Special Delivery for Mom

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Happy Sunday, all!

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day here in the U.S. and there is still time to find excellent items for that wonderful Mom in your life. During my usual romp through Etsy, I found some great ideas, starting with this cute mug for those that don’t live near Mom:

So she can think of you every morning!

Up next, I was never really a fan of those children/grandchildren necklaces with birthstones until I came across these “family tree” style ones that look like leaves:

A monogram leaf and a birthstone for each child/grandchild looks so elegant.

The third idea I came across that really hit close to home for me was a custom printed recipe towel. My Mom, Grandmother, and I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen together, making family recipes. This seems like just the thing to bring that nostalgia as well as preserve some of those treasured recipes:

Grandma’s Snickerdoodle recipe can be immortalized in towel form!

Finally, I won’t call this a cop-out gift but it IS kind of a default in our family…chocolate. We can bump up the special factor a bit by personalizing the message on the chocolate at least:

A tasty treat and a cute sentiment.

I love giving my Mom homemade gifts, even if they aren’t made in my home!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


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


Making Your Own Luck

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Happy Sunday, all!

This coming week includes a very special day of the year for me – St. Patrick’s Day! I have a rather large affinity for my Irish heritage, always having been obsessed with stories and images of the island, it’s music, and the knot work that is often incorporated into Irish art. One of the most prevalent symbols of the particular day, though, has been the shamrock. This humble little plant, found in grassy knolls across the world is a symbol of pride and tradition to those of Irish origin and descent. It’s considered lucky to find a four-leafed clover but the three-leafed shamrock (origin of the word in Irish Gaelic simply means “little clover”) is also a source of luck, inspiration, and spirit, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s usually a bit too cold yet here in the Midwest to find a field of clover so we’ve been forced to make symbols of our own. I’ve found some great ideas all over the web for “greening up” the place!

First up is for those with a rather large stash of washi tape:

If this inspires you to start a washi tape stash, I am so sorry.

Or how about something for that big tin of buttons (or maybe raid grandma’s?):

Everyone still plays the cookies or buttons in the tin game, right?

Do you perhaps have some Scrabble tiles from other projects? Then this may be the project for you:

Or maybe just a game of Scrabble that happens to be missing some pieces?

I’m a rather large fan of this burlap and felt wreath, especially for the little rainbow that’s included:

Those super cute shamrocks could be used for other things as well.

Lastly, to adorn yourself in a bit of greenery, there is always a bit of crochet to be had:

Cute and easy with a little safety pin on the back!

I wish you luck and light this week and all the rest of the year. We’ll see you next week wherein I’ll start digging up some spring inspired projects!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Sweet Messages

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Happy Sunday, all!

Only 2 more days until V-day and perhaps you or the child in your life still hasn’t made up their mind about cards to give their friends. I’ve found some great, quick ideas for DIY Valentine cards that leaves a lot of room for personalizing and creativity. First up is a throwback to one of my other posts dealing with peg dolls:

Make them as nerdy as you want!

I could just imagine making some Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter peg doll Valentines with sayings like “Be my precious” accompanying a Gollum or “I’m mad about you” with a Mad-eye Moody (find the tutorial here). No? Just me? Ok, then. How about something slightly simpler that could help you reduce your fiber stash? The saying could also be adjusted to the situation:

Perhaps you could go with “Why knot be my Valentine?’ or for closer friends “You make me feel knotty.”

These are definitely customizable to favorite colors and appropriate puns, tutorial found here. Or maybe you already had a little bit of a splurge and find yourself with a bunch of chocolates that would be better off going to new homes PLUS it could help reduce a stash of scrapbooking materials:

It’s like a mini piñata!

Small toys or (if you are actually sending an anti-Valentine) glitter would also fit well into it, tutorial found here. Finally, if you find yourself with a lot of time or want to make a really big impression, I highly recommend taking a look at the hexagon explosion box:

Adding quotes, pictures, and rose petals is highly recommended. Glitter is not.

These beautiful three dimensional cards are simply amazing! When you do peruse the tutorial, make sure to scroll down to examples of what others have made because there are some that create a tower when you pull on the center! Again, the geek in me is super excited to turn this into a Tower of Sauron with hearts and pictures of the ring all around it. I know, not for everyone. Well I hope I am leaving you with some great ideas to send to your friends/sweeties/worst enemy (that glitter thing I mentioned, seriously). Have a great week!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Some Heartfelt Decor

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Happy Sunday, all!

There’s less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day and I’ve been feeling quite crafty lately (not that there isn’t truly a time when I don’t feel it) so why not dig up some cute V-day DIY décor ideas? I found a few that seem easy and look great, including, of course, one that helps with a little recycling. On that note, first up is this very tasteful cork heart:

Classy and an excuse to drink a little more wine!

The tutorial (found here) is pretty straight forward – use some corks, hot glue, paint, and cardboard backing to give your place a bit of flair! Next up, I was never really a big fan of those little conversation hearts as they all tasted pretty much the same…like chalk. But they are cute to look at! So why not personalize some super sized ones for your wall:

Even if you don’t want to include names, you could make these naughty hearts as well!

Again, this tutorial (found here) seemed straight forward and simple – find the heart shaped wood (I’ve found them at local craft shops), add some paint and ribbon and voila! A sweet little decoration for the home. What about personalizing things a bit further? Do you have some pictures of family sitting around? This next one I simply love and don’t think it should be relegated to JUST Valentine’s décor:

I simply adore the idea of including pics of grandma and grandpa or mom and dad with the kids.

Truly a beautiful expression of how V-day doesn’t have to be about romantic love but love of family, as well. The tutorial (found here) does recommend using high quality paper and a laser printer simply so the images come out crisp and don’t smear but if you wanted to give them a dated, antique feel, I’m fairly certain regular will do just fine. The last tutorial I discovered actually introduced me to a new paper folding technique that I fully plan to put into use in the future, iris folding:

Just like the iris in a camera, these folds draw your eye to the center!

Named after the iris of a camera, this folding technique purposely pulls the eye towards the center of the piece. The tutorial and many others on the technique can be found here. You could make a whole series of these out of different color schemes, frame them, and then arrange them on the walls! I hope you are all feeling the love right now. Next week I’ll have some follow-up ideas on creating some of your own unique Valentine’s greetings.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


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


In the face of Darkness, let there be Light

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I’m recently back from Germany, and so the news out of Berlin this week has hit me quite hard. This post was prepared before the tragedy struck, but I just felt I had to say something.

I was not feeling the holidays much this year until this trip and the Christmas markets of Dortmund and Düsseldorf. Christmas markets are one of the most wonderful things you can do during the holidays. Crafts, gluhwein, good friends, and fun in the cold. What is there not to love? It is awful to think that such horrifying attacks could happen at such a place of fun and joy. But rather than be defeated by the terror and anger, we must soldier on.

I love the German Christmas aesthetic. My mother has always loved it, and some of my favorite ornaments in her collections are German. I do love my woodworking, and a lot of the Christmas ornamentation and crafts I found at the Christmas markets were wood-based. But one of the best was Käthe Wohlfahrt.

From the larger pieces like the traditional Schwibbogen…

to the tiny handcrafted ornaments of cuteness. The quality of the craftmanship of Käthe Wohlfahrt is exceptional. In today’s world of mass-production, it is a joy to see unique and interesting options still out there, thriving.

Whatever your holiday aesthetic, let it be of cheer, let it be of joy, and let it be a light in this dark winter to drive away the sorrows and pain to lead you to better days.

~ eliste