Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Project: Hand Print Spiders and Spiderweb on the Wall

Halloween is coming, and it's coming quickly!

I have failed at getting my Halloween decorations out in a timely fashion this year - but my amazing mother has all of her decorations out, as does my grandmother.  We were up at my mom's a few weeks ago, and my boys (one especially) was leery about passing a particular spider decoration she has up. He would eye it, and would avoid walking by it.  Similarly, we were at my grandmother's this past weekend and she had a small spiderweb decoration up over a doorway with a little raffia witch in it, and he eyed that decoration, and made a big deal about it, then proceeded to avoid the area.

I had seen some hand print spiders circulating about on Pinterest, and decided this would be a good time to have them make their own spiders, and a giant spiderweb to squash any fears that might be developing.

We started with the paint - I have a generic acrylic I buy at AC Moore.  I picked black since (as we all know) Halloween spiders are black.  I painted one of the boys hands, then he printed it on the paper, I turned the paper, painted his other hand, and he printed that one.  Then we had the leave the table to wash his hands, and repeated the same process with my other boy.

Here are some fun pictures.

My first guy wiping his hands after finishing making his prints
Now it's my turn!
I put the paint on his hand with a paintbrush.

Press and lift!

A nice smile with his hand prints before jumping up from the table to go wash his hands.

Even the baby is posing with her newly done hand prints.

To keep the hand prints safe, I have to hang them on the fridge to keep them away from the kiddos grabbing them while they are still wet.

Now it was time to create our spider web.  I picked out an area of wall that doesn't currently have any pictures, or anything on it.  The space I found was one side of our hallway - right where the ugly and outdated telephone jack is!

I used the itty bitty Command Hooks and placed them on the wall in an almost circular pattern being sure to have the hook part face out.  
The Command Hooks arranged on the wall space where are are going to build our web.

I strung some black yarn from a top hook, and left a nice long tail at the bottom.
Our first strand hung from the top, with a long tail.

Then I let one of the boys pick a bottom hook, and string the yarn around it.  He did this easily (even if I 
didn't get a picture of it)

My son picked the first spot to loop the yarn around at the bottom of the web.

We then alternated, it was "my turn" and I strung the yarn up around a top hook, and then my other boy got to pick the next spot to loop it around.

Choosing the next spot.
Even the baby got to pick where the yarn was getting strung.  We repeated this, and alternated turns.
Continuing to create our web.

The boys loved this part.

When we were done, I took the yarn and just strung it all around the outside of the hooks to make it look finished.

The yarn strung around the edges to look finished.

I tied the long tail end to the end of our web with a knot, and cut the ends.

Our very fancy knot.

After the spiders were dried, we glued googly eyes to each spider, and then I had the boys tell me where they wanted the spiders to go on their web.  Of course, they wanted them "way up high" and all I did was tape the spider to the yarn (not the wall).

Our spiders in our new web.

Our spiders in the web with the googly eyes.

It really looks cute. And it's very festive.  I like that it is in the central spot like our hallway, because the kids keep commenting on it every time they pass it.

My favorite part - is that my boy who was leery of the spiders and spider web at my mother and grandmother's house was the one that spent the most time with me building it and instead of being afraid of it has now told me several times: "Momma, our spider web is beeeeautiful!".

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Project: Clean that Giant Unidentified Carpet Stain

I enjoy reading and following One Good Thing By Jillee.  I think she has great ideas, great instructions, and I like to pretend that all the DIY housekeeping stuff is something I can keep up on.

Recently, she dug out an old post, and pinned it to her Pinterest Board on a Miracle Carpet Stain Remover.

I am having people over tomorrow night, and thought I could try this before everyone shows up.

Here is said unidentified stain:


So I did exactly as said - One part clear ammonia, one part HOT water, and sprayed it on the carpet.  The instructions say "liberally", I need to add that to get it to work, I had to hold the sprayer right up to the carpet and saturate it.  

I put my white towel over it, and ironed.  I didn't notice much at first, because I really did need to saturate it, but as I kept going, I noticed my towel getting gross.


The darker spots are where I really sprayed the solution into the carpet.

Lo and BEHOLD!

The yuckiest part of the satin was definitely lifting and coming out of the carpet!  Be warned! This was VERY stinky. And I had the kids up, so I stopped doing the clean up which was why most of the stain is still visible.  When they go to bed, and I don't have to worry about them smelling the stink of the ammonia, I will most decidedly finish the job I started this morning.

It's successful attempts like this one that make me think I can do these DIY home remedy things.  :-)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Project: Paper Storage Bins for Our Salvaged Kitchen Play Set

My folks are absolutely amazing at finding completely salvageable toys for the kids - for free!  Thanks to her, my kids have a full parking lot of Cozy Coupe's, a play house, baby swing/slide set, wagons, a see-saw, a motorcycle (one of those awesome 6v ones), a sandbox, and a pool to name a few.  She had picked up a kitchen set that we keep at her house, and recently my dad found several more kitchen sets - the best part of these plastic toys is that they can be washed, bleached and magic erased right into a state of kid-ready!  We picked out our favorite "new" kitchen set and brought it home.

After some scrubbing, the kids are enjoying their new playset.  I brought up all the play food my mom had kept from when I was a kid, and this honestly occupies the three year old twins and our 15 month old for extended periods of time.  The food we kept stored in a bin, since one of the drawers was missing from our new kitchen, and all the food didn't fit on the shelves.

This is where my brainstorm for today's activity began.

This is our awesome new kitchen:

This is what my floor looks like when the kids are done playing:

See the big empty bin?  I don't really want to keep the kitchen set and the bin out since they are currently residing on our main living floor.  I wanted to eliminate the use of the bin altogether.

I didn't take pictures of my first few steps, because it didn't occur to me to include this on my blog until after we had begun the project, so you'll have to imagine the first few steps.

Frosted Flakes Double Sized Box - we got this from our cereal purchase at BJ's Wholesale Club.
Scrapbooking Paper (because I have it laying around, and it's 12"x12")
Exact-O Knife
Paper Cutter
Glue Stick (I used the kids')
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (mine are from my dollar store)
Optional Materials (I did this because I had the materials on hand)
Eyelet Punch
Tapestry Needle

I started by measuring the two shelves I was planning on using the bin with.  From that, I was able to cut two boxes from the same Frosted Flakes box (using the top as one box, and the bottom as a second).  My shelves were different sizes, but I made both boxes the same so I could get two from one cereal box.  I cut the top and bottom of the cereal box to the 6" height I needed.

I then cut the scrapbooking paper with my paper cutter so that it measured a full inch taller than I needed, and about an inch wider than I needed.  In retrospect, if I make this project again, I will make it two inches wider so there is an extra inch on either side.  Because my box measured over 10" on one side, and 6" on the short side, I needed four pieces (one for each face) per box.

I then set the kids to work putting glue on the back of the side pieces first.  I even got the baby in on smacking the paper once it was placed to help stick it to the cereal box.  (I didn't get any pictures of my other son helping)

At the top, I used the scissors to cut a small slit at each corner.

I then folded the top over to the inside of the box.  I added extra glue around all corners and edges.

This is what the top looked like when I finished my first side:

I repeated these steps to finish the other side.

I then did the exact same thing to the front and back of the box.

I repeated the whole thing for my second box!

Then I decided to add the handles.   This is where I gathered my "optional" materials.  I went with what I had on hand.

I first decided where I was going to poke the holes for my ribbon handles.  After looking at my box front and back, I decided I would make the handle two and a half inches from each edge and two inches from the top.

On the inside, I measured and marked where I would punch my holes with my ruler and a pencil.

Then I used my eyelet punch to poke the holes for my eyelets:

I inserted my eyelets and secured them using my eyelet punch tool.

I did this on both the front and back of each of my boxes.

Then I cut some ribbon and threaded it through the eyelet holes using the tapestry needle.

I had to quadruple knot the back of the ribbon so the kids won't pull it out when they use the handles.


The bins look great!

And during nap time, I put all the food away in the kitchen, and was able to remove the bin from my living area!  Everything now has a home!

The kids got a kick out of helping, and I showed them how to use the handles to pull the bins out.  Let's see how long we can keep our kitchen set cleaned!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Checking In

I'm sill here!

I've been hard at work ramping up inventory for the craft fair season - sorry that I haven't posted anything!

In other news, I am adding a button to this site now because I am excited to say I've finally submitted some patterns to!  Woot!

Still haven't gotten to update Ravelry, but I will one of these days!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Project: Wet Jet Mop Cover

This post contains links to items I used in the activities described.  I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.  I was not paid by these brands nor did I receive goods or payment to recommend the products, they are just the products I chose for the project.

We have three kids, a messy dog and a kitchen and dining room with vinyl floors and a breakfast room with undefinable floors that need regular washing and wipe downs.  I am the proud owner of a Swiffer Wet Jet - this cleaning item is super easy to use since all I have to do is pull it out of the garage to give my floors a nice once - over to last between real washings.

The disposable pads cost too much for the amount I tend to go through!  I had seen on Pinterest a while back a pattern for a regular dry Swiffer mop head cover.  When I clicked the link, Pinterest told me users had reported Spam and other deviant content, so I was resolved to designing my own.  Besides, I have a wet jet which has those spouts on either end which need to be exposed for it to work correctly.

If you do not crochet, and would like a mop head cover of your own, please Request a Custom Order from my Etsy shop, and I will gladly make you one with your choice of colors.

Here it is, from me to you, a crochet pattern so you can make your own Wet Jet mop head cover.

Wet Jet Mop Cover

H Hook
1.8 oz Worsted Weight Cotton - I used a discontinued color of Lily Sugar and Cream similar to this one.

Gauge: 10 HDC & 10 Rows HDC = 3"

Chain 62.
Row 1:  HDC in 3rd Ch from hook. HDC in each Ch across. (60 HDC)
Row 2: Ch 2, Turn. HDC in each HDC across (HDC)
Row 3 - 14: Repeat Row 2.
Fasten off, weave in ends.

You now have a rectangle that measures roughly 17" x 4".

With wrong side facing, fold over edges counting 10 HDC (for me this was just about 3" on each end). I place a stitch marker to align the folded flaps to the body of the mop head.

Insert hook at side fold, and draw up loop. Ch to secure.  Through both layers, SC across all 10 stitches.  SC in each of next 20, and through both layers for the last 10 HDC.  Fasten off, weave in ends.

Turn piece to finish off the other side.

Again, in the folded edge, insert hook, draw up loop. Ch to secure.  Through only one layer, HDC in same stitch and each of next 10.  You should now be at the edge of the folded piece.  Foundation HDC 20 sts. To join to open edge at opposite side:
YO, Insert hook in bottom of previous FHDC, insert hook into first stitch of open edge, draw up loop, draw through all loops on hook.
HDC in next stitch, and remaining 50 stitches. Join. Fasten off, weave in ends.

To place on your Wet Jet, be sure the "open" end is facing forward where the spouts are, and stretch across the mop head.  When it gets dirty, you can even flip it inside out to keep cleaning before throwing the whole thing in your washing machine!

Happy crafting and cleaning!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Project: Fix the Flip Flops

My daughter received an adorable pair of size 3/4 baby flip flops for her birthday!

Super cute, right?  I thought so, too, but then I tried to put them on her.  She has incredibly high arches (thanks to her dad), and because of the way the plastic bends in at the toe divider, I couldn't get them on her feet!

The offending plastic toe divider

So, using my stash of yarn and a hook, I decided to fashion her a new top-part of the flip flop so I could adjust it for her high arches!  (You know the phrase "If all you have is a hammer,everything looks like a nail"?  this is what I think every time I fix something with crochet... "When all you have is a hook, all your problems can be solved with yarn".)

Materials Needed:
Cotton Yarn (I used Lily Sugar'n Cream Rose Pink)
G Hook for stitching, and a larger hook for drawing straps through sandal bottom
Tapestry Needle
Sewing Machine
1/4" Elastic
Coordinating thread (to match the elastic if desired)
Hot Glue Gun (and gluesticks!)
Waxed Paper

The first thing I did was cut off the existing straps by snipping off the round stoppers from the bottom of the sandal.

Snipping off the round stoppers from the bottom of the flip flops makes the plastic top come off easily.

There, easy peasy.  I saved the plastic strap parts for measuring in the upcoming step.

I had to stop and take a picture of my daughter trying to figure out what I was doing to her sandals that don't fit on her feet, because she is absolutely adorable.

Next, I measured how long I needed to make the top strap for the sandal.  I measured from end to end like so:

As you can see, my strap needs to be about 5" across. (Don't worry, I'll compensate for her high arches later in the process)

Now for the crocheting part.

These are the abbreviations I will use to describe my process:
Ch = Chain
SC = Single Crochet
Sl St = Slip Stitch
St = Stitch
Sk = Skip

Begin:  I Chained an odd number of stitches the length measured.  For me, my chain was 27 which measured the 5".  I marked the center two stitches with a stitch marker.

I will provide directions using a stitch count based on my original chain of 27.  You can adjust based on the number of original chains you have to make to get your length (don't worry, I am positive you can adapt this for your needs!)

Form the Foot Strap:
Row 1: SC in 2nd Ch from hook. SC in each of next 11 sts.  Sk 2 chs with marker in them.  SC in remaining 12 sts.

Row 1
Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 2 SC in first SC. SC in each of next 10 SC. Sk 2 SC. SC in next 10 SC. 2 SC in  last SC.

Form the Heel Strap:
Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sl St in next 3 SC. SC in next 2 SC.

Row 3

Row 4 - 8: Ch 1, turn. SC in next 2 SC.  I determined this should be 8 rows based on the measurement of the existing strap.

Row 4

Measuring for Length
Measuring for Length
Row 9: Ch 3. Skip next st. Sl St in last SC. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Form the Second Heel Strap:
With right side facing, insert hook in fourth stitch from other side of foot strap.

Right side facing, insert hook into fourth stitch.
Ch 1 and SC in next 2 SC.  Repeat Rows 4 - 9 for the first heel strap, fasten off and weave in ends, and you now have a foot strap, and two heel straps!

Repeat Foot Strap, Heel Strap, and Second Heel Strap directions to make a top for your second flip flop.

Two Foot Straps with Attached Heel Straps Completed!

Before adding the ties to attach to the sandal, I attached elastic to the back of the heel straps to connect them.  Time to move from the couch to the sewing machine!

Crafting the Elastic Heel Straps

I cut two 1/4" elastics measuring 4".

With right side facing, I inserted 1" of the elastic into the Ch 3 space at the back of one heel strap.

Insert 1" of elastic end into Ch 3 space at end of heel strap.

Repeat for the other side being careful not to twist.

Being careful not to twist, repeat on other heel strap.
I folded the two 1" ends of elastic over the remaining 2" section, and put it all under the pressure foot of my sewing machine.  I set the stitch for a simple zig zag stitch to allow for easy stretching during wear.

Folding elastic ends in to meet each other, I sewed them using a zig zag stitch to retain elasticity. 

I removed it from my sewing machine and locked my stitches.

Remove from sewing machine and lock your stitches.
This is what the wrong side will look like when complete:

Completed "Wrong Side"

I did the same thing for the second strap, and it was now time to move from my sewing machine back to the couch to make the straps for attaching to the sandal.

Elastic attached, these are two completed heel and foot straps!

To begin the straps, I cut eight 8" lengths of the yarn.  I suggest you make yours at least 12" to make the attaching steps a LOT easier.

Cutting eight pieces of yarn for attaching straps.

With wrong side facing, insert larger hook into the 2 Chs skipped for Row 1.  Take two strands of the eight cut ones, fold in half, and draw up loops through the 2 Chs skipped for Row 1.

Insert hook into skipped chains for Row 1.

Take two strands of the eight cut ones, fold in half, and draw up loops through the 2 Chs skipped for Row 1.

Draw up loops.

Yarn over, pull through loops on hook.

Yarn over, pull through loops on hook.  

For the two side straps, with wrong side facing, insert hook between Row 1 and Row 2, take one strand of the cut yarn and draw up a loop. Yarn over, and draw through loop on hook.  

Completed foot & heel straps

I used the larger crochet hook to pull the strands through the holes in the sandal sole.   Be sure the right side is facing upwards!

I used the larger crochet hook to pull the strands through the holes in the sandal sole.

Repeat for other foot.  At this point, I picked up the soles of the sandals and the pieces I just finished and went to my kitchen table with my glue gun, glue sticks, waxed paper and my daughter.

Placing the foot/heel straps on my daughter, I measured where I should knot each strand underneath the sandal.  I was able to adjust the slack on the top of the sandal by where I placed the knot.  (See, I told you I would compensate for her arches!)

I put the straps on my daughter and marked where I wanted each strap to fall.

When I had all the strands nice and knotted to where I wanted them, I lifted the knots, and put a blob of hot glue in each hole, and tugged the knot into place.  

Each strap knotted on bottom.

Once set, I cut the excess yarn strands and filled the rest of the holes on the sole with hot glue.  I pressed it onto waxed paper to be sure the sole of the sandal remained flat and let this cool.

I used the wax paper to press the glue filed holes flat.

Then I removed the wax paper...

New bottom of sandal.

...and placed the sandals on my daughter!  The elastic heel strap is awesome - she actually couldn't tug the shoe off.

She's not scarred really, it was the only picture that came out in focus.  The ones of her smiling and wiggling were blurry.

Completed Sandals

All in all I am very pleased.  The sandals didn't go to waste, and now she can wear them without tugging them off!