Rowe’s Fashion: Unique Canadian Designs.

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Good morning, Thursday Crafthackers!

This morning, I present to you a clothing company that designs, cuts, sews and patterns from Canada. As someone who does the same and feels that businesses have a responsibility to contribute back to their own economy, this alone is a hugely attractive quality. When you buy a piece of their clothing, it means not only are you spending your money on a quality product which is supervised by those who have developed the company, but the money you spend is also going to pay your fellow Canadians, if it isn’t the same people who made it.

Rebecca Rowe is the founder of Rowe’s Fashions, and she not only worked throughout the retail industry, but also went to study first in New York City and then in Paris. She came back to Canada to start her own business with the help of her family. She works closely with the varying aspects of the company, working closely to have a good connection with her employees and also with the quality control of the clothing that is produced.

Having seen her product, I can tell you that they are designed for women, and for women of varying body shapes. She cuts curves into her patterns so that a fitted skirt is not just a sheath, it’s a piece that is cut to curve to your curves, giving shape to a piece that is so often without it.

Her styles are creative but wearable. I love that this is a designer who has thought about usability to build into the garments so that you’re not left with something that you don’t know how to wear or have no where to wear it. This is possibly one of my favorite qualities in a clothing designer, as, if I buy a piece of clothing or jewelry, I plan to wear it. And as often as I can.

Rowe Fashion has a website where you can purchase her wears and peruse photos. You can also read the full history of the designer and company in the About Us section. You can also find hand follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pintrest.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading about this designer and happy crafting, and happy shopping!

~Megan


Couth and Nail: Unique Jewels.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have for you a jewelry designer who specializes in the unique and slightly macabre when it comes to jewelry. She had her work purchased for the tv show Winona Earp and creates some really interesting pieces to sell.

Skeleton key encased in quartz.

She started making interesting jewelry and trinkets out of leather and fabric for friends and family and then moved into making things out of metals, gemstones, wood and the remains of small insects and animals. All of her materials, however, are responsibly and ethically sourced and collected, and that means that her pieces are unique and that the same item may not be available at later dates.

I absolutely love the little touch of darkness to her work combined with the delicate flowers, the sparkle of gold leaf, or the shine of gemstone. It is such a beautiful and unique combination that you don’t see anywhere, and that will set her pieces apart from others.

A mink’s tooth set in a wristwatch – inspired by Victorian mourning jewelry.

She has so much to look at and she keeps producing all kinds of new things. You can peruse her wares available now at her Etsy shop, and you can also find photos and keep up to date with her latest creations on, Pintrest and on Facebook as well.

Check her out. There’s lots of stuff to look at from the dark to the light. Not only does she work with bones and small animals, but flowers as well.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


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


Making Buttercream Transfer Art

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Baking is sorts my side craft/love that I dabble in when I have time cause it’s like a craft that you can eat if you do well! 😀 So today I want to share a very helpful tutorial I came across that teaches how to make frosting art (that’s NOT made from nasty fondant) and transfer it safely to your cake.

This tutorial comes from the folks at Craftsy and explains not only how to do the technique but where it comes from, why it’s important, and what the best applications are for using it. I personally found this method to be easier then making roses, even though both methods are ones where the creation is being applied to the cake later, and not as you are making it. The supplies you’ll need besides buttercream frosting and food dyes are:

You’ll be printing the image you want to put on your cake backwards to act as your stencil so you’ll want to use that image for color matching as well before you get started. I’d also recommend reading the tutorial in it’s entirety before starting instead of as you go. Nothing worse then getting caught off guard if a tutorial goes a place you weren’t expecting. 🙂


Digitize Your Handwriting

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While this service has been around online for years and years, I’m always amazed by how many people that have never heard of it. So I wanted to share with all you aspiring creative types the super simple, easy and free way to turn your own handwriting into a digital font for your computer. 😀

There are currently 2 sites that I would recommend to do this with, depending on what resources you have on hand and how much time you want to commit. The first is My Script Font. Its process is simple. You print out a guide paper with several boxes on it. In those boxes you write the corresponding letter/symbol it lists. Then you put it into a scanner to turn the paper back to a digital file and load it to their site. You can also name and pick the font file type (TTF if default as it is more universal) when you do, and that’s it! You’ll immediately get a font in your own handwriting to enjoy and use.

Now this company does have a new version of this service, which is the second one I’d recommend for the more serious user called Calligraphr. You use a program instead or printing anything (though you can print it if you prefer) and can tweak your handwriting font to perfection, giving it negative spaces on letter like P and T, or even allowing randomized variances in letters to make it look more like handwriting. Using it for free lets you still make as many fonts as you want, but you can only tweak 1 at a time and have a limit on unique characters; which aren’t used that often really. There is a paid version for $7 a month that gives some extra bonuses, but is really only for those who need their font to do a lot more then the casual user.

What can you do with this awesome new font? Well, anything that involves writing really. Want to have truly unique labels or signage for your products? Use your own handwriting. Add a personal touch to your FAQ page on your website. Replace the font in your comic with your own hand and not have to do any line art clean up for it! You could even use this tool to make custom notebooks or memo pads for yourself/customers. The only limiter is your own imagination really.


DIY Vinyl Art for Bags & Purses

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I’m not a big purse person, never have been, and I don’t care to have decorated ones as a result. The idea of customizing one though? Sign me up!

This idea comes from the folks at StudioDIY, and is all about making a custom donut image for your round purse, but if they’re not your thing, I don’t see why you can’t apply these methods there to any purse/bag you like! You’ll want to visit the DIY page to make sure you understand the process to tweak it to your needs, but here’s the quick run down of supplies required for this project.

It involves lots of spray adhesive to get everything together, so you’ll want to make sure you’re in a well ventilated space or outdoors so fumes don’t become over powering. I’m not sure if this would work on fabric, but I think it would since it’s mostly the adhesive keeping things in place. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a blank to tote to customize.


Retro Video Game Shadow Boxes

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My husband and I have started a collection of the games we grew up on (NES and SNES mostly), but this person blows our simple little plastic cases out of the water.

Designed and made by Glitch Artwork, these shadow boxes give a bit of art and style to your gaming collection. They layouts are well thought out and visually appealing; so much so that the gaming cart isn’t the first thing to grab you. Quite a feat when it takes up about 1/4 of the space.

If you’ve got your own collection, or maybe a few favorite games you’d like to keep, I’d recommend giving their shop a look. The frames range from $35-75 and are definitely a way to class up your home, while still showing your gaming love. 🙂


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!

 


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


Illuminated Illustrations

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Created by Etsy artist Trysogodar, these Paper Cut Light Boxes are beautiful scenes cut straight from fantasy worlds and stories. The way they’ve layered their paper (not to mention the expert precision cutting of the designs) is nothing short of beautiful.

To quote the artist,”The paper cut light box are made using layers of hand-cut 160g art paper which are placed in shadow boxes and illuminated by LED light strips.

At first glance, the light box appear like any other paper cut work. When the lights go out, however, the light box suddenly take on a magical quality; The LED strips make the backgrounds glow and cast rich shadows, revealing tiny worlds within the boxes.”

These would make excellent replacements for nursery nightlights, imho, and I may even look into them just for that reason in the future. They are very reasonably priced as well, but they do ship from the UK, so maybe not the best idea for this holiday season. 😉