Friday, May 11, 2012

A little Mom's Day craft

I'm having no deep thoughts today -- I'm too busy getting Mother's Day presents together. BUT, I'm so enamored of the little gifts that I've made (oh, the cleverness of me!), that I decided to put together my first-ever, one-of-a-kind, limited-edition tutorial for those of you with a crafty streak.

I know, I know, this blog is completely schizophrenic -- food, random thoughts, crafts. But then, so am I. Or, to frame it much more gently, consider me a Renaissance woman. Or perhaps a Jane of all trades/master of none.

In any event, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make your very own "Just Rosy Frame." (This message will NOT self-destruct in five seconds.)


The only skills you need are basic crochet (chain stitch, single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, and triple crochet), a smidgen of sewing (to fasten off the roses), and the ability to write reasonably neatly.

The idea for this came from a wreath I saw on Pinterest (OMG, do you just LOOOOVE Pinterest?  Me too!!!!).  It was a lovely craft -- you can check it out on the Thankful Heart blog -- and I thought it would make a great Mother's Day gift.  However, when I visited JoAnn Fabric, I couldn't find a wooden ring the right size to use as the base of the wreath.  They had styrofoam, but they were $5 a pop!  Seriously?  Five bucks for a piece of styrofoam?  Thank you, but no.

Since I had very limited time (gotta get big boy off the bus!), I couldn't go hunting at other craft stores.  I did, however, run across these very cute little frames; they were a great find at just $2.99 each (not to mention the 40% and 50% coupons I had)!  I thought that with some colorful crocheted roses and a sweet hand-lettered message, they'd make lovely gifts.

Was I right or was I right?!

One warning about the frames, though: They were wrapped in plastic, so it was impossible to tell that they do not include glass.  You can always use some from an unused frame or substitute a piece of heavy clear plastic (or cut your own glass to size if you're super-handy), but it was an extra step I wasn't expecting.  Consider yourself warned!

What you'll need:
-  Small amounts of yard (I used worsted weight) in various colors
-  G-size crochet hook (or whatever size suits your chosen yarn)
-  Yarn needle
-  Scissors
-  Hot glue gun and glue sticks
-  Pencil and clean eraser
-  Permanent fine-tip marker
-  Wide, white washed picture frame

So, the first thing you'll need to do is crochet some roses.  I made a wide assortment of colors and sizes.  I won't reprint the pattern here since it's already posted at both Thankful Heart and Lion Brand Yarn.  I will add this, however: Lion Brand lists only three sizes of roses, but truly, you can make ANY size.  The smallest I made (the buds you see) are with the starting chain of 17, but to make intermediate sizes, just add any multiple of 4 to the original 17 chain starting size and follow the pattern from there; for example, chain 21, or 25, or 29, or 33, or 37....  You see where I'm going.  So make what suits you and the frame you're using.

Once you have a good assortment of rose colors and sizes, lay them out on the frame until you hit on an arrangement that you like.  Remember to leave a margin around the photo opening if you're going to add a quote or phrase -- you don't want the flowers covering your sweet little message.

Next, crochet some leaves.  My leaves look awfully dark in all of these photographs (thanks, iPad!), but you'll just have to trust me that they're actually a pleasing shade of green.  I used the pattern from Thankful Heart, but also made up a smaller leaf, as well, based on that pattern:

Make a slip knot
chain 5
SC in second chain from hook
HDC in the next chain
DC in the next chain
3 hdc in the last chain (with the third worked on the other side of the chain)
Then, working up the other side of the chain:
DC, hdc, sc, slip stitch in the last.

Cut the yarn and thread it in a large-eyed needle.  From the back of the leaf, bring the yarn up through the top center of the leaf.  Work it all the way down through the center of the leaf to the very end, then tie it off with the other loose end.  Working it through the center like this will give you a nice "vein" for your leaf!  I used this method for my larger leaves, as well.

Now, add the leaves to your flowers, again leaving room for your lettering:

Carefully move your arrangements off to the side.  It's time to work on adding a message to your frame!

I found that the little photo insert was exactly the right size to act as a guide for my lettering.  You can use that, a ruler, or even lightly pencil lines around the photo opening -- whatever will help you keep your letters neat and even.

Use a pencil to write your message.  My frame says, "These flowers will never fade, like our love for you."  Yes, my heart is full of cheezy goodness.

You could also use a favorite quote (Shakespeare comes to mind), or just leave off the lettering altogether.  This is no wrong answer here.

Feel free to erase (be sure to use a CLEAN eraser!) and redo as many times as you need to get your words neat, even, and aligned to your liking.  I decided to start our message at the left and go clockwise, but you can do whatever is pleasing!  Here's how it looked in pencil (this is a close-up, not actual frame dimensions):

Now, use a fine-tip Sharpie or another permanent market to go over your pencil lettering.  Take your time -- it's permanent ink!

Again use a nice, clean eraser to remove any stray pencil marks.  Take a moment to admire your handiwork and excellent penmanship!

Now that your lettering is complete, put your flower arrangement back on the frame.  Adjust as necessary so you aren't covering any of the message.

Now it's time to start gluing your flowers and leaves onto the frame.  I started in the lower right-hand corner; if you start with your corner flower, it's easy to radiate out from there and you won't have any weird open spaces or crowding.

Heat up your hot glue gun, and be sure to put newspaper down first to catch any drips.

Trim any excess yarn from your flowers and leaves (just make sure you have a good knot in the ends first to keep them from unraveling down the road).  For the flowers, put a ring or two of glue around the base of the flower to ensure a good bond.  You don't want your flowers flopping around or falling off.  Do one flower at a time; hot glue dries FAST.

For the leaves, I used glue on about the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the leaf, and then tucked it under or between the flowers.  Again, remember to work quickly and know where you're putting each element BEFORE you put glue on it.

Here's what the frame looked like with the bottom portion trimmed and glued:

At this point, I knew I was going to be pretty happy with the end result!

Now, work on the top left of your frame (or whichever portion you have remaining).

All that's left is putting in a favorite photo!  In our case, I specifically staged a photo of the boys with a big bunch of wildflowers; it seemed to suit the message.

Let me know if you have any questions about the project.  I hope you enjoy it!

And Happy Mother's Day to all moms -- young, old, and everywhere in between.


  1. Very cute! Now if I can only find the time to learn to crochet! How does yarn size determine the crochet hook? How do you know what to start with?! I have many questions. But I LOVE this gift idea!

  2. Thanks, Lisa! Their recipients were quite happy with them. :-) Generally speaking, the thicker the yarn, the larger the crochet hook (although you may need to go up or down a size or two to get the gauge right).