Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crochet Projects for Beginners

Hello there, crafty friends and creative souls!  In an attempt to help spread the art of crochet with young learners, I've been putting together a few very basic crochet projects designed with the absolute beginner in mind.  While my intention is to use these projects at the library to work with local teens on broadening their crafty skills, I also decided to share them with those of you out there in the world who either A) would like to learn and practice crochet, or B) already know how, but enjoy quick and easy project ideas.  

So this is the first and easiest of the two projects, and you can anticipate the other one very soon.  Today, I'm showing you how to make crocheted cotton washcloths (find the printable PDF version here).  I feel the need to emphasize how fast and easy these are to make.  An experienced crocheter can finish one in 15 minutes easily!  They work as washcloths, dish cloths, or even gifts- especially if you make a set of 4 and package them with some nice soap.  Grab your hook and let's get started!

You can finder a larger, printable copy of this tutorial here.  Feel free to share it with any budding crochet artists you might know.  Happy crafting!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Craft Connection + Terrarium Tutorial

Hello and happy 4th of July!  I'm here to fess up about something, celebrate something, and teach you something all in one post.  I'll start with my confession: This is the first time I've updated my blog in over two months.  My excuse and my celebratory news are one in the same... I got a promotion!  I'm working a new full-time job at the library which involves all kinds of fun new responsibilities, such as storytimes for young children and planning programs for local teens.  Since creativity is the language I speak, I'm starting a new craft group where Tulsa youth can share ideas and show off their work.  It will be called The Craft Connection, starting August 4th and continuing the first Monday of each month from here on out.

With this announcement comes my final task- to teach you one of my favorite craft projects, which we'll also be studying during the very first installment of The Craft Connection: Terrariums!

Make Your Own Terrarium

You will need:
- A glass jar, vase, or bowl
- Soil
- Gravel
- Activated charcoal
- Plants or moss
- Rocks, crystals, garden stakes, or other decorations
- Skewers
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle

1. Gather your supplies and make sure the glass jar is clean and dry.
2. Pour a layer of gravel into the bottom of the jar for drainage.
3. Sprinkle a pinch of activated charcoal onto the top of the gravel layer to prevent rot.
4. Add a layer of soil deep enough to accommodate the plants you’ll be using. Also make sure the soil is appropriate for the plants you have.
5. Now add the plants! If you are using moss, make sure to remove any excess dirt and simply lay a sheet of moss on top of the dirt. If you are using rooted plants, you will need a deeper dirt layer. Shake any loose dirt from the roots, then gently dig a hole and place the plant inside.
6. Fill in the dirt around the plant to secure its place in the terrarium. Add additional plants as space allows.
7. Place a few stones, figurines, or garden stakes in your terrarium for a decorative touch.
8. Use a paper towel to wipe dirt from the sides of the terrarium. Lightly mist the terrarium with a spray bottle to allow everything to settle.

Care Instructions
1. Place your terrarium in an area with indirect sunlight. Too much light will burn your plants, so find a spot near, but not right next to, a window.
2. Lightly mist your terrarium with a spray bottle once a week at the very most. Reduce the watering to once every two weeks or even once a month in the winter.
3. Lids should not be used on terrariums containing succulents because it creates too much humidity. For other plants, lids may be used but should be removed for a few hours once a week to allow the terrarium to air out.
4. Rotate the terrarium every few weeks to allow equal light in all parts.

Video Tutorial:
My friends at KTUL were nice enough to help me promote this fun tutorial on Good Day Tulsa.  You can view this project in action by watching this video.

Additional Resources:
For a thorough list of plants that will work in a terrarium, visit this site.

Thanks for being patient with me while I neglect my blog for months and then bombard you with information.  I want to encourage all my Oklahoma friends to send any creative teens my way starting in August at the Schusterman-Benson Library.  Have a happy summer!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Crochet Milestone #2- My First Garment

You may recall the first crochet milestone I felt the need to brag about, the blanket I made for my newborn nephew.  Crocheting an afghan is something that requires a lot of time, but I didn't even follow a pattern because I had a vision in my head of a simple design I knew I'd be able to implement.  Clothing, however, has intimidated me for quite some time.  Even the most simple garment patterns seemed very complicated to me and I had never been able to work up the confidence to attempt one until recently.

My favorite local yarn store, Loops, has been hosting a cardi party which took place over the past few weeks and comes to a close today.  They pair up plenty of fun projects with beautiful yarns and offer prizes and encouragement to anyone who starts a cardigan during this promotion.  It was just the motivation I needed to finally attempt the Chevron Lace Cardigan I've been eyeballing for so long.  I used Berroco Modern Cotton for a sweater that is satiny soft and lightweight enough to wear in the warmer months.  And after all that anxiety about making a garment, I finished it!  Successfully!

Chevron Lace Cardigan

Other than a bit of confusion on the sleeves, it wasn't even very difficult!  So in classic Holly style, I made myself think I wasn't capable of something that turned out to be completely doable.  I would say something along the lines of "Lesson learned!  The next time I question my abilities, I'll shake those negative feelings and take on the challenge with the confidence of an ego-fueled rock star."  But realistically, we all deal with self-doubt and I'm sure it will creep into my mind with the next goal I set for myself.  It always does, if only for a brief, nagging moment.  Hopefully, though, the little bursts of confidence that come with each small win will serve as reminders to never get too comfortable.  To keep learning and growing and building.  So there you have it, a little crochet analogy for the fact that we're all better than we think we are.  Stay awesome and have a great week!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

World Book Night 2014

Did you know there is a very special day in our midst?  World Book Night is taking place on Wednesday, April 23rd, and thousands of people all over the globe have volunteered to be givers of brand new, special edition books- including yours truly! 

World Book Night!

The book I am giving is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and if you're in the Tulsa area and you'd like to lay claim to a copy of this awesome read, you can find me in the lobby of Made: The Indie Emporium Shop Wednesday, April 23rd (tomorrow!) from noon to 3 with a stack of 20 books while they last.  I'll be set up with a fellow member of Make:Tulsa, the lovely Sam of Bohemian Romance fame, passing out books and making the origami bookmarks from this tutorial I posted previously on my blog.

The mission behind World Book Night is to get shiny new copies of popular books into the hands of people who don't regularly take the time to read, with the hope that some of these book-reader connections will spark a lifelong love of reading.  Every year, an application process begins and most of the people who express an interest in this cause are approved.  If you think you might enjoy the opportunity to pass out free books to strangers, I encourage you to visit the WBN website for more information on becoming a giver.  Happy reading!