sweet crochet & sew dress

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Mya's birthday dress

oh how I love making things for ones I love!

this little five-year-old though?

mya

she has my heart. she’s my one and only niece; the first and currently only duvick grandbaby around. she is so loved by the lot of us, and boy, she certainly has a big enough heart for all of us. i haven’t hugged her or seen her in person since she was a little over two years old, but she calls me “aunt lisagrace” or “my lisagrace” anyway. the last time i facetimed with her, she sang every single line of “let it go” and showed me her dance moves. seriously, her mom has raised a fantastic little girl. [HUGE shoutout to diana!]

i saw this super sweet dress a while back on my all time favorite craft blog, the Purl Bee. and knew i had the perfect little girl to make it for. the only hang up? i’ve tried and failed to learned how to crochet many a time. earlier this summer, as i was desperately trying to hold my crochetwork tightly enough (the tension is ridiculous! so much simpler when your work is on a stick!), i asked my friend Kaylee, “will i ever like crochet?!” she responded with sympathy, thankfully, and i kept on working at it, however reluctantly. Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 8.40.05 PM

but the happy ending is this dress – look at it! i did it! i finally figured out the tension and it was truly a breeze after that. so quick! so easy! such a handy skill to have! such an adorable dress for my niece!

happy birthday, my love – so proud of you and i love your big heart.  all credit goes to mya for being the only thing motivating enough to make me crochet. 

Happy Birthday Jonah! Fabric Blocks | #lisagracemade

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This kid is 13 months old today!

You may be thinking to yourself – what aunt celebrates their nephew’s 13 month birthday?! You’re right. It’s weird. But is it any less weird if I tell you that I thought of the PERFECT gift for my just-over-one-year-old nephew on his actual birthday, February 7th? And that it was just too perfect not to make for him so I got to work on it straight away even though I had no experience in this particular craft?

I’m a month late, but, in this case, I think it was worth it. Happy Birthday Jonah! I hope you love your soft squishy Gonzaga Blocks!

(Jenni – if you’re reading this, the tracking says the package is out for delivery today!)

Let’s be real – I fully realize that Jonah can’t yet read (though he’s very advanced and a genius baby and in the 200th percentile for everything) and he has no idea of the subliminal messaging attached to this particular gift. So I just want to go ahead and say that this gift is just as much for his mom (my sister-in-law) as it is for him. Jenni and Jobin went to Gonzaga for undergrad and fell in love almost immediately. They got married in Spokane and they are the BIGGEST fans of the Gonzaga basketball team. And did I mention that they were both cheerleaders (real, super in-shape cheerleaders) for the team all four years?

I honestly didn’t realize how intensely obsessed they were until this past year…Jonah has been decked out in Gonzaga gear since birth. They. love. this. team. And they would love nothing more than for Jonah to continue in their footsteps and attend Gonzaga in 17 years. And as Jonah’s Aunt & Uncle, we are also pro-Gonzaga, because Washington.

All to say, I’m all about playing my part in convincing Jonah that Gonzaga is the school for him.
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After I drew some pictures to figure out my plan of action, I cut out my fabric. As I started to sew these together, I realized “I’ve never sewn anything cubed before…” Thankfully I figured it out pretty quickly.

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The letters were the hardest part. I started to embroider them, but quickly realized that would take FOREVER. Then I tried using various stitches on my sewing machine to faux-embroider them and that didn’t work either. Then I decided to use felt, which was still difficult as I free-handed the letters with my new Xacto knife set (a story for another time – but shout out to Deb Mortvedt!) but the result was satisfying.

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As a bonus, on the back side of two of the blocks I put additional characters so that you can flip them around to say “Go Zags!”

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I loved the way they turned out, even if they were a month late. Happy Birthday Jonah! And Happy March Madness! Go Zags!

Junebug the Snail | #lisagracemade

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I do make things for people other than Kaylee, but I’ll be honest, I had a lot of orders to fill for her. Ever since I made Herbert, she’s been asking for a snail which she calls Junebug. The last time I left Iowa, she handed me a bag full of roving right before we said goodbye.

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I think she’s pretty cute, don’t you?

Garter Stitch Mittens | #lisagracemade

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Sometime in early November, I received another text from Kaylee. It was a screenshot of her email showing a class put on by THE BEST CRAFT/KNITTING SHOP IN THE STATE OF IOWA. She told me that she would like to know how to make these mittens.  I said, “okay, I will work on that.”  You probably could have guessed that Kaylee received these in the mail a few weeks ago with this pattern all written up for her. 

Now, I have to say, if you live in Iowa City, you should go to at least one class at Home Ec.  It’s pretty often that I wish I had a local store like Home Ec over here on the west coast where I could take a class and learn a new craft (I was never able to make it to their needle felting classes and I’m still so bummed). But if you know how to knit, purl, knit-in-the-round and already have other upper-level knitting skills, feel free to use this pattern to make yourself some darn cute mittens.

And if you have yet to learn these skills, come on over to my house in Washington or treat yourself to a class at your local yarn shop.
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You’ll need:

  • Yarn of your choice – I used something similar to this and this color is pretty close to 8019
  • Set of US 4 DPN’s
  • Set of US 6 DPN’s
  • Darning Needle to weave in ends

Mitten:
Using the Size 4 needles, CO 40 st, join in the round
Rows 1 – 20: k2, p2 x 10
Row 21: Switching to size 6 needles, knit
Row 22: knit
Row 23: purl
Repeat rows 21 – 23 six more times
Row 42: k2, k6 back and forth with a different yarn for after-thought thumb, k38
Row 43: knit
Row 44: purl
Row 45: knit
Row 46: knit
Row 47: purl
Repeat rows 45 – 47 seven more times (you should have 16 purled rows)
Rows 68 – 71: knit
Row 72: k8, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 73: knit
Row 74: k7, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 75: knit
Row 76: k6, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 77: knit
Row 78: k5, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 79: knit
Row 80: k4, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 81: knit
Row 82: k3, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 83: k2, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 84: k1, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Finish last eight stitches by weaving end yarn back through to close the circle, weave in ends.

*For afterthought thumb set up, watch this video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un5_pwKfuaI (video is also linked above)

Thumb:
Using the size 6 needles, pick up the 12 stitches from thumb set-up (6 in each little row) AND a total of 4 extra stitches, one on each side of the two rows of 6. You should have a total of 16 stitches.
Rows 1 – 16: knit
Row 17: k2, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 18: knit
Row 19: k1, k2tog, repeat until end of row
Row 20: knit
Row 21: k2tog, repeat until end of row
Finish last four stitches by weaving end yearn back through to close the circle, weave in ends.

Happy Knitting!

Embroidered Burlap Pennant Banner | #lisagracemade

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Sorry for the super crappy quality of this picture, but you get the jist of how this turned out.

I love, love, love weddings.  They are sources of such contagious joy, are they not?  It may come as a surprise, but my own wedding wasn’t all that crafty.  Sometimes I want to kick my 20-year-old self for not using my crafty skills more but to my own credit, I was more focused on getting to marry my best friend then on what decorations I needed.

But weddings are SO much fun to use my crafty skills for and I love to make things for my friends’ wedding days that will make their day special.  I had so much fun making this pennant banner  for my friend Marina.  We hung it at her Bridal Shower and it will go behind the dessert table at her wedding!  I unfortunately can’t make it to the wedding, but I feel so honored to have something I handmade represent me.

This was so easy, and I don’t think a full out tutorial is really necessary so I’ve listed the supplies I used as well as some tips and tricks.

Supplies:

  • Burlap
  • Yarn
  • Large Darning Needle
  • Lightly colored Marker
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Sewing Machine (optional)

Tips & Tricks:

The perfect triangle:  Fold an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper in half (hamburger style if you know what I mean), and cut at an angle.  Unfold and you should have a perfect triangle!

Letter Patterns: I printed out letters that I liked (these are simply “Times New Roman Bold” and used a yellow/orange marker to trace the letters on the burlap.  This way, if I swayed from the pattern while embroidering, you wouldn’t really be able to tell.

The Stitch: I used the “back stitch” for outlining the letters. I think it’s commonly used with cross-stitching and I simply youtube-d how to do it.  It was very easy and quick!

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Happy Crafting!

Recovered Journaling Bible | #lisagracemade

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Something like 3 years ago, my sister Alyssa asked for a Bible for Christmas.  She was 16 and I thought that was pretty cool, so I told her I would get her one.  Now, my sister, who is the best ever and my favorite (I only have one sister, so I can say that), had a little problem of picky-ness in her teen years.  Several gift giving seasons in a row my gifts to her were returned.  So this time, I sent her pictures and descriptions of Bibles I was sure she would like until we finally found a Bible that she approved of – I ordered it and gave it to her for Christmas.  Only to return it shortly thereafter!  I remember telling her that when she found a Bible she liked, to let me know and I would get it for her.

Three years later, and I still hadn’t come through on this gift that I owed.  But also in three years time my sister has not only grown greatly in this area, but I’ve also grown to know her better.  And so my fears of getting (and even more so making) her gifts have since been relieved.

I’ve had this ESV Journaling Bible since I was 18, and I absolutely love it.  Being able to scribble along the pages of my Bible has been so rewarding – some of the connections I’ve made to scripture have been so important to my walk with Christ.  So, when Alyssa moved out of my parents house  last fall, I knew I wanted to fulfill my forgotten gift and give her something that she would hopefully treasure like I have.

Of course, the only Journaling Bible they produce nowadays is all black.  So I set out to make this simple Bible beautiful.

Supplies:

  • ESV Journaling Bible (found here on Amazon)
  • Contact Paper in your color/pattern choice.  I found a nice 11×17 sheet for $2.99 at Joann’s Etc.
  • An Xacto Knife (still need to get one of these, I used my faithful box cutter)
  • Washi Tape for the binding (optional)

Directions:

1.  Start by cutting the contact paper down to roughly the size of the Bible cover, the sheet I used was already a pretty good match as far as size goes.

2.  I found it easier to cut the slits for the elastic band on the back before peeling off the back of the contact paper.  I measured the length of the elastic band and made my slits accordingly.  I didn’t find it necessary to make the slits any wider than they were with just one stroke of the knife.

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3.  Slowly peel off the back of the contact paper and start applying it to the back of the Bible. The elastic band proved the be the trickiest part, so I started there and worked from the edge toward the middle and the binding. The contact paper was actually very forgiving and I could pretty easily smooth out the bumps and bubbles as I went.

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4.  When you get to binding, make sure to gently press the contact paper into the creases so that when you actually use the bible, it can open and close with ease. Be careful not to use your nails or press too hard as the contact paper did start to tear before I realized it!

5.  Keep working your way around the Bible until the cover is completely covered with the contact paper with no bumps or bubbles.

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6. Then I trimmed a little more off with scissors so I had a nice even edge to fold into the inside. I trimmed the piece that would be folded into the binding even shorter so it wouldn’t stick to the pages. Fold all your edges over an orderly fashion.

7.  Lastly, I put some fun Washi Tape on the binding to add a little something extra since the solid teal color seemed just a smidge too boring.

And here you have it! Recovered ESV Journaling Bible!

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Happy crafting!

Up House Pin Cushion | #lisagracemade

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I have amazing friends in my life.  These friends of mine know how much I like to a) make things, b) a challenge and c) giving handmade things to them.  I love getting inspiration from my friends and having a reason to make something new.  One of these friends is Kaylee, here she is:

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It’s pretty obvious how great she is.  Kaylee is always texting me pictures or ideas that I, obviously, need to make for her from scratch.  It usually takes me 6 months too long, but I always catch her inspiration and do my best to make something awesome.  I think I succeeded here.  This pin cushion is based on the “UP” house, and the pins are the balloons – pretty cute right?  I wish I could have found some bigger quilting pins, but these did fine for our little photo shoot.

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This little creation was only my second needle felted project, so I’m still very much an amateur, but I always love learning new crafts!