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

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

How to Plan for a Move

 

How to Plan for a Move
How to Plan for a Move - Reviewed
Getty free images

Moving is a daunting and stressful task. I've read that moving is one of the most stressful things that you'll ever do. So, if you’re going to be moving here are some helpful tips and tricks that I’ve learned from doing this several times myself. I’m by no means a professional mover; these ideas are based on my own experiences.

 Moving from one end of town to the other is stressful enough. When you move away from your home to another town it’s really tough. There are many more things to consider.


There are so many things to consider, where do you start?

My best advice is to start by making a list of things that you'll need to do. In other words, begin to make a plan. These things don’t need to be in any specific order right now, just start to write things down. 

Following are some things that you’ll need to consider:

  • If you're hiring a moving company make sure to read and understand all of their policies. Look for online reviews and make sure they are reputable. 
  • A new school for your children, this was always number one on our list. Especially if you're moving to another city. When we moved from Pennsylvania to Western New York this was a high priority for us. You'll need to get all of their school records transferred to the new school.
  • New Doctor and Dentist for you and your children. You'll need to transfer all medical records.
  • Change your address and forward mail to the new address.
  • Finding a new neighborhood, everybody wants to live in a nice area. Find a local realtor in the new city to help with this.
  • New bank or credit union for checking and banking.

Moving companies will do everything including packing for you. packing is something we always did ourselves. Most people don't want strangers packing their belongings.

Things you'll need are boxes, packaging material, such as bubble wrap, or kraft paper and tape. My preferred packaging material is bubble wrap and it is expensive. 


Packaging Material Tip:

To save some money, check with small to mid-sized manufacturers in your area. Most times these places receive materials with packaging such as bubble wrap and often throw it away. Most times all you have to do is ask and you can get it for free.

Double Wall 18x18x28Double Wall 18x18x28" Heavy-Duty BoxesCheck the Price

For dishes and breakable items, you'll want to use these double-wall corrugated boxes. The double-wall gives you added protection for anything that's breakable.

Wrap dishes in paper or bubble wrap and place them on end, not flat and stacked. Cups and glasses should be standing up.

Make sure that you fill all empty spaces with paper or bubble wrap so dishes, cups, and glasses can't move.

These boxes are expensive so, you only want to use them for kitchen breakables and other breakables such as lamps, vases, and pictures.


 

Small Moving Boxes - 16x10x10 - Cardboard BoxSmall Moving Boxes - 16x10x10 - Cardboard BoxCheck the Price


These are the perfect size boxes for heavy items. Such as books, tools, CD's, silverware, canned goods.

The idea here is that the box is small so it will fill up fast and the box won't be too heavy to handle. The last thing you want to do is overload a box.

You can also use these boxes for pots and pans since they are not breakable items.





For blankets, sheets, pillows, and clothing look for wardrobe boxes 20 x 20 x 34 with a bar for hanging clothing. These are much larger but the items are light. These boxes are also expensive. You hang your clothing and then pack pillows and blankets on the bottom.

Moving within your current area is one thing but if you're moving to another city or state it takes a little more planning. If you're planning a move I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful.


Find more DIY tips on ReviewThis Here: ReviewThisCrafts.com

You'll need to decorate your new home see these decorating tips on Review This Here: ReviewThisDecor.com

 




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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Home Made with Love, Christmas Crafts to Blow Your Mind

Christmas has already exploded on the scene and I usually don't jump on board until the First Week of Advent!  But, if you are crafting, you need to start before then!  Cricut, a product review!



Cricut is a platform that lets you make and style so many different materials that you can use to enhance the decor in your home for just about any occasion.

Because we are so close to Christmas, we will focus on this holiday for now.  Rest assured though, that Cricut is not just for Christmas.  You can craft all kinds of things for other holidays too.

So what exactly is Cricut?  

Cricut is a machine that cuts several different types of materials, from fabric, to vinyl and even some thin wood products.  You can cut letters, designs, logos and so much more with this handy machine.  

Paired with your computer, you can make your own designs and within the day have a whole series of items made with that design splashed on T-shirts, mugs, windows and more.  Your imagination is the starting point.

Personalized gifts are easy and the WOW FACTOR is what makes your gifts stand out.  

Do you need inspiration?  There are limitless possibilities with a Cricut, but if you are stumped there are literally hundreds of Videos available to twig your imagination into overdrive.



Any new technology can cause some trepidation, but once you own a machine you will find many videos on YouTube to help you get started.  There are so many videos available and also  help from Cricut itself.  There are idea books, downloads and more to help you organize and execute your first project without any difficulty!

I'm sure you have seen those beautiful signs with Quotes that just make your heart melt!  Well you can make your own using the Cricut machine.  




Cricut even has it's own blog, so that if you are stumped or need some extra encouragement, it is right there for you! 

You can join the Cricut family and open an account.  That will help you to see what is possible with your new machine. They will keep you informed on all kinds of new techniques and materials.  Everything from wall art, decals, t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards and more can be done with your new machine.  

The only thing that will be necessary is a willingness to learn and the time to execute your ideas.  Once you get started though, I'm sure you won't be able to stop!  

Just think of all the Holidays that you can make special with a touch of your creativity and the help of a Cricut.

Chirstmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Spring, July 1st or 4th, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so many more holidays.  And then there are the special occasions too that will have you crafting something wonderful.  An engagement, wedding, baby, new home, new job.  Birthday markers like 20, 30 and beyond, all of them are crafting times and a great way to use your new tools.  

I don't like to spend my money on a craft that I will only do once!  Cricut is a craft that you will do all year long and for a myriad of reasons!  

The beauty is, that if you can imagine it, you can also craft it and make it your own!  There are endless ways to make your home and surrounding a reflection of your own personal tastes.  Grab hold of some wonderful ideas and run with them.  I bet all your friends will be amazed at what you can do.



You might even find yourself using your spare time to create beautiful things to make and sell.  Before you know what happened, your hobby has now turned the corner and you could be enjoying self employment.  You just never know what can happen when you start to create with your Cricut and show the world what you have made.


The picture used in this post is my niece's home!  She has made signs, stockings and pillows to help her fill her home with Christmas!  And that is just a small sample of the things she has made.   What is stopping you?

Shop The Best Machine Prices of the Year 

Happy Holidays and Let's Get Creating Some Beauty!




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Monday, November 2, 2020

Reviewing Beginning Soap Making Molds

My soap-making adventures began recently. Two weeks ago I wrote a Beginning Soap Making Supplies review recommending melt and pour soap bases for people like me who have wanted to make soaps but are intimidated by the hot and cold processes that use lye. It is true that soaps made with those processes can more easily be textured or their colors swirled. That made me feel as though I would be missing out on making pretty soaps. I was wrong. I cannot do color swirls as easily with melt and pour soaps but I can make beautiful soaps using these silicone molds.


If I am making soaps for myself, the simple rectangular molds (as pictured in my previous post) are perfect. But when thinking about making soaps for gifts or for sale, I quickly wanted more interesting molds. 
I made the decision to purchase more silicone molds since the rectangular bar soap silicone mold made such nice soaps. 

The reasons I purchased these most recent molds:

  • Silicone molds produce smooth soaps 
  • silicone molds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs
  • the withstand the heat of the hot soap bases
  • they do not crack or break
  • soaps are easy to pop the finished bar out of the flexible mold
  • I have not yet learned how to measure the soap mix to fit into a "loaf" pan - I do not feel as concerned about having the right amount of "batter" for these single-bar molds
  • the silicone is super easy to clean. I pick off any larger bits of soap remaining on the tops of the mold (the "overflow" or drops of soap I left behind) then I run the mold under hot water. Voila, the mold is clean and ready for the next use.

My first choice of fancy molds were the flower molds. And I couldn't be more pleased. With these soaps I shave a bit of a solid color bar (using Shea or Goat Milk base) I made (using the plain single bar molds). Then pour over those shavings with a clear soap base. 

I think the flower molds are gorgeous! And I've only used the flower that looks like a Dahlia thus far. This mold includes three different flower styles. To me they appear to be a sunflower, a daffodil, and a dahlia. 



I also purchased the ocean waves silicone mold. It produces a larger bar of soap with a "wave" or engraved style top. In this example, I used one of the clear bases and stirred in fragrance, bits of tea leaves, and a mica powder that creates sparkle. 



I do not feel experienced enough to give the instructions for using Melt and Pour soap bases. There are many tutorials online (written and video). I strongly recommend watching a variety of tutorials before diving in. 

Many people enjoy receiving or buying handmade items. Crafts such as soap-making is a great way to spend quality time with kids (note: the melted oils are HOT, please supervise children closely). Whether you have considered making soaps for yourself or for others, these molds add something special to your project. 

Related Links - Make your own with these craft supplies:

My Beginning Soap Making Supplies review. I was happily surprised at how few supplies it takes to make Melt and Pour soaps. However, once you begin, if you are like me, you will soon want many different molds, fragrances, and bases. 

The holidays are approaching. These Easy Christmas Ornaments from beads have been a favorite and a requested activity over the years. Kids (and adults) love using tri-beads and pipe cleaners to make these beautiful ornaments. 

Margaret wrote a wonderful step-by-step tutorial showing us how to make beaded, dangling earrings. Her earrings are a beautiful Romantic, Beaded Heart pair but you can use a variety of bead colors and shapes.                                             

Our own Ms. Sylvestermouse also loves crafts and making things. Her Ebay store, House of Sylvestermouse, is a great place to find "a variety of crafts, craft kits, patterns, books, and supplies...".  I especially like the beaded craft kits and the cross-stitch kits. Oh, if only there were more hours in each day... 

Related Links - Some Handmade Items for sale: 

If you want to give handmade items as gifts but do not have the time or inclination to make them, there are plenty of options from our contributors and friends.

Ms. Elf creates crochet (including amigurumi animals) and needlework gifts and offers them for sale at CoastalCrochetCrafts.  Ms Elf's daughter-in-law also has an Etsy shop names Cute PurseNalities that offers "handmade purses, lanyards, coin purses, and table runners".  The seasonal prints are adorable and I especially like the season print purses/tote bags. 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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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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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

When is the Best Time to Learn Something New? September Sewing Month

September is Sewing Month and a Great Time to Learn Something New!

Fall Season has arrived and the evenings are getting so much cooler that spending lots of time outdoors isn't quite as appealing as it was in July.  So what are you going to do with all those evening hours?

If Television isn't your thing, then learning a new craft just might be.  I know I love to keep my hands busy and sewing is one of the ways I do just that.
                                                  
Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Now, I must admit to you that sewing had been a big part of my life.  Before my retirement I was a designer/dressmaker for many, many years.

I was taught the craft by my mother, and by several courses taken from my early teens and beyond.  Each course building on what was taught previously.  

My grandfather used to say, "Learn something that you can do with your hands so that if need be, you would have a "job" using your talents. No one can take that away from you."    I think he was pretty wise with those thoughts.

Sewing is a talent that everyone can develop if they have the will to do so.  I know my very first attempts at learning how to sew, were used to make my room, mine.  I loved pillows and crazy colors.  So with my need to personalize, my mother wisely let me choose some fabrics that I loved and encouraged me to experiment with her sewing machine.  Of course I had her help (I was only seven or eight years old at the time). 

My point is that if a child shows a willingness to learn something, we as parents or grandparents can help them along by imparting our knowledge to them.  Arts of any kind require an inquisitive mind.  Children are always curious about all kinds of things.  It's a great time to teach and have fun without pressure!  At the same time, our kids learn that originality and creativity can go hand in hand in many different ways.  

While sewing and sewing skills are geared more for girls, I think that boys should have the ability to learn too, if they are so predisposed to do so.  Many of our esteemed fashion designers are men!

To help with this avenue for creativity, there are several kits available that girls and boys may find interesting.  I like these two for a starting point.  Pictures feature both girls and boys making and sewing their own creations.


The first book is geared to teaching some hand sewing techniques, while the second book includes the use of a sewing machine as well.  Depending on your children's motor skills and how well they can handle each task, you may like one better than the other.  **I will add a caution hereParents and/or Grandparents should be able to sit with the children while they are making these items.  There are sharp instruments involved and extra precautions should also be in place.**

If they are new to sewing, start with the first book and then when they have mastered or expressed that they really like this kind of craft, you can move to the second in the series.

Who knows if you will be the one to spark a new hobby, that could lead to much bigger and more beautiful creations.  

What started out as a pillow in my case ended up with me designing and executing some beautiful gowns, dresses, suits and so much more.  I made a nice living doing something that I enjoyed and also gave pleasure to my many customers over the years.

You never know the power you have to guide and form a new designer, they could end up on Making the Cut! (Our own Tracey, did a review on this show and it is quite a revelation in how many got started in the sewing and tailoring business)

Children love to learn new concepts and this is one that they can take with them into adulthood.  Mending and remaking clothes for the budget conscious may just become a "vogue" idea again.  Our days of "throw away everything" have got to stop.  Who knows where and when these skills will be put into practice as our children grow.  One thing is certain, there will always be a need for clothes and if you learn how, you can become quite a master!


I went from Pillows and Bedroom Decor to making beautiful gowns like this one!  Just one gown from my archives!  This was for a graduation and it's still one of my favorites.

Whatever you do, don't underestimate the joy that spending quality time with your children and grandchildren can have.  It will be memories for you and for them and teach them a really important life skill.  




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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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Thursday, July 30, 2020

DIY Copper Bookmark - Painting With Fire

DIY Copper Bookmark

I have always been a maker.  At the moment, I find myself fascinated with copper as canvas. There is something entirely mesmerizing about painting with fire on copper.  Over the past few days, I have experimented with the creation of copper bookmarks.  I'd like to share the process for those who might enjoy giving this a try.

You can do so much with copper, but I am focusing, right now, on hammered, stamped, and annealed copper.  I call the annealing of my pieces "painting with fire."  It is my absolute favorite part of this project.  When you take a torch to copper, you never know exactly how the finished piece will look.  I am always delighted to see the surprising effects of heat on my metal works of art.

My M.O. (modus operandi) happens to be the repurposing of materials.  I love nothing more than to bring new life to those things that have unseen, or unused, potential.  In this case, I was fortunate enough to reclaim some small copper sheets that were the remnants of a solar installation.  Though the metal was scratched and tarnished, with irregular edges, I knew it held great promise, and a beauty to be found when its true colors were revealed.  These are the steps I took to transform the copper.

Step One: Cutting the Copper
I first considered using a hacksaw to cut the copper sheets into bookmark-sized pieces.  After trying that, I decided it would be much faster and easier to use my Dremel Saw-Max with the metal cut-off wheel.  That worked perfectly.  The important thing was to protect the surface of the copper using painter's tape.

Cutting the Copper Using Dremel Saw-Max

Step Two: Filing the Rough Edges
After cutting the copper, the edges needed to be deburred to remove the sharp slivers of metal.  I used a round file for this step.

Filing the Metal Burrs

Step Three: Rounding the Corners
Because the corners of the bookmark were sharp, the next step was to use my Dremel rotary tool, with a sanding bit, to gently round off those points.

Rounding the Corners Using Dremel Rotary Tool

Step Four: Cleaning the Copper Surface
Before heating the copper, I needed to clean off the surface tarnish, fingerprints, etc.  The simple way to do this is with fine steel wool (00 grade) and a little elbow grease.  When I was done, the copper was nice and shiny (see the center image below).  I chose to leave some of the character marks (a few nicks and minor scratches).  My work is not meant to have a machined look.  I want it to be wabi-sabi (where the imperfection is the beauty).

From Tarnished to Bright, Shiny Copper

Step Five: Painting With Fire
I love this step!  My bookmark blank is now laid on a moist sand mound.  I place the front side of the bookmark facing down (because that is the side of the copper that will have the most colorful effect after I torch the back side).  I use a mini butane torch to paint (anneal) the copper.  Basically, I just heat the metal until it begins to turn vibrant purple, blue, and fuschia colors.  The possibilities are endless and no two "paintings" are ever the same.

Butane Mini Torch and Fuel

Painting With Fire - Torching the Copper Blank

Newly Torched Copper Bookmark

The Infinite Variety of Fire-Painted Copper Bookmarks

Step Six: Water Bath
Using a forceps, I then plunge the hot metal into a cool water bath.  Next, I pat dry the copper with a soft cloth.  (It's also important to wear clean, soft gloves so you don't mar the metal surface with fingerprints, etc.)

Cooling the Torched Copper in a Water Bath
Step Seven: Stamping the Bookmark
At this point, I used metal stamps (Impress Art uppercase alphabet set) to imprint a message on the front of the bookmark.  This is the hardest part of the process.  Getting the spacing and impressions right can be extremely challenging.  I had to leave the perfectionist in me out of the equation and just go for it.  What will be, will be!  And that is okay.  It is the charm of handmade art.

Stamped Copper - Rumi Quotation


Step Eight: Edging the Bookmark
Depending on the look you want, you can leave the edges of the bookmark plain, but I wanted a hammered copper look.  This is where I used a ball-peen hammer to make some shallow depressions all around the perimeter of the piece.

Creating Hammered Copper Edge Using Ball-Peen Hammer

Step Nine: Finishing the Piece
I used a tiny bit in my Dremel rotary tool to drill a hole in the end of the bookmark (for attaching a chain and embellishments).  Next, I applied a finish wax (a natural carnauba wax) to protect the surface from fingerprints, tarnish, etc.  Finally, I chose a pair of wing charms to be a whimsical play on my chosen sentiment.

Finished Copper Bookmark

Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love,
Which linger and continue to uplift others
Long after your sharing.  ~Rumi

I may consider creating a few custom bookmarks for my Etsy store.  Most likely, though, these pieces will be offered as gifts because they are truly a labor of love.







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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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House of Sylvestermouse




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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Easy Bathroom Makeover

Easy Bathroom Makeover Reviewed

Do you have a small bathroom in need of a quick, easy, and inexpensive makeover?

I use the word easy, I don't want to make you think that you just wave a magic wand and puff it's all done.

There is certainly some work involved but, it is really not that difficult.

We have a half bath in our house that really needed a new floor. Since we were going to replace the floor we thought it was a good idea to paint the walls and trim work. 




The first task for our new project was to remove the toilet and get it out of the way. If you're removing a toilet you'll need to clean up the wax seal and then stuff a rag in the hole to prevent the smell of sewer gas. 

The next step was to remove the old floor, I think this was the hardest part. Next, I removed all of the baseboards.  Do this carefully so you break of damage it.

We choose a light mint green paint for the walls although when we started to paint it was a little darker than we expected. So, I used the white paint that I had for the trim work and added a teaspoon at a time to lighten up the green.

Easy Bathroom Makeover: Install the new floor

Now it was time to install the new floor. We used peel and stick flooring. You can find some very durable and inexpensive peel and stick flooring. In total, we bought 45 sqft. of tile and paid only $25.00 for the floor. Prices will vary depending on what you buy.


Before you install a new floor you have to make sure that the subfloor is clean and flat. It's a good idea to use a Shop-Vac to get all of the dust off the floor.

Tools you will need:
Measure and divide the room in half by both length and width. Intersect the lines in the center of the room using a straight edge or chalk line.

Once the center is marked, start to lay the tiles from the center of the room out to the edges. You will have an even space on length as well as the width of the room from your last tile to the wall.

At this point, you will need to measure and cut the remaining tiles around the room. They are very easily cut with a sharp razor knife.

The following short video will show just how easy it is to measure and install a new floor.



Now that the floor was in I painted and re-installed the baseboard and re-installed the toilet. Overall it was a pretty easy project. That means if I can do this anybody can.

You might also want to know How to Re-Caulk your bathtub




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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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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Make Your Own Face Mask Review

Protect Yourself With A No-sew Mask

Let's review how to make your own face mask for those times that you have to leave home on an essential trip. Most of us are trying our best to stay safe and stay in place but there are times we need to leave for a few reasons. We don't want to use the types of protective masks that our first responders and health professionals need (no need to diminish their supplies!). We can make our own without needing a sewing machine to do it.

bandana face mask
Make a face mask with a bandana or other fabric.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
I made my own using a bandana that I had in the house. You can use any fabric that is cut into the proper size for your mask but if you have a bandana  it is even easier. Mine was left over from the days when it was cool to wear one in your hair. We wore them to cover our hair or folded up more like a headband but I digress. If you have one that you wear or perhaps you have used as a cute kerchief for your dog...it will do.

The thing I liked about making my own mask was that I could easily wash it after using it and have it ready for the next time I needed to go out. In my case I had what I needed in the house. A bandana and two rubber bands. That is it, that is all you need to make one for yourself.

Watch this video to see how to make three different types of face masks:


As you can see from the video it isn't difficult to make any of the versions that he shows. I chose the one using the bandana because I knew I had one and from what I had read the cotton fabric seemed to offer the most protection because it is woven tighter. 

So, be creative, choose something that fits your personality. The main thing is to keep your nose and mouth covered if you have to be out in public for any length of time at all. I use mine when I know I will be in a situation where social distancing is difficult like the grocery store. 

When I return from any trip where I have worn my mask, I take it off when I get home toss it in the washing machine and then wash my hands for twenty seconds just in case there was anything on the outside of the mask. Once it has been laundered, I make it again and put it in a plastic bag to wait for the next time I venture out.

How about you? Have you made your own protective mask?





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