Crafting on a Budget: Red Heart Soft

There is nothing like working with a beautiful yarn that feels like butter between your fingers. However, when a two skein project costs close to $40 my wallet always lets out a little yelp. My policy is that unless it is something for me or a gift for someone really close to me I usually head to Micheal’s or Lion’s Brand.com. There are several lines of inexpensive (Less than $8.00 per skein) yarn selections that make a great work of art. 

I was in my local Micheal’s two weeks ago and discovered that Red Heart has created a “soft” line. Generally I do not like Red Heart products. They tend to be really rough on your hands and in my opinion projects tend to come out looking “cheapy.” However, the new product and interesting colors caught my eye. I decided what the heck I’ll try it… plus it was on sale for 50% off!

Image

I decided to make one of my basic slouchie hats to just try out how the product worked. I went for the turquoise color rather than the “guacamole” seen above. I must say I was impressed. The yarn was quite easy to work with. The material is 100% acrylic and remained soft before, during, and after the hat making process (not scratchy). I also really liked the jewel tone colors that were in stock. Don’t worry about the yarn splitting while you work either. It was smooth going from start to finish.

supplies

hat

Overall, this is a decent yarn to buy when you are thinking of making a large scale item such as a blanket, holiday gifts, items that will get a lot of wash, and/or you know someone allergic to natural fibers such as wool.

Rating: B+

 

DIYlife- Inspiration Central

DIYlife- Inspiration Central

A great site for gaining some inspiration for projects for your home. I really like the slideshows and videos available to help you create the project of your dreams. Click on the title to check out the site.

My future project- Make a terrarium to jazz up my new bedroom.

http://www.diylife.com/2011/04/04/make-a-terrarium/

 

make a terrarium

Walking Adventure: Marina Green

I recently moved to San Francisco (well almost 2 years ago) and my new favorite hobby is walking. Walking is the best way to get to know a new city, especially one as walkable as San Francisco. In a matter of minutes it can feel like you are in a totally different world. Today I decided to gather some girlfriends and walk the Marina Green. This is the beautiful path that follows the northern coastline of the city. On a clear day there are views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the majestic bay, and Tiburon.

It was quite a windy day so I popped on a newly made knit cap. This was a quick project using #4 weight black acrylic yarn. I chose a diagonal eyelet pattern, which finished really nicely. I am a fan of acrylics when knitting hats because they don’t get as scratchy as wool does. Overall, I think this cap is going to get a lot of wear as San Francisco is notorious for kooky weather.

GGB4   ggb  GGB2

Check it Out!

I just re-stumbled upon a website I joined awhile ago. It is called Craftsy. This site offers online classes, workshops, patterns, connections to buy supplies and blogs from crafters of all kinds.

Briefly looking through the classes there is most certainly a little something for everyone in terms of categories (jewelry making, knitting, cake decorating) and level (beginners to advanced). The classes seem a little pricey, but the benefit is that they are online.  

So whether you are a novice or an expert I feel that this is a site worth checking out. You never know what new things you will discover.

DIY: Postcard Fence

Postcards are the best. I have a collection that is now approaching 50 cards. I pick them up as I travel in addition to receiving them from very nice friends and family. Sad to say that since moving to a new apartment I have just been letting them get dusty on the shelf. In prior apartments, I have arranged them collage style in a poster frame. This was fine and dandy and all, but with this apartment I am actually deciding to decorate.

Bedroom Theme: Influences of nature (think birds, leaves, flowers)

Project: Creating a “fence” for my postcards to hang from.

Supplies: Ribbon or fishing wire (whatever you prefer), 6 wooden dowels, hot glue gun, wooden ornaments, paints,  sponge brush, small wooden pins, and a hammer

supplies

1) I wanted the fence to be wide so I glued two wooden dowel together using the hot glue gun. I ended up with 3 longer dowels.

2) Use your selected color of paint and sponge brush to paint the dowels. Let them dry. (Like my “drying rack”? I re-purposed an old toothbrush holder)

sticks

3) Next paint your wooden ornaments and let dry.

4) Here is the tricky part. Measure out your ribbon/ fishing wire to the desired length. Take the hot glue gun and secure the ribbon/wire across the wooden dowels. There should be 3 vertical dowels and 3 horizontal ribbons/wires.

*Tip: Spread the dowels and ribbon/wire out on the floor first to measure before bringing in the hot glue. *

5) Hot glue tacks or nails to the back of the dowels. These will assist you in securing your fence to the wall.

before    6) Use the hammer to secure the fence to a desire place on the wall.

7)Using the clothes pins, arrange the postcards at a variety of different angles.

8) Step back and admire your work!

after2

Total width of my project: 6 feet x 3 feet

Knitting and a Mani

My current obsession is nail art. I love it! I have to admit I am not that great of a nail technician, but looking back at older posts of DIY projects I had to try. Why not? I mean it has glitter in the name after all.  I popped on my Jill Scott Pandora radio station and 20 minutes later I had some fun art at the tip of my fingers.

Start with this easy how to if you need a little guidance to get started : Glitter nails

supplies

I decided to go all in and glitterfy my entire nail.

hands

Tip: Use fine glitter if you would like to minimize the 3D effect of the glitter. I used large glitter pieces, but no worries it didn’t interfere with my knitting abilities.

nails1

Result: Well I needed to go back and do some touch ups after it dried. I began to notice that  I had some bald spots (see above). Overall, I think it didn’t come out half bad.

What to make when your not expecting

I have officially entered into the point of life where others have decided to procreate. This is a good and bad thing. Good for my pile of knitting scraps, bad for my social life. No longer are the days when we can go straight from work to happy hour without having to think about whose turn it  is watching the little ones. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy children very much. They are cute and cuddly and when they get old enough they say some awfully funny things.

As for knitting scraps, baby items are the best! They are small, quick, and require just minimal yardage. If you are anything like me after about 2 major projects you are left with balls of yarn that are too little for a hat and not enough for something hilarious like a dog sweater for your labrador. So combine those leftover and get creative. Enter the Baby Burrito Blanket:

blanket                                   basket

This blanket is a simple crochet pattern of double crochet and triple crochet. The inside is a basic lilac and the outer edge is a variegated pattern with lilac, hunter green, light green and deep purple. Let me add a disclaimer that  I am by no means a “crocheter”. The evolution of this blanket came from the fact that I can not crochet in a square shape. So TADA! No longer do blankets have to be square!

I love this design for 2 major reasons.

1) It is so simple to make.

2) It is super unique and can be used for a multitude of functions (e.g., breast-feeding coverage, play mat, decor for the crib or rocking chair)

burrito

Here is how you fold to “burrito” your baby. It is just like at Chipotle! Fold both edges inward and then flip the bottom toward the top.

gift

Wrap it up and deliver. Expect a happy mommy and baby. Mission Accomplished!