Monday, August 26, 2013

Joy Sheet Music Christmas Tree Ornament

Some people do Christmas in July projects.  Well, here's my Christmas in August ornament.  Really I have just been busy and am behind on finishing some projects, so I am blogging about an ornament I made for my tree last Christmas.

This ornament was super easy to make, and it looked really cute on my tree.

--sheet music (I found Ode to Joy online for free)
--clear glass ornament ball (I got mine on sale at Hobby Lobby)
--acrylic paint and brush

Step 1: Cut sheet music into long sheets that are narrow enough to fit into the ball.

Step 2: Curl the sheets some and then put them into the ball slowly so that they curve around.

Step 3: Paint "Joy" (or whatever you want it to say) on the ball.  Let the paint dry.

Step 4: Cut ribbon/twine/string in the size size you want for hanging the ornament on the tree.  Attach it to the ornament.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monster Crochet Hook Case

Last week, I showed off my new crochet hooks with polymer clay hook grips.   Well, now that I had the new hooks, I needed a new crochet hook case.  (I had been toting around my hooks in a plastic Ziploc baggy, so it was time for something a little nicer.)

--yarn for monster body
--yarn for eyes
--2 plastic safety eyes (optional)
--crochet hooks of a couple different sizes (I used F for the body and D for the horns and eyes)

Step 1:  I started out by using this monster pattern as the template.  The only parts I followed were the beginning telling the number to chain and how to know where to put the mouth.  (I think her hook case is really cute with the stripe running down it.)

Step 2: Crochet your foundation chain (about 22 SC), and go all the way around it.  Then, I went around it with a DC.  Increase base to make it as big as you want/need.

Step 3: SC rounds until crochet hooks fit inside and only the tips stick past.

Step 4: Create your mouth.  Figure out how big you want your mouth to be, and crochet that amount of SC.  (Ex:  If you want it 14 SC long, then make a 14 SC chain, then count 14 SC and attach at the new spot)  Continue SC rows until you have desired height (minus closing).

Step 5: Closing your monster head.  There are different ways to do it.
--The way I chose was to do decrease rounds until I reached 6SC total, and then close using a decrease stitch using first and fourth SC.
--Another way to close would be to just sew across the top or to reduce some and sew across the top.  The across the top sewing would be for a more boxy shaped head.

Step 6: Decorate your monster.  I added horns, arms, and eyes.
--To make eyes: Ch2; Rd 1= 4 SC in ch that is second from hook.  Increase until you have the width you want.  (I did 4, 8, 12) Then, 1 plain SC round to make eyes pop out.  For the eyes, I'm pretty sure I used the smaller D hook.  I added plastic safety eyes, but you could also do yarn, felt, etc.
--To make the horns, I used a smaller D hook.  I think I started with 4 SC, but I cannot remember.
--To make arms, I used the same size hook as the body (F), and did the following: Ch 2; Rd 1= 6 in ch that is second from hook; Rd 2= 2 SC, Sc (9); Rds 3-9= SC (9)

Step 7:  I added a button and yarn to close off my monster's mouth, so that my hooks wouldn't fall out easily.

Update: This post was featured on We Made That Linky #53.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Colorful Polymer Clay Crochet Hook Grips

A little over a week ago, I saw this blog post from Petals to Pecots about polymer clay hooks, and I had to make my own.  I had one crochet hook that had a grip at that time, and it was my favorite hook.  The grip made it more comfortable to hold, so I wanted more hooks with grips.   

So, I went to Wal-Mart and got a variety pack of Sculpey for about $9 and some cheap and colorful metal crochet hoops.  I already had some metal hooks, but I was afraid that I might melt them or have some other accident that would ruin them, so I bought more.  (Note: None of the hooks melted or even came close to it.)

The polymer clay was pretty easy to use, and I love the way these hook grips turned out.  :)
(See below for directions)

--polymer clay in a variety of colors
--metal crochet hooks
--rolling pin or other rolling tool
--razor blade or very sharp knife
--baking pan
--aluminum foil

Step 1: Pick your clay colors and roll design.  I tried to match colors with the hooks as best as I could.

Step 2: Knead your clay to make it pliable.

Step 3: Make rolls.  I found some easy roll ideas and tips online, such as at the Sculpey website.  I made very simple rolls for this project, but more complicated rolls would look great too.

Step 4: Cut the roll into slices and place the slices around the hook.  Keep putting slices around the hook until you have the size and shape of your grip that you want.  For the really skinny hook, I actually put a thin base layer around the hook, and then placed the roll slices on top of it.

Step 5: Bake your crochet hook. Follow the baking directions that came with your clay.

Tips & Resources:
--It's best to finish with one color and clean your hands before touching the next color.  I found that the clay would stick to my hands and change the color of the next piece of clay if I didn't first wash my hands and use a paper towel.

--I found that I needed a really sharp cutting instrument like a razor blade to cut the rolls slices.  Otherwise, they kept mushing together and blurring the pattern

--For my work surface, I used a baking sheet and covered it in aluminum foil, so it doubled as a work space and my baking tray.

--Google images of polymer clay rolls, so that you can get ideas for rolls

--Sculpey's How To on Simple Canes

--There are also lots of videos on YouTube and examples on Pinterest

Update:  This post was featured at Sugar Bee Crafts.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Amigurumi Fish Plush

My littlest nephew is all about fish right now, so I decided to make a fish plush for him.  I searched all over the web for a free fish pattern that I liked, but I couldn't find one.  During my search, I kept happening upon a cute and easy looking fish pattern by Stacey Trock.  I finally broke down and purchased her Willy the Fish pattern.  As always, her pattern was an easy one to follow.  (Note:  I'm not currently getting any payment for my viewpoint about her patterns, but I sure wouldn't mind it if she decided to let me have 1 or 2 free patterns for it. )

I made a green and blue fish with a yellow mouth for my nephew.   In this picture, you can see the various parts that comprise the fish.  Each shape was fairly simple to make.

This fish has baby safe eyes because my nephew is under 3 years old.  Instead of a SC magic ring for the eyes, I used black yarn and sewed it through several times in the location where the plastic eye would have been.

My nephew seemed to like his new fish plush.  He smiled and hugged him, which totally made my day.

While I was at it, I went ahead and made another fish.  The second fish features a multicolored body, dark blue fins, and a green mouth.  I used plastic safety eyes for this one.

Here are its parts:

and here are some pics of the finished product:

I really like how my fish plushies turned out. This project was fairly quick and pretty easy, and the finished result was so cute.

Update:  This project was featured on Stitch by Stitch: Anything Goes Quilt 'n Sew #31.