Holidays: September 2011 Archives
Martha Stewart really knows her stuff. Her new line of yarn from Lion Brand is wonderful! The weights, textures and colors are absolutely Martha- and by that, you know I'm indicating that they are awesome. One yarn that caught my eye is this Lofty Wool Yarn. The super bulky weight and essentially single texture with a small fiber ply makes this yarn versatile enough for knitting and crochet projects, as well as crafts.
A great orange color is featured in the collection, "Autumn Leaf". Immediately I was inspired by a yarn wreath. I have seen these yarn wreaths before but I have never done one myself. They are so easy! I bought a Styrofoam rounded wreath base from the floral craft section at my local craft store. Tightly wrap the yarn all the way around, knot it off to secure and boom, done! I was astounded to find that one ball of Lofty Wool Yarn was EXACTLY enough to wrap a 12'' wreath. I had 4'' of yarn left over...that exact.
For the embellishments, I used a variety of Riley Blake ribbon and trims to make rugged little flowers. No sewing involved! Take a sewing pin and gather the ribbon (click here for video demonstration) and stick it to the wreath. You can use this technique with all kinds of ribbon for all different flower effects- I used pom pom ribbon, lace ribbon, grosgrain and ric rac. Since its Styrofoam, the pins are great because you can rearrange and replace!
So our costume is complete and a huge hit but it was a tricky week of sewing, readjusting and hiding from curious eyes that once they have spotted a Lion Costume can't wait to wear said lion costume. I made my little girls Kwik Sew Lion Costume from dark and light purple fleece and it is so soft and delicious. The fleece was a pleasure to sew with my walking foot. Of course, I did have to stop every half hour of sewing and de-lint my machine but it was sooo worth it. Now for the breakdown:
The pattern went together very easily for the most part but I did have trouble with the paws. My work around was to trace the paw pattern piece onto another piece of paper and then cut out the paw pieces from the fleece, not using the sew-on method recommended in the pattern. Then cut out the paw pieces from the traced paper and use it as a stencil/placement guide and with fabric glue (or you can use a glue stick), tack down the pattern pieces. Then zig zag around the edges of paw pieces. This eliminated the paper mess with little bits of tear-able paper under every stitch and made it much easier to cut out the paw pieces since you are doing it before hand instead of afterward. I also hemmed the bottom of each leg so I could let them down further down the road instead of the elastic. This also makes it easier for my little one to get into the costume herself. I added a zipper in a contrasting color to make it easier for her to find and zip up. Lastly, I assembled the fringe on the tail and sewed it on after I sewed and turned the tail. The fringe was too bulky using the pattern assembly. I hand sewed it in place which made it much easier, no broken needles and the finish was just as neat as the original. I am going to go back and lightly stuff the tail and add some pipe cleaners so I can shape the tail for Trick or Treating so keep it off the ground and give it some life.
Some other modifications I considered were adding the bow from the bunny variation and some flat piping around the chest piece. The reason I decided against them was that the costume was so stinking cute that I didn't think it needed them and would have been lost on the costume.
Stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4 which will feature easy shoe covers to make your costume flawless and a great Pumpkin Pail Cover to match your costume and complete your Halloween Look. Find Part 1 of our Child Costume series here and check out our great Fleece section for your kid's color combination dreams-come-true!
Last week, I set aside some time to sit down with one of our Rosewood Crochet Hooks so I could review it. But then I forgot and sat daydreaming for a few hours. It was only later when I looked down and saw that instead of relaxing and day dreaming (which I quite contentedly thought I was doing) I had actually been crocheting. My Rosewood Hook was that soft and warm in my hand that I was able to forget it for a little while, and at the same time, forget about everything else for a time as well. Since then I have consciously used the Rosewood Crochet Hook and it is just as fun, soft, smooth and warm as my previous Zen experience.
I would start off, first, by recommended it to advanced beginners for several reasons. 1) The wood is soft so the hard tension that beginners can adopt may snap the beautiful hook. 2) It is more slick and faster than the Aluminum and Soft Touch hooks which might be frustrating for a beginner. 3) The price while not a show stopper is something to consider if you are not sure crochet is for you. However, if Crochet is for you than so are the Rosewood Hooks. They are gorgeous to the point that I spent as much time looking at my hands as I did my work (I even gave myself a manicure because my hands were shaming the hook). A few hooks or even a full set would make a dream gift for the crocheter on your list. Even just one tucked in with a few balls of alpaca or cashmere would be a thoughtful and endearing gift. I love my one Rosewood hook but you can rest assured it will not be lonely for long.
I remember when I first discovered I was pregnant with my now 2 yr old daughter and bragging to my husband that I would always make my daughter's Halloween Costume. 2 years in and I have stuck to my guns (though that is only 2 costumes so far- year 1 & year 2). This year, I am taking it to the next step and making a full costume using Kwik Sew's Babies and Toddler's Costume that features a Bunny, Bear, Dinosaur and Lion. My little one is crazy about all of these creatures but has a special fondness for lions so I am working on that one. As simple as it may look, making a costume for a toddler is not a 'jump-in' project. This needs some planning and consideration. First you need to know that this is not just a costume to your baby or toddler. Whether or not they understand the concept of Halloween and costumes, reason stands that all that will go out the window once they try it on for the first time. No, this is no costume to your kid, but an everyday outfit (fit even for the fanciest of places...the grocery store). FACT: this costume needs to last. Given that last bit, that means you need to bank on your baby or toddler growing so proper measuring is key.
You will need to start by measure your kid now and then adding a year's growth to that (this takes into consideration that this costume will not fall out of favor until next year's new costume is unveiled). You don't want to just estimate here either because patterns take growth as a factor too. You need to make sure you start with the right measurements to end with the right size. To measure a wiggly kid is tough but with a door and a piece of chalk it can be easier (chalk can be cleaned right off). Stand your kid against the door and mark above their head for height and stretch out their arms and mark for arm length. These 2 indications are prime growth areas. You can measure the door while your kid is playing somewhere else with less wiggling. Measure from the ground to the height mark and from the end of the mark to just under the height mark (if you drew in the measurement lines it would make a cross). If you can, quickly measure the tummy, chest and head). I like to do this while she is drinking because her speed is greatly reduced at this time. These are not as critical but are helpful since the tummy is usually the widest area, you don't want the costume to be tight on the chest and this is a big growth area, and the head is a key complaint area for kids.
Compare these key measurements to the back of the pattern envelope as your starting point and go with the next size up. If you are spot on with the size recommended for your size, great but not every kid grows at the same rate. You don't want a too small costume before it is time to make another and you don't want your child tripping to every house in the neighborhood. Start right to save yourself some trouble and make for one happy kid this October through October.
You can find more costume patterns here on Fabric.com
When a new holiday rolls around I don't really get in the mood until I have decorated my house. While I do love to decorate my home, making the decorations is even more fun. This year I decided my Funkins just were not FUN enough so I spiced them up a bit with Glitter after I saw this idea on Martha Stewart's Craft site.
While I love Martha's glitter color choice in the video, I felt it was too tonal for me so I spiced it up a bit with green, red and orange (yes, despite what I just said about tonal, but it is a bright orange). And I set to work. I had a blast, a glitter obsessed, pumpkin decorating, Halloween loving, blast. All you need to make your own are a few pumpkins, real or fake, some white glue, glitter in several colors (Martha makes the best- really branches out of the primary colors), a medium sized art brush (doesn't need to be fancy), some newspaper/craft paper, a cookie sheet and a place to work. You want to lay out the newspaper/ craft paper on the cookie sheet. This will be your main work area to catch all the extra glitter. Paint your pumpkin's skin with the glue and then cover it in glitter. You can do it a number of ways, roll it in the glitter, sprinkle it with glitter, brush it on, etc. Whichever works best for you. Once covered, set your Glitter Pumpkin aside to dry and get to work on the next with another color. This project is good for kids over the age of 6 because of potential for huge messes.
Since they were big pumpkins, it did take a while to get each covered but because I went with the fake pumpkins, I can use them each year. I am also branching out into other glitter covered objects for Christmas (apples), Chanukah (also apples but in blue or silver), Thanksgiving (Gourds), New Years (Pomegranate), or Easter (Eggs). I already have many of these items laying around just looking for a second life. My only real decision and purchase is lovely glitter. I think I need a stash of glitter as well as yarn and fabric!