Category Archives: Craft

Medal Bracelet Update

Today, I made a new bracelet for my medals.  This project has been on the back-burner ever since my previous attempts failed to stand up to the wear and tear of daily use.  I’m hoping this wired version will last longer:

I found the pliers with nylon-covered jaws pretty useless.  They might prove more useful for a different kind of project.  I did most of the work with just my fingers.

On the photo above you should be able to see a bird pendant on the left.  I’ve fitted it with a clasp so that I can attach it anywhere along the bracelet.  The idea is based on the sacrifice beads of St. Thérèse of Lisieux except I’m counting sins rather than sacrifices.  I couldn’t think of a way of making sure that beads would stay in place when they were moved along for counting purposes.  I didn’t think of looking on the Internet.  If I’d have looked I probably would have found this website – Little Ways – which seems to have lots of useful information on this whole subject.  Anyway, the idea with my beads is to provide myself with an incentive to stop committing persistent sins that I’m having particular trouble with.  Each time I realise that I’ve committed the sin that I want to tackle, I move the bird (which represents the Holy Spirit) along to the next position.  At the end of the week I count up the positions moved and this dictates the size of the sacrifice I then make.  I don’t know how effective this is going to be but I thought it was worth a try.  (I’m already praying for help, of course; that’s always the first resort.)

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Christmas Crochet and Solomon’s Shawl

First, in line with my policy of full craft disclosure, I have to admit that I never finished the mantilla I was crocheting.

The yarn was too thick so I looked like I was wearing a doily on my head. Not a good look unless you’re going for crazy-like-a-loon. Also, I realised that the triangle was the wrong shape for a head covering; it needs to have one much longer side.

To cheer myself up I crocheted a few Christmas decorations. I made them up as I went along so I don’t have a pattern for them, sorry.

I haven’t stiffened them yet so hopefully I can get them straightened out a bit more.

Today I started on another triangular project. It’s going to be a shawl made from Solomon’s knots.

There are loads of tutorials on the Internet for making this lacy and deceptively simple stitch so I will let you find one that suits you. To get the triangular shape I worked as follows:

Start with 2 ch then dc (UK notation as always) into the first chain. (You could try just 1 ch to start because my starting point is looking a bit too bulky.) Next draw out the yarn to the height of stitch that suits you and your yarn. I’ve made mine about 1cm high and I’m using quite thick “string vest” yarn. Make four of the Solomon’s knot component (SKC) stitches (made up of a long loop and a dc) and join into a diamond shape by dc into the starting dc. 3 SKC, dc into next corner of the diamond. *2 SKC, make a chain to the same height as one of the loops (I’ve used 3 ch.), ss into the next corner of the original diamond and ss back along the chain and into the dc. Now 3 SKC and turn work to dc into top dc of the nearest diamond. 2 SKC, dc into top of next diamond. Repeat from * increasing the repeats of the previous instruction as each row grows in length, and using the chains to join up diamonds at the edge of the triangle.

My Crummy Macramé

Not really.  It’s not perfect but it’s not crummy.  I just liked the wordplay.

It won’t surprise any of my regular readers that, given my love of all things knotty, one of the many crafts I’ve dabbled in is macramé.  One of my old projects resurfaced recently so I thought I’d try another.  Here are some photos of the old kit and the project that I did as a teenager.

macrame1

macrame2

As often happens with me, I didn’t have all the right materials so I had to improvise. I only had three beads so I ended up with something that looks like a weird face.macrame3

When I was in Romania I bought an elasticated bracelet off a little old lady.  After a while I added my devotional medals to it.  After wearing it every day for months the elastic I added started to give up the ghost.

macrame4

I was sad not to be able to wear it any more so I decided to restore the Romanian bracelet and make a new macramé bracelet for my medals.macrame5macrame6macrame7macrame8

Here is the video tutorial I used.  I changed the fastening because I wasn’t sure that my yarn would melt and seal like the one in the video.

DIY Chaplet

You’ve probably all seen a set of rosary beads, even if it’s just on the telly.  Different sets of prayers can be said using a standard set of beads but some sets of prayers need a different arrangement of beads, which are called chaplets.  Here are some of my sets of beads:

rosaries

The one on the left is a standard rosary.  It glows in the dark, making it easy to find at night.  The blue set is for a set of prayers called the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I only use the black set once a year.  It’s mentioned in the video below which explains the difference between rosaries and chaplets:

I wanted a new set of beads for saying the Chaplet of the Holy Face but I didn’t think they would have a set in my local shops so I decided to make one.  I only had tiny beads so I wondered if I could make beads using knots or crochet.  The crochet ones I found were a bit naff but I found some terrific videos on how to make knotted rosaries (see below for one of these videos).  However, I didn’t have thick enough cord so my attempts were an absolute mess.

Then I had more than one hint that it is the quality of prayer, not the quantity, that matters so I dropped the whole idea for a while.  The need to pray the Chaplet didn’t go away though so I prayed to Our Lady that if she approved of me praying the Chaplet then I would need to be given beads.  A couple of days later I was given three old rosaries that were no longer wanted – so I now had lots of beads.  I took that as a sign that I should make my own chaplet, and here it is:

holyfacechaplet

Interestingly, when I showed it to my husband he asked me pointedly where I’d got the Holy Face medal from.  I admitted sheepishly that I had found it in our icon corner (a communal prayer space in our house) and had used it without asking.  He didn’t mind but he was asking because when he knelt for prayer at a church* where they have Perpetual Adoration he found a Holy Face medal by his knee.  He knows my interest in the Holy Face devotion so he brought it home.  When one asks Our Lady for something she certainly doesn’t hold back!

*This church is in Tooreen where the devil is reputed to have paid a visit to the Dance Hall in the Fifties.  (The Dance Hall is still there, I’ve had tea and nibbles there.)

Happy St. Brigid’s Day

firststbcross

This is my first St. Brigid’s Day as a Christian and I’m in Ireland so I couldn’t let the day pass without making a St. Brigid’s cross.  People usually make these out of freshly cut field reeds but I, always having to be different :p, made my first cross at a class today out of something else.  I was so excited at the prospect, and the class was so chaotic, that I didn’t really catch what kind of reeds these were.  What I do know is that the demonstrator cut them herself at the end of last summer and she had to wear chest-high waders to get them.  Good woman!  She might have said ‘bulrushes’ but don’t quote me on that.  She told us that they can last for hundreds of years.  People used to use them to make household items, and she still uses them to make things that she sells for a living.

Getting Knotted #2

(For #1 click here.)

This post was inspired by a wonderful lady called Myra who started a blog to showcase her mother’s amazingly realistic crochet flowers.  I mentioned to her that I used to do macramé so she suggested I try Chinese knotting by following this video:

So I grabbed the first thick yarn I could find…  String vest cotton leftover from my dear nan‘s hoard.  😀

vestcotton

It wasn’t ideal but I had a go…

But I couldn’t stop there.  It’s just too much fun, and there are loads of knotting videos on YouTube.  Besides, I’d always wanted to know how to tie a monkey’s fist knot, so I went on a knotting binge.  Here’s another video I used, this time in English:

The string vest cotton wasn’t working out too well (although it would make a lovely soft vest – I’m almost tempted to make one).  So I scrounged around and found an old cord off a blind…

Thank you Myra, I had great fun!  😀

Paper Snowflakes

I normally cut my own designs for snowflakes at this time of year.  When my daughter joins in we end up with a veritable snow drift of paper delights.  This year I made the mistake of looking at my Pinterest account.  This usually results in some new obsession; this time it looks like it’s other people’s snowflakes.  The ones shown below are mostly based on patterns I found via Pinterest.  The Celtic cross one I designed myself.  (As always, you can click on an image to see it more closely.)

Easter Eggs

My apologies in advance to my vegan readers; we used a lot of eggs in this crafting session. Please see my previous post for more on the egg issue. A small consolation is that no factory-farmed eggs were used: Sally bought duck eggs and was given chicken eggs by a neighbour who keeps her own birds.  Also, after writing the previous post I went out and bought a vegan egg substitute.  It won’t be any good for Easter crafting but hopefully I can now make cruelty-free cakes and so on. 🙂
Sally’s daughter supplied us with two kits from the States; thank you Erin. I haven’t seen this kind of kit in Ireland. There were all sorts of ways of decorating the eggs. My favourite was the wax crayon used to create “resist” designs with the dyes. I hope you enjoy the photos. You might remember the bunny ears from last year; my daughter has inherited the hoarder gene from someone (not me, obviously 😉 ).

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Petrified Pomander

There is a long-running children’s TV programme in the U.K. called “Blue Peter“, maybe you’ve heard of it.  I grew up with it.  The presenters used to show us how to make lots of things, like accessories for dolls, Christmas decorations and treats for Mother’s Day.  I didn’t attempt very many of their projects but I did make their pomander as a present for my nanna.  It involved sticking a lot of cloves into an orange and decorating it with ribbon, etc.  My nanna had it hung in her hallway for a while and then it disappeared.  I assumed it had gone moldy and been thrown in the bin.  I think you know where this is going from the title, don’t you?  When we were clearing out my nanna’s house after she passed away we found the pomander in her wardrobe.  Bear in mind that I made this thing in the seventies and my nanna passed away in 2013…  The Wikipedia entry on pomanders says they last several years; they might want to revise that up a few decades!  I have to admit that it was a bit too freaky though so it did finally go in the bin.

pommandersml

Christmas Swag

swagsmlSally and I managed to squeeze in another crafting session before she heads off to the States.  She wanted to make a swag for the town crib.  We started with the same method as for the wreaths, making bundles of greenery (conifer, ivy, holly, etc.) cut from Sally’s shrubs and trees at the Mill.  We fastened the bundles with cable ties and then hung them on a piece of washing line.  We then fastened baubles and ribbons between each bundle and disguised the fastenings with beads and ribbons.  Sally will be adding a few little extras once the swag has been hung on the crib.