah, I do love crochet. I am able to do beginning and easy intermediate patterns. I have written about a few of the easier patterns. If you are thinking about beginning crochet, look for one of the many online tutorials, find someone that matches your style, and just begin.

My review of Dabbles & Babbles Done in a Day pattern. This pattern is pretty, more interesting than just straight crocheted rows, and is versatile. I've made several different sized blankets with several different types of  yarns with this pattern. I have also used this pattern to create a long, rectangular piece that was used as a type of shawl for an elderly gentleman. 

Although loom knitting is not the same as crochet, it is an easy way to make interesting and beautiful hats. If you can't quite enjoy crochet, you could create your own treasures with loom knitting. The flower applique is crocheted and from the only flower pattern I've ever been able to complete successfully. This pattern is Flowers by The Dozen by Yarnspirations and I review it here






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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Flower Art For Kids Reviewed

Kids Making Flower Art

I found some flower art for kids to give to my youngest granddaughter for her birthday this year. She enjoys doing all sorts of crafty things so after reviewing some options, the kit that I purchased just seemed like a perfect match for her age and her personality.

flower-art
Flower art by mother nature
image courtesy of pixabay.com

The kit is called Random Acts of Flowers and fits my little sweet pea (pun intended) to a "t". I can see her making a small bunch of flowers to give to someone in a random act of kindness. She is so in tune with the emotions people are experiencing around her and would delight in making someone smile with a little gift.


Teaching Kindness With Crafts


The kit includes 75 sheets of tissue paper, 12 floral stems, 12 gift tags, a hanging vase and a bandit mask. Why the mask? This is supposed to be random and anonymous...besides kids love it. What is not included is a pair of scissors and you will also have to supply the kind soul of a child or adult. It is the most important ingredient in the mix!

So, making these flowers and then finding a place to hang them so that people can smile as they take one from the hanging bouquet is only part of the fun. Those gift tags that can be attached to a flower are supposed to have a message on them. The encouraged message is that whoever takes the flower is supposed to go do something nice for someone else. Don't you just love that?

Added to the benefit of spreading kindness one little action at a time is the fact that every purchase of one of these kits pays it forward a little more. A donation is made to a charity that takes re-cycled flowers along with words of encouragement to health care facilities to promote the emotional well-being to residents. I love that!


A Gift that Keeps Giving


Another thing I loved about this flower art for kids kit is that it plants that seed of kindness but it doesn't have to stop once the original supplies are used up. It is so very easy to buy more tissue paper. The children can make their own little gift tags and flower stems can be replenished. The hanging vase might be taken away but they can use their imagination to make another one. 

What do you think? Would you give a child a gift like this?





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