Showing posts with label spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spring. Show all posts

Craft Tutorial: Irish Euro Shamrock Pendant

Transform a foreign coin and shamrock into a keepsake necklace

Ireland is a lovely country. We visited back in 2005 and had a delightful time. The people are friendly, the countryside is green (a stark contrast to life here in the desert), the food was savory, there are plenty of castles and historical attractions, and the woodlands are magical.

After our trip, I had a couple Euros left in my pocket. I didn't really think about them much until this year. Somehow, even though we live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, I have a large patch of shamrocks that have taken over one of my flower beds. It seemed to me that my Irish Euros would be the perfect background for a shamrock pendant.

Materials




Directions


The first step is to collect and press some small shamrocks. If you are not lucky enough to have a shamrock patch, many nurseries carry indoor shamrock plants in the spring.

The pressing and drying process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.
Once your shamrocks are ready, tear off a piece of packing tape that is long enoug to wrap around the edge of your coin about 1 1/2 times.

Cut a strip of tape about 1/2 inch wide.
Wrap the tape tightly around the coin. You can fold down a small edge of the tape so it is easier to remove later.
Make sure to press the tape firmly down around the edge of the coin.

The tape makes a sort of bezel that can be filled with resin.
Tiny dried shamrocks are very delicate. Tap a cotton swab on your tongue then use the swab to lift your shamrock.
Place the shamrock onto the center of the coin.
Use a toothpick to slide the shamrock into position if necessary.

Make sure your coins are on a protected work surface before you begin using the resin. I like using parchment paper to cover my surface, although a plastic plate will also work.
Mix the resin in a disposable cup according to the package directions. Stir the resin gently to minimize the formation of bubbles.

Resin is very sticky, messy and hard to clean up so again, make sure your work surface is protected.
Carefully pour the resin onto your tape-wrapped coins.
The resin should be approximately the same thickness as the coin.
After about 20-40 minutes you may see that your shamrock has floated to the surface of the resin. If this happens, carefully use a toothpick to gently submerge the shamrock halfway between the coin and the resin surface.
Now the hard part. Do not move or touch your resin covered coins for 24 hours. The shiny resin surface is irresistible but keep your hands off.

After 24 hours, remove the tape from the coin.
You will notice that the resin is very smooth across the center of the coin, but there is a ridge along the edge.

Use a scissors (at about a 45° angle to the resin) to trim away the excess resin.

Don't worry if it looks a little uneven at this point.
Use a piece of very fine grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth out the edge of the resin by holding the coin at a 45° angle to the paper and rubbing the resin on the paper.

This process takes a little time and patience, but is well worth the effort.
The coin on the left has been sanded, the coin on the right has not.

There is still a slight lip around the edge of the resin, but we’re going to call that a design element.
Once you have smoothed down the resin edges, it's time to attach the bail to the back of the coin with G-S Hypo Cement.

Again, work on a parchment covered surface.
Fill the depression of the bail with G-S Hypo Cement and wait for about 15-30 seconds. Position the coin onto the bail.

And then, the hard part, again. Do not move or touch the pendant for 24 hours while the glue cures completely.
Once the glue has dried, simply slide a chain or cord through the bail and your necklace is ready to wear.

Transform a foreign coin and shamrock into a keepsake pendant

Happy St. Patrick's Day!




Craft Tutorial: Bottle Cap Pressed Shamrock Keychain

St. Patrick's Day Crafting: Make a simple key chain with Guinness bottle caps and lucky shamrocks

It's the week of St. Patrick's Day, so what better time to share a DIY that incorporates Guinness beer bottle caps and shamrocks. I consider this to be a bit of a hardware store craft, because that's where you can get almost all of the tools and materials for the project.

This is a nice project to make in bulk because it's inexpensive and it doesn't take much more time to make a half dozen than it does to make one.

Materials

  • flower press
  • ICE Resin
  • 7/16" small screw eyes
  • shamrocks
  • bottlecaps
  • transparent tape
  • parchment paper
  • hammer
  • wire nail
  • 2 small pairs of needle nose or round pliers
  • scrap piece of wood
  • small disposable cup
  • disposable plastic utensil
  • toothpicks
  • key ring

Directions


Surprisingly, even though we live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, I have a fairly large patch of shamrocks that randomly appeared in the backyard. If you are not so lucky, you can also buy them to grow as a houseplant at many nurseries.


To prep for this project you will need to press your shamrocks. It can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks for your shamrocks to be ready to use.
For crafting purposes, when removing a bottle cap from the bottle, use an opener to evenly bend the edges around the cap just enough so the cap comes off. You want the cap to retain its shape as much as possible.
Poke a small hole in the edge of the cap using a hammer and thin wire nail.

I recommend placing the hole above the bottle cap branding image.
Place the cap on a piece of scrap wood. Hold the nail with a pair of pliers and position the nail into one of the grooves at the edge of the cap. Tap the nail to create a small hole.
Make sure that the hole is not too close to the edge of the cap.
Twist a small screw eye into the hole.
Use two pairs of pliers to bend the screw into an "L" shape. You do this so the screw will be nearly invisible after the shamrock is placed.
Next, tape the screw eye into place, so it doesn't wiggle around.

It is very important to press the tape firmly against the cap near the hole or a tiny bit of resin will leak out. (I learned that one the hard way.)
Set your bottle caps on a protected surface. A sheet of parchment paper works well or even a plastic, disposable plate.

Place your shamrocks into the bottle caps.
Mix the resin according to the package directions in a disposable cup on a protected surface. Do not stir the resin too vigorously. You want to blend the resin without creating a lot of bubbles.

Resin is very sticky, messy and hard to clean up, so be careful.
Pour the resin into the bottle caps.
The resin should be slightly higher than the edge of the cap.
After 20-40 minutes, you may notice that your shamrock has floated to the surface. If this happens, use a toothpick to gently press the shamrock back down into the resin so that it is submerged about halfway between the cap and the resin surface.
Now the hard part. Do not touch or move the bottle caps for 24 hours. It's so tempting because the resin is irresistibly shiny, but keep your hands off.

After 24 hours, remove the tape. insert a ring into the screw eye and your lucky shamrock key chains are ready to use.

St. Patrick's Day Crafting: Make a simple key chain with Guinness bottle caps and lucky shamrocks




Crochet Pattern: Mesh Summer Hat

Free Pattern (any size, any yarn): Learn how to make a sun blocking crochet hat for warm spring and summer days.Crocheted hats aren't just for cooler weather. If you choose a lighter (non-wool) yarn, it's easy to make a breathable hat that's perfect blocking the sun on warmer spring and summer days.

This hat design is really a recipe that can be made to accommodate any size with just about any yarn. I used a skein of Bernat Cotton-ish Yarn which is a 3-light weight yarn.

Gauge is not important (Hooray!) and you can use whatever hook feels comfortable as long as the top piece of the hat lays mostly flat when you work it.

Materials

  • tape measure
  • ruler
  • yarn
  • crochet hook
  • stitch marker (optional)

Measurements


Use a tape measure to measure the circumference of your head. Use a ruler to measure the vertical distance from the top of the ear to the top of the head.

Abbreviations


ch - chain
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
sl st - slip stitch

Directions


Top

For the top of the hat you will create a circular piece (technically, it’s a hexagon) that has the same circumference as your head. If you notice the top piece does not lay mostly flat, you will need to start over with a larger or smaller hook.

The top of the hat is worked in continuous rounds, like a spiral, so do not turn the piece at the end of each round. It may be helpful to use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the rounds so you don’t lose your place.

Ch 3, sl st into beginning ch to form a loop, ch 1. (You can use the Magic Loop method to get started if you prefer.)

Rnd 1: 6 sc in loop.

Rnd 2: *2 sc in next sc* 6 times. (12 sc)

Rnd 3:
*2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc* 6 times. (18 sc)

Rnd 4: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc* 6 times. (24 sc)

Rnd 5: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc* 6 times. (30 sc)

Rnd 6: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc* 6 times. (36 sc)

See how the repeated pattern for each round has 1 additional sc? Since you repeat the pattern six times, you are increasing the top of the hat by six stitches every round.

Continue increasing 6 stitches per round in the same manner until the top piece is the desired head circumference.

Write down the repeated pattern for your final round and the number of stitches in the round because you will continue increasing in the same way once you get to the brim.

Fill in the blanks:
Final Top Rnd: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next _________ sc* 6 times. (_________ sc)

Mesh

There is no increasing in this section. It is still worked in a continuous spiral, so there is no need to turn your work at the end of each rnd.

Rnd 1: *Ch 1, skip 1 sc, dc in next sc* repeat as many times as necessary to reach the end of the round.

Rnd 2 - end of Mesh: *Ch 1, dc in next dc* repeat until the mesh section is the desired length. If you want to be precise, mark your piece so your work is exactly a full number of rounds, but it’s ok if you end this section mid-rnd.

Since the mesh is very stretchy, the length of the mesh section should be at least ½ to 1 inch shorter than the measured distance from the top of your ear to the top of your head.

Brim

Rnd 1: Ch 1, *sc in next dc, sc in next ch 1 space* repeat as many times as necessary to reach the end of the round. There should be as many sc in this round as the final round of the top section of the hat.

Continue increasing 6 stitches per round in the same way you did for the top of the hat.

For example, my final round on the top of the hat was:
Final Top Rnd: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next 14 sc* 6 times. (96 sc)

So my next round will be:
*2 sc in next sc, sc in next 15 sc* 6 times. (102 sc)

Continue increasing 6 stitches per round until the brim is your desired width.

Sl st in next st. Finish off.


Embellishments

Free Pattern (any size, any yarn): Learn how to make a sun blocking crochet hat for warm spring and summer days. This hat looks just fine without any additional embellishments. So it's just fine to weave in the ends and wear it as-is.
However, if desired, you can create one or more crocheted flowers in contrasting yarn to brighten up your hat. I made two Button Carnations and two leaves from the book 200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments & Trim by Claire Crompton.
Another simple embellishing option that I think would look really cool, is to make a long chain in a contrasting color and weave it through the mesh section of the hat.

Free Pattern (any size, any yarn): Learn how to make a sun blocking crochet hat for warm spring and summer days.

Happy crocheting!



Tutorial: Recycled Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

DIY a hummingbird feeder with recycled glass bottles and wire from the hardware store.A couple years ago I shared a tutorial about making wine bottle hummingbird feeders. It's a really simple and fun DIY project for the yard, but if you don't have a lot of hummingbirds in your area, it can take a long time for the hummers to finish off a bottle.

The good news is, you probably have lots of smaller bottles in your pantry right now that would make perfect hummingbird feeders. So here's your excuse to go clean out the fridge and pantry in the name of crafting.

Materials


  • glass bottle
  • 2-4 feet of 6 or 8 gauge copper electrical wire
  • wire cutters
  • pliers
  • electrical tape
  • hummingbird feeder tubes

Directions


Head to the kitchen to find your perfect bottle. Think hot sauce, vinegars, oils, soy sauce, soda or even small liquor bottles. I'm using a Patron Citronge bottle. The only requirement is that the hummingbird feeder tube needs to fit into the opening.

Wash the bottle and remove any labels, caps, safety rings, stoppers, etc.
I'm kind of a wimp, so I need a pliers to bend the ends of the copper wire. The only problem is that the grippy grooves on the pliers can mar the copper. So, I wrap a couple layers of electrical tape over grooves to prevent scratches.
Use the pliers to bend one end of the copper wire into a loop that fits over the neck of the bottle.
Slide the loop over the bottle neck.
Wrap the remaining wire around the bottle until about 6-inches remain. Give yourself some space for this part so you don't poke anything around you with the length of wire while you work.
Use a pliers to bend the end up into a hook so you can hang your feeder.
Finally fill your feeder with the nectar of your choice.

Please note, this type of hummingbird feeder can be prone to leaking if it is not filled properly. Luckily, I have some quick tips on how to fill your feeder as well as a video to show you exactly how it's done.

Once it's filled, you can hang your feeder outside and wait for the hummers to start snacking!

DIY a hummingbird feeder with recycled glass bottles and wire from the hardware store.