A Hoppy Occassion

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Happy Sunday and happy Easter to everyone that celebrates!

When I was a child, we spent much of Easter with family (and we have a rather large one) and that meant that us kids had to keep ourselves entertained. There was plenty of excitement over the goodies in our baskets but eventually that would wane and we’d find some other mischief to get into. Two of my aunts were very artsy-craftsy, so once that point hit, the kids craft supplies would make their way out! There are some great tutorials out there for some cute crafts for your own swarm of littles if need be and I’ve (of course) pulled a list of my favorites, starting with these adorable chicks made out of the egg cartons from all those yummy deviled eggs:

A super cheap cheap way to keep them busy!

Or maybe use some time to make salt dough eggs that the kiddos can paint/glitter/mark-up:

An egg-cellent chance to show their creativity.

If the younglings are a bit older and craft inclined, they could try their hands at these stinkin’ cute Shaun the Sheep figures:

Maybe while watching some Wallace and Gromit episodes!

And I do hope you wouldn’t think I could get through a DIY Easter list without bunnies, did you? Of course not! These sock bunnies are just the thing:

And…this could include some recycling.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and next week we’ll be at C2E2 here in Chicago! More adventures to come!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Egging it Up

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Happy Sunday, all!

It’s only a week until Easter and besides the bunnies, eggs also come to mind at this time of year. Eggs, the best symbol for potential life and growing things. They are used the world over for a fantastic pop of protein and as a comfort food. We’ve actually covered my topic of choice today a couple of times (Not Your Regular Egg Dyeing Kit and Decorating Easter Eggs: Hard Mode) but the various designs and craftsmanship still continue to capture my imagination. The topic I am referring to is pysanky, the Ukrainian or Polish method of using wax to create amazing designs on eggs.

Just look at all the intricate designs!

This ancient and beautiful tradition has continued through the ages via the hands of some very talented artists. Their patience, dedication, and vision have created some truly inspiring décor.

This particular design by artist So Jeo is so gorgeous! It’s also for sale in their Etsy shop.

In case you were wondering, yes, there are plenty of sites out there with more information on the history of pysanky, Etsy shops filled with absolutely amazing designs, and even a few with instructions on how to effectively make your own (the two I like best can be found here and here).

Plus, imagine the geeky designs to be incorporated. One ring eggs, maybe?

Whichever you choose (bought or made), I hope you enjoy the journey into these stunning examples and it inspires you to further artistic heights – I know it has for me!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Bunnies Galore

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Happy Sunday, all!

Easter is a couple of weeks away and I’ve already been having bunny sightings! Spring has definitely sprung, so let’s get festive and add a few more buns to the mix. If you are the crochet type, you could use all kinds of colors to create these little cuties:

They don’t take that much yarn so the stash could be raided!

Or maybe you’ve already been itching to start a quick/portable hand sewing project? These cute bun buns would do the trick:

I love those widdle whiskers!

Or maybe you’ve still got the old sewing machine out to work on through some of those scrap projects? How about adding a quick bunny basket to the mix:

Just in time to fill with chocolate goodies, too.

Speaking of goodies, I just can’t pass up the opportunity to mention these deliciously cute looking bunny butt cupcakes:

I mean, look at that adorbs tail!

I seem to have become the queen of project lists in the last few months but never fear, I have some tutorials and product testimonials up my sleeve, yet. More to come!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


DIY: Egg Carton Spring Wreaths

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I have for you a project, this morning, that you can do with kids, though it does take a few weeks of planning to save the egg cartons you will need. Though, if you have friends nearby, ask them to save theirs for you and you should have a collection in about a week or two. You can find the full tutorial here at Homemade Serenity. I think this is a super cool idea to do, especially with kids, really anything to get kids working with their hands for something to show off on the front door. My mother used a white garbage bag wreath I made for many years when I was young and it was always one of my favourite things to see when I came up to her house in the winter.

Step one: Making your flower shapes.

Once you have a plethora of egg cartons at your disposal, you and your team of super duper crafters will need to cut out the cups and cut them into varying shapes of petals. Curved, spiky, small petals, big petals. Whatever you can think of! You can save the in between pieces for the centre of the flowers, and you can make leaves out of the flat parts of your cartons. The one piece that you will need to have, that you cannot get from an egg carton is a base for your wreath. You can use an old box, you can buy cardboard or you can just use a clean pizza box lid. All you need to do is cut a ring the size that you would like your wreath and have enough little egg cups and leaves to cover it.

Your next step is to paint these beauties. You can use any kind of paint you like, like bright tempura paints, or if you’re making your own egg carton wreath without little humans running around, you might want to get a little more detailed with the colour. Whoever is doing the painting, let it be fun and cheerful. This is a spring wreath, after all. Paint your base as well so that if there are any spots that are a little less filled, then no one will notice. If you’re working with kids (as that blogger did), you can go in after the main colours are painted to add details or secondary colours. It’s all about how much extra you’d like to do to your happy little wreath.

When your flowers are dry, using a hot glue gun (watch out for little fingers), you can choose where and how to place each flower. They might be a little stiff from painting, but you can manhandle them a little to loosen them up and get them looking how you’d like. Remember you can double them up for a layered effect, glue in the little centres that you made, and to fill in any gaps with leaves. If you want to get really creative you can add pieces of ribbon, you can add glitter glue to edges, you can add buttons to centres… you can really add anything that you’d like. Something like this needs to be super fun and playful. If you would like, you can also spray it with a sealant to keep it for the following year or make a new tradition of making a spring wreath every year! (Like pumpkins!)

When everything is dry and set, you’re ready to hang. Just make sure to hang this cheerful wreath out of the elements, so if you have a covered porch it would be fine, otherwise inside would be best as it is, after all, something that would droop and possibly disintegrate with enough water exposure. I think the finished project is so cute and cheerful that even though it’s just painted egg cartons, it would brighten up any room.

 

Hope you enjoyed the DIY!

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


A Very Egg-cellent Day

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A very happy Easter to all those that celebrate!

I don’t know about you but at all of the Easter celebrations I’ve been to, there is some kind of egg hunt for the kids. In case you’re the one put in charge, here are some last minute ideas for alternatives to the traditional finding eggs in the lawn from She Knows:

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If, however, you’d like to give the grown-ups a chance at the fun, I would also recommend the Egg Hunt Ideas for Adults list I found on International Business Times.

If you use beer instead, it could make for a hoppy good time!

If you use beer instead, it could make for a hoppy good time!

In any case, enjoy your day and I will be back next Sunday with a report from St. Louis Comic Con!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Hatch some Eggs!

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Hello Thursday readers!

Today I bring you a fun, easy and beautiful tutorial from Personal Creations for how to make some Easter decorations for your table, to hang around the house, or to even put surprises inside. You won’t need too much to do this project: coloured embroidery thread (or thin yarn or string), some small water balloons, white craft glue, water, tweezers, a pin/scissors and some string to dry the project.  If you put all this together, what do you get? Egg decorations. You can find the full tutorial here.

These cool little eggs can be done in whatever colour you would like, and I would say that you can even do a dusting of glitter if they’re going to be table centerpieces. They’re super easy and look lovely afterwards. First, you’ll need to make a mixture that’s equal parts white glue and water which you’ll need to mix thoroughly.  Next, you’ll need to blow up your balloons to your desired size. Just make sure they’re inflated enough to stretch the rubber so you get some nice smooth looking eggs.

Next, You’ll need 6-12 inches of embroidery thread, to start, and you’ll need to soak these lengths in the glue mixture. Basically, you will use these strings to wrap around the balloons. You can wrap them in whatever fashion you’d like, though I tend to prefer how they look when they are wrapped from all different angles rather than going just vertically or horizontally.

When your balloons are wrapped, you’ll have to hang them to dry. You can tie the balloons tails to a string or you can use a clip to hold them in place. Please give them lots of time to dry 24-48 hours.

When your balloons are dry, take your sharp object and pop the balloon and pull it out from your net of stiff embroidery thread with tweezers. If you haven’t put glitter on them already and you’d like to, now would be the time to use a spray adhesive and glitter. Or a spray glitter if you can find it.

If you are really nimble, you can even put little chocolates or surprises inside the balloons before you blow them up so that there will be treats inside these easy little wonders.

Image courtesy of Instructables

Happy crafting!

~Megan


It Must Be Felt

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We are into the full Spring of things here at Craft Hackers and I am no exception. I’ve professed my eternal love for plush before but in the last few years or so have noticed a new-ish trend that simply delights me: needle felting. The soft little fuzzies can be so precise in their details yet remain cute and squishy. I’ve been very impressed with several artists I’ve stumbled across at conventions and those that have come across my Etsy feed, especially their Spring inspired collections.

Look at how adorable this little one is!

Look at how quackingly adorable this little one is!

They are whimsical, they are hyper-realistic, they are geeky, they are large and they are small. Each artist infuses their creations with their own flair and it makes the art form quite diverse.

Every bunny needs one of these.

Every bunny needs one of these.

I especially like when I find some intricate designs that just pop against their base color in a plush I wouldn’t mind hiding around the house every year (except that the cats would probably also have fun with it, much to the poor thing’s detriment).

These are so eggs-ellent.

These are so eggs-ellent.

If you are curious about this art form and wonder how to get started, never fear, Etsy is here! There are actually several shops I’ve found with starter kits with several lovely color packs to choose from.

Enough to start your own heart-felt creations.

Enough to start your own heart-felt creations.

If you feel inspired to try your hand at needle felting, please show us your work in the Craft Hackers forums! I’d love to see it!

As today is a typical rainy Spring day, next week we’ll cover some rainy day activities!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 

 


DIY Easter Activities

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The holding of getting drunk and the holiday of bunnies and eggs are separated by less than 2 weeks this year, so I don’t know about you but it’s been taking my by surprise to see all the Easter candy everywhere instead of shamrocks. I decided to jump on that bandwagon today though and share some DIY printable Easter crafts for kids that you can prepare and have ready when the day comes.

First up is a super simple one that’s always a classic; pin the tail on blank. A bunny in this case obviously, but all you’ll need for this game are the printed 12×18, some ribbon to hang it with ans the bunny tails. Bloom Designs recommends more print outs, but I think using cotton balls would be much more enjoyable. 🙂

Being a yarn person, this one from Fantastic Fun and Learning definitely speaks to me as a great way to get rid of unwanted yarn! Simply cut and egg shape out of some cardboard (think cereal box kind), punch a hole at the top to start the yarn and wind away! The kids can even hang it up when they’re done if they like.

Do small things with love has a very lovely spring banner template that you can use on a large group very effectively. All you have to do is print (and cut depending on the age) the pictures out ahead of time, place them next to a bucket of crayons and let them have at it for a while. A bit of yarn of string and tape to hold it down with is all that’s needed when they’re done.

Lastly I Gotta Create! give us these super cute bunny head bands, with bonus tails! Not sure how well those would stay on, but this is a printable you’d have to take to your local copy/print location to get run off. If the kids are old enough you could even let them be the ones to cut out their own head band. 🙂


Not your regular egg dying kit…

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Growing up in Canada, April has always been the month of fantastic chocolate that goes on sale quickly, pastel colours on everything, and of course, dying eggs. I have dyed eggs almost every year since I was a young lass. I stopped when I moved out on my own and would only really end up with a bunch of eggs that I didn’t know what to do with. Anytime I’m with family for a couple of days over the holidays, or thinking of something fun to do with friends around this time….. the eggs become involved.

If you have dyed eggs before, you probably remember getting excited by the colours that the little pucks of dye turn in the water and vinegar. The thrill of dipping your virgin white egg into a bowl of  colour. I might be exaggerating a little, but it was always fun to try and make the most interesting colours and combination of colours to accent your designs in wax crayon.  It was like working with watercolours with blending to make new colours and everything light and soft and covered in pastel colours.

Of course, as we all know, things are done in different ways all across the globe. In the Ukraine, there is a very interesting twist to this similar tradition. I was invited to my friends house to do some egg dying. She had been talking about dying these eggs for weeks. I love egg dying as much as the next girl, but I couldn’t really understand why she was so excited. She was telling me about these special egg decorating kits that she had to search for online as the craft store she used to get them at doesn’t sell them anymore.  You can buy them for about 35 dollars depending on if you can find them locally or not.

When I arrived at her place, her hands were covered in blue powder along with other parts of her.  She was just finishing up getting the dyes ready. Already, I could see the difference. little white pouches contained the dyes for our eggs. Amazing colours with only a couple pastels to be seen.  We had a bright fuchsia purple, turquoise, scarlett, and most surprisingly, black.  They were all vivid.  Laid out on the table were a few other things I didn’t know were involved. Candles, little tablets of beeswax and kitskis

Like a mad scientist walking into an outfitted lab....

Like a mad scientist walking into an outfitted lab….

This was a whole process that really should have spanned over a couple of days and I could definately envision ladies sitting down to put together these little treasures. The first big difference is in the eggs.  These kits advise you to use large goose eggs that can handle the teeny tiny designs that are involved.  We used both regular and goose eggs. Another big difference is that these eggs need to be room temperature so that condensation doesn’t happen as it warms up. The third difference is that these eggs are not hard boiled, but raw so that the insides will dry up and you can just display them.

Another thing that is a little different is that the instructions instructed us to draw our patterns onto the egg in pencil first. Traditional patters are very geometric and quite lovely.

Eggs not made by me, but by a professional!

I scoffed at these patterns as I decided that my first egg should be done freehand. So skipped the pencil and went right to the kitski – of which we had 3 different sizes (that looked like the blue one pictured below).

The drawing tool used to put melted wax on Ukranian eggs.

They work like fountain pens where you fill this little metal cup with wax which you need to melt in a candle to get flowing. The wax flow is precise and delicate lines. The hardest part was to trust that it was writing when you couldn’t really see it, which is the most time consuming and frustrating mistake we made as so long as when blotted on a paper towel it left a little spot of melted wax, then you were good to go. The thicker wax made everything harder to clean up later.

After the first layer of wax is applied you can dunk the egg into the first colour. All of the initial design ends up being white.

After the first wax and dip. Not my egg, but one a little bit nicer.

After the first wax and dip. Not my egg, but one a little bit nicer.

With Ukranian egg dying, as with regular egg dying, you should start with the lightest colour and move through to the darkest, selecting 5 or 6 that you’d like  to use. After the first colour is applied you can take the kitski again and continue the design or add accents.  These accents are preserved in the colour the wax was melted over. Anything added to the egg above would be orange, for example. This continues as many times as you’d like. The cool thing about these dyes that is different from what I am used to, is that they thoroughly dye over the colour before, like paint. These colours are bold and bright and amazing.  It’s like comparing the watercolour of the Canadian eggs to acrylic.

After you apply all your wax and all your colours, you hold your egg to a candle and melt it all way to reveal the work of art underneath. For the moment of truth:

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My first set of eggs

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My gentleman’s first egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are not quite the geometric designs of the traditional eggs, but it does really give you an idea of how bright and amazing the colours are.

 

After the first night I was hooked and went back a few days later to do a few more eggs. Now, I didn’t catch pictures of them before my cats  knocked over the container, but there are witnesses that my eggs looked similar to this:

 

  This is not my egg. But it gives you an idea of what my second set looked like.

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Take a close look at the egg as she removes the wax… the designs we got to after experimenting were not half bad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally, these types of eggs are given as gifts to bring prosperity and good luck. There are different symbols that can be incorporated into these designs to bring good luck, money or any number of good things to the recipient.  These eggs are meant to be given as gifts and to be displayed out of sunlight to avoid fading. No egg wars for these puppies!

I had a lot of fun and if you have the time and the patience, it’s really impressive and rewarding when you uncover your work.  I don’t recommend them for anyone very young as it’s quite delicate work, but I could have spent a weekend putting these together and watching my favourite movies.

 

~Megan


Hoppy Easter

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As most of the media/retail may have told you, today is the day that small children hoping a giant sentient bunny comes to their homes to leave candy/money/toys around their home/yard so that they can run around and get a sugar high. 😀

And something about a zombie coming back? I dunno….holidays are weird.

In case the sugar doesn’t hold you over for today though, here are some great crafts you can do with your friends/loved ones while waiting for that delicious honey ham to finish cooking.

A great collection of Egg Dying options

Make some kid friendly stamps from that adult wine you opened up

New take on hand prints for Easter pictures

Candy Necklace? Lame. Jelly beans? Now we’re talking

The classic create a starter garden kit from all those egg cartons

For those that celebrate it, be it religiously or not, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday today. 🙂

~Nicole