Sunday, January 13, 2013

Coffee Filter Wreath How-to

    I decided to make a coffee filter wreath yesterday. There were stops and starts, but I finished the project and felt happy with the outcome. I was able to use all gifted materials, but if purchased, the wreath could be made for under $5.

    I watched a Martha Stewart video (see it here) on coffee filter wreath making just for the general idea. My plan was to use a wreath form that came from my dear friend, Carleen. I had a pack of coffee filters in the cabinet that came from my friend, Regina, when she moved. We have a super mega pack of filters so I felt we could spare these beautiful unbleached filters. I planned to use my stapler to attach them to the Styrofoam wreath form much like I used pins to secure ribbon to another wreath I worked on earlier in the day. The wreath would have cost me nothing more than the cost of the staples. That was the plan.

I started folding and smooshing the filters as the nice lady on the Martha video had done. I was a bit more casual in my filter smooshing than she so I got some wonky ones. First, fold to find the exact middle.

Then, smoosh.


I had help from a rough and tumble princess who didn't enjoy the preciseness of "finding the middle" and felt it should definitely be more casual.

Smooshing was fun, though, and she enjoyed that part. She helped make two. No. Not wreaths. Two. Smooshed. Filters. Then she was off to be amazing and princessly and save the world. You probably didn't even know you were in danger yesterday. But that is another story for another day.

I was excited to see how this would work and after only a few filters, I had to pop some onto the wreath. This. Did. Not. Work.

Oh, sure, it looks nice.

But when the wreath moved at all, the filters fell off. See, the Styrofoam held well with the pins and ribbon of the other wreath because they went in deep enough to anchor. The staples were too short to grab well and the weight of the filter pulled them loose. So I decided to use the a cardboard base, much like the Martha video. I chose to cut a circle from the packaging that the Styrofoam wreaths came in. (Whoo-hoo for reusing!)

My cuts are not particularly, curved evenly because I was answering princessly questions and responding to "MOM, LOOK AT THE DOG! LOOK! WATCH HIM! LOOK AT THAT!" For the record, he was not flying or even standing on two feet. He was chewing a tennis ball. Remarkable to a 6yr old, so I indulged and "awww'ed" appropriately. She is delighted by so many everyday occurrences that it makes me happy. Again, that is another story...

I had prepared the circle and switched seats to be closer to the outlet so I could use the glue gun to attach the filters. **I neglected to take a pic of adding the string hanger. I simple cut a string about 4.5 inches long, folded it, and stapled it to the circle to hang it by.

This worked. Kind of. I think it was my casual smooshing vs. folding method that made some of the filters connect better with the cardboard.

I found that my trusty desk stapler (determined to use staples) was a much faster connector. The staples went through the cardboard and the thickness of one filter quite easily.

So I continued. Stapling filters, fluffy side out, all around the circle. Then did a second row on the inside of the first.

Then a third. Here and there I even put on a fourth to fill in some gaps (again due to my casual nature in this first wreath) and add some fullness.

The wreath came out just as I had hoped. I love the craft paper coloring and hope to find the "right" bow or embellishment for it. It looks a lot like a dried flower. I have already started thinking of other decor items I can make with this same technique.

 I hope you will make one. It really takes no time at all and, if they can operate a stapler safely, the kiddos could do this one themselves. You could use a smaller ring and cupcake liners. You could use white filters and color them with watercolor or alcohol inks before attaching them. Lots of ideas and possibilities. I hope you feel inspired to make something. Happy crafting to you!!!

Prickly Project

    A friend posted an adorable crochet cactus pincushion to my facebook wall. I said "awww" and went on reading the wall of cat memes and instagram photos of lunches and clouds. That cactus kept needling from the back of my brain until I couldn't ignore it any longer.
    I had no pattern, but I had an idea. I started crocheting a green sphere. This couldn't be too hard since I had done dolly parts before. It may be quite a simple project, but it felt great to work from no pattern at all and be able to reproduce this pincushion from just a picture. As I said, I didn't have a pattern, but I have noted my steps. If you know crochet, then this should be simple to follow and create your own plan. If you don't know crochet then skip ahead to the picture of the chihuahua in glasses. It is cute. You will  giggle.
    Using Red Heart yarn in green and a size F crochet hook, I began a sphere. I chained 2 and SC into the 2nd chain from the hook a few times. (No, I do not know exactly how many.) Single crocheted with increases the same way I would have started a crochet dolly head. I pulled this out a couple of times until I got the size correct for my vision. I didn't begin the decreases to make the ball head shape. I continued crocheting in the round to get an elongated tube. I added the acrylic safety lock eyes at this point and added some stuffing. I slip stitched the green yarn to end the round and changed to the brown/sandy homespun for the dirt in the pot. I added a bit more stuffing at this point. I increased on the first row to give it an actual potted plant shape. I did two or three rounds of the dirt section before slip stitching and switching to the brown I used for the pot. I decreased a couple of times to give it a flower pot shape. I finished stuffing the pin cushion and added three metal washers that matched the diameter of the flower pot's bottom before aggressively decreasing to flatten the bottom and close it. To complete the rim of the pot, I chained the number it took to wrap around the pot. When it was snug, I connected the chain into a circle by slip stitch and crocheted continuously until the rim was the width I wanted for my pot. I finished the round with a slip stitch and slipped the rim onto the pot and tacked it into place with a needle and brown thread. I added straight pins from my sewing kit and (TA-DA!) it was a cactus pincushion.
    As promised, here is a chihuahua with glasses. You deserve it. Giggle. No, I mean it. Giggle, now.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Last Day of Vacation

It is the last day of holiday vacation for me. It has been much too short. Spending a week and a half in bed with the flu then a respiratory infection is not as relaxing as one might think.
Resolutions have been made. Cookies baked. Rearranging done. Friends hugged. Sleepovers had. Gifts given and received. So many blessings to be thankful for and appreciated. Decorations put away. Elmo was LIVE! snow was enjoyed. Crochet happened. New Year was welcomed. College graduation accomplished! (So proud of Hubcap!)
Today is tidying up day. Getting our little family ready for the hustle and bustle of 1st grade and my return to crafty craziness. Hoping it is an efficient last day off with some fun to be had.
See you guys soon. Big updates are on the horizon.