Monday, June 29, 2015

Star-Spangled Garland

Looking for a last-minute decoration for your Fourth of July party? This star-spangled garland is super simple, and it can be made with supplies you probably already have. I used light blue paper instead of navy to give the garland a brighter look, but you can use any shades of red, white, and blue you like.

I love making things by hand, but I'm not opposed to taking shortcuts and saving some time when I can. So instead of tracing and cutting out all the paper stars I needed for this project, I cheated and used my computer. I just used the "draw shapes" tool in my word-processing program and created pages of stars in an assortment of sizes. (My stars are 6½", 5½", 4½", 3½", 2½", and 1½".) I just printed them onto sheets of card stock and cut them out with sharp scissors.

The next step was assembling the stars. I used a craft knife to make a slit in the center of a 1½" and 2½" star and then fastened them together with a silver star-shaped paper brad. If you don't have star brads, you can use heart or circle brads instead. I then used glue stick to fasten the small stars to a larger star, and repeated the process until I had a large star made up of layers small stars in alternating colors.

Now it's time to prepare the stars for hanging. I added a silver paper eyelet to two arms of each star, and then threaded a long piece of narrow red rickrack through the holes. If you don't have rickrack, you can use ribbon or twine.

That's it! Your star-spangled garland is ready to hang on your deck, by the pool, or wherever you're gathering to celebrate the Fourth. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Red and Blue Op-Art Pin

The Fourth of July is on its way, so it's time to show your red, white, and blue. For this op-art cross-stitch pin I used turquoise and dark rose embroidery floss (DMC #597 and #326) instead of the traditional dark red and blue. I think it looks patriotic and summery.

Click here to download and print the Red and Blue Op-Art Cross-Stitch Chart. As always, I used a pin setting from the Etsy shop Kailea. If you stitch the design on 18-count Aida, your finished embroidery will fit perfectly in a 1 1/2-inch square setting.

Visit my blog next week for more red, white, and blue craftiness!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

See My Designs in "Craft Ideas" Summer Issue

The summer issue of "Craft Ideas" magazine is on newsstands now, and I'm so excited that two of my projects are featured--Seaside Stars & Stripes Cross-Stitch and Felt Seashell Collection. You can find the directions and patterns in the magazine; I'll post the links to them on the Craft Ideas website and soon as they're available. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Crocheted Sea Glass Pendant

I don't get to the beach as often as I'd like, but on one of my visits I found this beautiful piece of sea glass. It's a real treasure--I love its color and texture. I've been keeping it in a bowl of seashells, but I decided it deserves better treatment. The idea for this project came about when I was sorting my box of embroidery floss (one of my favorite activities) and realized that the lovely DMC #3813--Light Blue Green--matches the color of the glass perfectly. One thing led to another, and I ended up with this sea glass pendant.

If you can chain stitch, you can make a pendant like this one. Just remember that, like seashells, no two pieces of sea glass are alike. You'll have to adjust your design according to the glass you use. For best results, use an irregularly shaped piece that has notches that will hold your crochet chains in place.

To begin my pendant, I made a crochet chain that was just long enough to fit snugly around the center of the glass, and then I joined the ends together with a slip stitch. Next, I continued the chain and joined it to the center of the crocheted chain on the front of the pendant. I made several more lengths of crochet chain this way, securing them around the ridges of the glass and joining them to the center of the chains on the back and front. When the glass was contained securely in the crochet chains, I knotted the floss tightly on the back.

Jewelry-making is not one of my strengths, so I kept the construction of the pendant simple. I slipped a silver jump ring through the crocheted chain at the top of the pendant, fastened a second jump ring to the first, and then added a silver box chain. I think a silk cord or piece of twine would look pretty too. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ladybug Hair Clip

Who doesn't love ladybugs? They're little and cute, and they're good for your garden. This ladybug hair clip is cute too--and it's super simple to make from felt, embroidery floss, a button, and beads.

First, measure the length of the plain hair clip you're using for the project and draw a leaf on paper that's slightly shorter than the length of the clip. Use two strands of green embroidery floss to stitch veins on one of the leaves.

To make the ladybug, use two black seed beads to attach a red button onto the embroidered leaf: Knot the floss and insert the needle into the back of the leaf, through one of the buttonholes, through one seed bead, and then back down through the same buttonhole. Make another stitch the same way, pulling the floss tightly so the seed bead sits snugly in the hole. Attach the second seed bead to the other buttonhole in the same way, and then knot the floss securely on the wrong side of the leaf. Use black floss to embroider the ladybug's head and legs on the leaf.

Almost finished! Now sew the embroidered leaf to the plain leaf using green embroidery floss and running stitch. Open the hair clip and sew the leaf to the top prong of the clip, stitching through only the bottom layer of the leaf.

That's it--your ladybug hair clip is ready for summer! Clip it in your own hair, or give it to a little ladybug fan--just keep in mind that buttons and beads can pose choking risks to small children.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Sun Watch

This broken watch has been hanging out in my box of jewelry supplies for several years now. It's missing all of its essential pieces, so it's useless as a timepiece--but it still makes a cute bracelet. And in summer, who really cares what time it is anyway?

I made a tiny cross-stitch sun to fit inside the watch case. You can click here to download and print the Small Sun Cross-Stitch Chart. My watch is pretty small, so I used 22-count Aida fabric so the finished design would fit. If your watch is larger, you can use another fabric--18-count or 14-count, for example--to create a larger sun design. When the stitching is complete, measure the diameter of the opening on the back of the watch and use a disappearing fabric marker to draw a same-size circle around the sun. Cut along the line and fit sun the watch case. 

If your watch still has a back piece, you can snap it in place. My watch didn't have a back, so I used super glue to attach a flat orange button over the opening. For a finishing touch, I made a colorful stem for the bracelet. I slid a yellow seed bead onto a jewelry head pin, cut the pin to fit, and then used super glue to secure it in the stem opening.

That's it! Cute, right? And don't be disappointed if you're not a cross-stitcher. Just substitute a little picture of the sun--one you draw yourself or download from your computer--for the embroidered fabric.