Category Archives: Craftiness

Week 3: First foray into the craft stockpile

I decided it was high time to do something crafty so I have something to post other than how much I spent on groceries this week ($16 again).

I was thinking I would maybe make a Valentine’s Day wreath, but I couldn’t find the old grapevine wreath that I was sure I had seen in the basement. Then I came across this basket that had been filled with delicious treats and a jar of homemade laundry soap for Christmas.

I also had a bunch of old t-shirts that I had used parts of to make yarn months ago.

The color scheme of all the shirts together doesn’t really match anything in my house and somehow makes me think of circus-themed bedsheets from the 1970s. But I also kind of like them together. So here’s what came of it all.

You know how you're always thinking, "If only my basket were fancier..."

It was pretty easy–just took time to put it together, but it wasn’t technically difficult. I don’t always like cutesy-type things, but I kind of like how it turned out. Here’s what I did.

1. Cut the t-shirts into strips, making sure to get rid of seams, tags, and printing. I cut them probably about 3/4″ wide and about 4″ long. Cut as many as you think you’ll need, and then cut more, depending on the size of your basket.

Keep the dustbuster handy--these make a lot of tiny bits of lint.

2. Start tying them on to the top two or three twigs of the basket, bunching them as closely as desired. Use tweezers to help get the strips through the weave of the basket. (I just tied single knots, and they seemed sufficient.)

3. Once it’s done, you can trim the pieces if you like.

That’s how it turned out. I think it’s pretty cute for something that was free, or at least close enough, considering the significant depreciation on the t-shirts. And since it came with laundry soap in it and didn’t really match anything else in the house, it has found a home atop the washing machine.

I think something like this would be cute done in seasonal-print fabric scraps, as well.


What to get for the tiny ninja in your life.

About a month ago, I called my brother to ask him for ideas for Christmas gifts for his kids this year. He said that his son, Will, is really into ninjas. I immediately had 2 ideas: 1) ninja shirt and 2)throwing stars. I think (hope) it worked out well, and I can’t wait to see a photo of Will with his new gear. I hope it fits.
Here’s the finished product.

At first I thought maybe I would find a black hoodie and figure out how to add the neckwarmer part. Then it occurred to me that it might be easier to find a black turtleneck and add a hood.
Given the number of sensitive artist types among the 6-year-old set, I thought it would be fairly easy to find a black turtleneck, but you’d be surprised at how hard it was to find. Ok. It wasn’t hard. I looked at Target and Old Navy, and then I went to Wal-Mart. Thank goodness for their girls’ department. Don’t tell Will.
I actually bought 2 black turtlenecks–since they were just under $5 each, it seemed like the easiest way to make sure the hood fabric matched the shirt. I laid one shirt out flat and then cut it straight across just below the arm holes. Then I cut straight down the side, removing one side seam. The bottom hem of the shirt would now be my hood front, and the still-intact side seam would be the hood top seam.
The next step was to sew up the back of the hood–just a straight seam. I used my other nephew’s head as a rough gauge for how big the hood should be, and I also made a short diagonal seam from the back seam to the top seam so that the back of the hood wouldn’t be pointy. Then I did a thin rolled hem at the bottom of the hood.
To attach the hood to the shirt, I lined up the seams on the backs of the turtleneck and hood, pinned, then pinned the front corners of the hood to meet in the middle of the front of the turtleneck. I pinned all the way around, making a simple box pleat on each side (lined up with the shoulder seams) since the hood was larger around than the neck opening.
I stitched the hood on by hand, using two rows of backstitches, although this could easily be done on a machine. I just wanted to practice my hand stitching, and sometimes machine sewing on small areas makes me swear. I worried that the stitches might have been too tight, but I was able to squeeze my non-small head through the turtleneck and into the hood. Phew. No swearing required.
Now for the ninja stars. Step one involved doing an image search of ninja stars and picking one that a) looked cool and b) would be easy to cut out. Here is the one I picked.

I printed it out, but it was a tiny bit small, so I just eyeballed a little extra space around it and cut it out. I traced it onto some stiff felt, figuring that two layers sewn together would make them more throw-able.

The nice curved edges made them quick to cut out.

Finally, I sewed two felt stars together–no fancy stitching or anything. Just sewed them together and made little Xes in the middle. I suppose I could have gotten super fancy with the embroidering, and I even thought about making a fleece tie-belt for the outfit and sewing velcro onto the backs of the stars so they would stick to the belt. But in the end I decided that since I needed to mail the package to the east coast and didn’t want to have to pay for expedited shipping, I should opt for the simpler, faster approach. But I still think they turned out great.