Farewell for now DIY friends!

Hi All! ⊗

It has been a long few months, working on DIY projects and attending classes. Although I did not make much success with this blog, it gave me an opportunity to learn more about online journalism as well as a creative output for my silly arts and crafts. To those who have been frequent visitors to this blog, by that I mean my mother, I hope you have learned something from my posts! Or at least been hopeful to one day get around to crafting.

One of the most difficult aspects of this blog has been the little time I have to spend on projects. I would love to spend my days painting, knitting scarves and berets, carving linoleum block stamps, but there is simply not enough time. I am also very happy I got to connect with some other DIY bloggers, such as Courtney Chambers. She is a wonderful young lady who has a lot of DIY talent!

One of the most rewarding aspects of this blog has been volunteering, either by building birdhouses or giving back to the town of Glassboro. I recently learned about a group of ladies in my hometown who knit hats for babies born prematurely at the Jersey Shore Medical Center. Once I finish my finals and move back to my home in Belmar, I plan to knit a few hats to donate.

I will try to post over the well needed break so come back and check out what I’m up to this summer!

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A little throw back to my volunteering at Back to the Boro. Photo credit Dakota Burr
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Rowan University Gives Back to Glassboro Community

Hi All! ⊗

On Sunday, April 17, 2016, Rowan University hosted “Back to the Boro”, their annual community service event. About 1,3000 students volunteered in the event organized by the Student Government Association. Students from various clubs and groups on campus are required to participate in community service, but many were happy to help without being required to.

This annual event allows students and also teachers to give back to the community by cleaning up leaves, painting, laying mulch, as well as picking up trash to those who live in the heart of Glassboro. Families were sent a letter by mail from the university, it asked if they wanted a few student helpers for spring cleaning to which most happily obliged.

Armed with gardening gloves, bottled water, and breakfast bars, members of a student issues magazine on campus, called Hey Marlene, went to a local home on Williamsburg Ct. Members included editor-in-chief Morgan Jenkins, Senior Editor TJ Holloway, SGA senator Cierra Lewis, Secretary Kristin Guglietti, and myself, a staff writer for the magazine.

 

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We arrived at the home of Kevin and Joan Bebee, residents of Glassboro since 2011. We were greeted with big smiles and a warm welcome! After, we were instructed to remove leaves and other foliage from underneath a row of bushes. Guglietti, Jenkins, and myself loaded big barrels full of dead leaves while the others brought the barrels to the street to be later collected by the town.

Removing dead leaves and foliage allows the plants to have an open space to grow. Mulch can also help insulate a tree or shrub!

After the dead foliage was removed, we played with the Bebee’s adorable dog, Mia. In turns, she begged each one of us to play fetch and we couldn’t resist. Guglietti and I filled wheel barrels with dark, pungent mulch using pitchforks. Holloway and Jenkins transported the barrels to the backyard where Kevin and Joan directed how to lay the mulch. Three trees, a long row of bushes, and a side garden were lined with mulch and spread out evenly by Jenkins and Holloway.

Jenkins, a junior journalism major, was excited to give back to the community but also felt some students were not working hard enough. “Some students didn’t show enough initiative, a woman across the street complained to us that her group of volunteers left after a couple of minutes without a goodbye,” said Jenkins.

After what seemed like a thousand trips back and forth, we all switched jobs to give each other a break as well as to get the full experience. The Bebee’s were very helpful and kind, they put on music and made sure we had more than enough water to stay hydrated.

Guglietti, a junior English major with a minor in journalism, worked hard on the unseasonably hot day with little complaint. “I ruined my sneakers because we ended up mulching an entire back and front yard but over all I was happy to give back.”

Gardening as well as spring cleaning is another form of DIY many people don’t appreciate. Maintaining a well kept garden can be very rewarding, if one is willing to get a little dirt on their hands. I enjoyed helping the Bebee family with their spring cleaning and learning more about DIY outdoor projects.

Fun fact: Mulch when left in a pile over time will begin to steam, not because of the hot sun but because it is decomposing. It can even start a fire if left unattended!

 

Birdhouses for Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge

Hi All! ⊗

This week I volunteered with the Rowan University Honors Student Organization to build birdhouses! The birdhouses cost about five dollars each and every birdhouse will be donated to the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, New Jersey. Upperclassman advisor Justin Laven, a junior mechanical engineer, ran the event and picked up all the supplies.

Also in attendance was freshman civil engineer Christina Parilla, freshman civil engineer Jake Stangle and double major in music and political science Emerald Sheay.

One of the great advantages of DIY projects is allowing those projects to be apart of volunteer service. I am so glad I could participate with such a wonderful group on Rowan campus! For a full view of my birdhouse building skills check out my interview with upperclassman advisor of the HSO below!

 

Meet Courtney Chambers of DIY blog A Little Craft In Your Day

Hi All! ⊗

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Courtney Chambers  Photo courtesy of A Little Craft In Your Day

I had the great pleasure of getting to know and chatting with another DIY blogger recently. Some of you may already know her! One part of a DIY duo, Courtney Chambers, 18, explained how she started the blog, what inspires her crafting, and how she deals with challenging aspects of the blogging life.

With her good friend Tanner Bell, Chambers started A Little Craft In Your Day to share their DIY projects with bloggers around the world.

For other social media, check out their blog’s Facebook page here, or Courtney’s Insta here!

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Courtney Chambers and Tanner Bell  Photo courtesy of A Little Craft In Your Day

 

Tell me about yourself. What is your name, age, hometown, and some hobbies:

  • “My name is Courtney Chambers and I am an 18 year old from West Chester, PA, right outside of Philadelphia. I have always loved arts and crafts, so that has been my main hobby all of my life. I love hanging out at the beach and spending time with family and friends. I will be attending Elon University next year and I am excited to get involved with various organization that they offer,” said Chambers.

When did you start blogging about DIY crafts?

  • “I started my first blog when I was in sixth grade. It was more of a journal than anything else and I mostly posted handmade greeting cards. I never would have guessed that it would have led me to the opportunities that it has or generate an income,” said Chambers.

For what reasons did you start your blog, A Little Craft In Your Day?

  • “Tanner and I met at an Industry Trade Show, Craft and Hobby Association. We had become great friends online. It was also around that time that we both started to get more into DIY type projects. We decided to launch a new site together and that is how A Little Craft In Your Day was born,” said Chambers.

What do you find is the most challenging thing about maintaining this blog?

  • “The most difficult part is probably balancing everything. When you have a major project dead line, you can’t necessarily focus completely on that because there are still lots of emails from other clients to respond to and social media to be posted on,” said Chambers.

What is the most interesting or exciting aspect about running your blog?

  • “I am still excited by the actual process of creating. I love learning new techniques and coming up with projects that use different skill sets. Looking back and seeing how far we have come and the improvement in the quality of work is always an exciting part too, which pushes me to continue to strive, to improve further each day,” said Chambers.

Do you have any advice for me and other bloggers, as someone new to the DIY & craft blogging world? 

  • “The best advice I think that I can give you, is to find out what makes you different and own it. There are thousands and thousands of blogs out there. To be successful it is important to have your own unique look and vibe,” said Chambers.

Craft Talk: The In’s and Out’s of Craft Shows with Gina Mackiewicz!

Hi All! ⊗

Have you ever wanted to join craft shows or try selling your own handmade items? Craft shows are one of the best ways to showcase your homemade crafts! Regina Mackiewicz, long-time crafter and full-time mother from Middletown, New Jersey, explains the ups and downs of getting your handmade items out to potential buyers.

Craft shows are just one way you can meet potential buyers. Online shopping sites, such as Etsy and eBay, are also great tools to use when selling your DIY goods. From handmade jewelry to a one of a kind pin featuring Bernie Sanders cuddling a cat, Etsy allows you to sell whatever you decide to craft.

Check out my audio interview below with Gina, who explains where she gets her inspiration to craft from and how craft shows operate.

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Regina Mackiewicz poses for a photo. Photo credit: Mackieknitz 

 

 

To check out some cool items Gina Mackiewicz has made, visit her store on Etsy!

Easy and Simple DIY Easter Tie Dye Tutorial Photo Gallery

Hi All! ⊗

I traveled all the way home this weekend to Belmar, New Jersey, to create a DIY tie dye shirt and wash cloth with my mother, Judy. Once you grow up, the traditional Easter egg hunt is no longer an option. So, I thought a fun Easter theme tie dye tutorial would be best! I also had a lot of left over tie dye from a previous project. Tie dye is entirely dependent on creativity. You can create a classic spiral pattern, a pleated or vertical accordion style, a bullseye pattern, or fold your own pattern!

In this tutorial I used:

  • Tie dye kit (any from the store will do)
  • White shirt, white wash cloth
  • Ziplock bag
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber bands
  • Water
  • Plastic shower curtain

 

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How to knit in the round: Seed stitch beret for beginners!

Hi all! ⊗

It’s already March, but the winter weather is doing its best to hang on just a little longer. In this post, I want to guide readers through creating a simple yet intricate patterned beret. It doesn’t have to be a winter month to knit a winter hat! Knitting in the round can be difficult for beginners who are more comfortable using straight needles.

I advise those beginners who aren’t comfortable joining in the round, using double pointed needles or casting on with circular needles, to practice casting on and knitting a few rounds before taking on this pattern. It is a tad difficult to get the hang of things while learning to knit in the round, so don’t be discouraged if your first projects are tiny enough to fit a newborn or big enough to be a stool seat cover. 

Tip: Invest in a circular row counter, it will help keep track of how many rows you have knitted and acts as a place marker to where the row starts.

I will be using 16″ size 10 (6.0 mm) circular knitting needles and size 10 double pointed needles. For this pattern you will also need a light weight worsted yarn made of wool, not acrylic. 

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I chose a lovely plum color for this hat! Photo credit: Dakota Burr

Step 1: Cast on 89 stitches

To begin cast on 89 stitches then join in the round. You will be left with 88 stitches after you join. It is important to cast on loosely and make sure not to twist the stitches. Place your marker on either needle before beginning row one.

Step 2: Knitting the ribbing

One of the special things about knitting in the round is not having to worry about two sides of the project like in straight needle knitting. If you were to simply knit all the way around your piece using circular needles, the pattern would actually come out as stockinette! It is different from the constant switching between knitting an entire row then purling an entire row on straight needles to obtain the stockinette pattern.

For a more finished and advanced look, you will be knitting a ribbing pattern to begin. Ribbing allows for a stretchy but snug opening to your beret. Stockinette tends to roll up and look unfinished while knitting any type of hat.  

  • First 11 rows: *K2, P2 *repeat until the end of row.
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Two by two ribbing. Photo credit: Dakota Burr

Step 3: Begin Seed stitch

Seed stitch is a little time consuming because you will need to be constantly moving your working yarn back and forth between each stitch. The finished pattern looks intricate with out the intricate patterns to follow, which I love about Seed stitch.

  • Row 12: *K1, P1 *repeat until the end of row.
  • Row 13: *P1, K1 *repeat until the end of row.
  • Row 14: *K1, P1 *repeat until the end of row.
  • Row 15: *P1, K1 *repeat until the end of row.
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Notice the difference between purl and knit stitches. Photo credit: Dakota Burr

Below, my beret is about two inches of ribbing with five inches of seed stitch. Continue in this fashion until your piece is at the desired length. The more seed stitch rows you add, the slouchier the beret will be.

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Step 4: Ending your beret

Once your beret has reached the desired length, begin to decrease your stitches. On your last seed stitch row switch to your double pointed needles. Switching from circular needles to DPN can be difficult for those just beginning to learn. Remember not to be discouraged, practice makes perfect!

  • Last row: *K1, K2tog *repeat until end of row.

After this last row, measure out a foot from your needle on your working yarn and cut your work from the ball with a pair of scissors.

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Finished beret! Photo credit: Dakota Burr