Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beaded wire gift wrap from the beautiful book The Art of Gift Wrapping by Wanda Wen

If you make jewelry you probably have a huge stash of beads and wire. This is just one of the great ideas from the book The Art of Gift Wrapping to use interesting and somewhat unconventional materials to gift wrap a package.

It was really simple. The gift in the book used crystals but I had this fun bright mod polka dot paper so I went to the bead stash and used some light blue beads about the same size as the dots on the paper.

Ss I bet you could do just about any combination of beads and paper that suited your fancy!

All you do is take lengths of thin gauge wire and slide a bead to the middle. Thread one end of the wire through the bead again to form a loop around the bead to secure it in place. Repeat working out toward each end of the wire randomly spacing the beads.

Then wrap the wire lengths around the package.

Like this idea and want more unusual and beautiful ways to wrap gifts? Grab a copy of:

The Art of Gift Wrapping: 50 Innovative Ideas Using Organic, Unique, and Uncommon Materials
Wanda Wen
More about the book from the publisher, Potter Craft:

"From organic and eco-friendly wraps to lush and romantic presentations, the more than 50 projects and ideas contained in The Art of Gift Wrapping will remind you that it is as much fun to wrap as it is to receive. Gift wrap and paper expert Wanda Wen knows what it means to give thoughtfully wrapped presents—a talent that has made her and her store, Soolip, a favorite among celebrities and tastemakers. With her expert tips and techniques—and creative vision—she invites you to use natural, luxurious, and everyday materials to perfectly dress any present for its occasion. Whether nestling your gift in a bed of all-natural moss, creating custom packing tape, cascading fresh flowers down a tower of boxes, or simply matching a festive paper with just the right ribbon tie—your thoughtful packages will leave lasting impressions long after the gifts have been opened.

Wanda Wen is the founder and creative force behind Soolip, the Los Angeles paper and lifestyle boutique that is a favorite among Hollywood celebrities and tastemakers and corporate clients. Wen has successfully combined her passions for paper and nature with her background in fashion, launching the unique brand Soolip with multiple extensions and satellite businesses. Wen and Soolip have been featured in numerous publications, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Town & Country, Vogue, InStyle, Elegant Bride, Travel + Leisure, People, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Wen has also appeared on Today, HGTV, the Style Network, E!, and the Fine Living Channel. She is also an expert gift wrapper for Scotch brand and a judge for the annual Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest. Wen resides in Los Angeles with her three children, a dog, two birds, and a guinea pig. Visit her online at,, and"

Monday, April 26, 2010

View outside Unique LA and Crafty blogger links

This is just one of the amazing views looking out from the 13th floor at Unique LA. Want to see a whole bunch of the crafty goodness inside? Pop on over here.

OK now onto the crafty links:
Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a sneak peek into the new book Mixed-Media Dollhouses, how to draw a Zombie Voodoo Doll, make 2 types of paper flowers from recycled book pages, and how to use white glue and tape as resists in fabric altering.

Mixed Media Artist
When dumpster diving fails you, here are some great online sources for cool stuff!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Learn how to make recycled sweater tags inspired by the one in Hand-Me-Ups By Lorine Mason.

The Artful Crafter
This week, Eileen is offering some free striking vintage photos from the 30s and a chance to win the eBook “Altered Ancestors: 50 Techniques for Using Vintage Photos in Art.”

The Crochet Dude
Drew's crochet purse designs are super cute, and now he's got a crocheted Purse Pattern of the Month program! You've gotta check it out!!!

About Family Crafts
If you are looking for a special, homemade gift for Mother's Day, check out Sherri's collection of 100 gifts to make for mom.

Aileen's Musings
Aileen has a wonderful Mother's Day project to help make it a banner day for mom! Find out what Canvasette paper is while you check out her easy background technique.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy has added another charm discovery to her sterling silver charms and pendants sale page: 2 gorgeous mermaids.

Cross Stitch at
Connie made an oops with a stitching project when she laundered an item that wasn't colorfast. Have you ever had an oops like that? Vote in the poll and let us know.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Linda's finally going to intentionally make a quilt for herself! She's picked the pattern and is using fabrics she collected years ago.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
A hot-topic Facebook thread leads to a post about valuing your work. Madge ponders the problems of discounts and freebies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to make recycled sweater tags inspired buy the one in: Hand-Me-Ups By Lorine Mason

Ready, set, cut!

I love when I see a recycling project that I have everything to make already. That's not to say I don't love hunting for new things, I'm just saying when I was flipping through super fun and cute Hand-Me-Ups and I saw this stylish monogram felt luggage tag I new I had Sizzix dies that were virtually the same size letter and a circle die that I was betting would work too, so I was ready to craft!

I just fused some Heat and Bond on the back of a piece of recycled felted wool sweater and then ran the backed piece through the Sizzix die cutter with the letter "P" die.

I cut a non-backed piece of recycle wool felted sweater through with the circle die.
Then pealed the paper backing off and pressed them together.
Well, I just got the Tim Holtz gear die and I thought I'd put one of the gears on the back side of my baggage tag. I was on a roll and cut lots of gears. Not sure what they will "turn" into but I will be sure to keep you posted!

More about the book from the publisher Krause Publications:
Hand Me-Ups: Recrafting Kid's Clothes with Easy Techniques and Fun Designs
By Lorine Mason

"Hand-Me-Ups features 25+ exciting projects, all based on recycled items you can take from the closet or purchase second hand. By reworking the materials and then jazzing up the pieces with trendy embellishments and simple techniques, you can create fashion forward looks for today's kids. Includes a variety of projects such as clothing, belts, jewelry, shoes, bags and totes.

Lorine Mason is a crafting projects designer, utilising a variety of mediums. She has authored articles on home decor, the principles of designing projects for children and cross erchandising. She is the author of two other books by Krause Publications - Fashion Sweatshirts and Fashion Sweatshirts: Tots to Tweens."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Post tax day crafty blogger links and my scissors out on the town at night

Mixed Media Artist

There's a lot to be learned about texture when you work with a monochromatic palette!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to crochet a "no-chain" foundation row, 17 ways to crop a photo, draw flames with Drew Brophy, change the color in a free cherry blossom print download and a call for entries for 1000 Steampunk Inspirations.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to make recycled thigh high socks inspired by the book Color Knitting The Easy Way.

The Artful Crafter
Do companies offer free craft products to the general public for testing?

About Family Crafts
Not knowing much about iris folding, Sherri rolled up her sleeves, gave it a try, and shares her step-by-step adventure and free templates with you. Cross Stitch
Connie's sharing a free pattern that was inspired by a piece of artwork she saw in an episode of Monk. You never know what the source of inspiration will be.

Aileen's Musings
Are you in need of a royal crown? Aileen has an oldie but goodie tutorial she's sharing with you.

Cathie Filian
Cathie is doing back flips over the release of her new book, 101 Snappy Fashions!

Crafty Princess Diaries
While doing some spring cleaning, Tammy made some interesting jewelry discoveries. You just never know what you might find when you try to get organzied.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
The organization continues, but the craft room is very close to finished.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Mother's Day is coming soon and Madge has you covered. Check out her mom friendly card project, recipe and jewelry design!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to make recycled thigh high socks inspired by the book Color Knitting The Easy Way

Last week's post was about knitting thigh high socks. Well, this being Sweater Surgery and me being a tad impatient and reading the new book Color Knitting the Easy Way.
I decided to....
sew some socks!

This page in the beginning of Color Knitting the Easy Way talks about different color combos and I tend to go pretty color coordinated but it really shows how a wide variety and diverse set of colors can look cool together.

I would also like to point out at this time trying this project was a GREAT excuse to clean out my sock drawer. Bonus- crafting and cleaning.

I wasn't going for perfection here I was "test driving" and trying to play with color. I had two arms of a sweater that I really liked the blue and green stripe of, a really old pair of Hello Kitty socks that the bottom of the foot part was completely worn out in holes but the Hello Kitty part was in perfect condition and finally a gray pair of socks with fun little animals that picked up a third section of one of the "color combo wheels" I was using as my guide.

I pinned and sewed each section together right sides facing using a stretch stitch and there you have it. Three color combo recycled thigh high socks.

This book is packed full of great color theory and a whole bunch of great stitches to feature the colors. You really can't go wrong with a book from the super talented Melissa Leapman!

More about the book from Potter Craft:
Color Knitting the Easy Way: Essential Techniques, Perfect Palettes, and Fresh Designs Using Just One Color at a Time
Melissa Leapman

"Embrace color with simple techniques from knitting and colorwork master Melissa Leapman! A cozy hat and scarf set to match a winter coat, mittens in a young child’s favorite colors, a sweater to bring out the blue of a friend’s eyes, a throw pillow that revives the look of a room. Selecting and combining just the right color palette makes any project extra special-and makes our knitting even more fun. In Color Knitting the Easy Way, renowned knitwear designer, teacher, and author Melissa Leapman explores the simplest and most popular ways of knitting with two or more yarn colors—using just one color in each knitted row. No more juggling multiple yarns in your hands as you knit! One-color, one-row stitch techniques allow for a minimal learning curve but can yield maximum impact. From basic stripes to intricate slip stitch and mosaic patterns, Leapman’s clear, easy-to-use instructions explain the foundations of color knitting and how to combine basic stitches to achieve texture, vibrancy, and patterns that will wow family and friends. Ten original projects, including an everyday clutch, dress, jacket, sweaters, and more, allow you to practice each new technique and are do-able for even beginning knitters.

And more than 70 unique stitch patterns will inspire knitters of all skill levels to create their own custom designs. Throughout, Leapman reveals tips and tricks to help you avoid common problems and to answer the questions most asked by knitters in the popular workshops she teaches around the country.
In addition, Leapman demystifies the color wheel and shows you how to use it to get the look you want for your finished projects, whether you want to highlight stitchwork, bust through your sash, or even camouflage a figure flaw! With sections on general knitting techniques, chart reading, and every color combination around the color wheel, Color Knitting the Easy Way has all the tools you’ll need to knit patterns for two or more colors the fun—and easy—way.

About the Author

MELISSA LEAPMAN is a widely published knitwear designer, whose patterns have appeared in every premier needlework publication in the country, including Vogue Knitting, Knitter’s, McCalls, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, and Interweave Knits. She has been a featured guest on DIY’s Knitty Gritty, Lifetime TV’s Handmade by Design, Shay Pendray’s Needle Arts Studio on PBS, and HGTV’s Sew Much More. Her knit, crochet, and design workshops are popular nationwide."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Canadian geese chillin' in California and Crafty Blogger links

Just 'cause they're cute!

About Family Crafts
If you cannot wait for April showers to bring May flowers, here is a collection of flower crafts you can make now.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world

Craftside's got a great tutorial on how to sew tie style straps, a peek at how to turn ideas into inspired design, identifying different types of metal, a thread painting tip, a lace detail and a bit of ballerina brilliance from the hot new book Mixed-Media Dollhouses.

Aileen's Musings
Back in November Aileen posted about an Erosion Bundle Project she's participating in...yesterday she opened her bundles after 5 months! Stop by and see her "after" pictures...

Crafty Princess Diaries
Knitters will be happy they know the Crafty Princess after finding out about this great 40% off deal on the new book entitled In the Loop.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge reviews metal clay artist Kate McKinnon's amazing new book Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry.

Mixed Media Artist
Duotones can give a whole different look to your photos than plain black and white!

The Artful Crafter
Learn how to make an envelope book for little treasures or clutter.

The Crochet Dude
Drew reorganized his garden this spring using squares, and the results are fantastic!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Toe-up Socks for Every Body By Wendy D. Johnson

I love knee socks and over the knee socks but I guess it just never occurred to me to knit them. That's all changed now with Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Adventurous Lace, Cables, and Colorwork from Wendy Knits by Wendy D. Johnson.

Really tall socks are not too easy to find, especially funky and wild types.
Problem solved-knit them myself.
Included in this book are tons of beautiful patterns and stitches that I will work toward as my goal but as you can see I am starting out swatching with a fun variegated yarn to see if I like the yarn first and then I will be moving into the fancy pants stuff!

Want to read a little "interview with Wendy" pop on over to Crazy Aunt Purl's blog.

And more about Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Adventurous Lace, Cables, and Colorwork from Wendy Knits
From Potter Craft:
"Acclaimed knitter, author, designer, and teacher Wendy D. Johnson is back with the perfect sequel to her hit book Socks from the Toe Up. In Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, Wendy shows knitters, whether they’re knitting their first or hundred-and-first sock, how to use the toe-up technique to get the perfect fit. Not only that, she shows you that even seemingly complicated patterns are still knit just one row at a time. Go ahead! Turn your favorite knee socks into thigh-highs. Knit that special someone classic argyles. Put even the wiggliest of toes in their first pair of lacey anklets. With Wendy’s help, there’s nothing you can’t try from the toes on up. These 21 patterns cover everything from basics like materials and tools, to delicate lace, intricate cables, and fancy colorwork. Use these techniques and patterns to create beautiful socks for yourself and everybody in your life—friends and family, young and old. With the lovely photographs, helpful illustrations for cast-on, toe, heel, and bind-off options, and all-around expert advice in Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, you’ll be a well-heeled and warm-hearted toe-up knitter. About the Author WENDY D. JOHNSON is the renowned knitter behind and the author of Wendy Knits and Socks from the Toe Up. In addition, her work has been featured in many major knitting magazines. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia."
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