About Kaitlin Cone
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My family loves birds. My grandma and grandpa live in the hills between North and South Carolina, and when I call I always ask my grandparents what birds have been around. They usually have chickadees, wrens, cardinals, and tufted titmouses (which happen to be my favorite). My dad loves hummingbirds and has several feeders on the front porch. There’s a feeder out back for the less exotic birds, and we keep an eye on it to make sure the squirrels aren’t hogging it. My in-laws have several houses and feeders, as well as stands for the birds they care for, even going so far as to avoid the corner of the porch where a wren nested for a couple seasons and had a batch or two of babies. I also have several friends that love birds, and we’ve spotted several beautiful varieties while traveling.
With so many bird lovers around me, I’m surprised that I’ve never built a birdhouse for one of them. I painted a birdhouse once at camp, but other than that I haven’t spent any time working on that particular craft. However, this little project just might change my mind. What’s cuter than a vintage-inspired birdhouse? This specific one is modeled after 40’s and 50’s campers, which has become very popular in the last several years. And what’s not to love? It’s a fun shape, it’s two tone with happy, bright colors, and the details make it pop.
Even if you don’t have the woodworking tools to cut your own pieces for this trailer, or you don’t have access to sheets of aluminum, or recycled materials, there are options if you still want this birdhouse for your backyard or a shelf in your home or the front porch. Of course, you can purchase the trailer already made, but sometimes it’s more fun to put it together yourself, especially if it’s going to be something an animal lives inside.
Of course, if you have the woodworking know-how, all you need to do is create a blueprint and choose the wood you want to work with. You can go to a craft store and pick up some balsa wood, or you can try some pine or other soft wood. With some heavy-duty tools, you should be able to create the pieces in an afternoon. After that, you’ll need to attach them to each other with a strong glue, and then you can decide whether you want to varnish the outside or paint it. If you’re going to keep it inside, you could use something like chalkboard paint and decorate it with doodles and quotes. You can also put it on a stand and wrap it in Christmas lights. You can also hang it on a rafter, or put it out on the front porch, or you can use it as the base of another project, like a centerpiece for the table.
If this sounds like something right up your alley, you can make your own after looking at the inspiration below. If you’d rather buy one pre-made, you can find them on Etsy. Or, you can buy a kit and put it together yourself. There’s one available for purchase on Bird Folk Collective.
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When I was young, I loved tissue paper flowers. I would grab whatever extra tissue paper we had, some pipe cleaners, and settle down in a corner and put together a bouquet of beautiful, fragile flowers. I believe someone gave me a book with various shapes to try, but I ended up making a lot of tulips. The only trouble with tissue paper flowers, however, is that no matter how pretty they are, they are extremely fragile and do not travel well. I don’t think I have a single one left between all my moves.
However, I did discover that there are other ways to make pretty flowers, and they hold up much better and can be used for many more things than the tissue paper flowers. Tulle flowers can be pretty, especially as hairbows for tiny children, but they can get ragged and tear. Ribbon, however, is often sturdier, and will last a long time. Ribbon is also a much better material for a wide age range, and can be used for other things, not just fashion accessories. You can decorate with them – on pillows, as a garland for a Christmas tree, as a centerpieces for Easter, etc. You can adorn your bags, coats, and scarves with them. They can be placed on cards, used as bookmarks, and added to other craft projects like embroidery.
The Ribbon Retreat has the perfect beginner project for someone like me, with little experience working with ribbon. Their Satin Ribbon Dahlia is gorgeous, perfect for a gift or addition to another project. To make the dahlia, you’ll need the following materials: 2 yards of satin ribbon (you can use any size – the pattern suggests using 1 1/2″ ribbon but does mention you can use another size if you want to go bigger or smaller than the original), a gem (the pattern suggests using a pearl), a needle, a thread, a clip (a barrette would work as well), a felt circle (try to match or coordinate with the color of the ribbon you chose), a lighter, and a hot glue gun with plenty of glue.
You’ll need to measure your ribbon, then sew a zig-zag pattern in the ribbon. Secure at the end with a knot and then gather from the other end. The ribbon will bunch up and start resembling petals. Just remember that if you don’t use quilting quality thread, you will need to go slowly and not yank, as you could break the thread and then have to start over. You may have to re-thread your needle a few times. Remember to gather as you go. Once you’re done, you can start wrapping in a circle, adding a dab of hot glue every so often so it stays in place. Glue the gem in the middle, add the felt and clip to the back, and voila! You now have a beautiful ribbon dahlia to adorn whatever you please.
Does this sound like a project you’d love to try? You can find the full written and photo tutorial at The Ribbon Retreat. You can also purchase supplies there, including ribbon and gems. If you don’t like using ribbon, of course, there are other, just as sturdy options, including rickrack and felt flowers.
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I have friends, a husband and wife, who cross stitch together. They buy the beautiful kits with thousands of stitches and when it’s complete, it is a work of art. I love that they have a craft they do together, and that they give to their families as a gift. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the time or patience to undertake such a project. I’m the type of person who will freehand designs or follow a small design, but beyond that, you can forget it. There are some small kits available, but I often find them expensive, and instead have to make up my own patterns as I go, which can go well until I get confused about which color I want where, how big the final project will be, and exactly how to get the shape I’m going for. That’s where Country Living comes in and saves the day.
I wasn’t aware that Country Living had such a thriving craft section to their website, but after scrolling through several patterns, I got really excited about the possibilities. These are smaller, more manageable patterns, easy to print out on your home printer, and simple enough that you won’t need two dozen different shades of the same color. Whether you’re looking for vintage inspiration, cute ideas, or more modern projects, Country Living has it all.
There are several Americana projects, such as a red barn, a white silo, and vegetation like trees with autumn foliage or various seeds and nuts. There are patterns with a summer vibe, like the bicycle and glass of lemonade. There are also unique patterns like oars, china patterns, and a cute little mailbox. Also available are animals, holiday patterns, and a map of the United States in miniature. If you can think of it, Country Living probably has a pattern for it.
This might be a good way to try out something new, something a little more challenging for yourself, like using different colors of fabric, or adding seed beads (the autumn leaves would look gorgeous with glass beads added in), or even buttons, lace, and ribbon. You could even add embroidery techniques, such as knots, various types of stitching, and single color embroidery thread. A simple pattern means you can tailor and embellish to suit your own inclinations without having to worry that you’re going to mess it up somehow and have to take it out or, heaven forbid, start over.
If you’re interested in trying out one or more of these adorable cross stitch patterns, you can view a library of them by visiting Country Living’s website (see a sample of their offerings down below). I particularly love the bicycle, the glass of lemonade, and the tree with autumn foliage. Be sure and look at the other subjects Country Living posts about, because there are several other topics that might be of interest to you, including other crafts, food and drink, holiday decorations, and house/intererior design. Their photos are all pinnable (if you use Pinterest), and you can follow them on various social media including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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I love vegetables. I love growing them, preparing them, eating them, doodling them, and painting them. If you were to look at my notebooks you would find them full of doodles of carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and radishes. And if you took a peek in my fridge, you’d see a host of them – celery, peppers, onions, carrots, and more. I don’t really know why I find them fascinating, but I do. So imagine my delight upon seeing these adorable miniature felt-and-embroidery vegetables! Veselka Bulkan’s creations are adorable, soft, and delightful. Of course, now that I’ve seen these, I want to try making them to adorn my own house.
To make your own felted veggies with embroidered leaves, you’ll need some crafting materials, including fabric (cotton or linen work best for me), felt (or wool if you’re going to make your own felt) in a variety of veggie colors (such as red, purple, green, and yellow), scissors, embroidery threads coordinating with your veggie colors, and a needle, and an embroidery hoop. If you’re planning on making your own felt, go ahead and make the felted vegetables first. You’ll join them to the embroidery upon completion. If you use store-bought felt (which is what I’ll be doing), sew up the vegetable shapes with the coordinating embroidery thread, stuff the veggies, and then go ahead and join them to the embroidered vegetation.
If you’re putting together a theme, try pairing things like onions, peppers, and tomatoes; carrots, potatoes and onions; or greens like kale, lettuce, and spinach. You could even make veggies using non-traditional colors, like the purple, white, and yellow carrots, or red onion, white onion, and yellow onion. You could also use blue, orange, and yellow together. Pick which colors resonate with you and if they aren’t normally the color of vegetable you want, try it out and see – you never know how beautiful the end project will be. If you’d rather use a limited palette, or go with pastels, branch out and try it. See what works, and when you’re done, post pictures of the final product. You never know who you will inspire.
Interested in miniature food and embroidery but don’t feel partial to vegetables? Not to worry. There are plenty of online tutorials for other foods such as pasta and breads, desserts, fruits, and snacks. You could also embroider berries, ferns, and other food found in the wild. Use your imagination and bring a miniature version of your favorite food to life. Pizza is totally an option.
Does this sound like a fun weekend craft for you? You can find all the foodie inspiration you’ll ever want at Apartment Therapy. If you want help crafting stitches for the foliage portion of the project, you can find it at Mary Corbet’s Needle & Thread. And if you’re new to embroidery, you can find a stitch library at Mollie Makes. Of course, if you’d rather just dive right in to the felted veggies and embroidery, you can take a peek at Veselka Bulkan’s array of beautiful vegetables and a DIY tutorial for felted veggies at Craft Gossip.
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There are few things I love more than a good mashup. A combination of favorite things can only mean that they’re about to get better, together. That’s what I thought of when I saw this brilliant project – the mashup of two of my favorite hobbies, photography and embroidery. Instead of using oils to color the photos (I’ve seen it done a few times, especially with vintage photos), which can get messy, using brightly colored thread to add detail and whimsy to photos creates a 3-D effect, making the photo even more eye-catching. What’s not to love?
While there is plenty of inspiration online for embroidery on vintage photos, including artist Jose Romussi’s work, being able to work with family photos seems a little less intimidating and more rewarding, in the end. Especially if you are giving the embroidery project to a family member for a special occasion such as graduation, a housewarming present, or to celebrate the birth of a baby. Of course, you can choose whichever type of photo you prefer, and you don’t even have to stop at portraits. You could embroider an old family home, or the landscape of a favorite vacation spot, or a treasured family heirloom.
Whatever you decide to do with this project, and whatever you decide to use for it, you’ll need a few items to complete it: a black and white photo (you can alter photos on your computer or have them printed somewhere), scissors, sketching materials (colored pencils work best, as they will help you keep the colors separate and won’t run or bleed on the photo), a needle, and several colors of embroidery thread. You might also want an embroidery stitch visual handy in case you want to try different stitches, especially if you’re embroidering plants, clothes, or other items requiring a little more design.
Before you begin, you will also need to decide where and how you’re going to embroider the photo. Do you want to simply embroider a little color onto someone’s sweater, or the family pet? Do you want to add things to the photo like a bouquet or words or stars? Taking some time beforehand to plan out what you’re going to do will save you many headaches down the road. Try sketching on a piece of paper or print out a few copies of the photo so you can try out what you want to do ahead of time.
Does this project tickle your fancy? You can find a host of helpful tutorials and plenty of inspiration online, but I’ve collected some of my favorites for your benefit below. If you want inspiration for vintage photography and embroidery, do check out artist Jose Romussi’s work. You can also find plenty of ideas over at Craftsy – Sarah Barnes has a tutorial specifically for combining vintage photography and embroidery. If you want a look that’s simpler and has a “sketch” style to it, you can find a tutorial for that at Patchwork Posse. And if you just want an easy DIY tutorial for adding some color and 3-D effects to your family portraits, read through the incredibly helpful photo-and-written tutorial created by A Beautiful Mess.
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If you’re a crafter like me, you enjoy looking at projects online and then making your own version without having to adhere to strict instructions. Having to read pages of steps, with or without pictures, is boring. But if someone gives me an idea and I can figure out how to make it my own? I love it. If that sounds like you, then let me introduce you to a DIY project you’ll fall in love with and want to do over and over.
DIY With Love’s Geometrical Animal Patterns is the perfect small project for the beginner embroiderer. You can choose any line drawing you want – doesn’t have to be an animal – and with just a few steps, you’ve got a pattern you can embroider in a rainbow of colors. It’s so easily customizable you might want to make yourself an entire zoo. These embroidery pieces would look fantastic in a sun room, nursery, or guest room. You can choose colors that coordinate with your decorating motifs, or you can choose to give these beauties away – they would make an excellent housewarming present.
To make your own geometrical pattern, simply choose a line drawing (you will need to print it out), and get some embroidery cloth, a pencil, and some tape. I don’t have a fancy light table, so I just tape the drawing behind the fabric and put it up against a window to trace. You can use chalk or a fabric pencil, but I prefer a regular pencil as the markings are clearer.
Once you’ve got the design transferred, you can break it up into geometric pieces if it isn’t already. Once you’re done with that step, you can start on the embroidery. I prefer using a hoop, but some people prefer the fabric to be loose, so find what works for you and do that. Remember, this is DIY so you do it how you like (and if you want a hoop, don’t feel like you have to stick with a circle hoop – there are ovals as well, and you can always find a square or rectangle if that’s your preference).
Embroidering can be a little tricky, so read up on embroidery stitches before you begin so you know the look you’re going for – and keep a thimble handy for those tough spots when the needle won’t go through without a little push. Other tools you might want nearby: scissors, extra needles, and a backing for the finished product (felt works, but you can also use interfacing).
If this sounds like a fun project, give it a go and create a bevy of beautiful creatures to decorate your (or your friend’s) space. You can find the instructions at DIY With Love (Google translate does a great job), as well as photos and a free template download. If you’ve never explored DIY With Love, I recommend them for inspiration and tutorials. They have everything from jewelry making, crochet, knitting, to woodworking and cooking recipes.
And if you’d rather take a gander at other embroidery projects before you begin, we’ve included several ideas down below.
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It’s difficult to find the right big bag — you don’t want anything too bulky, but you also don’t want a bag that’s flimsy – after all, you’re going to be carrying groceries, library books, craft projects, snacks, and the necessities and you need something you can depend on, that won’t snap or tear or wear out. While it might be difficult to find such a bag in stores (unless you’re willing to hand over a lot of your hard-earned cash), there is a simple solution: you can try making one of these beautiful big bags with your crochet skills.
The nice thing about big bags is that you can use a bulkier yarn or wind two or three stands of thinner yarn together, making your bag super tough. It will endure a lot. It can be tossed in the car, dropped on the floor, slung over your shoulder, all without you worrying about your important stuff falling all over the place. Using bulkier yarn will also make the bag stretchier, which is nice if you’re going grocery shopping and just need a little extra room for that piece of produce you just spied on your way out.
There are a variety of patterns to choose from, and whether you choose to buy a pattern or find one for free, we have you covered. If you’re looking for a fancier big bag, you can purchase a book of patterns on YesAsia and make the P.8 Motif Bag by Naoko Shimoda, and for inspiration you can look at the Salmon Lace Bag from chalklegs on Ravelry, who was inspired to make her bag after seeing the P.8 Motif.
If you want a trendy tote bag with a bit more heft, you can try the striped Stylin’ Tote Bag from LuvMaxine on Craftsy – her free pattern is available on her site. It’s a thicker bag that uses worsted weight yarn, so it won’t be as stretchy as some others. Remember to keep in mind what you’ll be using the bag for in order to find the right fit for you.
Of course, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys looking at inspiration and then jumping into your own pattern creation, you could look at the gallery below and go ahead and get started – we particularly liked this bag. It uses what appears to be a softer yarn, perhaps mohair or alpaca or even angora. Be aware, however, that these materials are more expensive, so this big bag would need to be used a little more carefully than the Stylin’ Tote Bag.
Whichever pattern you choose, there are an array of colors to choose. You could make a bag with stripes or chevron, add ribbon or buttons, a pocket, and you could cover the inside of the bag with fabric to make it even sturdier. The choice is up to you. It would be wise to make such decisions before beginning the project.
If you’re interested in making one or more of these purses, you can find the patterns on Ravelry (the Salmon Lace and P.8 Motif are both on here), and Craftsy (the free Stylin’ Tote Bag pattern link). You can also find inspiration here.
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Have you ever found the perfect outfit – coordinating skirt and blouse, or dress and shoes, but had no purse to go with it? Either one was too big, one was too small, it wasn’t quite the right shade, or you just felt like you needed something a little extra special? We have the perfect solution: crochet your own purse with this free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns! With this pattern, you can customize to your heart’s content – the length, width, color, shape, stitch, and accessories like the little button (you could also do a clasp, a tie, or leave it as is if you prefer).
While some crochet purses are made with bulky yarn and are fit only for day-to-day or errand running, this purse is different because it uses Aran weight (8 wpi) yarn (the pattern recommends using Lion Brand’s Cotton-Ease), which makes it delicate and light without being too flimsy. It’s pretty, unique, and still hardy enough to withstand several nights out. As a bonus, since it’s cotton, it’s easy to wash. Simply toss it in a delicates garment bag and run it through a cycle. You can even dry it and it won’t felt like wool.
The color is up to you, of course, but there are several options to consider, such as patterns (like houndstooth, stripes, chevron, or even embroidery after the purse is complete), color combinations (you could make a purse for each season and utilize common colors from each, or you could make a holiday purse, or try making a purse in pastels, primary colors, or even ombre — just make sure that you know how to connect the yarns without it being obvious in the finished project).
You’ll need a couple skeins of yarn, a size 4mm crochet hook, scissors, and a tapestry needle to complete this project. And don’t worry – this pattern is labeled “Easy” so even if you’re a beginner, you’ll be able to complete this cute purse. It’s worked flat, mostly in single crochet – the flap is made of a crochet lace stitch, and it’s all one piece, though there is the option to add a strap if you so desire. (You could also add a keychain to the side, or ribbon through the front of the purse, or a tassle on the side)
If it isn’t fancy enough for your evening out, there’s an even more sophisticated pattern using Vanna’s Glamour called the “Evening Glitter Clutch”. You can find it here at the Lion Brand site. You will need to create an account with them to view the free patterns, but it’s worth it – there are plenty of free patterns being uploaded for all levels of crochet ability, and every kind of project desired.
If this sounds like a craft project you’d love to get your hands on, you can find the free pattern link on Ravelry – don’t forget to sign up for a free account at Lion Brand, and if you finish up a purse and want to show it off, there’s a part of the site where users can upload their completed projects.
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I’ve been looking for a new wallet for months. My old wallet is a particular favorite, picked up at Target because it was a small, blue pleather item with a black French Bulldog on it with red glasses and a bowtie. After a few years, however, the pleather is wearing off and the design is becoming difficult to make out. I’ve scoured thrift shops, stores, and websites for another wallet that could fill the space of my old one. I even considered making a duct tape wallet so I could make it the perfect size.
However, none of these particular options suited me. I think it’s time to go back to my crafting skills and make my own wallet. To that end, I went looking through various websites and Pinterest boards attempting to find just the right wallet, one I could carry around in a small bag or stick in a pocket. There’s a few places that are better than others for this sort of thing – Flickr searches give lots of inspiration but not much in the way of directions or patterns.
Pinterest links sometimes work and sometimes lead you off on a wild goose chase, and Ravelry can be a little overwhelming with its search options. Luckily, however, the two patterns I’m sharing here are from independent crocheters who’ve put up free patterns on their sites, so you can benefit by not having to search for hours and hours for a wallet – you can simply find some yarn, scissors, and a tapestry needle and get to work.
The first pattern is from Suzie’s Yarnie Stuff. It’s a simple card-and-cash wallet with a snap to prevent it from opening and spilling all your items. It uses worsted weight yarn and a 4.5mm crochet hook, as well as a needle and thread, and a snap. It wasn’t what I was looking for, but it’s a nice, simple wallet for a crochet beginner, or for someone who prefers a standard wallet.
The Crochet & Fabric Wallet from Sugarbeans was the pattern I was looking for – it uses one of my favorite stitches, the puff stitch, and you can pair it with any cotton fabric. The possibilities are endless! I’m already thinking of making one specifically for fall, my favorite season, and one for everyday use.
All you need to do for the Crochet & Fabric Wallet is make a rectangle in the size you want, and then use cotton fabric and interfacing as the inside (you’ll need to handsew the fabric inside the rectangle). You can add a loop and a button to secure the wallet and voila, you have a totally adorable wallet that your friends will drool over. These also make great gifts for said friends, as well as family members, whether for birthdays, special occasions, or the holidays. Spruce up your wallet with a keychain, a brooch, a tassel, or charms.
If these patterns have piqued your interest, you can find photo inspiration over on Flickr and the gallery below, or head to Suzie’s Yarnie Stuff for the simple wallet pattern. You can find the Crochet & Fabric Wallet tutorial at Sugarbean’s website.
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Never quite sure where your loose change went? Or what to do with it? You could try a change jar, saving up enough pennies, nickels and dimes until you have enough to take to the change counter, which will charge you for using the service. You could get the little paper rolls from the bank and roll up all your change and then deposit it in the bank. But honestly, who has the time? Wouldn’t it be easier to just have a little money pouch at hand for all that loose change?
The money pouch is small, simple, and stylish. It uses very little yarn, and cotton at that, which means it’s easy to clean after your lipstick melts or your cup of hot coffee spills. You’ll need to get the clasps and frame for the pouch, which are easily found in most craft stores (Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s and Hobby Lobby should carry them, but you could also buy them online, which would be a good idea if you wanted to buy in bulk and make a bunch for a craft fair or holiday gifts).
You’ll also need stitch markers, scissors, and a crochet hook (size recommended is 2.5mm). If you want a larger money pouch or coin purse, you could use a bigger yarn and go up a size or two with your crochet hook. Just make sure that the stitches are tight, because you don’t want to lose any of your change.
The video tutorial for this project is from the Esperanza y Ana Celia Rosas YouTube channel, which now has over nine hundred thousand subscribers. Though the audio instructions are in Spanish, the video portion is clear and you can follow along even if you don’t know much Spanish.
There’s a stitch specific to the project to learn, so the money pouch would probably not be a great project for a new beginner, but with a little practice, an advanced beginner could try this out without too much trouble or frustration. Go slowly, re-watch the video as you need it, and keep in mind that this is a small project, so it won’t take you too long.
With this little money pouch, you can try a variety of colors – something to match a favorite outfit, or holiday colors, favorite sports team colors, rainbow, ombre, or a single solid color. There isn’t too much room, since it is so small, for embellishment, but you could always add a keychain and attach it to your keys. You could also make a little strap for it so that you can wear it around your wrist without fear of losing it.
Does this sound like a project you’d like to try? If so, gather your materials (remember, you’ll need cotton yarn, a crochet hook, scissors, and a clasp and purse frame, all available at your local craft store), start the video, and join in the fun. You can find the video tutorial at Esperanza y Ana Celia Rosas on YouTube. If you like this tutorial, subscribe to them for more content, and bookmark their website. Get ready to collect all that loose change that has been lying around – you never know when you’re going to need it!
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