DIY Bath Salts (Part One)

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It’s been a long, hard day and all you want to do is soak in a hot bath, maybe with a book or some soothing music. Adding aromatherapy to this scenario will take your relaxing bath to a whole new level. Some people use incense or Scentsy wax. But there is a little something that anyone can whip up quite quickly that will make that bath not only soothing but also beneficial to your health as well. Add a little bath salt.

There are a bunch of different recipes that you can use to make a simple, scented bath salt. I’m including the one that I use more frequently. This recipe is simple and all the ingredients are easy to obtain. Most items can be found at a grocery store and things like the essential oils can be found at stores like The Vitamin Shoppe. Be aware that essential oils need to be understood and used with care. I did a lot of research about how to use essential oils safely and the chemistry involving how these oils interact with your body.

There are many types of salts that can be used in bath salt recipes but Epsom salts are usually the easiest to find. Next week, you can read about the different types of both salts and carrier oils that can be used in the making of bath salts. A carrier oil is a seed or vegetable oil used to dilute the essential oils before they are applied to skin. If you try to put straight essential oil into your bath water, you’ll notice that your skin will start to burn and irritate. This is because oil and water do not mix so the essential oils tend to float on top of the water. Then you get into the bath and the oils are attracted to the lipids in your body, causing irritation (usually made worse by the heat of the water). You should never add essential oils directly to the bath water, always make sure you are diluting them with either a carrier oil, salt or both.

The recipe I use most uses both a carrier oil and salt. I like this recipe because Epsom salts are not only easy to find but it also helps sooth sore and achy muscles. This is especially nice after a hard workout or if you’ve taken a fall. You will need the following items:

  • 1 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup Baking Soda
  • 2 tbsp carrier oil of your choice
  • Essential oils (whichever scents you want)
  • A large bowl
  • A small bowl
  • A whisk
  • A rimmed baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Mason jars

To begin, combine one cup of the Epsom salt, one cup of the kosher salt, and a half cup of the baking soda into the large bowl and mix together.

Once you have those things mixed well, place off to the side and in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of your carrier oil. For the batch I made today, I used sweet almond oil. Be aware that if you plan to make a gift of these, check with the person about potential allergies! You don’t want to give someone who is allergic to almonds a bath salt that is made with almond oil.

Next, add 20 drops of your essential oil to the carrier oil. You can mix different scents if you like. I used eucalyptus, lavender, and spearmint for a relaxing and head-clearing bath salt. Stir the essential oils into the carrier oil. At this point, if you want to add a color to your salts, you can do so by adding a drop or two of food coloring to the carrier oil and mixing it in. You do not have to do this. Take your large bowl with your mixed salts and add the now mixed carrier & essential oils. Mix thoroughly with the whisk. (Make sure the dishes you are using for this either get cleaned really well or use dishes that are not used for food items).

Once the carrier oil is thoroughly mixed into the salts, spread some aluminum foil onto the baking sheet and then spread the salts out onto the foil. Let sit for about 15 minutes. This allows the salts and the oils to dry out a bit and bond together. Then you can carefully pull up the corners of the foil and use this to pour your salts into your Mason jars for storage. I like to use Ball Mason jars because they have measurements on the side. 1 cup of the finished salts equals one bath.

     

I hope you enjoy this recipe and there are a number of other recipes and tips to try from the internet as well. One can be found here along with a number of other fun DIY items (the focus of the webpage is for brides but some of the items can be for every day use also).

~Scribe Sarah~

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Pockets Full of Needles

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Happy Sunday, all!

We are still in needle protection mode this week! This time, however, I want to take a look at some knitting implements. I am not yet a knitter – I can crochet and someday aspire to learn to knit but I have friends that are all into the knits. I’ve learned that there are not only the different sizes of needles (like the hooks in crochet) but also different types like circular needles and double ended needles (those are really just skewers, right?). Some knitting needles, depending on the material they are made from, can be crazy expensive so they need appropriate protection. When I first began looking for good examples of needle organizers, I was thinking those similar to the crochet hook cases. Something like this from Finger Pricking Good (isn’t that the best name? I love it!) in the UK:

 

Simple, little pockets for the needles that rolls up and ties with a ribbon. But, as I found, not all needles are created equal. Apparently most people don’t want to get poked by their double ended needles or have them fall out of the case. So most double needles require some sort of flap to stop them from doing so, as See Jane Sew demonstrates with her beautiful Tardis needle organizer:

I’m sure it’s bigger on the inside, too.

But then the quandary of how to handle circular needles (needles connected by little bits of plastic) comes into play. They may have very long connectors and need to be close to one another in the pouch. The long ones would ruin the connector, so what’s a crafter to do? Find a better organizer. I have found a couple of really neat ones for circular needles, the first of which is this cool accordion style one from Atelier de Soyun in South Korea:

 

It gives plenty of room to each set and prevents tangles! The other is this really innovative circular design for circular needles from Luna Stitch:

 

Again, plenty of space and individual attention to each set while keeping those pesky connectors from tangling. So you may be saying to yourself at this point, these are all really cute in their own way but isn’t there a more condensed version where I could take some of each type of needle with me? Why yes, there is! Many of the crafters have created multi-purpose needle cases for those that aren’t certain on what they may need. This gorgeous skull one from Knit One Bead Two is just the ticket:

 

Pockets, pockets everywhere! I hope you can find the right kind of pockets to suite your tastes and keep those needles safe. I’ll be back next week with something for my fellow crocheters.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Meet the Hackers: Con Bravo

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Today is the start of Con Bravo in Hamilton, Ontario and Megan and I will be there!

We can be found in the artist alley at booth O08.  Swing by to see the amazing corsets, quilts, pillows, dice bags and of course patterns!  I have a new quilt kit that will be debuting at Con Bravo.

This is a special quilt kit that can be done completely by hand!  You can purchase the kit for $30.  If you would like some hands on teaching, there are still spots available at GenCon!  

See you this weekend at Con Bravo!


DIY: Birdseed Wedding Favours

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

Wedding season is coming up and if you’re getting married, and haven’t taken care of your favours yet, not to worry! Here’s a DIY from Intimate Weddings that is simple, easy and super sweet.

All you’ll need is 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup water, an envelope of unflavoured gelatin (2.5 teaspoons), 3 tbsp corn syrup, 4 cups of birdseed. You will also need some tools. A large mixing bowl, a heart shaped cookie cutter (or whatever shape you would like), nonstick spray, a chopstick or bamboo baking skewer (for hole poking), parchment paper, a cookie sheet and jute or raffia or whatever string/ribbon you’d like to use to hang your feeders (you can go rustic or match your colours). You’ll also need some card stock, a rubber stamp (with your message on it), ink, a rounded corner punch and a hole punch. Be aware, this will make approximately 20 two inch hearts.

 

Mix flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup. Add birdseed and mix well.

Lubricate the inside of the cookie cutter with your spray (or wipe it with oil), Place the cookie cutter on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and spoon the mixture inside of the cookie cutter and press the mixture firmly with greased fingers. Make sure it’s tightly packed, as the tighter it is, the less shedding you will have.

 

Use your skewer or chopstick to poke a hole near the top of the heart to thread your string through.

Carefully pull cookie cutter away from birdseed heart.  Repeat until all the mixture is used up.You should respray the cookie cutter after every six hearts, that way it won’t stick.

 

Let them dry for 6-8 hours or overnight. Cut 10-12 inches of jute/whatever you chose for each heart. String the jute through the heart and add your tag. You can use the rubber stamp (your choice), your card stock, and the rounded corner punch to create your tags. Tie the jute into a knot after you have added the tag. They’re ready to be hung from branches at the wedding or you can put them on the table inside bags or boxes. It’s useful to note you should make these no more than a few days ahead of time, otherwise they may molder if they’re left for long periods of time.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan.


Tampa Bay Comic Con

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Kim with Fantastical Menagerie here, on an average Wednesday. My mother and I are currently staying with family outside of Orlando, waiting for Tampa Bay ComicCon to start. We load in tomorrow, and the show runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week. I really love this show. Its pretty large, but everyone is friendly, setup is easy, and my customers in Florida are amazing and supportive.

If you are interesting in attending, they have a great guest list including Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Wallace Shawn, and a ton of voice actors. You can find me in the vending room, just behind the central Artist Alley, in Booth 540. Generally at shows I bring a variety of jewelry, accessories and small sculpture, and at this show I will be sculpting live and accepting commissions.


Miniature Jewelry

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It’s well  documented how much I love jewelry, even thouogh I hardly wear it. 😉 Well I’m back with another artist that makes awesome jewelry; this time of things in miniature.

Design by British artists Milla and Olya of AllimYalo, their jewelry is all hand made replicas of foods and plants in miniature. The detail that they’re able to achieve on such a small scale is just amazing. The fruit pieces show it off the best, imho, but it’s all fabulous work.

You’ll have some shipping time to wait for if you live outside of the UK, but everything is reasonably priced for the excellent craftsmenship that’s gone into it. If you’re looking for early holiday shopping, I recommend giving them a look. 🙂


DIY Dye Jobs – Clothing or material

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Hello again, fellow Hackers of Crafts. Scribe Sarah here with some helpful tips I came across whilst attempting to fix a portion of a Renaissance-y cosplay I wear yearly. You’ll be seeing more of me as I will be posting every Monday here on the Craft Hackers blog.

We’ve all been there. You search and search and search for just the right article of clothing or a specific shade of fabric. But alas, your efforts are for naught. You have either too specific an idea in your head that you can’t find that perfect item to match or you run short of time and money and must make do with what you can get. The latter happened to me last year for the Bristol Renaissance Festival. I had spent months putting together the perfect cosplay and it came down to one last item. All I needed was a pair of leggings. I had put this off to the last thinking that finding a pair of either olive or chocolate leggings would be the easiest thing in the world. Leggings are all the rage right now, right? Well, apparently, I was wrong and the best I could find on short notice was tan leggings. They worked.  But I got multiple comments about how it looked like I wasn’t wearing any pants (which is true).

A friend first suggested, then my sister seconded that I just dye the pair I had to a darker brown. I had put it off, thinking that I had a whole year to try and find a better pair. Guess what? Life happened. I got busy, I forgot about it, I got even busier…you all know how this goes. We all experience it. So here we are, a year later and I’m going to Ren Faire next weekend. I never found a better pair of leggings. So I thought, “I’ll try this dying thing…”

I have never dyed cloth before. I have watched other people do it but I was nervous. What if I messed it up and ruined my one pair of leggings? Then I really WOULD have to go pantless! So I thought that I would document my little DIY journey for others, just in case you find yourself needing to break out the RIT.

The first thing you need to do is look at the type of material you want/need to dye. My leggings were a bit more difficult because they are 85% polyester. Most regular dyes don’t work as well on blends or synthetic fabrics. I went to Joann Fabrics and diligently perused the dye selection. There were the regular RIT dyes and then a couple specifically designed for synthetics and blends. I opted for the one to the right because the color was closest to what I had envisioned.

 

Now, the first hiccup I came across with this process is make sure that you read the packaging BEFORE you purchase the product and get it all the way home and start your dying process. This particular dye required boiling. That’s right, I basically had to boil my pants in dye. It was a learning experience. However, it ended up being a fun process and not nearly as difficult as I first anticipated.

Tip number two: Read ALL the instructions before you start. I was a tiny bit anal-retentive due to fear I’d ruin my clothing so I read them three times before starting and then also constantly referred to them as I proceeded. But I cannot stress enough how much easier everything was knowing what steps I had to take and when. Follow the directions and you’ll do just fine.

Tip number three: make sure you have rubber gloves to wear during this process. I used kitchen dish gloves because they come up the arm further and protect more of your skin. I also highly recommend either having an old apron to wear as you work or make sure the clothes you have on are ones you don’t care about. As I stirred and shifted the leggings around in the pot, sometimes they would slip off the spoon and *plop* back into the hot water, making little splashes of chocolate brown water.

The dishes you chose to use should be ones that you are never going to use with food again. My old spaghetti pot will never be the same, sadly. But it was the only thing I had that was big enough for the leggings. The spoon wasn’t as big a deal but truly, make sure the tools you have at your disposal match your needs. This was my second hiccup, sort of in correlation with my first (had I paid attention to the fact this needed to be boiled, I would have gotten the other dye that you can use in warm water in a stainless steel sink).

During disposal of the dye (which is septic and safe to pour down the drain), either pour it down the stainless steel sink (or a utility sink, should you have one) or resign yourself to immediately scrubbing your tub with Ajax or a bleach cleaner. My third mistake; I thought, “oh, I’ll dump it down the tub drain so I won’t splash up on the kitchen counter!” Not my best idea ever. Half the tub looked like I hadn’t ever cleaned it. So I had to immediately take care of that before the permanent dye set in. In related news, Ajax really is a great cleaner! Not as good as Francis, but….

All in all, the process wasn’t hard or time-consuming, as long as you prepare fully beforehand. It is possible to have that perfect colored fabric or clothing item and it won’t cost you a fortune! Now that I’ve done it once, I feel like it would be fun to experiment with designs and maybe even mixing my own custom colors. Uh oh, I think I have a new hobby….Couldn’t you just DYE?


A Cozy Needle is a Happy Needle

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Happy Sunday, all!

Today we are ensuring that we continue to take excellent care of the tool that arguably works the hardest for anyone that does any kind of sewing. Last time we covered needle cases which are great for trips and transporting odd sized or duller needles. This time we are going to give our needles a bit more care and store them in soft felted cloth, more specifically in a needle book. Most needle books are fairly simplistic: take several squares of felt and sew them together in the middle to form a spine, then fold in half. Some crafters and artisans have taken this to a whole new level. This first one from Mouse Garden uses the traditional and adds their own flair:

Simple, pretty, and ready to carry your needles!

Using all felt makes it easy to add simple embroidery or other designs. Like this second rather whimsical one from Crafty Cat Lady UK:

I love it’s cute whiskers!

Many of us that mix our different sewing projects can also relate to this third one  from Angelic Emporium that may help to clear up some of our quilting scraps to make something useful for hand sewing components:

Plus a skull and roses needle book is super cool!

Finally, if you want to be super fancy, I suggest treating yourself to one of these beautiful vegan leather needle books from Naeh St Design:

All the way from Germany, no less!

Keep your needles happy and they will always treat you right! The felt pages of needle books not only serve to prevent accidental stabbings while rummaging around in a project bag but also help absorb leftover oil from your skin! Next week we will look at a different type of needle case.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Classes, classes, and more Classes!

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This past Tuesday I had an amazing time with the Youth Sewing class at the Family Centre.  We made some pretty cool hair ties (that also double as skinny neck ties).

I LOVE teaching classes.  It really energizes me and makes me love sewing even more (if you can believe that).  We have a really cool idea in store for the next two adult classes, so if you live in the London, Ontario area, keep an eye on my social media.

Speaking of classes, I still have some openings for the GenCon classes I am teaching.  They are selling out fast, so if you want to learn English Paper Piecing, sign up soon!

English Paper Piecing Quilt Technique

 

 

 

Description: Learn to English Paper Piece, or get help with an existing project you are working on. In this class we will start with the basic hexagon flower using scraps of colorful and character fabrics (like Dr Who or Comic Books).

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Thursday, August 17th/ 10:00am /SPA17103527
  2. Friday, August 18th/ 10:00am /SPA17103528
  3. Saturday, August 19th/ 9:00am /SPA17103529

Cost: $18

English Paper Piece a Catan Board Quilt

 

Description: Learn to English Paper Piece by creating a small version of the Catan board, 9″ wide to be exact. In this class we will start with the basic hexagon shape and add on triangles (for sand) around the edges.  Options for finishing your miniature quilt will be discussed.

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Friday, August 18th/ 7:00pm /SPA17103534
  2. Sunday, August 20th/ 12:00pm /SPA17103535

Cost: $34

Nicole’s Scarf classes are all sold out, but don’t despair!  If you bring generic tickets with you and someone doesn’t show up, you can have their spot!

Now to make all of those kits for the classes.


DIY Ring Bowls.

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Hey Thursday Readers!

Still being in the throws of wedding season, I thought another DIY gift would be in order. You can make something like this for a shower before the wedding so that the couple can use it on the day of their wedding, or it can be a gift for after that they can leave by the sink to put rings in while we wash dishes. This project was taken from Intimate Weddings, so feel free to check the full tutorial here.

For this beautiful and simple project, you’ll need:

  • 795 gram package of White Oven Bake Clay (which should be available at any local craft store.
  • Letter Stamps (also should be easy to find at a craft store)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Bamboo stock or chopstick for to use as an awl to poke holes.
  • Lid to cut out the shape (like a lid for a tub of ice cream)
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Parchment paper.
  • A smallish oven safe bowl (like Pyrex)
  • Spray sealant and paint for finishing if you would like it.
  • A fabric doily

Your first step is to form your dough into a ball and place it on the parchment or silicone liner. Roll your dough out with your rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Place your fabric doily where you would like it to appear (you can put it in the centre or off to the side and either way it would look fabulous). Roll your rolling pin over top of it to press the design into the clay.

Use your lid to establish how big your bowl will be and to use it as a centre point to choose where to put your letters. You can do initials, or names, you could even do a small poem if your letters are small.

When you’re ready to cut the shape, peel off your doily to reveal the beautiful imprint.

Use your lid to cut the clay and form your circle. Save any excess clay for future projects.

After you remove the clay and the lid, you’ll have a circle that’s ready to be moulded into a bowl.

Use your awl tools to poke two holes at the top of the plate if you’re thinking of giving this as a ring bearer bowl at a wedding. You can omit these if it’s to be used as a ring dish at the sink or elsewhere.

Next you need to form your birds (if you’re making birds) or any other accents that you would like. If you’re making something you’d like to have stand on the side of the dish, use an existing dish to form the clay underneath them so they will be easy to adhere to the bowl.

Place your soft clay plate into the bottom of your oven safe bowl. Remember, it should be big enough to create a bowl, but not so small that your bowl is a teacup.

Place oven-safe bowl (and birds) on a cookie sheet and put into the oven for approximately 30 minutes (use the baking directions on the package, please!). When it’s done, remove from oven and let cool inside bowl for 20 mins. When cool, turn bowl over. It should pop right out.

Sand down the edges of your bowl until they are nice and smooth, as well as your birds. A sandpaper sponge would be ideal for this as opposed to regular old sandpaper. Use a little superglue to adhere your birds to the dish.

And you’re done! Well. If you’re inclined to paint your project, now would be the time, or add accents in paint or gold leaf or anything fancy like that. If you’re adding extra touches at the end, or if you’re going to be having this dish be for ring removal when you’re washing, I would make sure to use a good spray sealant so that the paint is sealed on, and the water can’t get in.

and you’re done! A beautiful gift, that takes just a little creativity.

Happy crafting!

~Megan