Cute in the Kitchen

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Happy Sunday, all!

The unseasonable warmth continues here in the midwest US but that does not mean that I’m not spending time with a warm oven on! I do spend a great deal of time in my kitchen as I have an especial passion for baking. Creating comfort foods is one of my favorite activities for stress release. If you’ve followed the Sunday posts for a while, you may have also grasped that I love all things cute. So imagine my surprise and delight to come across many of the adorable Studio Ghibli oriented kitchen utensils in Zeniba’s Attic:

No Face, Catbus, and Totoro spoons for that geeky chef in your life!

Joanne, the artist, burns the images into the very functional pieces to create these wonderful and adorable items.

Some soot sprites to help scoop with the spatula?

I think many of them would make fantastic gifts for any Ghibli enthusiast.

Like this Totoro cutting/cheese/serving board!

She not only creates cute kitchen utensils but also paints ceramic items to match!

Maybe you shouldn’t have a Calcifer oil burner near your bacon, though.

Since she makes her items to order and they are shipping from the UK, it may take a while to receive your lovely pieces but it looks like all are well worth it! Zeniba’s Attic can be found on Etsy and Facebook.

Have a wonderful week, everyone – I’m off to bake!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Knowing Your Worth.

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers.

I do a great many things with my time, and realistically work a variety of very part time jobs so that I can be social while making my own business work from home. Just yesterday I had a conversation with someone very close to me that inspired me to write a post about it, since I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who has ever had to have this type of conversation. I was talking about some private tutoring I was doing and about how much I was charging.  I told them the amount I decided to charge (since some of my costs were cut down from being able to do this from home), but I also told them the amount I should be charging for my time.

The reaction to this number was that I should not think so much of my skills to overshadow what people are willing to pay. Basically a “don’t be too big for your britches” scenario. I had to sit for a moment and think – was I really charging too much? Was the average price that I was quoting far more than anyone would realistically pay for my time? There’s a lot of ways to look at this, but perspective aside, it’s a strange thing for someone to tell you that your skills are not worth what you think they are. But the real question is this: Is that person right?

In my case, I had done a whole lot of research to come up with the price that I did, comparing education, types of degrees, methods of teaching, subjects taught and experience teaching within the field. All of this had pointed to my pricing being right, and this is what I explained to them. After I had a chance to mull over this conversation it got me to thinking that I suspect there are a lot of makers who get the same kind of feedback about their pricing or their time. And I suspect, like me, it is from people that we care about and are close to.

So, how do you find balanced pricing and how do you know how much your time is actually worth? Well. There aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules for this as if you have tried to sell your hand made item, it is a balance between what you are worth and what people are willing to spend. That being said, you can’t just throw a price that looks good on your work and your time and call it a day. One of the best things you can do is research your competition, both machine made and hand made. What are other people charging for something similar to what you’re doing? Are there differences in yours that will influence how much time you put into them? Are there things that you do that makes your product better or stronger?

When you have a good idea of what’s out there, you can reasonably look at what you’re doing and see if you’re charging what you should be. As I mentioned above, though, it’s not just what you produce that you need to think about, it’s your history and your quality. It’s your experience and your expertise. If you have a decade of crochet under your belt and you’ve been making and selling baby blankets at $50 dollars each, you are probably underselling both yourself and your product, charging barely enough to cover materials.  Where it may not be feasible to charge for every hour you put into your work -I know, it’s sometimes a hard balance between price resistance and fair pricing, you absolutely should be charging for your labour.

When you run into this problem, and you will at some point, know your market and know what ‘s out there already. Know how much time you put into your products and know what your experience means to your project. You shouldn’t have to justify the cost of your time so much as just explain why your time is as valuable as it is. Being confident in yourself and your value is one of the hardest things to do but is also an extremely important one. You will often find, as people learn about hand made and the specifics of the crafts they’re interested in, that there are many people out there who will pay market value or even a little bit extra for expertise, high quality craftmanship and for your hard work.

I think in the hand made market, many of us don’t charge what we should. It took me a long time to wrap my head around my time being valuable and charging for it. Those who I’m close to don’t always agree with what I charge, but ultimately, if they don’t understand the time and the skill that it takes to do what you’re doing, then they won’t understand why you’re charging what you are. So whether it’s a friend, a parent or a customer who makes a comment about your pricing, you should know why your prices are where they are. Though you are an artist, that does not mean that you will work for exposure or that your work is just something that you enjoy doing, and so shouldn’t charge for. Not only will this give you confidence in dealing with naysayers, but it will just help to make you more self assured about your work. After all, you’re a highly skilled individual, why shouldn’t you be paid a decent wage for your time like everyone else?

 

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Art for the tummy

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. When I snack, many times I am drawn to unusual flavors, rich, complex taste and something handmade. If I want something sweet, I head straight for Pamplemousse Sucre on Etsy. Based in New York State, Lisa Wolf of Pamplemousse loves to tempt with her confections. From her handmade rich caramels to rock candy geodes, each piece is made by her to very high standards. I usually get sucked in by the cinnamon pear caramels, and her marshamallows. Sinfully rich, and just as delightful to the eye.

Her food art has been featured in multiple magazines, shows and online  I don’t care where it is featured- I just want to eat it!

her rock candy geodes:

Small batch lollipop sampler:

Cherry cocoa nib caramels:

The Vanilla Caramel Marshmallows:

This a sweet treat best opened up when home alone, or you will be sharing with everyone. Order sizes are generous, and she cheerfully gives you little extras and special touches that come with the best of handmade goodies. You can find her here on Etsy


Retro Video Game Shadow Boxes

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My husband and I have started a collection of the games we grew up on (NES and SNES mostly), but this person blows our simple little plastic cases out of the water.

Designed and made by Glitch Artwork, these shadow boxes give a bit of art and style to your gaming collection. They layouts are well thought out and visually appealing; so much so that the gaming cart isn’t the first thing to grab you. Quite a feat when it takes up about 1/4 of the space.

If you’ve got your own collection, or maybe a few favorite games you’d like to keep, I’d recommend giving their shop a look. The frames range from $35-75 and are definitely a way to class up your home, while still showing your gaming love. 🙂


Sweet Messages

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Happy Sunday, all!

Only 2 more days until V-day and perhaps you or the child in your life still hasn’t made up their mind about cards to give their friends. I’ve found some great, quick ideas for DIY Valentine cards that leaves a lot of room for personalizing and creativity. First up is a throwback to one of my other posts dealing with peg dolls:

Make them as nerdy as you want!

I could just imagine making some Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter peg doll Valentines with sayings like “Be my precious” accompanying a Gollum or “I’m mad about you” with a Mad-eye Moody (find the tutorial here). No? Just me? Ok, then. How about something slightly simpler that could help you reduce your fiber stash? The saying could also be adjusted to the situation:

Perhaps you could go with “Why knot be my Valentine?’ or for closer friends “You make me feel knotty.”

These are definitely customizable to favorite colors and appropriate puns, tutorial found here. Or maybe you already had a little bit of a splurge and find yourself with a bunch of chocolates that would be better off going to new homes PLUS it could help reduce a stash of scrapbooking materials:

It’s like a mini piñata!

Small toys or (if you are actually sending an anti-Valentine) glitter would also fit well into it, tutorial found here. Finally, if you find yourself with a lot of time or want to make a really big impression, I highly recommend taking a look at the hexagon explosion box:

Adding quotes, pictures, and rose petals is highly recommended. Glitter is not.

These beautiful three dimensional cards are simply amazing! When you do peruse the tutorial, make sure to scroll down to examples of what others have made because there are some that create a tower when you pull on the center! Again, the geek in me is super excited to turn this into a Tower of Sauron with hearts and pictures of the ring all around it. I know, not for everyone. Well I hope I am leaving you with some great ideas to send to your friends/sweeties/worst enemy (that glitter thing I mentioned, seriously). Have a great week!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Giant Fluffy Slime

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Crafty Girls is one of the cute kids blogs I follow that provide a lot of DIY projects.  I especially like their Giant Fluffy Slime.

Learn how to make this GIANT FLUFFY SLIME with Annelise, Julia & Rachel. It makes perfect poking slime too! NO Borax, liquid starch or detergent needed for this slime! Happy Crafting!

You will need:
White school glue
Baking soda
Eyedrops or contact lens saline solution (see note below)
Shaving cream (get a scent you like!)
Foaming face or body wash – this is optional
Food dye – this is optional

*Note about eyedrops/saline solution: Make sure that you see either Boric Acid or Sodium Borate in the ingredients. If not, check for the words “Buffered Saline” on the package. If it says this, you can make slime!
Have fun making your Giant Fluffy Slime!

-Toni


New Quilt Pattern and Quilt Kits

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Yesterday Nicole and I launched the next quilt pattern in our series, Dark Mage.

 

We are excited for this latest addition to our pattern line.  The goal is to release one every 2-3 months.  You can see the entire pattern line on Craftsy.

I also started selling Quilt Kits!  These are kits that contain all of the fabric you need to make a quilt top just like my samples!

To see the quilt kits available, check out my Etsy shop.

The next pattern we have planned I am super excited about.  If you follow my Twitch you already know what it’s going to be!

-Toni

 


DIY Awesome Framed shelves.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a lovely tutorial today brought to you by Shanty 2 Chic  that transforms frames into fabulous little shelves where you can display anything from books to collectables. You can find the whole tutorial here, but I’ll give you the basic rundown with some photos from both this website and others to give you some inspiration.

Beautiful white painted frame shelves.

Your first task is to assemble what you need to make this business happen! First you will need your frames. You can decorate old ones you have lying around, buy cheap ones at a garage sale or second hand store to dress up, or buy new ones that you can dress up or leave bare, whatever you prefer! And of course the number you make is up to you. With your frames, you’ll need to remove the glass, the backing and any hardware that is attached to the frame itself.

Your next step is to measure your frames – measure the inside of the frame and cut the wood (1 inch by 4 inch cut to your measurements). You can use scrap boards, as long as you have the means to cut it, and it doesn’t really matter the type of wood. If you don’t have the means to cut it, many hardware stores that sell unfinished wood will help you with this. Make two cuts for each side (as pictured above). Keep in mind that you do not need to have the boards set inside the lip where the glass used to sit. Just keep it a little bit bigger than that edge so that you have a little room for error and a little breathing room so we don’t give ourselves anxiety attacks over worrying about millimeters.

Next you will need to build your square. This tutorial recommends first gluing all the sides together with Gorilla Glue or wood glue, and then nailing them together either with a nailgun or just a good old fashioned hammer.

You should end up with a frame like this (pictured above), that is smaller than your actual frame.

This poster uses the same process of first gluing the picture frame to the crafted frame and then using 1 1/4 inch brad nails, they nailed through the front of the frame to hold onto the back securely.

You have a couple small last steps before you can display your marvelous DIY for all the world to see. First you’ll need to get a little tube of hole filler (found at your local hardware store) to fill the little holes left by the nails. And after that is dry, it’s time to paint your frame! You can use a spray paint to do it all one colour, whether it’s metallic or neon pink or just a plain, sophisticated white, or you can crack out your artist’s palate and paint them all individually by hand in whatever artistic way you can imagine.

Your last step is to hang them on the wall. Just be sure to buy some picture hanging supplies so that you don’t do any undue damage to your walls, especially if you’re going to be putting anything heavy on your shelves. If you’re not going to be putting anything too heavy inside, you can use these types of picture hanging supplies (one on each side) to hold your frame up and these types of no hole hanging supplies can be found at hardware stores. If you’re going to be putting something heavier on your shelves, I fully recommend heavier hardware.

Taken from Porch – using larger, more ornate frames to create these. Check out second hand and vintage stores for these babies!

I hope that this was an inspiring little DIY. I think it’s a fantastic alternative to bookshelves or whole shelving units that looks a whole bunch more unique and amazing.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


Kitty Ear Hats

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. Apparently winter is still going strong across most of the US. If you need something warm to cover your head, may I recommend something cute yet functional? Ella of Blackie Cat Creations has been knitting proudly since 2003. While she learned the basics as a child, she picked it back up after an ankle injury in 2003. She was on bedrest, bored, and needed something to entertain herself. She also discovered that knitting needles fit really well down a cast to scratch. Based just outside of Chicago, Illinois, Ella sells online and in person at many geek themed events. Ella does Geek themed knitted hats, and kitty ear hats.

You can find her on Facebook and on Etsy here. If you want to catch her in person, her event schedule is on her Facebook Page.

 


Dragon Hair Barrettes

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Back before puberty and genetics completely changed my hair, I used to very thick and wavy hair. Like, can barely put a hair tie around it think. Some days I miss it, but other days I don’t miss the brushing and maintenance involved. One thing I wish I’d had then? Awesome hair pieces like these:

Created in Bulgaria by artisan Ivaylo Zlatev, these are beautifully made hand carved wooden hair barrettes. They’re beautifully created and simple enough to accent just about any outfit so great for daily wear. If Dragons aren’t your thing though, they do make lots of of designs like an Octopus or even just simple geometric shapes. All of them are beautifully done, and if you’re like me and have thin hair, you can instead pursue the lovely collection of hand made woden decorations and toys that are also available in their shop. 🙂