Stitch marker tutorial

Stitch markers 125Before I started knitting I used to make jewellery. Pretty rudimentary stuff – nothing complicated. In the same way that I love the colours and textures of yarn, I love the colours and textures of beads too and amassed a small-ish stash. In a recent post I shared photos of my stitch markers.

Stitch markers 161These stitch markers are really straight forward to make and give you pretty much instant gratification. Above you can see how I set up my work station (coffee table) before getting started. Clockwise from top left I have my crimping pliers, a selection of beads that I want to use, tigertail wire, a bowl for the finished markers, a bowl for the ends to be discarded and a wire cutter, which in this case is a flat nosed pliers with a wire cutter.

I actually bought the tigertail wire a few years ago without realising what it was, but I really like it for these stitch markers because it is really flexible but doesn’t kink easily.

Stitch markers 165

  1. Cut of a length of tigertail wire with your wire cutter and fold it in half.
  2. Thread your chosen beads onto it. I like to use one small focal bead with a seed bead either side of it. The reason I use the seed bead (apart from looking pretty) is because I found there was a tendency for the main bead to slide over the crimped crimp bead, depending on the size of the hole in the bead. Lastly, add your crimp bead.
  3. Stitch markers 168Using a knitting needle a few sizes bigger than the needles you want to use the stitch marker with adjust the beads on the wire. Sorry for the slightly blurry picture, it was hard to hold the beads steady in my left hand and take the picture with the camera in my right hand.
  4. Stitch markers 171Crimp the crimp bead to secure everything in place. This video shows you how to do this.
  5. Stitch markers 172Lastly use the wire cutter to cut off the excess wire, getting as close to the crimp bead as you can.
  6. Stitch markers 179 croppedEt viola! That’s it. It’s really that quick and easy.

I’ve gone a bit crazy making these recently and I’m donating them to HandmAid craft day in aid of Laura Lynn Hospice. Come along September 26th and help support such a great cause.

A long time coming

Dear blog reader, sometimes the idea for a project pops into my head and I. Must. Make. It. Right. Now. However, this was not one of those projects. This one took a bit longer to come to fruition. It started with Pinterest, like many of these things do, specifically with the photo below, from Red Pepper Quilts. Instead of having my lovely knitted shawls sit unseen in a drawer, what if I created some kind of shawl display to show them off?

ShawlsSo I procured a piece of wood, sanded, stained and oiled it. I searched online for some rustic hooks, but kinda came up short (or what I was looking for was massively expensive). I finally found what I was looking for in Woodie’s of all places – 6 wrought iron (looking) hooks. But that was all last June. And the project had been sitting there for about 6 months, just waiting to be assembled. Over Easter weekend I had 4 days off in a row and the sunshine inspired me to get my ass in gear and get this finished.

Crafty Projects April14 011So I measured and remeasured and finally screwed the hooks in place. I then fixed some picture wire to the back and hunted for the perfect place in the house to display my shawls. I decided that they fit perfectly beside the front door. One, that’s a great place to keep your scarves for easy access when you’re running out the door and two, there were already hooks in place so I didn’t need to drill into the wall. Simples.

Crafty Projects April14 019And that’s not all I did over the Easter weekend. I painted our sheds using Cuprinol Garden Shades in lavender and stone. I know R was a bit unsure about the colours I had picked but admitted later that he couldn’t “see” it beforehand like I could. I love looking out the back window at these so much, they make me so happy.

Crafty Projects April14 056

R and I also restored an old bench we had. The wood was rotting so it was replaced and the new wood was stained and varnished. The existing wrought iron back and legs got a paint job in a lovely silver. We’re so happy with the results.Crafty Projects April14 059

Are there any seasonal projects you’ve been getting done with the finer weather we’ve been having?


DIY: Map quest

My best friend and her husband (still sounds strange that we’re not 17 and heading out to Club Sarah, she has a husband and I have a husband to be) celebrated their first wedding anniversary recently. They really love travelling and have been pretty much all over the world. I had spotted these framed heart maps on Pinterest a while back and knew I wanted to make one for them as a gift.

Map heart frameWhen I was in Ikea a month or so ago I picked up a Ribba photo frame. I was going to just print maps from Google Maps, but then Rossa suggested using an atlas for better quality, which I picked up in a shop in Rathmines. It feels so wrong to cut up a book, I’m still having palpitations at the thought of it, but in this case I feel it’s justified. And I promise to recycle what I don’t use or keep it to make more similar gifts.

I used:

  • Scissors, spray glue, pencil
  • Maps (old maps, old atlases or even printed from online maps)
  • A heart shape to trace around, I used a heart shaped ramekin we happened to have
  • A photo frame
  • Backing card big enough to fit your frame

Map heart frameI asked my friend to name some places she and her husband have happy memories of. These included Hong Kong, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand and Australia. It took some time to pin her down to give me 9 places they had been without explaining to her what I was up to.

Map heart frameOnce I had my 9 places, I traced around the heart shaped ramekin and cut out the shapes. Then I decided what order I wanted them in, sprayed the back of them with glue and glued them onto the backing card. I divided the card into a 3×3 grid (although didn’t mark the paper) and placed each heart into one section of the grid. I did this pretty much freehand, and while they’re not perfect, they’re good enough for me.

Map heart frameI need to give this as a gift later so had to photograph it under artificial light. I would love to have the time to photograph it in all its glory properly, as it’s quite visually impressive, with the green, blue and white. But this will have to do.

DIY: It’s a kind of magic – Hacked gloves.

The weather has turned, and how. It’s bloody freezing all of a sudden. And I do not like the cold. I have poor circulation and always seem to feel the cold more than other people.

Gloves with conductive threadAnother thing I do not like is having to take my gloves off to use my phone on a cold day. Pain in the ass. As I understand it a touchscreen works by responding to electrical impulses from our fingers. When you have gloves on obviously the electrical impulse can’t get to the screen.

Which is where conductive thread comes in. It kinda does what it says on the tin. It conducts the electrical impulses from your finger to the screen. I bought about 10 meters last winter but never did anything with it. I can’t find the website I bought it from but you can find it on Ebay.

Gloves with conductive threadIt really as simple as putting a few stitches in the top of the glove, where your finger usually hits the screen. You just need to make sure that the tread hits your finger on the inside of the glove. I just tied the two ends of the thread together and left them inside the glove for extra conductive ‘contactyness’. I also put a few stitches in the thumb of the glove, as I find myself using my thumb too.

Gloves with conductive thread and smartphoneSo no more cold fingers for me when I need to check my Twitter updates while waiting for the bus on the way home. And I am happy.

DIY: Old frames the new

More DIY wedding stuff. taking inspiration from this photo on Style Me Pretty I wanted to create a funky frame for using for our table layout. The day before the wedding I can print out our final table plan and stick it in the frame. I also want to print the table plan onto A4 card to leave around during the drinks reception, so people can be having a look to see where they are sitting before we go into the marquee. After the wedding I’ll use the frame after the wedding to hang our Thumbprint guest book.

I picked up an old framed painting in a funky little shop just of Frances Street in Dublin. I wanted something with lots of grooves and ridges. It cost me the grand total of €20.

I used:

  • Old photo frame
  • Toothbrush and white spirits for cleaning the frame
  • Primer
  • Spray paint in silver
  • Hard board, 3.5mm, craft knife
  • Wallpaper and double sided tape

I set up a tarp against a wall in the garden and proceeded to dismantle the painting from the frame. I then cleaned it using white spirits and a toothbrush. *A lot* of dirt came off. Then I used a spray primer to cover the frame back & front. I followed this with 2 coats of metalic silver spray paint over the course of an afternoon.

Then I cut the hard board to fit the back of the frame. I covered the hard board in a wallpaper sample and stuck it down with the double sided tape.

I got such a response when I posted the finished photos on Twitter, I decided to go ahead with this post, even though my proper camera battery went before I could take proper ‘after’ photos. As soon as I’m home again in the daylight I’ll take some and post them here.

DIY: Chalkboard speech bubble

So to go with my photobooth props I wanted to make some chalkboard speech bubbles. I had one A3 foam board left from the props so decided to see how this would work. My idea is that people can write little messages to include in their photos.

I used:

  • Paper, printer, scissors, pencil, craft knife
  • Foam board, bamboo sticks
  • Spray primer, blackboard paint

I found the outline of a speech bubble online and printed it so it fit onto an A4 sheet of paper. Then I cut around it, and traced around the shape onto the foam board with a pencil. I had enough board left for two, so made them face opposite ways, if you know what I mean.

Then I cut around the shapes on the foam board with the craft knife and sprayed the cut out shapes with, first primer, and then painted them with chalkboard paint. I think chalkboard paint is my new favourite thing. I can think of so many funky uses for it. You can even get magnetic chalk board paint. I’ll give that a minute to sink in – magnetic chalkboard paint. I know.I actually think these are a little small so I’m thinking of asking my future father in law to create some larger bubbles out of some sort of board that I can paint.

Oh, and how about two cute doggie pics. These two just love when I get the camera out (or it could be the treats I give them to get them to sit still, whichever!?!)

DIY: Photobooth props

I think the idea of having a photobooth at a wedding is an American phenomenon but I think it’s a really cute idea. I don’t know how I’ll set it up at the venue, maybe we’ll just put the props and some disposable cameras on a table near a tree.

Photobooth PropsAs with anything wedding related you can buy some really cool props and I would direct anyone looking for this option to Etsy. However, I think it would be more fun to print out and create my own. I also plan to create some chalkboard speech bubbles and have chalk available so everyone can write messages on them. But that may be for another post.

You can find lots of downloadable templates, for example: CraftzeeRuffled BlogOh Happy Day and here and Living Locurto.

I used:

  • Card, printer, markers, glue, tape, kitchen chopping board as cutting board.
  • Black A3 5mm Foam Board
  • Ghiant HighTac Mounting Spray
  • Jakar Heavy Duty Hobby Knife
  • Bamboo sticks from a garden centre & secateurs for cutting

Photobooth PropsCathy from Crafty Alley was so helpful when I contacted her on Twitter, and she helped me pick out the right tools and sent them to me within 24 hours. Now that’s service!

Photobooth PropsI printed out my chosen templates and used the spray glue to mount them onto to foam board. Some of the colours didn’t print as vibrant as I would like them so I coloured them in with the markers. Then I carved around them using the craft knife. I carved them all over two days, and I say carved because my wrist, hand and lower arm were quite sore once I’d finsihed.

Photobooth PropsThis was one of those tutorials where I read “all you have to do is” and it doesn’t quite work like that. It was tougher than I though to cut around the shapes and then there little white bits of card showing against the black board. So I used a marker to go over the edges. Some of the curly mustaches also almost had me in tears trying to cut out the curly bits.

Photobooth PropsI wanted to get wooden skewers like you would use on a barbeque, but it’s the wrong time of year for that so I ended up getting bamboo sticks in the garden centre and chopping them up with a secateurs. I then used a strong glue to glue them to the back of the foam and then covered in black duct tape if there was room.

(Appologies for the terrible photos, but the light has been appalling recently!)

DIY: Cute as a button

Pinterest has a lot to answer for. Once again I spotted a crafty tutorial I just knew I had to try. American Craft Studio posted a tutorial for an Element Monogram. A friend of mine had a baby recently so in her honour I decided to create a H.

I used:

  • Printer, scissors, paper, pencil, glue, double sided tape
  • A photo frame, without the glass (I’m using more Ribba from Ikea)
  • Card large enough to fit the photo frame (I’m using some lovely shimmery grey card to go with the white frame)
  • Buttons, lots and lots of buttons and beads (I used some from my stash, was donated some and bought some from eBay)

The original tutorial suggests printing out a letter, cutting around it and using this as a template. I really wanted a nice curly letter but it took a bit of time to find one that was chunky enough to allow for larger buttons. Eventually I settled on Angel Tears in size 850. When cutting out the letter I made it a bit chunkier again. Although I can see the logic in tracing around a letter with straight edges, I think if you are doing something a bit curvier freehand would be ok.

You then start sticking down the buttons, starting with the larger ones and then filling in the gaps with smaller ones, and layering them up. I used beads when I needed to fill smaller gaps.

I may have gone a bit overboard with the chunkyness and curlyness because Rossa looked over my shoulder and said “Oh, that’s beautiful” but identified it as a bird. I realised too late you also need to keep it simple, as something that is too curvy can become unrecognisable (my bird!)

I ended up cutting around the buttons I had glued so I could make the shape more recognisable, which is not an ideal solution. But now it looks more like a H than a bird so I’m happy. The buttons are quite heavy so I used double sided tape to stick the card first to the backing board and then to the mount before fitting it into the glass-less frame.

DIY: Tied up with string

I’m getting married to the love of my life next April and I am very excited to be planning our wedding. I’m hoping to make and do as much of the decorations and extra touches myself for three reasons. First I feel it makes it very personal, second simply because I want to. A distant third, for me anyway, is saving money, although this is undoubtedly a nice bonus.

I spotted these table numbers propped up by corks on Pinterest, and immediately fell in love with the rustic feel of the corks and twine. Aren’t they fab? They were originally posted on the website of a Melbourne Wedding Planner and Event Manager, A Lavish Affair.

As a DIY bride I couldn’t resist giving these a go myself.

I used:

  • Glue & scissors
  • String
  • Wine corks (I have a collection of these just waiting for a project to come along, a huge thanks also to Elana and UnderMeOxter for donating wine corks)

The first thing to do is sort the corks into sets of 6, you’re looking for corks of similar height and shape.

The next step is to glue the corks together. You only want to put the glue on the bottom half of the corks so that the paper can still slip between them. I found that gluing them in pairs, and then gluing the pairs together worked best.

Finally, wrap the string around the corks around three times and tie in a bow. When you are happy with the placement of the string and I would suggest adding a few more drops of glue to hold everything in place. You’re now ready to pop your card into place.

I also spotted these really cute table decorations on Pinterest  – 5 things his side should know about her/ 5 things her side should know about him. The originals come from Etsy shop La Belle Vie Design. Jenn from La Belle Vie has loads of super cute, customisable stationary for weddings and some really unique ideas. I’m going to have to tie Rossa down to persuade him to write 5 things about me, but I think it will be a really personal touch, especially for those guests that don’t know one of us very well.