Friday, November 6, 2015

Homeschool Co-op Class Idea for Middle and High School

Are you looking for a great class idea for middle and high school students in a homeschool setting or a co-op?

It has been 2 years since I stepped down from directing L.I.F.E. Co-op, but it still holds a very dear place in my heart. All of my children have graduated high school and have moved onto careers or college. Even after 2 years, I sometimes get offers or email updates from publishers or educational resources. I don't mind. I pass the info along to friends if I think they may be interested.

One email recently reminded me of one of the best classes I ever taught in a homeschool co-op. What izzit?

middle and high homeschool co-op class idea

izzit? is an educational resource which provides videos and materials related to current events and critical thinking skills. You can read more about it here, at their website:

The company provides one free video a year to teachers or homeschool parents. Along with the video, you can receive teaching resources which include questions for discussion. So much can be done with these videos!

In our co-op, because the class was limited to one hour, we watched the video and had lively discussions afterwards. Often, if there was time, I would create a quick activity to go along with the topic of the week. Because the current event topics are worldwide, mini unit studies could easily be incorporated into an izzit? class. Crafts, cuisine, games, culture. there are so many ideas!

One thing our co-op did in order to have enough videos for the 10 week semester was to ask 10 parents to sign up for izzit? and request a free video. izzit? does require that you follow up with feedback regarding the free video, but that was not a problem. We had LOTS of feed back! We were able to build a library of videos. teach current events and bring our students and ourselves into other cultures opening our eyes to see and think about issues we had never considered before the class.

I highly recommend these videos!

For more information (411) about L.I.F.E Co-op, class ideas, or how to start a homeschool co-op, click on the tab above, or use this link: homeschool co-op

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Inchie Jewelry

Here's something unique that combines several of the crafts I love: paper, hand sewing and tiny things - Inchie Jewelry!

An Inchie is a tiny piece of art measuring a 1" square. I posted a long time ago about it here: My Favorite Inchies

Over the years, I have made few inchies and I keep them tucked away in a small plastic storage container. I often use include them in my art journals or on cards. When I saw this VIDEO from Jennibellie Studio, I decided to try my inchies as the main piece of my Flat Bead.

Inchie Jewelry via Etsy

I love the way it turned out! I used a chain braided from embroidery floss to give it a twist.

Another idea for Inchie Jewelry includes Burned Felt. I honestly cannot remember how I discovered burning felt. I watch Jenniebellie Videos A LOT, and I've also learned how to use plastic bottles or Tyvec to make beads. All of the techniques involve using a heat gun. One day, I tried it on felt and I discovered that I could use the heat to create interesting shapes.

Wine Charms 411 Rox

Burned Felt Charms 411 Rox
I chose one of my favorites and added a braided thread chain. I love the Earthy-Boho look!
Burned Felt Jewelry via Etsy
One last type of Inchie Jewelry is Embroidered Inchies. I have done quite a few of these. Some one inch, some two inch or some not really a this Butterfly Pendant:

Butterfly Pendant via Etsy
This one is my favorite. I wear it all the time!

411rox Embroidered Inchie Jewelry
Paper Flat Beads, Burned Felt or Embroidered Pendants, all Inchie Jewelry ideas that are fun and unique. You should try your hand at it. The possibilities are endless!

Some of my pieces are available for sale here: Whimsies and Rugs

More Fiber Art Jewelry Ideas here: Fiber Arts Jewlery

Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Toothbrush Rugs: Tips and Starters

Here's a video with tips on using T-shirts vs. cotton fabric, patterns and color selection ideas and how to use a rug starter.

Happy Rugging, enjoy!

To view starters I have available, click here: Toothbrush Rug Starters and Kits

Friday, October 30, 2015

Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tip #5

Friday's Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tips

Tip #5 Use a safety pin to mark your rows

If you are an advanced toothbrush rug maker you may not find it necessary, but for me, marking rows with a safety pin has been a HUGE help.

When I first start a rug, I often mark the end of my first complete round with a safety pin to help me gauge each time I have made a full circle or oval. I want my rugs to be symmetrical, perfectly even on all sides. If I don't mark my first row, I end up having to study the center and/or counting rows to be sure I end at the right place. Marking  the row saves me a lot of time and energy.

fourelevenrox Toothbrush Rug: mark end of first round

I also mark the beginning of my row when I am using solid colors to make a rug with bands or stripes. I lose the "stair-step" look by ending my rug at the end of each color. Then, I insert a strip of the new color fabric (anywhere on the outside edge). Because I hide the start place so well, once I have 2-3 rows, I often can't figure out where I started! I have to study the rug and count rows to find the right place to end the band of color.

fourelevenrox Toothbrush Rugs: losing the Stair Step look

Marking rows saves me time and energy. It helps me knot away without thinking much which is way I love this type of rug making. 

fourelevenrox: via Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs: Marking Rows on Your Toothbrush Rug, lose the stair step look
More info on ending a rug and how to lose the stair step here: End a Rug

My full blog post on losing the Stair Step can be found here: Lose the Stair Step

I hope you find this tip helpful, happy rugging!

If you have a question, leave a comment!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oval Toothbrush Rug: How I start

After many requests for a video explaining how I start my oval Toothbrush/Amish Knot Rag Rugs, I finally got a chance to make it happen!

Unfortunately, my video skills are not too great, and there was a portion of the video not visible during the filming. So...I created a short part II.

A couple of follow up comments:

  • First row - 1/3 of your desired length gives you an estimated size keeping the rug at a proportion of 2/3 length to 1/3 width.
  • L-W will help if you need an odd size oval. (long and skinny for example)
  • There are several ways to start and create the knots. This is what works for me
fourelevenrox via Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Oval Toothbrush Rug Instructions

I hope you  enjoy the videos!

Happy Rugging!

Part I: How I Start My Oval Toothbrush Rugs

Part II: How I Start My Oval Toothbrush Rugs (Increasing)

You can see how I start my round rugs here: Round Rugs

Friday, October 16, 2015

3 Reasons Toothbrush Rugs Curl Up

Is your Toothbrush Rug curling up?

Here are three possible reasons why:

Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tips

The number one reason your Amish Knot/Toothbrush rug is curling up may be not enough Increases. Remember, to increase means to add an extra knot. Instead of creating one knot - CREATE TWO, side by side.
How do you know when to increase? For a round rug, when your next hole seems to be too far away, increase. The key is to keep your knots at about the same length apart from one another. There is no formula, no set pattern.  (Oval rugs are different. I will be posting a video soon for them.)
Think of it this way, every time you go around the circle, you will need to add more fabric in order for the circle to grow. The buttons below may help illustrate the idea. Each time a row of buttons is added, more buttons will be needed in the new row.

Here is an illustration with the start of a rug:

Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Toothbrush Rug Tips by fourelenrox

Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Toothbrush Rug Tips by fourelenrox

Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Toothbrush Rug Tips by fourelenrox

Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Toothbrush Rug Tips by fourelenrox

Another reason your rug may be curling up is pulling on the core strip. The core strip should not be tight. It may sometimes get caught up in the knot, so to pull it gently is OK, but don’t pull it tightly. Anchoring your core strip may be helpful. Tucking the core strip under your work surface, leaning against it or using your arm to hold it down while knotting are all ways to do this. I will illustrate this later.

Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Toothbrush Rug Tips by fourelenrox

The third reason your rug may be curling- Are you working on a flat surface? This is important. I work on a table top or if I am sitting on a sofa, I use a lap desk as a flat surface.  As your rug grows, you may need to fold it over while working, but always keep the section where you are working on a flat surface.

Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs Toothbrush Rug Tips by fourelenrox
If you are working on an oval rug, the same principles apply, but increasing is very different in an oval rug. In an oval rug, increases are added only on the ends. See where at this post with a video: Oval Rugs

Happy Rugging!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tip #3

Rugs aren't the only thing you can make with the Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug technique.

You can make baskets, bowls, pet beds, hot pads and even coasters!

Small Bowl and Drink Coasters by Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs courtesy fourelevenrox

For rugs, pet beds, hot pads and large baskets/bowls, I use 2"-2 1/2" fabric strips. But for drink coasters and small bowls, I use smaller strips. I find that using wide strips causes coasters to be more bulky and I like the detail that is created when using thinner strips.

So if you want to make something with the Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug technique but don't want to create an entire rug, try a set of coasters or a small bowl. I'll be posting instructions soon for making bowls and baskets. Meanwhile, today's tip:

WHITEHOUSE WHIMSIES AND RUGS Toothbrush Rug Tip #3 by fourelevenrox
Use 1"-1 1/2" fabric strips to create fabric coasters or small fabric bowls.

For directions on how to start your coasters, use the same technique as found here: How to Start

Full Basket Instructions ($5 pdf download) sold here: Basket Instructions
Over 21 pages and 50 color illustrations!

Happy Rugging!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tip #2

Friday's Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tips

Tip #2 Fabrics that are the same color on both sides are the easiest to work with.

WHITEHOUSE WHIMSIES AND RUGS Toothbrush Rug Tip #2 by fourelevenrox

Why? Because as you create knots, your fabric strip will twist and turn, often causing the “wrong” side to be visible. To prevent this, you must gently fold the fabric and turn the right side up. This will cause your knotting process to slow down. It is well worth the extra time if you have a beautiful fabric you really want to use, but if you are a beginner, you may want to stick to solids with matching sides front and back.

To see how I fold my fabric as I knot, you can view a quick video on YouTube here: Making Knots

More Amish Knot/Toothbrush blog posts: click here

Happy Rugging!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tip #1

Friday's Amish Knot/Toothbrush Rug Tips

Tip #1 Do-it-Yourself Tool!

When I first started making these Amish Knot rag rugs, I used a homemade tool. You can use a safety pin, or strong wire fashioned into a loop. I have even used a pair of tweezers with tape on the ends. Homemade toothbrush rug tools are not ideal, but until you get a tool, they will work!  

DIY Tool idea from Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs

I am now selling Rug Starters and Rug kits. I take care of the hardest part, the starter. You may purchase a mini starter, a mini starter kit, or an entire kit- everything you need to make your own rug. Or you can just buy the tool!

Visit my Etsy shop for options. I add new starters and kits often.

See how I start my round rugs: How to start a Round Amish Knot (toothbrush rug)

Happy Rugging!

*These rugs are referred to as both Amish Knot Rugs and Toothbrush Rugs. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Planting Tips for Tea Cup Gardens

Planting a garden in a tea cup is easy. Keeping the plant alive is a little trickier.

Unless you drill holes into the bottom of your tea cup, your garden will not drain when it is watered. Knowing what plants to use, how to set it up and how to water your tea cup garden is important for your tea cup garden (or mug) to thrive. 

I've had great success with this mug garden:

Four Eleven Rox Mug Garden
This mug has no drain holes, yet it is thriving!
Part of the success is the plants I used.
A Close up shot:

Perfect plants for tea cup and mug gardens
The plants used here are "Baby Tears".
Info on Baby Tears can be found here: Baby Tears

Pilea or "Aquamarine" is another great plant similar to the two in my mug garden. Info here: Pilea
Here is a video showing how I planted this garden and tips for why it is thriving. Enjoy!

If you would like to purchase a tea cup starter kit from me, visit my Etsy Shop

I will be posting soon about the creation of this mug garden, including how I made the law books staircase! Stay tuned....

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Starting an Amish Knot/Toothbrush Round Rug

Amish Knot Rag Rugs are also known as Toothbrush Rugs because years ago they were made from filed down toothbrush handles.

I use 2” – 2 1/2” strips of fabric torn from sheets or yardage when I make my rugs. The strips are attached together at the ends. Using two different strips, knots are tied, one strip wrapping around the other.

There are different ways to create the knots and different methods to get started. This is how I start my round rugs.

I pin my 2 strips of fabric down and make a row of about 4-5 knots. Then I shape the row into a circle and begin tying the knots into the previous knots of the beginning row.
ONE knot should go into each hole created from the row before. Once you have your circle formed, you simply keep going round and round. But, you will need to INCREASE sometimes. To INCREASE means to put TWO knots into one hole. If you do not add those additional knots, your rug will begin to curl up and it will not lay flat. If you put too many extra knots, your rug will become ruffled. It takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, you learn when to add increase knots.

Start a Round Toothbrush Rug

This video shows how I start my round rugs.

If you would like to see what rugs I have available for sale, visit my Etsy shop. Whimsies and Rugs

Visit Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs on Facebook

See other rug information on the Knotted Rug Help tab above or click here : Knotted Rug Help


I now offer Amish Knot/Toothbrush  Rug Starter Kits and Handcrafted Wood Tools and  in my Etsy Shop!  Whimsies and Rugs

The starter kits vary from a mini kit, small kit or full size rug kit with prepared fabric, all you do is begin knotting. Instructions included and a handcrafted wood tool. Tools and written instructions also sold separately. I add new kits and fabric weekly!

Rug Starter Kits on Etsy

Want to learn how to start an OVAL RUG? New Video: Oval Toothbrush Rug

Happy Rugging!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Toothbrush Rug Help: From Fabric to Rug

Recently, a video became very popular on our Facebook page, Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs

I'm posting it here for quick reference. I hope it will give you some Toothbrush Rug Help.

"Happy Dance" is an Amish Knot Rug created from a popular sheet set sold in the 90's, or so I'm told. I used 3 twin size sheets (2 flat sheets, 1 fitted) and 6 coordinating pillowcases. I also used an extra white sheet for the core. It is 35" round.

The Process - From Fabric to Rug

In the Amish Knot Rug, also known as the toothbrush rug, fabric is torn into strips and knotted together using 2 strips at a time. For this rug, 2 1/2" strips were used. I have posted about the complete process and you can find these rag rug instructions under the Knotted Rug Help tab. For now, see the before and after photo below and watch the quick toothbrush rug video below to see how the rug is made, one knot at a time.
35" Amish Knot Rug aka Toothbrush Rug  from Fabric to Rug
See how the knots are made:

For more information about how much fabric is needed to make your own a Amish Knot or Toothbrush Rug, you may want to see this post, click here.

If you'd like to purchase one of my rugs, visit my etsy shop. Click on the tab above, or go to the shop directly here: Whimsies and Rugs

Ready to start your own rug? We have tools, kits, written instructions, too!

A video for how I start my rugs is here: Start a round rug

Happy Rugging!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Planning for Your Amish Knot Toothbrush Rag Rug

This post will give you an idea of how many T-shirts or sheets you will need to make an Amish Knot (toothbrush) rag rug.

How much fabric does it take to make an Amish Knot (Toothbrush) Rug?

When I first started making rag rugs, I used T-shirts. Since then, I have moved to using mostly bed sheets and sometimes fabric yardage.

Starting out, it was difficult for me to plan a rug because I didn’t understand how many T-shirts or how much fabric would be needed. I remember taking many trips to thrift stores and raiding my husband’s closet the first time I got a special order. I kept running out of T-shirts! I had no idea how many I would need.

I won’t be using math or measurements, just experience with visual aids. The photos below include size, shape, type fabric and how much fabric created each rug. This is not an exact science. Each sheet/t-shirt is different depending on weight and thickness, but you should be able to see some consistency and I hope it helps you plan your rug.

Happy Rugging!

Autumn Bouquet is a 30" Round rug. It took 2 flat twin size sheets and 1 full size flat.

30" 2 Twin Sheets Flats, 1 Full Sheet Flat
 Step Softly is a 32" x 20" Oval Rug. It took 1 queen size flat sheet and 1 twin size flat.

32" x 20" 1 Queen Flat 1 Twin Flat
 This 37" Custom T-Shirt Rug took 14 T-shirts various sizes from women's small to men's 3x!

37" Round 14 T-Shirts various sizes
Forget Me Knots is a 2 piece rug set. Each rug is 30" x 21" oval. It took 3 twin flats, 1 fitted full, and 1 queen flat to make this set. You can also estimate 2 Queens and 2 twins to get 2 rugs this size.

2-30" x 21" Ovals 3 Twin Flats 1 Full Fitted 1 Queen Flat
 This black, white and red rug is 36" x 24" Oval. It took 2 twin flat sheets, 1 full flat and some some extra white (maybe 1/3 a twin?) inside the core to bring it to a full 36".

36" x 24" 2 Twin Flats 1 Full Flat (extra fabric for core)
 In the Meadow is a 26" round rug made of 1 Twin size jersey knit sheet set. I had some scraps left over.

26" round 1 Twin Size Sheet set, jersey knot fabric
 This 5' Round Rug took over 11 sheets! The sheets were various sizes from twin to king, with at least 3 of them being king size flats.

5' Round over 11 sheets from twin to king 12 lbs!

UPDATE: You can also plan for your rug by using weight. It has been my experience that most small rugs weigh about 2.5 lbs. That would be anywhere from 26-28" for a round rug and about 30 x 20 inches for an oval. 3 lbs will give you a 30"-32" rug, round and a 36" x 24" oval. All approximate of course. One day, I will create a post that explains the fabric yield in yardage. 

fourelevenrox how much fabric to make a toothbrush rug

You can see more of my rugs by clicking the tab to my etsy shop and following the link to WhimsiesandRugs. Or just click here. I'm happy to tell you how much fabric it took for any of my rugs or help you plan yours!

You can also see a video of how I make my knots here: One Knot at a Time - From Fabric to Rug

How I start my round rugs can be found here: Start a round rug demonstration

In addition to selling rugs, I also sell Rug Starters and Rug Bundle kits! The hardest part is starting, and the most annoying is prepping sheets. With these starters and kits, I take care of those for you! Click Here: Rugs, Rug Starters, Rug Bundle Kits 
I am always adding to my inventory so check back often!

Happy Rugging!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Etsy Shop: Whimsies and Rugs!

After months of debating, I have finally opened an EtsyShop!

 I am still learning about Etsy - how to use it, navigate through all the options, and  use what they have to offer to help sell some of our items and to find other great shops, too. There are pros and cons to using Etsy, but I decided that I will never know more unless I try it myself. I hope to share more information about my experience with them soon.

Meanwhile, Check it out, and thanks for looking!

Here's the link: WhimsiesandRugs 

Or go to the tab above (Etsy Shop)

Roxana White - Whimises and Rugs

Monday, May 18, 2015

Planting and Organizing!

I have been so busy organizing rug fabric, playing around with plants and spending time with my fairy garden, I haven't had time to make anything new. Here's what I have been up to:

I organized all my fabric into "Made to Order" rug kits! Pick a color scheme, size and shape, before you order your toothbrush rugs. Each kit has been bundled together with a note (for me) to remember all of the details. It took a lot of work to get it all done, but all the fabric will be so much easier to find now!

Here are some of my favorites:
Autumn Bouquet


Silver Leaves

Soft Dreams

Sweet Sally
I'm not sure what I love more about making rugs, naming them or the adventure of never really knowing what the finished rug will look like until I am half-way into it. Fun Stuff!

And speaking of fun....Here's an arrangement I made from a few succulents, an old Christmas tree stand and an awesome pitcher type container with holes (I have no idea what it is for). I picked it up in a shop while on an artwalk.


If you want more information on the rug kits pictured here, or other rug kits I have available, You can find my facebook album here: Made to Order Rug Kits 

Our visit our facebook page Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs for lots of creative fun at the Whitehouse!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Toothbrush Rugs

Toothbrush Rugs! This is a type of rag rug made by creating a series of knots using a special tool, like a toothbrush handle.

My New Venture

As part of Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs, I am now making Toothbrush Rugs and accessories! Rug prices vary, depending on size and cost of fabric. Here are some samples:

The 3 rugs picture here are $35. Prices for this size are $35-$40 or slightly higher

If you would like to see more rugs, visit us here
See a preview by clicking on the tab above or click here: Whitehouse Whimsies and Rugs.
We have lots of garden accessories and home decor!