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Punch Needle 101

April 19, 2017

Punch Needle Embroidery is a very easy needle craft to learn because it is very forgiving. I recommend you start with a kit so you have all the necessary elements for your first try. The brand I started with was Dimensions, they have two different kits. One with everything needed, the other with just the pattern and embroidery thread. At the bottom of this post, there is a link to a beginner kit available at Amazon, it contains an affiliate link. 

materials

Materials needed:

  • patterned fabric
  • embroidery hoop
  • punch needle
  • needle threader
  • instructions

Directions:

pattern in hoop

1.  Place the fabric into the embroidery hoop. You will work with the pattern face up but this is actually the back of the finished work. 

2.  Embroidery floss comes wrapped together with a number of strands. Your directions should tell you to use only 2 to 3 of these strands. You will need to unravel them first and then thread the needle tool,

3.  Hold the short end of the thread against the fabric surface and then punch the needle tool into the fabric in the desired area. Move to the next space and punch again. After a few punches, the embroidery floss will be secure and you will not have to hold onto the end any longer. 

4.  This is a forgiving craft because you don't have to punch in any direction or follow any set pattern. Just punch into the fabric section for the color you are using.

5.  When you are close to the end of the embroidery floss, pull it loose from the punch tool and thread another strand. You do not need to tie off the end of the floss or trim it.

Video Example:

Easter Card and Printable

April 8, 2017

Download this cute Easter image as a card or a print you can frame. The same image in two different sizes. Happy Easter and I hope you enjoy the printables. 

Card [pdf] A1

Print [pdf] 8 x 10

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Creative Craft Bloggers Group April Challenge

April 1, 2017

This month's craft theme was chosen to be garden. Three members of the group took on the challenge to create something with the theme. Here are the links to those post with tutorials. 

Al Things Beautiful   •   How to make a Succulent Terrarium garden 
Try it - Like it   •  Faux Stained Glass Wind Spinner Craft 

2dishingdivas   •   Spring Fairy Garden 

 Life Beyond the Kitchen   •   Whimsical Paper Flowers Wall Hanging

 

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4 DIY Ways to Prep Your Home for Spring

March 29, 2017

As the cold weather turns into spring, people all over the country will start to prepare their homes for milder weather. Follow these four DIY tips so you can prepare your house for the upcoming season. They'll protect your property and make your home more attractive.

Clean Your Driveway and Other Outdoor Areas



Image via Flickr by Decorative Concrete Kingdom

The calcium chloride, or rock salt, used to melt snow and ice during winter can cause a lot of damage to your driveway, porch, and siding. Even if you don't use rock salt on your property, your vehicle's tires encounter it and similar substances as you drive around town. Eventually, the corrosive material ends up at your home.

 

A pressure washer is one of the most effective ways to clean concrete, asphalt, wood, and vinyl siding. You can buy small pressure washers for just a few hundred dollars. If you don't want to own a pressure washer, you can always rent one from your local hardware store.

 

Replace Your HVAC System's Air Filter

Your HVAC system's air filter works overtime during winter and summer. The more often your furnace or air conditioner comes on, the more dirt, pet dander, and other allergens the air filter collects.

 

Replacing your air filter at the beginning of spring will improve your home's indoor air quality, lower your heating and cooling bills, and help keep your air ducts clean. Although spring is a good time to inspect your air filter, you should look at it once a month to see if it needs changing. It will collect more debris during some months than others, so it makes sense to check it regularly.

 

Set Ceiling Fans to Rotate Counterclockwise

Most ceiling fans have switches that change which direction the fan blades move. During winter, you want the blades to move in a clockwise direction that helps circulate warm air throughout your home. As the temperatures begin to warm, you should flip the fan's switch so the blades move in a counterclockwise rotation that blows air straight down to keep you cool.

 

Inspect and Clean Your Gutters

Winter can cause a lot of damage to your home's gutters. When heavy snow collects in the gutters, the pressure can pull them away from your home. Ice can also cause significant damage.

 

Since you can expect a lot of rain during spring, you need to inspect your gutters for signs of damage. If they're damaged, fix them so they can direct rainwater away from your home. Broken gutters that don't work properly can increase your home's chances of flooding.

 

Spring is also a good time to clean your gutters before trees start to grow new leaves. You get to remove clutter from winter and get a head start on next autumn's falling leaves.

 

April is the perfect time to prepare your home for spring weather. If you tackle these jobs now, you won't have to worry about them during summer, when it's often too hot to wash concrete or replace gutters comfortably.

 

This is a contributed post.

Personalize Your Cricut Print and Cut

March 27, 2017


One of the Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine features I couldn’t wait to try was Print then Cut. Circuit offers over 50,000 printable images. Basically the image prints on your home printer, you take that print, place it on a Cricut cutting mat, make the setting for the kind of paper, then set it to go for cutting. The Cricut machine reads the printed lines that look like crop marks. These marks indicate how to cut the printed shape.

 

When it comes to technology I am a “jump in with two feet” kind of person. I take the let’s see what happens approach. So when I learned of Print then Cut, I tried it. Then I had to push it further and add to the designs using text and moving elements around. 

 

For the first example, I used a Cricut file and just added my own type.

 

The original Cricut file I used:

 

Pink Flower Card

#M10CF75

All Wrapped Up


original file

 

 

printed file
original image with text added
placed on mat getting ready to cut

 

 

cutting


Cricut reading the markings getting ready to cut
 

 

 

cut out

image cut and ready to fold. 

 

 

For the second image, I took the original file and moved elements around, deleted some, and added type.

 

The Cricut file I used:

 

Green and Blue Paisly Card

3M10D04F

All Wrapped Up


this is the original Cricut file

 

 

altered image

The printed image, a total change in size, placement, and text.

 

 

 

cutting file

 

Getting ready to cut
 

 

 

A video showing how the Cricut reads and cuts the print.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

DIY Corner Bookmark with Cricut

March 17, 2017

This is a very simple project to create with your Cricut. The Corner Bookmark uses three attributes of the Cricut. First it will score the paper, then draw the design, and finally cut out the shape. The great thing about having the Cricut draw for you is that you can use a different colored pen to draw with. In this case, I am using black but using gold on a colored cardstock would be beautiful too. 

 

 

 

Materials:

  • Cricut Cream Cardstock
  • Cricut black pen 0.4
  • Cricut with scoring pen
  • Adhesive (Glue Dots)
  • Colored Pencils

 

Files:

 

Directions:

 

The following video will describe how to set up your file in Design Space.

 

 

score
The first step the Cricut will run is scoring the two folds.

 

 

pen
Design Space will then direct you to replace the scoring tool with your pen.

 

 

cutting
The last step the Cricut will make is cutting the paper.

 

 

project
Once the machine is done and you remove the mat,
you can remove the excess paper and then they bookmark shape.

 

 

folding
Turn the bookmark over so you can not see the drawn design.
Fold the flap without the drawing first.


 

2nd fold
And then fold the corner with the drawing.


 

adhesive
Add adhesive (Glue Dots) between the two layers.
At this point your bookmark could be done, but for this tutorial, we will take it a step further and color in the design.

 

 

coloring
Using colored pencils, or any other coloring implements, color your design however you desire.

 

 

finished
After coloring is finished.

 

 

on book
The Bookmark in place.

 

 

I am happy to have worked with Cricut on this project.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

 

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I'm Not Irish Printable

March 15, 2017

What a fun printable for St. Patrick's Day.  So many people wear t-shirts or pins that say "kiss me I'm Irish" I thought I would make a fun play on the idea for those of us who aren't Irish. This is a free download and print in PDF format. The size of the print is 8" x 10". Enjoy!

[PDF Irish file]

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DIY Mystery Soap and Bathtub Crayon

March 8, 2017

Making Mystery Soap and Bathtub Crayon is a really fun project. Also, a bit messy if you consider soap to be messy. But let me tell you, kids love it. I've used this process to teach bible story lessons as well as badge work for girls clubs. It is great for a rainy day project and I bet you have everything you need right at home. 

materials

Materials:

  • Bar of soap
  • cheese grater or food processor
  • food coloring
  • bowl
  • zip top plastic bag
  • small plastic toy
  • water

Instructions:

grating soap
grating the soap

To begin, you want to grate the entire bar of soap. This step really isn't something the kids can help with. I do it before hand and bring the soap already grated to the project.

soap
soap after grating

If you plan to make both, I recommend making the crayon first.

Open the zip top baggie and add a handful of the grated soap, this is about a tablespoon or two. The amount isn't really important. Drop in three drops of food coloring and seal the bag.

Begin to push and roll to combine the soap and incorporate the color. If the soap doesn't want to combine, you can add a very small amount of water. Pressure is what works the best. Kids are used to playing with play dough but this isn't exactly the same and it might be frustrating. Explain the difference if needed.

Once you have the shape you desire, remove it from the bag and allow it to dry for a day or two. 

Use the same bag to make the mystery soap. Once again, add a handful of the grated soap. Add the plastic toy as well. If your toy is and odd shape, like an animal, you may need a bit more soap to cover it. The remainder of the food coloring in the bag from making the bathtub crayon was all we used to color the soap. Again press the soap around the toy. It will not completely combine or stick to the toy. Remove the entire mixture into your hand. Dip one hand into the water and using both your hands, begin to press into your desired shape. Continue this process of dipping a hand into the water and pressing the soap into the toy to get it all to join and remain as a solid shape. Some kids love this part of the process and get really lathered up, this isn't necessary but can be fun. Once again, set the soap aside for a day or two to dry.

Clean up - the kids are already covered in soap so they only need to use water to clean themselves up! Bonus!

Using the Mystery soap over time will reveal the toy surprise inside. Some kids can't wait to get to the middle and will break the soap open. Consider it all in fun!

Suggestions:

  • Don't mix food colors to get a different color, it tends to mix into a murky dull color.
  • Don't use too much food coloring or it will stain your bathtub.

The Nutrition Game - Free Printable Game

March 1, 2017

game board and cards

This month the Creatively Crafty group decided the craft challenge theme would be nutrition. I have to admit I was stumped for what to do, I had to do a bit of research to come up with an idea. I finally settled on a game board to teach children about the food groups and what food fit into those categories. Once created, I had to test it out and see how well it worked in action.
 

gane in action

So here are my girls and friends playing in our garage on top of the air hockey machine. It was a uniquely warm winter day, the sun was bright and the door was open. Each player got a game board which is fashioned after a dinner plate and a glass. The game cards are either placed in a stack or a mixed up pile (this is what they chose) in the middle of all the players face down. The game begins with one person taking a card and placing it on their game board, the continue around the group in a circular fashion. 
 

playing

If you get a card for a category you already have filled, the card is discarded and mixed back into the pile. If you pick a dessert card (as shown above) you have to return one of the game pieces on your plate back into the mix. The dessert cards have a circular don't symbol over the images.
 

winner


Here is a picture of our winners game board. During the play time, I was surprised how competitive they were. I should mention the ages ranged from 14 down to 6. They really were into playing the game. One girl asked if they could color the cards once they were don't playing the game. The educational value was present in naming the food and having to figure out the food group. They helped each other out with this part of the game. 

To make your own game that is enough for four players, you will need to print out 4 pieces of cardstock, 2 of them print front and back. They are provided in a PDF below. 

The Game Printables:

Game Board (plates) - print 2 and cut on dotted lines down the middle to make a total of 4 game boards. [Game Board PDF file]

Playing cards (double sided) - print one of each, these have a front and back design. The back design isn't necessary. It includes a bit of color and can be printed in color or just black and white. This will not affect the gameplay. [Playing cards PDF files]

This post is a part of the Creative Craft Blog Group's March Craft Challenge. Each month we vote on a topic to craft about. As I stated above, Nutrition was difficult topic. I guess everyone else felt the same way too.

Please take a moment to visit my friend Lydia at Life Beyond the Kitchen and see her Food Rules Printable.

 

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Recycled Bracelet

February 28, 2017

While the bracelet does use traditional jewelry making materials, the large disk beads are the recycled part of the bracelet. If I didn't show you how they were made, you would never believe me about where they are recycled from. I belong to the Chick-fil-a Mom's Panel. We were challenged to repurpose the chicken tortilla soup container. So yes, those disks are made from a recycled soup bowl.

Material:

  • Chick-fil-a soup bowl
  • scissors
  • 1" paper punch
  • small circle punch
  • paper clips
  • three coordination nail polishes
  • disposable cup with water
  • tooth picks
  • jewelry making parts (beads, tools, jump rings, closure)

Directions:

Begin by washing and drying the soup container. Cut off the top rim and the bottom. The remaining strip from the side of the bowl is the part used to make the beads.

punch circles

Using a 1" circular paper punch, punch the pieces from the ring of the soup container. I think I got about 8 - 9 circles. For a 7.5" bracelet, I only needed to use 4 of them.
 

small circles

Punching the connector holes are probably the hardest part of this craft. There is no true way to line it up but if you place them the same way each time they should be similar enough. If you don't have one of these small hole punches, you could use a pin to poke holes.
 

finished punching

Above are examples of the circles punched and the connection holes in place.

 

paper clips

In order to place the color on the disks, they need to hang and be dipped into water. Unfold a paper clip similar to the example above. One end will hold the disk while the other end will hang it after dipping allowing it to dry.
 

nail polish

I chose three coordinating colors of nail polish. I knew one of the colors needed to be the silver/white color to show up against the black disks. The other two colors are in the burgundy color family and will be less noticable but perfect for the finished bracelet I have in mind.
 

nail polish in water

Gently drop the nail polish into the water. Don't try to do too much at once or it will just drop to the bottom and not float on top.
 

swirl polish

Using a toothpick swirl the polish together to gain a random pattern.
 

dipping

With the disk hanging on the paper clip, dip it into the nail polish fully submerging the disk. Pull the paper clip up and hang it to dry.
 

hang to dry

I used a paintbrush across a tin to hang the disks from. I actually used a small Glue Dot on each side to hold the paintbrush in place. Make sure the disks have enough room so they don't touch as they dry.
 

jewelry parts

The finished disks can now be put together using jewelry making parts. I placed a silver bar between each disk containing 2 black and a burgundy bead to coordinate with the nail polish on the disks.
 

finished

Close up of the finished piece. You can really see the nail polish and variety of color on the black disk in this close up image.

 

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Try it - Like it Disclosure: Some posts are written in exchange for complimentary products or payment in order to share this information along with an honest opinion. Sponsored posts are also shared in order to receive a small amount to help support this site. Please see the Disclosure Policy document for further information. 

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