Archive of ‘Crafts & DIY’ category

Easy Thick Crochet Wash & Dishcloths

| Crafts & DIY, Crochet

Easy crochet dishcloth pattern

Easy crochet dishcloth pattern

Easy Thick Crochet Wash & Dishcloths – It’s almost the end of the school year and I’ve been thinking about what sort of thank you gifts to give my daughter’s teachers and instructors (school, piano, dance, baseball, etc.).

I’m all about homemade gifts when at all possible so I started thinking about everything I’ve been learning or working on lately. For the past 2 months I’ve been taking pottery classes, learning how to use the potters wheel. I’ve also started making handmade soap on a regular basis which we now use every day in our household (check out my post on how to make Natural Calendula Soap here). Eventually I settled on the idea of creating teacher’s gifts that combine all my projects. I’m giving them each a beautiful handmade soap dish with my own soap and thick durable crochet washcloths. This crochet dishcloth pattern is about as easy as it gets – a perfect pattern for beginners. You only need to know 2 stitches, the chain stitch and the single crochet stitch. I’ve been really excited about these gifts because they are all things I’ve put my heart into and that hopefully reflect my gratitude to all the people who help teach and shape my daughter.

Download the Easy Thick Crochet Wash & Dishcloths Pattern below.

Easy Thick Crochet Wash & Dishcloths Pattern

Materials:

  • Cotton Yarn – I use Bernat Handicrafter (2 balls at a time)
  • Crochet Hook – US L/8 mm.
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or tapestry needle

Directions:

Ch = chain, sc = single crochet (U.S.)

  1. Hold both ends of yarn together (you will be crocheting with them as is they are one the entire time), make a slip stitch and chain 20 stitches together, keeping tension even through the chain (feel free to make the cloth bigger or smaller just by increasing or decreasing the number of chains in your foundation chain).
  2. Not turning your work, count back 2 stitches from the hook and sc in the chain  and continue to do 1sc in each stitch along foundation chain until the end.
  3. Once you reach the end, chain 1 and then turn.
  4. Do 1sc in every stitch until you reach the end.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve made a square (you can tell if you’ve made a square by folding the cloth in half diagonally.
  6. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

Download the Easy Thick Crochet Wash & Dishcloths Pattern here.

Looking for more great crochet patterns:  Easy Cozy Crochet BlanketCrochet Boot CuffsCaps for a CauseCrochet Infinity ScarfCrochet Cat BedCrochet iPhone CaseEasy-Peasy Crochet Beanie

easy to make crochet dishcloth

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DIY Fire Starters

| Crafts & DIY, Outdoors

Easy and frugal DIY fire starter.

Easy DIY fire starter that lights instantly and cost almost nothing but your time.

DIY Fire Starter – I can almost smell it… salt water breezes and the crackle of a campfire; roasting marshmallows and wieners (check out my amazing Bailey’s dipped toasted marshmallows here). Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the spring/summer camping season. Luckily we have the good fortune to spend most of our summer at the beach. It is without a doubt my favorite time of year.

Every camping season my husband stocks up on wood for our campfires and then we usually find driftwood for the kindling but being right on the ocean means that the wood often stays a bit damp – not the best for trying to start a fire. I did a bit of research and found out that lint was a great fire starter and there’s rarely a shortage of lint in our house. I combined the lint with a few more items that most people already have in their homes and made this fantastic DIY fire starter. I have to say that these are amazing – they’ll get your fire blazing instantly (I used these all last summer and I’m preparing my next batch for the upcoming camping season). Start saving your lint today! You’ll be happy you made these when you’re struggling to get the campfire going this summer.

DIY Fire Starter Instructions

Materials:

  • Lint
  • Newspaper
  • Toilet paper rolls – cut in half
  • Candles
  • String
  • Herbs – Sage helps keep bugs away (not essential but nice if you have it)
  • Wax or parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet

Directions:

  1. Place wax or parchment paper on cookie sheet and place toilet paper rolls out on the tray.
  2. Stuff each roll with lint until its pretty full.
  3. Light a candle, tilt on the side and drip wax into the roll onto the lint (always taking care not to burn yourself or light the roll or lint on fire).
  4. If you have fresh herbs, place on top of the lint in the roll.
  5. Roll a sheet of newspaper around the toilet paper roll and tie off with string so that they look like Christmas crackers.

Download your easy to make DIY Fire Starter instructions here.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Check out some of my other posts that would be great for camping including: Double Chocolate Pecan CookiesThe Ultimate Rice Krispie SquareBest Salad EverNo Bake Energy BallsPerfect Chocolate Chip CookiesBlank Faces Coloring PageJellyfish Friendship Bracelets10-Minute Superhero CostumePrintable Robot Coloring Page Family Movie Night Tickets

How to make a fire starter

Easy & inexpensive homemade fire starter – perfect for camping, backpackers and home fires.

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Natural Calendula Soap Recipe

| Crafts & DIY, Health & Beauty

Soap-06-smallNatural Calendula Soap Recipe – This year for Christmas I gave all the ladies in my life handmade bath and beauty products. I really enjoyed making them and it felt good giving items that I knew were all natural and free of harsh chemicals. One product I really enjoyed making was soap but, even though I made the soap from scratch, it came as a kit which was all perfectly measured out and ready to be made – it sort of felt like I was cheating. Luckily I have some pretty amazing, talented and resourceful people in my life including my friend Deborah who has been making her own soap since the late 90’s. She was kind enough to invite me over to her house last week to show me how she made her favorite recipe from scratch. She got this recipe from a basic soap making course she took many years ago. Deborah says that she’s tried many recipes but she always comes back to this one. It’s a simple recipe with only a few ingredients – great for people with skin allergies or sensitivities. In this particular recipe we’ve added dried Calendula. Calendula has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical. This beautiful yellow and orange flower is particularly good for cuts, scrapes, bruises, sunburns, irritated skin and acne. Even though Calendula is loaded with powerful skin-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s gentle on most people’s skin.

Soap-01-smallNatural Soap – Excellent Basic Moisturizing Soap Recipe

This recipe needs to be mixed at 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes approximately 3 lbs.

Ingredients: *note – measurements are done by weight and not volume for better accuracy.

  • 12 oz. (350 grams) Coconut Oil
  • 8 oz. (300 grams) Palm Oil (please, if possible, try to use a certified sustainable palm oil)
  • 8 oz. (300 grams) Liquid Vegetable Shortening or Pure Canola Oil
  • 139 grams Lye
  • 4.9 oz. (356 grams) Cold Water (distilled or filtered if possible)
  • 0.8 oz. (25 mL) Essential Oils or Fragrance Oil (EO’s are expensive so I don’t use nearly that much although you need at least 50 drops of EO if you want to smell the scent of the EO in the soap). Also I’d suggest leaving out EO’s or fragrance if the people using it have sensitivities.
  • 1-2 tbsp. Dried Calendula Flowers (optional)

What you’ll need:

  • Pyrex measuring cup
  • Container to measure lye into
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Large mixing spoon
  • Stainless steel pot
  • Kitchen scale
  • Candy thermometer (2 if possible)
  • Blender stick
  • Soap mold (1 quart [1 litre] milk cartons work great if you don’t want to buy a proper mold – that’s what I use)
  • Tea towels
  • Chef’s knife

Directions:

  1. Weigh cold water and place in a Pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Weigh oils and/or fat into stainless steel pot. Place on stove-top and turn on heat to lowest setting and keep an eye on the temperature with your thermometer.
  3. Put on rubber gloves and safety goggles and carefully measure lye into a container. Pour into water while stirring with spoon – mix carefully and avoid splashing (important – always pour the lye into the water and not the water into the lye – this can cause a mini explosion). Avoid inhaling fumes – stir until lye is completely dissolved. Place thermometer in lye – making sure that it is suspended in the liquid and not resting on the bottom of the container
  4. If you used cold water to mix your lye, it should now be somewhere around 150 degrees Fahrenheit and will be starting to cool. The object is to bring the lye and the oils simultaneously to a temperature in the range of between 110 – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as they are both at the same temperature you should have no trouble getting your mixture to “trace”. Tracing refers to the soap mixture’s ability to hold a design on its surface.
  5. Start to mix the oils at a low-speed with the blender stick. Pour the lye into the mixture in a steady stream being careful not to splash. When the lye has been emptied into the pot continue stirring. Test for tracing by turning the blender stick off and lifting out of the mixture and drizzling across the surface of soap. When the lines hold their form momentarily, you are ready to add scent and calendula flowers if you want to. *If adding scent, coloring or inclusions you must work quickly as your soap will begin to set up quickly at this stage and you need to get it into a mold!
  6. Pour mixture into mold then wrap mold in tea towels to keep the soap as warm as possible. Put container in a safe place out of drafts and let it sit for at least 12 hours before checking (This is the hardest part about soap making – no peeking!)
  7. After 24 hours check your soap. It’s ready to remove from the mold when it has cooled and is completely opaque. If after 24 hours it’s solid but still quite soft, place in the freezer until frozen solid. When solid, tear away sides of the carton to reveal your gorgeous creation. Cut into bars using a large chef’s knife and allow to cure for 3 weeks before use (although it can be used before then – it just won’t last as long).

Download the Natural Calendula Soap Recipe HERE.Soap-collage

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Mandala Coloring Pages

| Crafts & DIY, Design & Technology, Kids Fun, Printables

Mandala coloring page

Mandala coloring page

Mandala Coloring Pages – These beautiful circular designs are called mandalas. Mandalas are as old as history itself and mean “sacred circle” in Sanskrit. In various ancient and spiritual cultures including Buddhists, Tibetans, Hindus and North American Indians, the mandala has been used as a form of meditation, in sacred rites to aid in healing and to invoke spiritual energy. Mandalas have often represented life, nature, creation, wellness and the universe.

Today mandalas are used as a form of art therapy. Drawing and coloring mandalas is known to have a centering, calming effect for both children and adults. For elderly people, coloring mandalas helps them increase focus and concentration.  People are often intimidated by a big blank piece of paper and they may get anxious not knowing how or what to draw.   Pre-made mandalas help give people a comfortable starting place with little fear of failure. Just by adding a little bit of coloring, people suddenly become artists and have a great sense of accomplishment when they are done. You can use  coloring pencils, pen and ink, crayons or watercolor to color mandalas.

I had so much fun designing these mandala coloring pages – that in itself was therapeutic. I’ve created these pages with 12 mandalas to a page and also larger mandalas with two pages of 6 mandalas.  You can download the 12 mandalas to a page here and the 6 mandalas to a page here. Enjoy and happy coloring!

Looking for more crafty stuff: Hearts Coloring Page, Rainbow Loom Perler Bead BraceletsBlank Faces Coloring PageJellyfish Friendship Bracelets10-Minute Superhero CostumePrintable Robot Coloring Page Family Movie Night Tickets

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Thanks for reading! ~ Jamey

mandalas

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