Ask the Experts: Creative Craft Uses

Crafts, Paper Crafts, Techniques and Mediums No Comments

By Card Making & Scrapbooking Contributor

Peg Rounds

Peg’s Crafting Corner

Avery Adhesive Wall Pocket

 Q:  What is a good way to store stickers and small chipboard pieces?

A:  The Avery Adhesive Pockets are a good way to keep smaller, easily lost items.  They attach easily to a wall, door or even a decorated piece of wood.

We R Memory Punch Boards

Q: Is there a way to make a liner for a handmade envelope?

A:  Yes, there is and it’s really easy.  Use the Envelope Punch Board by We R Memory Keepers to make the envelope and then make a smaller size that will fit inside of it for the liner.

Le Plume Blender

Q: How do you get ink off an area of a stamp that you don’t want in that color?

A:  A blender pen is a good way to lift off ink from a stamp that has one color already on it.  After you have used the pen to remove the ink that you don’t want, you can use a marker to add the chosen color.

Darice Argyle Embossing Folder

Q: Are embossing folders only used for backgrounds?

A:  No, they can be used as a focal point to a card or layout simply by cutting out a section of it or use it with a die and give texture to the shape cut out by using the die.

Paper Accents Chipboard Tags  

Q: Are there any fun ways other than ribbon to attach a tag to things?

A:  Try using the small decorative clothes pins, thin tags can be adhered to things like card stock using brads and 3-d adhesives help them stand up off the project and adheres them to it at the same time.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Quilled Invitation

Cardmaking, Holidays, Paper Crafts, Techniques and Mediums No Comments

By Card Making & Scrapbooking Contributor

Peg Rounds

Peg’s Crafting Corner

Quilled Shamrock Party Invitation

What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a party and for a party you need party invitations.  Create this “lucky” party invitation featured a quilled shamrock to invite the party goers to your fun day.  The shamrocks are easy to do and can be created in an evening while you are watching television.

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Helpful Craft Tips for National Craft Month

Contests, Crafts, Techniques and Mediums 2 Comments

By Crafts-a lot Contributor, Mable who is an avid reader of craft blogs & magazines and is always looking to improve her crafting skills. Join Mable on Facebook to socialize and share with other crafters!

March is National Craft Month, and in celebration we’d love to make your crafty lives a little easier. There are so many wonderfully easy craft tips out there to help avoid frustration and make your crafting experience even more enjoyable. Check out some of these ideas to help save you time, energy, and keep you sane through your crafting. If you have any craft tips, don’t forget to enter our National Craft Month Drawing. Your tip could win you a $100 CreateForLess Shopping Spree!

Store Embroidery Floss on Clothespins and other Craft Tips

Store embroidery floss on a clothespin. It’s easier to find the end and it looks pretty set out in a bowl.

I use CD cases with magnetic sheets to store spellbinders dies – Peggy M. from Brandon, SD

Punch through aluminum foil to sharpen dull punches. Lubricate them by punching through wax paper.

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Best Blogs to Learn the Basics: Crochet

Crafts, Knitting and Crochet, Needlearts, Techniques and Mediums No Comments

If you’re looking to start a new craft, you can find everything you need right here online. You can find info on all of the tools you need, how to get started, and more with a little bit of searching. One wonderful thing about finding bloggers who are willing to share the basics is that they’re always willing to listen and help! It’s important to feel that you always have that support when you’re just starting out a craft. Here are some wonderful blogs with contact info to help you start realizing your crochet dreams.

Aesthetic Nest

The Aesthetic Nest has a wonderful 11 part How to Crochet SeriesYou’ll learn everything down to how to create the slipknot that starts your entire project. You can find thorough photo tutorials for holding yarn, working in the round, and the most common stitches. There will be even more tutorials very soon, so make sure to check back often and learn right along with the new tutorials. With the help of Anneliese, you’ll be working up your first baby afghan or crochet cowl in no time.

The Aethetic Nest isn’t just for crochet, you can find lots of sewing tutorials and gorgeous childrens’ clothing, knitting, recipes, and more wonderful homemade items.

One Artsy Mama

Amy at One Artsy Mama has created a free Ebook packed with 32 pages of pictures and tutorials for basic crochet stitches.  All she asks is that you like her Facebook page in return. It’s so simple, and she’s even giving you a free beginner’s project at the end of the book! It’s totally worth every penny you didn’t spend. Once you learn the basics, you can easily make one of Amy’s many crochet projects. Start out with her fun crochet wrap bracelet and move on to a coffee cozy or boot cuffs!

Be sure to stop by and check out all of the beautiful jewelry making and simple crafts available on One Artsy Mama. Honestly, anyone can do these crafts!

Look At What I Made

 The tutorials at Look At What I Made are great for the beginner and the more confident crocheter. You can find a guide for all of the confusing crochet terminology as well as tips for stitches you may have never even heard of. This is a great place to go for tutorials that go beyond the simple and basic stitches. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, definitely give some of Dedri’s tutorials a try. As a bonus, there are lots of patterns for beginning and advanced crocheters.

Check out some of the beautiful handmade toys you can create in no time with Dedri’s tutorials and basic stitches. Don’t forget to look around Look At What I Made for recipes, sewing patterns, and more craft projects.

Petals to Picots

The Learn to Crochet section of Petals to Picots has picture tutorials for the most basic aspects of crochet. You can find out what hooks and yarns to choose, how to hold the hook, and many more tutorials. Each lesson takes you step by step as you create your first project, from finding the right materials to creating your stitches and everything else you need to know. Once you’re a little more confident, there are plenty more advanced tutorials as well.

Petals to Picots is a one stop shop for all things yarn related. You can find fantastic photo tutorials for needle felting, creating your own yarn from unexpected materials and more. After looking at all of Kara’s pretty crafts, you won’t want to craft with anything else!

Now it’s time to grab a hook and some yarn and learn from some of the best crochet bloggers out there. If you have product based questions, check out our crochet hook and yarn buyers guides for more info. Don’t forget to share what you create!

Sending Love Your Way Using Different Card Sizes

Cardmaking, Crafts, Holidays, Paper Crafts, Techniques and Mediums, Valentine's Day No Comments

By Card Making & Scrapbooking Contributor

Peg Rounds

Peg’s Crafting Corner

Sending Love Your Way Card

 If you look at the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board you will notice a good sized list of card sizes on it, but how often do you make a card in a different size?  As card makers we seem to find a size we are most comfortable with and stick to that.  Wouldn’t it be fun to step out of that comfort zone and create one of the sizes listed on the Envelope Board?  This is a 5” x 8” card.

Create a 5” x 8” card base from card stock by cutting a 12 x 12 sheet to measure 10” x 8” and then fold it in half.  Pink card stock was used for this card.  A scoring board is a good tool to have to help you create a crisp clean fold for card bases.

Every card needs a focal point and with this card the heart was created for that.  It became even more of the focal point because it if being off set on the 5” x 8” card.  The patterned paper cut to 7 7/8”  x 4 ½” (Best of K & Company Paper Pad) also helped in creating it.

Create the heart using the Scalloped Heart Doily Embossing Folder by Sizzix.  Cut a piece of white card stock that measures 5 ¾” x 4 ½” and place it in the embossing folder and then run it through a die cut/embossing machine (Sizzix Big Shot used here).

Embossed Paper

Lay the embossed paper on a craft mat and beside it rub a small amount of a Faber- Castell Gelato (pink was used here) on the mat as shown in the picture.

Gelato Rub

Rub your finger in the Gelato and then lightly start rubbing it over the outside embossed area of the heart.  Pick up more color on your finger as needed by rubbing it on the mat.  As you need to, add more Gelato to the mat, too.

Outside Area

This is what it will begin to look like as you work on it.

Outside Finished

Now, place a lighter color of Gelato on the mat (the lighter pink was used here) and begin working on the center of the heart using the same method you did for the outside of it.

Rub Center

This is what the center will begin looking like.  The more times you add some Gelato to your finger and go over an area, the darker it will become.

Soften Edges

Soften the edges by rubbing the light colored Gelato on all edges of the card stock.

Letters

Now, assemble the card by adhering with a tape runner the patterned paper to the card base and then on top of it add the focal point, remembering to off center the embossed design.

Punch a sentiment out of some of the same color of card stock that was used for the card base using the Alphabet Punches by Martha Stewart.  Adhere those using a Xyron Sticker Maker.

The next time you make a card, challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone and create it using a size that you don’t normally create. Offset the pieces to create a new focal point for the new card size.  Don’t worry about mixing things up.   It keeps the fun in card making and giving!

Basic Granny Square Tutorial

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By General Crafts Contributor Monica from the blog Mon Makes Things.

Basic Granny Square Tutorial

Seriously, thanks to the Crochet Mood Blanket project, I can’t get enough granny squares. After seeing how many participants are learning to crochet via this project, I thought I’d revisit the good ol’ traditional granny square pattern. Though I admit that I did not do extensive googling, I did not find a great basic granny pattern out there in cyber space. I’m sure there are some, of course, and I’m sure there are YouTube videos or something too. But, in the mean time, I thought I’d write up my own tutorial to share!

This is really the easiest, quickest granny pattern that I know of. Since you crochet into the spaces of the previous round, there’s little room for error. This would be a great style for the beginning crocheter, and because this particular pattern is a bit tighter than others, a loose tension is more easily camouflaged.

Stuff You’ll Need: size H crochet hook, yarn needle, scissors, worsted weight yarn (if you are still new to crochet, I recommend a yarn that is neither too scratchy nor too silky — some of my favorites are Loops & Threads Impeccable, Red Heart Soft, Debra Norville Everyday, and Lion’s Brand Vana’s Choice)

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Granny Square Tutorial Roundup

Crafts, Knitting and Crochet, Needlearts, Techniques and Mediums 1 Comment

By General Crafts Contributor Monica from the blog Mon Makes Things.

Solid Granny Square by A Creative Being and Arden Granny Square by Mon Makes Things

1. Solid Granny Square by A Creative Being  //  2. Arden Granny Square by Mon Makes Things

The Crochet Mood Blanket project has me on a granny square craze at the moment. As I wrote in a previous post, the community forming around this project is incredibly inspiring. I personally tested out a number of patterns before picking a design to carry through the entire year. In the group, several participants have written about changing their square pattern mid-way  –  choosing colors and a pattern is no small task! Some have even solved this by doing different patterns for each day.

Flowers in the Snow Granny Square by Solgrim  and Sunburst Granny Square by Nittybits

3. Flowers in the Snow Granny Square by Solgrim  //  4. Sunburst Granny Square by Nittybits

Not everyone is doing squares for their crochet mood blanket, of course. Many participants are doing stripe blankets, adding a new stripe each day/week. Many others are doing hexagons instead of squares as well. Some doing stripes are using a different style stitch for each day/week to mix it up, others are doing ripples or the traditional granny stripe. As for me, I like the square. It’s simple, it’s small, and it’s quick, all of which make the task of making one a day more manageable for me. I am actually really envious of the beautiful hexagon blankets taking shape, but as I already have a hexagon blanket in the works, I opted for the more traditional square.

Patroon Granny Square by HaakKamer  and Puff Stitch Granny Square by Crejjtion

5. Patroon Granny Square by HaakKamer  //  6. Puff Stitch Granny Square by Crejjtion

All of the patterns here include full photo tutorials, which I personally think is super helpful in learning a new pattern. One of the tutorials (the Arden square) is my own, and I speak from experience when I say that writing a pattern feels confusing; it’s tough trying to write something so that others can fully understand your instruction — photos make a big difference!

I tried to order these from simplest to more complex. If you are relatively new (or completely new) to crochet, I recommend the solid granny (#1) or a traditional granny (not included here) to start off. Both of those styles utilize basic stitches and counts. Some project participants using those patterns have expressed a concern over their “boring” squares, but I think that those traditional styles can be just as lovely as the more intricate designs. By using different colors throughout the year, those blankets will still be filled with character and charm, and one could easily add a border color to all their traditional squares if they wanted to add some visual interest as well.

The sunburst square (#4) is particularly popular amongst participants, and bear in mind that the colors choices are entirely up to you. With patterns like the sunburst and flowers in the snow squares (#3 & 4), some are changing colors each round while others are sticking with a contrasting border and one color in the center to reflect their mood. These patterns are a little more advanced in that they switch from a circle to a square and may involve more complex stitches.

**Note: Tutorial #5 is not written in US crochet terms. Experienced crocheters should be able to figure out the pattern from the photos easily enough, but I don’t recommend it for crochet newbies.

 

Are you going to take up the Crochet Mood Blanket challenge? What design will you use?

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