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Gourd Enthusiasm Growing Around The World

(category: Crafts, Word count: 596)
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Gourds played an essential role in the daily life of early cultures. Commonly used as containers and vessels, they were also used for musical instruments. Some cultures used gourds for birdhouses and feeders and this is what most people today think of when they hear the word gourd. Or maybe you can remember a dipper made out of a gourd at Grandma's house years ago.

Now artists and crafts people have discovered a new medium to develop their creativity. I'm not sure when the gourd craze officially started but it worked it's way into my life a number of years ago by way of an article in a gardening magazine. It looked interesting and so that spring I decided to grow a couple gourd plants.

My first creations were, of course, birdhouses. Later, after some research and book purchases, the world of gourds exploded and I have found that the creative possibilities are limitless. Even if you can't come up with your own ideas there are a multitude of books and tutorials written by gourd artists and crafters explaining different techniques that can be done with gourds.

Gourd craft is working its way into the hands of accomplished artists who have found the gourd to be an exciting new way to showcase their art. They are not just for crafters anymore.

So now that you have gotten a little gourd enthusiasm of your own what comes next? Well, the gourd of course. Gourd growers and suppliers, once few and far between, are beginning to pop up everywhere. Many can be found on the internet.

Gourds come in all shapes and sizes, from minis to giants. The name of the gourd can give you a clue about the shape, such as egg, cannonball, canteen, basketball, bottle and so forth. You get the idea.

In order to work with the gourd it must be dry. If you happen to find gourds being sold in the fall at a farmers market they will most likely be freshly harvested. These will have to dry for a few months to a year or more depending on size. I personally don't like to purchase green gourds, as they are called, just in case they haven't fully matured. Some growers new to the world of gourd craft don't understand the needs of the gourd artist. They are only concerned with growing gourds for fall decoration. A poorly grown gourd, instead of drying, may rot or have a shell too thin to work with.

I'm in favor of buying gourds that have already dried. This way surprises and disappointments can be reduced. You still may have a few along the way though. When gourds dry they produce a moldy skin that eventually dries on the gourd. This skin has to be removed before art work can begin. After the skin is removed you may discover some holes or warts on your gourd. Or during cleaning you might discover your hard gourd has turned soft once you got it wet. This is the sign of a thin shell. There are things that can be done with a thin shell but for the most part we look for gourds with thick, sturdy shells.

To avoid these problems, look for cleaned, ready to craft gourds. These gourds have been cleaned for you. Cleaning is a messy job and you may not have the desire or area in which to do it yourself.

So come and join in the fun and find out for yourself the addicting powers of the gourd.

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Learn How To Make A Knitted Doll

(category: Crafts, Word count: 720)
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Many times, you have some free time to spend and you are confused as what to do then? There are many great ideas to utilize that time efficiently and creatively. One of them is making or designing some craft work. Craft is the art or skill of doing something in an artistic way. There are lots of craft ideas such as candle making, scrap booking, fabric painting, painting projects, knitting etc. Among these, knitting is the most favorite craft work for women and many of them love to knit soft toys such as dolls.

Requirements for making a knitted doll

The knitted doll is very soft and simple to make. You can make it with any soft yarn kept for baby clothing that will really make it a gift for your kid. For making this, you need to have scissors, darning needles, ruler, knitting needles of size 8, cream colored ball of yarn or nay other color of your preference, a piece of 5/16 blue sheer ribbon, 5/16 blue elastic.

Steps to make a knitted doll

1. You need to cast on 34 stitches with the help of soft colored yarn but remember to leave a 5 inch end that you will sew later.

2. You have to knit eight rows so that the bottom of the doll is formed.

3. Then, change the pattern to create the body of the doll and for this you need to knit one row, purl one row till you complete 62 rows.

4. Next, cast off your stitches and cut the knitted piece from the ball of yarn again leaving 5 inch that you will sew later.

5. Now thread your darning needle with any of the 5 inch end and sew the end in the closest side. This will later roll up the sides of the doll such that the stitching is not shown.

6. Again, thread your needle with remaining 5 inch end and sew it to the closest side so that you can roll up the knitted side to form the doll.

7. Once you have the knitted piece complete, you need to roll and shape it up in the form of a doll. You have to lay down the knitted piece front side down on your work surface but keep the backside facing you flat.

8. Next, roll the edges tightly starting from each end so that they meet in the middle but remember to keep each rolled side even in size.

9. Now, turn the knitted piece that you have rolled up over your work surface. This way, the rolled side should be facing your work surface and the other side with eight knitted rows towards you.

10. Then fold the rolled knitted piece almost in half and the edge of the side you have just folded should be touching the top edge of the eight knitted rows.

11. Next hold the folded knitted piece tightly with one hand and wrap elastic twice over the folded area nearly one and half inch down from the top. This will make the head of the doll and also secure the fold you made to form the body of the doll.

12. Now, partially unroll the folded over knitted piece below the elastic but you need to unroll the knitted piece till you get the resemblance of the arms on either side of the body and also knitted areas stretched between them.

13. Now, flip the partial unrolled portion below the elastic over the head. This will make a hood covering the head with rolled up arms near the elastic that divides and creates the neck and hands.

14. You need to cut 15 inch length of sheer blue ribbon and wrap this blue ribbon round the hood from back to front in same position as the elastic. You can tie a bow in the blue ribbon with the bow in front of the doll. You can trim the end of the ribbon at a slant.

Thus, you have a knitted doll that you can gift to your kids or decorate it as a craft work piece.

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Making Your Own Bird Feeder

(category: Crafts, Word count: 120)
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There is estimated to be over 100 billion individual wild birds on earth, and each one needs to eat certain amounts of food on a daily basis in order to survive. That's where we come in! Birdfeeders are fun to make and are essential in order for birds to live. Bird houses can be made out of practically anything and are usually hung in different locations around your yard for birds to enjoy. Purchasing a bird feeder is another option, however this can be expensive and both methods serve practically the same purpose.

The following is a fun and easy way for children (or adults) to make a bird feeder:

What You Will Need:

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You Can Make A Wreath Out Of Wallpaper

(category: Crafts, Word count: 403)
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How many times have you stood and admired the beauty of the flowers in your wallpaper? If you're anything like me, I'll bet it's been plenty of times. You probably picked the paper because you thought it was especially beautiful. How about making a dried flower wreath that would duplicate the look of the wall paper and add a special look to the decor of your living room?

Sound impossible? It really isn't. With a little bit of careful planning, you can create a dried flower wreath which, if it isn't an exact match of the flowers in your wallpaper, will be something that will compliment them and bring a look of elegance to your living room.

First you will want to gather some vines and trimmings and lay them out carefully in your garage or shed to dry. There's no sense in paying for something that you can easily procure for yourself. Matching the flowers in the wall paper may not be quite as easy, so you may want to arm yourself with a bit of left over wall paper and head off to the local craft store. If you don't find exactly what you are looking for in the dried flowers there, don't hesitate to show your wallpaper sample to the person in charge. They just may have something in the backroom that would be perfect for what you have in mind. If they don't, they may be able to order some for you. Once you get your materials, it's time create.

You will want your work area to be well covered with newspapers, this is a MESSY project. Study your wallpaper sample carefully. Does it have a bunch of flowers that consist of two pink flowers and one blue? That is the way you will want to make yours. Form the vines and the flowers into a bundle, then wire the bundle to the wreath base. Then study the wall paper again. The next bunch may be one light maroon floor with greenery, that is what you also will want to make with your next bundle. Keep repeating this pattern until your wreath base is covered, cover the stems of the last bundle with the first bundle and there you are. This is a wreath that will be extremely complimentary to your living room and add that extra bit of elegance.

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Quilting Bees Are Back And Now Meet Online

(category: Crafts, Word count: 428)
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Quilting bees, those time-honored gatherings where quilters practice and share their craft, have never quite gone away. Thanks to thriving online communities, quilters are continuing to find ways to connect with each other in today's busy world.

For centuries, neighborhood women in the United States used the bees not only to make quilts, but also to socialize and catch up on the news of the day. Unfortunately, the popularity of these quaint gatherings peaked in the 19th century and interest in the craft slowly faded.

In the past 20 years, however, quilting bees - and the craft in general - have seen a huge resurgence in popularity. It is estimated that one in seven U.S. households now boasts a quilter. Many attribute quilting's revival to the nation's bicentennial, when interest in American folk arts and crafts surged.

As with nearly every other segment of society, today's quilting bees have embraced technology. According to a recent "Quilting in America" survey, 84 percent of serious quilters own a computer and half have broadband access to the Web. The Internet is now populated with hundreds of online discussion groups where people help each other with quilting challenges, post pictures of their latest projects and share life's ups and downs. These conversations take place 24 hours a day and span the globe.

In addition, sewing and quilting machines are being designed to take full advantage of technology, making the home computer as indispensable to the craft as the quilting frame. In 1999, the Janome Sewing Machine Co. introduced the first sewing machine that could be updated via software through a built-in USB port.

Today, its Memory Craft 10001 quilting machine, a favorite among advanced quilters, has three ways to connect to a computer and comes with flash memory cards.

While busy schedules have made it more difficult for quilters to regularly work in groups on a single quilt, the new machines have made solo quilting much easier. The MC10001 includes special quilting features like a "walking foot" that allows even stitching across multiple layers of fabric, a "Start/Stop" button that lets quilters stitch for hours without getting tired feet, and a knee lift that allows them to raise the presser foot without taking their hands off of their work.

Because embroidery and quilt designs can be sent as computer files, quilters are able to collaborate on their creations electronically. Connected to a computer running Janome design software, the MC10001 can create in stitches virtually anything you can imagine or download from the Internet.

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3 Easy Steps For Transferring Patterns

(category: Crafts, Word count: 384)
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Many of you might be having an artistic approach towards life and would love to make use of this art during your leisure time. A craft book is a great way to improve your skills with all the innovative ideas and steps at your fingertips. Transferring patterns is also a craft work that requires your time and skills.

Things you require for pattern transfer

You need to have craft supplies, piece of material, transfer paper, craft tools, a transfer pencil, iron and ironing board.

Instructions for pattern transfer

1. While you work on a hard surface, you need to trace the entire design with the help of your transfer pencil. You should try to keep the pressure of your stroke even all the way around the design to ensure a good transfer because if it is too light you won't be able to see the lines of the design when you begin the project. You are about to transfer a reverse image of the one you have just printed. If the design is reversible then nothing matters but if it is not then you need to trace the image with your transfer pencil onto the other side of paper and remember that the side you trace shall face down on the material to be ironed.

2. Next you have to lift the pattern from the material which is ready for the project and could be used again.

3. Now cut a square around your pattern and for this it is better to work with a small piece of paper when you want to transfer the pattern to material with an iron. You have to position the pattern face down on the piece of material you are using for your project and then hold the pattern in place tightly with one hand and iron firmly and consistently over the pattern with your medium heated iron. Next set the iron aside and hold all but one corner of the pattern in place tightly with one hand and you can lift the free corner to check if the design is showing up dark enough. If it is not still dark, iron consistently in your coverage of the pattern till you get satisfactory results.

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Learn The Knitting Essentials Of How To Care For Your Knitted Items

(category: Crafts, Word count: 327)
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When you have spent hours working on knitting a sweater, you want to make sure it looks as good after a dozen washes as it did the day you knitted it because after all that work you intend to own your knitting for a long time.

Here's how you care for the things you have been knitting. Always use luke warm water. Laundry detergent is not recommended by many knitting experts. Use your shampoo. Many knitters believe that if it's mild enough but effective enough for their hair it must be good enough for their knitting. Add about a teaspoon to the water and wiggle the sweater around in the soapy water for a while then let it soak for at least fifteen minutes.

Drain the water, squashing the sweater into the bowl to get rid of the water. Rinse with luke-warm water as many times as it takes until the water is clear. Press the knitting against the sides of the bowl. Don't wring it tight as you don't want to lose the shape. Then lay the knitting on a flat clean towel. Roll the towel up with the knitting inside and press a little. You will find this gets rid of a lot of the water. If you have a mesh sweater dryer then lay it out carefully shaping the sweater to its original proportions. If you don't have one the you can just place the knitting on a fresh towel. This takes longer to dry and most people suggest changing to a dry towel and flipping the sweater over so it dries quicker.

I hope you could follow my guide to caring for your knitted items which I always consider to be part of the knitting essentials. I have a lot more information about knitting on my Knitting Essentials blog so please join me there to learn more.

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Sewing Machine Purchasing

(category: Crafts, Word count: 324)
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Technology has made the sewing machine, once a high priced item, very affordable for most sewing applications. The only major decisions are choosing between a traditional or embroidery sewing machine and how powerful you require it to be.

The more power provides a quicker job and longer lifespan of the machine. Only a handful of companies compose a very large percentage of the sewing machine market. These include Singer, Brother, Husqvarna Viking, White, and Pfaff. All of these brands have a product range from the entry level to expert quality.

As with any buying decision, the history of reliability and warranty features are the most important considerations. Deciding where to purchase is the next step after deciding on the brand and model you want.

Buying from a local retail location offers the ease of returning a product that is damaged at the start or within its warranty period. You can save money purchasing from online stores or an Ebay auction. However, the money saved may not be worth the risk of the trouble you may go though if something should go wrong.

Sewing machines have more moving parts than the average electric device. The more moving parts, the higher chance of a problem during operation.

Embroidery sewing machines are generally more expensive than traditional sewing machines. A traditional Singer can be had for around $150. The embroidery Singers range from $600 to over $3000. Singer is the most popular brand, but in second place are Brother sewing machines. They also have a range from the inexpensive $100 price point up to the industrial grade $10,000 embroidery models. The average non-commercial sewing machine, regardless of brand, is around $300 which is sufficient for the majority of consumers.

My advice is to check consumer feedback sites like epinions.com and magazines like Consumer Reports so you can make an informed decision based on the experience and research of others.

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Make A Recycled Cd Valentine Hanging

(category: Crafts, Word count: 88)
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Art and crafts is something that allows you to improve your skills and at the same time you can also make the best use of something that would otherwise be thrown out somewhere else. Here some tips are being given so that you can easily make a valentine hanging made from recycled CD's.

You need to have 3 CD's, 4 red heart paper doily of 6? each, 1 sheet of red construction paper 9? * 12?, Moroccan red opaque acrylic paint,

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