Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Homemade Holiday Banner

I feel like I've been on a bit of a creative streak lately, getting a few lingering craft/house projects finally checked off the never-ending list, and with leftover motivation to write about them, to boot! What is going on?! Anywho, I spent this past weekend putting out our Christmas decorations, and in doing so, had a rare stroke of creative genius (as I'm clearly so prone to) for a super cheap (possibly free depending on materials you may have), super easy holiday (and beyond) decoration....

 Using some Christmas wrapping paper leftover from years past, a collection of pictures/storybook pages/postcards, some twine and clothespins I added some cute and festive decor to a usually blank space in our house. (Excuse the bad picture, the nighttime lighting situation in our house is apparently very camera unfriendly, and I'm too impatient/lazy to wait for better lighting).

Making this sucker was super simple.  I simply strung some of my twine up using push pins on either end, cut some triangles out of some festive wrapping paper, collected my other decorative items and hung them all up with the clothespins! It took me about 10 minutes total, and cost me nothing as we already had everything on hand. 


 In addition to the wrapping paper triangles, I hung a picture of the Kansas City Plaza all decked out in Christmas lights that I took a few years ago...

 ... a couple of pages taken out of a vintage 1950's "The Night Before Christmas" book bought at a thrift store recently for $3...

 ... and a vintage postcard from the 1920's or so, also found at a local thrift store, for around $1-2.

So there's one great example of quick and easy decorating using-what-ya-got. Phil even had the idea of leaving the twine up year round, and swapping out seasonal decorations and pictures throughout the year, and I am on board with that as well.  It's nice to have a little bit of somethin-somethin on what is usually just a big blank hunk of half-wall.  Cheers to Crafty Christmas Creations (and alliteration!!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Infinity Scarf + Nursing Cover Crochet Win!

So I'm back with yet another crochet project, and this time my first ever that I created all in my own head with no pattern or anything. Go me.  My friend Megan popped out her third kid recently, and I knew all along I wanted to crochet her something - with three kids, I knew that they already had most baby things they might ever need, and as this was their last kid, I knew that any new baby items wouldn't be getting more use down the line, either.  So I wanted to make something that could be useful now and post-baby-phase, and maybe something for Ms. Megan herself, rather than for just baby.  So the idea of an infinity scarf/nursing cover came to mind.  Something useful and handy, multifunctional and usable post-baby/nursing = perfection! She can always wear it as a scarf after she's done nursing, and in the meantime, is a handy way to always make sure she's covered (both literally and figuratively) while needing to nurse out in broad daylight.

 As you can see, it can be worn as a chunky, oversized, hopefully-super-warm-and-comfy infinity scarf that can be doubled up/twisted/arranged in whatever fashion you'd like.

And when it comes time to feed baby, unwrap it, sling it over your shoulder, and voila - instant privacy for nursing time. When nursing is done, simply double it back up into a scarf! No need to carry an extra nursing cover or deal with slyly hiding baby inside a sweatshirt or other article of clothing that may or may not provide enough coverage.

(Quick side-note to give major props to gorgeous Ms. Megan for modeling my creation [and doesn't she look fabulous for having given birth a mere three days ago?!])

As for how I made it, I hunted around for a pattern to follow, and didn't find any specifically meant for the infinity scarf/nursing cover combo (there are lots of patterns for infinity scarves that I could have used/adapted, but nothing for this specific purpose).  So I decided to just wing it.  This is my first project where I didn't use a pattern at all. I've adapted them before, but always started with a pattern as a template/guide.  This time - nada. I'm pretty dang proud that it turned out, even though seriously, it doesn't get any easier than this as far as crocheting or creating patterns. But still, with my tendency to screw up even the easiest creative tasks, I'm calling it a win! I've written down the "pattern" for any other crochet geeks out there who want to tackle this super easy project, although it's more of a "guide," than a pattern. 

Infinity Scarf + Nursing Cover

Yarn of your choosing (I used I Love This Yarn Chunky in Pearl Grey and Plumberry and I used about 3+ skeins total)
Size J hook
Yarn needle

Make a chain however long you want the scarf to be.  I honestly don't know how long my chain was to start - I just chained until it seemed long enough, joined it, and tested it out around my neck until it seemed to be the right length.
Once your chain is the length you want, join to first chain with a slip stitch to make one big loop.
*{Ch 2, double crochet into each stitch around. Join with Sl St.} Repeat from * as many times as you want until the scarf is as wide as you want it.  You can vary the width as needed, based on your preferences and needs (just keep in mind if you are using it as a nursing cover, it does need to be wide enough to provide ample coverage for mom & a growing baby!) Once the scarf is wide enough, finish off the edge with slip stitches all the way around, and weave in ends. Change up colors as needed to create desired patterns.  My pattern for the color stripes, in case you want to replicate it exactly, was this:

2 rows Gray
1 row Purple
1 row Gray
1 row Purple
X rows Gray (this is the middle of the scarf, and depending on how wide you want your scarf, this number will vary, just make as many rows as you want to create desired width)
1 row Purple
1 row Gray
1 row Purple
2 rows Gray

Seriously, I told you this was an easy project! So that's that, my first ever straight-from-my-brain-into-my-hooks crochet creation sans pattern. Hooray!