Monday, December 17, 2012

Potholder Pattern #2 (A Tutorial)

The following post is a copy of my guest post over at Sugar Bee Crafts from earlier this month.

(I'll leave my little introduction intact, just in case you are a new reader!) Hello, Sugar Bee Crafts Readers! My name is Rachel, and I blog over at The Philosopher's Wife.  I like to blog about my life, my crafts, things that matter to me, and whatever piques my interest.  I am a Stay-At-Home-Mom for my adorable daughter Catherine and I am wife to my wonderful husband, who, you might have been able to guess, is a Philosopher!

I love making pot-holders!  (You can read more about that here.)  I'd bet that many of you have a pot-holder loom hanging around the house.  It is time to dig it out, because I am going to share a pattern with you today that you're going to want to try!

(Before beginning, I highly recommend using the Harrisville Designs Pot-Holder Loom, but I especially recommend their loops.  Many of the loops that are found in craft stores these days are made from a cheap jersey material that is purely for decorative purposes--it even melts when it gets too hot!  The Harrisville Design Loops are 100% cotton and make pot-holders that can be used for years!)

Make sure that you have enough of both colors that you intend to use.  

Start with Color One (Red) on both ends and add the loops as every other until they meet in the middle, where there should be two Reds.  My loom has 18 spokes, so spokes 9 & 10 should both be Color One--in this case, Red.

Do the exact same pattern, again with Color One (Red) on the outer most and in the middle, while doing a basic weave.  

Before trying to hook off the ends, push all of the loops towards the center.  Do this from all four sides and you should be able to easily crochet the ends together.  Add a few stitches with needle and thread to the final loop for added strength.  

Have your kids help make some pot-holders and then they can give them as gifts at Christmas.  Better yet, put together a couple of cookies-in-a-jar, some hot-chocolate jars, and the pot-holders in a basket with some ribbon and you have a lovely handmade gift that is easily tailored to anyone's tastes.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial!

I have another pot-holder tutorial that you might be interested in: the "Houndstooth" How To.

Thank you, Mandy, for this opportunity to guest post!

If you want to get really fancy with this pattern, you can try to make  a pot-holder like this one:

As always, I love sharing my projects around blogland.  
You can check out some of my favorite places to party on this page.

Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes

1.  If you are a blogger, have you noticed how many of the great linkys happen on Wednesday?  I mean, Wordless Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, Works in Progress Wednesday, plus all the awesome craft parties that are on Wednesday?  I could spend an entire week getting posts ready for Wednesdays.

2. How many other crafters out there have procrastinated to the point where they have about a half dozen (or more) gifts that they intended to hand make and they only have mere days to finish everything?

3. Speaking of which, I am attempting my first complete quilt.  (I've started others in the past but took on too much too soon.)  This one is a simple three piece quilt: back, batting, and one non-pieced non-blocked non-anything piece of fabric.  It is going to be a Christmas present for my daughter and I am determined to have it finished.

4. I finally found a pair of gloves for Catherine today.  It has been oddly difficult.  I wanted her to have actual gloves, not mittens.  I also didn't want to spend much on them, because let's face it, she's two and will probably lose at least one before the end of the weekend.  I couldn't find any small enough for her at Target, Wal-Mart, or various dollar and thrift stores.  (All the ones on Amazon I thought were pretty expensive.)  Where did I find them?  At Claire's.

5.  My hubby and I have been playing Mario Galaxy lately.  I've really enjoyed this because the second player doesn't have to have much skill to have fun.  Which is great, because while I enjoy video games here and there I'm the player who is constantly running into walls.

6.  Yikes, I almost didn't include any pictures today!  I can't do that!  Here's a picture of cuteness from Christmas 2010.  When I look at this picture and then at the toddler climbing on the couch I almost can't believe it!

7.  My Etsy shop is having a sale today through Sunday!  December 14-16, 2012 enter the coupon code GOOSIE15 to receive 15% off!  Any orders will be mailed Monday and then the shop is closed beginning the 18th until January.  (There are also some items that are not listed that you could purchase -- some of them can be found in my Facebook albums here and here.)  While it is probably too late for a custom order to show up under your Christmas tree, if you want something that you don't see just ask--many items aren't photographed and I just might have something for you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I Wore Wendsday

I am pretty happy with my outfit today, so I decided to go ahead and share it!  

Be warned, I would rate the pictures only as "Fair" quality.  I was playing with the timer function -which did work well--indoors, which never works well in our apartment due to poor lighting.  As always, my adorable little helper was at my side through it all!

 Sweater: J. Crew $3 at Value Village a couple weeks ago
T-Shirt: Old Navy $2.50 at an ON clearance sale last year
Jeans: St. John's Bay $5 at a JCP clearance sale a couple of years ago

I'm even wearing accessories today!

 I entered a giveaway and won this pretty necklace from The Swiss Dot.  This piece is a deviation from normal for me, but I really like it!

These beautiful earrings were made by my friend Jeanne.

Finally, a photo-bomb shot with my sweetie-pie! 

Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday Catherine and I did the annual Christmas card photo shoot.  This shot didn't make the cut for the card, but I still thought it was super sweet!

I'd love to see your (mostly) Wordless Wednesdays!
Link up below!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Crafter

Do you have a crafter in you life?  Are you having a difficult time finding something for them this Christmas?

Here are a few ideas:

Every crafter needs an organized place to store supplies.  These two pieces of furniture would be welcome additions to a crafter's home.

Harbor View Craft Armoire $349

Original Scrapbox Ez View Craft Scrapbooking Desk 


Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have the type of space the above gifts need.

Here are a few smaller scale items:

This would be handy for either a knitter or a crocheter! It holds up to eight skeins of yarn at a time.
Yarn Drum
Many crafters love books! I know that I do.  Books can be great for learning new techniques, patterns, and finding inspiration.  The following would make many a crafter happy:

Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts [Paperback] $16.49


 I've endorsed this book before, and I think that just about any crocheter would learn something from it and would love to have it on their shelves!


Last, but certainly not least, supplies are always a welcome addition.

These can be a bit tricky.  Gift cards are the "safe" option when it comes to supplies.  However, you don't have to limit yourself to Michael's and Jo Anne's (although both of those are incredibly awesome places to get gift cards for!).  Etsy now has mostly site wide gift cards and many of the individual shops have their own gift cards.

I reviewed some yarn from Sunrise Fiber Co. a while back, which I loved, and I think many knitters and crocheters would love to work with that yarn.  I am happy to report that they have gift certificates exclusive to that shop!

Friday, December 7, 2012

7 Quick Takes

My husband and I recently became hooked on Downton Abbey.

Whole cranberries always look so delicious  but I rarely purchase them because I just don't know what to do with them!  I picked up a bag for super-cheap the other day and made this dessert.  I highly recommend it!

I really liked this article about kids in Church.  Especially this quote:
[W]e’re a family [at Mass]. Families include colicky newborns and sassy toddlers and fidgeting kids and high schoolers who text at warp speed and people with awful coughs who are always overly eager to shake your hand during the passing of the peace and the man who sits behind you every week who loudly refuses to learn the new responses and the woman who sings off key … you know what I mean. We’re all in it together. If someone is making it hard for you to concentrate during Mass, offer up a prayer on her or his behalf.
Well, while I'm commenting upon articles I've read this week, how about this one, "Catholics, Awake! Marriage Doesn't Just Happen!" I was married before 24 and I did hold hands with my now husband while we dated.

Last week was a very difficult week for our little family.  I had a miscarriage.  I'd very much appreciate any prayers that you have to spare.

I have a giveaway for a fun pair of earrings that ends this weekend.  You should enter, because even if you don't want the earrings for yourself I am sure that you could find a pair for someone on your Christmas list!  I'll even post the Rafflecopter form here to make it super easy to enter, but for the full review go {HERE}. 
(Continental US only, please.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email.  The Philosopher's Wife is not responsible for prize shipment.)

Here are two pictures of my sweet Catherine helping me with my Crochet Snowflake photo shoot.  In the one she is full of concentration and was getting a little frustrated that the snowflake wasn't co-operating as she wished and the other she is just so full of joy.  Isn't she adorable?

PS: There's still time to order from my Etsy shop!  

For more Quick Takes visit Jen!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crochet Snowflakes

Even though I have the windows wide open today, and Catherine and I wore short sleeves outside, it is December.  While I very much have enjoyed the park this week I am ready to get in the mood for Christmas.  And who doesn't love a white Christmas?  Here's a slightly less chilly take on a white Christmas!

Crocheted snowflakes.  

If you haven't crocheted before or haven't in a long time, don't be intimidated by snowflakes!  Crocheting really isn't that difficult and there are so many awesome and easy to follow tutorials out there.  With the right pattern, even if you are a beginner, you could make a few  pretty snowflakes in an afternoon!

I tried a couple of different snowflake patterns, and ultimately decided that the pattern from Redheart for Snowflake #1 of the garland is the simplest with the most dramatic appearance (see below).  It requires only very basic crochet skills: chains, single crochet, and slip stitches.  

There are many more complicated patterns out there and quite a few fairly easy ones as well.  If you're a member of Ravelry there are many gorgeous patterns to chose from.  (If you aren't a member, I highly recommend you join if you crochet or knit. It is a very handy FREE website!  )

I think that my favorite snowflake is the one below.  The pattern can also be found at Redheart.  This is another fairly simple pattern.  

Of course, snowflakes don't have be made using crochet thread--you can use "regular" yarn as well!  These were made using a sport weight yarn and are about the size of a small plate while the others are roughly three inches from point to point.

What are some good uses for these cute little works of art?  

  • Make a bunch and hang them on the Christmas tree!  They are especially great if you have kids or pets, as they won't break and aren't poisonous.  
  • Stitch them together and make a beautiful garland.
  • Hang them from your fan pulls.
  • Put them on a wreath.
  • Use them as curtain tie backs. 
  • Add one with a gift tag to jazz up a present.  

If you like the look of the snowflakes I made, but don't want to make them yourself, I sell some in my Etsy shop!  (I welcome custom orders, but hurry!)  I had a bunch of these at the craft fair this past weekend, and I was shocked how fast they sold out!

Since my little helper was just too adorable while helping me take pictures, here's another one of her! She ever-so-carefully hung the snowflakes on the bush for me.