SMP Craft
24 Jun

How-To Tuesday: Crochet a Mini Air Plant Holder

 

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A few days ago, I was putting away leftover yarn I had used to wrap a gift. There wasn’t enough to make another scarf or even baby booties, but I didn’t feel like stuffing it back with the rest of the yarn. Suddenly struck with the urge to make something, I found my crochet hook and decided to make a crochet vessel for one of my air plants. It looks fancy, but any newbie crocheter can make this.

First, I created a center ring, using 6 chain stitches and a slip stitch.

  • –insert hook into first chain
  • –yarn over (yo) hook
  • –draw yarn through stitch and through the loop
  • –yarn over (yo) hook
  • –draw yarn through the 2 loops on hook

Next, after I made the center ring, I started on the first single stitch round.

  • –insert hook into center ring
  • –yarn over (yo) hook
  • –draw yarn through center of ring

chain1 chain2chainring

I continued to work single crochet stitches into the ring until I couldn’t fit anymore. The center ring stretches and it’s surprising how many stitches you can fit in.

If you need more help, watch Nattypat’s video here. Or simply visit our website for a bevy of crochet books for every level of crocheter. The beginner ought to find Erika Knight’s Simple Crocheting: A Complete How-To-Crochet Workshop with 20 Projects the perfect place to start.

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Air plants, aka Tillandsia, are these otherworldly blissfully easy plants that require a minimum amount of upkeepno soil, a weekly soak in the sink, and decent light and air circulation. (I spotted some, by the way, at West Elm a few weeks ago). I’ve got about a dozen of them in varying sizes–from 1 inch in diameter to the largest, a 10-inch Concolor Giant.

airplants

Because they don’t require soil, you don’t even need a pot or vessel. So if you’re not quite in the mood to crochet, you can still find fun ways to display them. A chipped porcelain tea cup, sea shell from PTown, gold glass cigarette ash tray circa 1970, a two-inch silk pillow my friend brought back from Japan for me, vintage door knob, Italian cake platter, old glass condiment jars–all of these have at one point or another served as vessels for my air plants.

Confession: this post should really be titled Procrastination in the Guise of Craft project. That yarn I was putting away? That was just one of many things scattered around my apartment. Busy week. Busy weekend. But, well… the thing is, there will always be laundry to wash, bills to pay, arcs to read, yarn to put away…. Please don’t misunderstand me; it’s not that I’m pushing for a life of irresponsibility. Just that it’s important to step away on occasion and allow your mind and hands the luxury of creativity. 

Happy crafting!

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7 May

Blossoms Up Crafters!

Surprise mom with an upcycled paper blossom (and help our planet, too)!

Blossoms(See us in action: watch our Flipagram! video by clicking on the image above.)

During our company’s week-long Earth Day festivities, SMPCraft hosted a Crafternoon Lunch and made paper blossoms from unused advanced readers’ copies (not easy to come by in our company these days as we’ve become increasingly concerned about our industry’s impact on the environment). We had a fabulous time and this project was super-satisfying, easy, and within less than an hour, we each produced a gorgeous, no-maintenance eco-conscious blossom that even a self-proclaimed serial plant killer (raises her hand) would eagerly welcome into her life. 

ConesTo create one 20-inch blossom, we used 100 – 120 pages, staples, and cardboard from shipping boxes. For the pages, you can also use an old catalog, magazines, outdated yellow pages…anything you’ve marked for the recycling bin would work wonderfully.

For the first step, we rolled each page into cones, stapling one inch from the pointed end to hold the shape. And don’t worry about being too careful or precise. Depending on your process (read: level of impatience) either complete rolling all of the cones before proceeding to the second step or make a few cones and staple as you go along.

Connecting

Step two. Staple the tips of the cone to the cardboard. Our cardboard came from the shipping boxes our books were shipped in, measured four-inches by six inches, and was pretty sturdy–about an 1/8th of an inch thick. Imagine or draw a three-inch circle in the center of the cardboard and begin stapling the tips of the cones onto the circle. After the first circle of cones is stapled, begin the process again until the cardboard is no longer visible.

Blossom

And that, folks, is all it takes.

Hang your blossom on a wall, lay it flat on a table or desk, dangle it from the ceiling, add pictures or bling to the center–even spray it with your favorite scent or sprinkle with a few drops of essential oil.

We love it. We suspect you’ll love it… and so will your mom. Because, at the end of the day, it’s often the little things–the thoughtful gestures–that seem to resonate the most.

On that note, we’ll end with a little something from our sustainability team… Please BYOR: Bring Your Own Reusable (water bottles, mugs, plates, silverware…) to work. Every little bit counts. Every little bit matters.

Happy crafternoon everyone!

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22 Apr

How-To Tuesday: Earth Day, Plastic Purge, and the Two-Liter Sea Creature Lamp!

Today we officially celebrate our lovely planet.

According to earthday.org, Earth Day grew out of this particular context: 1970, a time when “Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans,” and “industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press.” When “air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. ‘Environment’ was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.” Though mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the publication in 1962 of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring had already set the stage and “represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.”

Earth Day is one of my favorite national holidays. Though, admittedly, it often feels somewhat bittersweet to me. While I’m far from a treehugger, I’m conscious of my actions’ overall impact on the environment–what I consume, how I consume. So several years ago, I began limiting plastic in my life. Not an easy task. And I’ll likely forever be in process as plastic is ubiquitous. Check out ecologist Michael SanClemens’ recently released Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!  if you’re curious about plastic’s impact not only on our environment but our overall health AND the sea turtles! PlasticPurge

To pay homage to Earth Day, I found this amazing How-To for you, for me, for everybody to try! Super simple and uses what everyone will at one point or another have lying around: a plastic two-liter container. So before tossing the bottles into the recycling bin, consider transforming them into this fabulous Sea Creature Lamp from The Big Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano. Lamp-finished

 

 

 

 

You’ll need:

Snap-in socket-and-cord set with switch and a candelabra base
15-watt chandelier bulb
2 emptied and cleaned 2-liter soda bottles
Craft knife
Scissors
*Glue remover (author suggests Goof off) – optional

Now, do the following for both bottles:

1. Prep the bottles first by removing the labels. Soaking in very hot water has always worked for me. In case it doesn’t, the author recommends using Goof off glue remover.
2. Next, using your craft knife (very sharp) cut the base off.
3. With your scissors, starting from the base, cut ¼ inch strips to the neck of the bottle.
4. Stack the bottles by inserting one bottle into the other so that one bottle neck is tucked inside the other.
5. Thread the light cord through the bottles so that the socket is surrounded by strips.
6. Finally, screw in the light bulb and hang the lamp from a hook. Ta da! You’re done!

Step 3.

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Step 4.

Step 4.

Step 5.

Step 5.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

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31 Mar

The Easter Egg, Re-Imagined

We have a special guest blogger for today’s post, Jennifer Lutz, craft enthusiast and interior design writer for Christmas Tree Market. Jennifer shared with SMP Craft how to celebrate Easter with unconventional style; instead of stopping at dyed eggs, create an Easter Tree adorned with unique ornamental eggs using unexpected materials!

Cute and Crafty Easter Trees A beautiful and meaningful part of Easter festivities, an Easter tree is commonly made with bare tree branches adorned with colorful eggs, a traditional symbol of life and renewal. This year, make your Easter tree more delightful and unique by displaying decorative eggs made of string, fabric, and other creative materials.

Felted Easter Eggs If you think using real eggs for Easter decorating is messy or uneconomical, creating felted Easter eggs is a great option. The “wet” method for felting eggs requires packing the wool-wrapped eggs in a nylon legging and placing them in the washing machine. This project from Pamela Susan uses the “dry” felting technique which allows you to make more precise and elaborate designs on the eggs. All you need are Styrofoam eggs, colorful wool roving, and felting needles to create these fuzzy and delightful additions to your family’s Easter celebration. Attach ribbons on the eggs for hanging on the Easter tree or simply display them in a white decorative bowl or glass vase.

String Easter Eggs Making string art ornaments is simple and enjoyable, and the results are fascinating. As demonstrated in Crafty Endeavor, this project requires inflating a number of small water balloons. Next, take embroidery floss, pearl cotton thread, or crochet thread and dampen it with multi-purpose glue or a mixture of liquid starch and flour. For the next step, wrap the string around the balloon to form a latticework. When the string has dried, pop the balloon and remove it carefully. Make your string eggs more fun and fancy by combining different colors of string, adding glitter, or placing a small toy or treat inside the balloon before wrapping it in string.

Pompom Easter Eggs Soft, pillowy pompoms are perfect for adding cheer and warmth to your Easter tree. Take a pair of scissors and some yarn, and follow the simple steps provided in the Country Chic Cottage. You’ll be rolling out fluffy pompom eggs in no time. Getting the egg shape is simply a matter of cutting off less of the yarn in the middle and more on the top and bottom. Use a needle and some thread to form a loop at the top of the egg pompom for hanging on your Easter tree. To keep these yarn eggs company on your tree’s branches, follow this video tutorial and use store-bought pompoms, googly eyes, and craft glue to make adorable pompom bunnies and chicks.

Scrap Fabric Easter Eggs Turn leftover fabric into attractive and inexpensive Easter tree décor with this easy project from Dwell on Joy. Cut scrap or Jelly Roll fabric into thin strips, and hot glue the strips onto plastic eggs. Make sure the fabric strips go in different directions. For hanging on your Easter tree, hot glue a strip of fabric to form a loop on top of the egg. These colorful and rustic pieces also look great draped across the mantel as a garland strung on a length of twine, piled together in a bone china bowl, or scattered around your dining table during Easter brunch.

Flower Easter Eggs Easter means spring is nearly in full bloom. Try this crafting idea from At the Picket Fence and celebrate the beauty of the season by decorating your holiday tree with flower Easter eggs. For this project, you will need faux flowers, foam eggs, some ribbon, and your trusty hot glue gun. Begin by clipping the flowers off the stems and attaching them to the foam eggs with hot glue. Work around the egg until it is completely covered, and make sure to arrange the flowers close together. Glue a length of ribbon onto the top and hang your lovely flower eggs on the branches of your tree. Really pretty!

Cookie Easter Tree With charming bunnies, carrots, and heart shapes, this endearing Easter tree from Sweetopia looks too sweet to simply eat. This cookie Easter tree features cute shortbread cookies hung with baby pink ribbons on a pale green wire ornament tree. Cookies
Photo by Dana Robinson via Flickr.

If cutting the dough into complex shapes with a paring knife takes a bit too much time, cut out basic egg shapes instead. Before baking, use a barbecue skewer to make a good-sized hole in the dough where the ribbon will thread through. Decorate your mini cookies with a rainbow of pastel-colored royal icing to create one of the most memorable Easter trees ever.

Peeps Easter Centerpiece More of an Easter treat than an Easter tree, this centerpiece from The Hungry Mouse uses cute Peeps chicks to form a bright and bouncy topiary. Peeps
Photo by Hey Paul Studios via flickr.

Chicks are another beloved symbol of new life, and this topiary will need about six to seven boxes worth of soft, marshmallow hatchlings. Get your children to help with this project and make a colorful tabletop piece your family will enjoy seeing and eating. Another Easter decorating idea is to reuse your tabletop Christmas tree and decorate it with your DIY Easter eggs. That way, you save up on time putting branches together, and you get an Easter tree that’s more contemporary. Celebrate Easter in unconventional and inspiring style by decorating your home with these simple and easy-to-make Easter-inspired ornaments.

Jennifer Lutz writes about home décor at blog.christmastreemarket.com. Google+ Twitter Christmas Tree Market: Facebook; Twitter

 

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22 Oct

How-To Tuesday: Thanksgiving Craft Idea – A Thanksgiving Tree!

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is spending time with my family – especially my little sister, Hannah, who is crazy about crafts (and turkey).  Throughout the year, it’s easy to get bogged down by stress and negativity, but when the holidays come around my family has this tradition: we sit down as a family and talk about everything we’re thankful for. They can be little things, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and peppermint tea and a shelf full of new books, or (much) bigger things, like a solid education, great health, and a close-knit, supportive family. And even though tradition dictates that we go around the table and allow everyone to share something, too often we lose the plot a bit when the stuffing comes out of the kitchen…

So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across this crafty way to visualize everything we’re thankful for!
Thanksgiving Tree of Gratitude from One More Moore blog

Thanksgiving Tree from One More Moore Blog

Thanksgiving Tree from One More Moore Blog

Christmas doesn’t have to be the only holiday that showcases a tree!  I’m definitely going to try this one at home this year…

– Courtney

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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