Category Archives: Create

Women’s Rights, Human Respect

This election and a short conversation with a family member has got me wanting to share my opinion. The country was floored by Donald Trump’s “locker talk”, his racist comments, and his blatant disrespect for virtually all minorities. My heart is broken that America really made a man like that president. There’s more to this life than the pointless bickering, money, laws, and politics. We are all living on borrowed time. We should view one another with love no matter our religion, disability, skin color, sex, or income. We should all agree to disagree respectfully. We should always be humble and remember that all life is life. However, when I look at my Facebook feed or talk to (most) of my friends and family, I come to realize that they share the same negativity.

“‘Merica!”

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Upcycled Shirt Treat Bag

One more day until Boo At The Zoo and we realized we didn’t have treat bags for the twins. I have made myself so many of these upcycled t-shirt bags but have never made a tutorial for them. This is a super simple project that is great for kids who can handle scissors well. These little guys can stretch out and the handles are great for tying closed. They are strong, stretchy, and very portable. These bags are a great way to re-use that old Metallica T-Shirt from yesteryear… (Dad, I’m talking to you!) Here is a tutorial for turning that old favorite into a functional accessory! These are mini treat bags for pint-sized looters, but you could make them any size!

To begin you want to cut the sleeves and collar of the shirt. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If there is a little extra seam when you’re done just snip that off too. Next you’ll cut two notches in the very bottom of the shirt where the seam is. This creates a tube for closing.

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Photo: White Mage Knits

Upcycled bag, trick-or-treat, trick or treat, upcycled tshirt, halloween, treat bag, upcycled t-shirt,

Photo: White Mage Knits

Now, turn your shirt inside out. Take some string (I used cotton yarn for strength) and thread it through the tube with a safety pin, darning needle, or bobby pin. Go in one notch, all the way through, back in the second notch, and come out next to where you went in. Pull tight, tie a knot, then wrap both strings around to make a bulge at the bottom of the bag, tie a bunch of knots. This makes sure there is no hole and adds weight to the bottom of the bag so it isn’t so floppy. If you don’t like how this looks you can actually sew the bottom instead. You could even add a lining if you want. I made these purely for utility so behold my unruly bulge closure, beautiful right?

Note: If sewing I usually sew the shirt flat across the bottom using a zig-zag stitch.

Upcycled bag, trick-or-treat, trick or treat, upcycled tshirt, halloween, treat bag, upcycled t-shirt,

Photo: White Mage Knits

Finally, turn the bag right side out and give the bottom a good pull in all directions to get as much of the shirt out of the string bulge as you can. Give your straps a little tug to finish your edges (some roll, some don’t). Viola! Your very own upcycled shirt bag! Have you made a shirt bag? If so leave a photo in the comments! Happy Halloween my crafty friends!

Amigurumi Tips

One of my favorite things to knit is amigurumi. Amigurumi is the art of knitting and/or crocheting stuffed toys. These projects mostly take small amounts of yarn, can be done with any weight, and can be easily customized. It took me a long time to figure out the ins and outs of creating lovely little stuffies. I decided to put together a list of tips for anyone new to knitting or crocheting amigurumi. I hope you find it helpful!

Garden Mouse Mobile Amigurumi

Photo: WhiteMageKnits

Gauge doesn’t matter. – You want to use a hook or needle two sizes smaller than recommended. If you’re a lose knitter you can even go another size down. It’s better to knit with a smaller needle than to try knitting super tight.

Don’t over stuff. – With crochet you can stuff a bit more than knit. If you want a firm toy, go for crochet. If you soft and squishy, go knit. Reason being, it’s easier to see stuffing through knit stitches. Remember it’s easier to stuff as you go for skinny items like some arms, horns, etc.

Stuff with stuff! – You can stuff with just about anything! I prefer to use polyfil for toys that will be given to children because they will need more washing and it stays nice and fluffy. If it’s something for an adult (or myself) I prefer to use wool. You can also stuff with rice, pellets, yarn or fabric scraps, etc. I’ve even taken the stuffing from an old ripped up stuffed animal Marley Jane didn’t want anymore. (Reduce, reuse, recycle!)

Customize! – Use different weights and textures of yarn. Make the ears or arms different than the pattern calls for. Change it up and make it your own. Pattern calls for safety eyes and you don’t have them? Try embroidery, buttons, or felt. I like to needle-felt some details such as the pink insides of ears, hearts, glasses, etc. For children under three use embroidery and sewing instead.

Assembly – Some people prefer to assemble after all of the parts have been made. Some prefer to do it as you go. If you pick up stitches where you want to place your appendages (instead of casting on and then attaching later) you’ll save yourself some time. Two detailed tutorials on this can be found here for knitting or here for crochet.IMG_20150708_035943

Weaving in ends – When you thread in your lose ends put the needle in close to where you are and bring it out on the other side of your toy. This way when you cut it the tail is left inside. The tail is less likely to come lose and begin sticking out this way. It is also very useful if you ever need to do maintenance on your toy. Always split the yarn before weaving in your ends with super bulky yarn.

Get in the loop! – For crochet use the magic loop cast on to avoid a hole at the beginning. For knitters that do not want to use double pointed needles (they can be intimidating) check out the magic loop method! You can also use this method to knit two things at the same time. This is especially helpful for legs, arms, and ears. When knitting toys for my twins I always do this.

So there you have it! My tips and tricks of the trade. Featured is the most recent amigurumi I have done. It is a mouse from The Garden Mice Mobile by Susan Anderson. I used worsted weight instead of the lightweight the pattern calls for. To see more of my amigurumi works you can find me on facebook and instagram. Once you’ve made a few it’s easy to begin designing your own. You can also mash different patterns together. The elephants below are modified. I free-handed the ears to add to Anna Hrachovec’s pattern, Bob.  Any tips you would add? Let me know in the comments below! Happy crafting!

Elephant Amigurumi Knit

Photo: WhiteMageKnits

3 Hour Shawl: Crochet

I’ve searched far and wide for a shawl pattern that is fast, pretty, and uses minimal yarn. I learned how to do the corner to corner (c2c) stitch from Youtube. The Crochet Corner To Corner Afghan Project video tutorial from The Crochet Crowd. I used c2c for some lovies in the past few months and realized how incredibly fast this stitch worked up. Of course I hit Walmart up for the black Friday yarn sale and got a few giant skeins of Red Heart With Love (370 yards). My grandmother’s birthday is coming up and I had just purchased a jumbo hook. The results were wonderful! I finished this up in three hours. This is a great gift for any occasion but this luscious red would be wonderful for Valentine’s Day!

You can use a shawl pin, button, ribbon, or lace for closure if you’d like!

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jimmy beans wool, beanie bags, yarn subscription, knit, crochet, amigurumi

Happy mail for yarn junkies

Do you crochet or knit? Would you like a cute little bag full of yarn samples, patterns, and notions delivered to your mailbox monthly? Beanie bags is the yarn subscription for you! For just $10 a month you can’t beat it! You can find more information and my detailed review here. These samples are perfect for amigurumi, accessories, and small projects. Share with your friends and fellow crafters! As always, craft, create, and conquer!!

So long, Filofax

Like many “planner girls” I used to see a photo or video featuring a beautiful Filofax Malden and swoon. I’ve went through three personal sized ring binders. The first was a simple brown Day Runner Harmony. The second was a Valentine’s Day gift, a Filofax Saffiano in Raspberry. The third purchase was that lovely hunk of supple plum-colored leather, the unicorn they call the Malden… Yes, this planner was beautiful. It had all of the pockets I wanted in a planner, a long strap, large rings, and felt like heaven. Yeah, she was beautiful; but she didn’t mean a thing to me. (Death Cab For Cutie) Continue reading

Easy Breezy Big Book of Boo-Boos

My two year old loves playing doctor. Doc McStuffins is her current favorite show. She has a Doc McStuffins set and would pretend that one of her travel-size coloring books is her big book of boo-boos. I decided to make her one and found Disney’s printable version here. I felt like it was too much ink with the notebook background so we went for a simpler solution.

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