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DIY Sharpie Mug 2.0 | Christmas Gifts 2014

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It’s hard to believe that my blog post about my experience with the sharpie mug craze is over two years old now and has gained an insane amount of popularity. I still to this day get hundreds of views from that post and see comments from fellow crafters looking for advice on their creations. I am, of course, no expert on the topic, but I did want my first post to be a sort of “did it work or not” post for others to use as a reference, and I’m happy to say that it has done just that.

Thanks to all of that, this year when I decided to give a sharpie mug as a gift, I thought I would document the process. I was especially excited because I had to get creative after being unable to find a good white coffee mug, and chose to use a black one with a metallic Sharpie oil-based paint pen instead. This has surely been done by others, but I have never seen it myself, and after so many of my readers mentioned troubles with colored pens and the like, I was curious about how this would work out!

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My best friend and I are currently living in different states and I have always loved the state art that shows two places being connected by a dashed line. I also really liked the quote “together forever, never apart, maybe in distance but never at heart.” So, I found some state stencils online and printed out a few different sizes on heavyweight cardstock, chose the one that worked best, and used double sided tape to stick it to my mug. I then traced around the states and removed the stencils – easy as that! There was some bleeding of the paint under the stencils, as you can see in the pictures, so I used a Q-tip dipped in alcohol (a great trick suggested by a reader!) to clean up the edges. Then I freehanded the line, the hearts, and the quote.

I let it sit overnight before sticking it in the oven. I placed it in the cold oven, turned it up to 350 degrees F, and timed it for 30 minutes. Then I let it cool in the oven overnight.

I really like the way it turned out After letting it sit for a few days after it was done, I tried to scratch at the Sharpie, and it seemed pretty solid. I should also point out that I had no discoloration or fading after baking my mug. I placed the states and the quote quite close to the lip of the mug because I intended this mug to be for decoration only, perhaps on a desk to hold pens (my friend is a teacher), and I made sure to let her know when I gave it to her.

While we’re on the subject of Christmas gifts I gave this year, my friends & I did all homemade gifts this year since I’m a poor college student and was trying to survive the holiday on the little that I had. The second gift I made this year was Instagram tile magnets, and they were so fun, so easy, and so inexpensive!

Insta SuppliesI decided to do this after coming across this blog post on Pinterest. I already had some Mod Podge and photo paper lying around that I had picked up from the Dollar Tree, so I ran out the next day and got the sheet of tiles (36 of them for around $2-$3) and the roll of magnet tape. I saved Instagram pictures from my friend’s profile (which is really tricky – the only way I found to do it was taking a screenshot and cropping) and used Word to create a sheet of them. I printed them at home on photo paper using my own printer, cut them out, and got to work. I used a flat watercolor paint brush to lay down some Mod Podge on the tile before carefully placing the paper and then painting on another layer of Mod Podge. Streaks and bubbles are no issue, since they generally disappear as the Mod Podge dries clear. After letting them dry for several days, I cut small pieces of magnet tape and stuck two pieces firmly on the back of each magnet.

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These six are the first ones I did using my own pictures because I wanted to test out the process, and I think they turned out so beautifully! After making six for myself and six to give to my friend as part of her Christmas gift, I have 24 tiles leftover – so I’m looking forward to making some more of these for my parents and other family members and friends!

Finally, I did some crocheting over break since crochet hooks are the only needlecraft tool I could bring home with me on the plane. I made a beanie as a gift for my friends fiance, because he wore the last one I made him until it fell entirely apart.

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I used this pattern that I found – where else – on Pinterest. Clicking on the picture will also take you directly to the pattern. I was looking high and low for something that looked really nice but wasn’t too “girly”. This one fit the bill perfectly and was so easy to make. I used Red Heart Soft yarn, which is a new favorite of mine, and did it in a crimson color. I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures of that hat being made or completed, but I made another hat using the same pattern and got a few pictures of me working on that.

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CircleI got this yarn from Hobby Lobby a few years back and really only purchased it because it was named “Danielle”. The yarn is SO pretty and made a gorgeous hat. I made it for myself, but ended up giving it away to my 17 year old neighbor on Christmas Eve because it looked like something she would be able to rock – and I was right, she looked so great in it!

I also made a couple of crochet headbands as the final touch for my best friends Christmas gift. I hadn’t intended initially to give her those because I have already given most of my friend crochet headbands as gifts, but right before the holidays I saw some pictures of her wearing the last headband I made her and it was clearly falling apart and needed to be replaced. Luckily, those are easy to whip up, and this time I made her two so she doesn’t have to wear one to death!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! I know they are getting farther and farther apart these days, but I unfortunately can’t craft or blog regularly while also being a full time grad student, so I just do it when I can, and I think that makes them more sincere and put together anyways. :] Thanks so much for reading and as always, happy crafting!

Making a Comeback

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Hi guys! Long time no post! I tried hard to focus solely on my studies & take a break from crafting, but I’ve come to realize I am just as passionate about this as I am about my career. Crafting is my outlet – I need it to survive. So I am determined to get back on the horse and spend some of my free time rejuvenating my blog and my Etsy.

This weekend, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to go about doing this. First, I decided I will not be crafting unless it is going to serve a purpose. Graduate school has made me very conscious of time and time-constraints. I have very little time and a lot of constraints! If I’m going to successfully craft, particularly to sell, then I need to be crafting for the sole purpose of selling. I’m pro at making things for myself and then never wearing them – I have bins of cowls and headbands and hats that I thought I loved, but then never actually wore. What a waste! If I can’t enjoy my items, then I want to make things that other people will. I would much rather purchase something amazing that someone else has made than make something for myself – I think there’s an aspect of novelty and fun that way, something you don’t get when you’re going through the development process yourself. I’ve always failed at making things for myself, it’s just taken me an unusually long time to realize that.

Some things I’ve been working on this week:

The Bow Headband by NorthThirty-Fourth:

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The Turban Ear Warmer by This Ninja Creates:

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And the Urban Slouchy Beanie by Little Things Blogged:

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I hope to have new stuff on my Etsy starting something this Spring, so be on the lookout!

Thanks for reading!

 

An Extended Vacation

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Hi guys! I know it’s been forever & I know I keep saying this will stop happening – but who am I kidding! I’m a student, & life is always insane!

I graduated from college in May & moved home to live with my parents for the summer. At home, I got a full time job & pretty much did that for 4 months, while packing & getting things ready for my big move 8 hours south for graduate school! Now, the time has come for me to make the big move, & unfortunately my MASSIVE craft collection can’t come with me.

My apartment in my new hometown is tiny. Like so small, it doesn’t even have a real closet or a full-sized fridge. That’s right, I’m going to have to survive with only a mini-fridge for a year. Yikes! Anyways, the lack of a closet or ANY storage for that matter makes it really difficult for me to take my bins & bins of yarn, embroidery thread, sewing machine, craft books, etc. with me. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad this makes me.

Ultimately, I hope to get a two bedroom apartment I can afford & keep the rest of my years in graduate school. That way, I’ll have a bedroom AND a craft room… & a living room & kitchen, which I’m not really used to having in separate places either!

I also feel the need to apologize for my lack of crafting & blog updating this summer. I’m not really sure what happened. For the first month of summer, I remember being so elated at being a college graduate. I sat in the sun & tried to tan [‘tried’ being the keyword], I read lots of books, I crocheted, & I bugged my dad to help me clear a space for my sewing machine. I was so gung ho about having 5 whole months off! Then I got a job, & all that went out the window. All I did after that was sleep, eat, shower, & work. & now, it’s suddenly September & I’m moving out of state in a few short days. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! Hell if I know.

 

One last thing – On August 5th I had almost 600 views on my blog! That’s super crazy for this blog, especially because I haven’t been updating it. Over 400 of the views were said to be brought here by Facebook, but my Facebook page hasn’t been getting much traffic lately so it couldn’t have been from there. Many of the views were only for my one post, the Sharpie Mug post, which isn’t all that uncommon, but typically if people are brought to the blog they look around a little & other pages [home & about] get some hits. I guess I was just kind of confused & wondered if this is a common thing. Was it some sort of spam? Could someone have linked to my page & I have no idea? Am I just worrying too much when I should just be enjoying my small spike in views for a day? I know. I can’t help it.

 

Thanks for reading guys. I’m taking my knitting needles & crochet hooks with me to graduate school, but no yarn. That means I have hope that some crafting may occur at some point this year. Otherwise, I’ll see you in a year, when I have a new apartment & ample space to frolic & craft in!

New Listings on Etsy!

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I’ve posted 4 new listings on my Etsy page in the last few days, so check them out, if you will. I would appreciate it very much.

Fall & Winter are right around the corner, & I’m loving making cowls/infinity scarves for that time of year. They’re some of my favorite accessories, so I figure other people probably love them as much as I do.

The bright, floral colors are a great addition to any Fall/Winter wardrobe, since people often get down & depressed on the coldest & darkest days of the year.

Check out the new listings here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell

Dani

 

Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange!

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So I finally completed my gift for the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange & I’m really excited about it. I’ve never done this before & I’m a little shy, so I actually didn’t get to know my gifter or my giftee very well – but oh well. Maybe next time.

So the girl I was to be making something for said that she liked useful kitchen stuff, so I decided to sew her a half apron. I’ve been DYING to make myself an apron, but it’s even better when I get to make it for another person! I also decided to make it without using a pattern, which was scary since I’m a fairly new sewer – but it came out great! Of course, it’s not perfect – I didn’t realize that the fabric I chose to use for the waistband/tie was slightly see-through, & some of my top-stitching is obviously not perfectly straight, but who cares! I SUCCESSFULLY SEWED AN APRON! It’s super simple, it doesn’t even have a pocket because I didn’t want to mess up the apron itself. I also decided to also make a few washcloths to go with the ‘kitchen’ theme. Originally, I wanted to make those wooden spoons with the painted handle, but I don’t have any supplies for it, so washcloths it was. I really love working with cotton yarn, & I also love the idea of them being SO useful. The washcloths aren’t in my giftee’s favorite colors, because I wanted them to somewhat match the apron instead. :] Either way, I’m proud of my handiwork & I hope my giftee loves the set as much as I do!

Check out the Craftaholics Anonymous blog, there’s some great stuff on there. I think you can get to her site through the Handmade Gift Exchange button somewhere over there –>

Busy Summer

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Today I took a break from all the craziness in my life that is GRE preparation and research paper writing to do a little crafting. I’ve only added one thing to my Etsy since opening it, & it depresses me to know I’m simply too busy to do much more. Hopefully, when all my summer work is [mostly] over, I’ll be able to craft my heart out – because that’s really what I would like to do all summer.

Firstly, I’ve been considering business cards for The Yarn To Tell for awhile now, but for the longest time I was trying to design them on Vistaprint or Moo & then I came across handmade cards somewhere on Pinterest & fell in love. That’s when I realized it would be super easy & inexpensive to make cards using my personal printer & cardstock, especially since I don’t need the 200+ you get when you purchase through a website.. In the end, I also added a zig-zag embellishment using my sewing machine & some lavender thread, & they turned out so great. I can’t wait to leave them all over town & hand them out to friends & family.

After completing a small stack of cards, I went to work on the gift I’m making for an exchange I’m participating in. I’m doing this month’s Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange – my first EVER, I’m so excited! I don’t quite have pictures & I’m hoping to make some other things to add to the gift, but I’ll keep you updated on my progress, & there will be pics when it’s all ready to go. :]

It was a busy day, but this is a pretty short post. I’m working on more items to list on Etsy, as well as a shrug that my mom commissioned me to make her. Life has just been so crazyyy.

As mentioned, don’t forget to check out my latest listing on Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell! Here’s a peak:

Thanks for reading, & happy crafting!

Summer has arrived!

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So this is going to be a long post. There were a few things I’d been meaning to post about when I had the time, but that ‘few’ turned into a lot more very quickly. I’ve been neglecting this blog a lot more than I thought I had!

First, I finally took some good pictures of the scarf that has recently become the bane of my existence. The pictures turned out great & it looks fairly complete – but it isn’t. I keep thinking so too, but it probably needs a foot or more to make it a decent scarf. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a lot more work that will go into it after it’s completion [note the tails on every row & the curling]. Either way, at least this is proof that I’ve been spending every spare minute working on it, & I haven’t given up [though I sometimes wish I could].

So, it’s coming along & I think it’s pretttttty. It’s just tedious & time consuming. Crafting should never feel tedious & time consuming.

Next on my list: I told you all months ago that my dad was going to make me a thread holder for my sewing space, & he did! It looks so great! He obviously had a lot of fun with it, because he spent lots of time making it especially functional & stylish – it even MATCHES my sewing machine! He made it so that there are about 4 shelves of thread/bobbin storage, & 3 bigger shelves to hold jars of buttons, etc., & the very bottom shelf we made into a ribbon holder/dispenser. Anyways, I really love this addition to my crafting collection, & I’m sure it will get years of use.

Here it is along with the entire sewing corner. I recently did some organizing & cleared out the drawers of the desk so that it could hold my sewing accessories & other crafty items. I also placed my sewing/crafting books next to my printer on the right [since every other bookshelf I own seems to be overflowing with movies &/or other books!].

Most days tho, my sewing area looks like this, with my sewing machine all cozy in it’s cover. Hopefully that will change very soon. :]

So, I’ve always really loved thrift stores, especially for the cheap, good books you can buy. But recently, I discovered the hidden treasure of buying fabric from thrift stores. Some thrift stores have specific ‘notions’ areas, which are my absolute favorite. When my parents were here for my university’s Mom’s Weekend a few weeks ago, we went to all the thrift stores in the area & I bought TONS of fabric. This time around, I mostly just got scraps [fat quarters & the like], but I also have a huge roll of tulle & other fabrics that I found at thrift stores in the past.

The only issue with scraps is that they’re just that. They’re too small to do much with & many of the patterns I want to try need larger cuts of fabric. So, I’ve been considering my options & I think I might just have some fun sewing pieces together & making things out of the pieced together fabric. But I’ll keep you posted.

A few months ago, I successfully followed & pattern & sewed my first item. It was a simple little reversible bag, & I think I did pretty well considering it was my first time. I think I printed the pattern out wrong [I don’t think I did it at 100%] & I didn’t choose especially attractive fabric, but it was just practice, so all of that is okay. The good news is, I didn’t sew any handles together or something like that [though, I nearly did, haha]. I got the pattern here.

The last thing I wanted to post about were the gifts I made my best friend Jessica for her birthday this year. I knew I couldn’t afford anything serious, so I figured some cute, handmade gifts would work, && they did! They actually turned out way better than I expected, I was pretty excited. I pretty much everything about it was made my hand, except for the frame of the embroidery. I made the mat for the frame myself, as well as the roses on the frame. So fun! :] I got the pattern for the cow here.

So, now I’m FINALLY caught up on blogging about the crafting I did this semester. A few of the things on my list for this summer are:

1. FINISH THE  SCARF.

2. Make mom this shrug [in a cream color].

3. Work on my granny square blanket.

4. Make dad fingerless gloves.

5. Make things for my Etsy stock & open my Etsy

6. Have fun!

I’m off for now. Once Upon A Time will be on soon – I’ll watch it while I spend some time working on that scarf.