A new year brings change

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Hello to all of you! I’m Kim from Fantastical Menagerie. Toni from Quiltoni asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the blog spot here on Crafthackers, and I was delighted.

I have been running my own art business for twelve years, and full time since 2011. I work mostly in polymer clay, and some mixed media. I tend to work with sculpting animals into wearable art. Besides doing a number of ComicCons and Art Shows each year, you can find my things on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fantasticalmenagerie or on Etsy at www.fantasticmenageries.etsy.com.

I am hoping to have some tutorials over the next few months, along with ideas to inspire you to create! If you would like to see one I posted here in September, here is the link. It’s on clay pumpkin earrings.

DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

We have a new year in front of us, and so many things to try.


This Rose Will Continue to Bloom

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It will bloom forever as it is frozen in time. Seriously. Argent Rose Studios is a personal favorite Ren Faire haunt of mine if only for the delicious smells. You see, they make metal roses of all shapes, colors, bud sizes, and SMELLS.

I assure you, these do not smell like metal.

I assure you, these do not smell like metal.

That’s right! The artists hand craft each and every one of these little beauties from steel. They are then expertly airbrushed, sealed, and daubed with rose (or other) scent hidden in a cleverly concealed sponge in the center. To renew the scent, you simply drip a little more oil onto the sponge and it smells like new! Truly, these are works of art. They have several bud “sizes” from just a bud to fully bloomed and in all colors of the rainbow. All of the colors are super vibrant and eye catching.

These are very likely to chase your blues away!

These are very likely to chase your blues away!

If a vase is not your style, what about a simple tabletop rose or some rose hair sticks?

ArgentRoseTabletop  ArgentRoseHairsticks2

I think my favorite part of heading to their booth each year is finding out what the new featured color/scent will be! Every year they have a featured collectable release scent and color. This year’s was called “Cherry Cordial” and it looked and smelled just like a luscious cherry candy.

Mouth-wateringly wonderful cherry.

Mouth-wateringly wonderful cherry.

These roses are great for gifts and will most certainly last longer than their real-life equivalents. If you would like to send an undying, sweet smelling pick-me-up, Argent Rose Studios can be found on their website and Facebook. I can’t wait to see next year’s new color and scent!



A Mug for All Seasons

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On this Sunday, I bring you a mug of friendship with a dash of creativity.

This is a really big mug of friendship!

This is a really big mug of friendship! It actually has three handles.

Sound delicious? I assure you, it is! I’ve frequented many a Renaissance Festival and I especially love browsing the various artisans that set up shop. One that has had a place in my heart for years is Wondrous Works in Wood. They specialize in handmade wooden mugs but over the years, they’ve increased their beautiful offerings.

WWW mug selection

Look at all of those styles!

From mugs, to goblets, to shot glasses, to straws, to eating utensils, to wooden instruments, they make so many lovely things! All mugs are handcrafted from different types of hardwood and then sealed with thin (but effective) FDA-approved plastic. Because they are real wood, most of the mugs are one of a kind due to the grain and character of the wood itself but they often have several in the same style. This medium truly allows for some amazing patterns and shapes. The intricacy of some of the designs just leaves me astonished!

WWW checked mug WWW Goblets WWW Flame Box Elder mug

They can also add a monogram or custom design etched right into the mug type of your choice!

Maybe even your mug on a mug?

Maybe even your mug on a mug?

If you don’t feel like this is enough muggy goodness, know that they also have mug accessories like mug caps (for keeping unsightly bugs out of your drink), straps (for hanging your fashionable mug from your belt), and even mug corsets and hats!

Aren't we looking spritely today?

Aren’t we looking spritely today?

These mugs really stand up to wear and tear. Because they are made from hardwood (and so shrink and expand a little bit with heat and cold), it is not recommended that the mugs are put in the dishwasher or microwave but with hand washing afterwards, they are great for both hot and cold drinks. The best part about this business is not only their passion for their product but also for their customers. If your mug has an unfortunate accident (and it has not broken into more than 5 pieces), ship it to them and they will fix it, free of charge! They also make a very conscious effort to reduce and re-use their leftover wood by donating the remains to local art initiatives and classrooms. So if you are looking for a classy, useful drinking vessel, look no further!

Wondrous Works in Wood can be found on their website, Facebook, or Etsy.



Maker Faire in Milwaukee

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The Maker Faire is coming to Milwaukee on Sept 27 & 28th at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.  What is a Maker Faire?

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

Maker Faire Milwaukee will feature makers showing off technology, art and craft making, electronics, pyrotechnics, engineering, gardening, and other projects created by the makers themselves. In addition to displays and exhibits, Maker Faire will feature a Power Racing Series event, FIRST ROBOTICS teams and special performances, speakers, demonstrations and workshops featuring 3D printing, laser cutting, microcontrollers, learn to solder, science experiments… and much more.

The best thing about the Maker Movement is it is FREE to attend!  If you are a crafter, artisan, tinker, etc and you want to exhibit then fill out this form ASAP because it is after the deadline, but they may still consider you.

If you live anywhere near the Milwaukee area (or want to visit for the weekend) then you should put this on your things to do list.  It looks like an amazing time.

If you would like to see some of the artists that will be showing their talent, things to do, or anything about the faire you could possibly want to know, head over to their site at https://makerfairemilwaukee.com/.