If you're anything like me and you knit or crochet, you have a respectable yarn stash and a handful (or more) of UFOs floating around in your house somewhere. Admittedly, I have several ~ skeins and UFOs ~ and here's one of them... My first knitted and felted purse.

You probably won't believe me (well....maybe you would) but I've had the purple yarn since I lived in Chicago more than 15 years ago! It's a mohair, silk and wool blend that I bought for a lace wrap that got destroyed by my cat and my dog during one of their epic games of chase when I was about 3/4 of the way through it. Remarkably, they survived...

Anyway, about 3 years ago I decided to try felting and thought I'd make a simple purse using the left over yarn from the wrap so I found this pattern which seemed fairly simple and gave it a whirl. Here's a pic of the inspiration design.

Simple right? I knew I wouldn't have enough of the purple (a blend from Brown Sheep Co. ~ Prairie Silks) so I went through my stash and found a bit more (a lama and wool blend from Cascade) and a bit ribbony frou frou stuff that needed to be used up.

Long story short, it's finally finished! And while a seasoned felter and sewer would have achieved a more polished, I'm pretty satisfied with my first attempt. I would like to try knitting and felting a purse again though I know for sure that I won't use a pattern with handles like these - too easy to get stretched out. In fact, I reinforced these with something called Peltex that I got at Joanne's which still didn't give me the firmness I was looking for but was probably better than my 'Mother of Invention' original idea of using a wooden straight-edged ruler on each side (I lined it after all so no one would have actually seen them).

I found some pretty fabric to line it with which was actually pretty simple (drop in and hem stitch) except that the handles got a bit tricky...

and then used up the fabric flowers I made a few weeks back to embellish the front...

Et voila! I know that I'm all about making things and giving them to other people but I think I'm going to keep this for myself. Mostly because of how parts of it came together and also because the gals I have in mind to give it to wouldn't use it on the grounds of not wanting it to get messed up. So, we'll see...the jury's still out for now. It's roomy though...and soft...and the colors are delicious!

Have you tried your hand at felting?


Grahamy Love

I was at TJ's yesterday looking at the cookies I'd put in my basket for the boys' lunches and thought I'd just make some instead so I put them back and started thinking about graham crackers. Mmmmm....we all love them and since I've been in a cooking and crafting phase and because I've never made them before I was instantly on a mission.

So I went to Whole Foods to look for graham flour (which they had, Bob's Red Mill) because, hello...graham crackers right? Then I came home and started looking for recipes and guess what? Only one of them even used graham flour which I thought was odd but who am I to judge?

So, that's the one I went with and you can find it here. I just made a couple of tweeks because that's what I do and they worked because they're practically gone already so....

I used 5 tablespoons of honey (raw orange blossom)
seeds from two vanilla beans instead of extract
all dark brown sugar (packed)
vanilla sugar to sprinkle on the tops
and ~ a heart-shaped cookie cutter for loviness

Make these and give them to your family because you love them. Make s'mores from them or ice cream sandwhiches, or dip half of them in chocolate or eat them with some sharp white cheddar (don't knock this....sweet and savory is a divine combination) or stack them up and put them in a clear treat bag tied with kitchen twine for a new neighbor or a favorite teacher.

These are for me...


Clothespin Couture

I'm always looking for fun ways to dress things up whether it's the top of a package, a note card or even the front of my refrigerator. Enter once again, the humble little clothespin. You can paint them, draw on them, cover them with glitter or your favorite scrapbook papers. Even embellish them with beads, ribbon (3/8" ribbon is the perfect width), buttons, brads and fabric flowers.

I first saw these over at One Pretty Thing, one of my fav sites to get inspired by, and thought I'd give them a try. I went by this tutorial and this one though there are several out there that are equally good. Once you get it down, it goes pretty quick and I will also just say that once I figured out the measurements (which I pretty much just eyeballed), I used my paper cutter instead of an exacto blade because it goes much quicker ~ trust me on this ~ and is just as clean on the edges.

Have fun with them! Get crazy! Put some magnets on the backs of some of them. You'll be surprised at how many you can make in just a couple of hours and they're great as stocking stuffers, bundled up and given to teachers, even used as 'To:/From:' tags on Christmas gifts.


Embroidery Hoop Glam

I love how some of the most simple items can be turned into something glam and gorgeous with just a bit of glitter and glue. Take, for example, the humble embroidery hoop and clothespin. I saw this sweet fall wreath over at Budget Wise Home and fell in love with it's simplicity.

Seriously, who would have imagined something like this from cardboard, clothespins and an embroidery hoop with some wood stain and a bit of satin ribbon to snazzy it up? So....I started thinking about all of the clothespins that I have left over from another project (to be revealed at a later date) and an embroidery hoop and cardboard and realized I had the beginnings of my own wreath and since Christmas will be here before we know it (YIKES!) I started playing around with that in mind. And, the great thing about this project is that it's amazingly inexpensive to make and, except for the clothespins which can be picked up for just a couple of dollars, you probably already have everything you'll need on hand.

Here's what I used:

Mod Podge
Liquid Fusion
2 sheets of scrapbook paper (1 12-inch piece is enough if you just want one color)
Martha Stewart glitter (aquamarine crystal and white gold)
Craft Smart acrylic paint in ivory
8-inch wooden embroidery hoop (the inside piece)
Exacto knife
Charcoal gray ink pad
Ribbon (optional)
Glittered snowflake cookie cutters (optional)

Just follow these instructions, they're the ones I used and they're really straight forward and easy to follow. I have no idea why I chose these colors because I have absolutely nothing in my house that coordinates with them; I did, however, have all of the embellishments for them so there it is. I'm sure you've been in the same place before....

I cut out my cardboard circle and painted it ivory.

Then I covered the embroidery hoop with Mod Podge inside and out and sprinkled glitter all over it which gets a bit messy and leaves you looking like Sparkle Shimmer Barbie! When both were dry, I fit the cardboard over the hoop.

Then I just started working on the clothespins. I covered most of them with papers (just on the front side) which I inked all around the edges for a distressed look and some with glitter (with the glittered clothespins, I first covered them with paper then a coat of Mod Podge and then I dipped them in the glitter). I ended up using 61 but you might use less depending on how close together you want yours to be.

When all of the cardboard was covered I added knotted bits of silver ribbon, edges burned to stop fraying and distress, and two glitter-covered snowflake cookie cutters that I had left over from something else I was playing with.

Once everything was in place, I used the Liquid Fusion to glue down the snowflakes and then each clothespin and I'd like to paint the back of each pin with some silver paint and give them a coat of Mod Podge for protection. I still have to look for some ribbon to hang it with ~ don't have the perfect one right now.

What a way to glam up the holiday though, right? Love it!

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Terra Cotta Transformation

I have a thing for serving dishes: round, oval, deep shallow, large, small, tiered...you name it. And I think it's awesome that there are so many different mediums out there that can be used to create some incredible pieces that can be customized any way you wish.

I was at Michael's over the weekend and picked up a terra cotta pot and saucer to try my hand at making a tiered serving dish and am loving the results! I'm sure you've seen several examples of these on other blogs and I really want to encourage you to make one for yourself or as a gift for a dear friend. Plus, you can seriously make one for pennies on the dollar and when you consider the high price tags on tableware; well....it just makes sense to whip something up.

Here's what I used:

terra cotta pot and saucer (whichever size appeals to you)
two colors of acrylic paint (I used craft smart aqua and robins egg blue)
valspar decorative effects weathered crackle glaze (not necessary, I just wanted the look)
three fabric roses (fabric and sheer silver ribbon mixed together)
snow flake cookie cutter covered with Mod Podge and silver glitter
satin varnish
liquid fusion
double stick tape

I new that I was going to be using the crackle glaze on this so I first painted the pot and saucer in my base color (aqua) and gave it a chance to dry.

Next I covered both pieces with a single coat of the crackle glaze medium. The directions say to let it dry for 1-5 hours before putting on the second color. I waited an hour (a word of caution here, when applying the second color, don't go over sections as the top color will start to clump).

Once both pieces were dry, I covered them with a coat of interior satin varnish (you could use a gloss or matte finish, whichever you like) then used the liquid fusion to adhere the base of the pot to the base of the saucer. E600 probably would have been best but I didn't have any and didn't want to wait to get some. I know you know what I mean!

Let that sit overnight with a big fat dictionary weighting it down.

This morning, it was a matter of embellishing which is what it's all about, right? So I made a few fabric roses using what I learned from this tutorial and adding shear silver ribbon as part of my fabric. I also thought it needed something glittery so I put a snowflake on it that I'd made using an old cookie cutter, Mod Podge and silver glitter. Actually, this was the first embellishment I put on then realized it needed something more so I added the flowers...

Then, because I have LOTS of that silver ribbon, I added some to the base of the saucer using double stick tape...

Obviously, this little treasure can't get wet so be sure to keep this in mind when you're thinking of how it's going to be used.

I really love the way it turned out though. I can picture it holding creamy white pillared candles, coarse sugar-dusted shortbread cookies, or as a base for some vintage looking glass-domed decor! Love love love how one gift can be used so many ways!

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