Author Archives: Anitra

About Anitra

Anitra Cameron had the good fortune to be born into a family where creativity ran rampant. Her father has authored several books and worked as a photographer and her mother hand-painted portraits. Anitra’s favorite crafts to make are: Jewelry (especially using buttons), collaged book marks, miniature cake stands, all from recycled materials. Anitra’s moto: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Live with that long enough and you’ll never want to throw anything away, so best to turn it into art! Anitra lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, where their combined family’s total seven children, and (so far) seventeen grandchildren. Recently Anitra became a great-grandmother of a darling little boy! You can find more of Anitra’s work at “Coffee Pot People”.

Half a Pair’s a Pin

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

You know what I just hate? Losing a favorite earring. I can never let the singleton that’s left go either, because, who knows? Maybe someday I’ll find the lost one.

But probably I won’t. Which is why I’m so happy to have a way to use those lonely left-alones, one that is simplicity itself. You’re just going to move your remaining favorite earring from your ear to your collar!

This is what you do:

Just poke the earring through your collar, near the point, and put the earring back on it to hold it. Now, you may notice there’s a second cap in the photo above, a little white one. That’s one of those rubber stoppers they put on earring wires to keep them from coming off earring cards, or slipping out of your ears. You can use one if the earring post sticks out too far, to keep it from poking you.

That’s it. What was once a favorite earring is now a favorite pin!

Crochet a Denim Scarf

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

I’ve been working very hard at finding an upside to the cold weather, which to me has always been primarily an announcement of cold months coming, not my favorite thing. This year, though, I’m enjoying the beautiful colors and scarves. Oh my. What’s not to love about scarves? They have the power to make me glad of chill opportunities to wrap one around my neck!

The scarf above was made from a pair of worn-out jeans, and was a hit with its recipient, who plans to wear it with her denim jacket.

Here’s how to make your own:

Take one pair of men’s jeans (or two pair of smaller sizes), and rip the leg fronts and backs into strips. To do that, just cut the hems off, snip into the bottom of the leg, and tear. Don’t go narrower with your strips than about ¼”, or they’ll break. (I did try cutting, but I liked the rough edge ripping gives better. You may prefer a clean edge, though.)

When you’ve ripped as many strips as you can get from your jeans, tie them together to make one long one, and wind into a ball. Another option, of course, would be to sew the ends together, right side to wrong side for smoothness. I left the ends of the knots free, though, and they created a thicker texture, rather like an interior fringe.

Now take a nice big crochet hook, whatever feels comfortable to you for working this very wide “yarn”, and crochet a chain as long as you want your scarf to be. Don’t worry about the knots in the denim—just crochet around them, and let them add their character.

ROW 2: When you’ve got the chain as long as you want, turn, and double crochet in the fourth chain from your hook. *Chain one, skip one stitch, double crochet in the next stitch*, and repeat that sequence until you reach the end of the chain. Crochet three, and turn.

ROW 3: Skip one stitch, and double crochet in the next one. *Chain one, skip one stitch, double crochet in the next stitch*, and repeat that sequence until you reach the end of the chain. Tie off, leaving a long tail for a fringe piece.

The pattern will look like this:

Now cut about a dozen 10″ to 12″ lengths of the denim “yarn”, and tie half of them to each end of the scarf for fringe.

You’re done, and I don’t know you’re like me or not, but I can’t help thinking it’s just a tiny bit funny to be wearing a pair of jeans around the neck!

Altered Angel Ornament

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

Sometimes I just can’t resist whispering, “Score!” to myself as I leave a thrift shop. (I’ll bet I’m not the only one, either!) I did that when I found the little reading baby figurine I used for this craft. It was actually the lid of a porcelain box, but since the box itself was missing, Baby was priced at next to nothing.

Since then, I’ve watched for tiny figurines every time I’ve gone into thrift stores or wandered through estate sales, to see if I could repeat the magic, and share it with you. The answer is, Yes!

So here’s what you’ll need to do something similar:

A tiny, lightweight, figurine

  • About 4″ of wire-edged ribbon (I used gold mesh, but you can use whatever appeals to you)
  • Two white, multi-petal flowers with wire stems, squashed flat
  • Gathered lace or ribbon
  • Fishing line or gold cord, for hanging
  • Glue gun and glue

Your first task it to make wings for your figurine. Lay the ribbon flat, and place the flowers atop it, near the center, each flower facing out. Twist the ribbon in the center; that will catch the flowers, and shape the ribbon into triangular “wings”.

Next, take the cord you’ve chosen for hanging your ornament, and cut it to length. Mine was about 6″, but yours might be longer or shorter, depending on the size of your figurine and how long you want the hanging loop to be. Tie a knot so you have a closed ring, and slip it under the arms of the figurine, putting the knot in back, where you’re going to attach the wings.

Hot glue the wings in place, over the knotted hanging cord. If your flattened flowers had long wire stems, like mine did, wrap them around a bamboo skewer or small crochet hook or knitting needle to form curlicues.

Now take your pre-gathered lace or ribbon, and hot glue it around the bottom of the figurine, overlapping the ends in back. Check before you glue the ribbon, to make sure it is gathered enough that it doesn’t cup too much; if it does, run a basting stitch the length of it and gather some more. Or you can scrunch it as you glue—that works, too.

All done, and ready to give to someone special or hang on your own tree. (After all, you’re special, too!)

Crochet a Fleecy & Fringed Scarf

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

What’s not to love about scarves? They have the power to make me glad of chilly opportunities to wrap one around my neck! Here’s a project that yields a big, fluffy, dramatic scarf with a minimum of effort and materials. To make it you’ll need a few yards of bulky yarn, such as the chenille I used, and about ¼ yard of matching fleece.

Cut a strip of fleece 8″ wide across the width of your fabric, so that you have a piece 8″x50″ (or whatever the width of your yardage is). Cutting the short way, cut strips ½” x 8″. If your fabric was 50″ wide, you”ll end up with 100 little strips. Don’t obsess about the number or exact width, though. If you’re off a wee bit, it really won’t make a difference.

Take up your yarn and a crochet hook that’s big enough to give you a nice stitch tension (I used a Boye H, if I recall correctly), and begin a chain. Crochet one chain stitch, and then just lay one of the fleece strips across the yarn, next to the hook, and chain stitch right over the top of it, “capturing” the strip in the stitch.

*Chain one, and capture a strip in the next chain.* Repeat until your scarf is as long as you like, and finish off.

You now have something rather like a big boa, great fun to wear or give, and you’ve done it on the quick. Go forth, and collect your compliments and smiles!

Apron in a Hurry

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

My daughter firmly believes in aprons, and wears one whenever she cooks. “What is it with people, Mom? Don’t they like their clothes?” she asked me one day. Good question!

So let’s just assume that if you cook, you need an apron. But what if you don’t have the time, inclination, or skill to sew one up? No worries! Just grab a length of ribbon, pair of scissors, and a café curtain, and you’ll have an apron in no time.

All you need to do is thread your ribbon through the loops or casing of a curtain panel and tie it around your waist, and the best thing is, these aprons will stretch out or scrunch up to fit just about anyone.

Now, I will show you one little thing. One of the panels I chose to make an apron from had its casing several inches from the top. If I’d used the casing, it would have created a “paper bag” waist, which would have been very pretty, I think, but the apron would have been too short for me. (Perfect for a child, though!) If you run into that, check to see if the fabric at the top is doubled. If it is, you can just cut a slit through the inside layer for your ribbon, like so:

Here’s that apron, which is gathered very full. I may cut some of the panel off, which is another plus—these aprons are easy to alter.

I really like this last one, which strikes me as pretty enough to wear for company. (Remember “company aprons”? Let’s bring them back!)


Bad Blood

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

Ready for ghoulish fun? I got the above altered jar in the mail the other day, and just could not resist sharing it. I’ll grant it might not be everybody’s cup or tea (or any other fluid, for that matter), but it completely busted me up, and that was before I opened the jar!

Don’t bother asking how my friend got all that in there. I can’t get it all back in. It was so much fun to go through all that bounty, and think about the ways I could use it. (I think I’ll put those skeletal hands in my hair, like barrettes….)

So just a few clues about what my friend did: I’m pretty sure the blood is red dimensional paint. She drizzled that over the plastic fingers, which are glued to a “nest” of black fun fur, and then to the lid of the jar. The jar itself is partially wrapped with Halloweenish paper, with stick on letters spelling “Bad Blood”.

Now, I know you won’t have time to mail one before Halloween, but can you picture the surprise, (and I hope delight!) of the friend whose porch you leave it on? I’m thinking a teenager, myself, especially one of the ones who have gotten into the whole vampire bit. Oh, yessssssss.

Computer Corsages

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People.

Here’s a bit of old news: Computers play a big part in our lives these days. They’re everywhere, aren’t they? Let’s dress up a monitor for a friend or relative who works in front of one with a little bit of cheerful whimsy, a Computer Corsage.

Your list of materials is short. You’ll need:

  • A large-ish bead cone, small salt shaker, or tiny bottle
  • Small dried or silk flowers and other bouquet fillers
  • A snippet of self-sticking hook-and-loop tape, (such as Velcro)

If you’re using a salt shaker, you’ve got it made—just choose your flowers, cut the stems to length, and stick them through the holes in the top in a pleasing arrangement.

If you’re using a bead cone or tiny bottle, you may want to wrap the stems of your bouquet with a little wire before inserting them in the cone or bottle.

Once you’ve created your tiny bouquets, simply stick one half of the hook-and-loop tape to the back of the holder, and the other half to the computer monitor’s edge.

Don’t you think this would bring a bit of cheer to an office-worker friend or relative?

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