DIY: Finger Crochet a Round T-shirt Rag Rug

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Despite my sister’s best efforts I’ve never been able to make sense of real crochet. The “finger crochet” method I describe below is something that came out of a lot of experimentation, but I’m guessing you fiber wizards could whip up something even better! If you’ve done a similar project, or have suggestions to make this DIY more clear, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments below.

When I finished re-weaving my t-shirt rug (updated photos at the bottom of that post) I figured out two important things.

  1. There is better way to cut a t-shirt into strips (fewer, longer strips.)
  2. Once you know how to cut t-shirts into long strips, no t-shirt is safe.

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Which translates to: I had a lot of leftover strips of jersey, and wanted to use them up! I started braiding, tying knots, and eventually settled on a method that can best be described as the frumpy cousin of crochet.

PREP: Cutting one long strip

Knotting small strips of jersey (demonstrated in the woven rug post) is time-consuming, so the longer the strip the better. After digging around a bit I found this video that shows how to turn a loop into one long strip.

IMG_2100_roundtshirtrugI started by cutting the large loop of the shirt from the top, and sliced across from one side, stopping about an inch from the other edge.


Then I slipped the loop over my arms, and starting at the end of one cut I cut diagonally towards the end of the next cut on the other side of the fabric. Then the whole thing unwound in a continuous strip.

MAKING THE RUG


To begin I tied a slip-knot near the end of the string by making a loop, reaching through and grabbing the strip, pulling it though and gently pulling to tighten. (There’s a great demonstration of a slip knot at the beginning of this video.)

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Then I reached through that loop, pinched the strip, and pulled it through to create my first chain stitch. (See steps 2 thru 4 on this Red Heart blog post). This whole project breaks down into pulling a new loop through an old loop.

I repeated this chain stitch about 5 times, then…


tucked the loose string end through the last chain stitch to loosely close the first set of chains into a circle.

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To connect the next ring of chains I pulled the next strip (navy) through two existing loops– the one I just made (pictured here closest to my thumb), and the inside of an earlier chain that lined up with my new one (closer to my fingertip).

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This way my newest loop connected my existing chain to the one inside of it. I then started a pattern of 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch…

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going around and around the circle.

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When I ran out of strips, I pulled the end of my string through the last loop, and tucked it into the rug– because one day I will have more t-shirts to dismantle, and this rug will keep getting bigger!

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TIPS

  • As you are working, make sure not to pull your loops too tight, or stretch your chain when you’re doing a connecting stitch. The looser you work the flatter the rug will sit.
  • Different shirts will make thicker or thinner strings based on the thickness of their fabric. I opted for a very irregular look with lots of inconsistencies in my strips (width ranging from 1″ – 2″) but if you want a more regular look, stick with shirts of a similar weight, and cut your strips about 1.25″ wide.
  • If it’s looking weird, pull out your loops and start over! Once you get the hang of this version of finger crochet you’ll fly through this project, so you will quickly make up the time redoing it. Practice has never been more fun.
  • If you can, work for longish stretches to keep your tension consistent. This is a great “while watching tv or daydreaming” activity.
  • As always, plan to make one more rug than you have cats.

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DIY: Paper Spiderwebs to Decorate Everything

Step by step this house is getting properly October spooky. I’m a big fan of decorating with the things I have around, and this collection of tarnished silver and moody ornaments needed one little touch, so I decided to make a spiderweb table runner out of scrap paper and a piece of ribbon.

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SUPPLIES

  • A few sheets of paper, any color you fancy. I used card stock, which was a bit trickier to cut but more durable in the long run.
  • Small clips or tape
  • Your favorite craft knife
  • A hole punch
  • Ribbon
  • The spiderweb templateaim_paperspiderweb

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Once you have printed the spiderweb template, use tape or the clips to secure it to a sheet or two of paper, and cut the spiderweb shape out with a craft knife. You will also punch holes where each X is.

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Cutting Tips

Start trimming the small center pieces out first and move to the large pieces. I actually cut all the inner pieces, then moved on the the next sheet of paper until I have enough pieces. Then I cut the outer shape out of several pieces at once using scissors.

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When you’ve cut out and punched all your pieces, weave a piece of ribbon in and out of the holes to connect several spiderwebs.

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I overlapped the corners of each spiderweb piece to make my table runner…

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and hung them all on one ribbon for a creepy spiderweb banner.

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The possibilities are, as they say, endless! I’m even thinking of creepy spiders to add to them.

The motionless, paper kind.

 

What’re you decorating with?

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year to make things. There’s something about the crisp autumn breeze that makes me want to spend an afternoon with a hot cup of tea and a craft project. I’ve been collecting small pumpkins for the past few weeks and drawing inspiration from this post by Hello Natural, I decided to make my own pumpkin candles.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Supplies Needed

• Small pumpkins
• Soy wax flakes
• #2 candle wick
• Wick tabs
• 30 drops clove essential oil (optional)
• Glitter

Additional Tools

• Carving knife
• Spoon
• Pliers
• Tin can (or double boiler)
• Popsicle stick
• Clothes pins
• Scissors

Cut the top off of each pumpkin and use a spoon to scrape out the insides.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Prep your wick with metal tabs (alternatively you could also use pre-tabbed wicks). Cut the wick to size and insert it through the metal tab with the end of of the wick lining up to the bottom of the tab. Use pliers to pinch the metal tab tightly around the wick. Place into the center of each pumpkin. Use a clothespin to hold the wick into place.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Using a double broiler, melt soy wax flakes over medium heat. Use a popsicle stick to stir the wax. Once completely melted, add the essential oil (optional).

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Pour melted wax into the prepared pumpkins. Allow wax to dry almost completely, then sprinkle glitter over the top. Use a hairdryer to ‘hot top’ the glittered wax. The wax should remelt slightly and allow the glitter to set on the top. Allow to dry completely and trim wicks.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Simple as that! Now you can light them up and enjoy a hot cup of pumpkin spice.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Three DIY Projects To Try This Fall

1. Black Cat Stamped Scarf

Carve your own cat stamp and make this purrfectly cute scarf to keep you warm on the brisk autumn days ahead. [Click here for the full tutorial]

DIY Cat Stamped Scarf #craft #kitty #blackcat #fashion #fall

2. Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger

Add some unique pumpkin decor to your home with this simple DIY. [Click here for the full tutorial]

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Holder

3. Felt Sugar Skull Sachets

Watch your favorite fall movie and practice your embroidery stitches to make some felt sugar skulls. [Click here for the full tutorial]

DIY: Felt Sugar Skull Sachets #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #embroidery

Hope you all have a wonderful and crafty weekend!

DIY: No Sew Woven T-Shirt Rag Rug

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A couple of months ago I tore up the carpet in my office and replaced it with a wood-ish surface. It’s been great through these warm months, but I want something to stand on when the cold sneaks in. Couple that need with a stack of t-shirts left over from the quilt project, and you have my newest best friend, the t-shirt rag rug.

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I built a 30″x30″ make-shift loom out of a piece of plywood and scrap wood, but if you search online you can find frames built from pretty much anything. (A Beautiful Mess used cotton scraps and a big piece of cardboard. Also, Pinterest)

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I put nails along each end, 1 inch apart. Good hammer practice for a hammer novice.

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With the loom assembled, I moved to materials.

SUPPLIES

Stripping

The rug was built with 1.5″ loops for the warp (base strips) of my rug, and 1.75″ strips woven through.

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I used a large straight rotary blade and a metal ruler to cut three navy shirts into the 1.5″ loops, then cut the rest of the shirts into 1.75″ strips. (This is a very forgiving fabric, so estimation is ok!)

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I hooked the navy warp pieces on each side of the loom using the natural loop and stretch of the t-shirt.

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I prepared to weave by attaching the first strip to the first warp loop. I cut a slit in one end of the strip, fed the other end around the first warp piece and back through the slit. Then I pulled it tightly and began to weave.

Not a normal knot.

I connected a lot of strips to finish this rug using the method shown below. It’s quick and tidy, and ensured you don’t have a lot of extra bulk at your connection points.

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  1. Cut a small slit in the ends of each strip.
  2. Feed the new strip into the hole at the end of the other.
  3. Take the other end of the new strip and feed it through the slit on the same strip.
  4. Pull on the new end to tighten the knot. Smooth or trim extra material if needed.

(The video below shows how I knotted at the end of a strip.)

 

Now Weave!

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Starting at that first warp piece, I wove in and out of each loop to the end of the loom. At the end I wrapped either over or under the last piece to start back down the loom. The second strand went over the strands that the first went under, and vice versa.

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From there it was basically rinse and repeat. I wove back and forth, connecting strips and changing colors.

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When possible I fed the strip through the warp flat, then pulled it down with my fingers to bunch it up.

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The pattern and color combination were very important to me, and I got more and more excited as I worked on it. When I put the final strip in, I tied it off using a normal knot on the last piece of navy.

Finishing it off

Here’s where I admit this rug is really just a gigantic pot holder, and I finished it off the same way. I pulled the first warp loop free and fed the second through it, then fed the third through that one, and so on down the line. (Video Below)

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Once I was down to the last two loops, I changed tactics. I cut the loop of the last piece, fed one strip through the second to last loop and tied it off.

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I did the same thing on the other end and suddenly had a rug in front of me.

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After basking in the last moments of sunshine, I rolled up the rug and brought it inside.

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Where it was immediately claimed by another friend…

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Cooper.

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Looks like I’ll have to weave another rug for myself.

Next Time

  • The next rug will be bigger. Once I took this one off the loom it shrunk down a bit, and I love it too much for it to be small.
  • I won’t pull the woven strands as tightly, which will hopefully help with the shrinking.
  • Maybe I’ll try non-stretch cotton scraps?
  • I will plan to move the loom frame around a lot, and possibly rig up some way of leaning it upright while I’m weaving. Working flat gave me a back-ache.
  • I will take it in little batches, weaving in front of the tv or in public. If I weave in public I will look very serious about turning scraps into a comfy rug.

A sign of a successful project is the ability to look forward to the next one.

UPDATE: I enjoyed this project so much that I decided to remake this rug- BIGGER! I built a much larger loom using scrap wood and screws, then followed the same process to build this monstrosity. It sits cozily by my work table now, warms my feet, and makes me happy.

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DIY CHALLENGE: November Herbs & Spices

Need a creative boost? Join our new DIY Craft Challenge! Each month we (adventures-in-making.com) will choose a theme, and you get to run with it, then share what you make. You can stick strictly to the theme, or do something totally unexpected. Your creation is sure to inspire someone else, taking this creative community to the next level!

Check out what everyone came up with last month’s theme Fall Leaves here.

Share Your Project!

To share your project, email rachel@adventures-in-making.com with the following info:
• at least one photo of the finished piece (shots of your process are also welcome!)
• a little bit about yourself & where you’re from
• how you got from the theme to your final product
• links to your social media/blog/website (optional)

We will post our top 10 favorite submissions on the blog at the end of the month + award PRIZES!

DIY CHALLENGE: Herbs & Spices #craft #diycraftchallenge #november
(Sources left to right: 1. Christmas Pomanders by Hanna’s Charming Christmas 2. Boiled Apple Cider Syrup by Erin Boyle 3. Ginger and Coconut Oil Sugar Body Scrub by Food For My Family 4. Cinnamon & Evergreen Napkin Ties (Source Unknown) 5. DIY Rosemary Wreath by The Pretty Blog 6. Natural Room Scents by The Yummy Life 7. Painted Herb Rocks by 8. Herb Infused Vinegar by Garden Therapy 9. Homemade Pumpkin Butter by Tasty Kitchen)

NOVEMBER CHALLENGE: Herbs & Spices

November marks the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a time of delicious smells filling hour home from cookies baking in the oven, soup simmering on the stove, and your favorite fall scented candle burning on the windowsill. We’ve chosen Herbs & Spices as our November theme and we hope to inspire both cooking and crafting. You can use actual herbs & spices, or use the ‘herbs & spices’ as a theme for your project.

Any and all materials and mediums are encouraged! This challenge is open to ALL AGES, so don’t be afraid to get your kids involved too. The challenge officially begins tomorrow, November 1, 2014 and ends on November 25, 2014. We will post our top 10 favorite projects + announce the award winners on November 26th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

Invite your friends!

This is the perfect opportunity to host a craft night with your friends! Take photos of everyone’s creations and send them to us! Here is a button you can display on your website/blog to let your people know what you are up to.

“Adventures

<a href=”http://www.adventures-in-making.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adventures-in-making.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/november-crafthchallenge.png” alt=”Adventures In Making DIY Challenge” width=”140″ height=”140″ /></a>

SHARE YOUR PROJECT ON INSTAGRAM USING #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE

October DIY Challenge Results!

We are so excited to share the great submissions we received from you all for our first ever DIY Challenge! The theme for this month was ‘Fall Leaves’ and we were blown away by the creative projects everyone came up with. As promised we are awarding our three favorite projects and showcasing everyone’s submissions.

DIY CHALLENGE AWARD: Most Practical

The award for “Most Practical” goes to Donna Herron who made this gorgeous knitted cowl. We just love the whimsical leaf pattern she created and the bright colors she chose.

DIY Challenge Awards: Most Practical #diycraftchallenge

Donna Herron is an avid artist and crafter. Originally from New England, she now lives in the Southeast USA, but still loves knitting warm, cozy, and colorful items. She’s been designing her own knitting patterns for a few years, but enjoys crafting in a number of mediums as well.

My submission is my Changing Leaves Cowl. I love all the gorgeous colors of autumn and wanted to use bits of my favorite variegated yarn to depict these bright colors. I took a leaf from my yard to create a knitting chart for the leaves in this cowl. – Donna from Southeast USA

Donna’s Changing Leaves Cowl Pattern is available on her blog for free! Thanks so much Donna!

DIY CHALLENGE AWARD: Most Decorative

The award for ‘Most Decorative’ goes to Beth Watson. We love how she cut letters out of silk leaves to create a festive banner for fall.

DIY CHALLENGE AWARD: Most Decorative #diycraftchallenge

Beth Watson lives sunny SW Florida where there is no seasonal change with fall leaves, inspiring her to come up with several projects that incorporate them each year. Beth is a creative design professional, specializing in mixed media design, three dimensional crafts and home décor. You can check out her blog, here.

These are large silk leaves that I found at the craft store and I wanting to make them into a banner. I tried all kinds of letter stickers and chipboard, but finally decided to trace around the letters and cut them out with a craft knife. I have them hanging in my window, so the sun shines through them and creates cool shadows on the floor! – Beth from SW Florida

DIY CHALLENGE AWARD: Most Creative

The award for ‘Most Creative’ goes to Shirley and her 8-year-old grandson Noah. We absolutely loved the face they created using collected fall leaves and flowers.

DIY CHALLENGE AWARD: Most Creative #diycraftchallenge

Thanks for the challenge. It was a lot of fun. Noah had a tough time thinking in such an abstract way. We worked together, and he finally figured out there was no wrong or right way… then it was great! – Shirley from Nebraska.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first DIY Challenge! We had so much fun seeing your creative projects. We hope you’ll join us again next month! (Next month’s theme will be announced tomorrow).

Fall Leaves Gallery

DIY CHALLENGE: Fall Leaves #craft #diycraftchallenge #autumn #october
Credits left to right:
1. Leather Leaves Mobile by Lin from Okinawa, Japan
2. Autumn Leaf & Pinecone Garland by Tamara (via Instagram)
3. Cardboard Autumn Tree by Rachel Beyer from Portland, Oregon
4. Embroidered Leaf Hoop Art by Alissa Thiele from Portland, Oregon
5. Embroidered Felt Leaf Brooches by Lindsay McCoy from Oregon City, Oregon
6. Chalkboard Sign by Alison Lang from Issaquah, Washington
7. Family Tree Leaves by the Halperin Family from Winfield, Illinois
8. Crochet Leaves by Kat Duke from Seattle, Washington
9. Cross-stitch Fall Leaf Hoop Art by Kim J from Northwest Georgia
10. Appearing Leaf Drop Dyed Tissue by Alison Lang from Issaquah, Washington
11. Fall Leaf Prints by Rachel Beyer from Portland, Oregon

Stay tuned for next month’s DIY CHALLENGE! We hope you’ll join us!

DIY: Appearing Leaf Drop-Dyed Tissue

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If you’ve tried out our Paper Flower or Tie-Dye Tissue Paper DIYs you know how much fun it is to dye paper with liquid watercolor. There’s something so magical about the way the colors mix and flow through the paper fibers.

I was thinking about fall leaves, and of course paper dyeing seemed like the perfect way to capture the fiery colors of the season. After a little experimentation, I came up with a dyeing variation where leaves mysteriously appear on a gorgeous field of color.

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Supplies You’ll Need

• White tissue paper
• A Pigment Based White Stamp Pad, like this Craftsmart Pigment Ink Pad from Michaels. Other stamp pads, or inks, should work too, just test them out on a piece of scrap tissue.
• Stamps, made or bought.  I made my own in a method similar to the one Rachel used for her Stamped Scarf project. I carved my stamps from cheap erasers.
Blick Liquid Watercolors
• Liquid Droppers and/or absorbent foam paint brushes.

Here’s a sneak peek at the leafy magic…

 

To get started- decide how you are going to use your tissue, and where the leaf design should be. If you are using it in a bag, I would suggest decorating the corners; if you’re going to wrap with it you will want to decorate from the center out.

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Ink up your stamp, and press it firmly on your tissue. (You know- stamp it!)

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Repeat with your stamps in a random pattern until you are happy with the design. It may be difficult to see the white ink on white tissue- but that’s what makes the next part so fun!

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Let the stamped tissue dry for a few minutes, then fold the tissue several times and place on a plate or other protective surface. With your dropper or brush begin applying dabs, drops, and lines of liquid watercolor to the tissue.

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The leaves should start to appear in white on your tissue. (The watercolor won’t soak into the area that you have covered with the stamp ink.) If you end up with excess dye puddling up on your design, simply dab with your brush or a paper towel.

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Keep dropping and dabbing until you’ve covered the area with color.

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Flip the tissue over and add color there as well. (It should soak through all the layers.) After you are done, let the sheets dry completely (at least overnight) before unfolding and using them.

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Tada! Customized tissue that will make all your gifts pop.

Other things to try

• More color combinations
• Different stamps – maybe stars, initials, polkadots…
• Other types of ink – colored or metallic ink pads, block printing inks and more
• Drawing with metallic Sharpies or paint pens
• Drawing with dry watercolor pencils before dyeing
• Experimenting with other papers

RECIPE: 7 Recipes for a Halloween Feast

Every year for Halloween, my boyfriend James and I like to make a special dinner to celebrate. We’ve had small dinner parties with friends and even an intimately spooky dinner with just the two of us. We choose flavors of the fall season and get creative with presentation. Here are 6 recipes from around the web that we just love.

1. Black Magic Cocktail

We like to begin any dinner party with a delicious cocktail to relax and set the mood for the evening. This Black Magic cocktail looks wickedly delicious! Recipe from HGTV.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

2. Mummy Veggie Dip

While you enjoy your cocktails, snack on a Mummy veggie dip tray. I love having different green veggies surrounding the cheesy mummy dip. Recipe from Hostess with the Mostess.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

3. Pretzel Broomstick Party Snacks

Impress your dinner guests with these Pretzel Broomsticks made from pretzel sticks and shredded phyllo dough. Serve them with your favorite dips. Recipe from Heather Baird.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

4. Pumpkin Chestnut Soup

Sit down and begin your Halloween feast with a bowl of delicious Pumpkin-Chestnut Soup. Recipe from Martha Stewart.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

5. Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Next serve everyone their own mini pumpkins stuffed with wild rice. Recipe from Whole Foods Market.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

6. Scary Candy Apples

These Scary Apples are the perfect dessert, and the presentation is freakishly fantastic! Recipe from Matt Bites.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

7. Mulled Cider

Sip on hot mulled cider and get cozy with a Halloween movie. Recipe by Evermine.

6 Recipes for a 
Halloween Feast

What plans to do you in store for All Hallow’s Eve?

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall
Last year for Halloween, my mom hung a big pumpkin from a vintage macrame plant hanger on her front porch. I loved the idea so much that I thought it would be fun to make my own with mini pumpkins to display in my apartment window.

Supplies Needed

• Black yarn or string
• Metal ring
• Wooden beads
• Scissors

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

Cut 4 strands of yarn that are about 3x the length that you want the finished hanger to be. Fold the strands in half and loop through the metal hoop.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

Next, separate the yarn strands into groups of two.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

Tie each group into a knot.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

String a wooden bead onto each strand, then tie another knot just below the bead.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall
DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

A few inches down, tie another row of knots.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

Next, tie two adjacent strings together and repeat with each string. Then tie the last string together with the first. Repeat this process and tie another row of strings together.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall
DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall
DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

Finally, tie all the strings together in one large knot.

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall

Place your mini pumpkins into your macrame hanger and display!

DIY: Mini Pumpkin Macrame Hanger #halloween #decor #fall