Getting Your Sh*t Together

Posted on

I was introduced to the GYST web page on Wednesday by recent guest blogger Amalia Morusiewicz.  She told me all about Karen Atkinson and her goal to help artists of all kinds.  I took a look at her site and was blown away.

From her site:

GYST-Ink is an artist-run company providing resources, technology and solutions created by artists for artists. Our mission is to support arts professionals, educational institutions, and arts organizations with an integrated program of software, services and information in order to keep artists working. GYST–Ink is dedicated to empowering and educating artists so that they can develop sustainable and successful careers on their own terms. Artists Work Here.


The GYST site has a ton of resources for artists including Software and Publications.


Written expressly for visual artists, the dynamic GYST software is a highly efficient platform available for both Mac and PC  that houses all of the art business related paperwork and educational needs for artists.

Written by and for any and every visual artists, GYSTBasic and GYSTPro are database programs to help artists keep track of their artwork, business aspects, proposals, mailing lists, etc. They also include tons of information on every aspect of an artists’ career, including links and resources for additional perspectives on business aspects of the arts, and over 400 pages of vital information for artists.


karen2 karen3

This is exactly what I have been looking for!  I am personally making a transition to teaching and lecturing more and was looking for a place that would guide me through the process.  I plan on purchasing her books and trying out the software.  Once I read and try everything out, I will pass my reviews onto you.

The coolest part about GYST is their affiliate program.  Craft Hackers is now an official affiliate!  What does that mean?  It means if you decide to purchase any software or books and use our affiliate code you can save money!   Any money we would receive for the affiliate program is being donated back to the GYST Workshop Scholarship Program to support low income artists who can’t afford the workshop fee.  Save money and help others at the same time!

Software Affiliate Code: CPNCHGP

Manuals Affiliate Code: CPNCHBK

If you purchase either the manuals or try out the software, please let me know what you think.  I will include it in my review in a few weeks.  You may have also noticed the new page titled partnerships.  I will leave these codes there so you can always reference back to it.



Levitating Book Shelves

Posted on

Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

I thought I would bring you another quick DIY since the last one I presented took a little bit of time and effort. I want to bring you something that’s super cool. You might have seen them in some deep dark internet hole, but I bring you a tutorial for making floating book shelves (Or trinket shelves) that are made out of books.


The end look is really cool and is super useful if you don’t have a space where having bookshelves will really work (think basement apartments that aren’t that tall, for example) and they’re super easy to do. They just take a little bit of hardware and that’s it. I’ve used the tutorial from Instructables to guide you through but there’s many out there.

You’ll need a few tools and materials. First you’ll need to find a book to make into a shelf. A coffee table book or a book from a vintage store would look super neat, but pick one you won’t read again as this will make it unreadable. A thrift store is an excellent option for this, as well you can sometimes find old sets of encyclopedias that would make lovely shelves. You’ll need an L bracket that you can purchase from your local hardware store, small wood screws (flat top) and large wood screws, and you’ll also need a box cutter, pen, measuring aparatus (ruler or measuring tape), glue and a stack of books for weight.

Measure the mid point of the book (length wise) on the inside of the back pages of your book so that your bracket will sit with the book balanced on either side of it. Position your bracket at this centre point and trace it and the holes so that you have a reference point as once you’re ready, you will be cutting into the pages to make a little home for the bracket to live without bulking the book up.

You will also want to make sure that your book will be sitting flush against the wall so make sure there isn’t much space between the edge of the book and the bracket. Also, there’s a lot more photos that are included in the original tutorial so please make sure to check back for reference when needed.

Notice how the book is level and that the bracket is pretty close to the pages. This is good. And this means you’ve cut a little pocket just the right size for your bracket. But wait, there’s more…

…you have to cut a little notch in the spine so that the bracket can be pushed right up against the pages.

Next you will need to start screwing… er… Yes. You will need to screw down the book pages (using the flat ones) on either side of the bracket so they don’t move. You will need to apply pressure and please work on a work table and not your leg as this person is.  The writer of this tutorial recommended adding pressure to keep the pages from getting wavy from the screwing… and also (despite the photo that was taken) using a manual screwdriver worked better.

Next, glue (you can use whatever strong glue you have on hand) and then close the book and apply pressure. And by pressure, I mean, pile a whole bunch of other books on top while it dries overnight, pressure.

Your last step is to attach the bracket to the wall with the larger wood screws, and trying your very best to find a stud that you can screw the bracket into…. er… yes. And voila! Your shelf is complete and quite sturdy. You can use it to pile a few books on top and even display some nick knacks.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Happy crafting,



SpokenWord SpiderWeb 2.0

Posted on

I’m honored to meet you, the CraftHack community as a guest blogger. Any and all mistakes are all my own, and I own up to them.

Yes, I know-Craft Hacker, not CraftHack is what mere mortals call this page. Please don’t be mad that I have the audacity to be myself and get comfy, call you by a nickname and share my story.


one-needle-003 img_8309


My dream is to tell stories, to connect. I do this in fibers, in fables and words, with grace, hope and joy.

Weaving my stories, connecting unexpected. The fringe, the fray–these seemingly useless disconnected bits.  From the chaotic corner of my memory, hard edges of science, math melt into art that is engineering and problem solving–soon these fables and fabric find a secure doorframe and take hold.

click to read and hear the rest of Spiderweb 2.0

img_5064 img_7812

Be You and Be Awesome!


Hey Hey, I’m just a substitute blogger. Hope that I made you smile. There isn’t time in one post to get to know someone, but how did I do? Do I seem like a fun person that you’d like to get to know? My FUNfromAtoZ assistant says this is an opportunity to promote myself and where you can find me, but nope-I won’t. Okay, okay! In a secret way I did.

DIY Black Cat Pumpkins

Posted on

It’s Halloween season! 😀 Time for costumes and make up and fun decorations. I found a really neat looking simple one that I wanted to share since I’m biased and have my own black cat.

Designed by the folks over at Sunset, these adorable kitties are made with various pumpkins sizes, felt/card stock, and a cucumber. Here’s your list of supplies:

  • Knife or carving kit
  • Pumpkins
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Stiff felt or paper for ears
  • Newspaper
  • Curved cucumber or skinny gourd for tail
  • Mini pumpkins for paws
  • Black floral spray
  • Wood floral picks (5 or 6 per pumpkin; optional)
  • Mallet or hammer for attaching picks to base pumpkin (optional)
  • Tea-light candle in flat dish or jar lid
  • Clay polymer or poster putty

If you don’t want to use real pumpkins, you could easily change those out with foam ones that most craft stores carry, though the shapes they come in may not be as good.

Once you have your supplies, simply follow the step by step instructions to make your own lovely black cat decoration. Not me though. I’m just training my cat to sit and stay for a very long time….it’s…it’s not going so well. ;P


Amazingly Intricate Temari Balls

Posted on

I saw this story over the weekend and was just amazed by the art. These Temari Balls (a 7th century Japanese craft of embroidering thread around a ball to create geometric patterns) are all created by a 92year old woman, and they are simply stunning.

The images were shared by the woman’s granddaughter NanaAkua, which you can see more of on her filckr gallery. There are over 500 unique designs that she has created in this very tedious and time consuming medium. I’m in awe personally. Intricate embroidery on just cloth has always been a challenge, but a doable one. Working in the 3D space? That’s incredible and must involve lots of math and planning. No matter what, you can’t deny that the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

No Waste Quilting

Posted on

Keeping yesterday’s theme in mind, I wanted to show ways of quilting without getting any waste at all.  Why worry about what to do with those scraps when there are ways not to have any!

Kathryn Patterson from McCalls Quilting shows us how to make Flying Geese without waste.

Jenna from SewHappy Geek shows us how to make this great Granny Square block with no waste.


Finally, Quilting Hub shows us how to fussy cut without any waste.


I hope these tips help you quilt without any waste!  If you do have scraps, don’t forget you can turn them into a String Quilt.



String Quilts

Posted on

I have a LOT of scraps.  So many scraps I hate throwing them away and am considering selling them in bags.  I just hate to see all of that fabric go to waste! Something I have discovered lately is String Quilts.  Strings quilts are blocks made of strings of fabric that are often sewn to a permanent foundation such as muslin.


Angela Mitchell created this beautiful quilt using the traditional technique and describes it in her Craftsy article.

string3 also has a great step by step tutorial about how to make a String Quilt.


My favorite tutorial is the one by  Her tutorial uses a technique that without foundation piecing.  It is super simple and easy to follow!  Now to gather all of those strips of fabric.



Unique Little Book Purse, DIY Style!

Posted on

Good morning, Thursday Crafters!

Today I have a nice little tutorial for you that I thought was super cool. It is all about finding a great hardback book and turning it into a purse. How, you say? Well I’ll show you. This tutorial is from Instructables, and you can find the whole thing here, though there are many tutorials that float around online.

First you need to find a book that you like. There’s a few really good places to go to find unique, hardcover books. Thrift stores will be one of your best friends as well as antique and used book stores. A lot of them are pretty cheap too, so you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to get a super cool book to be the cover of your purse.

You will next need to remove the pages of your book. Use an exacto knife/box cutter to remove everything cleanly. If you selected a book with really cool images or you’d like to reuse your pages, there are several tutorials floating around (and maybe I’ll post another one next week) where you can use the pages as a crafting material. You will need to cut a piece of fabric of your choice in the same size as the book cover, fold the edges in 1/2 inch and iron the fold so it will stay.

Your next step (you can skip this if you’re planing on making a clutch) is to get your handles ready. At many fabric or craft stores you can buy purse handles separately. But keep in mind this isn’t your only choice. Keep your eye out in your closet for purses you don’t use anymore or you can even check out the second hand or vintage stores to see if there is anything you can easily take apart. Every set of handles is going to be different. You will basically need a way to attach your handles to your purse, so if you only have metal D rings or places for straps, you’ll need to get creative and buy/make your own (as seen above).

Glue your fabric strips to the book. You can use a glue gun, though I prefer stronger industrial adhesives (like E6000) for things like this.

You will also need to glue your fabric with the fold side down onto the cover, covering the handle straps.

Use a large piece (or a couple frankensteined small pieces, and tracet he cover of your book onto the paper, making sure to MARK both ends of the spine of the book on your paper.Measure the width of one side of the book, and draw a line that is that same length about 75 degrees from where you marked the beginning of the spine.  This angle controls how wide your purse will open.    The smaller the angle the wider your purse will open.

You will need a mirrored image on all the other sides, and you can do so by strategically cutting and folding at the centre lines so that you don’t need to keep finding angles. 🙂 When you’re finished, cut two pieces of lining fabric out of this stencil.

Next you will want to sew the angles that you made to the straight sides with the right sides facing each other. This will help to create a box-like shape for the inside of your purse.

Do the same with the second piece, and then when you’re finished, turn one of the pieces inside out (so you have a result like the photo above).

Put the right side out piece inside the wrong side out piece, and sew around the top edge.  You need leave a hole big enough for you to put hand though so that you can…

… turn it inside out! You will need to seal the hole you used to do this, so you can either slip stitch it by hand or do a neat little top stitch on your machine.

Sew some velcro into this section of the purse so you can close it (or you can improvise and glue a clasp or tie across the top of the book when it’s done… or both)

Your last step is to glue the inside pocket of your purse to your binding. And voila! You have just made a pretty cool book bag. Literally, a book that’s a bag. Love it.

Happy Crafting!


DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

Posted on

Hello to all and happy Wednesday!

This is Kim, of Fantastical Menagerie. I am your guest blogger for today. I specialize in sculpted art, utilizing polymer clay and mixed media. you can find my art on Facebook (, Etsy ( or at a variety of Conventions and Art Shows on the East Coast.

Autumn is my very favorite season. There’s something about the cooler temperatures, changing leaves and earlier sunsets that bring to mind thoughts of sweaters, apple cider, and hay rides. I thought I would share a tutorial with you that, to me, epitomizes the spirit of fall. Pumpkin earrings and a matching pendant.

Your supply list for this project is quite small:

  • Premo brand polymer clay in Green Pearl, Pearl, and Orange. You will need approx 1/4 of a package of each color.
  • Three eye pins
  • Earring Hooks (2), and a silver necklace chain.
  • Optional- Pearl Ex Powders in Apple Green and Copper

Tools: Straight blade, Needle Point, and Blunt End Pointer Tool. You can find these in any craft store, in the Sculpey Brand.


Step One: Lay out your clay, and knead each color until soft. Separate out 1/4 of each color to use. It should be one scored section. Roll three balls with the orange clay.


Step Two: slightly flatten the top of the pumpkins. Using the needle ended tool, make lines from the bottom to the top, approximately 6 lines to create sections on the pumpkins.


Step Three: Roll three small balls of green clay, approximately 4-5 mm. put each one, flattened slightly, onto each pumpkin. It should cover any scored line ends. Utilizing the blunt ended pointed tool, make a hole in the top of each green ball after its in place on the pumpkin. Roll out three more pieces of green clay and insert them in the holes for stems.

kim6 kim5

Step Four: Roll 12 small pea sized balls of green clay. Pinch one end, and then flatten into a teardrop shape. Make a line in each teardrop, and then use the needle to form the leaf veins on either side of the main line.


Step Five: Roll out 8-9 clay ‘vines.’ Each one can be approx 1-1.5 inches long. about 1.5-2 mm wide. Twist the vines, and attach to the top of each pumpkin. Add 2-3 vines per pumpkin.


Step Six: Add the leaves. They should go near the vine tops.


Step Seven: Using the pearl colored clay, make approx 12 small balls, smaller then the pea sized ones for the leaves. Flatten them into flat disks. Add them to the pumpkins, covering any exposed ends on the vines and the tops of the leaves. Place them in tri-circle patterns.


Step Eight: Using the blunt tipped pointer tool, poke a hole in the center of each new flower. You can then use a bit of orange clay, rolled, to fill the holes and make the flower centers, or a contrasting color if you have one.

Optional: Use the Pearl Ex Powders to accent and provide shine to the pumpkins.


Step Nine: Using a clay adhesive such as polybonder or Bake n Bond, put the eye pins in the pumpkins. Bake at 260 Degrees for an hour in your oven. Check the temperature and lower appropriately if using a toaster oven- the clay can burn! Once cooled, you can add your earring wires and/or your necklace chain!

These make great gifts, or add a touch of whimsy to your fall wardrobe. You can change up the colors, try glow in the dark, or even tie-dye style pumpkins. I hope this small project gets you in the mood for Fall!


Whittling Art in Spoons

Posted on

UK based artist Giles Newman creates the most wonderfully detailed wooden spoons with centuries old techniques.

Using primarily oak for his starting base, Mr. Newman uses an axe and knife to whittle such beauty and detail into every piece he designs. He gets his wood from sustainable tree branches and coats each finished piece with tung oil; a natural nut based and food safe oil. Meaning these works of art are functional as well as beautiful. Not sure I could bring myself to do it, but they’d certainly make a nice decorative piece in any home or kitchen. You can find them here at his etsy store should you wish to see more. 🙂