Straw Seed Bead Holders

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Just a little project today. I’ve been making strings of seed beads for necklaces. While I was working on the necklaces I found I had a small amount of beads left. I only had large seed bead containers. I had a few plastic straws that I’d received in take outs, so I decided to seal the end of a straw, fill with see beads using a purpose built scoop (instructions below). Then seal the top using cello tape.  The straws are easy to store, and recycles plastic straws that otherwise wouldn’t have been used.

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Scoop
1. Cut a three inch length from a straw.

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2. Seal one end with cello tape. I pinched the end of the straw, and then placed the tape across the pinched end, then I placed another piece of tape around the top of the straw.
3. Cut through the straw at the other end, and cut the top off, leave the bottom.

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4. Curve the bottom edges, to create the scoop.

Lessons Learned: Weaving

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During the weaving project I tried to reduce the amount of sewing required to finish the project.  So when I cut the felt, I created slits in the fabric rather than cutting through the one end.

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Then I tried weaving through the slits using needles.  It took me a lot longer because it wasn’t easy to weave the felt.  I realized by having the loose strands of felt (like below) it made it a lot easier to work with the felt.

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So although I had the additional step of sewing, overall it was the better way to go.

 

Imperfect projects

It’s easy to post the results of a great craft project, the photos look great, you get lots of compliments and you are really pleased with it. How many attempts did it take you? Often the answer to that is, a lot. Until I get the hang of a technique, for every successful project I have 3 or 4 attempts that haven’t quite worked out.

However over time I’ve realized the lessons learned from the failures are more valuable than showing you what to do.

So I’m going to start a “Lessons Learned” section where you can see the failed projects and maybe learn what not to do.

Decorating Bar-b-que Snacks

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I love bar-b-que season.  This year my gift at my friends party is home-made olive tampenade.  Tampenade is a mixture of finely chopped olives and sundried tomatoes (1 cup of sundried tomatoes to every 3 cups of olives) that you spread on toasted bread.   I had a spare mason jar, which I filled to the brim and added a square of fabric (secured with a rubber band) and added one of the tags I stamped with a jar rubber stamp. Note that i didn’t use paper. In the art section of Dick Blick I found very thin sheets of wood. You can cut them with scissors.  I stamped a jar, then added the “olives” with alphabet rubber stamps.  The wood came in long thin strips as you can see below.  I then cut them into tags and punched a hole in the top!

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Crafty Tip: Loom bands container.

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A little plastic snack box from wholefoods makes the perfect transportable container for the rainbow loom bands! I hot glued two pieces of felt together and made a little pouch, to fit into the top of the box.  It keeps accessories tidy, and ensures the different color bands do not mix together too much when you close the lid.  If I had more time I’d embroidery the top, or add some ribbon!

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Woven Purse – Instructions Part 2

Changing Colours

1.  First finish one colour.  I found that finishing the first colour on felt strand two, not felt strand one made the seam stronger.  Let the thread dangle over your work, and we will come back later to sew it in.

2.  Start the next colour, by looping around strand one, and starting your figure of eights as before.

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3.  Note that the different colours are cool, however you do have to do a little more sewing the more frequently you change colour.

4.  When you want a rest from weaving, sew in the ends.  In the first part of the purse that will be the inside, it doesn’t matter if the sewing isn’t neat.  When you get to the flap you have to be a little tidier, as you will be seeing both the inside and the outside of the flap.

Cutting the Purse to size

1.  I probably should have completed this step at the beginning, however in my project the front of the purse is shorter than the back, so I made a chalk line 3.5 inches from the base line and cut off the top of the felt on one side.

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2.  If you want to make a purse where both sides have the same length, then don’t do this step.  I wanted to create a flap on my purse.

Edging

1.  When you get to within three strands of the top of the shorter section, place and pin one of the smaller rectangles to the purse.  Make sure that the top of the rectangle and the top edge of the purse align.

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2.  Sew across the edge.  Here I’ve sewn the edge in orange for demonstration purposes.  I recommend using a thread that’s the same colour as the felt.

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3.  Fold the bottom of the small rectangle over the sewing you’ve completed, turn the purse inside out and fold the remaining part of the felt over the tops of the felt strands and tuck the end under.  Then use a simple straight stitch to stitch the edging to the other side of the purse.

4.  The aim here is to have a nice neat edge covered by the small rectangle.   We will repeat this edging technique at the end when we’ve finished weaving the flap.

5.  Note that the edges of this rectangle are not sewn to the strands at the back yet.  This looks odd to being with, as you have a half inch gap either side of your purse.  We will come back to this at a later stage and sew the rectangle to the back edge, once we’ve completed the weaving in this section.

A couple of techniques

1.  When sewing the edges, it’s really easy to sew through the embroidery thread, especially the six strand sort I was using, so I tried to position the needle towards the edge of the stitch, rather than the through the centre of the stitch.  I tended to get less tangles that way.

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2.  I found having the felt strands to the left the easiest, and working from top down.  I’m right handed, so this should be flipped for left handers.

Finishing Off

1.  Again when you are three or four strand widths from the end of the purse flap, do the edging steps as previously discussed.

2.  Then sew the edges of the rectangle we did earlier to the back of the purse.  The purse should now be woven in this section.  This is optional, if you like the half inch slits either side of your purse, then do not do this step.

Now you have a completed woven purse made from scraps of felt and embroidery thread.

 

 

Woven Purse – Instructions Part 1

I unpacked my messy bag of embroidery thread and decided now was the time to try a weaving project.  After four days I had a deeper appreciation of weavers and how effortless they make basket weaving look, and how quick they are.

Materials

  1. Lots of embroidery thread.  Don’t underestimate how much thread one simple line of weaving will take.
  2. 1 felt sheet approx 4.5 inches by 12 inches to create the basic shape of the purse.
  3. 2 rectangles felt, 4.5 inches by 1 inch for the edging.
  4. Chalk/Ruler/Needle/Thread
  5. Clasp to keep the purse shut!

Thread Consumption

For every one row of the purse (both sides of the felt) it took four widths of embroidery thread.  So my purse was 4-4.5 inches wide, so for one row it would take 16-18 inches of embroidery thread.  It’s a real hoover when it comes to how much thread it uses. Good for all those scraps you may have, but be careful your scrap thread isn’t too short.

Preparation – Making the felt base.

1.  Using chalk and a ruler draw a line at the centre of the felt.  Draw two lines half an inch outside the centre line.  These are the base lines.  They will form the base of the purse.   Down each side measure half an inch, and draw chalk lines across.  It should end up something like this.

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2.  Now the cutting begins.  Cut down each line, making sure to stop at the base line.  You should now have the foundation for the purse.

Weaving the Thread

1.  Think of weaving as lots of figure of eights.  You loop round the first felt weave strand.  Then when you weave around strand two, the thread that was on top now goes underneath, and the thread underneath now goes on top.  So you are making a loop each time around the felt strands.

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2.  When you get to the end of the first line, fold over the other half of the purse, and continue your figure of eights.  This is tricky the first time you try it, but you get the hang of it after a few rows.  Note that we are working on the inside of the purse here.  We will turn it inside out later.

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3.  When you arrive back at the first row, just carrying on going if you want to continue in this colour.  I used a whole skein of embroidery thread (8.75 yards) and this is how many rows I managed to do.  (This is half an inch width, 4.5 inches wide).

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Part 2 will conclude the instructions for this project.