Every summer of my youth, my sister and I would spend one week with our Grandma Nalley in Fairview Heights, Ill. Our visits were leisurely vacations during which Grandma would teach us card games, play John Wayne movies for us and try to teach us how the art of crochet.

Deftly working simple white thread with a single needle, Grandma created beautiful pieces of functional art. Over the years, I watched her crochet coverlets, table cloths, doilies and her signature angel ornaments. A creative woman, she learned using other people’s patterns, but over time she created many of her own.

Eventually she expressed her desire to pass on her patterns to her granddaughters and tried to teach us her beloved art. My sister took to it like a fish to water. I, on the other hand, couldn’t get the hang of the technique and gave up on the craft.

Nearly 20 years later I decided to try my hand at crochet, again. With a copy of Better Homes and Gardens’ 1-2-3 Crochet, a hook and blue yarn, I set my sights on a basic winter cap.

I’m proud to say that I completed a cap that fits and found I enjoy crocheting. I enjoyed it so much that I think one day I’ll borrow a few of Grandma’s patterns from my sister. For now I’ll stick with my beginner projects.

My Crochet Cap

Modeling my crochet cap. Photo: Scott D. Weaver Photography

Materials:
1-2-3 Crochet: Project Packed Beginner’s Guide – Cool Cap Pattern
Caron Simply Soft Yarn – Light Country Blue
E/4 (3.5mm) Hook
Lock Ring Markers

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A book release, other distractions and general laziness are a few of the excuses I offer for neglecting my blog and my crafts. The time for excuses has past and I’m rebooting Made By: Patty.

One of my recent projects wasn’t a craft, but it did require some creativity and knowledge of Photoshop. In August, I designed of an insert for my husband’s photo book All Access: The Photographs of Kansas State Athletics. The intent of the postcard-sized insert is to direct book buyers to the All Access website where they can purchase prints from the book.

To create the insert I used the basic design elements used in Scott’s book: a good photo, black background, and white font. The photo, taken by Scott, was staged on a narrow wall at our house. Actually, the wall was so narrow that I had to clone 2.5 inches of the wall to create the 4×6 insert. The cloned area served as the background for the main text.

After the digital file was created, we submitted it to PrintsMadeEasy.com and within a week we had 1,500 inserts in our hands to place in the books.

Photo of All Access Book Insert

Digital image of All Access book insert.

Programs/Electronic Files:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Dirty Ego Font
  • Helvetica Font
  • Bank Gothic Medium BT Font

This summer I am participating in Velocity Church’s Let’s Cook group. It’s a small group of ladies gathering once a week to share good food, swap recipes and form new friendships.

This group gave me the push to design the recipe cards I’ve been meaning to make for over a year. I don’t know why I didn’t get this done in the last 12 months. It was a super easy project.

I designed the 4×6 inch recipe card in Adobe Photoshop using a neutral color palette, rectangles and a few special shapes to jazz up the card. The result was a recipe card I was proud to hand out at dinner.

Photo of Patty's Recipe Card

Photo by Scott D. Weaver Photography

Materials/Tools:

  • 100 lb. Bright White Paper
  • Printer
  • Paper Trimmer

Programs/Electronic Files:

Every two years my maternal grandmother’s family gathers for a reunion. Much like the Olympics, we alternate the event’s location based on the host family’s residence. This year we met at Cascade, Co., and in 2013 we’ll get together in my hometown, Topeka, Kan.

Photo of magnet and coasters gift

Reminder magnet attached to bamboo coasters with raffia.

I designed a reminder magnet for the 2013 reunion to hand out with a gift of bamboo coasters at this year’s reunion.

My parents wanted to use a sunflower to represent Kansas as part of the 2013 reunion theme, so I reviewed several images of sunflowers. After getting a few ideas from these images I created my own sunflower in Adobe Photoshop.

  1. First, I created the center of the flower using a brown circle as the base and one of the brushes from the Heavens Door set to create the impression of seeds.
  2.  Next, I create one sunflower petal. I warped a yellow oval to resemble a petal. I added and warped orange-yellow lines to give the petal dimension.
  3. Then, I duplicated this petal to create a top layer of 20 petals. Each petal was individually rotated and placed around the brown center.
  4. Then, I duplicated the top layer of petals to create the bottom layer and darkened the petal and line colors. I rotated the bottom layer to fill in the gaps behind the top layer.
  5. Finally, I applied a drop showdown to each petal to add more dimension to the flower.

Using my new sunflower as the centerpiece, I designed the reminder magnet.

  1. First, I merged all layers of the sunflower and resized it to 2.4 inches.
  2. Next, I placed a blue, 3.5-inch circle behind the sunflower layer.
  3. Then, I added text using the fonts Birth Of A Hero and Baar Sophia. Birth Of A Hero, size 29, was used for the event title and Baar Sophia, size 12, for the location and date.
  4. Finally, I added a few back ground graphics using a few more of the Heavens Door brushes in a slightly lighter blue and brown colors.
Image of Reminder Magnet File

Electronic file of reminder magnet.

Once the magnet design was complete, I printed five to a page on soft gloss photo paper. I then roughly cut out each circle with scissors and I placed them on the adhesive magnetic sheet. I used my 3.25 inch circle cutter to cut each magnet in a perfect circle. The magnets were then attached to bamboo coasters using raffia and passed out to each family at the 2011 reunion.

If you’d like to download the color palette I created, you can find it at www.colourlovers.com/palette/1655760/Sunflower_Field.

Materials:

  • Adhesive Magnetic Sheet
  • Soft Gloss Photo Paper
  • Creative Memories Circle Pattern Cutter System
  • Ink Jet Printer

Programs/Electronic Files:

My family gathered at my house on Christmas Day 2010 for dinner, games and a day of togetherness. While my family is pretty casual and laid-back, I decided to infuse some formality into the event. I broke out the china and made place cards for everyone.

Handmade Place Cards

Christmas dinner place cards. Photo by Scott D. Weaver Photography.

The following steps outline how I created the place cards:

  1. Draw borders and names on ivory cardstock. I used my Silhouette SD, Silhouette sketch pen holder and a gold gel pen. Each border box was set at 1.5 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide. After drawing the borders and names, I used my paper cutter to cut each 1.75 inch by 2.75 inch place card.
  2. Cut out the Christmas star. I used metallic gold vellum paper and burnt sienna
    Christmas Star Silhouette SD File

    Christmas Star Silhouette SD File

    cardstock to make the star.After cutting, I attached the smaller vellum piece to the cardstock piece to create the whole Christmas star shape. The cutting file I created for the star is free for your use. Request file via comment.

  3. Attach Christmas star to place card. I used Scotch double-sided adhesive tape runner to attach each star to a place card. Six months later it’s holding strong on each of the cards.
  4. Put place card in holder and enjoy! I used ornament place card holders from Pier 1.

Materials:
1 Sheet 8½x11 Metallic Gold Vellum Paper
1 Sheet 8½ x11 Burnt Sienna Cardstock
1 Sheet 8½ x11 Ivory Cardstock
Gold Gel Pen
Adhesive
Adhesive Pen
Paper Cutter
Place Card Holders