Archive | June, 2013

How-To-Make Plarn Photo Tutorial

24 Jun

Since I posted my beach bag tutorial, I thought I’d also do a quick one about how to make the “plarn” aka plastic yarn. I used old grocery bags to do this, and if you’re like me (meaning you really need to get some reusable shopping bags) then you’ll have a plethora of these lying around.

What you’ll need:
Plastic grocery bags
Scissors

First thing you do is collect your bags. I like to keep all my bags from the same store together so my plarn is all the same color. You could definitely mix them up though to get a different effect in the plarn when you’re crocheting. Here’s about half of what’s shoved under my kitchen sink.

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First, take a single bag and lay it out flat.

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Then, fold it in half lengthwise…

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…And in half again twice more.

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Cut off the top handles and the seam at the bottom.

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Then cut the main section of the bag into about 1-inch sections.

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Take two sections and unfold them.

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Make a half-hitch knot with the two loops and gently tighten it.

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Continue adding to one end of the plarn and roll into a ball as you extend. You should end up with something like this.

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Now you’re ready to go! You will definitely need a larger hook (Size K or bigger) to work with this stuff. It’s more challenging than yarn, so be prepared to do smaller sections of work at a time because your wrists might get tired. Happy Crocheting!

My “Plarn” Crochet Beach Bag

23 Jun

So me and the husband decided to take advantage of his leave time and our fairly close proximity to the gulf coast and have a beach vacation. I haven’t been to the beach in ages, and I realized that I didn’t have a beach bag. Gasp! I’ve been working hard to reign in my impulse spending, and since I had already bought a pair of shoes and a dress (both of which don’t really fit in my overcrowded closet), I decided to make my own bag. I’d been wanting to whip my hooks out anyway, and Jeremy was glad our bank account wasn’t going to suffer anymore that week. I looked online a bit for a pattern, but couldn’t find one I liked, so I made one up. My first solo project! (Forgive me if there’s any major mistakes or weirdness…I’ve never written a pattern before.)

First of all, I used plarn (plastic yarn), which I made from old grocery bags. I’ll post an how-to on making it yourself. It’s super easy to do…and it’s a cheap source of yarn. I wish I had kept track of how many bags you need, but like I said, it’s my first pattern.

What you’ll need:
1 large ball of plarn
1 small ball of another color plarn
Size K crochet hook or larger

Instructions:

Chain 48. Double crochet in third chain from hook and each consecutive chain. At the end of the row, chain 2 and turn. Repeat 39 times. (You can do more rows if you want you bag to be taller.) it should look something like this.

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At this point you’ll need to make the panels. I chose to make my striped since my bag was such a boring color. I used brown and white.

Chain 14. Double crochet in third chain from hook and each consecutive chain. Chain 2 and turn. At the end of the second row, pick up the second color plarn. Chain 2 and turn. Crochet two rows then switch color. This is how I did my color switching.

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I didn’t bother cutting the plarn at the end of each row. I just carried it over at each color switch and cut it when I was finished. Alternate colors until you have nine stripes. Repeat for second panel.

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Next, line up one of the panels with the edge of the main section and slip stitch the pieces together around the two long sides of the panel and one short side. Repeat one the other side with the second panel. It should look something like this.

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If you pull the slip stitches to the outside of the main section, you’ll end up with this nifty edging.

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Almost done! Ok finally we need a handle. I used my opposing color in the stripes to make it a little more interesting. Single crochet in each stitch across the top of one side panel. As you turn across the wider side of the bag, crochet 10 single crochet. Chain for as long as you want your handle to be. Count 10 stitches from the opposite side of that same side and complete 10 single crochets. Repeat on the opposite side. When you reach the stitch you began with, slip stitch. Chain 1 and repeat. When you reach the handle, single crochet around the chain handle. I just did singles until my handle felt pretty sturdy. Repeat with the other handle. And that’s it! You have yourself a durable beach bag.

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I got quite a few beach supplies in this baby and it held up great! The best part is that if it gets dirty you can just hose if off and let it dry. I even took it shopping one day. If it can hold the entire contents of my purse, it very well could hold anything!

An Interesting T-shirt Refashion

10 Jun

Every once in awhile, in my bargain hunting, I buy something that I love and hate at the same time. I love stripes and patterns, and sometimes they distract me from recognizing poorly cut clothing. So, needless to say, I bought a shirt that just didn’t fit right. I really liked the colors of the stripes, so I didn’t want to get rid of it. I was constantly covering it with a sweater or pushing up the sleeves. Finally, I decided to cut it up and make it into something that I didn’t sort of hate. Here’s the original shirt…

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I’m not a refashion expert, and I’m still new to cutting up clothing so I kinda made this up as I went. I starting by cutting the awkward length sleeves into short sleeves. Then I sewed the sleeves together across the front to give it a bow shape in the front.

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Then I cut the weird band that goes around the bottom off. It rolled nicely so I didn’t bother finishing the bottom. I took a piece of the band and sewed a circle around the “bow” I made on the front to cover the stitching.

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I wanted the bow to keep its shape on the front, so I made a small stitch across the top onto what used to be the collar.

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I took the extra fabric from the sleeves and stitched some straps on it. I don’t like worrying about whether or not a tube top is gonna stay on. I made the straps thick, so I can wear it as a tank top or with cap sleeves.

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I really like how it turned out. I wore it maybe twice after I bought it. Since I refashioned it alone, I’ve worn it two or three times. The neutral stripes go great with my colored shorts and jeans.

Looking for a Military Wedding Garter?

1 Jun

Today I wanted to give a small shout-out that I’ve been meaning to give for almost a year now. It’s to the woman who did my wedding garter. I was bound and determined to surprise Jeremy and get an army themed garter. I looked around a bit at the traditional wedding stores, but the most impressive (and actually, not too expensive) garters were from Military Sweet Things.

She is a military wife herself, and she makes absolutely the most gorgeous garters. My brother-in-law is a Marine and my brother is a Navy seaman, and you can bet I’ll be getting both of their ‘wives to be’ one of these when the bridal shower rolls around. Even if you don’t end up wearing a garter (I didn’t because my dress was too fitted), they’re beautiful keepsakes not only of your wedding but commemoration to time spent in the service. You can definitely go to her site and see for yourself. Even better, if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, she’ll do a custom order. I custom ordered my set and they arrived with plenty of time for the wedding. She even put his unit emblem on it.

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So, if you’re looking for a military-themed garter, check out Military Sweet Things.

Eyebrows: The Window Treatments of the Soul

1 Jun

There are two types of people in this world: those with immaculate eyebrows and those without. Most of the time, I tend to lean toward the latter. I think I pull my tweezers out about every two weeks or so. However, lately I’ve found myself with an excess of time on my hands, so I decided to shape them up a bit.

To be perfectly honest though, my real motivator was meeting someone who had a little shag in the brow bone region. I spent a majority of our interaction staring at the excess hair. Kinda made me reevaluate my own facial situation. I mentioned it to Jeremy and he just chuckled in the kind way that he does, but deep down I know if he should see said person again…he’s gonna notice the brows!

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Eyebrows! If eyes are the windows to the soul, eyebrows are the window treatments. And window treatments don’t just accent a window; they pull a room together. My momma always told me that if your hair, make-up, bangs, ears, nose, etc are just not working…the problems is your eyebrows. (And if you happen to have dark hair, you might want to double check your upper lip region isn’t to make sure you’re not rockin a ‘stache as well.) So my rule of thumb is that before I make any changes with hairstyles and bangs, I do a little eyebrow maintenance.

Now, for those of you who prefer to do their own eyebrows like me (I’m cheap and not very trusting), there’s a few things to take into consideration. For one, there’s waxing versus tweezing. Waxing is soooo much faster and cleaner, but it’s easier to mess up and lose a chunk of eyebrow. Tweezing is more precise, but doing a good job is painfully slow. I used to be an avid waxer, but after I once spilled my wax in the carpet of my college dorm, I decided tweezers were necessary until I own my space. One thing I recommend when tweezing is to find natural lighting; it makes it easier to see all the tiny hairs.

Another thing to take into consideration is size and shape. Thick, neat eyebrows are the trendy thing to have right now. Unfortunately, not all of us grow luscious brows to start off with, but there’s also powder and brow pencils to fill in empty space. My eyebrows have a natural arch, so they’re easy to shape. But, they’re not all that thick, so I tend to add a little pencil (sometimes with a tint depending on my current hair color). You can’t really say one particular combination of shape and size is perfect for everyone. For example, I have one sister who meticulously plucks and draws thick (and I do mean THICK) dark brows on everyday, and it totally works for her. My other sister tried this once and all the baby forest animals and small children went running and screaming to safety. Ultimately, find something that works and stick to it. However, I should warn you, if you go for the thickness and it has to be drawn on, you’ll have to do it all the time. Otherwise, you’ll miss a day and people will ask you if you’re alright and say how tired and distraught you look.

The moral of the story here is that eyebrows matter. They can totally change your look. If ever you are feeling a little dumpy, grab your tweezers! A transformation is just a few plucks away.