Sewing Pattern: Sleep Mask

Free Sewing Pattern: Learn how to make a simple sleep maskMy friends and family know exactly who to talk to if they can't find a particular item at the store. So, it was no surprise when my daughter called and asked if I knew how to make a sleep mask.

I love little projects like this because they challenge me to try new things. This project was especially fun because it gave me a reason to raid my fabric stash and use supplies I already had on hand.

Materials


  • 1 - 6 x 11 inch piece of felt
  • 2 - 6 x 11 inch pieces of fabric
  • 2 - 6 x 11 inch pieces of lightweight, fusible interfacing
  • 14-16 inches of 1/2-inch wide elastic
  • thread
  • pins
  • printable sleep mask pattern

Directions


Since this project does not require very much fabric, I used scraps from a soft t-shirt and a cheap, satiny table runner. Flannel or cotton would also work nicely. Just make sure your fabric is soft.

Also, you can use the same fabric on both sides of the mask or make it reversible by using coordinating fabrics.
Wash and press your fabric.

Apply a piece of interfacing to the back side of both fabrics.
Print the sleep mask pattern and make sure the 1 inch mark is actually 1 inch long. If not, you will need to enlarge or reduce the pattern.

Use the pattern to cut 1 piece of felt and 2 pieces of fabric.

I used a 14 1/2 inch piece of elastic. You may need a slightly longer or shorter piece depending on the size of your noggin. Measure from temple to temple around the back of your head. That's the length you need to cut your (unstretched) elastic.

Next, you'll stack the pieces and pin them together.

First, the felt. Place one piece of fabric onto the felt with the wrong side against the felt.

Next, use the pattern to position the elastic on each side making sure it is not twisted.

Finally, place the second piece of fabric so the right sides of the fabric pieces are facing.
Pin the stack of pieces together and stitch around with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave an opening of about 2 inches at the top of the mask.
Remove the pins and use a scissors to snip around the nose of the mask so it turns more easily.
Turn the mask right sides out and press. Press the fabric at the opening to the inside and pin.
Machine stitch around the mask, 1/4 inch from the edge.
And now, the best part, you are ready to strap on your sleep mask and snuggle up in a cozy blanket for a siesta!

Free Sewing Pattern: Learn how to make a simple sleep mask

For even sweeter dreams, don't forget to invite a purring kitty for a sleepy cuddle.

Free Sewing Pattern: Learn how to make a simple sleep mask

Nappy time is happy time!


Crafter Thoughts: Reflect, Reform, Refresh

If you are a fan of The Chilly Dog, you probably know that I take two breaks from the blog every year, once in the summer and again in the winter. Blogging takes up a lot of my life and sometimes I just need to reflect, reform and refresh to ensure that my blog and business continue to thrive. Does that mean I spend my time off just sitting around catching up on daytime TV? Absolutely not! My July break was packed with work and fun.

Reflect


When I started my blog and shop in November of 2011, I did it because I am passionate about crafting and all things handmade. Crafting has brought me so much joy over the years. Making something with your own two hands enriches your life and just makes you feel good. I want to share my crafty knowledge so others can experience that joy.

I did not start my business because I was looking for a way to spend more time staring at a screen. Yes, I have to be here to write, but lately I have also spent a ridiculous amount of time promoting my blog and shop on social media with limited results.

The reality is, I could spend my entire day promoting my work on social media and still not reach every potential reader and customer.

If I want to create quality content for my blog and quality patterns and products for my shop I need to spend more time in my studio and less time in front of this darn computer.

Reform


Over the last four and a half years I have written and self-published 30 knitting patterns. Some are for sale in my shop and some are free here on the blog. My July blog break gave me the opportunity to reform those patterns into a book. Yeah, I'm writing a book!

Right now it's at 118 pages and my husband and I are in the process of editing. Fingers crossed, The Chilly Dog's Big Book of Knit Patterns will be available on my shop's virtual shelves this fall as an e-book.


Refresh


All work and no play makes Ellen a dull girl. Luckily, I got to spend over a week traveling through Scandinavia with my favorite person. Hubby and I did a tour of the capitals of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. The weather was fantastic, the food was delicious and the people were friendly.

Of course I brought some knitting with me, but overall it was a nice escape and a relaxing adventure.


Reboot


Wait. WAIT! There is no "Reboot" in the title of this post.

When I decided that needed to re-balance my routine with less screen time the Tech Gods frowned down on me. One morning in early August, just as I was reaching the final pages of my book, my computer (that is less than three months old) refuse to turn on. No matter how many times I pounded on the power button... the screen... remained... dark.

Luckily, the repair is completely covered by the computer manufacturer's warranty, but (with terror in my heart) I shipped my computer halfway across the country to be fixed. Yes, I have a hard copy of the book, but I had spent hours making edits that I had not yet backed-up.

As I wait for the return of my computer I am in limbo. Blogging is not easy on a borrowed laptop and I don't want to invest time to redo book edits that are hopefully intact when my computer returns. So for now, everything is kind of on hold in my world, but hopefully I'll be up and running at full speed soon.

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement!



Book Review: Yarn Harlot

What I'm reading...Yarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Happy knitting!
I'm sure that there are people out there that may think the only thing more boring than knitting is reading a book about knitting. Well, poo poo on them! I love knitting and was absolutely in stitches as I read Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It's funny because it's true.

Every knitter will surely relate to the hilariously neurotic stories in this book. It covers everything from secret yarn stashes and the terror of moths to misshapen sweaters and overly ambitious projects that call for a ridiculous amount of yarn.

Yes, knitting can be strangely meditative, but there are times, like when you need one more skein of yarn in a particular, possibly discontinued, color that knitting can push you to the edge of your sanity. This collection of stories will amuse you and assure you that you are not alone in the joy, passion, heartbreak and terror that is knitting.

Happy knitting and happy reading!




Tutorial: Pressed Flower Pendant

Craft Tutorial: How to press flowers and make a simple resin pendant necklace.A few months ago, I bought the most beautiful flower press from BKInspired on Etsy. (If you haven't seen this shop, I highly recommend a visit.) Not only is the press pretty, with an intricate design burned into the wood cover, it also came with a nice set of simple instructions for pressing flowers.

Shortly after my flower press arrived I headed out to the yard to collect some flowers. That was the easy part. The hard part was waiting for nature to take its course and flatten the leaves and petals once they were placed into the press.

Fast forward a few weeks and my flowers were sufficiently flat and ready to be used in some sort of crafty project. What could be better than pressed flower pendants? This project is ridiculously easy and inexpensive, but you do need to have a bit of patience because there is a lot of waiting involved.

Materials


Directions



To begin, you get to go outside on a nature walk and collect a few small flowers or leaves. I used ice flowers and shamrocks because that's what was growing in my yard. You'll need flowers that are roughly smaller than a quarter.
Position your flowers on a sheet of pressing paper and make sure the petals and leaves do not overlap. Close up the press and wait. Depending on the thickness of the plants you are using this could take 2-4 weeks.
Finally, the big reveal. Open your press and check to make sure the flowers are paper thin and completely dried out.
Before you make your pendant, notice that the bezel is not level when you place it on a flat surface. If you put the resin in it like this, the resin will slide to the lowest point. Not good.
Place the bezel on a small stack of coins so that it is level.
Carefully set a flower into the bezel. The petals should all be flat on the bottom of the bezel. If the flower is too big, choose another or carefully trim the petals to fit inside the bezel.
Now it's time to mix the resin. This part goes pretty quick. Make sure to protect your work surface. You don't want to get the resin on your skin or damage your table or counter. It's also good to work in a well ventilated are because the resin does not smell nice.
Carefully squirt the resin into a small, disposable cup. Make sure you have enough to fill the bezel. Use a couple toothpicks to mix the resin for one minute or the length of time recommended on the label.

Try not to make bubbles while you mix.
Carefully pour the mixed resin into the bezel.
You want to use just enough so the resin slightly domes above the bezel, but not so much it overflows.

Wait 8-12 hours for the resin to dry. Don't touch or move the pendant until it is completely dry.
Add a simple chain or cord and you have a lovely pressed flower necklace!

Craft Tutorial: How to press flowers and make a simple resin pendant necklace.

Of course there are a couple variations you could try, besides just using different types of flowers or bezel shapes.

First, the flowers tend to float up slightly in the resin. I think it adds some dimension, but if you would like your flower to remain flush against the bezel you can glue it down with a tiny dot of Elmer's glue. Let the glue dry before you mix and pour in the resin.

Second, the bezels are quite shiny. if you would like a more muted background behind your flowers you can cover the inside of the bezel with a layer of acrylic paint. It's difficult to brush the paint evenly over such a small space, so simply pour a dot of paint into the bezel and use a toothpick to spread it around. Of course, let the paint dry before adding the flower and resin.

Craft Tutorial: How to press flowers and make a simple resin pendant necklace.

Happy crafting!


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