Hand Made, Personalized and Teachable: About Face

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Good morning Crafthackers!

This Thursday, I’ve got a really cool vendor to show you. He is a jeweler out of Fergus, Ontario, and he makes all kind of amazing hand wrought or cast things. This is About Face. I say things because not all of it is jewelry. And the best part is that he teaches classes!

I met Tony at the Craftadian craft fair, here in Hamilton, and I was amazed by his workmanship, and quite enjoyed listening to him explain the different methods he uses to make his pieces. He’s very well versed in many different ways to make all kinds of different pieces, and they can range from necklaces to rings, bracelets and brooches to reliquaries. If you’re not sure what a reliquary is, it is a piece of jewelry or sculpture, made to hold some of the remains of a loved one. They are beautiful and let me tell you, at least around here, they are hard to find.

He works in precious metals, golds, silvers, along with really almost any gem you like. and you can not only buy something from his fabulolously whimsy collection, or you can have him design and make something for you himself.

Best of all, and I say this about many hand made artisans who I feature here (I can’t help that I meet supremely talented people), is that the quality is amazing, and his detail work is spot on.

Probably my favourite thing that this artisan does, is that he teaches classes. Now that’s fabulous in and of itself, but let me tell you the best part. He holds classes for couples to design and make their wedding rings. I know. I just about fell over with how fantastic I thought that idea was.

 

So, now that you’re definitely hooked, take a look at his website, and you can follow him on Facebook as well as Instagram to see all the new and great stuff he’s putting out. Don’t hesitate to contact him with an idea for a special order. He’s creative and can design just what you’re craving.

 

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


Bellabagu: Silver and Pretty Things

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers.

I have a wonderful artisan to share with you. She is a jewelry designer from Mississauga, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from where I’m living. Her jewelry is all silver that she designs and puts together. She makes bracelets, earrings and necklaces, and I’ve seen them in person. They’re all classic in design, and yet very creative, all of them quite beautiful.

You can shop through her wares on her website, or you can visit her Facebook page to see what are the latest collections she’s cooking up.

I have a number of reasons why I love and was impressed by her designs. One of the big reasons is that she normally works with sterling silver. This might not seem important but I have so many friends who can’t wear any costume metals, just gold, silver or steel. And I love that you can get something like this as a gift for someone without worrying that their skin will fall off.

I also love that her designs have this beautiful combination of a timeless feel (like a string of pearls) but they certainly don’t feel old fashioned. The designs are creative and innovative while still having the ability to be worn as either statement pieces or as every day wear, depending on your style.

She also does custom work (see above photo), which, as you can see, turns out beautifully.

If you’re involved in all the social media, you can follow her on Twitter and on Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest that she’s putting out.

I hope that you enjoyed looking at the lovely sparklies. Don’t forget that Mother’s day is coming up, so if you’re local you can find something great for Mom, and there are lots of lovely ladies (myself included) who have birthdays they are celebrating in the summer, and ladies love a little bling.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


Sew Much Love.

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers.

I come with a lovely maker who I met at the Craftadian craft show here in Hamilton. Her name is Ally, and she is a sewer. She is the owner of Sew Much Love Studio and is the purveyor of lovely off the rack and custom makeup bags as well as brush storage bags.

After years of buying cheap makeup bags to hold things, and ones that you can’t wash, that it was wrong. I learned this when I  bought my expensive brushes and wanted to keep those costly little things safe, especially while travelling. I can’t count the times that I’ve caught brushes in zippers, squished them at the bottom of my  bag so that they look like an overused toothbrush or they just plain broke from being handled so roughly. Ladies, meet Sew Much Love Studio.

You can buy one of their ready made pieces, they’re all in varying sizes for your makeup needs, or you can have one made for you in the fabric that you enjoy, in the size that you need. Her prices are absolutely reasonable for some great quality sewing, and another fantastic part is that you can have a matching set. Or a contrasting set done in the same colour scheme. LADIES, WE CAN ACCESSORIZE! And remember convention goers, you don’t want any of your cosplay makeup anywhere but your body. These are handy to keep all that business contained!

If you’re in need of some protection for makeup that needs to be taken care of – I know that my nice stuff isn’t just going into some ratty old bag – take a gander at her Etsy shop to see what she has available, and remember to get in contact with her if you’re looking for something custom. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see the new things she’s putting out. These could be great sets for bridesmaids, for birthdays, for Christmas. I always support local and hand made items, and I think everyone else should too. This is how we get some of the coolest stuff made!

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


Hand Painted Jewelry

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Hey there Thursday Crafthackers!

I come to you today with a relatively new local (to GTA) designer who does one of a kind, hand painted jewelry. I met her at a local craft fair that featured lots of local, Canadian talent.It was lovely to see this small, local show filled with vendors of a very high caliber and selling a wide variety of things that were both unique, handmade, reclaimed, or a combination thereof. It’s here that I met Sue. She makes some of the most amazing hand painted jewelry, and every piece is unique since the combinations of colours and how the paints work together will be different each time.

She paints on a few different metals, but one of the main metals that she works with is copper, though she will also have some pieces out of titanium, Sue makes earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, and though they are not matched as a set, you can definitely match what is available to have a set.

I think what really caught my eye about her creations was not just that they were extremely reasonably priced, but that the colours were so vibrant. When you see these pieces in the light, especially out in the sunlight, the paint that she uses to create these lovely works of art really does come to life and becomes just radiant. She also coats the top with a resin  not only to preserve the paint but it somehow just makes these colours look so metallic and bright. I also don’t feel like I’m going to accidentally scratch some of it off in my day to day wear – I am not a graceful person at the best of times, and after a few wears, it’s still as good as new.

I highly recommend checking her out and seeing what she has on hand. You can find her shop here, as well as lots of photos on her Facebook page and Twitter.

I’ve worn my pieces from her multiple times already and had quite a few compliments, and I can’t wait to start seeing Sue at other shows through the year. Follow her page to see where she’ll be next!

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


Among the Pines

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers

This morning I have a small business feature for a lovely handcrafted business that features hand made soaps as well as wood products and what’s even better is that they work not just to make but to educate people about living a more sustainable life. Meet Among the Pines.

The wood products that are made are simple and rustic but elegantly made and useful.

Not only do they give a lovely selection of hand made products that can be bought and enjoyed yourself or given as lovely gifts like cheese boards, beer flights made from reclaimed wood or even ones like this that really can be gifted, and filled with beer for the loved recipient…

 

They also offer a wood butter which is what I was most impressed with.

It is a wood conditioner that you can use to preserve and make beautiful all of your wood kitchen utensils and cutting boards that is free of any petroleum products like mineral oil.

Their other offering was their soap. Also hand made and wonderful, and best of all they have one that is made from beer that smells amazing.  What’s lovely is that you can find these guys on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to follow not just their excellent products, but their philosophy as well.

~ Megan


Happy Happy Joy Joy & Polish Co.

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

I was at the Craftadian craft fair in Hamilton, Ontario, where local artisans get together to sell their wares and I had a great time and I met a whole bunch of new people. I will be doing a series on the artisans that I met there who made some amazing hand made things. On that note, I would like to introduce Joy & Polish Co. who is a handmade nail polish company. That’s right. Hand made nail polish.

Check out our Spring Collection, available at Craftadian Spring Market this Saturday and on Etsy. Looks like someone figured out iMovie.

Posted by Joy & Polish Company on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

When I met this company at the show, it was an unassuming little table with a really simple set up, and what caught my eye was my feminine inclination for pretty, sparkly cosmetics.

These nail polishes are free of the “big 5”, which, if you’re not aware, are: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor. Formaldehyde is what is used to preserve bodies, so, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that anywhere near my live body.

The colours are fantastic, as you can see, and they wear well. I did 3 coats on my own nails (yes, I bought some), and even without a topcoat or bottom coat, lasted for 3 days without chipping. And I work with my hands.

These guys sell on Etsy, and you can check out all their stuff here, on Facebook too. Their prices are not more than what you’d find in a drugstore and they do shipping (and pickup if you’re in the area).

Hope you enjoyed this post, and check them out. Their colours are just phenomenal!!!

~ Megan


DIY: Wine Bottle Chandelier

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!
I have for you a super cool tutorial that is relatively easy but still will take some time and some tools. The end result is super cool, and there are a number of different ways that you can do something like this.

There’s a number of different styles, and a number of different complexities in doing the electrical wiring for this. I thought this one was super cool. To do this you will need wine bottles – these ones were clear and then painted for colour, but you can absolutely do regular wine bottles if you like the green/brown hues.  If you’re liking the look of this (the original can be found here at Mod Podge Rocks Blog), and others like this tutorial, you might need this previous post on how to cut bottles safely. Make sure you follow the steps to sand down the edges, and if you would like to take any labels off, now would be the time.

This tutorial uses Mod Podge sheer colours, but there are methods to make the colours yourself with just one jar of Mod Podge (see if you can find a sheer one) and food colouring. You can find my tutorial for the ratios and the how to on the colour here (including how to set it). Use whichever you have the time and comfort level for. You’ll need the basics of the world of crafting, so craft paper/wax paper or a non stick craft mat, a craft knife, and you will also need the pendant light hardware kits which you should be able to find easily at any hardware store, or at an online retailer like Amazon.

Whether  you make your own colours or buy pre tinted Mod Podge, your first step is to get the inside of your bottles covered. You can do this by adding a generous amount of glue/colour to the inside of the bottle and swirling it around inside until it is covered. Try to get as far up the neck as possible so you get consistent colour all the way up. Do this to each bottle. Whether you use the same, themed or different colours is up to you. If you’re making your own colours, remember that you can change your one batch of colour just by adding other colours of food colouring to change the tints. You’ll either need to follow the directions in the previously mentioned tutorial for baking the wine bottles, or you will need to let them dry overnight (sitting on the mouth of the bottle to get maxiumum air flow) After they’re dry, if you want to add any stencils or glitter, now is the time.

The original poster used a light fixture like this. They didn’t use the switch on the cord, and cut the cord before that point since they manually are wiring everything together.

The wiring was cut about 2 feet from the bulb socket base, but you can do them longer or shorter based on the needs of your space. If there is a switch on your fixture, you can cut below it if you aren’t using it. Above if you would like to keep it.

Run the cut end of the cord up through the neck of the bottle so that the bulb socket fits nicely in the taper.

Expose the ends of each of the wires using your wire cutters to peel away the plastic coating (there will be 12 wires, hot and a neutral for each lamp or 18 if the kit is wired for a ground). This tutorial used a room that already had a simple ceiling fixture on a wall switch. This made it easy to take down and I just used the existing junction box and cover plate from the old light to mount my wine bottle chandelier. With the wall switch OFF (throw the service breaker for extra safety) take down the old ceiling light and find the white (neutral), black (hot), and green (ground) wires. Pull them down out of the box and make sure you have enough room to go back with the new wire bundle you’re going to create.

Next, combine all the neutral wires from the lamp kits together into one pigtail. Do the same for the hot and the ground if present. Use some electrical tape to help hold them all together while you get ready to connect them to the junction box. Using an appropriately sized wire nut, connect the white pigtail of the lamp kit to the white (neutral) wire from the ceiling. DO the same with the Black (hot) and ground (green, if present). Carefully push the wires up into the junction box and allow the weight of the lamps to be carried by the bundled lamp cords over the junction box support bar.

Slide the fixture cover you used from the old light up into place to cover everything.

You should be able to flip your switches and bring light! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and remember to work safely with any electricity!

Happy crafting.

~Megan


DIY: Egg Carton Spring Wreaths

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I have for you a project, this morning, that you can do with kids, though it does take a few weeks of planning to save the egg cartons you will need. Though, if you have friends nearby, ask them to save theirs for you and you should have a collection in about a week or two. You can find the full tutorial here at Homemade Serenity. I think this is a super cool idea to do, especially with kids, really anything to get kids working with their hands for something to show off on the front door. My mother used a white garbage bag wreath I made for many years when I was young and it was always one of my favourite things to see when I came up to her house in the winter.

Step one: Making your flower shapes.

Once you have a plethora of egg cartons at your disposal, you and your team of super duper crafters will need to cut out the cups and cut them into varying shapes of petals. Curved, spiky, small petals, big petals. Whatever you can think of! You can save the in between pieces for the centre of the flowers, and you can make leaves out of the flat parts of your cartons. The one piece that you will need to have, that you cannot get from an egg carton is a base for your wreath. You can use an old box, you can buy cardboard or you can just use a clean pizza box lid. All you need to do is cut a ring the size that you would like your wreath and have enough little egg cups and leaves to cover it.

Your next step is to paint these beauties. You can use any kind of paint you like, like bright tempura paints, or if you’re making your own egg carton wreath without little humans running around, you might want to get a little more detailed with the colour. Whoever is doing the painting, let it be fun and cheerful. This is a spring wreath, after all. Paint your base as well so that if there are any spots that are a little less filled, then no one will notice. If you’re working with kids (as that blogger did), you can go in after the main colours are painted to add details or secondary colours. It’s all about how much extra you’d like to do to your happy little wreath.

When your flowers are dry, using a hot glue gun (watch out for little fingers), you can choose where and how to place each flower. They might be a little stiff from painting, but you can manhandle them a little to loosen them up and get them looking how you’d like. Remember you can double them up for a layered effect, glue in the little centres that you made, and to fill in any gaps with leaves. If you want to get really creative you can add pieces of ribbon, you can add glitter glue to edges, you can add buttons to centres… you can really add anything that you’d like. Something like this needs to be super fun and playful. If you would like, you can also spray it with a sealant to keep it for the following year or make a new tradition of making a spring wreath every year! (Like pumpkins!)

When everything is dry and set, you’re ready to hang. Just make sure to hang this cheerful wreath out of the elements, so if you have a covered porch it would be fine, otherwise inside would be best as it is, after all, something that would droop and possibly disintegrate with enough water exposure. I think the finished project is so cute and cheerful that even though it’s just painted egg cartons, it would brighten up any room.

 

Hope you enjoyed the DIY!

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


DIY with Scrapbook Paper

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Hello Thursday Readers,

One thing I never got into but always sort of wished had the time for was scrapbooking. I love all the pretty things that you can do with it and the papers, the lush papers are amazing and there are some pretty easy DIY projects that you can do for your home or for a gift that would look just amazing. This is a very quick one, and doesn’t require a lot of time or skill to do, just the materials. I am actually going to combine two DIY ideas from a lovely person I have featured here before called the Nomadic Decorator.

For this DIY you’ll just need an adhesive like Mod Podge (though she actually recommends Aleene’s Tacky Glue instead, because it is less wet and will help the paper stay flat. She also recommends trying a spray adhesive). You will need pieces of amazing 12×12 scrap paper – and the heavier weights and thicker papers are recommended.You will also need some 12×12 wooden panels, which you might find at your local craft stores. at a local hardware store, or  you can order them online at places like this. Though this DIY is very simple, your materials and technique are what will really make it pop on your wall.

All you need to do is paint the sides of your exposed wood, and then brush a layer of glue onto the panel. Place the scrapbook paper on the glue and then use a ruler, a credit card or really anything with a sharp, flat edge to start from the centre and work your way outwards to press out the bubbles that may have formed under your craft paper. You can seal it if you’d like, and you can seal it very well with an outdoor sealant if you’d like to decorate an outdoor (but not too exposed to the elements) place. And that’s it! You can make as many as you want to cover however big a space you’d like. I love that these are so easy and that you can do this to suit your style.

There’s an extra step that you can do if you’d like to dress it up and make these a little bit more lush.You can use this other tutorial to stencil your scrapbook hangings to bring a little metalic or whatever other color you’d like onto your scrapbook hangings. This new tutorial shows you how to make one bigger hanging but I love the idea of using a stencil on a couple of these smaller ones as part of a whole to give a little extra pop. I especially love the metallic.

You’ll need a few extra tools – a stencil brush and stencil, paint and a bowl (with a paper towel) for blotting so you don’t goop all over the stencil. If you need help with stenciling, there are plenty of ideas here. Basically, I would recommend applying some beautiful stencils (that you can order online or find at a craft store) after everything is dry, but before you seal your work. I would also recommend doing a couple pieces as an eyecatcher rather than doing each individual square, unless you’re planning on following the tutorial to create one big one.

I hope you enjoyed this simple but really lovely and lush marriage of these two tutorials. I love, love, love simple tutorials that look so much more involved than they are for a really impressive result.

Enjoy, and happy crafting!

~ Megan


Tinted Decorative Glass

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Hey there Thursday readers!

Well, where we’ve just had Pi day, and it is indeed March, it’s snowy here, where I live, and it doesn’t look like the snow is going to stop anytime soon. Does that mean we shouldn’t be looking at spring focused DIY? Not at all! What better way than to do a craft that can be used for flowers and decor or for lining window ledges to get a smattering of colour. I am bringing for you a super easy tutorial for making tinted glass. Now, usually you see this kind of thing done in the form of beach glass, where glass jars are done in an aqua colour. This one is a little different because the tints used are really nice and vintage – like antique medicine bottles. I have used the tutorial from Fancy that Design House, and of course there many tutorials floating around, but as I said, I loved the colours that were chosen for these jars, and I love how easy it is.

I love the look of these and they’re so easy and can be used as really beautiful accents to any rustic decor, or to sit on windowsills to tint the light coming in. I also love that you can just save your old pasta, jam, mason or any jars you fancy to use for this, so it can be done on the cheap.

You will need some supplies, but they are minimal and you might just have them laying around the house. If you don’t, Mod Podge (or a similar craft adhesive) can be bought at almost any  craft store, and then the others you can pick up at any grocery store. Just make sure that outside of the jars, mod podge and food colouring that you also supply yourself with mixing bowls, some newspaper to cover your work area and to line a baking sheet (rather than using rather expensive parchment paper), a baking sheet, paper towels, and a stir stick or spoon. You’ll also be heat blasting them in an oven, so, you’ll need access to one of those too.

 

Your first step is to mix Mod Podge, water and food colouring in a small mixing bowl. For just one jar, you’ll need about 1 tbsp of mod podge with about 1/2 tbsp of water, so depending on how many jars you will be doing, you’ll need to bulk up your recipe as necessary. In this bowl you’ll also want to mix your food colouring. Depending on the colours that you’re wanting to do, you can start with a more green colour, and add drops of food colouring as you go to give you variations in your colouring so that you don’t have to make separate batches of the goo to have different colours. Just add a drop of whichever colour moves you after each one. Though the goo might look gross, rest assured when it dries it will be a glorious antiqued browish colour.

You will also need to prep a baking sheet by lining it with newspaper. You’re now ready to pour the gross looking goo mixture into your jar and rotate it around so that the inside gets completely covered. Be ready with a paper towel when you get to the mouth of the jar, to catch any dribbles as you reach the edge, and make sure that all the glass is covered or you’ll have a bald spot.

Put your covered jar upside down on the covered baking sheet and repeat the steps above if you’re doing more jars. Remember to change up your colour mix a little! You want to let your jars sit upside down for about an hour so that any extra goo can run down the sides and exit. This will also help prevent streaks.

In the meantime, prepare another baking sheet by lining it with wax paper ( though I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use parchment if it’s on hand, or even foil). When your waiting period is up, turn your jars right side up and put them on the newly prepared sheet. You might have leftover goo puddles, but that’s okay, just bundle them up and throw away the newspaper. Put your tray with the jars right side up in a warm oven (225 degrees F) for about 45 minutes. If you check after 45 minutes and notice streaks, leave them in a little longer. When your time is up and you don’t have streaks, remove from the oven and give them plenty of time to cool.

There’s just a few things to remember. Some streaks will be inevitable, especially the darker you go. These jars aren’t great for water, as Mod Podge is water soluble. So if you insist on putting things in there that require water – you could try putting a coat of water resistant sealant, but there’s no guarantee. Rather than fresh flowers, try getting some silk foliage, or dried flowers in the fall. My mother uses delicate branches from bushes in her garden and they look fabulous.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan