DIY Chesire Cat costume accessories (Crochet)

Its that time of the year again, where I scramble at the last minute to make a Halloween costume!

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This year I’m planning on dressing up as the Cheshire Cat, in the style of the 1951  Alice in Wonderland Disney movie. The Cheshire cat and I go a long way, and if you’ve read this blog long enough you might recall it was once called “We’re all mad here”….a Cheshire Cat quote!

This year I decided to crochet the accessories for my costume, and get the rest of my costume as clothes I’m actually going to wear later. I love dressing in purple, so this is a win-win for my closet!

Here’s what I’ve made up until now:

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Cat Ears : I will start by saying I was super disappointed by most of the cat ears I saw in stores and online, so this was the first element I knew I’d crochet.

I was lucky to quickly find an easy & free pattern on Ravelry for chesire cat ears. The pattern is called “Chesire Cat Headband” and it was designed by  KandJdolls.blogspot.com. What an easy pattern!  My favorite thing about these is the hair band is striped and the ears fold easily. I may make this again in black if I ever need a black cat costume.

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Cat Tail: You can’t be a Cheshire Cat without a tail! Unless you pretend youre a cheshire cat in the middle of a disappearing act and your tail is invisible. Seriously, I considered this because the tail was a tough one. I was super close to buying one of those furry tails they sell at Spencers and Hot topic, but I really wanted the tail to perfectly match the ears, so I made one.

ENTER, furries! I found a GREAT tutorial to make your own furry tail. The tutorial is called “DIY Fox Tail Tutorial” and it was made by Jennifer at “iSaveAtoZ”. The only downsides are that it requires a lot of time and yarn. Since I’m low on free time this week I opted to braid my yarn. I followed one of the tips from the tutorial above and used a clean pet brush to make the end of the tail. Its soooo soft and fluffy. Seriously, if you have the time and need a tail try the tutorial. I may even go Cheshire Cat 2.0 next year just so I can make a proper tail.

I used about 12 strands of yarn, which originally looped around my waist and went all the way down to my knees.  Note! The length of the finished braid will be about 2/3 of the length of yarn you cut, so allow for some shrinkage.  Since I wasn’t very wary of this, I ended up with a shorter braid than I wanted and had to tie it to the back loop of my pants. My original plan was to split the braid halfway and tie it around my waist.

Still, Im quite happy with how this one turned out….considering it was mostly improvised!

Cat…Collar?

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Finally….a peter pan colllar! Yes, we’re mixing up fairy tales up in here!

I realized that the tail and the ears were not enough and I needed to tie my outfit together with one last matched accessory.

So in the middle of the night I made this super easy peter pan collar and alternated the double crochet rows with my chesire car colors. The pattern is called “Crochet Peter Pan Collar” and was designed by Mel Paton. The button is light purple, but if I can I’ll replace it with something more….WILD!

These were all quite easy to make…but my costume isnt finished. Im going to test out some chesire cat makeup and even a chesire cat at home manicure. : D

Are you dressing up this week? Any crafty plans for your costume? Id love to hear from you, dear readers!

Love,

L.C.

P.S. – Oh and in case you are wondering….the top is from Jc Penney online and the pants are a Gloria Vanderbilt thrift shop find!

Polycrafter’s crafting corner

My husband and I moved to a new apartment earlier this year, and one of our goals was to get a dedicated craft/work room for us to share. After a lot of organizing, purging and reorganizing we’ve come to a neatly organized craft room that can fit everything we both need to work happily.

Polycrafters craft room

The first thing we realized was needed was some vertical storage for in progress projects and supplies. We found a neat shelf on sale at Home Depot (left on the pic below) that has proved very sturdy and easy to assemble.  For the side of the shelf I whipped together a little cover that helps keep things visually organized and also helps cover the late sun glare .

Desk

For my desk I have a simple Ikea student desk. The bottom of the large drawer is falling apart and the top is scratched to oblivion, which makes working on messy stuff easier. On this same desk I have a paper filing mini shelf, where I put all my stationary,stickers and pending bills. I hope to upgrade this desk soon, but for now I’m happy with it.

Detail of craft wall

The high light of my side of my side of the craft room is of course, THE GIANT WALL OF ART. On the wall I stare at most often I have pieces from Seattle-based artists I admire like Stasia Burrington, ENFU, and Justin Hillgrove. There are also a few things I worked on that, while not on par with some of the other art there, definitely motivates me to keep trying and continue improving.

Cute Grit, Yotsuba and Russel Wilson

And that’s my side of the craft room!  What’s your creative space like?

Zodiac Fuzzy Poster – Complete!

I first shared this poster while it was in progress, about a year ago. I’m happy to report it is now finished and adorning our craft room wall. While I don’t follow astrology predictions, I do enjoy learning about the signs, the constellations behind them and what patterns are observed for each sign.

Fuzzy Zodiac Poster

I used fine tip permanent markers for most of the poster, but for larger sections like the border I used the markers that came with the poster. They are not as high quality, but they were very effective for getting large chunks of work done.

I am particularly fond of the trees in this poster. The marker ink layered up nicely and created unexpected bark effects on the tree trunks. A similar effect happened on the earth globe, where marker layers created an “ocean current” look.

For those interested in making their own: I found this at the kids art section of Bartell’s drug store. I suggest checking your nearest “all in one” drug store to see if you find one similar. If you do, please share!  I think I may need another one soon, this is very addicting. 😀

-L.C.

Designing for Darby Smart

I’m excited to share with you that I was accepted as a designer for Darby Smart. What this means is that I’ll be designing crafting kits that may later be available for purchase through darbysmart.com. I ordered some materials: vibrant geode fabrics, soft t-shirt yarn and an embroidery stencil that are on the way right now.

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I’m also participating in a contest to win $5K for a complete living room re-do. If I win I’ll be creating many small projects to revitalize any old living room that’s been turned into a TV-srhine.

If you’re checking out the site, why not use my handy link: http://bit.ly/VGX9xI   (Click Esc to close the login popup)

It will give me an extra entry to the contest and who knows,it might be all difference!

Thanks!

Laura

DIY T-shirt resizing

What do you do with a shirt that’s too large? Sleep in it? Heck no! You fix that bad boy and wear it proudly. When people tell you how well your t shirt fits you can smile with the knowledge that you fixed it yourself.

Keep reading for a simple tutorial on how to size down a large shirt. ???????????

Materials:

1 shirt to be sized down

1 shirt that fits you well (No, you wont have to destroy it! 🙂 )

thread in color similar to shirt

sewing machine or sewing needle

Tailor’s chalk pencil or  water soluble color pencil

scissors

pins

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Steps:

1. Lay down your Extra large shirt on a flat surface and place the shirt that fits well on top. Notice how much is going to be cut on the sides and (optionally) under the sleeves.

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2.Turn both shirts inside out and pin them against a flat surface, larger shirt on the bottom. (I used a flattened cardboard box covered in cloth, but this optional.) Make sure that you align the shirts from the shoulders and the sleeves are extended.

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3. With a color pencil or tailors chalk pencil mark the outline of the top shirt on the bottom shirt. You can outline the bottom of the shirt but in my case I chose to keep the shirts original length (so no cuts were made at the bottom). Keeping the original bottom of the shirt will also help you line up the sides and keep that nice fold of the bottom.

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4.Remove the top shirt and fix any lines in the outline. Once you’re happy with the outline start pinning along the line you just made.

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5. At this point I suggest carefully turning the shirt right side out and checking that any designs on the front and back of the shirt are aligned correctly. After checking, turn the shirt inside out again and check your lines one last time.

6. You’re ready to cut the extra cloth on the sides. Take a deep breath and starting from the bottom,  cut the sides away. (Optional) If the sleeves are too big, cut them off the torso and remove any extra cloth under the sleeve.

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7. With a sewing machine or by hand sewing, sew along both sides of the shirt, remembering to stop once you reach the sleeves.

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8. When the torso is sewn back together , try the shirt on and see how it fits. If you didn’t cut out the sleeves you would be done at this step.  If you cut out the sleeves and like it sleeveless, you’re also done!???????????

9.  (Optional)If the neckline or design of the shirt is too low, you can cut the seam at the shoulder and remove some fabric. I only removed about two inches from the front and sewed the shoulders back together. This left a little bunching on the back of my arm,but I can live with it.

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10. When the torso of the shirt is complete you can sew back any sleeves you’ve cut off. Align them from the shoulders and remember not to sew the sleeves shut! Tip: Look between the sleeve and torso for any holes and sew them shut as well.

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11. Cut away any extra fabric at the seams and any loose string.

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And that’s it. Remember that you don’t need to do all this at once. You can trim the width, lengths, or sleeves of any t-shirt and see how you like the new fit. Once you try this you’ll wonder why you ever wore a shirt that was too large for you.

 

Peace out!

L.C.

 

Russian Join Tutorial

This week I learned a fantastic method to join yarn that I’d like to share with you. It looks intimidating but  it’s not as hard as it looks. I suggest you try it out the minute you need to join two strands of yarn. I promise, you will thank yourself later for learning how to join yarn this way. The results are so clean your two ends of yarn will look like a continuous strand.

    Materials needed:

  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle
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Note on embroidery needles: Make sure the needle is large enough to thread the yarn into it, but small enough for the needle itself to fit inside the yarn.

1. Find yourself needing to join to strands of yarn. I’m using brown and cream for a funky blanket I’m making, more on that later.

2. Thread the yarn into the needle (I use the technique in this video), leaving an end of around 4 inches. You can leave less at the end, but it will be harder to maneuver the needle.

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3. **Fun begins here** Insert the needle inside the yarn for about two inches, making sure you don’t lose the loop at the end. Tip: Stick a pencil or a crochet hook inside the loop so you don’t have to worry about the loop disappearing.

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4. Once the needle is wrapped by the yarn, pull the needle out the other end and take out the loose end. See how that pencil/hook is doing its job so nicely?

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5. Thread your second piece of yarn into the needle, again leaving around 4 inches at the end.

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6. Take out the pencil/hook  from the loop you made with the first yarn, and thread the needle (with the new yarn) through the loop.

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7. Repeat step 3, inserting the needle inside the yarn. This time you don’t need to worry about the loop because its being held in place by the first loop you made.

8. Once your needle is wrapped by yarn, pull the needle and the end of the yarn out.

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9. Examine the joined yarn  and start pulling from each end. If you did it right your two pieces of yarn will be safely joined and wont budge. You can snip off any extra yarn that is poking out but be careful not to undo your hard work.

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And that’s it! This gets much easier the more you practice, so I recommend  you practice this as much as you can. Joining yarn this way will help you avoid many loose ends to work on.

Have you discovered any interesting techniques to join yarn or change colors?

 

P.S. – I have no idea why this is called a Russian Join. I can only assume this bit of genius originated amongst Russian crafters. 🙂

Peace out,

L.C.

How to: Crochet amigurumi flower pot

This amigurimi flower-pot is both beautiful and fun to make. I think this is the perfect weekend project for someone itching to crochet something quick and rewarding.

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I started with Lion Brand’s Amigurumi potted plant pattern (you’ll need a free account to download the pattern) and grabbed scrap yarn from my stash.

Crocheting the “brick” pot was pretty straightforward, but I recommend starting with a magic loop to ensure nothing spills from the bottom. I suggest you use an earthy color to simulate brick or clay pots…or maybe a dark green like the plastic containers flowers are sold in.

Next, fill the pot to give it some weight and shape. The pattern recommends using polyfill pellets and polyfill fiber . I used these materials but I say go the extra mile and put those polyfill pellets inside a tied pantyhose sock or tulle. That way you ensure none of those pellets escape through loose stitches.

Next, crochet the circle top  (the earth) where you will later sew the flowers onto. You can make this green like the leaves or maybe even brown, like the earth it’s supposed to be. This is a straightforward circle, but make sure your circle fits comfortably inside the pot. The top circle goes inside the pot and should overlap.

Now you can go wild crocheting flowers and leaves. You can make them in absolutely any color and any shape. Hell, they don’t have to be flowers.  I recommend going for two colors the first time around to keep it simple. Use a magic loop to make the flowers since that will ensure your flowers look neat at the center.

Once you are happy with your pot, top, flowers and leaves I recommend you arrange everything without sewing anything on. This is will let you see if you need more flowers, leaves and if your colors truly look good together. I ended up with more flowers than I needed, but this is a matter of personal taste.

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If you follow one recommendation on this post, follow this one: sew the flowers on to the top circle first. The pattern recommends sewing the top to the pot first, then sewing the flowers on to the pot. In my experience I’ve found that sewing the flowers onto the circle first makes for an easier experience.

Now you should have a circle with many pretty flowers and leaves. Remember to sew a French knot in the center of the flowers in a color of your choosing. After all these steps you may sew the top to the pot (assuming the pot has been filled).

And that was it! Simple…no? Ok, there are a lot of steps but at the root of it are all very simple stitches. Each part is so small and quick to make, the project works up quickly and you see the fruit of your labor in no time.

I’m planning on making this pattern again soon in a variety of colors. It’s a perfect weekend project that you can give to friends as gifts.

Peace out!

L.C.

Crochet Converse Booties

This pair of booties has been delivered to its adorable newborn owner, so they can finally be published in the blog!

The pattern is free on Ravelry and was made by Suzanne Resaul. They were a joy to crochet and I cant wait to bust out some more. It only took about an evening to make the shoes themselves. Sewing the stars on and ironing them on took a little bit more time, but I think it paid off. The circle is made of white felt and the stars are iron ons. The only change I would make in the future is get sports yarn for the white portions. I used regular worsted white and it was a little rough to work with compared to the sports yarn in blue.

These are meant more for style than actual walking, but the pattern provides a version for toddles that includes a rough surface on the bottom.

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See more pictures below!

Make your own erasers Pt. 2 (Kutsuwa Eraser Kit)

Polycrafter@Wordpress

Today I’ll be sharing with you my latest eraser making experiment. The last poll showed that most of you were interested in craft DIY kits, so I ordered a handy-dandy kit from J-List. You can buy them there using my affiliate link.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know I used a similar kit a couple of years ago. You can see my previous post here. This time however, the erasers have a nice and gentle fragrance. Continue reading “Make your own erasers Pt. 2 (Kutsuwa Eraser Kit)”