Category Archives: Just For Fun

DIY Baby Sled From Baby Bath Tub

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You can’t get any easier than this little DIY.  Really, this is just a thinly disguised excuse to share some pictures of my little cutie eating snow.  But who doesn’t like to see cute baby pictures, right?

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All you need for this super simple DIY project is a baby bath tub, an electric drill, and some rope.  The hard plastic is very easy to drill.  Once you have your holes, all you need to do is thread the rope and POW you’ve got yourself a tow-worthy sled (don’t get your hopes up about any hill action with this sled I’m afraid).

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I will say that this sled works best on the sidewalk with just a thin layer of snow, but the thicker stuff is fun too, it just kept tipping over for us (much to the delight of our nearly 18-month-old daughter).

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To keep up will all things zween (DIY projects, new plarn creations, baby pictures) like the zween facebook page!

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Crafting family fun; DIY cardboard box maze

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If you are a parent, but even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard the age-old adage that a child will enjoy playing with the box that a toy comes in more than the toy itself.

Today I’d like to share some photos of a little family craft project (well, not so little actually) that we started one rainy, dreary morning this week.  It’s a giant maze made from recycled cardboard boxes that encompasses our entire dining room (I knew there was a reason we’ve been dragging our feet finding a dining room table).

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All you need is several cardboard boxes (ours were complements of Trader Joe’s, thanks to my husband, our insider connection) and some packing tape or even duct tape.  Just fit the boxes together in whatever configuration you like and tape them together where needed to keep the structure stable.

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Virginia is just a couple of weeks from her first birthday now (!!!!) and isn’t yet walking.  She LOVES crawling around this maze.  We’ve had it up for about four days now and it’s been good for HOURS of entertainment!  She just loves to chase momma around the maze and be chased herself!  Papa got in on the action too of course, but at over six feet tall, he had some maneuverability issues.  By the way, as an adult, army crawling through a cardboard maze is quite the workout!  Sometimes we mix it up and place rattles, balls, and other small toys around the maze for her to find, but mostly she’s content to crawl in and out, squealing in delight all the way.

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This is a great project for those days when you just can’t get out and I’m sure would work great with older kids as well.

If this post has inspired you to create your own box maze I’d love to hear about it!  Write about it in the comments below or on the zween facebook page.  Happy crafting!

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Pinspiration; Men’s Shirt to Apron Refashion

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Hi all!  Well, little Virginia is growing every day and will be 12 weeks old on Sunday!  I can’t believe it’s been 12 weeks already!  AHHH!!! (see how BIG she’s getting?!)

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As my maternity leave draws to a close I thought I’d tackle a quick and easy* project that I can wear to work at the Root Cafe where I am a barista.

I first came across the idea of refashioning a men’s button-down shirt  here on Pinterest.  Although I got the gist of the idea just from the picture, I found this tutorial on the Grow and Make website very helpful.

Need a new apron?  I definitely recommend taking on this project!

To keep up to date with all things Zween, please flow me on Facebook and Pinterest!

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This post has been added to the linky party make it, wear it Thursdays on the train to crazy, Make it Pretty Monday week 18 over on the dedicated house, Make Mondays Marvelous on C.R.A.F.T. and Made by you Mondays over on Skip to my Lou, so check them out for some linky fun!

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Custom, Practical, Crochet

I’m a pod cast junky.  There, I admit it.  I love to listen to them while I’m making stuff.  But lately I’ve been bummed out because my headphones are so uncomfortable to wear.  Unfortunately, I can’t wear ear buds at all, and trust me I’ve tried.  So I have to wear clunky head phones instead.

The problem I usually have with headphones are the cheep foam covers that fit around the ear pieces.  These are always the first thing to go on headphones.  In the case of this particular pair, the foam covers went years ago so I bought replacement covers at some big box store that ended up being way too big and ill-fitting.  But I used them for a long time, until finally this morning I had had enough and I made custom crochet covers for them.

This is not the first time I’ve fixed headphones in this way.  The first time I did it was in 2008.  We were barely into our Peace Corps service and still living with our host family.  Somehow the foam covers of the headphones that I brought from the US had completely disintegrated by month two of life in Morocco.  Sure I could have requested that a new pair be shipped to me in my next care package, or even bought some in Morocco, but instead I chose the DIY route and crocheted myself a new pair of covers.  To my delight they worked great!

About one year after later while we were in Rabat for our mid service medical exams, I noticed that one of my volunteer friends, Dan, was having the same problem with his headphones.  Of course I just happened to have some yarn and a crochet hook on me at the time (who travels without these things?), so while he wasn’t looking I quickly made him a home-made pair too.  To my surprise, he was still using them one year later when we finished our service in November, 2010!

So this is my third time making headphone covers.  They are really easy to make.  Mine are just made by crocheting single crochet in the round in the general shape of the headphones until they are the appropriate size (most headphones are not perfect circles, so you’ll want to use your specific pair as a guide and get your crochet cover to match up as closely as possible).  Then I crochet one or two rounds more without increasing and the final round is a double crochet/single chain pattern that you weave a piece of yarn into so as to synch the cover over the headphone.  Easy!

This is not a glamorous project, but it is practical.  There are a lot of instances where something minor brakes or wears out on something that we use often.  Though we are capable of figuring out a way of repairing or replacing the worn/broken component, we tend to take the easy way out and just throw it away and buy a new whats-it.

Do you have a story about a time you used your crochet skills (or sewing, or knitting, or crafting, or woodworking skills, etc) to bring something broken back to life?  I’d love to hear them!  Leave a comment below or on the zween facebook page.

Happy crafting!

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I heart artichoke hat

Here’s a fun little project that I’ve been tackling the last few days.  The inspiration for this hat came this past Saturday from my table neighbor at the November Cleveland Craft Coalition Bazaar.  She had a beautiful scarf crocheted in a variegated fall color way using a crochet stitch that I had never seen before called the crocodile stitch.  Since I love learning new techniques,  I decided that I had to teach myself how to make this stitch.

The process of learning the technique was fairly easy with the internet.  All I had to do was google “crochet crocodile stitch” and I got tons of results.  I started with learning the basics from this video on YouTube.  After I learned the basics of the stitch I was ready to put it to use.

Though I think a scarf is a great application for this highly textured stitch, I wanted to try a hat, which is how I found this free crocodile stitch hat pattern.  What’s interesting about this pattern is that it’s worked from the bottom up, which is opposite from the way I am used to crocheting.  Along with becoming very familiar with the crocodile stitch by making this hat, I also needed to learn how to make a half double crochet foundation row, for which I used this YouTube video.  Unlike a regular chain stitch foundation row, the half double one allows for much more stretch.

As soon as I saw the pattern online I knew right away that I wanted to make my hat look like an artichoke.  I mean this stitch just screams ARTICHOKE to me!  Luckily, I had nearly an entire skein of Caron Simply Soft yarn in Dark Sage from the shamrock garland I made last March.

It was very easy to adapt the before-mentioned pattern to look more artichoke-like.  All I needed to do was create a stem on top to complete the look.  Easy!

Have you made something recently that utilizes a new technique?  I’d love to hear about it, or better yet see it!  You can post a photo of a finished project using a new technique that you learned on the zween facebook page, or just tell me the story of a project in the comments below.

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Wine Cork Car

Sometimes I get in a making rut.  I find that this usually happens when I want to get lots of stuff “done.”

Being goal oriented is important to be sure, but usually the best ideas come out of just playing around.  I’m not saying that making a car out of wine corks is the best idea that I’ve ever had.  That’s not the point.

The point is to exercise my mind and hands by creating something new.  Maybe it will fail, maybe it wont.

What you see here is another way for me to “sketch” out ideas.  Just as not all thinking needs to be done exclusively in the brain; not all sketching needs to be done on paper.

For those of you who are wondering, yes this car actually does roll!

Remember folks; drink and craft responsibly.

*This post has just been linked to Upcycled Awesome #68 over on The T-Shirt Diaries.

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Freecycle™

Recycling is so yesterday, today lets start Freecycling!

Recycling is great, but in reality it’s not ideal. Many of the products that we consume (plastic bags, cardboard, paper, plastic jugs, etc.) are not able to be recycled in the sense that we think that they can.

You may have heard this before, but when you recycle that 16 once pop bottle it does not become a new 16 once pop bottle. Instead it’s downcycled into something else (a park bench perhaps). The quality is poorer and the integrity of the plastic has been compromised, so new materials and chemicals are added to the mix to subsidize the new plastic material.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t recycle these “consumables.” In fact, most items that are able to be recycled at this time still make their way to the landfill.  So please, recycle away!

But what about all that other stuff we have?  You know, clothing, electronics, furniture, books, out-dated media, etc.  What should we do with that stuff???  Yard sales are a good option (in summer).  You could also list items on Ebay or Craigslist.  And donating to thrift stores and charities are curtainly a good option too.  But there is something else you could do with that stuff and it’s called Freecycling.

What is Freecycling?

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,985 groups with 8,777,806 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.  Whether you’re looking to discard or acquire and item, you can turn to FREECYCLE™  to do so.  All items are 100% free.

I first heard about this great resource this summer from the owner of Green Smart Gifts where I have some of my recycled-based work on consignment.

Here’s how Freecycling works:

First, go visit the The Freecycle Network™ site to find a Freecycle™ group in your local community and sign up to become a member (it’s free!).

After you become a member, you will have access to see listings for things that people are requesting and offering.  You will be able to make your own listings as well.  For instance, you might see a listing that says, “Wanted; size 8 girls clothing, in Lakewood.”  So, if you happen to have some size 8 girls clothing that you don’t need, you can let that person know, via email.

Now lets say you’re doing some spring cleaning and discovered that you have a bunch of old magazines that you weren’t going to look at again.  You would make a listing that would say something like, “Offer; assorted travel magazines, in Lakewood.”  When someone from the group wants what you have listed they will contact you via email.

Once the two parties have contacted each other via email they will arrange a date and time to pick up the items.  Usually the person with the item will leave said item in a box or plastic bag on their porch for the other person to pick up between designated hours.

Now tell everyone you know about Freecycle™ because the more people who participate and the larger the community grows, the better it will become!

Of course there is a bit of etiquette involved.  For instance, no shows (people who say they will pick up at a curtain time then don’t show up) can be kicked out of the group, as well as people who SPAM.  Also, and this almost goes without saying, you need to be very safe and careful about who you give your address or phone number to.

But really, it’s a great way to circulate unwanted but still usable items and materials in your community.

Freecycling is the perfect source for finding the kinds of materials I work with.  I recently requested old greeting cards for making my origami gift boxes and got three responses!  I also saw an offer for some old cassette and VHS tapes that I’m really excited about working with.  I’d like to make the plastic cassette tape casings into mini note books and crochet the tape itself into different things.

I thought the whole idea of crocheting a butterfly out of tape would be an ironic and interesting idea.  You know, because of the whole transformative nature of the process.

I hope that you have found this post about Freecycle™ informative and that you will consider using it as a resource in the near future.

Thank you for stopping by.  Happy Freecycling!

This post was just added to a link party at Skip to my Lou and Upcycled Awesome over on The T-Shirt Diaries. Check out some more awesomely upcycled projects here.

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