Archive for the ‘Other Crafty Projects’ Category

Crackpots: The Next Generation

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

On Christmas morning, this was my present from James, which he made at school:

IMG_2264It looks like a cloth bag with sticks in it, right?

Well, that’s kind of what it is — actually, it’s a cloth bag with sticks and stones, that makes a tic-tac-toe game:

IMG_2258But the real treat is the cloth bag.  See, the art teacher sewed the channel for the ribbon tie across the top on her sewing machine, but then James himself sewed the side and bottom seam in a simple running stitch (click the photo to see it in more detail):

IMG_2263Not bad, eh? Especially for a seven-year-old.  I’m impressed!  (I also love how he backstitched at the end of the seam: I don’t know if he was told to do that, or if he was copying what he’s seen me do at my sewing machine, but either way it’s adorable.)  Maybe for his birthday I should put together a simple sewing kit for him to work on a few projects… 🙂

Crackpotty Crochet Snowflake Project and Rust-Free Pins

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

by Nancy

I’ve been working on some crochet snowflakes (and a star) which will hopefully be used to decorate my classroom when we go back to school January 5.  I tried stiffening my first two items with a solution of 1 part craft glue to 1 part water,  and it worked well.



But… one thing mentioned in the internet instructions on crochet stiffening was that you need to use rust-free pins to block the crochet.  I had no idea whether or not my pins were rust free, so I just used them.  When I removed the pins after the crochet had dried, an outer layer of the pin seemed to come off.  There was only a slight discoloration on the crochet, but still I took this to mean that my pins are not rust-proof.

I’ve finished 4 more snowflakes now and wanted to stiffen them this afternoon.  So, I went to Hobby Lobby in search of rust-free pins.  Most of the pins in the store were labeled “nickel-plated steel,” but none of them said “rust-free.”  Thank goodness for smart phones!  I googled rust-proof pins and found out that many standard pins are nickel-plated steel, which is not rust-free, but quilting pins are often made of stainless steel, which is rust free.  Thankfully, our Hobby Lobby sold one kind of stainless steel quilting pins.

Snowflakes 3-6

Here are the next four snowflakes, secured with stainless steel pins and drying.  So far, I think my favorite is #4 – the pattern is in French but isn’t too hard to figure out if you have a list of the French words for basic crochet terms.

Testing Out Crochet Stiffening Methods

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

by NancyIMG_0680.JPG

I decided the other day that I want to make some crochet snowflakes to hang up in my classroom.  Since I’m going to be hanging them up, I need to stiffen them.  A little internet research revealed that there are quite a few methods for stiffening crochet.  I decided to go with the equal parts craft glue and water solution.  Here are my first two snowflakes (though the first is more of a star), blocked and drying on a foam tile.  The free pattern for the snowflake on the right can be found here.

Current Crackpot Crochet Project

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

by Nancy

On the crackpotty crochet front, my current project is these crochet mandalas:

They’re from a pattern by Lucy of Attic 24, one of my favorite crochet blogs. She warns that mandala making can be addictive, and she’s right!  I had a great time making the first purple one, just picking the colors as I went along.  Then, I made the middle one by reversing locations of the purple and yellow.  I liked the purple one best, so I made another in that color pattern.  My plan is to hang them somewhere in my classroom at school.


Sunday, May 26th, 2013

by Nancy

IMG_8779 (1280x1145)

Here is my finished Crackpotty Project!  I am so pleased with it.  It’s a weekly meal and activities organizer.  There are little clothes pins on the sides for each day’s dinner and activities.  I made two little pockets out of cardstock to hold the extra meal and activities cards.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.  Now I just need to clean and organize the kitchen this week so that it looks as good as the organizer!

The Start of a Crackpotty Project

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

by Nancy


School’s out!  My plans for the summer include running, sewing, and (I’ve warned my family about this one) cleaning and organizing my house.  Next week I’ll be tackling the kitchen.  To that end, I started a crackpotty project today.  It involved some very enjoyable time spent at Hobby Lobby obtaining supplies: scrapbooking paper, cardstock, paint, stickers, and a picture frame.  The plan is to make a menu planning and activity organizing board inspired by something  I saw on Pinterest.  So far painting the mini clothes pins has been fun!  More updates as I make progress.

Pi Day

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

by Nancy

As some of you may know, March 14 (3-14) is Pi Day. We were on spring break that day, so when we returned to school on March 18, we held a belated Pi Day celebration in my Challenge Math group. Among the activities were writing about pi, making pi bracelets,

making circular pi collages,

and doing math problems involving pi. The kids had a great time, and because of special schedules and shortened classes due to state-wide reading testing, we ended up having almost an entire pi week. Lots of fun!

Oh, no!

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

by Nancy

How did I not notice before now??? That’s what I keep asking myself. I was getting ready for the next-to-last step on my Granny Square Crochet Vest when I noticed this enormous problem:

Granny Vest problem

The front pieces, one of which you see above on the left, are not the same height as the back piece, seen on the right. This is very, very bad. And somehow I managed not to notice until now. I looked back at the instructions and determined that yes, indeed, I had followed them and they are wrong. They instruct you to make the front pieces 6 squares tall and the back piece 8 squares tall, and that is exactly what I did. Not only that, but I was very disciplined about weaving in my ends as I went, so it’s even harder to disconnect the back squares from each other. Sigh. This is kind of how my week has been in a nutshell.

So, while watching gymnastics on TV this afternoon, I took the first steps in the undoing process for the back. I don’t think it will be finished any time soon. At least the front two pieces match each other…

IMG_8539 (1024x860)

Experimenting with Ripples

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

by Nancy

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not entirely satisfied with the start of my Granny Stripes blanket.  So, I started looking around for some other possibilities.  First, I tried this Ripple Pattern:

Very nice!  Next, I tried Granny Stripes:

Also very nice!

I really liked the combination of granny squares and ripples in the Granny Stripes blanket, and about this time I found this on Pinterest (which, by the way, can be highly addictive):

I absolutely love this!!! Aren’t the colors amazing? I tried finding the source but couldn’t come up with anything. So, I used it for inspiration and came up with this:

This just might be what I’m looking for…

A Very Large Test Swatch?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

by Nancy

Hmmm. That’s what I’m thinking at the moment. About a month ago I started crocheting this blanket:

I really like the colors I’m using:

I like the granny squares and the ripples

But I’m not sure I like the alternating between the granny squares and the ripples. I think I might like a blanket that is all ripples in the center with granny squares on both ends. But, that leads me to the other thing I don’t like:

The asymmetry. If you look closely at the second picture in my post, you’ll notice that the granny square rows have a half granny square at one end or the other in order for the ripples to line up correctly. I don’t really like this. The asymmetry just bothers me. And I don’t see a good way to do a ripple blanket with a row of granny squares on each end without the half granny squares. So, the question is what to do now. I don’t think I like what I’ve got so far well enough to do it for a whole blanket. But I don’t think I’m ready to give up on it completely, either. So, I think I’ll be browsing Ravelry and other sources of crochet patterns to see if I can find anything similar which I like better. Sigh.