Category Archives: Crafts

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Hello and welcome! I hope you all had a nice Christmas. We did. It was a blessing that the storm that wreaked havoc across much of the country did not disrupt our Christmas plans.

One of the gifts I made this year were these gnome towel toppers. The free crochet pattern can be found here. I made several of these as they worked up pretty quick and were budget friendly to make. I didn’t make them in red in green as the original pattern calls for because I wanted the recipients to use them throughout the year not just around Christmas time. I knew when I started making these that one of them would be for my next-door neighbor, Karen. Like me she is a cook and a crafter, and she and I like to exchange homemade gifts.

These gnome towel toppers have a ring crocheted inside them to hold the towel so the towel can be removed and washed. The gnome hat loops down and buttons so it can be hung, usually on the oven handle.

On the Tuesday before Christmas, I took Karens gift over to her. As I handed her the gift she said, “Oh, I have something for you,” then handed me a gift bag. We opened our gifts at the same time and then had a good laugh.

Karens gift to me were the two towels, with toppers, pictured below. The first one I saw was the Gnome for the Holidays one.

The strange thing is that she and I had never even spoke about Gnomes before, we just thought they would be a good gift each other.

Thanks for visiting.

Preserving Family Heirlooms

Last year my sister, Kathy, shared these pictures of some wall hangings she created using doilies our mom had made for her.

I thought they looked very cool and what a great way to display and preserve mom’s work. Way better than keeping them tucked away in a closet or box somewhere.

My daughter Kara liked them too. After about the third time she told me how much she liked them I told her, “You can have my doilies when I die. For now, I use them to protect my wood furniture.”

Kathy’s creations and Kara’s love for them inspired my own creation.

I had tucked away in a closet some hats that my Grandma and Mom had crocheted. Lovely as they are they are just not a style that is worn nowadays so I couldn’t imagine anyone putting them to use. I did, however, think that their beautiful work should be appreciated, so I, too, designed a wall hanging.

When my other sister, Jamie, learned what I was doing she offered a pair of gloves that belonged to our Great Aunt Louise to add to the collection.

To assemble my project (pictured above) I bought a shadow box frame. The backing it came with was a piece of thin foam covered with a white, canvas-type, fabric. I bought the rose pattern fabric, cut it to size and used a double-sided fabric tape to bond it to the backing of the frame. I sprayed each of the hats and gloves with starch to help them keep their (flat) shape. Once they were dry, I placed each on the backing and put several stitches in it to attach it to the backing. Once all of the items were secured I put the backing into the frame. I am quite happy with the results.

I attached an envelope to the backside with a note enclosed giving a best guess history of each item (since my Grandma, Mom, and Great Aunt have all passed away my sisters, my aunt and I used our best guesses). The hat on top was made by my grandmother probably sometime between the 1960’s and 1980’s, the gloves belonged to my great aunt Louise and she likely wore them as a young lady, the hat on the bottom was made by my mom probably in the 1990’s.

A few weeks ago I presented this to my daughter Kara as a birthday/housewarming gift. She and Sheldon (her significant other) agreed that it would go nicely in their dining room which they have decorated with other family heirlooms and antiques.

Thanks for visiting.

Do you have any family heirlooms? Do you display them or have them tucked away for safe keeping?

A New Craft

Hello and welcome!

I started a new (to me) craft this month – it’s Tie-Dye. Here in the U.S. tie-dye clothing is most associated with the 1960’s and the hippie era, however according to this article tie-dye was first used in the 6th century in Asia and first used in the U.S. in the 1920’s. Tie-dye methods have evolved over the years, so if you remember making tie-dye t-shirts by putting rubber bands on a shirt a soaking it in a bucket of dye that is not what I did.

I bought a kit that came with five bottles of different colored dyes and enough dye to fill each bottle twice. Form that kit I was able to create the 8 t-shirts below plus one more that I made just because I didn’t want to waste any of the dye.

For design ideas and inspiration, I watched videos on this website.

I then clothed my whole family in tie-dye. There is one for each of my (4) daughters, one for each of my (2) grandkids, one for my husband and one for me.

It was lots of fun experimenting with different techniques of folding and applying the dye then waiting to see the results. I see more of this in my future. 🙂

Granddaughter Addy wearing her “beautiful new shirt” as she called it.

Have you ever done tie-dye?

Have you ever worn tie-dyed clothing?

Thanks for visiting.

Winter Projects – I’ve Finished The First One

I had two big winter projects planned and I’m happy to say that I have finished the first and I’m working on the second.

For two years my youngest daughter, Lindell, worked in promotions for iHeartRadio. Last fall she told me she had a bunch of t-shirts that she received while working at iHeart that she would like made into a quilt. I told her I would be happy to do it, but it would not be until after the holidays, and she would have to pick out some flannel that she wanted go along with the t-shirts. I would make them into a rag quilt. For a tutorial click here.

It was early December when we shopped for the fabric but it wasn’t until after Christmas that I began cutting up shirts and laying things out.

iHeartRadio has several FM radio stations in Detroit, all broadcasting out of the same location. She worked for all of them. The t-shirts she received were from various promotional events she attended. Some of them were printed with a logo on the front and event sponsors names on the back and also identified her as “Staff” (“Camper?”).

I set them out in several different designs trying to find the right balance.

Each t-shirt block is backed by two layers ( blocks) of flannel. I stitched an X across each block to hold the three layers together.

Each of the flannel blocks is also backed by two layers of flannel.

On this kind of quilt the seams are sewn on the outside. Once they are all sewn together the seams are clipped about every 1/ 4 to 1/2 inch then when the quilt is washed and dried the clipped seams create a ruffle.

I continued to lay the pieces out on the floor in between steps to make sure things were coming together the way I wanted them to.

If Trooper was around when I Iaid it out on the floor he would immediately go and lie down on it. I often put a blanket down on the floor for Trooper to lay on while I brush him, so I guess he thought he was going to get brushed. This was ok because the very last step was to wash the quilt.

One of my biggest challenges was deciding how to include this pocket from a hooded sweatshirt that said “UNEEK Detroit”. It’s size and shape were unlike any of the other blocks so I had to come up with a unique way to use it.

I went with my first thought, to make it into a unique shaped panel at the top of the quilt, because I needed/wanted the extra length in the quilt. I stitched the pocket to a block of flannel with a unique pattern. The other option that would have worked was to make it into a pillow instead of putting it in the quilt.

I was quite pleased with the end result and my daughter was thrilled with it. I had to lay it out on the table for the final pictures since it was already washed. The table is not big enough to get the whole thing in on shot – sorry.

For the back side my original plan was to have a symmetrical design with the blocks but a mid-project change in the blocks on the front messed up that plan. Oops! None-the-less Lindell loved it and was eager to take it home and wrap up in her beautiful memories.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Below is a sneak preview of my second winter project.

Be sure to follow this blog to see how this one comes together.

Thanks for reading and remember Make It A Great Day! 🙂

Homemade Holiday Décor

I have received some early Christmas gifts, gifts that were cleverly and loving crafted by the giver, so I wanted to share them with you.

Coat Hanger Ornaments

The first two are some Christmas decorations that my dad made.

Both the angel body (above) and the star (below) are made from plastic coat hangers and zip ties. So creative! Since these are made with plastic they are suitable for either indoor or outdoor decorating. I added the lights since I planned on displaying them outdoors.

Incidentally, I hadn’t told my dad that I been looking for an angel ornament to hang outside but had not seen any in the stores I had visited. It is the perfect gift.

Broom Corn Ornament

The other hand crafted gift (pictured below) came from my neighbor.

This lovely decorative broom is even more special because some of the components are things that we grew on our farm.

It was one day this past fall when our neighbors Matt and Karen stopped by the farm for a visit. Karen asked if she could collect some pinecones for some crafts that she was working on. After I showed her the tree where the pinecones were most plentiful, and she collected as many as she wanted, we walked back to the barn where my husband handed her a bunch of broom corn and said, “see what you can do with this.”

What is broom corn you ask? The short answer is that it is the plant that makes up the base for the above broom decoration.

Broom Corn 2020

A longer explanation is that broom corn is not really corn at all. It is a variety of sorghum that has historically been grown for use in making brooms. Out of curiosity my husband picked up a couple packets at a yard sale last year and planted them along the garden fence this past spring.

Broom corn grows very tall. Some of ours reached about twelve or thirteen feet, but I have read it can grow as tall as 18 feet (5.4864 meters). Unlike corn the seed does not grow on a cob. They grow on branches at the top of the plant.

Broom Corn Drying

When cut and dried these branches become very stiff. It is these branches that are used for making brooms. The video below show the broom making process.

Nowadays broom corn is more commonly used as a decorative plant, put in vases or turned into decorations like the one Karen made.

Speaking of Karen’s creation I also want to point out that the flower in the arrangement, just to the left of the two pine cones, is actually made out of a portion of pinecone which was cut near the bottom then painted. How clever!

I’ll close with a thank you to Dad and Karen for these wonderful gifts and to you for taking the time to read my posts.