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Crochet

The Leisure Arts Crochet Blog
  • Wall Hangings That Will Bring Out The Interior Decorator In You

    We've all done it. We've seen the fancy fiber art wall hangings that are typically in niche home decor stores, or luxurious art galleries, and take it off the rack, ready to give it a new home. But then you feel the cold stab of betrayal as you flip the price tag and see that the wall art you loved so much, costs a lot more than you would like to spend. Et Tu, department store markups?

    That's why we had Sharon Silverman come in to save the day with her awesome guest blog, and show you that you can teach those department stores who's boss! You can learn to craft beautiful crochet wall hangings that won't break your bank, and will make you look like you vacation in Cabo every third Wednesday.

    Take it away, Sharon!

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    I love browsing in furniture stores, don’t you? It’s so much fun to see the vignettes they have set up for home, office, and outdoors. Being a fiber artist, I always pay particular attention to the accessories. What kinds of rugs and afghans are popular? How about the pillows? What type of art is on the walls?

    There are plenty of furniture stores to explore in and around the newly expanded King of Prussia Mall, just 35 minutes from my home in Pennsylvania: Arhaus, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and more. Recently, I started to notice a common theme in their textiles: lots of fabric and yarn wall-hangings, including some that took me right back to the macramé days of my youth! Seeing those put a smile on my face, but the price tags didn’t. Hundreds of dollars for pieces that I knew I could make myself for a fraction of the cost—and so could you.

    That was the beginning of the idea for Wall Hangings.

    Wall Hangings Wall Hangings

    Once I got the go-ahead from Leisure Arts, I started coming up with designs. I wanted to incorporate flourishes like tassels, pom-poms, and fringe in some of the designs. Exuberant Embellishments uses a variety of yarn weights and textures from Lion Brand Yarn: LB Collection Wool, Romance, Color Clouds, Vanna’s Glamour, and Glitterspun. 

    My Wall Hangings

    Wall Hangings Exuberant Embellishments

    The neutral colors of the piece let the textures and finishes of the yarn stand out. Even though I am usually a fan of lightweight yarn, I really love the chunkiness of the fringe and some of the larger stitches.

    Winding Links also incorporates pom-poms and tassels, but this time in a consistent yarn weight. I used Red Heart Super Saver in brown (Coffee) and Aqua (Aruba Sea), but you could choose any two contrasting colors that complement your décor. 

    Wall Hangings Winding Links

    Winding Links is made in segments and then hung on a dowel. I-cords are used to hang the segments at various heights and to connect them to each other. If you haven’t mastered crocheted I-cord, this is a good chance to practice. After a few tries and misfires, I discovered that I love making it!

    The choice of stitch patterns creates the texture in Fur & Loops. Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo is worked in the loop stitch for the persimmon section, and the fur stitch for the hyacinth section. Looks challenging, right? Don’t tell anyone, but the fur stitch and loop stitch are easy variations on single crochet. They are actually the same stitch, but for fur stitch the loops are cut to make them shaggy.

    Wall Hangings Fur and Loops

     

    The natural world inspired several of my designs. Spiral Stems uses a sturdy twig as the hanger for the individually crocheted spirals in greens and greys from Patons Décor.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems

     Some of the spirals are long and skinny, some are shorter and thicker, just like the variations found in plants and trees.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems Close Up

    When I worked on a yarn installation at Hagley Museum and Library, the original site of the DuPont powder works in Wilmington, Delaware, I used a lot of crocheted roses to adorn the iron gates.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Detail

    I was reminded of them when I worked on the Wall Hangings designs. They’re fun to make, cheerful to look at, and bring a great pop of color to a room! I used various shades of pink and yellow, as well as green leaves, for Rose Arbor. The flowers are Red Heart Super Saver, and the leaves are Lily Sugar ‘n Cream.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor
    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The monochromatic panels in Windy Sails gives that project a classic look, updated with coiled I-cord decorations at the bottom. Panels use different stitch patterns to create interest. Dowels at the top and bottom keep things neat.

    Wall Hangings Windy Sails

    Leisure Arts holds onto the finished projects, but I liked Curves & Lines so much that I made one for my dining room and another one for my son’s apartment. (I did his in blues with some black and white thrown in, and made the fringe in an arc shape to mimic the trajectory of a rocket after launch. When you’re the mother of a rocket scientist, you get some unusual requests!) All of the projects use Patons Lace. I picked a straight dowel to go across and extend beyond a quilting hoop because that arrangement kind of reminds me of Saturn.

    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines
    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines Alternative

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I try never to miss an opportunity to add beads to my work, and this leaflet was no exception. Beaded Tapestry uses a variety of beads in earth tones on a background of blue Lily Sugar ‘n Cream to create a pattern that’s just abstract enough to make you wonder what it is. A bird? A fox? Just shapes? You decide.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry
    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The fringe below is adorned with beads of various colors at different heights to finish off this long, graceful hanging in style.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Detail

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on Wall Hangings. Along with doing the editing and photography, they staged the pieces in a variety of attractive settings.

    I encourage crocheters to make wall art using these patterns, rather than paying inflated prices for finished products. The projects are rated Easy, but even experienced crocheters will find them interesting to make—and may even learn some new techniques and stitch patterns along the way. Wall hangings make great gifts, too: one size fits all! 

    As for my professional background, I am the author of 16 crochet books and a private line of patterns. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. My crochet work includes large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I am a crochet instructor for Annie’s Online Classes.

    I’m inspired by everything from the beauty of nature to the stunning creations of architects and furniture-makers. And, of course, by yarn! 

    Please join me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry, YouTube, Etsy, and Instagram at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com.

    Happy crocheting!

    Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman

     

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    Are you ready to make your own Wall Hanging? What are you waiting for! Go get Sharon's book, and show off your newly learned crochet skills.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Teaching Knit and Crochet with the Certified Instructors Program!

    Teaching! We've all thought about it at some point in our lives. We all have imagined leading a group and teaching the best of the best to some awesome people. Now, us crafters have that resource! The Craft Yarn Council has this AMAZING program that lets you share your skills with aspiring Crochet and Knit enthusiasts. This opportunity keeps crafting alive for future generations, and gives you the opportunity to give back to you community though your trade. Check out all the details below!

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    Do you love to teach others, and have strong basic knit or crochet skills? The kids are going back to school, so why don’t you? Join the thousands of knitters and crocheters who’ve already gained the knowledge and confidence to teach others through the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program!

    Teaching Crafts

    The Certified Instructors Program equips people with the tools to share their passion for knit and crochet with others and to “stitch it forward”. The program offers many benefits to students, including increased confidence in their crochet or knitting skills and the ability to convey these skills to others. Students also gain exclusive access to the closed CIP Student and Graduate Facebook page, where they can collaborate with other CIP students and graduates.

    The program has been around since 1982. More than 15,000 students have completed the course and gone on to teach in retail stores, adult education programs, and to share their knowledge with friends, co-workers and family. Students work with a nationally recognized Master Teacher and complete teaching hours to prove their proficiency.

    Here are some fast facts about the program:

    ● It is offered via correspondence and occasionally as an on-site course

    ● The correspondence course is divided into Level I and Level II

    ● Students have six months to complete each level of the correspondence program

    ●There are 15 hours of class time held over a series of days at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and the curriculum covers both levels.

    Ready to start teaching? Click here to visit the Craft Yarn Council website for more information and to apply.

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    Sounds pretty amazing, right? Be sure to check out this program, and share it with others who would love to share their favorite past times onto the next generation of rocking crafters.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Must-Haves for Fall: Cozy Shawls and Scarves With Christine Naugle!

    Fall is coming up soon! The season of color and pumpkin spice. We love fall here at Leisure Arts, and so does Christine Naugle, author of the freshly released book, Cozy Shawls and Scarves. She's joined our blogosphere today to give us some insight into her creative and versatile ideas for these Fall fashion staples. Take it away, Christine!

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    Hi, my name is Christine Naugle, I am the designer behind the Cozy Shawls and Scarves booklet with Leisure Arts. I am beyond excited to see these patterns in print, available for all of you. With 7 different designs, there is one you are sure to love!

    So, Tell Us About Your Cozy Designs!

    When I was asked to design multiple scarf patterns, I knew my designs would have to be a variety of styles and yarns to appeal to multiple crocheters. I love the look and style of so many scarves, shawls and wraps, and how they can change the look of an outfit to fit nearly any outing. A shawl, scarf or wrap is more of a wardrobe piece that can add to any outfit. I am a big fan of the great outdoors, and love spending time in the mountains especially on brisk mornings or cool evenings when there is a chill in the air. The 7 designs included in this booklet are all designed and named after my favorite mountain range in the Northwest, the great Sawtooth Mountains.

    Alpine Scarf

    The first design that I knew I had to include was the popular triangle shawl. I love the simplicity of these patterns, and how lovely they drape around the upper body, creating a beautiful wrap. Alpine Lake is set deep in the Sawtooths and is surrounded by lush pines, so I had to use a beautiful and vibrant green of Lion Brand Heartland yarn. The yarn is a perfect weight when worked in the carefully calculated stitches to create a lightweight, yet warm wrap.

    Cozy Fall Fashion Alpine Scarf

    The Toxaway Scarf

    While designing the Toxaway Shawl, I knew it had to be a full body shawl, but include a unique stitch pattern to draw interest to the design. I incorporated a fun extended cross stitch that is fun and quick to work (cream rows) and then used a ruler to help create the attached fringe look in the brown rows. Believe it or not, this shawl works up quick and is really fun to make!

    Cozy Shawl Toxaway Shawl

    The Twin Lakes Infinity Scarf

    Infinity Scarves are very popular right now. I wanted to design a simple infinity scarf, but add a unique touch to it. The Twin Lakes Infinity Scarf is just that! Pick your favorite colors to make this a personalized eye catching braided infinity scarf.

    Cozy Scarf Twin Lakes Infinity Scarf

    The Trinity Capelet

    One of my favorite lakes in the Sawtooths is Trinity Lake. Falling back on my religious background when I think of the Trinity, a triangle comes to mind, so I had to incorporate the triangle stitch. Making a capelet in the soft Lion Brand Landscape was a must, and I adore the mustard color. The soft grey touch adds a classy point of interest, and makes the Trinity Capelet a wardrobe must-have.

    Cozy Shawl Trinity Capelet

    The Trail Creek Neck Warmer

    Trail Creek Lakes are a series of 5 small glacier alpine lakes in the Sawtooths. The glacier water is very cold and makes me think of staying extra warm with a soft, warm and fuzzy neck warmer. The Trail Creek Neck Warmer is a smaller piece to make, but don't let that fool you. It is full of texture, with raised angled stitches that really set the style. But, it isn't only for style, add a warm and fuzzy inner lining to keep you nice and toasty!

    Cozy Scarf Trail Creek Neck Warmer

    The Alturas Shawl

    Shawl in a Ball yarn has always grabbed my attention when browsing the yarn isles. But, I could never find patterns featuring it that I loved. So, I jumped at this opportunity to design a lovely shawl/wrap using the delicate yarn with the amazing color changes that the yarn creates. The Alturas Shawl is an stitch that creates a luxurious look when worked with the Sawl in a Ball yarn. The top of the shawl is designed with a closed stitch pattern to keep you covered and warm,  while the bottom of the shawl features a beautiful triangle (pine tree) pattern to create an eye appeal that makes your shawl a fashion forward Fall piece.

    Cozy Shawls Alturas Shawl

    The Imogene Infinity Scarf

    I love a big bundle of warmth around my neck when it is chilly. The Imogene Infinity Scarf does just that! Made with the soft yarn of Lion Brand Scarfie, the Imogene pattern works up fast and can be wrapped once, twice or three times to keep you as warm as you need. It's just like getting a big warm hug on a chilly afternoon. What could be better than that?

    Cozy Cowls Imogene Infinity Cowl

    There you have it, all 7 designs that are included in my new book, Cozy Shawls and Scarves. I hope you found one, two or more that you cannot wait to add to your wardrobe this fall. Keep in mind all of the people on your gift list for the holidays. These shawls, scarves, wraps and capelets make amazing gifts for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, co-workers and so many more!

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    Don't you just love her designs? Go out now and purchase Cozy Shawls and Scarves to try your hand at them today! Paired with your choice of color and yarn, you can have a unique accessory with every look you pull off.

    Happy Crafting!

    Leisure Arts Team

  • Merry Christmas in July! Fun Crafts for a Quirky Holiday

    It's the 25th of July, craft family. You know what that means? It's Christmas Day (in July)! We can all agree that this is an odd holiday overall, and while we complain about seeing all of this Christmas stuff way too early, we secretly can't deny how fun it is to see the festive decorations in store every year. Christmas time is supposed to be a joyous holiday filled with family, friends, and love. Why wouldn't you want that a second time in the year? Which is why we love to celebrate it here at Leisure Arts. We have a Giveaway going on until July Currently, where we are granting one lucky individual a chance to win 15 books, and an Oval Loom Kit.

    If you want to enter the Giveaway, Click Here. 

    You can give those books a once over if those interest you, but for this week's post, we're gonna  show you some other great crafts that you can make with the family unit for Christmas in July!

     

    Holiday Crafts For The Kids

    The people you buy the most gifts for are always the little lights of your life: your kids! Well, or nieces or nephews or grandchildren. Check out some of the best selling pattern books for kids that are currently on sale now.

    Kid's Snuggles - SKU # 75678

    Holiday Crafts Mermaid Snuggie
    Holiday Crafts Princess Snuggie

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A fun and popular book for the kids, this is a great pattern book full of gifts that spark imagination! Make nap time fun with character blankets and soft yarn.

     

    Baby Stacks -  SKU # 75668

    Holiday Crafts Bumble Bee Baby Stack
    Holiday Crafts Zoo Animal Baby Stack

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You'll have so much fun making these adorable designs for your little one at home! These baby stacks make for great activities that keep the baby's attention and coordination skills in good shape.

     

    Busy Baby Boxes - SKU # 75672

    Holiday Crafts Fairy Princess Baby Box
    Holiday Crafts Farm House Busy Baby Box

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A fun addition to playtime, these designs are great for keeping the little one's attention and are filled with up to six little crochet finger puppets as an added bonus!

     

    Fun With Crochet

    Crochet is one of our most popular categories, because there is so much versatility! We have a few of our new books in crochet available during our sale, like these two favorites!

    Artisan Jewelry - SKU # 75670

    Holiday Crafts Thread Crochet Fan Necklace
    Holiday Crafts Bead and Tassel Necklace
    Holiday Crafts Chain Link Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Thread Crochet is a delicate style of crochet, that can produce amazing results. Jewelry is a phenomenon that you wouldn't expect crochet to fit into, but it does! You can have all different types of unique jewelry from the styles above, from simple baubles to fancy chain links!

     

    Quick Crochet Flowers - SKU # 75684 

    Holiday Crafts Crochet Flower Dream Catcher
    Holiday Crafts Embroidery Hoop Flower Art

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is a great book full of fun home decor projects. The new designs take crochet to an elegant level that sophisticates your home with DIY Flowers and embroidery.

     

    Extras!

    I know that having all of these books to choose from is a lot to take in, so let us help! here are a few extra books that we love that you should pick up during our sale.

    Oversized Knits - SKU # 75680

    Holiday Crafts Oversized Blue Knit Cap and Scarf Set
    Holiday Crafts Oversized Messy Bun Hat
    Holiday Crafts Oversized Lime Green Shawl

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A book chock full of quirky designs, this is an interesting pattern book that will make you want to pick up jumbo knitting. The designs range from fun winter hats to flirty summer shawls!

     

    Make a Crochet Garden - SKU # 75669

    Holiday Crafts Crochet Cacti Pencil Cup Holder
    Holiday Crafts Hanging Crochet Garden
    Holiday Crafts Succulent Crochet Table Runner

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This pattern book has been one of our most popular this year, and for good reason! The book allows you to create a garden that will never wilt, and bring a unique edge to your usual home decor!

     

    After School Kid's Crafts - SKU # 7238

    Holiday Crafts Small and Soft Owl Satchels
    Holiday Crafts Felty Fun Unicorn Art
    Holiday Crafts Fun Felt and Stitch Tree Art

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A fun book to bring home to the kids! They'll make the coolest school accessories with the designs from this book.

     

    There are plenty more where these came from, Crafters! There are over 560 titles in the Christmas in July Sale section right now, so I would take advantage of it while it lasts!

     

    Shop our Sale, Now! 

    Use code JINGLEJULY at checkout to get the discount.

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Homemade Accessories That Are Cooler Than A Diamond Bracelet.

    As Marilyn Monroe once sang, diamonds are a girls best friend! Except for today, because this post is about homemade accessories that are way cooler than wearing a boring and cold diamond bracelet on your wrist.

    Making your own accessories sets you apart from the crowd, and brings out the creative monster inside of you. Some people make a living out of selling their homemade jewelry, and others just don't want to look like everyone else. No matter how you look at it, there are multiple reasons to start making your own stylish accessories. Let us help you make the coolest ones! Here are some of the best accessories that you can make yourself, that'll go with any outfit.

     

    Quick and Simple Stringing - SKU # 7212

    A beaded jewelry technique made from stringing a variety of beads together, this technique can turn a simple thread into modern magic. Just look at some of the designs you can create from our patterns!

     

    Homemade Accessories Classic Pearl Strung Necklace
    Multi-Colored Stacked Necklaces Multi-Colored Stacked Necklaces
    Homemade Accessories Retro Sunburst Turquoise Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Just look at that pearl necklace! It looks like you could get that at any fashionable jewelry store. But if your style is more subtle, you can make something simple that makes a statement, like the stacked necklaces.

     

    Quick and Simple Linking - SKU # 7213

    Similar to any chain link technique, this method lets you link jewels with metals or beads, or really any shiny thing you think would look good. This method can give you the chance to make grand statements, and let's you keep adding to your piece if you wanted. here are some striking examples!

     

    Homemade Accessories Stacked and Linked Amber Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Simple Citrine Linked Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Subtle and Simple Stacking Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These designs are perfect for the one who doesn't want to wear diamonds, but still wants to feel luxurious. Plus, it's a definite bonus that these beautiful baubles won't break your bank.

     

    Quick and Simple Wirework - SKU #7214

    Wire wrapping! An extremely intricate looking jewelry style, that is a lot easier than you think. This is a style that can really make any kind of jewelry, because you are actually forming most of the metal products yourself. This is by far the most creative and eccentric method of the three, and for good reason! Check out some of our examples from the book.

    Homemade Accessories Wire Wrapped Crystal Gemstone Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Beaded Silver Wirework Bracelet
    Homemade Accessories Wire Wrapped Bracelet and Broach Set

     

    You can tell how much work is put into each of these designs - and how unique it make them. This Jewelry type is for the stand outs, the ones who know they are making a statement when they wear it, and love it.

     

    Bonus Accessories!

    The bonus this week is a book that's gotten a lot of attention lately, so how could I not include it (again). You may or may not remember this book from last week's post on homemade spa materials.

     

    Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads - SKU # 7353

    The designs in this book merit a mention in this week's post, because of how simple but striking the designs are. Not only that, but they are unique because of what you can do with them. The lava beads are porous enough to absorb your favorite scented oils and fragrances so you get a two for one deal! They deserve to be put into this sophisticated self-made jewelry category. Check out our examples!

    Homemade Accessories Simple Strung Lava Bead Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Lava Bead and Gold Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Stacked Beaded Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These may not be diamonds, but they look luxurious without them.

    So, the next time you think about going to an expensive big brand retailer for high end jewelry, think about the options you have for making your own. You don't need to spend a fortune!

     

    Have you made any of these before? If so, post them to our social pages! We love to see what's going on in your studios.

     

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

     

     

  • The Best Cozies and Coasters for Your Morning Cup

     

    Hey craft family!

    Everyone loves their morning Cup O' Jo, and that term applies to tea drinkers too, or really any hot drink. The one thing we can all agree on, no matter what we are drinking, is that we hate it when our fingertips get stung by the scalding hot temperature of our cup after a few minutes. Or when you set your cup down on that glossy end table, and put a permanent cloudy ring through the first few layers. Which is why this week, we're talking about cozies and coasters, your drink's best friend! Here is our list of some of our favorites.

     

    Cozy Cozies

     

    Cup Cozies - SKU # 75568

    Cozies and Coasters screen-shot-2018-06-27-at-11-01-51-am screen-shot-2018-06-27-at-11-02-24-am

    You can get creative with the ways you keep your coffee warm, like these nature cozies up above, or animal friendly cozies down below! What matters is how much fun you have making it. Most patterns show a basic background, with attachments added to them after the cuff is made. So, these patterns are an easy weekend project that you can just keep adding to whenever you feel like it.

    screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-23-00-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-23-20-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-23-52-pm

    These patterns are sure to make you unique when you're out and about on the town, and you get to brag about your crochet skills when people stop you and ask where you bought it from!

    screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-24-25-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-24-35-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-24-53-pm

     

    My Pet Crafts - SKU # 6862

    My Pet Crafts

    This is my personal favorite, from our book My Pet Crafts. How can you not want to make this adorable raccoon felt cozy! If you're not the crochet type, this is a perfect and sleeker alternative.

     

    Crafty Coasters

    You've probably something seen or used one at some point in your life, and if you haven't, I worry about your manners. Coasters are a great way to keep your furnished tables...nicely furnished. These are some great coaster patterns to try out.

     

    All About Cotton - SKU # 7055

    All About Cotton

     

    Knits For Summer - SKU # 7198

    Knits For Summer

     

    Coasters - SKU # 6078

    Coasters Coasters

    Plastic Canvas is a great craft to make coasters from. It's durable, flexible, and overall fun to merge! These coasters are fun and creative, and can show your house guests what you really care about in a fun and practical way.

    Coasters Coasters

     

    Coasters and Lollipop Covers - SKU # 6482

    Coasters and Lollipop Covers Coasters and Lollipop Covers

     

    Big Book of Coasters - SKU # 5855 

    This book has the best range of designs to choose from. It has coasters for every occasion and season!

    Big Book of Coasters Big Book of Coasters

    Big Book of Coasters  Big Book Of Coasters  Big Book of CoastersBig Book of Coasters

     

    Alternatives... Be Unique!

    For the eclectic soul who doesn't want to have cookie cutter coasters. Switch up your crafting routine with these projects!

     

    DIY Pallet Projects - SKU # 7239

    DIY Pallet Projects

    Pallet wood projects are big right now, and this personalized plate doubles as a crafty coaster. Not only can you fit your gigantic coffee cup (not judging) on your tray, but you can fit breakfast, or a nice book on it too.

     

    99 Granny Squares To Crochet - SKU # 6393 

    99 Granny Squares To Crochet 99 Granny Squares Crochet 99 Granny Squares to Crochet

    Granny squares in their simplest forms are just small blocks of crochet that can be combined to make a larger project. So, why not keep this craft in its simplest form for a soft and practical coaster? As you can see from above, there are limitless variations that you can create, and you can even make a nice cozy if you combine the two together!

     

    Doilies Updated - SKU # 7035

    Doilies Updated Doilies Updated

    Doilies work on the same level! Essentially they're just extra fancy coasters. Which is why they can be so versatile now! This book has a lot of great uses and patterns for the modern doily, and I think you'll find some great ideas or coasters here too.

     

    From one avid coffee and tea drinker to another, having that extra something special with your morning drink can set the precedent for the rest of the day. These fun cozy and coaster projects make for great entertainment, that ends up being functional overall.

    Which coaster is your favorite? Let us know in the comments down below. Even better, share your recent projects with us! We love too see what you guys are working on.

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Dog Crafts! Fuzzy Projects for Furry Friends

     

    Hey Craft Family! 

    “It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat or dog person, we all love our pets!”

    Except for this post.  

    Because dogs are going to be the star of the show today! 

    Admit it, we’ve all been caught spoiling our dogs with whatever we can think of. Extra food, treats, our usual side of the bed, you name it! So, why can’t we spoil them with crafts? Pet clothing has been growing significantly more popular throughout the years, and people can’t stop finding new outfits to style their furry best friend in. So, we’ve made a few suggestions for your next gift for Fido! Let’s get started. 

     

    Dog Royalty: Suave and Stylish Knits for the Park

    Give your dog that extra pep in his step with the right outfit for the day! Like these designs: 

    From Knits for Pets - # 75622

    Knits for Pets screen-shot-2018-06-25-at-9-21-19-am screen-shot-2018-06-25-at-9-21-33-am

    I know that it's summer, but this is the perfect time to start working on these patterns so they can be read by the fall. Plus come on, look at these dogs! They are owning it in their outfits.

     

    Accessorize 

    If your dog is anything like mine, then wearing an outfit is a constant uphill battle. Which is why when making crafts for your dog, you sometimes have to improvise. My dog won't wear a full coat, or any type of shirt without trying to eat it, so I make him small scarves, or cute collars instead! Other things you can make could be toys, or plush animals for them to play with! Here are a few examples of some accessories that you can make for your dog.

    Knits For Pets - # 75622 

    Dog Plush Toy

    A New Twist on Macrame - # 75597

    Dog Collar

    Learn To Crochet Toys - # 6188

    Dog Toy

    Sweet Pet Comforts - # 36075274

    Dog Accessories screen-shot-2018-06-25-at-10-21-12-am screen-shot-2018-06-25-at-10-21-21-am screen-shot-2018-06-25-at-10-21-29-am

    Baby toys might seem like a stretch for dog gifts, but it's actually a great idea for puppies, who get easily amused and need a lot of attention when you first get them. The plush toys, like the one mentioned above, are just as important to puppy, and most of the time they'll become attached to it!

     

    Dogs are companion creatures, which means that wherever you go, they go. You're the first thing they think about in the morning when they wake up, and the last thing they think about when they cuddle up right next to you and go to sleep. Why shouldn't we spoil them every chance we get? If you try out these patterns, it will be an extra special gift to them since it was made from your own hands.

     

    Happy crafting, and good luck!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Tidy Tips with Leisure Arts: Organizing Your Craft

     

     

    Hey craft family! 

    We all wish that we had a super-sonic vacuum that just magically cleaned our homes and arranged everything perfectly (if you haven’t dreamed of this, you’re lying). But the reality is that we make messes every day, and have trouble cleaning up after ourselves. The phrase, “Eh, I’ll do it later” has probably ruined more lives than a natural disaster has. So, let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article, your craft space is probably a natural disaster in and of itself. 

    That’s why this week, we are here to help!

    We’ve compiled a list of tips that help you get in the habit of keeping a tidy and organized workspace, and because we're so nice, we'll give you some neat projects to help you with your newfound mission. Here we go! 

    Compartmentalize… But In A Good Way.

    Salt Water Taffy Collection

    Stashing everything left and right isn’t going to do you any good in the long run. You can lose important items, or even worse, forget you had some items and go out and buy them again (trust me, we’ve all been there). The best thing to do is to categorize your things into sections! By doing this, you know where everything is at all times, and won’t end up with two extra bottles of that fabric glue you needed last week. 

    Boxes, Baskets, and Shelves, Oh My!

    Baskets

    You can’t compartmentalize without having actual compartments. Boxes are the best way to keep things in the right place, but other great storage ideas include shelves, baskets, and hanging storage devices. Here are some great ideas for storage From Leisure Arts that you can make yourself! 

    Baskets - #75496

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    screen-shot-2018-06-18-at-9-42-29-am

    Baskets - yellow

    T shirt Yarn Home Décor - #7222

    T-Shirt Yarn Home Decor

     

    Love and Let Go - Get Rid of the Clutter! 

    If your inner hoarder is cringing on the inside at this post so far, don't worry! If you cannot bear to part with the scraps you tend to keep from other projects, then put them good use, and start a scrap project! This way, you get to be creative and tidy at the same time.

    Here is a similar scrap project idea book that will help you with this project:

    More Projects From Your Scrap Bag - #5169

    More Projects From Your Scrap Bag

     

    Clean Up at the End of the Day - You’ll Thank Me Later

    This tip is the most important, because it will help keep your space constantly clean! If you spend just a little bit of time cleaning up at the end of each work day in your craft area, you have less to worry about and more time to work on your projects for the next day! A little goes a long way, especially when it comes to cleaning!

     

    Hopefully, these projects inspire you to keep a clean workspace, because after all, we work at our best when we have a clear mind, and a clean office.

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Crafting Across Cultures: Mexico

     

    Hey craft family!

    Today we’re switching it up with a hot new crafting series, affectionately known as “Crafting Across Cultures”. We get so wrapped up in our own projects, and tend to forget about what’s going on with the rest of the world (in crafting, that is). I want to focus in on a specific country for each post in the series, and shine the spotlight on some of the great crafts and Folk Art they have to share with the world. Let's expand everyone’s horizons in craft, and spread new ideas across cultures.

    This Week? We have Mexico! 

    Mexico

    Known for its beautiful textiles and interesting pottery designs, Mexico has had a stronghold in the arts for quite some time (since 1400 BCE, according to Wikipedia). Today, we’re going to focus on the traditions of making these crafts, and the cultural significance it has for Mexico. 

    textiles

    Textiles

    The textiles of Mexico have worn many hats. Clothing was originally made from plants and cottons, which later expanded to more luxurious fabrics like silks and wool after the conquest of the Aztec Empire. Most fabrics are made with naturally dyed fibers, which give nice earthy tones to the coloring and prints in the textiles. Most are embroidered and adorned with fresh patterns that incorporate the Mexican flag in some form or fashion.

    Here are some of Mexico’s most popular textile fashions!

    rebozo

    Rebozo

    This is a garment that is still widely used today in both mixed-race communities and indigenous cultures. This long shawl is used to carry heavy objects close to the body, or support a baby. It’s traditionally a long piece of cloth with fringe on the sides, and can be made as big or as small as the crafter wants.

    saltillo-blanket

    Serape / Saltillo Blanket

    Always featuring a diamond shape in the center, the Saltillo blanket is beautiful and functional. The blankets were historically worn by men during their travels. Made with natural woven fibers, they are always bright in color as a tribute to the gods. It is speculated that if you wear bright colors, you keep evil spirits away and are granted favors from the gods. That’s why these blankets will always have luxurious blues, pinks, greens and purples, all naturally dyed from fruits and insects.

    Otomi embroidery

    Otomi Embroidery

     This is a style of embroidery that is implemented on fabrics in Mexico. This style of hand painting on fabric is based off cliff painting and could take weeks or even years to complete. Otomi Women trace a design on a white cotton cloth, and then go back and stitch with a technique that only appears on one side of the cloth. The designs seem abstract, but relate to cave painting motifs that date back to hundreds of years ago.

    pigments

    The Making of Textiles in Mexico

    The textiles you just saw are traditionally made by spinning, weaving and sewing. Hand weaving fabrics on backstrap looms to create intricate patterns and color combinations are still common practices in Mexico. In fact, this article from Zinnia Folk Arts references that each Mesoamerican culture had a deity that watched over the women who wove and created fabrics. Textile making was known to be a gift to women from the gods. Fabrics were used as a form of payment earlier in time. Whoever had the best fabrics were known to be of a higher social class. Materials and adornments like beads, feathers, and rabbit fur were woven into the nice materials, and cotton was eventually introduced from the areas the Aztecs took over (but was only available to the wealthy). It’s amazing to think about how important materials like fabrics can be to a culture. From fibers to thread, then thread to tradition.

     

    Hope you had fun learning something new today! If there are other crafts to make from Mexico, please share them with us. We’re always curious!

     

    If you want to learn how to start crocheting or weaving so you can make these awesome designs (or designs similar), we have a few books to recommend!

    Learn to Weave

    Learn To Weave

    Learn To Embroider

    Learn to Embroider

    Poncho Rebound 

    Poncho Rebound

    Modern Southwest Afghans

    Modern Southwest Afghans

    Cool String Art

    Cool String Art

    Lastly, If you wanted to learn more about the Crafting Culture in Mexico, we have some pretty neat links for you to click on below!

    History of a trend: Otomi embroidery and patterns

    Textile Making in Mexico by Cristina Potters of "Mexico Cooks" 

    Textiles of Mexico

    Mexican Textiles 101: The Saltillo Blanket or Serape 

    Mexican Textiles 101: Cochineal, A Natural Way to Create Red Dye

    Mexican Textiles 101: What is a Mexican Rebozo? 

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -The Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Stitching With A Conscience: Crafting and Wellness

     

    Hey craft family! 

    We know that last month was ‘Stitch Away Stress’ month, but let’s face it, that’s every month for us hardworking civilians. In a perfect world, life’s biggest pressures would be swept away with the power of a single cross stitch.

    In a Perfect world.  

    The cold hard truth of this life is that some days are going to be harder than others, and that can make us feel overwhelmed. But never fear, crafting is here! We artists have found ways to cope with our stress though many mediums, be it painting, writing, or, our personal favorite, stitching! Crocheting, knitting, sewing and quilting; you name it, and we’ve all tried it at some point. 

    blog-content-5-25

    The act of creating something, anything, gives you a sense of comfort and control, even when you’re at your most uncomfortable and unkempt. We get to choose what to make, how to make it, and what to do with our creation afterwards. I know when I work on my projects, I feel a sense of peace wash over me, and I can go into a nice meditative state. In the New York Times article, “The Health Benefits of Knitting”, Jane Brody quotes that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a "relaxed state" in crafters, very similar to the meditative state one would reach if they were doing yoga. When we get like this, our heart rates lower, our blood pressures drop, and we can almost feel the cortisol (stress) hormones leaving our bodies. 

    blog-content-5-25_2

    With stitching, you can set up your own meditation studio anywhere you go. You could be on the train to the beach with a cup of hot tea beside you; or at home, lounging on the couch, kicking back to the classics while your kids do the dishes and leave you in peace (in a perfect world, am I right?). The point is that the repetitive looping action, working towards a greater goal, with nothing else to worry about but the next stitch in the set, will bring you more peace than any yoga instructor with their 'vegan milkshakes' ever could. 

    screen-shot-2018-05-11-at-8-48-35-am

    If you’re worried about not being artistic enough to reach this bliss, don’t worry! Even if you think you can’t do something well, just the simple act of doing it relieves your stress. In a Huffington Post article, Priscilla Frank writes about a recent discovery after a test was conducted on several participants during an art making session. Forty-five minutes of creative activity significantly lowered cortisol levels in the body, regardless of artistic talent. So, don’t let self-doubt get it in your way of relaxation.

    If you’re looking to find that new project, these books have some of the best projects to work on if you just want to mindlessly create and meditate: 

    screen-shot-2018-05-11-at-8-48-21-am

     

    Fidget to Focus:

     

    screen-shot-2018-05-25-at-9-05-26-am

     

    Quick Thread Projects:

     

    screen-shot-2018-05-09-at-9-10-41-am

    Make in A Weekend Comfy Knit Throws:

     

    screen-shot-2018-05-25-at-11-49-22-am

    50 Cross Stitch Quickies - Animals and Friends:

     

    screen-shot-2018-05-22-at-12-53-15-pm

    Make a Crochet Garden

     

    To learn more about the wellness benefits of stitching, check out these articles: 

    The Truth About Knitting and Crochet…

     

    Study Says Making Art Reduces Stress, Even If You Suck At It

     

    The Health Benefits of Knitting

     

    Stay creative, crafters! 

    -Leisure Arts Team

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