Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Embroidery Hoop Dream Catcher

This summer I've been working really hard at trying to do less and chill out more (I suck at it). But  it's been worth the struggle as it's given me one of the most fun summers in recent memory, plus lots of extra quality time my kiddo. Happily, one of our favorite things to do together is crafting. Perfect for satisfying my urge to constantly be doing something while getting gal time to boot!  So before the season shuffles away into fall, I thought I'd share our favorite project of summer: dream catchers.

This project actually came about after my daughter destroyed half of an embroidery hoop by sitting on it. We intended to make the dream catcher just as a way to make use of the remaining half, but then we got totally obsessed and ended up making a BUNCH of these. (Seriously, they're all over the house.) Despite how complex it looks, it turned out to be a great project to do with her as the web is basically repeating a single step. Also, you can go all out for a perfect web if you want to, but irregularities add a lot to the charm. Good news for kids and adults alike:)

What you'll need:
1/2 of an embroidery hoop
3 different colors of embroidery thread (for the web and fringe)

Weaving Your Web
Step 1: Tie the string securely in place on the hoop, leaving a 3" tail.

Step 2: With the long length on string begin wrapping around the hoop from back to front, at intervals of 2 1/2". Make sure that you bring over the previous strand each time. This will create a loop.

 Step 3: Then pull tight.

 Step 4: Moving clockwise around the hoop, continue making loops spaced 2 1/2" apart around hoop and pulling tight.

 Step 5: When you get back to the beginning start making your loops onto the center of each string segment, instead of the hoop.

 Step 6: Again pull tight. This is also a good time to wrap the 3" tail at the top of the hoop around the 2 strands beneath it, then secure with a couple of knots. (This will help to stabilize everything.)

 Step 7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 to continue spiraling in toward the center of the hoop.

Step 8: Add a bead on to the strand at the place of your choosing. (This is an optional step to symbolize the spider on the dream catcher, as well as just being pretty.)

Step 9: Again, continue making loops until you reach the center of the hoop. Tie the loose end off with a double knot and trim the excess.

Adding Beaded Fringe
I wanted three different colors of fringe: one color was the same string I used for creating the web and the other were contrast colors.

Step 1: Start by cutting your strands of each color:
-5 lengths of 32" of your primary color (the one you want to really stand out!)
-4 lengths of 26" each of the other 2 colors
Fold all in half.

Now you'll begin anchoring the primary fringe onto the 5 looped strings at the bottom of the hoop.

Step 2:Take a folded strand and insert the two cut ends on either side of one of the bottom web loops and pull under the hoop.

Step 3: Put the loose ends through the fold and begin pulling tight.

Step 4: Pull tight so that the strand is tightly anchored to the hoop.

Step 5: Measure down 5 1/2" from the hoop and tie a double knot in the strand.

Step 6: separate the 2 sides of the strands beneath the knot so that they look like an upside down "V".

*Now you are going to thread the beads onto the strands. If your beads have teeny tiny holes like mine did, fold a small piece of jewelry wire in half to use as a makeshift beading needle. Place the end of one of strands into the fold of the wire and you're ready to add the beads!

Step 7: Thread one side of the strand from left to right and the other side through the bead from right to left.

Step 8: Pull to tighten and tie to double knots right beneath the bead to hold it in place.

Step 9: Repeat steps 7 and 8 to add a second bead.

Step 10: Add the remaining fringe between these.

Step 11: Tie double knots onto each one at place of your choosing. Add the beads and knot again to secure them.

Step 11: Because these pieces of fringe are not anchored by the web, it will be necessary to secure them to the backside of the hoop with a dab of glue. 

Step 12: Finish by trimming the fringe to your liking.

Making the Loop
Ok, last part! After all this work you need to be able to hang it, right?

Step 1: Cut a 12" piece of embroidery thread and fold in 1/2. Knot 3/4" away from the fold and add 3 beads below.This will be used to hang the dream catcher.

Step 2: Wrap the loose ends around either side of the wrapped tail at the top of the hoop. Knot securely on the backside and trim away the excess. That's it, it's ready for hanging!

So from this... (thanks, Ophelia)
... we were inspired to make these!
 You gotta love happy accidents.
Have a safe and happy Labor Day, everybody:)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Upcycled Pant Leg: Shabby Chic Wine Bag

Remember when I was bitching ad nauseam about how much I was hating on last year's endless winter? Well the summer has not disappointed! Aside from not freezing, my favorite thing about summer is how many get togethers there are. Happily, the warm weather tends to bring out the party planner in most of my friends. This pretty, rustic wine bag (plus the wine I'll be stuffing it with) should make a great hostess gift.

Aside from a few easy to gather materials, this really came together thanks to a beloved pair of stripey jeans that were dirty beyond wearable far before their time (dirty bike seat and light colored denim does not a clean ass make).
-1 pant leg
-2 crocheted doilies**
-beads/adornments (optional)

**(Don't crochet? Not to worry! There are lots of options on Etsy:)

Step1: Measure 13" from the hem at the bottom of the pant leg and cut. (Set the other piece of the pant leg aside for now).

Step 2: Now cut open along the side seam.

Step 3: Lay flat and cut so that the width is also 13".

 Step 4: On the part of the pant leg you set aside in step 1, draw a circle 4" in diameter and cleanly cut out.

When you're finished with the above steps you'll have the two pieces you need to make the wine bag:

Step 5: Place the square piece so that the hem is at the top. Measure 2 1/2" down and make 6 marks with a sharpie, each 1/2" long.

Step 6: Use scissors to snip out the entire mark. (This is where the cord will be threaded later.)

Stiching It All Up
Step 1: Now decide where you want the 2 doilies placed. Once they're where you want them, pin them down.

 Step 2: Stitch all around each of the doilies until you're sure that they won't come off (or look to sad and saggy).

Step 3: With good sides together, fold in half so that the side seams match up and pin. Stitch straight down.

Step 5: Pin the 4" circle to the end without the hem. Stitch all around.

Step 6: Thread the twine through each of the holes, then tie a secure knot at the end of each side.

OPTIONAL: As a last step you can sew a few beads or any other adornments that will add some extra bling to your wine bag. This is totally not necessary so you can skip this if you'd like, but it SO pretty! I highly recommend it:)

Cheers, friends!!

*straight pins
*needle and thread
*sewing machine