Plarn: The Tutorial

It’s Monday again, everyone! Last week, I had talked about plarn and the people who have been using it to make mats for the homeless. After writing the post, I realized that there was something I wasn’t sure of. How many bags does it take to make a sleeping mat for a homeless person? I have been cutting up plastic bags and have lost count of how many I’ve cut up, but I knew it wasn’t enough. Instead of Googling the answer, I went back to trusty ol’ Facebook to ask if anyone had made some. Two people responded to my inquiry. One woman said that the last ball she had made had 200 bags worth of plarn, cut up into thin strands, which made 2 1/2 mats! Another woman said that in one mat she makes, it takes about 400 bags. So in total honesty, it depends on how thinly you cut the bags. Now, as promised, I’ll show you how to start making your own plarn!

First things first, gather up your plastic bags! If you are like me, you probably have a stash somewhere, with a large amount of crumpled plastic bags. I like to lay out my plastic bags in a pile and try to place a heavy book or something on them to get them flat, because that makes things easier for me. While doing this, I also check for bags with holes, because we can’t have holes in the bags, or else this plarning method won’t work. For the tutorial’s sake, I’m only doing one bag. (But to be honest, there’s a whole pile being flattened in my room right now!)

 

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Step One: Lay the bags out!

 

Our second step is to take the bag, and fold it. Make sure you fold multiple times, this helps so that you do not have as much cutting per strip to do. Notice in the bag below how the handles are together and the part at the bottom of the bag (where the bag is kind of sealed together) are folded in on themselves. This is important for the next step!

 

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Step Two: Fold!

 

Now, we are going to cut off the handles of the bag, and the bottom of the bag that is sealed closed. Try not to cut too much of the rest of the bag off with these areas, so that you are not wasting the part of the bag that can be used for the plarn. Also, keep in mind that you can recycle these parts of the bag! If you were to open the main part of this bag right now (you could, but I don’t because cutting is easier if it is still folded up), you get a loop of plastic bag.

 

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Step Three: Cut off ends of the bag!

 

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Step Three: Cut off ends of the bag!

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Step Three: Cut off ends of the bag!

Now that you have your plastic bag loop, cut it into one- to two- inch strips. This creates smaller plastic bag loops. Other ways you could do this would be to skip the folding from step two and use a cutting mat with a rotary cutter (or even a pizza cutter, according to one of the responders to my plarn inquiry on Facebook) to cut the ends and these strips as well.

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Step Four: Cut into Plastic bag loops.

Finally, we are going to tie the bags together. The best way I have seen for this is to lay the loops overlapping (as seen in Step Four: Photo A) and pull one loop through itself (as seen in Step Four: Photo B) to create a knot. Just make sure you do not pull too hard once the knot is made, because that may stretch the plastic and make the plarn thinner.

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Step Four: Photo A

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Step Four: Photo B

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Step Four: Photo C, Knot

Continue step four until you have enough plarn to start, and add more loops as you go along.

 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, happy plarning!!

Plarning Adventures?

Happy Monday, everyone!

I have been working on a large variety of projects lately, but one that has been in the works for a long time is making plarn! “What is PLARN?!” You all ask. I’m sure some of you have actually heard of it lately, especially if you have seen that video on Facebook of the “Bag Ladies” in Tennessee who make plastic sleeping mats for the homeless. (If you haven’t seen the video or would like to see it again, here is a link to an article I found about them: http://wgntv.com/2016/09/13/bag-ladies-turn-plastic-bags-into-sleeping-mats/)

Anyways, I have seen this video many times, and have wanted to try my hand at making this magical yarn-alternative and crocheting a mat with it. I think it is a great way to recycle some of those plastic bags, since you only need so many trash bags, and it is a way to help out others in the community. One thing I didn’t realize, though, is that it takes a TON of plastic bags. So when I first learned how to make plarn, I laid out a bunch of bags and did them all in about two nights. After I ran out of bags, I started kind-of stockpiling plastic bags to make more. Two weeks ago I decided that I have no more places to hide all these plastic bags and I should make more plarn, so instead of going on a giant plarn making binge and not doing much else, I am giving myself a plarning goal. Each week in my planner, under my “work on” goals (this is my crafty to-do list for each week) I write in a specific amount of plastic bags that I want to turn into plarn until my plastic bag stash is at a more manageable level. Right now, most of my plarn stash is at a middle stage right now, looking quite a bit like this:

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Stop by my blog next week to see a photo tutorial on how to make plarn!

My Flower Bowl

When one of my best friends and I decided that we were going to share an apartment for our junior year of college, we made a list of things that we thought we would need for our apartment. On this list, included among many other things, was a candy dish. We hopped onto Pinterest (our absolute FAVORITE way to spend our time) to see if we could find a crafty way to make or decorate the apartment– and, of course, our candy dish! The DIY that appealed most to me was to cut up pieces of tissue paper and Mod Podge them to a glass bowl. Before we went home for the summer, my roommate and I went to Dollar tree and picked out colors of tissue paper, as well as a small glass fishbowl that we thought would work well for our candy dish.

Once I took these things home for the summer, I tried out a bunch of different ways to cut the tissue paper– some random nonsense shapes, squares, triangles… but the Pinterest image I had seen used some kind of star/ flower hybrid that had obviously been cut from a paper punch. My mom has tons of paper punches, so I tried quite a few and surprisingly, not many of them worked! The tissue paper ripped easily and doesn’t hold its shape too well when being pulled by a paper cutter, so many of the edges on shapes came out fuzzy looking. I finally landed on a simple flower shape that my roommate and I both liked best. Here are a few images of the end result, and not only does it hold candy well, it also holds my ergonomic crochet hooks pretty nicely!

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I’ve been using it as a hook holder lately!

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The bowl, empty.

Planner Struggles

Happy blog post day, everyone! I know this is an odd time of year to be talking about this topic, but… today’s post is about planners. I, personally, struggle to use the same planner for a full year, and right now I am going through the process of finding/ creating my own planner. Part of my “planner struggles” is not being able to justify spending tons of money on a planner that does not include all of the features that I want, especially when those features may change over the year or I may not end up using this planner ALL year.

Right now, I have been looking for a planner that includes:

  • Tracking of my water and vitamin intake,
  • Blog post planning and reminders,
  • Weekly goals,
  • Monthly overviews of events before the weeks in a month (most planners have a month section and a weekly section, I would like them combined),
  • Daily plans– with enough space to write in my substitute teaching schedule/ information, now that I am starting to substitute,
  • And, I would like to have this in a two- page per  week format.

Now, when I say that I want a two- page per week format, I do not mean having Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on one page with Thursday, Friday, and the weekend on the other page. I have tried that format and I feel as though there is not enough space around the edges for the other things I would like to have.

SO, now that I have told you what I’m looking for in a planner, you might see why I typically end up creating my own! Lately, I have been using an old composition notebook (I used an Exacto knife to cut out the pages that had been used without messing up the binding) that has a very general weekly overview. This overview includes spaces to write what I would like to work on each week, what I would like the blog topic to be, and I usually have some space to write down a few ideas for things or track some things. However, this composition notebook doesn’t contain everything I would like, and the pages are definitely not able to allow me to use gel pens without ink bleeding through… which means that I continue my quest for my perfect planner.

 

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This is what I have been using, and might continue to use, just not as my primary planner.

 

 

I went to Walmart, because that is my first place to go when I need ANYTHING. And as I was wandering around, I found a “Mix Media” spiral bound notebook in the art/painting area. This particular notebook says that it works with pencil, pen, marker, acrylic, and watercolors! I decided that $6 for a 5.5 in x 8.5 in notebook, I could at least give it a try. And if nothing else, I will find some other use for it. Once I was finished with my errands for the day, I brought my new notebook home, tore a page out of the back, and tested my various different markers and pens on it, I even tried a couple stamps! I was very pleased to find that the only things that bled through (of what I used) was my darker colored Sharpies! Then I went about deciding how I wanted to lay out my planner pages.

 

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Here is the notebook!

 

I started with my monthly page, because I wanted that to come first. I decided that since this is a trial planner, I would start on today (April 10) and go through May 28 for the first “Monthly” page. Mainly because I don’t want to keep starting in the middle of the month, but also because I know it is going to take me more than 3 weeks to decide how I feel about this planner. Then I started with my daily plans page. I did this on the next page, and left the back of the monthly page for the weekly overview/ tracking page. Pretty much all I did for this page was section off the page, draw lines, and I made little banners to put the day of the week and the date in. I think this will give me plenty of space to write out my daily plans in these sections. After I made the weekly pages for the next 7 weeks, I started trying to decide what I wanted my weekly overview page to look like. Currently, I have a place to help me track how much water I have drank, if I have taken my vitamins and brushed my teeth, a blog posting topic and reminder area, as well as an area to list out goals and what I would like to work on this week. I am also working on a printable version of this planner to try out next, so at the end of May you’ll be hearing about how this planner trial went as well as seeing the printable version!

 

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This is my monthly overview.

 

 

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This is the weekly overview page. It might still need some work!

 

 

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I haven’t written all my plans in for this week yet, but here is the daily plans page!

I have a question: How do you keep yourself organized? I’d love to know!

More Cross-chet! (Cross-Stitch + Crochet)

Hello, everyone! Sorry about not posting last week, I was celebrating birthdays, going to a wedding, and spending time with my family while they were visiting! Anyways, last time I blogged, I posted about how I had combined my crochet projects with cross-stitching. After that, I started to work on a hat for my big brother for his birthday. Originally, this hat was supposed to be for Christmas, but the first one turned out way too big, so I started over. When I was close to finishing the hat, I noticed that it needed… something.

Since my brother already knew about the hat (and had been getting updates on its progress via Snapchat), I asked him for suggestions. The hat is a really nice emerald green color, so he suggested a Slytherin crest patch on it and I went off to Amazon to look! Most of the patches on Amazon are pretty large, and the ones I liked were over 4 inches tall, which would take up too much of the  hat. Then I asked myself, “Is there a way that I could craft one myself?”

When I came to this question, I got onto some of the crafty groups I am in on Facebook (specifically a geeky crochet group, and a cross stitch group) and started asking if anyone had done it, and if it was possible. Many of the members of the cross stitching group said that it should be possible, and that I could possibly use some iron-on interfacing to keep the Aida cloth from unraveling after cutting out my patch. And a few of the geeky crochet group members suggested I look at the crochet- alongs files from the Two Hearts Crochet CALs Harry Potter CAL (https://twoheartscrochet.com/crochet-along-projects/the-harry-potter-cal/, the specific graph I used was made by someone else who added it to the THCC Google Drive).

Then I gathered up my supplies, and got to stitching! My mom even brought me a skein of silver metallic floss all the way from Texas for me to finish this project when she came to visit! (Can you say #bestmomever???) Once I finished the crest, I used some iron- on interfacing that my local quilt shop recommended for this project before cutting around the crest to make sure the cloth didn’t unravel on me. Since there was some metallic embroidery floss that I was worried about melting, I made sure that I put down a paper towel between my work and my ironing board, as well as a washcloth between my work/interfacing and my iron, and I only used a low/medium setting on the iron.

This was after I finished stitching:Here it is cut out:

And I think this one shows off the sparkle of the metallic thread a little better:

After ironing on the interfacing, I cut out my Slytherin crest and went around the edges with a fray stop. (It never hurts to be too careful, right?) And my mom helped me sew the patch onto the hat using a blanket stitch. (I repeat, #bestmomever.) And here is the finished result!
If I can get my brother to take a picture of him wearing it for me to post sometime soon, I will!

CrossStitch and Crochet: The Tutorial!

Greetings everybody! As promised, here is my tutorial over how to cross stitch over a crochet project!

These pictures are just an idea of how to get started on your project, if the project calls for multiple colors, make sure you have all those colors. For a project like this one, I try to get specific colored sections done all at the same time so that I have an identifier of where I need to go next on the project.

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**Disclaimer: These pictures are from a different square! But this gives you an idea of what it looks like when the square is totally done!**Slide10

The graphs I used for these particular two squares are from the Chaos and Chop Suey blog’s Friends Crochet A-Long.

Here is a link to her blog: https://chaosandchopsuey.wordpress.com/

And Here is a link to the patterns on Ravelry ($7): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/friends-themed-cal-blanket

Crochet Cross Stitch!

Lately, I have been on a bit of a cross stitch kick.  What I like about cross-stitch is the feeling of getting a lot done, even if you have only finished one small section of a graph!  I also like the fact that there are tons of cross stitch graphs out there, as well as crochet graphs can be used for cross stitch projects; and that’s what brings me to this post!  In January, I saw a post in the Facebook group for the Gilmore Girls Crochet Along (hosted by Chaos and Chop Suey, who is amazing) about the hosts’ mother cross stitching the graphs that were part of our CAL and I realized how brilliant of an idea that was!!  But, the longer and harder I thought about it, I decided there might be a way to combine both crafts, crochet and cross stitch.  So, when the Chaos and Chop Suey FRIENDS CAL came out, I just had to try my hand at this method! Take a look at the final result:

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On Friday, I will be posting a picture tutorial on how I did this, so stay tuned!

My First Teddy Bear

If you didn’t already know, I have a list of crafty things I would like to accomplish before 2017 ends.  One of the items on my list is to learn how to make amigurumi, or crocheted toys and animals.  I have finally attempted to make one animal and it was (mostly) a success!  It took a few tries, and a minor amount of confusion, but I made a teddy bear!

Since I finished my bear right around the time that Pokémon GO released some of the second generation Pokémon, I decided to name my little bear after my favorite second generation Pokémon, Teddiursa!  Now that I have made my first amigurumi, I am very excited to get started on making some more to get better at this skill.GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAcropped-gedc0227.jpg

My Crafty Resolution List!

At the beginning of this year, I decided to create a kind-of New Year’s Resolutions list of crafty things that I wanted to do this year, which I am calling my Crafty Resolution List.  Most of them are related to crochet in some ways, but some are not.  For your viewing pleasure, here is my Crafty Resolution List!

  • Learn Amigurumi  ♥
  • Finish the Gilmore Girls CAL (Crochet Along)
  • Make a Mermaid Tail Blanket  ♥
  • Make My Own Clay Hook  ♥
  • Do the Friends CAL
  • Get a Fancy Yarn Bowl  ♥
  • Finish a Latch Hook Rug
  • Finish at Least Two Shrugs

Hopefully all of you can help keep me accountable in actually getting these things crossed off of my resolution list this year, and maybe suggest other new things for me to learn!

Note added on April 29, 2017: The items that have a ♥ next to them are the items that are considered to be completed!

Introducing Miss Fuzzy

Hello everyone!

I am a recent college graduate who has grown up doing a variety of arts and crafts.  Mostly, I focus on crocheting, but I also enjoy sewing, cross stitching, and working with perler beads.  My non-craft related hobbies include dancing, reading, and a large amount of watching TV!  I decided to start this blog in order to share the tips and tricks that I have learned throughout my crafting adventures, but I am also looking forward to sharing my own ideas about many crafty topics!

Some of the crafty topics I am hoping to share about include: ways to store and organize craft supplies, trying out crafting “hacks”, and discussing the creative ideas that I cannot find much information about online! If you have any thoughts or suggestions, just let me know!