Another craft

I have been crafting my entire life. I don’t normally just start a new craft unless it is something I am interested in because I saw a video, or I saw that someone had something that I thought was cool and wanted to learn how to make it myself. I have never picked up a craft that I had no interest in, until now.

A friend was going through all of her craft supplies in her craft room and she literally drove over to our house and dropped off 3 bags of things. 1 bag full of books, 1 bag full of magazines and 1 bag with tools, all for Polymer Clay.

I did buy some polymer clay for a project many years ago that never really turned into anything because I honestly had no clue what I was doing, so I basically wasted a few bucks, which I don’t mind because it was only a few dollars. My friend who dropped all this stuff on my front door said she bought all of these before she retired thinking she would be interested in this craft, but it has been 10 years since she retired and the packages are still sealed lol. She played around with some clay and used the roller, but she didn’t really do much.

So now I have all of these supplies, what should I make? Well, I decided to go to YouTube to find out what I can make. I discovered you can make canes that you can then slice and you could make them into earrings or necklaces. There was a cool cane that was in the shape of a leaf and the person curled the leaves and put holes in the end and attached them to a chain. Another person made this really neat Dragon scale bead. Then another person showed how to make a rose. That was cool.

At first I was thinking, I can’t do this, I am not creative at all. I just find a pattern and make it, and this is basically the same idea. You find a pattern and make it happen. I really want to make roses, but rainbow roses. I also want to try that leaf pattern and I was thinking, I could make candy cane earrings, pumpkin earrings, heart earrings and many other things. I’m even thinking toilet paper earrings, you know, because of the toilet paper hoarding lol.

This is something I think I will enjoy. But… I don’t have all the tools that I need, so I bought a couple things on Amazon, like a clay conditioner. It’s like a pasta roller thing. You put the clay through and it rolls it out flat and then you fold it in half and put it back in and fold it again and again to condition the clay. I have carpal tunnel syndrome, so I can’t really do that by hand. This one was really inexpensive at just $21 plus tax. I bought the Darice Studio 71 Polymer Clay Press on Amazon and Polymer Sculpey Super Slice that has handles. Trust me, the handles are something I need. I’m clumsy and cut myself easily.

I really look forward to making things out of Polymer clay, but I want to watch a lot of videos to basically use as a study tool so I know what I’m doing what I get started, in theory lol.

My time in quarantine

We’ve been living under quarantine for a little while now and I’m sure people are going stir crazy. This is nothing new to me since I am disabled and am home all day every day anyway, so it’s business as usual.

I have kept busy though. In December and January before all this started, I was making Valentine’s Day Box Cards with my Cricut because someone wanted 5 of each of these 5 designs to send out to her friends and co-workers. Then in February I started working on Easter Box Cards and the same person wanted 2 of each of 10 designs. I like to make things, and it was my pleasure to make these for her.

After Easter I decided it is better if I don’t make any more cards because at that point you really can’t trust anyone. I mean, I don’t know if the people who receive the card would trust that I didn’t have Coronavirus, so I thought it best to just be safe and not continue working on them for everyone’s safety. I haven’t gotten Coronavirus, but the recipients don’t know that.

We were told to start making masks for ourselves to go out in public, and I really wanted to, but my life partner didn’t want me to make masks because he thought a regular piece of fabric isn’t going to do any good, you need a N95 mask. Well, once he realized that we aren’t allowed to wear those since they are supposed to be reserved for medical professionals, then he was ok with it. We bought some masks from our local post office which is inside of a pharmacy, and those were nice, but I wanted to make some masks with a design that I liked.

The one that you see I am wearing was the pattern they sold at the post office / pharmacy.

The top right mask is a mask that I made out of what was supposed to be a quilt block I made for a dining room table placemat. I added some small paracord buckles that were not adjustable. My life partner loved the idea of using buckles and he wanted me to make masks for his family (bottom left) but make them adjustable because obviously I don’t have their head sizes since they are back East, and even if they told me, I am not sure they would’ve been right, so I thought it was best to use the bigger buckles that are adjustable. The fabric stores were all out of fabric, and we went to Walmart, but all they had for fabric was bed sheets, so that’s what those are made out of.

Bottom middle was fabric I had on my Zabuton (square meditation pillow) as like a pillow case. I thought it was such a fantastic pattern, so I made one for both of us with that. When that fabric is available at Joann again, I will buy another 2 yards to replace the pillow case.

Bottom right is a unique pattern that my aunt really loved. She actually shared an image on Facebook of a mask that a company was selling for $20 for 1 mask with that pattern, and I just so happened to have that image on my hard drive since my old Nook has that skin on it. So I thought it would be cool if I could make her a mask with that pattern, so I bought some printable colorfast cotton fabric that goes right through a regular printer that takes 8.5×11 sheets of paper. It is actual fabric that you can print, cool right? It’s just that it cost $18 for 10 sheets, so basically each mask cost me $9 to make. I made one for my uncle and one for my aunt and I had to make the bias tape with 8.5×11 sheets, which means I had to use 2 sheets for enough bias tape for 1 mask. I used the bottom middle fabric for the inside because that stuff is very thick and stiff and I can’t imagine putting that against my face.

So other than making some box cards and face masks, I haven’t really been doing anything different. Watching YouTube on my TV with my Roku, watching movies and TV shows with the Roku channel and Hulu and playing Terraria.

My birthday is coming and I will be turning 50 and I will most likely be turning 50 in quarantine. What a great time to turn 50 lol. Oh well, it’s ok. Not that big of a deal since my birthday hasn’t really been celebrated since I was a kid. But at least I’m still alive considering I should’ve been dead 20 years ago, so yay for getting old when I was told that was never going to happen.

How to knit socks from start to finish

Have you ever wanted to knit a cool pair of socks, but don’t know how because you’ve never knitted, or perhaps you do know how to knit, but have never learned to make socks? Well, I learned from watching many videos on YouTube. I’ve shown this image above to all my socials and it seems like several people say they wish they knew how to knit socks, so I decided I would make a video teaching how to do all the steps from start to finish. It’s an intermediate pattern, but I show you as a beginner.

I like to use Premier wool free sock yarn that I bought from the Michaels website. I’ve bought sock yarn from Michaels and they are wool which means they get hot fast and those are meant to keep your feet warm when you are in the snow or perhaps just when you are sitting at home and your feet get too cold, or if it’s just winter and your feet get cold easily. Well, Premier wool free sock yarn is great for wearing with shoes.

However, for this video I just used regular yarn. The tools I use for the Premier socks are a 9 inch 2.75mm or US 2 circular knitting needles. Preferably ChiaoGoo with the red cable. 5 double pointed knitting needles of the same size (the set usually comes with 5) a size 2.0mm crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches, stitch markers and a needle for sewing the Kitchener stitch. The circular knitting needle I used in this video was a 12 inch 5mm US 8 circular knitting needle with matching double pointed needles and a size G crochet hook and of course stitch markers and yarn needle for sewing the Kitchener stitch.

The pattern is available on the Premier website, but in the video I tell you how many stitches you will need for your sock depending on the circumference of your foot. I will show you how to do the loose long tail cast on, rib stitch for the cuff is 1 1/2 inches, then 6 inches total including the cuff before you start the short row heel. then you knit the foot and measure from the back of the heel for your foot size, but make sure you are measuring minus 2 inches because the toe is 1 1/2 inches and you want there to be a stretch, hence the last 1/2 inch. Finally the last thing to do is the Kitchener stitch to sew the toe up and then weave the tail of the yarn into the perl bars.

So here’s the video. Enjoy and let me know how it works out.

I’m knitting socks!

This isn’t the first time I’ve knitted a sock. The first sock I ever knitted was the one in the image above, and I never made the matching sock because my hand was in so much pain from making this one because of my carpal tunnel, that I just ended up putting the second one off, and then I guess I just never made it because I forgot, and then I lost the sock yarn lol.

So this time I am actually making a pair, but I’m working with regular yarn because it gets so cold here in the winter because we don’t have heat, so rather than wearing 2 pairs of socks all winter, I thought I would knit socks with yarn so they are like feet sweaters lol. I should clarify, we used to have central heating, but then the heater stopped working and now we have space heaters. The one in my bedroom is a portable radiator and it puts off so much heat that I have to turn it down because it feels like summer in my bedroom. The living room space heater is bigger, but since it blows heat like a fan, it only blows enough for a tiny space, so even if you are sitting next to it, your feet are still frozen if you’re not wearing socks.

I made 2 different socks and I messed both of them up, so those didn’t end up making the cut. My life partner didn’t like them anyway because he wanted dark, and I had this green yarn, so that’s the color he chose. I did mess up on the heel because I didn’t do a even 3 way split when doing the heel, I kept going one too many rows, so that’s why it’s so pointy, and believe me, it’s not comfortable lol. Since I made that first one that pointy, I have to make the matching one exactly the same. I do plan on making more and doing it right lol.

I made this first one going cuff down to toe, and I did it using the magic loop method, and I switched to DPN’s (double pointed needles) for the toe. I am still working on the matching sock because my hand has been in so much agony from all the failed socks, then this sock and now the sock I’m working on. It’s taking longer because I have to keep resting my hand. For the 2nd sock I decided to start making it using the DPN’s, but then I decided I wanted to buy some sock sized circular needles. I also bought actual sock yarn, so for the sock yarn I bought a 9 inch long 2.75mm US 2 size circular knitting needles, so I figured I would also buy 9 inch long 5mm US 8 size circular knitting needles for the yarn socks, but that turned out to be a mistake because 9 inches is not long enough. You can see in the regular sock yarn there is a stretch while it is on the circular knitting needles, but the regular yarn is bunched up too much and it just made it more difficult to knit, so I bought a 12 inch long 5mm US 8 size circular knitting needles, and as you can see from the pictures, it made a huge difference.

So after I finish with this green sock, I really want to go buy some more variegated yarn. My favorite is called Painted Desert. I think that will look awesome as a foot sweater lol. The regular sock yarn is Premier wool free sock yarn in the following styles. I saved the screenshots from the website of the finished sock so you can see and then took a screenshot of all 3 of them together.

I honestly don’t know why I bought the Petunia or the Vegas Lights. These were the only 3 available in the listing on the Michael’s website. Of course after I bought these 3 colors, they added more colors to the same listing that are more masculine that I really would rather have, but such is life I guess. Perhaps I will make those 2 pairs to give away. I found them on Amazon for the same exact price and free shipping with Prime, so maybe I will get them there since it’s faster shipping, that is if my hand is still alive when I finish making these.

Anyway, I like making things that are actually useful, and I can’t wait to see the Painted Desert yarn as a sock. Maybe one day I will find the sock yarn for the first sock I ever made so I can make the matching sock.

Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut BrightPad

Well, it happened sooner than I was expecting. I got a Cricut Explore Air 2, and it came with a free Cricut BrightPad from Michaels.

I mentioned in my last blog post that a friend had given me a Cricut Personal, which is basically one of the first electronic Cricuts ever made and that I wanted to buy a Cricut Explore Air 2 eventually, either by my birthday, or by Christmas.

I got an email from Michaels telling me about their new sale, and it said all of the Cricut stuff was on sale, so I clicked their link and discovered the 6″x12″ cutting mats for the Cricut Personal was $5.99 for 2 mats. I told my life partner the next morning that I wanted to go buy a pack of cutting mats and a new blade and on the way he asked how much a new Cricut was and I told him it was on sale and you get a BrightPad, but I don’t want him to buy it for me, and he said “Well, you might as well just get the latest one, I know you want it because you keep telling me what you can do that you can’t do now.”

So, now I have a Cricut Explore Air 2 and a Cricut BrightPad. I’ve been pretty busy making boxes and cards and their matching envelopes. I also bought some vinyl and iron on vinyl from Amazon so I can make more than just things with paper.

One thing to note about the cartridges that I bought from eBay is that if you buy something that has been used, there is a good chance that person has already linked the cartridge to their account, so you will be wasting your money on the cartridge if you are using it with a new Cricut. It will still work on the old Cricut, but if someone has already linked it, you are wasting money. I bought 2 cartridges from eBay, Creative Everyday Cards and Sweet Tooth Boxes. I was able to link Creative Everyday Cards because that one was brand new, but Sweet Tooth Boxes was already linked to someone else’s account, so it’s literally useless to me. Those patterns are available for Cricut Access, which I am using their trial right now and will probably continue to pay for every month, but if I quit using that, I won’t have access to those cut files.

I love my new Cricut Explore Air 2 and Brightpad. I’ve already made a thank you card for the person who gave me the original Cricut, plus I’ve made 2 Easter cards and 2 boxes for chocolate, one of which matches the thank you card.

Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter

Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter CRV001

A friend recently sent me a email about a Brother Embroidery and Sewing machine, and I had mentioned to her that someone had offered to sell me a Brother Scan N Cut for $50 and I stupidly turned it down because I didn’t think that I would even use it because I thought it was for cutting paper only. I didn’t even know what it was, so after it was offered to me, I went to YouTube to watch some videos, and I discovered how much I really wanted one, but by then it was too late.

After I turned the Brother Scan N Cut down, I went online and did some research and watched a lot of videos on YouTube and I had decided that I wanted a Cricut Explore Air 2. I actually wanted a Cricut Maker because it cuts fabric with a fabric cutting wheel, but it’s also $400 lol. The Cricut Explore Air 2 was $196 at Christmas, and is often on sale for around the same price. Also, I think the extra things you have to buy like new blades, cutting mats etc are cheaper than for the Brother, but I could be wrong. I’ll have to do more research, but my mind is pretty set on the Cricut.

So I told her I was saving for a Cricut, and she texted my life partner that she was dropping something off on our doorstep, and when I went out there to look, there was a box for a Cricut Personal Cutting Machine. This is model CRV001 which I think is one of the very first Cricut Electronic cutting machines ever made. I have got to stop telling people that I want things. I wasn’t hinting around to her that I wanted for HER to buy it for me, but she told me she’s had it in her closet for years. HA! Sounds familiar. (you know because I was in the closet for years… It’s when you have to explain the joke that it isn’t that funny.)

This Cricut only uses a 6″ x 12″ cutting mat and it requires a rubber keyboard and a cartridge to cut. You can plug it in to your computer since it has a USB port on the back next to where you plug the power cord in to, but it didn’t come with a USB cable. I bought one on Amazon just to see if I could even use it with my computer, but unfortunately it doesn’t connect to Cricut Design Space.

So, I’ve had a little bit of fun with this Cricut. I bought 2 cartridges. One is called Sweet Tooth Boxes and the other is called Creative Everyday Cards, pictures below. The boxes one came with the keyboard, but the cards didn’t, so I had to print out a keyboard to use as a reference so I know which buttons to press. This Cricut came with a cartridge called George and Basic Shapes, but if I am going to cut words out, I want to be able to see them on the screen so I can adjust the placement and to make sure all the letters actually fit on the same row, and to be able to center the text etc.

I love this machine, I am not complaining about it, but there is a problem with only having a 6″ x 12″ cutting mat. Most cartridges have patterns that require you to have a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat, like for example, all of the boxes in Sweet Tooth Boxes need to be 9″-11.5″ and in order to be able to cut the envelopes for the Creative Everyday Cards, I need to be able to cut on a bigger cutting mat. It doesn’t say how big, but it says on the screen that it’s too big for the cutting mat. So before I buy any more cartridges, I have to make sure they will actually cut on a 6″ x 12″ mat. Buying these cartridges isn’t a complete waste of money though, because I can still use them on the newer Cricut Explore Air 2.

Here are some cards that I made with this Cricut Personal Cutting Machine. The paper I used was a big pad of 12″ x 12″ sheets from Joann called Park Lane Paperie that comes with 58 sheets that are textured printed card stock that cost $20, but was on sale for 50% off. Cricut makes their own paper that have patterns, but they also cost a lot more money for only a few sheets.

The cards are very thick since there are multiple layers glued together on the front of the card, and the inside of the card will have another piece cut that you could run through your printer to print a poem or whatever you want it to say, or you could write on it and then glue it to the inside.

I said I couldn’t make any of the boxes, but technically you can, if you don’t mind a tiny version of the actual box. Unfortunately, some of these are too tiny. The first box is a regular square box that is supposed to be cut at 11″, but I cut it at 5.5″ and it came out to be 3.25″ after I folded all the sides up. I can still use this small box for I’m guessing 9 pieces of candy, but I won’t know until I actually make Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate covered cherries again.

The box in the middle is supposed to be a Chinese takeout box printed in 1 cut and folded exactly the way they fold the actual Chinese takeout boxes, but this is smaller than a bottle of white out. Sorry, Bic Cover-It. It’s actual size is 1.25″ at the top and bottom and tall. When folded, it’s a perfect cube.

Then the 3rd box is another Chinese takeout box, but this one is cut with 4 separate pieces you glue together, then you cut the red pieces and glue them on, but they were very tiny when I cut them, so they weren’t cut with the precision of a bigger machine. Also, the box is 2″ at the bottom, 2.25″ at the top and it is 2.5″ tall when the top is folded.

I do love this machine, I appreciate that I didn’t have to pay money for it, and I can give it back when I buy a new machine. I think this is the perfect starter machine, because it gives me an idea of how it cuts paper and allows me to make some pretty cool things that I never would have imagined before. I definitely cannot wait to have a newer machine though because I have so many ideas for things I want to make.

Christmas in July

Trim the Tree Stocking Counted Cross Stitch Kit
In 2010 I made some Christmas stockings for my life partner’s grand nephew’s Andrew, Jordan and Noah. Andrew and Jordan got the embroidered stockings and Noah got the felt stocking because he was a baby at the time and it was a baby stocking in my opinion.

These were all stocking kits that were given to me when a friend passed away. She was a hoarder who had TONS of craft supplies that she never used and held onto for decades. Those stocking kits (link above) were from the 1970’s and I’ve seen them recently on eBay for as high as $250 each. Not the felt one, but the embroidery stockings. I wanted to make Noah a more adult stocking in the same style, but I can’t seem to find any that I can afford, so I bought a counted cross stitch pattern instead.

I would much prefer to make the embroidered stocking like the one Andrew and Jordan have, because they are easy to make, but I will have to work with what I can afford in this case. So I sent my life partner an email with a link to a website called The Stitchery with the stockings in the search box, and he picked the one in the image at the top of this post. I think it’s a nice stocking for a child, but it doesn’t quite match the other 2 stockings, not that it has to match, but they are a family, and they should have stockings that sort of are in the same family of stockings. But, the stocking Noah has now isn’t in the same family as the embroidered stockings for Jordan and Andrew, so I guess it doesn’t matter anyway.

This stocking project will keep my brain busy and I won’t have any time to obsess over every little thing happening in the news that I see on Facebook, which is good because I’m close to having a nervous breakdown. Crafting calms my brain, and my heart, and I have high blood pressure so this will do the trick to keep me alive to see another day lol. Crafting has always been something that I’ve used to calm myself down. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, this is mine lol.