Category Archives: Crafts

Furniture facelift – how to refinish a thrift store table

The other day as I was making my thrift store rounds I saw an old table sitting outside of Bishop’s Attic. It had lots of stains on it as though someone was raised in a non-coaster family (oh, the shame!)

Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com

It was only $5 so what was there to lose by buying it?

Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com

I could tell it was a solid construction made with nice wood. Maybe teak, cherry and walnut in there? I’m not sure. But when I asked my husband if he’d help me refinish it I was surprised to find how easy it was. All we did was refinish the top of the table as the legs were still in good shape. We now have a gorgeous wooden table and all we really paid for was the wood finish.

Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

Directions:

  1. Remove the top from the legs. Using 80 grade sandpaper sand down the tabletop with the orbital sander. Use circular motions and sand the top evenly all over. Sand the sides of the tabletop too, if you’re able to.
  2. Repeat this step with the next finest grade of sandpaper until you’ve reached 220.Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com
  3. Hand sand any bits or corners you weren’t able to get with the orbital sander. I just eyeballed it.
  4. Use a piece of tack cloth to remove all sawdust from the tabletop.Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com
  5. Pour a big glug of wood finish onto the tabletop and spread out evenly with a shop paper towel. Get all over and around the sides. Get it underneath the edge of the table. No need to finish the whole bottom part, but get some around the underneath edge. It should instantly look amazing.Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com
  6. Make sure the finish is evenly distributed and not applied so heavily that it drips or gloops.
  7. After 3 minutes use a dry paper towel to wipe the table with the grain to remove any excess oil. If you go against the grain it might look streaky.
  8. Wait four hours and repeat steps 5-7.
  9. You could stop here or apply another coat if you’d like. I only did two coats.
  10. Screw the top back onto the legs and presto! New table!

Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com

Furniture Facelift | How to refinish a thrift store table from alaskaknitnat.com

Guest post: Feather & Fan Scarflette

My friend Annie is an avid knitter. She’s more of a knitting ninja – she wears her needles down to near stubs because of her always-popular Harry Potter scarves.

In the past few years it seems all of her friends are procreating because she makes a baby blanket nearly every month. I shared her adorable feather and fan lovey a couple of years back and when she posted a scarf with a similar pattern on her Etsy shop yesterday I asked if I could share the pattern.

Continue reading Guest post: Feather & Fan Scarflette

Grinch-themed birthday party

Our son, Jack, turns 4 this week. Since his second birthday we’ve let him choose his party theme. At 2 it was Pingu (please, have a look at this adorable Swedish claymation penguin show), last year it was the Lorax and when I asked him this year what he wanted, he chose the Grinch.

A Grinch-themed birthday party | Minimal organization and lots of running around is all you need for a fun kids birthday party. A photo gallery from alaskaknitnat.com
Pin the heart on the Grinch. It’s more of a tradition on my part to get me into the spirit of party planning. The kids play with it for about 5 minutes.

During the holidays we took Jack to a local restaurant to see the outrageous film based on the Dr. Seuss character. It was his first big screen experience so it must have left an impression on him.

Continue reading Grinch-themed birthday party

Reversible chevron scarf

A couple of weeks ago I was packing for a two-week vacation in Mexico. Our family trips consist of sleeping, eating and lying around, so I have a lot of time to knit. I wanted to work on a pattern that was easy and quick to finish.

I’m not usually a fan of knitting scarves as they go on forever and ever, but I realized I don’t have many scarves and the cowls I’ve made muss my hair when I take them off.

I don’t do lacework and cable scarves have a wrong side, which I find unattractive. That’s when I found a free downloadable pattern from Ravelry called the Reversible Chevron Scarf designed by Debbie Seton of The Crimson Rabbit.

Click here for the free pattern.

Reversible chevron scarf in fuchsia | A free pattern by Debbie Seton and featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Reversible chevron scarf in fuchsia | A free pattern by Debbie Seton and featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

This scarf has a beautiful texture and the design, which is made up of just knits and purls, looks the same on both sides. Just what I wanted!

Continue reading Reversible chevron scarf

Little lady scarf — a free knitting pattern

Last week a friend asked me if I could make a toddler scarf for her little niece, Amelia. The idea of a toddler wearing a scarf is funny to me. I can’t imagine it staying on a wriggling little 2-year-old. But that got me thinking: why not make a scarf that will stay put?

I searched Pinterest and came across the most adorable scarf pattern that uses a bow as a button. This was definitely the right idea. Create a buttonhole near the end of the scarf and secure a knit bow in the buttonhole. That should keep the scarf in place on a hippitty-hoppity hyper toddler.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

I love the look of seed stitch, a.k.a. moss stitch. It keeps the knit piece from curling on the edges and it looks attractive on both sides of the fabric. And it’s a little fancier than garter stitch.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

This is a simple weekend project that’s bound to keep your little lady cozy and warm.

Little lady scarf with bow

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Materials:

  • 1 skein Lion Brand Woolspun in Fisherman
  • 1 skein Lion Brand Woolspun in Charcoal
  • Size 10 US needles
  • darning needle

Seed stitch:

Row 1: k1, p1 across all stitches

Row 2: p1, k1 across all stitches

Essentially, you knit where there’s a purl and purl where there’s a knit on the previous row.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Note: I slip the first stitch of each row, knitwise, and purl the last stitch of every row regardless of where I am in the seed stitch pattern. This creates a neat edge. It is not required and therefore I haven’t included it in the row-by-row instructions below.

Instructions:

Cast on 20 stitches.

Seed stitch for 18 rows.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

For the buttonhole:

Row 1: Slip 1 stitch, seed stitch for 9 stitches. With the left needle, pull one stitch over the other stitch, *knit one, pull the second stitch over the knit one; repeat from the * twice more. You have now cast off 4 stitches. Continue with the seed stitch for the rest of the row. You should have 8 stitches on either side of the cast-off stitches.

Row 2: Slip 1 stitch, seed stitch to button hole, cast on 4 stitches, continue the seed stitch for the rest of the row. – 20 stitches.

Continue the seed stitch pattern until the whole piece measures 25 inches. Cast off and weave in ends.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Bow: Cast on 10 stitches and knit in garter stitch for 10 rows. Cast off and weave in ends. Wrap grey yarn around the middle of the strip several times and tie the ends in the back of the bow.

Using the fisherman color yarn and darning needle, sew the bow to the end of the scarf opposite the button hole, the same height as the button hole (about 4 inches from the edge).

I don’t have a little lady, so my little gent got to be the model. Kind of looks like a bow tie, right?

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

The top can be folded down a bit like a collar to make it a little narrower and warmer.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Feather-light triangle scarf

After knitting about 30 Alaska flag hats, I was yearning to knit myself something this winter that I would use every day. I love cowls, but often my hair gets all frumpy and frizzy when I try and put one on over my head. I really wanted a scarf that wouldn’t require a lot of thinking.

After many searches I came across this simple pattern from Leah Michelle Designs. The elongated triangle turns out less like a shawl and more like a bandana scarf. Just my style.

Feather-light triangle scarf | An easy knitting pattern by  Leah Michelle Designs, featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Feather-light triangle scarf | An easy knitting pattern by  Leah Michelle Designs, featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

I fell in love with Mano de Ururguay’s Clara yarn the other day at the yarn shop. It’s soft, feathery and fluffy. Just my style.

Feather-light triangle scarf | An easy knitting pattern by  Leah Michelle Designs, featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

This pattern is so simple. It increases by one stitch every four rows. No need to count stitches or rows. You just weigh the yarn before starting and increase until you’ve used half the weight, then start decreasing.

Feather-light triangle scarf | An easy knitting pattern by Leah Michelle Designs, featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

I also learned a simple technique that I’ll be applying to all scarf patterns in the future. You slip the first stitch knitwise and purl the last stitch on every row. This creates the perfect edge. I love it!

Feather-light triangle scarf | An easy knitting pattern by Leah Michelle Designs, featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

The Best Gift Box Hack

I worked in retail for six years and by this time during the holiday season our gift wrapping supplies were usually low. Only birthday paper and giant boxes left. When I had a customer wanting a small item wrapped, I came up with this simple hack to make a small box out of the lid of a bigger box.

Here’s your key to being a wrapping genius.