Macrame Rainbow Keychain

Although my DIY macramé rainbows are less than ideal, I thought the 2nd one I created would at least be good enough to continue its purpose as a keychain. If I hang other charms on the same keychain as a distraction, the glue marks would not be so obvious then! (I hope!!)

So I hung one of the lovely Prima Marketing butterflies from My Sweet Collection such that it would hang on the side of the rainbow where the glue in between the coloured strands is rather visible. The colour and soft texture of the lace butterfly complements the macramé rainbow perfectly.

To hide the glue stain on one of the coloured ends of the rainbow, I added a wooden embellishment from Kaisercraft. I had tried using various buttons and charms, but I think the raw feel of unvarnished wood complements the natural tone of the cotton threads better. It would also reduce the “pinkness” of the entire keychain.

I also tied a couple of twine from my stash to the keychain, in place of tassels or pom-poms. The macramé threads are thin and so the thicker rougher twine would provide a suitable contrast.

Now it’s a case of what to do with the newly completed keychain!! I’m still in two minds as to whether I should present it as a gift, or keep it in my stash to serve as charms for a future mini album. Let’s see how things go in future.

Making Macrame Rainbows

I had bought a kit online for making macramé rainbow keychains. Besides the pre-cut macramé rope and my chosen set of coloured cotton threads, the kit also came with a QR code that launches a YouTube instruction video. All in all it costs a bit lesser than S$10 for the kit of 2 keychains.

I had thought the most difficult part of making macramé rainbows would be deciding on the colour combination to use, hence my choice of using a kit. Even then, it took me many agonising minutes to decide on the order of pinks to make!

But I should have done a bit more research online about making macramé rainbows, instead of just following the single given video. In theory it does not seem difficult to make macramé rainbows. Just wound coloured cotton threads around appropriate lengths of macramé rope, glue them together and voila!

But while it’s not difficult to make your own macramé rainbows, it’s not easy to make them store-bought perfect! For one thing, ending the threads with glue (as stated in the video) resulted in obvious glue stains. Joining the different rainbow strands together also require the use of strong & VERY thin strings of glue, otherwise the glue overflows and become visible. I had not used the UHU glue provided in the kit as I don’t like the strong solvent smell – instead I used my usual crafting Helmar glue. While it’s sufficiently strong and fast drying, glue stains are rather obvious. I tried using white craft glue that is supposed to dry clear, but it not only takes forever to dry (with me holding the strands together the entire time to keep them stuck together), the dried glue turns the cotton threads a darker shade. The innermost rainbow strand on the right shows the end with rather obvious colour difference – the result of my glue experimentation.

The other difficulty is making the various coloured rainbow strands of correct length, such that after bending the rainbow the coloured ends are at the same level. The pre-cut strands in the kit are not totally measured right: my first rainbow attempt on the left resulted in rather obvious uneven rainbow ends, since I simply wound the cotton threads from marked end to marked end without checking, and only realised the problem when I tried assembling the rainbow. I tried to rectify the problem for the 2nd rainbow on the right, but it seems the length of coloured rainbow strand required is also affected by how much the rainbow is bent. Despite measuring & marking the macramé ropes twice before & after wrapping, the coloured ends still don’t line up level when I assemble the rainbow.

The instruction video provided says that for the outermost rainbow strand, add the keychain after wounding the cotton threads to the halfway mark. As I was working with the entire bobbin of cotton threads, I threaded in the keychain first (winding twice around the jump ring for security) before I started wrapping, and only when I reach the halfway point did I fix the position of the keychain. Or try to. As you can see from my 1st attempt on the left, the middle point turned up out to be not so exact after all! Luckily I managed to get things right on my 2nd attempt.

After completing the 2 rainbows I still have some leftover coloured cotton threads from the kit. Perhaps I may make a 3rd attempt. But as with all crafts I have tired of making macramé rainbows for the time being. I still have to figure out how to rescue my 2 not-so-pretty rainbows. But before I make macramé rainbows again I’ll do more research and not make assumptions again!!!

Tassels using Waste Cross Stitch Threads

Having completed 3 small cross stitch kits within the past 6 months I now have a bunch of unused remaining coloured cotton threads, with some very similar colours. As I don’t have the colour codes for some of them it would be difficult to use them on another cross stitch project, and I know I still have a box of unused threads hidden somewhere. So I thought of using up these remaining threads to make little tassels that I can use for my other craft projects.

Tassels are not difficult to make but I wanted to have the knots neatly hidden, so I went searching online for some tutorials. Generally I prefer word & photo tutorials compared to videos. I find it tedious to keep pausing the video as I work along, and some videos have no subtitles so I have trouble understanding fully what the presenter is saying. I also don’t like video tutorials with a lot of comments – I am rather traditional, preferring those 1-picture-1-step kind of instructions.

So I went through a couple of videos and several websites for ideas, adopting whichever technique I found easy to work with from the various sources. The websites I used:
https://www.marthastewart.com/908665/how-tie-tassel
https://howdidyoumakethis.com/perfect-tassels-every-time/
https://theneonteaparty.com/2021/08/03/diy-stacked-tassel-earrings/

The good thing about using unused threads from cross stitch kits are that the threads are all pre-cut, but it also meant that the threads are rather short for tassel-making. So after I wrapped the threads around the short end of an expired credit card, I tied a contrasting coloured thread in the middle, and folded the threads into 2, to have enough volume for my mini tassels.

If I use only 3 threads as the yellow tassel on the right, it turns out to rather thin. Four threads looping twice around the credit card gives the reasonable aquamarine tassel in the middle. Six threads (combining 2 different shades of red) creates a tassel that looks good enough on its own.

I’m rather pleased with the colour combination of the tri-coloured tassels. It’s not difficult to make after all! I’m keeping the rest of the unused cross stitch threads so that I have more colour options to work with for such tri-coloured tassels in future!

I had created an additional cross-stitch slipper using the spare plastic aida from the previous project, but have not found a suitable use for it. Now I added the red tassel, and dug through my stash for some alphabet beads to create a simple sentiment charm. I used the same yellow cross stitch thread for the alphabet charm so as to keep to the same colour scheme and maintain the soft feel of the charms.

Now it’s another case of finding a suitable project to use this set of charms on!

Beaded Heart Cross Stitch Brooch

I have finally finished another mini cross stitch project, this one the free kit that came with CrossStitcher magazine issue 340. That’s about 2.5 years ago!!

I love the free kits that come with magazines, because they’re little projects that I can usually finish in just a few days (if I work on them consistently!). Plus the fact that everything needed is pre-packed so I seldom need to dig out anything else except for a pair of scissors and sewing kit: so convenient for lazy crafters like me! In recent years I prefer cross stitch projects that I can wear or use, so plastic aida projects are my current favourite – so easy to not have to use a hoop to stitch!

This particular brooch design came with black seed beads which adds a lot of dimension to the finished piece. I still have some unused red metallic thread from a previous project, and so decided to incorporate it into the brooch for added sparkle.

ENHANCE_NONE

I made some changes to the given design: using 3 strands of thread instead of 2, so that the finished piece would look fuller. From the previous project I realised that the white 14″ plastic aida is slightly visible when stitching with only 2 strands, and I don’t like that. But using 3 strands meant that some spots are very tight and takes more effort to poke the needle through the holes.

In adding the metallic thread I had to swap 2 of the red shades within the heart, as the metallic red matches 1 colour but I wanted the metallic sparkle to be more randomly distributed. I used 2 strands metallic combined with 1 strand of red cotton to stitch. A real pain to thread and stitch but fortunately there aren’t too many stitches, and the effect is clearly visible, so the effort is worth it!!!

Art Journal Pages

Recently I went bonkers shopping again, this time on the online website Shopee. Not only are the prices reasonable, the shipping cost is also very low. I had a hard time controlling myself not to buy too many journaling paper packs (especially everything I see from the brand Mo Card). There’s just so much variety to choose from!!

Thus when shopping from Papermarket, I decided to take a sheet of Storyline from Heidi Swapp. Not my usual brand to work with, but after cutting up the paper into its individual cut-a-parts and adding some paper dollies, I’ve created my own little pack of journaling paper pack!

Working with A5 pages, I created 2 art journal pages with the Heidi Swapp paper pack, incorporating some paper scraps from my previous project. I dug up an unused notebook from an old Flow magazine and used the pages for journaling as well. Adhesive pearls and scrap twine adds some dimension to the pages.

Another interesting find from the Shopee website are notebooks with coloured page spreads. These hardcover A5 and B6 notebooks have 100 gsm papers, strong enough for writing and gluing, ie. fits my kind of art journaling needs!

As when dealing with beautiful scrapbooking papers, I had a hard time convincing myself to write in these pretty notebooks. Just looking at the colourful spreads can be relaxing!! Some pages have Chinese poetry-like sayings, adding to the serene feel.

My intent when buying the notebooks is to use them for art journaling, one for a different style. When I see other’s art journals, I’ve always been impressed with how the whole book looks so coherent. My problem is that I tend to skip from style to style, so the A4 art journal that I’ve started previously is now a patchwork mix of dark & bright, cartoonish & vintage. Since recently I’ve been finding it difficult to create on the large A4 papers, I thought it would be good to try starting different smaller journal books for different art styles.

To use up the Heidi Swapp paper pack, I started on the A5 vintage notebook, choosing a light-coloured spread to complement the Storyline papers. I love how the design pages in the notebook provide a kind of background for me to work on, so I don’t have so much white space to deal with.

I’m not sure how long I’ll stay interested in such a project. I guess when I lose interest, the art journal pages could be easily repurposed into cards. But for now, I’m happy to work with the pretty papers and notebooks, and that’s the most important thing, right?