Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crochet Flower Necklace

Does anyone else love all of the bright floral jewelry out there? I especially like the bold necklaces I've been seeing. Back in Spring, I decided I would give a try at crocheting my own. I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect pattern. And, actually, I never found it. So, I designed my own. They are so simple and pretty. I may make some earrings, too. And, at least I have a little bit of Summer left to wear it this year.

Start with DMC floss in your favorite colors. I used white, bright blue, light green, green, pink, hot pink, yellow, orange, and purple. You will also need pearl beads, a chain, and a clasp. (or repurpose an old chain necklace you may have). Have handy your scissors, jewelry pliers, a sewing needle (small enough to thread the beads), and a small crochet hook (I used US C2/2.75 mm). 

Optional: I wanted my flowers to be stiff enough to stand up to wear. To achieve this, I immersed them in a mod podge and water solution and allowed them to dry.  If you want them to remain soft, this is not necessary, but they may not lay flat along the chain.

ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
st = stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
tr = triple crochet

Flower Pattern:
Use the entire set of 6 strands of your first color.
Round 1 - Ch 4, sl st into 1st ch to form a ring. Round 2 - Ch 1, work 9 sc into circle. Sl st to ch 1. Round 3 - *ch 3, dc in next sc, tc in same sc, dc in same sc. Ch 3,  sl in next sc*. Repeat sequence between *s until 5 petals are made with last ch 3 ending with a sl st into last sc.
Finish off.

Tie the ends together neatly on the back of the flower and weave in the ends.

Using 2 or 3 strands of matching thread, sew the pearl bead into the center of the flower.

These flowers were the perfect size for my necklace.  Play around with different hook sizes and numbers of petals for your own creations. You will need 2 sc in round 2 for each petal you wish to have on your flower. Adjust the round 1 ring as needed.
To stiffen the flowers, immerse them one at a time into a 1/2 water 1/2 mod podge solution and allow to dry on a piece of plastic wrap. I held each flower by the pearl while dipping them in the solution so the pearl would not be coated. I also used a paper towel to absorb the excess solution. I allowed them to dry overnight.

Next create the length of chain you want for the necklace and attach the clasp.

Lay out your flowers along the chain in your desired pattern, making sure each flower is either on the chain or touching another flower.  Sew the flowers to the chain or adjacent flower with 2 or 3 matching threads.

Here, you can see mine pinned from the back (although, not this was not my finished placement).
Then, wear it proudly! I love mine.
Such a cheery little addition to an outfit.

This post has been linked up with: This Gal Cooks, Fabric Bows and More, Positively Splendid, Six Sisters' Stuff, The 36th Avenue, One Artsy Mama, The DIY Showoff.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Decorated Paper Clips and Earrings

I was in the craft store picking up yarn for my current graduation afghan and thought I would check out supplies for a project I had in mind for back-to-school gifts for my fellow pre-k aides and teachers. Then I lost all control. I was going from the fabric department to office supplies, to beads, to scrap booking, back to beads, and back to fabric again. Oh, then I had to head over to glue. All this easily added over half-an-hour to my trip. Boy, we're the kids hungry when I got home!
Well, after the kids tummies were full, I got started. This was pretty easy once I got the logistics figured out. This was the first time I had used E6000 glue. It's pretty cool. It's thick like hot glue, slow to dry like tacky glue, fairly easy to clean up before it dries, and holds like nothing I've ever used! One pet peeve, I wish the tube wasn't metal. This causes the glue to continue to come out of the tube when I want it to stop. Just a heads up.
So I bought several little odds and ends for this project. I have seen projects like this everywhere, but for the life of me, I cannot find the most recent post that inspired this project. But, here is my version of what you may have seen out there on Pinterest or craft blogs. I wanted to decorate large paper clips with buttons and gems. So, I picked up a fabric button kit, plastic buttons, red gems (already had the paper clips). And, while at the store, I thought how cute some of the scrapbook brads would be as earrings. So I grabbed those and some earring posts to attach them to, along with the E6000 glue, not pictured.

It's all really easy.
For the buttons, I used leftover fabric from my Classroom Pillows project. I only needed about a 10 square inch section of fabric. Following the package directions, I made several fabric buttons. Some buttons, I removed the toggle with jewelry pliers before making the button so they would have a flat back for attaching to the earrings. I then glued a black button and a red gem to the center of the front of the button.
When dry, I fed the buttons with toggles onto paperclips up to the smaller end (so it would be on to when attached to paper). In order to hold the button steady while the glue dried, I attached the paperclips to a piece of scrap cardboard. I laid the cardboard so the buttons where upside down and balanced flat. I then squeezed a dollop of glue into the back of the buttons so the clip ends were securely immersed in the glue. This was set to dry overnight.
I then set up the earring project. I removed the prongs on the back of the scrapbook brads and flattened any remaining metal to make the surface as flat as possible. For the flat front earrings, I simply placed a large dot of glue on the flat end of the earring post and positioned it onto the back of the brad and let it dry. For the brads that would not stay flat when laying on their front, I make sure the butterfly back was attached to the post, and after attaching to the brad with glue, I propped the earring post against the cardboard for the paperclips to hold the earring as level as possible.

Everything was allowed to dry overnight.

I love how they came out. I found a scrap piece of white cardstock and cut small rectangles. Using a stick pin, I pre-punched two holes to feed the earing posts in. That kept me from bending the card all to heck trying to force the post through the card. Just a fun little welcome back gift. Hope everyone has a great year!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

School Spirit Ribbon Wreath

Are you ready for school to start? Isn't it funny the responses you get when you ask that question? A week ago my kids would have said and big fat NO! Now that they have their school supplies and new clothes (or new to them), I think the butterflies have started flitting around in their stomachs and they might say Yes! I have to say, I am getting excited. All of the prep and schedule planning makes my head real, but I love the start of a new year, for them and for me.
I thought this would be a good time to share with you my School Spirit Ribbon Wreath.
I made several last Christmas for my fellow teacher assistants and teachers, and they were a big hit. Thanks to design etc. for the inspiration. I love this idea for teachers and students. Put it on your list for Back-To-School, Teacher Appreciation, Christmas, and more.

Wire wreath frame - 8" used here
Large variety of ribbons in various widths (11 different ribbons used here)
Extra-wide solid color ribbon or strip (4" strip used here) of solid fabric about 60" long
Print out of school name, teacher name, or organization name
Just hold the ribbon end near the
flame, close enough to see it melt.
Move quickly so it doesn't burn.

Cut your ribbons in 8" lengths. Either cut the ends at angles or use a candle to melt the ends to prevent fraying. I didn't melt the ends on this project because of the amount of ribbon used, but it would have made the finished wreath look better. I chose to repeat my pattern 7 times, so I cut 7 strips of each ribbon.

You may choose a pattern for your ribbons or simply begin attaching them without a set pattern. I'm a little too OCD for that, so I made sure to have my pattern set up in a little assembly line. I even alternated the colors and separated the pattern types. Don't laugh, I know I'm not the only one who does this.

Attach the ribbons with a simple overhand tie. They shouldn't need any more than that if you pull them tight. Alternate between the middle two rows of wire on the wreath in an off-set pattern. Also, alternate the direction you tie to make the ribbons overlap each other and look a little more "crazy." As you complete a section of the wreath form, you will see better how many ribbon strips you want in each section and can add more, if you wish.

Turn the wreath over and, using the wide solid ribbon or fabric strip, slip it under the outer 2 wires of the wreath form. Pull it through nearly to the end, wrap it over the two wires and slip it back under again. Repeat the wrapping all around the back of the wreath form.
When complete, trim the ends to the length needed to tuck them under one last time, using a dab of tacky glue on the end to secure it.
I added a longer strip of the silver ribbon at the top, outer wire for hanging.

Print out the name you want to attach. There are many options here. I printed it on heavy card stock. You can use paper and either mod podge or simply glue it to cardboard and cut it out. You could laminate it. Or, check your craft store for some of the millions of scrapbook options. Then simply use tacky glue to attach it to the ends of two ribbons where you want it placed.

Now fluff and hang it!

The different possible themes for this wreath are endless. Holidays (I'm already planning a Halloween wreath), teen decor, nursery decor, team colors (school or Pro), etc. Send me a pic of what you do, I'd love to see it and share it!

This post has been linked up to: Fabric Bows and More and Jam's Corner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom Pillows

At the end of the last school year, we finally retired the worn out floor pillows our students used for reading and resting. They had been well loved and earned a much needed rest, themselves. So, what to do? We did not want to spend much on new pillows, and did not have the time to hunt garage sales for them. So, I pulled out of my closet 4 old standard bed pillows I had been keeping for one of those "someday" projects. And today, was the day!
I began by washing and drying the pillows and selecting the perfect fabric. Our school colors are black, red, and white. And at our elementary, we call ourselves the Rangers. So, it had to be red and black bandana print! I purchased 2 yards of the bandana print and 2 yards of solid black.  Plus, I bought red thread and 12 red buttons.
My plan was to make shams for the pillows (for easy washing). Since most shams tend to gap open on the back, the buttons should secure the closure.
Note: I washed the fabric before doing any cutting. I've learned that lesson well!
I measured the pillows and an example sham I had. I came up with a finished sham size of 20"x25". I cut the bandana fabric (the front pieces) 20 1/2"x25 1/2", allowing for a 1/4 hem. An additional 1/2" edge is considered in the measurements. The back is made up of 2 pieces. Rather than making the back open in the middle, I offset it near one side so the buttons would not be in the way if the children lay on that side of the pillow. Of the black, I cut one 20 1/2"x22 3/4" and one 20 1/2"x5 3/4" piece. This will allow a 2 1/2" overlap.
Beginning with the back pieces, I sewed a hem on each piece of 1/4" at one end (along the 20 1/2" length). Then, on the small piece, I sewed 3 buttonholes about 1" from the hemmed edge.
I pinned the front and back pieces together, right sides facing. I overlapped the back pieces with the small piece under the large piece (so when turned right-side-out, the buttonholes will be on the outside). Next, I sewed a 1/4" inch seam around the pinned piece. I clipped the corners to make the edge corners lay flat. At this point, I turned the sham right-side-out and ironed the seams.
Back at the machine, I sewed a new seam around the entire piece on the right side 1/8" from the edge. I then sewed another seam edge to edge on all four sides around 1/2" from the edge.  Each seam began and finished with a reverse stitch.  I was also careful to reverse stitch over the spots where the back openings met the sides.
Finishing touch - buttons!
These are going to be so fun in the classroom!

Oh, I also did a little repair work on our class mascot, Reader. His poor nose wouldn't have made it another year!
I used permanent spray adhesive for a matching patch. Then, I hemmed a small square patch of bandana fabric. Finished off with a blanket stitch of embroidery thread.

Now, to take him to the laundromat for a bath!

Look for more back-to-school posts soon. Lots going on around here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Too much to do!

Hi there, everyone. I know this little blog has a pretty small audience right now, but I want to let you know where it stands. It is growing, very slowly. Mostly, because I can't seem to take the time to blog everything I am doing. I desperately need to improve my photo editing skills (and the painful process I have to go through). I also need a PC overhaul (calling Dad to the rescue!). It is a dinosaur. After all, one second in human time is about a million years in computer time. And, if you have some good advice for how to coordinate using an iPad along with a PC for blogging, you will be my new best friend.

So, to add to my issues (which are actually far too numerous to list here), I am in the process of back-to-school stuff for 3 kids and myself. Although I don't have to do much for my classroom (I am a teacher's assistant), I try to help where I can. Plus, my oldest is in the transition from competitive softball to school ball. First year on JV, so exciting. I'd blog from the stands, but lately I fear my iPad would melt in the heat!

You can expect more posts soon, well as soon as I can. Some need final touches. Some need to be finished. And, several more are ready to be started. I just hope I'm not posting my summer ideas in November. I'll try my best to catch up.

Help me out, if you would. Share my blog with your friends. I'd love the feedback. And let me know if there are ideas out there, you'd like me to try. I want this blog to be as much for you as it is for me.

Here's a sneak peek at a few projects in the works right now:

Love you all!