Feature: 42 Nerdtastic Place

Posted on

Happy Monday, Hackers!

Today I want to tell you about a wonderful place you should all visit: 42 Nerdtastic Place.

Last month, I was working at a convention out in Schaumburg, IL for the television show, Gotham. It was a small show, it only had a few vendors but there was a new booth that I hadn’t seen before. I was intrigued. A friend of mine and I went over to check it out on Friday night during pre-registration and the young woman I spoke to was an absolute delight. She told me all about her products and that they are all handmade. I told her about my quest to become truly cruelty-free in my product usage and asked about that. She said that not only are her products cruelty-free, they are 100% vegan. What caught my eye was the comprehensive selection of lip balms she had out (and it wasn’t even all that she offers). I had found out that the balm/chapstick I had been using most of my adult life wasn’t something I was comfortable using anymore (short version: the company itself is cruelty-free but the parent company is not). So I had been looking for a balm to replace it and was finding it difficult. You don’t want to spend money on something like that only to discover you hate it and you have this whole tube of it you won’t use. So a lot of the online options I was finding, I was hesitant to purchase. But here, I had testers.

Long story slightly less long, I fell in LOVE with these balms. It was like smoothing silk onto my lips and the scents were unique but still heavenly-scented. The best part was that they are GEEKY. This woman taylors her recipes and products to a myriad of fandoms.

I walked away from that convention with four new lip balms (two of which were Gotham-themed).

Now, I want to share this fabulous person and her equally fabulous products with you all!

Amanda Mayer launched 42 Nerdtastic Place on Etsy in 2014, starting out with fandom-themed jewelry and coasters. But Amanda’s crafty mind didn’t just stop there. She branched out, wanting to provide a plethora of items for shoppers. She started making other items, like scented candles and melting waxes, lip balms, room sprays, etc in addition to original items like necklaces, bracelets, and bag clips. Her site’s About page states that they “wanted the feel to be of a place you would go to when shopping for your Hogwarts school list or a place you might go to cozy up to fellow enthusiasts.” Amanda and her crack team have accomplished this goal resoundingly!

42 Nerdtastic Place sells both online and maintains a presence at local fan conventions so you have different ways to purchase products. They are also always expanding. The Gotham blends, for example, were created specifically for the Gotham convention (though Amanda had been asked by shoppers in the past). And it doesn’t just stop with television and movie fandoms. There are products that feature animation (both American and Japanese), fantasy creatures, literature, even musicals (I personally need to try the Forgotten Spot in the Caribbean – Hamilton body spray).

42 Nerdtastic Place offers the following items: Bag clips, bracelets, necklaces, Hogwarts House combs, air fresheners, candles, hair care & grooming products (like Asgards’s Finest Beard Oil…You too can have the beard of a god!), lip balms and lip sheers, perfumes, and wax melts. They also have some lovely gift sets and they offer samples (not something you come across for online stores much, in my limited experience).

Amanda has also generously provided all our Craft Hacker readers a discount code for 15% off any regular priced items. Simply input code CRAFTHACKER15 to receive 15% off any of their regular priced items!

Hope you all enjoy as much as I do, Hackers! Be beautiful to each other.


DIY Wax Luminaries

Posted on

Good morning, Thursday readers.

I found a really cool tutorial from Candle Tech that caught my eye and initially I thought it might be a little silly, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Tea light/votive holders made from wax. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but what makes it work is the type of wax used. And plus, they look really cool.

You do need some supplies and tools: High-melt paraffin wax – IGI-1260 – (this one is super important – don’t use something that isn’t high melt), party balloons, a double boiler and a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You will need to start by filling your balloon with tepid water.

Your next step is to melt your wax in a double boiler. The best temperature for this project is 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using a double boiler will help to keep things from overheating, and you can use a thermometer to double check if you have one.

Slowly dip your balloon into the wax to just below the water level inside the balloon. If you go past the water level, your balloon can pop. Hold the balloon in the wax for a few seconds and then slowly lift it out. Let it cool between dips, but you’ll need to do this a few more times to get a good thickness of wax on the balloon.

When the wax is still fairly warm, put the balloon on a piece of parchment or on a cookie sheet. This will allow a flat bottom to be created so it’s level and won’t topple over. Allow to cool a little, and then repeat the above process a few more times. You’re going to want a thickness of about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of wax on your balloon. Set it aside again to let it cool.

 

When the water inside the balloon and the wax are completely cool, holding the wax portion so it doesn’t fall and aiming the mouth away from you, pop the balloon over this sink with something sharp to let the water drain out and toss the deflated rubber.

If the top of your luminary isn’t level, that’s okay. There’s an easy fix, since you’re working with wax. Just heat up a cookie sheet in the oven and place the luminary top down onto the hot metal (you can put some parchment paper down to catch the wax) and melt the edges until it’s level. You can wipe the paper with a paper towel if you’re going to need to do it a couple times.

And you’re ready to go with a tea light or a votive (remember, votives need some kind of container to keep them from melting everywhere). So long as you’re just using those types of candles, the luminary won’t melt. Remember, it’s high temp wax, so you need more heat to melt it. If you want to add some colour to your wax, you can add some crushed crayons (though it might make them a little less transparant). You can also think about adding glitter or even doing a few white layers of wax as a base with a couple colour layers over top. You could even dip the top rim in glitter once you’ve melted it to make it level or you might want to carve your creations afterwards… but regardless of what you end up doing, they do look super cool!

Happy Crafting!

~Megan

 

 

 


Easy DIY Halloween Crafts and Decorations

Posted on

Hey Crafty Peoples! Sorry about my absence last week; I was on vacation but I’m back and ready to hit you with some sweet sweet Halloween decorations and crafts. Y’all, this is my favorite holiday of all the holidays. I would celebrate this one all year round. Nothing is better than the creepy, the scary and the Halloween-y. In my opinion, that is.

This week, I wanted to focus on some easy and cost-effective ways to decorate the interior of your home for the spookiest of holidays. Next week, I shall direct you to some wonderful sites with ideas for outdoor decor.

There are a lot of crafty folks out there so the majority of these ideas I saw via Pinterest or Facebook. Most of these are ways to re-purpose old household items into fun crafts to keep the kiddies busy or to decorate the house/apartment when you’re pinching those pennies. Some of these are as simple as getting some construction paper or poster board and cutting out Halloween-y shapes. For example, you can cut out bat shapes and either just tape them to your walls (make sure you use painters tape to protect your walls!) or you can pinch them near the middle, attach a string and suspend them from your ceiling. I personally like this way because it looks like there’s bats flying ’round your house and it scares the crap out of people who come by to visit or take care of your cat. You don’t have to stick with bats either. Pumpkins and Jack’O’Lanterns are fun and festive but easy to cut out. If you’re feeling particularly artistic and ambitious, you can cut out witches on brooms, ghosts, mummies, zombies…the possibilities are endless!

For those of you who can’t seem to bring yourselves to toss out those empty pill bottles, you can use them to make some fun and creepy-looking, old-timey apothecary bottles. Magia Mia has a wonderful tutorial here that walks you through making that garbage into Halloween gold. Also, environmentally friendly because you’re reducing the amount of trash you toss. Recycling at it’s crafties.

Another quick and inexpensive way to dress up a room is to give your candles a little makeover. I saw this on Pinterest but the original idea was posted by the wonderfully hilarious (and stylish!) Big Ang Raiola of Mob Wives fame. You can add flourish to small candles in glass by gluing lace around the glass. These have a gothic Victorian feel to them but you can add any kind of ribbon or lace you’d like. Customize to the theme of your Halloween abode.

If you want some scary spiderwebs around your house but you don’t want to deal with that sticky, hard-to-clean fake webbing from the party supply stores you can either just not clean for a really long time (hey, realism in decorations is KEY) or you can make these fun balloon spiderwebs. They are easy to make but it does take a little longer to make than some of the other crafts I’ve posted about here. You’ll want to make sure you have ample time to complete them properly. You can find the instructions here.

And for my pièce de résistance, a little something for all you Harry Potter fans out there. Ever want your home to look like the Great Hall at Hogwarts? I don’t know about you, but I wanted candles magically hovering above my head from the first moment I saw it in the movies. Well, here’s a way to accomplish this feat, at least for a few weeks. Follow these easy-to-understand instructions over at The Sway to make your home into your very own Great Hall.

These are just a few ways to make your home more festive for this spooky holiday. I highly recommend checking out Pinterest for more ideas and remember to think outside the box. Something you see someone else having posted may inspire you to create your very own unique Halloween decorations.

Next week, I’ll talk about some truly terrifying decorations you can add to your porches and yard (should you be lucky enough to have a property with either of these things) to make your house the most frightening on the block.

Happy decorating, Hackers!

~Scribe Sarah~


Halloween Glass Lanterns

Posted on

Is it Halloween yet? No, wait, I need some prep time for it still. Gotta work on my awesome costume. 😀 Still, I love Halloween and I love decorations for it even more! You have such a wide range of options from cute to scary and realistic to mind bending. Truly the most welcoming of all holidays. 🙂 Well today I’m gonna share a great DIY that you can easily do at home to make lovely glass lanterns for your future Halloween festivities.

The folks at Adventure in a Box have a great method to make some really lovely lantern jars that you can design for just about any event, but their Halloween ones are what caught my eye. You can find the full process with pictures on their site here, so I’ll just give the quick run down of supplies you’ll need along with the recommended methods.

Materials

– Jars of different sizes and shapes

– A can of high quality spray paint in your choice of color

– Battery Powered Tealight

– Paper/Paint/Vinyl depending on method

 

Now for that last item you have to decide how you want to make you designs before you get it. The easiest way (for me) would be to draw/print out the design you want, cut it out and glue/attach it to the inside. If you’d prefer to free hand it though, then painting the outside of the jar is gonna be your best bet. This method can be prone to scratching however, so make sure to apply clear sealant layers of spray paint after you finish. If you can’t paint and want something more lasting on the outside (and have access to a vinyl cutter) you can simply print out a design in vinyl and attach it like a sticker. 🙂

The last step is of course placing the candle inside and I would highly recommend a fake one. Real tealights can get very hot, heat the glass (dangerous), and heat the design. Making some methods like vinyl run the risk of losing their adhesiveness. For simple and lovely decor you can make in an afternoon though these little lanterns just can’t be beat.


Burlap Candle DIY

Posted on

Good morning, Thursday Crafthackers.

I’ve found a lovely DIY for you that’s a lovely little gift that you can personalize for any occasion. I’ve used this tutorial as a reference from DIY Beautify.

You will need a few basic supplies that you can find at any craft store. You’ll need a large cylindrical glass vase that is large enough to showcase your ribbon and be an appropriate size for a candle holder. Remember you can make them big enough for pillars, or small enough for tea lights. You’ll need some wide burlap ribbon. You might be able to find this edged in something pretty, and if not, you can beautify it yourself with some inspired trim and a glue gun. You’ll also need some black acrylic paint, a stiff stencil brush, craft vinyl and transfer paper.

The original poster does this tutorial with a die cut machine or silhouette machine that’s often used for scrapbooking and other paper crafts. If you don’t have one though, you can always cut a stencil that’s a little less delicate and easier to work with and use that instead.

First. you will need to create your design. You can do this yourself or if you’re not super digitally crafty, you can use Pic Monkey. You can also use other programs online or find a design you are fond of. Keep in mind if you’re wanting to do a wedding specific monogram, there’s an order to the initials. It should be the wife’s first name initial, the husband’s last name initial, then the husband’s first name initial.

Your next step is to cut your design out on craft vinyl. This will mean that you’ve measured, saved and printed your image to cut it out on the vinyl, or that you’ve done your own creative work. The vinyl will be discarded as it’s just a stencil, but the transfer paper is what’s important, and if you’re unsure of how to use it, here’s a tutorial. Use the transfer paper. Please keep in mind this isn’t a necessity, but it does help make it easier to keep everything centred and where you want it to be. It also allows  you to keep all the small pieces where they need to be for the very fine stenciling.

The colour of the vinyl doesn’t matter as we’re creating a stencil that will get discarded. This is a super easy way to get the design transfered to the burlap all in one piece. Using the photos above, 1. Use transfer paper to remove your design from the cuting matt. peel all the positive space away from your vinyl, leaving the negative space to give you a stencil. 2. Lay the stencil (which is still on the transfer paper so you can centre it with ease) on the burlap and burnish well. Gently and slowly peel the transfer paper away from the vinyl while making sure all the pieces stay behind. 3. Using the acrilic paint and brush, stencil the design. Use minimal paint for a crisp design. 4. Make sure the whole area is covered with paint before you peel and discard.

When your paint is dry, use a glue gun to affix your ribbon to the vase.

You can fill the vase with whatever you’d like to make it beautiful. Sand, rocks, coffee beans, fish tank pebbles. Whatever you think will look nice. Coffee beans and a vanilla candle can make some beautiful aromas though.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Happy crafting!

~megan


DIY Spa Style Mother’s Day Gifts

Posted on

Gift giving can sometimes put a strain on a budget. Depending on the person and expectations one’s family has, it can cause load of extra stress and pressure. Well, if you have someone you’re celebrating this mother’s day that enjoys a bit of personal pampering, I’ve got some DIY suggestion to help you out in the remain crunch time days here.

From the lovely folks over a Lil’ Luna, here’s all the info you need to make a simple custom set of spy type items; namely bath salts, candles and a sugar scrub. All you need is a custom mix of relaxing music to go with it and you’ve got the perfect at home relaxation kit. 🙂 You will need several supplies to make all 3 items, so if you’re strapped for cash, it might be best to pick 1-2 items that would work best for the recipient. You’ll need a container for all the items, so I won’t list that as other then the candle needing to be glass, the type/style is really up to you. We’ll start with the easiest:

Bath Salts:

  • 1 Cup Epson Salts
  • 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda
  • 3 Drops of Essential Oils
  • Zest of one citrus (optional) Citrus types include Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruits, etc.

Simply mix all the ingredients together and place them in your jar/container and seal it up. Doesn’t get easier then that. 🙂

Sugar Scrub:

  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Drops of Essential Oils

Heat up the coconut oil a bit in the microwave to get it nice and runny so everything will be easier to mix. Then, simply add all the ingredients together and pour in jar.

This last one is the hardest/most expensive so if you think it’s beyond your skill then buying a candle may be the better choice

Candle:

  • Soy Wax, enough to fill your container twice
  • Container
  • A Wick
  • Skewer
  • Essential Oils
  • Pan

First, wrap the top of the wick around skewer and set in container. Then, melt the wax in a double boiler, stirring constantly. When the temperature reaches 170 F remove from heat, addind about 8 drops of essential oils and wait til it drops to 150 F before pouring the wax into the jars. Leave for a few hours to set, and then snip off the top of wick, leaving about 1/2″ above the candle for lighting.

You can get fancy and add various colors using food grade dye for the body products or colored wax for the candles, or even mix and match essential oils to get a custom fragrance you know they’ll love. 😀


‘Bad Weather’ Days

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! Across many parts of the United States, we are being hit by bad weather towards the end of our winter. Trees had begun blooming, grass growing, and in rolls the storm. Suddenly you are stuck at home, with or without power, wondering what to do with your day off…

As long as I am warm and there is power, I try not to worry too much. Relaxing on my favorite chair with a book or movie and drinking some coffee or cocoa is a great day for me. Some people like to keep busy, though. This may be the perfect time to bring out some crafts or games you’ve been waiting to try.

  • If you like to crochet, this fun PDF pattern of an Octopus Scarf looks great!
  • If you like knitting, maybe some fingerless gloves!
  • If it look like there might be power issues, a candlemaking project might be a good one. Check here for a recipe!
  • Some people love to cook, especially a one pot stew or recipe. I’ve found some great ones on Epicurious, or you might open up one of your cookbooks- I have several from family members.

Whether it’s a project or a lazy day, stay warm and safe this week!

 


Sweet Smells of Success

Posted on

Happy Sunday!

This week has been all ups and downs as far as weather is concerned here in the Midwest U.S. The beautiful amount of sun and pleasant temperatures have got me thinking about all of the activities I enjoy in the Spring/Summer, one in particular being my trips to the local Renaissance Faire. I love the fun and frolic to be had at Faire but as I’ve also mentioned before, I love the vendors as well. There are certain vendors that I patronize every year but I always look forward to finding new ones (or at least new to me)! One I was very pleased to stumble across last summer was Beeswyck Chandlery/Scenter Square body products. A note for the “non-Rennies” (those that don’t attend Faire), when you are a merchant at a Ren Faire, you are often expected to create a period appropriate character, name, and ambiance for your shop. So at Faire, Shannon’s (the proprietor) shop is known as Beeswyck while online she runs Scenter Square. I have fallen head over heels for her soap. It’s light, airy, doesn’t strip my skin of all moisture and comes in a wide array of scents/colors. It’s all vegan, natural and, of course, handmade!

   

Her formulas are safe for my sensitive skin and her often whimsical (and geeky!) scent blends evoke their namesakes. Two of my absolute favorites are the Honey Meade and the Scottish Heather but the Princess Bride themed As You Wish soap was sweet/light and definitely made me think of “twoo wuv”. This is not to say that we are limited to just the soaps. I have not personally used any of the other products YET but from the reviews, it appears I absolutely need to get my hands on some of her natural deodorant, solid shampoo/conditioner, and lip butters.

   

Coming from someone that cannot use most commercial deodorant sticks, I think a further future product review is in order. After all of these lovely items, I can’t very well forget her Faire shop’s focus, either. The candles come in most of the same scents (some additional ones, too) in beeswax pillars or tapers or in soy tins or even wax melts! The whimsy is here as well with names like Pixie Dust and Unicorn Farts (I seriously laughed out loud at that one).

 

I highly recommend a look through her wares and if you find yourself at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin this summer, stop by for a sniff! Shannon is very willing to work with you for the best in customer service, online and in person. Scenter Square can be found on their website and on Etsy.

Unfortunately, my Renn Faire dreams have to stay just dreams for a few months yet but at least I have the scents to keep me going.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Epsom Salt Christmas Candles

Posted on

Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

I have for you today a lovely DIY that’s cheap and cheerful and can make for some easy gift giving for those in your life that you’d like to acknowledge but, like for co-workers, maybe you don’t want to spend a lot of money on gifts for such a large group of people. This tutorial is taken from Hub Pages and what I love best about this tutorial is that it can be done in so many different ways with so many different colours that can make them a great token gift for occasions that aren’t holiday related, as well. One thing to keep in mind, it’s not ideal for the epsom salts to be burned so you may want to inform the receiver.  That being said they make amazing decorative pieces, and if you’re using large pillar candles, they can be used so long as they are not burned straight to the edges.

Your materials and tools are simple: You will need some undecorated pillar candles – they can be any size and height but I do recommend that you splurge a little bit and get ones that are of a higher quality paraffin wax and cotton wick so that you don’t have smokey wicks or extremely drippy candles that would make them more of a pain to use. You will need your preferred colours of acrylic or tempera paint (which any craft store will have), clear craft glue, epsom salts (which you can buy on the cheap at any pharmacy or grocery store), masking or painter’s tape (painter’s tape is easier to remove), as well as paint brushes. Also make sure to cover whatever surface you’ll be working on. You can also get some glitter to mix in with the epsom salts, but glitter is far less easy to clean up.

Candles taped and ready for painting. Notice that you can do any type of design, and to make them safer to burn, you can avoid putting anything around the top rim.

Candles taped and ready for painting. Notice that you can do any type of design, and to make them safer to burn, you can avoid putting anything around the top rim.

First, you will need to tape off the areas of the candle that you don’t want painted or salted. Before you start, you’ll need to mix your paint and glue together, to eliminate any extra steps. Just use equal parts of glue and paint to ensure that the salt will stick to the candle. Pour some (or lots) epsom salts on a plate and set this aside for rolling.

Notice that both the top and bottom sections of candle are taped off, so you'll have a cool design that still lets you have a usable candle. (For those who haven't burned pillars before, you generally have a shell of wax as you burn through the centre and only have to worry about the top edge being covered)

Notice that both the top and bottom sections of candle are taped off, so you’ll have a cool design that still lets you have a usable candle. (For those who haven’t burned pillars before, you generally have a shell of wax as you burn through the centre and only have to worry about the top edge being covered)

When you get started, apply the paint/glue mixture liberally to any area that isn’t covered in tape, but be sure not to paint the bottom of the candle. To make it easier to take the tape off afterwards, try not to paint all over the covered areas.

When you’re finished, roll the candle through the epsom salts a few times to ensure you get lots adhered to the candle, and when you’re finished, give it lots of time to dry, say, 4 hours or even overnight.

Once everything is dry, you can peel the tape off and throw it away to reveal your work of art. You can do whole candles to make it look like snow if you use clear glue, you can paint diagonal lines like a candy cane, or you can just detail the bottom of the candle. Your imagination is your limit, so find things to inspire you! A snowy candle wrapped with a bow is a gorgeous thing.

Have fun and happy crafting!

~Megan


Constellation Luminaries

Posted on

I love space. I find it to be so beautiful and filled with so many questions and not being in space kinda bums me out sometimes. While these aren’t space, they’re still pretty awesome.

Made by etsy artist Modern Mud, these are hand made ceramic luminaries with holes and lines that imitate the major constellations. The design was originally a wedding commission, they turned out so lovely that Naomi Singer decided to make them available to the world. 🙂 My space needs certainly appreciate this decision.

These candle holders mean business too. Measuring about 7″ tall, they can hold a small votive or even a pillar candle! I’m already picturing them paired with some of my favorite scented candles and the view is beautiful and smells great. 😉 She also makes all sorts of other delightful ceramic items such as ring dishes, vases and even personalized holiday ornaments. 😀 All of her work is in this same simple and clean style, so I highly recommend giving her gallery a look.