Make your own knitting needles!

I’ve been wanting to teach myself how to knit for a while now, and was looking at all the different supplies when I thought to myself: “I bet I could make these knitting needles pretty easily!

So I went on the hunt for materials to make them out of. At first I thought about making plastic ones, but when the hubs and I were out yesterday I found wooden dowel rods and knew that they would be the perfect thing. I got a pack of six of them for a dollar at the dollar store in our town centre. These are 9mm across which will turn into size 13 knitting needles. At the end of the post I’ll put up a size chart that shows the diameter of each size needle.

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The first thing that I did was to mark off where I wanted the tapered end to start. I chose to go about an inch and a half up from the end. I marked a circle all around each dowel so as I was carving I could tell where to begin.

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Then it’s time to start carving away. If you’ve never done any kind of whittling or wood carving this is a good project to start with, as it’s extremely simple. The directions I’m giving are for right handers but if you’re left handed all you need to do is the opposite of what I’m explaining.

You’re going to hold the dowel in your left hand with your fingers a couple inches back from the line where you’re going to begin carving. You want an extremely sharp knife, and it’s always easier to carve into a soft wood rather than a hard wood. Pretty much all the craft dowels you’ll ever get are going to be made from soft woods. Hold the knife in your right hand, with the blade facing away from you. You want your fingers wrapped around the front of the knife a good inch or so from the blade, with your thumb higher up towards the back of the blade. Here’s a picture of how I hold my blade for reference. I don’t have a good whittling knife yet so I’ve been using my trusty box knife.

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Another way that you can hold your knife is to lower your right thumb a bit and while the dowel is in your left hand, use your left thumb to push the blade. I feel like I have a little more control when I do it this way. It really works best when you’re carving in short strokes.

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Keep turning the dowel and carving away evenly until you get it to a point. It’s ok if it’s a little choppy looking or has some straight spots in it, you’ll just need to make shallower and shallower cuts the closer you get to the final shape. Here’s what mine looked like about half way through.

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Keep at it until you get it to a point. You don’t want a super sharp point, though. Nothing that would snag the yarn. Then you’re going to start sanding it. I picked up some 320 grit sandpaper from Canadian Tire for about $3. You could even go up to 1000 grit to get it super smooth, but I got a really smooth finish with the 320.

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Cut a piece about the size of your palm and start to smooth out the point. You can do it all by hand if you’d like, it’ll just take a bit. If you have an electric sander you can use that, turning the dowel as you go to avoid flat spots. What I ended up doing was sticking the dowel in my drill and using it as a make shift lathe. Just stick in the dowel and tighten the chuck, then hold your sandpaper to the end and move it back and forth and up and down as the dowel turns. The shorter the dowel the better this will work. If your dowel is too long the end will be really wobbly. My dowels were twelve inches and I had a lot of movement at the end. I just pressed the sandpaper to the dowel as it was spinning which got rid of any shaking.

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Here’s the before and after photo of the two dowels. Now that you know how to go about it, do the exact same thing to the other dowel to make your pair. After I had both of them done I went over them with a light coat of Krylon clear gloss then re-sanded it smooth.

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And there they are! I used these to teach myself how to knit with the help of this amazing video from knittinghelp.com. I hope you enjoyed this how to and if you have any questions just ask!

Till next post!

Amber

Here is the sizes chart I mentioned earlier. The website has all kinds of yarns and patterns for sale. Just click the picture to check it out.

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How I covered up my old phone jack

Hello again! This post will be fairly short and sweet but it has an important job to do. You see, there’s this awful thing in my kitchen and I just couldn’t figure out how to cover it up. It’s old, it’s no use to us, it’s gross and wiping it off with a rag does nothing to clean it. It’s set in the middle of the wall so it’s too low for a picture to cover it up without looking odd, and its sticking out of the wall by probably a half of an inch. What is this awful thing you ask?

dun Dun DUUUNNN

 

 

 

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It’s this old, gross phone jack just chilling out on my kitchen wall. Look at that! The screws won’t even go all the way in!

I wandered around the internet looking for ways to cover up an old phone jack. Since we rent I can’t exactly just take it out, so I had to find a clever way to disguise it. I found a post about making a cork board from an old picture frame and knew that’s what I was going to do. Except not the picture frame part. I wanted to make a custom cork board to cover up this bad boy.

I headed on over to (you know what’s coming) my trusty old Dollarama and lo and behold, I found some cork board.

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This package came with two tiles that were probably about a quarter of an inch thick, but that was perfect for me. I took one of the tiles and cut it into strips and then glued the strips around the back of the other piece of cork. This made sort of a frame around the back that let the board sit on the wall without butting into the jack.

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Well, that was easy… Just kidding, that’s not all I did. This is a quick project but not that quick.

I still wanted to decorate the front. I glued on a pad of paper for making grocery lists. A word of advice: gluing on cork can be tricky because it’s so porous. I used some Gorilla glue because (in my opinion) it’s some of the best glue you can find. It will stick anything to anything and I’ve used it for tons of projects in the past.

I decided that instead of thumb tacks poking holes all over it I’d use some twine and make a little clothes line across the top. It’d be super cute to use mini clothes pins but I decided to use paper clips instead. One because it’s what I had on hand, and two I’m too lazy to go back out searching for mini clothes pins. I also put a pen on the side as well for easy access.

I took the twine and wrapped it around the edges, then used my staple gun to staple them in place. I originally had used mounting tape to stick it to the wall but that didn’t hold up, so I stapled a piece of twine around the back and hung it up on a picture hanger. You could make yours even cuter by adding some decorative paper or fabric to it, or some cute accents, but we have a ridiculous amount of stuff I know will get put on this and just cover it up, so the plain old cork worked well for me.

Wanna see what I ended up with? Ok! Here it is:

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It looks a little plain here, but after I took this picture I put all the rest of our stuff up there and its all full. I may add some decoration to it later, but I’m ok with it for now. I’d say this looks and functions much better than that gross old phone jack and now I have even more room to post up random notes and recipes!

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My kitchen wall is that much cuter! Until next time guys!

Amber

Bring Potpourri Beads Back to Life!

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While I was at the Dollarama a while back (one of the best stores ever!) I found these air freshener beads and thought they would look really pretty in a glass jar in the bathroom. I had some back in college that lasted about a week or so before they dried out and I tossed them out.

I was watching YouTube videos about how polymers work which led me to learning about Orbies (a big polymer ball they made into a kids toy basically) because I’m a straight up nerd like that, and thought to myself hmmm… I bet that those scented beads are just polymers that have soaked up scented water. And that’s correct! Then I though hmmm… I bet I could just soak them in water or liquid potpourri whenever they start to shrink, so that’s what I’ve been doing for a couple months now.

These beads aren’t completely dried out yet but they’re about half size and starting to look cloudy. Image

Here’s how tiny they are when they’re completely dried out compared to afterwards when they’re all filled with water.

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Just fill the container up with water until it covers up the beads and give it a swirl to get rid of any bubbles. Then just let it sit for around an hour to get back to full size.

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Walla! I have some in the living room as well and instead of just covering them with water I covered them with fresh linen liquid potpourri (That also came from the dollar store!) and it works the exact same way. I really can’t even smell the original vanilla scent anymore. I’ve found that after a couple times of doing it with water the scent starts to fade, but I’m guessing if you let them shrink down all the way, rinse them off and enlarge them again with water, then the next time you need to hydrate them the majority of the original smell will be gone and you can replace it with whatever you want. They don’t cost too terribly much to begin with and if you keep re-hydrating them you’ll have a really pretty air freshener for as long as you want it.