Thursday, 31 May 2012

Knitting . . . or not!

It's the last day of May. Sad. That means my birthday month is over. Sad. And I think our gorgeous summer weather might be coming to an end. Sad. I'm not really sad, though. I'll be going to California in two weeks and that makes me very happy! As well as a visit from an old friend. Sewing my little boy's Jubilee trousers also lights up my day. So, that's the end of May. :-)

...I realized it was almost the end of May a few days ago and remembered that I was supposed to learn how to knit this month! Yikes! That was Tuesday, May 29th. I had just a couple days left to achieve the first goal that I set (here) when I participated in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. Fortunately, I had bought supplies weeks ago, but they weren't what I had originally planned. At the yarn shop, I was so overwhelmed trying to find the right kind of yarn to match the pattern I had intended to make. I ended up just grabbing a Fab Big skein by Patons. It came with a free pattern (the one pictured). It looked easy enough.

Gotta love Photobooth. Check out those bags under my eyes.
In between helping the girls in the dorm with their work and making sure they were all where they were supposed to be, I watched a couple videos on I was ready to cast on! 

So proud (dorky smile...and my even sleepier eyes)
 I did it! (as my 2 1/2 year old would say). The next step was to knit one, yarn over, purl one, yarn over, and so on. I totally read the pattern wrong, though, and knit an entire row, then purled an entire row. Of course I didn't realize this until I just sat down tonight to work on my knitting some more. In the last half hour, I've started over four times!! I need a break, so I'm writing about it. Ugh.

Fish-eyed and temporarily defeated.
I think I'll hem my husband's trousers that have been sitting in the "to-do" pile for the last two years. That sounds much more appealing at the moment. But, don't worry...I haven't given up on knitting! I know new things aren't always easy the first time trying and I'll try...try again until I figure it out!

♥!♥ knitting ♥! 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cardigan Make-over

I bought a dress yesterday. I needed a cardi to wear with it. I couldn't find one at the shops today. I came home and looked in my wardrobe. I saw this...

It's really cute but I've hardly worn it since I bought it. I decided to make it shorter so I could wear it with my new dress.

I cut it off to the length I wanted.

 I folded the hem, pinned, and sewed.



I'm confident that I'll get much more wear out of it now!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Queen's Jubilee Dress

The Queen's Jubilee is in a few weeks! What a great celebration it will be all over England! I've realised that we are living in this country during some of the best years...we've been here for the Royal Wedding, now the Queen's Jubilee, and soon the Olympics! Pretty cool. 

Anyway, I've been wanting to make a festive jubilee dress for my little girl to wear to our neighbourhood street party and was able to get it almost completely done this afternoon. I do not have free afternoons very often, but my husband took my kids out for a couple hours today and I got to blast my music and sew with no interruptions. I'm always amazed at how much I can get done in times like this. 

I initially used the Circle Skirt tutorial from MADE. This was so easy!! I could have easily and happily left the skirt as a skirt and matched it with the tank, but my little girl is all about dresses...and not just any dress, but dresses that twirl when she twirls. 

The circle skirt is perfect for twirling...but isn't a dress. So, I took a white tank top and sewed it to the top of the circle skirt. 

I used pins to mark where I wanted the top of the elastic as well as the center front and back of the dress. Then, I stuck the top into the skirt and pinned the center back of the skirt to the center back of the top. Same with the front and sides. Then I pinned all around and stitched it together.

 Now, I need to find the perfect embellishment for the top of the dress. I think it needs a little blue mixed in with the red & white...Any suggestions?? ...Done! :-)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mas de Piñatas

Just for fun while I'm on this piñata kick, I thought I'd share a little bit of what I found through making my star piñata.

If you want to be entertained for a few minutes, read this blog post from Something a Week. I was seriously laughing out loud and thought it would be especially entertaining to do the same thing where I live in England!

I also discovered that Death Star Piñatas are almost as popular as Mexican star piñatas.

Source: via Jessica on Pinteres


And if I ever have the time and patience, I'd love to give these a try...


Star Piñata Tutorial

Okay. My star piñata tutorial is ready for anyone else who thinks they might want to make one! 

Trust me, making a star piñata is a ton of fun. I enjoyed it even more than the donkey piñata. I'm already trying to think of the next occasion for which I can make a piñata...hmmm...perhaps the Queen's Jubilee.

What you'll need to make your own star piñata:

My Scribbled Dimensions in Inches

  • Lots of cardboard (the best kind is from used boxes...mine was from boxes in which our wine, nappies, and other items were delivered or bought)
  • Lots of crepe paper (red, yellow, green, purple, pink...or colours of your choice)
  • Lots of packaging tape
  • Lots of candy or other small items to fill the piñata.
  • Wire for hanging
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • White Glue
  • Paint Brush for brushing on glue
Here is how to make a star piñata:
(beware...there are lots of steps!)

1. Trace a circle for center of star.
2. Cut first circle out of flattened cardboard box. Use it to trace a second circle.
3. Cut second circle from flattened cardboard box. You should have two circles.

4. Reinforce any bends in cardboard by taping rectangular cardboard pieces perpendicular to bend.

5. Cut as many strips of cardboard you'll need to go around the circle. Make sure they are the same width and that they'll overlap by a few inches when wrapped around the circles.
6. Stick pieces of tape all around the circle. Make sure the sticky side is facing up. Make sure the reinforced bends are also facing up so that they will end up inside the piñata.
7. Curve strips by squeezing along the ridges.
8. This will cause the strips to match the edge of the circle more easily.

 9. Place strip along the top of the edge of the circle.
10. Pull pieces of tape up to secure edge.
11. Tape inside and outside of any overlap. Leave a gap for candy filling (See number 13).
12. Flip the circle over and tape along the entire edge. Make sure this is very secure so it can handle the weight of the candy or other filler.

13. Make sure there is a gap in the side so that you can fill the piñata later.
14. Prepare the other circle with tape the same way you did the first.
15. Set first circle on the second and pull tap up to secure.
16. Flip it over and tape the entire edge. Divide and mark edge into 6 equivalent sections. Make sure the markings are in the same exact place on both sides.

17. Prepare triangles for the points of the stars. Fit them as close together as you can on the cardboard to use it efficiently.
18. Cut 12 triangles.
19. Match corners of triangles with marks. Tape the bottom edge of triangle to circle - 5 on first side.
20. Tape 5 on other side. **Save last two triangles for the gap where piñata will be filled (see 24).**

21. Cut 6 rectangles. These will edge the points of the star.
22. Bend the rectangles in half.
23. Tape edges to triangular points on both sides (minus the one with the candy filler gap)
24. Fill the center with candy or other filler. Tape closed and add last star. This will be the top point. Check all stars by wiggling them. If they move, tape them down more until they are totally secure.

25. Mark the top star point in the same spot on both sides.
26. Cut a hole on each mark and thread wire through. Tie and tape ends together.
27. Tape the wire completely down on both sides.

28. Cut 3 inch strips of crepe paper. Fold it up and cut repeatedly into one edge to make a fringe. Mix half white glue and half water.
29. Brush glue along the edge of points and stick on some uncut crepe paper. I used red, but would use a lighter color like yellow or pink next time.
30. Brush glue along the top of star point, all around, and place the first fringe on the glue so that it goes around the entire point of the star.
31. Brush another line of glue just below the edge of the fringe and stick on another fringe.

32. Continue layering the glue and crepe fringe. 3 layers of red. 3 layers of yellow.
33. 3 layers of green.
34. 3 layers of purple.
35. 4 layers of pink.

36. After each star point is covered, place piñata on a stool or box to raise it from the ground and continue with layering the fringe. Follow the shape of the circle as you fill each side of the piñata. You can see that I put yellow down here before I started the layering.
37. 4 layers of pink. 4 layers of yellow.
38. 3 layers of green. 3 layers of red.
39. Finish the center of the circle by folding the yellow over on itself around continuously until the center is completely covered.

40. Take strips of crepe paper, gather them randomly together. Fold down twice and staple in place.
41. Glue strips on the very tips of star points. I totally forgot this step until a couple hours before the fundraiser, so I used a hot glue gun. Next time, I think I'd do this step before adding the fringe layers.

You should now have one brilliant star piñata ready to be enjoyed...and then destroyed!

If you make it through all those steps and make a star piñata, I'd love to see it!

Feel free to share a picture in my flickr group Share with Sunny Stitching.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Featured on Threading My Way

AAaaah!! I was so excited when I just took a look at my comments and saw that Pam from Threading My Way featured one of my the dresses I made. It's here along with her other features if you want to take a look. She's hosting a really fun linky party that has a different theme each week. It's ongoing so you can add your creations to the linky list any time. What a great way to continually find inspiration and ideas! The featured dress was one that I made from two old t-shirts for my little girl for St. Patrick's day (here). 

One of the best surprises about this feature, though, was that my mom (Kay of Jerry & Kay)was featured on the same post! How cool is that? Hers is a really cute t-shirt with an embroidered train applique that she made my little boy (here). She is so talented!

Tooth Pillow

We have a little friend who's about to turn 6...and about to lose his first tooth. I've wanted to make a tooth fairy pillow for years now, but never had a reason. So, I was excited to make one for our friend. I created a pinterest board of some that I liked and combined my favorite ideas to make my own design.

I used all felt. The "A" is our friend's first initial. The tooth is the pocket. Of course, I didn't have any white or orange thread, so I used a blue that matched the blue felt. It's okay, but I think I'd rather have the matching thread next time. My embroidery is also far from perfection, but that's how I do things! :-)

I was excited to learn how to make a french knot for the eyes. I know I've done it in the past, but couldn't remember how. I found a quick and clear tutorial on needlenthread after a very quick Google search. I started and finished this project in one afternoon, which is somewhat miraculous for me! I hope "A" likes it...and that he hasn't already lost his tooth! ;-)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Star Piñata

My latest creation is this semi-traditional Mexican star piñata...

I'll be posting a tutorial on how to make this star piñata soon. 

A few months ago, I made a donkey piñata (see it here) and was asked to make another one for a Doce de Mayo themed fundraiser (Cinco de Mayo was already booked). I thought about doing another donkey...or a sombrero...but couldn't resist the vibrancy of the star.  I used a picture from Google images for inspiration and a guide to the colours and then got to work cutting, taping, and gluing. It took some time, but was fairly easy and loads of fun to make! I love how bright and cheerful it turned out. It ended up being raising quite a bit at the fundraiser which made me really happy! :-) 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

What to do on a rainy day? Paint faces and make cookies! 

Here's our simple recipe for easy peanut butter cookies:

Ingredients (preferably all organic):
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.

Put the three ingredients in a bowl.


Use a fork to criss...then cross. This flattens the cookies. 
I always dip the fork in sugar before I criss-cross so that it doesn't stick to the cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

After you remove them from the oven, let the cookies remain on the sheet for a few minutes before placing them gently on a cooling rack. This will help prevent them from breaking.



Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Crochet Baby Hat

I just finished a crocheted baby hat for a friend who has a new baby girl.

The baby hat crochet pattern is one I've had for years. I can't remember if I found it and shared it with my mom, or if she found it and shared it with me, but it's been a favorite. It's the Stretchy Crochet Hat from Loving Hugs. I'm glad I was able to find the link when I searched Google today because I've had the pattern for so long without the information of where I originally found it. 

Oh, I just remembered! I found the pattern and shared it with my mom. Ah, yes...nice memory. About four years ago, a good friend of mine had her first baby. We visited her, her husband & her new little baby girl in the hospital. They asked us to bring them dinner and a few things they had forgotten, including a hat for the baby. I did a quick pattern search and whipped up a pink hat in a few hours (above). It was a favourite of theirs and fit their little girl for two years (hence the name Stretchy Crochet Hat)...which is why I made one for my little girl a year later, and passed the pattern on to my mom who made another for my little girl (above) and then later one for my little guy. Phew!

Since the one I finished today was white, I wanted to make it a little more exciting, girly, and feminine with a flower embellishment. I used a free flower pattern from JJCrochet. I love how it turned out and hope it gets as much wear as the first one I made four years ago!

This last part is totally unrelated to crochet or hats, but you should take a look at my mom's blog - Jerry&Kay - she made two absolutely adorable little piggy pillows for my kids from a 1967 Simplicity pattern. So cute! I just read her post a minute ago so I'm really excited about them. :-)
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