Rotten Banana: a fun early reading game

A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

My little boy just turned six and is in first grade this year, which means that he’s learning to read and write. While my daughter had no problems learning written Italian in school and didn’t really need any outside help to pick up written English on her own, it hasn’t been quite as easy for my son.

So while he’s out of school for Christmas vacation, I decided that he could use some reading practice.

A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

My mother was a reading specialist in an elementary school for many years. This means that she worked with hundreds of children to whom reading didn’t come easily. She developed all sorts of techniques and fun methods to get kids to love reading, but one of the all-time favorites was an early reading game called “Rotten Banana.” It’s a really simple game to get children to recognize what are called “sight words,” which are the words that they should learn to instantly recognize without having to spell them out.

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When my mother retired, her Rotten Banana game continued to get used with her grandchildren, and ended up living at our home so that my bilingual kids could get some English reading practice while living in a non-English-speaking country.

A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

But before I started using the English Rotten Banana game that my mother made, I wanted my son to get a firm grasp on reading Italian, which is much more simple because it’s a very phonetic language in which most words are pronounced exactly as they are written, unlike the much more phonetically complicated English language. And so I decided to make my own Italian version of my mother’s Rotten Banana game for him to practice with, which I translated as “Banana Marcia.”

A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

And, just like my mother did, I also made rotten pears, apples and oranges to give a little variety as the child progresses from one level to the next. Something about all that colored fruit is so appealing!

Is there a child in your life who could use an early reading game to begin a lifetime of happy reading? Then continue reading for the downloadable template and word list and to find out how to play!

Read moreRotten Banana: a fun early reading game

Lessons from a hat: 5 reasons why making mistakes is ok

What knitting the Exeter hat taught me: making mistakes is ok, not only to learn to do things better, but also to learn to embrace imperfection and the act of learning itself.

Imagine this: you’re poking around Pinterest, Ravely or an online forum somewhere and you find a DIY project that you fall in love with immediately. You procure the materials and get to work. Except at some point you realize that something somewhere along the way has gone horribly wrong because your creation looks nothing like the perfect work of art in the pictures you’d seen.

You probably don’t need to stretch your imagination too much to imagine this situation, because it happens pretty often with creative work. We’ve all seen those Pinterest “Nailed It” pictures, like this one (a Pinterest fail that I’ve committed myself), and chances are it’s happened to you at least once, too.

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Sure, it’s frustrating to spent lots of time, energy and money on something that comes out awful. But, as our mothers always told us when we were little, there’s always something to learn from our mistakes. In the case of DIYing, it’s generally of a technical nature, in the sense that you get a better understanding of how to do a specific technique so that next time it’ll come out better. In this sort of situation, it’s understandable how making mistakes is ok. But what about when you cannot for the life of you figure out why the mistake happened? What is there to learn then?

What knitting the Exeter hat taught me: making mistakes is ok, not only to learn to do things better, but also to learn to embrace imperfection and the act of learning itself.

Which brings me to a recent project of mine, the knit ribbed hat Exeter. At first glance, the hat and the accompanying scarf I knit look just fine. At second glance, especially after seeing what the hat should’ve looked like, they definitely look wrong. But the worst part of it was that I couldn’t understand why it came out wrong. But after a little thought, I realized that there are many reasons why making mistakes is ok.

Read moreLessons from a hat: 5 reasons why making mistakes is ok

Make homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Toys are too complicated these days.

I sometimes hear parents saying that their kids get bored if their toys don’t make sounds or light up, or aren’t animated or interactive games. And of course all these electronic toys and games cost more and break really easily.

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I sometimes feel like an old fogey, but seriously, do children really need all those bells and whistles? Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that make people happy, and the same goes for the classic games that kids have been playing for generations.

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

A pack of 41 colored wooden sticks, for example. No electronic parts, no plastic. Just simple wood. And happy bright colors. If just contemplating them doesn’t intrigue a kid, this definitely will:

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Make a big colored mess?! Yes, please! What fun it is to bundle them up and watch them fall all over the place, like a big moving rainbow!

I think that this is one reason why pick up sticks have been a cherished game for such a long time. They’re aethetically pleasing, but also such a simple game that requires concentration and small motor agility.

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

There are lots of variations on this game, but what I propose here is Mikado, the classic pick up sticks version. They’re really simple to make with very basic materials, and are a wonderul gift for kids and adults alike when you sew a little pouch for them and include playing instructions!

And I know that you probably don’t have time to create an instruction sheet, so I’ve made one for you that you can download and print out! You’re welcome!

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

I actually researched Mikado quite a while to find the “official” rules, colors, stripe scheme and point system, but it turns out that there are loads of different versions. I made up my own colors and stripes (I also made a set without stripes which looks more like the plastic game I had when I was little), as well as my own point system based on what I found most often. Feel free to vary any of these as you please.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to have some good old-fashioned fun? Let’s get right to work on our homemade pick up sticks!

Read moreMake homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

DIY backpack rain cover from umbrellas!

Upcycle umbrellas to protect your backpack during bad weather! These DIY backpack rain covers are quick and easy and perfect for kids and adults alike! www.cucicucicoo.com

Upcycle umbrellas to protect your backpack during bad weather! These DIY backpack rain covers are quick and easy and perfect for kids and adults alike! www.cucicucicoo.com

Last week, I got caught in a torrential downpour when walking my kids home from school. And even though all three of us had umbrellas and the school is about a two minute walk from our home, we got totally drenched. When we got home, we had to spread the kids’ wet books and notebooks all over the floor for them to dry.

Doesn’t that always happen?! When it’s just barely sprinkling when I leave home to pick up the kids, all hell lets loose as soon as the school doors open and they come out! Geesh!

Upcycle umbrellas to protect your backpack during bad weather! These DIY backpack rain covers are quick and easy and perfect for kids and adults alike! www.cucicucicoo.com

Then I remembered the amazingly simple idea that I saw years ago on Green Issues by Agy for sewing an elasticized backpack cover from umbrella fabric.

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I have a massive collection of umbrella fabric from umbrellas that I find broken and abandoned on the side of the street (which I usually use to make my Carry Everywhere Shopping Bags) so I immediately got to work making these covers for both kids and a friend.

Upcycle umbrellas to protect your backpack during bad weather! These DIY backpack rain covers are quick and easy and perfect for kids and adults alike! www.cucicucicoo.com

These covers are really easy to make because the umbrella fabric is already the right size and shape for covering a backpack, plus it’s super lightweight and obviously waterproof. They only take about 15-20 minutes and, because you’re repurposing something that would’ve otherwise been thrown out, you’re helping the environment and saving money! They’re perfect for kids going to school, but also for students going to university, professionals going to work, or anyone out for a walk!

Are you ready to make a DIY backpack rain cover? Then let’s get started!

Read moreDIY backpack rain cover from umbrellas!

Just Peachy summer mesh crochet top pattern

Just Peachy, a free mesh crochet top pattern for summer by Drops Design with some tweaks by www.cucicucicoo.com

Just Peachy, a free mesh crochet top pattern for summer by Drops Design with some tweaks by www.cucicucicoo.com

I really love all those feminine lace summer tops that are so in style these days. The problems is that a lot of the crochet patterns I see for them are for crop tops and/or tops with little stringies holding them on. And nobody wants to see me wearing something like that.

So I looked around Ravelry for a very simple mesh crochet top pattern that I could wear with a support camisole underneath and I got started on this one by Drops Design.

Just Peachy, a free mesh crochet top pattern for summer by Drops Design with some tweaks by www.cucicucicoo.com

“Just Peachy” (aka Drops 82-2) is a pretty basic mesh tank top with wider holes below the breast. The front and back are virtually the same, with the neckline just being slightly higher in the back. They are worked separately and then the two pieces are sewn together at the shoulders and sides.

In the end I’m pleased with how my top came out and, once I got going, it worked up very quickly, however it was definitely not as easy to create as I’d expected due to problems with the pattern itself. Let me tell you a little about how I tweaked the pattern to make it work for me.

Read moreJust Peachy summer mesh crochet top pattern

Evening Breath: free summer shawl crochet pattern

Evening Breath: a summer shawl crochet pattern by DROPS, made by www.cucicucicoo.com

Need a wrap to cover your shoulders with on summer evenings? Try Evening Breath, this summer shawl crochet pattern by DROPS. It can also be used as a scarf in cooler weather. This grey-scale version was created by www.cucicucicoo.com

I’ve always loved to make things by hand, ever since I was a little girl. And as the years go by, I’ve added new techniques to my repertoire. One of the handmade techniques that I’ve learned most recently is crochet, and I’ve  fallen in love with its versatility. I love how you can work all sorts of materials and also work off of other totally different materials (such as my crochet carry bags from upcycled fruit nets). But it’s also fun to make more traditional items.

Last June, one of the knit cafès that I participate in, Tricò al Bistrò, decided to do a CAL (crochet along) together for a summer shawl and we decided upon this lovely summer wrap pattern by Drops called Evening Breath.

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(I finished this last October, which is why my hair is still short-ish in these pictures. I didn’t publish this review until now because it didn’t seen very seasonal-appropriate to write about summer accessories in autumn!)

Need a wrap to cover your shoulders with on summer evenings? Try Evening Breath, this summer shawl crochet pattern by DROPS. It can also be used as a scarf in cooler weather. This grey-scale version was created by www.cucicucicoo.com

All Drops patterns are designed for a specific Drops yarn, in this case a lovely self-striping wool/nylon blend. I can’t even imagine wearing anything in wool OR nylon in the summer, never mind both together. So instead I decided to make my own stripes with a more summery yarn.

I decided on an ombre effect with various shades of the same color. My local yarn shop had the most color variety of DMC’s Natura Just Cotton yarn, but not enough shades of any one color. So in the end I decided to go for a gray-scale effect with black, dark gray, light gray and white.

Need a wrap to cover your shoulders with on summer evenings? Try Evening Breath, this summer shawl crochet pattern by DROPS. It can also be used as a scarf in cooler weather. This grey-scale version was created by www.cucicucicoo.com

The shawl is a classic triangle shape with a fan motif that is repeated ad nauseam. In order to create different colored stripes, I worked four rows in each color until reaching the final size.

Need a wrap to cover your shoulders with on summer evenings? Try Evening Breath, this summer shawl crochet pattern by DROPS. It can also be used as a scarf in cooler weather. This grey-scale version was created by www.cucicucicoo.com

The stripes really accentuate the triangle effect, especially in the back.

This was actually my very first “big” crochet project, even before my Saturn Sweater, which I already posted about a few months ago. It actually ended up being a good beginner’s project for me because, once I figured out the motif, it was pretty easy to work up. Also, it was a great project to take on the go with my because I didn’t have to count rows or stitches, so I could just pick it up and put it down as necessary. I worked on it in planes and trains, in waiting rooms and on the beach, and pretty much any and everywhere in between!

Let me tell you more now about this summer shawl crochet pattern!

Read moreEvening Breath: free summer shawl crochet pattern

Easy no-sew T-shirt bracelets tutorial

Got some old tees? Turn them into these super easy no-sew t-shirt bracelets! The tutorial shows you how to in less than two minutes! www.cucicucicoo.com

Got some old tees? Turn them into these super easy no-sew t-shirt bracelets! The tutorial shows you how to in less than two minutes! www.cucicucicoo.com

In the years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve collaborated with lots of other blogs and websites. And today I’m so pleased to announce that I’m starting a new collaboration with the Italian handmade learning website Make It Land! I will contribute an eco-friendly refashioning tutorial every month for my special column of sorts called “Refashion Cafè” and, seeing as the website is only in Italian, I will publish the tutorial in English here on Cucicucicoo for everyone to enjoy!

I decided to start off with a very simple refashion that anybody can do, even if she doesn’t know how to sew, crochet or do any other sort of handmade crafting: no-sew T-shirt bracelets!

Got some old tees? Turn them into these super easy no-sew t-shirt bracelets! The tutorial shows you how to in less than two minutes! www.cucicucicoo.com

The idea is pretty similar to the no-sew t-shirt sleeve necklace tutorial that I published a few years ago, except it uses a different part of the t-shirt and I’ve figured out a better way to bind all the strips together.

These bracelets are ridiculously easy to make and it’ll take you about two minutes to make one, but they’re still really cute, especially when you make them colorful and with matching necklaces! I love wearing these in the summer because they’re light and don’t stick to my skin like most other accessories.

They’re also a great gift and, because you just use old t-shirts and they’re so fast to make, you can whip some up for all of your friends!

Want to find out how? Then keep on reading for the t-shirt bracelets tutorial!

Read moreEasy no-sew T-shirt bracelets tutorial

Basico: a knitting pattern for summer sweater

Basico: a knitting pattern for summer sweater. An easily personalizable knitting recipe for a pullover sweater with saddle shoulders. Full review on www.cucicucicoo.com

Have you ever heard of a knitting recipe? It’s different from a pattern! The Basico is a recipe for a summer pullover sweater with saddle shoulders, easily personalizable to your shape and tastes!

Last summer I knit my very first sweater.

I know that summer is generally not the preferred season for knitting, but I had the opportunity to take a course last June by my friend Maria, a designer and expert knitter (the designer of this bandana scarf and these wrist warmers that I’ve made), so I made myself a cotton short-sleeved summer sweater.

Have you ever heard of a knitting recipe? It’s different from a pattern! The Basico is a recipe for a summer pullover sweater with saddle shoulders, easily personalizable to your shape and tastes!

I’ll be honest: I’d never quite understood the sense of a summer sweater. When I think “summer,” I think of hot, sticky, sweaty. When I think “sweater,” I think full coverage, wool, warm. They were two totally opposite concepts in my mind.

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But now I’m discovering that a summer sweater is actually quite comfortable, at least in the spring. (I’ve yet to wear it in the summer.) It’s a perfect garment to wear on warm, sunny days spent at the beach.

Have you ever heard of a knitting recipe? It’s different from a pattern! The Basico is a recipe for a summer pullover sweater with saddle shoulders, easily personalizable to your shape and tastes!

I created this sweater with Maria’s pattern Basico, with numerous personalizations that Maria helped me figure out. It is a top-down cardigan with saddle shoulders that requires no sewing, and is ideal to work on with circular needles. One of the optional details is the lace work on the sleeves that you can see here.

Technically, Basico isn’t really a pattern, but a knitting recipe. A recipe is a more general indication of how to create a knitted base object based on your exact measurements, and you can personalize it in many ways. It’s a wonderful way for accomplished knitters to be creative and use different techniques to create myriad effects. Let me tell you more about what I mean.

Read moreBasico: a knitting pattern for summer sweater

Wine bottle crafts: 2 upcycled vases with materials you already have

Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

Mother’s Day is creeping up and will be here before you know it. Have you started preparing gifts for the most important women in your life? Most mothers (at least the ones I know) are happiest to receive something small, but from the heart, and what could be more from the heart than personalized homemade gifts? And since all moms want to protect their children and grandchildren, even better is an eco-friendly gift that won’t have an impact on the environment.

I like wine and beer and basically anything alcoholic, and when I come across a cool bottle, I always make sure to save it for my DIY projects. Today I’m going to show you two really easy wine bottle crafts, making vases with customized words and designs for your favorite mothers and friends! You can even involve small children in decorating the bottles and, what’s best of all, if you’re a crafty person, you probably already have all the materials you need for both of these projects!

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

The first version of this project is a chalkboard vase, which is super fun to decorate with personalized or seasonal messages. Give kids one of these bottles and some colored chalk, and they are in heaven!

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

The second upcycled bottle vase is decorated with a glue gun and spray paint, for drawings and messages that will never risk being accidentally erased.

Both of these wine bottle crafts are really easy and very quick for a great last-minute DIY Mother’s Day gift. Now let me show you how to make them!

Read moreWine bottle crafts: 2 upcycled vases with materials you already have

Make a bag from a T shirt: No-Sew Tutorial!

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

My name’s Lisa and I’m a T-shirt hoarder.

Seriously, I have a problem. Come to my home, and you’ll find numerous containers full of t-shirts. I love them because they’re so easy to embellish or repurpose into other clothing and objects. But another wonderful thing about t-shirts is that the jersey fabric doesn’t fray and frequently it’s nice and stretchy, meaning you can cut it and stretch it out to get all sorts of cool effects, often without even sewing.

This past summer I was brainstorming different ways to reuse the classic tee for the “Reborn T-shirts” stand at the Kreativ fair, and I couldn’t leave out the ever-beloved t-shirt bag. There are so many ways to make a bag from a t shirt, but I wanted to propose something that ANYBODY can do, even without any sewing knowledge.

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

And just to prove my point, I also did this project with my 9-year-old daughter’s class while making upcycled crafts to sell at the school’s annual charity Christmas market. All the kids brought in at least one t-shirt and turned them into bags. And they LOVED it! They were so bummed out when we ran out of shirts to make bags from! (We also made these egg carton poinsettia ornaments, which are another eco-friendly and kid-friendly craft.)

Do you need one or two extra shopping bags, but don’t want to buy one? Or maybe you have a special t-shirt that brings back dear memories that you can’t bear to get rid of, even if it doesn’t fit you anymore? Or you want a fun activity to do with your kids? Then grab your scissors, and let’s get to work!

Read moreMake a bag from a T shirt: No-Sew Tutorial!

Saturn Sweater: crochet sweater pattern review

The Saturn Sweater: a crochet sweater with colorful embroidered rings. A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

The Saturn Sweater: a crochet sweater with colorful embroidered rings. A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

It was love at first sight.

I love bright colors, but sometimes I don’t want to be dressed too brightly. That’s why the Saturn Sweater, a pattern by Linda Permann, with its charcoal grey body with colorful accents, immediately caught my eye when I was searching for a crochet sweater pattern on Ravelry.

The Saturn Sweater: a crochet sweater with colorful embroidered rings. A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

One day when I was about eight or nine, I was helping my best friend to choose her accessories. She was wearing all black and white, so I chose black and white earrings. Her mother, on the other hand, chose some huge fluorescent ones. (This was in the 80s. Everyone wore huge fluorescent things.) She explained to me the idea of using bright accessories to break up neutral colors. And ever since then, I’ve loved dark clothing (or anything else) with a few bright pops of color.

The Saturn Sweater is not only very cool-looking, but also really easy and relatively quick to work up. Let me tell you all about it.

Read moreSaturn Sweater: crochet sweater pattern review

Repairing holes in sweaters: darning and crochet

Two methods for repairing holes in sweaters: swiss darning and crochet. www.cucicucicoo.com

Two methods for repairing holes in sweaters: swiss darning and crochet. www.cucicucicoo.com

Have you ever noticed that, when you’re a crafty person, people seem to think that you’re capable of doing and fixing anything with your hands? A couple of months ago a friend of mine gave me a bag with a couple of sweaters that she’d just gotten at the thrift shop and hadn’t had the chance to wear before her cats ruined them. She begged me to fix them somehow, in any way that I could.

When I got home and finally took the sweaters out of the bag, boy was I surprised to see numerous big gaping holes! Ouch! I’d been expecting to see some badly pulled threads, but not whole chunks of sweater completely missing.

But seeing as my friend had given me full creative liberty to use any technique I wanted to fix the holes, I decided to finally try my hand at some mending techniques that I’d been wanting to try for quite a few months with yarn that I already had in my stash.

Two methods for repairing holes in sweaters: swiss darning and crochet. www.cucicucicoo.com

I was inspired by the book Mend It Better* and by an article on textile repair on Sew Mama Sew written by my friend Allison from Sweater Doll (the designer of the “Perfectly Imperfect” doll pattern I recently reviewed). I’ve read both of these sources multiple times and have frequently longingly sighed at the gorgeous mending that not only repaired garments, but added beauty to them.

This was my first experience repairing holes in sweaters, and it took me a little while to get the hang of it. I know that it is not perfect, but it serves the purpose and, in my opinion, adds a lot of extra visual interest to otherwise dull garments. So let me show you some of my colorful and whimsical mending!

Read moreRepairing holes in sweaters: darning and crochet

Perfectly Imperfect: a fabric doll pattern review

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

Finally I’m ready to show off my Perfectly Imperfect cloth dolls. I’d been working on these dolls and posting in-progress pictures on Instagram for months. My original plan was to make a bunch for Christmas presents and the kids’ various charity Christmas markets and giveaways.

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

My original plan failed and I only managed to get this one doll out of the 11 I started ready in time for Christmas.

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

I made these little guys from a pattern by Allison from Sweater Doll called the Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll, which is currently available in the Sweater Doll Etsy shop or in Tickle the Imagination, Issue 21. I love Allison’s work (have you seen her Glovosaur tutorial which she graciously shared with Cucicucicoo readers a few months ago?) and her whimsical style, and I was immediately drawn to this cloth doll pattern when I saw it. Let me tell you a little bit why.

Read morePerfectly Imperfect: a fabric doll pattern review

Tepore knit wrist warmers

Tepore knit wrist warmers: a simple pattern with simple thumb openings, worked in the round on double pointed needles. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

Tepore knit wrist warmers: a simple pattern with simple thumb openings, worked in the round on double pointed needles. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

My friend Maria of Maria Modeo Handmade in Italy is an amazing knitter, designer and teacher. She’s helped me numerous times with my knitting issues and is incredibly knowledgeable about all things yarn-related. I already posted last year about her bandana-style neckwarmer pattern, and will post in the springtime about a summer sweater I sewed from a course of hers. The first course of hers I took, however, was for the Tepore wrist warmer pattern. (update: which is now available also in English!)

Tepore knit wrist warmers: a simple pattern with simple thumb openings, worked in the round on double pointed needles. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

While most wrist warmers feature a little tube for the thumb, the Tepore pattern has a simple thumb opening, which is really easy and therefore ideal for beginner knitters like myself.

Read moreTepore knit wrist warmers

Three DIY flower brooches – no sew!

Three no-sew DIY flower brooches from rolled felt and crocheted yarn | www.cucicucicoo.com

Three no-sew DIY flower brooches from rolled felt and crocheted yarn | www.cucicucicoo.com

Have you gotten stung by the homemade flower brooch bug? I certainly have! I love making fabric flowers because a) they’re easy and usually fast to make, and b) they’re so versatile! You can sew them directly to clothing as an embellishment, make hair accessories from them, attach them to gift packages, or stick a pin on the back for a brooch that you can decorate your bag or clothes with! So much fun!

I’ve made fabric flowers quite a few times in the past, such as these gathered strips of my old undies (yes! my underwear!) that became rosettes to cover stains on a t-shirt, these folded circles that got sewn together into a flower shape, and strips of wool fabric or strips of felted sweaters that got rolled up into rosettes.

Every year at Christmas I get slightly obsessive about some crafted or sewn item or another and make loads of them for everyone as gifts. And last year was the year of flower brooches! I made a few crocheted brooches, then some really fast felt brooches. Read on to find out more about them!

Read moreThree DIY flower brooches – no sew!