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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Halloween Countdown Calendar Reviews

A countdown calendar will help put the "How many days 'til Halloween?" question to rest. Here are three Halloween countdown calendars that you can make yourself.

October is a long month and with Halloween coming at the very end, it can seem like forever to a child who can't wait to wear his new costume and go trick or treating around the neighborhood.

A Halloween countdown calendar will help put the "How many days 'til Halloween?" question to rest. Here are three easy Halloween countdown calendars that you can make yourself.

Downloadable Halloween Countdown Calendar | ReviewThisReviews.com | AbilityPoweredDesign on Etsy
AbilityPoweredDesign on Etsy

Downloadable Halloween Countdown Calendar


Since I'm sure I'm not the only one who puts off projects until the last minute, I'm going to start with this one. It's super-quick and easy to make for as little as three dollars if you have a spare picture frame on hand.

Simply purchase this Halloween Countdown Calendar download, print it out immediately, put it in an 8 x 10-inch frame and you're ready to start counting down the days 'til Halloween. Each day, use a dry erase marker (available at the link or at your local discount store) to write the number on the glass. Next day, wipe off the number and update. Hooray, you're one day closer to trick-or-treat!

I've personally purchased many downloadable files from Etsy and just love the ease and convenience. This is a great project, simple and fun. I think this would make a cute gift for a teacher, neighbor, relative, or friend, too. Choose a pretty black, orange, or gold frame, include a new marker with the gift, and voila! I know I'd be impressed if someone made one of these for me. Oh, and if you like the idea but would prefer another design, you'll find many more choices in AbilityPoweredDesign's Etsy store.


No Tricks! Halloween Countdown Calendar With Treats


No Tricks! Halloween Countdown Calendar With Treats | ReviewThisReviews.com | OhHappyDay.com
OhHappyDay.com
This next project is from the Oh Happy Day blog and I think it's adorable. It takes more time to make, but it's actually quite simple, the supplies are easy to find, and the end result is quite impressive and makes a beautiful, seasonal display. What's more, you'll be able to add little candies or stickers to the adorable cupcake-cup witch's hats to add even more fun each morning when your child counts down one more day.

Chiara, who wrote the post, includes complete directions and awesome photos to help make this project really easy. I hope you'll leave a comment on her blog if you like this project.









DIY Halloween Countdown Calendar With Printable Numbers



DIY Halloween Countdown Calendar With Printable Numbers | ReviewThisReviews.com | DIY Network
DIYNetwork Blog
Next we have a Halloween countdown calendar project from the DIY Network blog. This is another countdown calendar that will take a bit of time to put together, but it's a simple craft that even a beginner can handle.

I love the popular chevron-patterned gift bags and the printable letters and numbers, all in seasonal black, orange, and white. (Note: I can see this project being carried over to other holidays, using other colors, can't you? Love it!)

The project calls for either a bulletin board, as shown, or a foam board. The supplies are inexpensive, the instructions are complete, and the final product is adorable.







So there you have it, three easy DIY Halloween Countdown Calendar projects. I hope one or all appeal to you. Which one do you like best? If you make and use one of these, I'd love it you come back to let me know. Have a happy Halloween!

~Susan

Click Here to Read More Halloween Reviews From Our Review This! Team






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reviewing Fine Art Colored Pencils

Use Good Pencils When Coloring or Sketching

Colored Pencils
I mentioned in another post a few weeks back that I love to color in the coloring books that are on the market specifically for adults. What I  am finding is that the quality of the pencils does make a difference in the outcome of your finished piece. I have decided that for future coloring pages, I want to use the fine art colored pencils when I color. 

The picture on the left is an example of one variety of colored pencils (I found the image at Pixabay). Now, I can't tell from the image if they are what is considered fine art pencils or not but they look to be of a good quality. If you have done much coloring or if you are an artist, you know that not all colored pencils are the same. As a general rule the less expensive the the pencil the lower quality of the pencil. With the lower quality pencils the colors are not as vivid, they might not blend well and the end result may not be as vibrant as you want them to be.

I have a birthday coming up and I've decided to ask my family for some Marco Raffine Fine Art colored pencils. They are a better quality than the pencils that I use right now. From what I can tell from my research they would be considered a high end student pencil or a low end artist grade pencil. They are a good choice for me to move up to. Maybe later, I can get some even higher quality colored pencils as I progress in my skills but for now this seems like the logical next step in my growing collection of coloring supplies.


I think that I will be happy with the upgraded quality of these pencils over the ones that I am coloring with now. With the less expensive pencils I can blend and shade and layer but it takes quite a few steps to accomplish the look that I am going for. The Marco Raffine pencils should do a better job with those techniques than the cheaper pencils that I use at the moment.

As much as I love to color and that it relaxes me, I do want to have my finished coloring pages to look a little more refined. My own little pieces of fine art, if you will. As I hone my skills, I would like to frame some of the finished pages at some point and time. I think that I will be happier with a higher grade of pencil and eventually be proud enough of something to frame it.

How about you? Had you considered that not all colored pencils are created the same? Would you be willing to pay a little more if you knew that the quality of the pencil was going to give you better results? Or does it even matter to you?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Brief Review of Quilting for National Quilting Day.

Patchwork Quilt (Pixabay)
National Quilting Day

When: The third Saturday of March

Where: Celebrated worldwide

National Quilting Day was begun in 1991 by the National Quilting Association to celebrate all quilt-makers and quilt lovers and to give recognition to the special art form called 'Quilting”. It has  evolved into a worldwide celebration, often connected with quilting shops with quilters getting together to work on a quilt. 



Basic History of Quilting

 

Modern Quilted Vest on Etsy*
Early records date quilting back to the 11th and 12th century where quilted garments were worn by the Crusaders.  Not accustomed to the cooler climate and needing clothes with warmth, quilted vests were invented.  These vests had 3 layers (top, filling, and backing) stabilized by a few stitches at critical points (called counterpoints).  Counterpane quilting (decorative stitches only) evolved from these first vests.

*Vintage Quilted Vest from the 1970s can be found in the Etsy Shop Sparv Vintage.


Patchwork Quilts 


Bedford Home Quilt Set - Amazon
Patchwork quilting goes back to the founding of colonial America and filled the need for warmth and decoration.  The cold weather and a rough life  wore out the original quilts brought with the pioneers from Europe and the quits needed to be repaired ~ thus, beginning the “patchwork” quilt.*

*Source: Plaid's Quilting Basics for Beginners Book by Ruth Panning Romaker.

 





Quilting Book
Quilting Book available on eBay

Later, quilting became a social event with women gathering together and cutting fabric into various shapes, resewing them to form a design.  Many designs well-known today came out of these social circles.


Family Quilting


I can remember my grandmother spending hours at a time in her favorite rocking chair hand-sewing tiny pieces of material together for her beautiful quilts.  Since she was an accomplished seamstress as well (making most of the clothes my siblings and I wore), we could often recognize several of the fabric pieces used in her quilts as being from leftover material from the dresses or shirts we were wearing). Fifty years later I still have some of her handmade quilts.  A true treasure. 


Quilting Has Evolved



Quilted Cat Purse on Etsy

Quilting is not just for quilt blankets these days.


Quilting, both hand-sewn and machine quilted, is used for everything from clothing to accessories to home décor.  


CutePurseNalities on Etsy creates fantastic machine quilted purses on her quilting sewing machine.  



Green Frogs Fabric Lanyard
Kathie, an Iowa quilter, began making quilts and quilted wall hangings, then her quilting evolved to purses.  When she opened her Etsy Shop featuring quilted purses, she used the word purse in her shop name; thus, Cute PurseNalities came about.  

Over time, Kathie has added more quilted items in the form of coin purses and colorful fabric lanyards.  She has a wide variety of lovely creations made in interesting fabrics in her Etsy Shop.  


Quilting Today



Today there are numerous pattern books available for the quilter, as well as classes and quilting workshops.  My creative daughter-in-law attends at least two quilting weekend workshops every year.  She says it brings back the fun of the early days of women getting together in those social quilting circles. 


Heritage Quilts on Amazon


So, take a class, get some quilting pattern books with templates for various designs, or get together with a quilting circle at your church or community center to enjoy the art of quilting and celebrate National Quilting Day.  


*Check out more crafting ideas @ ReviewThisReviews.Com/Crafts


(c) Wednesday Elf




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Valentine Crafts Reviewed

Valentine Crafts Reviewed
My loyal readers will not be the least bit surprised to hear me say, I love crafts!  Not only do I enjoy creating things myself, but I love to look at tutorials.  Even if I don't end up making a particular craft, I often take away really valuable advice and tips when watching or reading tutorials.

Some of my personal favorite gifts have been handmade crafts.  My mom quilted a throw for me several years ago.  My grandmother made a huge stuffed mouse for me when I was little.  I have ornaments on my Christmas tree that friends and family have made for me.  Year after year, I loving place them in their "spot" on the tree.  

Some of my best childhood memories were opening my gifts and discovering that Mom had made me a new dress, blouse, or rayon* overalls.  Yes, I expect I was the only person ever to have silky overalls, but I loved them!  They suited my feminine tomboy image.  Although, I admit it.  I did not climb trees in those overalls, but I do believe I wore them fishing.  

By the way, did I mention that those rayon overalls were a Valentine's Day gift?  If memory serves me correctly, I do believe they were.  They were certainly lovingly sewn and made just for me.  Isn't that really the best kind of Valentine's Day gift?

Now, let's explore some really wonderful Valentine's Day crafts that would make fabulous gifts!

  *For those who may not know, rayon is a material that looks like silk or satin, but is actually more durable than either.


Valentine's Day Crafts Make Great Gifts


The Keepsake Box


Valentine Crafts for Seniors
Here is a great Valentine's Day craft!  One of our very own contributors, Mary Beth, shared how to decorate a heart shaped keepsake box in her article, Crafts for Seniors.  This is such a perfect craft for parents to make with their young children.  It requires very little, if any, crafting experience and gives a child a real sense of accomplishment.  

But the really cool thing about this craft is that it is not limited to little children.  Anyone could make a beautiful keepsake box for their sweetheart, mom, dad, friend, sibling, or child.  In Mary Beth's case, she helped her own mother make a beautiful box.  These types of memories, and times spent with the people we love, are a big part of what makes me love crafting so much.  Both the memory and the box are true cherished keepsakes.



The Sailor's Valentine


Sailor's Valentine by Sylvestermouse
The Sailor's Valentines that I made for our children is one of my own personal favorite crafts.  It is a simple technique that has stunning results.

A sailor's valentine is made with a variety of seashells.  The art of creating a sailors valentine is simply laying the shells out in a pattern that is visually appealing.  As my grandmother used to say, "how can you fail when you are using such beautiful things to begin with?"  She was absolutely right, of course.  Seashells are quite beautiful individually.   Placed in a pattern or design, seashells are spectacular!

You can learn the history of this craft as well as how to make a very simple Sailor's Valentine in this tutorial:  Sailor's Valentine



Heart shaped Puzzles

The Heart Shaped Puzzle


If you want to give, or send, a secret message to your sweetheart, you will love the idea of creating a Heart Shaped Puzzle.

There are a couple of ways to craft a puzzle.  You can either purchase a puzzle kit, print your own design and completely make the puzzle yourself.  Or, you can simply craft your design with a message and allow the online company to print your image on the puzzle and send it to you to give completely ready to assemble.


I absolutely love the idea of making a one of a kind puzzle for your sweetheart with a private message or photo.  The question is, will you help put the puzzle together or simply watch the process in anticipation of the moment you sweetheart figures it out.


Handmade that is Ready-Made for You to Purchase

If the holiday has sneaked up on you, as holidays are apt to do, then I have a suggestion for you too!   You can still give a handmade gift.  Our own Elf has you covered.  In her Etsy shop, Wednesday Elf offers these really fabulous Valentine Heart Coasters.  Now, I shall forewarn you, there is only one set left, so you will want to act quickly.  I heard tell of a certain mouse that had her eye on these lovelies.  She might sneak right in there and snatch these coasters for her sweetheart.

Handmade Valentine Heart Coasters
  


Your Turn!


I have shared some ideas, but I would love to hear from you too!  Please leave your Valentine's Day Craft link in the guestbook below.  I know I am not alone!  We would all love to discover more Valentine's Day crafts that would make great gifts.

 
 
Valentine's Day Crafts Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Valentines Crafts for Seniors

Valentine Crafts for Seniors The following information is a review of some Valentine crafts I did at my Mom's nursing home during the last year of her life.  I hope you will find it useful in working with Seniors or Children in your life.

Easy Valentine Crafts

 
Crafts for the elderly with dementia need to be very basic. I work with the residents at my Mother's memory unit and help them to do a different craft activity each week. I have been doing this for the past year and have learned by trial and error which types of crafts seem to work well with the group of women. The crafts need to be involved enough to keep their interest, but simple enough that they can do the majority of the work by themselves.

On this page I will tell you about two crafts that they will be doing for Valentines this year.

photos by mbgphoto


Valentine Treasure Box

Valentine Treasure Box - a place for trinkets and treasures



The ladies in my Mom's group love to make special boxes for different occassions. They will then put the boxes in their rooms and keep small items such as candies, jewelry or other trinkets in them. For Valentines day I was able to find some great boxes in the dollar racks at Target. These boxes are heart shaped and made of heavy cardboard. As you can see from the photo, they have a design on the box but the lid is a solid color. This will leave plenty of space for the ladies to decorate the top of their special box.

Heart Decorations - provide lots of variety


I am keeping the heart boxes fairly simple. I give each lady a box and a variety of stickers. I show them a sample of a box that I have made and then encourage them to design their own boxes. The decorations that we are using include a variety of different heart shaped stickers. I have puffy stickers, 3D stickers, foam stickers and rhinestone stickers. From experience I have found that some of the ladies like to line up their design very precisely and others like to cover their box with lots of different stickers. I have also found that some of the ladies like to copy exactly what I have done and feel frustrated if they don't have an example, so I also make an example and tell them they can make the box like mine or design it however they would like. Although, I am only using different stickers this time, you could use a variety of materials to decorate the boxes. Some thoughts that come to mind are buttons, rickrack, or cut out hearts. They could also paint a design on the boxes or use markers.


Puffy Sticker to Decorate


Homemade Valentine Card

Blank Cards - ready to decorate

I found these blank cards in the Target dollar bins. They came 8 in a pack with a bright pink plain outside and a white inside. They will be perfect for making some Valentine cards. You can also find these types of cards at craft stores or you can make your own from construction paper.

Valentine Sticker Sayings

These stickers are one of the varieties I will have out for the ladies to use in decorating their cards. I liked them because they include a variety of sayings for Valentines day. The ladies can use these to add a message to their cards.
As an alternative I could have them cut sayings out of old magazines or cards. I could also provide markers for them to write their own messages.

Finished Card

Finished Card
Finished Card

Inside Card

Inside Card
Inside Card



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Reviewing Knitting Handbooks

Learning To Knit: Will I master the needles?

I have been looking at Knitting Handbooks lately, because I have decided that 2016 will be the "year of the needles" for me. I want to learn to knit or at least become better with what little (very little) skills I have in this hobby. I can do the basic knit stitch and the basic purl stitch but I'm very slow and awkward with the needles and yarn. So, I plan to ask my family for a couple of books that can help me in this journey.

I know from my many years of crocheting that you need to practice, practice, practice in order become proficient in the craft. I am in no way a master in crochet but can hook my way around just about any pattern. In order to get started, I am working on a scarf using the knitting needles and some blue yarn. If it turns out looking good, it will be a Christmas present for my husband; if it turns out looking like a 5 year old did it I can always use it as a dusting cloth. I figure that I won't learn unless I just dive in and work on something. A scarf seems like a good project to start with and I liked this pretty simple waffle stitch since it will give me practice with both the knitting stitch and the purl stitch, counting and working with the needles and yarn. It won't be much different than crocheting a scarf in that you follow the pattern and remember when to do the knit stitch and when to do the purl stitch. I am finding it is a little harder to determine which row you are on unlike crochet where it seems more obvious but that may be a matter of training my eyes to look for certain stitches so that I will know. 

What books should I start with?

I am thinking that the best place to start is with a book or two that covers the basics along with moving on to more advanced knitting techniques. Sure, I could just ask for a book with patterns but until I understand the basics, I know I will just get frustrated. In my search for the right book, this one caught my eye. I liked the title but then I think the book would be very helpful, too.


Not only does the author cover the basics but she goes further in explaining more advanced knitting techniques and she does it with humor which I think I would enjoy. She also tells the reader how to fix mistakes (I'm sure I will make many) and that will be really helpful for my beginner skill level. I think I may be able to join the "chicks with sticks" (knitting needles) in the quest to make some fun and funky along with some traditional knitted items following Debbie Stoller's instructions.

I know when I was first learning to crochet, the terminology sometimes confused the daylights out of me. I might see something like FPDC and think what the devil does that mean? Well, now I know it means to do a front post double crochet stitch and I also know how to do that with my yarn and hook. I am guessing that knitting will be no different. There are going to be directions in a pattern that will at first glance make no sense to me at all. So, this book looks like a wise choice for a beginning knitter like myself.


What I like about this knitting handbook is that it promises to teach in plain English and not in terms that I am going to have to go to a glossary to figure out. I like that idea! Learning the way to use my needles and yarn to make something neat without having a thesaurus next to me to determine just what she is telling me to do. The basics in basic terminology, that sounds pretty darned helpful.

It remains to be seen if I will learn to knit with the same confidence that I have for crocheting. I am determined, though. In the past the using of two needles instead of one hook just seemed to be beyond my capabilities but that was a mental block, I think. So, maybe I have passed the first hurdle...I CAN do this. It will take persistence and practice and I am willing to put in the hours to really learn to knit.

I have some time left before Christmas morning to find out if my family paid attention and got me at least one of these books. So, in the meantime I am working on my little scarf that may be under the tree for my hubby or it might be in the rag drawer, only time will tell. By the way, the color I chose will look good on my husband and it is the team color for the Indianapolis Colts which is his favorite football team. I figure he might actually wear it, at least on game day, if it doesn't look too amateurish. Here is what I have so far. It is working up very slowly but I don't mind being the turtle in the race, after all that rabbit never wins anyway! I will continue to work with the yarn and needles and keep a piece of paper next to me to mark down which one of the rows I am doing in the repeat of the pattern to make the waffle look and hopefully it will turn out to be something my husband will be proud to wear.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Love Yarn Day - October Fun for Crafters

Yarns
 The Craft Yarn Council (CYC), which represents the leading yarn companies, accessory manufacturers, and magazine and book publishers in the yarn industry, created I Love Yarn Day to share their affection for yarn and “stitch it forward” by teaching at least one newbie to knit, crochet, weave, spin or bomb.  It's a way to honor all those who create in the fiber arts and is held on the third Saturday of October.

My favorite crafts involve yarn – thus, there's nothing I like better than to talk about the projects my fellow fiber fans and I love to create.

The Crochet Crowd


My main (and favorite) yarn craft is crochet, a craft I've been doing for more than 40 years.  I taught myself to crochet as I am left-handed and no one could seem to teach me as everyone I knew who crocheted did it 'backwards'. (Well, maybe I'm the one who is backwards!). :) 




Plush Penguin
Plush Soft Toy Penguin
My favorite items to crochet are plush animals, especially soft toy penguins.  I make them in all the colors of the rainbow, including the actual black and white tuxedo penguin. 

Penguin is crocheted in a round and roly-poly Amigirumi style and measures about 5 x 5 inches.


Handmade penguins in this round style are very popular as a child's playtime pet plush animal, as it's just the right size for little hands to hold. This one is particularly adorable!


My plush penguins can be found in my Etsy Shop (Coastal Crochet Crafts), along with a whole bunch of stuffed animals and plush toys. 


Crochet Your Own Plush Animals

 



Crochet Plush Animals Pattern Book


If you love to crochet plush animals, this pattern book of over 40 patterns for soft and snuggly toy animals in four different sizes, giving you 160 different possibilities.  The patterns use simple crochet techniques with step-by-step instructions which enable even a complete beginner to get started right away.

It's available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. 










The Nifty Knitters


I've tried knitting in the past, but will never be as expert at it as these knitters whose work I admire.


Lots of knitters make handmade hats and scarves, afghans and sweaters, but a few make really unique and one-of-a-kind items.  A group of Australian crafters (two daughters and their moms) have banded together to produce a a shop (Made with Altitude ~ the "Store Where Your Imagination Will Soar!") filled with four different crafts from 4 unique individuals whose stories and perseverance will amaze you.  My admiration for them and their work amazed me when I read their story.  



Knitted Flower
Smiling Sunshine Flower

Since this is an article about yarn crafts, I chose to feature here the shop's unique knitted item called Smiling Sunshine Flower, a flower toy hand-knit with a splash of love, and a little ray of sunshine.  Flowers always bring smiles and delight, and with this handmade knitted flower you can have flowers all year through.  Smiling Sunshine Flower has big full blooms measuring 9 ½ inches across, and is 15 inches long.  A wonderful gift to brighten someones day. 


Plastic Canvas Projects


Crafting designs on plastic canvas with yarn is a fairly new endeavor for me.  I began just a few years ago when I realized that my little balls of yarn leftover from my crochet projects were filling up an entire plastic bucket.  Since plastic canvas crafts, such as coasters and tissue box covers, take only a very small amount of yarn, this craft is a great way to use it up. Waste not, want not… as they say! 



The most enjoyable part of working with plastic canvas is watching the design come to life as you stitch with various colors.  My favorite project to create in this medium is beverage coaster sets. 



Pineapple Beverage Coasters
This is a set of four (4) beverage coasters with a design of a pineapple. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and friendship, particularly throughout the South, so using coasters with this design in a social situation is perfect.

Pineapple coasters measure 4 x 4 inches. Created in acrylic yarn colors of yellow, gold and green for the pineapple design on an eggshell white background. Each coaster is trimmed in light green. The pineapple design is outlined in embroidery black outline stitch with crochet thread.


A pretty set of Pineapple coasters for your tabletops. They also make a lovely hostess gift for a holiday dinner invitation or a housewarming gift. Lovely home decor for any home.

The design is created on plastic canvas using acrylic yarn in harvest colors. The set can be found in my Etsy Shop, Coastal Crochet Crafts.



A Favorite Etsy Yarn Crafter

 

Halloween Treats Tic-Tac-Toe Game

Gail of Gails Crafts on Etsy has a very clever line of Tic-Tac-Toe games created with plastic canvas and yarn.  She makes these games for a variety of seasons and holidays and each one is cute and creative.  



This set includes a game board and 10 game pieces (5 each Jack-O-Lanterns and candy corns) and two fabric storage bags.

Game board is made from 7-mesh plastic canvas and 4-ply yarn. Game board is a 7”square  This and other sets, along with a wide variety of plastic canvas projects and other creative crafts, can be found in Gail's Etsy Shop called Gail's Crafts



Helpful Hints for Yarn


Beverly Owens, one of our creative crafters here on Review This, has reviewed a very handy tool every yarn crafter needs ~ the Stanwood Yarn Ball Winder.  If you have a large 'stash' of leftover yarn, like I do, this tool is perfect!

Now that you have your scraps of yarn neatly wound, check out these ideas from Favecraft on ways to use up those scraps. You don't even have to be a knitter or crocheter to find creative ways to use yarn.



50 Yards of Fun



Knitting Toys from Scrap Yarn


This book is perfect for using up your yarn stash.  There are patterns for a delightful collection of over 30 irresistible toys and each project uses only about 50 yards of yarn!

Knit just five basic body shapes, each shown in several variations, to create knitted animals, robots, monsters, and characters of every description.





Celebrate I Love Yarn Day


So, for 'I Love Yarn Day' or any day, grab your skeins and balls of yarn, your knitting needles, crochet hooks or yarn needle and begin a new project.  Hand-crafting with yarn is a very relaxing hobby and your finished projects are a delight to behold.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reviewing The Stanwood Yarn Ball Winder

A Yarn Winder For The Crafter

Using my Stanwood Yarn Ball Winder has made my yarn stash so much easier to live with. If you crochet, knit or do other crafts that require yarn; you know that it doesn't take long before those leftover skeins of yarn start to look messy and are actually hard to store. Try to figure out what brand and color one of those leftovers is and you can just forget about it. You lost the label ages ago so you can't be sure. I now have a tool that helps me keep organized with my yarns.

After decades of crocheting, trust me I have quite the yarn stash! Once I purchased my Stanwood yarn winder, at least it is easier to figure out just what is what. Some of the older skeins are still mysteries as to brand and actual color name because the label is gone but the new yarns are in neat little yarn cakes that I can roll up the label and place in the center for later reference.

Watch this video to see how the yarn ball winder works. After watching Mikey, I bought my first yarn winder and I am so glad that I did.


Funny thing is that when the grandchildren come to visit, they ask if I have any yarn to be wound! They love turning the crank and making those neat little yarn cakes! Yes, I've been known to save a partial skein of scrap yarn for them to wind for me, its just what Grandmas do you know.

I recently opened my own little online shop to sell crochet supplies: Crochet Lodge. One would think that the best selling item would be either yarn or crochet hooks but I have not found that to be the case. Instead my number on best seller is this exact item, the Standwood Yarn Ball Winder.

I know how happy I am that I now don't have those deflated skeins of yarn in my craft room and I have never regretted purchasing this handy little tool. I keep it secured to one of my tables so that it is always ready to go.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Adult Coloring Books are all the Rage

It's amazing to me that a new fad has hit the market.  In a time when everyone wants everything done yesterday,  Adult Coloring Books beg for you to take your time!

It seems,  we have found out, that running the rat race is sometimes driving us to a place where we all need just a little bit of quiet and peace.

Adult coloring books are much like the ones we had as children, but the designs are a little more intricate and require a steady hand.

That and a little patience, along with a good supply of coloring pencils or markers will make you an artist of exceptional beauty, brought to life by your own hands.



The Secret Garden is one of these Coloring Books.  I have seen it entirely from cover to cover and they are beautiful in design!  You are free to use your own imagination, pick your favorite predominant colors and  complete them to your own tastes.

The author of these pictures was trying to sell 200,000 copies, so that she would have enough to start another project.  What she did not know is that she would sell over a million copies of her beautiful book.

So, book number two became a reality as well.....



The Enchanted Forest is as beautiful as the Secret Garden and will keep any adult occupied for hours. The best part of this whole coloring book craze is that when you need some peace and quiet, something that will soothe your overworked nerves, you just need to grab your book and turn to the page you last worked on (or start a different one), and within the hour, you will find yourself unwinding and relaxing like never before.

In our busy world, these easy, beautiful and inexpensive books, will save you from many hours of therapy.  We have forgotten how to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  These Coloring Books are just that, a simple pleasure.

Add some wonderful markers, crayons or pencil crayons and you are all set to go.  I dare you to try it, and I bet you will love it.


Once you have finished one of the pictures, come on back and let us see.......share and let us admire your handiwork or send me the link and I'll post it.....

Just take a look at one of the beautiful designs in the Enchanted Forest...



The Magic Garden and Enchanted Forest are works of Johanna Basford, author and illustrator. I think she has a great future with her designs and I'm grateful that she has shared her talent with us.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Reviewing American Girl Doll Sewing Patterns

Sewing Patterns For American Girl Doll Clothes

Save money or even make money by making doll clothes at home. Using sewing patterns for American Girl doll clothes can save you money and allow you to create unique one of a kind clothing for your doll or the doll that belongs to a special little girl in your life. It is also a way to use up some extra fabrics that are just waiting to be taken out of the "someday I'll use that" pile. Come on, you crafters know of what I speak! There is also the possibility of making yourself some extra income by purchasing several sewing patterns. If you are a good seamstress, you can take these patterns, make some doll clothing and sell them to Moms and Grandmas who do not sew but want something unique and different for their American Girl Doll. You can sell them online or do craft shows. There is some real potential for earning some extra cash for yourself and your family.

A Few Sewing Patterns For Doll Clothing to fit 18 inch dolls

There are just so many options when looking for sewing patterns for American Girl doll clothes and accessories. I found four cute ideas to show you.


This book of patterns includes the instructions and tissue paper pattern sheets to make 16 mix and match outfits for the American Girl dolls or any of the 18 inch dolls on the market. The designer actually took the time to interview little girls to find out what they want for their dolls to be able to wear.
This pattern from the company known for sewing patterns for 145 years, McCall's, offers the instructions and pattern pieces to sew up 6 adorable little outfits for dolls.

From Simplicity, also a popular company for many decades, we find a sweet little sewing pattern with 41 pieces. You can make a top, pants, skirt, jacket and coat with this one! Depending on the fabrics you choose they can be for the spring and summer seasons or for fall and winter.


What little girl doesn't love to dress up in a party dress? Well, with this Simplicity sewing pattern for dolls, her little friend can be dressed for a party or special occasion, too. The dress can be sleeveless, short sleeved, long sleeved and the length can be short or long. How much fun is that?

Sewing Patterns For The Historical Character American Girl Dolls

If you have one of the Historical Character Dolls from American Girl, choosing a pattern for doll clothing of the specific era is a distinct option. The Felicity and Elizabeth dolls were from the Colonial era of history so outfits made from patterns with that era in mind are perfect. There are also patterns for other eras that work for the other historical character dolls.

What size sewing patterns do you need?

Not all sewing patterns will say that they are for American Girl Doll Clothes. In fact, most of the time they will state that they are for 18 inch doll clothes. Those will work just fine for the American Girl dolls or 18 inch dolls in general. American Girl also has Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins but those are 15 inch dolls so if you are sewing clothing for them, you will need to shop for the 15 inch size patterns.

Seasonal Fashions In One Sewing Pattern for American Girl Doll Clothes

The really great and economical thing about most doll clothes patterns is that you get more than one outfit in the package. It is not uncommon to find a pattern that allows you to make 6 different outfits that will work for the Spring and Summer clothing or for Fall and Winter.

Suggestion For Selling The Doll Clothes that you make from the sewing patterns

May I offer some suggestions to you if you are planning to make doll clothes for the American Girl Doll or any 18 inch doll and sell them? I believe that it is wise to make a variety of outfits to offer for sale. More importantly, I think it is important that you do not make too many outfits using the same fabric. Mix it up a bit. Your buyers will be looking for something unique that they can't find in a store or online. They don't want an outfit that hundreds of others have one identical to. You can make a cute little sun dress 100 times but use different color combinations and mixtures of fabrics. Perhaps only make 5 that are identical. Believe me, you will sell more that way.

Also, when working on your inventory to offer for sale make sure you have fashions for the specific seasons of the year and holidays. Sports clothing is also very popular for the dolls. Plan to give your customers a nice variety of unique doll clothing.

Pay Attention To Adult Fashion Trends:

Keep your eye on the colors and fashion trends for adults and see if you can use those ideas in making your doll clothes for the American Girl Doll. Especially if you plan to sell them. Trendy colors in your fabrics can lead to some pretty good sales. Your initial investment does not have to be a lot of money. You can start with one pattern and make it in a few different options. Once you have made some money selling those doll clothes, you can invest in additional sewing patterns for American Girl doll clothes.

What should you charge for the doll clothing?

If you have decided to sell the items that you have made using the sewing patterns for American Girl Doll clothes, you should have a plan for how much to charge for each outfit. It isn't always an easy calculation or decision to make. Obviously you need to make enough money to cover the cost of making the outfit. You also need to make some profit to pay for your time and to re-supply your working inventory. A good practice is to look around at online sites and see what the asking price for something similar is. One really good measuring unit is to ask yourself what you would be willing to pay for an outfit from someone else. Chances are if you think the price is too much, so will your potential customers. Try to come up with a fair and affordable price for your customers. If doing a craft show, you can sometimes have a slightly higher price to give yourself some negotiating room for those times when the customer asks if you can do any better on the price. You already added a little cushion to your bottom line. If selling your doll clothing online, remember that the customer is looking at the price of the item plus shipping charges. You might look at what the shipping is going to be and perhaps try to keep the total under $20. Of course that depends on how much you have in the outfit. I would also suggest that you have one price for items you have made up ahead of time to sell and a higher price for custom orders.

Well known Designers Get Into The Spirit Of Dolls

I just love that there are well known designers who are starting to create fun and unique clothing for dolls. Whether it is an American Girl doll or any 18 inch doll they can wear designer clothes made by you or the seamstress of your choosing. Whether you plan to use sewing patterns for American Girl doll clothes to make a few outfits for your own doll, a special little girl's doll, or you want to sell them to others, I hope you had fun looking at the ideas that I have presented on this page. Making doll clothes is a great way to add some income and to use up pieces of fabric. Let me know you stopped in to the craft room today by leaving a comment.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.