DIY: Seasoned Ornaments

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Good Morning Thursday readers!

I came across something super cool last week when I was looking at what I wanted to write about. It’s simple, and easy, and makes a really nice gift for anyone who loves entertaining or even better, it makes a great host gift alternative to wine. Though… I know many people who love a good bottle of red.

This is probably one of the easiest tutorials I’ve posted, though I was inspired so I wanted to share it. You really only need a few things, and the main one you can find at a craft store. The one important material you will need to search for is food safe ornaments (plastic or glass) that have a removable top. I know that my local craft store sells many ornaments that can be taken apart and filled and are all different sizes. Outside of those, everything else is up to you. I would recommend ribbon to trim, fancy tags to attach to show how to make the dip and what it is, and if you want to be really fancy, run to the dollar store and grab a nice basket/box/tin to package them in.

 

The only other thing you need is a funnel, and the right ingredients for your mixes – if you are planning on doing more than one batch, I would fill some airtight containers with your dip mixes, and that way you can keep them separate and make enough for each gift. You will need about 6 tablespoons of your home made mix.

So take a look at some of the photos above, check out what’s available at your local craft stores and get creating some beautiful gifts! To get you started, here are some links to recipes that you can use to fill your ornaments with. You can do dips, you can do soup mixes, you can do hot chocolates, dried herbs… really any mix that is non perishable!

Here are some fantastic dip recipes from Naturally Loriel (just scroll down a bit to find them)

Here are some from Sprinkle Some Fun

I hope you enjoy making these. I think that they are such nice gifts, especially because they’re consumable but they look so nice and they’re a little out of the ordinary.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


Fantasy Headbands and Crowns

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Have a desire to unleash your inner fantasy side? Secretly wish you’d been adapted by Elvin Royalty? Well I can’t help you make those dreams come true, but I can point you in the direction to help you look like one.

A Mon Seul Desir is a French based company that makes custom fantasy jewelry for all occasions. Seen above is their Elven Wedding Crown, but they also have works from more modern fantasies, like Game of Thrones, and even cartoons such as My Neighbor Totoro.

Their work is elegant and beautifully designed and I highly recommend giving them a look if you’re in the market for some truly unique and professional fantasy costume jewelry. 🙂


Gothic Perfume

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Something that was all the rage over 100 years ago has been making a steady comeback in the last few years that intrigues and delights me; solid perfume. Back before aerosols were a things/possible, well off people would purchase their perfume as solids (or oils) that they would apply to smell lovely and clean. This concept has been making a return to form thanks to the desire for natural make-ups and beauty products, though not all are quite like the line For Strange Women.

Handmade with natural ingredients by Jill of Kansas City, Missouri; the For Strange Women perfumes come in variety of containers that have a very 1800s/Gothic style about them. The names are like wise inspired by the time with such fragrances as:

Satin Corset (lilies, sweet, vanilla, hypnotic, powdery floral)
Nightshade Garden (citrus, leaves, tomato vine, yellow-green, uplifting)
Antique Settee (Earl Grey tea, polished wood, faint floral)
Winter Kitty (snow, comforting sweet musk, amber, woodsmoke)
Fireside Story (sandalwood, vanilla, campfire, smokey)
Vetiver Single Note (honey, sweet & earthy, grounding)
Violin in the Attic (heavy woods, sweet resins, dusty undertones)

You can test these fragrances, and more, by ordering her perfume ribbons.

These are small ribbon strips with .1g of perfume (about one application) infused into them. Once you’ve tried it they recommend using it to freshen your dresser drawers as the smell will linger with the ribbon and can infuse the clothes as a result. I’ve never been a perfume wearing person, but this line has me intrigued. They’re definitely worth a look through at their beautiful packaging and design at the very least.


Put a Wreath Around It

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Greetings Sunday readers!

I promised recycled holiday goodness and I aim to please! Last week I offered up some recycled ornaments so the next progressive step to decking out the home for the holidays should be fairly easy – a wreath for the door. I had some fun finding a variety of different materials to use while just staring around the house at possibilities. The first and most obvious for me is magazines. We don’t have as many physical subscriptions as we used to but we still get enough to put some solid weight at the bottom of the recycling bin. This first DIY is one of the more time intensive ones on the list but the results are just lovely:

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Really, you could probably just use any kind of paper you have laying around for this but I think the glossy paper in magazines give it that shiny, leafy realism. Ok so now I’ve used some of the old magazines up, what else? In the kitchen I have…corks! We don’t drink nearly the amount of wine in this house as beer but we still occasionally bring out a bottle with the evening meal. I definitely have enough to do a slightly larger wreath than this:

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

I keep all of the corks and bottle caps I want to save in a clear jar on the counter under the cabinets. What’s in the cabinets? I have some canning jars that were used for projects/preserving last year and they have lids. So what could be better than candy-striped canning jar ring wreaths:

We always re-buy the lids every year so I have a ton!

Remember to use a couple for those shadow box ornaments from last week, too.

I wandered into the closets at this point and thought about all of those old ornaments we had packed away that are getting replaced with handmade ones. What should I do with them? Toss them or donate them? No! Let’s make them into another wreath!

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

While in the closet, I had some of the husbands clothes brushing the top of my head and I wondered if there were some cool recycled clothing wreaths out there (of course there are). He’s not really into wearing ties so we’ve accumulated quite a few that were gifts. I think there are enough colors to do a variation on this:

If you don't have enough/any, I'm pretty sure the local thrift store does.

If you don’t have enough/any, I’m pretty sure the local thrift store does.

Whew, not only did we get some great craft ideas but it allowed me to clean out a bit! Just in time to receive more gifts and start the cycle over. Have a great week, crafters and next time we’ll try our hand at some recycled centerpieces.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Dear Jane Quilt A Long Design

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So you have decided to do the Paper Pieces Dear Jane Quilt a Long.  So how do you design your quilt?

After a ton of research I decided to go with the Electric Quilt Dear Jane Software.  From the electric quilt website:

This software will help you see how other quilters have made their own beautiful Dear Jane quilts and even design your own on your computer screen. From there you can print patterns for your quilts or the blocks, read sewing instructions, print quilt labels, surf Dear Jane web sites and so much more.

After playing with the program a few days I decided to go with a traditional black and white quilt with a pop of red.

jane

Next I printed out each of the blocks with the color scheme I chose.  The printed squares allow me to assemble the blocks even easier!

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The Dear Jane Quilt a Long is officially under way!  Tomorrow I will talk about how I organized myself for this incredible undertaking.

-Toni

 


DIY: Vintage Electronics Organizer

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I found something super cool on my wanderings through the internet, and I end up (as I have noticed I often do) browsing through Design Sponge‘s DIY section. I came across something super special and awesome, but be forewarned, this is probably something that will take a little bit of time to put together, not to mention patience, but the end result is super impressive. Check out the full tutorial here.

You will need to do some shopping for materials:

  • vintage cloth-bound hardcover book with dimensions close to 6.5″ x 10.5″ x 1.75″ thick
  • black rubberized fabric like a non-slip black drawer liner material from the hardware store, but a thin neoprene foam will work, as well, You can also probably use vinyl from a fabric store.
  • 9 yards black elastic ribbon, 0.5″ thick
  • sewing machine, pins, needle and black thread
  • illustration board or thin mat board (same dimension as your book)
  • Elmer’s Glue and fabric glue
  • ruler, box cutter and cutting mat
  • black photo tape (available at art stores)

Your first step is to use your box cutter and (carefully, so as not to remove phalanges), to remove the pages from the book, keeping the covers and the spine in tact. Lay your book, face down, on top of your black fabric and trace the dimensions, and use your box cutter and a ruler to cut a rectangle 1/8″ smaller on all sides than the traced dimensions.

Next, take your elastic and cut it into both short strips (the width of your book cover) and long strips (the height of the cover), and cut enough of them to fill the book cover when laid side to side. If your strips don’t match up exactly, opt for one less and space them out slightly. Starting in the upper left corner of the black cut fabric, pin your long strips in a row and sew them down along the edge. Don’t secure the bottom yet, and don’t forget to remove the pins.

This is when you can add the short strips, and do the same thing along the long edge that you did with the long elastic strips.  you can sew this edge before arranging them if you would like.  This is the point where you will need to create a weave, and pin all the other edges of the elastic in place before sewing them. You will basically need to alternate laying the short elastic over or under the longer strands to create a basket like pattern. Take a look…

You do not want a symmetrical weave, as the more space you leave, the bigger the accessory that you can store. Keeping places where you leave 2 or 3 elastics exposed is a good thing.You can choose how big or small you want your spaces to be, and you may want to keep some accessories handy so you can test it out.

When all the short strips are pinned in place, and you’re happy with how it looks, sew around all of the other unsewn edges to secure them in place and trim any excess from around the edges.

 

Cut your illustration/mat board to the inner dimension of the front book cover. Use your sewing machine or an awl to poke holes around all four edges of the board. You can hand crank the sewing machine, which allows you to space the holes out a bit more.

Use a needle and thread to sew the board to the backside of the black fabric – behind the side of the elastic grid.You can do this easily and securely using a blanket stitch. Just make sure to pull each edge tight, since you’re sewing to stretch the fabric and tighten the grid.

Once your board is sewn to the backside of the grid and the grid is pulled tight, cover the three edges with black photo tape (or you can sew or glue on fabric tape if you prefer).

On the right-hand side of the fabric rectangle (the side that will cover the inside of the back book cover), use your knife to cut a 3.5″ horizontal slit for the pocket 1″ from the edges (not including the width of the spine) and 4.5″ up from the bottom edge. You can also cut 2 horizontal slits at 4 inches above the pocket and instert a thick band of fabric so that a phone can be held in place. You can really add whatever you’d like, and if you really like the elastic grid, you can do a second one of those too.

You’re now ready to add your lining to the book cover. You can use craft glue on the side with the paper board, but be sure to use glue that is good for fabric on the side with just the fabric backing. Add your glue (make sure to get to the edges), and press into place. Make sure to line up the edges evenly and press down firmly. Clean any glue mishaps, and lay the book open on the floor, cover it with a sheet of clean scrap paper and then put something heavy on top so that everything will dry flat. Let everything dry overnight. If you want to add any latches or elastics over buttons to help to keep this closed, you can do that. Or you can leave it just like a book.

I think that this is such a fabulous tutorial for such a unique gift. Love it so much.

 

Happy crafting!

Megan


Cosplay A to Z: Choosing a Commercial Pattern

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One of the things I think many beginner sewers have difficulty with is choosing patterns to sew with. For today’s article, I’m going to assume you’re working primarily with fabric for your costume.

Choosing a pattern can make your life easier or not, so today we’re going to talk about my 4 S’s of pattern selection.

Size
It goes without saying that size is important. Pattern sizing is not the same as fashion sizing, and so at a basic level, you need to ensure you are using the correct size. If your pattern size is the same as what you bought in a store, you’re probably going to have problems.

But in a more abstract manner, size is important in different ways. Maybe you don’t want perfectly fitting clothing. Maybe you want oversized clothing.

Is your character a cartoon with blocky features? If so, maybe you want to ensure that your pattern is going to be oversized to give that less human, more pixelated look. Some designs may be created that are made to hang large on a frame. Looking at the fit of the design on the model can help you get an idea about whether it will really bring your character to life in the way you want to.

 

Shape
Shape goes to the basic shape of a pattern. If you were to represent your costume in 2 dimensions, what shapes would it take?

If you’re looking for a skirt, the first question to ask is does this give the right kind of skirt? Is it a-line? Is it mermaid? Does it go in where you want it to go out? For instance, a short school uniform-type of skirt has a very different shape than a pencil skirt worn by the school principle.

If you’re wondering whether a pattern would give similar shapes, you can easily try drawing them out to compare.

 

Silhouette
Silhouette takes shape to a step above. It is about the lines on the edge of the body and the curves or straight lines they make that that point. You want to check that the pattern you choose gives you the same silhouette as a character.

For retro and historical patterns, you may find that the correct silhouette is not achievable without proper undergarments. For instance, the 1890’s saw the use of spoon-busked corsets. These are very distinct silhouette and corsets that use any other type of busk will not give the S-curve of the 1890’s corsets. Further, any clothing not designed for a spoon-busk may need alterations to accommodate a different style of corset.

The Victorian silhouette

The Victorian silhouette

I think silhouette is best explained by Jessica Rabbit. Any pink sparkly dress with a red wig will evoke the comically drawn Jessica, but only a specialised corset and dress will depict her incredibly tight waist and buxom features for an accurate silhouette.

 

Seam Lines

The last, but certainly not least, consideration is where to the seam lines lie on the pattern?
You can save yourself a lot of effort if you can find a pattern that has similar seam lines. It will be more easily alterable to gain the silhouette you want, as well as looking more like what the character uses.

I will caution that seam lines are not always a requirement for many costumes, but for some, they can make or break a costume. In some instances, seam lines can be the difference between a screen accurate costume and not.

For instance, while any black bodysuit could be used to represent Mara Jade, she is always depicted in the comics with very specific patterns. I had to adapt a bodysuit pattern to add these seams in and take extra seams out in order to get an accurate costume.

All four of these things may not exist in a single pattern. However, if you can find a pattern that has 3 of them, you’re going to have a lot less work to do to make it fit and look accurate than if you just pick the first jacket pattern you find in your size. You could choose the first jacket pattern you buy, but take some time, and you may find one that is not only 1940’s styled, but has princess seams.

There are thousands of patterns in existence, and combing through them can be time consuming. However, taking that time at the beginning of the process can significantly make the construction process later on easier.

~ eliste


DIY Bathtub Tray

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December, the month of holidays, starts tomorrow, and I’m back with another DIY gift idea for your loved ones. This week it’s a DIY Bathtub Tray from the folks at Lil’ Luna that requires no power tools and could probably be done in an afternoon if you’re determined.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1’×10′ pine board cut to width of tub (so make sure you measure before you go get your wood, but most hardware store will cut it for free; also make sure it’s a thick board like 1″)
  • sandpaper
  • stain or paint (their formula for a warm gray stain is here)
  • sealant (gloss or matt; can also get a stain with a sealant included)
  • 2 cabinet pulls with screws
  • self-adhesive grippers

I would also recommend not just one, but two levels of sandpaper be used. A harder grit (around 80) to sand the edges down of any jagged parts, and then follow it up with a finer one (160 or so) to get it primed for staining. Don’t be afraid to sand and restain again after the first round if the board feels too rough. This is fairly common and nothing that another round of the finer sand paper and then staining again won’t fix. Once the stain is done and dry, simply apply the self adhesive grippers (which will keep it steady on a slippery tub) and then install the cabinet pulls. It’s just that simple. 🙂 You can find a fully documented step by step guide with pictures right here at lil Luna though if you need it. 🙂


DIY Holiday Essential Oil Blends

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There’s nothing quite like the smell of the holidays. Weather you prefer baked goods, fresh pine, or maybe peppermint, the holidays likely have a special smell in your memory. So today I’ve brought together a list of custom essential oils blends made by Healthy Happy Momma that you can make to help achieve that perfect holiday smell. 🙂 These blends will work in and essential oil diffuser (like this one from doTERRA or  Amazon) but if you don’t have one handy you can also use a pot of hot boiling water on the stove that you add the oil scent to. More water will need to be added as it evaporates, but it’s a cheap and easy solution if you don’t have or care to buy a diffuser.

I recommend looking at what oils are required for a scent style that you like before rushing out to buy one to help save you money, but many of these can be found online, and I tried to pick ones that weren’t special blends so you weren’t limited to a brand line. You could also look at getting an empty glass vial so that you can mix up half an ounce to keep on hand all season long, or maybe give away as a custom gift. 🙂

Cozy by the Fire
2 drops White Fir +  2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 1 drop  Clove + 1 drop Cedarwood

Christmas Energy
4 drops Peppermint + 4 drops Wild Orange

Christmas Cheer
3 drops Lime + 3 drops Wild Orange + 2 drops Cinnamon + 2 drops White Fir + 2 drops Cypress +  2 drops Bergamot + 1 drop Eucalyptus

Winter Wonderland
4 drops Peppermint + 3 drops Bergamot + 2 drops Cypress

Gingerbread
3 drops Ginger + 2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 2 drops Clove + 1 drop Nutmeg

Oh Christmas Tree
3 drops Douglas Fir + 2 drops Cedarwood + 1 drop Juniper Berry

 


Recycling for the Season

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Hello Sunday readers!

Now that all of the turkeys have been eaten here in the US, it’s time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays. This means it’s time for some decorating! But instead of just going out and buying a whole bunch of things, what about recycling some items you may have lying around the house? Maybe you’d like to start small because it really isn’t even December yet, so how about some recycled ornaments?

First, I don’t know about you but I get a ton of holiday cards around this time of year and quite frankly, I don’t know what to do with them. I mean, I know most people don’t expect us to keep them but it seems like such a waste to throw them away. In this lovely tutorial, we are presented with an alternative to that waste that creates a lovely keepsake ornament in the process:

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

If you want to bump up the wow and interactive factor a bit, might I suggest this recycled card “shadow box” ornament:

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

Now I’m not one to dismantle books because of my great love for them. But if I were to “rescue” some that were bound for the bin, this Swedish-style star ornament would be the best way to keep those pages in the house:

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

Finally, I used to love puzzles as a kid but inevitably at some point, pieces would go missing. What do you do with a puzzle with missing pieces? Recycle them into ornaments, of course:

I'm sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

I’m sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

These were just a small fraction of recycled ornament ideas I came across in a quick search. There are plenty more, I assure you! I plan on featuring a few more recycled holiday ideas in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Stay crafty!

~Laura