Beautiful and Spooky

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Happy Sunday, all!

I know I hinted at some fall décor in the next post but then something came across my feed that I simply HAD to share. These amazing little embroideries and artwork from French artist Petrichor are something that should be sought out and purchased immediately:

Not only does she hand embroider each of the delightful, dark images on the pins but many of her pieces of one of a kind. She also has an impressive line of lino-printed keepsake boxes:

So lovely and perfect for storing all of your precious bits and bobs.

Her main line of artwork is just as gorgeous, with more wonderfully witchy prints to be had:

These could arguably be considered fall décor but I’m more inclined to keep them up all year round.

If you fancy yourself some spooky items to adorn your walls or yourself, she can be found on her website, Etsy, Facebook, and Instagram. Please note that she also does custom designs! Also note that she is based out of France so some of her pages are in French.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


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Today is my local Comic Con! You can find me at Forest City Comic Con here in London, Ontario. I Am here with Megan of Absynthetika! You can find us at Booth 87.

I have some of my quilts and pillows and all of my patterns, kits, and dice bags! Megan had both her corsets and her Christmas stockings. Forest City Comic Con is an amazing combination of comics, anime, cosplay, gaming, and everything geeky! Their program and guests can be found here: http://forestcitycomicon.ca/schedule/.

If you are in the Ontario area, swing by and say hi!

 


DIY: Mosaic Tray

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a tutorial for you today from Sand and Sisal to make a sea glass mosaic serving tray. You can find the original post here.  What I love about this tutorial is that it’s a basic tutorial that doesn’t have to be applied to only sea glass. You can use tiles, flat stones, flat glass tiles, or broken plates. This process can be applied to anything you’d like to turn into a mosaic, which is possibly why I love being able to write about a process like this.

For this you do need some specific supplies, but they are things that you might have lying around, or they’re easy to find at any hardware store. You’ll need a wood serving tray (you can buy one new or you can check second hand and vintage stores to see what’s around), spray paint, enough sea glass or tile to cover the area of your tray, some ready to use tile adhesive, premixed grout, a toothed trowel, a pallet knife, a rubber tile float, and a sponge.

Your first step – if your tray has been finished, is to sand the tray with 100 grit sand paper to remove any shiny lacquer.

Your next step is to give the try a couple coats of the (wood suitable) spray paint in the colour of your choice.

With a toothed trowel, apply a thin coat of adhesive to a small part of the tray base and comb the teeth through the adhesive. If you’re using a large trowel, you can use a pallet knife to spread the adhesive into the small corners and edges, and then comb it afterwards.

For the best result, try to work in small sections. It’s important that the adhesive is applied in a thin layer. you don’t want it oozing over the tiles. Start pressing your sea glass (or other tiles) into the adhesive. The tile should sit about half way in the adhesive.  Follow the package directions for the adhesive to set up.

After you’ve placed all your tiles, you can pull out the grout. Put some grout on the float (the rubber scraper thing) and start pressing  and smearing it into the sea  glass so that it gets into all the crevasses and into the edges. Don’t worry about smearing it on top of the glass – it will be smoothed and wiped off the top later.

Once your tray is covered, scrape any excess grout off the top with your float.

Your last step is to clean up that mess! Use a wet sponge to clean up the edges of your tray and to remove the layer of grout from the top of the sea glass or tile. When it looks mostly clean, let it dry. When it’s dry, the glass will look a little dusty, and this is when you can take a clean, damp sponge and buff the glaze off the glass to let it shine.

Et, voila! Your tray is done and ready to be used, or gifted to some lucky friend.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


Completing Custom Orders

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. Today I wanted to mention how to handle orders you receive both online and in person. We all get excited when others like what we make, and it translates into a sale. then the panic can set in. What next?

If its in person at a show, you make sure you get a full description of the order, and that the customer pays for both the item and the shipping. Make sure the shipping includes the cost of your time dropping it off at the post office, as well as the shipping boxes and wrap. This is called a handling charge. It would be a good idea to give them an estimate of when to expect their item, and discuss a way for them to approve it. I offer to email or text photos of them completed design. If this is an online order, make sure the listing specifies wait times. Give yourself enough time to complete the item, and if the customer is on a waiting list, they need to know this as well.

Once home, its a good idea to stick to the timeline you gave your customer. A good customer, satisfied with your service and quality of goods, is a repeat customer. If there is a delay, communicate it to them. Make sure you take well lit, accurate photos of the finished product for your own portfolio as well as for the customer’s approval of the project.

Once the project is completed and approved, you will need to wrap it securely, and mail it. I recommend purchasing postage online either through Paypal, or directly from the Post Office website. Both offer a discount from buying it in person, and will include tracking that you may have to pay extra for otherwise. Unless the item is small or not easily damaged, it is advisable to ship Priority if in the US. It provides included insurance up to $50, and an additional minimal amount for more expensive orders. You can use flat rate shipping, or use a small kitchen scale for shipping by weight. A digital scale is a small investment that will last a long time. My $20 Walmart purchase is more than six years old and still ticking!

Its not necessary, but adds to the overall appeal to make the wrapped package attractive and appealing. Our customers are buying handmade goods, and you want to make them feel as if they are getting a gift, and something with more meaning than a mass produced item. I once ordered a purse that arrived in a lovely clear bag, with ribbons, confetti, and a thank you card. It made such a big impression on me! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Bubble wrap, tissue paper, a business card/thank you card nicely wrapped can do the trick. I use ribbon and tissue, and then wrap the whole thing in bubble since my items are breakable. Some makers use cute stickers, or include a coupon code for a future order.

If the item is to be a gift, you can also include a small gift card for them to use. Vista Print and other online printers offer these in bulk, and they are a nice touch.

Once shipped, make sure if you have a tracking number you send it to the customer, and follow up to make sure it arrived. If you treat all your customers as if they are special, they will feel that way.


Wrist Exercises Take 2

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A few months ago I posted some great videos for stretching your wrist muscles and just generally helping them keep the more common wrist injuries at bay. Well today I’m back with some more, and they’re from an unlikely inspiration.

From Splatoon 2 enthusiast and Tumblr user comes a great reference guide to help the average person take care of their wrists before strenuous use. While they were inspired by long play session of Splatoon 2 for the Switch, these are really wonderful stretches that anyone can do. If you’re seeing a medical professional for an existing condition however, be sure to clear it with them first. Per the artist themselves:

I drew a quick chart about good wrist and finger exercise before playing Splatoon (or engaging in any other intense activity such as but not limited to gaming in general, programming, drawing, computer work etc.)
As with all stretching exercise, these should only be done in moderate speed. You only want to loosen up, not break your hands!!

Great advice, and I’d even recommend doing it at a very slow pace at first to help you get the feel of what the stretch should feel like and not hurt yourself. When done properly everyday, these stretches can definitely help the longevity of your very useful wrists. 🙂


Recommended Knitting Tutorials

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Grandest of Mondays to you, fellow Hackers!

I hope that all of you enjoyed a restful and enjoyable weekend and that most importantly, you fit in a little crafting time. This week, I wanted to share with the knitters out there some of my favorite places to learn more about knitting. Most are YouTube channels and I highly recommend subscribing so that you can get alerted to when there are new videos up. But there are also a couple websites that I check out occasionally to learn new stitches or find out the latest about new yarns on the market.

One of my favorite YouTube channels to follow is Joanne’s Web. There is something really lovely about Joanne’s tutorials. She is very good about going slowly through each step so as not to confuse newer/beginning knitters. She is also the adorable older lady and from the very first of her videos that I watched, I just loved her. It felt like sitting down and learning to knit with one’s grandma (who is ironically who originally taught me how to knit when I was just a preteen). She not only teaches things like how to actually do different types of stitches, but she also has specific patterns she teaches you. I use her fingerless glove pattern all the time because they are quick and easy to make. Another benefit is that a number of her videos are in Spanish as well.

Wool And The Gang is another fun channel to subscribe to. They also offer easy-to-follow tutorials so it is great for beginning knitters and novices. They also have a number of free patterns that they offer. Wool And The Gang is an actual company so in addition to their YouTube channel with wonderful tutorials, they have a website and blog. You know what else they have? A mascot… Meet Al The Alpaca.

Those are my main go-to YouTube channels when I’m either looking at learning a new stitch or trying to find a new pattern to try out. Some others that I subscribe to are RJ Knits and Sheep & Stitch.

Most of us are not only aware of Craftsy, we practically LIVE on their site. This is fabulous place to find patterns (they offer free and priced, but I have yet to see a bad pattern on that site). I also am a fan of LoveKnitting because they also sell yarn (like Craftsy and Wool and the Gang) and offer coupons and special pricing almost daily. (I recommend signing up for their email list to see what’s new and what specials they’re offering that day).

I hope that, for any beginners or skilled knitters out there, these resources not only help to continue your ever-expanding knitting knowledge but also provide you with a bevy of new projects for your horizons.

Happy Knitting!

 

~Scribe Sarah~


Batiks Go Retro Blog Hop

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The Batiks Go Retro Blog hop is under way!  I was stop #3 Wednesday on my Quiltoni Blog so I wanted to share it here as well.

You can find the other hoppers joining in at the bottom of this post, so make sure you read them all!

I was asked by Tamarinis to create something pixelated for her first line of fabrics with Island Batiks.  Why pixelated?  Because I am a pixel quilter!  Even though I specialize in geeky quilts, I like a challenge.  First I had to think of a design.  Here are some of the amazing fabrics that I got to choose from.

That starburst pattern is pretty cool and has a few color options.  I decided to use those fabrics and create a pixelated design based on the design in the fabric.

After figuring out the pattern I decided to put the pastels together and the bold colors together.  I wanted to show the same pattern with different colorways so decided on a double sided quilt. After sewing strips together I cut out all of the pieces and laid them out.

 

Then it was time to assemble the rows.

After assembling rows, I added a border of fussy cut background fabric around to show the design of the fabric off as well as pull the rows together to allow for easier quilting.

Once the quilt was finished I quilted it with just regular straight lines to give it a more modern feel.  The binding choice was to give it a color pop completely different than the fabrics I chose, but is part of the collection.  I really like the finished product and it was a lot of fun making it!

  

Next on the Blog hop is Purple Moose Designs.  Make sure you visit them all!  And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom to win great prizes, including a wonderful Tamarinis pattern pack, fabric, thread and more from several of the designers in the blog hop!

Sept 11th: Island Batik, Aurifil Thread


DIY: Vintage Light Fixture Revamp

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

I found a DIY that looks much more complicated than it is, and it is a great way to bring vintage into your home  – or your apartment. The best part is, is that it uses the base of light fixtures that I see in almost every apartment that I’ve been in, and they’re in my apartment right now.

You can find the original tutorial here on A Beautiful Mess, and you really can do any colour you prefer, given that you can use spray paint to either match the pieces to each other or do do it in another colour entirely. You do need some supplies and tools, though. You’ll need a sunburst mirror frame, like this one. You can use any mirror frame as long as it’s easy to remove the mirror so you can use the base. You’ll need a ceiling flush mount light small enough to sit inside your mirror frame, like this one. You will also need gold (or your choice of colour) spray paint, painter’s tape as well as screws and a drill.

As always, we recommend safety first, so since we’re getting into working with light fixtures, you can do this project together with an electrician or a friend with experience, or you can use this guide to help guide your experience. Please make sure that your power is off whenever you’re working on a light fixture. We don’t want any mishaps.

So, depending on what method you choose, you may need to remove the existing light fixture. Since this tutorial uses a light that is a few inches smaller than the mirror frame, paint was added to the ceiling area that would be showing in between the fixture and the mirror. All you need to do is place each fixture where it will go, trace around them and tape off the area that you’re not painting. If you’re worried about using spray paint and the fact that it is airborne and can go anywhere, you can use a liquid paint and brush. Remove the tape when dry (see above).

Using the same paint, paint the base of the light fixture. Just make sure to tape off the back so that there’s no electrical parts that get painted. Add your light bulb and globe shade.

On the mirror frame, you can bend back any tabs that hold the mirror in place and remove the mirror and any backing material from the middle. Just give this frame a coat of the same paint that you used for the rest of the project so that it looks like one unit and there’s no odd colour difference. You can just use 4 screws and wedge them between the spokes of the frame to hold it in place.

When your light fixture is secure, you’re done! It looks fabulous in the gold, but if you’re going for a different kind of retro vibe, you could use a beautiful teal spray paint, or copper. Whatever colour suits your mood and decor!

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Fall is in the Air

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. Fall is in the air here- I can smell it! While it doesn’t get as cold this early in the season here, I still love fall. Pumpkin spice everything, leaves changing, sweaters and crisp evenings. I have been searching Etsy, and these are some of the things that reflect my love of the changing leaves.

This leaf handbag is the perfect blend of autumn tones. LA Boutique Art has this gorgeous felted bag. The colors are vibrant and the bag looks soft and cozy.

The Leather Fan Shop on etsy has gorgeous, brightly colored fans in multiple shapes, including fall leaves. They can do custom fans as well. These can be hung on your belt, or carried to your favorite Renn Faire or ComicCon.

 

Folk Owl has some amazing felted leaf belts. These would be great with a gorgeous skirt or a maxi dress. I love the colors, the texture. It can also be a headband or tied around a leather top hat.

This Leaf Shawl is amazing. the work, the colors and the shape is really pretty. NatKaLV on Etsy has some lovely things.

What makes you think of fall? Let me know!


Color Scheme Assistance

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Taking a break from just posting awesome things or DIYs, I wanted to share another tool for all you artist/artisans out there. When designing a piece, one of the hardest things to do sometimes is color. Now I don’t mean color for something you know or recreating, but picking color from scratch for something new and unique. This can be for anything from a website to a new fantasy creature and it can take hours of slight adjustments to get something the eye sees as ‘right’. Thankfully in this age of the internet, kind people have developed palette designers to help us with this task.

This is a site called Paletton. It’s an easy click and drag way to get you making a color scheme quick and easy. You start with a main color you know you want and then let the program to the work for you, or completely pick out lots of shades and get a fast mock-up of them to see if they work. Great if you have a starting point and just need a little push to get your colors together, but what if picking color schemes is a slog for you? Well I’ve got something for that too. Coolors makes it even easy with randomly generated palettes you can cycle through or explore ones generated by other users.

Both tools are completely free and allow you get the design info you need and get back to work on your beautiful art piece. 🙂