Altar Lace

JMJ

These are very much in progress…

They were designed using Sand Castle Designs software (I couldn’t have done it without it!), which gives a “preview” of the finished pieces. That’s what I’m showing for the largest piece.

The design was inspired by this.

The two smaller pieces are meant to hang from niches holding figures of the Blessed Virgin & St. Joseph, respectively. They are 18″ by 5″, crocheted with size 50 thread & a size 11 hook, using triple crochet, chain 3 filet (instead of the usual double crochet, chain 2, so each square is 4 stitches instead of the usual 3), which makes the design stand out more.

These first two were crocheted starting from the short side, left to right.

avemaria

gotojosephchart

The large piece is meant to drape from the front of the altar. It’s 54″x 10″, with the same size thread & hook & filet type as the other two. For a chart large enough to use, double click on the image & then click the magnifying glass. The second chart makes it easier to count the filled blocks. I’m using both for my own work.
holylatticefinalchart
holylatticeblocks
holylatticefinal

I hope you’re inspired to pick up your crochet hook & join me in beautifying the house of God!

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Miniature Landscape Box Card

JMJ

Here’s what happened when my dream materialized,
of a miniature garden meeting a box card:

Swans
swanoutside

Lift the lid…
swaninsidefront

swaninsideback

Dogs
doggieoutside

(my photos of the inside didn’t turn out, but they’re similar to the…)

Sheep
closedcompressed

frontcompressed

sheepinsidebridge

Teddy Bears
tebbybearoutside

tebbybearinsideteddybearinsidefrontteddybearbenchteddybearswing

I can’t get enough of these! One of these days I need to make one for myself so I can just look at it :)! Pictures just don’t capture the magic of them…and that little teddy bear on the swing is too cute! (not that he wanted to stay there–he wanted to jump off & play somewhere else! ;).

boxcardinside

The boxes are as large as I can make them from 8 1/2″x 11″ coverstock (final 3D size is roughly 2 1/2″ on all sides–slightly taller than wide).

Lids are cut,  folded & glued (the white rectangles are the tabs that hold them together).
boxcardlid

boxcardlidwater
Most of the pieces were cut using a Silhouette Portrait.

The grass is a photo of our lawn.

The water is a photo of the sky, made “watery” with “Glossy Accents”.

The bridge is made by curling a strip of chipboard & gluing tiny twigs of mock orange over it. The railings are cut from chipboard & glued on.

The bench is quilled from strips of coverstock.

The first couple of trees were made using this tutorial, and later ones were made in a similar way, but using branched mock orange twigs taped together with brown floral tape, still gluing on snippets of twine to fill out the “branches” before adding the “leaves” (it was quicker & less messy). Instead of painted sawdust (which I don’t have), I used crumbled dried leaves (mint or parsley, depending which I had in greater quantity). They will fade more over time than the painted sawdust.

The swing is a tiny rectangle of chipboard threaded onto crochet thread–which kept twisting on me! I finally dropped the thread in boiling water & let it dry before using it, which seemed to help relax it. The thread is then glued to the branches of the tree (which requires some patience).

The flowers are mostly punched & shaped with a stylus on a mouse pad. The ones inside are glued around clumps of more dried leaf crumble around tiny stones, both for decoration & to give the sides a little more weight so they fall when the card is opened (the sides still need a little coaxing to go flat).

The teddy bears are cut flat & pasted back to back (so they’re brown on both sides) & shaped to fit the setting.

3danimals

Swans are folded so the triangle is underneath, holding the “tails” apart. Heads & necks are glued together.

Dogs & sheep are folded & glued at the tabs (the long strip wraps around to form the underbelly). This template also includes a sitting dog, which I don’t have in the photos.

The ends of the bows are folded (rounded, not creased folds) to overlap in the center, where they are glued. The piece sticking out at the center is then folded around (over) the ends & glued.

To sign the cards, I either wrote on the inside of the top before gluing it together or wrote on a little square of paper that I then glued into the top.

If you make something like these, I’d love to see it!

Gifts of Love: Crocheted Angels

JMJ

In the process of donating baby items to ministries that serve mothers in crisis pregnancies,
my prince and I came across a related ministry, “Gifts of Love”,
that provides burial gowns and pouches, miniature caskets and memory boxes
to families who have lost babies to miscarriage or stillbirth.

As I was talking with the lady who coordinates the ministry,
I noticed that each casket had a crocheted cross on the inside of the lid.
I could make those! (and I did for a while)
But they also needed little mementos to go in the memory boxes,
and over time, I developed a pattern for tiny crocheted angels.
Since “Gifts of Love” already had someone making crosses, I focused on the angels.

Angel

This little angel is trimmed in blue, for a baby boy.
I’ve also trimmed them in pink for girls,
or in gold, for those whose gender is unknown.

MemoryBox

The holy card in the memory box, with Jesus holding a baby
& a guardian angel kneeling before Him,
is from Holy Card Heaven.
It could be taken to be Jesus handing the baby to the angel,
or the angel giving the baby to Jesus.
The inscription reads:

I entrust him to you;
keep him safe for all eternity.


Pattern for Crocheted Angels

Please alert me to any mistakes in the pattern!
I’ve caught several already, but I’m too close to the project to be entirely objective
(I go on kinesthetic automatic pilot).

I use size 30 crochet cotton and a size 11 steel crochet hook.
The first ch 3 always counts as the 1st dc
Make sure to count your stitches in rounds 1-7–it’s easy to add or subtract one!

Head:
R 1: Starting with a magic circle, ch 3, 15 dc in loop. Sl st in top of beginning ch 3, pull magic loop tight. (16 dc)
If you prefer not to start with a magic circle, ch 4, 15 dc in first ch, sl st to top of original ch 4.
Round1
My apologies for the fuzzy photo
R 2-4: ch 3, dc in each dc around. Sl st to top of beginning ch 3. (16 dc)
Round3
Stuff head. I use rolled up scraps of fabric, but any white stuffing should be fine.
Neck (continued from head):
R 5: ch 1, sc in same stitch as joining, *skip 1 dc, sc in next dc. Repeat from * around. sl st in 1st sc. (8 sc) This gets hard to see, especially with such fine thread. Just make sure you have 8 sc by the time you’re done with the round!

Neck1
R 6: ch 1, sc in same stitch as joining, sc in each sc around (8 sc)
Bodice (continued from neck):
R 7: ch 3, dc in same space as joining, 2 dc in each sc around (16 dc)
Bodice1
R 8: ch 4, trc in each dc around (16 trc)
Bodice2
Skirt (continued from bodice):
R 9: ch 4, dc in same stitch as joining. *Skip one trc, (dc, ch 1) 3x in next stitch. Repeat from * around, ending with dc, ch 1 in same stitch as original ch 4, sl st in 3rd stitch of original ch 4 (this puts you in position to start the next round without having to sl st to the center of the shell). (8 shells, each 3 dc with ch 1 in between and ch 1 between shells)
Skirt1
R 10: ch 5, dc in same stitch as joining, ch 1. *In center dc of next shell (ie., skip ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1), dc, ch 2, dc, ch 2, dc, ch 1. Repeat from * around, ending with dc, ch 1 in same stitch as original ch 5, sl st in 3rd st of original ch 5 (8 shells, each 3 dc with ch 2 in between, ch 1 between shells)
Skirt2
R 11: Ch 5, dc, ch 2 dc. *In center dc of next shell (ie., skip ch 2, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 2), (dc, ch 2) 3x, dc. Repeat from * around, ending with dc, ch 2, dc, ch 2, in the same stitch as the original ch 5, sl st in 3rd st of original ch 5. (8 shells, each with 4 dc with ch 2 in between, no ch between shells)
Skirt3
R 12: sl st into next loop. Ch 5, dc, (ch 2, dc) 3x. *In center loop of next shell (ie., skip dc, ch 2, 2dc, ch 2, dc), (dc, ch 2) 4x, dc. Repeat around, ending with sl st in 3rd st of original ch 5. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Trim: With trim color, right side facing, fasten on in 2nd loop of shell (I pull a loop of the new thread through the loop on the skirt & ch 1 to fasten). Ch 1, sc in same loop, ch 3, sc in next loop, *ch 3, (sl st in next loop)2x, (ch 3, sc in next loop) 2x Repeat from * around, ending with sl st in next loop twice, ch 3, sl st in first sc. (ch 3, sc in main part of shell, sl st when transitioning from one shell to the next). Fasten off & weave in ends.
SkirtTrim

Arms & hands:
R 1: Ch 12, 2 dc in 4th ch from hook, 3 dc in next ch, ch 3, sl st in same ch as last dc. This cluster of dc will form the hands.
Hands1
Remove hook from loop and insert it into the same stitch in which you made the 2dc (the far end of the clump of dc you just made).
InsertHook
Catch the loop you dropped
CatchLoopand pull it through to “fold” the hands.
FoldHands
Ch 8, sl st to first ch to form a circle.
ArmsCh8
ArmsCircle
R 2: ch 3, dc in each ch until you get to the base of the hands. 3 dc in same ch, ch 3, sl st in same ch.
FirstArm
FirstSleeveDone
Folding the hands away from you, sl st in base of hands on the far side,
PassOverHands
ch 3, 3 dc in same place.
NewSleeve
dc in each dc around.
The dc following your 3dc next to the hands will be hard to find & hard to get into,
since the previous stitch was packed so tight with stitches–but if you miss it,
there will be a gap in the sleeve. Be persistent :).

Join to top of original ch 3. Fasten off, leaving a tail of about 5″ for sewing the angel together.
ArmsDone
Work the arms down over the top of the angel’s head, hands pointing up (it’ll be a tight fit).

Wings:
R 1: ch 7, sl st in first ch to form ring
R 2: ch 6, trc in ring. Ch 2 trc in ring 5 times (7 trc). DO NOT JOIN!
R 3: Turn. ch 5, dc in 1st trc, ch 2, dc in same trc, *ch 1, dc, (ch 2, dc, ch 2, dc) in next trc. Repeat from * around (7 shells, each with 3 dc, ch 2 between dc, ch 1 between shells)
Wings1
R 4: Turn. ch 4, *(dc, ch 2)3x in next dc, ch 2, dc in same dc, *in center dc of next shell, (dc, ch 2) 3x, ch 2, dc in same dc, Repeat from * around, ending with ch 4, sl st in next ch (7 shells, each with 4 dc, ch 2 between dc, no ch between shells, with an extra loop on the shell on each end. Fasten off and weave in ends.
WingsDone
Trim: With trim color, right side facing, attach thread to 3rd ch of first ch 4 of last round. (ch 3, sl st in next dc) 3x, ch 3, pull up a loop in next dc, pull up a loop in next dc, pull last loop through the other two loops on the hook (2 sl st together). *(ch 3, sl st in next dc) 2x, ch 3, pull up a loop in next dc, pull up a loop in next dc, pull last loop through the other two loops on the hook. Repeat from * around, ending with (ch 3, sl in next dc) 3x, ch 4, sl st in next ch. (ch 3, sl in main part of the shell, 2 sl st together when transitioning from one shell to another). Fasten off & weave in ends.
WingsTrim
Halo:
With trim color, ch 20, sl st in 1st ch to form a ring, sl st in each chail around. Fasten off, but leave ends.
Halo
Assembly:
Thread the long thread from the arms into a needle.
Attach arms to bodice by taking the needle into the bodice just under the arms, coning out just over the arms, going into the top of the arms & into the body/head.
Bring needle up through the back of the top of head between the first 2 rounds of the head
SewingHalo
and attach halo with two small stitches (one to the right & the other to the left). Insert crochet hook up through inside of body and head to catch the “tails” of the halo and pull them into the head (hide them without adding bulk to the halo).
CatchHaloTails
Bring needle into head at halo and out at the back of the head. Thread wings onto needle through the center circle (the right side of wings facing the body of the angel) and fasten with a few stitches into the bodice and skirt along the center back. Bring needle up through the body & head, over a tiny bit & back down through the body/head (to secure the thread). Cut thread.
SewWings
Gently tug various parts of the angel into the shape you like.

Angel1

Other stitch patterns also work well in the skirt and wings,
if you’re motivated to play around with them :).

Since I’ve started making these angels, it’s remarkable how many people I’ve come across
who have lost a baby or know someone who has.
Suddenly they started coming out of the woodwork!
It’s been such a blessing to be able honor their suffering,
and to give them an angel (or promise to make one) in memory of their little one.

Interchangeable, Personalizeable Picture Pendant

JMJ

Years ago, I startedImagePartwayIn making my own pendants out of bread/white glue dough, so I could attach my own images. One pendant per image. Now I can wear any image I want in one necklace just by trading pieces of paper/card stock in the back of it!

 

I started with a 1″x11/16″ oval glass cabochon from the craft store (part of a “Bead Landing” “Found Objects” package), although any size or shape of cabochon should work. With jewelry pliers, I formed a double loop (for hanging) in gold 18 gauge jewelry wire, then wrapped the wire twice around the edge of the cabochon, once a little more toward the front and once a little more more toward the back, ending by wrapping the wire once around the original loop and then bringing it down the back of the cabochon. I took the cabochon out and bent the last bit of wire toward the front a little, so it would put pressure on the cabochon when I put it back in. I secured the cabochon to the front wrap of wire with a line of “Glossy Accents” (any clear adhesive suitable for glass should work).

 

EmptyPendantFront

Empty Pendant, Front

 

EmptyPendantSide

Empty Pendant, Side

Empty Pendant, Back

Empty Pendant, Back

 

Then I just printed the images I wanted on card stock, cut them out and slipped them under the wire on the back of the charm!

PendantAgnes

Pendant with St. Agnes Image

 

PendantOurLady

Same pendant with Our Lady, Untier of Knots

 

PendantBack

Back of pendant with image

 

This design isn’t as secure as I’d like. The images have stayed in for me when I wore them, but they could get knocked out. I have ideas for improving the design, but for now I’m pretty excited about the possibilities!

Birthday Magic Box

When I found “magic boxes”, I had to give them a try.

Cover

Side

The butterfly is from Silhouette, with a rainbow fill added (I was astonished to learn that although Silhouette doesn’t allow copy & paste between files, it does allow “drop & drag” from almost anywhere!). I brushed them with glue & sprinkled with clear glitter.

The swirl embossing was done by cutting a file I created in Silhouette Studio (which WordPress won’t allow me to upload) and using a stylus to press squares of cardstock into it. A little brush with an inkpad brought out the design.

Lift the lid, and the box falls open:
Open

The text reads:

In Celebration
Nine Months After
Your InCarnation
Happy Birthday!

(“Carne” means “flesh”,
so “Incarnation” literally means “enfleshment”, ie. conception–
the carnation gets its name from being flesh colored)

The green “fill” is a photo of our lawn in bright sunlight under trees.

Carnations are one of my mom’s favorite flowers, so I worked them in with the butterflies.

The carnations were made by folding squares of paper in half twice
Fold

…cutting with tiny zigzag scissors (with a cut down the center & each side to make petals)
Cut

…pleating the edges against my fingers with a pair of tweezers
Pleat

…crumpling the petals along the pleating & rubbing the tips against an inkpad
CrumpleTint

…and layering 8 or 9 sets of these for each flower (gluing them together in the center). A calyx cut from similarly folded green paper finished each one off.

The ovals were also designed & cut in the Silhouette (although I had to finish a lot of the cuts by hand–I was having trouble with my blade with things that intricate).

To make the flowers & butterflies “fly”, I cut strips of plastic left from laminating relic cards (The cards are laminated several per sheet & cut out, so there are scraps of fused plastic from the edges). I bent back about 3/8″ on each end, glued a butterfly or flower to one bent end & tucked the other through a slit in the base of the card. I glued down the bent ends on the underside of the card, then cut a second bottom to glue over them (to hide & stabilize them).

SideInside
A personalized greeting was written on a separate square of paper & glued into the under side of the lid.

It was a hit!

Eucharistic Rosary

I love the Eucharist.
I owe my faith (and what sanity I have!) to Jesus’ abiding Presence in the Tabernacle.
So it was no real surprise that when we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help this summer
(the only approved apparition of Our Lady in the U.S.),
I was taken by the Eucharistic rosary made by the Fathers of Mercy
(who serve the spiritual needs of the shrine)
sold in their gift shop…
except I wanted it reversed–for the “Our Father” beads to be larger than the “Hail Mary” beads.

I didn’t find quite the same “Precious Blood” beads,
but 5x8mm teardrop bamboo coral beads serve the purpose.
The “Hosts” are mother-of-pearl.
I can see why the Fathers of Mercy charge as much as they do–the supplies aren’t cheap!

The wire I had was either too thick (broke a couple beads trying to get it through)
or too thin to hold up to normal use, so I did a quick study on wire wrapping.
I’m still pretty clumsy at it, but it did the job.
Tweezers are a big help in tucking in the last ends (I don’t have bent-nose pliers).
I wasn’t fussy about doing three wraps–
I figured one’s enough to secure the wire & any extra are a bonus.
For the connecting loops I curled the thicker wire into figure 8’s.

The crucifix is one I had from a broken rosary (I spray-painted it gold).

The centerpiece came from Madonna Shops Online (my photo doesn’t do it justice).

I love praying with this!
Holding a representation of the Precious Blood while meditating on any of the mysteries
gives a whole new perspective to the life of Christ…
and to Holy Communion and Eucharistic Adoration.
At the Annunciation, Mary became the first Tabernacle,
containing Jesus within her womb.
Within weeks, the Precious Blood flowed for the first time
through Jesus’ tiny Sacred Heart.
The Visitation was the first Eucharistic Procession.
The birth of Jesus inaugurated the first Eucharistic Adoration (and so on).

I’ve already made a second one for a fellow parishioner and have beads for 2 more…

Nativity-Filled Glass Ornaments


When I came across this post I just had to try it! (follow the link for the basic instructions) I even had a couple of boxes of clear glass ornaments we’d gotten at after-Christmas sales some time ago!

Most of the pictures are from holy cards. I got permission to use some from Holy Card Heaven, found other images online and used some from vintage holy cards I purchased.

Most are two-sided.  I copied the image, reversed one copy & glued them back-to-back so it looks the same from either side. Just be aware that the exposed picture (the one on the outside of the plastic when you roll it) is at risk of getting damaged by the edges of the glass on the way in. Rolling the image around a pencil or fat knitting needle makes it easier to manage (get the roll near the end & stuff the whole thing through the hole in the ornament).

I didn’t have transparency film, but I found clear plastic from packaging (like a blister pack) which was a little stiffer than ideal, but useable (most of what I tried was way too stiff).

The straw was shredded from a 35-cent straw wreath from St. Vincent de Paul.

To add the shimmer I dusted a little ultra-fine transparent glitter into each ball & shook it. Static kept the glitter stuck to the inside of the glass.

For the bows I used a hairpin lace loom, adjusted to 1 5/8″. I recommend this technique (it works with any object with at least two prongs–a fork or meat fork works too). To attach the bows, I used a needle to thread string through the back of the bow & tied the string around the top of the glass ball (not so bulky that way).

The gold bows were made with white ribbon & then spray-painted (I ran out of the other ribbon). I was pleasantly surprised by how well that worked!

The photos don’t do them justice…

I drew the silhouette on the computer (I’m willing to share the file).

These last three are adapted from free files at Paper Model Kiosk:

Svatava Nativity

These last two are 3-dimensional. I attached the holy family to a rectangle of the plastic that just fit through the opening of the ball, put the Holy Family into the larger nativity, rolled the whole thing to get it into the ball & then fiddled with tweezers & a thin knitting needle to get them into the proper shape inside the ball. That was tedious! I wasn’t sure I was going to succeed.
Lamb’s creche

Vintage Nativity

Now I just need 12 sturdy little boxes to keep them safe when I give them as gifts!

Update! December 2014
A bunch of these were sold in a fundraiser to help people afford the trip to D.C. for the March For Life. In keeping with the prolife theme & since most people have their trees decorated before Christmas (when Jesus is still in the womb), I added a new design:
UnbornCompressed
I added a halo to this image, printed it directly on transparency film (42 cents/sheet at Office Max), and glued tissue paper to the printed side of the sheet. That filled in the white areas it needed (otherwise you see right through to whatever’s behind it) while maintaining something of the stained-glass (translucent) effect with Christmas lights around it.