Free Downloadable Crochet Pattern for Snowflake Afghan

Here is another adorable and free crochet pattern from Red Heart Yarns. The pattern looks complicated, but once you get the rhythm down, you can move right along and have fun making it.

Tati's-snowflake-afghan.jpg

I used a variegated aqua blue yarn for the body and white for the snowflakes. The afghan was a Christmas present for my niece and I’m happy to say that she actually uses it. (grin)

To find the downloadable written pattern, click on the link below.

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/dusty-snowflake-throw

There is also an excellent tutorial on YouTube. The video made it an easy and fun afghan pattern to follow. 

 

sandy-signature

 

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Dollhouse Construction – Flooring

The next part of my dollhouse construction involves flooring of the living room and kitchen. About 20 years ago, I built a dollhouse in the way that was instructed. Whooo boy! I learned from that experience that it is way too hard to paint tiny little trim, walls, install floor covering, wallpaper and lights AFTER the build. That was just crazy, so now I am trying to do paint and installations as well as making any plan changes as each floor goes up. So to begin this post, I have the first floor base built as well as the walls. The outside walls are painted. The inside walls have a base-coat of paint on them

After carefully cutting and gluing down each piece of my pine wood floor in the living room, I stained it a nice chestnut color. ARGH! I hated it! It looked like a log cabin which would be fine if that was the look that I was going for. Nope – it did not look modern at all. So I sanded and sanded and sanded till my arms were falling off.

grey-stained-floor

When most of the chestnut stain was gone, I added a layer of grey stain. YES! That’s what I want for my dollhouse living room. Happy with that color, I painted my living room walls a nice, soft grey color. Next came the kitchen tiles.

scrapbook-tile

After pouring through my scrapbook papers, I decided on a mottled grey paper that looks kind of like slate tile. Actually, it looks almost identical to the tile in my own full-sized kitchen. I guess I like what I like. (grin) The paper is a card-stock weight, so it cuts easily and holds up to the glue.

I colored the edges of each tile with a black Sharpie so that the white line of the card would not show when glued down. You can see that the black Sharpie looks like black grout when the tiles are glued into place. A foam brush and diluted white glue did the job of fixing the tile in place. Each tile is 1″ x 1-1/2″ to mimic the over sized slate tiles. One thing that I learned from this step was to paint my floor black FIRST! Then the brown MDF would not look like brown grout lines in places where the paper shrunk a little when dry. More than half of my floor is right anyway. The problem was not big enough to make me scrape off all the the previously tiled area, that’s for sure.

baseboards

After both floors were complete they were treated to a coat of Future floor wax. It gave a nice semi-gloss finish and made the slate kitchen tile look more “real”.

To keep the little baseboards and door in place while the glue set up, I used every kind of weight that I could find. I also needed clamps for the door.

Future-floor-wax

The walls are painted with regular interior house paint that was leftover from my own walls. Did I ever tell you that I LOVE grey?
kitchen-wall-paper

 

The kitchen wallpaper is going to be on only one accent wall. This paper is also a heavy scrapbook paper. Cute, huh?

Stay tuned. The next installation will be custom ceiling fixtures that really work. THEN I can add the second floor.

sandy-signature

Celtic Style Crocheted Afghan

The cooler weather is an exciting time to once again bring out my yarn and crochet hooks. What could be better than making something that keeps you warm while you are working on it?

Here is my last finished piece; a chunky crocheted afghan with crossed cables. I made it a little larger than the instructions so that I can throw it over our queen sized mattress for extra warmth if we need it during these cold winter months. My niece was nabbed as the reluctant model to show off the afghan. She will probably never come to an innocent brunch of mine again. (grin)

Grey-Crochet-afghan

The yarn that I used is from Red Heart and the color is “Dove grey”.  By the way, If you wash the afghan on gentle and use a fabric softener, it really will soften up that inexpensive yarn.

The instructions are from this book at Joanne’s. You can use your coupon on books now, so be sure to check them out.

 

cover-of-afghans-with-style

Click on the photo for a link to Leisure Arts and other crochet books. This one has a ton of cool patterns to follow.

I would love to see your crocheted projects. Put links or pics in the “comments” so that we can share, OK? ❤

S McCall

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Storage Ideas for Gift Wrap and Ribbon

After every holiday, when the clearance prices drop to 80 or 90 percent off, I tell myself, “Do NOT buy any more decorations, paper or ribbon!” And then….

Things stacked on the floor or things that have no “home” really bother me. It was time for another storage solution.  The paper rolls that were shoved into the corner between the card-stock cabinet and the wall needed a home. They also had to be on the wall and OFF the floor. OH! And, as always, it had to be a thrifty solution. After browsing the hardware and home supply stores, I found large, inexpensive hooks for hanging bicycles.

storage-for-gift-wrapI lined them up, two by two, for a total of six hooks. It worked out perfectly to hold my rolls of paper. Then, I went to Hobby Lobby to get two metal baskets to hold the small spools of miscellaneous ribbon.

craft-room-corner-with-giftThe ribbon on top of the card-stock cabinet is lined up in a thrift store cabinet that I painted and sanded for a shabby chic look. The rest are stored in pantry jars, boxes and baskets.

craft-room-with-ribbon-and-On the other side of the window wall is more ribbon storage, this time in an old cassette box. Then, turn the corner and you will find even more ribbon in boxes, baskets and on one of the shelves.

All of this organizing of ribbon and gift wrap made me wonder if there are any cool craft ideas for curling ribbon on the internet. So I searched Google and Pinterest and guess what!? Here are some links that you may be interested in checking out.Image result for curling ribbon crafts

http://www.chicaandjo.com/2009/04/21/make-coasters-from-curling-ribbon/

Jellyfish Paper Plate Craft Idea

http://www.scraplifters.com/paper-plate-craft-idea-make-jellyfish.html?cuid=165b9a646d90b19686cfabbadf558eca

40 Fun and Fantastic Paper Plate Crafts - Big DIY IDeas                                                                                                                                                      More

http://www.bigdiyideas.com/40-fun-and-fantastic-paper-plate-crafts/

S McCall

Abstract Paintings of an Early Snow

mixed media painting by Sandra McCall

Our snow has come late this year. I’m calling it an early snow, in spite of its lateness,  because it’s our first and an unusual amount of fall color remains on the leaves. It has stayed warm for so much of this winter that, even after the snow has melted, there is still a fair amount of autumn foliage surrounding us. This past year has been a year of record breaking statistics and total strangeness. Then, along comes January and it’s STILL strange. Ah well, no matter my opinion, life goes on. What to do about it? Paint it!

abstract apinting by Sandra McCall
Early Snow on the Old Homestead

After a quick gathering of supplies, Les and I set off for another art day in the woods. We chose a close campsite with a long table and got right down to our experiments. It was too cold to stay overnight, so this was strictly a short day trip.

pen and ink by Sandra McCall
Autumn Outing

My experiments were all about using a limited pallet of ink and only white acrylic paint. I smeared, splattered and painted. For some reason, I LOVE struggling in trying to paint a good abstract. Les asks me why I don’t just paint in realism because it comes so easily to me. And that, I think, is exactly the reason that it is not as challenging to me.

ink and paint abstract by Sandra McCall
First Snow on Autumn Leaves

Long ago, I had an art teacher, in college, who critiqued my sketchbook. He said, “You are not an artist, you are a draftsman. Sure, you can draw what you see, but there is no “art” in what you are doing.” He further went on to pour salt into my wounds by proclaiming loudly, “Your paintings are homogeneous.”

Boy! I’ve never forgotten that slam and it still stings after waaay too many years. So, struggle I do, because someday I WILL be an artist!  (grin) Don’t worry, I do know that he was just a jealous old fart – as I told another female student who was in tears over his critique. Oddly, all of the guys in class got glowing reviews. hmmmm….OK,  STILLED pissed! (Smacking my Head)

mixed media painting by Sandra McCall
Snow Over Autumn Landscape

But, back to painting- These abstracts are about trying to depict what I saw and felt that day. The air was crisp, there was a light snow covering the area, but the sun was shining and there was still lots of fall foliage peeking through the snow.

Autumn-campsite
Letters From an Autumn Campsite

S McCall

Journey into 1/12 Scale Miniatures

When Les asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I already knew months ahead of time. A 1/12 scale dollhouse! The miniatures hobby has always been a favorite of mine since I can use all kinds of art and craft skills to make tiny little treasures. To have a dollhouse of my own has been on my  mind for years. It had to wait though, until I was closer to retirement and not working such long hours. That day has finally come! Les and I recently went together to pick out my Christmas present.  Poor Les had to stand and stare at miniatures for hours. He’s such a good sport.Image result for real good toys victoria's farmhouseAfter lots of deliberation, I chose the Victoria’s Farmhouse kit from Real Good Toys. 

As soon as the ground floor build began, I started thinking of alterations to the floor plan. Yep, that’s me, not content to do anything as prescribed. My first thought was that I want to make a contemporary dollhouse. I love modern-farmhouse decor, so that will be my route.

dollhouse-living-room-1

The photo above shows the originally intended plan with a wall and door dividing the living room from the kitchen. I want a more modern, open floor plan, so I will put a short divider jut so that there will be an entryway to decorate. There MUST be a place to deposit tiny little letters and keys after all. Furthermore, I don’t want stairs to interrupt the decorating- so no stairs even as cute as they are.

lv-modifiedHere is a mock-up of the shortened wall that will form an  entryway into the house. Before putting that wall in, I will need to set a floor.altering-dollhouse-flooring.jpgIn my mind, a store bought wooden floor sheet would be easiest (and fastest since I am anxious to decorate). But once I got the sheet home, it looked too “regular” and flat. I may as well have printed out a picture of a floor, it looked that unreal. The fix-step was to cut the strips apart and into irregular lengths. Then, the edges were sanded to give a more separate look to each board. Gluing the boards down individually brought up a whole new set of problems. Can you see, in the photo below, that the strips are of variable thickness? Who knew that a store bought sheet of flooring would have such high-low spots! After I glue all of the floor boards into place, I will sand them down again to have a more uniform thickness. I don’t want my mini people tripping over floorboards!

laying-LV-flooring

After a week or so of deciding, this is as far as I’ve come. I plan on documenting my little journey on every step of the way so, if you are into minis, stay tuned for future progress.

S McCall

 

Easy Seasonal Cottage Decor

Autumn demanded new decorations for my Cottage style home. A welcoming wreath was on the list for my front door. It’s hand crafted and turned out pretty if I may say so myself. door wreath blog sizeAn inexpensive grapevine wreath was the jump-off point for this project. I added a little pine greenery, then fall colored picks and pumpkins. A cute Welcome sign that I found at Bell’s department store fit perfectly into the center of the wreath. A big shiny copper ribbon bow completed the look.

 

Thanksgiving decor

As usual, I changed my entryway to suit the season. This time, I wanted to focus on fall colors and decor to welcome the Thanksgiving holiday.

The design is simple and was based on a couple of new text art pieces that I found at Hobby Lobby. The metal bucket and  faux foliage is also from Hobby Lobby.

Fall-floralA silver, grey and ivory beaded pumpkin place-mat was from Ross- my favorite guilty pleasure shopping store. Well- Ross, Tuesday Morning and TJ Max are equal shopping fun. Since I nearly die of sticker shock every time I go into a store with full retail prices  –  you get the picture. It’s discount and thrift stores all the way for me.

wall-decorLes made many of the elements in my wall arrangement. Yes, I’m showing off his talent again. (grin). That strange little bird assembly at the top of the arrangement? It’s made with an oak burl and root piece that he found outside. Pretty awesome, huh? I LOVE found art!Text-art

fall-sap-bucketCompleting the fall decor in the living room was a snap. Cotton ball branches, twigs and red berries were tossed into my sap bucket and DONE! Pretty, inexpensive and easy- that’s my kind of decorating.

S McCall

Halloween 2017

A few more Halloween decor pics are in order, I think. Did I tell you that I LOVE decorating for the holidays? “Why?”,  you ask. Just because it makes me happy. I hope that the decorations make you smile too.entryway-halloweenart arrangement in entryway

 

The table in the entryway often gets a decorative refresh.  It’s a changeling for holidays as well as the different seasons. The photo above is specifically for Halloween, of course, but take a look at the before picture to the left. This was the summer arrangement with artwork from myself (center painting) and abstract landscapes from Claudia McGill. This time, the entryway went from springy-summer to the dark, spooky colors of Halloween. I love it!

decorations-above-stampsclose-up-of-collectablesI have a few purchased collectibles, but most of our decorations are made by Les or myself. Above are some store-boughts. Aren’t the little pumpkin buckets adorable?devil-bunniesThe cool devil bunnies are made by my husband Les Gains. He sculpts them of clay, then makes a mold and pours resin into that. Acrylic paint completes the look. I love his work because it is so unusual. My art always turns out “girly” no matter how edgy I try to make it.

Pictured above are more of Les’ mixed media sculptures. He most often starts with his resin creations and builds from there. So cool!halloween-collectables.jpg…a close-up of my girly assemblage with more of Les’ devil bunnies surveying the scene…my resin contribution this year is the little pumpkin in the basket. …..ah well…we can’t all be edgy.

Happy Halloween!

S McCall