(Inspired by) Noro Striped Scarf

This beautiful scarf has been shared by many knitters. It’s a simple pattern where the yarn does the hard work. Originally made with Noro yarns, I tried it using some yarn I already had.

The concept is simple – two colorways of self-striping yarn alternating every two rows. The ever-changing combination is mesmerizing and beautiful.

How to do it:

  • Plan for a finished width of 6-8″ and finished length of 5-6′
  • This pattern is knit in a 1x 1 rib
  • Slip the first and last stitches on the second row of each color to keep the edge neat
  • An odd number of stitches will look extra neat, because you start and end each row with the same type of stitch, but an even number is simplest, because you start each row the same way. I did it this way, and it’s barely noticeable

This scarf is addictive to knit, because each section comes together in a unique pattern. It’s also very photogenic!

Warmly 😉,

“Jewels”

It’s in the Bag – Stenciled Totes

Most years, I try to make something creative as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers. There’s so much joy in giving, but we’re also living in a time and place where it feels like everything is at your fingertips, so something handmade feels like a good way to express how much we appreciate those around us. When I can manage it, I make a few extra to last through the year as hostess and grown-up birthday gifts. I’ve linked to previous years’ handmade gifts at the bottom of the post, if you’re looking for more ideas.

This year, I decided to make stenciled canvas tote bags as our holiday treat. They’re so pretty and unique, yet also practical, as we’re trying to minimize our use of disposable shopping bags. I had so much fun trying different combinations of colors and patterns.

What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  • Prewash the bags
  • Choose a stencil and use blue painters tape to hold it in place
  • Put an eye md magazine inside the bag, so the paint won’t go through to the other side
  • Mix paint with textile medium according to the instructions
  • Use the spouncer to apply light coats of paint
  • Once thoroughly dry, iron the pattern using a press cloth to set the paint
  • That’s all! Unless you’re me and repeat it many, many times!

Here are just some of the combinations I made!

Tile stencil in navy and in ombré blues:

Arrows, with a contrasting accent color and (bottom left) ombré blues:

Feathers,with a contrasting accent color or (bottom) ombré blues and greys.

I really liked the feathers!

I loved the tile in this mix of copper and gold paint. The metallic paints were very thick and made very crisp designs.

A close up of the feathers:

The birds were fun to arrange in different patterns and colors.

My mother-in-law likes gingko leaves, so I made this one for her:

And I got to keep this one for myself!

No matter how I plan, the holidays are hectic. I definitely all felt worthwhile when I went to give out the bags. Our teachers and friends were so excited – it definitely put me in the spirit of the season!

it made me happy to make the people I care about happy. My friend Liane took this great photo of her bag:

Looking for more handmade gift ideas? Here are some from past years:

“Jewels”

Tin Can Luminaries

I’ve had my eye on these tin can luminaries for a while. I love an upcycling project that doesn’t look like it would have been better off left in the recycling bin 🙂

I started off by collecting some cans, washing them, and filling them with water to freeze. This helps the can keep its shape while you punch the design. I found a lot of patterns online and printed my favorites. I then used rubber bands to hold the pattern in place while I made the pattern with hammer and nail.

I finished them off with some spray paint and put some LED candles inside. I made mine for Christmas, but the designs are neutral enough for any occasion (well, maybe not the snowflake…)

I love creating things from stuff around the house. I can’t look at my pantry the same way anymore.

“Jewels”

Festive Boho-ho-ho Christmas Stockings

Yup, I have become one of those people who does a themed Christmas each year. I am still not sure if this is a sign of greatness of madness! While I admit to having accumulated many boxes of decorations, I … Continue reading

Hanging Out & Hanging Up Plants

Hello, Crazy Plant Lady here today!

My good friend, Nicola, asked me to share more about how I’m installing my macrame plant hangers (see this post and this post for the details on the hangers).


There are lots of creative ideas for creating hanging plant displays. I’ve started with some easy methods, including hanging my plants from

  • Wooden beams
  • Curtain rods
  • Wall brackets

I’ll give you those details and also include some more ambitious ideas that I still fantasize about!

One general tip is that I chose lighter weight planters. Some of my plants are hanging in my made-over yogurt containers, and others are in glass jars or vases, some painted with metallic spray paint.

Wooden Beams

I lucked out to have these beams running in our family room, so I screwed in coat hooks for my plants. Obviously, not every house has wooden beams, but if you do, this is easy, and to display more, you can screw in two hooks and run a rod between them.


Curtain Rods

Plants need light, so it makes sense to hang them in front of a window! It wouldn’t be the most convenient idea for curtains that you open and close often, but it’s great for windows where the curtains can stay open most of the time. I used shower curtain hooks to hang several plants this way. The rollers on the curtain hooks make it easy to move the plants, if you want to close the curtains.


Wall Brackets

I was honestly too nervous to hang plants from our ceilings. The house is about 90 years old, and the walls and ceilings are plaster and lathe. I had visions of the giant patches of plaster crumbling down on me, so I decided to use wall brackets. This method also gives you more flexibility about hanging heights.


These are the brackets I used. (The link is to Amazon, but they’re cheaper at IKEA, if you can get to a store).
If you’re feeling more courageous, here are some more ideas I’d like to try!

Hanging a ladder from the ceiling. This is just so peaceful and gorgeous!


Photo: Jennifer Chong of See and Savour

A large branch displaying multiple hangers. I love all the colors and designs!


Photo: Emily Katz of Modern Macrame 

How about a cool metal pipe or rod to display your plants?! A sleek look, and you could do it from a wall, if your ceilings are unreliable, like mine.

Photo: Cote Maison

Thanks for coming with me into the world of macrame and plants. I am clearly a little obsessed. I’ve got more new ideas coming up to share with you soon(ish)!

“Jewels”

Macrame Mania – Square Knots and Beads!

“At first I was afraid… I was petrified…” and now I’m totally obsessed with macrame! With apologies to Gloria Gaynor… once you learn a few basic knots, there are so many possible macrame projects!


You might remember that for my first plant hanger, I used heavy rope and simple overhand knots. I added gathering knots in colored yarn. For my next projects, I learned the square knot and added some beads.

This project uses some silver-colored beads, and the hanger is formed with short stretches of three square knots. I used sport weight cotton yarn (similar to this yarn) which I already had. The advantage is that it’s thin enough to thread the beads onto, but the result is quite thin, so it will be best for a smaller plant.

This next project uses some braided candle wick. It lies flat, which makes the square knots much easier and neater. I did two longer stretches of square knots at the top and then shorter stretches to form the hanger. The twine is heavier than the cotton yarn, and I really like how it lies flat. I’ll definitely be doing more projects with this string!

By the way, you may have noticed the same (fake) plant in both these hangers. We’re on vacation in Toronto, and I ended up buying a “plant model” to help with my projects. 😂

Next macrame projects coming up: wave knots, colored string, and dip-dyeing (I think I will save that for when I get home…)! I always need to have a project to work on, and this has turned out to be a great one for traveling, because it is so compact. Hope you will give it a try.

“Jewels”

Macrame Madness: A Simple Plant Hanger

Everything old is new again! I’m visiting my dad and fantasizing about magically unearthing some old macrame projects from the 70s. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hand at making some plant hangers. This macrame obsession pairs perfectly with my newfound love of plants!


Tying knots in string shouldn’t be that complicated, but I was nervous getting started, so I chose the simplest project I could. Using some heavy cotton rope leftover from hanging a birthday piñata, I based my plant hanger off of these instructions.

Because the rope was so thick, I chose to use a gathering knot in blue cotton yarn rather than tie a heavy knot with the rope at the top and bottom.

Being a busy mom, the first chance I had to work on this project was on a plane! Luckily, the tab that holds up the tray table works perfectly for attaching the loop at the top;)

Here’s how the plant hanger looks empty:

And here’s how it looks planted with Golden Pothos.

Stay groovy and green!

“Jewels”

DIY Ribbon Leis

It’s graduation season! Somehow (well, I guess we know how), I ended up with boys graduating from middle school, elementary school, and Kindergarten all in one year. This calls for some crafting. I decided to make graduation leis for the boys and their friends using ribbon.

I researched a ton of ideas, which you can browse on my Pinterest page.  Some of those ideas are definitely for the expert level lei-maker, and I am a humble beginner. However, I did find inspiration for something that is both easy and pretty over at Sakacon.com.  These spiral ribbon leis don’t require advanced skills, but they do take some time. I modified the method a little, and I love how you can mix and match so many ribbons for infinite ideas!

Materials:

  • wide ribbon 7/8″ to 1.5″ (8-10 yards). This is the ruffle-edge ribbon I used.
  • narrower accent ribbon(s) 3/16″ to 1/2″ (same yardage). This is the picot ribbon I used.
  • embroidery floss to match the accent ribbon
  • clear nail polish to finish the ends of the ribbon
  • needle, scissors

Instructions:

First, go to your local craft store and go crazy! I actually feel like I have accomplished a project just by getting supplies (…but I realize this isn’t quite true). Since the design of the leis is simple, you can add a lot of detail by picking interesting ribbons. You can see i found some ribbons with ruffled edges and picot ribbon (apparently this is what you call the ribbon with the little loops in the side) that really make your “flowers” look more realistic. For fun, I bought some rainbow stripe ribbon, and the possibilities are really endless.

To make the lei, thread three strands of embroidery floss onto your needle. I used about 18″ of floss at a time. Tie a secure knot at the end of your floss.

The Sakacon version has a long tail you can use to tie the lei on with a bow. I decided to make a continuous round lei, because I thought it would be more comfortable for the boys. I still staggered the length of the wide and narrow ribbons – ie left a long tail of the wide ribbon before starting my lei – so there would not be an obvious join in the lei.

I lined up the narrow ribbon to one side of the wide ribbon, folding under the edge to avoid fraying, and sewed a few stitches in place to secure it. I then started doing a long running stitch, with stitches every centimeter (3/8″) or so.

Once you have sewn a few stitches, pull the thread to make the ruffles and guide them into a spiral shape to look like a chain of flowers. This really feels like magic!

You basically continue this for a long, long time. To make the lei a continuous loop, I cut off the wide ribbon first, and picked up the section of wide ribbon I had left as a “tail” at the beginning, continuing I until I reached the start of the narrow ribbon.

I bought spools of craft ribbon, which comes in 3-6 yard sections, so there are several joins in the lei. These aren’t visible, because the ribbons are staggered, and there are so many ruffles. At the ends of the ribbon, I used clear nail polish on the wide ribbon and just folded under the ends of the narrow ribbon. I also changed embroidery floss a few times, being sure to tie secure knots and hide the ends.

Behold! Here are the finished leis. I’m still making more and will add the pictures when they are done, to give you more ideas for ribbon combinations. I can’t wait to share them with my boys and their friends in a few more weeks!

Aloha!

“Jewels”