Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Melting Heart

In just a couple of weeks, my husband and I will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of our first date.  I'm quite excited...I love milestones!

As I always make my husband a sappy gift for all of our gift giving occasions, I had to find something for this.  It took a while, but I finally figured it out:  melted crayon canvas art.  Melted crayon canvas art has been popping up all over Pinterest lately, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. 

I loved it!  It's simple, inexpensive and looks pretty awesome.

Melting Heart Crayon Art

Wax crayons
Hair dryer
Glue (I used Tacky Glue)

  1. Figure out your design.  I decided to do a heart (a little more complicated than some other shapes perhaps).  Because my hearts I draw freehand always look drunk, I used a cookie cutter to make a template.  I used a looped piece of tape to stick the heart where I wanted it on the canvas.
  2. I used a box cutter to cut the crayons into small pieces.  I didn't try to make the pieces the same size because I was looking for a less uniformed look.  I then used a small bit of tacky glue and stuck the pieces around the heart template.  I removed the paper heart and let the glue dry overnight.
  3. As you'll notice in picture three, I didn't cover my work area because my table is already covered in paint and glue and stuff, but if you don't have such a crazy table, lay some newspaper down because this part is messy!  I set the hairdryer on high heat, but low power and slowly worked around the heart paying attention to which direction I wanted the wax to drip.  I used the cool setting on my hairdryer to cool the wax before moving on to the next section.
And ta-da!  It's just that easy!

Until next time! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bring on the Geek (Part the First)

Wow, sometimes life just gets kinda busy, huh?  I've been intending to write a new post ages ago, but never made it to the bottom of my growing to do list.  What have I been up to, you ask?  Well, my husband and I finally bit the bullet and ordered lovely bookshelves (and an unrelated wine cabinet).  I am over the moon to finally get my books out of boxes (they'd been boxed up for nine months and as a woman who holds a BA in English, that's the stuff of nightmares). 

I've also started planting flowers around our new home...hopefully they won't all die.  I've never before planted flowers, and all attempts my mother made to get me into the garden as a child/teen was met with staunch refusals from me.

In the midst of all this, I have started several projects, but not actually finished any.  But, I do have one that I can show you as the first of four parts.

I had originally intended this to be a stand alone gift for my husband on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of our first date.  But, I was too excited to wait, so I shared it with him and then decided to expand upon my idea.

You probably want to know what I'm talking about, huh?

Well, a while ago I stumbled on an image of a cross stitch that was a heart made up of Tetris pieces.  My husband LOVES Tetris, so I jumped at the idea of making this.  However, when I actually looked at the picture, I was dismayed to discover that many of the pieces were fake pieces (Tetris shapes, as you probably know come in specific arrangements of four blocks...this pattern called for using one and two block pieces and I'm too OCD for that).

So, I sat down and spent about three hours figuring out how to put the pieces together.  I made it more complicated by assigning a specific color to each piece, and obviously I didn't want two of the same color to touch.  (I'd originally made it even more complicated by having a yellow pieces and a purple piece and I HATE those colors I didn't want them to touch either.  I simplified my life by changing purple into pink!)

Once completed, my Tetris heart was just over 1-1/2 square inches.  Then genius struck!  I would turn this, and three other geeky objects turned cross-stitch, into coasters!  I have an empty set of picture coasters that are perfect to use with small cross-stitched projects.

So, without further ado:

Geek Coaster 1:  Tetris Heart

It's not the greatest picture, but you get the, um, picture.  :)

-Each colored square is a cross stitch in that color
-Thick black lines around the heart are double stranded black back stitch
-Thin black lines separating pieces are single stranded black back stitch
-Dotted lines are single strand back stitch in the color of the piece (i.e. pink Tetris piece means pink detail stitching; red Tetris piece means red stitching, etc.)

*NOTE:  Each back stitch was the length of two cross stitches, helped create the block look I was looking for.

Up Next:  Rubics Cube Geek Coaster...also, eventually I will make those wine bottle lanterns and make more crocheted loveliness!

Happy Crafting!

Friday, March 2, 2012

First Foray into Crochet

Among my many goals and resolutions for 2012, I vowed to learn two specific crafting skills.  The first:  machine sewing.  I haven't done much, but what I have done there has been enjoyable and successful...but more on that some other time.  The second:  crocheting. 

For my Christmastime birthday, my wonderful aunt got me two books on crocheting, one of which came with a hooks and various other crocheting tools (I still haven't figured out what some of them are for!)  Along with some yarn, I sat down and attempted to crochet a dishtowel.

And I failed.  Over and over again.  Each time I got to the first row (after the base chain, of course), my work started to look pinched and be way to tight.  I rarely made it to the second row.  I kept presenting my husband with my failed attempts and calling them my caterpillars, promising they would turn into butterflies eventually (metaphorical, of course, as I was trying to make dishcloths, not butterflies).

Finally, last Friday, after having abandoned my efforts for about a month, I sat down with my books, yarn, hooks and Youtube and finally (FINALLY!) had success.  I managed to do a couple small sample patches of both single stitch and double stitch.  And then I began a new dishcloth (using a new pattern since I still didn't understand the one from my book).  Incidentally, I'm way too proud of my dishcloth to actually use it and risk staining it. 

After finishing that, I leaped into crocheting a cowl.  I don't know if I simply misread the directions, used the wrong sized hook, or both, but my poor cowl turned out waaaay to small for my neck!  But, I did not give up hope as I have a sister-in-law and niece both of whom have smaller necks than me!  Though to aide in putting it on, I added a few buttons.  I think it turned out quite nicely (though I wouldn't blame them if they never wore it in public!)

My first attempt at the cowl having been slightly less than a success, I tried again with a different skein of yarn...this time instead of making 35 stitches, I made 80...and that did the trick!  Folks, I'm really hoping I made mistakes in reading the pattern, because I'd hate to think my neck is 45 stitches rounder than the necks for which the pattern was written!

In between my cowl efforts, I did pause and made four cute little hearts!  They were surprisingly difficult and required me to learn how to do a magic well as a slip stitch.  For those of you who know what this, you'll be delighted to learn I'm an expert at slip stitches as that's what I'd used to make those ill fated caterpillars!

Wow, that was quite long, wasn't it?  Well, here are some pictures to reward you for your reading all of that (and if you didn't, I won't hold it against you...I'm very long winded as you are beginning to learn!)

I would be remiss if I didn't give proper credit where it is due, so here it goes:

The cowl pattern came from this site:  Crochet Spot
The dishcloth pattern (for which I omitted the trim) came from here:  Homespun Living
The hearts pattern is from here (mine don't look quite right, but I'll get there!):  Flower Girl Cottage

And here I am wearing my new cowl!  It's not a bad picture if I do say so myself...and I'm not usually fond of pictures of me!

I'm sure there will be many more crochet posts in the future, but I think more immediately, you can look forward to a designed-by-me cross stitch that I am making for my husband and wine bottle lanterns (hopefully I get around to doing those soon!)

All the best!