Blue Border Throw, A Clare Youngs design

Border THrow, a Clare Youngs pattern from Scandinavian Needlecraft

Make a Blanket for Valentine's day

Obviously mine isn’t blue, but the pattern is titled “Blue Border Throw” and appears in Clare Youngs’ book "Scandinavian Needlecraft".

I love the projects in this book and had a really tough go of it trying to decide what to make first. I thought that this would be perfect for Valentine’s day, so I decided to start here.

I’ve got to be honest and say that I’m pretty happy to finally be done with this one.

Basic construction: You embroider two pretty pieces of woolen fabric with french knots, using yarn. You then attach them to either end of a piece of fleece.

Sources of Conflict:

The pattern calls for two pieces of 40x13.5 in, woolen fabric and a 40X54in piece of white fleece. Conveniently, fleece fabric is 54 inches across straight off the bolt.  Eventually the 13.5 in piece of fabric is folded over, but you’re adding it to either end of the 54 inch length, so you end up with a blanket that is 40x 67.5 (minus the seam allowance), which makes it just a bit smaller than a twin mattress. I found that to be an odd size for a throw.  My first thought was that I’d adjust the embroidery so that I could attach it to the longer sides of the fleece, until I checked out the cost of soft woolen fabric. I found some that I loved but it was close to $40 a yard. I would have needed a little over a yard and a half and that would have made for a fairly spendy border.

I decided, in a misguided moment of brilliance to use fleece for the entire blanket. It was the most cost effective solution and I was afraid of ruining a spendy piece of wool with my own ineptitude.  I also decided to go with the dimensions called for in the book. The bright pink fleece was Kitty’s idea. She was just sure that her daddy would love it as much as she did.

Transferring the Pattern: I took a piece of tulle, taped it over the pattern and then traced it with a sharpie. I then placed the tulle over the pink fleece and made a dot along the pattern directly on to the fabric wherever I needed to place a french knot. easy enough..


Unfortunately, fleece seems to stretch out of shape easily. While my pattern was straight and most of my knots are placed directly over the dots, my end product isn’t particularly straight, especially near the points of the hearts. That wasn’t the hard part though…


When attaching the embroidered strips to the fleece, you fold over a hem on both of the long ends and then sandwich the fleece between the two. You pin it, baste stitch it and then sew along making sure to pick up both the front and back at the same time. I was stitching through 5 layers of fleece and it didn’t really work out for me all that well. I didn’t take any photos, because it really looked like crap.


Aside from the obvious mess of construction, Geek had two complaints. It wasn’t large enough for both of us to really snuggle under it and he didn’t care for the single layer of fleece in the middle.  The seam ripper and I got cozy on the couch and I set about mending things.

I purchased a second piece of fleece and stitched it together in the following way. Pink piece, fleece, pink piece, fleece and then attached the first pink panel to the last piece of fleece to create a big tube. I was mindful to make sure that both of my heart strips ended up on the same side, facing the right way. I stitched down the length of one side, and then almost all the way down the other side, leaving enough of the seam open to turn it right side out. Then I stitched it closed.

I gave it to Geek for his birthday a few days ago and he absolutely loves it. He’s still not crazy about the size but the the blanket has a wonderful heft to it.

Don’t let me scare you off of making this blanket. You too can make a pretty blanket for Valentine's Day, because Nothing says "I love you" like a hand made gift for the holiday. I wouldn’t recommend using the fleece fabric unless you’re on a tight budget, but it can be done.

You can look for"Scandinavian Needlecraft" at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Powell's Books.

Spring Grass Wreath

How to make a daisy and grass wreath

Spring grass

The idea for this came from  Patty Schaffer’s blog. It’s super cute and all over pinterest at the moment.

I’ve really got to start reading the directions for projects before I head to the store. I tend to rely on memory and that really isn’t a smart move for me.

I ended up purchasing:

12 inch foam wreath for $4.99

2 balls of green fun fur at $4.79 each

.5 yard small daisy chain $2.50

Gingham Ribbon for $3.79

Pink Pearlized pins for $4.99


I bet you’re wondering where those pink pins are aren’t you? I didn’t use them. It’s a cute wreath but I didn’t feel like spending $25 on it, so the pink pins are going back. Also, I bought a  12 inch wreath instead of the 8 inch that  Patty used (which I’m sure upped the cost a bit) and because I had a larger wreath, I needed two balls of yarn as opposed to just the one. Buying the appropriate components would have saved me a bit more as well.

Fun fur Wreath with Daisies

Yellow pins and white daisies

My daisy chain also had smaller flowers without pink centers.  I happen to like yellow centered daisies so I’m cool with it. It was unintentional but I  like the smaller flowers that I went with, as they remind me more of the flowers that pop up in lawns in the spring.

Construction: It was a super easy craft to make, but the wreath took a bit of patience. I started wrapping the fun fur around the wreath form at the beginning of Grimm and I still wasn’t finished when it ended. I noticed that as I was wrapping the yarn, previously wound fibers were getting caught under the new threads. To combat this issue I wound the yarn once, pushed all the fibers to the left out of the way, and then did another round.  My progress was further hampered by the tangled mess that was my ball of yarn. I had to stop several times to undo big knots in my skein.

Flowers: This was the easiest part to make.  I snipped apart my chain of daisies, skewered each one with a yellow pin and then stuck them in to the wreath.  I then  added a ribbon bow and called it good.

What I like about this project: I hang my wreaths in the middle of a window. It’s super easy to add flowers to both sides of this wreath so that it is pretty from either side of the glass.

What I’d do differently: I’d go with the 8 inch wreath form. I’d also like to get a wider ribbon, and maybe add a chick to the center of the wreath.

Make a wreath for Easter: DIY

Use a Daisy to keep your ribbon in place

I added a daisy to the center of my ribbon to hold it in place.

If you are looking for an easy, fun craft to make for Easter, I’d definitely keep this one in mind. You can find everything you need to make this Easter wreath at Joann’s, and that's just super convenient.

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Scandinavian Tea Light Lanterns, from “Christmas Crafting in No Time”

Paper tea light lanterns

Tea Lights

I really wish that I had been able to get a good photo of these. They looked fantastic up on the mantle with my paper flower wreath and Dala horse Candle holders. So pretty..

The instructions and templates for these paper lanterns can be found in Clare Youngs' book, "Christmas Crafting in No time".
Super cheap, I love paper crafting!  I already had everything that I needed so this was practically free for me. I used two drinking glasses and a vase for the base of my lanterns, a few sheets of typing paper, tea lights, tape and basic craft supplies.
The instructions call for using tracing paper to transfer the design. It also calls for card stock or thick drawing paper. I pulled paper out of my printer and I used dressmaker's carbon to transfer the pattern. When I finished cutting everything out, I just flipped them over so that the residual lines were on the back. It's pretty straight forward. Transfer the pattern and then cut along the lines. You can then either tape the paper directly to the drinking glass, or you can make a sleeve to slip around the glass using tracing paper. I just taped my paper directly to the glass as I didn't plan on keeping the lanterns for next year. When I make them again next year I plan to use heavier paper. I will attach those ones to sleeves so that they can easily be removed and reused.
I was really surprised by how much I loved these.

You can look for "Christmas Crafting in No Time" at Amazon, Barnes Nobles and Powell's Books.

Make a Paper Wreath for Christmas

Paper Christmas Wreath

Easy Paper Wreath

I wanted to do something a little bit different for Christmas this year. For the past few years my Christmas crafting has been completely monopolized by making bead ornaments for the tree. I was burnt out, and I had way more snowflake ornaments than any one family needs.  At any rate, I got the Christmas boxes out, looked at all of the pretty lead crystal beads and decided that there wasn't any way I could hang them all within arms reach of my toddler. I bought a small tinsel tree to put in a kitchen window, added a few snowflakes and then packed the rest of them up. I then decided to start over. I wanted new ornaments, and new decor for the house. I ordered "Christmas Crafting in No Time" and got busy.

The very first craft that appears in Clare Youngs' book is a Silver Flower Wreath. The wreath is made from mirrored silver card stock, glue and a piece of foam board. I got all of my supplies at my local Joann's.
This was a fun and super easy craft for Christmas. The wreath was tough to get a good photo of, as were the candles that went up on the mantle with it. It was very beautiful though. Our family room is dimly lit but the wreath took the light from the candles and scattered it about. It was rather striking.

The instructions call for 4 sheets of mirrored card stock. I bought 5 just in case and I'm so glad I did. I found it with the specialty card stock over in the scrapbooking section. I think it was $1.99 a sheet. The foam board was just a few dollars as well, so the wreath set me back about $13.

     Tips for Construction: 

Basically, you're going to make two templates using the pattern in the back of the book.  One for the petals, and one for the flower centers.  You trace around the templates on the back of the mirrored paper. 60 petals, 10 centers, and then you cut them out. You will take 6 petals and arrange them into a flower shape and (using the template on the top petal) cut a slit through the stack.  However, a craft knife won't cut through six sheets of  card stock at  a time so you will be lifting the petals off one at a time so that you can cut through the next petal.

Tip  1:

If you have extra space on your paper, use it to cut out one extra flower center and several extra petals, just in case

Tip 2:

When cutting the slots in the petals, take special care not to move any of the petals in the stack while you are working your way down the pile. If they move at all, they won't line up properly when you go to assemble your flowers

Tip 3:

As you remove each petal to cut the one beneath it, make sure you line them up in order so that you can easily reassemble the flower after the cuts have been made.

Tip 4:

If your cat jumps up on the table and destroys your efforts in tip 3, don't panic. It's easy enough to puzzle out the order of the petals.  The angle of the slot changes slightly with each one.  Besides, if the petals don't go on in the right order, it's easy enough to pull them off and try again.

I'm really enjoying this book. The ideas in the book are stylish and easy to make. I also like that there is such a wide variety of crafting techniques that are used. Clare covers paper crafting, clay work, sewing, recipes,table decor,  foil craft, gift wrap ideas, gifts and Christmas cards.

You can look for "Christmas Crafting in No Time" at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Powell's Books.

Embroidered Heart Table Runner

Christmas Red Work Table Runner

Table Runner

It's been quite a few years since I've done any embroidery. I've done kits before but this is the first time I've transferred a pattern on to fabric and just went for it. I think I did okay.
The pattern and instructions for this red work table runner appear in Clare Youngs' book "Christmas Crafting in No Time". Having said that, it also looks great on the table for Valentine's Day so I'm going to file it under both categories.





holiday embroidery pattern

Red heart Table Runner

The table runner is made from Linen, which I've never used before. This is quite possibly the nicest table linen that I own. I'm almost afraid to use it, and I'll admit that I was terrified to wash it. It came out great though.
Construction: You start with a piece of linen or cotton that is 40x55in. You carefully transfer the pattern to the appropriate places, and then embroider it using whipped back stitch and bullion knots. You then fold it in half (right sides together) and stitch most of the way around the outside edge. (leave enough of an opening to turn it) Turn it right side out, and then stitch the opening closed.
Transferring the pattern:

I'd never done this before. I used the dressmaker's carbon and I pressed very firmly but not all of the pattern transferred. What did transfer was very light. As a result, my hearts have more bullion knots around the outside of them.

Valentine table runner

make your own holiday table linens


I really like the whipped back stitch. As a novice embroiderer my stitches aren't perfect. Wrapping the thread around the stitches made them appear a bit straighter and neater. I wasn't quite as fond of the bullion knots. It took me a while to get the hang of them so my second heart looks better than my first one.

You can look for  Clare's book "Christmas Crafting in No Time" at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Powell's Book.


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