How to Make a Crazy Daisy

It's summer time. The kids have been out of school for weeks. They have watched every movie you own, played every video game, and are sunburned from all the time they have spent in the pool. They are BORED! What now?

Crazy Daisies are the perfect solution. The kids can make a couple, or a whole bouquet of them. There are a million things you can do with them. Here are just a few ideas.
  • Decorate your flip flops, a bag, or a pillow
  • Glue them onto magnets or tacks to decorate the office
  • Tie them together for a flower lei
  • Make pencil toppers
  • Use them as napkin rings
  • Tie them onto pipe cleaners and make a bouquet
  • String them together onto a cheery garland to decorate their room
  • Crochet them together and make an afghan, seriously

Materials

  • A Bloom Loom and plastic needle - You can get these for less than $3 at a craft supply store
  • Yarn - Clean out your leftovers or get a few funky colors
  • Scissors
The looms come with instructions, but if you lose them, or would like my to read my little tutorial with pictures, here it goes.

Click here for a free printable version of the directions.

Directions

 

Think of the Bloom Loom like a clock. It has 12 sets of pegs like the 12 numbers on a clock. The pegs between the two notches are the 6.

You will start making petals on the outer set of pegs.






Tie a knot in your yarn about 8 inches from the end. Slip the knot under the notch between 5 and 6 so that the short end of yarn is beneath the loom and the yarn you are going to make petals with is on the side with the pegs and goes from the notch to the space between 11 and 12.






Wrap the yarn in a figure-eight around pegs 12 and 6, three times. Once you have wrapped it around 6 the third time, position the yarn between  10 and 11.







Wrap the yarn in a figure-eight around pegs 11 and 5, three times. Once you have wrapped it around 5 the third time, position the yarn between 9 and 10.

Do you see how this is working?

Make three figure eights around pegs 10 and 4, then three around 9 and 3, then three around 8 and 2, and three around 7 and 1.



Once you have wrapped the third petal around peg 1, bring the yarn down through the notch between 6 and 7. Cut the yarn leaving an eight inch tail.









Now you are going to make petals on the inner set of pegs with a different color.

Tie a knot in your second color of yarn about 8 inches from the end. Slip the knot under the notch between 5 and 6 so that the short end of yarn is beneath the loom and the yarn you are going to make petals with is on the side with the pegs and goes from the notch to the space between 11 and 12.







Wrap the yarn in a figure-eight around pegs 12 and 6, two times. Once you have wrapped it around 6 the second time, position the yarn between  10 and 11.

Wrap the yarn in a figure-eight around pegs 11 and 5, two times. Once you have wrapped it around 5 the second time, position the yarn between 9 and 10.

You see how this works.

Make two figure-eights around pegs 10 and 4, then two around 9 and 3, then two around 8 and 2, and two around 7 and 1.

Bring the yarn down between pegs 6 and 7. Cut the yarn leaving about an 18 inch tail. Use this tail to thread the needle.









There are a couple different ways you can finish your flower from here. Both are just as easy. You pick.

 

Finishing - Across the Center


Pull your needle down between 6 and 7,


up between 12 and 1,


and down between 6 and 7.

Pull your needle up between 11 and 12, down between 5 and 6, and up between 11 and 12.

Pull your needle down between 4 and 5, up between 10 and 11, and down between 4 and 5.

Pull your needle up between 9 and 10, down between 3 and 4, and up between 9 and 10.

Pull your needle down between 2 and 3, up between 8 and 9, and down between 2 and 3.

Pull your needle up between 7 and 8, down between 1 and 2.

Flip over the loom and pull the needle under a few strands of yarn at the center of the loom. (If it's to tricky to do this while the flower is still on the loom, you can gently slip it off the loom, then slide the needle under a few strands of yarn on the back.)






Slip the flower off of the loom. Turn the flower face down. Separate the tails of yarn so one tail from the outer flower and one from the inner flower  go to the left and one tail from each go to the right.

Tie a knot.





 

Finishing - In a Circle


Pull your needle down between 6 and 7, up between 5 and 6.

Down between 7 and 8, up between 6 and 7.

Down between 8 and 9, up between 7 and 8.

Down between 9 and 10, up between 8 and 9.

Down between 10 and 11, up between 9 and 10.

Down between 11 and 12, up between 10 and 11.

Down between 12 and 1, up between 11 and 12.

Down between 1 and 2, up between 12 and 1.

Down between 2 and 3, up between 1 and 2.

Down between 3 and 4, up between 2 and 3.

Down between  5 and 6, up between 3 and 4.

Down between 6 and 7.


Flip over the loom and pull the needle under a few strands of yarn at the center of the loom. (If it's to tricky to do this while the flower is still on the loom, you can gently slip it off the loom, then slide the needle under a few strands of yarn on the back.)






Slip the flower of the loom. Turn the flower face down. Separate the tails of yarn so one tail from the outer flower and one from the inner flower  go to the left and one tail from each go to the right.

Tie a knot.





The finished product, quiet kids pretty flowers :)

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The Studio Project - Part 4

Curtains - A Teachable Moment


The curtains for the studio are a very important feature for three reasons:
  1. This window faces west
  2. We live in Tucson, Arizona, where SUN = HEAT
  3. Our guests don't want their room to be the same temperature as the face of the sun
That being said, I was ecstatic when I found  blackout, thermaweave window panels on sale, my two favorite words, at Target. I had planned on buying fabric and making curtains, but I just couldn't pass up this deal. I did, however decide to make my own sheer panels since I already had some basic cream fabric in my supply.

I've made window panels many times over the years. They are about the easiest thing to sew. All you need to know how to do is cut in a straight line, iron, and use a sewing machine to stitch in a straight line. In an hour or two you can make a decent window treatment that no one will ever know didn't come from a store.

This is where I had an Aha! moment. My lovely teenage daughter has never had the opportunity to learn how to sew. I don't know if schools around here even offer home-ec classes. And, though she is incredibly artistic, she has never been very interested in crafting or sewing. But, sewing is a life skill that, as her parent, I decided she should know how to do.

Surprisingly, there was very little resistance. Her only real rebellion was insisting on using blue thread instead of the cream color I had in mind. I chose not to engage in that battle. In just over an hour we had gone over sewing machine basics and she whipped out the sheer window panels shown above. (I actually made the ones in the kitchen, where she is working.) They turned out pretty good for a first attempt at sewing and they are hung, with pride, in the studio.

I decided to keep the same curtain rods that were previously in the room. They are still in working condition, so changing them didn't seem worth it.

Time to add up the design costs so far:

Previous total - $195
2 Thermal Window Panels - $37
2 Sheer Window Panels - $0
Teaching my daughter how to use the sewing machine - priceless

Total Studio Design Cost $232 

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The Studio Project - Part 3

Storage


My name is Ellen and I am a craft-a-holic. I have a lot of crafting tools and supplies. I am currently working on about 8 different projects, simultaneously. I have about 30-40 completed projects awaiting the perfect buyer on my Etsy shop. All of these things used to be piled on or carefully stored under the queen sized bed that is no longer in my "studio."

Aaagh. Where is it all going to go?

Target has been my storage solution store. I already had a ClosetMaid 6 Cube Organizer in Espresso. The great part about these, is they are stackable. So, to take advantage of what I already have, my first purchase was ClosetMaid 2 Drawer Organizer - $38, with tax, from my local Target store. This combination took care of all my homeless craft supplies.

My next purchase was a Michael Graves for Target 6 Shelf Organizer ($19) and 4 large drawers to match ($29) This is going to be my in-home Etsy shop. Now I can store all of the items I have available for purchase in one place.

Finally, some dual-purpose storage and furniture for my works in progress. Again, it was Target to the rescue. I found some cool Banana Leaf Trunks. I got 2 of them ($109.) My thought here is that they can be used as side tables and/or ottomans in my studio as well as storage. Oh, and did I mention that the lids flip over and are trays? Even better, when company comes, I can slide these two pieces together and they will be the perfect place to set a suitcase.

So here's the numbers so far.

2 Drawer Organizer - $38
6 Shelf Organizer - $19
4 Large Drawers - $29
2 Banana Leaf Trunks - $109

Total Studio Design Cost $195

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The Studio Project - Part 2

Out with the old


The first step in this process was selling the queen-sized bed so there is actually some room in this 100 square foot room. Thank you craigslist! I had the bed posted for less than a week and got my asking price and a fresh start.

Next step, color. Since I am trying to redesign this room on a $500-750 budget, and I have lots of different colors of paint from the rest of my house, I decided to use what I have and not purchase more paint. My family called the old color in this room "bright school bus yellow." The new color, which I have also used as an accent in the main part of our home, is Dunn-Edwards DEC787, Mythical Blue.
The photo hardly does it justice. It is a happy, soothing blue. Coincidentally, it kind of coordinates with my blog colors. FYI, it was on my living room walls before it was on the blog :)

Total Studio Design Cost - $0

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The Studio Project - Part 1

We've lived in our house for quite a while, and there is one room that has never been functional... the tiny third bedroom. It has been a combination guest/craft/storage/utility room, No matter what we've done, it ultimately turns into a dumping ground for unwanted stuff and partially completed craft projects that have to be jammed under the bed when guests arrive.

The big problem with this room is the size. It's only about 100 square feet with vaulted ceilings and very little closet space. It's like being in the bottom of a well (with a big pile of junk stuff.) To complicate things, a queen size bed takes up 1/3 of the room, leaving just enough room to walk around the bed. It just doesn't work.

My goal this summer is to make this a comfortable studio that I can easily transform into a cozy guest room for $500-750.

I want a real work space. I want storage for all my supplies and completed projects that are for sale in my Etsy shop. I want a place I can access projects I am still working on, a comfy thinking chair, and room for my ironing board and drying rack to always be available for use. I want a place where I can create. Oh, and I want a place for company to spend the night, too.

Does it sound impossible? That's my favorite kind of project. I love a good design challenge!



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Perfectly Plarn Purse

This sturdy purse is crocheted from plarn, a plastic yarn made out of upcycled shopping bags.

It is a fairly easy crochet pattern. The only real counting involved is at the very beginning, when you work the purse bottom, and the end, when you work the straps. The body of the purse is worked in a spiral of single crochets that you will continue until your purse reaches the desired length. You will be working from the bottom of the bag up to the straps.

The finished purse is 10 inches wide x 11 ¼ inches tall with two, 25 inch long shoulder straps. The gauge is not super critical in this pattern as long as you don’t mind your purse being a little smaller or a little bigger. But, if you want to check your gauge,15 sc and 16 rows = 4 inches.


Materials

Stitches

  • ch - chain
  • sc - single crochet
  • dec – decrease by inserting hook in next stitch and drawing up a loop, insert hook in next stitch and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through all three loops.
  • sl st – slip stitch

Directions 


Purse Bottom

Ch 36





 





Rnd 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 33 ch, 3 sc in last ch. Turn work slightly so you can continue working in the bottom of the chain. Sc in the bottom of next 33 ch tucking in the tail of the plarn as you go, 2 sc in bottom of last ch. (72 sc)








Purse Body

Do not turn the piece over. Continue working 1 sc in each sc in a spiral around the purse until it is 10 inches high, stopping on the side of the bag. It is very important that your last stitch of the spiral is on the side of the bag so that the straps are placed properly. Do not finish off. 










Adding the straps

Rnd 1: *Sc in next 11 sc, ch 90, skip next 14 sc, sc in next 11 sc. Repeat from *

Rnd 2: *Sc in next 8 sc, dec twice, sc in next 88 ch, dec twice, sc in next 8 sc. Repeat from *

Rnd 3: *Sc in next 7 sc, dec twice, sc in next 86 sc, dec twice, sc in next 7 sc. Repeat from *

Rnd 4: Sc in next 6 sc, dec twice, sc in next 84 sc, dec twice, sc in next 6 sc. Repeat from *

Finishing: sl st in next 8 sc. Finish off.


Care Instructions


Believe it or not, this purse is washable. You can wash it by hand in cool soapy water and then rinse. Or, you can wash it on the handwash setting of your washing machine with cold water. Hang or lay flat to dry

A little common sense warning, DO NOT PUT YOUR PURSE IN THE DRYER OR EXPOSE IT TO HEAT OR FLAME. After all, it is made of plastic bags and they will melt!


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Making 2-Ply Plarn

Plarn is a yarn that can be made out of plastic grocery bags. You can use it to make rugs, placemats, coasters, bags, and much more. It can be crocheted, knitted or woven to create many inexpensive, unique, and earth friendly projects.

A little common sense warning before we get started. Plarn is made from plastic grocery bags. Do not expose plastic bags, plarn, or your finished project to any source of heat or flame. They will melt and/or ignite FAST! Just be aware they are highly flammable.

Materials
  • lots of plastic grocery bags
  • scissors or a rotary cutter
  • ruler (optional)
  • large cutting mat (optional)
Directions
Before you begin wash your grocery bags! You don't want your finished project to be harboring bacteria. Yuk!

Washing plastic bags is easy. First, make sure there are no items or paper receipts are in the bags. Place the bags in your washing machine. I was able to fit about 50 bags in without a problem. Add laundry soap and wash the bags on a delicate cycle using cold water and low spin.

Do NOT place bags in the dryer!  As I said before, this material will melt or ignite if exposed to a heat source.

Instead, you can hang them out to dry. I placed a curtain rod through the handles and set it outside between two chairs. After the outside of the bags were dry, I turned them inside out to dry the insides, too.

Once the bags are dry, you are ready to make plarn.

Preparing the bags for cutting

Carefully fold in the sides of a bag and lay it flat on a cutting mat or other flat surface.













Fold the bag in half lengthwise.












Fold the bag in half lengthwise, again.














Cutting the Bags into Strips

First, cut off the bottom of the bag.














Next, cut the bag into equal width strips. I like to use 3/4 inch wide strips and a size G crochet hook when I am making purses. 1-1 1/4 inch strips work better for placemats and rugs.











Discard the handles of the bag. Carefully open the strips into loops. 

Connecting Two Loops

Lay two loops on your work surface so that the top loop is laying over the bottom loop.













 Pull the bottom loop so it goes over the top loop then under itself.











Gently pull both loops until a knot forms. (Note: You want the knot to be as small and neat as possible so that it does not show in your finished work.)













Continue Adding Loops

Continue adding loops as shown making sure that your plarn lies flat between the two knots.







I like to use tan plarn for making purses. A medium sized purse can be made with 25-30 grocery bags. Depending on your project, white or colored plarn may be more appropriate. Be creative!

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Plarn

What is plarn, you might ask. Plarn is simply plastic yarn. You can make it by cutting used plastic shopping bags into strips.

What can you make with plarn? Just about anything you could with regular yarn - hats, placemats, purses, rugs... (I don't think plarn sweaters will be catching on anytime soon, though.) You can weave it, crochet it, or even knit it. Although it is a little tricky to knit without stretching the plastic. And it's washable.

The idea of making something completely from upcycled materials is extremely exciting to me. Plarn seemed like a versatile material perfect for making a bag. Yes, a bag, made from used bags that were made from recycled bags. Does it get any more environmentally friendly than that?

Again, this was a trial and error process. I tried different widths of plarn and both knitting and crocheting. A few of the attempts did not work well and will be getting recycled.


But finally, with 3/4 inch plarn and a size G crochet hook I was able to create an adorable bag. It's made of about 20 used plastic grocery bags. It measures 8 1/2 inches tall and 7 inches wide with a 32 inch strap. It can be closed with a loop that goes over a plarn button. I even used plarn to sew the strap and button onto the bag.


Believe it or not, at first glance you would never even guess that this was made from plastic bags. It almost looks like it is made of a natural material like straw or grass.

This is a super easy and inexpensive material to work with. Most retailers will let you take as many used plastic bags from their recycle drop off as you need. So, I'm looking forward to many more projects with plarn!

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Fiber Artist

School's out and I actually have some time to create again. The last month has been so hectic that I have barely had time to blog, design, or craft. But, since summer is here, I have time to do some of my favorite things again. Yipee!

I was recently talking to some people about my candy wrapper bags and they gave me a very flattering compliment. They called me a fiber artist because I made a functional bag from a unique material that was a piece of art. Wow! That was huge for me. Yeah, I'm pretty crafty and can make a bunch of different things, but a fiber artist?

In an attempt to live up to this new title I decided to try a project using one of my favorite materials, denim, more specifically a pair of my daughters outgrown jeans. I got out my scissors and cut the material into long, thin strips. Then, I grabbed a giant crochet hook and set to work.

My first attempt didn't really work out because I cut the strips too thin and they frayed away as I was working. I absolutely loved my second attempt! It frayed enough to give a cool texture to a sturdy little bag. I added a strap and a button closure to make the perfect little purse for carrying all the basics.

This will be in my Etsy shop very soon!

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