Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY Fabric and Marbles Necklace

Who doesn't love a new piece of jewelry?!
For everyone who mentally responded "me!" to that question,
then this post is for you!

The only thing better than 'new' than 'free',
and that is pretty much what this DIY Marble Necklace amounts to...just pennies!

I'm sure y'all have seen these marble necklaces all over Pinterest.
But at the risk of being redundant,
I'm going to share my own post on the subject.

All you need is...

  • fabric, cut into 2 1/2 x 45 or 60 inches long
  • marbles {you can buy a bag at the dollar store}


  •  ruler
  • scissors
  • sewing machine

1. Cut
For a choker or high collar necklace {about 25 in. long}, I cut my strip 45 inches long.
For the longer necklace I sewed several strips together to make a tube 60 inches long.
This may seem really long, but once you start tying knots, it shortens up quite a bit.

2. Sew
First, if you are sewing strips together length wise,
sew these first, right sides together.

Next fold your piece in half length wise (right sides together) and sew up the edge
using a 1/4 inch seam.

3. Turn
Turn your tube right side out.

4. Stuff and Knot
Put in your marbles and tie knots after each one.
 Experiment with the spacing between marbles and knots.
Be sure to leave enough fabric on either end to tie your necklace around your neck.

This necklace was done just by tying knots right after each marble, close together.

This necklace was done by leaving a gap in between the marble and the knots on either side.
The next marble was tied tightly, followed by another marble with loose knots on either side.

I really like how this changed up the look.
I even made a bracelet to match!
{Recognize those clothes? It is this refashioned outfit!}

On my third necklace, I tied it the same as above, but made it longer,
and only added marbles and knots to the bottom half.
I LOVE that silky, multicolored fabric, it makes a great necklace!

After making my own, I helped my little sister make one too,
which she proceeded to wear both night and day (no kidding, she slept in it!) for probably a month.
She loved it so much, she made one as a Christmas gift for her best friend!

 How about you?
Have you tried this Pinterest project yet?

In case you haven't,
consider this your official nudge in the ribs.

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 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!

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