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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New mandala to color AND a new shirt at Cafe Press for cast iron lovers

A new mandala to color- blank versions avail in PNG and JPG

So first- a new mandala to color. This is a fairly simple design and it's on a base 15, so the sections are 15, 30 and 60- which means that using 5 colors would work very well for this one. I hope you enjoy it!

Click the images below to print and color the mandala-
Small jpg version:
mandala to color in jpg or transparent png versions

Large PNG version:
mandala to color in jpg or transparent png versions

Also, every year I try to give my daughter a personal gift for her birthday. Since this year she asked for "More cast iron"- I drew a design for a shirt for her. Because it was so amazingly popular, I posted it on Cafe Press for other people to buy. A great gift for the cast iron enthusiast or cook in your life- 
Original Heavy Metal Cast Iron- by Shala Kerrigan

You can buy shirts, cups and aprons with this design here- 

Profits will be used to buy TG cast iron. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recycled Chiffon Ribbon Purse

Darn Good Yarn - recycled chiffon sari ribbon purse
I'm wild for Darn Good Yarn's recycled yarn. This is actually the project that I originally ordered yarn for- a cross body hippie bohemian bag made in bright colors was just what I wanted. The bag is quite simple to make- it uses just chains, slip stitches and single crochets that show off the beauty and variations in the recycled yarn.

The purse takes just over 2 skeins of yarn- you can make it with 2 skeins if you do something simpler for the strap. You could make your own rag yarn, but the advantage to this yarn is that the thin chiffon makes a very workable yarn. The chiffon is sourced from saris and it's fair trade. I have this weird hangup about purses. Beyond preferring cross body and big enough for the stuff I carry daily, I also like recycled or upcycled. I buy my purses used, or handmade, or make them myself.

Click here for a discount on yarn! - the discount applies to your first purchase from Darn Good Yarn, and because of their amazing loyalty program, I'll get a credit to help pay for more pretty things from them! They have several assortments of the yarn used, it's more yarn than you'll need for this project, but that's good because I'll be posting a basket tutorial soon too and there are a lot of other things to do with the yarn. Check out the chiffon ribbon color packs. The color I used is Istanbul.

So first- some tips.

The yarn is going to have some natural variation. I noticed that some of the joins are stitched, and some are knotted. It also has raw edges that can unravel a bit. When you're balling it up, work a loose ball and don't use a ball winder. I wound center pull balls around my fist working nice and loose with a pair of scissors to trim long raveled edges as I wound. The skeins are easy to work with. One end is knotted, so you'll need to unknot it carefully when you reach the end. 

While you're crocheting, you may run across a join that's too bulky, just unknot it or clip it, taper the ends of the ribbons and tie a new overhand knot. Make sure you don't taper too narrow. It's so exciting watching the colors that are coming up next.  

The chiffon yarn is stronger than you'd think, it twists as you crochet into something like a ribbon rope.  You can use anything from a size K to a size Q hook easily with this- but since I wanted a purse that I may or may not line, I used a K for a nice tight stitch. 

Chiffon Ribbon Purse Pattern
American terminology

You will need: 
  • 2-3 skeins of Chiffon Ribbon Yarn
  • size K crochet hook
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors
  • 1 inch button 

  • Ch=chain
  • sl st= slip stitch
  • st or sts= stitch or stitches
  • sc= single crochet

Chain 17 stitches, insert hook in second chain from hook and slip stitch to the end (this reinforces the bottom) 

Round 1: Ch 1 tightly (does not count as first sc) sc in first st, sc in next 14 sts, sc 4 times in end st, working down the other side, sc next 14 sts, 3 sc in end st, sl st to join (36 sts)
Round 2: Ch 1 tightly (does not count as first sc), 2 sc in same st, sc in next 14 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 14 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st to join. (40 sts)
Round 3:   Ch 1 tightly (does not count as first sc), 2 sc in same st, sc in next 14 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 14 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts, sl st to join (44 sts) 
Base formed
Rounds 4-17:  Ch 1 tightly (does not count as first sc), sc in same st, sc in each st around, sl st to join. Break off, weave in end. 

Chain 80-90 depending on the length you'd like. I like a longer strap so it hangs close to my hip. 
Sc in second chain from hook, sc in each st. 
Ch 1 to turn, sc in each st. Break off. 

Count back 2 sts from joining st on the bag, and stitch strap in place in next 2 sts. Count 20 sts from strap on one side, and join on the other side. 

Button hole tab- count 8 sts from strap on bag and join in yarn. Single crochet in that stitch and next 4 sts.
Rows 2-8: ch 1 to turn, sc in each st across
Row 9: ch 1 to turn, sc in first st, ch 2, sc in last st
Row 10-11: ch 1 to turn, sc in each st
Row 12: ch 1, skip first st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st in last st. Break off, weave in ends. 

Put the flap over the front and mark where to sew in button. Sew on button. I had a big shank on mine so I was able to use the chiffon ribbon. Otherwise just use strong thread or embroidery floss.

Darn Good Yarns Chiffon Ribbon Purse Pattern

I haven't decided if I'm lining it or not. If I do, I'll use one my husband's old, stained shirts to keep with the recycled theme, and possibly a salvaged zipper. My daughter saves zippers and buttons off the thrifted clothing she upcycles into costumes. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Selection- YA novel book review Sponsored post

The Selection

I don't usually review young adult literature on this blog. It's not because it's not being read- from the time my kids were very little, we read a lot of the same books. It's been a rule in my house that dinner conversation should be things all of us are interested in- I don't play video games, my husband doesn't like glitter, but all of us love reading. So the opportunity to get a book at no charge and read it with my daughter was welcome. After I finished the first one, I got the Kindle versions of the next two books that night! Total binge read. 

The Selection is the start of a series about a dystopian futuristic world where everyone is separated by caste, and those castes mark what your life will be like, where you will live and how much you can succeed. Except during the Selection, when the Heir to the Throne picks their future spouse. 

It's over the top, lush and light but there is a thread of social commentary and speculation which opens the door for deeper conversations with your young adult. Part Cinderella, part reality show, part dystop, it's easy to read with enough twists, humor and dialogue to keep  people interested. It's not as dark as a lot of dystop, but it's not fluff either. The romantic elements aren't Instalove or based in appearance. 

I dislike book reviews that read like book reports and giveaway too much- so here are the parts that made me binge read the books:

The main character America- She's not someone who needs rescuing. Yes, she's from a lower caste, but she's fairly happy. She doesn't want to win, she wants to go back home but also wants to do well for the sake of her family.

The strong thread of friendship- America wants to make friends and it's the core of her relationships in the whole series. She's considerate and loyal even if she does make mistakes occasionally. 

The descriptions of dresses and balls are wonderful. 

There is a love triangle of course, but it's handled well as part of a larger story. The romance is built from friendship and time- not from an instant attraction or unhealthy behavior. This is kind of huge for me. I think that more romances should show that romances are built, not instant, and that love can be thoughtful and slow. 

So I'm pretty excited that a 4th book is coming out called The Heir which follows up after America's story. 

I did read this with my daughter. She enjoyed it too, she's always preferred very active, strong self-rescuing Princess types and she enjoys speculative fiction as much as I do. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Swirled Peace Coloring or Doodling Page

Swirly colorful peace symbol- also available blank for coloring

I hope the doodlers will enjoy this as much as the colorists! It's the swirly peace symbol that I used on this printable box- Swirly Peace Symbol box

Click the images for larger versions to color-
Small JPG version:
Swirly peace symbol for doodling or coloring- available in transparent png as well

Larger Transparent PNG version:
Swirly peace symbol for doodling or coloring- available in jpg as well

If you like this- check out my coloring book! It's full of peace symbols, lava lamps, doves and beads!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Peace symbol printable box

Swirled peace symbol

I hope you enjoy today's printable box. It's a swirly peace symbol box in 2 colorways.

Click the images for larger versions, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold, glue!

Swirled Peace Printable Gift box- available in green/blue and purple/pink

Swirled Peace Printable Gift box- available in green/blue and purple/pink

I also have new fabrics available in my Spoonflower shop!!

These are available in fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper.
Bee fabric design
Hippie peace symbol and happy face black and white fabric

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Darn Good Cuff Bracelet Tutorial (crochet)

Darn Good Cuff Bracelet- a bracelet made with recycled sari silk yarn

I love recycled sari yarn. It has all the things my little hippie heart adores. It's recycled from saris, it's silk!, it's got all sorts of colors and fun texture things going on. A lot of people like it but then don't know what to do with it. It's almost too much goodness. I didn't have that problem with this skein because I ordered it knowing it was going to be bracelets and accessories.

The company that sells it is Darn Good Yarn- and if you use my link, you'll get a coupon for a good savings and I'll get a credit on my next order. Win win right? Then you can refer your friends and they can get a coupon and you can get credit. Awesome loyalty program.

This is the yarn I bought from them in my first order and what I plan to do with it. The 4 skeins on the right hand side are a chiffon ribbon yarn that I'll be using to make a purse. The one in the forefront is the Recycled Photon Rainbow Sport Weight Recycled Silk Yarn that I used to make the bracelet above.

So the bracelet is simple enough to make. It's single crochets, chains and a pretty button. The yarn has so much going on that I wanted to simply show off the yarn. The problem is, because of the length of color changes, simply crocheting back and forth didn't work. It just made stripes instead of the sort of organic shape color changes I wanted. You can see my bracelet on top in this picture- and what it looks like working back and forth in the bottom picture.
So to get the color changes, I worked in 2 directions.

Darn Good Cuff Pattern:

You'll need a size D or E hook

  • 1 skein of sport weight recycled sari silk yarn
  • Large needle for weaving in ends
  • attractive/8ths to 7/8th inch button
Chain 4
Row 1: sc in second chain from hook, sc in next 2 chains
Row 2-32: Ch 1 to turn, sc in each st (3 sts)
(adjust rows as needed for size. You want it to fit with an inch of overlap for the button) 
Switch direction! 
Row 34: Ch 1, working down the long side, sc in next 2 sts, ch 3, skip 3 sts, sc in the rest of the sts
Row 35-37: ch 1, sc in each st down the length

Round 1: ch 1, sc in st, sc down length, 3 sc in corner, sc across end, 3 sc in corner, sc down length, 3 sc in corn, sc across end, 2 sc in last st, sl st to first sc of round to join.  Break off

Weave in all ends.  Stitch button on opposite side of button hole. I just used some of the yarn.

The yarn is very strong, and very crisp feeling. It looks kind of like jute twine, but it's very soft to the touch with a nice amount of structure. You can gently handwash finished pieces, lay flat to dry. If you want your finished item softer, putting it in a dryer on delicate/low heat for a few minutes will soften the yarn.  One skein will make a lot of small projects like this with 147 yards per skein.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bees mandala to color

Bees mandala with a blank version to color!
It's getting all spring like and so I've been thinking about bees. I'm planning to use a variation of this design in the bee contest coming up soon on Spoonflower!

Print and color this bee mandala. Click on the small versions below for larger versions.

Small jpg:
Bee mandala to print and color- also available in transparent PNG

Larger transparent png:
Bee mandala to print and color- also available in JPG