by Julie Branstetter, Th.B. Painting, knitting, sewing, origami, soaps, handmade candles, perfumes, lotions, greetings, publishing, sketches, pottery, wood carving, homemade cleaning products and the list can go on and on....I enjoy being creative and making things. You will find articles on all these great DIY projects and more here. Guest posting is always welcomed.

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

September 4, 2014


These will make beautiful ornaments for your family for years to come and what  joy for the children to be involved in making their own ornaments!  You can paint these once they are dry and they will dry with a dry matte appearance.  If you'd like a glossy finish you can glaze them.  If you want to add color just add a little food coloring to the water before you mix everything and keep in mind that any added liquid adds to the entire water measurement.  You can always make them white and paint them later.  To make patterns on the ornaments you can use rubber stamps or anything pressed to make an impression. 


1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup water

Making Clay:
In a medium sized pot combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and water. With an adults help the kids can stir this mixture over medium-low heat. After a couple of minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken. When it looks like smooth, mashed potatoes, remove the pot from the heat. Spoon the ball of dough into a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth until it's cool. When it's cool, knead it on a smooth surface, adding a little more cornstarch if it feels sticky.

Rolling, Cutting, and Baking:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out clay to 1/4 inch thick on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Transfer shapes to the prepared baking sheet. Use a straw to poke a hole in the center top of each decoration, then get the kids to blow out the small piece of clay. They love this task! Place them in the oven at 175 degrees for about an hour, turning them over halfway through cooking.  Paint or decorate them and thread a piece of ribbon, twine or yarn through the holes.

Copyright Carmen Swaine @


Candy Corn Baby Hat

September 4, 2014

Here is my latest knit!  I have made a candy corn baby toboggan for Jakob for this fall.  I am currently working on a winter toboggan with ear flaps.  I decided to do it in blue and white and I am using a bulky fuzzy type of yarn for the winter hat.  If you are interested in doing this candy corn hat, it is super simple.  All I did was e-wrap on the red round knitting loom with brown, orange and white.  I have made them with yellow instead of brown before and they look good too, but thi...
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Baby's Winter Toboggan

September 4, 2014

Here is the winter toboggan I wrote about in the last post entitled "Candy Corn Hat".  I knitted this one on a round red loom with bulky fuzzy yarn (blue and white) and I basically used the simple e-wrap.  I purled a line around the brim, if you look closely you can see a raised ridge near the edge of the brim that goes around - that's the purled row.  I made the flaps by starting with 8 pegs and knitting a garter style stitch (knit 1 row, purl one row) and I decreased the width of my ...
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Easy New Throw Pillows

September 4, 2014

New throw pillows for the sofa and love seat can change the look of a living room.  It's easier than you may think to make your own.  I picked up a printed duck fabric that I thought would go well with my sofa and living room colors from Hobby Lobby.  Two yards of fabric made four 18"x18" throw pillows.  I did not sew zippers into these simply because they will wash well on delicate in the washer as they are so I felt no need to add the extra steps.  Here are the steps I took.

  • I meas...

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Sew Shorts From Jeans (kids)

September 3, 2014

My kids always get new jeans as part of their school clothes and they usually last up until right before Spring.  When I say they last, I mean the knees finally give way to holes by that time.  I don't know why but we are rough on the knees of our jeans, especially the kids.  So for years I have used the springtime as my time to sit down and cut those jeans off and make Bermuda shorts out of them.  I usually get three pair of shorts for each child and those become their "play" shorts s...
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Jakob's Baby Blanket

September 3, 2014

Jake's new blanket. Very soft and cozy.
I used three skeins of baby yarn - bulky size 6.
I cast onto the green long loom all the way around minus 1 peg so not to create a circle but to flat knit all the way around.

I cast on all but one peg and then e-wrapped two full rows.
I purl stitched 2 full rows and then e-wrapped (stockinette type stitch) the rest of the length of the blanket, using almost all of 3 skeins of yarn.

When I felt I was getting close to using up the third skein (I di...

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July 18, 2012
Pumpkin Patch
Created By: Clelle Gustin
Time to Do: 1 hour - 8 hours
Level: Intermediate

You are sure to have a happy holiday with this huggable pumpkin patch.  This would make a great center piece for the upcoming fall, for mantle decor or even for gift giving. 


Any of the Knifty Knitter looms and hook (The size will dictate the amount of time required to create the pumpkin)
Use any orange yarn: samples use Lion Brand "Boucle" and Red Heart orange for the 2 large sizes and 3 st...
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Loom Knit Dog Sweater

May 28, 2012
I had some left over pink and brown yarn so I made this cute little sweater for my pup. She's been naked so long though, I don't think she gets the concept of wearing clothing. We had several feet of snow and no sooner than she run out the door to play in the snow did I find it tangled up in the bushes with no doggie inside. She figured out how to get it off and ran through the snow buck naked, happy and free. Just as a doggie should be I suppose. ;)

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Summer Knitting?

May 28, 2012

I am "getting my knit on."  I have my yarn pulled out, my looms, my refresher books and hooks and off I go!  I know you may be thinking, who knits toboggan's and scarves in the heat of summer?  Well, I like to be ready when the fall and winter strike and I always knit hats and scarves for friends too so if I start now I can have everyone warm by the time Old Man Winter begins to set in, however, I also want to see just how many I can knock out by the fall.  See, I have this little part ...
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April 16, 2012
It is about that time to pull out your sandals and flip flops.  Even men wear them so everyone listen up!  Time to soak and scrub those flaky winter toes to baby butt smoothness.  I tend to spend much of my time standing on my feet, working in the garden, running errands, cleaning and working and the very last thing on my list to care for are my feet.  And eventually they look like it.  After a long day in the garden last week I put together a thrifty mix to soak my feet in and I could have s...

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February 29, 2012
This has got to be the hardest time of year for people who love to garden, especially those who plant vegetable gardens.There are a few little things that can be done this time of year around my area in eastern North Carolina, but aside from raking, weeding and giving the ground and initial tilling, it is a waiting game. So while we wait here is an idea that will prime you for the spring planting and garden decorating season and even provide some unique gifts for your friends. When I go out t...

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February 8, 2012
Looking for a small easy way to say 'I Love Ya' to your friends this Valentine's Day?  Here is what I did this year.  I made small origami candy boxes, filled them with chocolate molded hearts, added a personal note and then decorated the boxes with card stock stickers and ribbon for each of my friends.

I used a video I found online to make the boxes. 
You can view that video

   What You Will Need:
  • Colored card stock for boxes
  • Candy foil wrappers
  • Your favorite chocolate
  • Ziplock bags (for ...

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January 28, 2012
I am pleased to say I finished my shrug in time for Spring this year.  Here is a simple way to make a quick shrug. 

  • Knit a large rectangular panel in any pattern you like.  Iron it out flat.
  • Make it at least as long as the length of your arms from fingertip to fingertip with arms spread wide open and about 2-3 feet wide.  * The width of the panel will be the length of the garment from your neck to below your waist. 
  • Lay the rectangle out flat in front of you and fold the top long edge down be...

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January 12, 2012
I don't use needles when I knit.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  Well you can do it.  In fact it is so easy, really anyone can do it.  My 9 year old knows how to do it, she just hasn't developed the skill of sticking with a project until it is finished yet.  I know some adults who have a hard time with that.  I have a couple of half done diddles laying around here somewhere.  Up until last October we have used looms to knit with.  I still use them on occasion but I bought a sweater kni...

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