donderdag 23 februari 2012

Mug Cozy Tutorial!

Okay...grab you crochet needles and some yarn, 'cause here is my very first tutorial! Quite some people asked for a crochet tutorial, so I thought I'd start with that. I kept it pretty simple, this must be do-able even if you're just a beginner! I know it's not a very original pattern, I'm definitely not the first one making a mug cozy. Still, I tried to give it a little unique twist with the wooden buttons. I hope you like it!


Now, get ready...let's start with what you will need.


I found my mugs at a thrift-store. I think it's the perfect place to find the right cups for this project! The yarn I used is fingering weight, in a slightly changing color. My crochet needle is 3.5.

Oh, one more thing...I won't explain the used stitches in this pattern ('chain' (ch), 'half double crochet' (hdc) and 'slip stitch' (sl st)). 

If you're not familiar with these stitches: just google them! There are plenty of places on the Web where you can find them explained, in pictures or in little Youtube movies. 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Start with making a chain. The length of this chain depends on the size of your mug, actually the length of your chain will be the 'height' of your cozy. Look at the next picture to see what I mean!

2. When you've decided how long your chain should be, crochet 2 extra chains. This will be your first half double crochet (hdc) from  row 1. 
After this you will work al the way back on your chain, crocheting a hdc in every single chain, starting in the 3rd chain from the hook. 

In this little movie showing how I make some hdc's in the row 1 (in the chains):

video

3. You've worked your way through the chain and finished your first row of hdc's. Now it's time to turn around, and start working on row 2! To do this, you crochet two chains. Now you turn around your work (I usually put my crochet needle into the other side of the loop too, but this isn't absolutely necessary), and start crocheting hdc's again, starting in the 3rd stitch from the hook (just like with the first row!). 

Here's a movie showing how I turn around at the end of the row. I'm a few rows further already, but that doesn't mind, 'cause the technique is the same at every row.

video

4. Okido, now you know how to make a row of hdc's, and how to turn around at the end of the row. Keep repeating this for a long time!


6. Of course you will want to know when to stop crocheting new rows (unless you have a huuuuuuge mug ;-)). To decide when you're done, hold your cozy around your mug. You will have to leave a space between both ends of at least 2-3 cm. Don't be afraid to stretch your cozy a líttle bit for this!


7. Now it's time to make the two loops at the end! To do this, start crocheting slip stitches until you're at 1/3 of the row. Now stop crocheting in the row below, but start making a chain. When your chain is long enough, slip stitch again in the stitch where you started with your chain. From there, you will proceed slip stitching until you're at 2/3 of the row. Repeat making a loop, slip stitch again in the stitch where you started the chain, and proceed slip stitching in the rest (1/3) of the row until you're finished.

I made one of my loops slightly bigger than the other, because my mug isn't completely straight. By putting the smallest loop on the bottom, it will pull the cozy tighter at that point, following the shape of the mug.

Here's another movie, showing you how I made one of the two loops.

video

8. Tie off your yarn, the crocheting part is done now!


9. It's time to attach the buttons. Simply do this by putting a little sewing thread (color of your own choice) through the sewing needle. Of course you will sew them on the end of the cozy withóut the loops ;-) Sew them on the same heights as the loops (1/3 and 2/3 of the height). Just stitch your needle through your cozy, and tie off on the backside. 


10. You're almost done now! I decided to make 2 mug cozies, so maybe you want to finish some more too...


READY? Now go ahead and put your mug cozies around their mugs. Warm and snuggly...YAY!
These mugs are perfect for a hot cuppa'tea or coffee, or you can put little candle lights into them and use them as decorative items in your room!


So, that was my first tutorial. I hope you liked it, and I really hope the instructions were understandable! I thing I noticed is that it isn't easy to explain things well in a language that is not your own. Another thing is, that it costs quite some time to make good pics and movies, and put everything together! I really had fun doing this though, I just want to do something back for the craft community and everything I've learned from it for the past few years.

Did you like this tut, do you need help or did you make the cozies and wanna show them? Please leave a note, I'd LOVE that!

zaterdag 18 februari 2012

Amigurumi Tree

I crocheted a tree! Thought it might make a nice little decorative item for in my room. I used earthy tones, nothing flashy. Maybe in Autumn, I can replace the green leaves by orange, yellow and red ones :)


The original pattern is by Ana Paula Rimoli, it can be found in her book Aumigurumi Toy Box.
Her Etsy-shop can be found here.


Stay tuned, cause my first tutorial is in progress! I hope to post it tomorrow, or at least at the beginning of next week. 

donderdag 16 februari 2012

My current favorite apps

This might sound shallow, but I pretty much can't imagine life anymore without my iPhone. Seriously...it brings together so many things I love into one device: a camera with endless editing possibilities, internet, email, games, books (oh, and don't forget the telephoning options :P).

I thought I'd share some of my favorite current apps with you. At first I wanted to add some photography-apps too, but it turns out I have so many of these, it might be better to make a separate mosaic for them. So no photography applications in this one, but lots of other fun stuff!

  1. Sleep Cycle: it's not only an alarm, but it also registrates your sleep cycles at night (using the iPhone's accelerometer). I find it very interesting to see how deep asleep I was during the night! The alarm wakes you during the light sleep phase, resulting in waking up easier and less tired. 
  2. Craft Gawker: this app collects DIY-blog posts from al over the Web. They are put together in a clear and simple photo-gallery, through which you can scroll easily. I've got this app for a long time, it provides in a daily dose of inspiration and creativity. 
  3. Tiny Tower: Tiny Tower is a simple game, in which you have to build a tower as high as possible, existing out of different floors. Bitizens live on the residential floors, and work on the commercial ones. By managing all processes in your tower as effective as possible, you earn money to build new floors. Every new floor is a surprise, which makes this game quite addicting. One day, I'm going to transfer my tower into a cross-stitch pattern. I promise. 
  4. Wordfeud: almost everyone in my country with an iPhone has this app. It's simply a digital version of Scrabble, only now you don't have to do the mathwork by head. You can play against anyone you want (known and unknown). I've plaid probably hundreds of Wordfeud games against my friends, boss, family and strangers. Wanna play too? Just let me know your username and I'll add you!
  5. Unblock Me: age-old game, probably doesn't even need explanation. I play it when I have to wait, or when I need some simple distraction. Perfect for the lost minutes!
  6. Triple Town: my latest addiction. It combines the popular match-3 strategy with building an empire. My mom is playing it on her iPad while I'm typing this. Seriously, we can't stop anymore! The graphics are cute, though you won't love that sweet bear as much anymore when you start playing the game ;)
  7. Run Roo Run: the new 'Angry Birds' - a platform game with a simple gameplay and short levels. You have to help a little Kangaroo save his girlfriend on the other side of Australia, by making him jump and run over al kinds of obstacles. The bonus levels are extra challenging!
  8. iSpin Toolkit: a very useful app for spinners. It helps you define the WPI of your handspun yarn, as well as the twist angle. It also has some other very handy calculators (including explanations) and even a cm/inch ruler!
  9. iMapMyRUN+: when I run, I start this app to measure my speed, distance and burnt calories. It also tracks down my route in a map, and logs every workout. When you make an online account, you can find even more statistic data of your workout on the Internet! You can share your workouts with friends, and see other people's routes in your neighborhood (= inspiration for a new run when you're tired of the same route every time).
I have a lot more apps I use on an almost daily base (like WhatsApp), but I think these are the most interesting ones. Do you have any good tips too? Share them in a comment, I love to discover new apps!


zondag 12 februari 2012

Tutorials

I've been part of the online dolls- and crafty community for several years now, and I'm still enjoying it as much as in the beginning. The community grows, every day I feel inspired by the ideas and creations of creative people al over the world. I feel so blessed that I'm able to be a part of it... what a huge advantage of the digital possibilities nowadays!

Almost everything I learned in the last years about dolls and various forms of crafts, was learned by reading tutorials and blogs and by asking questions to kind people who were willing to share their knowledge. I decided I'd like to do the same thing for people who are new to the community, and just starting to learn about their favorite forms of craft. Tutorials should definitely become a part of this blog!

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not a professional in any form of craft I do, I've not been to art school, neither have a degree in design or whatever. Like I said: I learned by reading, trying and asking. I've learned a lot, made mistakes and learned from them again. I would just like to share that knowledge and experience with anyone who's interested, and maybe help them to make just a tiny step in mastering their creative skills!


























So...the big question is: what kind of tutorials would you like? Here's a little list of what I can help with:

  • blythe customization
  • reroots
  • sewing
  • crocheting
  • spinning and dyeing fiber (still a beginner myself!)
  • needlefelting
  • a little bit about photography/photo-editing (don't expect much though ;))

And well, anything else you've seen in my shop or photo stream (see links on the right). Please, leave a message if you're interested in any of these subjects, I'd love to hear what I can help with!

Follow me!