Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sewing, Crafting and Beading

My twin nieces turn four next week so I quickly whipped up these colored pencil rolls during this past week. It took about 1.5 nap times: one day I cut the pieces and the next day I did the assembly and sewing. They aren't as detailed at the ones I made for my girls a year ago, but they sure are cute. Again, I loosely followed the pattern directions in Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. I decided on a white linen exterior (two different fabrics) with a dark solid for the interior and I think it works. To my eyes that dark background really makes the colored pencils stand out.

At first I thought that making a solid interior would save time on the project. And it did. But it created an additional challenge too - I had no way of making sure that the pockets I sewed for the pencils were straight, or that there would be 12 of them. Using the patchwork interior, which is nicely sized to the pockets, is very helpful indeed. I know I could have used chalk, making pens, or any other assorted notions that sewing folks use to mark lines on their work, but I was working under nap time deadline and just went for it. Ultimately I wound up with 11 pockets for each roll. So what I lack in spacial estimation I make up for in consistency.

At the end of the week I couldn't shake the crafting bug. I grabbed the crayon box from the kids art shelf and began sorting the bits into paper liners for the mini-muffin tin. I popped them into a 200 degree oven for 18 minutes (although I can't be sure, I did it by sight). They melted down into a new set of crayons. Since this was a nap time project, I was pleasantly surprised when the crayons had hardened and cooled by the time the girls woke up. They were amazed that "Mama made crayons!!" while they were sleeping. I think that I will keep this little secret to myself and let my all powerful, mystical, omnipotent aura float around in their little heads for awhile (ha, ha). On another funny note, when DH came home he asked me how many peanut butter cups I had to eat to get the project off the ground.

During this same uber-productive nap time I also whipped up five stitch markers for my knitting. The two rings on the far left are what I have been using since I started knitting. They are flexible and accommodating, but not very aesthetically pleasing or inspiring. The only plus side is that I can easily find the bright green ones when they slip below the couch cushions at night. I picked up the first beaded one on the left at my LYS about two years ago. I used it the other week on the second wallaby that I'm knitting and I thought that the brightly colored rings just didn't do it justice.

Earlier in the week I went to the craft store, with the three kids in tow, to find supplies for a future knitting/beading project and quickly realized how naive I am about beading. There is a lot to take in when browsing the beading department (and when your kids are literally going in three different directions, and all screaming from true fear at the Halloween decorations looming around every corner). But I persevered and found everything I needed, including the long wires for this project. Luckily I had a stash of beads from an old necklace that broke a few years ago, and they work nicely as a set here. I raided DH's workshop for a needle nose pliers and off I went. I learned a few things, like next time I need to get longer wires, and I should probably make the eyelet openings larger (these only fit up to a size 7 needle) but overall I'm really happy with how they turned out. They are much prettier than those rings, indeed.


Hermione J. Schwartz said...

The colored pencil rolls look great. Some of these are on my list for Christmas gifts.

How do the crayons hold up? Is the shape easy enough to hold for coloring. I am intersted in making some. I used to do it all the time when I was in grade school, but I just put all the colors in together and melt them too much and make either black or a really ugly brown. ;]

Love, love the beaded stitch markers. And that you repurposed the necklace beads for them. Great idea! =]

Holly Jo said...

Oh, man. LOVE the crayons! What a fantastic idea. Curious to hear how the kids like using them.

Aren't the Halloween decos the worst? :) My kids will not even go over to the area despite the fact that they adore Halloween.

Beth said...

Thanks for the comments!

The crayons are a big hit. Especially for my youngest (2 y.o.) - they are perfect for her little fist grip. My older girls (4 y.o.) are starting to draw more detailed things, like stick figures and the like, so prefer pens and pencils right now, but I've seen them each work with the crayons to make rainbows, and cover a page or two in an entire color.

My only word of caution is that I think there were some crayon bits from the crayola 'washable' crayon line. Those didn't melt as uniformly as the regular crayons and there is a thin waxy layer on two of the colors. It could be due to something else, but I think it's probably whatever they put in the crayons to make them washable They melted just fine, but the waxy layer doesn't color. I just removed it with my fingernails (yes, the sacrifices we mothers make, sigh).

I just discovered another ziploc bag FULL of crayon bits so I'll be doing this again next month, I'm sure :)

I've also read about other people using either metal or silicone molds to melt the crayons into cool shapes. I'm happy with our 'peanut butter cups' but I think other shapes would be pretty cool too.