Your Upcycled Winter

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It’s just been reported that we’re set for 36 – THIRTY SIX – days of snow this winter. That’s almost unheard of! If this turns out to be true, it’s time to hunker down. We’re currently saving to cross the Atlantic at the end of the year, so anything I can do to save a penny at the moment I will. Time to get crafty! Here are the best upcycling how-to’s I’ve found recently to create a brand new wardrobe of snugglies. Have fun!

mbd106220_1010_tea04_vertHere’s a nice simple one to get you started and the perfect thing to do with the most moth eaten jumper you’ve got. Cut off the sleeves and make these snuggly gloves. Great for throwing on in the morning to scrape the car as you won’t care if you lose or ruin them. Follow this quick guide on Whole Living to make yours. Once you do one pair you may not be able to stop!

Sweater Slipper-afterYou can never have enough slippers, especially when they’re made out of your favourite old cuddly sweater that’s lived it’s life. Check out this way to refashion old faithful by Kat from We Can Re-Do It. They look really simple to put together and come out in a gorgeous soft moccasin design. Can’t wait to make these!

cowl_scarf2Those thick woolly cable-knit cardi’s were so popular a few years ago, now you can make yours into this hip scarf! The buttons look fabulous. If you don’t have one there’s bound to be an old cardi in the nearest charity shop for a pound you can grab. Follow Ilene’s simple instructions over on Come on Ilene now!

diy-wollrock-endergebnisWe’ve all got one or two old Christmas jumpers lying around. Either they’re too tight now or haven’t stood the test of time. Bring them screaming into the Pinterest present by turning them into OOAK skirts! This is so cute. Definitely doing this one with my old penguin jumper. Follow Dana’s how-to over on Fashion On Blog.

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And finally, this is flipping adorable. Bang up to date and oh so VERY Pinterest, why not wrap your gifts this year in your old jumpers? Just make sure they’re clean first! Check out this and other designs over on Boxwood Clippings. Or how about this wine bottle wrap from Grey Likes Weddings! Gorgeous!

 

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Cracking Crochet

Since working for Sew Crafty I’ve tried my hand at a couple of different crafts. I’ve gone a bit nutty for card crafts over the last year or so, and more recently found my love for crochet! If you’ve had a go yourself you’ll know how addictive it is. If not, but always fancied a go, maybe you’ll get some inspiration from my journey and try your hand.

I picked it up because I thought it looked easier, and funkier, than knitting. And though I’ve still not tried knitting – as an adult – I do believe I am correct! So here’s my story…

I first picked up a crochet hook around February time when I was making a Valentine’s Day card for the other half, and wanted something cute to add to the front. I decided I needed a crochet heart, looked it up, and never looked back. I was determined to get a good heart, and definitely had a few guffs, but I caught the bug for sure!

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TOP TIP #1: The thing I realised after looking for the perfect heart is there are such things as British crochet and American crochet! They have the same result but the “knots” have different names. I still do this day do not know which I learned with. But most patterns have a cheat sheet at the top. Or if you’re unsure what that particular knot might mean, check to see if you’re on a UK or US pattern and do a quick Google.

The best heart pattern I’ve found [this is great as it translates for US readers] – Teeny Tiny Hearts

TOP TIP #2 I also realised it was a bit easier to follow a pattern if I was watching it on video first. After the first few follows it was easier to read a pattern. There are tons of great tutorials on YouTube, and more and more are popping up each day.

This isn’t the video I used back then but it’s great. The pause button is a god send though. Crochet Heart Tutorial.

TOP TIP #3 In hindsight I wish I’d looking into a things a bit more and realised starting with a granny square would have been the perfect introduction to crochet. I went kind of backwards, but I learned a lot throwing myself into the deep end for sure!

I started with this pattern and made a couple of simple granny squares. Basic Granny Square Pattern.

I then grabbed some black yarn, made a granny square, then just kept going round and round and round. It’s so addictive. I now have a nice throw for my green armchair 🙂

TOP TIP #4 Tons of patterns bang on about a “Magic Circle.” The basic circle you start with and work from. I still haven’t really got to grips with this. Sometimes it happens to me by accident and I go with it, more often than not I’ve just made a loop knot and it’s worked.

Once you’re “hooked” haha, here is a great article with what to do with the granny squares you can’t stop making! Mollie Makes – Granny Square Makes

TOP TIP #5 Crochet really is the most forgiving craft out there. If you make a mistake, it can be pulled out and redone so easily. If you notice the mistake later you can grab a darning needle and do some surgery! Especially if you’ve made some amigurumi.

When I got to the “Okay what ELSE” stage I discovered Amigurumi – the Japanese crochet art of creating animals from crochet. My other half loves penguins so I went there first. This was an experience, but maybe easier to pick up than the heart! I also invested in some stuffing to stuff him. This was definitely the most satisfying part. You must try stuffing at your first opportunity!!

Untitled-8 copyOh the bag was a free gift from my Mollie Makes subscription by the way. Its like those 90s jelly shoes. I love it!

If you’d like to try making this little guy, get this .pdf. Tiny Penguin Pattern

I then decided to go big or go home and make something for my mother’s birthday. She loves those little grey bears you get from card shops, and she always cries when I make her stuff, so I thought I’d put those ideas together and made her this bear! I harked back to YouTube for this and found this amazing woman called Sharon Ojala. She is really easy to follow and makes the cutest little critters. For most of her makes she has a basic body shape, then adds different ears, noses and embellishments for different animals. Check her out and recreate this bear here. Sharon Ojala’s Channel

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It wasn’t long after that that my mothers birthday came along, and by this time I’d got her completely addicted to crochet, woops! So I knew something else crocheted would be a good present choice. After doing a ton of granny squares by this point I found the image above on Pinterest.

I needed to make this! I just googled and saved any flower patterns I could find and make a TON. Some didn’t make the cut. Most did, and I created this:

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Pretty proud of that I must say. I made too many that worked but didn’t fit in, so make a card out of the biggest!

And this is what I’m working on at the moment, skull bunting! I love the yarn, it’s like nothing I’ve worked with before. It’s more of a string, but not as tough. If you’d like to try it, its the James C Brett Craft Cotton.

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This is the pattern I’m following. Crochet Skulls. But there are tons of variations online.

All of them are coming out differently and I have no idea why, but I sort of like that!

And just for fun, here are a few of my favourite patterns:

Cupcake Granny Square – Trick or Treat Bag –  Lots of granny squares

If you try any of these please let us know! Take a photo and send it to us at carly@sewcraftyonline.co.uk or on our Facebook page – always add the hashtag #showcrafty and we’ll see it!

Have fun!

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The Handmade Fair First Timer

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As I see myself as a relative newbie to this whole “handmade scene” and I now write for a business snuggled in the thick of it, I thought it only right that I should fully immerse myself and go to my very first craft fair! The Handmade Fair seemed like the perfect excuse! Not knowing what to expect at the beginning, it turned out to be one of the best days ever!

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As part of my ticket I signed myself up to doing a couple of the workshops. After a quick mooch around one of the sellers’ tents it was time for the first class – Make your own necklace and bracelet with I MAKE KNOTS! It was clearly super popular because even though we arrived 10 mins early the tent was nearly full. Riannon was super sweet and had time for everyone as we all had a go creating fun jewellery from thick jersey “wool.” Definitely something I’m going to try again at home. “Keep knotting!!” was Riannon’s sign off, and I shall!

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Shopping and mooching around the stalls was just wonderful… but slightly dangerous. I wanted everything! Luckily I had saved a bit of spending money specifically for the show, and I’m glad I did! Though I could have spent a lot more… Here are some of my favourite stalls:

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Acorn &  Will

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Death by Tea

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iBeads

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The Alice Boutique

The next workshop I’d signed up for was for Jane Means Ric Rac Rose. Honestly, I didn’t know what Ric Rac was before this class, but I love roses and soon learnt as they handed us all a piece of Ric Rac whilst waiting in the queue. After a very quick intro we got to making the roses. Very simply roll up the Ric Rac and sew one end together to make the bottom of the rose! Done! She next talked us through how to make a paper envelope. Would have been nice if we could have done it along with her, but hopefully I’ll remember how it went.

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Then it was snack time! We had to get the churros and a Pims. Yum! We had another mooch around the stalls where I met the gorgeous Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons. Then we headed for main tent to get ready to watch the lady herself Kirsty Allsop and her friend Joe Canta chat about cocktails. I got chatting to the girl next to me in the auditorium about her beautiful dress. Her mother had made it the week before for her, and she spoke about upsizing the pattern as she was so tall. Of course I told her about Sammy’s sizing up blog post a few weeks ago and she was very grateful. 🙂

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The cocktail show was fab, I was gagging to try all the delicious drinks they made though! Then with that it was time for home and to go through all my fabulous treasures from the day. I’m so sad the Christmas version is so far away from me(in Birmingham) but I can’t wait to get to another craft fair very soon. I’ve heard Renegade is a great one!

DSC_2117DSC_2126DSC_2128DSC_2131DSC_2121Did any of you get over to the Handmade Fair? Did you find an awesome designer/maker I missed? Let me know!

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LBD Halloween Costumes

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We’ve all got one, that Little Black Dress, that “go to” safety net when we need something chic but simple to wear, it may even be in the “well loved” stage by now, but we’ve all got one. We thought it might be fun, considering the season, to see what we can do with this old favourite, adding a couple of low cost touches, and maybe help with some costume inspiration!

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– The Witch – maybe an obvious choice considering the colour, but it’s incredibly simple to create. A simple felt hat (cone and circle), sewn or glued together, bright coloured tights, some black boots, and a comedy broom! You could even carry around a cuddly black cat toy for extra comedic value. Or leave it out for a classier look 😉 Don’t forget the dark make up, purples and greys, and a nice dark lippy. Check out this awesome spiderweb cape tutorial for that final touch >>> http://www.deliacreates.com/no-sew-halloween-spiderweb-cape-tutorial/ 

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– The Cat – How about becoming the witch’s companion itself. Grab an alice band, bend couple of pieces of wire into ear shapes, or some stiff black felt, stuff a leg of some black tights for a tail, bit of kitty make up and you’re done.

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– Flapper – This is a cool one. Just add a super long necklace, beaded if you’ve got it; wrap a bit of black ribbon with a feather sewn on, round your head; get a black straw as a cigarette holder, and a shawl or a feather boa to wrap around you! Easy!

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– Flamenco Dancer – something a bit different! Sew a layer of bright red fabric under the hem, tie a bit around your waist, make a fan from some card, slick your hair back into a tight bun and add a bright red rose, maybe made out of the same material to tie it all together.

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– Audrey Hepburn – here’s a classy one, and it’s all about the hair. Once you’ve got that down grab those false eye lashes, all your sparkly jewellery, those over sized sunglasses, a black straw for a cigarette holder, and if you’ve got them, some black silk gloves. Unmistakably Audrey.

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