Craft With Your Stash Challenge

Towards the end of 2018 Jen from Craftic announced a new challenge….#CraftWithYourStash. For 2019, Jen pledged she would not purchase ANY new crafting supplies. ANY! Was she delirious? Maybe dehydrated? She can’t be serious, right?

It took for me to start digging into my craft room to realize maybe it was time I did the same. 1) Because my supplies were overflowing to the point that it was hard to navigate the room (hoarders style), and 2) because I had no idea what was hiding at the bottom of those piles. So for the past few weeks I put aside any sewing or crafting and started working away at the piles.

I discovered craft kits I didn’t realize I had, tools that (let’s be honest) I was never going to use, dozens of magazines I had never read, and fleece…..lots, and lots of fleece.

So, in 2019 I won’t be buying new craft supplies. Ok, disclaimer, I AM going to set aside $5 per month that I can spend on minor supplies if I need them to finish a project (gotta be realistic….like if I need a specific kind of glue, or I run out of something critical. NOT fleece.), but other than that, my projects must be made with items from my stash!

Who else will be participating in the #CraftWithYourStash challenge? Let me know in the comments, or share your projects using the hashtag on social media! Happy Crafting!

DIY Spiderweb Earrings

Truth time: I’m not much of a Halloween person. [gasp]

I know, I’m weird. I don’t like horror movies and I don’t care for Halloween parties (sweaty costumes, creepy masks….no thanks) so I’ve never felt a big motivation to spend money on Halloween decor or outfits.

This means that whenever I do dress up, its gonna be DIY, and its going to be cheap! Of course, this project fits that criteria perfectly!

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This project is super simple as far as materials go, but a little challenging if you’re new to using a glue gun (or just awkward in general, like me). That being said, the materials are super cheap so its hard to get mad if one comes out wonky!

You will need the following:

  • Glue gun (I found it easier when I used a low temp one)
  • Glue gun sticks (make sure to have a few for practice. You’ll need about 2 for the actual project)
  • Parchment paper
  • Black paint/paint brush
  • Earring findings (I used Hildie & Jo hooks for sensitive ears and matching jump rings)
  • Jewelry tools to open and close the jump rings

Step 1:

Lay out a piece of parchment paper and with the hot glue create a spiderweb. You can either freehand (which is what I prefer), or you can draw the shape you want on the parchment paper and follow it. I found that the “best” looking spiderwebs have 4 intersecting lines.

This is the hardest part of the project. Practice getting an even flow out of the gun, but if you get clumps here and there it just adds to the charm! I find that moving slowly is easier for me, but it may depend on how your gun warms up the glue. Don’t worry about the strings, you can either pull them off later, or leave a few in for a more “webby” look.

Step 2:

Once the glue dries up (should only take a few minutes) take a paint brush and go over your spider web. Do the back part first, let it dry. Flip to the front, and paint.

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Step 3: Attach your hardware and its ready to wear!

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Told you it was easy!

I can’t wait to use this technique to make other glue gun crafts!

 

Air Plant Himmeli

In case you haven’t heard, plastic straws are OUT. Metal and reusable straws are totally IN*.

So what do you do when you have bags of straws at home, but you feel like a monster using them to sip on your Fresca, but you also don’t want to throw them out for fear they’ll end up in an innocent turtle’s nose?!

You use them for crafting, duh. More specifically, you use them to make himmeli! And in case merely up-cycling straws is not green enough for you, these himmeli will serve as a perfect outdoor-safe home for your air plants! (Because air plants are totally in too.)

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There are two basic ways to make these himmeli: 1) make all the straws the same size to get a cute chubby symmetrical shape, or 2) use longer straws at the top to make an elongated shape. In the steps below I’ll show you how to make the chubby one, and in the last step I’ll explain how to make the changes to make yourself an elongated himmeli!

So, ready to make some himmeli?!

Himmeli supplies

Materials:

  • Straws. Thickness depends on the style you’re going for or what you have at home. I used smoothie straws from Ikea, because that’s what I had on hand.
  • String. Cotton, nylon, pretty much anything will do. (If you use skinnier straws or thicker string, you may need a tapestry needle.)
  • Scissors.
  •  A ruler. (Very much optional.)

Step 1: Figure out how big you want your himmeli! You want to make it slightly larger than your airplant so it has room to grow, but not too big that it falls out. (You can either use the ruler to get your measurement, or you can eyeball it and use the first straw as the measurement for the others.)

Step 2: Cut out 12 straws segments. Either all the same size, or 3 sizes: 4 for the top, 4 for the middle, 4 for the bottom. (For maximum mischief, only hold one end of the straw while you’re cutting. Kids and pets will LOVE this.) 

Step 3: Cut your string. The math-free way to figure out how much string you need? Line up your longest 4 pieces. Take the string, and measure out that length 4 times. (If you’re using a cotton string or twine, it will help to wrap the ends in tape so they don’t unravel!)

Step 4: Measure out a string length equivalent to 2 straw pieces. (This is going to be your tail, don’t let it go anywhere). Take 3 pieces and string them, then tie a knot at the top (keep that tail in tact!)

 

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Step 6: Next, string 2 more straw pieces, and tie a knot at the bottom this time.

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Step 7: Keep repeating this (string 2, tie, string 2, tie), alternating the side that you’re tying, until you’re left with 1 lonely straw piece on the string.

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Step 8: Grab the 2 tails that are left, and tie them together.

Step 9: You’re going to be left with a pyramid with 2 hanging flaps. Take both of the tails and string them through one of the “straw flaps” so they come out the other end.

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Tie them around the other flap. And that’s it!

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Left: Chubby Himmeli; Right: Elongated Himmeli

Now, to make an elongated himmeli you are going to substitute the 1st 2 straws and the last pair (not the last lonely straw) with longer pieces. Like so….

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And the last few steps are the same!

Finally, place your air plants in their new home….they (and the turtles) will thank you for it!

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*For those who are worried about HOW CAN I DRINK MY BUBBLE TEA WITHOUT BEING A MONSTER, Pretty Candy Pin Co carries some gorgeous Rainbow Stainless Steel Boba Staws! (Edit: Currently sold out, but they should be in stock in a couple of weeks.)

Happy National Spaghetti Day!

Did you know today is National Spaghetti Day?

Yeah, I didn’t either…but now that we do know, I wish you a good one!

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What is it, meatball?

 

To make these cuties all you need is scissors, some felt in white (cream), red, and brown, a little bit of polyfill,  felt glue (for the eyes and mouth), and a needle and thread.

Step 1: Cut 1/4″ strips from the white felt (cream, really) until you have a plateful. I had five 36″ strips. (I used the felt that is sold by the yard, not sheets.)

Step 2: Cut the spaghetti sauce shape out of red felt.

Step 3: Cut 2 circles from the brown felt. Mine were 3″. With a needle and thread make a running stitch along the border of the circle (about 1/8″ from the edge). Place a wad of polyfill in the center, then gather and stitch the opening closed.

To make the eyes I used scraps of white and black felt, but you can also use embroidery!

 

Bon Appetit!

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Stranger Things Ugly Christmas Sweater

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll know that Stranger Things is life! While we could debate whether Season 2 was as good as Season 1 (it wasn’t, sorry), pretty much anyone will agree its a great show. Back in October Target released a line of Stranger Things themed apparel to herald in the new season of the show, including this winning Men’s sweater.

Target Mens Stranger Things Sweater

Ugly? Really?

I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten pretty tired of seeing cool sweaters being called “ugly” just because they look like they were knitted. Now, a tacky, truly ugly sweater? That is a thing to behold…and that is what I would make!

The image came to me right away….red sweatshirt (as big and awkward as I can get), felt Christmas light bulbs, and painted letters.

Supply List:

This project was suprisingly quick and easy. The hardest part was probably fitting all the bulbs onto the shirt.

Step 1: Cut out 26 bulbs out of the felt squares, alternating between pink, blue, green, and yellow. Cut out 26 small rectangles from the grey felt. (I don’t have a template to share for the bulbs, but you can freehand it.)

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Step 2: Arrange the bulbs on the sweatshirt in rows. They don’t have to be super straight, or even point in the same direction. Be sure to leave space underneath for the letters, and little bit more for the “string” if you want to make it loopy.

Step 3: Once you have your layout glue the bulbs and the grey caps to the sweatshirt using felt glue. If you really wanted to take it to the next level stitch them on! I think it would add a great touch.

Step 4: Write out that alphabet using the black paint. (Make sure to not get distracted and skip letters. Not that I speak from experience or anything….). Your goal is to have each bulb have a letter underneath. Crazy kindergartner looking letters are encouraged!

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Step 5: Connect your lights using the green paint. You can use a direct line or you can make it loop. Go crazy! Follow your heart!

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Step 6: Step back and admire your work. For 4 hours. Because that’s how long it takes for the paint to dry.

Its rare for my projects to turn out exactly how I envision them, but this one did! Best of all it was easy enough to do in a group, and we were done in a couple hours!

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Of course, once our ugly sweaters were dry, we couldn’t resist an 80’s inspired group photo….

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A big thanks to Nabila Verushka for bringing our cheesy 80’s family portrait dreams to life, and for taking all the photos included in this post!

Side note: This sweatshirt is SO comfy and cozy, don’t be surprised if you catch me wearing it during our next cold front!

 

 

 

Party with Plaid Crafts

Every crafty girl needs a crafty girl gang.

Case in point: when Plaid Crafts and Craft Box Girls selected me to receive a Plaid Party Kit for 4 I knew exactly who I was going to party with!

I invited my friends Paola (of Dapper Animals), Andrea (of Vintage Unicorn), and Nabila (of One Tiny Dinosaur) to party with me.

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Plaid Crafts sent me 4 boxes with 4 full sets of supplies (!!) from their FolkArt line to decorate a pallet coaster.

Each kit included:

  • 1 pallet coaster
  • 2 stencils (1 geometric pattern, 1 alphabet)
  • 1 set of paint brushes
  • 2 Brushed Metal Paints (Brushed Antique Gold and Brushed Rose Gold)
  • 2 Pickling Wash Paints (Sea Glass and Gypsy Rose)
  • 1 stencil brush
  • 1 roll stencil tape

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Project kit from Plaid Crafts featuring products from their FolkArt line.

The kit was accompanied by instructions on different ways to use the products, including using stencils and creating ombre effects with the Pickling Wash.

I’d never used a Pickling Wash before, and I must say I really liked it! Its designed with porous materials in mind, making it perfect for our wood coasters. You paint your surface, then after about 30 seconds you wipe off the excess paint to give it a light wash of color. Some of the girls experimented with repeating the process and keeping the paint on longer times to achieve a darker color.

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Andrea’s Pickling Wash in action

Our favorite effect to create was the ombre. It takes a little bit of practice, but when perfected, that transition from Sea Glass to Gypsy Rose is just gorgeous!

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Paola’s awesome ombre using the Pickling Wash paints

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Did I mention the good quality brushes??

I was super happy that they sent us two stencils to try out. I loved the letters and the geometric pattern allowed me to add a little something extra without having to freehand any designs.

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Alphabet stencil on Nabila’s coaster

My favorite product (aside from the brushes…I was so impressed by the quality!) was the brushed metallic paints. I had a hard time choosing between the gold and rose gold so, inspired by the girls making ombre coasters, I made a subtle ombre that went from Antique Gold to Rose Gold with the stencil.

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My new glue gun coaster.

We stuck to using the materials supplied with the kit 99% of the time, only breaking from that when one of us used a fine tipped pen to make an illustration on one of the coasters. (How cute is that chubby dinosaur?!)

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We had so much fun with our Plaid Craft Party!

What would you make with a party kit of your own?

A huge thanks to Craft Box Girls and Plaid Crafts for sending me the complimentary party kit!

If you’re looking for a crafty girl gang and would like to join us, we’ll be hosting crafternoons in the future! Follow us at The Imposter Collective to be the first to hear about it!

Amigurumi Baby Groot

One of the fun parts of moving is that the packing and unpacking phase can uncover stuff you forgot you ever had. (Sometimes fun, sometimes leads to anxiety.) While emptying yet another box in the craft room I discovered that I had printed off a GROOTORIAL from Twinkie Chan nearly 3 years ago!

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At the time Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol. 1) had just come out and we were all about Baby Groot. Fast forward a few years; now GOTG Volume 2 is out, and we are still all about Baby Groot. (Well, Kid Groot. Was that not the best opening sequence to a movie…ever?? Kid Groot is the best.)

Finding this pattern was a sign that it was time to whip out that crochet needle and make me a Groot!

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This project wasn’t too difficult. I ended up ditching the written pattern and following her video tutorial instead. She made a few changes in the video that worked better for me….like the size of the base, and the final size of the head. My Groot ended up slightly larger than her potted version, but smaller than the one on the video. I also skipped the vine-y bits around the torso. The hardest part was making those skinny little arms. It was so hard for me to keep track of the stitches!!

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I didn’t put my Groot in a pot since I figured he would rather be free to wander out and about.

I was right!

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Ok Groot. Can we have our Bubble Teas back now???*

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Groot, that is NOT your sushi!!*

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Has anyone else made themselves a Baby Groot (or Kid Groot?!)

If not, check out Twinkie Chan’s instructions and let me know if you make your own!!

 

*Sushi and Bubble Tea from Lan Pan in Dadeland Station. Groot’s adventuring photo shoot (and spooning partner, Link) courtesy of Nabila from One Tiny Dinosaur.

Craftcation 2017

Coworker: “So where are you going on your time off next week?”

Me: “Um….craft….cation…?”

Coworker: [blank stare]

Its super hard to explain to anyone why a grown woman would need to use up her vacation days to fly across the country to go crafting with a bunch of strangers. (….because I’m a grown woman and I do what I want?)

That is, unless you’ve been to Craftcation.

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So what is Craftcation? Its a 4-day Conference that happens every year in Ventura, CA. Hundreds of crafty creatives get together and attend hands on craft workshops and classes for creative business owners. Its run by the incredible Nicole Stevens and Delilah Snell of Dear Handmade Life.

I made the decision to attend Craftcation about this time last year, as I went onto the Dear Handmade Life website/social media and saw all of their Craftcation 2016 coverage. I had never heard of anything like it, and everyone looked so…happy! Attendees gushed about the amazing experience, and I knew I had to do it. I bought my ticket in October as soon as they went on sale, booked the hotel, and hoped for the best.

I attended by myself. I’m usually quite shy but I wasn’t worried (even though I usually worry about everything.) Between the posts that Dear Handmade Life published and the insights from attendee group on Facebook, I was assured that it wouldn’t be an issue navigating the conference solo. And they were right. Even though the majority of attendees would call themselves introverts, once I was there everyone was super pumped and friendly. I also had 3 random roommates that turned out to be amazing people. (Shout out to Rachel, Robin, and Nica!)

The conference officially starts on Thursday, but on Wednesday they host a few classes and a Happy Hour event for those who arrived early. I arrived too late in the day to take advantage (train issues. Long story), but after my first In-N-Out experience (animal what?) and a walk to watch the sun set on the beach, I settled in to get ready for my first day.

The next few days were so great and went by way too quickly. I took a total of 7 classes, attended 3 business workshops, as well as the Keynote speech (Jenny Hart!) during Dinner on Friday and the Closing remarks (Tiffany Han!!!) on Sunday. I had my headshots taken and went on a Walking Photo Tour with Sarah Deragon , and met Crochet Idol Twinkie Chan!

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Was distracted by succulents at Olivas Adobe (and hey, there’s Delilah!)

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Downtown Ventura as seen from City Hall

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Blue skies at City Hall

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Watching photography master Sarah Deragon at work during the Photo Walking Tour

Other highlights of the conference:

  • My minor freak-out in my Fabric Block Printing class when they told us we would need to draw our designs. I powered through and ended up making a really cute (in the way a mother finds her children cute?) scissor pattern on my tea towels! This was my favorite class and something I want to continue doing!
  • Showing up an hour early with my roommate to the branding workshop by Lela Barker to make sure we all got seats. It was at least 40 minutes before anyone else showed up, but whatever! The workshop was great. (Lela Barker is amazing!) It made me realize I have so much thinking to do about my sewing business.
  • Finishing my Succulent Terrarium only to ask myself how am I getting this home? It made it home, but not before getting manhandled by TSA.
  • An impromptu photo shoot with my roommate at the Dance Party. Because after the Walking Photo Tour I’m obviously a pro photographer.
  • Skipping class to go fabric shopping at SuperBuzzy. Good thing I set a budget, or I would’ve needed a 2nd suitcase.
  • The Food. They provided a few lunches with registration, as well as a dinner. Not only were the venues lovely (Lunches were at City Hall. Dinner was a Olivas Adobe), but the food was DELICIOUS. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, only that I kept wishing we had a fridge in the room so we could take back leftovers every time.
  • Wanderings. I was blown away by Wanderings. To be honest, it sounded kinda…cheesy. Rooms volunteer to host a pop-up shop or activity, and we wander through the hotel from room to room. I seriously underestimated my fellow attendees. Such a fun, bizarre, and exhausting experience, but I loved it!

There were so many moments where I’d walk around and think where else could this ever happen? Like when I walked to the hotel terrace and found a group of girls huddling around a table full of fabrics and a button maker that another attendee had brought so everyone can make magnets. (I made 5.) And when I’d walk by and see a class in progress in the middle of the Marriott Lobby. I met so many lovely people, and most of all left inspired. Not only to finally do something with my business, but to create freely and without judgement from myself.

Craftcation 2018 dates have already been set for April 4-8. Maybe I’ll see you there?

 

 

Mythical Creatures Brunch: Totoro

Have you heard of Geek Girl Brunch? If you haven’t, go check it out right now.

I joined as soon as they launched a chapter in Miami, and I am not exaggerating when I say its one of the best things I’ve done in the last few years. I have met so many great people through Geek Girl Brunch (GGB) and it has legitimately changed my life.

Last weekend the Miami Chapter had their November brunch with the theme of “Mythical Creatures” in honor of the new Harry Potter movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. It took me a few weeks to find the proper inspiration and I finally made the decision with less than a week before the event. I decided on one of my favorite mythical creatures: Totoro, from “My Neighbor Totoro.”

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As soon as I made my decision, I knew exactly how I would make this happen, and all without having to buy a single thing! (You see, hoarding does have its benefits!)

All I needed was a grey dress, grey and white fleece, and a headband. The most complicated part was the headband. I had purchased a few pairs of kids bunny ears at Target back around Easter (yay for the Dollar Spot!) so I used one as the base for my Totoro ears.

I was crafting this all the night before, so I didn’t get any progress pics. However the process is simple. Once I had the headband and wires exposed I shaped them into the general shape I wanted. I traced this shape onto the fleece and cut out 4 times (I added a seam allowance, but in hindsight I would make it smaller, or eliminate altogether) and sewed two pairs together to make 2 ears! (Sew right sides together, trim excess fabric, and turn right side out!)

If you don’t have a sewing machine I’m fairly sure you can recreate this by sandwiching the wires in between two layers and gluing together.

I slipped them over the wires and glued down the base of the ears to the headband. To cover up the band I cut out a rectangle long enough to cover from end to end, and tapered the width to match the headband. I measured out the location for two slits through which I could squeeze the ears through, and then glued it all down with a glue gun. (I won’t show you the inner part of the headband, because like I said….I was in a hurry so it does NOT look pretty!

The bib was the easiest part to make. I grabbed a piece of fleece, eyeballed the width and height I wanted, and cut out the shape with scissors. I cut out and glued the little crescents with a glue gun. Once dry, I safety pinned (from the inside) to the front of my dress. Definitely not the most impeccable items I’ve ever made, but it was quick, fun, and dare I say cute!

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My best attempt at imitating Totoro’s expression.

Geek Girl Brunch always does a fantastic job at the brunches. If you consider yourself even mildly geeky I’d suggest you check it out! The brunches are very popular, thus a bit difficult to get into, but so worth it! (Did I mention there are swag bags?!)

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Group shot  courtesy of GGB Miami

 

 

Mollie Makes: Amigurumi Doughnuts

Its no secret that I’m a fan of Mollie Makes magazine. The moment I see my magazine in the mailbox I start dancing with excitement….what fun projects will be featured this month?!

When I spotted these adorable amigurumi doughnuts in last month’s issue I absolutely knew I needed one of my own! For those who aren’t familiar with amigurumi, it is the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed objects with anthropomorphic features.

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Crochet has a special place in my heart. I want to say that it was the first crafty skill I learned. I was about 7 or 8 years old, on vacation with my family in Colombia and my mother’s aunt decided to teach me during the time I was there. I vividly remember the frustration of having to mirror everything that she was doing (Yay for being a lefty!) and working with a very fine crochet hook and thread (it was mustard yellow). My little hands would get sweaty and keeping tension was a struggle. Thanks to her infinite patience I stuck with it and more or less learned the basics.

So back to the doughnuts….aren’t they adorable?!

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Look at those happy doughnuts!

I decided to make the pale pink doughnut with white icing. (Um, how awesome is it to have a yarn stash and not have to purchase anything??)

Once again, I found that the Mollie Makes instructions assume an existing level of craftiness. In this case, you need to know the basic stitches. Its also a UK magazine, so I think they may use different terminology for crochet?? I thought they were referencing a Double Crochet stitch, but I used a Single Crochet instead (since its the basic amigurumi stitch).

There’s just something about crochet….its so relaxing because of the level of repetition. It gets me in the zone every time. (On that note, you don’t really want to be watching TV or singing music you’re tempted to sing along to. That’s how you lose count of your stitches!)

The steps were pretty basic. The hardest part for me is the actual stuffing and sealing of the doughnut. My hands are just awkward like that.

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Donut, or bagel? 

My favorite part: making the face!!

I used Safety Eyes (they’re like stud earrings that don’t come off!), and red thread for the mouth. Its always fun to experiment with the expressions, but I decided to copy the magazine go simple with a basic happy expression.

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Pin that icing down!

For the icing you simply crochet a few lines, and then stitch them on. While I typically hate doing all these small decorative details, I really enjoyed it this time! It may have something to do with the level of cuteness of this doughnut. (Don’t you want to just take a bite out of it?!)

A hint though: always read the directions all the way through before proceeding…..if I’d have done that I would’ve left the tails a bit longer and saved me some heartache with sewing on that icing.

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Ta-da! I made it myself! =D

This project reminded me just how much I love crochet….and how long its been since my LAST amigurumi project! I can’t wait for the next one!