Monday, July 27, 2015

Ribbon-and-Charm Bookmarks

I never thought I would say this, but I love my Kindle. It's portable, the font is adjustable, and it's lightweight--which means it doesn't hurt when it falls on my face while I'm reading in bed (this happens more often than I care to admit). But I still love traditional books too. There's nothing like the feel of turning real paper pages as I make my through whatever mystery I'm reading at the moment. Of course, paper books also have the advantage of requiring bookmarks--and I like coming up with new DIY bookmark ideas.

These ribbon-and-charm bookmarks are super simple to make from supplies you probably already have on hand--ribbon and pieces of broken jewelry. You'll also need a few basic jewelry-making supplies: ribbon clamps, jump rings, and needle-nose and nylon-nose pliers.

First, look for pieces of old or broken jewelry that can be used as charms. The bug I used is from a hair clip; the pink flower was once part of a child's necklace. Use the needle-nose pliers and jump rings to attach the charms to the ribbon clamps. (Make sure the clamps match the width of the ribbon you'll be using.) 

Next, cut a piece of ribbon that's twice the desired length of the finished bookmark. Fold the ribbon in half and trim the cut edges so they're nice and even. Hold the two edges together and slide a ribbon clamp over them. Use the nylon-nose pliers to crimp the ribbon clamp in place. Make sure it holds both pieces of ribbon securely. 

If you like, you can iron the bookmark to flatten the fold. Otherwise your charming bookmark is finished. Happy reading!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sea and Sun Cross-Stitch Pin

I don't know about you, but these colors--and these stripes--make me think of the beach. I can almost feel the sun and hear the waves even though I'm landlocked here in Pennsylvania.

This project is obviously super simple, and it requires just four colors of DMC floss: turquoise, light topaz, light blue green, and dark straw. You can follow the chart and color key below or click here to download and print a copy of the pattern. The pin setting I used is from the Etsy shop Kailea. (My pin was stitched on 18-count Aida for my pin, and it fits perfectly in a 1 1/2-inch square setting.)

Sea and Sun Cross-Stitch   ©2015 Kathleen Berlew

Monday, July 13, 2015

Crocheted Paillette Necklace

Who doesn't love sequins? They're colorful and sparkly--and a little magical. I used blue paillettes--which are really just big, flat sequins--and blue embroidery floss to make this pretty necklace. It's shimmery and frothy, and I think it looks like something that could have watched up on an enchanted beach.

This necklace is one of my "use what you have" projects. The paillettes are from leftover scraps of trim. I had skeins of old embroidery floss in different shades of blue, so I just wound them all together to make a ball of crochet thread. The only skills you need for this project are chain stitch and a bit of patience. I used a tiny No. 10 steel crochet hook, which fit through the holes on the paillettes, and just stitched until I ran out of paillettes and floss. Instead of counting stitches, which would have driven me crazy, I used measurements when I made the necklace. 

To begin, I made a short length of chain stitch and added my first paillette. (Don't be intimidated; you just push through hook through the hole in the paillette, pull the thread through hole, and then continue chain stitching.) I then continued crocheting and placed paillettes randomly, but fairly evenly spaced, as I worked.

When the chain was about 28 inches long, I fastened it to the starting stitch with slip stitch. I made two more slip stitches and went back to chain stitch. To give the necklace a layered look, I varied the lengths of the strands from about 28 inches to 32 inches. I also made several strands without paillettes. Each time I reached the starting point, I slip-stitched in the three existing slip stitches and returned to chain stitch. When I got to the end of my ball of floss, I finished with three slip stitches, cut the floss, and wove the end into the chain stitches.

I love this project because it's so simple and adaptable. If you're not an embroidery floss hoarder like me, you can use crochet thread or pearl cotton. And if you don't have leftover paillette trim on hand, you can find bags of flat sequins in all sizes and colors and crafts stores and fabric shops.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Felt Watermelon Basket

I love eating watermelon--the juicier and messier, the better. But I also love the look of watermelons. They're so fresh, bright, and summery. I think this felt watermelon basket looks as cheery as the real thing. You can use your basket to hold the felt watermelon coasters shown in the photo (I featured them last July on my blog; click here for the link). Or you can fill your basket with cocktail napkins, wrapped candies, or other summer party necessities.

For each watermelon basket you'll need: 1 sheet each of red and green felt, scraps of green rickrack, black seed beads, and green, red, white, and black embroidery floss. (I like to use a double strand of floss instead of sewing thread because it has a nice sheen.)

To make the outside of the basket, cut a 4 1/2" circle from red felt, a 6" circle from green felt, and an 8 1/2" by 1 1/2" strip from green felt. Cut the red and green circles in half. Use black embroidery floss to sew large black seed beads randomly on the red half-circles. Pin a red half-circle to each green half-circle, aligning the straight edges. Use white embroidery floss to whipstitch the red pieces to the green pieces. Stitch only along the curved edges of the red half-circles.

Cut eight 1 1/2" pieces of green rickrack and pin them--horizontally and evenly spaced--to the green felt strip. Use green embroidery floss to sew the rickrack in place. Now pin the felt strip to one of the finished watermelon pieces along the curved edge with wrong sides facing. Sew the pieces together 1/4" from the edge with green floss. Attach the other watermelon piece to the strip in the same way. That's it! Just turn the basket right side out.

For the basket lining, cut a 6" circle from red felt and an 8 1/2" by 1 1/4" strip from green felt. Pin the felt strip to the curved edge of one red half-circle and sew the pieces together 1/4" from the edge. Attach the other half circle to the strip the same way. When you're finished, don't turn the lining right side out.

To assemble your watermelon, slip the lining inside the outer basket. (If you left the lining wrong side out, the seams shouldn't be showing.) Pin the basket and the lining together along the top edges, and then sew them together with matching embroidery floss. I used whipstitch, but you can also use blanket stitch or running stitch.

If you want to make a large basket--maybe one that can hold paper plates--just adjust the size of the patterns. Happy Summer!