SMP Craft
21 Nov

Freebie Friday: Sunflower Square Crochet Block

This morning, I watched this bird walk back and forth on my kitchen window sill. Walk a few steps. Stop for a few seconds. Walk back to the original spot. Then finally take off.


That’s how I’m feeling right about now: Almost free. I’m headed to southern California this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving and my mother’s 75th birthday with my family–fleeing the biting New York City cold to bask in glorious warmth and sunshine for a week. But I still have to get through the pre-flight dance, which is essentially getting through a daunting to do list before I can take off. I wish I could say I could get through everything and catch up on sleep during the flight. But I don’t sleep well on planes. So this round, I decided I would do one of my to-dos on the plane. Now that TSA removed crochet hooks from its prohibited list of carry-on items, I’m going to crochet Sunflower Squares to accessorize the Thanksgiving table.

The Sunflower Square pattern is from 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet: Beautiful patterns to mix and match for afghans, throws, baby blankets, and more by Betty Barnden, a collection of 75 triangular, square, diamond-shaped, hexagonal, and circular blocks, all with a floral theme. The book also includes written patterns and color charts, useful techniques, and creative projects.

Crochet 1-2-3 remarks: “You will quickly be creating a beautiful project, whether a basic afghan or a fabulous scarf…This is a book that any crocheter will want.” And for the daily commute or long flight like I’m about to take, the blocks are perfect for crafters “on-the-go.”

Want to try this pattern out, too? It’s Level: EASY. CLICK the image below or here to DOWNLOAD it or FREE Start crocheting now!

SunflowerimageSunflowers not your cup o’ tea? How about Daffodils? Buttercups? Roses? These and many other varieties are in 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet, which is available at your favorite bookseller.


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18 Nov

How to Tuesday: Leaf Covered Candle Holders

I love candles. And mason jars. And holiday-themed decorations.  So these leaf covered candle holders are pretty much perfection to me. While mine will be part of my Thanksgiving table centerpiece next week, these cute holders can be displayed around my apartment all fall long. You can use fake or real leaves for this project.  Or you can use the same steps but with doilies or other semi-sheer materials to fit whichever holiday or activity (I’m looking at you…rustic chic weddings) that comes to mind. Even better, this is a great craft for kids as all it requires is some glue (if using a hot glue gun, please supervise).

Materials (*All found at Michaels)

  • Mason jars Glue – Mod Podge or hot glue gun
  • Leaves or material of your choice
  • Sponge brushCraft 1

1. Gather your leaves.  If using real leaves, go outside and grab a handful of the prettiest ones you can find. If using fake leaves, first clip them so that each leaf is separated. If you’re like me, sort those leaves into corresponding color, size,  and texture piles. Craft 2

2. Start gluing your leaves to the mason jar. I like having a bit of texture to the outside of the jar, so I didn’t glue each leaf completely flat. Continue to add leaves around the jar until you have the desired effect. Depending on the weight of your leaves,  you may need to use hot glue to secure them to the mason jar. Craft 3

3. Once you have all of your leaves attached, let the jar dry overnight. Craft 4






4. Once completely dry, pop a votive candle inside the mason jar, dim the lights, and enjoy the ambiance. Craft 5

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Tagged with: candles, crafty, holiday, holiday decorating, lighting, table setting, Thanksgiving, votive
17 Nov

Burlap Wreath by Heather Moscola

Today’s SMP Craft piece is written by Heather Moscola, executive assistant at Macmillan by day, closeted DIY-extraordinaire by night. She’s been married for five years with a partner she describes as “the most patient, loving, décor oblivious (thank gosh!!) man ever, Joe.” HeatherMoscolaThey share their home with two furry friends–Maxwell, a feisty little Maltese Chihuahua mix, and Milo, a curious Border Collie with a hint of Corgi.

PoochiesI’ve always loved the smell of burlap. Let’s blame it on a burlap Christmas sack as I had a child that was always full of little gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. Anyways, when burlap wreaths started to become a thing, I knew I had to have one. (We won’t discuss the fact that I still had a grapevine wreath sporting silk tulips in bright pinks and lush purples on the front door; or the fact that it had hung there for the last … 5 months). And so began my search.

burlapwreatheWell, let me tell you, there are some GORGEOUS wreaths out there. But, unfortunately, the majority of them have some not so stellar prices. So I sat back for a minute and said, “What if I just make my own?” I could completely customize it and maybe even switch it up for each season. So I looked up a few tutorials, headed to the craft store for some supplies and then got down to work.





You will need a wire wreath form, burlap ribbon or a sheet of burlap cut into 4” strips, floral wire, wire cutters, and whatever seasonal decorations you love. I made my wreath for fall, so I grabbed a bunch of burgundy, orange and yellow silk flowers. Start by attaching the burlap to the innermost ring of the wreath with the wire. Next, push loops of burlap through each of the wire rings from behind.


Then twist the burlap and scrunch it together to make it look ruffle-y and full. Repeat these steps all the way around until the wire form is full. Use the floral wire again to attach the end of the burlap to the form.

Now comes the real fun part – decorating it. Since I bought flowers, they all had long stems which I was able to just poke through the burlap and weave around the wire form in the back. If you’re using something smaller, i.e., Christmas balls or pinecones, use the floral wire to attach them to the wire form.

To hang the wreath, you can use a ribbon, or just place the wire form on a hook. Don’t forget, if you grow tired of the decorations, or just want to swap them out for the change of season, it’s easy to remove them and replace with something new.

ArrangingFor more Heather Moscola crafts, DIY tips and decorating mishaps, check out her blog SunsetHillCottage.

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Tagged with: burlap, DIY, holiday, holiday decorating, Thanksgiving, wreath
16 Nov

Goodreads Giveaway: Tote-ally Amazing Bags

On Friday we gave away a free project showing you how to make your own reversible tote bag, and now you have the chance to win one of 20 copies of the book from whence it came: Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 Quick and Easy Bags to Make for All Occasions by Helen Angharad Henley! This gem is packed with colorful photos and a CD of full-size patterns, plus lots of useful tips to help you achieve a truly professional finish. Techniques cover all the basics of machine sewing and finishing, from straight seams to topstitching, as well as detailed instructions on the specifics of bag construction, handle making, patch and zipped pockets, and interlining. And the styles in this book range from appliqué to stenciled designs using fabric paint, giving you the freedom to design the tote-ally amazing bag of your dreams!

See below for giveaway details, and enter before it closes on Thursday!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tote-ally Amazing Bags by Helen Henley

Tote-ally Amazing Bags

by Helen Henley

Giveaway ends November 20, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

If you’d rather not wait, you can order a copy right this minute.

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Tagged with: books, giveaway, Goodreads
14 Nov

Freebie Friday: Reversible Tote Bag

My mood, like New York weather in November, can change on a dime. So how am I supposed to choose a single pattern for my everyday bag? One day I may be feeling gingham, and the next, classic Victorian. One day black, next day plaid. Heck–I may not even wait a day to change my mind. That’s the level of volatility we’re talking about, people.

So you can imagine my elation! Followed by incredulity! Followed by elation again! after seeing this week’s FREE PROJECT: a reversible tote bag that can be designed using two totally contrasting patterns to suit my “flexible” personality. tote freebie 2All you need are two different cotton fabrics, two yards of fusible hemming web, and a spool of thread. The drop-in construction and hidden seams make this tote bag truly reversible, just like your changing mind (hey–it’s our prerogative!).

tote freebie 1This is just one of 30 tote-ally fun projects in the new book Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 Quick and Easy Bags to Make for All Occasions by Helen Angharad Henley, who also happens to be our Author of the Month. This colorful book, which includes a CD of full-size patterns,  guides you through all the possible incarnations of the tote bag, from children’s bags and simple grocery totes to stylish shoulder bags in contemporary fabrics, with patterns ranging from the fun to the functional.

Buy a copy today, and be sure to check back here on Sunday for our Goodreads giveaway.

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Check out our newest November title!

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Tagged with: bags, books, free project, patterns, reversible, Sewing, smpcraft

Author of the Month

This month we sit down with Helen Angharad Henley, mother of three, handbag designer, self-proclaimed “compulsive maker,” and author of newly published Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 quick and easy bags to make for all occasions. Helen lives and works in Wales where she designs, makes, and sells her sewing patterns and handbags. She blogs her stitching endeavours at and sells her bags online at angharad handmade.

Helen  Angharad Henley, author of Tote-ally Amazing Bags

Cookie Jewelry Box

They say there are two types of women in the world: those who love jewelry, and those who love cookies. What? You say you're both types of woman? Well then I sure have a treat for you, with this free pattern from our new book 50 Deliciously Decorative Cookies: Easy-t0-Make Cookie Creations by Fiona Pearce, you can have your jewelry box and eat it, too!

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