Simply Charming

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Happy Sunday, all!

We are back from MAGfest and I find myself with a rather nasty bit of con crud but we definitely had a great time! As promised, I scouted out some new and amazing creators, this first of which I realized I’d already met before. Apparently when I purchased adorable Calcifer cameo and Kodama in a bottle necklaces from Stephanie of Charming Little Fox at Anime Central last year, I didn’t post about it. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!? I know! What is wrong with me??? So here we are giving her absolutely cute cutey cute creations a spotlight. Did I say Calcifer cameo? I did:

Lookit this widdle mean and scawy fiwe demon…

She makes all of these crazy tiny beauties by hand with clay so each one tends to be somewhat unique (which I love) so mine actually has a pretty teal background. The main pendants that truly captured my attention the first time around, though, were her terrarium necklaces like Totoro here:

This one looks so confused, too, like how did I get in here?

My little Kodama is just as tiny and detailed plus it glows in the dark! It’s these bitty details that really set her apart. Just think about the amount of time it takes to make things like these teeny sushi rolls or this koi pond:

 

Super duper cute, right? She also does do some slightly larger but no less detailed pendants like this lovely octo I would just love to put in my own rotation:

All the tentacles to hold you!

I would highly encourage you to take a look through her Facebook or Instagram for more examples of stunning clay artwork and once she comes back from a brief hiatus, you can purchase a piece on her Etsy shop. Next week I have some new leather wares to take offer.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Let’s Get Organized

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Happy Sunday, all!

This week we are at MAGFest, one of my absolute favorite geeky festivals so expect some posts in the coming weeks about any new vendors/cool stuff I’ve found! For today, though, I thought we’d delve into one of those favorite new year’s resolution topics: organization. New year, new you and all that, right? Each of these four DIY projects do involve some wood, power tools, and probably a rather large work space so if you live in an apartment or condo (like me!), plan on sweet talking someone with at least two of those three (preferably the tools and space).

First up is what seems to be the easiest, quickest, and one I am contemplating making for myself: a storage ottoman from Mon Makes Things.

There are so many different ways this can be adapted to your needs!

We’ve really wanted some sort of storage ottoman for our game room and I think with a few tweaks, this could really be great in there! Next up requires a jigsaw! I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my slight obsession with power tools before but once we finally move into a true house, I plan to stock the garage/workshop with one of everything. Back to the second organizational DIY: a pullout baking sheet drawer from Two Feet First.

I need one of these yesterday!

With as much baking as I do and the amount of baking sheets I have, this would be just wonderful in my cabinets. Third up is for yet another different area of the house, the bathroom. I’m really quite in love with the idea of this one as I’ve wanted a full length mirror somewhere in our condo and haven’t quite been able to make it happen yet. The storage space behind it in this mirror storage case by Shanty 2 Chic is really a bonus:

Who doesn’t love more storage?

Finally, I have saved maybe not the *best* for last but certainly one of the most overlooked areas of our place – the laundry room. This mobile laundry station from Hoosier Homemade is just plain awesome:

Much better than the three sad looking baskets we have stacked inside each other at the moment.

I like the idea of being able to use the top as either more storage for your laundry detergents or as a folding space. So there you have it, let’s start the year off right by getting a little more organized.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Ringing in the New Year

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Happy Sunday and happy New Year’s Eve, all!

Holy cow, this year went fast! I can’t say that it has all been bad or especially good but I can say that I have definitely learned some new crafty skills and even enhanced some of the old ones. I also find it a little mind boggling that all of the bloggers here have still been churning out new and interesting topics consistently through another whole year. Go us!

To celebrate the end of this and the beginning of a new year, there are some traditions that I love to keep and I thought I would share them with you in case you needed some last minute inspiration for your own NYE par-tay.

1. Wear silly hats. Ever since I can remember, my Mom either helped us find or make hats for new year’s. If you like to keep it simple (which we often did), here is an easy little tutorial from Skip to My Lou for a basic newspaper hat:

This can always be enhanced with glitter glue and feathers, rest assured.

As I grew older, though, I didn’t mind taking a little more time to create “fancier” hats. So, likewise, here is a tutorial (and some templates) from Happy Thought UK for some festive mini top hats:

These could also be slightly enhanced for a more steampunk themed occasion.

2. Make a festive mess. We usually found those little plastic popper bottles that were filled with confetti strings and Mom would boot us outside before we popped them. But sometimes they were duds and that made for some disappointment. So why not make sure they aren’t by making your own? If you just want to make a big poof of confetti and streamers, this great tutorial from Ehow is just the thing:

These can also be filled with confetti made from used wrapping paper if you want to keep it green.

Or if you want to add in a little more fun and class, you can use this amazing infographic from Wonder How To and make some paper hat/small prize/confetti containing crackers:

Yes, the “cracker” inserts can easily be found on Amazon and other sites.

3. The final thing we do (besides supply massive amounts of food and drink, of course) is make a lot of noise to ring in the New Year! So how about a few different types of noise makers from Kid Friendly Things to Do, Jman and Miller Bug, and I Heart Naptime:

   

I can honestly imagine turning these into more geeky versions by introducing a theme…like Harry Potter house colors. Whichever way you choose to celebrate, be safe and have fun! We’ll see you in 2018, fellow Hackers!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Wrapping Things Up

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Happy Sunday, all!

It’s Christmas Eve, can you believe it? Have you gotten all those lovely gifts wrapped? If not, I’ve got a few more fantastic ideas for bumping it up a notch. First up is a quick and easy option if you have a hoard of wrapping paper (guilty as charged), DIY paper gift bags from Designer Trapped:

Super cute and can be made to any size specifications!

If you’ve got some small things, these DIY pyramid boxes from Lines Across will do the trick:

If you’ve got a card stock hoard, too, these will also help clear some out.

If you are really ambitious, though, I’d love to give or receive these adorable DIY animal boxes from Lia Griffith:

I just can’t get over how super cute they are!

Maybe you’ve got a huge roll of that brown butcher paper? This next one from Burlap and Blue is a great project for the kiddos as it entails dipping your thumbs into paint to create the light bulb shapes on the paper:

You could also theoretically use brown paper bags if you like to think green.

Finally, one more thing to be made from that wrapping paper stash is…the bow itself! This quick little tutorial from Charlet’s Website looks super easy:

This is great to know for other occasions as well.

Hopefully at least one of these have helped you get those last minute things done. Have a safe and happy holiday tomorrow, everyone!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Snow, Snow, Beautiful Snow

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Happy Sunday, all!

As the name of today’s post implies, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. We’ve only gotten a couple of light dustings so far here in the Midwest and I’m ok with it snowing from the end of November right up until the new year but then I’m done! So while I’m hoping for a little more of the flakes, I’ve gathered some cool (pun intended) snow-inspired decorations for the season. First up is one large but very easy way to get your fix, shiny popsicle stick snowflakes from Making Home Base:

Silver can certainly be an option, too!

For the second option, do you happen to have some clothespins sitting around with no clothes to hang (I do but then I am a noted craft supply hoarder)? Then how about turning them into some of these lovely glittery snowflakes from Eighteen25:

Yay glitter everywhere!

Ok, so let’s say you don’t have clothespins but what about wine corks? I have a whole big bag of them from Mom and the girls that are just screaming to be turned into these cute cork snowflake ornaments from Virginia Sweet Pea:

These are getting made for everyone…I have that many corks.

So far these mostly require adult supervision but I swear I have at least one kid friendly option. This is really adorable and a great idea for any shape – glitter snowflake window clings from One Little Project:

Seriously, can’t you imagine making your own Nightmare Before Christmas window scene like this?

Finally, because the classics can’t be discounted, what about paper snowflakes you may ask? Let’s take them up a notch and make some large 3D paper snowflakes with instructions from Handimania:

There are some great ideas through the link for different kinds of paper to use!

So there we are, hopefully this will keep us both happy until the real stuff descends from the heavens. Next week is right before the big day (I can’t believe it, either) so I’ll dig up some ideas for last minute but awesome wrapping ideas.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Delicious Gifting

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Happy Sunday, all!

Last week we started a journey into DIY edible gifts and this week I am continuing it. These ideas involve quite a bit of one of my favorite things: SCIENCE. I love the fact that baking/cooking is essentially chemistry in the guise of a fine art. You take all of these seemingly unrelated ingredients, add them together in the correct proportion, do something to change their composition (chopping/mixing/heating/cooling), and then add your own flourish to make it look good. It’s simply amazing to me and always has been. I assure you that none of these are very complicated and most do not involve any specialty items. First up is a tasty, tangy, citrus based treat that is fantastic when also dipped in chocolate: candied citrus peel.

Without the chocolate dip, they are simply like your favorite citrus gummies.

It’s as simple as boiling the peel to remove the bitterness from the pith and then simmering in a simple syrup to get these beautiful and tasty treats. Packaged in cutely decorated canning jars or even in holiday themed cellophane would make a great little stocking stuffer. Next up, let’s continue in the fruit flavored realm and whip up some homemade curd!

Though the tutorial specifies limes, this can be made in practically any flavor.

If you’ve never had some sort of fruit curd (most often sold as lemon or lime), I would highly recommend buying or making some. This delicious tart/sweet fruit butter-like confection is perfect on toast or as a component in other cookies and cakes. Once again, the simple ingredients are cooked together to get a silky smooth topping. Packaging it to look festive in cute little jars to go with our peel? Brilliant. Ok, so now that we’ve seen something akin to a fruit butter, how about a walk on the wild side? My father loves hot peppers and one year he decided to use some leftover jalapeños from the garden to make hot pepper jelly. Yes, you read that right, HOT PEPPER JELLY.

Spicy and satisfying.

What, you may ask, can hot pepper jelly be used for? Any number of things, foremost for us, though was spreading a thin layer of cream cheese in a shallow dish and slathering pepper jelly over it just to scoop it up on crackers. Soooooooooooo good! It’s already so festively colored, too. You can always dial up the color with a couple drops of food coloring for effect, too. The one ingredient you may need to seek out is pectin but most grocery stores carry it in the baking aisle. Alright, moving on to some of the sweeter side items, with that cocoa mix we put together in last week’s list how about some homemade marshmallows?

Light, fluffy, and oh so yummy!

These amazing little lumps of chewy flavor are just so neat to me. I never knew how easy it could be to make them from scratch in any flavor you want. It just takes  some gelatin and corn syrup to start the process (with a lot of powdered sugar added in, of course). It think some more of those cello bags or even in stacking jars with that cocoa mix would be perfect. Finally, last but certainly not least, is my current homemade obsession: caramel. In this case, creamy, chewy fleur de sel caramels:

Just so we are clear, the fleur de sel is really just a specialty salt.

I’ve been making lots of whiskey flavored caramel sauce to put in and on things and these little beauties feel like the next big step. Burning sugar is the height of coolness for me in terms of kitchen science. They are gorgeous and would be so cute just packaged in little twists of waxed paper, then strewn over the bottom of a big gift basket containing our other homemade goodies. I don’t know about you but I’m going to have to “test” a little bit of everything before it goes to it’s eventual owners just to make sure it’s good.

Well now that I’ve gone and made us all hungry, it’s time to say farewell until next week when we will start our annual romp through some holiday decorating ideas.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Winter Warmer Gifts

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Happy Sunday, all!

I know I promised a bit more on the host/hostess gift front but found myself under the weather last week so it shall happen today. This is all rather timely since one of the best cures I know for a nasty sore throat is the first item on the gift list: homemade syrups, specifically ginger syrup. Ginger is a fantastic natural throat and stomach soother. When turned into a syrup, it can be added to soda water for ginger ale or tea for those singers/cold sufferers or even into your morning bowl of oatmeal. This lovely tutorial from The Herbal Academy has a great recipe as well as more info on the health benefits of using ginger syrup.

Spicy and effective.

Bottling it up and giving as a gift with instructions seems like a great start to a homemade holiday season. Now what if you’d like to branch out from just ginger? Well then this syrup recipe tutorial from How Sweet Eats is just the thing.

Let’s be honest here, that last one is too pretty NOT to make.

Between vanilla bean, blackberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and almond flavoring syrups I’d be well set with my morning drink additions because coffee isn’t the only thing you could add it to. Again, add some pretty packaging and you have a set of syrups tailored to your host’s tastes. What about something geared toward the baker or even a way to make that last tutorial even more from scratch by making your own vanilla extract? I’ve always wanted to do this and Akshayapaatram has not just a recipe for vanilla but citrus ones as well.

There also seems to be ideas for making your own version of lemon or raspberry liqueur as well.

Using some of that vanilla extract to make the vanilla syrup? Brilliant. Add a little carrier, some instructions for refreshing the liquor base every once in a while and another great gift ready to go. Finally, how about something to add our syrups to? As I am lactose intolerant, I often have to search out non-dairy cocoa mixes around this time. Lo and behold, they make soy milk powder! Who knew? Therefore, this year we can turn that into a delicious gift by making hot chocolate mixes in different variations from this tutorial by My Darling Vegan.

Definitely find out if your giftee has any kind of soy sensitivity, too, of course.

If your host/hostess has no known allergies, feel free to use regular powdered milk instead. You could definitely package up some of the cocoa with some of the flavored syrups for a grand tasty gift basket. Next week, lets take a look at some cooked and baked gift ideas.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


For the Host with the Most

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Happy Sunday, all!

Since the holidays are coming up and most of us are forced to interact with people we don’t see often, I thought an opportunity to bring the host/hostess a little handmade gift would be very appropriate. Some of these take longer than others to make and some make multiples at a time so if you have plenty of parties/get-togethers or just want to get a head start on some stocking stuffers or secret Santa gifts this may be the time to start! First up, for those that already have crochet implements, this crochet rope trivet is super sturdy, cute, and serviceable:

For those hot tea pots or even candles (especially if you include those in the gift, too).

It appears to be simple crochet but may take a little bit of muscle to get it through the loops. Next up is an idea for making their table a little prettier, some quick and easy sewn reversible napkin holders:

There’s also instructions on the site for a matching bias tape table runner.

If you have a little more time on your hands and are comfortable with the corner to corner method of crochet, then this Thanksgiving themed pillow set CAL that just released it’s last part of the pattern is for you:

So super cute and perfect for the season!

If you’d rather not assume their decorating style or give them something they are more likely to use, how about one of these neat little tea trees:

This is also a chance to get creative in finding tea bags in several colors.

Or even trying your hand at making these dip mix filled ornaments:

Whichever you choose or if you want to brainstorm on your own to suit your particular host/hostess, we all just want them to feel appreciated. Next week we’ll continue with some ideas for cooking/baking based host/hostess gifts that I’ve really wanted to try out!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


It’s Getting Cold Outside

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Happy Sunday, all!

It’s finally feeling like fall here in the Midwest US, so that means it’s also colder and damper. It usually stays pretty warm in our snug little condo until about mid-December when we try to avoid turning on the heat for as long as possible. But it still gets me to thinking about and planning for those times when I need some extra warmth for my extremely cold feet. First plan of attack is usually to cover with an extra blanket, the easiest being one of those tied fleece type ones. To help with that, Kim from A Girl and a Glue Gun has some excellent instructions and ideas for different types of quick fleece blankets:

Second cold foot defense would be to find something that actually covers the feet themselves. I’ve seen plenty of DIY mermaid tails snuggle sack patterns but I had yet to see a dino/dragon tail until now:

Thanks to Bernat and All Free Crochet, you too can have the long, luxurious spiky tail you’ve always wanted. Definitely a must to keep those feet toasty. Lastly, if you’ve got a little time on your hands and some extra fabric you could make these lovely pockets that are solely for warming your feet:

I’ve been wanting to make the foot warmer from Little Oak Creations ever since I posted about those rice/corn/flax hand warmers (A Hand Warming Experience). The top portion houses the recently heated packets and your poor cold feet go directly under them in the cushy bottom. Think warm thoughts and heat up some cocoa, everyone! Next week we’ll take a look at some cool DIY host/hostess gifts for the inevitable holiday parties.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Last Minute Mania

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Happy Sunday, all!

I know most of the Halloween parties probably took place last night but there are still some purists that celebrate on the day itself or some of those that would like to have more attendees and wait for the following weekend. So if you or even the kiddos have been invited and you still haven’t figured out that perfect costume, maybe one of these will spark your creativity.

First up is one of my absolute favorites for a couple from Creating Really Awesome Fun Things (not just because the Art of Chill came out this year), Bob Ross with Happy Tree:

Complete with Peapod the squirrel!

A lot of this, save the squirrel and magnificent hair could come from your own closet, which I love. Simple, yet effective. Other accessories could include an easel and painting if you feel so inclined!

My second pick comes from another wonderful childhood memory (and not JUST because the memes on the subject have been fantastic), this DIY Arthur tutorial from LaurDIY:

I would definitely encourage some red Chuck Taylors and a backpack to complete the look.

A warning on that tutorial – she is VERY perky so I would recommend having at least one cup of coffee in you if you are watching early in the morning (not that I learned that from experience or anything). Ultimately it’s really a tutorial for the ears, which could be used for a variety of other possibilities as well.

Third up is a truly terrifying costume…and by terrifying I mean if you are an animal lover and a Pixar fan. Because Amy from Amy Ever After has come up with a brilliant Darla from Finding Nemo costume, complete with tutorial:

The horror! Just don’t use a real fish, please.

I may honestly have to try that one in the future. Brings back fond memories of the year the husband and I went as Vanellope Von Schweetz and Wreck It Ralph:

Pardon the crappy lighting and Ralph trying to look grumpy.

I used this tutorial from The Lovebugs Blog for the tights and movie screen shots for reference on the other pieces. It was super fun to make and took only the bare minimum of sewing (for the bright pink yarn on the hoodie).

One of my most favorite things about Halloween costuming is the kiddos because, let’s face it, they are just too cute. Like this amazingly adorbs scuba diver costume for toddlers from Ali Schroeder:

OMG, the binkie attached to the “oxygen tank” and the tiny flippers. I can’t even, you guys.

Or this equally sweet, freaking darling snail costume from Oh Happy Day:

If you have any brown packing paper laying around from your last Amazon order, this is a great way to upcycle!

The last one I have to offer today literally made me giggle with delight. My fellow hackers, this Little Dude costume from Skirt As Top is something I keep in my heart as #parentlifegoals:

This is definitely my El Duderino of choice.

While it is not a full tutorial, she does make mention of the pattern used for the bathrobe (if you feel like doing a little bit of quick sewing) and the other pieces seem easy enough to find.

So there you have it, folks! I did sort through a ton of “last minute” lists in my search so there are plenty out there. Whatever you choose to dress up as, stay safe and have a wonderfully spooky Halloween!

Stay crafty!

~Laura