Friday, March 29

Wooden Crochet Easter Eggs + Exciting News!

Good news times two, beautiful people! For one, I managed to finish my Easter craft. I've accepted that I will never hardly ever finish more than one craft project for a holiday, but I'm so happy that I finished these in time -- I've been dreaming about them since my crochet bead project! For another, I am sharing these pretty eggs & the crochet pattern for the blue and pink eggs in my first ever guest post over on ThinkCrafts

I was contacted by ThinkCrafts a few weeks ago about guest posting, and turns out I will actually be a regular contributor to the site starting in April! I'm slated to do two crafty posts a month for the site, and I will admit, I am feeling a bit nervous about actually coming up with quality DIYs on the regular... I'm excited about the challenge and I'm hoping that it will inspire me to actually finish projects more often. Can I get an AMEN from all my crafty sisters out there? ;) 

SO, pretty please check out my little guest post & tutorial over on ThinkCrafts! I just think these eggs turned out so pretty, and they're just complicated enough to give you a real sense of accomplishment upon finishing one. But I promise, they aren't as tricky as they may seem! 

Have you been busy making Easter pretties? Leave a link in the comments -- I'd love to see!
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Wednesday, March 27

Craft Envy: Easter Pretties

1: Grown Up Easter Basket // 2: Nail Polish Marbled Eggs // 3: Egg Shell Flower Arrangement
4: Washi Tape Bunny Art // 5: Crocheted Easter Eggs // 6: Hollow String Eggs
I don't know about your internet habits, but my browser seems to be filled with Easter-related crafts, eats, and other exciting things. Personally, I am always crafting holiday-related things down the wire, and even after the holiday has passed. I don't know why... Maybe it's my accidental procrastinator gene acting up again. 

1: Wooden Color-Blocked Candle Holder Eggs // 2: Ombre Easter Eggs // 3: Amigurumi Bunny
So between feverishly trying to finish something Easter themed, I took some time gather up inspiring crafts from around the web. Maybe you'll make some of these pretties before Sunday, hmm? :) 
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Monday, March 25

Granny Blanket Progress!

Friends, I have made such progress on my granny blanket! It's kind of hard to tell, because my new squares are so much smaller than the original squares... Can you tell? I'm up to almost a full sixth round... What do you think? I still don't know how big it will be when I'm done... But it's still progress towards completing one of my half-finished projects

It's getting tricky to combine the colors in new ways... I find that I always want to pair greens with purples, blues with oranges, and reds with neutrals... Trying to break out of that has admittedly resulted in some ugly pieces, but I think it will all balance out in the end! 

Want to make a blanket of your own? Check out the tutorial here. :) 

Also... Do your toes ever stretch out your socks like this? Somebody needs a pedicure! 

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Saturday, March 23

Bloglovin': A Review

As promised, I'm back with a review of Bloglovin', another reader alternative to Google Reader in addition to Feedly. I mentioned that I've never been a big fan of Bloglovin', but the service really has grown on me over the past week or so of playing around on it.

Just as in Google Reader and Feedly, you can organize your subscriptions into category folders of your choosing. As you can see below, one of my folders is "DIY." You can view all the posts in a folder, or select specific blogs. I'm all about organization!

The thing I have always liked about Bloglovin' is that posts open up in a "Bloglovin' frame" that displays the post in the original web page. Not only does this show you the bloggers blog design, but it also makes it super easy to comment right there in Bloglovin'. You can also use the "Next" and "Prev." buttons at the top to scroll through all your unread posts and favorite them as you go.

Another plus about Bloglovin': They make it SUPER easy to discover new blogs in different categories! Going to "Top Blogs" on the left allows you to search for popular blogs you may not have heard of. You can narrow down the selection as well (I typically browse "DIY/Crafts", of course). 

All that being said, I still prefer Feedly thus far. For one, not all blogs are set up on Bloglovin', whereas Feedly simply requires an RSS feed. Plus I don't find Bloglovin' as pretty... And I'm reeeally not a fan of their app... But they do alphabetize my blog list, which I DO wish Feedly would do! ;)

What do you think? Which service seems more your style in this post-Google Reader world? Or do you use a different feeder all together? I recently discovered Hello Cotton... Any thoughts or experiences with that service?

P.S. Don't forget to contact me about adding your button to my sidebar! I'm all about the free promotion right now, people. :) ;)
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Friday, March 22

A Birthday Well-Spent :)

Sooo Wednesday was my birthday! The big 2-3... And it was a good day indeed. :) Boyfriend bought me my birthday donut -- a family tradition since I turned two. He then completed breakfast/brunch with homemade low-cal stuffed French toast (I'm a lucky lady)! We painted pottery for a while at a local art studio (my favorite). We chose a set of coasters, which was interesting... We each painted two, and we have COMPLETELY different styles & tastes... I'll keep you posted on those. ;) Then we grabbed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, picked up my birthday present to myself (an iPad!!!), and went to the Red Wings game. We finished the night with some fancy cupcakes, cuddles, and New Girl. Ahh, the perfect day! 

I'm big on birthdays. They're the one day a year that celebrates you and your presence in the world... I have been known to be a little over zealous about my loved ones' birthdays... SORRY I'M NOT SORRY!

What would be your perfect birthday day? :)
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Tuesday, March 19

Feedly: A Review in a Post Google Reader Blogosphere

If you use Google Reader, or if you read a blog at all (which you obviously do, hardy har), then chances are great that you already know about Google Reader's upcoming demise. Chances are also good that you, like most of us bloggers, freaked out a bit at this announcement and immediately started contemplating alternatives... 

My first thought was Bloglovin', which I have tried out in the past but was frankly never all that impressed with. Then I started seeing posts by fellow bloggers mentioning both Bloglovin' and a service called Feedly, a Google app. Of course I was curious (and not all that excited about Bloglovin') so I was pretty quick to check it out. And really, I have been surprisingly impressed with Feedly! Since Bloglovin' is clearly taking the lead as a Google Reader alternative, I thought I'd give Feedly some love and do a little review for all you wonderful bloggers and blog readers out there. :) 

Don't worry though, I'll be back with an overview and review for Bloglovin' later this week, and I have grown to appreciate Bloglovin' much more the more I've worked with it. 

Now, the first thing I did was download the Feedly app on my (Android) phone. And let me tell you, the widgets for this app are gorgeous!  I love the way it looks on my homescreens (unbelievably more beautiful than Google Reader's widgets). 

Look at that! So lovely. I'm all about the aesthetics, people. ;) 

Now on your computer, you need to install Feedly into your browser. It's super self-explanatory from the feedly website, I promise. Plus, Feedly fully integrates with your Google Reader settings. Any folders you had set up in Reader, all the sites you were subscribed to, all your "starred" posts -- all of that will transfer into Feedly. Not bad, eh? You simply sign in using your google info. Again, it's self-explanatory. 

**Click the photo to enlarge**
The Feedly "homepage" looks like this. There are different personalization options as well, which of course I appreciate... The aesthetics! You can change the theme colors (similar to gmail settings), and the layout of your feeds has a number of options. This is the "magazine" layout. 

You can see along the sidebar that you can organize your feeds into folders (DIY, Eats, Lifestyle), which makes flipping through categories simple. Another neat feature is the ability to "tag" read posts! My list of tags is underneath the category folders (To Feature, Craft Idea, Recipe, etc.). I'm loving being able to label my saved posts. So easy to reference later! The little green heart with the numbers at the bottom of each post description shows you how many people have "saved" that post. Pretty neat, eh?

**Click the photo to enlarge**
When you click on a post in your home page, it "opens up" as shown above. I like the sleekness of it, and that it doesn't just look like a blog post turned to plain text somehow. 

By clicking the "preview" button to the above right of the post title, you will open a pop up of the actual blog page that is still within your reader window, like this:

**Click the photo to enlarge**
This is something I really appreciate, because as a blogger, I know how much effort we put into our blog layout. So much of that goes unnoticed in feed readers, and I really enjoy looking at others' blog designs! :) Plus, I think it's nice to look at a post just as the author intended, in the context of their overall design scheme. Plus, this lets you comment on a post without really leaving your reader! 

I'm not saying that Feedly is perfect, but I am saying that I think it's awesome, ha! I'm really loving it, and wanted to recommend it to everyone quickly jumping ship to Bloglovin' (which certainly has good points of its own). 

In a sense, I'm not that sad about Google Reader biting the dust anymore. It's been a great opportunity to weed out my numerous subscriptions, reorganize, and try out new reader options! As a blogger, I highly recommend that other bloggers check out as many reader avenues as possible, to understand how your readers are viewing your content. I actually "subscribe" to my own blog on different services so I can make sure my posts are showing up okay and working in different platforms! 

Well, how do you think Feedly looks? Have you tried it out yourself, or will you? 

I look forward to your thoughts! And please, if you follow me on Google Reader, consider switching your subscription to another service soon! :) I've included easy follow buttons at the bottom of this post, as well as on my blog sidebar! Thanks in advance! 

P.S. - I'm still looking to fill out my sidebar with lovely craft & lifestyle blogs similar to my own. If you'd like me to add your button, shoot me an email at monmakesthings[AT]gmail[DOT]com or leave a comment! :)

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Monday, March 18

The Art of Patrón

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted about a craft/art contest sponsored by Patrón tequila, and I am so excited to tell you about it! 

Admittedly, I'm not a big tequila drinker. I prefer whiskey, rum, or even bourbon, but that's beside the point. Despite my ambivalence toward tequila, I am a fan of Patrón. Patrón comes in beautifully crafted hand blown  glass bottles that are in themselves small works of art. I've always wanted to take a glass blowing class... But again, that's a story for another day. ;)

So what's the deal with the contest? Well, artists and crafters age 21 and up are invited (and encouraged!) to reuse and re-imagine Patrón bottles (or any part of a bottle) into artwork or a functional item.  Ten finalists will be selected to win a cash prize, and one grand finalist will win $10,000!

All you've gotta do is make something, write up a brief description, submit it to and cross those fingers! And for you non-tequila drinkers, you can even buy empty bottles on ebay. How easy does that make things? ;)

So what do you say? Wanna play with pretty bottles with me?! Submissions are due April 30th!

**All images via
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Sunday, March 17

Oops, I Did it Again

Well folks, turns out I just can't leave well enough alone and have thus redesigned my blog yet again! I put a bit more effort into this one, trying to create a thorough and cohesive look that represented me and my bloggy here. 

I finally incorporated some category links, revitalized my sidebar, and am going to start posting buttons for some of my favorite blogs. If you'd like me to add your button and think your blog meshes well with mine, please, contact me! :) 

What do you think of the changes? I added a new "pin it" hover button, new titles for my sidebar sections, new social media icons, a new "hello," and (obviously) a new header and navigation bar! 

I secretly love playing with my site designs... When I was in high school, I would stay up all night tweaking my MySpace layout. Ahh, the glory days. ;) But seriously, it is way past my bedtime. Darn blog design has sucked me in again!!

I can't wait to hear your thoughts, beautiful people. And please, contact me about adding your buttons! ♥♥

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Friday, March 15

Granny Blanket How-To

You wanted it, you got it, folks! I'm back with my hexagon granny blanket how to. As I may have mentioned, I lost the pattern for this blanket years ago. I swear that it was in an old "Crochet!" magazine, but I can't find it and the internet has failed me. So I inspected the pieces I made years ago and played a bit until I figured it out. My new pieces are still different, but that's because when I started this blanket I had no knowledge of the magic circle and my tension left a lot to be desired. 

Above is the "evolution of a granny square!" Hah, get it? It shows each round and what pieces look like when they're joined. I'm using a J hook because I know that's what I used initially, but if I were to start again I'd probably use an H hook.

*Note: I found it easiest if I left a long tail at the beginning of each round as well as at the end so that I could really weave the ends in well with a yarn needle.

Using worsted weight yarn in the color of your choice, make a magic ring. Chain 3 (counts as one double crochet), and do 11 double crochets into the ring. Join to the top of the chain 3 with an invisible join, and pull the circle tight. Weave in your ends with a yarn needle. (this is a sea penny... and I love them!)

With worsted weight yarn in a second color, start with a standing stitch (a double crochet) in one of the stitches from the previous round. Double crochet again in the same stitch, chain 1, and do 2 more double crochets in the same stitch. Skip one stitch. In the next stitch, do 2 double crochets, chain 1, and 2 more double crochets. Repeat around! Join to the top of the first stitch with an invisible join or a slip stitch. Weave in your ends with a yarn needle. Each of the six chain spaces will serve as a "corner."

With a third color, start with a standing stitch in one of the spaces of the previous row. You can start wherever you'd like, but in each chain space (corner) you will do 3 double crochets, 1 chain, and 3 more double crochets. In each space between the double crochet clusters of the previous round (the sides), do 3 double crochets. Join to the top of the first stitch with an invisible join or a slip stitch. Weave in your ends with a yarn needle. Again, the six chains will serve as the corners. 

I mentioned that I am using the "join-as-you-go" method on this blanket. Basically, before finishing the third round of each hexagon, you will crochet it into the blanket, replacing each chain or space with a slip stitch into the spaces of adjacent hexagons. There is a much better explanation over at Attic24

I hope this made sense. It's really more of a tutorial than a pattern... To review, here are the basics: 
  • Round 1 - 12 dc
  • Round 2 - {2 dc, 1 ch, 2 dc} in every other st around = 24dc, 6ch
  • Round 3 - {3 dc, 1 ch, 3 dc} in every corner space, 3dc in every side space = 54dc, 6ch

Well... What do we think? Is this something you'd try out? 

Also... Would anyone be interested in a "how to crochet" series? Something going over the basics? 
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