Granny Square Christmas Tree Skirt.


I know it's a tad late for a Christmas post, but I had to share my finished granny square tree skirt with you guys!  And, despite posting this a few days after Christmas, I did actually have it ready for the big day.  I finished it up just in the nick of time on Christmas Eve. I was so excited when I weaved in the very last yarn end and placed this cheerful skirt under our tree. I was as giddy as a kid on the night before Christmas.  ;)






Project Details:
Pattern: Granny Tree Skirt Crochet Pattern by Ann Regis for Red Heart
Yarn: A mix of random stuff from my stash. This project was a great stash buster!
Difficulty: Intermediate - It's a pretty repetitive pattern, but this project is extremely time consuming and requires a good bit of construction.
Skills: Granny squares, seams, color work, weaving in plenty of ends
Time: OMG, this project took forever!! This is definitely my biggest project to date.  It was totally worth the effort though, because I'm so pleased with how it turned out. And, you should have seen Santa's face when he saw it as he slid down our chimney!  Priceless. ;)
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You might remember that I actually started this project over the summer.... let's just say that it proved to be a bit more time consuming than  I was expecting.  It was definitely a labor of love, but totally worth the long hours.  I'll enjoy this one for years to come.  Another bonus of working on a big project... it was so cozy to work on a something I could literally bury myself under!

I'm super excited for next Christmas, because I'll be able to enjoy this tree skirt for the whole holiday season rather than just a few days. Although, I'm already planning on keeping my tree up for a few more weeks this year, so I can enjoy it's colorful cheerfulness a little more. Am I the only one who keeps their tree up until the middle of January??

Next up, I've got some smaller projects on my hook for some more instant gratification! ;) Stay tuned for some cozy hats and scarves.  

P.S. More crochet projects here.


2013 Ornament Exchange & Tutorials!

This Snowy Owl by Jen of Grainline Studio is a hoot!

I had a lot of fun participating in the ornament exchange that Kelli of True Bias held this year.  It was so much fun to unwrap all the wonderfully creative and unique ornaments I received in my mailbox each day. It was like Christmas every time I went to the post office!!

I already shared with you guys the cute crochet Christmas tree ornaments I sent out. As promised, here are all the beautiful handmade ornaments I received. Follow the links for complete tutorials!  

Katy of Katy and Laney made these adorable and "distinctly mammalian" ornaments. I love her humorous story about the process of creating these. I've always wondered how difficult it would be to make creative poms like this.


Miranda of One Little Minute made the sweetest Sugar Plum Fairies in honor of her newest family member... her sweet baby girl, Plum.


Krista of Lazy Saturdays made these cozy plush houses with a free pattern included so you can make your own!


Laney of Katy and Laney made this cute thimble hot air balloon.  Up, up and away!!


Sonja of Ginger Makes made these jingle bell wreaths, and I definitely turned some heads when I walked out of the post office with this jingling package!


Kelli of True Bias made these heartstrings state ornaments.


Jennifer of Workroom Social made these fabulous fabric tree ornaments.

It was so fun checking my mailbox over the past week. I've loved receiving each and every one of these special handmade ornaments. This was my first time participating in a blogger exchange and I had a blast.

So, have you guys been doing any holiday crafting?  Feel free to link up your projects below, I'd love to see what you've been making this holiday season!


2013 Ornament Exchange (& a cute crochet pattern)!


I was so excited when Kelli of True Bias invited me to participate in her ornament exchange this year. Last year's exchange looked like so much fun! I mean, just look at these adorable coat ornaments Kelli made. I wanted to join not only for the myriad of handcrafted ornaments I'd receive in my mailbox, but also because it was the perfect opportunity for me to give a little something special to some of my favorite bloggers.

After some brainstorming, I decided it would be cute to create Christmas tree ornaments for everyone's Christmas trees! I was inspired by these adorable tree ornaments my friend Emma of Emma Knitted made and decided to create a similar pattern of my own.


Ready to make your own mini crochet Christmas trees?

HERE'S THE HOW TO:

Crochet Spiral Christmas Tree Pattern

I used a worsted weight yarn. (This is a great project for using up those leftover yarn scraps in your stash.)

Ch 25, 3 tr in in 4th ch from hook, 3 tr each of the next 6 ch sp, 3 dc in each of the next 6 ch, 3 hdc each of next 4 ch, 3 sc next 3 ch, 1 sl st each of next 2 ch.

Essentially you'll create a spiral that is wider at the bottom than it is at the top:



Next, twirl the spiral together and shape it into a tree. Tack it into place with some yarn so that it will hold its shape. (P.S. I found a great video tutorial by Crochet Geek who did a similar pattern, except that her tree branches point in an upwards direction. She does a great job of explaining how to stitch your tree so that it will hold its shape in her video here. I tacked mine together the same way.) 



Now, it's time to decorate! I added sequins and colorful yarn ornaments to mine. The yarn ornaments were made by creating french knots, which is a fun embroidery technique.  You could also add beads, ribbon and other embellishments as well!



Finally, I used some natural twine to create a loop for hanging the ornament on the tree. A little bow adds a touch of sweetness.



Isn't this little crochet Christmas tree forest just the cutest?!


I've sent most of these beauties off to new homes, but, of course, I had to keep one for myself!  I've had to keep a close eye on it though, as my pup Tanner seems to think these yarn trees make great chew toys. I think Tanner's bad behavior has added him onto Santa's 'naughty puppy list' this year... little bugger!!  ;)



I had so much fun participating in this holiday ornament exchange! If you'd like to learn more about the amazing gals I shipped my ornaments off to, you can check them out below. Each of these gals is sharing a tutorial for how they made their ornaments as well, so be sure to drop by their blogs for some more Christmas DIY inspiration!

Kelli of True Bias (Our wonderful hostess! Thanks Kelli!)
Miranda of One Little Minute
Sonja of Gingermakes
Krista of Lazy Saturdays
Jennifer of Workroom Social
Laney of Katy and Laney

P.S. More Christmas posts here.


DIY: Sequin Sparkles Ornament


You might remember these adorable handmade Christmas ornaments my mom sent to me last year.  This Christmas I wanted to try my hand at making a few of my own.  I was inspired by these baubly beauties over at Meream's creative blog, Bored and Crafty, and knew that bright, punchy jewel tones were the way to go.

Admittedly it took quite a bit of time to put these together, but I'm so pleased with how they turned out. The ornaments are festive, fun and full of sparkle. They are absolutely everything a Christmas tree dreams of wearing during the holiday season!

Ready to deck out your tree with some amazing sequin ornaments?


HERE'S THE HOW TO:

Stuff you'll need:


Lots and lots of sequins!! (...for a BIG dose of sparkle)
Sequin pins
Seed beads
Elmers glue
Styrofoam ball
Twine, ribbon, etc.
A bit of patience and time, but don't worry... it will be worth it!  ;)

Method:

1. Take a pin and add a seed bead to it followed by a sequin:



2. A bit of glue is all you'll need to hold the sparkles in place:



3. Slide the pin in over the drop of glue.



Keep adding more and more sequins...



... and continue until your ornament is completely covered. So pretty, huh?!





Now, to hang your ornament on your tree you'll just need to add a bit of twine or ribbon to it. To do this, I simply stuck the last pin through a bit of twine and used good bit of glue to hold it securely. Now, you can admire the sparkle in the Christmas lights...


These would also look so pretty sitting on display in a clear vase or bowl. You wouldn't even need to add the twine or ribbon if you displayed them that way.

While these ornaments were time consuming to make, they are such pretty holiday decor. My Mom made it a tradition to make one every year. I'd like to carry the tradition on for myself. Year by year, I should build up a collection of these sparkly gems.

And, in other Christmas crafting news, I'm still working furiously to finish my Granny Square Christmas Tree Skirt, but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish it up before Christmas. Aaaaahhhhh!!  Right now I have 'so much to do and so little time syndrome'!  ;) Even if I don't finish my tree skirt in time for Santa to see it this year, I'll try to share an update so you can see my progress. You can also keep tabs on my progress over on Instagram (like here and here).

In other exciting news, one reason I ran out of time on the tree skirt is because I had the chance to participate in a fun handmade ornament exchange held by Kelli of True Bias. I can't wait to fill you in on what I made and all the fun things I received.  That's coming up later this week!

So, are you guys working hard to finish up any of your holiday projects too?


DIY: Falling Leaves Garland


I can't be the only one who loves the satisfying crunch of crispy fall leaves under their feet. Am I right?! I literally go out of my way to crunch as many autumn leaves as possible during the season. To pay homage to one of my favorite fall addictions, I decided to bring a bit of the outdoors in with this simple yet striking leaf garland.


Ready to add a touch of nature to your fall decor?

HERE'S THE HOW TO:

Stuff you'll need:


Leaves (I like oak leaves because they hold up well, and don't crumble as easily as others do.)

Natural twine.

Colorful twine (Bright, punchy colors add a fun contrast to the brown leaves.)


Method:

All you need to do is tie the leaves onto the twine like so:



Add as many leaves as you'd like...






These brown leaves are anything but boring! I love how they look when they catch the light. They're rustic and natural, and every time I look at my window, I can catch a glimpse of their natural beauty.

So, what have you guys been doing to enjoy fall?


Style Tip: How to make a necklace look longer.


I ran into a bit of a dilemma the other day when I was making my acorn necklace. I only had a short chain in my supply box, but I wanted the necklace to be a longer length. 

I was feeling a bit too lazy to run to the store for some new jewelry supplies, so what's a crafty girl to do??! Cheat it, of course! I just took the short chain and pinned it to my shirt under the collar. Once I turned the collar down, my secret was completely hidden from view, and I had a necklace that was the perfect length. Simple as that!


The best thing about this trick is that you have complete control over the necklace length depending on how high or low you pin it on the collar.


This little trick is a great way to extend your jewelry collection without permanently altering the jewelry.  I love that it is temporary, quick and easy to do, and I just wanted to share this secret with you.  I can't wait to try this trick on some of my other necklaces too! 

So, do you guys have any clever styling tips or secrets to share? Because, sometimes a secret is just too good to keep to yourself.  ;)


DIY: Acorn Necklace


I was looking for a simple way to add a touch of fall to my wardrobe and decided that a rustic acorn necklace would do the trick! This darling necklace is the perfect accessory to go nuts over this season!  ;)


Wanna make your own acorn necklace?

HERE'S THE HOW TO:

First of all, you'll need an acorn, and the best place to search is in the woods, of course!  I went on my acorn hunt on a beauuuuutiful fall day. It was fun taking in all the colorful leaves as I scavenged for acorns. The task proved a bit challenging as squirrels had already eaten so many of the fallen acorns. Luckily, with a bit of searching through the leaves, I found a few to take home.


And, just in case you were wondering, this is what a crazy-crafty lady looks like when she is scavenging for acorns...  look out squirrels here I come. Finders keepers!  ;)



The acorn I decided to use had a bit of stem at the top of it which made it easy to wrap the wire around. I wrapped the wire around the stem a few times and created a loop in the back for the chain of the necklace to thread through:



Here is what my acorn charm looks like from the front. (Tip: To make sure the acorn cap stays on the nut, I gently removed it and adhered it securely with some glue. That made the acorn charm less fragile and less likely to fall apart during wear.)



And that is all there is to it! Put on your necklace and enjoy these fall days.

What things do you enjoy most about the fall?