Twisted Wire Carrot

As happens to me once in a while, I walked into my sewing room for an entirely different reason, and came out with this bit of Easter décor.  Most of the time I can focus on the task at hand, but sometimes I just OH…SHINY!

This copper carrot was inspired by the one I made before Christmas for my Melted Snowman Ornament

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This is a larger version with a different method for adding the greenery.

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I used 18 – 20 gauge copper wire.  I didn’t measure the length, but I’d guess it was about 4 to 6 feet.  I would like to see this with thicker wire.  It might be harder to twist, but the look might be more similar to the smaller carrot.  I used green felt scraps for the greenery and a cardboard cone for twisting the wire.

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Starting from the top, I twisted the wire around the cone. 

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I wound it too tight around the top, so when I pulled it off I tried to stretch it out, but ended up with a mutant carrot.

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Fortunately, it was easy to fix.  I just cut off the tip at the point where it looked more carrotish and stuck it back on the cone to bring the end to a smaller point.

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I cut several pieces of green felt in different lengths, each about 1/4 – 1/2” wide.

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I gathered them all together in the middle.  I manipulated the wire at the top of the carrot so it was centered, then wrapped it around the center of the felt.

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To make the felt stick up a little more, I pulled it together and wrapped the last bit of wire around the base.

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I can’t wait to see what kind of Easter bunny shows up to eat this veggie.

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Chain Maille Bracelet–My First Attempt

I am not, by nature, a patient person.  If a craft is taking too long to finish, I’ve been known to stop midway and hide it in a box.  If it makes it that far, it’s unlikely to ever see the light of day again, unless I decide to part it out for something else.  But once in a while, I lose interest but leave it where I can see it every day.  That stuff usually gets done at some point because the one thing that’s greater than my impatience for lengthy crafts is my impatience at staring at something half-finished.

I love chain maille jewelry.  I kept looking at it and thinking “It’s a bunch of metal hoops – how hard can it be?”  I finally decided to give it a shot and bought a couple of bags of rings and bracelet closures.  I only used one bag, and not even the entire thing.

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I didn’t buy the instruction book, but instead came home and looked at photos of bracelets online and decided I knew how to do it.  All I needed was a couple of pairs of pliers.

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I used a small, padded quilt pressing mat and some stick pins to hold my work down.

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That, my friends, is where I stopped.  In March.  However, I left it pinned to that board and I’ve been looking at it ever since.  Today was the day to finish.

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I really like the closure.

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My only regret is that it bunches together a bit, rather than keeping its shape when I wear it.  I still like it though, and will wear it anyway.  After all, it did take me three months to make.

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If you know of any good chain maille tutorials out there, send them my way.  I’m ready to try again…with a little guidance from someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

Great big THANK YOU to reader Sarah for sending me this link to Beading Daily, where they just happened to outline how to start a chain maille piece today!

Paper and Wire Hearts

I’m supposed to be cleaning up my sewing room.  Everything needs to be taken off the old shelves and put onto the new.  Instead, I’m making stuff.  It’s sort of like when your kid finds a toy at the bottom of the box he hasn’t seen for a while.  That’s all he wants to play with for a couple of days.  I’m there.

I found a stack of cardstock strips from who-knows-what.  They’re 7/8” by 6”, and I have 32 of them.  Actually, had.  Now they’re 16 hearts.

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To make a heart, put two cut pieces of cardstock or other sturdy paper together, edges even.  Staple near the end. 

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Separate the two pieces and pull down to match the other ends together. 

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Staple.  Heart.  Easy.

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I also found this roll of red wire I bought on clearance a while back. 

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Cut 17 pieces (or one more than the number of hearts you have), each 5” long.  Poke a small hole on the side of each heart.

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Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, curl one end of the wire into a little swirl.

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Feed the straight end through the hole in the heart from the inside, then through the hole on another heart from the outside.  Bend the straight end into a swirl in the opposite direction from the first.

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Repeat with the remaining hearts and wire.

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Add a wire twist at each end for hanging.

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You could also make shorter versions with just a few hearts and hang them everywhere.

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I’m done playing now.  I have to go finish my sewing room so I can show it to you tomorrow!

Friday Favorites–Bracelets

I love bracelets.  That’s probably obvious, considering I’ve covered paracord, recycled T-shirt and braided leather versions and included a couple of them in my Quick and Easy Gifts on Friday Favorites .  I don’t usually wear them much this time of year because I’m completely cold-blooded and can’t even think about short sleeves until at least May.  But there are so many cute ones out there, and we need time to get them made, right? 

I love the simplicity of this Button Bracelet from Little Miss Momma.  I could make this without even going to the store.  That’s always a good thing.

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I keep trying to get my daughter to make one of these Soda Can Tab Bracelets like the one shown here from CraftyPanda.  Another user on the message board suggests a product for painting the tabs.  Go look…they did red, my favorite!

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I have to try these Yarn Bangles from Keely’s Korner.  A few basic bangles and some cute yarn and I could have them to match everything I own, including a few scarves.  My kind of jewelry.

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How about a gift of money and jewelry at the same time?  Sounds extravagant, doesn’t it?  This Money Bracelet from Under the Table and Dreaming makes the idea a little more accessible.

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You know I’m a sucker for repurposing old jeans.  This Denim Bracelet from Mich L. in L.A. makes me want to go tear a pair up.

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This is cute.  It just is.  Find the instructions for this Fun Circles Wrist Cuff at Crochet Spot.

I want to try making a Chain Maille Bracelet like this one from Ellifolks.  I just need to get together all those rings.  And I need them to be in colors.  No problem, right?

I love these Fabric Cuff Bracelets from Etsy seller Ponder and Stitch.  Check out the ones with embroidery.  So pretty.

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I’m sure this zipper fad is winding down, but I still like them.  I’ve had my eye on this Zipper Bracelet from Cut Out and Keep for way too long.

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This last bracelet, called Lederschleifenarmband, is from a German blog called Maikitten.  Of course you can translate it, but there’s really no need.  The photos tell the whole story.

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I have a new tutorial I’m excited to share with you next week.  This post might give you a hint as to what it is!

Creamer Bottle Snowman

I couldn’t let Christmas go by without sharing this tutorial with you because it has special meaning to me.  This little guy is the project that planted the seed for this blog years ago.

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I’m a complete and total coffee addict.  Coffee house lattes are my favorite, but when I’m at home it’s vanilla flavored coffee with vanilla creamer.  I kept looking at the creamer bottles and thinking how easy they would be to make into a snowman.  I know there are others out there now, but at the time I hadn’t seen any.

Finally, I saved bottles until I had enough for friends and family.  I came up with a powdered drink recipe and the snowman army was born.   After I made them, I thought it would be nice if I could share how I did it with other crafty people.  And then I let that thought go.

Here I am, several years and creamer bottles later, with a tutorial to show you how they’re made.  I feel like I just completed some sort of loop.

You will need:

an empty 32 ounce liquid creamer bottle

5” by 1 1/2” flannel (cotton will work too)

18” by 1 1/2” flannel (again, cotton is ok)

12” by 4” felt

8” by 1 1/2” felt

18” of wire

embellishments (buttons, felt scraps, etc.)

Print the pattern here.  If you have the capability, you’ll want to print it borderless because it barely fits on a piece of paper.  Cut the larger piece for the vest from the 12” piece of felt.  Cut out 4 of the mittens from the smaller piece of felt.  You can also cut little squares for embellishing the mittens from a contrasting color of felt.

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Wrap the vest tightly around the empty creamer bottle.  Glue the edge down to the vest in the front using a hot glue gun.

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Using a pencil or pen, mark a dot on each side for the arms.  Slide the vest off the top of the bottle.  Using a toothpick, poke a hole on each side at the mark.  Feed the end of the wire out each hole, bending it slightly so it conforms to the back of the vest.

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Slide the vest back onto the bottle.  Glue the edges down using tacky glue.  Secure with a rubber band until it’s dry.  I used hot glue, but I don’t necessarily recommend that.  You have to be very careful not to melt your bottle and the edge doesn’t end up looking as neat.

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If you’re adding the contrasting piece, sew them on with embroidery floss before sewing the two mitten pieces together.  Stitch two mittens together using a blanket or straight stitch.  Repeat with the other set of mittens.

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Curl the wire around a pencil, leaving about an inch at the end straight.

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Squirt some hot glue into the bottom of the mitten and, working quickly, slide the wire in between the two pieces of felt.  If you’re me, carefully pry the finger loose that you glued to the back of the mitten.

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Fringe both short ends about 1” up on the 18” piece of flannel.  Tie it around the snowman’s neck, pushing the knot to one side.

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Fold the 5” piece of flannel in half lengthwise.  Press.  Fringe, clipping close to, but not through the fold.

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Unfold.  Roll up from one end, wrong side in.

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Hot glue to the top of the bottle with the edge in the glue.  After the glue is cool, fluff.

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Glue a button or other embellishment onto the vest on the side opposite the scarf.

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Let me apologize for his nose.  I know, it’s cute.  It’s a carrot button I’ve had for a thousand or so years.  I don’t know if you can still get them.  A piece of orange felt cut into a carrot shape would be a good substitute.  You could even add a little black stitching.

For his eyes, I used a Sharpie.  You could also paint them on or glue on a little button.  When I made these the first time, I used fabric puffy paint.  It gave them nice shine and dimension.

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Somewhere in the years since I first made these, they changed the bottles from white to clear.  I hadn’t even realized it until I washed a bottle to make this one.  I have an easy solution to that though.  Here’s the recipe for the drink mix I put in mine.

Cinnamon Vanilla Warmer Mix

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup powdered vanilla flavored coffee creamer

1 1/2 cup dry milk

6 tablespoons cinnamon imperials (known as red hots around here)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of mix to a mug of boiling water.

This recipe will fill the snowman with some left over.  I will warn you, when you add it to the hot water, it turns pink.  Tasty, but definitely pink.

The smaller snowman shown here is a stripped-down, quick version, using a smaller creamer bottle.  The buttons are glued on the front.  I now realize I forgot to fluff the pom-pom on the top of his hat. Don’t worry, I fixed it.

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It seems fitting that this would be my last tutorial before Christmas.  This chilly guy and I have come a long way together.

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handmade projects    afcc_125X125favorite

Felt and Wire Angel

So it’s December, Christmas is coming, and I just realized I haven’t posted an original Christmas project of my own yet!  How did that happen?

I love felt.  It comes in so many colors, it doesn’t fray and it’s fun to play with.  Kinda sounds like Playdough.  Anyway, here’s what I did with it last week.

To make this angel, you’ll need three small pieces of felt and a piece of wire that’s about 14 inches long.

Print this pattern.  Cut out two of each piece.  Sew like pieces together using a running stitch, about 1/4” or slightly less from the edge, and contrasting embroidery thread.  Tie small knots for her eyes, hiding the ends of the thread inside her head.

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Fold the wire in half, then twist it a few times so you have a 1” loop.

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Slide the head onto the wire so it’s between two stitches at the top of the head and the ends are on either side of a stitch at the bottom of the head.  Push it all the way to the top, where the twist starts.

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Slide the body on the same way, pushing it up next to the head.

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Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, curl the feet up, using about an inch of wire at the bottom of each leg.

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Attach the wings using hot glue, making sure they are glued to both the head and body.

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I think these would make cute gift tags.  If you’re a talented embroideress, you could stitch the recipient’s name onto the dress!

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