Category Archives: Tutorials

Quick craft: easy and cheap bookmarks

My son recently celebrated his fifth birthday with a “Trolls”-themed party. We tend to be low-key with birthday parties.  Usually a handful of kids come over and we eat snacks, play games, color and do a craft.

Now that we’re reading chapter books, bookmarks are a necessity. Here’s a creative way to make inexpensive bookmarks. Next time you head to the hardware store pick up a few paint chips and you’re almost done. This is a great craft for little ones since it involves no cutting.

Paint chip bookmarks | All you need is stickers, yarn and free paint chips. A great craft for toddlers!

Paint chip bookmarks

Materials:

  • Paint chips (look for ones with a hole punched in the corner)
  • Stickers
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch (if necessary)

Paint chip bookmarks | All you need is stickers, yarn and free paint chips. A great craft for toddlers!

Directions:

Cut two pieces of yarn about 8 inches long. Fold them in half and loop them through the hole in the corner of the paint chip (or use a hole punch).

Have your child apply stickers to his heart’s content to the paint chip.

Presto! Bookmark!

Paint chip bookmarks | All you need is stickers, yarn and free paint chips. A great craft for toddlers!

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DIY Hoop Wreath | a simple tutorial

This time of year isn’t the prettiest in Alaska. Snow is waiting to melt, everything is brown and dusty, and there’s a certain stale odor in the air. But there is LIGHT – so much daylight.

Erin of Blomma Designs, photographer Anne Marie Moran and I decided to take advantage of our ever-increasing sunlight last weekend.I brought my sister, Farra, along too. We all met at Erin’s studio to create modern floral wreaths. It was the perfect respite from Alaska breakup season.

Make your own asymmetrical wreath with this simple tutorial by Blomma Designs and Natasha Price of Alaskaknitnat.com | Photos by Anne Marie Moran Photography

I thought we should share this crafting experience with a step-by-step tutorial. The luscious photos are by the talented and delightful Anne Marie of Anne Marie Moran Photography.

Continue reading DIY Hoop Wreath | a simple tutorial

DIY Cassie Skirt – a LuLaRoe sewing hack

If you’re a mom in her 30s then you’ve probably encountered the direct sales brand, LuLaRoe. Recently my Facebook feed has been overloaded with pop-up shops and online shopping parties for a women’s clothing brand that touts fun prints and comfortable fit.

I finally went to a LuLaRoe party at a friend’s house. It was sort of like Avon – my girlfriend hosted a shopping party and a sales rep was on-hand to talk up the brand and get you excited about buying things. If you bring a friend, you save 10 percent!

Although I found some cute styles and they were pretty comfortable, it was the price that I wasn’t impressed with. Thirty-five dollars seems like a good price for a skirt, but when I saw the fabric quality and the way they were constructed I concluded it was probably about $1.50 worth of materials and a whole lot of upselling on the part of the sales rep.

One of my coworkers has been sporting LuLaRoe’s Cassie skirt and it looks fabulous on her. It’s essentially a tube of jersey fabric with a wide waistband.

And it was pretty dang easy to make! This project took me about 45 minutes from start to finish and it cost me less than $5.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
It’s 1 degree out!

Copycat Lularoe Cassie Skirt

What you’ll need:

  • 1 yard of jersey (stretchy) fabric. I’d suggest a non-directional pattern to make it easier
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors

Step 1: Determine the stretch of your material. My material was stretchy in both directions but one way was definitely more stretchy. You’ll want the stretchy direction to go side-to-side, around your hips (instead of up and down stretch).

Step 2: Take the fabric and stretch it around your waist. This is how I determined how wide to make my skirt. I marked from the edge of the fabric to where it met when wrapped around my waist once. For me it was 30 inches.

Step 3: Cut a piece from your fabric that’s the measurement you came up with plus 2 inches – for me that was 32 inches. Remember the stretch should be horizontal.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 4: Fold down the top edge by 7 inches and cut across for the waistband. My waistband measured 32 inches long and 14 inches tall (you’ll be folding it in half later). Set this aside.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 5: Pin your two side edges, right sides together, from top to bottom. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew with a 5/8″ seam allowance thus creating a tube. It should essentially be a pencil skirt with raw edges on top and bottom. Trim the seam edges. Try on your tube to figure out if you want to trim the bottom. My skirt hit just above my knees, which is what I wanted.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Bottom edge of skirt, pinned with 1/2-inch hem.

Step 6: Determine the bottom of your skirt and inside out, pin up a 1/2-inch hem. Sew around starting at the side seam with a straight stitch using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Turn right-side out.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Waistband sewn together at the side.

Step 7: Take your waistband and pin the side edges together, right sides together. Sew using a zig-zag stitch with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Trim seam edges.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Waistband is inside-out and placed over the top of the skirt, which is right-side out.

Step 8: Keep your waistband inside out and place it over the top of your skirt (which is right-side out). Pin the top edge of the waistband to the top edge of the skirt. Sew using a zig-zag stitch with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 9: Flip the waistband up and fold in half so the raw edge is now inside the skirt. Turn inside out.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 10: Pin the raw edge of the waistband to the seam you just made. You’ll be pinning through three layers of fabric. Sew a zig-zag stitch just next to the stitch you made before. This will ensure the seam you’re currently making won’t show on the outside of the skirt.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
This stitch is made adjacent to the first waistband seam. This ensures it doesn’t show on the outside of the skirt.

Step 11: Turn right-side out and you’re done! The waistband is extra tall, so either wear it that way or fold it down to create more tummy control.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Glamour garage door shot.

Alaska Flag Hat revisited

Last summer a friend commissioned me to knit her a slouchy Alaska Flag Hat. It turned out to be a hit and I knit more than 30 of them for various Alaskans. Several asked for a kids or non-slouchy version as we can’t all look as spectacular as Fernanda in a slouchy hat.

I’ve been meaning to rewrite the pattern for months but have been overwhelmed by my floral business. But when a friend of mine texted me her family photo this year, I knew it was time.

Alaska flag hat - a free pattern for children and adults from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo by Jennifer Hughes Photography

I mean, how adorable is this family?

Continue reading Alaska Flag Hat revisited

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

DIY Mother’s Day Arrangement – a step-by-step tutorial

Spring has sprung (hopefully) and nothing makes your home feel “spring fresh” more than a fresh flower arrangement. Recently I had a coffee meeting with Rachel Christy, owner of Alaska Blooms Peony Farms,  and she pointed out that I’m a DIY bride’s florist. Indeed, many of the brides who hire me order the main floral pieces from me and then save money by creating centerpieces themselves. Since I’m a business of one person, I am completely fine with this arrangement. When a bride orders centerpieces I usually hire an assistant.

During a phone consultation with a Kentucky bride, she told me my floral business reminds her of small-batch whiskey makers. These are folks in Kentucky who make whiskey on the side of their normal jobs that are different from the standard whiskeys. I love that comparison.

Anyway, since Mother’s Day is the next floral holiday on the calendar (and often the busiest day for florists) I thought I would share a step-by-step tutorial on how you can make your own flower arrangement. Whether you’re a son, a daughter or a DIY bride, this should be helpful for anyone who is looking to be florally frugal.

If you’re in Anchorage, you can purchase beautiful greenery by the stem at Alaska Wholesale Flower Market. They range from $1.89-2.99 a stem. They also have gorgeous blooms there, but in an effort to save money I purchased grocery store flowers using a buy one, get one half off coupon.

DIY Mother's Day arrangement | Make a beautiful floral centerpiece in just a few simple steps using eucalyptus, baby's breath, alstroemeria and football mums. Tutorial by alaskaknitnat.com

Continue reading DIY Mother’s Day Arrangement – a step-by-step tutorial

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!