DIY: T-Shirt Rug

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I came across this tutorial and loved it because it reminds me of old rugs that grandparents had and it is a great way to upcycle your old tshirts. The original tutorial can be found here at My Poppet and your supplies are pretty minimal. I’ve posted some pictures here but be sure to visit the original tutorial for lots of other shots!

So, to prep, you’ll need to cut your t-shirts into 2″ strips to make into “yarn”. If you are mixing thinner and thicker fabrics, cut the thinner t-shirts into wider strips so that they will be a little more substantial. Here is a tutorial to follow if you have not made t-shirt yarn. And roll your yarn into balls. You can absolutely make a ball of yarn per t-shirt.

Work with the yarn like you would braid some hair. You can choose if you want to braid and sew the rug as you go, or if you want to finish all the braiding before you sew. To start and change colour you can either sew your strips of fabric together or use a no sew option of making a little hole in one strip and looping the other colour through.

When you’re braiding, think about how you want the rug to look – for solid bands of colour, two of the three strands of braid should be the same or similar colour. If you want a more random look, you can do whatever combination you like.

You can sew a circular or oval rug. For circular, start rolling from one end. For oval, circle around a straight length of your braid. The initial length will determine the final shape, so adjust accordingly. When you lay out and sew your rug, run the new braids clockwise around the rug so that you will always have a small piece of fabric in the space underneath your machine. Start sewing where the arrow is pointing (see photo) and use the widest zig zag stich and a medium stitch length.

Push together the edges of the braid and use the zig zag stitch to hold them to each other. When you get to the first turn (the first end), loop the braid around, and tuck the start of the braid underneath and sew around it to fasten the end. Continue sewing around until you have the size that you like!

Finally, to finish off the rug, just tuck the end under and sew it so that it will be held in place.

And there’s a lovely tshirt rug and it’s a great way to use some old clothing.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


Shelf Life of Your Homemade Products

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Good morning, Hackers!

I have posted a lot about DIY and homemade products like bath salts and body scrubs, but I want to stress in today’s post that these products are made from natural materials. Unlike those store bought products, natural ingredients and can and will go bad so, for your health (and the health of anyone you sell or give your products too), it is important to understand what the shelf life of your products will be.

Today, I’m going to focus on two things that can affect your products. The first is mold and bacteria. We all know about these lovely little buggers because we all have bathrooms and no matter how meticulous you want to be about cleaning it, somehow, mold still occurs. That is because water is present. There is nothing mold likes more than moisture.

If you are making products that have water present in them (like lotions or emulsified scrubs), mold and bacteria are likely to occur. In this instance, a preservative should be used. There are a number of preservatives that you can buy to add to your product but if you want to stay as natural as possible in your product, there are two things you need to help preserve you product; antimicrobial preservatives and antioxidants. Coconut oil is an antimicrobial as is the carrier oil apricot kernal seed oil. There is some debate on if grapefruit seed extract is an effective preservative due to the revelation a few years back that most grapefruit seed oils contained other, harmful products. As with anything, be sure you know what you are using/buying. Read the labels, ask questions, sometimes you might even want to call the company that produces the product to find out what may not be listed on the label.

Antioxidants like vitamin E and rosemary oil extract are also great things to add to your products not just for the mold/bacteria repelling properties but because they are good for your skin. Just remember that if your product has food in it, like avocado, a preservative is not going to prolong the shelf life of the product. Make these types of things in small amounts that can be used well within the few days shelf life of this type of product. And remember to refrigerate these types of products or they’ll just go bad all the faster.

The second thing you want to be aware of is rancidity. A lot of people think that bacteria and something being rancid are the same thing but they are not. Your product can grow mold and bacteria at ANY time (because of the water). However, if you use a preservative to prevent mold/bacteria in your product, that product can still go rancid. Rancidity doesn’t necessarily mean your product isn’t safe to use, it just means that the benefits of the natural products may have depleted. (Mold and bacteria on the other hand, DO make the product unsafe and you should chuck it out immediately if you find mold.)

So now you’re probably asking yourself, “how do I know when I should use a preservative and when I don’t have to?” Just remember the water. Anything that doesn’t have oils, butters, waxes, etc in it but is a cream or lotion should have an preservative. Basically, creams, lotions, toners, moisturizers, emulsions…those need preservative. Things like lip balms, salves, ointments, body and facial oils, oil-based body butters… those do not require a preservative.

You can also extend the shelf life of your products by following a few simple steps in your making and storing process. Use clean, sterilized containers and tools, use distilled of boiled water (or water substitutes), and store your products in dark or opaque containers in a cool, dry place.

Making your own products can be fun and easy and safe when you understand what to watch out for.

Stay safe and healthy, Hackers!

~Scribe Sarah~


DIY: Valentines Day Ornaments

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a couple small tutorials for you for making some Valentine’s day ornaments. I think that it’s a neat idea to have a little “tree” where you can hang themed ornaments. Now we’re not talking a Christmas tree. I mean branches gathered into a vase to give you a bare tree. My mother always has done those and I just love the idea of themeing those trees to the season. So here are a couple wee tutorials that are super cute and pretty easy to dress up the trees.

This first one is from Dozi Design and you can find the original tutorial here, as this will be a condensed version of it.  Basically you will need some coloured construction paper of your choice, and you will need to cut a 4″ x 4″ circular spiral – you can also make different sizes for different flower sizes.

You’ll need to cut out your spiral and then begin rolling it up to look like a rose starting from the outside, rolling to the middle, and then gluing it closed. Just make sure you’ve left enough room in the centre for it to be popped onto a branch.

The second tutorial is from Some the Wiser and the original tutorial can be found here. In this tutorial, you will be using a corn starch glue to mould some yarn ornaments. You will need yarn of your choice of colour cut into 12 inch pieces, heart shaped cookie cutters in the sizes of your choice, parchment paper and ribbon. You’ll also need to make a corn starch glue which is done by combining 1/4c of cornstarch with 1/2c of water and some glitter of your choice. Combine the cornstarch and water in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Heat over medium heat, constantly stirring until it’s thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in 1-2 tbsp of glitter and allow it to cool enough so it’s cool to the touch. If the glue becomes too thick, just add water a tsp at a time until it is easier to work with.

Lay your cookie cutters on parchment, and when your glue is warm, rather than hot, coat a piece of yarn with the glue. pull the yarn through your fingers to remove any large clumps and then arrange your yarn in the cookie cutters. Keep adding gluey yarn to the heart until it’s the thickness you’re looking for.

Add more glitter,and then remove your heart mould. Repeat until you have as many hearts as will fit on your parchment paper (that’s on a cookie sheet). Place in a warm oven (150 degrees F) for 2-3 hours until the hearts are hard. Remove from the cookie sheet, let them cool, then string them up to decorate with ribbon.

Hope you enjoyed these quick and easy ornament tutorials.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Bathroom Cleanliness — The Homemade Way

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I don’t know about you guys but nothing makes me happier that a spic-n-span bathroom. Over the last year, I have been endeavoring to be completely cruelty-free and as natural as possible in all my product usage. Alas, almost all of the highly rated and well-known cleaning products are not cruelty-free and are also choke full of chemicals. So I started researching and found some store-sold alternatives (Method and Seventh Generation are good options). But then, I started wondering if, like my bath salts, could I make cleaning products out of more natural ingredients? And guess what? I CAN! And so can you!

One of my favorite sites to research and find recipes to try is The Soap Queen. (Seriously, check out this site. It is super useful and tons of fun!) I found two recipes off this site to assist in creating a sparkling clean loo. The first is for a Natural Soap Scum Cleaner.

Ingredients:

  • Three 8 oz Bail Jars
  • 18 oz Baking Soda
  • 3 heaping Tbsp Pumice
  • 6 oz Epsom Salt
  • 2 mL Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • 5 mL Fir Needle Essential Oil

Directions:

*Add baking soda and Epsom salt to large mixing container. (Sift baking soda to unclump). Then add pumice and mix ingredients with a spoon or your hands. Add lemongrass and fir needle essential oils and mix thoroughly to combine. Transfer the mixture to the bail jars. Before use, test a bit on a hidden part of your shower to make sure it won’t scratch the surface.*

Next up is a Fizzy Toiler Freshener. No one likes having to scrub a toilet and these homemade tablets are a quick way to give your whole bathroom a boost of freshness.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sodium bicarbonate
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • Witch Hazel (in a spray bottle)
  • 12 mL Lemon essential oil
  • 6 mL Peppermint essential oil (2nd distilled)
  • Spiral Flower Wax Tart Mold

Directions:

*Add baking soda and citric acid to a large bowl. If lumpy, break apart with your fingers or sift. Then add 12 mL lemon essential oil and 6 mL peppermint essential oil, 2nd distillation. Using gloved hands, mix the essential oils into the dry ingredients. The moisture level of the mixture is important; it should be wet enough that a handful of the squeezed powder will hold shape. Spritz with witch hazel if you need a bit more moisture but be careful with how much. Too much of the witch hazel will ruin the fizziness of your tabs.

Press the mixture into your molds and leave overnight. To use, simply drop one into your toilet bowl and let fizz, then flush.*

And finally, there is a recipe for the Best Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Ever, brought to you by The Wellness Mama. This is also a paste, however, the baking soda and vinegar make it highly effective. (Seriously, guys. There is no better cleaning product than baking soda. There is a reason our grandmothers all used it for, like, everything.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid castille soap (I recommend Dr. Bronner’s, it really is the best)
  • 25 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar (optional)

Directions:

*Mix baking soda, washing soda, and liquid castille soap in medium-sized container until it’s pasty and mushy. Add essential oils and mix thoroughly. If you choose to add the vinegar, be aware that the soda will make it fizz a little. It’ll stop so don’t freak out. Then, to use, just scoop a little out with a sponge and scrub away!*

As with anything that you use essential or carrier oils in, you’ll want to store your products in either dark glass or opaque containers (steel spray bottles are good also). This will keep them from growing mold or bacteria or going rancid. Make sure you are also storing these items in a cool, dry space.

We all love a clean, sparkling and fresh-scented bathroom; even those of you out there with boys in the house can achieve this with no chemicals to harm your loved ones.

Happy Cleaning, Crafters!

~Scribe Sarah~


DIY Valentine’s Day Wreath

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

Valentine’s Day is just one day that doesn’t get a lot of decorating opportunities around the home since it isn’t one where we really decorate the outsides of our homes. Where we like to keep things classy, I love to see a little touch of holiday decor around this gloomy time of year. So for today I have a really neat tutorial for making a heart shaped wreath out of dyed coffee filters, so not only is it pretty and fluffy, it’s also cost effective and the materials are easy to find. The original tutorial can be found here from Bye Bye Soccer Mom.

There’s some materials and tools you’ll need: A large piece of cardboard (think old boxes), a utility knife, pencil, a medium glass or plastic container for the dye bath, a Phillips head screwdriver, needlenose pliers, a package of 8-12 basket style coffee filters, some red poster paint or watercolour, a craft brush, ribbon or yarn for hanging and some strong tape.

Your first step is to prep your dye-bath.  Fill your bowl with water about 1 inch deep and dip your brush in red paint. Rinse it in the dye bath water. Divide your package of coffee filters into a few separate batches (they can be stacked in the batches, but you don’t want to do them all at once) and place them upside down in the dye bath, and then remove them immediately for a nice ombre.

Load your wet brush with a little paint and touch up the edges of the still damp filters so that there will be more pronounced colour on the edges. Put the batches of filters somewhere to dry for at least several hours, or overnight if you can.

Using the knife, cut out your heart shape on the cardboard (you can use an outline shape or a solid shape, as you prefer), and poke holes with the screwdriver about 1.5 inches apart, all over your base. You can use the pencil to mark where you’d like them.

With your pliers, widen each hole to about one quarter of an inch in diameter to make it easier to put the filters into them. You can also skip this step and use hot glue instead, it just depends on your preference. Separate your dry filters and make flowers by pinching the middle and twisting.

Feed these flowers through the holes in your cardboard.

Continue this step until you’ve filled in all the holes, and you’re done! Attach a piece of ribbon if you’d like to hang it or you can have it resting on a bookshelf.

Where red or pink is beautiful for Valentine’s day, keep in mind you can do other colours and other shapes. You could add glitter, or whatever else you can think of.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


DIY Sugar Scrubs

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It’s the start of a new week, crafty people. Are you planning on trying anything new this week in your craft endeavors? Don’t forget to challenge yourselves. Try something you’ve never tried before. You might find a whole new hobby to take up more of your already dwindling time!

This week, I’d like to feature how to make your own sugar scrubs. In the next year, I set a goal for myself to try and use more natural things in my day to day life. One way to do this is homemade sugar scrubs. These are a great way to exfoliate your skin and some prefer sugar scrubs to salt scrubs as the granules are smaller and less abrasive. So if you have more sensitive skin, I would recommend sugar scrubs.

The basis of almost any sugar scrub is sugar and oil. General rule is 80% sugar, 20% oil. You can add essential oils for homeopathic and aromatic benefits but you don’t have to. Below, are a few basic & easy sugar scrub recipes.

Sweet Orange Sugar Scrub

Ingredients: 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup almond oil, & 7-8 drops of sweet orange essential oil.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, mix well and store in air-tight containers (bail or mason jars work best).

Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrub

Ingredients: 1 cup traditional white sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 5 drops of peppermint essential oil, & 4 drops of cucumber essential oil

Directions: Melt coconut oil. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, mix well and store in air-tight containers (bail or mason jars work best).

Vanilla Lavendar Sugar Scrub

Ingredients: 1 cup traditional white sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, & 5 drops lavendar essential oil.

Directions: Melt coconut oil. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, mix well and store in air-tight containers (bail or mason jars work best).

Honey & Brown Sugar Scrub

Ingredients: 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup almond oil, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, & 1 teaspoon pure raw honey.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, mix well and store in air-tight containers (bail or mason jars work best).

You can use other oils for the base. Olive oil works really well and jojoba oil can be a great benefit for your skin. Adding a little vitamin E is never a bad idea and can help fight against aging in your skin.

So the next time you want to feel a little sweet, add a sugar scrub to your shower.

~ScribeSarah~


DIY Dinosaur Serving Dish

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Good morning, Thursday folks!

I’ve got a cute little DIY for you. I saw this as I was browsing earlier this week and said to myself, “Self, we would use one of those, wouldn’t we?” Well. Who doesn’t need a dinosaur serving plate?

The materials are simple, and can be found at second hand and craft stores. You’ll need a hard plastic dinosaur toy (it has to be sturdy and balanced so that it can be useful), a small melamine plate, sandpaper, strong adhesive, spray paint of your choice, a hand held saw and parchment paper for lining the plate (for food safety reasons). You can find the original tutorial here at Three Little Monkeys Studio.

First, use the saw to cut off the dino’s head just above the shoulders. Try to keep your cut level and use the sandpaper to smooth the cut edges. Also use the sandpaper to score the surface on the top and bottom of your plate so that your adhesive will hold better and have something to grip to.

Apply your adhesive to the body and plate (use the manufacturers directions on your adhesive, as some may want you to let it set before adhering). When you’re ready, attach the plate to the body and allow to cure for 24 hours. When everything has dried and cured, do the same for the dino’s head.

When you’re dry, you can start painting. If you’re feeling super creative, you can do multiple colours, designs of your own, or you can use your favorite spray paint in your favourite colour. A white dino plate is chic. A silver dino plate might be out of this world!

Happy crafting!

Megan

 

 


DIY Stained Glass Votive Candle Holders

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Good morning, hacky friends! Happy start of the week to you all! I hope that you all had a restful weekend (but if it wasn’t restful, I hope it was at least productive).

By now, you all know how much I adore DIY projects and refurbishing things around the house. Well, this weekend, I decided to try out an idea to make your own stained glass votive candle holders. This is a very inexpensive way to decorate for whatever occasion you want. All you need are the following items:

  • Tissue Paper
  • Matte finish Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Glass Containers that hold votives
  • Paper Punches (optional)
  • Q-Tips (optional)

You can pick up glass containers that fit votive candles at any Dollar Tree. But look around your house too. You never know when and where you will find the perfect items to rehab.

First, you want to cut out your shapes from your tissue paper. You can use the scissors to make you own shapes or paper punches to save some time or if you want a more uniform look. Once you have those cut out, set them aside.

Next, scoop out a bit of the Mod Podge with your paintbrush. You can use school glue if you can’t get your hands on Mod Podge. Thin it out very slightly with some water (don’t add too much water or it will saturate your tissue paper, causing it to tear more easily). Place the tissue paper onto your glass and gently affix with the Mod Podge. Be patient and gentle brushing the Mod Podge on or your tissue paper will tear. Once you have your shapes affixed how you want, let the object dry completely.

The dried Mod Podge will give any portion of glass without tissue paper a frosted appearance. If you don’t like or want that, take a Q-Tip and some hot water and scrub the glass sections clean. of the Mod Podge.

Once complete, place a votive candle into the glass, light it and enjoy. You can make holiday specific ones or just everyday decoration. These also make great centerpieces for weddings and banquets. As projects go, this one was easy and inexpensive and thankfully, did not turn into a “Pinterest Fail.”

Enjoy!

~Scribe Sarah~


DIY: Seed Starters

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

In an effort to encourage the cold to go away, I’ve got a simple little tutorial for you that would be really nice as Valentine’s day gifts, wedding or shower favours, or just an I’m thinking of you gift. With the warm weather coming, and gifts of all types being needed for all kinds of different spring and summer celebrations, I thought this might be nice to post. The original post is from Hands Occupied, and is meant as a valentines day tutorial, but looking at it, there’s a lot of different ways you can decorate and manage these special little gifts.

You will need a few supplies: mini mason jars, rubbing alcohol, potting soil, coffee beans or small pebbles, glass adhesive or a stencil of your choice, glass paint, a stiff bristle paint brush, thread, scissors a hole punch and a spoon. You’ll also need the seeds to your favourite plant!


Use the rubbing alcohol to clean the jar and place your adhesive stencil if you’re going to use one.You can also just paint the glass freehand, add glitter, spray paint it, really whatever you like. The simplicity of the little hand painted heart is just so sweet.

Dab the glass paint over the stencil with the stiff brush until the stencil is completely filled. Let the paint dry before removing the stencil.

Cover the bottom of the jar with coffee beans or small pebbles – these will help with the drainage for the plants and seeds – nothing that grows likes to drown. Since there’s no holes in the bottom of the mason jar, this is an important step. Add potting soil to the jar and leave enough room for your seeds to be added and the extra soil they’ll need on top. Give your seeds some water (follow the directions on the seed packaging), but as a general rule, enough water so that the soil is moist  with a little water along the bottom with your beans.

Your last step is to cut a little card and attach it to your mason jar. If it’s for Valentine’s day, a little heart might be sweet. If it’s another event, think of a little vintage style tag. You may want to include how to take care of the seeds: Water regularly but not too much, keep in a warm, light filled area, remember to transplant to a bigger pot once they’ve sprouted.

These little beauties can make great little votive candle holders when the plant has been transplanted. Hope you enjoyed and as always…

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


DIY Doorstops out of Concrete Patio Stones

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It’s Monday, my friends, and today we’re going to talk about doorstops. If you’re like me, you live in an older building and while they do have tons of character, they may also have one other thing; uneven rooms. Most of the doors in my apartment don’t stay open when I want them to. What’s a girl to do?

Well, a girl can go to any home improvement supply store and pick up a few concrete patio stones. You can use regular bricks as well, but I like the patio stones for the shape. Having the wider bottom lends to creating some fun and interesting little characters to hold open your doors for you. However, I feel obligated to point out to you that you can paint regular bricks to look like books, which is also super fun decor (at least if you are a book nerd like myself).

What else might a girl need for this little project? A girl will need some acrylic paints and sealer. I highly recommend getting a large bottle of them at a place like Blick Art Supplies or Michael’s as these bricks are pretty large and you will most likely need more than one coat of paint. A girl may also choose to have decorative items such as ribbons, scraps of fabric, googly eyes, and felt on hand as well. And finally a girl will need paint brushes in many varying sizes and a hot glue gun. (If making these for outdoor use, make sure to get outdoor paint and varnish.)

I will now stop talking like a Faceless Man and move on to describing all the fun things you might want to do with your concrete patio stones. Since they are so easy to make and don’t cost a fortune, you can potentially make one for every holiday! Below are examples of Easter, Christmas, and Halloween.

     

But you don’t just have to stick with holidays. Maybe you really really REALLY like chickens? Or dogs? Maybe you want something special for the door to your new baby’s nursery. Perhaps you live on a farm, or run a dog shelter, or a daycare? These three examples would work great!

     

To make these adorable decorations, start by washing your concrete patio stone with soap and water, then let it dry completely. This removes any dirt or dust that may prevent the paint from sticking to the stone. Once the stone is dry, paint on a layer of the sealer so that your paints don’t “soak” into the stone’s pores. Next, you’ll add your first coat of paint. Since the sealer isn’t going to block off those pores completely, this is why you may need multiple coats of paint for a nice, smooth finish. You don’t have to paint both sides of the stone but you can if you want to.

For your pattern, you can either use graphite paper to transfer a traced pattern onto your stone (you can even purchase patterns from sites like The Winfield Collection) or you can free-hand your own pattern onto the painted stone with a pencil (use light strokes!). Use your pattern to paint on the details for your doorstop. Faces, spots, hands and feet…whatever your pattern calls for that you don’t think you’ll use other mediums to depict. Example of other mediums; wooden cut-outs of hands and feet that can be affixed to the stone and give it more of a three-dimensional feel. Once all of that is dry, put another coat of your sealer on to protect the design. If you are using other mediums (such as those cut-outs or the googly eyes or pacifiers), use your hot glue gun to attach these items once the sealer is completely dry. And that, as they say, is that!

Baseball players, brides & grooms, cows, turtles, ducks, cats… you name it, you can probably paint a concrete patio stone to look like it. The heft of the stones makes them perfect for pretty much any door in your house (unless you live in a castle, like Hogwarts). As with most of my posts, these are great gifts for people as well. They’re functional and fun. They’re ‘fun’-ctional! (Get it? I know, I know… that was such a dad joke. My father would be proud.)

Happy painting, crafty people!

~Scribe Sarah~