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Kaleidoscope of Krafts

For your reading convenients below you will find all the kaleidoscope of krafts published in 2018

January 2018

It is with great pleasure that I welcome all readers to the first edition of Kaleidoscope of Crafts for 2018. I hope you will not only enjoy reading, but try this month's craft out for yourself.

If you enjoyed playing with clay or doing science experiments as a child, the do-it-yourself bath bombs and fizzy bath salts I share below will definitely be something you might want to try, on your own or share with kids or grandkids. Children love these especially, but there is no reason why we adults cannot also enjoy making them and adding them to our baths.
Depending on the type of molds or containers you use, bath bombs or fizzy salts will not only look pretty but they will add some sweet scents and fizzy fun to your bath time.

I am sharing both bath salts and bath bombs because most people find that they have to experiment a little when making bath bombs. Complaints most often center around the fact that the bath bombs fall apart when removed from their molds or become misshapen and lumpy or crumble after a few days, but I am hoping that this will not stop you from trying out this really fun craft. Depending on different factors, there are solutions to the problems mentioned above, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that there are no strong preservatives used in DIY products.

If your attempt at making bath bombs do not succeed at first, don't despair. Simply crumble, press or grind the shapes up into a powdery mixture again and present as fizzy bath salts in an attractive container.

These bath bombs or fizzy salts are made with some basic ingredients you may already have at home, or if not, you can buy them on-line or at your nearest supermarket, craft store or pharmacy.

For fizzy bath salts you will need:
1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup sea salt
1 cup baking soda, sifted
½ cup citric acid
20 drops of essential oil
1-2 drops food coloring (optional)

Step 1: Mix the Epsom salt, sea salt and baking soda together well.
Step 2: Add the food coloring and essential oils to the dry mixture.
Step 3: Slowly add the citric acid to the mixture.
Step 4: Using a funnel, gently pour the bath salt mixture into an airtight container and seal.
Step 5: Decorate if preferred, adding a card stating what your gift contains and how it should be used.

For bath bombs you will need:
Dry ingredients
1 cup or 8 fluid oz. baking soda
½ cup or 4 fluid oz. citric acid
½ cup or 4 fluid oz. corn starch
½ cup or 4 fluid oz. Epsom salt

Wet ingredients
Olive oil or cooking spray
A little water in a spray bottle
20 drops of essential oil
1-2 drops food coloring (optional)

You should be able to find all kinds of molds where crafts or cooking utensils are sold since they can be used for baking, soap making, clay work, etc. It is best to use molds that are fairly small for your bath bombs. These molds often come in the form of a plastic or silicon sheet with between 6 to 12 shapes on one sheet.

Step 1: Start by mixing all your dry ingredients together in a glass bowl with your hands or a whisk. Make sure you get all the lumps out!
Step 2: Use a spray bottle to lightly dampen the mixture you’ve just created. Add only enough water so that the dough is compactable, but avoid adding so much that it becomes fizzy and must be started over.
After spritzing the mixture two or three times, give it another stir with your hands. It should hold its form when pressed together. If it doesn't, add a little more moisture and try again, keeping the fizz to a minimum as far as possible.
Step 3: When your mixture can be easily molded in your hands, add a few drops of essential oil and food coloring to your liking.
Step 4: If preferred, lightly spray your molds with a little olive oil before adding your dough mixture, using a lot of pressure to compact the dough firmly into the molds, to prevent cracking.
Step 5: Leave the bath bombs in the molds in a cool, dry area, away from moisture, for at least 24 hours. If after 24 hours the bath bombs still feel slightly damp, remove them from the molds and allow them to air dry independently.
Step 6: When completely dry, gently remove the bath bombs from their molds and wrap in cling film or plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.z
To use, simply add one or two bath bombs or a teaspoon or two of fizzy salts to warm bath water and enjoy.

If you are interested in this kind of craft, you will be happy to know that there are thousands of recipes and directions you can try out to make personal products you can use for yourself, in and around your home or as gifts.
Google will be more than willing to assist you if you type in terms like DIY recipes followed by whatever you'd like to make, from lip balm to hair conditioners and more.


February 2018

Welcome to all to another Kaleidoscope of Crafts!
Many people like to do crafts or DIY projects to solve some kind of problem they are having. Often it may be something small but that may be occurring on a daily basis.

Our craft for this month is an effort to solve just one such problem that most of us may have faced at one time or another: constantly finding kitchen towels on the floor where they have been deposited by inquisitive toddlers, mischievous dogs or cats, or careless humans passing by, or even worse, finding many more or less clean towels strewn all over the kitchen after someone has prepared a meal, instead of only one or two dirty towels you were expecting.

You've guessed it, the solution is the hanging, no slip, stay put kitchen towel. It turns out that there are quite a few options for how to turn these floating fabrics into pretty, practical helpers in the kitchen.

These include adding snaps, buttons, Velcro strips, fabric ties and the list goes on. I have experimented a little and have come up with two very simple versions for taming the traveling towels, the low sew and no sew methods. You can use both methods for a falling or wandering guest towel in the bathroom too. And, for both methods, instead of ribbon, you could use any other type of cord like silk, cotton or thin leather. Alternatively, add a personal touch with crocheted, braided or knitted ties or even cord.

Before describing the first method, I would like to encourage those who want to skip this part to consider trying it out. The sewing is minimal and will be hidden in any case, so if you have been wanting to try working with needle and thread, this may be your chance. If it is your first time trying, don't hesitate to ask for help. It is by no means easy to work with a needle and thin thread that keeps on slipping and sliding. There are various devices and techniques to work with needle and thread without the benefit of good eyesight, but this might be an article in itself for another time. Consider using embroidery thread that is thicker than ordinary thread.

For the first method, you will need:
1 rectangular kitchen towel
2 pieces of matching or contrasting ribbon or cord, each 20 inches or 50 cm long
Thread, embroidery thread or thin cotton yarn
Needle with an eye large enough to accommodate the thread you have chosen
2 Safety pins

Step 1: Place your kitchen towel on a clean, flat surface with the short ends at the top and bottom and with the right side of the towel (if it has one) facing away from you.

Step 2: Fold up the bottom edge of the towel to meet the top. You will have a two-layered rectangle.

Step 3: Now, fold the top layer only of the towel back down to meet the bottom edge. You will now have three layers of fabric at the bottom and one layer making up the top part of the rectangle. The fold line you can feel running from left to right at the center of your fabric will be a guide for where you will sew on your ribbon or cord. Place a safety pin on the left and right of the towel, just below this fold line, through all three layers of fabric to keep the folded towel in place while you work.
Note that your ties will not be attached at the horizontal center of the towel, but more towards the top of the towel, so that, when it is hanging, most of the front of the towel will hang while the shorter part of the towel will be at the back of the rail. This ensures that a large part of the towel is available for use.

Step 4: Find the center of the first piece of ribbon and sew it to the left side of the towel, just above the fold line you created in Step 3 and just inside the side seam of the towel. You are sewing it to one layer of fabric only. Try to work as neat as possible, bringing the thread from behind the towel, catching the ribbon or cord in the process and pulling all the way through. Then insert the needle again as close to the previous stitch as possible and pull towards the back of the towel again. Do this a few times until you feel that the ribbon or cord is securely sewed to the towel.

Step 5: Repeat on the right side of your towel, also sewing on the second ribbon or cord just above the fold line as you did in the previous step. Try to make sure the two ties are placed straight across from each other as far as possible.

Step 6: Lastly, remove the two pins on the left and right side of the towel.

How to use:
Flip your towel over so the right, pretty side is facing you with the short ends at the top and bottom. The ties you have attached should be at the back and towards the top of the towel. Drape the towel over a rail or the oven handle, ensuring that the ribbon or cord hangs down at the back of the rail.

You now have two choices for tying your towel:
Wrap the ties around the towel, crossing them at the back and tie into a pretty bow at the front, or take the left piece and tie securely into a bow around the handle of the oven, repeating on the right side.

The first type of tie will gather the towel together just beneath the rail while the second way of tying will let the towel hang straight.

Now for the second method.
For those who want a quick fix, no sew solution, we will turn to one of those household items we often take for granted; the rubber band, or if, for some reason, you can't find one in your entire house, as often happens with these kinds of household items, a pipe cleaner or a clean hairband will do the trick just as well.

Drape your towel over the rail on the oven door so most of it is hanging in the front, with only about a third of the towel hanging at the back of the rail.
Gather both ends of the towel with one hand just below the rail and slip your rubber band around the towel with the other.
You could use a matching color if preferred, e.g. if your towel is white and red, a red rubber band or pipe cleaner should look pretty.
Alternatively, cover the rubber band with some ribbon or cord that matches or contrasts with the colors of your towel.
Tie the ribbon or cord into a nice bow and arrange the towel so it hangs straight. It is sure to stay put. When it is time for washing, simply remove your bow and rubber band and your towel is ready for washing.

Until next month, happy crafting to all!

March 2018

Hello and welcome to another Kaleidoscope of Crafts! One of the popular crafting trends I have come across for a while now is "arm knitting". I thought it sounded interesting and spent some time trying to figure out what it was all about. So, for this month I am sharing some basic instructions for how to do this interesting craft.

As you might have guessed, arm knitting requires no needles or other equipment, just some yarn and your own two arms. However, it is important to choose yarn that will be bulky enough to complete your project. One option is to purchase yarn that is super bulky and meant for arm knitting. You can find this type of yarn in most craft stores or from on-line stores like Amazon.

The stitches you make with arm knitting will be fairly large, hence you will get the best results with super bulky yarn.

Another option may be to use somewhat thinner yarn, but holding two or three strands together as one throughout your project. For this method to work, you will have to ensure the yarn can move freely at all times from more than one skein so that you don't end up in a heap of tangled yarn. Needless to say, the second option is not recommended for beginners as you will likely need to concentrate on the actual process of arm knitting first.

You will need:
1 skein of Super Bulky or chunky yarn, or two or three skeins of somewhat thinner yarn
and, of course, your arms

As is the case with needle knitting, there are also more than one ways to cast on when knitting with your arms. The long tail cast on is perhaps the most popular method, but for those who are absolute beginners, I have decided to go with the super simple or backward loop cast on method that many of us may have been taught as an easy way to start off our needle knitting.

1. Start with a slip knot:
Create a slip knot by making a loop near the end of your yarn strands. Reach inside and pull the working yarn through the loop.
Place this second loop on your right arm with the tail closer to you and the working yarn, the yarn coming from the skein or bundle, farther from you.
Gently pull at both ends of the yarn to tighten the slip knot so that it is snug around your arm, making sure that it can still move freely along your arm and over your hand.

2. Casting on:
Move the tail out of your way as far as possible.
Take the working yarn in your left hand and twist it a half turn, forming a simple loop with the yarn. Insert your right hand into this loop, sliding it onto your right wrist.
Gently pull it tight. Repeat this process for as many stitches as you’d like. Ten stitches should be enough for a scarf. You can cast on fewer stitches if you want your scarf to be narrower or more if you want it to be wider.

3. Knitting:
In arm knitting, you knit all the stitches from your right arm onto your left, and then from your left arm back to your right. Each time you move the stitches from one arm to another, knitting as you go, you make a new row.

To arm knit the first row, transfer all the loops on your right arm over to your left arm. Here’s how:
Grab the yarn that’s attached to the skein with your right hand. Hang onto it as you pull the first loop from your right arm right over your hand. Don’t let go of the yarn!
Place the loop you are holding onto your left arm. Pull the yarn tightly just like you did the slip knot, making sure the loop is just big enough to slide over your left hand.
Repeat these steps until all the loops from your right arm are now on your left arm.

Move all the loops from your left arm over to your right arm again. Here’s how:
Grab the yarn with your left hand. With your right hand, pull the first loop from your left arm off your hand.
Place the new loop onto your right arm.
Repeat these steps, grabbing the yarn with your left hand and pulling the loop from your left arm over your left hand.
Continue to arm knit, switching arms for each new row, until your scarf measures the length you’d like.
If you need to take a break from your arm knit project, simply slide your loops onto a piece of spare yarn, a belt or a scarf and tie in a gentle knot until you can resume your knitting.
You could also use a knitting needle, wooden dowel or similar object as a temporary stitch holder, but the end stitches will of course be less secure, so don't use these if you might have to move or transport your arm knit piece.
Slide your stitches back onto the same arm you took them off of, making sure not to cross or twist them in the process.

End with all of your stitches on either wrist.
Knit two stitches, just as you did for each row of the scarf.
Then pull the first knitted stitch loop over the second loop.
Drop that loop.
Repeat, pulling the loops over each other to bind off just as you would if you were using needles. When you only have one stitch left on your arm, pull the loop off your arm.
Cut the yarn at the end and pull the yarn end through this last loop to secure it. Weave in those ends and you’re finished!

I hope you will give this fun craft a try! Please contact me if you have any questions or ideas regarding arm knitting or crafting in general.

If you have the basics of arm knitting sorted out, you could go even further, experimenting with different types of stitches, and techniques, making icord and creating larger and more intricate items such as cowls, necklaces, shawls, blankets and more, using different types of yarn and colors.

Until next month, happy crafting!




April 2018

I am really pleased to be presenting some practical suggestions and ideas from one of our readers, Deborah Armstrong, for this month's Kaleidoscope of Crafts. She focuses on knitting, but I am sure that her writing could just as well be applicable to any kind of craft one can think of.

Here is what she writes:
"I just ran across the blind perspective. I am blind and learned to knit as an adult from Davey Hulse’s book.
I love to knit, but I’m not very good. Here are a few ways I’ve been able to practice, yet make something useful.
I have long hair and am always in need of covered rubber bands to coralle it. I decided to try knitting up my own scrunchies (decorative hair bands) and it’s worked beautifully.

First, I dissected some old scrunchies using scissors to examine how they were constructed. A scrunchie is nothing more than a narrow tube with a piece of waistband-type elastic threaded inside it and sewn together at the ends to form a circle. A typical scrunchie is 20to 25 inches long and when the tube is flattened out, maybe 2 to 5 inches across. Once you sew the elastic together, the tube material “scrunches up, so it is the size of one of those large covered rubber bands.

At Michaels (craft store), I purchased several rolls of elastic waistband in different sizes, from a quarter inch to two inches wide. Then, using leftover yarn from my less successful knitting projects, I started knitting strips, some 3, some 4 and some even 5 inches wide.

My strips were practice pieces. Sometimes I tried fancy pattern stitches and other times I just did straight knitting – which is called garter stitch. When a strip was 22 to 25 inches long, I bound it off.

Next, I folded the strip lengthwise and carefully sewed the sides together with a tapestry needle.
This gave me a long tube about 3 to 5 inches wide when flattened out. Smaller is harder. Tubes you can fit your middle and pointer fingers into are best.

Next, I fastened a safety pin to the end of the elastic, threaded it through the tube and pulled it tight until I had the scrunchie “scrunched” the way I liked it. I pinned the ends of the elastic together, before cutting it off the roll. Using a sharp, self-threading needle, I then sewed the ends of the elastic together.

Lastly, using a tapestry needle, I sewed the knitted tube ends together so it was a complete, springy circle.

What I love about making scrunchies is that knitting mistakes are lost in the folds of the scrunched fabric, and my long hair hides holes created by dropped stitches. Also, my long hair hides any inept sewing!

Of course, as I continued to make scrunchies, my knitting and sewing has gotten a lot better and I am dropping many fewer stitches today.

For Christmas, I knitted up read and green scrunchies and attached bells. I made smaller ones to go around my guide dog’s ankles and one of the autistic students I work with in my job named them jingle-foots. Soon all of my co-workers were clamoring for knitted Jingle-foots for their pet dogs!

Another way I’ve been able to turn a potential knitting failure in to an attractive decoration is to make a pillow. I once started to make a hat but realized it was too big. Another time I was working on a blanket when I accidentally dropped a stitch and it caused a big hole to appear in the center.
In each case, I sewed the creation together, patching up the hole with a tapestry needle. I can make a crochet-like chain with my fingers, thread that onto a tapestry needle and use it to patch a hole in my knitting that, if not pretty, at least works better than simply using a piece of yarn.

To fill the pillow, I use blankets. In the winter we always pull out blankets and by spring, we need a place to stow them away. I’ve found stuffing them inside a hand-knitted pillowcase, with just an end sticking out can be very attractive. It’s also nice to curl up on the couch with one of these blanket-pillows, and if you get cold, you can just pull out the blanket and cover yourself up.

The lightweight fleece blankets are especially useful as you can stuff two or three inside a knitted pillowcase. You can put the uglier side facing away from guests so they only see your knitting successes!
When you manage to make a perfect pillow-case, purchase a new fleece blanket in a matching color and give it away as a gift. I gave several of these for Christmas, knitted in various shapes for the back, neck and as a cushion for sitting on.

One last way to practice knitting with a small project: When you are ready to start working with patterns and need to create swatches, consider sewing up the three sides of a swatch to form a small bag for carrying your Daisy player, cellphone, or if the swatch turned out bigger than expected, a tablet."

As I read the above, Deborah's experiences resonated with me. For many years I did not pursue knitting. I had learnt the basics from various people over the years, but I simply could not find the time or patience to finish anything. One problem I had was that I simply could not correct my own mistakes, so I put my yarn and needles away, believing that, unless I could either correct my own mistakes or knit an entire project without any, I would not be able to make anything worthwhile.

If only I had understood that knitting can be practiced like most everything else and that I did not have to complete a long scarf or cardigan to feel I had mastered the craft.
It took me a long time to realize that there are so many small projects to choose from and making one mistake does not mean you have to start over or give up in defeat. So, for those who are just starting out or who can do the basics of knitting, doing small projects is a wonderful way to practice and, as Deborah mentions, allowing a few mistakes here and there is no big deal.
Some small items I have knitted include necklaces, small baskets or bags, dishcloths or washcloths, headbands, bows, hearts, bookmarks, slippers, hanger covers, and the list goes on.
These days you only have to Google for the words "small knitting projects" or "stash busters".

Many thanks to Deborah, for confirming that anything is possible with patience and a positive attitude. She made me realize once again that crafting is not only about making things that are perfect or made to a certain standard we or others have set, but it is often simply about the enjoyment we are able to find in learning and challenging ourselves to try out new things, or the joy of being able to make something for others using our own skills and time.

I hope this month's segment will encourage you to consider trying out a new craft of your own or perhaps reconsider a craft you had tried and discarded a long time ago.
Until next time, happy crafting and please feel free to write if you have anything to share relating to crafts or crafting.

May 2018

One of the first craft projects I can remember making while still at primary school was a macrame plant hanger. Macrame was quite popular in the seventies and went out of style at some point, but as with a lot of things, it has made a comeback within the past few years.
I remember we used thick rope and large wooden beads for our hangers. We were taught the larkshead knot as well as the square knot to start off with.
I often wonder what happened to the plant hanger I made. I started thinking that it would be nice to be able to make a hanger now that I actually had a patio where it could be hung.
Though I am able to still do some macrame knots, I found I simply could not remember how it was all put together. I went in search of a tutorial or pattern, so, for this month I am sharing a very basic plant hanger from that is quick and easy to make (see sources at the end of article).
For this hanger 6 x 180-inch lengths of 7/16 inch cotton cord was used, which made a plant holder large enough to hold a 10-inch copper plant pot.
Once you understand the basic technique of creating this hanger, you will be able to create other hangers as well, by using different types, lengths and thicknesses of cords and by varying the types and placement of your knots. You also don't only have to use a plant in your hanger. Think of other things like a plate or shallow bowl as a bird bath or place some type of bird feeder inside your hanger.
As Lia Griffithstates in the introduction to the macrame plant holder tutorial: "Our DIY macrame plant holder is simple to make even if you have never tried macrame before. And the great thing about macrame is that if you do make a mistake or don’t like your design, you can simply undo the knots and start again.”

Any kind of cord like cotton, nylon, sisal, jute hemp or wool or fabric yarn
wooden or metal ring, large enough for all 6 cords to fit through
tape measure
Clear glue (optional)

Step 1: Measure and cut 6 cords of 180 inches long and 2 pieces of 20 inches long.

Step 2: Thread all 6 180 inch cords through the metal or wooden ring to half-way, then wrap securely with a 20-inch length of cord. Pull tight and push the knot to the inside so it is hidden among the cords. Secure with a drop of clear glue if preferred.

Step 3: Any macrame project is best created when your cord is secured at the top before you start. If you prefer to stand while you make your macrame project, then try securing the ring to a hook on the back of a door. Or you can secure it to a table leg if you’re more of a “sit on the floor” crafter. Either way, setting yourself up comfortably before you begin will make the process much easier.

Step 4: Gather the strands into 3 sets of 4 and start to tie the cords using a simple square knot.
For those not familiar with this type of knot, here are the directions:
Remember that you are using a set of 4 cords: the two strands at the center are called the filler cords while the left and right strands are known as the working cords.
To make a square knot, do the following two steps:
First step: take the left cord and bring it over the filler cords and then under the right cord. Then, take the right cord, bring it under the filler cords and pull it through the loop on the left. Pull on both sides to tighten your knot. This forms a half knot and completes the first part of your square knot.
Second step: take the right cord and bring it over the filler cords and then under the left cord. Then, take the left cord, bring it under the filler cords and pull it through the loop on the right. Pull on both sides to tighten your knot. You have now completed one square knot.
Remember to always start with the left cord to make your half knot and then to make the second half knot by starting with the cord on your right.

Step 5: Once each set has 6 square knots tied, split the cords again into 3 sets of 4, by pairing 2 cords with the 2 just next to them.

Step 6: Continue to tie square knots about 7 inches below the end of the last row of knots.

Step 7: nce each new set has 6 square knots tied, split the cords again into 3 sets of 4 and tie 4 square knots.

Step 8: Repeat this last step once more and then secure all 12 cords at the end with another 20-inch length of cord. Pull tight and push the knot to the inside so it is hidden among the cords. Secure with a drop of clear glue if preferred.

Step 9: Trim the ends to the length desired and your DIY macrame plant holder is ready!

As always, happy crafting and feel free to write with any kind of craft projects, ideas, questions or suggestions.


June 2018

Hello and welcome again to all crafters!

It occurred to me again recently that some of the practical items we use in our daily lives, and probably don’t even think about, can be some of the best materials when it comes to crafting. Things like rubber bands, paper plates and plastic straws come to mind, and there are indeed lots of crafts to do with these. But one of the most interesting crafts I came across wile scouring craft sites was various crafts using safety pins.

As Sherri Osborn states in a recent article: on "Safety pin jewelry doesn't sound super sophisticated, but even the high fashion world has embraced the trend. For years, safety pins have cycled in and out of style, which makes them an accessory staple. Fortunately, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a couture version of the look, nor do you have to go bare bones with safety pins like the punk rockers who sported them in the 1970s and '80s did. They make great gifts for tweens and teens or for the adult who's perpetually young at heart."

Safety pins are normally made of metal, but they are also available in different colors, or you could color them yourself using nail polish. Most safety pin crafts center around creating jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces or earrings, combining safety pins with elastic, ribbon or fabric and beads or sequence.

Another type of craft involves pins, or broaches that are created by threading seed beads onto small safety pins, and then letting those pins dangle vertically from a larger safety pin that can be worn on clothing like jeans and shirts, or attached to handbags, school bags and cushions. By following a pattern of alternating colors of beads, a specific design or picture can be formed. The supply list for safety pin jewelry is pretty simple. In addition to the pins and the beads, it is helpful to have needle-nose pliers and a small flat-head screwdriver.

The number and size of safety pins you'll need depends not only on the pattern you choose but also on the kind of jewelry you want to make.

These handy little pins, mainly used in the not too distant past to secure cloth diapers, are available from most stores and can be bought in different sizes and quantities for fairly cheap. Various types of Small beads are available, made from plastic, wood, glass, crystal, clay, metal, etc.

Our first project is a beaded heart broach or pin. For this type of project, you will require 1 large safety pin and 11 small pins.
The second project, a simple safety pin bracelet, uses pins, beads and some elastic to hold the pins together.

Project 1: Beaded Heart Broach
Materials Needed:
One larger safety pin (pattern here calls for size #2)
11 smaller safety pins
Flat-headed screwdriver
Seed beads in white and red

Step 1: Open the coiled end of your large safety pin by wedging the flat head of the screwdriver in between the safety pin loop at the bottom of the pin. Once inserted, twist the screwdriver to pry the loop open a little.
The goal is to be able to have enough room to allow each little safety pin to be threaded through this loop to the other side. This way, when you wear the pin, none of the pins will slide off.
Set the large safety pin aside for now.

Step 2: Complete the beaded heart pattern by loading seed beads onto your 11 smaller pins by following the bead pattern below.
You will be alternating between red and white beads, so make sure to keep your colors separated at all times. You might find it helpful to keep beads in a container marked with braille or large print, or in two containers that are different in size or shape.
Remember that not all beads are shaped perfectly, so discard beads that are misshapen or those with openings too small to fit onto your pins.
As you complete each small pin, close it and slide the coiled loop at the end of each pin onto the large safety pin, around the coil you have opened, all the way to the other side of the pin, before going on to the next one.

Heart Pattern
Pin 1: 8 white
Pin 2: 8 white
Pin 3: 2 white, 3 red, 3 white
Pin 4: 1 white, 4 red, 3 white
Pin 5: 2 white, 4 red, 2 white
Pin 6: 3 white, 4 red, 1 white
Pin 7: 2 white, 4 red, 2 white
Pin 8: 1 white, 4 red, 3 white
Pin 9: 2 white, 3 red, 3 white
Pin 10: 8 white
Pin 11: 8 white

Step 3: When you are all done, use some pliers to scrunch down the big safety pin's loop tight again.

For more patterns like these, see the last link under "Sources" below.

Project 2: Simple Safety Pin Bracelet
Materials Needed:
Size 2 Safety Pins (about 25 for a small bracelet, 30 for a larger bracelet)
NOTE: smaller safety pins could be used, but you also will need to use smaller beads)
beads of your choice (experiment with glass, wood, pony beads, etc.)
Elastic bead cord
Super glue

Step 1: Begin by threading beads onto each safety pin. Use one color or vary your patterns by using different colors or types of beads.
Step 2: If using different colors, place your pins down next to each other as you finish them so they will remain in the correct order as you would like them to be in the finished bracelet. You could also hang the pins on a wire, knitting needle or any thin dowel while you are completing threading the beads so they will remain in the correct order.
Step 3: Using the elastic cording, begin to thread the cord through the bottom loop of each safety pin. You could thread a double stranded elastic cord for more durability.
Step 4: Next, thread another length of elastic cording through the little hole that is in the head of each safety pin.
Step 5: Holding on to the ends of the elastic cording, gently flip the beaded bracelet craft over, and curve them around in a bracelet shape, and tie the ends of the elastic cording to each other to make a square knot, then double knot again. It is a good idea to put a drop of super glue on the knot to help secure it.
Snip off the ends of the elastic cording and the beaded bracelet craft is ready to wear or give as a gift.

Until next time, happy crafting!


July 2018

It is a pleasure to welcome our readers to another Kaleidoscope of Crafts edition. The craft I am sharing for this month is another quick and easy one you can make in a flash. Present it on its own, or make it to add just that little personal touch to a store-bought gift.

This craft, a little bag made from a washcloth, was originally presented as a gift for Mother's Day, but These bags could be given all year round, as a small present for a baby shower, a kitchen tea or as a bag to hang in your shower with some soap or to hang in a cupboard with potpourri.

What you will need:
A medium-sized, square facecloth, [thinner works better]
1 piece of ribbon, 30 inches or 75cm long
1 piece of ribbon, 12 inches or30 cm long
1 hair elastic or general purpose elastic band
Small gift, such as soap, nail polish, candle, hair accessories, potpourri, etc

Step 1: Take your 30 inch (75 cm) ribbon and tie the ends together to form a loop.
Step 2: Place your facecloth down on a flat surface so it forms a square, with its edges facing up and down, left and right.
Step 3: Place your ribbon loop down at the center of your cloth so it runs vertically, with the knotted end near the bottom edge of the cloth. The top of the loop will extend past the top edge of the cloth.
Step 4: Gently pull the ribbon to the sides so that it forms a circle with the knotted end still near the bottom of the cloth.
Step 5: Keeping the ribbon in place with one hand, fold the left edge of the cloth in towards the center and then repeat on the right-hand side, so the edges meet in the middle. You will end up with the cloth folded into a long strip, divided into two rectangles.
Step 6: carefully fold the bottom edge of your facecloth up to meet its top edge.
Step 7: gently gather the folded cloth together near its top edge with one hand while using the other hand to secure the elastic band around the cloth.
Step 8: Find the ribbon that is poking out at the top of the bag and gently pull to create handles for your bag or a loop to hang it from.
Step 9: Tie the 12 inch (30 cm) ribbon around the elastic band to hide it and to serve as an extra decoration.
Step 10: lastly, gently pull open one of the sides of the bag, insert the gift and fold the fabric back over the gift again.

What I like about this craft is that you can use both the little gift and the washcloth itself if preferred. You could, of course, also use any square of fabric like a scarf, napkin, a bandanna or a tablecloth instead of a washcloth, depending on the occasion and the size of the gift you might want to tuck inside.

One other idea to keep in mind for Christmas is to buy or have someone cut fairly small squares from some festive fabric. Use the technique above to make little gift bags for the Christmas tree or make 24 bags for a one-of-a-kind advent calendar.

I hope you will give this craft a go and until next month, happy crafting.


August 2018

Welcome to all our readers from a cold and wintry South Africa. Even though it is mid-winter over here, many of our readers are in the midst of summer. Luckily, the project for this month, a table-top miniature garden, can be created any time of the year.

If I hear you say, "Gardening is not really my thing.", let me assure you that it is not something I do or am successful at on a regular basis either. However, you don't have to have a green thumb to grow this little garden! You can create your own succulent garden that's pretty and practically maintenance free, because succulents are not only drought-resistant, but prefer well-drained, soil and most thrive in fairly dry conditions.

I was immediately intrigued and unable to resist reading the rest of the article by Amy Vowles on All where she introduces the table-top succulent garden craft with the words: Do you ever feel like the quickest way to kill a houseplant is to bring it home with you? If your thumb is more black than green but you love the look of houseplants, try bringing some life indoors with succulents! This DIY tabletop garden requires virtually no maintenance, so it's easy to keep alive even if you aren't an expert gardener."

So, if, like me, you were smiling while reading the previous sentence, I hope you will consider trying out the project for this month. The advantages include a small, manageable garden that won't cost much and will be easy to set up and maintain, even if you don't have a green thumb. It could be kept indoors or outdoors and won't take up a lot of space in your home, yet it is sure to lend that extra special touch.

To help you with choosing some plants for this project, the last link under the sources list at the end of this article will provide information on 10 indoor and 10 outdoor succulents including their names, appearance and some basic details on each plant.

What you will need:
A shallow decorative pot or a plate with high sides
4 or 5 small succulents
Terracotta pot or stones of various sizes
Hammer (if using the terracotta pot)
Potting soil
Small garden trowel

Step 1: Take the terracotta pot outside and use the hammer to break it into small pieces. If you are not inclined to performing the smashing activity suggested, quietly gather some stones from your garden or they can be purchased with your succulent collection. Place the stones or broken terracotta pieces in the bottom of the decorative pot. This will allow for extra drainage so that the succulents don't get too moist.

Step 2: Fill the rest of the decorative pot or dish with some potting soil. When choosing the soil for this type of project, pay close attention to the plant selection that is being used.
Succulents, for example, do not like wet roots and require a very fast draining, porous soil – opposed to a typical well-drained potting mix used for regular houseplants. Try to create a few areas of different heights for the little Garden. You don’t want it to be entirely flat or it won’t look very interesting.

Step 3: Set the succulents on top of the soil to determine how you would like to arrange them. You will need four or five succulents depending on the size of your pot.

Step 4: Use your garden trowel to dig out a small hole from the soil. Plant one of the succulents in the hole. Repeat for the remaining succulents, leaving a couple of inches between each plant.

Step 5: Once all the plants are in, fill in the spaces between the plants with gravel. Add enough gravel so that the dirt no longer shows through.

Step 6: The final step is the best step: do nothing! Or at least not too much.

These plants thrive on sun and dry soil, so set them in a sunny window and be sure to let the soil dry out completely between waterings.

Adding to this basic project, you could experiment with some variations, e.g. using an old drawer, broken flower pots, an empty water feature or a bird bath and creating interesting areas or paths that meander around and across the little garden.
Instead of placing your succulents straight into the soil, consider buying a small container for each succulent and then place these smaller containers within the larger vessel.
Your nearest department or thrift store may have interesting containers that could work well. I recently came across some small metal buckets, painted in bright colors, for example. You could also add small ornaments to your garden randomly, or according to a theme. Think of a garden with different birds or animals, or perhaps some fairies? Alternatively, you could try to find some other structures like bridges, windmills, arches or branches resembling tree stumps to add to your garden. Miniature furniture like tables, chairs and benches could be used to add to your garden setting as well.

I hope that the above has given you some ideas to try out, either as a project for yourself or to present as a gift to a lucky recipient.

Until next time, happy crafting and gardening.


September 2018

Hello again to all who like to craft or even if you just like to read about crafts. As always, it is my hope that, if you are a reader, you will be encouraged to try out this, or any other craft project for yourself.

As you might remember from earlier articles, I have presented some macramé projects in the past. Macramé was very popular as a craft during the seventies and has made a comeback over the last few years. Although new materials and designs keep on popping up, the basic techniques have stayed the same and, at least for now, crafts making use of knotting and braiding would seem to be a continuing trend.

If you have missed, or would like to revisit the previous articles on macramé, you can find the three previous projects at the end of this article under sources. Remember also that you can find all previous articles on the website at or feel free to contact me or any other authors if you are unable to find what you are looking for.

For this month, I am sharing a wrapped bracelet using the half hitch knot. I have done bracelets using this knot in the past and have often found that I easily get confused as to which knot I have completed since with only two cords, you are switching sides continuously. To take care of this problem, we will be using four cords: two filler cords at the center and tying our half hitch knots from each side. This makes it a little easier to know which knot you have completed last and the bracelet is also wider than when only two cords are used.

So, essentially, you will be tying knots around the two stationary center cords, alternating your knotting from the left and right sides. Apart from the square knot, the half hitch knot and its variations is perhaps the most-used knot, especially for making bracelets, belts and straps. The key to success for this design is to work with the flat or round shape of the cord material, so the Half Hitches are not twisted or kinked.

You will need:
Any type of cord like leather, nylon, cotton, satin, etc. (use 2 different colours for a nice effect)
Large safety Pin or a clipboard

Step 1: Start by cutting four cords that are 30 inches (75 cm) long.

Step 2: Secure the ends of all 4 30 inch cords to your clipboard or with a safety pin onto a stable surface in a vertical position. You may tie them loosely together at this point if you find it easier.

Step 3: Divide your cords so you have two holding cords in the center and the two working cords on the left and right. If using two colors, group your cords so the two cords on the left is one color and the two on the right another. If possible, try to secure the two holding cords at the top and bottom, so they have some tension. This is not absolutely necessary, but will make tying your knots easier. Since the cords on the left and right sides are your working cords, they should only be secured at the top.

Step 4: Leave 3 to 4 inches of cord before starting your half hitch knots so that you will have enough cord to tie your bracelet at the end.

Step 5: Make half hitch knots by doing the following:
Start on the right:
Use the right working cord to tie the first Half Hitch, in a clockwise direction. So, pick up the cord on the right and form a loop, over the two holding cords, moving around and under the holding cords, and pulling the cord through the loop on the right.
Pull your cord a little upwards and to the right to tighten it.
Then from the left:
Use the left working cord to tie the second half hitch, in a counter-clockwise direction. So, pick up the cord on the left and form a loop, over the two holding cords, moving around and under the holding cords, and pulling the cord through the loop on the left.
Pull your cord a little upwards and to the left to tighten it.

Step 6: Continue making half hitch knots, one from the right and then one from the left until your bracelet is the desired length. Push the Half Hitches close together as you progress, and try to tighten them the same so the bracelet will be a uniform width in all areas.

Step 7: Tie the ends of your bracelet together in an overhand knot, or if you find such a knot to be too bulky, you could use a separate piece of cord to tie all the ends of the bracelet together. Alternatively, use any other type of closure you prefer.
Cut the ends so they are neat and secure the knot with a drop of clear glue if preferred.

Search my page below for more macramé projects in April 2015 and February 2017.

October 2018

It is once again time for Kaleidoscope of Krafts and a pleasure to welcome you all as we are slowly approaching warmer weather here in South Africa.

For this month, I am sharing a simple way to freshen up our homes: a do-it-yourself room and carpet deodorizer. A natural alternative to commercial air fresheners, made from ingredients you probably already have and hopefully a craft project that will tick the boxes of easy, quick, inexpensive and useful.

One advantage to making one's own deodorizers include that you can customize the type of scent or scents you want to use. You can make your freshener as strong as you prefer. If you would like to avoid or cut down on store-bought products for some reason, this is the way to go.

It is also great as a gift and it can be customized to form part of your decor. Your air freshener can be topped up or changed on a regular basis as well.

You will need:
Mason jar, glass pot or vase
baking soda
Essential oils of your preference

Mason jars work great because their lids can be removed and the jars can be covered with circles or squares of thin fabric like lace, gauze or even knitted or crocheted doilies. Or, simply poke a few holes into the metal lid of the mason jar.
You can also go with something like a parmesan cheese shaker or spice shaker as well.

After removing the lid, fill your jar about one-third to one-half full with some baking soda. Instead of masking odors, baking soda neutralizes them.
Baking soda has so many uses and is known for its great deodorizing and neutralizing properties, which makes it the perfect ingredient in an air freshener.

Next, add about 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil or combination of oils, stir it up with the baking soda, then cover your jar, using the method of your choice.
You can certainly leave out the essential oils, but your freshener may not work as well in areas with stronger odors like the bathroom.

To use as a Room Deodorizer:
Place the jars or containers in various areas around the house that need a little extra freshening: the bathroom, kitchen, linen closets, and even cupboards and drawers in the bedroom and living areas.

When the scents start to fade, just give the jars a good shake or stir to reactivate the oils and baking soda again.
Using the same container, just replace the baking soda and essential oils from time to time as preferred.

To use as a Carpet Deodorizer:
Just sprinkle the baking soda and essential oil mixture evenly on your carpets, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, then vacuum it up and enjoy the wonderful, natural scent of your DIY deodorizer freshening up your room!

Turn your air freshener into a decorative feature by using a larger vase or jar filled with stones or marbles or by covering it partially or in full with paper or fabric.
You can also use cinnamon sticks, seashells, dried citrus slices, wood chips or even flowers for the purpose.
Lastly, add a tea light to turn it into a decorative candle holder.
Happy crafting until next time!


November 2018

Even though we are not there yet I have decided to share this, end-of-year project for the month of November since it is one that might need some early preparation if you decide to do it for this coming holiday season.

Historians estimate that Advent, which derives from the Latin word for coming, has been celebrated since the fourth century. The period originally began as a time for converts to Christianity to prepare for baptism, but is now more commonly associated with the anticipation of the anniversary of Christ’s birth on December 25.

So, modern advent calendars typically begin on December 1 and mark the 24 days before Christmas. Most Advent calendars include 24 paper doors that are opened, one on each day, to reveal an image, Bible verse, or piece of chocolate.

Gerhard Lang is widely considered the producer of the first printed Advent calendar in the early 1900s. Lang’s calendar was inspired by one that his mother had made for him and featured 24 colored pictures that attached to a piece of cardboard. Lang modified his calendars to include the little doors that are a staple of most Advent calendars today.

Although different types of store-bought calendars with Christmas themed pictures and little doors that open for each day until 25 December are available in many countries today, this is by no means the only type of advent calendar. You can make your own and customize it the way you want it while having fun with the kids and creating some special family traditions. Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, this is a craft that could be made for and with children and enjoyed as a count-down to any other holiday or even a child's birthday. Alternatively, use the calendars to help the children choose some fun family activities or deeds of kindness to perform during the holidays.

Don't be confined by the word "calendar" when doing this craft, though. Instead of making a large poster or board to hang on a wall, consider collecting small containers, filling them with small gifts or candy and marking each with a number from 1 to 24 in print or in braille if preferred.

Place these containers in a large box or arrange them on a window sill or on a mantle near the Christmas tree, or buy 24 ready-to-fold boxes and place them all under the tree after filling and closing them with some colorful tape.

If you would like to make something to hang against a wall or as a garland however, consider the following two options.

Option 1: Advent Garland
You will need:
Wrapping paper
24 small gifts, mini chocolate bars or wrapped candy
Pipe cleaners or twine
A long piece of thin ribbon

1. Wrap each gift or piece of candy.
2. Write print or braille numbers from 1 to 24 on tags and punch a hole in a corner of each.
3. Tie a tag to each gift with twine, ribbon or a pipe cleaner, leaving several inches of the tie on each side of the gift.
4. Arrange the gifts in order from 1 to 24.
5. Using twine or pipe cleaners, tie each gift to the long ribbon in the correct order.
6. Continue, tying all 24 gifts.
7. Hang the chain over your mantel, in a window or on a wall or door, or you could even wrap it around the Christmas tree.
8. Untie and enjoy one gift on each day or provide scissors to cut gifts from the chain. Make sure to help smaller children with this task.

Option 2: Envelope Advent Calendar
You will need:
Large cork board or cardboard
Scrapbook or gift paper
24 envelopes
Tags or stickers
24 small gifts or wrapped candy

1. Cover the board with scrapbook or gift paper.
2. Mark each envelope with a number from 1 to 24 and fill each with a gift or wrapped candy.
3. Glue the envelopes to the board in order or you could position them randomly.
4. Hang against a wall or place on a windowsill and open and enjoy a gift each day.

Another option I have come across builds on the tradition of lighting a candle on each day or evening of the 24 days before Christmas.
You will need 24 clean, empty baby food jars. Glue wide ribbon around each jar and add numbered braille or print stickers or tags.
Place a candy or message inside each jar. On each of the 24 days, replace the message or candy with a tea light candle.
Light one more candle each evening or wait until all 24 jars have their candles before lighting all at once.

I hope you will find a way to create and enjoy doing this craft with loved-ones and family this coming holiday season.


December 2018

It is once again the start of the holiday season and the ideal opportunity for spending time with friends and family while creating hand-made items and good memories. Our craft for this month is something special that is easy to make and that should spread joy and good cheer whenever people visit your home.

All over the world, wreaths have been used for centuries, for various religious and cultural reasons, but they remain a popular way to welcome others to our homes, so for this month we are making a one-of-a-kind candy wreath.

these handmade candy wreaths are so great to have hanging around for holidays or birthdays or any other celebration where you want to share a treat in a fun way! not only do they act as a decoration, but they are also edible! everyone can just unwrap a candy whenever they feel like having a sweet treat.

They are also great to give as gifts. You can make small versions by using pipe cleaners to form circles, attaching them to the Christmas tree or as a table setting for guests or on the children's doors for Christmas morning.

you can basically use any candy you can imagine as long as it’s wrapped with the little twists at either end. For Christmas, you might want to use a mixture of candy that has been wrapped in shiny red and/or green paper or silver and gold may look great as well. or simply buy a mixed bag and tie the candy on randomly for a fun and festive wreath.

I've discovered there are more than one ways to make these wreaths. The method I am sharing below might take slightly longer, but I consider it to be a fairly easy method and what is nice is that it can be a family activity. Depending on the size, these wreaths can take an hour or two to make, but the process is really simple and once you get the hang of it, things should go smoothly.

You will need:
Wrapped candies (the ones with the paper twisted on each side)
Thin ribbon or pipe cleaners
wire hanger, or a brass ring that can be found at most craft or hardware stores
Small scissors

Step 1: If using a wire hanger, bend it into a circle, keeping the hook intact so you can use it as a hanger for your wreath.
note that normal, adult-sized wire clothes hangers will make a fairly large wreath.

Step 2: If using ribbon, cut a 6-inch piece.

Step 3: Llay the ribbon or pipe cleaner flat and place the twist of the candy paper at its center. Knot the ribbon or pipe cleaner around the paper end of the candy, leaving a tail on each side.

Step 4: Tie the two loose ends of the ribbon or pipe cleaner around the wreath, with the candy on the inside of the circle.

step 5: Continue to tie candy to the wreath, pushing the tied pieces as close together as possible so that there are no gaps.

Step 6: keep adding candies, one at a time, until you have filled the entire wreath.

Step 7: If preferred, tie a bow at the top of the wreath with some ribbon.

Step 8: Tie a piece of ribbon from the top of the wreath to the handle of the small scissors so that they are hanging in the middle of the wreath low enough that you can use them to cut pieces of candy from the wreath. Or simply untwist a candy, leaving the colorful papers on the wreath until all have been unwrapped.

hang your hand-made candy wreath on a wall or door and admire your unique creation. It might not last long once it is up.
This will be the first time we will make one of these candy wreaths for our home and I hope it will become a family tradition in years to come.
Happy crafting and a blessed holiday season to all!


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