Etsy Shop Featurette: Identity Metals

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Who loves jewelry? I know I do, especially fandom-inspired things. I have a TARDIS necklace that is just the best. So when I stumbled across this little Etsy shop, my eyes just about popped out of my head.

Identity Metals is run by Katie Hroncich and is all about hand stamped metals. Every piece is unique in the smallest way. Katie explains in her Etsy bio that hand stamping means that no two pieces will ever be aligned or straight and that the pressure of the stamp gives a different depth and alignment to all the characters. These pieces are truly original and best of all, they go with everything.

There are bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Fandoms featured include Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones (I personally adore the Game of Thrones Inspired – Moon of my Life, Sun and Stars Keychains), The Walking Dead and more. The best part of Katie’s shop is that she does customized pieces as well.

I highly recommend this shop to anyone who loves to wear their fandom heart on their sleeve…or neck…or ears. You can browse through the wonderful items at Identity Metals here.


DIY Personalized Mouse Pads

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Good morning Crafthackers!

I have for you a DIY for he men in your life. Whether it’s a birthday or a groomsmen gift, finding hand made gifts that work for men can be a challenge. What I love about this tutorial, as the original writer states (who is a gentleman), is that it’s gender neutral. So you can customize it for whomever you’d like to give it to, but that makes it perfect for a gift for a gentleman.

This is a tutorial for a hand printed mouse pad (you can find the original here). Perfect for gamers, tech lovers, and people who work at a computer. You’ll need some supplies for this. You’ll of course need an 8″ round, blank mouse pad. For your own ease of work, I would probably choose ones that don’t have the wrist rests, and I would probably choose white, so you can do whatever other colour you would like, and it will show up easily. You will also need 8.5 x 11 full sheet labels, a computer and printer, a craft knife/box cutter and cutting surface, a textile acrylic paint and stencil brush (which is available at craft stores, and iron and wax paper.

Your first step is to choose your design from a template that you can find online (check out this website here) or you can design your own if you’re artsy that way, and print it onto the label paper. Secoondly, you’ll need to choose your colour palate, and a lighter colour for the background is recommended, and a darker one for the foreground image. You will need to use the stencil brush to apply a base layer of colour.

While this coat dries, you can use this time to cut out the grey images of your template.

Make sure to keep the white images that you cut out though, as they will be the resist for the top layer of colour.

Peel the backing layer off the largest piece, and carefully adhere it to where you would like it to be on the mousepad. Using the template to refer back to, place the other pieces on the mousepad so that you have a replica of the original image on the mousepad.

Mix your top colour to your satisfaction and using a stencil brush, use quick dabs to apply the paint. Wish stencilling, you don’t want to have massive quantities of paint on your brush. It’s better to go with less to get the sharper lines. Remember, you can always go over the design a second time to make sure the area is covered.

When the paint is dry, cover the mouse pad with two layers of wax paper and iron on medium high heat (or follow the package directions) to set the ink.

And that’s it! Now, keep in mind that if you’re wanting to add other colours, that you can do that in any of the negative spaces. You’re not limited to one colour.

Hope you enjoyed this cool tutorial. Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY Bath Salts (part two): Know your ingredients

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Last week, I showed you how easy it is it make your own bath salts. As with any recipe, they are not set in stone. You can certainly customize these recipes just as you would food recipes. However, as with the food you eat, it is important to know which ingredients are good for you and which are not. That’s what this Monday’s post is all about.

There are three main ingredients in most of the DIY bath salt recipes you will find online; salt, essential oil, and the carrier for the essential oils (usually another oil). Some of these recipes will add baking soda but I have found it isn’t absolutely necessary. However, it does provide some health benefits in its own right! Let’s start with the salts.

There are four kinds of salt that are most beneficial for bath salts. The easiest to find is, of course, Epsom salt. Anyone who has played sports or been active knows that Epsom salts are incredibly helpful in soothing sore muscles. It also helps when you’re sore from a bad fall…not that I have any personal experience with that part at all…. I’m lying, I fall on my face frequently. But Epsom salt (and really all salts listed here) are a great source of magnesium. Epsom salt is actually composed of tiny crystals of magnesium and sulfate, making it very different from your run of the mill, regular table salt. Our bodies need magnesium for a number of reasons, one of which is that it helps our bodies produce serotonin. Serotonin is that fun little chemical in our brain that helps make us happy. Low levels of serotonin can be a key indicator of depression in humans.

Magnesium also helps relax us and reduces irritability. This is something that can come in handy for us females during certain periods of time. *winknudge* Another huge benefit of magnesium is that it helps eliminate toxins from your body. Soaking in this will allow your body to expel toxins through your skin, which helps to keeps us healthy and happy. Some people even believe that soaking in magnesium sulfate can help purge your aura of negativity. For some other ways that Epsom salts can benefit you, please see this article over at Natural Living Ideas.

The other salts I mentioned earlier also contain magnesium, so some of the benefits are the same. Himalayan Pink sea salt also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which makes it really soothing and beneficial for skin problems like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Also, it’s natural coloring makes it popular for bath salts since you don’t need to use artificial coloring then. Only downside there is that it only comes in pink. Dead Sea Salt is one of the most natural bath salt ingredients you’ll find. These salts are extracted directly from the Dead Sea and undergo very little (if any, in some cases) processing. This one, however, is a little more difficult to come by and can cost more. The biggest difference between Epsom and sea salts is the composition: while Epsom salts are purely magnesium sulfate, sea salts are mineral rich. They contain important minerals like calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. These minerals are all natural and things that our bodies need to be healthy. Our lifestyles in today’s society tend to be deficient in a lot of these minerals so this is a lovely way to replenish them to our bodies.

A fourth salt that can be used is standard kosher salt. This works great to mix with the Epsom salts. This way you get the benefits of the magnesium sulfate from the Epsom salt and the minerals of the sea salts.

The other important ingredient is what is called a carrier or base oil. This is what you will add the drops of your essential oil to in order for it to mix with the water of your bath. I personally like to use oils because of the benefits to skin but you can also use things like castile soap or shampoo. I’m going to focus on the oils that I have used in the past. One reason I like these is because you can mix the essential oils with these and use them as moisturizers instead of mixing with the salts. Some of my favorites are apricot kernel seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil. You can also use green tea seed, olive, jojoba, sesame, and hemp seed. All of these oils are great for moisturizing skin but most of them also have antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties.

As I posted in last week’s post, if you are using a base oil like sesame or sweet almond, make sure that the person using it is not allergic to it. DIY bath salts are super easy and inexpensive gifts for showers and holidays but you don’t want your gift to make your friend or family member to break out in hives or, ya know, go into anaphylactic shock.

Basically, these things are easy to make as long as you know and respect the ingredients. Some wonderful resources to look through if you want to research your own can be found here and here.

 

~Scribe Sarah~


Burlap Candle DIY

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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 Bath Salts (Part One)

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It’s been a long, hard day and all you want to do is soak in a hot bath, maybe with a book or some soothing music. Adding aromatherapy to this scenario will take your relaxing bath to a whole new level. Some people use incense or Scentsy wax. But there is a little something that anyone can whip up quite quickly that will make that bath not only soothing but also beneficial to your health as well. Add a little bath salt.

There are a bunch of different recipes that you can use to make a simple, scented bath salt. I’m including the one that I use more frequently. This recipe is simple and all the ingredients are easy to obtain. Most items can be found at a grocery store and things like the essential oils can be found at stores like The Vitamin Shoppe. Be aware that essential oils need to be understood and used with care. I did a lot of research about how to use essential oils safely and the chemistry involving how these oils interact with your body.

There are many types of salts that can be used in bath salt recipes but Epsom salts are usually the easiest to find. Next week, you can read about the different types of both salts and carrier oils that can be used in the making of bath salts. A carrier oil is a seed or vegetable oil used to dilute the essential oils before they are applied to skin. If you try to put straight essential oil into your bath water, you’ll notice that your skin will start to burn and irritate. This is because oil and water do not mix so the essential oils tend to float on top of the water. Then you get into the bath and the oils are attracted to the lipids in your body, causing irritation (usually made worse by the heat of the water). You should never add essential oils directly to the bath water, always make sure you are diluting them with either a carrier oil, salt or both.

The recipe I use most uses both a carrier oil and salt. I like this recipe because Epsom salts are not only easy to find but it also helps sooth sore and achy muscles. This is especially nice after a hard workout or if you’ve taken a fall. You will need the following items:

  • 1 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup Baking Soda
  • 2 tbsp carrier oil of your choice
  • Essential oils (whichever scents you want)
  • A large bowl
  • A small bowl
  • A whisk
  • A rimmed baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Mason jars

To begin, combine one cup of the Epsom salt, one cup of the kosher salt, and a half cup of the baking soda into the large bowl and mix together.

Once you have those things mixed well, place off to the side and in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of your carrier oil. For the batch I made today, I used sweet almond oil. Be aware that if you plan to make a gift of these, check with the person about potential allergies! You don’t want to give someone who is allergic to almonds a bath salt that is made with almond oil.

Next, add 20 drops of your essential oil to the carrier oil. You can mix different scents if you like. I used eucalyptus, lavender, and spearmint for a relaxing and head-clearing bath salt. Stir the essential oils into the carrier oil. At this point, if you want to add a color to your salts, you can do so by adding a drop or two of food coloring to the carrier oil and mixing it in. You do not have to do this. Take your large bowl with your mixed salts and add the now mixed carrier & essential oils. Mix thoroughly with the whisk. (Make sure the dishes you are using for this either get cleaned really well or use dishes that are not used for food items).

Once the carrier oil is thoroughly mixed into the salts, spread some aluminum foil onto the baking sheet and then spread the salts out onto the foil. Let sit for about 15 minutes. This allows the salts and the oils to dry out a bit and bond together. Then you can carefully pull up the corners of the foil and use this to pour your salts into your Mason jars for storage. I like to use Ball Mason jars because they have measurements on the side. 1 cup of the finished salts equals one bath.

     

I hope you enjoy this recipe and there are a number of other recipes and tips to try from the internet as well. One can be found here along with a number of other fun DIY items (the focus of the webpage is for brides but some of the items can be for every day use also).

~Scribe Sarah~

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DIY: Birdseed Wedding Favours

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

Wedding season is coming up and if you’re getting married, and haven’t taken care of your favours yet, not to worry! Here’s a DIY from Intimate Weddings that is simple, easy and super sweet.

All you’ll need is 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup water, an envelope of unflavoured gelatin (2.5 teaspoons), 3 tbsp corn syrup, 4 cups of birdseed. You will also need some tools. A large mixing bowl, a heart shaped cookie cutter (or whatever shape you would like), nonstick spray, a chopstick or bamboo baking skewer (for hole poking), parchment paper, a cookie sheet and jute or raffia or whatever string/ribbon you’d like to use to hang your feeders (you can go rustic or match your colours). You’ll also need some card stock, a rubber stamp (with your message on it), ink, a rounded corner punch and a hole punch. Be aware, this will make approximately 20 two inch hearts.

 

Mix flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup. Add birdseed and mix well.

Lubricate the inside of the cookie cutter with your spray (or wipe it with oil), Place the cookie cutter on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and spoon the mixture inside of the cookie cutter and press the mixture firmly with greased fingers. Make sure it’s tightly packed, as the tighter it is, the less shedding you will have.

 

Use your skewer or chopstick to poke a hole near the top of the heart to thread your string through.

Carefully pull cookie cutter away from birdseed heart.  Repeat until all the mixture is used up.You should respray the cookie cutter after every six hearts, that way it won’t stick.

 

Let them dry for 6-8 hours or overnight. Cut 10-12 inches of jute/whatever you chose for each heart. String the jute through the heart and add your tag. You can use the rubber stamp (your choice), your card stock, and the rounded corner punch to create your tags. Tie the jute into a knot after you have added the tag. They’re ready to be hung from branches at the wedding or you can put them on the table inside bags or boxes. It’s useful to note you should make these no more than a few days ahead of time, otherwise they may molder if they’re left for long periods of time.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan.


DIY Ring Bowls.

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Hey Thursday Readers!

Still being in the throws of wedding season, I thought another DIY gift would be in order. You can make something like this for a shower before the wedding so that the couple can use it on the day of their wedding, or it can be a gift for after that they can leave by the sink to put rings in while we wash dishes. This project was taken from Intimate Weddings, so feel free to check the full tutorial here.

For this beautiful and simple project, you’ll need:

  • 795 gram package of White Oven Bake Clay (which should be available at any local craft store.
  • Letter Stamps (also should be easy to find at a craft store)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Bamboo stock or chopstick for to use as an awl to poke holes.
  • Lid to cut out the shape (like a lid for a tub of ice cream)
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Parchment paper.
  • A smallish oven safe bowl (like Pyrex)
  • Spray sealant and paint for finishing if you would like it.
  • A fabric doily

Your first step is to form your dough into a ball and place it on the parchment or silicone liner. Roll your dough out with your rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Place your fabric doily where you would like it to appear (you can put it in the centre or off to the side and either way it would look fabulous). Roll your rolling pin over top of it to press the design into the clay.

Use your lid to establish how big your bowl will be and to use it as a centre point to choose where to put your letters. You can do initials, or names, you could even do a small poem if your letters are small.

When you’re ready to cut the shape, peel off your doily to reveal the beautiful imprint.

Use your lid to cut the clay and form your circle. Save any excess clay for future projects.

After you remove the clay and the lid, you’ll have a circle that’s ready to be moulded into a bowl.

Use your awl tools to poke two holes at the top of the plate if you’re thinking of giving this as a ring bearer bowl at a wedding. You can omit these if it’s to be used as a ring dish at the sink or elsewhere.

Next you need to form your birds (if you’re making birds) or any other accents that you would like. If you’re making something you’d like to have stand on the side of the dish, use an existing dish to form the clay underneath them so they will be easy to adhere to the bowl.

Place your soft clay plate into the bottom of your oven safe bowl. Remember, it should be big enough to create a bowl, but not so small that your bowl is a teacup.

Place oven-safe bowl (and birds) on a cookie sheet and put into the oven for approximately 30 minutes (use the baking directions on the package, please!). When it’s done, remove from oven and let cool inside bowl for 20 mins. When cool, turn bowl over. It should pop right out.

Sand down the edges of your bowl until they are nice and smooth, as well as your birds. A sandpaper sponge would be ideal for this as opposed to regular old sandpaper. Use a little superglue to adhere your birds to the dish.

And you’re done! Well. If you’re inclined to paint your project, now would be the time, or add accents in paint or gold leaf or anything fancy like that. If you’re adding extra touches at the end, or if you’re going to be having this dish be for ring removal when you’re washing, I would make sure to use a good spray sealant so that the paint is sealed on, and the water can’t get in.

and you’re done! A beautiful gift, that takes just a little creativity.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Put a Cork in it: DIY Etched Wine Cork Shadowbox

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I have a tutorial for you this morning on making your own etched shadow box from Sometimes Homemade. As an FYI, this isn’t a tutorial for creating a shadow box, but there are plenty of tutorials online. Just keep in mind if you’re making one, to leave an opening at the top to pop corks inside. This tutorial is going to focus on glass etching a box that has already been put together, and you can find them online or at craft stores. Just remember to look for a top loading shadow box, otherwise, you’ll need to drill a hole for the corks to be dropped in.

This is a great gift for any wine drinker, as not only does it preserve their great wine drinking memories, but it looks pretty awesome as a piece of art, too. You’ll need some supplies which you may have to visit a craft store for, anyway. You’ll need the top loading shadow box (make sure to get one big enough to hold a number of corks – 12×12 is a decent size), etching cream (Martha Stewart is easily found at craft and hobby stores, and might come with a brush), a medium sized craft paint brush, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls or cloth, and lastly, a stencil. You may also want a box cutter to cut out finer details on your stencil, depending on what you’ve chosen.

The stencil is the cool part. This is one that you can design yourself or print out something to personalize your gift. If it’s a wedding gift, you can monogram the box with the bride and groom’s initials, or give them a logo to go with their last name. You can do this freehand, or if you’re handy with the computer. You can also find lots of different printable stencils online, so make sure to do your research for what you’d prefer to do on this one.

For your first step, you should clean the glass with the rubbing alcohol and cotton, and allow to dry thoroughly. While it dries you can cut out your stencil and temporarily adhere it to the glass where you would like it to be.

Apply a thick and even layer of the etching cream to the glass that is exposed through the stencil. You are going to want it thick, so apply at least two thick layers, if not more. Only put the etching cream where you want the etching cream. You can’t really remove the effects once it gets put on the glass. After the cream is dry/set, about 15-20 minutes (see directions on your product) you can rinse away the residue and you should come out with etched glass underneath. If you’ve missed spots or it isn’t as etched as you like, you can go over your spots a second time and repeat the process.

And you’re done! A personalized, super cool way to give a really neat and affordable gift that is sure to impress.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY: Aged Canvas Prints

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I bring to you a lovely little tutorial. Given that we are coming into the season of weddings and birthdays, I though that this is something you can do to make a fairly impressive gift that is personalized and awesome. I found this tutorial at A Beautiful Mess and I love that you’re able to do this on a canvas. It’s super impressive!

You will need a few supplies. You’ll need a stretched canvas (8×10 is nice, and you can find these at craft and sometimes dollar stores), a gel medium (like Liquidex), a paint brush and a laser copy of the image you’re wanting to transfer. You’ll also need a spray bottle filled with water.  Your next step is to paint your canvas with the gel, and be generous. Next you will need to press the photo copy onto the canvas and let it dry for few hours, or overnight if you have the time.

After the image dries, use the spray bottle to get the top of the paper wet again, and then rub the surface with your fingers until the paper starts to come away. This will reveal your (mirrored) image underneath. Just be careful not to rub too vigorously, as it might remove the image rather than just the paper. Remove all the paper this way until you can see the whole image. Cover the canvas with an extra coat of the gel medium to seal and protect it.

Remember, that your image may not come out perfectly. In fact, it will probably have a number of spots where the image didn’t transfer exactly, but this is a project where rustic is the name of the game. So that’s kind of the idea. This is a great gift idea for any wedding, or any other occasion where pictures make a great gift but you want to give something just a little bit more.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


Sheena’s Scottish Shortbread

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Good Morning Crafthackers.

This chilly morning, I bring to you the perfect thing for having with your nice hot tea or coffee. I don’t often run across food vendors when I go to markets and shows for makers but, as you can see, it does happen. I love when makers make food and bring them to craft shows. Not only because it’s a way to get some home made goodies made from family recipes out into the world, but as vendors, it can provide some delicious noms during the slow moments.May I present, Sheena’s Scottish Shortbread.

This particular set of noms comes from a 100 year old recipe that was literally passed down through the family. It is also a recipe that can be traced back to a Scottish origin, so these are true Scottish shortbreads. Not just that, they’re hand made, so you know that the secret ingredient going into the food is love. They also come in 3 flavours – original, lemon and maple.

You can buy these lovely shortbreads (I can tell you they’re lovely, I tasted them), at makers shows across the GTA, which you can find a list of here, something that’s pretty amazing is that when I talked with these ladies, they don’t just sell bags for your personal consumption. Orders can be put in to have wedding or shower favours made, or favours for some other kind of special occasion.

Be sure to check out their website, and their Facebook page for updates as to where they’re going to be and when as well as photos of not just the booth but new baked goods that are coming out of the kitchen.

Now that you’re hungry,

Happy Crafting!

~Megan