Hooked on Needles

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Oh My! ~ Another New Tote Bag!

Oh My goodness! I'm on a Tote Bag Making roll right now, and truly loving every minute of it! Today's bag is fresh off the sewing machine and, Oh My, is it colorful! I do enjoy sewing with colorful fabrics, and this collection certainly fits the bill. Oh My, you simply must keep on reading so you can see just what I mean!

This little gem of a tote bag is made with squares from the fabric line Oh My! by Sanae for Moda Fabrics, and the eye-popping colors and designs are inspired by the designer's homeland of Japan.

These colors would be perfect for any season of the year. This bag is not too big and not too small, but just the right size for using as a purse, a project bag, a library bag or even an overnight bag.

The inside of the bag is fully lined with top quality quilting fabric, and has two pockets on each side for a total of four pockets.

The interfacing used in this bag is Peltex which is a very stiff, but flexible and washable, interfacing which allows the bag to hold itself up without being floppy.

This bag measures 4 by 14 inches on its boxed bottom, 18 inches across the top from side seam to side seam, 11 1/2 inches tall, and the handles extend 7 inches from the top edge of the bag to the top of each handle in the middle. It will be available for purchase over in my Etsy shop along with my other tote bags, quilts, original patterns, afghans and other crocheted items.

My summer break from nursing school is really moving along quickly. In another five weeks, I'll be hitting the books again and leaving my sewing machine to gather dust in the basement until next spring. I have a few more tote bags planned, some aprons and a few other sewing projects, besides my crochet projects that keep my hands busy in the evenings. I'm planning ahead this year and making a few crocheted items that have been popular last minute requests just before Halloween the past few years, and I'll be sharing those here soon. I might even include a little tutorial so you can make one yourself!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Teddy Bear Paperdoll Tote Bags

Those snowy pictures from way back in March seem like such a distant memory as I sit here in the heat of the summer, and that afghan I was working on then looks as much like a torture device as the rack right about now! Amazing how one's perspective changes with the seasons!

It's about two months past the end of my second semester in nursing school and a lot has happened since taking that last final exam and giving my brain a rest. We took a family road trip to Disney World, my brother and his family came to visit, our children finished their 4th and 6th grade years of school, and just this week I have finally been able to spend some quality time in my sewing room again. So far, this summer has been just what the doctor ordered!

Keep on reading to see the darling teddy bear paperdoll tote bags I made yesterday. There are two of them exactly the same, and these would be so perfect for anyone of any age to use as a library bag, a project bag, an overnight-at-Grandma's bag, a travel bag, a beach bag, or for any other purpose.

Isn't this fabric just the cutest?

The entire outsides of the bags, plus the handles, are made using this darling teddy bear paperdoll fabric.

The insides of both bags are lined with top quality 100% cotton quilting fabric in a bright and happy orange. There is also a removable stiff bottom in each bag to keep the bag bottoms flat.

The sides of these bags are floppy, making them lightweight and perfect for carrying a little or a lot.

Can't you picture a pair of twins heading off to Grandma's house with their matching teddy bear totes? Too cute!

These bags each measure 5 by 14 inches at the boxed base, 19 inches across the top from side seam to side seam, and 14 inches tall. You can check them out over in my Etsy shop if you're interested in purchasing one or both.

I've linked this post and a few others here:

Behind the Seams Sewing

and here:

In a few days, I'll also be showing an afghan that I have completed and a woven fabric basket in gorgeous fall colors. It feels so nice to have my creative juices flowing once again, and I'm trying to make the most of the time I have before semester 3 begins in September!

Are you being creative this summer too? I'd love to know!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dilly Dally Twirl Extra Large Tote Bag ~ Auction Item

This fabulous, colorful, cheerful, extra large tote bag will be raffled at the St. Anna School Gala in a few weeks. This is the school my younger children attend and I always love to donate some handmade item to the raffle.

Good luck to all who enter!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter in New England ~ and a crochet finish!

March is finally here which means spring can't be far behind. We've been seeing lots of fat robins around lately so that is a very hopeful sign. If you've paid any attention to the weather news in the US this winter, you probably know that here in New England we have gotten more than our fair share of snow this season. Here's one of those robins perched atop one of our six-foot snow banks just waiting for winter to be over!

It has been perfect weather for crocheting thick, cozy afghans though. Here is the gray/gray baby blanket that has kept my fingers busy and is now finished and ready to pack up and mail to my newest little grand-nephew, Drake, born just the other day out in Wisconsin. Take a look...

A very satisfactory winter's work, I'd say! For this afghan, I used Vanna's Choice yarn, seven 3.5-ounce skeins of Charcoal Grey which is the darker yarn in the afghan, and eight 3-ounce skeins of Silver Heather which is the lighter yarn. The only border I put on this afghan is a single round of single crochet in the Charcoal Grey just to finish it off neatly. Once it is shipped out, I can check this off my list!

Another crocheted afghan is in the works and progressing nicely in between school work, exams, clinical days and studying. All is going well so far this semester, but I will admit that I am very much looking forward to the summer break so I can get back into my handiwork a little more. Whether or not I actually will once I have the time remains to be seen. But just having the time available will be a nice treat!

I'll post pictures of the new project as time permits. Until next time...

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy 2015 ~ And My Winter Crochet Project

Use coupon code HAPPY2015 for any purchase from my Etsy shop and save 15% through January 31, 2015!

It's been over four months since my last post here at Hooked On Needles, and I'm wondering how all you wonderful readers have been these past many months and if you might be interested in what I've been up to. So I am going to start out by saying a big HELLO and Happy New Year to anyone who might be reading this, and give you a little update on what I have done since that summer day of acorn painting way back in August. Then I'll show you the crochet project that is keeping me warm and cozy in the evenings now that winter is in full force here in New England.

In September, I started my first semester of the RN program at our local college after completing the previous two years of prerequisites and required electives for the program. We covered nursing fundamentals and long term care was our focus for our clinical experience. The material and the work this time around was so different than all my previous courses, and at the beginning I had some serious doubts as to what I had gotten myself into. But I pressed on, studied hard, worked hard, prayed hard, and in the end finished with a very respectable grade of 88 for the course. I was quite happy with that, and now ready to begin semester two which will cover maternity and pediatrics, two areas I have had a little bit of personal experience with already! So that's a quick update on my school situation.

Now let's talk about the fun stuff! I have actually completed a few projects that I did not post here just for lack of time. One was a new mitten for the Christmas mantel. This one was for our daughter's husband, so we could have a mitten for everyone hanging by the chimney with cheer. You can see our mittens in this old post if you're wondering what mittens hanging on the mantel look like instead of stockings! We love them!

At the medical office where I work, we had a Secret Santa swap before Christmas and I made a set of embroidered note cards for one of our nurse practitioners. I don't have pictures of those exact cards, but this old post shows some embroidered bookmarks I made a while ago using the same technique.

Between studying fluids and electrolytes, learning how to turn, bathe, medicate and assess patients, practicing inserting catheters on very life-like dummies, writing nursing care plans and making medication cards, I am sure there were a few other crafty projects I worked on in my spare time. For now though, take a look at the very cozy crochet project I am making for one of my nieces who is having her first baby in another month or so. Keep reading....

It really is a baby blanket, although these colors are not what comes to mind when I think of a baby blanket either! My niece asked for two shades of gray, so there you go...two shades of gray!

This crochet stitch I am using is an oldie that I have used many times before. I like it because, as you can see from the above picture, the front and the back each have an interesting pattern. It's also a very easy pattern that involves only double crochet and chain stitch, although it looks much more interesting than that!

The yarn I picked is Vanna's Choice which I was able to get at my local Michael's store with one of those great before-Christmas coupons. The colors are Charcoal Grey and Silver Heather.

The pattern I used is the cover pattern from this very old Coats & Clarks pattern booklet #299 which is still one of my go-to patterns when I want something easy, cozy and pretty.

You can tell this is an old pattern booklet by the price sticker. First of all, it is from Woolworth's, the Greatest Store Ever in the history of retail. I loved that store for everything! And then get a load of that price! A whole dollar! One entire dollar bought me 15 pages of knit and crochet patterns for babies, everything from blankets and booties to sweaters and sacks! Amazing! A real treasure too! If you ever find anything like this at a yard sale, don't leave without it! Great stuff in these little pattern booklets!

I purchased nine skeins of each color for this afghan and have used up a little more than half of it at this writing. The size of the blanket right now is what I would consider a good size for a baby blanket, but I don't really have any other use for the leftover yarn, so I have decided to continue crocheting this blanket and make it a size that this little guy will be able to grow into. The colors are much more Manly than Baby, so I'm hoping he will be able to use this as a cozy afghan on his bed as he grows up.

So that's what's filling my relaxing time in the evenings until I finish it up, wrap it up and mail it off to the great white north for a lucky little baby boy.

My school starts up again in just two weeks, and I have already received assignments to do before that, so keep those hands busy creating nice things for people in your lives and I hope to catch up with you again when I have another semester under my belt!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Painted Acorn Santa Ornaments ~ A Picture Tutorial

It's the end of August and the school year has already begun. It seems like we barely just started summer and here we are at the end of it! As far away as Christmas might seem now, we all know it will be here in the blink of an eye.

Today I have a fun little tutorial using some of those acorns that are falling from your oak trees. This year happens to be a "big acorn" year for some of the oak trees on our street, and we've been able to collect a few that are quite large, beautifully shaped and intact. A little craft paint turns them into these cute little Santa ornaments!

Keep reading to see how...

First you need to collect your acorns. Look for well shaped acorns with their caps still attached, with no worm holes or other deformities or nastiness.

You don't have to use huge acorns, but I found that painting on the bigger ones was just a little easier than the smaller ones. These monster sized acorns only come around every few years, and this year was it! I think it has something to do with what kind of winter we had last year, or will have this year, or something like that. Anyway, you can see how big this guy is and this one was just freshly fallen from the tree so still very green!

Since I wanted to start my painting soon and not wait for these acorns to dry out naturally, I spread them onto a cookie sheet and put them in a warm oven (170 degrees) for a few hours to dry them out. Then I gave them a good wipe down and popped the caps off of them...

...and glued them back on using hot glue. This is important because if you don't glue the caps on, they will eventually fall off naturally as the acorn ages.

The next step is to screw into the top of each acorn a small screw eye so you will have something by which to hang the jolly little Santa when he is finished.

So just screw the little screw eyes into the top, as close to the middle as you can.

You don't even need to pre-drill a hole or anything like that. You should just be able to push it into the cap and turn a few times to get it started. Then you can put a toothpick or the end of a small screwdriver or paintbrush through the hole to make turning it easier, or just turn it using your fingers. The first few aren't so bad on the fingers, but if you are doing a lot of these all at once, you might want to save your fingertips and use something to help turn the screw. Ask me how I know!

Let the painting begin! Using inexpensive acrylic craft paint, paint the caps red. Paint the edge of the cap as well as the top, but you don't have to paint all the way down to the acorn itself because the lower part of the edge will be covered in white...you know how the edge of Santa's hat is all white and fluffy, right? Let that dry, and then paint another coat of red on the caps.

When the second coat of red is dry, paint not quite half of the acorn with a peach color, using even downward strokes from the top of the acorn to the point. Let that coat dry, then paint another coat of peach for the face.

When the second coat of peach is dry, turn the acorns over and apply dimensional white paint in a swirly motion onto the back side of the cap edge, then apply more of the dimensional white paint all over the back side of the acorn that was not painted peach. If needed, use a paintbrush to spread out the white paint or pull out little points in it to give it the look of white hair. I just used a small paintbrush and sort of pushed it around until it covered the back half of the acorn and looked all thick and fluffy. Give this coating of white a good 12 hours to dry completely.

Once the back of the hat and head are completely dry, it's time to apply a small circle of red in the area where the mouth will be. I made my red circles bigger than they needed to be so that I had more flexibility in adding the "facial hair" later.

Add little dots of black paint for the eyes. I used the non-business end of a small paintbrush dipped into a little puddle of black paint and then just touched it to the face where I wanted the eyes to be. Make sure you don't place the eyes too high on the face or you won't have room for the white trim on the cap and the fluffy white eyebrows. Santa does need his fluffy white eyebrows you know! Let the faces dry before proceeding.

Once the faces are dry, you can finish the white trim on the caps, applying the dimensional white paint in swirling motions to the front part of the cap.

Then you can add the little eyebrows just by squeezing out little lines of white over the eyes.

Next apply the mustache by making two curved lines starting from just above the red circle and going down and out towards the side of the face. After that, make a little V below the mustache so that just enough of the red circle shows for the mouth. Fill in the sideburns and beard with swirlies of fluffy white paint to finish him off. At this point, you can add the white pom pom at the top of the cap around the screw eye, or you can wait until the white paint on the face dries to do that.

I found it necessary to hang my wet-faced Santas to dry because they wanted to roll forward onto their wet faces when I put them on the paper towel lined cookie sheet. I just used a plastic container and a few dowels and a paint brush and some paper clips to hang them.

It looks like a little Santa convention inside my plastic container! Leave the white paint to dry completely, at least 12 hours, and then spray the little guys with a coating of clear acrylic sealer spray which you can get at any paint or craft store. Let the sealer dry and enjoy your painted acorn Santa ornaments!

Happy Stitching!

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