The Easiest Way to Prevent Laddering when Knitting in the Round

Video Tutorial: The easiest way to prevent gaps and eliminate laddering when knitting socks in the round on double pointed needles or dpns
One of the most common problems knitters have when working in the round on double pointed needles is a phenomenon called laddering.

Laddering is the odd gap that occurs when you switch from knitting on one dpn to the next. No matter how nice your yarn is, that little gap can completely ruin the look of a pair of lovingly hand knit socks, leaving you frustrated.

Of course, there are a few different methods out there to prevent laddering from happening, but I think mine is the easiest for knitters of all skill levels!

Instead of sliding stitches around from one needle to the next and back again, you simply have to alternate the position of your working needle for each round.

Here's a quick video so you can see exactly what I mean.

Easy peasy, right?

If you have any other tips for preventing laddering when you knit socks, you are welcome to share your method in the comments below.

Happy knitting!

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Crafty Saturday Favorites: Rainbows

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites Rainbows: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses

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Silhouette Cameo: Free Gift Box Cut File

Free Silhouette Cameo Cut File: Recycle your old cereal and cookie boxes into unique, lidded gift boxesI try to incorporate recycled materials into my crafts whenever I can, so my friends and neighbors are never surprised when I call them up and ask if they have any empty food boxes (or toilet paper tubes, plastic bags, water bottles, etc...) I could use for a project.

I especially enjoy working with cereal boxes because of the awesome graphic design elements in the printing. It kind of brings out the kid in me! So if you're looking for a one of a kind way to package up a special gift, look no farther.

This lidded box is 3 inches square and an inch high and works well for gifting all sorts of small trinkets, jewelry and maybe even gift cards.



Of course, to get started, you'll need some boxes. The only requirement is they need to be at least 6 inches wide. (Darn it, the Panko box ended up being to small.)
Next, download my free simple-recycled-box cut file and open it with Silhouette Studio. It should look something like this.

Free Silhouette Cameo Cut File: Recycle your old cereal and cookie boxes into unique, lidded gift boxes
Before cutting with your Cameo, you'll need to prepare the chipboard pieces. Use a paper trimmer to cut two 6 inch squares.
Position the squares on the left side of the mat. The top square will be the box lid and the bottom square will be the box bottom.

Pro Tip: You need to make sure you are using a new-ish mat that is extra sticky or the chipboard will slip when the cutting begins.
Load the mat into your machine and select your cut settings. Luckily there is an automatic setting for chipboard. I was able to use the presets when I cut the Lipton tea box, but I adjusted the blade depth up to 7 for the cereal and cookie boxes.

How to cut cardboard and chipboard with your Silhouette Cameo

Send to the Silhouette and let it do all the work.

You should get two lovely pieces like this.
Bend the dotted score lines. Apply a little bit of glue to each of the tabs.
Press the glued tabs to the inside of the box sides.

It's not very exciting to wait for the glue to dry, so you can use paperclips to hold your box in place until everything is dry.
Repeat the process for the lid.
For my tea box, I positioned the graphic part of the cardboard on the outside of both the lid and the box, but it can also be fun to put the graphics on the inside for a little surprise or mix it up and put the lid graphics on the outside and box graphics on the inside.

Free Silhouette Cameo Cut File: Recycle your old cereal and cookie boxes into unique, lidded gift boxes

Happy recycling and gift giving!

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Crafty Saturday Favorites: Monochromatic

Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Favorites: Shop for one of a kind items and support small, handmade and vintage businesses

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Tutorial: Plastic Bottle Shamrocks

Kid's Craft Tutorial: Add some luck to your garden with DIY recycled plastic water bottle shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day or any day.Happy St. Patricks Day! A couple years ago I wrote a tutorial about making plastic bottle flowers and it is one of my most popular posts. Even though I do not do a lot of holiday themed crafting, I thought it would be fun to put a little twist on the design and show you how to make lucky four-leaf clovers with plastic water bottles.

This is a fun project to do with your little leprechauns, but you may need to help the wee ones with the cutting part.



Start by removing the labels from your water bottle. You can leave the cap on.
Use a sharp pair of scissors to carefully cut around the top ring of the bottle.
You only need the top section of the bottle. Recycle or repurpose the bottle bottom.
Next, make four, evenly spaced cuts from the cut edge to as close to the spout as possible. You can use the seams of the bottle as a guide for where to start cutting.

If you don't need as much luck in your garden, go ahead and make a traditional three leafed shamrock by making three cuts instead of four.
Fold the leaves back, almost like you are folding the bottle inside out.
Use a scissors to round out the edges of each leaf.
I'm leaving the cap on for the painting part, but you can remove it if you like. If there is still a thin safety ring on your bottle that held the cap in place, now is the perfect time to remove it.

Pro Tip: If there is any printing on the bottle, like a freshness date, it can be removed with a cotton ball and a little nail polish remover.
Place the shamrock on your work surface so that the bottle cap is facing up. You will be painting what used to be the outside of the bottle.

Use a light green or even white paint to paint some rounded triangles on the tip of each leaf.
See how it almost gives each leaf a heart shape?

Let the paint dry. Apply one or two more coats of paint over the same area letting it dry completely between coats.

If you want to get fancy, add a line of dots down the center of each leaf from the point of the triangle to the bottle cap.
Add a 2-3 coats of dark green paint to each leaf. It is fine to paint over your light triangles. You'll be able to see them through the plastic on the  other side of the shamrock.
Make sure to let the paint dry completely between coats.

If your shamrocks are going to be outside, I recommend adding 1-2 coats of Mod Podge to seal the paint and protect it from chipping and cracking.
Once everything is nice and dry, wrap a piece of floral wire around the gap where the safety seal used to be to form the stem.
Place your lucky four-leaf clovers in the garden or in pots on your patio and keep an eye out for leprechauns!

Kid's Craft Tutorial: Add some luck to your garden with DIY recycled plastic water bottle shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day or any day.

Happy crafting!

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Featured Artist: JJLadell's

Meet Brent and Holly Gerdes from JJLadell's on Etsy. Their shop is filled with whimsy and joy!
I truly appreciate the unique quality of hand crafted items. Maybe that's why I spend so much time browsing Etsy and Amazon Handmade. How can you resist an item that is made with great skill, care and of course, love?

When you visit Brent and Holly Gerdes's Etsy shop, JJLadell's, not only will you notice the skill, care and love that goes into every object, but you will also get a great big helping of whimsy! Brent's little, carved critters are sure to put a great big smile on your face!

What do you create?

I make wood chicken carvings, whimsical carvings, sling shots, Nativity sets, wooden toys, and I'm starting to get into treasure scoops and magnets.

Carving the wood chickens is my favorite. I've been doing it for 6 years. I bought a book and am self taught.

Hand carved chickens from JJLadell's on Etsy
When did you realize your creative passion?

I've always enjoyed creating with wood, since I was a youngster. I just found a new outlet when I was injured at work and could no longer do heavy lifting. I used to make larger pieces like bookcases, beds, cedar chests, etc.

Hand carved farm from JJLadell's on Etsy
What or who inspires you in your crafting?

I grew up on a farm where we had chickens and I loved watching them. Each one has their own personality.

When my children were little I made them wooden toys. My wife collects Nativity sets.
What’s your philosophy about crafting and/or life?

I believe that if you don't enjoy what you are doing it won't become a work of art. You have to enjoy life and crafting. Doing my artwork is a way to express my joy and love.

Is crafting a hobby, business, or something in between?

Crafting has started as a hobby but is growing into a business. It has been fun to grow on Etsy.

What is a typical day for you?

I usually do my Etsy in the morning and then chores, gardening and such and then spend the evening and spare time carving or creating other items for my shop.

My ideal day would be to garden and carve all day - throw in some camping trips and let the other chores do themselves!

Hand carved nativity from JJLadell's on Etsy What projects are you the most proud of?

I am very proud of my carvings, they seem to take on their own personalities. I am also grateful for the opportunity to create the Nativity sets and creches. It is so good to know that there are still people who are wanting the Nativity sets and creches.
What is the strangest thing you have ever created?

I had a co-worker who wanted a butchered chicken carving. It was interesting, but not one of my favorites. People are very interesting.

How do you deal with crafting failures?

I have so may whimsical carvings that aren't seeming to sell on Etsy - they do when we can show them in person, but that isn't an option right now. So I have them in a box and am thinking about how to market them differently or just what to do with them.

Whimsical owl from JJLadell's on Etsy
Where do you do most of your crafting?

I have a family room that we have turned into the crafting room - my wife does crafting too - and I spend a lot of time in the garage, good thing I have a heater.
Have you ever experienced a dry spell when you put your crafting aside?

I do so many different things that if I don't have the ambition to do one craft I can set that aside and do something else until I can be energized to return. It helps the creativity to flow.

What keeps you busy when you are not creating?

There is always something to do - household chores, gardening, camping, trips, Church... Does it ever stop?

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your craft, or business tips to help others with small crafting businesses?

My biggest tip is to make sure to do something you love. And don't be afraid to try something new.

Hand carved sling shots and toy cars from JJLadell's on Etsy Stay Connected with Brent and Holly

JJLadells on Etsy

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Crafty Saturday Favorites: Heads Up

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The Feral Cats of Disneyland and 10 Fun Facts

Enjoy 10 fun facts about Disneyland while we search for the secretive feral cats!

This is the week of our 7th annual, mother-daughter Disneyland getaway and I was planning to share a little Disneyland trivia with you. In anticipation of our trip, I spent an excessive amount of time looking for obscure Disneyland facts.

Of course I discovered a few interesting tidbits:
  1. The Haunted Mansion queue passes through one pet cemetery, but there’s actually a second that is now out of the view of guests. (Ask a Cast Member to see it.)
  2. Doritos were invented in Disneyland. The Frito company ran a Mexican style restaurant in Disneyland on New Orleans Street called Casa de Fritos. Legend has it that the restaurant was delivered a batch of stale tortillas one day, but instead of throwing them out, the marketing executive had the idea to fry them up and serve them as chips. Doritos means “little golden things” in Spanish.
  3. The Matterhorn was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world.
  4. All the plants in Tomorrowland are edible.
  5. The term used by employees when a park guest vomits is “Code V.” It was formally “Protein Spill.”
  6. Trash cans are strategically placed so guests are never more than 30 steps from one.
  7. The Hollywood Tower Hotel (Tower of Terror) is 183 feet tall, making it currently the tallest building in Anaheim.
  8. The longest-serving cast member is Oscar Martinez, who started in December 1956. He works at Carnation Café.
  9. The purple teacup in the Mad Tea Party spins the fastest.
  10. Disneyland is home to a small army of feral cats – approximately 200 of them! They mostly hide during the day but at night they roam and assist in keeping the rodent population at bay. Even though they are feral they are well cared for – adult cats are spayed and neutered, and clean food and water is made available.
Ahh... The mysterious feral cats!

Since my daughter and I heard the legend of the feral cats, we are always on the lookout and so far have only seen one cat. We were riding the Disneyland Railroad around the park and it was hanging out in the backlot. So this year, in addition to riding as many rides as we can,  it is our mission to actually photograph one of the secretive feral cats of Disneyland. I'll post it on my Instagram if we are successful.

If you would like to learn more about the feral cats of Disneyland you'll love fun fact #11!

11. The cats of Disneyland can be found @disneylandcats on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and they even have their own website, Disneyland Cats.

For more fun facts:

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Tutorial: Comfy and Cute Mouse Ears

DIY sparkly Minnie Mouse ears template and tutorial
I love Disneyland! Every year since my daughter was in middle school we have enjoyed an annual mother-daughter visit to the park. We stay up late, ride as many rides as we can, eat lots of treats and walk until we can't walk anymore. Our trip is, without a doubt, my favorite four days of the year.

In preparation for our adventure, I always do some sort of DIY Disney craft. Of course my go to project is matching shirts, and this year was no different. However, I also decided to challenge myself a bit and attempt to make matching mouse ears.

There are lots of tutorials for DIY mouse ears floating around the interwebs and I'll be honest, this is not the easiest pattern you'll find. But, the results are mouse-tacular with plenty of sparkle and bling and they are comfortable enough to wear all day at the park.



Print out my mouse ears template.

Place your headband onto the printed template. If the curve of your headband does not match the dotted curve inside the ears, trace the top edge of the headband onto the template.

Use a permanent marker to mark the center of the headband and where the ears will be attached.
Cut out one of the paper ears along the outer circle and then cut along the dashed headband curve.
Trace the ear onto a thin piece of cardboard and cut it out.
Trace four ears onto the foam board.
Foam board is not particularly easy to cut, especially since the piece is curved. BE CAREFUL AND WATCH YOUR FINGERS!!

Place the foam board on a cutting mat to protect your work surface.
I'm not super strong, so I use an X-acto knife to cut through the top layer of paper and as much foam as I am able. Then, I carefully peel away as much as possible and use a scissors to cut through any remaining foam and the bottom paper layer.
Cut out 4 foam board ears.
Each of your mouse ears will be two thicknesses of foam board. Glue your two sets of ears and wait for the glue to dry completely.

If your ears are still a little jagged around the edges, use a piece of sandpaper to smooth them out.
Cut the sheet of Duck prism tape in half and peel the backing off of one of the halves. Place the sheet sticky side up. Carefully position your ears onto the tape. (There's not a lot of room for error here.) Use a scissors to trim the excess tape.

Repeat for the other side of the ears.
It's kind of hard to capture in a photo, but the ears are holographic when the light hits them.
Next, use hot glue to attach ribbon to the outer edge of the ears. I used the same wide, sparkly ribbon that I use for the bow and trimmed it after gluing it down. However, it would probably be easier to use 3/8-inch wide ribbon and not have to trim the edges. There's no need to cover the edge that will be attached to the headband. And, of course, be careful because hot glue is HOT!
Next, use the ribbon to make a bow that is about 6 inches wide.

Use hot glue to attach the bow to the top center of the headband.
Finally, hot glue the ears in place.
After the glue cools, you are ready to show off your Disney style!

DIY sparkly Minnie Mouse ears template and tutorial

Now I'm going to the happiest place on earth with my kiddo for our annual adventure!

DIY sparkly Minnie Mouse ears template and tutorial


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