Narwhal Mug

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

Every once in a while I get a crafting request. As soon as the request is made, I take it as a full on life mission (I’m so worn out I just had to sit and think how to spell “mission” without a “t.”) to find a way to make the project. My competitive spirit combines with my stubborn side to create a full on obsessive crafting explosion.

A few weeks ago, my friend Rachelle asked me to find a way to make this adorable narwhal mug from Anthropologie. I mean, we all love narwhals (we had one as a topper on our wedding pie) but no one wants to pay $28 for a mug. I headed straight for the dollar store for the mug and used oil based Sharpies to create this fairly permanent nawhal shadow mug. I say “fairly” because it will totally stand up to hand washing and might stand up to a few rounds in the dishwasher. I just wouldn’t push it.

Materials

  • Cheap white mug. Go to the dollar store for this. The glaze used on cheap mugs is poorly done which is what allows the oil based Sharpie to adhere to the mug. If you use a nice mug with quality glazing, the image won’t set.
  • Oil based Sharpies  – black and blue. You can find these will all the other Sharpies at any craft store. I will also add them to my Things I Like Amazon affiliate link.
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Contact paper

How To

1. Cut out a piece of contact paper that is the height of your mug and wraps all the way around the mug.

2. Draw a narwhal outline on the paper. I know, some of you are like, “Listen lady, if I could just draw a narwhal I wouldn’t be reading this post.” I swear it is easy. I would scan the image for you to copy, but every mug is going to be a different size and shape so I don’t think it would be super helpful. Let me know if you want me to do that though. Might be better than the nothing I am providing right now.

Narwhale Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

3. Cut out the narwhal and stick it to your mug.

Narwhale Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

4. With your blue Sharpie, draw a little scribble somewhere on the mug and quickly smudge it up with your finger. You need to work quickly with the smudging as the ink dries quickly.

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

 

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

5. Keep scribbling and smudging until your blobs are looking as amazing as blobs can look.

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

6. Trace your narwhal shape with the black Sharpie.

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

7. Peel off the contact paper and fill in the shape.

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

8. Heat your over to the lowest temperature you can. Mine is 270 degrees F. We have an oven that runs 100 degrees hot so that the lowest we can go.

9. Bake your mug for at least 20 minutes. This sets the ink. I have had mugs take 20 minutes. I have had mugs take an hour. You know you are done when you can scratch the ink with your nail and it doesn’t come off.

10. Let the mug cool and drink up!

Narwhal Mug from www.nearlycrafty.com

Near Misses

  • If your blobs or narwhal shape are not looking good, just scrape the paint off with your nail or a paper towel and try again. Prior to baking you can scratch away any of the ink and start fresh.

Fleece Pig Slippers

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

I have an abundance of leftover pink fleece from Sis’s Halloween costume. She was a pig – the costume was ridic cute, but I didn’t post it. You will have to wait until next year. Bad blogger, I know. Anyway, I made that doll diaper changing table pad with the pink fleece which got rid of a big chunk of the fabric a few weeks ago. Sis has been wanting some slippers for a while now, so I made her these fleece pig slippers. This method of making slippers can also be used to make plain fleece socks as well as rain boot liners.

Materials

  • Pink Fleece – yardage depends on the size of the feet but 1/2 yard should be plenty.
  • Pen
  • Brown/white fabric – you need such a tiny amount that you should just by an 8×11 sheet of felt. Better yet, take a mismatched sock or old t-shirt and cut it up. I would scour the house before I bought this fabric.
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Hot glue gun/glue
  • Elastic – The length depends on who this is for. My tiny 5 year old needed about 7 inches which allowed for plenty of room to knot it off.
  • Safety pin

How To

1. Pull on your fleece and stretch it. Now rotate the fleece 90 degrees and stretch it again. One way should have had more stretch than the other. You want your slipper to be constructed so that the way with more give runs horizontally across the foot.

2. Hold the fabric up to the front your subject’s foot and leg with the stretch running horizontally and the wrong side facing out. With your pen, draw a straight(ish) line on either side of the leg from where you want the slipper to hit at the top down to the ground.

3. Draw a line around the toe of the fabric, connecting the points where the two vertical lines hit the ground. This is the front portion of your slipper.

4. Cut out the shape you just drew, adding an extra 1/2 inch around for seam allowance.

5. Hold the fabric up against the back of the same leg, wrong side out. Draw a vertical line down the sides of the leg at the same point as the front.

6. Draw a line around the heel, connecting the points where the two vertical lines hit. This is the rear portion of the slipper. Cut out this shape, with the 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

7. Trace the bottom of the foot on felt. I put dots directly around the foot so I knew the true size and then drew a line out from there where I wanted the seam to be. I cut the foot out 1/2 inch from that line.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

8. Center the toe of the bottom of the foot to the toe of the top part of the slipper, right sides together. Pin the foot to the top fabric along the edge. You will basically be pinning from the center of the arch all the way around the toe to the outside of the foot.

9. Sew the pieces together, leaving about 1/2 at each end free.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

10. Center the back of the heel of the foot on the center of the back piece, right sides together. Pin together and stitch the same way you did the front. When you are done, the entire bottom of the foot should be stitched to the front/back pieces.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

11. Pin the sides of the slipper together and stitch from the foot bed up to the top, leaving about a 1 inch portion unsewn at the top.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

12. Trim any major seam allowance excess off.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

13. Flip the slipper right side out.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

14. With scraps of pink and white and black fabric, cut out two ears, two eyes, two pupils, one nose, two nostrils, and one tail.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

15. Hot glue the facial features onto the toe area of the slipper. Glue the tail to the back.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

16. Fold the top of the slipper inwards and stitch almost the entire thing closed.

17. Attach the safety pin to one end of your elastic and thread it through the top hem.

18. Knot off the elastic and trim the ends.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

19. Sew the remainder of the hem closed.

20. If these are going to be slippers – not socks or boot liners – add some traction to the bottom. Dot blobs of hot glue on the bottom of each slipper and let it cool. These will keep your kids from breaking their faces open as they run around that one wicked bend in your house that always lines up with the corner of a coffee table.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

21. Repeat this whole schebang with the other foot.

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

Fleece Pig Slippers from www.nearlycrafty.com

Near Misses

  • I made these without the elastic, but Sis wanted it to be more snug so I added the elastic. If you don’t want it, totally skip those steps.
  • If you want these to be boot liners, you will need to make sure the top is tall enough so that it can be folded down on top of the boot. You will also want to make sure you sew these so the right side of the fabric ends up inside the boot.
  • If you want these to be socks, make them a little closer to actual foot size.

Arm Knit Blanket

Arm Knit Blanket from www.nearlycrafty.com

Ha ha ha ha (insert cackle sound and totally dead eye stare here) ha ha ha ha ha! Has anyone else been totally busy and swamped and overwhelmed with holiday madness?!? Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I’m f’n losing it. F’n. Losing. It.

I thought that having Thanksgiving a few weeks early would create some magical space in the holiday craziness where I would get shopping done and have time to just absorb the holiday love and family time. I would wear white sweaters I don’t own and drink rich hot chocolate I didn’t make and wander through snow filled streets just smiling and gazing at the stars. Not sure where my children were in my dream or where this snow was coming from as Seattle proper doesn’t get much of the white stuff, but whatever. It was my dream, damn it.

My dream did not become a reality. I got shopping done early – great – but it turns out the rest of the holiday craziness can’t be planned away. Santa isn’t chillin’ in his little makeshift shack early. The Nutcracker doesn’t put on a pre-Thanksgiving performance. December still happens in December. So much for my plan.

What does any of this have to do with this arm knit blanket you ask? This: I have been busy and this is the least original craft I have ever made. I followed the super helpful video from Simply Maggie, did exactly what she told me, and ended up with a great blanket. I love the blanket. I have already cozied up with the blanket. If I had more yarn I would make another of this exact same blanket. It is wonderful and easy and quick. But it is also all I could muster this time of year. Go check out the post at Simply Maggie and make it. It can be your calm in the holiday storm.

 

Blanket Scarf

 Blanket Scarf from www.nearlycrafty.com

About 12 years ago, my parents traveled to Pakistan for the wedding of a family friend. When they returned, my mother brought with her a couple of large, winter weight, wool pashminas. Both she and I have used them as our travel scarf ever since. They are beautiful and large enough to be a blanket for one.

As I was contemplating holiday gifts this year, I decided to make my mom a new version of our blanket scarf. I also might have made myself one. You know, for the sake of practice and getting it right and all.

Materials

  • 2.5 yards of cotton flannel – whatever you pick you want the pattern to appear on both sides.  See Near Misses.
  • Scissors

How To

1. Trim the short ends of your fabric to make sure it is a straight of a line as possible. I used a plaid, so it was easy to trim along one of the horizontal pattern lines.

2. Fray the short ends by pulling the threads that run horizontally away from the vertical threads. Fray until you have as much fringe as you want. I went with a little less than an inch of fray.

Blanket Scarf from www.nearlycrafty.com

 

Blanket Scarf from www.nearlycrafty.com

3. One or both of the long edges of your fabric might have a bunch of excess string. If it does, trim those threads off as close to the fabric as you can.

Blanket Scarf from www.nearlycrafty.com

Near Misses

  • I went to the fabric store and started looking in the flannel section, but all I could find was single sided patterns. I thought I would have to buy double and sew it together. As I was walking to the checkout I found a whole rack of double sided flannel that they pull out and put towards the front of the store during the holiday season. Just wanted you all to know that almost all stores carry this stuff, so don’t give up your search!
  • Fraying makes my fingers hurt.
  • I made these during a long drive to a cabin. This is a great in front of the TV brainless activity.

Toddler Painted Magnets

Toddler Painted Magnets from www.nearlycrafty.com

November’s Fumbling Friday was a total fail. I picked paper crafting as the theme, but with all the holiday madness that was going on I never got into it. I was totally crafting, just not with paper. Oh well. Life goes on.

Since it is officially holiday gift giving season  our final month of Fumbling Friday will focus on small gifts. I know this isn’t really a crafting genre, but it is a theme and it is SUPER useful this time of year. Who couldn’t use a few easy gift ideas?

About a year ago I was wandering through a dollar store when I came upon this:

Toddler Painted Magnets from www.nearlycrafty.com

It is a large magnet meant to cover an air vent. The magnet part was interesting, but what made me buy it was the fact the label said it could be painted. Anything that can be painted is an automatic craft project in my book so I bought one. Because, you know, it was $1.

But then the magnet sat in my craft room (which is really just a pile of stuff I keep in bags in the guest room – I’m so fancy) for a year, totally unused. It wasn’t until last week when the family and I were headed to a snowy cabin retreat that I came up with an idea. The kids and I made some toddler painted magnets to gift as holiday gifts to the grandparents. What grandparent doesn’t love some custom made kid art that they can put on the fridge? And this kid art can hold up even more kid art!

Materials

  • Magnetic vent cover
  • Sharpies (I get that this isn’t really “painting” as much as it is “drawing” but Sharpies are much cleaner than paint. Especially when you are staying in a rented cabin.)

How To

1. Cut the vent cover into squares – or circles or diamonds or whatever shape you want. I did 8 squares so that each kid could color 4 and they could be divided up between the sets of grandparents.

Toddler Painted Magnets from www.nearlycrafty.com

2. Let the kids go to town drawing on the magnets with Sharpies.

3. Once the ink dries, wrap these bad boys up!

Toddler Painted Magnets from www.nearlycrafty.com

(This would be a great birthday party activity too! Cut the magnets into a shape that represents your party theme and let the kids decorate them.)

 

 

Customized Winter Hat

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

Every winter I face the same conundrum: I want a cozy, unique knit hat but I possess neither the time nor the skill to make such a hat. This year I came up with a quick fix for my annual problem with this customized winter hat. I picked up a run of the mill (yet oh so cozy) hat from Old Navy and added some details with yarn to make it my own. This project would make a great gift for pretty much anyone.

Materials

  • Loosely knit hat

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

  • Yarn – entire ball
  • Large plastic needle
  • Scissors

How To

1. Cut a long strand of yarn from the ball. I wanted my stripes to go around the hat twice so I just wrapped the strand around the base of the hat twice and added another foot to that length. If you want more stripes, make it longer. If you want to make a shape, estimate the length by creating the general shape out of yarn on a table and cutting off that length.

2. Thread the yarn into the needle.

3. At the back of the hat, run the yarn through a stitch or two and knot it off.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

4. Use the needle to weave the yarn in and out of the hat stitches. You will need to play with the stitches your hat is made of to come up with a pattern that makes sense. As you weave the yarn through the hat, stretch out the hat occasionally so you don’t make it too tight.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

5. Continue weaving the yarn until you get a look you are happy with. When you reach the back seam, knot the yarn off.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

6. If you want to make a giant pompom, cut a 12 inch strand of yarn off the remainder of the ball.

7. Wrap the strand of yarn around the ball of yarn twice and knot it off but do not trim off the ends. Make sure you make it as tight as you can.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

8. Cut apart all the looped areas in the ball of yarn. This will create the shaggiest, most misshaped pompom ever.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

9. Trim the edges of the yarn until it looks like a nice round pompom.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

10. Using the untrimmed ends of the 12 inch strand you tied around the middle, tie the pompom to the center top of the hat.

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

Customized Winter Hat from www.nearlycrafty.com

Near Misses

  • I tried attaching the pompom to the hat when it was as huge as it could be. This was not cute. It looked like someone pooped on the back of the hat. It totally pulled the hat down in a not cute way.

 

 

 

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

When it comes to the holidays, we are a family based deeply in tradition. We use the same tree skirt every year, we have the same breakfast every Christmas morning, and don’t even suggest straying from our set Thanksgiving Day dinner menu. The Hubs will cut you. Not kidding. He. Will. Cut. You.

The one part of the holidays we always mix up is our advent calendar. Last year I made this advent tree and the kids loved it, but when this year rolled around I wanted something new. I found inspiration where most true artists go when they need a muse: The Price is Right. Remember that hole punching game on the show where contestants would shove their fist through the paper circles and pull out a tag with some dollar amount on it? I wanted to make a holiday version of that for the kids. Because that is how my brain works. And so, the cardboard tube tree advent calendar was born

Materials

  • Cardboard tubes – You need 25 pieces of tube. I used 4 paper towel tubes and 3 toilet paper tubes.
  • Scissors
  • Poster board
  • Hot glue gun/glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Number stamps/ink pad
  • Pen
  • 25 strips of paper

How To

1. Organize your tube pieces into a tree shape.

2. Hot glue the tube pieces into place. When I did this, I ended up with one side of the tree where all the tubes were flat and flush with each other. The other side was super uneven and that is totally fine. This will be the back of the tree and it doesn’t matter.

3. Put the tubes on top of your poster board and cut out a tree shape around them. Make sure there is enough margin so that all of the tubes are hidden from the front of the poster board. 

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

4. Here is the tricky part. You need to cut holes in the poster board so that they are both evenly spaced from the front and so that they line up with the holes in the tubes. I put the tube tree down on the cardboard and, starting in the trunk holes, traced a circle inside each tube hole. Some were right in the center of the hole. Some were totally as close to the edge of the tube as I could get. I just made sure that where ever the hole was it was inside the tube hole and even from the others.

5. Cut out all your holes with an X-acto knife.

6. Run hot glue over the edges of the cardboard tubes and lay the tree down on the wrong side of your flattened out tissue paper.

7. Flip the tree over so it is tissue side up and glue the cutout poster board on top of the tissue paper. Again, make sure the holes of the poster board are lined up with the holes in the cardboard tubes.

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

8. Trim away the excess tissue paper.

9. Write one prize on each strip of paper. Our prizes are things like “Kids pick dinner” or “Hot chocolate date.” I save a few “choose from the toy bin” prizes for days I know we will be too busy to do more than that.

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

10. Stamp the days onto the front side of the tissue paper. I found it easiest to stick my finger in the back of the tube and press the tissue paper between the stamp and my finger.

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

 

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

11. Drop a paper prize strip in each circle. PLEASE made sure you consult your calendar when matching the prizes to the days. You don’t want the “stay in your pajamas all day” prize to fall on the day you had already planned to go hiking. And you REALLY don’t want to accidentally put “go see the Nutcracker ballet” on a day you don’t have tickets for it. You get my point.

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

12. Cut out a piece of regular paper (I used construction paper) and hot glue it over the backs of the tubes to secure the paper prize strips inside. I didn’t worry about making this look nice because our advent tree sits on the mantle so no one can see the back. If you are keeping your tree out, cut out another tree shape from your poster board and glue it nicely to the back of the tubes.

Cardboard Tube Tree Advent Calendar from www.nearlycrafty.com

Now get to punching!

Near Misses

  • I’m sure there are easier ways to make parts of this craft. I feel like you should be able to glue the front piece on top of the tissue paper and then stamp the days onto the tissue paper before gluing it to the tubes. I was just so worried that the holes and the tubes wouldn’t line up that I didn’t want to risk it.
  • This would look super nice if you glued poster board all the way around the tree shape to make it look like a complete tree from every angle. I don’t care enough to do that much work. But you might.

 

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament

Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

It took me a long time to come up with a name for this craft. I am still not sure I know what a Crochet Heart Chain Ornament is, but I do know that I made one. This Fumbling Friday craft is one step up from last week. It involves actual crocheting. Imagine that!

I thought this was going to be a fairly difficult project because it is a shape. In knitting, I haven’t even begun to figure out how you make something that has a shape like a sweater or a sock. Blankets and scarves are more my speed. But this heart was totally doable. I did make it and take it apart about 3 times as I was practicing, but don’t let that freak you out. Even with the practice attempts the whole project only took about 45 minutes.

Materials

  • Yarn
  • Crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Chain
  • Large plastic needle
  • Jump ring
  • Needle nose pliers

How To

1. Follow these instructions from Repeat Crafter Me to make the crochet heart. I know it is seems lame that I am totally outsourcing the pattern, but we are all learning together here and I’m sure you would rather follow a real crocheter. We can just hold virtual hands and do it together.

2. Once you heart is done, thread a thin chain through the needle.

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

3. Starting at the top indent of the heart thread the needle through an outer loop of yarn. Leave a 1/2 inch tail of chain behind.

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

4. Loop the chain around the outside of the heart, stitching it in through the outer loops of yarn.

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

5. Continue around the entire outside of the heart until you are back at the top.

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

6. Open the jump ring.

7. Loop the jump ring through one link of chain at the top indent of the heart.

8. Loop the jump ring through one link of chain at the top indent of the heart from the other end of the strand. You are basically just trying to hook the two sides of the chain to each other.

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

9. Close the jump ring.

10. Trim off any excess chain.

Crochet Heart Chain Ornament from www.nearlycrafty.com

Near Misses

  • I guess the only near miss is that I don’t know exactly what I am going to do with this project now that it is done. I guess I also had no idea what I was going to do with the heart before I even started either. Sometimes I just make stuff to make it and decide what to do with it later. I think this will likely end up as an ornament on our Christmas tree or a gift tag.

How would you use this little creation? I would love to hear your ideas!

Christmas is here!

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Christmas is here!

Enjoy the early morning wake-up. Someday they won’t truly believe in the magic of Santa and you will have to wake them for lunch.

Enjoy the chaos. Someday the house will be quiet and you will miss it.

Enjoy the meltdowns. Someday they will be able to control their feelings and will just stomp off to be alone.

Enjoy the family dynamics, good and bad. They are the only family you have and crazy families make for better stories.

Enjoy the disasters. It means you tried.

Enjoy their disappointment when they open socks. You know you got them some and it’s pretty funny how much they hate them.

Merry Christmas!