5 Pins I Tried & Actually Worked!


*This post contains links to pins in my Pinterest board, my store and other stores (affiliates) where I bought my materials. All the links will open in a new window and appear in *this style* (bold and teal color). Check my Privacy Policy for additional details.

My eyes are bigger than my Pinterest boards...*Sigh*

I have a horrible habit of constantly pinning things: while I wait for the Keurig to brew, while I wait for the laundry to get done ... you get the idea. And some if not most of my potential craft projects actually look crazy hard ... they seem too good to be true, right?

One of the things I promised myself for this year was to try, to just keep trying things. If I fail, I fail. If I do good, well, awesome :) I think it's more about doing crafts just for the sake of crafting and pushing your limits. I'm a children's illustrator as well as a fellow crafter and I can honestly say that the best work I've ever done has always happened when I:

  • Stepped out of my comfort zone

  • Kept going even if I lost the "I want to do this" feeling

  • Got rid of deadlines and was given free-reign to do whatever

I'm too hard on myself, demand too much and want to do everything at once. And I often do (everything at once, it seems), it's funny. I have the ultimate craft ADD - one day I am sewing quilts, the next day I am painting and two days later I am making resin jewelry. My husband says that he gets dizzy from trying to keep up with what I'm doing (LOL!)

Anyway, I'm going through my pins, having fun trying and I've compiled this list of sucessful projects - things that I highly recommend to try because they are easy enough for a beginner like me and they gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. So here it goes:

1. KnittING SOCKS

Pinterest link here

Materials:

-circular needles

-2 skeins of fingering weight yarn (100g ea)

You know what always looks very difficult to me? Knitting. I get lost somewhere between knit, knit, purl and skip one knit one. Info overload! BUT, I found a super-duper easy YouTube tutorial with a lady with the sweetest voice ever and it was so easy that I actually finish a pair of socks!

Now, As you can tell it isn't absolutely perfect due to my lack of technique knowledge (you lovely knitting ladies may have noticed), but for the majority of the project, I got honest-to-goodness cute wearable socks that I feel proud of. So try it! It felt wonderfully liberating.

The tutorial I used is from Tii Casa Knitting's YouTube series. I didn't have a pattern but for me I did 12 cast on stitches and after increasing it ended up being 60 stitches total, 30 on each needle (you have to watch the video so you know what I'm talking about). She gives tips on needle size and how to measure accurately ... I think I got it right out of sheer luck because it still is all baffling to me. But bless my heart, I pressed on and got a beautiful pair of socks. And I didn't have any stitch markers (I think you need like 20 or more) so I cut a lot of fabric scraps and tied the stitches with them (HA!) but it worked!

2. TODDLER PAJAMAS

Pinterest link here

Materials:

- It varies depending on size but at least 1/2 a yard of knit fabric with 50% stretch min.

- Elastic

- Scissors

- Your handy, dandy sewing machine plus thread, lots of thread)

- Peekaboo Pattern Shop's Alex & Anna Summer PJs pattern (see above for link)

This is not a free pattern but it was well worth my money, I can assure you. I'm actually pretty stingy when it comes to purchasing sewing patterns but you'll want a good, easy to follow pattern if you're hopelessly directions-challenged like me.

I have just basic sewing skills but it was very easy to follow their step-by-step PDF pattern which you will have to piece together and print at 100% scale (do not use "fit to page" when printing, I learned that the hard way). It took me maybe an hour and a half from start to finish and that was with me being interrupted by diaper emergencies and whatnot. Here I used 1 fat quarter of my own knit fabric that I designed and printed from Spoonflower ("Sweet Lumberjack", see it here) and the other fat quarter for the PJ bottoms I bought from littlearrowdesign ("Woodgrain Gray", see it here). It worked wonderful and I had more than enough fabric for 3T size PJs. It has sizes all the way to 12 which is makes it the pattern that keeps on giving.

2. SOAP MAKING

Pinterest link here

Materials:

- 10 oz of soap base (I got mine from Etsy here)

- 2 oz of essential oil (I got peppermint one from that same store)

- Silicone soap mold of your preference

Katie Shelton wrote this awesome step-by-step tutorial for A Beautiful Mess' blog and I tweaked the recipe a little because I didn't want grapefruit on mine and I added food coloring (hence the crazy blue swirl). Otherwise I followed the recipe and was pretty successful if I say so myself.

What got me interested in soap making was that my favorite local hand-made soap company was closed during the winter break, I couldn't place any orders and my husband and I are so picky about soaps ... anywho, we did the math and we usually paid around $7-$8 plus shipping for a bar of soap and when we figured out that we could actually make vegan soap for $3-$4 ea bar (after shipping) we were like heck yeah! It wasn't hard at all, and I opted for the melt and pour process because I have 3 very active children and there's no way we wouldn't have a catastrophe if I tried the cold process or hot process with the actual lye in it. Although is pretty safe and all, please be extra careful with children and pets. Don't leave your materials within a child's reach and wear gloves anyway, always err on the side of caution.

Pinterest link here

See recipe on Pinterest link for ingredients; I skipped the glaze and used a little bit of powder sugar instead. Awesome recipe from diethood.com

My kids go crazy for donuts! I wanted a healthier alternative because donuts are much too sweet and if you homeschool more than 2 children, the last thing you need is for them to have a sugar rush (you might as well give up for the day if they're all high on sugar).

It was a big hit with the kids! And the recipe was super easy, no problems for me (I'm usually terrible at baking but managed to do it right this time). Totally worth trying! I added

*This section contains an affiliate link (to Skillshare class) however, the calligraphy class review is my own personal opinion.

Skillshare link here

Materials:

- Pilot Parallel Caligraphy Pen (I got mine from Amazon here)

- Class exercise printouts (if you enroll in the class, there will be some printouts available for you to follow along).

The teacher (Alice Young) was great as far as explaining her technique in detail. What I really liked about this class is that the exercises she provides really do help you! The more you practice, the more natural the hand movements, angles and flourishes seem. By the end of the class, I was able to be able to have decent results given the fact that I had never tried this before (and my pen was new, I actually took the class because my husband bought me a set of calligraphy pens (thank you hubs!)

You know what this is great for: invitations, greeting cards, thank you notes, etc. And if you're looking to work as an Illustrator, this will come in so handy when you have to do editorials, book covers or some other designs. I have some greeting card projects lined up now thanks to this wonderful class ... Now, I like to take my classes at least twice (revisit the videos and exercises) because I am very impatient and sometimes skip to the good parts. Alice Young said "Don't skip this part because you'll actually need these exercises" or something like that and (rebel that I am) I skipped them but had to go back and do them. Like anything in life you need the foundations to build upon and this class was full of great tips that did produce great results. I was so happy to be able to do some flourishes that looked very neat.

You'll have to get very well acquainted with your pen, how it works, changing the inks, cleaning it out, etc and this course has it all. Time well spent. So in short:

PROS

• Exercise sheets that really help you improve hand movements, after you practice enough you don't hesitate and just go at it confidently.

• Detailed explanations on how to care for you Pilot parallel calligraphy pens, etc. When I got my set I had no idea what to do so it was a big help.

• Good examples, great teaching throughout

• Excellent investment if you are into lettering or work on stationery design and/or illustrations.

CONS

• You'll have to buy the calligraphy pens and inks. The pen comes with 2 inks (red and black) and I had gone through both inks by the end of the class. It goes fast so you'll want to buy plenty of it.

• When you finish the class and are ready to try and do it on invitations or make a poster/print, you'll have to buy special paper because regular copy paper bleads, and you need better paper as most of them won't get you that crisp look that you need. If you're going to do invitations by hand it's something you'll want to look into.

Do you have any Skillshare class suggestions for me to try? Send me an e-mail and I'll definitely check it out.

I hope that this helps! Until my next craft and class shenannigans then.

- Gina

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