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

 


Learn to Knit

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Back when I was but a child, I was actually horrible at crocheting, but was able to pick up knitting. While I don’t find the medium as versatile since I’ve become proficient at crocheting, it’s still a great skill to learn if you’re looking to make clothing. I’ve always stood by that knitting is superior for several clothing items, most notably: socks, sweaters, gloves, and dresses. Crochet does alright in these areas, but man, the tubular nature of the weaving really lends it’s self to superior socks. Crochet is just way too thick.

With all that in mind, I’d like to point you in the direction of Instructables user Carleyy. She has free online guides on teaching yourself to crochet, as she also learned entirely from online sources and adds increased awareness of how to translate some terms/actions better others. There are currently 4 Beginner level, and 1 Intermediate level guides/classes available, but you can follow her on Instructables to get updates on her next lesson/guide. ūüôā


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!

 


Salt Dough Ornaments

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Hey there Thursday readers!

I come to you with a tutorial with an old recipe, one that can be used both for kids an adults and can be a super cheap alternative to dressing a tree with expensive ornaments. That’s right, make your own ornaments. These can be done with kids and they will look rustic and cute, or you can transform them with some glitter or metallic sharpies into some very chic designs. I’ve taken the tutorial from Wholefully¬†(please click to find some more detailed photos), but there are many recipes floating around, and you can ask your mother, she might have one too. You will need some simple tools that you’ll find in the kitchen – like a rolling pin and parchment paper, as well as baking sheets – but you’ll also need some holiday shaped cookie cutters (or if you just want to cut your designs or cut circles using a cup, you can) as well as either painting or drawing materials.

To prepare, you’ll basically be making a rolled cookie dough which is made with 4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water. To make your dough, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl and then slowly pour the warm water into the mix and stir as you go. Keep stirring until all the water is gone, and when that happens you should have a very stiff dough which you will need to knead with your hands for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable, almost like a pizza dough but stiffer. Keep in mind these will make white ornaments. If you would like to have coloured ornaments, you can separate your dough and add food colouring to small portions. It’s up to you.

Next, take a piece of your dough and sandwich it between two pieces of parchment paper. Make sure the paper is large enough and roll your dough until it is 1/8th of an inch thick. You will want to make sure they stay on the thin side as if the ornaments are too thick, they will break more easily due to air pockets in the dough.

Remove the top sheet of parchment and use your cookie cutters to cut shapes into your dough. When you’re finished, keep the pieces on the parchment, and just peel the edges away. You will want to make sure to take a straw to make a hole in your ornaments before you bake them so that you can hang them. If you want to put texture on your ornaments, you can do it here – pierce it with a fork, put fingerprints, use rubber stamps – be creative!

Transfer the whole sheet of parchment paper onto a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree oven for about an hour. You will know they are done as they will harden. They will be a bit overdone if they turn brown, but you will be decorating them so it’s not something that can’t be hidden.

Once they’re cooled, you’re ready to decorate. You can spray a coat of white paint as a base, or you can start decorating them right on the dough.You can use acrylic, tempra, puffy paint, you can use glitter, glitter glue or metalic sharpie markers. You can really decorate them however you’d like, and after you’re done, you just need a sealant (like mod podge) to make sure that they’ll keep – you can do either matte or glossy finish, whatever you prefer. Slide in a ribbon and hang!

Filigree hand done with sharpies from Our Lake Life

Filigree hand done with sharpies from Our Lake Life

There are so many different options that you can do, and here are a few images to inspire you!

From Shelterness, dough that was decorated with plain old blue pen and acrylic spray paint

From Shelterness, dough that was decorated with plain old blue pen and acrylic spray paint.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


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


DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

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Hello to all and happy Wednesday!

This is Kim, of Fantastical Menagerie. I am your guest blogger for today. I specialize in sculpted art, utilizing polymer clay and mixed media. you can find my art on Facebook (www.facebook.com/fantasticalmenagerie), Etsy (www.fantasticmenageries.etsy.com) or at a variety of Conventions and Art Shows on the East Coast.

Autumn is my very favorite season. There’s something about the cooler temperatures, changing leaves and earlier sunsets that bring to mind thoughts of sweaters, apple cider, and hay rides. I thought I would share a tutorial with you that, to me, epitomizes the spirit of fall. Pumpkin earrings and a matching pendant.
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Your supply list for this project is quite small:

  • Premo brand polymer clay in Green Pearl, Pearl, and Orange. You will need approx 1/4 of a package of each color.
  • Three eye pins
  • Earring Hooks (2), and a silver necklace chain.
  • Optional- Pearl Ex Powders in Apple Green and Copper

Tools: Straight blade, Needle Point, and Blunt End Pointer Tool. You can find these in any craft store, in the Sculpey Brand.

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Step One: Lay out your clay, and knead each color until soft. Separate out 1/4 of each color to use. It should be one scored section. Roll three balls with the orange clay.

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Step Two: slightly flatten the top of the pumpkins. Using the needle ended tool, make lines from the bottom to the top, approximately 6 lines to create sections on the pumpkins.

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Step Three: Roll three small balls of green clay, approximately 4-5 mm. put each one, flattened slightly, onto each pumpkin. It should cover any scored line ends. Utilizing the blunt ended pointed tool, make a hole in the top of each green ball after its in place on the pumpkin. Roll out three more pieces of green clay and insert them in the holes for stems.

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Step Four: Roll 12 small pea sized balls of green clay. Pinch one end, and then flatten into a teardrop shape. Make a line in each teardrop, and then use the needle to form the leaf veins on either side of the main line.

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Step Five: Roll out 8-9 clay ‚Äėvines.‚Äô Each one can be approx 1-1.5 inches long. about 1.5-2 mm wide. Twist the vines, and attach to the top of each pumpkin. Add 2-3 vines per pumpkin.

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Step Six: Add the leaves. They should go near the vine tops.

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Step Seven: Using the pearl colored clay, make approx 12 small balls, smaller then the pea sized ones for the leaves. Flatten them into flat disks. Add them to the pumpkins, covering any exposed ends on the vines and the tops of the leaves. Place them in tri-circle patterns.

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Step Eight: Using the blunt tipped pointer tool, poke a hole in the center of each new flower. You can then use a bit of orange clay, rolled, to fill the holes and make the flower centers, or a contrasting color if you have one.

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Optional: Use the Pearl Ex Powders to accent and provide shine to the pumpkins.
 

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Step Nine: Using a clay adhesive such as polybonder or Bake n Bond, put the eye pins in the pumpkins. Bake at 260 Degrees for an hour in your oven. Check the temperature and lower appropriately if using a toaster oven- the clay can burn! Once cooled, you can add your earring wires and/or your necklace chain!

These make great gifts, or add a touch of whimsy to your fall wardrobe. You can change up the colors, try glow in the dark, or even tie-dye style pumpkins. I hope this small project gets you in the mood for Fall!
kim13

 


Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

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Hello there Thursday Readers!

I decided to take a little break from my business musings to bring you a nice little DIY that I thought would be nice, given that wedding season is upon us and groomsmen need some love too!¬†I find that ladies get all the love when it comes to wedding gifts, bridesmaids or bride, we luck out. So let’s hear it for the men! Here are some great DIY gift ideas for the gents involved in a wedding!

1. From Ellavine, a not so quick but unique and stunning idea for groomsmen gifts. You can find the full tutorial here.

This might seem like an odd thing to give another person, but let’s face it. Men think sharp things are cool. I think sharp things are cool, and to be honest, I gave my brother an axe once for his birthday and he loved it. It’s still up on his wall. This is a great gift for rustic weddings, manly men, and men who like to throw axes at targets that aren’t people.

2. From DIY Readypersonalized handkerchiefs. Just scroll down a little.

Where this may seem oddly formal, this can be a great gift for any gentleman who will be wearing pocket squares at your wedding or who wears pocket squares regularly. This is for the debonair gentleman who may want to wipe away the grime before his lady sits, or just to mop the sweat off his brow, you can give him the gift of doing this in the classiest of ways.

3. From Kristi Murphy, we have a tutorial for a DIY custom bottle of yummy goodness.

Maybe giving a big bottle of alcohol isn’t classy. But frosting someone’s name into it makes it infinitely classier, right? Though let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting the gift of a good drink to say thank you. Just remember that you can do this to almost any liquor bottle so long as the label is removable, and for that, Goo Gone is your best friend.

4: From Ehow, a beautiful and very customizable wooden beer caddy.

This fantastic gift can give you endless opportunities to stretch your manly creativity. Adding band stickers or tin labels, hand painting or wood burning, you can do anything with this project to make it a one of a kind for all your special men. And remember, giving a gift filled with beer makes everyone happy. ūüôā

Well crafters, I hope this has give you some inspiration for the gentlemen in your life, and for our lovely gentlemen crafters, I hope this inspires you to make something fantastic for your bros.

Happy crafting!

Megan


Everything is peachy… Until it all blows up.

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Hi there Thursday crafters!

I have for you another contribution on balancing life as a maker, and the things that I’ve come to learn about being a home business owner – especially when it comes to two things that you might not think about when starting up an at home business or becoming a little more serious about your part time craft. The first thing might seem obvious, but I have found that everyone I talk to underestimates it’s power. Stress. In particular, business stress.

This, I think, is a very funny thing. ¬†Business stress doesn’t often seem like stress to me when I’m in the thick of it, as when I’m working away on projects and fiddling through the paperwork and emails, I’m not thinking “Oh, how stressful this is, what a life, I hate going to work.” I love what I do, so I’m happy to do the upkeep, and I get a satisfaction from creating the things that I do. ¬†So, of course, my work is a joy and a pleasure and a cruise around Relaxation Town, right?

Nooooooope. A big fat nope. I was at a doctor’s visit a while ago, and when she made a comment about how nice and relaxing my life is, since I’m working at home, I came to a realization… I wasn’t entirely sure I was less stressed about my life and my job as when someone else was paying my salary. I almost blurted out that I work so much that I often don’t have time to do any of the things she thinks go on when someone works from home. I wanted to tell her that I struggle through the stresses of even just worrying about how to move things forward or about a particular customer, and then it hit me: So many people don’t understand how stressful owning your own business and especially working from home is. ¬†And I got to thinking about how many people are in the same boat with stress levels rising and no way to see them.

 

Stress with your own business can come from many places from financial, to relationship demands, to dealing with clients, to just the simple act of having ideas for the business always generating in the back of your mind. All of us deal with stress differently, and all of us take stress from different sources, and we also have different thresholds for a breaking point. I have a few pointers for helping to keep you sane while working at home. I have found these to be super helpful in derailing the stress that I wouldn’t necessarily realize is there until it’s too late.

1. Take regular breaks – like a good old 9-5 job. There’s a reason why there are labour laws put in place, and breaks are mandated. Where you might be motivated to work a couple days fully through without taking a break, you’re putting enormous strain on your body and not to mention your mind. When I say take a break, I mean actually do it – don’t do another chore. That’s work. Watch an episode of something on TV, sit outside with a lemonade, read a book, walk to the store. Something to take your mind and body out of the workspace for a quick reset.

2. Spend time with your friends and significant other. Don’t think that just because they’re you’re friends that they’re going to understand that you’re going through a crunch of work and can’t see them – especially if that crunch of work lasts for longer and longer or seems to be ongoing. The same goes for your romantic partner – they want and need to feel important and so schedule time with these people. If it seems that you’re choosing your work above them, you may find that your relationships will drift away.

3. Not to mention, that when you do make the commitment of a social outing, that you give yourself a break and let yourself enjoy what you’re doing. This means, that when you’re engaging in your relationships, be present and fully engaged and enjoying what’s going on. Give yourself permission to ignore your phone, to let your work sit without feeling guilty and to know that your customers will understand an afternoon of fun.

4. Take vacations away from your work. Even if it’s a weekend in another city, or in the country, schedule some time where you are physically unable to work on your craft. This helps to take away the guilt of not working when you should (as you’re physically not there), and it also helps you to be more present and able to enjoy the time with your friends or family. It also allows you to remember why you’re working.

Image brought to you by Kna

5. Give yourself a break on housework. It can be really easy to give yourself a hard time for not making the bed, sweeping, doing the dishes and having a hot meal ready when you’re working form home. What you forget is, yes you’re at home, but you’re working, which should mean not available. Don’t let yourself beat yourself up about not having something done, and make sure that the people in your life know that you’re serious about the work that you’re doing so you can help them be on that same page. Stress from a partner over not doing your part when you’re working from home and should have all the time in the world is not helpful if you’re pulling 40 hour weeks. Remember to keep everything in perspective, including your obligations at home.

I know that these were things that I had to learn and have people help me to see because to be honest, it seems like if you’re working from home, a lot of these things like taking breaks and doing housework and seeing friends should be easier to do. But getting wrapped up in something you love can very easily take away your perspective. Remember that you’re working a job, and you’re going to be your toughest boss. Try to be a fair boss to yourself. Work yourself hard, but be conscious of the things you need to be a happy, healthy and balanced. As what can happen when your life becomes unbalance and out of control?

Thank you, Imgr user for this delightful gif.

That’s right. Explosions. EXPLOSIONS!

 

Happy crafting!

~Megan


The Basics of Print and DPI

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With convention season in full swing as of this weekend, many of my fellow artist & artisans will be working with paper for one reason or another for their products. Be it business cards and banners at shows or having your art printed out, it will effect us all in some way. Knowing how the image you see on your screen will look when printed it crucial to having a good finished product and I’ve found the perfect guide to share with you about it.

Printing Guide

Created by Kasandra Murray, this detailed guide goes into not just what settings you should be making your pieces at, but why. Even going into that scary world of RGB color VS CMYK. It’s incredibly informative and spot on with it’s info and I highly recommend giving it a read no matter your skill level. Knowing this type of information can help improve what you print yourself, as well as understanding what those companies/businesses that print your work need from you. Bookmark it and read it while you’re by the pool today.

~Nicole


Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop

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In addition to inspiring others to play with fabric manipulation and electronics in quilting, Cheryl Sleboda would like to inspire us to spring clean our studios and give ourselves a place to craft and sew.

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She has asked an assortment of bloggers to spring clean their studios and share their experience with you.  We will take before and after pictures of our space and talk a little about our studios, our habits, or anything else we want to share!  She announced the bloggers and when they will be sharing pictures this week.

April 20th- Toni Smith – http://www.quiltoni.com/tonis-blog.html/
April 21st – Sam Hunter – https://huntersdesignstudio.com/
April 22nd – Tracey Mooney – http://www.sewsupportive.com/
April 23rd – Pepper Cory – http://peppercory.blogspot.com/
April 24th – Lisa Chin – http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com/
April 25th – Andrea Davis – http://www.sewtofit.com/
April 26th – Misty Cole – http://www.mistycole.com/blog/
April 27th – Amalia Morusiewicz – http://funfromatoz.com/
April 28th – Jenelle Montilone – http://trashn2tees.blogspot.com/
April 29th – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

Did you notice who is going to be first up? ¬†I will be spending my entire weekend cleaning up my studio, organizing all of the new fabrics I have, and getting it presentable. ¬†This is great timing for me because I had a little accident with some cheap shelves that decided to fall apart. ¬†These are the shelves that hold all of my fabric so I really shouldn’t have bought the cheap ones.

Amalia Morusiewicz made a video about last years bloggers.  Take a look to get inspired and get a preview of some of the bloggers that are participating again this year. http://funfromatoz.com/2015/05/15/all-together-now/

I am excited to not only be a part of it, but to read about the other studio spring cleanings as well.  I like my space, but I am always on the look out for more ideas to make it even better.  The best part about the hop is on the last day Cheryl will be inviting all of you to participate!  Spring clean your own studios and share your spaces and blogs with us.  Make sure you use the hashtag #springcleanyourstudio and visit all of the guest bloggers each day.

-Toni