Guinea Pig Pin Art

This month has been a busy one. I returned to work after a ten-week furlough spent crafting and writing. My next craft may seem like a strange one, but if you have a special love for an animal in your life, I think you’ll understand my inspiration. I also might be a little loopy from wearing a mask for 9-10 hours a day. Lately it seems the wackier the craft, the better it is for my psyche. Either way, I hope it inspires you to create a work of art starring your furry loved one.

First, let me tell you a little bit about my guinea pig, Madison. We adopted her about a year ago from a shelter. When we first saw her, we were struck by her beautiful brown fur. She is a crested, short hair pig with several colors of brown running through her fur and a shock of white. It took a bit for her to get used to us, but she has become one of our family and now rules the house. She has been a wonderful addition to our home and I wanted to make something for my daughter to hang in her room. Since July 16 is national guinea pig day in the U.S., I thought this would be the perfect month to create my baby pig in pin art form.

Items needed for this project:
1/2” thick foam board cut to 8 ½ x 11”
1 piece of 8 ½ x 11” black velvet contact paper
Sequin pins
Sequins (I used 5 mm cup facet)
Tissue paper for tracing
Clear sequin beads to help secure the sequins to the board

For this craft, I am again dabbling again in sequin pin art. After finishing several packaged and pre-printed sequin designs, I wanted to try my own design this time. I bought some ½ inch foam board and cut it 8 ½ x 11 (just after I bought the foam board, I received a package in the mail that was packed with the exact same type of foam, so you may already have this hidden away).

Next, I bought a roll of black velvet contact paper and cut it to fit the foam. Velvet contact paper is mostly used to line jewelry boxes, but I’m finding it has several other fun uses. It also comes in an array of colors, so you don’t have to use black. Because it came in a roll, I let the piece I cut flatten under some paint bottles for a few days so it would not curl up.

Then I printed a picture from the internet of a short-haired guinea pig, since I am not good at free-hand drawing. Enlarging the picture until it was the perfect size, I then traced the picture onto a piece of scrap tissue paper and pinned it to the velour. I used a picture of Madison on my phone to map out the color pattern of her fur, then I began to place sequins around the edges to further secure the tissue. When I finished, I picked out the tissue using a tweezers and a pencil. I have to admit, I found this part of the project oddly satisfying.

My daughter was quite pleased with the final product. I would like to think Madison is pleased as well. I definitely will be doing more pin art projects in the future. The possibilities are endless. With a handful of sequins and an idea, you can make anything a sparkly masterpiece.

My model relaxing in the fading sun.

Coronavirus Model

When boredom sets in, it can sometimes be very hard to get teenagers out of their room and off the phone. Or in my case, Fortnight. Being stuck in the house during this pandemic has been especially hard on one of my children. I decided to raid my craft cabinet and lure her out with a craft I thought would be a timely one. Luckily, it only took a few inexpensive craft supplies and little bit of time.

In just an afternoon’s time, we created a decent model of the coronavirus. It also allowed me to use some of those cardboard toilet paper holders we’ve been accumulating. I added a stray piece of yarn to mine so that I could hang it. After it was finished, I used it as a teaching tool to show how the virus sticks to counter tops or can hang in the air. Sometimes kids (mine especially) need constant reminders to clean their hands and giving them a way to see an invisible virus can help. I decided to hang mine up over the sink to remind them to wash their hands when they come inside.

1 toilet paper ring, cut in half
1 foam ball (any size will do. I used a 2 inch ball for my model)
1 cm red pom poms.
Toothpicks (sometimes you can find toothpicks already colored red)
Red paint and a paintbrush
Gray paint
String to hang the model. (optional)

First, cut the toilet paper ring in half. This is now your holder for the foam ball. Place your foam ball onto the holder and paint half of the ball with the gray paint. Let it dry and paint the other half. While I waited for the ball to dry, I painted my toothpicks with the red paint.

After the foam ball is completely painted and dried you can move on to adding your toothpicks. You can stick the toothpicks all around the foam in any way you choose, but to give the model a uniform look, I started placing the toothpicks on the top, bottom and sides of the model first.

Then place toothpicks in the front and back.

After the toothpicks are placed, dip the tips of toothpicks in some glue. Then place the pom poms onto the tips. I did half the model and let it dry and then did the rest after that side dried.

Add a bit of glue to the top to add some string if you desire.

Sequin Pin Art

Though I am fairly new to it, sequin pin art has become one of my favorite crafts. I have completed several projects already and can’t wait to try more. Not only is it easy to do, but the sparkle of the sequins makes it an eye-catching and fun finished product. So, when I saw this project depicting a cardinal in a craft catalog, I had to try it. I love cardinals and thought this piece would not only look good hung on my wall for Christmas, but also through the winter. It’s much like doing a paint by number, and the end result is something beautiful.

If I get a spare moment to myself, I love to pin while watching TV or listening to a pod cast. I found using little plastic cups to organize the different sequin colors was helpful. If you have a plastic egg crate, that works too. It is easier to have a table so you can’t lay out the sequins and pins so they don’t become lost on a seat cushion. A paper plate works, too.

The project featured below came with everything you will need to complete the project. Included was a stamped piece of black, velvet contact paper, a form board to stick it on, and loose sequins and pins. It also comes with instructions. I also purchased a wooden frame that was advertised with it to make it easy to hang on the wall. Because of the sharp sequin pins used, I would recommend it for teens and up. Here are some tips I have learned that might help you if you want to try sequin pin art for yourself:

  • I like to outline each object with sequins and then work my way in. That way if an object, like the birdhouse, has straight lines, they stay straight. This also give a uniform appearance to your sequins.
  • If the object, like the cardinal, is framed in finishing pins, leave room for those pins by placing sequins against the white line, but not on it.
  • With the snowflakes on this piece, I placed the first sequin in the middle of the snowflake first, then I worked my way out to keep them looking consistent.
  • Refer to the picture that comes with the project if you have a question about how many sequins to use. For the beak, I counted six sequins and laid them out before pinning to be sure they would look good.

Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked. I love the way the finished product sparkles on my wall. I had so much fun with this project that next I am going to try a free hand sequin project. Stay tuned to see those results.

Pumpkin Patch Infant Hat and Mitten Set

Knitting for a baby is a wonderful way to make a personalized gift, but the usual baby blanket takes a lot of time and patience. Instead, I like to knit hat and mitten sets for new arrivals. This way I can make something special for the baby, and save my sanity at the same time. Usually I knit with either pink or blue yarn, but if the baby is due in the fall, I came up with a quick pattern to dress the little one for the harvest.

This pattern is easy enough that it can be knit over a weekend. I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn in pumpkin and then Red Heart Café Latte for the pom pom on top of the hat. You will also need a pom pom maker, a tapestry needle to sew up the seams and some green ribbon for the mitten ties. I learned to knit using a mitten pattern and I still enjoy knitting them. It only uses a small amount of yarn, so you’ll have plenty left over to make more sets.

Pumpkin Patch Infant Hat & Mitten Set
Size 6 straight knitting needles
-1 tapestry needle
-Pom Pom maker
-30” piece of 1/8 inch green ribbon, cut in half
-Bernat Softee Baby in pumpkin
-Red Heart Super Saver in Café Latte

Infant Pumpkin Hat
-Using size 6 needles, cast on 56 stitches of Bernat Softee yarn in color Pumpkin
-Work in ribbing of k1, p1 for first 4 rows
-Then start pumpkin pattern as follows:

Row 1: *K7, P1, repeat from *, ending with K8.

Row 2: P row.

-Repeat rows 1 & 2 until piece measures 4 inches, then reduce as follows:
-*K2 together 3x, P2 together, repeat from *, ending with K2 together 4x.P row

-K2 together across row

-P row

-K2 together across row. Cut yarn leaving enough of a tail to sew the seam. Gather remaining 7 stitches and thread w/tapestry needle. Sew seam.

-Using a pom pom maker or a piece of cardboard, make a pom pom using the Red Heart yarn in color Café Latte. Attach to the top of the hat.

Thumbless Pumpkin Mittens
-Using size 4 knitting needles, cast on 30 stitches of Bernat Softee Baby yarn in color pumpkin.
-Work in ribbing, K1, P1 for 10 rows.
-Create eyelet as follows: K1, *yo, K2 together, repeat from *, ending with K1
-Continue ribbing, K1, P1, for 4 more rows.
-Then create pumpkin pattern as follows:
1. *K5, P1, repeat from *, ending with K6
2. P row
-Continue repeating rows 1 & 2 for 20 rows, then reduce mitten as follows:
-*K2 together 2x, P2 together, repeat from * ending w/k2 together 3x.
– P row
-K2 together across row, ending with K1
-P row
-K2 together across row.
-Cut yarn leaving a long enough length to sew the seam. Gather the remaining stitches on a tapestry needle and sew seam.
-Cut 30” ribbon in half so you have 2 15” pieces. Thread green ribbon in the eyelet holes and tie in a bow on the front of the mitten.

The Santa Scarf

Want an accessory that screams holiday cheer? Look no further, the Santa Scarf is the knitting project for you. This pattern is easy and simple enough to knit while you watch your favorite Christmas movie or binge Netflix. And if you are stuck in the house during the quarantine, now is the time to start a new project you can wear this holiday season. What better way to relax than to bring a little holiday cheer into your life? All you need is some basic knitting skills and some yarn to get started.

It took a few trips to the craft store to find just the right colors and textures to make this scarf work. Luckily, I was working on this pattern during the last holiday season and was able to do my research before the quarantine took effect. I settled on Lion Heart Basic Stitch in Red Heather for the bulk of the scarf and Bernat Pipsqueak in Whitey White for the trim. The Pipsqueak yarn is a bulky, baby yarn and it takes a while to get used to knitting it in the round, so I recommend taking it slow at first. But once you see how it works against the red yarn, you’ll see it was worth the effort. When I was finished, I closed the ends of the scarf with some white embroidering floss.

The Santa Scarf is a wonderful accessory to dress up any coat during the holiday season. Whether you are picking out the tree, holiday shopping, or attending the town tree lighting, the Santa Scarf is the perfect added touch. It will make any coat pop with Santa spirit and if you are a fast knitter, you may even be able to make a few for gifts. So, set up your favorite show and get knitting!

The Santa Scarf
24” size 10 circular knitting needles
3 skeins of Lion Heart Basic Stitch, Red Heather
2 skeins of Bernat Pipsqueak, Whitey White
White embroidering floss to sew ends

  1. Cast on 80 stitches of the Bernat Pipsqueak Whitey White yarn. Join in the round and K for next 30 rows, or until piece measures about 6”.
  2. Attach the Lion Heart Basic Stitch in Red Heather and continue to K in the round until piece measures about 50-55 inches.
  3. Reattach the Bernat Pipsqueak Whitey White yarn and K for 30 more rows. Bind off and sew ends together using the white embroidering floss or white thread.
  4. Wrap your finished scarf around your neck and feel the Santa Cheer! Enjoy!
Sewing the ends together