SMP Craft
12 Oct

Halloween Crafts: Raven Wreath and Hitchcock’s Birds Costume

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.’

Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chamber door

Only this, and nothing more.’

–from The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe

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The Birds: Alfred Hitchcock

I can’t help but recall Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock whenever I see ravens or crows. It can be day or night. They can be alone or in a flock. In flight, still, gathered… no matter. There’s always a little something chilling about them.

With Halloween and the Day of the Dead around the corner, I’m going to pay homage to these black winged creatures and use decorative ravens and crows to recreate Tippi Hedren’s character in The Birds and decorate my door with a Raven Wreath.

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By the way, do you know how to tell the difference between ravens and crows?

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Via Audubon.org

A podcast via the Audubon Society provides some clues: ravens are larger than crows–“the size of a red-tailed hawk”– and tend to move along in pairs whereas crows are found in larger groups. Crows caw and ravens croak.

Raven Wreath

Raven Wreath via Nook17.com

Caw! Caw! Caw! Croak! Croak! Happy crafting!

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4 Oct

Shower Curtain Blues: A Crafty DIY Solution

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Listen to Blue Skies – Willie Nelson

The mind never ceases to amaze. While staring up at the clear blue sky littered with white cotton ball cumulus clouds, I found the solution to my bathroom annoyance. 

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Cotton Clothesline Rope

In my fantasy world, my bathroom would be a walk-in bath house with no curtains or doors. But in my reality, a rented NYC apartment with a small simple bathroom that houses a shower-tub combination, I (and I’m certainly not alone) do what I can with the space that I do have.

For some time, mimicking the open space of a bath house, I left the tub open and without a shower curtain. But even with a handheld shower head, water splattered everywhere. And so I bought a shower curtain and over time several others in different shades and patterns. But while I didn’t lose sleep over this, there was simply something about those shower curtains that I didn’t like. Maybe because they tended to block the light? Who knows.

What I do know is that when the solution came to me recently–a clear shower liner hung with clothesline rope as the ties!!!–I needed to execute it immediately.

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Clothesline Rope Knots

I think it turned out pretty darn cool. It feels right–probably because it’s the closest thing to nothing I could come to.

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Clear Bathroom Shower Curtain Liner Hung with Cotton Clothesline Rope Ties

Moreover, now my bathroom looks and feels more spacious!

“Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see…”

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18 Nov

How to Tuesday: Leaf Covered Candle Holders

I love candles. And mason jars. And holiday-themed decorations.  So these leaf covered candle holders are pretty much perfection to me. While mine will be part of my Thanksgiving table centerpiece next week, these cute holders can be displayed around my apartment all fall long. You can use fake or real leaves for this project.  Or you can use the same steps but with doilies or other semi-sheer materials to fit whichever holiday or activity (I’m looking at you…rustic chic weddings) that comes to mind. Even better, this is a great craft for kids as all it requires is some glue (if using a hot glue gun, please supervise).

Materials (*All found at Michaels)

  • Mason jars Glue – Mod Podge or hot glue gun
  • Leaves or material of your choice
  • Sponge brushCraft 1

1. Gather your leaves.  If using real leaves, go outside and grab a handful of the prettiest ones you can find. If using fake leaves, first clip them so that each leaf is separated. If you’re like me, sort those leaves into corresponding color, size,  and texture piles. Craft 2

2. Start gluing your leaves to the mason jar. I like having a bit of texture to the outside of the jar, so I didn’t glue each leaf completely flat. Continue to add leaves around the jar until you have the desired effect. Depending on the weight of your leaves,  you may need to use hot glue to secure them to the mason jar. Craft 3

3. Once you have all of your leaves attached, let the jar dry overnight. Craft 4

 

 

 

 

 

4. Once completely dry, pop a votive candle inside the mason jar, dim the lights, and enjoy the ambiance. Craft 5

Check out our newest November title!

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16 Nov

Guest Author: A Hook and a Ball of Yarn with Caitlin Sainio (and sons)

 

“Mom, this book is great–better than your books!” After a moment’s thought, my nine year old looked up from the pattern book on his lap. “Well. Yours are good, too.”

“I like this slug,” his younger brother announced on another afternoon, pointing to one of the creatures in Lesley Stanfield’s 75 Birds, Butterflies & Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet. “Why don’t you make slugs like that?”

“It is a good slug,” I answered (it’s actually a FABULOUS slug), “but I never learned to knit.”

“You should learn, so you can make that slug.”

Yes. Yes, I probably should.

I started selling my work when my sons were one and four, and mostly they’ve been more tolerant than interested. They’re good-natured about last-minute post office runs, and once in a while they’ll offer new product suggestions: crochet spaceships! crochet bazookas! crochet R2-D2!

But they have higher priorities. Building LEGO fortresses, for instance. Planning Mars colonies. Conducting running gun/blaster/sword/marker battles through the house. They have a lot on their plates, and pretty much all of it is more interesting than whatever I’m crocheting, THIS week. However, there are days when my craft becomes the target of their attention–with results that are usually both cute and guaranteed to keep my ego in check.

Both kids will occasionally ask me for a hook and a ball of yarn, and then curl up somewhere to try chain stitching. The little one says he’s planning to crochet flowers, slugs, and caterpillars, and the big one has a long list of blocks and edgings that he wants to make. At least, those are their stated goals. I consider it equally likely that a battalion of amigurumi Star Wars characters will soon be setting up a secret base in our house. (For all I know, they already have: my six year old’s gigantic stuffed animal collection would make perfect cover.) my-younger-son-crocheting

My younger son also finds many non-crochet-related uses for my tools and materials. When one occurs to him, he doesn’t waste valuable time asking for either my opinion or my permission. After all, as a thread crocheter, I usually don’t even NOTICE when a ball of YARN goes missing… until I walk into the living room and discover that it’s been turned into a giant spiderweb. I’m more vigilant about my size 10 cotton, but rolls have still been known to vanish. (They show up later on the dining room table, with LEGO guys rappelling down the thread to attack their enemies on the floor below.)

Even when it comes to my precious steel hooks, he’s one step ahead of me. Any doubts on THAT score were dispelled the day I found two LEGO Clone Troopers standing guard on a windowsill, armed with blasters and a size 5 hook. troopers-with-stolen-hook(Apparently my child’s superpower is invisibility. I’m hoping he’ll use it for good and not evil.) My older son doesn’t go in for crochet burglary, but he does love books, and is quick to grab any new craft book that comes into the house. Once one falls into his hands, we can be confident that a review will follow shortly. (Books with bright colors get especially high marks from him, and the greater the design variety, the better.) While he’s refrained (so far) from completely panning any of my books, his highest praise is generally reserved for designers whose work he hasn’t been seeing around the house for months.

So when the advance copies of my new book 75 Exquisite Trims in Thread Crochet arrived and were greeted with the inevitable, “Hey, can I see one of those?” I knew better than to expect a glowing endorsement.

I went back to making dinner as he flipped pages, skimmed titles, and scrutinized motifs. After several minutes of frowning concentration, he pronounced the verdict.

“Mom, this is really good!” he said, sounding vaguely surprised. There was a pause, and I waited for the BUT. “I like it!”

He liked it?

He LIKED it!

(But not to worry: I’m sure he won’t let it go to my head.)
75-Exquisite-Trims

Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Amazon
Books-a-Million
Powell’s Books
Walmart
Overstock

75-Birds

Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Amazon
Books-a-Million
Powell’s Books
Walmart
Overstock

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CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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