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: Seasoned Ornaments

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Good Morning Thursday readers!

I came across something super cool last week when I was looking at what I wanted to write about. It’s simple, and easy, and makes a really nice gift for anyone who loves entertaining or even better, it makes a great host gift alternative to wine. Though… I know many people who love a good bottle of red.

This is probably one of the easiest tutorials I’ve posted, though I was inspired so I wanted to share it. You really only need a few things, and the main one you can find at a craft store. The one important material you will need to search for is food safe ornaments (plastic or glass) that have a removable top. I know that my local craft store sells many ornaments that can be taken apart and filled and are all different sizes. Outside of those, everything else is up to you. I would recommend ribbon to trim, fancy tags to attach to show how to make the dip and what it is, and if you want to be really fancy, run to the dollar store and grab a nice basket/box/tin to package them in.

 

The only other thing you need is a funnel, and the right ingredients for your mixes – if you are planning on doing more than one batch, I would fill some airtight containers with your dip mixes, and that way you can keep them separate and make enough for each gift. You will need about 6 tablespoons of your home made mix.

So take a look at some of the photos above, check out what’s available at your local craft stores and get creating some beautiful gifts! To get you started, here are some links to recipes that you can use to fill your ornaments with. You can do dips, you can do soup mixes, you can do hot chocolates, dried herbs… really any mix that is non perishable!

Here are some fantastic dip recipes from Naturally Loriel (just scroll down a bit to find them)

Here are some from Sprinkle Some Fun

I hope you enjoy making these. I think that they are such nice gifts, especially because they’re consumable but they look so nice and they’re a little out of the ordinary.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


DIY: Vintage Electronics Organizer

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I found something super cool on my wanderings through the internet, and I end up (as I have noticed I often do) browsing through Design Sponge‘s DIY section. I came across something super special and awesome, but be forewarned, this is probably something that will take a little bit of time to put together, not to mention patience, but the end result is super impressive. Check out the full tutorial here.

You will need to do some shopping for materials:

  • vintage cloth-bound hardcover book with dimensions close to 6.5″ x 10.5″ x 1.75″ thick
  • black rubberized fabric like a non-slip black drawer liner material from the hardware store, but a thin neoprene foam will work, as well, You can also probably use vinyl from a fabric store.
  • 9 yards black elastic ribbon, 0.5″ thick
  • sewing machine, pins, needle and black thread
  • illustration board or thin mat board (same dimension as your book)
  • Elmer’s Glue and fabric glue
  • ruler, box cutter and cutting mat
  • black photo tape (available at art stores)

Your first step is to use your box cutter and (carefully, so as not to remove phalanges), to remove the pages from the book, keeping the covers and the spine in tact. Lay your book, face down, on top of your black fabric and trace the dimensions, and use your box cutter and a ruler to cut a rectangle 1/8″ smaller on all sides than the traced dimensions.

Next, take your elastic and cut it into both short strips (the width of your book cover) and long strips (the height of the cover), and cut enough of them to fill the book cover when laid side to side. If your strips don’t match up exactly, opt for one less and space them out slightly. Starting in the upper left corner of the black cut fabric, pin your long strips in a row and sew them down along the edge. Don’t secure the bottom yet, and don’t forget to remove the pins.

This is when you can add the short strips, and do the same thing along the long edge that you did with the long elastic strips.  you can sew this edge before arranging them if you would like.  This is the point where you will need to create a weave, and pin all the other edges of the elastic in place before sewing them. You will basically need to alternate laying the short elastic over or under the longer strands to create a basket like pattern. Take a look…

You do not want a symmetrical weave, as the more space you leave, the bigger the accessory that you can store. Keeping places where you leave 2 or 3 elastics exposed is a good thing.You can choose how big or small you want your spaces to be, and you may want to keep some accessories handy so you can test it out.

When all the short strips are pinned in place, and you’re happy with how it looks, sew around all of the other unsewn edges to secure them in place and trim any excess from around the edges.

 

Cut your illustration/mat board to the inner dimension of the front book cover. Use your sewing machine or an awl to poke holes around all four edges of the board. You can hand crank the sewing machine, which allows you to space the holes out a bit more.

Use a needle and thread to sew the board to the backside of the black fabric – behind the side of the elastic grid.You can do this easily and securely using a blanket stitch. Just make sure to pull each edge tight, since you’re sewing to stretch the fabric and tighten the grid.

Once your board is sewn to the backside of the grid and the grid is pulled tight, cover the three edges with black photo tape (or you can sew or glue on fabric tape if you prefer).

On the right-hand side of the fabric rectangle (the side that will cover the inside of the back book cover), use your knife to cut a 3.5″ horizontal slit for the pocket 1″ from the edges (not including the width of the spine) and 4.5″ up from the bottom edge. You can also cut 2 horizontal slits at 4 inches above the pocket and instert a thick band of fabric so that a phone can be held in place. You can really add whatever you’d like, and if you really like the elastic grid, you can do a second one of those too.

You’re now ready to add your lining to the book cover. You can use craft glue on the side with the paper board, but be sure to use glue that is good for fabric on the side with just the fabric backing. Add your glue (make sure to get to the edges), and press into place. Make sure to line up the edges evenly and press down firmly. Clean any glue mishaps, and lay the book open on the floor, cover it with a sheet of clean scrap paper and then put something heavy on top so that everything will dry flat. Let everything dry overnight. If you want to add any latches or elastics over buttons to help to keep this closed, you can do that. Or you can leave it just like a book.

I think that this is such a fabulous tutorial for such a unique gift. Love it so much.

 

Happy crafting!

Megan


DIY Holiday Essential Oil Blends

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There’s nothing quite like the smell of the holidays. Weather you prefer baked goods, fresh pine, or maybe peppermint, the holidays likely have a special smell in your memory. So today I’ve brought together a list of custom essential oils blends made by Healthy Happy Momma that you can make to help achieve that perfect holiday smell. 🙂 These blends will work in and essential oil diffuser (like this one from doTERRA or  Amazon) but if you don’t have one handy you can also use a pot of hot boiling water on the stove that you add the oil scent to. More water will need to be added as it evaporates, but it’s a cheap and easy solution if you don’t have or care to buy a diffuser.

I recommend looking at what oils are required for a scent style that you like before rushing out to buy one to help save you money, but many of these can be found online, and I tried to pick ones that weren’t special blends so you weren’t limited to a brand line. You could also look at getting an empty glass vial so that you can mix up half an ounce to keep on hand all season long, or maybe give away as a custom gift. 🙂

Cozy by the Fire
2 drops White Fir +  2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 1 drop  Clove + 1 drop Cedarwood

Christmas Energy
4 drops Peppermint + 4 drops Wild Orange

Christmas Cheer
3 drops Lime + 3 drops Wild Orange + 2 drops Cinnamon + 2 drops White Fir + 2 drops Cypress +  2 drops Bergamot + 1 drop Eucalyptus

Winter Wonderland
4 drops Peppermint + 3 drops Bergamot + 2 drops Cypress

Gingerbread
3 drops Ginger + 2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 2 drops Clove + 1 drop Nutmeg

Oh Christmas Tree
3 drops Douglas Fir + 2 drops Cedarwood + 1 drop Juniper Berry

 


Advent Calendar A la Toilet Paper Roll.

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Hello there Thursday readers!

You know. When I was young, we always had an Advent Calendar. For those of you who don’t know what it is, or have never done one before, it’s basically a little calendar that had a little door for you to open each day through December up to Christmas day, and each door would reveal a chocolate.  Where cheap chocolate is okay, a DIY Advent calendar can allow you to customize your calendar. A romantic partner might like a love note or a usb drive filled with their favourite songs, a child might like some school supplies, little baked treats, or any other small thing that you know will brighten their day.

I’m going to give you this DIY from Morning Creativity, but there’s a lot of variations and different ways you can spruce up this particular DIY, but I love the idea of being able to make an advent calendar out of toilet paper rolls. You can put whatever you want inside, it’s cheap and easy to make, and with a little paint and sparkly adornments, you can make it as fancy or rustic as you like.

Your supplies are simple: 24 toilet paper rolls, cleaned of any dangling paper, of course. cardboard, multi purpose glue or a glue gun, a glue stick and twine. You can do your numbers by hand, or you can print them out on the computer, and use those. Choose the amount of work/creativity you’d like to use.  Your first step, is to use your gluestick to glue the numbers (cut out to fit directly on top of the roll without any hangover). Keep in mind, that since glue sticks don’t glue securely, this will allow you to reuse your tree next year, once it’s built.  Keep in mind if you would like to paint/wrap any of your toilet paper rolls to decorate them, now is the time.

After your numbers are glued on top, you will want to glue your rolls together. for this you should use a glue gun, if you have one, as it will be stronger than craft glue and allow you to put small gifts inside that are a little heavier (like a hot wheels car, just saying). Just a strip of hot glue on each side where you will be attaching another roll will do the trick, and give it all a little time to dry. These are arranged as a square. You can arrange them however you like!

Next you will need a piece of cardboard the size of your paper roll square structure. If you would like to decorate around the rolls, leave your cardboard rectangle just a little bit bigger than the rolls (leave a border) so you can glue sparkly decorations or other accents. Otherwise, you can cut it just large enough to fit the rolls, but make sure that the backs are fully covered. Before you glue your toilet paper rolls to the flat cardboard, fill them with treats, as this will seal them all inside.

Your next step is to make your roof, and again, you can be as creative as you’d like. To make the roof, glue two equal, rectangular pieces of cardboard together, and a small triangular piece to cover the hole that will be left between the toilet paper rolls and the roof. Measure them to be as wide as the toilet paper rolls, though keep them a little longer as you can trim them to whatever length you like, or even cut a design into the edge. Again, you can spray paint these, you can glue decorations, and you could even cover the roof with paper and make icicles by cutting the paper a little longer than the roof, folding over the edge, and cutting icicle shapes. If you have an extra toilet paper roll, cut it in half on the diagonal to glue on as your chimney, an either cotton or white tissue paper can be glued inside for smoke. Use your twine (glue it or you can punch a hole through the roof) to make a hanging string, and you’re done!

Remember, light gifts only, and to get at the gifts, just punch a small hole through your paper, and you’re in! If you like this idea but maybe the look isn’t quite what your’e looking for….

…Check out these toilet paper advent calendars, (yes, there’s more), for a few different ideas (like the one above).

Happy Crafting!

~Megan


Tree Lights

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I bring you a small project that is super cute and can lead to a lot of different customization depending on how creative you are. I’ve taken the photos and you can find the full tutorial from The Fanciful Miser, who provides a lot of excellent photos and tips.

To make this beautiful piece, you will need some supplies:

Two colours of ribbon

Six glass votive candle holders (you can easily find these at a home store, dollar store or craft store)

Six battery operated tea light candles (so there’s no homes burning down)

Wide burlap ribbon

Branches – sturdy ones (either scavenged outside or bought from a garden or craft store)

A large glass vase

Sand and medium sized rocks

Glue gun and stick and thread (for the sewing)

 

 

Your first step is to arrange your branches with the medium sized rocks in the base of the vase. These rocks will help to keep the branches sturdy and keep them from moving.

For further stabilization, you’ll need to add the sand and smaller stones. so that those branches won’t be blowing in any breeze.

Next cut your burlap ribbon to wrap around the vase to hide the sand and branches. Glue the ends together with your glue gun to secure it around the vase.

If the burlap is too plain for you, you can tie some of the ribbon around the burlap or decorate it as you see fit. Next, take your coloured ribbon and cut two strips of the same size and cross them under the glass votive holders at the middle. Use your glue gun to affix the ribbon to each other and to the glass.

Hold your votive upside down and pull the ribbons together tightly and folding the ends over. (Make sure the ribbons are held so that the votive will balance without tipping to one side.)

Take a look at the image below – this is how you want your votives to hang.

After you have balanced your ribbons, you can fold the ends over so they look a little more finished and either sew or glue the ends of the ribbon together

Complete those steps for all the other votive holders, and make sure that you have three in each colour of ribbon.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial. Remember that your creativity is your friend with this project. Use ribbons that match with the season or your decor, you can fill the glasses with glitter covered fruits for the holidays, or candy for halloween. You could fill your little votives with some water and even put fresh flowers in each. Have fun!

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan

 


DIY Halloween Costumes

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Everyone’s favorite dress up holiday is coming, are you prepared? I know I’m not. So to help us both out, I gathered a few DIY costumes ideas that I’ll be sharing with you! They range in difficulty, but there a few family ideas mixed in with solo ones in case you like to do a theme with your family.

This adorable Inside Out family is just great. Some of the costumes like Sadness and Joy were fairly simple, but the other two took some creative workings. Thankfully the mastermind of the group gave nice descriptions of how they were all put together, along with turning your red wagon into a “rocket ship” to help pull the little kids along a times.

Another family idea, with one lucky parent getting the easy Pirate costume. 😉 Bombshell Bling has some great tips on how they pulled this one together. (Though they had a willing grandmother to help make some parts with sewing machine skills).

Mary Costa has this great thrift shop put together outfit for a couple of Forest Gump and Jenny. Thrift shops can me your best friend when you need to assemble a costume out of real clothes for less, or when just looking for styles that don’t exist anymore.

A super simple, but classic, couple costume can easily be done by going as Wesley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride. Say Yes used a lot of already owned pieces and cheap accessories took care of the rest.

 

So, your Kid wants to be a unicorn and you’re panicking. Craftaholics Anonymus is here to help calm your nerves and show you the easy way to assemble this seemingly impossible feat, with minimum sewing skills.

The final one for today comes from Sarah Hearts with possibly the easiest one one here; DIY Sriracha Sauce Bottle Outfit. You can buy the shirt for pretty cheap, and the bottle top is easily made from green poster board. Truly a last minute costume that anyone can pull off. 🙂


SpokenWord SpiderWeb 2.0

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I’m honored to meet you, the CraftHack community as a guest blogger. Any and all mistakes are all my own, and I own up to them.

Yes, I know-Craft Hacker, not CraftHack is what mere mortals call this page. Please don’t be mad that I have the audacity to be myself and get comfy, call you by a nickname and share my story.

 

one-needle-003 img_8309

 

My dream is to tell stories, to connect. I do this in fibers, in fables and words, with grace, hope and joy.

Weaving my stories, connecting unexpected. The fringe, the fray–these seemingly useless disconnected bits.  From the chaotic corner of my memory, hard edges of science, math melt into art that is engineering and problem solving–soon these fables and fabric find a secure doorframe and take hold.

click to read and hear the rest of Spiderweb 2.0

http://funfromatoz.com/2016/07/30/spiderweb2-0/

img_5064 img_7812

Be You and Be Awesome!

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Hey Hey, I’m just a substitute blogger. Hope that I made you smile. There isn’t time in one post to get to know someone, but how did I do? Do I seem like a fun person that you’d like to get to know? My FUNfromAtoZ assistant says this is an opportunity to promote myself and where you can find me, but nope-I won’t. Okay, okay! In a secret way I did.


Be Inspired!

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

I have realized that I have something special happening tomorrow and I thought I would share it with you and maybe spark some thought about your own crafting/small business. This is sort of a post about an artist I admire, but it’s also a post about finding your muse. As many of you know, I run my own business making corsets and I have been doing it seriously for about a year and a half now. I didn’t start from absolutely nothing and no idea, however. The skills I learned took time to hone and I’m still constantly learning new things, but what brought it all on was a passion for corsets – I have always found them beautiful.

Courtesy of Fajo Magazine

Courtesy of Fajo Magazine

This meant I would investigate what was available and who was making them. I found many that I enjoyed but the one that I became enamoured with was Dianna DiNoble, the owner of Starkers Corsets which is also found here on Facebook and here on Twitter. She is a little different from my own work in that I work a lot with off the rack and conventions where she has been doing custom and couture corsetry for over a decade. She very quickly became my muse – she created many amazing corsets and her work is just sublime. So how does this tie into something exciting happening this weekend? Well, I just found out she will be speaking at a convention happening in my city – and I have the chance to go listen to her speak.

Courtesy of Starkers.com

Courtesy of Starkers.com

I realized how excited I was the more I thought about it and even though I’m pretty darn good at what I do, she has been doing it for so many more years, and I have the opportunity to learn and possibly even ask some questions to this expert in an industry that really doesn’t have a lot of experts to offer in the same way that classically educated fields do. So I’ve booked my ticket and I’m all set to go!

What this made me think about in relation to other crafters and small businesses is this: I think it’s hugely important to have inspiration for the type of product/craft/business that you want to build for yourself. Thinking about it, I have a few of those that all represent different aspects of my business. Creatively? Dianne DiNoble is my inspiration. She has crafted a business that has grown and become incredibly well known both for design and craftmanship. Is she the same muse as for my business end goal? No, she isn’t. My goal isn’t to become a haute couture designer. So I have another business that exemplifies my end goal. Is this business the same as the one that I would like to personally strive to be? No, that is another.

Courtesy of Impact Instruction

I guess what my point is is that you need to look beyond the corporate businesses that are out there, and look past the mass production to find the things and the people that inspire you and try your best to learn as much as you can from them. Whether it be to find inspiration for designs, to build a business model, to set goals for personal growth. Whether you’re crafting to make money or you’re crafting for your own gratification,  you need inspiration and a drive to make you continue. Find those people who are doing the things you want to do and making the things that make you go “Wow!” and let them help you to find passion in what you’re doing.

Courtesy of Adventure In You

This blog features many amazing artists and people who are doing amazing things with their lives. None of it is easy, and so when you are not finding yourself inspired by what is in front of you, or inspired by the things you’re doing daily, return to the people and the artists who made you excited about it in the first place. Keep your passion for making alive and thriving, because more than ever we need to protect and nurture our artists. Whether they be young or old, casual or business, kitchen table or studio crafts, we can’t afford to lose the people and things that inspire us to flex our creative muscles.

Like I will be, this Friday, find something that makes you go “SQUEEEEEEEEEE” and remember that this is why you’re trying to craft your passion into art.

Keep crafting, Crafthackers!

~Megan