DIY: Suncatcher Wind Chimes

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a really neat DIY project for you. I was looking around at DIY wind chimes, as I absolutely love them. I grew up with someone in my family who always had them, and though I can’t remember who it was, I am always transported back to that time. There’s quite a few different tutorials online for making your own wind chimes, and I might post another one next week. But I came across this:

… and I just fell in love with the idea of suncatcher wind chimes, and thanks to this tutorial from Hands On as We Grow, there’s an easy way to make them, and not just that, but to have it be a project that you can do with your kids. You will need some supplies to do this though: Contact paper (you will want transparent rather than a patterned one) that can be found at any craft store, and maybe even some kitchen stores, scissors, a marker or pen, rings (your choice of size) from mason jar lids, string or cord, and a sturdy stick. Outside of these materials, you will need to go in search of foliage to actually keep inside the suncatcher portion of these chimes.

Your first step (other than collecting flowers) is to cut a piece of contact paper and trace mason jar rings onto the paper side of the stuff. Do as many as you have the rings for. Then you’ll want to peel the adhesive off and – very carefully – lay it on the table with the sticky side up.

When you have your foliage where you would like it, peel the other contact paper, and try to stick it as smoothly as you can over your creation. Cut out the circles.

Tie a knot around the rings using the string, and then simply push the suncatcher circles into the ring. They might be the right size enough to fit, or you might have to tape them in place. Then just attach them to a stick to turn them into some beautiful windchimes to hang near your window.

Hope you enjoyed this easy and beautiful tutorial.

Happy Crafting,

~Megan

 


Small Kitchen? Maximize Your Space!

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Happy Monday, friends! First off, I apologize for my absence. Had a bit of a family emergency but everything is looking better now. So I’m back to provide you with some fun ways to organize your kitchen!

I’m going to brag for a moment. I have been blessed to live in a lovely, LARGE and affordable apartment in Chicago-land. There really is only one thing I don’t like about it and that is the size of the kitchen. I love to bake and am getting more into cooking as I age so the lack of counter space has been a real challenge for me. There is also fairly limited storage space. Because of this, I am always looking for ways I can make the most out of the least space.

One problem with my storage is that I LOVE coffee cups; the geekier, the better (which explains my absolute and total adoration of the lovely HandPainted Nerd whom I’ve featured on this very blog). But I find I am running out of room in my cabinet for all my pretties. Some of the mugs are larger than standard size too. So when I saw this wall mount, I thought, “What a gorgeous idea!” Not only would this clear up some cabinet space but it also creates some awesome decoration for my blank walls in the dining area and puts all my beautiful mugs on display.

I also don’t have a lot of under the sink space and this is where I keep both my garbage can and recycle bin (so my HeloKitteh can’t get into them). Right now, I have sponges, scrub brushes and extra rubber gloves along with bottles of cleaning solutions just sort of strewn about under there. However, with some adhesive hooks and plastic baskets attached to the insider of the cabinet drawers, all those sponges and gloves can be put in one, easy-to-reach spot and never get lost in the bowels of the under-sink. Using an adjustable curtain rod can give you a place to hang those bottles out of the way. Doing this allows me space to put my dish drainer under the sink when not in use and opens up a bit more counter space.

One other thing I struggle with is where to put my fruits and veggies. Sure, some of them go into the fridge but the majority don’t require refrigeration so they end up on my one already small counter top.

This is where the wonderful ModernMomLife comes to the rescue. This tutorial walks you though an easy and inexpensive way to get your produce up off the counter. And it looks great too!

But what about those fruits and veggies in the fridge? Some of our readers my have gorgeous new appliances with crisper drawers and the like. My fridge is older than God so it’s pretty much just wire racks. Solution? Office supply store! Plastic desk organizers can be re-purposed into your very own fridge separation and organization.

 

 

The other thing that takes up a lot of space in my kitchen are my baking and cooking supplies; namely the baking sheets, muffin tins, and pots & pans. Now, the pots and pans can nest and for the most part, don’t take up a lot of room. But those lids…there’s just no easy way to stack them. So I say, don’t even try! You can hang a magazine rack or even a metal towel rung onto the insides of your cabinet doors or a wall in the kitchen and just slide them onto it. For the cookie sheets and muffin tins, a simple wicker basket from Target will suffice and you can mount a floating shelf on a door (if you have high ceilings like me) to store it out of the way.

              

There are always very simple and easy solutions to maximizing your storage space. I hope today’s blog helped someone out there to really open up their kitchen.

Happy Organizing, people!


Finch and Cotter: Personalized Gifts

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Good Morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a small business feature for you, and this is one that I just used myself to buy a gift and I was so thrilled that I had to share it with you all. Especially given that everything can be done online and not only that, but this business was started by a husband and wife team that employ a small team of employees.  You can check out their website here to see their full range of products, but they specialize in custom printed pillows, prints and maps, and I can tell you that what they offer is all reasonably priced and of quite a high quality.

Their personalized pillows are amazing they make it easy to create something custom and meaningful to you or your gift recipient. You choose from a gallery of templates for a design that will best suit what you’re looking for and you can give them your own information to fill in, or to add into the design.

You can personalize places, names, coordinates, lyrics, almost anything you like that is meaningful to you. And this trend travels across their full range of products.

Personally, I bought a star map of the night’s sky. You can select a particular date, time and place to be immortalized on your wall and they will produce it for you, framed if you desire, in custom colours, with custom details – I ordered mine without a grid on the sky, but including constellations.

What is even better, is you don’t have to just rely on your information being taken and processed correctly. Finch and Cotter will send you a proof so that you can OK your design before they create your beautiful piece. I know it made me feel very secure in my ordering and I appreciate the personal touch – this really screams small business  in the best possible way. If you pay a little extra, they’ll even gift wrap your gift for you.

Please check these guys out. They are so great, and their product is so sentimental and amazing, I just love it.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan

 


DIY: Upcycled Paper Wreath

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

If you’re living in a condo where decorating might need to be kept to a minimum, or in an apartment, or really anywhere where you have a front door that is safely kept away from all the elements, this paper wreath might be just the thing for you! It’s beautiful, upcycled, and can be customized more than what is shown. The original post can be found here from A Piece of Rainbow.

You will need a few things: Some old books, about a cup of white craft glue, natural twine for hanging, and any embellishments you’d like to add. You’ll also need an old stock pot so that you can get a circular form without using a foam wreath form, and clamps or possibly clothespins would work, to hold things together while they dry. The original poster used outdoor faucet handles, but you can add anything to spruce this puppy up.

Cut some book pages out, and glue 2-3, end to end to make a longer piece. Make about 20-30 pieces.

Crumple each piece and dip in glue that has been diluted with an equal amount of water. Squeeze out the glue while twisting and rotating to make a paper vine, and then drape your vines over the outside of a stewpot laying on its side. You’ll want to cover the size with a garbage bag or a shopping bag to keep the glue from sticking to the pot.

When the vines are dry, take three pieces and glue them together to form a circle. Use your clamps to hold everything together until the glue dries.

After they’re dry, add three more and glue to the mid point of the first three pieces. This will give a base to start with and provide many openings to weave the vines.

When the base is dry and sturdy, weave the rest of the paper vines around and through the base in a circular way so that they look like they’re growing around each other. If you find anything feels loose, just add some glue to secure them down.

To make flowers from the book pages, just cut two connected petals, crumple in the centre. Do this a number of times as all you need to do is glue a few pairs of these petals together to make beautiful flowers. You can tie your flowers to the faucet handles, or just glue (if you’re not holding something heavy) or tie them to the wreath.

Keep in mind that here’s where you can decorate and use your imagination. you can add rhinestones, glitter, you can add painted details, or paint just the flowers to give them some pop. You can add antique jewelry findings, or old coins that you have laying around. With the book prints, old and antiqued accents look amazing.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and as always,

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 

 


Sewing with Scraps – Sandwich Wrap

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A bit of a step back in difficulty from last week, and yet this one is slightly more annoying to make (more on that in a bit, lol). So we go thru a lot of plastic baggies for conventions and I thought this pattern would be great to help reduce on that waste! Not to mention you can claim a fabric as ‘yours’ so no more need to write a name on bags either! 😀

These are plastic sandwich wraps from the ladies at Chica and Jo. Now, right off the bat, I’m gonna admit that I changed one main aspect about this pattern. While it walks you thru the steps very nicely for how to make fused plastic from extra plastic shopping bags…none of my attempts really ended up with something I liked. We also have been using reusable shopping bags here for years so I didn’t have much to work with. Instead I just bought some plastic from Joanns for like $3 a yard. Totally worth it.

Okay, so it’s hard to see since my plastic is clear, but want to cut a 14″x14″ square of the fabric and a 12″x12″ square of the plastic. With wrong side facing you for the fabric, lay the plastic on top; centering it to give a 1″ border all around. Now the next step is hard to explain and I couldn’t be bothered to take pics of it, but basically you have to do a double fold over all around the border and pin it in place. See the Chica and Jo site for great photos to walk you thru it. I personally used my iron to hold down the first 1/2″ fold to make my pinning life easier, but you do what works for you.

With all your pins in place, you simply sew around the boarder to attach these two. I recommend sewing as close to the fold as you feel comfortable to reduce the size of the hangover for your finished piece. Once that’s done you just need to add velcro; which is used to hold your wrap in place. You’ll need 2 pieces total: a 1″ long and a 2″ long piece. Now the only velcro I have is 2″ wide, so I just did two 1″x2″ pieces. You’ll be attaching them in the corners with 2 on the inside, and 2 on the outside.

Once they’re on, that’s it! You have a finished wrap! The plastic will make it very easy to clean up as you can just wipe off and dressing/condiments or even toss the whole piece in the wash for bad stains. I wouldn’t recommend putting it in the dryer (cause plastic), but just let it air dry by laying flat instead.

Overall I give this pattern 4/5 bobbins. It seems like it can work great, and I look forward to giving it a try at C2E2 this weekend, but until I do I can’t say as to how well it performs. I may come back and give it 5/5 if it amazing, lol.