Knowing Your Worth.

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers.

I do a great many things with my time, and realistically work a variety of very part time jobs so that I can be social while making my own business work from home. Just yesterday I had a conversation with someone very close to me that inspired me to write a post about it, since I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who has ever had to have this type of conversation. I was talking about some private tutoring I was doing and about how much I was charging.  I told them the amount I decided to charge (since some of my costs were cut down from being able to do this from home), but I also told them the amount I should be charging for my time.

The reaction to this number was that I should not think so much of my skills to overshadow what people are willing to pay. Basically a “don’t be too big for your britches” scenario. I had to sit for a moment and think – was I really charging too much? Was the average price that I was quoting far more than anyone would realistically pay for my time? There’s a lot of ways to look at this, but perspective aside, it’s a strange thing for someone to tell you that your skills are not worth what you think they are. But the real question is this: Is that person right?

In my case, I had done a whole lot of research to come up with the price that I did, comparing education, types of degrees, methods of teaching, subjects taught and experience teaching within the field. All of this had pointed to my pricing being right, and this is what I explained to them. After I had a chance to mull over this conversation it got me to thinking that I suspect there are a lot of makers who get the same kind of feedback about their pricing or their time. And I suspect, like me, it is from people that we care about and are close to.

So, how do you find balanced pricing and how do you know how much your time is actually worth? Well. There aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules for this as if you have tried to sell your hand made item, it is a balance between what you are worth and what people are willing to spend. That being said, you can’t just throw a price that looks good on your work and your time and call it a day. One of the best things you can do is research your competition, both machine made and hand made. What are other people charging for something similar to what you’re doing? Are there differences in yours that will influence how much time you put into them? Are there things that you do that makes your product better or stronger?

When you have a good idea of what’s out there, you can reasonably look at what you’re doing and see if you’re charging what you should be. As I mentioned above, though, it’s not just what you produce that you need to think about, it’s your history and your quality. It’s your experience and your expertise. If you have a decade of crochet under your belt and you’ve been making and selling baby blankets at $50 dollars each, you are probably underselling both yourself and your product, charging barely enough to cover materials.  Where it may not be feasible to charge for every hour you put into your work -I know, it’s sometimes a hard balance between price resistance and fair pricing, you absolutely should be charging for your labour.

When you run into this problem, and you will at some point, know your market and know what ‘s out there already. Know how much time you put into your products and know what your experience means to your project. You shouldn’t have to justify the cost of your time so much as just explain why your time is as valuable as it is. Being confident in yourself and your value is one of the hardest things to do but is also an extremely important one. You will often find, as people learn about hand made and the specifics of the crafts they’re interested in, that there are many people out there who will pay market value or even a little bit extra for expertise, high quality craftmanship and for your hard work.

I think in the hand made market, many of us don’t charge what we should. It took me a long time to wrap my head around my time being valuable and charging for it. Those who I’m close to don’t always agree with what I charge, but ultimately, if they don’t understand the time and the skill that it takes to do what you’re doing, then they won’t understand why you’re charging what you are. So whether it’s a friend, a parent or a customer who makes a comment about your pricing, you should know why your prices are where they are. Though you are an artist, that does not mean that you will work for exposure or that your work is just something that you enjoy doing, and so shouldn’t charge for. Not only will this give you confidence in dealing with naysayers, but it will just help to make you more self assured about your work. After all, you’re a highly skilled individual, why shouldn’t you be paid a decent wage for your time like everyone else?

 

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY Awesome Framed shelves.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a lovely tutorial today brought to you by Shanty 2 Chic  that transforms frames into fabulous little shelves where you can display anything from books to collectables. You can find the whole tutorial here, but I’ll give you the basic rundown with some photos from both this website and others to give you some inspiration.

Beautiful white painted frame shelves.

Your first task is to assemble what you need to make this business happen! First you will need your frames. You can decorate old ones you have lying around, buy cheap ones at a garage sale or second hand store to dress up, or buy new ones that you can dress up or leave bare, whatever you prefer! And of course the number you make is up to you. With your frames, you’ll need to remove the glass, the backing and any hardware that is attached to the frame itself.

Your next step is to measure your frames – measure the inside of the frame and cut the wood (1 inch by 4 inch cut to your measurements). You can use scrap boards, as long as you have the means to cut it, and it doesn’t really matter the type of wood. If you don’t have the means to cut it, many hardware stores that sell unfinished wood will help you with this. Make two cuts for each side (as pictured above). Keep in mind that you do not need to have the boards set inside the lip where the glass used to sit. Just keep it a little bit bigger than that edge so that you have a little room for error and a little breathing room so we don’t give ourselves anxiety attacks over worrying about millimeters.

Next you will need to build your square. This tutorial recommends first gluing all the sides together with Gorilla Glue or wood glue, and then nailing them together either with a nailgun or just a good old fashioned hammer.

You should end up with a frame like this (pictured above), that is smaller than your actual frame.

This poster uses the same process of first gluing the picture frame to the crafted frame and then using 1 1/4 inch brad nails, they nailed through the front of the frame to hold onto the back securely.

You have a couple small last steps before you can display your marvelous DIY for all the world to see. First you’ll need to get a little tube of hole filler (found at your local hardware store) to fill the little holes left by the nails. And after that is dry, it’s time to paint your frame! You can use a spray paint to do it all one colour, whether it’s metallic or neon pink or just a plain, sophisticated white, or you can crack out your artist’s palate and paint them all individually by hand in whatever artistic way you can imagine.

Your last step is to hang them on the wall. Just be sure to buy some picture hanging supplies so that you don’t do any undue damage to your walls, especially if you’re going to be putting anything heavy on your shelves. If you’re not going to be putting anything too heavy inside, you can use these types of picture hanging supplies (one on each side) to hold your frame up and these types of no hole hanging supplies can be found at hardware stores. If you’re going to be putting something heavier on your shelves, I fully recommend heavier hardware.

Taken from Porch – using larger, more ornate frames to create these. Check out second hand and vintage stores for these babies!

I hope that this was an inspiring little DIY. I think it’s a fantastic alternative to bookshelves or whole shelving units that looks a whole bunch more unique and amazing.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


D.I.Y Fabric Chandelier.

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers.

You know, when I first looked at this DIY, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The more I looked at it though, the more I started to like it and started to brainstorm how I might do it a little differently. This tutorial is from A Beautiful Mess and you can find the full tutorial here. Probably my favourite thing about this DIY is that it is apartment friendly! To those of you who don’t have the space to do anything big, the permission to tear down walls or make too many holes in them, or who just plain want to have some nice looking things without the time/space/money investment of buying and installing a super statement piece, this may be for you! I just love how simple the supplies are:

The cooling rack you might be able to find at a garage sale, but you can find them at any kitchen store. Your fabric, any fabric store, but rather than browsing the shelves, I would recommend searching through their bargain bins, and if you’re lucky enough to live near an “end of roll” fabric store or one that has this type of section, then you can get a lot of fabric for super cheap. Your twinkle lights you can find at any hardware store (and if you go after Christmas you might be able to find them on sale). Your lace, you should also check for in bargain bins, or even see if a relative has any lace curtains that they’re getting rid of. You’ll also need 2 hooks that can screw into a wall and a drill.

Your first step of work is to cut your strips of fabric in varying widths, ranging from half an inch to two inches. This will help give depth and make your chandelier more interesting. Next, you can create texture by loosely stitching through them with the embroidery thread and bunching them before tying a knot in the thread. Here’s a video to show you how ruching works with fabric so you can get an idea of how easy this actually is. It can be done by hand for loose gathers or machine for tight. For your ruched strands, spread them out evenly and make sure to leave enough thread so you can tie them to the rack.

Starting about 5 rows from the outer edge, fold the ends of each strip of fabric over the rod, and hand stitch each foldd flap to the strip (see the photo above to see what words have trouble saying). You should vary shades, textures and thicknesses, but on the inside rows you should use more thicker ones. They will need to cover your lights and add density to your chandelier. Tie a knot at the end of the row (you can just sew continually without having to tie off on every strip) and trim  your thread. Repeat this until the outer 5 rows on each side have been covered. You will want to use thinner strips and lacy fabrics on the outer row.  Add 3 or 4 strips of fabric along the middle rows, just at each end (again, please check out the photo. You will be making a box of fabric). You will end up with a big hole in the middle for the lights to hang and for some thin strips to be added.

. Use a thin strip and wrap it around the edge of your sheet to cover the exposed metal. Stitch together at each end to secure, and do the same on the other side. It’s just like wrapping coat hangers to give them a little more pop.

Carefully attach your twinkle lights. Start with the plug near the back left (or right) corner and tie it near the top with a thin strand of fabric or with white twist ties. Continue to tie up your lights in three or four places, but be sure to let them hang down so that you will get light through the whole chandelier. Just don’t let them hang down below the fabric.. Cut 3 strips of fabric measuring about 2.5″ in width and stitch them together at the end, and do this 3 more tiems. You will need 4 sets of 3 pieces stitched together. I would start by making them double the length that you will need for hanging, as you will be braiding them and it is easier to trim fabric than it is to add. If you want to skip these steps entirely, you can just use sections of chain that you can buy at any hardware and even fabric store.

Pull one strand through the corner, and then braid the three strands together. This will support one corner. You’ll need to repeat this step for all 4 corners. If you have the patience to do the fabric  braiding, it will help hide the cords for the lights. You can attach your extension cord to the plug on the lights (which should be attached at one corner already), and braid it with the strand on that corner. Draw all 4 strands up so that they are equal in length and then tie them in a large knot.

Drill a pilot hole in your ceiling and hang a strong hook where you’d like to hang your chandelier – or you can use a hook you might already have. You may want to drill a second hook to hold your extension cord away from the light, and then you are ready to plug and have a statement chandelier! You can trim your fabric to be any height you like and you can do varying lengths if you prefer.

It looks pretty neat photographed in the daylight, but I think it would look so amazing at night. So to keep in mind, you don’t need to use cream fabric, if cream isn’t your thing.  You can always mix and match different colours, just be aware of how thick or transparent the fabric is. Black and red would look amazing, but you would need to make sure that your blacks are a little more transparent so that it doesn’t just block out all the light.  If you don’t mind seeing the twinkle lights, you could use lace, chiffon and other semi-transparent fabrics. If you’re feeling super arts and crafty, you can add rhinestones, or crystals, and if you’re a fan of things being rainbow, consider using multicoloured lights with cream. I hope that you enjoyed this simple and yet impressive tutorial.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


DIY Doorknobs.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!
I found something that’s a super cool, super cheap way to do an update to your kitchen cabinets, closets and wherever else might use a knob. I bring you, from The Painted Hive, a fabulously easy and cheap doorknob tutorial (you can find the full one here, with a plethora of photos) that can look super cool when it’s done.

These are super easy and you don’t need many tools or supplies. You will need some plain timber knobs that you can find at any hardware store (in whatever size would work for you), spray/craft paint, clear matte spray sealer, scissors, a paint brush, an adhesive (mod podge a similar craft glue will work just fine), and images, paper (as well as a printer and a connection to the internet will make this much easier), and paint to match the images you’ve chosen.

Notice how the colours of the knobs match the background colours of the images – this will help keep the illusion of seamlessness.

 

Your first step is to use your computer to create or find an image that you’d like to see on your knob and scale down to fit on the size that you’ve chosen. Print your images out onto regular copy paper, and colour match the background of your image with the paint you are using for your knob. Then, you can go ahead and paint the knob your colour, and be sure to let it dry.

Lightly spray your images with a clear matte sealer. This will give your images a protective coating and stiffen them slightly to keep the ink from running and the paper from bubbling and buckling when you’re gluing them.

 

Once they’re dry, cut the images out, cutting as closely as you can to the symbol using very sharp scissors or a craft knife.
Using your paint brush, apply a thin coat of adhesive to your knob, and while the glue is still wet, position your image in place. Press down firmly and smooth out any air bubbles, making sure that you keep your eye on the edges and that they are all nicely attached.

When you’re done, give your knobs a few sprays of the matte spray sealer. For extra protection finish off your project with a few coats of brushed-on clear acrylic poly too.  And you’re done!

You can do this with almost any image you can find, so be creative and find ones that speak to you.

Hope you guys enjoyed this, have fun, and as always…

Happy Crafting!

 

~Megan


Dr Who Rug DIY

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Hi there Thursday readers!

I found a super cool, super easy DIY that I had to share with you. It’s also done on the cheap, as most of what you need can be purchased readily and cheaply at any craft store. I love Our Nerd Home, and this tutorial comes from there. You can find the full one here.

That’s right. It’s a Dr. Who runner rug. All made from a beige rug (beige is key since that’s a huge colour in the Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf) from a hardware store. For this project you will need: Light coloured runner carpet, paint – you can look at the photo above for suggested colour types: yellow, blue, green, red, purple, and brown but you can use any you like that speak to you of Tom Baker’s Dr. Who (this tutorial used a mixture of types – acrylic craft paint and latex paint samples). You will need textile or fabric medium (this is a substance that you add to paint to use it to paint fabric), sponge brushes, painter’s tape, a tiny crochet hook, a few shades of yarn, a ruler, and superglue.

Your first step is to use painter’s tape and mark off stripes on the carpet. Use your ruler to make sure they’re even – measure at both sides and at the middle.

Next, before you start painting, you’ll want to mix your fabric paint with the textile medium so that it won’t chip and can even be washed.When you paint the actual carpet, you want to stipple the paint rather than brush the paint on (like tapping the sponge onto the fibers to really get the paint in there)

The stripes will have to be done in a couple different stages, since many painted stripes are right next to each other. The first round of painting, it will be easiest to paint every other stripe. Pull off the tape, let it all dry for an hour or two, and then tape along the edge of the previously painted stripe so that you can paint the one next to it without it looking icky.

You can let it dry and stop there. Or if you feel the need for fringe, then you’ll need wool in colours that match your stripes. You can cut them as long as you want your tassels to be (but double it in length as you’ll be folding it in the middle). Then, just stick a small crochet hook right through the rubber backing on the runner to do a basic fringe (which is basically a slipknot). A little dab of superglue on each little fringe will keep it in place.

And that, my friends, is one of the coolest rugs ever.

Enjoy!

~ Megan


Finding Your Muse Again.

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Hello Thursday readers!

As the holidays have now finished up and we’re all starting to get back to normal life, have you found that you might feel like you’ve lost some inspiration? That you are running on empty from the cons, shows and sales that may have fueled your small making business through the summer? You aren’t alone. Whether you’re working full time for yourself or you’re working for someone else while you explore your artistic endeavours either through crafting or through a part time business, the time after the holidays can be a hard place to find your inspiration again when all you want to do is sleep and recover and possibly just hibernate for a couple more months under a blanket.

Courtesy of Deposit Photos

I find myself struggling with this every year, between the lower energy of the wintery, sunless months and the come down from the chaos of holiday work and commissions, I know that all I want to do is play video games till spring. Is it healthy? Probably not, and so we have to find ways to get the creative juices running again and getting back into the healthy habits we adopt during convention season. What’s the first step I recommend? Give yourself some time to breathe. With everything being so hectic, how can you feel ready to dive back into your art before taking a little time to actually leave the holiday rush behind? Take a  week or two if you can, to do things for yourself and to let yourself relax without obligation.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Next, it’s finding that motivation to start working again, and being consistent about it. For me, I need to ease myself back into things. If I start going full throttle ahead, I burn out pretty quickly after giving so much of my time and energy to others. My personal recommendation is to set small, achievable goals that get bigger each day you work or with each project you do. Meeting these goals will help you to feel that sense of accomplishment that helps to drive and build your internal motivation. Without that internal motivation, you won’t find that you are enjoying what you’re creating and  your quality won’t be as high.

 

I think my last big hurdle at this time of year, comes when I realize I don’t have any conventions that are coming up until the late spring or summer, depending on your schedule and how often you sell.  It can be hard to build stock for something that seems so far away, especially if you don’t have commissions to keep you busy. For this, I recommend something that might sound counter intuitive, but here it goes. If you’re able, do something you enjoy while you work. I listen to audio books, podcasts, I watch tv shows and movies. I might not work quite as hard and fast as I do without these things, but it keeps me in my work room getting things done, and I don’t feel like I’m locked away, working for nothing. As soon as I feel like that, my work quality goes downhill and my motivation is shot.

I hope that these tips were helpful and I hope that it helps to know that you’re not alone in feeling like this, and that the solution isn’t necessarily to just suck it up and get back to it (though that might work for some people). These are some of the things that work for me and I hope that they work for you too.

Happy Crafting!

~Megan


DIY Pallet Swing Chair

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I saw this, Saturday readers, and I thought I needed to share it with you.

This is super cool and the materials are super cheap. The full tutorial can be found here, on Instructables. You just need a few tools and a ploace to hang it and you’re all set to relax. You’ll need some tools: A drill, mask and gloves, a saw and a lighter. You will need some materials: Paracord (you should be able to find this at any hardware store), a pallet (you may be able to do it with one, but it depends on the usable wood) and possibly some sandpaper and wood sealant.

Pallet wood is hardwood and can be found if not for free, for very cheap. Pallets are what shipments are brought into stores on. This is treated wood, so you will need to wear a mask and gloves at all times, and when you are finished cutting and drilling, it’s very important that you seal your wood. You can use other ropes, but this tutorial recommends paracord because it’s small, strong and doesn’t tend to stretch. You can also keep it from unravelling or fraying by using fire to melt the ends of the cords.

Your first step is to take apart your pallet. The trick is to get the wood apart without breaking it (prying it can cause a lot of breakage but can be done). A sawzall (pictured above) can be used to cut the pieces apart through the nails. You can pop the rest of the nail out of the wood after you’re done.

Before you cut your wood, you’ll need to decide how wide to cut your wood for your chair. This tutorial was done with 20 inch long boards, but you can opt for bigger or smaller. Bigger would allow for more sizes of bottoms to fit in it. But it’s up to you. 16 boards at 20 inches long were used for this particular project. Make sure if you’re swing yourself that you keep your eyes open for any nails you didn’t get out of the wood. If you don’t have a table saw, and don’t want to do it manually ( and I wouldn’t blame you) go talk to a local hardware store and you can see if they have a service of having someone use their tools for your needs.

Next you will need to mark the holes for your cord to go through. This tutorial put laces 1/2″ from the edge of the board and then 2″ apart. You can choose whatever dimensions suit your project and your tastes so long as the holes are far enough in from the edge of the board  so that it does not break once it has weight on it. Also, be aware that boards with laces that are spaced further apart will tend to pull away from each other more, which can create a gap that can pinch fingers, legs, and cheeks.


With everything marked, it’s time to drill. You can use a regular or table drill and just be sure to drill holes just slightly bigger than your cord. And as always… safety first! So be sure to be taking proper precautions for whichever method you choose.

Please check out the instructable for more photos.

Now it is time to lace, like you would shoes, with your paracord. You can melt the ends with the lighter to make it easier.

When you reach the end, cut the paracord, making sure you leave enough slack to tie a strong knot at the end. You should be using one piece to tie two slats together, and you can measure your first piece to use as a template for the rest. I would make them a little longer so you have a little room for error, in case you need it. Make sure you are aware of which side of the board is up and which is down so that you can end up with all of the nice looking wood facing up, and it looks better to have all the knots sticking out the bottom. When you finish a lace, go back and pull the cords tight at each “X” so that there’s no slack.

Now all you have to do is hang the chair from whatever structure you have available.
I used some 2×4’s between the trees in the back yard (not the prettiest but it works). Just drill a couple of holes in each of the four corners you would like to hang the chair from and thread the paracord through them, though I would drill a hole in the second last slat where your legs would hang so that it will be more comfortable. You can even adjust the lounge factor – hanging these further apart will let you lay back, and closer together will be more upright. Two strands of paracords were used for this one, but for extra strength, you can braid together more.

Once you get the idea you can stain it, use different cord colours, build a structure... really whatever you like

Once you get the idea you can stain it, use different cord colours, build a structure… really whatever you like

Hope you enjoyed this little DIY. I thought it was so simple, and so cool. You need a little know how with tools, but I find that even if I don’t have it, someone I know does. Which works for me.

Happy crafting!

 


Self Employment, the Holidays, and Relaxation

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Hello Thursday Readers!

Like Beauty and the Beast, self employment and the holidays have a very complicated relationship. This is often a time of money making, but it is also a time of family. If you’re like me, then even when you have done a lot of what you need to, you still feel guilty taking time away from your work over the holidays. Add in lack of sleep, travelling, trying to find time and money to get all the gifts that you need to, sleeping in beds that aren’t your own, and the general blahs that can sometimes come by virtue of the lack of sunlight, or the holiday season in general, and you can have a pretty rough time without realizing.

Image from Dreamstime

So I wanted to take a post to remind all of you how important it is to make sure that you give yourself a break over the holidays. If you have orders, if you can get them done before hand, do. But, make sure to check with clients when they need things as you might find that some aren’t on a timeline and may be more understanding with the time restrictions during this time of year. Knowing that your client is flexible can take a huge load off, and keeping them in the loop about your schedule will help to keep you from feeling guilty about it. Remember, that even though you might not be able to take a full vacation, giving yourself a vacation from obligation for a couple days is super healthy and really needed around this time of year.

To that token… here are a couple DIY relaxation remedies that will help. Spirit Sister gives you three recipes for cosmetic pick me ups that will help relieve your winter stresses, all while doing it on the cheap. Check out her moisturizing avocado face mask and her sugar lip scrub to help relieve some of the physical symptoms of winter. Taking care of your body when the weather is out to get you is a good step to taking care of the self.

 

Also a must to check out is The Plant Strong Vegan who gives recipes for four steps to self love that are especially important at this time of year. Please check some of these out as there are some great recipes linked into her page and some good ideas for taking a load off after going through one of the most stressful (though fun) seasons.

Your crafting business is only as healthy as you are, both in mind and body. So be kind to yourself, and remember that you absolutely deserve some time to replenish your energy and gather yourself for the coming year.

Happy Crafting!

~Megan


Salt Dough Ornaments

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Hey there Thursday readers!

I come to you with a tutorial with an old recipe, one that can be used both for kids an adults and can be a super cheap alternative to dressing a tree with expensive ornaments. That’s right, make your own ornaments. These can be done with kids and they will look rustic and cute, or you can transform them with some glitter or metallic sharpies into some very chic designs. I’ve taken the tutorial from Wholefully (please click to find some more detailed photos), but there are many recipes floating around, and you can ask your mother, she might have one too. You will need some simple tools that you’ll find in the kitchen – like a rolling pin and parchment paper, as well as baking sheets – but you’ll also need some holiday shaped cookie cutters (or if you just want to cut your designs or cut circles using a cup, you can) as well as either painting or drawing materials.

To prepare, you’ll basically be making a rolled cookie dough which is made with 4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water. To make your dough, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl and then slowly pour the warm water into the mix and stir as you go. Keep stirring until all the water is gone, and when that happens you should have a very stiff dough which you will need to knead with your hands for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable, almost like a pizza dough but stiffer. Keep in mind these will make white ornaments. If you would like to have coloured ornaments, you can separate your dough and add food colouring to small portions. It’s up to you.

Next, take a piece of your dough and sandwich it between two pieces of parchment paper. Make sure the paper is large enough and roll your dough until it is 1/8th of an inch thick. You will want to make sure they stay on the thin side as if the ornaments are too thick, they will break more easily due to air pockets in the dough.

Remove the top sheet of parchment and use your cookie cutters to cut shapes into your dough. When you’re finished, keep the pieces on the parchment, and just peel the edges away. You will want to make sure to take a straw to make a hole in your ornaments before you bake them so that you can hang them. If you want to put texture on your ornaments, you can do it here – pierce it with a fork, put fingerprints, use rubber stamps – be creative!

Transfer the whole sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree oven for about an hour. You will know they are done as they will harden. They will be a bit overdone if they turn brown, but you will be decorating them so it’s not something that can’t be hidden.

Once they’re cooled, you’re ready to decorate. You can spray a coat of white paint as a base, or you can start decorating them right on the dough.You can use acrylic, tempra, puffy paint, you can use glitter, glitter glue or metalic sharpie markers. You can really decorate them however you’d like, and after you’re done, you just need a sealant (like mod podge) to make sure that they’ll keep – you can do either matte or glossy finish, whatever you prefer. Slide in a ribbon and hang!

Filigree hand done with sharpies from Our Lake Life

Filigree hand done with sharpies from Our Lake Life

There are so many different options that you can do, and here are a few images to inspire you!

From Shelterness, dough that was decorated with plain old blue pen and acrylic spray paint

From Shelterness, dough that was decorated with plain old blue pen and acrylic spray paint.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


Giving Zen

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Hi there Thursday readers,

During the holiday rush of trying to find the perfect gift or just trying to get a little shopping done without being stampeded by crowds while trying to replace your worn out winter boots, everyone can use a little extra zen. So here’s a couple lovely, and easy gifts that you can make either for your home or to give as a gift to someone special who needs a little extra relaxation. This is from Gardenista (you can find the full DIY here)

To make this fabulous and innovative take on the mindful garden, you will need a Calocehalus or Silver Plant , a European or “false” cypress or Port Orford Cedar, and Club Moss. You should be able to find these at garden stores. You can use other plants, succulents or air plants if you won’t be able to water them. It’s all about how much upkeep you’re going to want to do, and this example is just a template.

You will also need a shallow vessel like a pie plate or something similar in depth but a different shape. Take a look at kitchen stores and I’m sure that you can find a serving vessel that would work in interesting shapes.  You will need some beach stones (you can collect them or you can buy them – sometimes in specific colours at pet/dollar/garden stores), and you will also require some potting soil.

Next you will need to create a base. Place the potting soil in the area that you’d like to have the plants, and rocks in the remainder.

A couple things to note, if you’re planting a mini cypress tree, it will need upkeep like a bonzai tree and so it will need to be trimmed and taken care of. It will also need to be anchored in place by another plant (the moss is used here). Also remember that this is a zen garden that requires a little sunlight for these plants, so make sure there’s a little light available to help them out.

You can add a second layer of rocks of different shapes, if you have them. Instead of raking sand in this garden, you will be moving the stones and changing the scene in this way.

 

You can choose whatever other accents you might like to add, like branches or flowers (fake if you prefer not to change them out) and play around with the rocks to find pleasing ways to arrange them. And you’re done!

If you would prefer to make a simpler Zen garden, here is a tutorial for a sand garden where you can use succulents or air plants or even fake plants to achieve your goal, and you can find the tutorial from Dwell Beautiful here.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan