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Forever printables

Down to the wire now, as our visitors arrive tomorrow!  Greatly looking forward to it, and to getting out and about with them – of course that means NOT being at my desk. Oh well.  I do have a few things, a mix of old and new, to fill the gap but not every day.

Here is a quick set of printables.  I enjoy many of the home-decorating and remodeling shows on TV but am aways flummoxed by people when they talk about their “forever house” – the one they plan on being in till they die.  I can’t even conceive of that – we’ve moved so many times.  This house is the first place we’ve been in for more than 3 or 4 years since we got married.   But the phrase stuck in my head and these sprang from that:


I am going to go back right away and double-check to make sure this link to the PDF download shows up with no problems.

I first thought of some sort of baby face for the two baby cards, but I figured with just a heart on there they are actually more useful.



Really, the printed blue is much more like the screen grab – it really isn’t that intensely turquoise! an I did both cards with words and a page of pure pattern filler cards as well, just so there are some matching bits if you need them.


Have fun!



No-roll Tunisian crochet TSS

I first tried Tunisian crochet probably 20 years ago – or close to it as it was when DS was a baby and he’s coming up for 22 .  It drove me crazy, the roll.  I read about it a LOT. tried so many things to make it NOT roll and in the end I just gave up on it.  When I was decluttering I found two Tunisian crochet hooks mixed in with my knitting needles.  Times have moved on a lot, and nowadays it is pretty easy to get to grips with a new craft by watching You Tube videos and reading online tutorials.  The one things I kept seeing was that picking up the foundation loops thru the “bump” would minimize the roll. It does, a bit, but not enough for me.  I watched a LOT of videos.  To be fair, they tended to be after midnight and after a LONG day of cleaning, but still…

Let me just show a few samples. This is the standard Tunisian Simple Stitch – please try to ignore my crappy left edge.  I just cannot seem to get the hook in the right place to make it looks just right.  It’s my next thing to tackle. Anyway, you can see the bottom edge, and the side of the base chain, inserting the hook into the middle of the chain.



The roll is perhaps the most pronounced with this basic method.  Ever wonder why a lot of the TSS photos include, as mine does, fingers holding the edge down?  Cause when you let go, this is what happens:



Method two is to insert the hook into the “back bump” of the chain.  This page has as good a tutorial as any so have a look – and note the fingers…

That is what I did for this small sample:


I really like the edge, with the knit-like stitch on show. While this is mean to decrease the roll, when I let go….


It could be in part me and my tension – the right side does roll more than the left and the left is pretty flat but it still isn’t totally flat. Plus I find keeping the chain in position and inserting thru the back bump every time hard.  Old eyes and all that…

OK now this is the technique I discovered – first look at the three samples, all done with different colours of the same yarn brand (also probably 20 years old, and a cotton) all on the same hook.


I’ve lifted the hook up (Look Ma! no finger death grip!) and as you can see the middle-of-the-chain insert version rolls (pink, left) and the back-bump insert version rolls (pale blue, right) but what’s this??  the middle one is flat and hands free? But how?

I’ll do a zoom in on the photo but although I bought new rechargeable batteries for my camera they aren’t actually charged up yet, so the zoom on the above photo isn’t as good as a macro shot of just the middle swatch would have been had my camera not died. Sorry about that.


But I think you get the point. I wish the batteries had held out for a few more shots but I hope these will be enough for you.

The trick is to start not with a chain, but with one of the no-chain single crochet foundations, on a slightly smaller hook like so:


Switch to your regular hook size and insert BETWEEN the two “rows” of stitches – like so:


I wish that were a better shot – you want the full V-shape along the bottom edge, so it looks like this at the end:


It will look very much like the back-bump front edge.  But the roll is going to be minimal – not NO roll, but very very little.

I think how loose or tight you hook will matter at least a bit, so try it and see – play around – you may not need to go to a smaller hook, or maybe a BIGGER hook will be better.  What I do know is that, at least for me, doing the no-chain SC base then switching to the TSS works a treat – it’s easy to do and looks good.

There is another technique which is very good – see it from Mikey at The Crochet Crowd.  The Getting Started video shows the back-bump forward/normal reverse/TPS (PURL) forward on the second row.  It does work pretty well to even out the tug of war between the rows that causes the roll  but I just found it really annoying to do.  Even Mikey stops the video so he can complete the row off camera.

I am to the point where I am doing cleaning that needs doing but I hate (like washing curtains and washing summer duvets, ready to store) and this isn’t something I’ll come back to for a while, I fear, so this post is as much for me as anyone else…lest in a month, when our guests leave, I forget everything I learned



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Dingbat Joy – Christmas Printables

Another one of those experimental things.  AGES ago, there was and article in SI about using dingbats to create a title.  I cannot find the article (been thru 2009 and most of 2008 so far and no joy) but from what I recall the title was formed by adding a white word over the dingbat array. Fairly sure it was by a UKS member named Lousette.  I’ll track it down eventually and if I do I’ll add the info on the article.  Perhaps I am forgetting some crucial step, or perhaps my words are too big, with too many letters (I am sure the sample was a two or three-letter word – I can all but see it there, floating in my mind’s eye…) but there just was not enough definition just using the white word to mask.  I added a drop shadow to the white word and that made all the difference.  I also made a couple in traditional colours – well, the green is more celery than evergreen but I prefer that.


Now technically a drop shadow really only belongs on one side but I added a second drop shadow, exactly opposite the first, and made the blur radius lower so there is more a hint of a shadow than an actual shadow.  That defined the top edge of the word better so you can really see it.  Just a couple of words, and MERRY is possibly pushing it a little, lengthwise.


You may recall I used some of those dingbats in my recent OMG it’s Christmas in July ATCs – love the little boy and all the Santas.  I think they might also make cute card toppers, although I am sort of working on a variation that may work a bit better, so watch this space…each of the dingbat shapes need to be placed individually, and they are not all the same font point size, so it’s not something that can be done quickly.

You can download the PDF here.


Finally, something new!

Just a quick printable today.  I am totally in love with icons.  Those little crisp graphics that say so much.  This small set of PL journaling cards are simple but I hope they will be useful.  I keep hearing people say while they like the purely decorative cards they find much more use for ones that make space for journaling or photos – the most commen comment seems to be I have too many photos to waste space on filler cards. That might be followed by I’d rather cut a chunk from patterned paper cause printer ink is expensive! In any case these can easily be filler cards if you like, as the white area is filled with a tiny grid, or a small photo could be added there instead.


And here you see them printed – harder to see the grid in the photo but you can see them in the screen grab above!


I am always aware that the majority of people will want to round their corners.  But sometimes I underestimate the space needed to accomplish that. And sometimes it’s not obvious till I print them and round them


So on this one card, the cameras were just the littlest bit too tight to the edge.  Just to explain why they don’t look right in the overall photo but that the PDF will print-to-round when you download the file.


The Polaroid style one is really perfect for adding a photo to, and I think the battery-recharging one works on many levels.  Did it pop into your head that it would work for a napping baby or you having a coffee?  In some ways I think I should also do a battery-depleted version, for a super-active kid or even Mom needing a coffee, but as there is no text on the set, you could easily just flip the whole page and print – did you think of that??


I think they work equally well either way, but if you don’t, you can always edit/crop a copy of the PDF to isolate just that one card!

Now, as I spent virtually the entire day yesterday with DD, who is home sick (still home sick today but not needing me so much) and installing and setting up Chrome as .. what? .. my 5th browser option? I have a load of WOYWW visits to try.  With luck I can comment! Already I am hating Chrome for lots of things – it makes UKS look rubbish (anything underlined anywhere looks crap), there is some new thing on Pinterest that seems to only show you a page of a board unless you log in that isn’t there in my old no-longer-supported Safari, and frankly the way bookmarks work in Chrome sucks.  Looking back at Google forum posts it looks like people have been asking for multiple bookmark bar lines (like I had and loved in Camino, till THAT stopped being updated and supported, and like I added to Safari with ButtonBar+) since 2007 but still nothing.   There were a few extensions that looked like they might work, but no.  On the flip side, WordPress post editing is better in tiny but significant ways, and I can now see the modern Google image display.  I am hoping that commenting on blogs will go back to at least the state it was a few weeks back when last I did WOYWW, cause frankly I tend to do longer comments and typing tap tap tap out on the iPad is painful after a while.

On the cleaning front, just the fridge and freezer to wipe out and one cupboard under the sink in the bathroom that really needs attention.  Phew!  Only problem is I have unearthed SO MANY UFOs – be that paper art/scrappy stuff, quilting, crochet, etc etc – that I really need to tackle them one at a time.  I actually enjoyed the break from daily blogging and got an astonishing amount of stuff that actually matters to MY life accomplished.  I will be musing on THAT quite a bit I’m sure…


WOYWW 277 – not much…

{sigh} I really didn’t want to let another WOYWW pass me by, but to be fair the desk isn’t massively interesting this week.


I just opened a package from Amazon, a set of 11 Tunisian crochet hooks.  Annoyingly one of them is missing the cap.



I have completed sorting in my office, very happy about that, happy with the arrangement (which really isn’t any different to how it was, just tidier and thinned out a bit)  and very pleased to finally have all my cardmaking stuff, including all the cards I;ve made to have on hand, all in one place and organized by event (ie Birthday, Get well, Sympathy, etc)


It all fits on a small bookshelf behind the door.

I also have, hanging about off my desk, a single square I made from two charm pack squares, in the Fusion Crochet style.  I’m torn.  While I think it is cute, I’m just not feeling the love for it.  I did a different border, which I like fine, but it’s just not cuddly enough. The fabric is too thin and with no batting between it seems like a waste of time in a cold climate.


Plus I really hate doing blanket stitch.  I have experimented with at least 3 or 4 other methods that I thought might work to provide the place to attach the crochet but none of them are at all satisfactory.  I looked at getting a sharp crochet hook but t be honest I can get a standard steel hook thru two thicknesses of fabric so I don’t see the point.

Still two more areas that need attention then the hose is DONE. Most of the clutter removed, old clothes and toys and housewares sent off to the charity shop. lots of old scrapbooking papers sent off to the arts dept of DDs college, piles of old paperwork burned, and the yard mowed and tidied. Now I just need to sort out my computer – I am on such an old version of the OS the version of Safari that matches it is no longer supported and I am having increasingly more trouble with everything from blog commenting to watching Craftsy classes to reading my PMs on UKS.  I may just have to bite the bullet, sacrifice my old programs that I love and move on up to the current OS on a new Mac. DH is convinced that a Mac mini will do all I need and replace my massive (and loud) tower but still I hesitate.  Might tough it out till the in-laws leave but after that decisions must be made.




Crochet circles – little bits of time

My window of opportunity to get every nook and cranny of the stuffed-to-the-gills house sorted and de-cluttered is closing.  But even so I feel I need to make a little time every day to do SOMETHING crafty.  It might not be much but it has to be SOMETHING.  The key is it has to be easily contained (cause the last thing I want to do is create MORE mess so soon) and something that can be done in small 10-20 minute blocks of time.  Making the smaller granny squares seems perfect.  I changed my mind, opting to design my own pattern for the two sizes of blocks, rather than simply copy the original.  You can see my design there to the right


The larger squares aren’t going to be just the two colours, and the smaller ones not all the same, obviously, but the basic design  is there.  And as I am using a mix of larger skeins (but only a few bought specifically for the project) and small balls of leftover yarn from in some cases quite ancient projects, I got a bit fed up with those small balls rolling al over the place.  I recalled seeing old 2-litre plastic drink bottles used to corral rolling balls of yarn but we just don’t drink those sorts of things.  I remembered reading about yarn bowls so had a look.  Didn’t take much to see an image that had all the info I needed – having sorted thru the occasionally used ceramics cupboard, and retained just ONE teapot, there was my solution


The ball rolls around inside the teapot and the yarn comes out the spout tangle free.  Better for the outside rounds, cause hardly worth the effort when doing one round of 12 stitches, for example, but still….I have another idea I might try to set up with a couple of other things I found kicking around.  One thing about mindless cleaning, it does leave your mind free to roam….

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Round Robins – merry, happy, dated or not

This was much more of a struggle than it should have been and I am heartily sick of them now.  I designed them, created them, then updated my program and it seemed to cause me no end of trouble.  I would arrange a page, all looking fine, then I would save it as a PDF, open the PDF only to find there were bits missing – a wing here, an inked circle there… Drove me crazy.  I think I finally worked out the “rules” and then it was better, but still.

I ended up making just two versions – a HAPPY CHRISTMAS version, for those who use happy and a MERRY CHRISTMAS version for those.  There are six WITH 2014 and six WITHOUT a date.  You can either use a mix of dated and not dated this year or print as many dated ones as you need then tuck the un-dated ones into your Christmas wrap box for next year!

I printed them on canvas paper


and on matt photo paper


The difference in the reds is more due to the angle and the light than the paper.  Here you can see the paper-piecing version and the printed version side by side


I figure they work for gift tags (just write your message on the back) or as simple card toppers (maybe just add a nice mat behind the circle or ink the edges more and pop-dot it) as well as an ornament style hanging circle.  Now I am off to locate an oven-cleaner.  Has to be my least favourite job ever, and I have high hopes for a steam-cleaner rather than stinky chemical one.  Wish me luck…


Dated robin ornament printable

A couple of people did ask for the robins with the date on the front so I am adding that today.  The PDF is just the one page so if you print the original PDF once and this one once you will have a backer to match up with each paper piecing set2014robindatedQ

Remember, this is what you see as the sample from yesterday.


Sorry if it is all too confusing – let me be clear:

The robin ornament WITHOUT the date (6 sets) and 12 backing circles (two sheet PDF) can be downloaded HERE

The robin ornament WITH the date and no backing circles (one sheet PDF) can be downloaded HERE

And to further confuse things, if you com back tomorrow I should be able to add a printable sheet that has the ornament digitally “pieced” so all you need to do it print and punch.  I expect I’ll just go ahead and do them with the date and without the date and I guess I have to do MERRY and HAPPY Christmas and probably Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays and…..

DOH!  You see, one of the reasons I started making printables to begin with was that I hated it when I bought some set of embellishments that I loved and they didn’t have exactly what  needed – so maybe I wanted the label or tag or other item, but with a RED border and not a pink one, or I wanted no date so I could use it another year.  But no matter how I try to guess what people want there are always options I simply never think of.  And when I DO think of them, this happens – I wind up making a gazillion sets of basically the SAME thing with very slight variations.

{sigh} I suppose it’s better than moving furniture and cleaning under the fridge….



Christmas printables – ornament card

{sigh}  Even I am aware that the holiday season will be upon us all too quickly.  Every year I design a card with an ornament to go with it, for DD to give out at school and at skating.  It usually takes me a while to make the 20-30 that I end up needing so I figured I should do it soon so I can work on a handful at a time. I’ve only gotten as far as the “ornament” part, not the card base yet.


You can download it here.

OK so a couple of things – first the printable does NOT have 2014 on it.  But I had already printed a sheet of that version and took photos of the assembly, and wasn’t going to do it all again.  Instead, I created a back that has the date and a greeting on it:


I still have the PDF with 2014 on the front, like you see in the photo, so if you REALLY love that one for some reason, drop a comment on me and I can probably add it.

You will note that the bits have a digitally inked edge.  You can still dust it with ink to make it more obvious but you don’t HAVE to. Also, the print out has feet.  A note about them – they are always going to be prone to catching and ripping, even if you print them on heavy card.  I left them because if you wanted to paper-piece the robin as a card topper you might want to use them, but my recommendation for the ornament is to skip them.


Looking at them you can see they are basically a couple of upside down Vs – if you REALLY want to use them,  if you have an appropriate letter die you might make life easy and just cut a pile of them to stick on, or draw them on or anything else you can think of.

The large circle fits a 2″ circle punch.  Various other dies will work – test what you have.  you might lose a smidge of the inked edge, or have a small white halo, but it’ll still probably look fine.


You can cut the wings by lining up one side with your 2″ punch and cutting that


then cutting the other side with scissors OR by sticking the uncut edge to a bit of scrap and use the punch to cut the other edge



Now, you will lose a bit doing it this way, but it’s easier than hand cutting for some.


The same thing works with a 1″ punch and the wing


Sure, there are better wing shapes but I am going for ease of mass-production and there are always compromises with that. I like to add the wing flat on the red, with a thin pop dot under the top edge. You can change the wing shape by trimming it or maybe even cut or punch a shape you prefer from some of the spare backers. Punch a circle from black cardstock for the eye.


And cut and add the beak, then back it with the backing circle – there are more of those than you need so you can either print page 1 of the PDF 2x and the backer once, or print as it comes and use the extra backers for gift tags or simple card toppers.


The background comes from a Graphics Fairy piece but just certain sections of it.  I may end up using that in some way for the card base. Watch this space.

{sigh} DH is here and keeps asking me questions about HIS part of the sorting and de cluttering and I have stuffed peppers to make and pop in the crock pot for dinner … and just when I was finally being creative….


Experimental printables

I was playing around with this but never 100% happy with the results.  Still not 100% happy but maybe at least in the 90% area, so I’m going  to add them and keep sorting my stash. The PDF download is here, just a single page.


It was a collision of a couple of things I liked individually – one set of textures from Lost and Taken and a “font” called Futuracha from Behance.  The font isn’t a standard font, in that you don’t just type the letters and see them, the characters are available as an EPS file.  What THAT means is each element of the font is able to be altered.  So if you look at the .eps file on the left you can see all the defined elements that make up each individual letter – and on the right what each letter looks like if you group the elements.


I’ve always liked text that borders on unreadable LOL!  I suspect not many will agree, but I made them, I enjoyed the process, even if it was a bit challenging to my limited skills, so I’m adding them.  Off to skating with DD, then to the grocery store and then back to cleaning, sorting, organizing.   I do have to add that all my hard work has already paid off.  An old class taught at a weekend crop 10 years ago came up casually and not only did I recall I had the class handout, I knew exactly where it was.

There is the cover, the date info and the canvas I made from the class.  I don’t dare allow myself to feel even slightly smug, but I am pleased. Makes it all feel worthwhile….