Thursday, December 24, 2015

Craftmas Part Four: A Little Something Eggstra

The final piece of the holiday puzzle was what to hang on the tree. Since our dog seems to have a proclivity toward eating glass, I knew my ornaments needed to be shatterproof. I remembered some plastic Easter eggs that have been in my craft stash for years now. I don't even know where they came from originally, but I thought they would be a nice alternative to the glitter encrusted shatterproof ornaments I'd seen at the craft store. Because, seriously, why does everything have to have glitter on it? I picked up some silver spray paint while at the craft store, using my 50% off coupon. When I got home, I realized I'd probably need to use a primer to get the spray paint to properly adhere to the plastic, so back to the home improvement store I went. I grabbed a cardboard box, to contain any over-spray, and headed out to the driveway.

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Craftmas Part Three: A Star Is Born

What's a Christmas tree without a star, right? I'd seen a nifty Himmeli-inspired tree topper on Pinterest and thought I could DIY something along those lines from materials I already had on hand. I dug out these 2-inch long wooden beads, originally salvaged from a thrifted placement years ago, along with some fishing line and a pair of scissors, and I got to work!

Himmeli-Inspired Tree Topper

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Rose Without Thorns

As you may recall, I scored not one, but two floral Laura Ashley dresses at the most recent clothes swap back in October. The second needed a few more tweaks than the first, but still not too many. The drop waist and giant buttons down the back were the main things holding this dress back from joining us in the 21st century.

Clothes Swap HaulRose Dress - Before

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Craftmas Part Two: Floor and Door

Next up on the holiday decor list were a couple easy projects - one practically made itself. I found this fairly large chunk of white fleece in the remnant bin at Joann for $4 and thought it would make the perfect "snowy" tree skirt. It was 40x60 inches, or 1x1.5 meters if you like.

Easiest Christmas Tree Skirt Ever

I simply folded it in half one way, then in half the other way so that the corner of the folds was the center of the fabric. I held the end of my measuring tape at that corner and rotated it, marking out with pins the largest arc I could - about 20in/0.5m radius. Once that was cut, I unfolded one of the folds, so I had a doubled-up half-circle. I cut straight up the middle of one layer, stopping at the fold. Then I snipped out a little square from the edge to give room for the base of my Christmas tree.

Easiest Christmas Tree Skirt EverEasiest Christmas Tree Skirt Ever

I wrapped my tree in its new skirt, overlapping the edges in the back, and I tucked it under a bit all around to give a softer appearance, like snow drifts. Sure, it's not terribly convincing, but for $4 and 5 minutes? Bargain!

Easiest Christmas Tree Skirt Ever

After that it was time to tackle the front door. I'm not one for traditional wreaths, so I did some searching around on Pinterest for more modern alternatives and found some made of coffee filters and feathers and felt flowers and whatnot. So I thought, hey, maybe I could knit something fluffy and fun. After a brief stash dive, I came up for air with this bizarre stuff in my hand. It's essentially a wide ribbon with little holes every couple inches along one edge. It was a free gift with purchase at one of the shops in last year's DFW Yarn Crawl, and I honestly didn't think I would ever use this stuff. At the time, the only thing I could think to make with it was super girly, ruffle-butt undies, and why, I ask you, why would I do that? I wouldn't. That's the answer. I just wouldn't. But wait a minute! It would make a perfect ruffly winter wreath! So I quickly knitted up a simple scarf-y thing. I cast on 5 stitches and worked in stockinette stitch - meaning all the ruffles would be on the purl side - until I ran out of yarn. It ended up about 4ft/1.2m long.

Tecido TricoWinter Wreath

I popped over to Michaels after that and picked up a 12in/30cm wreath form and an acrylic snowflake ornament for about $5 total.

Winter WreathWinter Wreath

I used some plain white yarn to whip stitch my scarf-y thing to the front of the wreath form and to attach the snowflake to the top edge so it dangles in the center.

Winter Wreath

I used a bit of fishing line to hang it on the nail in our front door, but you could also use one of those over-the-door wreath hangers if you prefer.

Winter WreathWinter Wreath

Now I just need to get/make some ornaments for the tree and wait for Santa to arrive!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Craftmas Part One: Hand-Knit Stockings

We're decking the halls in preparation for the upcoming holidays, and we're doing it on a budget! Today, for your viewing pleasure, I bring you a set of three simple stockings to hang by the fire.

Simple Holiday Stockings

I knitted these up with some aran weight yarn that's been languishing in my stash for years now. It's so old it's actually been discontinued, but you could substitute any yarn of a similar thickness. I made them up as I went along, creating a basic sock recipe and inserting three different stitch patterns into it. This way, if we ever need supplementary stockings, I can make them in another pattern without worrying too much about matching the original three perfectly.

So how can you make your own? I'm so glad you asked! The pattern is available as a free pdf download from Ravelry. And if you don't have a Ravelry account yet? Well, that's free too, silly! Besides, if you enjoy any sort of fiber art - knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving - you really should check it out. It's an incredibly useful resource for organizing your stash, keeping track of your projects, finding new patterns and designers, conversing with like-minded craft enthusiasts, and about a billion other things!

So what are you waiting for? Go download your own copy and get to knittin'! Santa will be here before you know it!

Finished Measurements:
Foot circumference = 12in/30cm
Foot length = 8in/20cm, easily adjusted
Leg length = 12in/30cm, easily adjusted

180-230yds/165-210m of aran weight yarn per stocking
Samples were knit with the following:
Patons SWS Soy Wool Solids [70% wool, 30% soy; 110yds/100m per 2.8oz/80g skein]
     Cable sample: 2 skeins #70012 Natural
     Lattic sample: 2 skeins #70008 Natural Snow
     Chevron sample: 2 skeins #70008 Natural Snow and 1 skein #70012 Natural
US8/5mm needles
Cable needle
Tapestry needle

20 sts/24 rows = 4in/10cm in stockinette stitch

Simple Holiday Stockings

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Thrift Style Thursday: Back to Basics

As the holidays draw near and schedules begin pile up, sometimes blogging goes by the wayside. Such has been the fate of Thrift Style Thursday over the last few months, with each of us participating in fewer and fewer organized posts. I'm sure you can look forward to a resurgence in the New Year, but for now you'll have to settle for me free-stylin' it this week.

So, I'd been on the lookout for a basic black and white striped top for quite some time when I stumbled on this one at the clothes swap a month ago. It was a little large, but I knew I could make it work. First, I wanted to get rid of those cuffs on the sleeves, so I carefully picked out the little stitches that kept them turned up.

Clothes Swap HaulBack to Basics Top - In Progress

Next, I took in the sides to fit better. I used a straight stitch and then a zig-zag before trimming the excess fabric. If you look closely, you can actually see where this shirt was taken in by the previous owner, about an inch from the factory seam, and then my stitches are another two inches in from that.

Back to Basics Top - In ProgressBack to Basics Top - In Progress

I paired my new-to-me shirt with another clothes swap find - this purple pencil skirt - and mustard yellow shoes and scarf to coordinate with the last remaining leaves on our baby [Bradford pear?] tree.

Back to Basics Top - After

Back to Basics Top - After

How fabulous are these heels? Check out the little cut-outs on the back of the heel. And soles look like they're brand new too!

Thrift Style Thursday: Back to Basics

Back to Basics Top - After

Back to Basics Top - After

I think the half-sleeves look so much better with the boat neck than the cuffed sleeves did. Don't you agree?

Back to Basics Top - After

Thrift Style Thursday: Back to Basics

Back to Basics Top - After
Top: refashioned // Skirt: clothes swap // Scarf: $1 thrifted // Tights: $5 Target clearance // Shoes: $6 thrifted

Back to Basics Top - Before & After

Thanks for stopping by! And hey, if you have a chance, why not go see what the other Thrift Style Thursday ladies have been up to lately, eh? Click their pics below to go see their blogs, or the TST logos will take you to our Facebook page.