Handmade & Homemade Gifts

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It’s Monday, my fellow hackers! Hope you all had a restful and restorative weekend. I know I did!

It’s getting round that time of year and gifts are on everyone’s minds; both giving and receiving. Trying to find great gifts for the people you love can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to add in a little something extra to those gifts (and give something that can be natural and healthy), here are three easy recipes you can whip up in no time.

All these recipes utilize essential oils so please remember when choosing your brand of essential oils, purity and therapeutic value are of high concern. If you’d like to learn more about what to look for when purchasing your essential oils, The Herbal Academy has a wonderful blog post here that covers this.

First up is a little recipe I use around my own home a lot lately. It’s colder and thusly, the windows don’t get opened anymore. No fresh air flow tends to make the home a little…stagnant. Instead of spending tons of money a year on fabric deodorizers, you can simply make a fabric and air spray to make your home smell however you’d like. This one is SUPER simple and cheap (the most expensive thing will be the essential oils you choose as some cost more than others). It is also a great little stocking stuffer.

Homemade Fabric Refreshing Spray

Ingredients & Supplies:

*2 oz distilled water

*5-10 drops of your choice of essential oil (you can use multiple oils for a combination scent!)

*2 oz dark glass fine mist spray bottle

Directions: Simply fill the spray bottle almost to the top with your distilled water, add your essential oils, replace cap and give a shake. Ready to go! (You should shake the bottle before each use since the oil and water will separate.)

Next recipe is essential (ha..hahaha, see what I did there?) for those of us who have cold and dry winters we have to weather through (man, I am on a ROLL today). Dry skin can be downright painful but there is a way to combat it and that is with body butters. This recipe is quick and simple to make.

Handmade Body Butter

Ingredients & Supplies:

*3/4 cup shea butter

*1/4 cup coconut oil

*1 tsp vitamin E

*10-15 drops of essential oil (again, your choice and you can mix multiple oils together for custom scents)

*2 tbsp melted beeswax

*8 oz amber or dark glass jar

Directions: Combine the shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E in a mixing bowl and mix in a standing mixer or with an electric hand mixer. Scrape all the sides of the bowl and then whip again until the mixture doubles in volume (think whipping eggs to meringue). Add your essential oils and whip for about 10 more seconds. Put the mixture into jar (or jars, if needed) and voila! (This body butter, if stored in a dark place that doesn’t get too warm (below 76 degrees) will last for anywhere from 12-24 months!)

Last up is a slightly more difficult one (I promise, not much, though). This is also a great gift idea for winter months as the colder weather can really chap you lips. So what better to gift to people than a tube of lip balm? (You can certainly purchase the ready to use tubes for this one but this can also be put in to small, sealable tins as well).

DIY Moisturizing Lip Balm

Ingredients & Supplies:

*7 grams avocado oil

*5 grams shea butter

*5 grams beeswax

3 grams coconut oil

1 gram vitamin E

2 drops vanilla extract (or an extract that compliments whichever essential oil you choose)

3 drops essential oil (again, combinations are cool)

Directions: In a double boiler, combine avocado oil, shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, vitamin E, and extract. Stir until completely melted. Remove this from heat and stir in your essential oils. Then you can simply pour into your lip balm tubes or tins and let cool. Make sure to cool completely before using!

Whatever the season, whatever the reason, each of these recipes is simple and cost-efficient. But most of all, they are natural and beneficial. And they make great gifts for yourself too.


Change is in the Fall Air

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Good morning and Happy Wednesday to all of you crafters out there! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. As your Wednesday blogger, it has been a joy to write for you, and I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration and great ideas. I’m going to be taking a break from blogging, as my schedule with shows has been a bit hectic. Next week there will be a new face and voice here for Wednesday.

If you’d like to keep up with me and my art, you can find me on Facebook, Etsy or Instagram, and also support my art and get rewards on Patreon

Till next wendesday, get your craft on!


Kickstarter Feature: Love Bug Studios

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We have talked about some of the amazing quilt a longs that Love Bug Studios have done, but now they are looking to do something new, their own line of fabric cutting dies!

From her Kickstarter:

I’m launching a line of fabric cutting dies with three shapes: Orange Peel (with arch), Key West (a more intricate Kaleidoscope block), and Sunburst (adds interest to plain blocks.) These dies are exclusive to me and will not be available anywhere else for now.

The dies will be compatible with machines that can accept 5/8″ tall dies (there’s a full list below in the “Die Format & Machine Compatibility” section.) If you don’t own a compatible machine, I can recommend one, and there’s a backer level that includes it.

I’m laying the foundation for more dies to expand on these and help you use other dies that may already be in your collection. Help me add our voices to the quilting industry and show them what we want!

There are a ton of great rewards! Patterns, fabric, instructional dvds, classes, and of course dies!!

If you want to see the dies and how you can help back this Kickstarter, check out the campaign!  I know I am going to help her get started on this amazing journey.


Gift of the Goddesses Quilt Pattern

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Monday was pattern release day!  Welcome the Gift of the Goddesses to our pattern line up.

This pattern is a little different then the others.  It is a smaller quilt (21-22 inches) than the rest.  It can be turned into a wall hanging, centerpiece for a table, or a part of a larger quilt.

The strips to create the quilt are different as well.  Instead of working with 3 1/2″ and 2″ strips you work with 2″ and 1 1/4″ strips.  The finished squares are only 3/4″!

Want one for yourself?  You can find the pattern on my Craftsy sitemy Etsy store, or if you would like a physical pattern or are a store and would like the wholesale price, visit my Quilt Exchange page.


DIY: Vintage Light Fixture Revamp

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

I found a DIY that looks much more complicated than it is, and it is a great way to bring vintage into your home  – or your apartment. The best part is, is that it uses the base of light fixtures that I see in almost every apartment that I’ve been in, and they’re in my apartment right now.

You can find the original tutorial here on A Beautiful Mess, and you really can do any colour you prefer, given that you can use spray paint to either match the pieces to each other or do do it in another colour entirely. You do need some supplies and tools, though. You’ll need a sunburst mirror frame, like this one. You can use any mirror frame as long as it’s easy to remove the mirror so you can use the base. You’ll need a ceiling flush mount light small enough to sit inside your mirror frame, like this one. You will also need gold (or your choice of colour) spray paint, painter’s tape as well as screws and a drill.

As always, we recommend safety first, so since we’re getting into working with light fixtures, you can do this project together with an electrician or a friend with experience, or you can use this guide to help guide your experience. Please make sure that your power is off whenever you’re working on a light fixture. We don’t want any mishaps.

So, depending on what method you choose, you may need to remove the existing light fixture. Since this tutorial uses a light that is a few inches smaller than the mirror frame, paint was added to the ceiling area that would be showing in between the fixture and the mirror. All you need to do is place each fixture where it will go, trace around them and tape off the area that you’re not painting. If you’re worried about using spray paint and the fact that it is airborne and can go anywhere, you can use a liquid paint and brush. Remove the tape when dry (see above).

Using the same paint, paint the base of the light fixture. Just make sure to tape off the back so that there’s no electrical parts that get painted. Add your light bulb and globe shade.

On the mirror frame, you can bend back any tabs that hold the mirror in place and remove the mirror and any backing material from the middle. Just give this frame a coat of the same paint that you used for the rest of the project so that it looks like one unit and there’s no odd colour difference. You can just use 4 screws and wedge them between the spokes of the frame to hold it in place.

When your light fixture is secure, you’re done! It looks fabulous in the gold, but if you’re going for a different kind of retro vibe, you could use a beautiful teal spray paint, or copper. Whatever colour suits your mood and decor!

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY Fall Floral Arrangements

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Happy Monday, Hackers!

My favorite season is now upon us and most people seem to be super-duper excited about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I, however, most look forward to two very important things related to fall: Fall decorations and Halloween (my favorite holiday so be forewarned…my October posts will ALL be Halloween-related).

I usually put up fall decorations right around Labor Day and most of these I procure at Dollar Tree because they are cheap and easy and well, we all love cheap and easy. But there is one thing that I do every single year not only because they add lots of those beautiful fall colors to my apartment but they are also really cheap and easy and FUN to make. Floral Arrangements!

Using fake leaves and flowers are a wonderful way to dress up your space without having to maintain a plant. It’s also beneficial for those of us who have furry friends and family (since many real plants can be toxic to our beastly brethren). You can customize these easy arrangements to your specific decorative vision. Unlike real bouquets and plants, you can create something that you know you’re going to love.

All the supplies I gathered for the small piece I made for this post were obtained at my local Dollar Tree. They always have a pretty broad and diverse selection of flowers and leaves to choose from and it’s an inexpensive place to find the foam forms and floral moss you’ll need to stick the pieces into and dress up your arrangement. Other stores that you can find great and usually inexpensive supplies at are Michaels and Joann Fabrics. But also check out your local craft stores, especially those independently-owned ones. Support local businesses!

 

For this piece, I wanted something small for the little table by my recliner so I chose this lovely white ceramic bowl with a festive fall leaf design around the rim. I then placed my foam form into the center of the bowl. You’ll want to find a form that is just slightly smaller than the dish or basket you are placing your arrangement in. It should almost fill the space, leaving room for you to dress with moss around the edge and over the top. There are also large forms that can be cut down and shaped to whatever you need.

 

I like to choose a center focal point for my arrangement. This gives me an idea of what colors I’ll want to use, the different levels I’ll want to achieve and where the rest of the flowers and leaves will be placed. While you don’t necessarily want your arrangement to be perfectly symmetrical, you do want to have a sort of uniformity to the piece. Using a focal point helps to accomplish this.

Then, I put my floral moss around the edges and over the top of the form to hide it. Once you have that finished, let your creativity flow. Play around with what flowers, berries, or leaves you want where. Use different lengths to the stems when you cut them (you can use a regular scissors to cut them but it is a little tough to get through the wire stems so I recommend having a wire cutter handy). Poke the stems into the form to place the flowers; don’t be afraid to angle the stems, bend them to place the flowers exactly where you want.

 

Move the pieces around as you go, play with the arrangement until each item is exactly where you want it.

Once your arrangement is complete, all you need to do is set it out in whichever room you want to display it. Don’t forget you can also redo them anytime you like. Just take the flowers out and rearrange them or add new ones whenever you feel like a change. You can make small arrangements, like the one I made here, or you can make them as large as you like. I made this slightly larger one last fall and still love it. It will definitely be a part of my fall decorating tradition for years to come.

The best part of this fun and simple DIY is that it is not season or holiday specific. You can use any color or type of fake flowers, add touches like holly for Christmastime or eggs for Easter. You can make them with school colors for graduation parties or as gifts. The possibilities are endless.


Jumanji Board Replica

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With the new reboot/remake of Jumanji coming soon, this felt like a timely addition to the site. I’m nervous how this new one will turn out giving how much I enjoyed the original. It was probably one of my favorite movies as a kid.

Youtuber Steve Richter has done what many of us in the 90s only wished we could; build his own replica of the game completely from scratch. Sadly he seems to have skipped the steps that enchated  it into a magical world altering game, but hey, it’s certainly better then the crappy standard boardgame they released after the movie came out. I’ve included the 15min time lapse version of it for you all the pine over with me. 😉

 


Maywood Studio Pods

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Something new I saw at the Spring Quilt Market this year that really impressed me were the Maywood Pods.

They are now available at stores!

Step one, sew – and away we go! Maywood Studio’s ever-popular “Pods” precut kits make piecing simple, quick and inspiring for sewists at all levels. Each ‘easy-peasy’ project kit includes detailed quilting instructions with color illustrations. “Pods” are now available in various styles and an array of Maywood fabrics!

Each kit includes precut patchwork pieces, borders, binding, and backing!  You can even combine multiple pods to make a larger quilt.

So head to your local quilt or sewing store that carry Maywood fabrics and check out pods for yourself!

-Toni


Meet the Hackers: Boston ComicCon

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It’s Wednesday again, and I’m on my third event in a row. This weekend I will be at Boston ComicCon, in Booth 514. We are traveling today, which for us is a twelve hour drive. We look at travel as an opportunity to see things we rarely have time for. Little attractions, museums, diners and local foods.

Our goal for Boston, besides the show, is some historical site seeing and possibly a whale watching tour.

Boston ComicCon is this weekend, Friday through Sunday at the Boston Convention Center. There are a lot of great guests this year, and an amazing vending and artist alley. I’ll be with New World Collectibles in booth 514, and sculpting live during the show! If you are in the area, come on out and see us!

Where: Boston ComicCon

When: August 10-13