Vino Tiki Torches

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Hey there Thursday readers.

Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means? DIY projects that encourage sitting outside and having parties! So I’ve found a tutorial for wine bottle tiki torches to make your decks and balconies glow.  You’ll need just a few materials: Your wine bottles – pretty, curvy ones if you can find them, crafting pebbles or marbles (look at your craft or dollar stores), Tiki fuel, tiki replacement wicks, and a brass coupling. This tutorial, which was taken from Armchair Sommelier recommends a  3/8″ x 1/4″ coupling, while another tutorial recommends a 1/2″ x 3/8″ coupling. I would measure your wick to see which width you need. These wicks you can find at any hardware store. You might need a little something to make the coupling fit tightly, if so, you may find yourself in need of teflon tape which you can also get at your hardware store. You may also want to purchase a copper cap in the same size as your coupling so you can cover your wick and keep it from drying out.

So this is a pretty simple tutorial for something that is so cool. So basically you need to fill the jars 1/3 to 1/2 way filled with pebbles. They may not all fit. You can decorate other things with them. Or drop them in the fish tank. Or… well. You can be creative with them. I imagine that other than using glass pebbles or marbles you could also use stones (you can get small ones from pet stores for fish tanks) that you by or find. Whatever will work for the look that you want.

The next part is the tricky part.  You need to use a brass coupling and fit it into the wine bottle. Before you do this, you need to do 2 things. First, if your coupling doesn’t fit snugly into the bottle, you can use the teflon tape to wrap the end of the coupling. Make sure you check how much you need as you’re not ready to just shove that piece in yet.

image courtesy of gerardotandco

When you have your coupling all set up, you’ll need to fill your bottle with outdoor lamp oil. Please please please use lamp oil that is designed for the outdoors. These lamps are designed for the outdoors. They are big flames. They CAN set things on fire.

Your last step is to insert the coupling into the mouth of the bottle, and then thread the torch wick through the hole. You will need to trim thoe wick to 1/4 of an inch or less. Following the manufacturers directions for this is extremely important for the safety of you and those you party with. You can also check out this other tutorial for how to make wine bottle Tiki torches that you can fasten to a wall.

After you let the wick soak for a bit, you can light it and party the night away.



Cosplay A to Z: How NOT to Pick Your Costume

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Before I jump into the Cosplay A to Z series here, I wanted to take a moment and address the things that you should not have to think about when picking a costume.

The internet is a scary place. The internet is a scarier place when you’re zooming through it in costume as everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on everything. Where you might not pick apart someone’s Facebook outfit, any costume posted tends to have a huge amount of scrutiny attached.

Some people will harp on construction, some on less savoury subjects. But the commentary will come. Having seen loads of it all over, I feel that I have to start this costuming series with a quick note.

When choosing your costume, you need to choose it for you and no one else.

You do NOT have to worry about how you look in it.
You do NOT have to only pick a character you look like.
You do NOT have to choose a different character because “everyone’s already done that.”
You do NOT have to look a certain way to “pull off” a character.
You do NOT have to be able to sew like a professional or make props like a master.

Having said that, if you choose to modify an outfit or pick a different character because of an insecurity, that’s ok too. I do it all the time. You don’t have to justify your decision to anyone else. This is about YOU having fun.


Artwork by Jason Ratliff.

Our regularly scheduled series will begin full force next week.

~ eliste

Basic Hand Stitching

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As someone who only just recently developed a tentative truce with my sewing machine, I often find myself still relying on hand sewing for all my general sewing needs. Old habits die hard and all that I’m sure, but sometimes you just have a fickle bit or you just don’t feel like carting around a big machine on the go. In either event, if you’ve been thinking about brushing up on your skills, or just learning how to hand sew in the first place, I have found a lovely illustrated guide just for you.

There is much, much more (I just took the top part to keep this post form scrolling for ages) that you can easily scroll/read at your leisure here on Lady Cels’ deviantart page. Don’t be dismissive of the title either and think it’s not for you. While it may have been written with a cosplayer in mind, cosplay is still just working with fabric and these techniques can still help your basic sewing skills.


Woven Paper Basket DIY

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I know, I know. Easter was yesterday, but I hadn’t found this really cute tutorial early last week so I’m sharing it now. 😛 Besides, who says baskets are only for Easter?

Using this template from craftsy, you too can not make easy adorable paper baskets for whatever occasion you need! Besides their template, you will also need:

  • Scissors
  • Craft Glue
  • Lightweight Cardstock
  • Washi tape, or other low tack tape

The low tack tape is important because it’s only a placeholder and not part of the final product.

It’s used to hold the strips you’ve woven in place while you work so that in the end it’s only one glue job. This means less starting and stopping as you wait for each row to dry, but if you don’t mind waiting and can’t find the tape, you can certainly close reach row as you weave it in. Something I like about using the tape though is it lets you adjust the tension of your rows at the end to give you piece and nice finished look (just in case your technique wasn’t so good at the start. ^_~ )

Happy weaving!


A Very Egg-cellent Day

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A very happy Easter to all those that celebrate!

I don’t know about you but at all of the Easter celebrations I’ve been to, there is some kind of egg hunt for the kids. In case you’re the one put in charge, here are some last minute ideas for alternatives to the traditional finding eggs in the lawn from She Knows:


If, however, you’d like to give the grown-ups a chance at the fun, I would also recommend the Egg Hunt Ideas for Adults list I found on International Business Times.

If you use beer instead, it could make for a hoppy good time!

If you use beer instead, it could make for a hoppy good time!

In any case, enjoy your day and I will be back next Sunday with a report from St. Louis Comic Con!

Stay crafty!




Ways to Sell Your Goods – Part 4

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One of the biggest questions I have been asked by Craft Hacker members is, “Where do I sell on line?”  Over the summer I created a comprehensive list of places to sell hand made goods on line and want to share it with you.  The month of March will feature my reviews.  They will be ordered from lowest score to the highest scoring Marketplaces.  The places I will be reviewing include:

March 5: Etsy, Ebay, Amazon

March 12: Zibbet, Aftcra, Square

March 19: Shopify, Big Commerce, ArtFire

Today: Storenvy, Big Cartel

If you would like to research your own sites, Artsy Shark has over 250 places to sell your crafts.  

Scoring: All scores are subjective. You may not agree with my personal ratings.  Rating is based on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the best.

C = Cost, S = Space, Cu = Customization, Cs = Customer Service M = Marketing Ability

Storenvy 8.2 Overall C – 9,  S – 9,  Cu – 9,  Cs – 5, M – 9

Storenvy is a series of online stores run by independent store owners. Stores are fully customizable, with a feature-rich store admin panel, and completely FREE to list products.  The platform allows the everyday person to sell their goods online without any programming knowledge.


  • Has the ability to cookie cutter the look like Etsy but with customizable abilities
  • Ability to put the store in maintenance mode (vacation mode on etsy)
  • Option to be a part of the Marketplace, or do everything on your own
  • Ability to make additional pages (bio, store policy, sizing guide, etc)


  • Product Tags can lead shoppers to other sites away from you
  • Bio page is separate from actual store
  • If you choose the marketplace option you must set up an account with Stripe instead of Paypal.
  • Customer support is by email or tweet M-F 9am-6pm pst


There are no monthly fees

  • Marketplace – 10% of the selling price
  • Custom Store – Absolutely Free


Big Cartel 8.2 Overall C – 8,  S – 9,  Cu – 10,  Cs – 7, M – 7

Build a free online store, sell in-person, and run a creative business with Big Cartel. Big Cartel helps makers, designers, musicians, and other artists build a unique online store and run a creative business


  • Fully customizable storefront
  • Ability to link with Facebook so people can buy items right from your facebook page
  • Ease of use with dashboard navigation and product listing
  • Product options available (color, style, size, etc)
  • Maintenance mode available (vacation mode)
  • Ability to sell downloads (pdfs or patterns)


  • If you don’t know html code, customizing could get overwhelming
  • No advertising for you
  • No search bar – customers can’t leave your store, but they can’t find you either


Pricing is grouped by how many items you offer for sale

  • Up to 5 products – Free
  • Up to 25 products – $9.99 monthly
  • Up to 100 products – $19.99 monthly
  • Up to 300 products – $29.99 monthly

These reviews are done from the perspective of an artisan and not selling manufactured products.  I hope they help you decide where to sell your crafts if you make the decision to sell on line.


David Lee Pancake

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We are home from C2E2 where I ran into David Lee Pancake.  We have featured his amazing dragons and tutorials before so was very excited to see 2 new products he is offering, pickled pixies and monster boxes.

Pickled Pixies are miniature versions of his sculptures on a microscopic level.  They come with a leather pendant strap so can be worn as a necklace, bracelet, or hung as a focal point from light fixtures, windows, or anything you can think of!

Monster Boxes are these cool new take on jewelry (or anything else you want protected) boxes.  The menacing creatures will scare away anyone that wants your treasure!

Seeing these creations in person really took my breath away.  I kept wanting to play with the boxes and open and close them and have them eat things.  The detail is amazing.  Follow him on Facebook to see if he is coming to a convention near you.  Or if you can’t wait to see them in person you can buy his art on his website.



Hatch some Eggs!

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Hello Thursday readers!

Today I bring you a fun, easy and beautiful tutorial from Personal Creations for how to make some Easter decorations for your table, to hang around the house, or to even put surprises inside. You won’t need too much to do this project: coloured embroidery thread (or thin yarn or string), some small water balloons, white craft glue, water, tweezers, a pin/scissors and some string to dry the project.  If you put all this together, what do you get? Egg decorations. You can find the full tutorial here.

These cool little eggs can be done in whatever colour you would like, and I would say that you can even do a dusting of glitter if they’re going to be table centerpieces. They’re super easy and look lovely afterwards. First, you’ll need to make a mixture that’s equal parts white glue and water which you’ll need to mix thoroughly.  Next, you’ll need to blow up your balloons to your desired size. Just make sure they’re inflated enough to stretch the rubber so you get some nice smooth looking eggs.

Next, You’ll need 6-12 inches of embroidery thread, to start, and you’ll need to soak these lengths in the glue mixture. Basically, you will use these strings to wrap around the balloons. You can wrap them in whatever fashion you’d like, though I tend to prefer how they look when they are wrapped from all different angles rather than going just vertically or horizontally.

When your balloons are wrapped, you’ll have to hang them to dry. You can tie the balloons tails to a string or you can use a clip to hold them in place. Please give them lots of time to dry 24-48 hours.

When your balloons are dry, take your sharp object and pop the balloon and pull it out from your net of stiff embroidery thread with tweezers. If you haven’t put glitter on them already and you’d like to, now would be the time to use a spray adhesive and glitter. Or a spray glitter if you can find it.

If you are really nimble, you can even put little chocolates or surprises inside the balloons before you blow them up so that there will be treats inside these easy little wonders.

Image courtesy of Instructables

Happy crafting!


Double Trouble? No, Double Treble.

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There are few things cuter than minis, and handmade minis have a place in my heart because working that small is difficult and impressive. However Double Treble Trinkets make it happen like an art form.

My first thought was “how cute for Easter” when I saw this family of lambs, but then I realised just what geniuses Double Treble are as I fell headfirst into their catalog.

Working in small form is a skill that I’ve always been impressed with ever since I watched my grandfather put together a replica doll house. The work to make something small still have enough detail to be recognisable and still look crisp and clean.

Double Treble makes adorable minis, but the best thing is that they are willing to share how they get their tiny little animals to come to life. Through their Ravelry shop and their on their Facebook page, you can view tutorials and purchase patterns for how to make your own little button sized family.

Double Treble Trinkets can be found on Facebook, their Ravelry Shop, and their website.

~ eliste

Origami X-Wing DIY

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Origami is one of those crafts that I am in awe of and like to dabble in ocassionally ever since I was in elementary school. With the Star Wars franchise coming into the forefront thanks to episode VII, there has been all sorts of fun new designs coming out of the woodworks and one such designer has been kind enough to share their instructions!


The video easily walks you through the process very slowly (so have a good 16 mins to spare before attempting) and he rates the difficulty for this awesome X-Wing at about 50%. So maybe not the first one you should try, but certainly worth a shot if you have some experience under your belt. If videos aren’t your thing he’s also made a step by step guide here on instructable that you can scroll/read thru instead. Make sure to bring bandages if you’re prone to paper cuts though!