Cable Knit Bag

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You may remember my post from July about the cable knit handbags I made for my sisters. Well, one of my cousins saw that post and absolutely loved it. She asked me to recreate a version of the bag for her daughter. My cousin that would be wearing the bag also spends her time in the city and I had her choose the color of the yarn (Forrest Green) – from there I decided to do an Asian-inspired lining and trim.

I went to work re-creating the pattern of the bag. Once the piece was knit up I created the lining with a beautiful fan-printed fabric. I just loved the gold metallic in the fabric. It does not show up very well in the photo, but trust me – it sparkles.

A removable base was added in, a magnetic snap closure, a pocket, some bamboo handles… and I made a pin for the front to match the lining. It has some beautiful fish (or maybe they are serpents) and the coloring matches the lining.

She received the bag on Christmas and loves it! If you see a fashionable girl wandering around NYC and B’klyn with this one-of-a-kind bag, that would be my cousin!

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Bedroom Chair Makeover

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My older sister found some great chairs for her bedroom. The only problem – the fabric did not go. Both of them had an Ultrasuede-type fabric: one of them was a dark brown and one of them was a stone. Her bedroom is shades of blue. She took a trip to the fabric store and found a great textured fabric in shades of blue and white to give these chairs a little makeover.

The great thing about the Ultrasuede fabric is that it was so smooth and so thin that I could put the new fabric over top of it without having to remove the old fabric. This saves a ton of work!

I started out with the stool. It was not your typical rectangle, but not an oval either so still pretty easy to cover. My staple gun and I went to work.

The end result came out very nice. The stool sits at the little vanity area between her closet and bathroom.

This next beautiful chair my sister found at Home Goods (her favorite place for furniture-hunting). It was probably part of a dining set originally but was soon meant to be part of my sister’s bedroom set.

With some new fabric this chair now fit right in the bedroom. It’s a great place to sit and put your boots on! And it is very comfy if I do say so myself.

Handmade Rag Dolls & Monsters

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…are taking over NYC! Well, not really but the photos of the dolls were taken against the city backdrop (from my office window).

I made a little rag doll for my 9 mo. old niece for Christmas. When my friend saw it she wanted a couple to give as gifts – including a boy doll for her son. I thought a monster would be much cuter than a rag doll, and it turns out she affectionately calls her son a ‘little monster’. Perfect fit!

I had already made a pattern for the rag doll when I did my niece’s, but the monster pattern had to be created.

He has a nice plump body and some skinny dangley legs and arms. I gave him playfully ferocious teeth and spiky hair – and of course a set of angry red monster eyes!

The dolls were also customized with colors and style – and later personalized. The first doll had a pastel color theme with dark hair.

The second doll was also a brunette and had a cute girly dress that matched the one I made for my niece’s doll.

I was pretty happy with how they all turned out – and even better, my friend was thrilled! They are great personal gifts that I hope the kids will enjoy.

Personalized Handmade Sled Ornaments

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My older two siblings and myself received these great sled ornaments in 1982 and they are hung on my parents’ tree every year.

I always felt bad that my younger sister didn’t have one (she wasn’t born yet in 1982). I decided to make some this year for all of the additions to our family post-1982 (sister, sister-in-law, niece).

These ornaments turned out to be far more work and time-consuming than expected. It probably didn’t help that I made seven of them (four were gifts for a friend).

First I had to cut all of the wood pieces. Next I painted them. Before I could assemble them I used an awl to create holes at the top which was rather difficult to do without splitting the wood.

The next step was to add all of the lettering (alphabet macaroni, a puddle of glue and some tweezers came into play here). While I was at it, I replaced all letters that had broken or fallen off of mine & my siblings’ ornaments. Finally, gold thread was strung through the holes to hang from the tree.

Handmade Button Wreath Ornaments – Modern & Vintage

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I love buttons. Vintage, modern – it doesn’t matter. Last year I bought some buttons at the craft store and made little wreath ornaments for my family. These are cute resin 4-hole buttons of various colors, sizes and textures; easy to string!

This year I went through my stash of vintage buttons from the ’40s-’70s and made a new style of wreath ornament. The way the shank buttons hang give a great look and shape to the wreaths.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Charlie Brown Christmas Special

Custom Built Shelving Unit

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I finally completed a project that I’ve been wanting for myself for about four years! I have a lot of yarn, notions, etc. Most of it resides in baskets that I got at Home Goods and for the longest time these baskets were stacked one on top of another in a big tower. Since the baskets can be heavy it means I rarely got to go through my yarn stash and work on projects. I asked my dad several times to build me a shelving unit, but it never happened so I finally thought – why not build it myself?

Step one was taking measurements and figuring out dimensions for my unit – overall plus shelves & other details. I drew this rough sketch as my guide (obviously not to scale).

Next I headed out to purchase the wood (pine because apparently it takes stain very nicely) and I brought a knob from my dresser drawer to figure out what shade range I wanted to be in for the wood stain.

The next step was to cut the wood, and for this I asked my dad to cut everything to the measurements I spec’d. Secretly I think he was happy because it gave him an excuse to buy a new table saw (his old one found a new home with my brother). The wood was then sanded and wiped down.

I then stained the wood. Warning: If you do this wearing shorts and a tank you will end up with fake “age spots” from any splatter or drips. It took three weeks and a lot of exfoliating to make them go away. I then applied a coat of polyurethane.

Next step: assembly. Getting closer to a finished unit! Using a nail gun, nothing would take this piece down.

Here are photos of my finished unit and a before/after shot of the baskets stacked versus shelved. I have to take the baskets down soon to add the “feet” on the bottom and may give it another coat of polyurethane while I’m at it. I love the color, but I feel like the finish needs another coat of the polyurethane.

I spec’d the piece with a recessed top so that I could keep another basket or whatever else on top. The basket on top is actually much narrower so it works perfectly to keep my roll of knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc nested behind it. No more lifting numerous baskets; I can access everything by just sliding the baskets out a little! Not bad for a DIY project.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Conan

Handmade Nested Hoop Earrings

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Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted. I have been so busy making handmade gifts for the holidays and while I have completed a few projects, I can’t post them until after Christmas or I’ll spoil the surprise! There will be a few new posts coming up in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned…

Yesterday my friend noticed the earrings I was wearing. It’s a pair that I made at least 10 years ago; Purple stones with golden Swarovski crystals, sterling silver beads all nested in a sterling silver pointed hoop. She loved them and wanted a pair for herself so I went to work!

Just made tonight, she can choose this beautiful aqua pair with champagne crystals.

Here is a bit of a closer photo that shows the amazing texture the new hoops have (versus the smooth finish of my original pair). I love it and may have to make another pair for myself!

My friend can also choose this classic black pair with purple crystals. I generally use a grey translucent crystal, but my friend loved the purple stones from my original pair so I decided to incorporate the color into this pair.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Conan

Silk Garden Scarf

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Noro yarns can be found in most yarn stores. They come from Japan and each quality is available in an array of beautiful multicolors. I saw this particular yarn a few years ago at a yarn shop near Union Square and was attracted to the brilliant turquoise and magenta colors. I bought one skein (125mt, DK weight) figuring I’d make an accessory and it’s been hanging out in my stash ever since

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a lightweight project to tote around the city all day, so I tossed the yarn and a pair of size 13 circulars in my bag.

The blend of silk and lambswool creates a great texture and beautiful highs and lows in the yarn. I didn’t want to do anything fancy, just let the texture and colors shine on their own. I decided to do a loosely knit garter stitch skinny scarf. Something colorful that could be tossed on during this crisp Fall weather. By the end of the day I had accumulated enough knitting time on the train, in waiting rooms and just walking down the street that the scarf was complete!

Halloween Wall Art

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It’s that time of year… Halloween is creeping up on us and hopefully you have a fabulous party to attend. This year one of my sisters (who loves Halloween) is throwing a big bash. I thought it would be fun to make some wall art to hang around her place for the event.

I wanted an old, beaten up look so I started by burning the edges of my paper. Personally, I really like bristol board but you can use whatever paper you like.

I used acrylic paints because they are water based and this would help to give the distressed look I was trying to achieve. Mixing some brown, black, a little red, and a lot of water the paper was picking up the look I wanted. Plus, the char from the edges mixed with the water and paint was creating some “bumps” on my page which was some great added texture to achieve the desired look.

And finally I painted some theme-appropriate messages like “Double, double toil and trouble…” and “Beware”.

The artwork can easily be put up on the walls or doors with some painters tape on the back for the evening without causing any damage. A great temporary decorating solution for your walls!

Baby Pumpkin Costume

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For my niece’s first Halloween, my mom wanted to make her a pumpkin costume. Seriously, how cute is a little six month old dressed as a pumpkin? My mom tackled the pumpkin body while I worked on the little stem “hat”.

The body was a simple silhouette – two rectangular pieces, gathered with elastic at the bottom and top, seamed at the sides with space for armholes. She was plumped up with a little tissue paper stuffing.

I created the stem / leaf topper by first sketching out on paper, then cutting out of felt. I stuffed the stem with fiberfill and hand stitched the stem to the leaf portion. Both elastic and a ribbon tie were fastened so my sister-in-law could determine which would work best once she tried the costume on. The stem hat looked great on my Cabbage Patch Kid model while I was constructing it, but it was way cuter on my niece in the end. My niece is the cutest pumpkin ever! Please forgive her blurred out face but I wasn’t sure if my brother and sister-in-law would want her photo posted online otherwise.