Patriotic Painted Rocks

Many people celebrate Memorial Day by visiting grave sites with their families and leaving flowers.  Painted rocks are a nice way for kids to feel involved, and to feel like they are leaving something that will last.

Painted RockMaterials

  • Rock
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brushes

Choose a smooth rock that is a nice size.  Wash the rock with soap and water, and allow to dry thoroughly.  rock

Plan out your design before you start.  Paint the rock using acrylic paint.  I used a paint that is labeled for outdoor use, but my experience has been that most acrylic craft paint is pretty durable in any situation.  After you paint the rock, you may choose to use a protective acrylic spray.  I didn’t, but using it would make the rock look shinier.

If you don’t visit a grave site on Memorial Day, this is a nice activity to keep the kids occupied while the hamburgers cook!  Painted rocks look nice in a garden, or among other decorative rocks.

Happy Memorial Day!

How to Crochet With Beads

I was watching a craft show on PBS a couple of weeks ago, and saw this method for crocheting with beads.  Instead of threading all of your beads onto the yarn before you start crocheting, you can add each bead as you go.

crochet with beads


  • Yarn
  • Crochet Hook
  • Beads
  • Small piece of wire

Watch the video for details!

Finding Vintage Patterns

I love vintage stuff, so I was pretty excited when I came across a website recently, Vintage Literature Reproductions, where you can purchase vintage books.  I bought a couple to see how I liked the format, and I think I’ll be going back for more!  I’ve got my eye on this one, with 66 books including crochet and vintage dress patterns!

Vintage Book DVDsWhat’s it Like?

I ordered books on CD and data DVD, but some are also available for instant download.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when the product info said the Embroidery disc had 44 vintage books on it.  I’ve bought a few ebooks that have multiple volumes in one book, and navigation isn’t always ideal with those.  This disc, however, was pretty easy to use.  Each book is in a separate pdf.

Embroidery BookPortability

I like to print out my patterns to take with me, since I like to take crafts along when I travel, so I like how easy it is to print from the pdf.  Some of the books are long, and take some time to load all of the pages, but the overall size of everything doesn’t eat up too much space.

I like that it uses simple pdf files instead of something specific that only works with certain software.  A pdf means I can load it on my phone or iPad to take it with me.

What’s Next?

I saw a neat tutorial recently about how to crochet with beads without having to thread them all on the yarn before you start.  I have to try it out!

How to Finger Knit

I used to make hair ties out of Loom Loops when I was younger, and I saw this post on Pinterest that uses yarn instead of loops.  I decided to try it out, but I did a couple things differently.




The original post says to hold the yarn tightly in your hand, but I decided to start with a loop like how I would start to crochet.  Then I put the loop over my index finger, and started weaving the yarn over my fingers.loopWhen you have two full rows of weaving, take the bottom row and pull it over the end of each finger.  This is another thing I did differently from the original post.  I thought it was much easier to work toward the palm of my hand rather than toward the back of my hand.weaveWeave a new row on top of the remaining loops on your fingers.  The old row is now the bottom row.  Continue weaving until you reach the desired length.weave in frontIf you want to make a circle, use the loops from the beginning of your project as a new row.  Be sure to keep everything from twisting as you do this.  Again, this is a different method from what others might prefer.  The tying off method in the original post might be more secure, but I think this looks nicer.make a circleAfter you pull the bottom loops over the top loops, there will be one loop left on each finger.  Carefully take the loops from your pinky and ring finger and tie them with a double knot.  Then tie the loops from your index and middle finger.tie offI made mine like a hair tie. I think you could make a cool scarf with these if you braided several long ones together and left them straight instead of tying them in circles.finishedHappy National Craft Month!

How to Make a Yarn Basket

For National Craft Month, I’m revisiting crafts that inspired me as a child.  When I was in elementary school I made this “basket” out of a butter tub and yarn scraps.  original basketMaterials

Butter Tub (empty and clean)


Yarn Scraps


Start with a plastic tub like butter or margarine comes in.  I used a small one that had held almond paste.  Make sure to wash it very well to remove any food residue.  Make evenly spaced cuts down the sides of the tub.  It is very important to cut an odd number of sections, or your weaving will not alternate properly.  cut sectionsDo not pull the yarn too tightly.  The original basket I made years ago is lopsided because I pulled it too hard as I wove in and out.


Do not pull the yarn this tight.

Starting at the bottom, weave scraps of yarn over and behind the sections. It won’t look perfect in the beginning, but it will straighten itself out a bit as you continue.  When you reach the end of the yarn scrap, or you would like to switch to a new color, knot the new yarn to the old one so that the knot is on the inside of the basket.  weaving yarnI decided to use only green yarn because St. Patrick’s Day is coming up.  Depending on the yarn you use, this could be cute way to make Easter Baskets.  At the top of my basket, I used some green eyelash yarn that I’ve had for a long time.  Eyelash yarn is easier to work with when you use it with regular worsted yarn.  I used it with green yarn, but if you use it alone, it is fluffier.finished basketWhat’s Next?

March is National Craft Month, all month! More easy crafts for kids or adults!

How to Make Perler Bead Coasters

March is National Craft Month!


Perler Beads

Perler Bead Tray

Perler Bead Paper



Hot Glue Gun


Choose a pattern if you like, or make up your own as you go.  I used this pattern, which is 34×34.  By dividing the pattern into quarters, each coaster will be 17×17.  Start placing the beads along an edge of the tray, then work each different shape.  This is easier than placing beads row by row.

start the patternAfter you have placed all the beads, make sure you like the design before moving ahead.  I changed the colors on mine several times before I was happy.complete the designUsing the paper that came with the perler beads, iron the beads on a medium setting.  Leaving the beads on the tray, place the paper on top, then iron using light and even pressure.  You should be able to see the beads through the paper, and judge how much you have fused them together.  After the beads have cooled, peel off the paper.  Flip the coaster and iron the other side.  This will make the coaster more durable and help make sure all the beads are well fused.

iron the beadsLay out the coasters to determine which side is the “up” side.  Mark the up side with post-its.

lay out the coastersCut a piece of felt the same size as the coaster.  cut a piece of felt

Using a hot glue gun, glue the felt to the bottom of the coaster.  Start with just one edge.  If you try to spread glue over the entire coaster and then place the felt, the glue will cool before it attaches the felt.  glue the felt

Continue gluing the felt a small amount at a time until the entire piece of felt is attached.  Trim any excess edges from the felt, and you’re finished!

finished coaster

What’s Next?

Use up scraps of yarn by making a basket!

Valentine Window Clings

This is a craft I’ve done since I was a child.


Puffy Fabric Paint

Wax Paper


Lay out a piece of wax paper.  I haven’t tried it, but I wonder if freezer paper would also work.  Plastic wrap will not work, because it doesn’t create a smooth surface for the back of the cling.

wax paper and puffy paint

Draw designs using the puffy paint. Start with outlines and any fine details (like if you want to add an arrow through a heart).  Fill in large spaces last.  Don’t apply the paint too thickly or thinly–an even layer that covers the paper fully is sufficient.


Because you can see through wax paper so well, it’s easy to place a pattern underneath the paper to trace an outline.  I used a post-it under my wax paper.


Make different sizes and colors.  Think about how you might want to place the clings as you choose your size and color combinations.


Allow to dry.  Peel off carefully. Don’t worry if it seems like the wax is pulling off of the paper.  The clings will still stick.

peel off

Stick in the window.  The colors in the photo don’t show up well because of the backlight, but you get the idea.  These are very cute in person.

window clings


You could make these for any holiday or season.  Just get creative!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines For Riley

My sorority, Psi Lambda Xi, made valentine cards to send to kids at Riley Hospital for Children.  I thought they all came out really well, and I wanted to share them with my readers.

We tried to make sure we were making cards that were more or less gender neutral, and to make them different instead of all them being a pink card with a red heart.

I made a Ninja Turtle card that I think came out pretty recognizable.

Ninja Turtle

I also liked the Pikachu card. My friend, Zoe, helped me write a Pokemon-themed poem for the inside. “Charmander is red, Squirtle is blue. Of all the Valentines, I choose YOU!”


We made a total of 28 cards. I think we’re going to make this a tradition, and make even more cards next year by getting more of the campus involved.

ValentinesWhat’s Next?

I’ve got a few more ideas for Valentine’s Day crafts.

Pinterest Picks–Vol 3

What better way to pass the time during the cold month of January than by investigating new craft ideas on Pinterest?

Snowman Scarf

This scarf would be a great way to chase away the winter blahs. The pattern costs $5, but if you know a little about crocheting and adapting patterns, you can probably figure out a good knock off. It looks like it’s mostly a matter of increasing and decreasing as you make stripes.

Homemade Pin Catcher

Old dishes are a great thrift store find. They’re usually affordable–especially if you’re buying one that’s not part of a matching set.  I would probably use hot glue to attach the magnet, but I think super glue would work as well.

Candy Heart Candle Holder

All you need for this one is a vase that fits inside another vase, and a bag of those chalky heart candies. You could substitute other candies, but I would stay away from anything chocolate if you intend to light the candle inside.

Perler Bead Pattern

You might remember perler beads from when you were little. You put plastic beads on a tray, then iron it to melt the beads together.  The thing I like about all the perler bead patterns on Pinterest is that they’re easy to turn into cross stitch patterns. They’re drawn on a grid like cross stitch, and it makes an easy pattern that’s good for beginners.

Knook Advice

I keep trying to get the hang of knooking.  One of my readers directed me to a tutorial she posted, but I still have a hard time with my technique.  This pin suggested that I’m thinking too much like a crocheter as I try to knook, so maybe if I adjust my grip it will work a little better.  I haven’t given up on it, but I also haven’t produced anything worth photographing!

What’s Next?

I’m making valentines with my sorority to send to kids at Riley Children’s Hospital.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Craft Goals for 2015

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I do have a few crafting goals.

Revisit Knooking

Knooking is a cross between knitting and crocheting (with a crochet hook).  I got some knooks and an instruction booklet for Christmas last year, but I haven’t had much success with it.  I’m going to try it again this year.  Maybe if I try a different yarn than before, it will work better.


Crochet Something for Myself

Usually, when I crochet something, it’s for someone else.  It’s probably been seven or eight years since I’ve crocheted something for no other reason than to just make myself something pretty.  This year, I’m going to fix that.  I think I’ll do a matching scarf and hat set.

Finish a Cross Stitch

I started a cross stitch at some point last year, and I never finished it.  I lost patience with it, then I lost the half-finished attempt in the depths of my closet.  But I recently found it again, and this year I’m going to finish it!

Cross Stitch

Pin All the Things!

Even though I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, I’m always forgetting to pin my own creations.  My final goal is to remember to pin all the projects that I’ve spent so much time on.

Happy 2015, and happy crafting!