Author Archives: Monica


About Monica

Monica will be sharing home decor, crochet, and more DIY projects. She is a college student born and raised in the mitten state, and could not be more excited to graduate this coming December. When she’s not working or studying, she is crafting while cozied up on the couch watching shameful amounts of TV on Netflix. In her spare time, she runs a little craft blog called mon makes things. She has been crocheting since she was a little girl, and she runs an Etsy shop with her mom: shanx studios, selling crocheted stuffed animals and ornaments. She can’t wait to share her DIY projects and in her words: “ If I can do it, you can do it — let’s get crafty!”

Washi Hearts: DIY Thumbtacks

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

Washi Tape Heart Pins

I tend to over think things. Anybody else have that problem? Sometimes I make projects super complicated and challenging and it seems like I add a zillion steps that are probably unnecessary. But once in a while I manage to make a simple craft. Like, really simple. Like so simple that I think, “I can’t post this, it’s too simple, it’d be silly.” But you know what? I like when bloggers post simple projects that I could finish in a single episode of television. So friends, this is one of those projects. And it’s still suuper cute!

Washi Heart Pins

Stuff You’ll Need: Washi Tape in various patterns, thumbtacks (the flat metal kind), wooden hearts, E6000 glue

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Crochet Shamrocks

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

Crochet Shamrocks Free Pattern

Crochet Shamrocks Pattern

Tell me I’m not the only one who can’t believe that St. Patrick’s Day is upon us… The never-ending winter season here in Michigan has me in complete denial about the date on the calendar; a look out the window tells me that it’s GOTTA be like, December… right? If any of you Think Crafts readers follow my blog or instagram, you probably know about my affinity for crochet hearts… I’ve done big ol’ heart pillowsheart garlandsmini amigurumi hearts, and the list goes on… This shamrock pattern? It’s made outta hearts. What can I say, I’m a one trick pony. 😉

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Basic Granny Square Tutorial

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

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?

Crochet Mood Blanket: A Global Project

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

Crochet Mood Blanket: A Global Project

1. Donna  //  2. Casey @ Plus 3 Crochet

Shortly before 2013 drew to a close, Instagram user Stacey Wentford-Hall, A.K.A. @frofunky (formerly @mummy_stacey), pitched the idea of a crochet mood blanket to a few friends. Much to her surprise, the idea went viral and as of now, thousands around the world are participating! The Facebook group currently has over 2,600 members, and the Instagram tag #crochetmoodblanket2014 has over 6,800 photos.

Crochet Mood Blanket - A Global Project

3. Alycia @ Habitual Homebody  //  4. Becky Smith  //  5. Filomena Parbery  //  6. Danica  //  7. Kyra  //  8. Charlie  //  9. Randi  //  10. Rebecca Haas  //  11. Rachael Visser  //  12. Lori @ Just Pure Lovely
**non-linked photos were found in the Facebook group and are used with permission**

The concept is pretty simple, really: crochet a granny square (or stripe) each day using a color that depicts your mood! Some are doing a square for each week to make the task more manageable. From there, the project has been twisted and tweaked in a host of ways. Some have chosen a set of yarn colors with a chart linking colors with specific moods, while others are simply choosing an appealing color for that day. Some are doing multi-color squares to represent their changing moods throughout the day. An innumerable variety of patterns are being used, from the basic to the complex. Some are viewing this as a “stash-buster” project, while others are journaling their moods and colors each day. Personally, I think that is what makes this project great; the vast room for personalization and the seemingly unending fount of inspiration provided by the diverse group of participants.

Crochet Mood Blanket: A Global Project

13. Tanya @ Little Things Blogged  //  14. Cat @ Yellow Sherbet  //  15. Monica @ Mon Makes Things  //  16. Bren @ Snerb

Obviously 2014 is already underway, but do not let that discourage you from joining the challenge! There are plenty of days left in the year, you can make up missed days if you’d like, and these project “rules” are basically the opposite of strict. You can join whenever! The Facebook group and Instagram posts are serving as a wonderful source for creativity and community, and I encourage you to join if you have the slightest interest in crochet — many people are learning to crochet by way of this project!

All the photos shared here were posted to either the Facebook group or the Instagram tag. See what I mean about all the inspiring participants?! Please, join and share in this project if you’d like. And stay tuned! If you’re a novice crocheter, if you’re rusty, or if you’re looking for ideas, I’ll be sharing a round-up of good granny square patterns with tutorials — from the simple to the more advanced. Happy hooking!

If you’d like to read more about the project, there is an interview with the project creator here

Mason Jar Tumblers

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

Frosted Mason Jar Tumblers

Frosted Glass Mason Jar Tumblers

I have been wanting to try my hand at some DIY mason jar tumblers for a while now, and I am pleased to report that they are WAY easier than you may think. Seriously, they’re like, really really easy. I decorated my jars with the Ball Transform Mason Frosting Paint for a subtle “etched” polka dot effect. The paint was supposed to be dishwasher safe, but unfortunately mine washed clean… So I suggest either hand washing these, using a different glass paint (I’ve heard good things about Martha Stewart), or decorating your jars a different way. The effect was really cute, but I recommend saving this particular paint for projects that won’t need to be washed regularly.

Spotted Jar

Stuff You’ll Need: Mason Jars with Lids, Reusable Plastic Straws, 1/2″ Rubber Grommets, Crop-A-Dile, Screwdriver, Glass Paint, Paint Pouncers

To achieve the polka dot look, I used three different sized paint pouncers. Pour a small amount of paint onto a paper plate, dab your pouncer into the paint, and dab the pouncer back onto the plate (not in the paint). You don’t want too much paint on your pouncer when you press the pouncer onto the jar or it will pool up around the edges of the pouncer. Follow the instructions on your glass paint for making your glasses dishwasher safe (though again, the Ball Transform Mason Paint washed off my jars in the dishwasher, despite the instructions).


Polka Dot Frosted Glass Mason Jar Tumbler

To make your tumbler lids, use your Crop-A-Dile to punch holes in the solid part of the mason jar lid. You can see these four steps in the above photo:

  1. Punch your first hole as far into the lid as your Crop-A-Dile (or other hole punch) will reach. Use this as your starting point.
  2. Punch a series of holes in a large circle, using your straw and grommet as a guide.
  3. Use your screwdriver to round out the edges of your punched circle — put your screwdriver through the hole and press it firmly against the inner edges of the circle so that any pointed parts bend back and downward.
  4. Press your grommet into the hole.

I used 1/2″ grommets for my lids, though I’ve seen a number of tutorials that call for 3/8″ grommets. It just depends on your straws. I bought my straws at Target near the reusable plastic cups (they are replacement straws for Aladdin brand cups).Now put the solid portion of your lid back into the lid ring and you’ve got yourself some DIY tumblers! Easy, right??

Of course you could decorate your jars any way you like, especially since this paint washed off in the dishwasher… You could use actual etching cream for example, or you could try this gilded mason jar project with tumbler lids instead of vase lids!




Felted Gift Tags

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

Needle Felted Gift Tags

For Christmas last year, I attempted to make a 3D needle felted snowman ornament for my snowman-loving mother, and ended up stabbing myself in the thumb more than once before giving up. So when CreateForLess asked me to try out some wool roving and a felting applique kit, I was excited for the challenge (though admittedly a little concerned for my fingers and thumbs, ha!). I thought some holiday themed gift tags would be a fun twist of felted appliques, and I could not be happier with the touch of fun and whimsy they have added to my gift wrapping.

Felted Gift Tag

Holiday Felted Gift Tag

Stuff You’ll Need: Needle Felting Kit (or felting needle(s), felting block/mat), wool roving in your desired colors, felt, pen, scissors, tacky glue, any embellishments (sequin trim, embroidery floss, etc.), embroidery floss, needle

  1. With your pen, lightly draw a design onto your felt. You could also print an image to trace if you’d like. You may find it helpful to cut a rectangle from your felt for your design, so you are only maneuvering the felt you’re working with.
  2. Place your felt on your felting block (a wooden block with upward-facing bristles) and pinch off a small amount of your wool roving.
  3. Place your wool roving over the area of your design you want to fill, and begin stabbing through the roving and felt with your felting needle. *Note: My felting kit had two different sized needles – one smaller for detail work, and one larger for filling large areas. The two did not LOOK very different at all, but it was clear when using both that one was working better for the filler.
  4. Continue stabbing and adding roving until your design is filled. You may want to start with the edges to be sure they are crisp, but it really does not matter.
  5. When your design is filled, you will notice that the backside of your felt is quite fuzzy and messy looking. Use tacky glue around the back edges of your design to attach the felted piece to a second piece of felt. I let mine dry over night, flattened under a heavy book.
  6. When the glue is dry, cut around your design leaving about 1/4″ white border.
  7. Glue on any embellishments you like! I added sequin trim to my ornament and present tags, glittery pom poms to my tree, and backstitched embroidery around my stocking.
  8. Thread your needle with embroidery floss to add the gift tag tie. At the top back of the tags, stitch the thread through only the back layer of felt and tie the floss into a knot (see photo below). Now you can tie your tags onto your gifts!

Add Embroidery Floss

Needle Felted Holiday Gift Tags

You could also embroider initials (or names) onto the tags instead of using them as an embellishment tag! Or you could use these are ornaments on your tree! I’ve gotten more and more into gift wrapping in recent years, and I love tying fun things onto packages for loved ones… They sell all kinds of things for “gift tie-ons” in stores now… Mini ornaments, glittery snowflakes, fancy bows… This is just a DIY alternative to give your presents a homemade touch. 🙂

If you haven’t tried needle felting before, don’t worry — it’s really very easy! And a little cathartic, as you’re violently stabbing through fabric for a while, ha! It was a simple craft to work on while watching TV… I recommend giving it a try and whipping up some designs of your own!