We love to craft and want to share our love with the world! Well, maybe not the whole world...yet.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Upcycling old sheets

Melissa here!

So, I've taken a bit of a break from making things to sell and I've been working with new materials for things in my own home. Research and Development, I guess.

I'm sure you all saw my adventures in plarn. I made of couple of bags, but it wasn't as inspiring as I thought it would be...so I'm moving on....

My next assignment: rag rugs. I've been looking at rag rugs for years, but never could bring myself to buy one. (The curse of a creative soul: don't buy it if you can make it.) Finally, I decided this is the time to get on with it and make one! I had a collection of old sheets and decided that would make a nice material, since it's so large. I decided I'd crochet the rug, and that 3/4 to 1 inch wide strips of material would be the right size.

I realized that I could just rip the sheets into long strips, but I loved the challenge of figuring out a way to turn one sheet into one long strip without using my sewing machine. I immediately thought of a few paper cutting tricks I've seen and this is what I came up with:

I'd love to show you this magic, but I really don't know how to describe it. I'll make a video when I cut up another sheet...promise!

So, with my sheet-yarn balls in hand, I began to crochet:

Come back soon to see the finished product!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Making a Sun Hat for Myself

Hi y'all! Melissa here. I'm taking a break from the plarn experiment to get ready for my annual beach trip with the fam. If you can believe it, I haven't made a hat for myself in over 2 years. Summer is upon us and I have already been sun burned twice! I'm determined to get into the sunscreen routine, but I also know I could use a sun hat. I've been eying the cotton raspberry yarn that I bought for Zoop Zoop hats and now I have decided that yarn is for me!

I'm designing an open weave hat with a wide brim. Here's the beginning:

Now to figure out how wide to make the brim...

Originally I wanted a really wide brim...but now I'm more concerned with making sure the brim doesn't become too floppy. I had a straw hat last year, and the super wide brim was great, until it lost it's shape and became some 80's looking Jane Fonda hat or something. So I've decided to go with a moderate brim:

Just enough to shade my face, but not so much that it's flopping all over me.

I added a little bit of detail to the brim to make it interesting:

And I'm calling it finished! I especially like to wear it with my teal earrings:

Monday, May 17, 2010

First sale! Kind of...

Yay! A very excited Christa here! We had our first sale online last week! Well, that's not entirely true. We have had some sales through Etsy, but they were either friends or relatives :) Not that chums and family members purchasing products is a bad thing it's just super thrilling to have someone find us by word of mouth! Our Art on the Avenue sales were super exciting and encouraging as well, but this was from someone who hadn't even gotten to touch and feel our items yet. I'm quite stoked and hope that our newest customer is very pleased with her owl hat. It is one of my favorite hats, one that I had a lot of fun making. I'm sort of sad to see it go.

I have found that I am slightly heartbroken to see my handiwork find new homes. This might sound really strange since the point is to sell them, but usually I've put lots of time and energy into the pattern, color choices, etc. It's like there is a piece of me in each thing I make. I'm quite the perfectionist when it comes to finished products. I have a tendency to be a little too picky, but I like to think that makes my items better quality. I want to be happy with what I'm offering. I am definitely happy with my owl hat. So pleased in fact, that I think I should make another.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Things

I (Christa) know Art on the Avenue was over two weeks ago, but this is the first chance I've had since then to actually sit down and write about it! What a great experience! I left feeling so inspired to make new, summery creations and so ready to do another event.

Let me start by saying my only experiences trying to "sell" something before this were retail jobs. I remember working at a store that I will leave unnamed that wanted employees to check in with people no less than twice while they were shopping. As a shopper that annoyed me and as an employee it just made me uneasy and anxious. I learned to do my job, but never loved that aspect of it. I knew that Art on the Avenue would not be like my previous retail job, but I still felt the anxiousness of trying to sell something. Thankfully once we got there and set up all of those nervous and unsure feelings were gone! Our set up was so fun and I really just enjoyed seeing people look around. I felt no uneasiness when greeting people who came to check out our tent. I guess it's probably very different, too, to be selling handmade items that I "believe" in. I really hope that we are able attend at least one more craft event this summer, but would love if we ended up doing more. My one regret is that I didn't get to walk around and see anyone else's booths.

Making Plarn

I've been wanting to come up with a way to use the plastic bags that I have acquired (shame, shame, shame) when I have forgotten to bring my own shopping bags or forgotten to say "paper, please." I saw an article online with instructions for making 'plarn' a plastic yarn made from cut up loops of plastic grocery bags. Well, I just had to try it out. Here's my first attempt:

Flatten and smooth bags with your hands. Fold in half, lengthwise, twice.

Snip off the bottom of the bag and start cutting 3/4 to 1 inch loops, stopping at the handles. Set aside the bottoms and handles to be recycled.

Pick up two loops and pull one through the other to create a knot. Continue adding loops one after another until you have used up all of your bags.

Wind into a ball and start crocheting!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting organized AND inspired

Melissa here...So, Dillon is 7 weeks old now and everyone at my house is starting to get used to our new reality, but the house and my craft supplies have dearly suffered from neglect. This past weekend Ross and I decided to whip it into shape! Saturday morning I went out for some time out of the house and the kids and Ross stayed home and started the clean-up effort. When I returned, floors were cleaned, toys were put away, and all the appliances were humming away. That's where my work began...decluttering!

I gathered all my unfinished projects: a quilt that needs new backing, one of Ross's shirts that has a whole, a pair of my pants that needs mending, a Zoop Zoop hat that still needs eyes and bags and bags ready to be transformed into plarn. I hunted the house and found a decorative storage box that could become "the to do box" and set it on my hearth along with the famous pickle jar full of yarn balls.

Next on the list: Gather all the embroidery floss that has been scattered to the wind and put it all in an earring supply box. I found my thread box that my Mom put together when I went off to college, pulled out the zippers, bobbins, thread and fasteners, added the floss, ear wires, and earring cards and viola! I'm ready to make any earring any where I go!

Now, where do I put this thread? Oh, yeah! My new favorite storage device: Ball Jars! And while I was at it, I made a scissors, rulers, and measuring tape jar, too. For some reason, scissors and a ruler sticking out of the top of a jar is really inspiring to me...with a little fabric, those tools are the start of something new and wonderful...

And at last, where will I pull all this cotton yarn that becomes tea pots, tic tac toe sets and Zoop Zoop hats?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: PLARN!


Inspiration from Art on the Avenue

Melissa here! So, Art on the Avenue was really fun and I definitely want to go to at least two more craft fairs this summer. I really enjoyed sharing our ideas and seeing so many people respond so well to our toys, earrings and hats. We were set up beside a guy who was doing amazing live art with spray paint, a lighter, and various sticks. The kids (and hubby and I) were so impressed with his work, that we traded a Zoop Zoop hat for a couple of pieces of his art that the kids had picked out.

However, my favorite part of the day happened when we returned home...R.and A. set straight to work, fully inspired by all the art they had seen that day.

A. walked right over to her sewing cabinet, pulled out her fabric, ran to her room and returned with three fully clothed stuffed animals. She said, "Hey Mom! Look at the incredible fabric! See, here I tucked it like this so that it's pants...and here I cut a little hole so that I can get it on and off my doll!" She went on and on, describing her process and how pleased she was with the results.

Meanwhile, R. was working away on the front porch on his "podge work" (translated project), which consisted of a piece of scrap lumber decorated with ribbon, sidewalk chalk, an old Starbucks cup, markers and a lid from an oatmeal container.

It should be no surprise that the kids would be just as inspired as I was, but it was just so fabulous to see them dive into expressing themselves without abandon! Thanks to everyone who came out to Art on the Avenue and inspired my kids (and me too!) to create!

Monday, May 10, 2010


My next door neighbor's youngest child, Welkin, turned one year old in March, the same month Dillon was born. I was determined to make a handmade gift for him, but I couldn't pull it off on time. Thankfully, he's only 1 and doesn't mind the wait, so this past weekend I put my hands to the sewing machine and whipped up the coolest monster pillow ever!

I was inspired by my neighbors oldest daughter, Chloe, who created a "Pokemon" character in honor of her brother. I thought, "Maybe I could turn that into a pillow pal!" Here's what I came up with: