Projects

DIY Felt Koozie

Last weekend at Wheatland I volunteered to help with making felt purses. Although I’ve had lots of fun working with needle felt, I never tried felting with water, so I was interested to learn how it worked. Turns out, felting with water is pretty easy, though I can’t see myself making loads of things in the style.  One thing I did venture to make, however, was a beer koozie. Of course.

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So above are the necessary materials you need to begin: a bottle or can for sizing reference, a pan at least an inch or two deep, needle and thread, dish soap, and wool in the color(s) of your choice for felting.IMG_1052Begin by separating the felt into two layers in your pan. The first layer should go across the width of the pan, and the second layer should go up and down, in the opposite direction. This ensures there won’t be any thin areas in your project, and helps prevent holes in the end result.

IMG_1054Once you’re satisfied with your layers, drizzle dish soap over the prepared felt.

IMG_1057Curry Chan was very interested in this step…

IMG_1058Next, add some water, just to cover the felt, and press it down like a pancake using the flat of your hand. IMG_1059The next step is pinching the felt together like a pie crust, all over. Once you’ve pinched for about five minutes, you’ll flip the felt over and repeat the pinching on the other side. It should take around 10 minutes, if you have the patience.

IMG_1060 IMG_1061Once you (and your cat, if applicable) are satisfied, it’s time to rinse out your felt.

IMG_1062(Turns out Curry was just on a path of destruction, hoping to run off with the remaining felt and roll all over the carpet with it. I shouldn’t be surprised after the sad fate of cute Mr. Turnip…)

IMG_1065Here is my ball of felt after washing.

IMG_1066Roll out your felt and place a bottle or can on it to measure your Koozie. I measured the width first, and then measured out a circle for the bottom.

IMG_1068 IMG_1069 IMG_1070Next, sew the edges together. I did a bit of a hodge-podge job on part of it, but I didn’t worry too much as I knew I’d be turning the koozie inside out when finished. A big part of this project was not worrying about perfection.

IMG_1071Next up, you can sew on the bottom of your koozie and inspect your work!

IMG_1072Here is my completed koozie before turning it inside out.

IMG_1073And that’s it! You can now put your beverage of choice in your koozie and enjoy. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also add strings of beads of other decorations onto your koozie, but I decided to run on the side of simplicity. (Or was it laziness? One can’t be sure.)

Do you like the wet-felt method? What kinds of felt projects have you made or would you like to make in the future?

Friday Five

Friday Five: DIY Flower Crowns

I’ll be real: Allergies/A cold/SOMETHING STUPID have/has been kicking my butt, I slept a lot today, and I love fall but I feel like it’s coming too soon. As I realize all of these things are out of my control, I’ve decided to focus instead on something I want to make: a flower crown! Here are five pretty flower crowns I’d like to use for inspiration:

bts-march_diy_flwr16This festival crown (with a DIY!) from modclothfall floral crown diyThis pretty autumn floral crown (also with a DIY) from Sincerely, Kinseyflower-crown-diy2This spring DIY from Kelli Murray…stylemeprettyLovely inspiration from Style Me Pretty…tiaraAnd this sweet autumn wedding tiara on etsy.

I was hoping to make a flower crown in time for Wheatland (click here for a post from last year), but I didn’t get a chance. Now I’m thinking of excuses to make one and wear it out–any ideas? Have you ever made a floral crown? I would love to hear about it!

Projects

Vintage Coffee Clock DIY

So by now I’m sure you know that I’m obsessed with coffee, and you may also remember I enjoy making clocks (remember that bicycle clock DIY?). It was only a matter of time before I decided to combine these two interests into one, creating a vintage coffee clock!

It all started when I stumbled across this royalty free vintage Zodiac Coffee advert online:

zodiac coffeeI immediately thought the image would be perfect for a clock, so I asked my dad to help rotate the circle so the twelve and six would be aligned properly. He kindly agreed, and we ended up with the image below (feel free to download it for your own clock-making delight!).

Zodiac Coffee ClockOnce I had the image printed, I bought my frame and clock parts from a local craft store and cut the image to size.IMG_0973Next up, I used Modge Podge to attach the image and to add a nice glossy look to the image as well.IMG_0974While my image was drying, I stained my frame…

IMG_0976…and once everything was dry, I assembled the clock! (I did make one minor mistake: I tried to smooth out a little bump and ended up creating a small tear in the image. I will probably reprint the image and try again, but for now, I am pretty happy with my result.)

IMG_0977I love the way this easy DIY turned out, and it took less than twenty minutes if you subtract the drying time for the Modge Podge and stain!   IMG_0979This is going to go perfectly in my craft room!

Take care!
xxCaitlyn

Projects

Easy Bottle Cap Craft

Hi everyone! We’ve been saving up bottle caps for a DIY my brother and Ariel want to work on together, and having so many saved up has led me to having bottle caps on the brain! It was only a matter of time before I stumbled upon this neat little frame at the craft store and an idea came to fruition.IMG_20140720_200426_223I started my project by laying out bottle caps in my frame to make a picture that I liked. I also decided at this time that I was not going to feel guilty about stealing from the bottle cap stash that was meant for other things. After all, I did contribute to a lot of the drinking that provided the caps. (…Right?)IMG_20140720_201504_660I decided to use bottle caps from my favorite beer, Ranger IPA from New Belgium Brewing Co., to make a heart in the middle of the frame. I surrounded the heart with black caps, but still thought the heart needed a boost. It was at this point my camera crapped out on me, but I ended up lightly tracing the bottle cap-heart before removing all the bottle caps. Then I stained the wood and filled in my traced heart with red paint. Once everything was dry, I modge podged the bottle caps onto the frame. IMG_20140721_104300_269

And voila! That was it. I put an extra layer of caps on the heart to fill it in and make it stand out a bit more, and used an orange cap from a different New Belgium beer as the cap in the center. I think I might do a few things differently with future bottle cap designs, but overall, I was happy with this easy little DIY. What would you like to try making with bottle caps?

xx Caitlyn

Bookspiration · Projects

Bookspiration: The Song of Hiawatha

Several years ago I received the book The Song of Hiawatha as a Christmas gift, and though I had read bits and pieces of the epic poem , a few weeks ago I finally got the chance to read the entire thing. It was difficult for me to decide what to make after finishing the book, but after much deliberation, I decided to put some of the text from The Song of Hiawatha over a picture from a recent walk at one of my favorite places in Michigan, Rosy Mound.

First, I chose my picture:

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Then, I spent what felt like three years trying to put text over it the way I wanted. I still didn’t quite achieve the look I was looking to create, but I decided the text was going to have to be good enough.

Live Together

It says:

“All your strength is in your union,

All your danger is in discord;

Therefore be at peace henceforward,

And as brothers live together.”

I printed an enlarged copy of the image at Walmart for about $6, and then modge podged it to an art board purchased for around $5 before a 40% off coupon at one of my local craft stores. Below you can sort of see how it turned out, though the lighting isn’t the best:

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I am not necessarily in love with how the project turned out, but I do love where the photo was taken, and I really like the passage from The Song of Hiawatha. I often think about the power of human connection when I go on walks through nature, and about how to I can be kinder and more loving to others. A message about unity totally seems fitting for a picture taken at Rosy Mound.

Here are some other pictures I took on the lovely spring day last week: IMG_0583

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Hope you got to enjoy some beautiful weather like we had in Michigan over the weekend 🙂

xx

Projects

Making a Wreath with my Lovely Niece!

It feels like ages ago that I made my pretty fall wreath project, and with the nice spring weather I thought it might be fun to make another wreath, this time with the help of my 4 year old niece, Lydia. I chose bright pink, purple, white and orange flowers, as well as pink ribbon to wrap around the wreath. Lydia’s favorite color is purple, so I was sure to get plenty of purple-colored flowers!

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First, Lydia helped me by cutting strips of ribbon to hot glue onto the wreath form.

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Then, she helped by pulling all of the flowers and leaves off of the stems, placing them in separate piles. I cut off the extra bits of stem while she was working on pulling.

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“This is going to be so pretty!”

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Next, I asked Lydia which flower we should use, and where we should put it. I put some hot glue down, and she placed the flowers. I had her push gently so she wouldn’t burn herself, and then secured them more as necessary. For the leaves, I had her hand me the leaves and point to where I should put them because they were thinner than the petals (once again, I didn’t want her to burn her little fingers!).

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She was super excited when we finished!

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A pretty girl, and a pretty spring wreath!

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We practiced hanging the wreath around Grandma’s house, but Lydia insisted, “It’s going to look even better in my room though, right.” I answered, “I’m sure it will!” Even little girls can help make big girl projects 🙂

Projects

Lovely Easter Ideas

In anticipation of Easter, I decided to give an easy DIY a try:

Easter Egg Strip ArtSource

This Easter egg made from paper strips on minted.com is apparently a craft for children, but I thought it looked cute so I made it anyway! 🙂 Here’s how mine turned out:

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And here are some other Easter-themed ideas I’d like to try:

bunny rollsMaking cute little bunny rolls… (Source)

DIY love eggs…making pretty DIY love eggs… (via thesweetestoccasion.com)

   pastel deviled eggs

…and making pastel-colored deviled eggs! (Source)

Are you going to make anything fun for Easter this week? Please share your ideas!

Bookspiration · Projects

Bookspiration & Onigiri Needle Felt DIY

I recently read a book recommended by one of my sisters-in-law called A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I really enjoyed the writing style in the novel, which goes back and forth between a woman living in Canada, and the found diary of a Japanese girl. I think what I appreciated most about A Tale for the Time Being was the way the novel reflected not only the cutesy parts of Japan or the importance of tradition and ritual, but also the darker sides, like suicide and severe bullying. As you could probably guess from the title, the novel touches a lot on the idea of time, and on several levels. For example, in one part of the Japanese girl, Nao’s, diary, she writes about temples:

The temple was a special place. There was the smell of moss and incense, and sounds, too–you could actually hear the insects and birds and even some frogs–and you could almost feel the plants and other things growing. We were right in the middle of Tokyo, but it was like stepping into a pocket of ancient humid air…that’s the way the temple felt to me, like a core sample from another time…” (46).

And later Nao writes about the past:

The past is weird. I mean, does it really exist? It feels like it exists, but where is it?And if it did exist but doesn’t now, where did it go?” (97).

She also writes about the present:

Life is fleeting! Don’t waste a minute of your precious life!

Wake up now!

And now!

And now!” (63).

As I read the novel, I felt like I could relate to so much of what was written–I’ve felt what Nao describes whenever visiting temples in Japan, I’ve wondered about how the past sometimes feels like a dream, and I often try to “wake up” and be a positive part of the world.

I decided to use A Tale for the Time Being as inspiration for a needle felt project after making my first one over the weekend There is a scene in the book in which Nao goes on a picnic with her grandmother at the beach, and they talk about the nature of existence:

A wave is born from deep conditions in the ocean,’ [Nao’s grandmother] said. ‘A person is born from deep conditions of the world. A person pokes up from the world and rolls around like a wave, until it is time to sink down again. Up, down. Person, wave” (194).

On their picnic, one of the things they bring along to eat is onigiri, or rice balls. So, I made an onigiri needle felt!

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Let’s Make a Needle Felted Rice Ball!

IMG_0317Gather your supplies: a foam block, 36 and 38 gauge triangle needles, and felt in white, dark green, black and pink. Then set some white felt flat onto your foam block before rolling it into a triangle shape and poking it with your 36 needle in every direction as you go.

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When you reach a thickness you like, spread out the felt so it can be blended in with your needle so that no lines are showing. Keep poking all around to make the triangle an even shape.

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Once you’ve gotten a seamless shape that you like, you can adjust as necessary with your needle to round the edges more to make them cuter. Then go over the triangle with your 38 needle to smooth it out.

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Next you’re going to add nori, or seaweed. Pull off a piece of green foam about half the width of one length of the white triangle, and long enough the wrap around the triangle with room at the top on either side. Then use a toothpick to wrap the edges of the green foam so they are clean and not fraying, poking the felt with your needle as you go to keep the felt in place (and pulling out the toothpick each time). After “cleaning up” all four sides of the nori, it’s time to attach the seaweed to the rice ball!

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Position the seaweed so that there is enough room at the top of the triangle to add the face, and then poke with your needle all around to secure.

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Next, cut off two small bits of black felt and roll each one into a tiny ball. Secure the little balls to the rice ball to create eyes.

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To make the mouth, cut off another piece of black felt, and roll it into a thin line. I rolled it tightly and secured one end of the felt with my 38 needle while poking the felt all around (twisting as I did so) with my 36.

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Secure the mouth to the rice ball, adjusting over several minutes to form it into a smile. Lastly, roll two small balls of pink felt and added them for cheeks.

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After going over my rice ball and tucking in flyaways with my 38 needle, I put him next to the radish I made for company!

IMG_0341And voila! A cute onigiri needle felt friend! Who wouldn’t like poking something repeatedly until it became something cute? 😉 xx

*I’ve decided to start a bookspiration series sporadically throughout some new posts that use books as inspirations for crafts and recipes. I hope you enjoy the posts!

Projects

Easy Vintage Bookmark DIY

Lately I’ve been reading several books at once: a book for fun, a book or two for things I’m learning about, and a cookbook or two. This has left me wanting for bookmarks–pretty bookmarks to be more exact! I decided to whip up some easy vintage-themed ones to solve my problem.

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First I gathered materials: Mod Podge, Extreme Elmer’s Glue, heavy card stock, a bookmark template I found online, a pencil, scissors, a brush for the Mod Podge, newspaper to protect my table, and some lovely vintage prints (I found my free vintage printables here and here!).IMG_9886

Then I got to work. After cutting out my template, I traced it several times onto my card stock and cut out the bookmark bases. For one of my bookmarks, I collaged several bee-related images together, and for the others I just tried to trace the template over an interesting area of the print. IMG_9887

After gluing the images to the card stock bases, I used Mod Podge to seal everything together. Once the bookmarks were dry, I used a mini hole punch to make holes for yarn. (You can see the blue hole punch is on the one bookmark that I tried to collage 🙂 )

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Last but not least, I threaded some yarn through the holes I made. At first, the bookmarks had curled slightly after drying, but they flattened easily just by bending them gently in the opposite direction.

IMG_9889Voilà! Four easy, pretty little bookmarks for my reading leisure.

Have you ever made your own bookmarks? If so, what was your approach? And in what books did you tuck them?

P.S. When I was making these, this song came on Pandora. Isn’t it nice?

Food & Cooking · Projects

Spreading a little love

I’ve been enjoying doing a few little crafty things here and there: making cute little robot cards using a pattern from the book Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects, writing Valentines and a few other letters that I’m looking forward to sending, and getting crafty in the kitchen with special Valentine treats as well 🙂

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I just love having sealed envelopes filled with hand-written messages ready to be sent! They’re even better when surrounded by lots of fun craft supplies!

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Here are the two robot cards I made. In Craft-a-Day, the author suggests using paper for the entire craft, but since I didn’t have any grey paper I just used foam. I thought the cards turned out pretty cute–one of robots is saying konnichiwa!, and the other one is saying hello.

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I also had a lot of fun making heart-shaped rice crispy treats today to bring into work tomorrow. I just made them like usual, spread them in a cookie sheet, let them cool, cut out hearts with a cookie cutter, and then frosted half of each one with a Strawberry Shortcake frosting.

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So easy and cute!

What I love most about the crafty things I’ve been up to this week is that they are all things I get to give to other people that spread a little love. I really enjoy that sort of thing anyway, but I realized after reading a couple of blogs this week that it just so happens to be “Random Acts of Kindness” week, too. Have you done anything kind for others this week, or received any kind surprises? Have you been up to anything crafty this week?