Sunflower Granny Square

IMG_0771I started this square about 30 years ago. My first-born was an infant, and I saw this pattern in a magazine. Well, needless to say, he and his little brother took over my life and I never completed the afghan. Soooo, fast forward to empty nest, and the long-lost squares. Since I couldn’t find the original magazine anywhere, I resorted to “uncrocheting” it in order to rediscover the pattern. It’s a good use of leftover yarns for the flower petal colors. I had several yellow and purple shades completed but since the dye lots are over 30yrs old, I’m going to finish it out with lots of different flowers colors.

Supplies needed:

Red Heart Super Saver yarn

White 3 skeins

Black 1 skein

Hunter Green 2 skeins

Flower petal colors: 3 skeins total of: dark Yellow, light yellow, dark purple, light purple, pink, burgundy, aqua…whatever colors make you smile!

Crochet hook size  I9  5.50mm

Scissors

*Remember flowers come in any color you can imagine, but there’s nothing like a sunny yellow sunflower that says “Spring”. 

There was a limited selection of yarns then, you can certainly use your favorite brand and colors. The gauge works best with a slightly stiff, medium weight, non-fuzzy type of yarn.

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Row 1: Begin with the black yarn, Ch 5 join to form a loop.

Row 2: Ch2 (counts as dc) 15 dc in the loop (16 stitches) join with a slip stitch in the Ch2. end the black.

Row 3: Join the flower color (yellow) ch2, work 2 dc in each stitch around (32 stitches) join with a slip stitch.

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Row 4: Working with the flower color, in the front loop only, (sc, hdc, dc) in the first stitch, (dc, hdc, sc) in the next stitch. This makes a petal in two stitches. continue around making these two stitch flower petals. (16 total) end flower color.

Row 5:  Join the hunter green in the back loop of the flower color round. (behind the petals) 2sc, ch3, skip 2 stitches, 2sc, ch3 skip 2 stitches, continue around join with a slip stitch.

Row 6: Chain 2 (counts as a dc) 3dc in the chain space (4 stitches) ch1, 4dc, ch3, (this makes the corner space) 4dc, ch1, 4dc,ch1, 4 dc ch3, 4dc (2nd corner) repeat around and join with a slip stitch end the green. *you should now have a fairly square shape around your flower.

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Row 7: Join the white, chain 3 (counts as dc) 3dc in the ch1 space.Ch1, 4dc, ch3 4dc (around the corners) ch1, 4dc, ch1, 4dc, c1, 4dc, c3, 4dc until you reach the beginning, join with a slip stitch,

Row 8: Ch1, single crochet in each stitch and 3sc in the ch3 corner around, join and end the white.

Viola! or violet whatever your color you used, you just finished a square. Mine measure almost 7″ X 7″, think I’ll make 28 squares so my finished afghan will be about 30″ X 50″ just about right for a nice comfy spring throw!

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Using white yarn, join the squares together. Take a couple of laps around the outside in single crochet to nicely finish the edges and as always….

Enjoy!

Debbie

Chardonnay Angel (Pinot, Moscato or Merlot)

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I have another confession, I really don’t drink much wine. The corks used here, were bought from the craft store. Yes, I’m more of a cocktail drinker, not a fine wine connoisseur. But you can certainly consume until your hearts desire, and collect your own personal supply of corks!

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Supplies needed for these “chardonnay” Angels:

Wine Corks (from the craft store or last night)

Angel Wings (I inherited these beautiful lacy ones from my Mom’s stash)

Beads, tassels, charms, eye pins, jump rings, sequin pins

pliers and wire cutters

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I started by attaching the wings to the back of the cork with sequin pins.

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Next I found a pretty head bead and used an eye hook and smaller seed bead (to keep it from sliding off) and pushed into the top center of the cork.

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Another eye pin with a tassel on the bottom, some pretty beads on the stem. Push this into the bottom of the cork (centered). You could do multiple strands of beads, chains, seed beads. Use your stash and be creative. I was looking for a vintage, copper and cork combo here.

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Thought she needed a little more sparkle on her cork, so I added seed beads with sequin pins around the edges (top and bottom) of the cork. I did have to take off her wings, should have done this step earlier. Live and Learn! That’s the beauty of doing it yourself. You can add/subtract, take it apart and put it all back together again until it looks the way you like.

So try not to overindulge in the vino, but be sure to save the corks!

Enjoy,

Debbie

The “Rock” Bird Retreat

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So I saw these darling little rustic birdhouses on Pinterest, and thought to myself: Self, you can do that. So I did, several of them, and more to come. I do have a handy hubby, and he could totally “rock out” some custom birdhouses for me to jazz up, but I opted for getting them done this year.

IMG_0723So I went to my “not so local” craft store and loaded up a cart of inspiration, and here they are.

Supplies needed for the “Rockhouse”

Unfinished birdhouses (I opted for the plain ones, more space to apply decorative items)

Small polished river stones (you can purchase a mesh bag, or collect your own)

Mastic (pre-made tile glue from the home improvement store)

Copper paint

small paintbrush

plastic knife and fork (for applying the mastic)

Clear Gloss Sealer

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That’s all for this basic one, but the possibilities are unlimited. I also purchased tiny seashells, seashell chips, sand and granite landscape rocks. You can also use “found” items like pennies, wine corks, pinecone pieces, moss, twigs, bottle caps, (I was even thinking of coffee beans for my favorite Barista). but for now lets keep it simple.

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These little pre made houses are so cute, you could just paint and be done but where’s the fun in that? I started by painting the roof metallic copper. I just used my craft paint stash. These are purely decorate at this point so you might want to keep them out of the weather if possible. On this one, I opted to paint the perch too. *tip: I should have painted the bottom ledge before I applied the rocks.  Now on to the fun part.

The mastic is pre-made and super easy to work with. I used a plastic knife to spread out 1/2″ layer to the side of the house. I took the fork and made “trowel” lines through the mastic. I figured since this stuff is water-resistant, its made for floor tile, it should hold these tiny rocks and hold up to some garden water. Working around each side, I applied the tiny stones in a random pattern until all of the surface was covered. I did pick out some longish ones to place around the birdie hole, in a starburst shape, and tried to keep too many matching ones touching (Yes, OCD again) but you gotta go with the flow! I’m a sucker for a gloss finish, so I decided to spray the entire thing with clear gloss sealer, plus I intend to put these in the  flower planter hubby hasn’t built yet.

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Just like potato chips, you can’t have just one….

left to right: the Rock, Beach Bungalow, Mossy Oak, the Mint, Chateau Chablis, the White House and City Lights.

Now accepting applications for new tenants they’re ready to go!

 

Enjoy!

Debbie

Holiday Sparkle Pinecone Ornament

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By far one of the most popular, favorite craft projects ever!! I first made one way, way back in the 1980’s. This idea came from one of my most treasured, inspirational, and loved person,  Aunt Joanie.  She shared this with me when we were visiting from out-of-town, and I came home with a bag full of supplies, and a really sore thumb from pushing in the pins.

Supplies needed for each pinecone:

20mm paillette (some stores call them sequins) usually stocked with the beads

1/2″ sequin pins

3″ egg-shaped styrofoam ball

Craft wire or ornament hooks

1/2″ ribbon

thimble or leather finger guard (if you wish)

scissors

wire cutters

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It has become harder to find the sequins, or paillette’s in the craft stores. It is much easier to locate them online. The actual count per ornament varies somewhere between 80-100. The paillettes have a tiny hole on the edge, the sequins have a larger hole. You can use either but be sure to put the hole out of sight.

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The start is the toughest part. Take the first 3 sequins (paillettes)  bend and overlap these into a cone shape, and secure to the pointy end of the styrofoam egg. Make sure the tip is closed, you don’t want to be able to see the styrofoam through a hole.  I used longer straight pins and a small bit of glue to secure them. Then, start pinning a row halfway below the start working around overlapping each sequin, pinning through both. Kinda like fish scales continuing around in the same direction.

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Work around, and around, dropping down as you go, covering the pins in the upper row, until you cover the egg. Your thumb may become numb. The more you do, the tougher your digit may become. I tried to use a thimble and a leather finger guard, but couldn’t feel the pins and got frustrated. My solution was more fingertip moistener (to grab them) and doing a pinecone a day until my thumb toughened up.

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As you come to the bottom of the egg shape, even out the drop but continue in the same direction until you cover the end of the egg. They will be flatter, but still need to stay overlapped and in the same degree of drop.

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Once you cover the bottom, put one final sequin over any pins still showing. Add a hanging hook or loop and tie with a ribbon. Hook or loop, your choice for hanging.

IMG_0718I actually hang mine without ribbon snugged up against the tree branches like a real pinecone would hang. The metallic and holographic finishes are so pretty, and they reflect the lights from the tree beautifully.

Here’s another one I made with “shell” or pearl finished paillettes.  I’ve also mixed the colors when I don’t have enough of one color and they looked pretty as well.

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So, from the “Real” Northern California, a sparkly pinecone that will dazzle when hanging on your Christmas Tree!

Enjoy,

Debbie

Amish Inspired Kitchen Angel

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I have a confession, I totally stole this little Angel from a lovely Amish crafter in Pennsylvania. Not so literally, I paid for one and brought it home. But, I dismantled her to figure out how to make them for my friends and family. Hope the Good Lord forgives me, but she was too cute not to duplicate and give away.  I made this one from Christmas towels and pot holders I found in the clearance section after the holidays.  Overall prints, solids, and border prints work best. For once, buying the cheaper towels and wash cloths works for the better. I tried the fluffier ones, but found them difficult to work with. My original still hangs in my kitchen, however she has allowed a couple of items to burn, I guess she’s reminding me to stay on the good side.

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Items you will need:

Kitchen towel (color or print to suit your taste or kitchen)

Pot holder (solid or matching print)

Dishcloth or washcloth in a color to compliment

1/4″ – 1/2″ ribbon

20 gauge wire

business cards (I laminated mine)

scissors

hole punch

wire cutters

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Start by fan folding your towel along the long side. I make each tuck about an inch across. This one was easy since it had a checkerboard print. Fold the towel in half pinching the pleats together.  *tip: I removed all the tags from the towel, potholder and washcloth because they just get in the way and seem to stick out in the worst places.

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Take a piece of wire, 6″ long and twist it around the towel approximately 3″ down from the top fold. (this becomes her head).  Leave the ends of the wire long so you can attach the arms and wings.

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Roll the washcloth tightly into a tube,  and wrap it around the towel, with the ends inside. Using the ends of the wire you just placed, secure the “arms” to the back of towel. Bring them around to the front, and take a separate piece of 4″ wire and secure her “wrists” together near the ends.

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Next take the pot holder and “scrunch” it to form the wings. This takes a little muscle in your fingers to hold it while placing 4″ piece of wire to hold it’s shape.  *tip: place your thumb in the hanging loop of the pot holder and pinch the middle of the bottom upwards until you have several small folds. Place the wire through the hanging loop, and tie on the front of the wings. You can adjust the folds after tightening the wire, so they’re evenly spaced. Attach the wings, using the wire holding the arms and body, and the piece you just tied. Make sure you put the hanging loop of the pot holder at the top so you can hang her up! Be sure to put the “pretty” side facing forward, since the back is not seen. All the wires should be inside the back between the wings and body. Tighten and clip off any excess ends.

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I printed the verse on business cards, laminated them with self sealing pouches since they were going to be in the kitchen, and I was concerned the paper would get wet or dirty. I kept the verse the same as the original, but you are certainly at liberty to edit to your style. I used the hole punch to get a nice clean hanging hole, and threaded a 1/4′ ribbon through.

An Angel in the Kitchen

Watching the Stew

Blesses your Cooking

And All That You Do

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Finishing touches, I tied ribbons around her neck to hide the wire. I used two ribbons 1/4″ and 1/2″, two different colors, tied into a bow. Attached the card with a single 1/4″ ribbon around her wrist.

I hope you enjoy making and sharing these little angels. The original travelled across the country to find a California home, and inspired many copies.

Enjoy,

Debbie

Summer cooling bandanas

Cooling bandanas are super easy to make. If you can sew a straight or almost straight line you can do it! It might be snowing outside today, but summer will be here soon enough and you want to be ready.

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Here’s all you’ll need:
Inexpensive bandanas
Thread to match or contrast  (I used white for contrast)
Water storing crystals  (in the garden center)
A sewing machine
Scissors
Measuring spoon

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I found my bandanas for a dollar each, and since you only need 1-1 1/2 tsp. crystals per bandana, these are super budget friendly. I’ve seen these sold at summer fairs for up to ten bucks each. But, on a hot day in August at the rib cook off, I almost paid it to cool off!

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Start by folding your bandana in half crosswise. Right sides facing each other. Mark a spot 6 inches back from each point. This is where you will make the casing for the crystals. I used a pin on each end to mark.

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You want to sew from the folded side down 1 1/2 inches from the edge, stop with your needle down in the fabric. Lift the pressure foot and turn the fabric to sew along the long side. Sew down to your second mark but don’t turn. You need to leave this open to put in the crystals. Remove from your machine, and clip your threads. You’ve just made a pocket (tube) to hold the “magic” crystals.

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Use a measuring spoon to scoop 1/4- 1/2 tsp. of crystals and pour into the opening you just created. Be sure to keep the crystals away from children and pets, they’re highly toxic! Shake them down to the end of the tube. I suggest you split up this tube into four sections so all the crystals don’t bunch into one clump. Sew a line across the pocket about 3-4 inches from the end to keep those crystals there. Repeat this 3 more times for a total of four pockets. They only need to be measured if your OCD is acting up, otherwise just eyeball it. When you close the final pocket, double stitch it, and continue down the long side and finish a double line at the other end.

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Now flip the bandana open, right sides out, crystal pockets inside, and stitch along the edge of the pockets over again. This puts a double layer of fabric over the crystals, and hides any boo boos.

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You can get fancy with your sewing machine and use a decorative top stitch.  I was working on quantity, so plain straight stitch for these.

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To use them, just soak in cold water 2-3 hours (try it overnight in the fridge). They can be stored wet in a ziplock bag, or let them dry out completely when not in use. Good to keep a couple in your vehicle or RV. Great for hiking, biking or anytime the heat is on!

Enjoy!
Debbie