A Very Egg-cellent Day

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A very happy Easter to all those that celebrate!

I don’t know about you but at all of the Easter celebrations I’ve been to, there is some kind of egg hunt for the kids. In case you’re the one put in charge, here are some last minute ideas for alternatives to the traditional finding eggs in the lawn from She Knows:

EasterEggHunt

If, however, you’d like to give the grown-ups a chance at the fun, I would also recommend the Egg Hunt Ideas for Adults list I found on International Business Times.

If you use beer instead, it could make for a hoppy good time!

If you use beer instead, it could make for a hoppy good time!

In any case, enjoy your day and I will be back next Sunday with a report from St. Louis Comic Con!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Hatch some Eggs!

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Hello Thursday readers!

Today I bring you a fun, easy and beautiful tutorial from Personal Creations for how to make some Easter decorations for your table, to hang around the house, or to even put surprises inside. You won’t need too much to do this project: coloured embroidery thread (or thin yarn or string), some small water balloons, white craft glue, water, tweezers, a pin/scissors and some string to dry the project.  If you put all this together, what do you get? Egg decorations. You can find the full tutorial here.

These cool little eggs can be done in whatever colour you would like, and I would say that you can even do a dusting of glitter if they’re going to be table centerpieces. They’re super easy and look lovely afterwards. First, you’ll need to make a mixture that’s equal parts white glue and water which you’ll need to mix thoroughly.  Next, you’ll need to blow up your balloons to your desired size. Just make sure they’re inflated enough to stretch the rubber so you get some nice smooth looking eggs.

Next, You’ll need 6-12 inches of embroidery thread, to start, and you’ll need to soak these lengths in the glue mixture. Basically, you will use these strings to wrap around the balloons. You can wrap them in whatever fashion you’d like, though I tend to prefer how they look when they are wrapped from all different angles rather than going just vertically or horizontally.

When your balloons are wrapped, you’ll have to hang them to dry. You can tie the balloons tails to a string or you can use a clip to hold them in place. Please give them lots of time to dry 24-48 hours.

When your balloons are dry, take your sharp object and pop the balloon and pull it out from your net of stiff embroidery thread with tweezers. If you haven’t put glitter on them already and you’d like to, now would be the time to use a spray adhesive and glitter. Or a spray glitter if you can find it.

If you are really nimble, you can even put little chocolates or surprises inside the balloons before you blow them up so that there will be treats inside these easy little wonders.

Image courtesy of Instructables

Happy crafting!

~Megan


It Must Be Felt

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We are into the full Spring of things here at Craft Hackers and I am no exception. I’ve professed my eternal love for plush before but in the last few years or so have noticed a new-ish trend that simply delights me: needle felting. The soft little fuzzies can be so precise in their details yet remain cute and squishy. I’ve been very impressed with several artists I’ve stumbled across at conventions and those that have come across my Etsy feed, especially their Spring inspired collections.

Look at how adorable this little one is!

Look at how quackingly adorable this little one is!

They are whimsical, they are hyper-realistic, they are geeky, they are large and they are small. Each artist infuses their creations with their own flair and it makes the art form quite diverse.

Every bunny needs one of these.

Every bunny needs one of these.

I especially like when I find some intricate designs that just pop against their base color in a plush I wouldn’t mind hiding around the house every year (except that the cats would probably also have fun with it, much to the poor thing’s detriment).

These are so eggs-ellent.

These are so eggs-ellent.

If you are curious about this art form and wonder how to get started, never fear, Etsy is here! There are actually several shops I’ve found with starter kits with several lovely color packs to choose from.

Enough to start your own heart-felt creations.

Enough to start your own heart-felt creations.

If you feel inspired to try your hand at needle felting, please show us your work in the Craft Hackers forums! I’d love to see it!

As today is a typical rainy Spring day, next week we’ll cover some rainy day activities!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 

 


DIY Easter Activities

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The holding of getting drunk and the holiday of bunnies and eggs are separated by less than 2 weeks this year, so I don’t know about you but it’s been taking my by surprise to see all the Easter candy everywhere instead of shamrocks. I decided to jump on that bandwagon today though and share some DIY printable Easter crafts for kids that you can prepare and have ready when the day comes.

First up is a super simple one that’s always a classic; pin the tail on blank. A bunny in this case obviously, but all you’ll need for this game are the printed 12×18, some ribbon to hang it with ans the bunny tails. Bloom Designs recommends more print outs, but I think using cotton balls would be much more enjoyable. 🙂

Being a yarn person, this one from Fantastic Fun and Learning definitely speaks to me as a great way to get rid of unwanted yarn! Simply cut and egg shape out of some cardboard (think cereal box kind), punch a hole at the top to start the yarn and wind away! The kids can even hang it up when they’re done if they like.

Do small things with love has a very lovely spring banner template that you can use on a large group very effectively. All you have to do is print (and cut depending on the age) the pictures out ahead of time, place them next to a bucket of crayons and let them have at it for a while. A bit of yarn of string and tape to hold it down with is all that’s needed when they’re done.

Lastly I Gotta Create! give us these super cute bunny head bands, with bonus tails! Not sure how well those would stay on, but this is a printable you’d have to take to your local copy/print location to get run off. If the kids are old enough you could even let them be the ones to cut out their own head band. 🙂


Not your regular egg dying kit…

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Growing up in Canada, April has always been the month of fantastic chocolate that goes on sale quickly, pastel colours on everything, and of course, dying eggs. I have dyed eggs almost every year since I was a young lass. I stopped when I moved out on my own and would only really end up with a bunch of eggs that I didn’t know what to do with. Anytime I’m with family for a couple of days over the holidays, or thinking of something fun to do with friends around this time….. the eggs become involved.

If you have dyed eggs before, you probably remember getting excited by the colours that the little pucks of dye turn in the water and vinegar. The thrill of dipping your virgin white egg into a bowl of  colour. I might be exaggerating a little, but it was always fun to try and make the most interesting colours and combination of colours to accent your designs in wax crayon.  It was like working with watercolours with blending to make new colours and everything light and soft and covered in pastel colours.

Of course, as we all know, things are done in different ways all across the globe. In the Ukraine, there is a very interesting twist to this similar tradition. I was invited to my friends house to do some egg dying. She had been talking about dying these eggs for weeks. I love egg dying as much as the next girl, but I couldn’t really understand why she was so excited. She was telling me about these special egg decorating kits that she had to search for online as the craft store she used to get them at doesn’t sell them anymore.  You can buy them for about 35 dollars depending on if you can find them locally or not.

When I arrived at her place, her hands were covered in blue powder along with other parts of her.  She was just finishing up getting the dyes ready. Already, I could see the difference. little white pouches contained the dyes for our eggs. Amazing colours with only a couple pastels to be seen.  We had a bright fuchsia purple, turquoise, scarlett, and most surprisingly, black.  They were all vivid.  Laid out on the table were a few other things I didn’t know were involved. Candles, little tablets of beeswax and kitskis

Like a mad scientist walking into an outfitted lab....

Like a mad scientist walking into an outfitted lab….

This was a whole process that really should have spanned over a couple of days and I could definately envision ladies sitting down to put together these little treasures. The first big difference is in the eggs.  These kits advise you to use large goose eggs that can handle the teeny tiny designs that are involved.  We used both regular and goose eggs. Another big difference is that these eggs need to be room temperature so that condensation doesn’t happen as it warms up. The third difference is that these eggs are not hard boiled, but raw so that the insides will dry up and you can just display them.

Another thing that is a little different is that the instructions instructed us to draw our patterns onto the egg in pencil first. Traditional patters are very geometric and quite lovely.

Eggs not made by me, but by a professional!

I scoffed at these patterns as I decided that my first egg should be done freehand. So skipped the pencil and went right to the kitski – of which we had 3 different sizes (that looked like the blue one pictured below).

The drawing tool used to put melted wax on Ukranian eggs.

They work like fountain pens where you fill this little metal cup with wax which you need to melt in a candle to get flowing. The wax flow is precise and delicate lines. The hardest part was to trust that it was writing when you couldn’t really see it, which is the most time consuming and frustrating mistake we made as so long as when blotted on a paper towel it left a little spot of melted wax, then you were good to go. The thicker wax made everything harder to clean up later.

After the first layer of wax is applied you can dunk the egg into the first colour. All of the initial design ends up being white.

After the first wax and dip. Not my egg, but one a little bit nicer.

After the first wax and dip. Not my egg, but one a little bit nicer.

With Ukranian egg dying, as with regular egg dying, you should start with the lightest colour and move through to the darkest, selecting 5 or 6 that you’d like  to use. After the first colour is applied you can take the kitski again and continue the design or add accents.  These accents are preserved in the colour the wax was melted over. Anything added to the egg above would be orange, for example. This continues as many times as you’d like. The cool thing about these dyes that is different from what I am used to, is that they thoroughly dye over the colour before, like paint. These colours are bold and bright and amazing.  It’s like comparing the watercolour of the Canadian eggs to acrylic.

After you apply all your wax and all your colours, you hold your egg to a candle and melt it all way to reveal the work of art underneath. For the moment of truth:

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My first set of eggs

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My gentleman’s first egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are not quite the geometric designs of the traditional eggs, but it does really give you an idea of how bright and amazing the colours are.

 

After the first night I was hooked and went back a few days later to do a few more eggs. Now, I didn’t catch pictures of them before my cats  knocked over the container, but there are witnesses that my eggs looked similar to this:

 

  This is not my egg. But it gives you an idea of what my second set looked like.

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Take a close look at the egg as she removes the wax… the designs we got to after experimenting were not half bad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally, these types of eggs are given as gifts to bring prosperity and good luck. There are different symbols that can be incorporated into these designs to bring good luck, money or any number of good things to the recipient.  These eggs are meant to be given as gifts and to be displayed out of sunlight to avoid fading. No egg wars for these puppies!

I had a lot of fun and if you have the time and the patience, it’s really impressive and rewarding when you uncover your work.  I don’t recommend them for anyone very young as it’s quite delicate work, but I could have spent a weekend putting these together and watching my favourite movies.

 

~Megan


Hoppy Easter

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As most of the media/retail may have told you, today is the day that small children hoping a giant sentient bunny comes to their homes to leave candy/money/toys around their home/yard so that they can run around and get a sugar high. 😀

And something about a zombie coming back? I dunno….holidays are weird.

In case the sugar doesn’t hold you over for today though, here are some great crafts you can do with your friends/loved ones while waiting for that delicious honey ham to finish cooking.

A great collection of Egg Dying options

Make some kid friendly stamps from that adult wine you opened up

New take on hand prints for Easter pictures

Candy Necklace? Lame. Jelly beans? Now we’re talking

The classic create a starter garden kit from all those egg cartons

For those that celebrate it, be it religiously or not, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday today. 🙂

~Nicole

 


DIY: Crochet Baskets

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Easter is a week away for those celebrating it and if you’re looking for something a bit more personal than your typical cheap plastic basket then I’ve got you covered. 🙂

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These crochet baskets are great for those with older children/adults who still want to have a basket but really don’t need all that extra space for candy and plastic toys. Made by crocheting with 2 strands of any medium weight yarn, why not make them in the recipients favorite color? Since they’re fabric you’ll be able to wash them and keep them for years to come. ^_^

Depending on your tension, this basket measures about 8-9″ tall at the top of the handle, and about 6″ in diameter for the opening of the basket.

Supplies: 2 Skeins of any medium weight yarn, Size N-13 (9mm) Crochet Hook, Large Eye Yarn needle, and a stitch marker if desired.

As stated above, this pattern is made by holding both colors together through the entire pattern. It is also worked in continuous rounds; do not turn and join rounds together. Use a stitch marker to help keep your rounds marked if needed.

Basket:
Begin at base of basket, with 1 strand each color held tog, ch 2.
Rnd 1: Work 8 sc in first ch. (Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed if needed)
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each sc around – 16 sc at the end of this rnd.
Rnd 3: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc; rep from * around – 24 sc at the end of this rnd.
Rnd 4: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc; rep from * around – 32 sc at the end of this rnd.
Rnd 5: Working in back loops only, sc in each sc around.
Note: For Rnds 6-13, work through both loops of each st.
Rnd 6: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 7: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 7 sc; rep from * around – 36 sc at the end of this rnd.
Rnd 8: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 9: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 8 sc; rep from * around – 40 sc.
Rnd 10: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 11: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 9 sc; rep from * around – 44 sc.
Rnds 12 and 13: Sc in each sc around.
Fasten off.

Handle:
With 1 strand each of each color held tog, ch 31.
Rnd 1:Work 2 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 28 ch, 4 sc in last ch; rotate piece to work along opposite side of foundation ch (at the base of the sts you just worked), sc in next 28 ch, 2 sc in last ch; join with slip st in first ch. Fasten off.

Finish by sewing ends of handle inside top edge of Basket. Weave in ends.

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Congratulations! You now have a beautiful custom basket to enjoy and use for years to come. ^_^

~Nicole


DIY: Crochet Bird Set

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Alright, had enough eggs this week? I say we have so let’s make something a little more spring than eggs (IMHO) with this lovely bird and nesting baby pattern. 🙂

This pattern is provided for free by the pattern makers over at Lion Brand Yarns and is a great simple pattern. I love using their site when looking for simple clothing patterns as they have a nice wide variety for you to peruse once you fill out their free email list. Just click on the photo above if you already have an account to take you to the pattern, but if you would prefer not to go through all that, I’ve provided it below as well.

~Nicole 🙂

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Supplies – 3 different colors of Worested Weight (weight 4) Yarn, size G (4mm) Crochet Hook, Poly-fil Stuffing, Large Eye Yarn Needle, Stitch Markers, Beads for the eyes if desired

This pattern is worked in continuous rnds; do not join or turn unless otherwise instructed. Colors will be reffered to as Color A, Color B, and Color C with A being the primary Bird Color, B the wing/nest/head color, and C the beak color.

NEST
With A, ch 2.
Rnd 1: Work 6 sc in first ch. Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around – 12 sts.
Rnd 3: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around – 18 sts.
Rnd 4: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts, rep from * around – 24 sts.
Rnd 5: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts, rep from * around – 30 sts.
Rnd 6: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 4 sts, rep from * around – 36 sts.
Rnd 7: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 sts, rep from * around – 42 sts.
Rnd 8: *2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 6 sts, rep from * around – 48 sts.
Rnds 9-12: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off.

BIRDS (make 3)
With B, ch 2.
Rnd 1: Work 6 sc in first ch. Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around – 12 sts.
Rnds 3 and 4: Sc in each st around and begin adding stuffing.
Rnd 5: *Sc2tog around – 6 sts.
Rnd 6: Work 2 sc in each sc around – 12 sts.
Rnd 7: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around – 18 sts.
Rnds 8-10: Sc in each sc around – 18 sts.
Rnd 11: *Sc2tog, sc in the next st, rep from * around – 12 sts.
Rnd 12: *Sc2tog repeat around.
Fasten off.

BEAK (make 3)
With C, ch 2.
Rnd 1: Work 6 sc in first ch. Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around – 12 sts.
Fasten off.

FINISHING
With A, embroider French knots for eyes on babies and use beads for the mother. Fold Beak circles in half and sew onto each Bird. Sew Birds into Nest. Weave in ends.


Decorating Easter Eggs, Hard Mode

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Growing up I was blessed with a mother who liked to craft. She also has a passion for all things “folk” from folk dancing to folk music to traditional crafts. I’m not talking Joan Baez, I’m talking the various small villages that populate the world that have over the centuries created their own traditions and arts. I got a package from her this year, reminding me of one of my favorite of these crafts- pysanky.

Pysanky is a Ukrainian and Polish technique for dying Easter eggs, and when you’re done, you have elaborate, beautiful creations that look unlike any other type of egg decorating.

traditionalegg

In order to get the beautiful designs so traditional to pysanky, a tool called a kistka is used to layer wax over a clean egg’s surface. You then gently dye the egg in your first color. Another layer of wax is added, and the egg is dyed in a second color and so on until all the design is covered in dye. The final dye job will be your darkest color. At the end of it all, the wax is melted off the egg to reveal a parade of colors making up your design.

kistka

My kistka is electric, but you can get ones that aren’t.

 

Having spent years working this, I can tell you that it is not as easy as it sounds. The wax will slip, resulting a section becoming the wrong color and making those clean straight lines is not easy with wax that is prone to drip.

Pysanky has always challenged me to think differently about my projects- particularly how and when colours get used. It usually feels like I’m working backwards when I do pysanky as you should always start with the lightest colors first, dying from light to dark.

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Traditional pysanky uses primarily geometric designs and is the classic type you’ll see on the right in the above picture, however more modern approaches can be taken as well. Its impressive the range of finished eggs you can get using this technique.

Be warned, though. The dyes used in pysanky are much more prone to staining and your decorated eggs will be inedible due to the dyes. However, the results are beautiful enough that its worth it.

~ eliste


DIY: Crochet Eggs

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Weather you’re looking to add new decorations to your spring collection, or just want to make some cute baby toys for the season, plush eggs are a quick any easy project for any crocheter. Most will likely have the extra yarn laying around for this simple project. I’ve tweaked an existing pattern of my own to create this pattern just for you lucky Craft Hackers. 😉

Dual-Eggs

So let’s gather our materials! For this project you will need:

Size E/4 (3.5mm) Hook
0.5oz of Weight 3 or 4 (Worsted Weight) YarnLarge Yarn Needle
Poly-fil Stuffing (or any stuffing you prefer)
Stitch Marker (optional, but helpful)

Tools-Required

You will need more stuffing then what’s pictured here btw.

 

This pattern is worked in continuous rounds so do not turn or join at the end of each round. The number in the parentheses indicates the number of stitches you should have made at the end of each round.
Abbreviation usage: SC=Single Crochet; Sc2tog=Single Crochet two together/Decrease Stitch

Rnd 1: Make a Magic Circle with 2 Single Crochet Stitches. Pull tail tight to close circle. (6)
(Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed if desired)
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each sc around (12)
Rnd 3: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc; rep from * around (18)
Rnd 4: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc; rep from * around (24)
Rnds 5-12: Sc in each sc around. (24)
Rnd 13: *Sc2tog, sc in next 2 sc; rep from * around (18)
Begin to stuff piece and continue to stuff until piece is complete.
Rnd 14: Sc in each sc around. (18)
Rnd 15: *Sc2tog, sc in next 1 sc; rep from (12)
Rnd 16: Sc in each sc around. (12)
Rnd 17: Sc2tog around (6)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail. Using yarn needle, weave tail through sts of last rnd and tighten to close opening. Weave remaining tail under stitching and cut off excess.

Single-Egg

Congrats! You’ve made your very own plush egg! Now leave them around your house, give them to small children, or use them on your next egg hunt. 🙂

~Nicole