A New Spin on an Old Record

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Ever since I can remember, my father has collected music. He has shelves upon shelves full of cassette tapes, 8 track tapes, CDs, DVDs, and of course, vinyl records. He’s the reason I often find myself drifting toward those stacks of lovely plastic treasure at the resale shops. It seems like I just can’t help myself! Sadly, though, there will always be some LPs that just don’t make the cut. Some are just so scratched, so warped, so beat up that that don’t play anymore. It’s probably time to let them finally have their well deserved rest, right? OR how about breathing new life into them with this amazing trend I’ve had come across my craft dashboard lately: vinyl record wall art!

The Chicago skyline on Chicago's greatest hits!

The Chicago skyline on Chicago’s greatest hits!

Some genius out there decided to upcycle some of their old vinyl and we get to reap the benefits! Whether you want to commemorate your favorite city (as pictured above) or immortalize your favorite album, there are plenty of options out there.

Now your poor copy of Thick as a Brick can live on...as a clock!

Now your poor copy of Thick as a Brick can live on…as a clock!

They aren’t limited to just bands, either. Think soundtracks or other fandoms and the possibilities are endless!

VinylArtStarWars  VinylArtLotRClock

I was very impressed with some of the fine quality art that a simple Etsy search turned up! If vintage is your type of thing, I highly recommend indulging in this super cool trend.

See you next Sunday and stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Indiegogo Feature: Quiltoni

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Last weekend I featured a Kickstarter from Craft Hacker member Dyrad Tea.  Today I am going to do something a little different and tell you about an Indiegogo that I am doing for my business Quiltoni.

Those that follow me on Social Media know that I had a large theft in October.  I lost all of my quilts and pillowcases and insurance din’t cover anything.  It was a very devastating blow and I didn’t know if I was going to continue on.  After a lot of support from friends and fans I decided to pick myself up and move on.  A lot of people suggested creating an account to collect donations.  While I support other people that do this, I don’t feel right accepting money without giving something back.  So for the last two months I have been working with friends on this Indiegogo Campaign that launched yesterday.

(I know the audio is a bit fuzzy, it plays better on a phone than a computer).

We came up with some really cool rewards (other than quilts, pillows, and dice bags) that I am excited about.

Phoenix

This will be a special one time only quilt where I will include the names of every person that chooses this reward.  After I finish the quilt, I will bring it to every convention I attend for an entire year.  So what happens to this quilt after the year?  It will randomly go to one of the people on the quilt!

NES Sampler Patterns

Making the NES Sampler Quilt and can’t wait 12 months to get all of the patterns?  For $50 you will not only receive all of the patterns in a PDF format, but you will also get a special iron on label showing your support with your thank you note.

Travel

This is my favorite reward.  If you choose the Where is North America is Toni I will travel to you and spend at least 2 days doing something fun.  I can give you private quilting lessons, teach classes, do charity work, or just hang out and play some cards.  I really hope I get to go places I have never been!

Convention

The Weekend Adventurer is the most requested reward.  If you choose this reward I will give you the VIP experience from our point of view at a convention.  Lodging, Food, and a pass to the convention will be provided. (Your travel is not covered).  You can hang out with us the entire weekend and see what it’s like to be an artist.  There are some conventions I am not able to get an extra pass to, so if you would like to check to see what convention options there are, just ask!

Please take a look at my Indiegogo campaign.  Even if you can’t make a pledge, sharing it supports me just as much!

-Toni

 

 


Quilt a Long – NES Sampler Tetris

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Time for the second block of the NES Sampler Quilt a Long, Tetris.

Tetris

To remind you, this is what the entire NES Sampler Quilt will look like.

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The NES Sampler quilt will have a finished size of 51″ by 67″.

For those not familiar with a Quilt a Long we will be releasing the pattern for one block each month on the 1st.  You then have the entire month to make the block.  Don’t feel rushed though.  The patterns will always be free and available in the forums so you can join and catch up at any time.  You can pick and choose which blocks to make and in what order you would like to arrange them on the quilt.  You just don’t get the instructions for the next block in the series until the following month.

This quilt can be made by experienced quilters, or those new to quilting.  You only need to know how to use a sewing machine and a rotary cutter.  New quilting tips will be highlighted so experienced quilters can skip over them.

You can find the pattern to Tetris here in the forums.

Please let us know if there is anything in the patterns that are confusing or need to be explained further.  If the the NES quilt is successful then we plan on releasing our own line of patterns for you!

Also feel free to share your finished blocks in the forum you get the pattern from.  We love to see how you make your blocks your own.  FunkyMonkey has picked some really cool fabrics so far.  I can’t wait to see that finished quilt!

   

Happy Quilting!

-Toni


What About the Cork?

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Hello Thursday readers!

Since my last couple weeks’ posts were a little complicated, I decided to blog a DIY that is a little simpler and a little easier but by no means is any less cool. So if you are a wine drinker, or if you know a wine drinker – and I’ll bet a dollar that you do, then you’ll have run into the problem of the corks. Especially after a party, there’s corks lying around everywhere! I know that you have been searching for a solution to this problem since it began, but search no longer, for I bring you something awesome.

First, you need to stop throwing out your corks. That’s right, I want you to put them in a bag and start saving them.  You will need a frame, and you can either build a very simple one using wood from a hardware store, or you can find one in a second hand store or even buy one new. If you are building one from scratch, it doesn’t need to be fancy, though it can be thicker, which will change which way the corks are facing. I’m going to give you a tutorial for the easier version, with a bought/found/re purposed frame, that way, you can even feel great about recycling something. So you will need the frame, a glue gun and glue, a ruler and an exacto knife. As well as your corks.  I’ve taken this tutorial and it’s pictures from Makezine, but you can find many around the internet. I found this one had the simplicity and the recycling factor that I was looking for, so I thought I would share this one.

Your first step is to choose a frame and remove everything but the back board, which it is recommended that you glue into place so you don’t need to worry about it falling off. You will need to decide on a pattern to place your corks in. Simple and repetitive is the key. Take a look below.

Before you actually start gluing your corks, if you find that they smell of wine still and that you can smell it pretty clearly, you can treat the corks by soaking them in a mixture of water and vinegar for a couple hours, but be sure to let them dry thoroughly before using them.

Next is the fun part. You can start gluing down the corks onto the board in your pattern of choice. It’s recommended to start away from the edge as that will give you a more natural flow. Try to select shapes that work for your pattern. If you’d like to be more economical but messier, you can cut your corks in half to get more bang for your buck.

When you have fit all the full corks into your frame that you can, this is where you will need to carefully cut the corks to fit to the edge of the frame. The neater they are, the nicer it will look so don’t rush and please try not to cut your fingers off.

When you are finished you may have little globs that spilled out or that left a trail from your glue gun. Don’t worry. Just pull them off to clean it up. The corks should stay put.

Your last step, though it isn’t necessary, will help seal and make the texture of the corks more noticeable. A few coats of a clear gloss will do the trick.

And voila! You’re done. You can place this beauty in your own home or give it as a gift to someone you love very much, because you drank all that wine for this, of course.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY Spiral Binding for Books

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This is a subject I’ve been looking into a lot lately as I’m designing a planner book for my business and I thought I’d take today to share some of my findings for those who may also be curious about making their own books. 🙂 There are basically 3 main options depending on how invested you are and how much money you’re willing to spend, so let’s go most to least expensive.

1) Buy your own machine for coil binding.
Easily the most expensive as machines that will punch holes in no more then 6 pages at a time start at $80, but if you are looking to make books to sell it’s a great investment. The one pictured above is one of the least expensive, but very highly rated and called the GBC Pro Click. The nice thing about this product line is you don’t have to manually wind the spiral into it. Simply buy the side binding, line them up with the holes and snap it closed. Done! The limiting factor is only what sizes the coil binding lengths come in.

2) Let an office center do it for you
If you have the no how and the skill to design your own pages and print them, many office center places (Staples, Office Depot, FedEx/Kinkos) will coil bind your work for as little as $3. Costs for the cover/back are extra, and if you have a thick book (over 100 pages) it will be more expensive, but nothing over $10 unless you’re doing something incredibly fancy or hard.

3) Buy a hole puncher and wire like a true DIY!
If you really want to make it all on your own for the ultimate customizing, I have got the tutorial video for you. It’s by youtuber Sea Lemon and she easily walks you through making your own spiral book. All you’ll need is paper, a ruler, an Xacto knife, wire (16 gauge for smaller books), and a hole puncher; specifically with 3mm hole sizes.

As she mentions it isn’t recommend for large coil bound books but if you plan on making your own planners/notebooks/journals this could be the starting point for you until you have the money for option 1. 🙂

~Nicole


Cubic Fox Props

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I’m part of an artist group on Facebook that is all about helping people improve their work. Two days a week you are allowed to do self promotion and while I normally don’t actively scroll through the hundreds of postings to showcase here, one artist caught my eye this week.

Cameron runs a shop called Cubic Fox Props in Canada where she primarily makes wood based items, such as the map I’ve added up above. The map is what caught my eye from her post as it’s just so well detailed and created. A laser cutter was used to carve the map out and then all the details are added in by hand. I can only imagine the hours of work that went into it as it measures over two feet tall!

Most of her work is Game of Thrones related right now but I’m sure she’d be happy to work with that other big fantasy fandom out there…something about rings I think? 😉

~Nicole


Once Around a Pincushion

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Two Sundays ago I promised a pincushion tutorial and here it is! For reference, I used this Instructables tutorial on how to construct a pincushion cuff. It had a good foundation and some great tips, which I will include but lacked a little bit in some relevant details (more on that later). Please note that this tutorial assumes you are familiar with hand and machine sewing terms and techniques (if not, stay tuned at the end for some recommended viewing). To begin, you will need the following:

PincushionTutSupplies1

  1. Fabric (I used cotton)
  2. A mug or round item approximately 3″-4″ in diameter
  3. Poly fiber filling
  4. Sew-on Velcro
  5. Embroidery floss or other cording
  6. A button
  7. Scissors and/or a rotary cutter
  8. (If using rotary cutter) Self-healing cutting mat
  9. Ruler or measuring tape
  10. Pins
  11. (not pictured) Iron and ironing board

The following are not absolutely necessary but I found it easier to use them and I will refer to the steps where I used them.

PincushionTutSupplies2

(optional) Iron-on interfacing or stabilizer (pictured above)

(optional) Pinking shears

(optional) Seam ripper

(optional) Fabric pencil

Prior to cutting out my fabric, I washed, dried, and pressed it accordingly. You will need to cut 3 circles of fabric each measuring 3″-4″ in diameter and 2 strips of fabric measuring about 9″ (I made my a little bit longer) long by 2.75″ wide. If you opt to use the interfacing, cut it slightly smaller (length and width) than one of your long strips. Cut two 2″ strips from the Velcro.

To begin, I used the mug and fabric pencil to trace out circles on my fabric. The center circle will be used as reinforcement only so it does not need to be a pretty piece. I then used my ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut out my strips.

PincushionTutMugCircles  PincushionTutFabricStrips

If you choose to use interfacing, which I recommend if you intend to use this often as it will add strength and durability to the cuff, now would be the time to iron it on to one of the wrong sides of one of the strips. Then pin the right sides of your strips together. Using the edge of your presser foot as the seam allowance, sew around all sides of the strips **EXCEPT** about a 1″ space on one of the long sides (this is very important as you will need to flip the whole cuff through this hole later). The Instructables tutorial actually gives a great tip at this point, “Tip: Sew the opening area closed first by back stitching, then lengthening your stitch and sewing about an inch, and then back stitch again where the opening ends. Then you can press the seam open in this area and remove the stitches. This will give you a nice crease to follow when stitching the opening closed.” I did utilize this technique for both the cuff and the cushion. It made hand sewing much easier later on. While you are still at the sewing machine, you may as well sew your cushion, too. Make sure when you pin it beforehand that the right sides of the fabric you want on the outside of your cushion are facing each other while the reinforcement circle is on the wrong side of the “bottom” fabric. All I can say about sewing the seam on a circle is take your time and don’t forget that 1″ opening!

PincushionTutFabricStrips2  PincushionTutSewstrips  PincushionTutSewCushion

When you’ve got your seams done, it’s time to iron! Take both pieces over to the ironing board and iron that seam space open where we left a spot for the flip. Trust me, it will help! You’ll probably notice that my edges look all nice and full of ridges. Alternately before pressing, you can using the pinking shears to trim around your seams (this will prevent fraying when you are attempting to force a bunch of fabric through that 1″ hole), which is what I did. Next is the fun part! If you followed the wide stitch technique as suggested, you need to use your seam ripper to pull out those stitches. Then (brace yourself) you need to flip both things right side out by stuffing all the fabric through that 1″ hole you in the sides. Once you have it flipped, use a chop stick, pencil, or other stick-like implement to pop out your corners. Still with me? Awesome! At this point, you need to hand sew (with a slip/ladder stitch) that little hole closed in the cuff. Before doing the same to the cushion, stuff with what appears to be far too much poly filler (you want a really poofy cushion so you don’t get poked with a pin!). After you’ve stitched both parts closed, you can opt to topstitch around the edges of your cuff which I also recommend for added strength.

PincushionTutIronSeams  PincushionTutStuffCushion  PincushionTutTopstitch

We are in the home stretch now! The next part is to sew the little ridges into your cushion by using floss or some kind of cord to divide the cushion first into quarters, then into eighths. If you can come back up through the top of the cushion after dividing that last portion, you should be able to pop the button right on the top of that end of the floss and dig into the center of the cushion to anchor it.

PincushionTutSewFloss   PincushionTutSewFloss2   PincushionTutButton

Almost there, I swear! Now you will attach the cushion to the cuff by hand sewing the bottom of the cushion into the top layer of the cuff. This does not have to be perfect as it will not be visible but ensure that you sew it down firmly. Once your cushion is not going anywhere, sew your Velcro on – one on the top side and one on the bottom side of your cuff.

PincushionTutAttachCushion   PincushionTutSewVelcro

Clip your ends, grab some pins, and pat yourself on the back! We just made a pincushion cuff!

PincushionTutComplete

It’s going to come in real handy if you’ve decided to join in on the NES block of the month quilt-along over in the forums. This thing is the perfect wrist armor for those darn pins!

PincushionTutOnWrist

Above I had mentioned some things that may or may not be lacking (pending your sewing experience level) in the original tutorial. I found a couple of great videos if you aren’t that comfortable with ladder/slip stitch (through this link) or if you’ve never had to topstitch anything (through this link).

Hope you had as much fun as I did today!

See you next Sunday and stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 

 


Snow Sculptures

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The east coast in the States is getting hit with a Blizzard this weekend.  In honor of all the snow they are seeing (a lot of the areas aren’t used to the snow) I figured I would give you a few tutorials on how to make snow sculptures.  You can’t just take snow and build something, there is actually a technique to it.

Geni-us from Instructables has a tutorial on how to make a sculpture with words.

The Fun Times Guide has a lot of great advice for making snow sculptures.  I didn’t realize to make it last you need to spray it with a garden hose to freeze it.

Finally, if you want to add some color to your sculptures you just mix food coloring with water in a spray bottle.  Who knew it was that easy?!

Share your snow sculptures in our forums.  We want to see them and may share them here!

-Toni


Kickstarter Feature: Dryad Pottery

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Craft Hacker member Dryad Tea is starting a new venture and needs your help!

I have seen the pottery that Rubiee creates in person and I am super excited that she is planning on expanding the pottery side of her business even further.  I especially like the Mugs with tags she creates like these:

 

But she also makes great trivets for your spoons or tea bags.

They both can be yours in her Kickstarter!  As of now she is already at 32% of her goal.  Take a look at all of the rewards and see if there is anything that interests you to help Rubiee reach her goal.

-Toni


Warm Up Your Bed!

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Hello Thursday readers.

I was talking with a friend this morning and I realized that she didn’t have a furnace in her house. She used a lot of other means of heating the place, and I was thinking about something like this as we were speaking.  So, I know that there is a Craft Hackers post on making DIY hand warmers. And this is going to be kind of similar except that it is a bed warmer/cooler. What I really like about this project is how useful it is both in the winter, when things get chilly, but also in the summer to keep us folk who don’t have air conditioning cool. The downside is that you do need to be aware of the safety precautions so that you don’t get burned (when it’s hot) and also with regards to how to heat these things. But those will be covered, don’t you worry. I have used photos and directions from Making Our Sustainable Life, and though they’re a little difficult to describe in text, I’m going to try.

The finished product!

This is one of those things where there are several different ways to do it and several different ingredients that you could use.  The most important thing is the fabric you choose. You need to have something that works well with heat and won’t get too hot. Flannelette is great, especially for warmers, but any cotton will work also. In my opinion, cotton would work better for a bed cooler since it is a little thinner, but they will both work. Keep your eye open in the remnants bin for fabrics of a decent size you can get on the super cheap.  Keep in mind that you can make these any size you like, though I’m going to show you a tutorial that will help you to make one that is sized for a bed rather than just to warm your feet or to hold like a water bottle.

You will want to start with about 2 metres (or yards) of your fabric of choice. I always recommend washing and drying your fabric before using it, as you will lose some length to shrinkage. The second thing that you should do is check to see if all this fabric will fit into your microwave. Remember, it will be filled, so you don’t want to make it so big that it will not be able to fit inside. If you’re finding it is a little too much, trim it down in whichever direction you’d like to get it to an appropriate size. The last step, which will make this process a whole lot easier is to iron your fabric before you work with it – though you can feel free to iron it folded in half rather than ironing the whole sheet.

This is what your corner should look like once it’s sewn and folded.

So, you will start by folding your fabric lengthwise (on the long edge) so that the right sides are together.  Next you will need to sew the two short seams on each end, leaving  one long edge open.  Once this is done, trim off any excess fabric, turn right side out and pop the corners so they look nice and square. I recommend you iron your seams down. They should look similar to that photo above.

The first seam, splitting your pad in two. You can use any stitch type you like.

 

Now, you will be making the pockets for your filling. You can make as many or as little as you would like, though I wouldn’t go less than 2 inches wide, otherwise your filling will be difficult to put in and it won’t have a lot of space to move around. If you are using a larger filling like beans or corn, then they should be no smaller than 3 inches. To do this, you can sew a seam across the middle of the fabric (sewing from the middle of one long edge to the middle of the other). That smaller section you can split in half by sewing another seam so that you have 3 seams dividing your fabric into four parts (see photo below). From here, you can continue the process of dividing the pockets with a seam until you reach your desired width.

 

 

These are your first 3 seams that evenly divide your pad. Next, you need to decide how many pockets you’d like.

Once you have all of your pockets sewn, you have the option to nicely finish that folded long edge. This isn’t necessary but it will make the end product look a lot more finished, it will match the other side and it will be much stronger. To do this, all you need to do is fold over the edge by about ½ an inch and stich it down. You can do a double fold if you would like, instead of a single fold. (see below for an example of what this sort of hem should look like.

Now, add your filling! There’s a variety of fillings you can use. Rice, beans or corn (not the popping kind or you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you microwave it the first time). This tutorial I’m using for reference had 30 pockets of about 2.5 inches in width and used 1/3 of a cup of rice in each. This may not sound like a lot, but you do not want each pocket to be stuffed. If your pockets are of a different size, I would recommend not filling them up past half way, as this will provide enough space for them to move without making your warmer too bumpy. If you’re wondering how to get the rice inside… you can use a funnel or make one using paper rolled up into a cone.

If you don’t have a funnel… improvise!

 

After you’ve filled your pockets with all that rice, you will need to finish the open side in the same way you finished the other side. Fold the edge over (twice, if that’s what you did on the other side), pin, and sew.  You’ll be moving a lot of fabric and rice around, so beware!

The pockets should only be about half full.

You are now finished!

Though that doesn’t mean that I am. There’s a few other things to note. One is that you can add things to the rice as you fill the pockets. You can add loose earl grey – or whatever nice smelling tea is your favorite- or lavender.  These will scent your bed when the pad is heated.

Remember, safety first! So when you heat your pad in the microwave, heat it in 30 second intervals, with the turntable turned off or taken out. You can place a shot glass of water in the microwave with your pad so it doesn’t get so dry and hot that things combust. There will also be a slight smell of whatever you used to stuff your warmer the first couple of times you use it. Don’t worry though, that rice smell will go away after the first few times you use it. If you’re going to put your bed warmer in the freezer, put it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t absorb any odors from food, and so it doesn’t stick to anything in there.

Lastly, please don’t sleep under or directly on top of the bed warmer. Like an electric blanket, it can still burn you. So please use caution. Either remove the warmer before you go to sleep or have something between the pad and your skin.

I know this post is a little long, but for those of you who have terrible heating or who don’t have air conditioning, this will be a lifesaver.

Stay warm!

~ Megan