Back to School Crafting

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Hi everyone and Happy Wednesday!

I’m a guest blogger on CraftHackers today!  My name is Lindsay and I own a small business called Stamps & Stitches.  I’m a general crafter as in I do a little bit of everything – card making, cross-stitching, scrapbooking, and knitting.  You can see what I’m up to on my Facebook page!

Today we’re going to talk about crafting for back to school.  It’s a great time of year for everyone to learn something new, not just the kids!  Learning different crafts is in my opinion the best kind of learning!  It’s also never to early to inspire your kids with a bit of extra creativity and get started on those teacher’s gifts that you might give out at different times of the year.

Let’s start out with the teachers’ gifts.  How adorable is this apple clay jar?  All you need is a clay pot, some paint and either some clay or a marble for the top.  And don’t forget the leaf!  It’s the finishing touch!  Here are the instructions and don’t forget to fill it with the teacher’s favourite goodies!

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Next up, I am sure your teenager would love to decorate their lockers to make it their own and unique.  How about some hand-made bottle cap magnets?  You and your teen can decorate them to fit their specific style and interests!  These instructions include graphics to turn your bottle caps into super cool clocks but get out your paintbrush and any design will do!

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Finally, how are you going to keep your kid’s space or even your crafting space organized?  Take some old cans (especially those that don’t have sharp edges), decorate them with some pretty designer paper and glue them together into a cool shape!  For this particular craft, all you would need is some empty cans or containers (try to gets ones that are all the same size), some decorative paper, paper adhesive, hot glue to glue your cans into whatever shape you like and your imagination!  Having each container hold a different type of item is the perfect way to keep your kids organized and have them WANT to put away their pens and markers!  I know I’ll be using this one in my craft room, nevermind the kids!!

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I hope you’re all enjoying the silence with the children off to school and are getting some crafting done!

Craft on and make sure to share with us what you’re working on!

– Lindsay


Handstamped from the Heart

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to make your own greeting cards?  But really, can we say they’re just greeting cards when you’re actually making cards that are also works of art?  Christyne from Handstamped from the Heart can show you how to do just that!

Christyne is a demonstrator from an amazing company called Stampin’ UP!  Stampin’ UP! is a rubber stamp based company that also sells quality cardstock and fantastic patterned paper.  Christyne is a master at putting all of these elements together to create gorgeous cards!  I submit exhibits A, B and C for your reference.  🙂

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Her site and Facebook page are always filled with such beautiful cards and inspiration.  She can make simple and elegant cards or complex and stunning.  She can also show you exactly how to make them with different techniques and products each month.  April’s class was all about celebrating the women in your life and I can vouch that we made some awesome cards!  On May 2nd, class will be all about the boys!  Check out Christyne’s class schedule for upcoming dates and topics.

If you’re already familiar with Stampin’ UP! and their amazing products, you check out Christyne’s online store or contact Christyne directly to place an order.  OR if you’re already in love with the products and card making like me, you can join Christyne’s Stampin’ UP! team, Canadian Blossoms!

As a final treat, I’m going to link one of Christyne’s tutorials and you can make the below card yourself!

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Enjoy your card making!!  Also, keep in mind that any of these products can be used with scrapbooking too!  🙂

– Lindsay


You Are My Sunshine

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I think I’m really aching for the sunshine today!  This winter has lasted too long!

Belle from ReImagination Prints brings us that little bit of happy with her You Are My Sunshine Dictionary Print Set!  Not only did it make me happy, it also got that song in my head that my mom used to sing to me when I was a little girl!

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This is what Belle says about her artwork: “I find books that are falling apart and I carefully rescue the usable pages and up-cycle them by printing them with digitally enhanced old photos, vintage illustrations and my own artwork. Most of the pages I use are over 115 years old so each piece created is unique and one of a kind with its own individual shading and character.

I enjoy the idea of taking worn books that are about to be tossed out and turning them into something completely different that hopefully will be enjoyed, and maybe even treasured, for many more years to come. The books I source my materials from were destined for the dust heap of history (that’s just a nice way of saying they were to be tossed in the trash) but I turn them into something new and different so they can be appreciated once again.”

Do you want your own unique piece of art?

If you need a little Audrey Hepburn in your life, may I suggest the Dark Mood print or the Breakfast at Tiffany’s print?  Both are just so classic!

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Or if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration

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I think my personal favourite is this Alice in Wonderland print.  It is just so fanciful and goes perfectly with the dictionary background!

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If you would like to see more from ReImagination Prints, you should check out her Etsy store!  You will not be disappointed!

– Lindsay


Knitting Cast On/Cast Off Tips

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For all you beginner knitters out there who would like to progress to hats and shawls, I’m going to give you just a couple cast on/cast off tips for today.

If you’re thinking about making a hat or even going for socks, you may wish to try the German Twisted Cast-On.  It gives a good amount of stretch which is perfect for a hat or socks without being too stretchy and getting droopy.  It’s also good for projects with ribbing, which hats often have.  As you can see below, the cast-on molds perfectly to the ribbing that follows.  There will be many YouTube videos that will show you how to do this but here’s one for you.

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Next, for shawls, what you will use will depend on whether you working your shawl from the top or the bottom.  The pattern will tell you this right away.  There are two cast-on/cast-off pairs that I like to use.  The first is Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On.  This cast-on is just perfect for shawls where you want the stretch so that you can freely block it afterwards.

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This cast-on is related to Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  The instructions in this particular are step by step with pictures but if you’re more of a video, YouTube person, here’s that option as well!  This is good if you start from the top of your shawl and end with the bottom – often having 200-400 stitches to bind off that you don’t want to be tight like a normal bind/cast-off would cause.

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The final cast-on/off pair that I would like to share with you is the Chinese Waitress Cast-on.  This cast-on creates a beautiful edge that also happens to be very stretchy!  You can do this with either two knitting needles or my preferred method is with a knitting needle and a crochet hook!

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Related to this cast-on is the Chinese Waitress Bind-Off which will give you a matching edge on the other side of your project!

I hope I’ve provided you with some tools/tips to get your started!  Let us know if you like them or if you have other suggestions that have worked for you!

– Lindsay


Georgetown Yarn Crochet Class #4

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Well, folks, we have come to the final crochet class at Georgetown Yarn and what a wonderful ride it has been!  It’s pretty amazing that just a month ago I knew absolutely nothing except that you use a hook instead of a needle and now I feel like I could pick up a pattern and know what all the gobbily-goop actually means!

For the final class, Kerry had us pick out own pattern and wool (or wool options in my case) and she helped us get started on a project of our very own!  I recently started tabletop gaming with some friends so I thought I would make myself a dice bag.  I found a project pattern that I liked and found a few balls of wool that I thought might work and off I went.

Kerry helped me figure out which wool was best for my project and then she got me going.  I actually used the leftover Cascade 220 Heather from my purse that I bought at Georgetown Yarn for this.  The dice bag is the first project I had worked on so far that had increases and decreases.  Kerry very patiently worked through it with me and I was off to the races!

Here we are getting set up for me to begin:

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Then I learned about crochet magic loop and began my increases.  I got quite a few increase rows done before class was over and I was pretty proud!

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And then guess what?  I was rewarded!  I got myself a certificate for completing the beginner crochet class.  WOOHOO!

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When I got home and over the next day, I steadily worked on my dice bag.  I was making such good progress.  Look!  It’s half a bag!

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And then disaster struck…  Turns out at some point along the way, I missed an increase and when I was about to start my decreases, I counted up my stitches and had the wrong number.  This is the result:

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But I powered through, undid about 15 rows back to the increase rows, faked a fix (don’t tell!!) and I was good to go again.  Here I am getting close to final product.

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Finally, TADA!  I present you with Sally!  She kind of reminds me of Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas!  🙂

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Here ends my adventures in crochet class.  I hope you enjoyed the ride!  Georgetown is currently offering Beginner Knitting and another Beginning Crochet class will be starting up again soon.  Be sure to keep an eye on the Facebook page or Ravelry page for more details.  And sign up for the Georgetown Yarn newsletter for even more information!!  You can also check out Kerry’s website to see when and where she is teaching classes.

Happy Saturday to you and I hope you’re getting some crafting in!

– Lindsay


Spring into Action!

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Yesterday, Nicole started us off on the DIY trend by showing us how to crochet our own Easter eggs.  I’m going to continue with that and give you some of the cutest Spring/Easter patterns that I’ve found.  Bunnies and chicks and eggs…oh my!!  The below patterns are going to be a mixture of knitting and crochet – something for everyone!

First off, Rebecca Danger gives us these super cute Bunny Nuggets!  I have made these before and they are weird and cute and awesome!  Janette Williams then offers us the Easy Easter Bunny for you crocheters out there!  Can you imagine having tiers of these bunnies around your house?

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I found the pattern for these Spring Bunnies by Stephanie Jessica Lau and oh my word!  Have you ever seen a cuter bunny?  They look so wee and adorable!  I am definitely glad that I’m learning to crochet because these are now on my to-make list!

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If you are the type of person that likes making “useful” items out of your crafting skills and have a little special someone, how about this Bunny Hat by Angie Hartley?  Or if you’re planning an Easter egg hunt, you’ll need something to carry those treats around in so this Bunny Purse by Sheila Leslie might be just the thing!

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Okay, the bunnies have had their turn.  Now make way for the chicks!  How about a chick in an Easter egg costume?  Huh?  CUTE!  This pattern is by A Modest Creation.  Or what about a chick in an egg shell by Sanda Dobrosavljev?  I’m not too sure why we keep putting chicks in things but it works and your kids or friends will love them!

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Okay, time to give the chicks a chance at being useful!  To match the bunny’s practicality, we also have an amazingly adorable chick hat by Shelle Hendrix and this chick Easter basket by Maria Stout!  So?  What do you think?  Who is cuter?  The bunny or the chick?

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Finally, I’m going to give you some option of Easter eggs.  We have a version of the simple crochet egg that Nicole shared yesterday.  This egg pattern by Mamachee gives us a few colour variations and still makes this something most crochets (hopefully even me) would be able to attain to.  Next we have a more difficult version of the crochet Easter egg with colour and stitch changes that show us little chicks on the egg by Hylkje Bies.  Finally, we have the fancy Nordic Easter Egg pattern by Mary Ann Stephens.

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So, out of all the patterns above, which are you going to choose to decorate your Easter table with?  Let us know and share some pics!

– Lindsay

 


Georgetown Yarn Crochet Class #3

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Hiya folks!  It’s time for another edition of the Georgetown Yarn Crochet Class!!  It was GRANNY SQUARE week – the very best of all the weeks!  🙂

I was a little anxious about this class because I’m somewhat obsessed about making my own granny square blanket.  It’s something my grandmother used to make.  I have a couple of hers so I wanted to be able to add my own to the collection.  But!  What if I couldn’t do it?  What if I didn’t like making them?  What if all the other what ifs??

But I went and I did and had fun while I was at it!  Our instructor, Kerry, was very patient with us as we learned because there were questions…just a few!  There was also a bit of undoing as we got it right!

So here we are getting ready to go with our sample balls of wool and the next picture shows the granny squares that Kerry made that we had to inspire to!  Aren’t they so pretty?  That beautiful yarn is available at Georgetown so you can make those squares yourself!

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Here I am diving in!  We started with chaining some stitches, turning that into a circle and magically, that somehow turned into a square!  I like to believe in the magic of the square.  🙂

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And then you just keep going and going until…

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You’re done!!

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Now I have the challenge of deciding on the colours of the actual blanket I’m going to make.  Should it be all one colour?  Should I use two colours?  Or should I go for a variegated wool like the one Kerry used above?  So many options!

Next week will be the final class (I know you’re sad 🙂 ).  For this one, we get to bring our own pattern and Kerry walks us through how to make something that we want to make.  Whatever am I going to choose?  Stay tuned!

– Lindsay


Spring’s right around the corner…for mamas!

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So I was searching around Etsy for the perfect new purse to celebrate the coming spring and I found the CUTEST bags.  What I didn’t realize until after was that they were diaper bags!  Mamas get all the cute things!  🙂  They get the babies and the cute diaper bags…  Geez Louise!  🙂

Maranda Lee makes the “original hot mama handbag”!  What more could you ask for?  Even though I don’t have babies of my own, I couldn’t stop myself from looking through some of her products.  Here are my favourites!

The Emma Chevron Diaper Bag grabbed my attention first.  Surely I could use this for non-diaper bag purposes?!

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The Stella Diaper Bag is cool with its grey and light teal!

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Looking for something bright and cheerful?  How about this Stella Morning Glory bag?

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Now…what about accessories for your bag?  Every girl needs accessories!  Maranda Lee also makes changing mats and mini bags for your wipes, called Deluxe Wipee Dipee Bags!!

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Have I got you hooked yet?  Check out her Etsy store for more!  You can also go to her Facebook or website for more updates and peeks into her awesome products!

– Lindsay


Georgetown Yarn Crochet Class #2

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Welcome back to my Georgetown Yarn crochet class series with class #2!  Never fear because you can always go back and check out what I learned in the first class!  😉

Before I get started and dive into what I learned, I would be remiss if I didn’t show you what I purchased during the first class.  I was so excited to share my project with you that I forgot all about how bad I was and how much wool I bought.  So, here it is!  My shame for the world to see!!

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Isn’t it gorgeous?!  So many pretty colours!!  And oh, so soft!  It could be yours too…  Just sayin’!

Okay, now down to business!  Last week, we learned the basics – a slip knot, how to make a chain, how to start a foundation row and single crochet.  This week we took it a step further and learned many of the remaining stitches that a crocheter will need to know to make the millions of patterns out there.  We learned the double crochet, the half-double crochet and the treble crochet.  These stitches are what give a project shape, height, texture and holes!  Let me show you some pictures of my progress so you can see what I mean.

Here we are!  The last picture shows my sample with all the different types of stitches, starting with single crochet up to treble crochet.  You can see how much larger the stitches are with the treble.  Isn’t it neat to see all the stitches together like that?

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After practicing, it was time to get down to working on our next project which was a travel size make-up bag or purse or e-reader case or whatever you wanted it to be!  First we had to pick out our wool though.  We were told to pick out a worsted weight wool but even with that restriction, there were so many choices!  How’s a girl to choose?  Finally I settled on a Cascade 220 Heather wool in a dark teal and I got to it!

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For reference, here was the instructor’s sample bag.

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And here’s my progress!  The best thing about crochet still?  How fast it goes!  I came home and got straight to work.  By half way through the next day, I was done!  If I had been knitting this bag, it would have taken me a lot longer than that!  For this bag, we made one big long strip of single crochet until we got to the right size and then switched to double crochet for what would be the flap of the bag.  Then we seamed it all together, added a button hole and a button and voila!  Trust me, the below pictures are all of the same project…silly lighting and flash!

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Finally, here is my bag along with the rest of my classmates’ projects.  I think we did pretty darn good!  What do you think?

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Next week, we’re on to granny squares!!!  CAN’T WAIT!!  In the meantime, remember to keep tabs on Georgetown Yarn through Facebook and Ravelry!

– Lindsay


Coocoo for KooCooCarrillo

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I know I’ve posted about Karen and KooCooCarrillo before but sometimes there are people with such amazing talent that you can’t get enough of them!  Karen is one of those people!

Her clothes range from beautiful business to fanciful frolics for everyday.

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Karen makes sure that her clothes fit all shapes and sizes but I especially appreciate that she makes things to fit people like me, with a little more hips than anything else!  🙂  She is also always happy to alter to make sure the item was meant just for you.

I also love that she makes a concerted effort to ensure the inside is as beautiful as the outside.

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My favourite pieces, apart from her gorgeous dresses (one of which is in my closet), are her tunics which can be worn as tops or dresses.  This purple quilted tunic is stunning!  But my favourite is this butterfly top shown on her instagram page!  The neckline, pockets and cap sleeves makes this one a MUST HAVE for me!

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Many of Karen’s clothes can be found at Freedom Clothing Collective in Toronto – a store of which she is co-owner.  You can check out the Freedom Facebook page for regular updates on Karen’s new creations and other artisans that the store carries.  You’ll also be able to find Karen at the Blossom and Bloom Show in Unionville, Ontario on May 9-10th.  For those of you in Ottawa or the surrounding area, Karen is part of the Flock and Workshop Boutique!

Until you get a chance to see Karen’s gorgeous outfits in person, make sure you follow her instagram page and her etsy store!  You will not be sorry you did!  Although, you may wish that you had a bigger closet!!  By the way, she does and loves commissions!!!!  😀  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

– Lindsay