Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Basket Weave Pattern Crochet Baby Afghan

Before I knew how to sew,
I spent most of my crafty energies crocheting,
and often I had orders from family to crochet baby blankets.

This is one of the patterns I liked to turn to,
granted, this pattern will use more yarn than a blanket of the same size in a different pattern,
but you can't beat the dense, thick, lush feel of this blanket.

 I don't have this pattern written down row for row,
but it is a repeating pattern so it is really easy to figure out.

Worked in one piece,
the squares are created by working front post double crochet (FpDc) 
and back post double crochet (BpDc).
A post stitch is done by crocheting around the post
(with the post either in front or in back of your hook)
instead of working in the top stitches as you normally would.

Here is a great video that explains this technique.

So all you are doing is a double crochet (dc) either in front or in back of the post.

This pattern is:
10 squares across x 12 squares high,
each square is 15 dc across, and 10dc rows high.

So essentially, just dc in the front and back of the posts to create the look of squares,
and once your squares are 12 rows high,
you change your order of front and back posting to change the pattern.

Once you start working this pattern you won't need directions or row by row run through!
Buuuuttt, just to help you along, here is a rough pattern.


 Basket Weave Baby Afghan Pattern (rough) 

Hook: H
Yarn: any type, I use soft, baby yarn
1.5 lbs of yarn (4 normal 8 oz skeins, you may not use all 4)
1 skein for trim, in contrasting, complimentary color (optional)   

  Starting chain 153 (10 squares across x 15 dc in each square + 3ch for beginning dc).

Row 1: Dc across, ch3, turn
Row 2: (It doesn't matter if you start with the FpDc or the BpDc one this first row- just pick one)
*FpDc in next 15 dc, BpDc in next 15dc* repeat to end of row. Ch3, turn

(I suggest keeping a row marker at the beginning  row of each square,
this makes it easier to know when to switch.)

Row 3: *BpDc in first 15 st (should be on top of BpDc from previous row), FpDc in next 15 st (also should be on top of FpDc from previous row)* repeat to end of row. Ch 3, turn

*When you turn the work your pattern is flipping, you are not actually
alternating rows, though it looks like it on paper.

Repeat rows 2-3 until your square is 12 rows high.
Now change so you are back posting on top of the front post row of 15dc, and front posting on the back post 15dc row. This creates the changing of the squares.
Mark the beginning of this row, the change in the pattern for your next square.

Repeat like rows 2-3 to complete your next row of squares.
Continue working in this manner.
You will see the pattern clearly, and you will know when to change!
End off.

The edging is a half double crochet (hdc) shell and post pattern

Start in corner along the smaller, top edge of blanket.
ch2 (counts as hdc) and 1 hdc in corner, *ch 1, skip two st, 2 hdc in space between dc,*
repeat until you reach the other corner.
In corner, 2hdc, ch1, 2hdc, ch 1, hdc around each dc stitch down the side- do not chain in between.
When you reach the bottom corner, do as other corner (2hdc, ch1, 2hdc)
 return to ch 1, sk two, 2 hdc along the bottom edge.
Do next corner same as last, repeat 1 hdc around each dc up the next side
When you reach the corner you started in,
do 2 hdc, ch1 then connect to top stitch of starting ch 2.
Finish off, weave in ends securely.

This is an indulgent pattern...because the way the stitches are worked, your rows aren't quite as tall, thus your yarn doesn't go quite as far as other patterns might, but I absolutely love the outcome! 
It is so beautiful both in texture, weight and appearance.

How about you,
do you sacrifice practicality for the sake of appearance and overall outcome
in your crafting projects?

Do these 'cooking without measuring' type of crochet directions make sense,
or are you a strict row by row type of crocheter?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

More Mer...Maids and Men

I never imagined when I shared my first
crocheted mermaid doll that it would be so well received, by cyber and real life friends alike!

It wasn't long after making my first doll that I received an order from a friend
for eight more!!

Here is what I came up with...

 I had fun coming up with different hair and fin combinations...not to mention eye color!

 of course, who doesn't want a little romance...mermaids are no exception,
so a merman order soon followed.

Here is my hunky mer of a man!

You can barely see it, but he has a cock eyed grin.

As with the ladies, I find the hair and facial details the most challenging part,
but I think he turned out lookin' pretty good.

"Look at you, still all muscly and everything."

As it goes with people mers in love, 
I expect there to be a couple of merbabies by Christmas. ;)

For those of you who have asked about this pattern,
after making nine of the ladies, I have a pretty good working pattern down,
and with a little more work I can probably do the same with the merman.
I plan to offer these patterns for sale on Etsy in the future...but right now, there is no definite date. 
I will be sure to announce it here on the blog when I do though!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

DIY Decoupage Trunk Recovery

I'm going to share with you the wonder of decoupage.
This is a super easy method for prettfying things, and it has soooo many applications {ha!}.

My victim candidate was a set of miniature, floral patterned trunks.
I think they are made out of thin, pressed cardboard??
Not really sure, but this process works on wood and metal as well.

After having them in my possession since I was a tween, I decided they needed an upgrade. 
Granted, I did this project about four years ago, so I don't really have process pictures.
That makes this the first post in my month long Throwback series!

 Although this is mid process, you can see what the trunks looked like before.
Not pretty.

Don't worry, 
dollar store wrapping paper to the rescue!!

What You Need:
glue {regular Elmer's school glue}
wrapping paper
small brush 

Step One: Clean
Start with a clean surface by wiping down the item you plan to recover with a damp rag

Step Two: Mix
In a cup or dish, mix together enough glue and water to make a spreadable mix...think paint consistency.

Step Three: Cut and Paste
Work in small sections at a time.
First 'paint' a section with your glue mixture,
tear up pieces of wrapping paper and stick to your pasted area.
Paste over with glue again, tear more pieces of paper and stick them on, overlapping each other.
The key here being sure to have a layer of glue underneath the overlapping paper
and on the surface you are sticking them to.

Keep repeating that process until you get all the way around,
being sure to seal your paper down with a good coat of glue paste.

For the Bottom
You can either do the bottom in pieces of paper like you did the rest of the trunk,
or you could cut one, solid piece and lay it over the bottom.
The option is up to you and what you want!
{In my opinion, the solid piece looks better, but is trickier to do.}

Hinges & Handles
If you can take your hardware off, great!
But if not, just trace and cut your paper piece to fit snugly around them as best you can.

And that is it!
Simple, simple!

Now they look bright and cheery...so much better than before!

What do you think?
Does this give you any ideas for decoupage projects of your own?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blog Redesign and Throwback Month!

Hello lovely readers!!

Were you a little worried,
when you first arrived at this blog page, thinking perhaps you had taken a wrong turn in ciber space?
Let me assure you, things may look a little different around here, but you did indeed
reach the same Gladness of Heart blog that you have {hopefully} come to know and love!

I decided it was time to update the look of the place,
make it more my own and move away from the pre-fabricated blog header and background.
What do you think?!
 {Seriously, please tell me!}

I still have a few little things to tweak here and there,
but for the most part, I love the new look!

Moving on to the next order of business:
In a stroke of irony, following on the heals of a new blog design,
I am dubbing September Throwback Month here on Gladness of Heart!

I will take you on a blast from the past with projects that I did before my blogging days,
and some that just got lost in the craziness of life and were never shared with you!
You know the type, I call them MIA projects- they happened, but then in the line
of blogging duty, they fell behind the schedule and just didn't happen.

If you are looking for a theme to blog to this month, I welcome you to join me!
This is a great excuse to show off some of your projects that you might
otherwise be a bit embarrassed to post because it was so long ago since you did them.

So what do you say, do you think you'll join me for a Throwback Month?
I hope to see you around!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Host a Clothing Swap Party!

What better way to clean our your closet than to have a fashion show 
with your good friends and get some new digs in return?!

That is just what three of my lady friends and myself did last Saturday
when I hosted what will most likely become an annual (seasonal?!) event!

I hosted a Clothing Swap Party!

If you haven't heard about clothing swaps, let me fill you in.

A clothing swap is like shopping your friends' closet.
Everyone brings an agreed minimum amount of items,
that can include clothes, accessories, shoes etc. that are in good, clean condition.
Our group agreed upon at least 10 pieces, and we kept it to clothing and accessories.

To make things easier, I recommend hanging up your clothing items.
We all pitched in and organized the clothes by tops, skirts, pants, and jackety-things (a new term we invented) and it made it go really quickly!

I would recommend marking your hangers by tying a colored ribbon on them,
or putting a piece of colored tape around it, to avoid mix ups with other swappers.

After the clothes were all organized this is how I chose to proceed.
Instead of going at it all at the same time, we took turns, each lady drawing a number to determine what order we would 'shop' in.

But before we started shopping, we got to look over the items,
and each lady was given an equal amount of stickers that she could use to mark the pieces 
she wanted.

 When your turn came around, you were allowed to pick 3 pieces.
If two ladies had marked or 'claimed' the same item, we just did a little fashion show,
and had each one try on the piece, to see which it fit better.
 There really were no problems in this area, everyone was very gracious.

Once everyone had about three turns each, 
we just went in and picked through the leftovers together.
It was really relaxed, we simply asked, "Does anyone mind if I take piece," or "is anyone else interested in this?" and it worked out very smoothly.

Everyone ended up with several pieces that they really liked and looked great on them.
One thing I did notice that I found interesting was that on at least two occasions,
someone tried on a piece that they really weren't sure about, but when they modeled 
it in front of the others, they received a wonderful response that they hadn't expected!

It was a lot of fun and everyone agreed that we need to do it again
I ended up with a pretty intimate group, only four ladies including myself,
and I was worried there wouldn't be enough items to generate a good mix to choose from,
but it ended up working out great! Everyone brought more than 10 pieces, which helped a lot.
 Since it was a ladies get together,
I used it as a excuse to try out a new Pinterest recipe, and a special girly one at that!
They turned out pretty good, although I would make a few adjustments in the future.

So there you have it, ladies get together with new clothes and dessert!
 I call that a triple win!

Have any of you been to a clothing swap? 
Anxious to host one?
I hope this gives you a great idea for a ladies night out!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Vote for a Cause, Make a Difference

I'm just gonna come right out and say that I have a little fire burning under my bum today,
and I decided to set out and try to do something about it.

Here is the story.

Those of you who have been with me very long know that I have a heart
for India. Well, I try to put my money where my mouth is a support works
in that country, and one way that I do that is by giving to India Partners,
a Christ centered organization that aims at "partnering with the people of India in ministry by cultivating relationships, sharing resources, and encouraging self-sufficiency through the compassion and wisdom of Jesus Christ."

Today I read an email from India Partners and
learned that they have entered a photo contest hosted by Global Giving.
which will give $1,000 to the non-profit organization who's picture wins first place.

Such a great idea, and I was happy to cast my vote and support them.

And then I saw it.
 The organizations that are currently in top place
are not ones that are aimed at saving orphans,
providing a better education for children overseas, or funding urgent medical needs.
The most championed causes in the lead right now are those that
aim to save abandoned birds, and street dogs.

This made me sad.
And then, very angry.

I love animals, y'all, and it does make me sad when they are mistreated.
But they are just that.

I believe people are infinitely more valuable and important!
We are created in the image of God and have eternal destinies.
There should be no contest!

For me, this contest isn't so much about the actual photos,
but about the organization that the photo will support. 

This is the photo entered by India Partners.
By voting for India Partners, you help an orphan in India, like this girl, receive an education.

 If you feel the same as I,
a reputable Christian based organization that is doing a good work,
and make your voice heard that people are more valuable than animals. 

All you have to do is go to the link above that says "go vote",
enter you email address, then wait for the confirmation email that will make your vote count.
The deadline for voting is August 29th!

And that is all.
Such a very little thing can make a big difference.
You could make a difference between $1,000 being thrown away on rescuing birds,
like the ones that sadly fly into our windshields every now and then, or by providing a better life
and education to a precious, orphaned child...a human being who has a calling and destiny.

Your vote stresses the importance of Christ's love to children.

Thank you for reading my little rant.
And thank you in advance on behalf of India Partners, for your vote!
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