Temperature Blanket/afghan

You may have seen these already or even made one. You may love the idea but not want the challenge or you may hate them.

Well I decided this year I wanted to make one.

A temperate blanket is exactly what it sounds like all about temperature.

You record the temperature once a day for a whole year!!!! You will need some sort of key as to what colours represent what temperature for you. You should also take into account where you live. Don’t invest in tons of yarn to crochet in white whenever it snows or is below -10 if you’ve not seen snow for nearly 4 years (yes north west england I’m talking to you!). Similarly check out the highest temperatures for the last few years and use your own knowledge to not go overboard on higher temperature also.

This is my key I set this specifically for my area not just my country. So where in South England it may go over 20 degrees regularly here it doesn’t. For that reason I only got 1 ball of the top colour (Stylecraft silver).

The following 5 colours I got 3 of each (wisteria, turquoise, grass green, saffron and spice) 2 of matador red (just in case) and 1 of the pink for wishful thinking. This is also a great stash buster, the grey and pink I had in my stash already so if it never goes below 0 or above 24 I’ve not lost out.

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Now deciding what temperature to use because it fluctuates and some days you may find the temperature from one hour to next will fit 2 different colour brackets.

I have chosen to check the temperature around 11am-12pm each day and use that one. The met office allows you to see the past 24 hours hour by hour if you forget.

If it is the type of project you don’t want to be so committed to you can use just high and/or low temperature for each day which can be found easily. Otherwise look up weatherghan that will tell you the temperatures and suggest colours for any year and area you select.

Next you have to think of how to make it. As you are doing it for the whole year you have to be careful to not make each row too high. Some have reported 9 foot blankets by December!!

For this I’m afraid you will need to do a few swatches. It’s best to do 5 rows measure and times by 73 to figure out how big it will be by December 31st. I figured using DK/8 ply yarn with a 3.5mm hook and doing single crochet rows would make a blanket around single bed size.

Here is my first week progress:

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You can of course start half way through the year to celebrate a babies first year of life or make something season by season to make multiple blankets.

Other options to think about are different colours for snow or special occasions like birthdays, holidays etc. I have decided to do a different stitch when it’s a birthday to keep same colour scheme but to identify our life events too. Others have chosen to use a variegated yarn to identify these days.

By the end of the year you should have a beautiful spectrum of colour within a blanket.

tracy

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Using Vinyls

The question of when to put a vinyl onto to a top and how to make sure it’s centred crops us a lot so I thought I would show you how I do mine.

I do mine before I sew but the same technique works for putting vinyls on shop bought tops too!

First find the centre of your top you can do this as you’re cutting out because many fronts are cut on the fold. Alternatively you can match side seams and create a centre front crease.

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Next up grab your vinyl and find the centre. Always find the centre of the widest point. This applies to any design especially one with writing on. You can mark on the vinyl where centre is because most come with a top layer you peel off so won’t affect your work.

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Match your centre fold with vinyl centre marks and iron in place. Using greaseproof paper is great or you can use scrap material. Teflon sheets are also available but I’ve never used. Ensure you put your vinyl on high enough to see and be out of way of hem but also not so high that when sewn up the neck binding gets in way. This is another reason you may prefer to iron on after sewing.

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Perfectly centred and great position to be sewn but not get in the way.

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Finished article is an eclipse top without hood, pattern by MBJM. Totoro inspired vinyl is from Margles & C.Bear found on Facebook!

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tracy

Art work peg board for kids

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You will need:

  • wooden plaque
  • 2 wooden pegs
  • pva glue
  • brush
  • tester pot
  • child’s name or text

Paint the boards front and sides , the pegs leaving the back unpainted and the names if buying mdf ones. You may need to give everything a second coat. Be sure to paint in one direction and use good quality brushes. You can alternatively use a mini roller or a sponge to paint for more even texture. When painting your pegs don’t layer too much on or the leg won’t open.

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When dry stick name on central then two pegs either side. I used PVA glue and left to dry for 24 hours. You could also use wood glue, epoxy glue or a hot glue gun for this.

For the name you have options you can write it on yourself, buy ready cut acrylic letters, use felt, paint it on or buy laser cut mdf names and paint.

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Hang where you can see your childs beautiful artwork.

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The bonus of two pegs is you can hang heavy and big pieces easily on a small plaque or you can hang two pictures for those busy arty weeks we all inevitably have. They also make a great gift and you could leave the legs off for a door sign.

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tracy

Reward Chart Tutorial and FREE chart

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I have need some kind of reward chart for me kids for ages now and the few we’ve tried havent worked so well. I saw a chart but at £22 per child I couldn’t so I set about making my own cheaper version!! I bought everything online but if you bought in shops I’m sure it would be cheaper. Each chart cost me around £7-8 to make.

You will need: * FREE CHART * REWARD CHART *magnetic sheet x2 (both A4 at least one needs to be sticky) *frame (A4) *magnets *round stickers *small bag or envelope *drawing pin

First step is very simple. Take the glass out of your frame and pop in your chart, magnetic sheet and the backing board and secure. I had to trim mine slightly to fit properly.

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Next up you need to prepare the coloured counters. I bought magnets that were 12mm across and sticky. The stickers were 13mm so that I could just stick the two sticky sides together and done no trimming needed. I did approximately 6 red, 6 red and 25 green.

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Get your sticky magnetic sheet and with the rewards chart (cut the sides off so just left with the table itself) and score the size onto the magnetic sheet. This is so you can pull the protective layer off to use but can save the rest. Stick your reward chart on and cut each square out.

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I popped the rewards into an organza bag I had. If you don’t have one an envelope will do. I then popped my drawing pin to one side to hang the bag on……… but it made the frame go wonky. Yes I actually did do that.

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So make your sure yours is put in the centre so you’ve a nice level frame. Like so

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Now lets take a moment to talk about the system. You can adjust what you wish your kids to achieve using the links above which take you to word documents. I chose to break it down rather than have general lists to achieve. If they don’t do it at all they get a red dot, if they do it but there’s some grumbling and arguments and a million last chance then it’s yellow and of course if they do it without fuss they get green.

At the end of each day if most the dots are green they get a green for that day. Now at this point you might think well theres only 6 red and 6 yellow but I have faith in my kids and really hope I won’t need my leftover red dots!!

At the end of the week if most the dots are green in the bottom row they get their reward.

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The rewards are something you can change too and it is adult choice what goes onto the chart so the kids aren’t choosing toys all the time and suit it to the child. My 3 year old is obsessed with being laid with till he’s snoring but this can take hours and causes problems in the night too if he wakes so one of his rewards is a 5 minute lie with one of his parents.

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I hope you enjoy making this and I’ll let you know if it works.

tracy

Making a Dreamcatcher

I decided to give making a dreamcatcher a go so I bought a fairly cheap kit to start. The kit came with a ring, leather, string, feathers, beads and instruction sheet.

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To start I had to wrap the leather around the ring. I started by popping on end onto the ring and winding over top of it to secure that end. I found it didn’t quite cover it as thickly as hoped but with a bit of shuffling along it looked presentable.

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Next up I needed to make the centre. This was hard and mine was fairly loose but I like it anyway.

  1. knot  your string near the top of ring.
  2. Please string under the ring
  3. Bring string on a needle over top and through the loop you created
  4. Bring your string under again. Repeat to reach first loop
  5. Create you next loop by working into first loop so you essentially work in a spiral.
  6. Come up under first loop, through it and back through loop you just created and continue.

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I added beads onto second and last row by thread it onto the needle/string before completing my loop. The middle I kind of just sewed together as wasn’t overly clear how to get it gather. I added leather to the bottom at 3 points and one at top by the strong knot.

Next I threaded beads on and knotted feathers on pushing the beads down to over where I tied it.

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Here is my completed dream catcher!! I personally loved this project and love the effect and I’m eager to make more.

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For those interested here is the instructions that came with the kit.
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This is a great kit for older kids and as a gift either as a kit or made up into the item.

My second attempt went much better and a tighter fit on the leather meant I covered my metal ring better.

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tracy

Cheap, easy Minecraft gift ~ FREE hama charts

My eldest has been invited to a party this week but as always seems to happen I’m too skint to shell out for a gift. This is where being a crafty mum and kid comes in handy! He has been obsessed with making hama bead things and is very good at it too so I suggested making some funky things for his friend. These are FAB for minecraft items as they tend to have a blocky look to them which coincidentally minecraft does also.

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The easiest option for the face was a creeper face, 2 colours and a happy birthday sticker. I was told it was AWESOOOOME! To make your own use my template: creeper face.

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L-R: Purple diamond, dagger and ghast

I’d had these small canvases sitting around for ages and a project I meant to do never happened. I got them from the works a few years ago. I stuck each one down with silicone glue as it’s all I had to hand but apparently PVA or hot glue would work well also.

To make your own I created easy to follow charts for you using a square bead board.

Excuse the wider boxes on this one it was only way to fit the single bottom square on. Create your gem as if all the boxes were same size : gem

This was done in colours we had but chart is in more accurate colours:  dagger

We used glow in the dark beads but you can use a combination of grey, white and black or just all one colour. The legs are done to imitate them moving: ghast

My eldest loved his friends present so much he made himself a ghast canvas too. These cost me nothing (today) to make and are unique but fun enough to excuse the face they are homemade.

tracy

Last Minute Halloween Decorations round up

Halloween is tomorrow and sometimes you just don’t feel you have enough or maybe it’s the first time you felt like decorating well here’s some simple, fun and cheap ideas for you to do before trick or treating time.

  1. Monster Doors– Easy to do using binbags, paper plates, paper, craft foam and coloured tape
  2. Creepy eyes in the bushes– using glow sticks, paint and toilet paper tubes
  3. Creepy eye wreath- you will need to buy ping pong balls and eyes but maybe you could get creative with other round objects (cotton wool maybe)
  4. Spider Webs from bin bags
  5. Mummy candle jars– I made these and I love them. you could also use masking tape. You can also use tissue paper glued on with pva to create mummies or ghosts, orange to create pumpkins, green to create monsters, red for blood dripping, black for bats or combination to make mini scenes.
  6. Milk Jug Ghosts– you could get away with no lighting inside if had nothing to pop in but pound shops have glow sticks.
  7. Spooky Hanging ghost– with balloons and material you could also use white bin bags for cheaper option
  8. Glow stick ideas– great for kids
  9. Cup garland
  10. Hanging bats– great for inside and out
  11. Pebble Monsters– ok probably not a day before activity but if you do have stones you can paint this is great
  12. Spider paper lantern- if you’ve no lantern you could paper over a balloon to create the body.
  13. Bin bag spooky curtain and cardboard window silhouettes
  14. Paper Pumpkins- great for smaller kids
  15. Trash bag fun

Other ideas:

  • buy spiders from pound shop to hang anywhere you want to dangle down, crawl on the walls.
  • paper chain skulls, pumpkins or bats
  • pipe cleaners to make spiders
  • last but not least pumpkins! Then make some yummy soup after

Hope you’ll show us what you made!

tracy