Hats for Young Runners

The New York Road Runners is not only a premier running organization for adults, they also offer extensive programming for children. Their Young Runners program is a free after-school program available to underserved communities in New York City. Their Mighty Milers program teaches kids of all fitness levels and abilities how to run or walk a half-mile, two to five times a week.

When The {NewNew} found out about a drive that combined the passion of quite a few of our members namely running and knitting, they were excited to commit their time to knit up hats for some of the neediest participants in the New York Road Runner Youth programs. Modeled by some of our "honorary" members, here are the first hats about to be delivered to the NYRR.

If this inspires you to donate some of your time to a charity crafting project, check out Lion Brand Yarn's Charity Connection hub where you can find out about charity projects in your community.

Happy Crafting


The {NewNew} Loves Etsy Labs

What? You don't know about Etsy Labs? Well let me tell you a little about this marvelous gem in Brooklyn, NY.

What started out as a few informal craft nights here and there has grown to become international and quite amazing. Etsy Labs is an amazing space located in the Etsy offices where Etsians from all over join to make amazing things and share ideas. The lab is full of fun things, like sewing machines, knitting needles, colorful paper and tons of yarn.

Many of these ideas are found at their CraftNights which are held a few times every month.
You can always check the Etsy Blog to find out when the next Craft Night is going to be held. Below is a short list of what local Etsians got to learn at past Craft Nights.

Not in the area you say? No problem! Etsy Labs has a ton of How To's from their How To Tuesdays to make you feel like your sitting right next to a Brooklyn Crafter! The Etsy Labs have also been traveling across the U.S. and around the world, spreading the word of teaching and crafting!!! Craft on!
Etsy Labs
55 Washington Street
Brooklyn, NY
when: check the blog regularly for the next Craft Night at Etsy Labs!

Lingua Nigra

Decorating for the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade!

Everyone has been busy as bees preparing for the upcoming Holiday Handmade Cavalcade (this Sunday!), and we thought we would give you a little sneak peek at our decorations that we have been making.  
Make sure you stop by on Sunday, December 5th, 2010 from 11am-8pm, to check out our fabulously decorated window display and to do your holiday shopping from over 40 amazing vendors!

How-To: Making a Miniature Artist's Canvas

I have always been obsessed with creating miniature versions of the things I use in my everyday life. I think the extra focus required to make miniature objects imbues the tiny things I make with a special quality--as if they are more charged with meaning than they would be at their regular size. Another reason to spend your time making tiny stuff is that it doesn't take up a whole lot of space, which, if you have friends who live in small apartments and want to give them beautiful handmade things but don't want to burden them with a lot of clutter, is a very good thing!

This tutorial will teach you how to make dollhouse-sized blank artists' canvases from empty tissue, granola bar and cereal boxes, which you can then paint and add to friends' art collections. I am hoping I can spark a whole trendy miniature painting craze!

Here's what you will need:
-empty boxes made from thin cardboard that you otherwise would have tossed into the recycling
-muslin fabric
-white glue
-acrylic gesso
-a normal size brush for applying the gesso, plus teeny tiny ones for doing the actual painting
-acrylic paints
-a gridded acrylic ruler is helpful for making accurate right angles when cutting up your boxes

Step 1: Figure out what size you want your miniature canvas to be. You can just eyeball the size if you like, but if you want it to be the perfect size to fit into a dollhouse, you'll want to do a little math. The standard size for dollhouse accessories is 1/12 scale, which means that you want to divide all your regular measurements by 12. If the full-sized painting would be 18 by 24 inches, then you want to make your mini canvas 1 and 1/2 inches by 2 inches.

Step 2: Once you have cut your cardboard to size, spread it with a thin layer of white glue and stick it to a piece of muslin. Make sure that the sides of your canvas are parallel to the grain of the fabric.

Step 3: Fold the fabric around to the back of the canvas and glue it down.

Make sure the folded fabric edge is glued slightly inside the edges of the cardboard so it can't be seen from the front.

Step 4: When your glue has dried, paint your canvas with a thin layer of acrylic gesso. You want to make sure not to put the gesso on too thickly, because being able to see the grain of your muslin is crucial to having a miniature painting that looks like the full-sized version. If you want to have an especially texture-y canvas, try different types of fabric and see which one looks best.

Paint gesso on the edges & back as well.

That's it! These miniature canvases are so easy and fun to make that you can create hundreds of them in nearly no time, then invite some friends over to have a painting party.

Then you and your friends can have a miniature art show:

Stella (lookcloselypress)

How To: Crafty Wedding Favor Bags Filled with Sweets

So you want to have a crafty wedding? Taking on the entire task of making and planning everything yourself can often be too much to bear. Instead, why not pick just a few things to make for your special day? Favors are a great place to start: they're simple and can be adapted to suit your tastes and colors.

These sewn favor bags are perfect for filling with any kind of candy or sweet you desire. I filled mine with my favorite handmade candies from Papa Bubble. Aren't those little hearts just adorable? If you are making cookies or little cakes simply make the bag a bit bigger.

What you need:
(these instructions are for making one bag, so multiply it for the amount of guests you have)

4" x 12" piece of wax paper
Paper and scallop edge scissors
Sewing machine and thread
Hole punch
Scrap of wallpaper or wrapping paper
Scrap of colored cardstock
5" string or thread
One shank button

1. Fold your piece of wax paper in half to make a 4" x 6" rectangle. Fold the top down 1 1/2".

2. Sew down both long sides of the folded wax paper, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim the threads. Tip: Use a leather sewing needle to sew through paper and make sure to change the needle before you go back to sewing fabric.

3. Use the scalloped edge scissors to trim the top part of the wax paper bag.

4. Cut a simple flower shape out of the decorative paper and punch a hole in the center. Type, write or print out your message on cardstock, punch a hole in one end and trim with scalloped edge scissors. Also, gather your button and string.

5. With the top of the bag folded over, punch a hole through the top of the bag in the center. Fill the bag with candy or other sweets.

6. Insert one end of the string through the hole from the back of the bag. String the written tag on first, then the flower and finally the button. Bring the other end of the string over the top of the bag, wrap around the back of the button and tie in a knot behind the button to hide it. Trim the string.
And there you have it! Simple and sweet favor bags for your special day!


Tutorial: Using Beaded Jacobean Couching to Fill Embroidered Shapes

This embroidery technique is a variation on a stitch called "Jacobean Couching" that uses beads to give your project some added elegance. This project is not difficult, though it is helpful to have some knowledge of basic embroidery. Here are the materials you will need:

1. Embroidery Floss.
2. Seed Beads.
3. Regular sewing thread in a color that matches your beads.
4. A heat-transfer pencil.
5. An air-soluble pen (a pen that makes a mark which will disappear in a day or so).
6. A transparent gridded ruler.
PLUS, tracing paper, scissors, a home iron, fabric to embroider your design onto, and an embroidery hoop. For this project I used a 6" hoop.

STEP 1: Trace your design onto tracing paper using the heat transfer pencil. I chose an eight pointed star - you can choose pretty much any image you like, as this technique works well for filling any simple shape.

STEP 2: Iron the design onto your fabric. Use the hottest setting that will work for your chosen fabric, turn the steam setting to "off," and do not let your design shift while ironing. My design was transfered after about ten seconds of ironing.

STEP 3: Outline your design using any stitch you like. I chose to use the Stem Stitch, which is illustrated below. For this project, I did my stitching with three strands of embroidery floss. A handy set of illustrations for various outline stitches can be found here.

STEP 4: You are going to run a series of parallel threads over the entirety of your design. I chose a distance of 3/8". Using your transparent gridded ruler, make small dots right next to your outline, indicating where your parallel stitches should be placed. The ink should disappear in a day or so, but it's still best to keep your marks as small as possible.

STEP 5: Using the marks you've made, create a series of long parallel stitches that fill up your entire shape.

STEP 6: Decide whether you would like to end up with a shape filled with squares or diamonds. If you want squares, you should make your second set of parallel stitches at a 90 degree angle to the first set. I decided I wanted diamonds, so I chose a random angle, and simply made all my stitches parallel to the first line that I made at random.

STEP 7: Once you have filled your entire shape with a grid of long stitches, you can start adding the beads. Thread your needle with a double strand of regular sewing thread, then bring your needle up through the fabric right next to the place where two threads cross.

Thread a bead onto your string, and bring your needle back down through the fabric on the opposite side of the crossed threads.

To make sure your beads are securely stitched onto the fabric, bring your needle back up, and make a second stitch through each bead before moving on to anchor the next intersection of threads. Keep going until you've tacked down all your threads.

STEP 8: Admire the beauty!

Valentine How-To: "Mad Love" Game Book

My partner and I love to do Mad Libs together, and we have gone through many of their books, including the romance one that inspired this Valentine's project.

This "Mad Love" book will be 5.5" x 8.5," so plan your paper accordingly. I made my inner pages in Photoshop, but would have been a little bit easier in a word processing program. For content, I drew from romantic things we both enjoy, such as movie plots with quotes, song lyrics, book passages and old blog posts. Here is an example page:

I found for movies it was straightforward to use plot synopsis from IMDB, and then include your favorite quote at the end. For song lyrics, don't forget the helpful word type of "rhymes with ...," since non-rhyming lyrics aren't as fun. In addition to your standard parts of speech (e.g. noun, verb, adverb), throw in some that are more specific such as "occupation," "silly word," "place," or "famous people." The ever classic "person in room" should not be overlooked.

For my book I did about 10 pages, but more or less would be cool considering how much time or interest you have.

Next the cover:
Day 5:  "Mad Love" Valentine

This is a blank template for you to fill in as a cover. You can download it directly from my Flickr site here. For the Photoshop savvy, go ahead and use a close-up image (camera phone style super close-ups work great for this) into the green square. For the less computer inclined, try printing out a photo or photocopying one and cutting it to fit in the square and gluing it in place.

Day 5:  "Mad Love" Valentine

Cover your eyeballs with the classic style googly eyes to make it look like the original store bought versions. You can download them on my Flickr, again. If you're only semi-experience with Photoshop, note that once you select the eyeballs and paste them into the image, EDIT > FREE TRANSFORM, is useful in this situation. Again, for the non-computer option, scale your eyeballs up or down and glue onto the faces.

Day 5:  "Mad Love" Valentine

Here is my finished cover. I printed it out on card stock, but if you don't have any, print on regular paper and then glue to something stiffer. At this point I also got all of my interior pages cut down to 5.5" x 8.5," and cut a backing piece of cardboard the same dimensions.


You've done all of the hard parts already, now we just staple the pieces together, like so.


And I covered the staples and top edge with fabric tape to give it a more polished feel.

"Mad Love" game book

I'm really excited to give this to my Valentine, and I hope that you have fun making some too.