Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yarn Pumpkin

I shared most of the activities from the Little Passports Ohio State Journal awhile back. This yarn pumpkin was the last Ohio project. It's inspired by the Circleville Pumpkin Show

Materials: balloon, yarn, white glue, orange paint, cinnamon stick

Blow up the balloon. Pour white glue onto a shallow tray. Cut about 10 feet of yarn and put it into the glue, making sure it is all moistened. 

Wrap the yarn around the balloon. Note that I am doing the activity and Trevor is photographing it. He HATES anything gooey touching his hands. This wasn't even that bad. 

When the balloon is completely wrapped, set it down on a plastic container to dry. I like to use a strawberry basket because there's plenty of air flow. 

The next day, pop the balloon.

Take out the balloon, then paint the pumpkin orange. (Better yet, use orange yarn from the get-go. I used the white yarn that was left over from the kumihimo bracelets.) When the paint is dry, push a cinnamon stick between the yarn where the stem would go. That's all there is to it! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hunger Action Month: Sweet Potato Birds

As Hunger Action Month comes to a close, I want to extend a huge thanks to all of you who donated to the Food Bank this month. I greatly appreciate those who shared my posts, checked out the links, wore orange, and helped spread the word. I have one last project to share for Hunger Action Month 2016: Sweet Potato Birds.

I bought three sweet potatoes and showed them to Trevor. He declared that one looked like an eagle, one like a quail and one just looked like a sweet potato. So we turned two of the sweet potatoes into birds and used the other for spare parts.

To make the quail: 

Peel a whole sweet potato. Put the peels onto a plate. Use the spare sweet potato to carve a topknot and to sliver a pair of wings. Add two toothpicks for legs; together with the tail end of the sweet potato, it should now stand up in the peels. Attach the wings with toothpicks and carve a slot for the topknot. Use a food marker to add eyes. 

To make the eagle: 

Peel just the pointy end of the sweet potato to make a beak. Carve an eye and add a pupil with a food marker. Put it onto a plate along with an eagle's favorite food: fish. 

After photographing our sweet potato creations, we took them apart and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. We put them in a foil pouch with a small pat of butter and a teaspoon of maple syrup. After about 20 minutes in the oven, they were perfectly done and SO good. 

I decided to collage all the orange edible crafts Trevor and I made this month... and I realize now that we made only bunnies and birds! Here I'd thought we'd made a wide variety of stuff, but apparently not! At least the ingredients are mostly different from project to project!  

While Hunger Action Month is coming to an end, hunger continues. Please continue to support your local Food Bank by donating money or food, volunteering your time, or simply spreading awareness. Each of us can make a difference. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pantone's Spring 2017 Color Report

I've been stalking Pantone's site, eagerly awaiting the reveal of the Spring 2017 Color Report. After the huge disappointment of the 2016 Color(s) of the Year, I'm eager to see what colors are in the running for what I hope will be the Color (singular) of the Year for 2017. The colors look promising:

According to the Spring 2017 Color Report (which you can read in its entirety here), the colors represent a mixture of vitality, relaxation and the great outdoors. Interestingly, one color (Niagara, a "classic denim-like blue that speaks to our desire for ease and relaxation") is identified as the most prevalent for 2017. Pantone doesn't normally name a "most prevalent" color. Could this mean Niagara is a shoo-in for Color of the Year?

Let's take a look at the previous Color(s) of the Year.

The neutrals are almost never chosen as the Color of the Year (for good reason), so I think we can toss out Pale Dogwood and Hazelnut from the running. Flame and Pink Yarrow are reminiscent of 2011's Honeysuckle and 2012's Tangerine Tango, so I don't expect either of those to be named The One. I think Niagara is a strong contender, as well as Kale and Greenery. Considering their three buzzwords of the year are vitality, relaxation and the great outdoors, I'd put my money on Greenery as the most likely. But not much, as Pantone has certainly shaken things up before and could do it again.

Any thoughts or predictions?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sweet Roll Yarn Coaster and Trivet

My friends at Premier Yarns asked if I wanted to try out their new Sweet Roll Yarn, so of course I said yes! Each 245-yard Sweet Roll has two complete repeats of three beautiful colors. If you use it to knit or crochet, you get wide, evenly spaced stripes. The yarn is 100% acrylic, which means it is machine washable and dryable. But the best thing about the Sweet Roll is that as you pull the yarn from the center, the ball stays put without rolling around or dropping to the floor. Love that!

I made a yarn trivet and a yarn coaster (plus the yarn pumpkin, which I'll share in a separate post).

All were made from Premier's "Mint Swirl" Sweet Roll. Isn't it pretty?!

When I received the yarn, I already had a knitting project on my loom. So I decided to experiment with what would happen if I tried kumihimo with multiple strands of yarn. I cut 21 strands of yarn, each around 2 yards long, tied a loose knot in one end, and threaded them onto the kumihimo octagon. I put three strands each in seven slots, leaving the eighth slot empty. Then I started braiding, following these instructions.

When I was done, I removed it from the octagon. Rather than tie a knot with all 21 strands, I took one strand, wound it tightly around the other 20 strands about ten times, then knotted it tightly with one of the strands it was wrapped around. Then I cut off the extra lengths of yarn, very close to the knot. I took out the loose knot I'd started with and did the same wrapping and knotting. I didn't cut off those ends, because I wasn't sure if I'd need them intact (as it turns out, no).

With my 21-strand braid done, I started a 14-strand braid (two strands instead of three in each of the seven slots). I worked on that one during Trevor's dental appointment. It's the perfect craft to carry around for when you have a few minutes here and there. It fits easily in a purse and you can start and stop at any time without having to get to the end of a row or struggle to figure out where you left off. 

Here are the two yarn braids. The top one has 21 strands of yarn (3 x 7) and the bottom has 14 (2 x 7). Both braids ended up just under 3 feet long, so approximately half of their starting length.

Obviously, that is much too long for a bracelet! My plan was to coil the braid to create a pretty coaster. I cut a long piece of yarn and threaded it on a yarn needle. 

And then I started coiling. As I coiled, I used the yarn to attach braid to the growing coil by sliding the needle under one strand of each and pulling tightly.  

In a matter of minutes, I had this:

I trimmed off the long ends as close as I could to the knot, then I sewed the end to the coil.

Here are the coaster and the trivet. Each was a nearly 3-foot braid, but because the braids had different thicknesses, they coiled up to form different diameters. 

There are 25 different colors of Sweet Roll. If you'd like to get your hands on some, use the code CINDY10 to get 10% off any purchase at through October 31, 2016.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Two-in-One: Cardboard Tube Bear or Dog

My latest cardboard tube project is a bear:

Or a dog. It's the same tube. I just changed out the ears.

Materials: cardboard tube, paint (dark brown, white), scissors, craft glue, googly eyes, black mini pom pom

Paint the cardboard tube dark brown. Add a drop of white paint to the brush and wipe it on the inside of the tube until no more comes off. This will be the muzzle and tummy. When the paint is dry, cut one of the halves open.

Use that open piece to cut the muzzle and tummy from the light brown interior. Use the dark brown part to make rounded ears for the bear, or pointy ears for the dog. Cut a slit halfway up the center of each ear. Slide the ears of choice onto the edge of the tube.

Glue the muzzle and tummy in place, securing them with a rubber band until the paint is dry. Add the googly eyes and pom pom nose. Done!