Curious and Catcat

Friday, May 29

A family reunion

Last weekend we had one of those rare family reunions. My brothers and I all study in different cities in Germany and getting together sometimes else than Christmas is not so easy. Then last weekend everyone miraculously had time and the weather forecast promised high temperatures and lots of sun, so we all met up at our parents house. My parents moved to that place after we'd all moved out and it's obviously not made for a family of five plus girlfriends/boyfriend. We had kind of a camping/sleepover situation in the room on the first floor because (surprisingly) my parents don't have six guest beds. It was fun!
We had a great time making the best of the great weather and exploring the beautiful nature in the Mecklenburg Lake District. It's beautiful. It's one of the things that I look forward to every time I visit my parents.
Then on the second day we decided to go to the seaside. It's just one hour by car so we packed the dog, the quadrocopter, roller blades and took of towards the sea where we had the greatest time. I ate way too much ice cream, waffles with cherries and vanilla sauce and fries, we took a collective nap on the beach and got sunburns on our faces, my little brother flew his quadrocopter around and let our dog chase it. It was perfect. The pictures below only show me and the boyfriend, but they were there, I swear it!

Thursday, May 21

The greatest crochet statement necklace you ever made | DIY

We're teaming up with pandahall.com again for this great tutorial that I have for you today. This crochet statement necklace is one of my favorite jewelry DIY tutorials of all time! It's so gorgeous. And I'm not just saying that because I made it. I would totally buy that thing.

But before you stop reading because you think 'That necklace looks insanely difficult to make. I'm leaving.' or 'I'm a complete beginner in jewelry making, I can never make something so advanced.' or something like that - It is NOT difficult. It is not. If you know how to open and close jump rings and know basic crochet stitches (chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet) you can totally do this! The tutorial is lengthy but I tried to explain everything as clear and easy to follow as possible.

I always feel that the most difficult part about making a great statement necklace is to plan the design and to buy the right supplies. I already did the planning for you and I can help you with the supplies as well. So let's jump right in and make a crochet statement necklace!

What you need:


BEADS & OTHER:
small beads (I used glass beads and chose these cute faceted black ones)
stretchy jersey fabric or t-shirt yarn (buy or DIY)
cotton thread (nice and shiny)

JEWELRY FINDINGS:
thin chain
chunky chain - I got mine from the supercraft kit #14 but you can find similar chain here
jump rings (I used 4mm and 6mm jump rings)
end caps (4 mm in diameter)

TOOLS:
sidecutter
round nose pliers
chain nose pliers
needle
jewelry glue
bobby pin
scissors
crochet hook 3mm

How it works:


1. At this point I usually draw a sketch of what I want the necklace to look like. with the jersey woven through the chunky chain and the crochet part I found that difficult to draw, but arranging like in the picture above works, too. It helps to get a feeling for size and dimensions, too. The chunky chain is already cut to my desired length in that picture. You do that just by cutting it with a sidecutter.

If you don't use t-shirt yarn but jersey fabric, you now cut a longer piece that is about 4 cm wide and stretch it thoroughly. The edges will toll inward and you will end up with beautiful t-shirt yarn that is easy to use in the following steps.
2. Use the bobby pin as 'needle' for the t-shirt yarn. Lay the big chain in front of you and straighten it out, so the chain links are always at a right angle to each other. Now thread the jersey through the links. Go from back to front for the first link and from right to left for the second, back - front, right - left, back - front, and so on.
It's not that important in which direction you thread through the chain, but it's important that it's the same direction every time. You'll see a pattern form after a few links. Continue to the end of the chain.

3. So, you see that wavy pattern that the jersey makes, right? Up and down and up... The next step is now to put jump rings (7mm) around the bottom parts of the wave. This can be a bit tedious, but we are not in a rush, are we? Take your time. I left the two or three waves at the ends without jump ring, but you could continue until you reach the end.
 3. Now comes the fun part! Take your cotton yarn and the crochet hook (3mm) and let's crochet!
Start by making 10 chain stitches.

Now connect with the first jump ring at one end of the chain. To connect, go through the jump ring in the opposite direction you are working in and pull the thread through (I went from right to left, so the crochet hook has to go from left to right through the jump ring). You have now two loops on the hook. Pull the yarn through both.

Continue in chain stitch until you reach the next jump ring. For me that was three chain stitches between each jump ring. continue in this fashion until you reach the last jump ring. Connect and add 10 chain stitches at the end.

4. Turn your work like it's a normal crochet work. Work the next row in single crochet until you reach the third jump ring. Double crochet until there are three jump rings left. Finish in single crochet. Cut the thread and pull it through the last loop.
5. Now add the beads. I simply threaded the cotton thread onto a needle, put the beads into the spaces between the jump rings and pushed a needle through from left to right. Fixate at the ends, weave the ends in and you're done. Easy peasy.
6. No we're already at the finishing touches. First, add the end caps. To do so you twist the jersey and the crochet cotton thread ends together very tightly. Hold and cut very close to your fingers. Put a drop of glue into the end cap and put it onto the twisted ends. Repeat for the other side. Let dry.

7. Cut the thin chain to desired length (remove the bottom part). Make sure, the closure stays in the center of it. With a smaller 4mm jump ring connect the chain with the end caps.


Tadaa! I love my crochet statement necklace! I love the cool grey tones because they can go with basically everything. But I can imagine that the necklace would look just as great in brighter colors or with beads or crochet part in a contrasting color. What do you think?


Thursday, May 14

Plants

This is a very unspectacular post. It's just plants. But it's not just plants. I've been collecting succulents and other plants since we moved to this appartment, they're my tiny green friends and they've grown so much over the past two years! I've leaned a lot about keeping succulents alive and it's not as easy as everyone thinks. Sure, once they reach a certain size they really are hard to kill, but I find they're much more difficult to care fore while they're babies. Or maybe it's just me and I'm the only person capable of killing succulents?
I stumbled over pictures from shortly after moving here and you could see that cactus in one of the small greyish pots where I grow succulent cuttings now! So tiny! I must have at least done some things right.

Tuesday, May 12

Alphabet pendants and how to make easy tassels | DIY

Hey guys! I hope you aren't yet tired of alphabet beads, because here comes another tutorial with pastel colored alphabet beads this time. We're making fun and easy pendants that can be used for personalized necklaces or keys or loads of other different purposes.  I'll also show you how you can make very easy tassels for jewelry without end caps and glue. It's a great project to make for or with kids!

What you need:


BEADS:
alphabet beads (I used acrylic beads in mixed pastel colors)

chain - if you want it to be a necklace pendant
eyepins - the ones I used are 5cm long and hold up to 5 alphabet beads. For longer words use longer eyepins.
jump rings (I used 4mm and 6mm jump rings)

TOOLS & OTHER:
round nose pliers
chain nose pliers
needle
nylon cord (similar here)
lighter

How it works:

1. To make a simple tassel you cut a long strand of the nylon cord and fold it in half and fold that in half and repeat until it has about three times the length that you want it to be. Pull it through one of the 6mm jump rings.

2. Fold the nylon cords over the jump ring like in the picture above. Find one of the two loose ends of the cord and thread it through the needle. Now wrap that loose cord around the whole strand of cords for a few times, just below the jump ring. While you hold everything tight with your left hand, push the needle down behind the wrap you just made, pull through and tighten up.

3. To finish up the tassel, cut it to your desired length and carefully melt the ends with a lighter to prevent the cords to unravel. You've made a tassel!

4. Now, the next steps are very similar to the instructions for the alphabet necklaces. String the alphabet beads onto an eyepin. Make sure there are about 1-2cm left at the end to create a second eye.

5. To make the second eye, grip the pin with the chain nose pliers right behind the last bead and bend the remaining pin into an 45° angle. Now make a loop with the round nose pliers until the end of the pin points downwards, cut away the excess wire using the sidecutter and maybe correct slightly with the chain nose pliers again. Here's also a nice video tutorial.

6. Add a 4mm jump ring to one end of the eyepin. Connect the eyepin and the tassel with a 6mm eyepin.

The pendant is now complete and can be strung onto a necklace or used as a key pendant or anywhere else you  would want to add a personal touch. I know that I had similar pendants on my pencil case and on my backpack in school. They would also make great gift tags for birthdays!


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