Monday, February 9, 2015

Just A Little Romance

If you are looking for a Valentine's Day Gift with just a little romance- here it is.  
This set of Thank You cards is beautifully embossed and comes with matching handmade envelopes.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Better Than A Box of Chocolates

So, while I love chocolate as much as anyone, I would pick a new purse any day over a box of chocolates- You won't be surprised by whats inside.

 Here is todays offering on Creative By Necessity-  its a cotton purse intricately crocheted and fully lined. You can find it only on Etsy at Creative By Necessity.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Maybe Paper Flowers are a Better Choice for Your Valentine

So, if Purses aren't your thing or if you are looking for a more affordable gift for teachers or friends then a set of Thank You Cards is always appreciated and useful.  All of the sets in this post are $10 or under and if you contact me, either through this post or through the Etsy store I will send you a code for free shipping-  even a sweeter valentine.

The card set above is tri-fold and self sealing so you don't have to worry about an envelope.

These Roses will be very appreciated- and have matching hand-made envelopes.

This set of flowered Thank You cards is sure to please with embossed glittery flowers.  

 The last set of cards for today is a beautiful lavender and green combo that has 3 layers of embossing along with hand-made envelopes.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Valentine's Day Flowers That Won't Fade Away

So we are on the count down to the one holiday that is sure to get your in trouble if you forget it.  Its not like a birthday that can be put off until the weekend- its a one day use it or lose it kinda holiday.  So, you should get started soon- like now.  So, I am here to help.  All week we I will showcase great Valentine's Day Gifts

 Beautiful Blue Ecuadorian Flower Purse- Creative By Necessity
This beautiful hand crocheted purse would make any woman (sister, mom, wife or best friend) happy and it doesn't add on pounds or die and have to be thrown away a few week later.  These flowers will last for many years to come.  It is fully lined and had crystal handles.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Have I Said That Purses Make Me Happy..... So Happy

So here is my newest creation.  I found the "street of dreams" here in Quito last week- that is, an entire block of yarn store after yarn store.  I only made it to 8 of them (yes, I said only 8- I have so much work to do) and they each had their little special thing.  I was so overwhelmed with the choices and great prices that I just bought random colors and figured out later what to do with it all..... not the best way to shop, but there was just SOOO much to choose from.  

So, here is a brief run-down on this green and brown bobble purse.

I haven't decided if I am selling this one yet or keeping it for myself.  But there are plenty more like this over at my Etsy store-  Creative By Necessity

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Handwritten Note Etiquette

I found an old post on Waiting on Martha today that was basic Etiquette for handwritten notes.  I write a lot of notes and am always paranoid I am doing it wrong so it was a nice to have a little "Ms. Manners" tutorial.  

My favorite part was on how to end the note.  If you are taking part in the Snail Mail Challenge this could help you out this year.

This week's Featured Card Set is the Glossy Trees.  Each card is tri-fold with embossed trees as well as having the word "thanks" embossed as well.  The set comes with matching hand-made envelopes.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Needing Something To Do While We Are Moving.....

We are in the process of moving.... well, to be correct, we have moved, but our stuff still hasn't yet.  We are currently house-sitting for another missionary family in Quito while we wait for "our" house to be ready to move into.  So, crafting has been a challenge.  So, until we have a "home" again I am going to have to keep boring you with "ads" for my Etsy store.  This stuff is already made and in the States ready to be shipped.

More tutorials to come soon, but until then, I'm sure you have a birthday present or 2 you need to buy.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Snail Mail

(While wasting time) last week I came upon this on Pinterest and had to follow the link to a wonderful little blog.

Alexandra at Life on A Canadian Island has set up a wonderful challenge to send one piece of snail mail every week this year.  She even has a FB page set up to give you encouragement and DIY card ideas.  Who doesn't like to receive a card or letter in the real mail- it sure beats all of the other junk mail that comes daily.  So, pay it forward and start sending letters.  You never know what you might receive in the mail as a result.

And....... (of course I have to add this in here) if you need some great cards for this please visit my Etsy store, Creative By Necessity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Felting Crocheted Wool

I love to crochet and especially when I find some nice wool yarn to felt.  Felting is the process of washing and drying wool so that it forms more of fabric than yarn pieced together.  The end product is wonderful because it has a full, solid feel.  The picture above is a combination of felted wool (the heather grey part) with an acrylic flap (the white part).  

So, here the deal on how to felt a crocheted pouch, bag or anything else you would like to make.  I have read a lot on this and tried several different methods, but if you  have a top-loading washing machine, and some good 100% wool yarn it will be easy.  For those of you who are lucky enough to have a front loading washer and dryer you can still do it, but it just doesn't turn out as well.  

So, lets talk yarn.  The yarn must be wool and at least 85% to felt well.  I have read you can do it with a lower percentage, but I like mine to felt really well, so I haven't even tried it.  Wool yarn is more expensive, so be on the lookout for sales or those 40% off coupons.  I really like Lion Brand's Fishermens wool yarn-  it felts well, but doesn't come in very many pretty colors.  The projects here are all using Patton's Classic wool.  I have also used Patton's Roving wool and it worked great and comes in vibrant colors.  The main thing is just read the labels well.  Just because "wool" is on the label doesn't mean it has enough to make it work for you.  Also- and Very Important- make sure it ISN'T machine washable.  This won't felt, it will just be a pretty crocheted thing that is scratchy.  

Remember that there will be considerable shrinkage (and not like George talks about on that episode of Seinfeld).  Each type of wool shrinks at a different rate, so test out a swatch before you start.  I crochet a 4"x4" square and then wash and dry it just to see what the shrinkage will be-  it will shrink more one way than the other so you probably won't up with a square in the end.  I usually assume it will shrink between 1/3-1/2 from the original size.

So, enough reading..... lets get to crocheting.  

First you have to crochet your work.  I don't really use patterns, well mainly because I'm too lazy to read through the entire thing, but here is the main gist of it. 
 I always start with a chain-less foundation row because it is easier and (for me) gives better results.  Here is a great tutorial on how to do the Chain-less Foundation Stitch

Then I did a basic griddle stitch which is just a sc,dc,sc,dc pattern.  It helps if you have an even number of stitches across.  

I worked what would be across in the picture below and then turned it and worked the flap on the short end of the rectangle.  

This is a second pouch I am working on.  I have already sewn up the sides and woven in the ends.  

Next its time to wash and dry the pieces.  The best way to do this is to pour a little liquid detergent onto the piece and make sure it is all coated.  Then put it in a hot wash with towels or jeans- something heavy that will allow a lot of agitation.  If you only want it to felt a little check during your wash.  I like it to be felted a lot, so I usually do 2 or 3 washes.  Then put it in the dryer on high for 20-30 minutes depending on how big the piece is-  you can always stop the dryer and check it to make sure it hasn't gone too far.

So, this bag up top, becomes this bag below after felting.  The flap ended up being too long once it was finished so I just sewed it up and am going to add a button to the flap when I put on the magnetic closure.  So, lets talk about closures.  There are a million different ways to add that, you could sew a zipper in (I'm usually not that patient), you could leave a hole for a button ( I sometimes do that) or you could use a magnetic closure (I prefer to do this when I have them).  If you live in the states these are easier to get.  I usually stock up when I am there, although the good ones aren't always easy to find.  JoAnn's Fabrics has the best selection, I think and they go on very easily and have just the right amount of magnetism to hold it together, but not too much so it rips out of your fabric.

So, this is what it looked like after  being washed and dried.  

A close up of the texture.  I love how the stitches become incorporated so they are all one fabric.  

Below is the larger bag at the top that I was still crocheting.  This bag is a good example of how the crocheting shrinks at different rates vertically and horizontally.  As you can see, the flap, is narrower that the bag, that is because I crocheted the flap and the rest of the bag in different directions.  It gives the bag a nice "full" look or at least that is what I am telling myself since there isn't anything I can do about it now.  

Well, that is all for the felting tutorial, Let me know what you create with your crocheted felting.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Purse Obsession

Purses, Bags, Bolsas, whatever you want to call them, I LOVE bags.  Whether they are fabric, leather, suede, canvas or crocheted I can't get enough (regardless of what my daughter says.   I have several on my Etsy store that I have made, but I have a LOT more in my own closet.  My favorite purse is a bag I made from some wool yarn I bought while working in Nepal-  So, what is your favorite bag?

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Item Friday and DIY Crocheting a Half Circle

Today's new item on Etsy is this beautiful purse in a taupish gray, golden yellow and cayenne.   It would be a great compliment to any outfit.  The purse is made from 2 half circles that are each folded in half and then layered together.

Ok, so now on to the how-to.
Crocheting a half circle is very easy, it just involves counting.

Here is a felted bag I am working on right now.  I began with the half circle as the flap at the top and then added the rectangle at the bottom.  The half circles can be as big or as small as you like, so if you are feeling really industrious you could do a doormat or rug.  Enjoy and let me know what you make with your half circle crochet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I've Heard Its Cold Up There Above the Equator

So, I have heard it is getting really cold up there in the US.  I read a few days ago that about 82% of the US would be below freezing Thursday morning.  SO, I thought I would give you guys a few ideas for keeping warm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gift Ideas $10 and Under

Ok, so I have to admit I am very frugal cheap.  I love to give nice gifts and don't mind spending money if I know that the person is really going to LOVE the gift so I am putting together a little list of the best gifts $10 and under I can find online.  Most of these are from Esty (gotta give the love to fellow store owners) but some are off of good ol' Amazon--- we all love Amazon.

So here we go....

The first are these adorable earrings that are only $8.50.

Ok, so I would love to have this necklace and for just under $10 (wow, I know) I would even buy it for myself.  She has lots of great items at amazing prices.

These thank you cards are tri-fold (so you can write more words of gratitude) and they are self-sealing so you don't have to worry about an envelope.  Plus, if you message me and you could get free shipping.   Just click on "Contact Shop Owner" or leave a comment here.

This great little paper bowl would be the perfect place to keep earrings or keys and the price is perfect at $10.

Ok, so I really want one of these to make zucchini pasta-  Get yours here at Amazon for less than $8.

My Favorite part about these cards for $10 is that the handmade envelopes.  The bright trees are embossed so they have a plastic-ey finish and the little birds have a sparkle.  

Who wouldn't love to receive this soap and at just under $2 for each set even after you add shipping you could still afford to by 2 sets for $10.

Another set of cards.  These are triple embossed giving them wonderful texture and making them great for all kinds of occasions.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

So Many Ways to Say Thank You

Especially after the holiday season, we all have people in our lives we need to thank.  So, what better way to do it than with handmade, one-of-a-kind cards and envelopes.  Check out my Etsy store, Creative By Necessity