Friday, 31 January 2014

How now, (pink and) blue cowl

Hello! It's still summer here, and what am I making? More winter wear. Logic; it's not my strong point ~___^

I took these photos in the very early morning, when it was still a bit cool, and I was still much too cosy! But this cowl will definitely come in handy for winter ... whenever that happens to arrive! It feels like this summer has been so long, and so very hot!

I made this cowl from ten granny squares; I actually had nine of them already because originally I was going to make a blanket. But, considering how long the Death Star Blanket is taking to make, any future blankets I make are not going to be seven row squares. What was I thinking?! ~___^

The yarn I used is 100% acrylic; the variegated pink is kinda stiff but the turquoise is so, so soft which kinda makes up for it ^___^
I whipped this up last night so I had something to post today so, as you can see, I haven't blocked it yet! Also, as you (hopefully) can't see, I actually haven't woven in the ends either! ~___^

It's lovely and squishy to wear though, and when it's on, the lack of blocking is almost unnoticeable ^___^

Next post, I'll show you my new top; it's rather cropped - oh my! I'm not used to showing so much stomach, but I must admit it's more seasonally appropriate than these last couple of projects! ~___^

- Lisa xx

Monday, 27 January 2014

Flights of Fancy scarf, plus some WIPs

Hello! I have felt vaguely unproductive recently as, although I have been crafting, I haven't actually *finished* much. However, hopefully you will soon see finished versions of these projects! ^___^

Rebecca helped me to adjust completely rehaul a pattern for a cotton top - it fits me much better than the mannequin, I promise! Betty and I really do have completely different shapes (she's not actually that helpful for dressmaking for that reason, but she is very pretty so I forgive her ~___^). This project has halted for the moment as I need to purchase more calico so that I can create the lining; I used up my remaining calico on two toiles, one of which is pictured above >___< I didn't think I'd get to the stage of needing to buy more fabric quite so soon - I have a rather impressive collection of material which, hopefully, will be reduced once I get going on with making more clothes ^___^


I've also been working on this embroidery hoop, which is for Rebecca as an extremely late birthday gift. She should receive it sometime before her next birthday. Maybe. ~___^ The stitches on this design are teeny tiny and unfortunately I can't do it for long periods of time or at night time without hurting my back, neck, and/or eyes. Unreasonable body, placing restrictions on my crafting time! ~___^

The pattern is Witchcraft by Urban Threads, and I'm really keen to see it finished! I've got a couple of ideas to add a twist to the pattern, and I really hope that I can make it work ^___^

I've also been adding to my slowly growing pile of granny squares. I now have 126 of them; only 346 to go! >___<

This will eventually be a blanket, but I don't think it's going to be finished anytime soon. It takes me about an hour to make one square so if I crafted only this for a year then maybe I'd get it done but I get bored too easily to do that! Plus, I think the blog would really go downhill if it was just photos of grey and black granny squares every week! ~___^

Still it's good to see my collection growing .... ^___^

But here's something I *have* finished! Yay! ^___^

I made this royal blue scarf using the Flights of Fancy pattern from Lion Brand Yarns; although I used a completely different wool and therefore hook size.

It was very easy to do and produced an interesting pattern, like leaning trebles.

However, as you can see from my bare arms, it's still the middle of summer here, which makes it highly impractical! At least I'll be ready when winter rolls around again ^___^

What have you been working on? I love hearing from you!
- Lisa xx 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Needle-felted Oscar the Grouch

Hello! A while ago on Instagram I mentioned that Scott and I have been married now for four years! Omg, right? The traditional gifts for the fourth anniversary include electricial appliances, fruit, flowers, and linen; nothing that really spoke to me.

And then I found this mug at Typo. First of all, it's adorable. Secondly, it reminded me of Scott's favourite Muppet.

Oscar the Grouch! Yay! ^___^

He was so much fun to make, and relatively easy too! He is 25cm tall (while in the mug) and his head is 33cm in circumference; it gives him a more cartoonish look to have a big head I think! ^___^

To make him I used one styrofoam ball, one styrofoam cone, felt in green, black, white, red, and brown, fiber in green and brown, one pipecleaner, a needle felting tool, scissors, a hot glue gun, a scalpel, and a plastic spoon.

The first thing I did was to use the scalpel to cut the mouth shape out of the styrofoam ball and to cut the bottom and top off the styrofoam cone so that the base was small enough to fit into the mug and the top was flat to rest the head on.

I did the head first, and made quite a few mistakes along the way. Primarily, I used hot glue to attach green felt to the ball as a base for the fiber. Don't do this! If I had have actually thought this through, I would have realised that hot glue sets hard enough to break needles! >___< Because I did that, I had to use hot glue to attach everything on the head. It still looks ok, but I would have liked to have needle felted his facial features and the hot glue meant I couldn't. Instead, I just cut everything out from felt and glued it onto the head. His monobrow is fiber glued to a piece of felt, as I thought by itself it would be slightly patchy. I'm sure that wouldn't have been a problem if I could have needle felted it though.

However, I'd learnt my lesson when it came to the body and arms! You can not needle felt fiber directly onto styrofoam, so I still needed a felt base. I wrapped felt around the cone and needle felted the fabric that overlapped. It's not actually attached to the styrofoam in any way, just tightly wrapped and felted around it. Then I needle felted on the fiber. Although local big box craft store had labelled this fiber as "for needle felting", I think it might actually be for wet felting. It doesn't have the same kind of fine consistancy that my other fibers have but, in this instance, it wasn't a problem. If you wanted to make something look really neat you'd be having trouble, but I thought it was good for Oscar to look a bit messy ^___^

As for the arms, I cut out long strips of felt, needle felted the fiber onto them, and then felted them closed with a small section of pipecleaner inside to make them slightly poseable. If you do this, keep in mind that the wire in the pipecleaner could break your needles, so ensure you only felt around it. I made sure the pipecleaners were shorter than the arms so that I could felt the tops of the arms to the body.

Lastly, I tried to use hot glue to attach the head to the body but it was much too wobbly, and I thought the weight of the head would pull off the fibers from the body. I cut the handle off a plastic spoon and, after using my scalpel to cut through the fiber and felt, inserted it into both the head and the body. It worked really well - that head isn't going anywhere! ~___^

And that's that! ^___^ I'm pleased with how he turned out, but now I want to give proper needle felting a go! Have you done any needle felting? What did you make? I think I better start with something easy, so I'd love your suggestions! ^___^

- Lisa xx

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Bat necklace, spider ring, rat ring: jewellery made from Halloween toys

Hello! A while ago I shared with you how to make hair clips out of leftover Halloween plastic rats, but I still had some animals left over!

My favourites were probably these little bats; they're so cute! They had a suction cap on the back, but they didn't stick very well so I had no qualms about making them into necklaces ^___^

They were really easy to make into necklaces; all I did was poke a sharp needle through their wings and then attach chain using jump rings. So simple!

I think they add a really fun touch to an outfit ^___^ 

I also had about a bazillion plastic spiders (yep, that number is totally accurate) so I made one into a ring simply by glueing on a ring base.

I wore this ring to work which, in hindsight, wasn't a great idea. Cue a lot of people shrieking and jumping as they saw it and thought it was real. Ooops, sorry folks!

 Lastly, a rat that didn't make it onto a hair clip became another ring.

Less people scream when they see this one. Do what you will with that information! ~___^

I think a necklace out of spiders is next on my list ... ~___^

- Lisa xx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Assorted thriftiness

Hello! After finally managing to find these photos in my phone (I swear it hides things from me!) I thought I'd share with you what I picked up on the second annual op-shopping road trip that Rebecca and I did ^___^

Here's an overview. Um, wow, right?  You've already been introduced to my new pyrex pieces, but I did find some other cool things as well! ^____^ In the top left hand corner you can see my newest tuperware piece. I love finding old tupperware! It's usually still got the seal intact, and it makes my pantry look so much neater ^____^ This one was only a couple of dollars - huzzah! ^____^ At the bottom is my one and only doily purchase this trip (I try not to buy too many of these as they really serve no practical purpose ... but they do look very pretty!); this one is hand embroidered with a lily-of-the-valley. I always find it hard to leave handmade things behind in op-shops, don't you? ^____^

I got four new embroidery hoops, which is really excellent because since I've been doing hooplas I've been going through them like hotcakes! ^____^ I also picked up two DC comics pillowcases. I'm really hoping that I'll find superhero sheets one day because I really, really want to make a dress from them. Finger crossed!


This set of Johnson teacups, saucers, and plates was only $2.50 so I really couldn't justify leaving them behind, even though they are not the type of china I normally buy. They're a bit more practical for everyday use than my fancy bone china teacups and saucers though and I've been using them quite a bit ^____^

This cute canister has a crack that prevents it from being airtight, but it was 50c and I'm planning on using it for craft room storage. The two glasses are, hopefully, the start of a vintage glassware collection and were $1 for both. All my other glasses are super plain and boring, so it's nice to liven it up a bit! ^____^ Also in this picture you can see the additional four pineapple bowls that I got to match the seven piece collection that I brought previously. I'm going to need to have a dinner party and insist on a pineapple dessert, I think! ^____^

I really hit the vintage sheet motherload on this trip and ended up with six sheets and three pillowcases. Once I get past my fear of actually cutting into them, I plan on making some pretty dresses from these ^____^

Gosh, going through these pictures has made me want to go thrifting again very soon! Do you have a favourite thing to get second-hand? 

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Crochet eyeball beret with pattern

Hello! A while ago I saw a beret that looked like an eyeball and, as with so many things, I thought: "I could make that!". And, finally, I have actually done so! ^___^

My version is crocheted, because the only thing more impractical to wear during an Australian heatwave than a big floppy beret is one that is woolen. Yes, I am a highly practical person ~___^

This is what it looks like on; as you can see I have added some pleats in the back in order to make it extra slouchy and comfy. I think it worked! ^___^ (Also, thanks goes to Rebecca for taking this photo of the back of my head, as that is a rather difficult thing to accomplish by oneself.)

And here it is from the front! I like to wear my hats rather low on my head to cover up where my fringe part begins. Especially at the moment as I desperately need to touch up my roots - eek! ~___^

Would you like to make your own? Here's how!

You'll need four colours of yarn. I used charcol grey for the pupil, green for the iris, white for the sclera, and pastel pink for the veins and the rest of the hat.

I wanted the veins to be very subtle, so I chose a colour with a very similar tone to the white yarn; maybe too similar! The veins are tricky to see unless you are looking carefully. I also used a 3.75mm crochet hook (size F-5 for the Americans ^___^), scissors, and a thick tapestry needle.

To make this hat, you are basically making two shapes; the circle and the ring. Both are pretty easy to make and you could probably do it without a pattern. But, I wrote down what I did anyway so if you like you can follow that ^___^ Just please keep in mind that this pattern hasn't been tested! You will probably find a mistake (or ten!); if you do, please let me know and I will fix up the pattern! ^___^

Row 1: Using your grey yarn, chain 6. Join with a slip stitch. 
Row 2: Crochet 12 trebles into the ring, join with a slip stitch. 
Row 3: Crochet two trebles into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch. 
Row 4: Treble twice into one stitch, then once in the next stitch; repeat this pattern all the way around and then join with a slip stitch.
Row 5 - 6: Repeat row four.
Row 7: Change to green yarn; treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.
Row 8: Treble twice into one stitch, then once in the next four stitches; repeat this pattern all the way around and then join with a slip stitch.
Row 9: Treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.
Row 10: Repeat row nine.
Row 11: Change to white yarn. Treble twice into one stitch, then once in the next four stitches; repeat this pattern all the way around and then join with a slip stitch.
Row 12: Repeat row eleven.
Row 13: Treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.
Row 14: Repeat row thirteen.
Row 15: Treble twice into one stitch, then once in the next four stitches; repeat this pattern all the way around and then join with a slip stitch.
Row 16 - 17: Treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.

My circle was 28cm in diameter.

Row 1: Using your pink yarn, chain 118 and join with a slip stitch. Make sure you don't twist the chain while you join in.
Row 2: Treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.
Row 3: Treble twice into one stitch, then once in the next four stitches; repeat this pattern all the way around and then join with a slip stitch.
Row 4: Repeat row three.
Row 5: Treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.
Row 6: Repeat row five.
Row 7: Treble twice into one stitch, then once in the next four stitches; repeat this pattern all the way around and then join with a slip stitch.
Row 8 - 11: Treble once into each stitch around, join with a slip stitch.

The inner diameter of the ring that I made was 17cm, after pleating.


Then pin the ring to the circle, right sides in, adding four pleats to the bottom of the ring. Using slip stitch, crochet all the way around the pinned edge, joining the two pieces together.

Use surface crochet to add the veins to the sclera and then, after weaving in all the ends (groan!), it's finished! ^___^

My head circumference is 55cm, but the hat does have a bit of stretch in it so it'll probably still fit if your head is a little bigger than that. Also, please keep in mind that I crochet very tightly. If you crochet with less tension, your hat will end up bigger and you probably won't need to do as many rows.


Anyway, I hope you like it! If you make one for yourself I'd love to see it, and if you can advise me what one should wear with a pastel eyeball hat, I'd love to hear your outfit ideas!  I'm thinking a white lace dress with pale blue stockings ... but that'll have to wait until winter!

- Lisa xx