Homemade Natural Deodorant

After my last post about Natural Deodorants, whether they work and the testing of a few brands, I decided to look into a homemade option as even the ones I tested contained a few ingredients I was unsure of. For full comfort and control over what is going on my body, I went with a simple recipe whose competence is assured by many bloggers and naturalists.

After scouring the internet, blogs and write-ups, I discovered that one recipe monopolized the internet. I decided to try it out for myself and see if it was something practical and efficient.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil (solid state)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 cup starch (arrowroot powder, cornstarch)
  • essential oils (optional)
Mix together the arrowroot powder and baking soda in a bowl before adding the coconut oil. Warmed the oil a little bit on the stove in a water bath to soften it. Add the coconut oil and any desired essential oils. Place the mixture in a flexible container and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden. Silicon ice pop trays work well.

Coconut oil solidifies at roughly 76°F so it is best to keep this deodorant in the fridge, especially during the summer and to take great care when traveling with it. One of the bloggers who used this recipe loaded it into a cleaned out deodorant stick before being placed in the fridge to harden and form a deodorant “stone.”

All of these ingredients are inexpensive and the concoction works! Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is deemed to have antibacterial qualities. The starch assists in keeping you feeling dry while the baking soda removes any and all odors. As the coconut oil is cold pressed and organic, it is as unrefined as possible and only has a slight coconut smell that will not last long. I decided to add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil for a fresh and fragrant scent. Be careful when dressing as it does contain oil and can stain your clothes (will come out in the wash). It helps to let it soak in for a bit before dressing. I still found applying twice a day to have the best results.

DIY Moss Shower Mat

I absolutely LOVE this idea! Any way to get nature indoors and I’m all for it. This is such a fun project and its exciting to see it grow and transform. The bathroom is a great place for tropical plants as well. They thrive on the humidity. The following text and images are courtesy of eHow. Have fun and enjoy!

How to Make a Moss Shower Mat

By Chelsea Hoffman

Bring a forest wonderland right to your bathroom with moss mats.

If you want to do something creative and eco-chic, creating your own moss bath mat is an enjoyable craft project. A moss shower mat utilizes live moss to provide cushion and grip for stepping out of the tub or shower. Knowing how to make your own gives you the opportunity to design your green moss bath mat into any textured design that pleases your bathing environment.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Plastazote foam roll
  •  Scissors
  •  X-acto knife
  • Stencils
  • Hot glue gun
  • Assorted moss plugs

Instructions

  1. Measure and cut two sheets of plastazote foam from the roll at 24-by-12 inches each. This plastic-foam material is what is used in making commercial moss mats, and is ideal for wet-dry use.
  2. Lay one of the sheets of plastazote in front of you and place a large stencil in the center. It can be of any shape you want, but simple geometric shapes are ideal for beginners. Trace the shape with a white crayon, since the plastazote material is dark in color.
  3. Cut around the shape tracing with an X-acto knife. Cut down through the entire depth of the material, and push out the cutout shape, leaving a perfect hole in the shape of the stencil. Do this as many times as you want on the material. Place smaller stencils around the large cutouts and repeat, as you please.
  4. Squeeze a line of hot glue along all four edges of the second sheet of plastazote material. Layer the sheet with the holes over it evenly, pressing the edges together. This creates a single mat of about 2 inches thick. The top layer features perfect molds for filling with moss.
  5. Moisten the top layer of the mat after it has dried for an hour. This gets it primed for the moss. Spray it with a fine mist of water from your shower head or a spray bottle.
  6. Fill each “mold” in the top layer of the mat with your own selection of moss plugs, which can be purchased online or from specialty nurseries and gardening stores. Irish moss, Spanish moss and some forms of live sphagnum moss thrive well in these living eco-shower mats.

Tips & Warnings

Place the mat near your tub or shower as you would any other shower mat. Simply shower and step out on it. The soft, plush moss will absorb the water dripping from your body as you towel off on it. This, in turn, provides the moss with enough moisture to thrive.

DIY Pressed Flower iPhone Case

Thank you Etsy for this wonderful post. See full article here. All text and images courtesy of Etsy. 

DIY Pressed Flower iPhone Case

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Clare McGibbon

cfrenchie

It’s no secret I love flowers – in my apartment, on my desk, or as a pattern on my dress. Pressing fresh flowers is a great way to preserve their natural beauty, and by decorating your phone case with them, you can showcase their vivid colors and add a little touch of nature to an otherwise ordinary gadget.

You can make your own pressed flowers with a flower press or by placing them inside a large book, like an encyclopedia or phone book. If you are pressing your own flowers, keep in mind that the drying time takes a little while – usually a minimum of seven days. You can also find pressed flowers right here on Etsy. For this project, I used carnation petals, baby’s breath, tulip petals, statice, wax flowers, hydrangeas and alstroemeria petals.

You will need:
Pressed dried flowers
Flat, solid white iPhone case
Clear craft glue
A flat and level work surface
Tape
Scissors
Parchment paper
Ruler
Thin-tip permanent marker
Timer
2 clear plastic cups
2 wooden craft sticks
50/50 clear-casting epoxy resin (I used Easy Cast)
Acetone (or a nail polish remover with acetone)
Q-tips
Glitter (Optional)

Step 1: Arrange the Flowers

To get started, place the pressed flowers on your case and play around with different flower arrangements. If you want to add a lot of flowers to your case, make sure that they don’t pile up higher than 1/16th of an inch (approximately 1.5 mm) or you won’t be able to properly coat the case in resin. Keep in mind that your pressed flowers will become slightly translucent once they are coated in resin, so placing lighter colored flowers under darker ones works best. Once you have found an arrangement you like, take a snapshot of it for future reference.

Remove the flowers from the case and set them aside. Dab a small amount of glue on the largest flower and carefully glue it to the case. Follow suit with the rest of your flowers until your arrangement is complete.

Step 2: Prepare the Resin

Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Cut a 2 ft long (approximately 60 cm) piece of parchment paper with your scissors and tape it down to your flat work surface. Take your resin and read the directions carefully. (Note: If the directions for your resin differ from the steps below, make sure to follow the directions for your resin or you’ll end up with a sticky mess, and that’s no good for placing a flowery phone call!)

Put your ruler inside a plastic cup and mark the cup twice using a thin permanent marker. Your first mark will be at 3/8 of an inch, and your second will be at 3/4 of an inch.

Set your timer to 2 minutes and have a craft stick ready for stirring. Slowly pour resin into the cup up to the 3 /8 inch line. Keep in mind that an accurate pour is crucial, so don’t be too generous with your pour. Next, slowly pour the hardener to the 3/4 inch line, making sure to not go over it.

Start the timer and stir the contents of the cup with your craft stick for 2 minutes, making sure to scrape the sides of the cup from time to time. Don’t worry if you see lots of bubbles forming in the cup – they’ll disappear later. When the timer goes off, place the second plastic cup on your work surface and have your second unused craft stick ready for stirring. Optional: If you would like to add glitter to your case, sprinkle some into the mix now.

Next, set your timer to 1 minute and pour the contents of the first cup into the second cup. Continue stirring until the timer goes off. Let the resin rest for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add Resin to the Case

Slowly pour a small amount of your newly mixed resin onto the center of your case. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and add too little resin than too much.

Spread the resin close to the edge of your case using your craft stick. Make sure the resin does not go over the edge. Add more resin to the case until the entire back and all the flowers are covered. Lightly blow on any bubbles that show up on the surface to help them disappear.

Set the case down on the parchment paper and keep an eye on it as it dries (about one to two hours). If any resin spills over the edges, dip Q-tips in acetone and wipe clean.

Once your first coat of resin has dried, examine your case to make sure all the flowers have been properly coated. If needed, add a second coat of resin.

Voila! You now have an embellished floral phone case to brighten up any conversation.

Process photos by Lobese, all others by Clare McGibbon.

Clare McGibbon is a Brooklyn-based designer and maker. When she’s not working on Etsy’s international support team, she’s dreaming up new DIYs or making jewelry for her shop, AWAYSAWAY. Keep up with her latest creations on InstagramFacebook andPinterest.

How to Make a Floral Crown

Never too old to explore meadows barefoot and fill your hair with daisies. 

Following picture and text courtesy of Etsy. See full article here

How to Make a Floral Crown

August 27, 2012

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Amanda Thomsen

Brittany Watson Jepsen

HouseThatLarsBuilt

Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Find her on her blog, The House That Lars Built, and her Etsy shop, where she designs and sells kitchen accessories and all things floral.

Floral crowns are sure having their moment of glory these days. The trend pops into fashion every now and again, but some of the most inspiring versions are those from the Pre-Raphaelites.

I spotted Spring by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (look closely!) last year while at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and ever since I’ve been wanting to make my own version. I finally sat down and experimented with some lovely flowers and wish I had an excuse to wear it around town. Thankfully, a wedding is the perfect excuse to don a floral crown. The beauty of working with real flowers is that you don’t need any materials other than the flowers.

So, let’s go!

Materials:
Flowers of your choice and clippers. The pliable flowers are best to work with for the base of the crown. Try bending the stem first to make sure it doesn’t crack. If it does, consider trying something else. For this floral crown, I used black dahlias, tidsel (the greenery for the base), astilbe (the pink), craspedia (the yellow balls), and virburnum berries (the turquoise and purple).

Step 1:
Cut and line up the first round of flowers for the base of your crown. Ideally, the stems should be 5-9″ long each. You can cut them down but it’s harder to work with shorter stems. I suggest using greenery first and then adding the colors into it.

Step 2:
Lay one stem perpendicular on top of another.

Step 3:
Bend the stem under.

Step 4:
Bring the stem up to the top and then press it down so it lies next to the first.

Step 5:
While holding the two stems in place with your left hand, place another stem on top and bend it under.

Step 6:
Bring the stem up again and then place it parallel with the others.

Step 7:
Repeat the process until it’s the size of the circumference of the head. I added some different greenery into the middle to create more of a focal point when it’s worn.

Step 8:
When you get to the end, wrap the last stem tightly around the others to secure them in place, making sure that it doesn’t break.

Step 9:
To finish off the circle, weave the last stems into the beginning of the crown by tucking them in.

Step 10:
Now you can start adding in other flowers. I added longer pieces first so that the shorter flowers can be seen at the end.

Step 11:
Place your show-stopper flowers evenly around the crown. I used black dahlias as my main piece.

Finishing Touches:
Continue adding in your flowers evenly around the crown. I added in berries at the end for some exclamation marks.

There are several different versions to a floral crown. You can switch off flowers for the base of the crown instead of adding the flowers in at the end, or you can keep it simple and just use one variety.

After completing one, you’ll want to turn every flower you see into a crown.
Good luck!

Photography by Brittany Watson Jepsen and Amanda Thomsen.

Tack Trunk Restoration

A few weeks ago I purchased a used wooden tack trunk from a friend that had been sitting in the attic of this beautiful old wood barn for an unknown amount of years. Covered in dust and cobwebs, she helped me drag it from the barn home for my first restoration project.

Before

The trunk was in pretty great shape when I bought it. I could have easily gotten away with a simple clean up. However, I wanted to improve on it as much as possible. The first step was to sand down the exterior wood surfaces to prepare for some fresh paint. I used an electric sander with course sandpaper. After the first sanding, I applied wood filler to the cracks and chips in the wood and allowed it to dry before sanding over it with a course paper and then a fine paper.

This wood filler was highly recommended but I did find it difficult to use. The product needed to be mixed with a hardener before application. I found it to harden very fast making it difficult to spread. Regardless of this difficulty, it did work very well.

Ready for paint!

I purchased Behr Premium paint with built in primer at Home Depot and had them match it to a Benjamin Moore color, Classic Burgundy. This was the first time I used a paint with primer built in. Truly I was not impressed. It required two coats with about 8-12 hours in between to fully dry. I was careful to do thin coats of paint and allowed amply time to dry, yet even a few days after both coats were applied, the paint felt tacky. I did do the painting outdoors, but during these days there was little to no humidity. However, the color did come out wonderful!

After painting, I cleaned up the inside of the trunk using a wood soap before applying wax.

As the bottom of the tack trunk is wood and it will be residing in a damp barn, I decided to lift it off the ground on wheels to protect the bottom from water damage as well as making it easier to move about. After a discussion with my Grandfather, a man who built his own home and can fix/make anything, I went with his method for attaching the wheels. The wheels would be attached to wood blocks. These wood blocks would attach to the bottom of the trunk by screwing through a metal plate on the inside of the trunk. Little confusing. Check out the pics!

Metal plate on the inside of the trunk

Someone had cut the lock on the trunk, but my mother managed to find an identical piece of hardware on a trunk restoration website. The lock is solid brass covered in chrome.

I cleaned the vinyl with Armor All and wiped down the chrome with Brasso. Armor All is wonderful. It cleaned the vinyl perfectly and left a layer of protection. I found the Brasso to be relatively ineffective. I was hoping it would remove some of the discoloration and paint splatters left from the previous owner. Sadly it did not, but it did provide a decent sheen to the chrome.

The finished product:

For The Love of Martha: Pet-Silhouette Tote

Every once in a while I browse Martha Stewart’s website to see what kind of crazy craft projects she comes up with. Some of them are wonderful ideas! As a homemade gift to an animal lover, Martha provides the following step-by-step instructions for making a Pet-Silhouette Tote Bag. The following images and text are courtesy of Martha Stewart Living.

Tools and Materials

  • Photograph of dog’s profile
  • Ultrasuede fabric
  • Fabric pen
  • Fabric scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Natural-canvas tote bag (ecobags.com)
  • Twill tape

Step 1:

Photocopy picture, enlarging so that dog is about two-thirds the height of the bag; cut out along dog’s outline.

Step 2:
Lay photo cutout, face up, on front of fabric, and trace with fabric pen. Cut out. Flip fabric silhouette.
Step 3:
Cut out. Flip fabric silhouette. Apply glue to dog’s head. Position silhouette, glue side down, on bag; press to adhere. Apply glue to the rest of the back of the silhouette in sections, pressing and smoothing out as you work
Step 4:
Cut a length of twill tape slightly longer than needed to form a collar and leash. Apply glue to 1 side of twill tape in sections; position tape on dog, starting with the back of the dog’s neck and curving the tape to mimic a collar. At front of dog’s neck, tuck tape slightly under the fabric. This will make it easier to pivot the tape upward for the leash. Continue gluing and positioning tape for leash. Let dry.

I can think of one adorable teacup black poodle names Lyla that would made an adorable silhouette.

DIY: Design and Sew Your Own Leggings

Came across this “how-to” article a few moments ago. Etsy is one of my favorite sites! I can spend hours perusing the merchandise and blogs. This looks like a really fun project! Enjoy!

The following is all courtesy of Etsy.com and can be found here

Story by hodgepodgefarm

Published on Feb 28, 2012 in Make

Photo by Richard A. Smith

Cal Patch is a renaissance crafter, with know-how spanning the fields of crochet, pattern-making, sewingembroidery, dyeing, printing, spinning, and beyond. She is the author ofDesign-It-Yourself Clothing, writes a blog, and can can be found teaching classes around New York state (and beyond). For this week’s How-Tuesday, Cal will teach us how to make a custom pair of leggings. From taking measurements, to making the pattern, to sewing it all up, Cal will be with us each step of the way!

I adore leggings. I live in leggings. I always wish I had more leggings: colored ones, printed ones, stripey ones, long cozy woolly ones in winter, and shorter lightweight cotton ones in summer. I wear  them under dresses or tunics, I wear them to the gym, I lounge and sleep in them. As a clothing designer, I’m glad I can make my own, because when I look around I don’t see nearly enough options out there in fun colors, prints, and natural fibers. Today I’m going to show you that you can make your own leggings, too!

You’ll need to measure yourself, draft a pattern, get some stretchy knit fabric, and stitch it up. This isn’t a difficult project, but I’m assuming you’re at least a competent beginner sewer. Let’s get started!


Supplies You’ll Need:

For the pattern:

  • Paper to make the pattern. Get a pad or roll; bigger is better. (I like an 18 x 24” pad of drawing paper.)
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Scissors (for cutting paper)
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler (clear 18” x 2” sewing ruler is best)
  • Clear tape

For the leggings:

  • About 1 ½ yards of nice stretchy knit fabric, like cotton/Lycra jersey.
  • About 1 ½ yards of cheaper stretchy knit fabric, like cotton/Lycra jersey (for the muslin).
  • All-purpose thread to match.
  • Pins
  • Scissors (for fabric)
  • Sewing machine

You’ll need the following measurements:

  • Length
  • Half Waist (Waist divided by 2)*
  • Thigh Circumference*
  • Knee Circumference*
  • Ankle Circumference*
  • Front Rise Height
  • Back Rise Height
  • Distance from Thigh to Knee
  • Distance from Knee to Ankle

Okay, now let me explain how to go about measuring each one, as I’ve no doubt you might have a question or two! I’ll explain them as though you’re making the leggings for yourself, but you can make them to fit anyone, even kids. All of these measurements can be taken while holding the tape fairly snugly; you might want to wear something close-fitting (like a pair of leggings) as you measure. Actually, if you have a pair of leggings that fit well, putting them on will help you in determining some of these measurements that you may never have thought about before, such as where you’d like the waist to sit.

Length: This is really a design decision, but it will also relate to your body.  Hold the tape measure at your side, where you’d like the waist of the leggings to sit (anywhere from waist to hip), and drop it down to your ankle. A full-length mirror should help you see the measurement of your desired length. If in doubt, I recommend going an inch or two longer. You can always shorten!

Half Waist (divided by 2)*: Measure around your waist, at the point where you want the top of the leggings to sit (and where you measured your length from). If this is more like your hip, that’s fine! Just measure yourself there. Then divide this number by 2, for your half waist.

Thigh Circumference*: Measure around the full circumference of one thigh, at its highest point (just below the crotch).

Knee Circumference*: Measure around one knee.

Ankle Circumference*: Measure around one ankle, exactly where you want the leggings to end.

Front Rise Height: This might sound odd, but here’s the best way to get this measurement: Take your ruler and hold it between your legs, as high up as is comfortable.  Be sure the ruler is parallel to the floor. Now measure up from the ruler, in a straight line, to where you want the waistline of the leggings to rest. (Note: The rise seam will be curved, but for now you just want the height, which is a straight line, so don’t measure all the way from where the inseams intersect.)

Back Rise Height: Same as Front Rise, but in the back.

Distance from Thigh to Knee: Along your side, measure from the point where you took your thigh circumference down to where you took your knee circumference.

Distance from Knee to Ankle: Same, but from knee to ankle.

Now that you have all of your body measurements, we just need to do a tiny bit of math before we begin drafting the pattern. First though, we need to talk about an important concept in patternmaking: ease. Ease is the difference in size between you and your clothes. In a woven fabric, the garment needs to be bigger than you in order for it to fit and be comfortable, because wovens generally don’t stretch. This is called positive ease. When working with knits, the garment might be bigger than you, or exactly the same, or even smaller, depending on the style. The latter is possible because knits stretch and mold to fit the body, and is called negative ease. Leggings are generally meant to cling snugly to the body, so you will want to incorporate a bit of negative ease. If you prefer a looser fit, you can skip this step.

You also need to decide on the type of knit to use. Different kinds of knits have vastly different amounts of stretch. 100% cotton sweatshirt fleece has very little stretch, while 90% cotton/10% Lycra jersey has lots of it. Lycra or Spandex (same thing, just different brands) give a fabric the ability to stretch and will also give it recovery, or the ability to return to its original shape after stretching. So if you’re not a fan of baggy knees, you might want to choose a knit with 5-10% of an elastic fiber added to it. My favorite fabrics to use for leggings are cotton/Lycra jersey or rib knits, and wool jersey or rib (with or without Lycra; wool has better recovery on its own than cotton does).

Assuming you’ll be using one of these types of knit, you can deduct 10% from each of the measurements with a * after them for negative ease. These are your four horizontal circumferences. If you are using a knit with less stretch, you might want to deduct only 5% or none at all. You will now use these adjusted numbers in place of the original measurements.

Next we need to figure out the depth of the rise seam. Take your Thigh Circumference (after deducting ease), and subtract from it your half-waist (also minus ease). Let’s call this D (for Depth). Multiply D by 1/3; this is your Front Rise Depth. Multiply D by 2/3; this is your Back Rise Depth. Write these down, you’ll need them in a little while.

So we’re ready to draft our pattern! It’ll be just one pattern piece (there’s no need for a side seam), from which you’ll cut two pieces (one for each leg) to make a pair of leggings.

This is what your pattern piece will look like after you follow the steps below.

Patternmaking Directions

1. To begin, you need to cut (or tape together) a piece of paper that measures at least 4” longer than your Length measurement, and at least 2” wider than your Thigh. Draw a vertical line down the center of the paper (or fold if it’s easier); all of your drafting will originate from this line. Imagine that this line will run down the side of your leg, where a side seam would be; this will be the center of the pattern, and I’ll refer to it as the Center Line (CL).

2. On CL, make a small mark about 2” down from the top edge of the paper. Then measure down the full Length measurement, and make another mark. At this mark, draw a line, perpendicular to CL, that measures your Ankle Circumference. Half of the measurement should extend from either side of CL.

3. From the Ankle, use your Knee to Ankle Height measurement to determine where to draw your Knee Circumference, also centered over CL. Draw the Knee line, perpendicular to CL.

4. Repeat this step, using your Thigh to Knee Height, to Draw the Thigh line. Connect the dots from Thigh to Knee to Ankle on each side. You will probably have a slight angle at the knee point; smooth it into a gentle curve.

5. Now let’s work on the rise seams. On the Thigh line, measure in from the right side your Front Rise Depth, and make a mark. From this mark, draw a line upward, measuring your Front Rise Height, perpendicular to the Thigh line. From the left side, measure in your Back Rise Depth, and mark. From here, draw a perpendicular line upward, measuring your Back Rise Height. Connect the Front and Back Rise points, starting out perpendicular from the top of the Front Rise line, and gently curving up to meet the Back Rise line. This is the Waist line. Next, slope the Back Rise by holding your ruler along the Waist line, at the top of the Back Rise, and drawing a perpendicular line which intersects the Thigh line. Draw curves to fill in the lower corners of the Front and Back Rise lines.

6. All that’s left is to add seam allowance. I use ½” seam allowance on all seams except for the bottom hems, where I add a full inch for hem allowance. Draw the seam allowance around all sides of the patterns, and cut it out. CL becomes your grainline, and you can label the pattern and write the cutting instructions of Cut 2.

Now you can make a muslin, or fit sample. Try to find a cheap fabric that has similar stretch to the real fabric you plan to use. All you really need to sew are the inseams and rise seams to test the fit and make corrections. Don’t bother finishing the waistband or hems since you may want to adjust them; just remember that you will lose a little height at the waist and length at the hem when you do finish these edges in the final garment. If you see anything you want to change or adjust, pin or mark with chalk on the muslin. If you need to add fabric, such as if you want to raise the waistline, just pin on a scrap to extend the edge to where you want it. Then be sure to correct your pattern accordingly. Every body is unique, so are likely to need a few tweaks to get the fit just right. If you only make slight adjustments, you can probably jump straight to your final fabric, but if you change the pattern drastically, I’d suggest making a second muslin.


How to Sew Your Leggings

When sewing knits, you need to use a stitch that will stretch as much as your knit does, or the seam will break. Test a few options on a swatch of the same fabric, until you find a stitch that works well. I recommend using either a stretch straight stitch, or a small (I like 1.5 x 1.5mm) zigzag stitch on your sewing machine (or a serger, if you happen to have one). Fold each piece upon itself, right sides together, along the inseams, pin and sew. You’ll now have two individual leg pieces.

The edges of most knits won’t unravel, so you don’t really need to finish the seam allowances, but you might want to trim them to ¼” and either zigzag over the edges, or sew a second stretchy seam right next to the first, in case any stitches do break. Turn one leg right side out and place it inside the other, matching up the front and back rise seams and pinning together. Sew the rise as one continuous curved seam front front to back. Finish as you did the inseams, if necessary.

Finishing the Waistband

There are several ways you can finish the waistband. I usually use ½” elastic, cut to waist size, and seamed into a loop. Lay the elastic loop on the wrong side of the leggings waist, right at the top edge, pin and zigzag the edges together. Then turn the elastic down, so the waistline seam allowance covers it, and stitch again along the lower edge with a stretch straight stitch or a wide 3-step zig zag.

Another way is to make a folded waistband casing (with or without elastic inside) made from a separate piece of fabric. Cut the piece to your waist measurement (minus ease, plus 1” for seam allowance), by twice the desired casing width (plus 1” for seam allowance). With right sides together, sew the short seam. Sew the elastic into a loop if you’re using it, and fold the casing over it, wrong sides together. Pin the raw edges of the folded casing to the right side of the waist, and stitch around. Zigzag the three seam allowances together to finish.

To hem, turn the bottom edges under by ½”, then turn them again by another ½”, and pin. Sew with a stretch seam along the fold that is ½” from the edge.

Thank you to Cal Patch for sharing this project with us. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop and blogIf you make your own leggings, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.

DIY: Weaving a Complex Ojo de Dios

I came across this great art project on Etsy for weaving your own Ojo de Dios. These stunning, brightly colored “Eyes of God” are made from simple sticks and colored yarn. All photos and text are courtesy of Etsy. 

Ojos de Dios, which is Spanish for “Eyes of God,” are made from yarn and sticks by native peoples of Mexico and South America. Native Americans of the Southwestern United States adopted the craft more recently, and the eight sided mandala of the Navajo is the basic pattern that I’ve most often used in my own work.

These instructions are not intended to teach you how to construct one particular ojo, but rather to demonstrate techniques that you can use to improvise and create your own unique design. Let’s get started!


Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Sticks — I use doweling, available at building supply places and hardware stores. You can use 1/4″ for up to 16″, 5/16″ for up 22″ Ojo de Dios, and 3/8″ for up to 32″, and 7/16″ for up to 40″ Ojo de Dios.
  • Yarn
  • Scissors suitable for cutting yarn
  • A yarn needle — A large needle with an eye large enough for yarn to fit through it, and a blunt end where other needles are sharp.

Directions:

1. Planning Your Ojos de Dios: For an eight-sided ojo, consider the overall pattern to be two four-sided ojos joined together. Each set of sticks for these two parts are notched in the middle, about 1/4 the thickness of the sticks, so the two sticks fit and stack closely together. Keeping yarn tight is a problem, so I’ll make small notches, with a file or pocket knife, every inch (closer on a smaller than 12 inch ojo) all along the doweling. Besides holding the yarn from slipping in towards the center, the notches act as guides for keeping the pattern even.

Equally important as the pattern that you weave in an ojo, are the color combinations that you choose. Myself, I tend to stick with colors from the American Southwest. I recommend choosing color combinations that you find especially beautiful in nature. There are also color wheel sites online that might be useful in matching up harmonious colors (such asCOLOURlovers), although I’ve always gone by intuition and schemes from nature myself, and drawn inspiration from other artists.

2. Start Weaving: Start with the two sticks that will be the top two of the eventual 8-sided pattern. The way of making the central diamond is exactly the same from the very start, and the pattern that makes that central diamond also holds the first two sticks together.

Holding your first two sticks as illustrated here, cross over the central joining of the sticks, wrap around one stick two times, bringing your yarn to a new starting place, then cross over again, wrap around the next stick, and so on, to build up your central diamond pattern.

From the very beginning, watch to keep the pattern even. Look at both the space between strands of yarn, and the amount the diamond pattern has expanded along each stick. If you’re not satisfied, start over. Errors are easy enough to correct when caught early.

3. Add New Colors: To add to this, cut the old color to where a one inch tail is left, and simply twist the new color to the old, leaving the tails running along the stick. After a couple wraps have securely held the new color in place, you can snip the tails shorter, so they won’t get in the way later.

4. Prepare the Second Set of Sticks: When you are finished with your central diamond, cut the color yarn you are working with, leaving enough tail to tuck under itself to hold it temporarily in place. Prepare your second set of sticks in the same manner. After finishing the central diamond, prepare a second set of sticks with a solid color diamond, to be used behind the central diamond. I always make this second diamond slightly larger than the first, so it shows up well in the finished ojo.

5. Attach the Two Sets of Sticks: Now comes the trickiest part. Most commonly I use a dagger pattern at this point to hold the two sets of sticks together. Choosing my next color yarn, I start the new color by securing it over the tails of the last color one twist under itself, leaving a tail running down beside the earlier color. Now, holding the sets of sticks together with thumb and forefinger, I use my other hand to bring the yarn underneath both from where I started, as illustrated.

This stage, so near the beginning of the project, is the most difficult stage, so take your time with it, and don’t be afraid to unwind and start over again if the dagger pattern you are creating to hold the sets together doesn’t look quite right. Remember, once you have this stage down, everything else will be relatively easy-going.

Surprisingly, with just one strand of yarn running underneath, and wrapped twice around the opposite end of your starting stick, your ojo is already sturdy enough that you can now twirl the ojo to continue wrapping. In this case I went back and forth four times, then did the same temporary tie as when ending the diamond, by tucking the cut end underneath itself once, leaving a tail long enough to start a new color later. Be careful to keep things centered, and remember, although the ojo at this point may seem horribly wobbly and unwieldy, it will now grow stronger with every wrap of yarn that strings underneath the two sets, holding it all together with more and more strands of yarn as the pattern grows.

6. Continue Weaving: As you work, use your fingernails to push the strands of yarn into a nice even pattern. Throughout any ojo I create, I’m constantly making tiny little adjustments with my fingernails, both on the front and back sides. Be sure to keep adjusting the sticks to be evenly distanced from each other, as well as evenly balanced on top of each other. With practice, making all these little, but necessary, adjustments, will become automatic.

With this ojo in the illustrations, I’ve decided to do what I call a kaleidoscope pattern, where I switch colors frequently, alternating between the two original sets of sticks with interwoven diamonds. First I wove the orange, then the gold added with the yarn, in the way I almost invariably add onto a pattern, running underneath the earlier color. These beginning diamonds have three rows of yarn each, wrapping twice around each stick, unless I adjust how far along the stick the pattern is growing, by either wrapping once, or perhaps even three times. Occasionally I’ll use my thumbnail to gently push a pattern into a more agreeable looking place.

A challenge for me with this type of ojo, is to try and avoid any part of the pattern looking like a boring square, or box, sitting flat. We see all too much of that kind of shape in our lives: walls, buildings, TVs, and so much more!  I think that circles and interlocking diamonds are so much more agreeable to the eye in an ojo. The other main challenge is to use colors in a harmonious and pleasing way. Be sure there is enough contrast between adjoining colors, so that they don’t blend too easily into each other and create a kind of uneasy blurring of the line between them. Also, though, try hard not to have two adjoining colors clash sharply.

7. Keeping Color in Mind: It’s important, besides following the well known guides of the color wheel (search for online help if needed) to be aware of how color types fit together: primary colors; pastel colors, jewel tones, and earth tone colors. Some people would say not to mix these different types. I say, mix carefully, and be aware of the effect that the different types have. I often mix in a couple jewel tones with a mainly earth-toned ojo, using the jewel tones for highlights. I like that kind of effect a lot. Pastel tones can also be used for highlights against a background of earth tones.

I’ll start creating an ojo with as many as fifteen or twenty balls of yarn beside me to choose from, but usually narrow the colors down to seven, or maybe nine, for an ojo of this size. For one of my much larger ojos, I might actually use fifteen colors. I’ve found that it’s generally a good idea, once you have used a certain color, to repeat it again later in your design, rather than have any one color stand alone. Also, it’s often best to pick out one or two colors to be your dominant color theme, and let all other colors play lesser roles. However, any and all generalities about color I’ve made here, I’ve broken many times in my own creations, so never feel bound by rules, but rather try to let intuition lead you to the highest of artistic creativity, if at all possible!

8. Weaving Patterns: In this particular ojo, after a bit of contemplation, I decide to add a bold, simple pattern, to balance out the quick changes I’ve woven so far. Here I’ve added four rows of a mossy green, then one row of a bronze color, then two more rows of the green. To prepare for the next stage, which will be orange going to all of the sticks, I’ll snip the yarn seen closest to the bottom of this photo short, and start the pattern from the stick which you see here in my hand.

Next, I weave to every third stick, and wrapping around the sticks twice on average, I make an eight pointed star pattern. With this pattern, the angle to and from each stick is very sharp, and you can easily wrap three times around each stick without your yarn bunching up at all. Also, its a good time to really even up your pattern, as there is more flexibility than at other points in the process to wrap the yarn more times, or fewer times, around each stick and still not show too much of either separation between the strands of yarn or to have the yarn bunch up too closely together.

9. Creating a Border: Finally I add the border, wrapping on average once per stick. On the last time around, I might give some extra wraps to the stick ends; the last chance to make the pattern come out even. When I get back to the starting stick for the last time, I cut a tail two or three inches long, and wrap three or four times around the stick, tucking the end of the yarn underneath itself once on each turn around the stick. The tail left at the very end I cut to about one inch in length, and tucked it in between the wrapped stick and ojo border, on the back side.

10. Adding Embellishments: The ojo could be declared finished right here, but I usually add some embroidery to the border, using a yarn needle. In this ojo I’ve chosen to embroider a fairly complex circular design. When I curve back at the two ends of such a design, I find it’s best to run the yarn underneath the back strands of that section of the design, to hold the last stitch properly in place.

Experiment a bit as you make this type of design, and try and find a balance between the design made by the yarn, and the spaces created in between the design elements. I encourage everyone to try adding needlework to your ojos. The design possibilities are endless, and you can truly make an ojo your own with a new and unique bit of needlework. Designs can also be added to parts of the ojo before the
border, and can even be used to pull the yarn of an ojo into a new position. After getting the working end of the needlework yarn back to the starting position, I tie the two ends together with a square knot.

11. Finishing: The final step is to add a loop to the backside for hanging the ojo.

You can find many examples of Ojo de Dios possibilities in my Etsy shop, and also in a Facebook group I started, Ojos de Dios, Yarn Mandalas of the World, where weavers from many countries around the globe have showcased their work. Happy weaving to you!

If you make your own Ojo de Dios, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.