Indiana ComicCon is coming up!

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Good day and happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. This week I’ve been on supersonic prep for two shows I have coming up. This is my second year at both events, and they are two of my favorite ones!

This weekend you can find me at Indiana ComicCon, which is April 14-16. They are featuring some amazing guests, including Val Kilmer, Cary Elwes, Nichelle Nichols and Jewel Staite. More details of the show can be found here.

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Adorable Mini Plush Animals

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I know I’m biased since I make small cute things myself, but I just love adorable animal plushies. Extra points if they have a cat one cause, much like most of the internet, I’m a sucker for adorable cats.

Maine based artist Floydine makes these one of a kind felt animals and they are just so cute. Not only are they tiny and hand sewn, but the little detail embellishments really make the piece, imho. After the cats, some of my favorite ones are the horses.

I love how they’re the realistic horse with the My Little Pony style imagery on the backside. Their use of imagery on the plushies doesn’t end there though. You’ll also find ones with little embroidered scenes on their sides instead.

There’s not much in their etsy shop at the moment, but if you also like adorable animals, this is certainly a shop to check out and bookmark for the future. 🙂


Stained Glass Chess Set

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I feel like I’ve been posting a lot of stained glass stuff… but I just can’t help myself. It’s so pretty.

This one of a kind chess set was made as a gift from father to son and is just stunning. The pieces are elegant in their simplicity, and the sort of art deco like accents compliment the medium very well. With the lighting element in the base it just makes me want to put it somewhere safe and never touch it again, lol.

The designer is stained glass artist CHRISTIAN BÉLANGER, who has over 30 years experience in the medium. He and his partner run the studio Art Vitrail where they can do repairs to existing stained glass works, such as Tiffany Lamps, restorations on antiques, and conceptual designs for new pieces. You can find a gallery of their work here to peruse through if, like me, you enjoy the beauty of this medium; this one is probably my personal fav. 🙂 A quick heads up though that the site is all in french, so I can’t recommend contacting them for work unless you know the language.


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

 


Fandom Mugs FTW!

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Hey there, fellow Hackers! Tis Scribe Sarah again, here to tell you all about yet another Etsy shop that you should all definitely check out. This shop is especially great for any coffee or tea aficionados. The shop owner is the lovely Ashley Marie and it’s called HandPaintedNerd.

I was attending Wizard World Chicago last summer and one of my favorite things to do, especially at the large conventions, is to browse through all of Artist Alley. I was thrilled to come across many booths that looked interesting but, at one point, my eye drifted to a coffee mug, painted all green and with beautiful Middle-Earthian-type font on the front, it said “What about second breakfast?” My geeky little heart soared with joy at seeing this. There are two things I love more than, like, everything on the planet; Coffee and Lord of the Rings.

I, of course, stopped at the booth to check the price on the mug and saw a bevy of Harry Potter-inspired mugs as well. There were tall mugs, regular sized, even travel mugs! All are hand painted ceramic and gorgeous. Ashley have an incredible talent. She and her booth assistant directed me around the corner to the other side of the table, where I found about 7 different Firefly-themed mugs. I was stuck. I was sold, the only problem I had now was that, at the time, I could only afford one and I didn’t know which one I wanted most.

I landed on this one. Image may contain: one or more people and eyeglasses

(Please ignore the disaster that is my hair in this photo. Let just say that…I wasn’t feeling that whole grooming thing that day.)

Because, let’s face it, Mal Reynolds is an inspiring dude and this was one of my favorite quotes of his (I love them all, the man is my hero). Also, the gun was just so well done, I couldn’t believe it had actually been hand-painted.

I took one of Ashley’s cards and then followed her Instagram. Then I favorited her Etsy shop and I constantly look at the feeds and think about getting another mug but opt out because I literally cannot decide which one to get next. Until recently, that is. Ashley had added a new mug to her Instagram and I almost immediately went to purchase it because I have been a ginormous fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since the movie came out in 1992. But I always had identified most with Willow. When Ashley posted a photo of her new design, I knew I had to have it. And have it I now do. See? ISN’T IT SO PRETTY!? Image may contain: coffee cup

I cannot recommend this shop enough. In addition to mugs, there are also jewelry plates, necklaces, even yarn bowls and the fandoms that are covered include Harry Potter, Firefly/Serenity, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Arrow, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, Marvel, Gilmore Girls, Stranger Things, Sherlock…the list goes on and on. Ashley is very up with current new fandoms as well and is constantly adding new designs to her inventory.

Best of all, for hand painted and fired ceramic pieces, these are all quite reasonably priced. So if you are like me and you have a serious coffee mug addiction (seriously, I have way too many mugs already and I still can’t stop buying them), then I highly recommend checking out HandPaintedNerd! You will not regret it (but your wallet might). 😉

Scribe Sarah

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DIY: Wine Bottle Chandelier

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!
I have for you a super cool tutorial that is relatively easy but still will take some time and some tools. The end result is super cool, and there are a number of different ways that you can do something like this.

There’s a number of different styles, and a number of different complexities in doing the electrical wiring for this. I thought this one was super cool. To do this you will need wine bottles – these ones were clear and then painted for colour, but you can absolutely do regular wine bottles if you like the green/brown hues.  If you’re liking the look of this (the original can be found here at Mod Podge Rocks Blog), and others like this tutorial, you might need this previous post on how to cut bottles safely. Make sure you follow the steps to sand down the edges, and if you would like to take any labels off, now would be the time.

This tutorial uses Mod Podge sheer colours, but there are methods to make the colours yourself with just one jar of Mod Podge (see if you can find a sheer one) and food colouring. You can find my tutorial for the ratios and the how to on the colour here (including how to set it). Use whichever you have the time and comfort level for. You’ll need the basics of the world of crafting, so craft paper/wax paper or a non stick craft mat, a craft knife, and you will also need the pendant light hardware kits which you should be able to find easily at any hardware store, or at an online retailer like Amazon.

Whether  you make your own colours or buy pre tinted Mod Podge, your first step is to get the inside of your bottles covered. You can do this by adding a generous amount of glue/colour to the inside of the bottle and swirling it around inside until it is covered. Try to get as far up the neck as possible so you get consistent colour all the way up. Do this to each bottle. Whether you use the same, themed or different colours is up to you. If you’re making your own colours, remember that you can change your one batch of colour just by adding other colours of food colouring to change the tints. You’ll either need to follow the directions in the previously mentioned tutorial for baking the wine bottles, or you will need to let them dry overnight (sitting on the mouth of the bottle to get maxiumum air flow) After they’re dry, if you want to add any stencils or glitter, now is the time.

The original poster used a light fixture like this. They didn’t use the switch on the cord, and cut the cord before that point since they manually are wiring everything together.

The wiring was cut about 2 feet from the bulb socket base, but you can do them longer or shorter based on the needs of your space. If there is a switch on your fixture, you can cut below it if you aren’t using it. Above if you would like to keep it.

Run the cut end of the cord up through the neck of the bottle so that the bulb socket fits nicely in the taper.

Expose the ends of each of the wires using your wire cutters to peel away the plastic coating (there will be 12 wires, hot and a neutral for each lamp or 18 if the kit is wired for a ground). This tutorial used a room that already had a simple ceiling fixture on a wall switch. This made it easy to take down and I just used the existing junction box and cover plate from the old light to mount my wine bottle chandelier. With the wall switch OFF (throw the service breaker for extra safety) take down the old ceiling light and find the white (neutral), black (hot), and green (ground) wires. Pull them down out of the box and make sure you have enough room to go back with the new wire bundle you’re going to create.

Next, combine all the neutral wires from the lamp kits together into one pigtail. Do the same for the hot and the ground if present. Use some electrical tape to help hold them all together while you get ready to connect them to the junction box. Using an appropriately sized wire nut, connect the white pigtail of the lamp kit to the white (neutral) wire from the ceiling. DO the same with the Black (hot) and ground (green, if present). Carefully push the wires up into the junction box and allow the weight of the lamps to be carried by the bundled lamp cords over the junction box support bar.

Slide the fixture cover you used from the old light up into place to cover everything.

You should be able to flip your switches and bring light! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and remember to work safely with any electricity!

Happy crafting.

~Megan


Cookie Ring Tutorial

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Hi there and happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share this quick and simple project with you. It’s a cookie ring, using polymer clay for the cookies.

What you’ll need for this project is:

  • Premo clay in ecru and burnt sienna
  • an adjustable ring base of your choice.
  • A straight blade. You can use a knife, a tissue blade, or whatever you are comfortable with.
  • Somethjng for texture, either a texture mold or even some wrinkled up foil.
  • A miniature plate. You can check the miniature section of your hobby store, or even a toy store. It need to be oven safe to 275 degrees F.
  • Adhesive.

Steps:

  • Condition your clay by kneading it. Separate out three pea sized balls of ecru clay.
  • Flatten the balls, leaving them a little rounded like real cookies would be after baking.
  • Using your texture stamp or crumpled foil, add some texture to the cookies. 
  • Make some very tiny balls of your sienna clay. These are your chocolate chips. Randomly place them on your cookies, flattening the balls as you place them. 
  • Optional- add some bronze pearlX powder to simulate baking color. You can also do an acrylic wash with brown after baking instead.
  • Using adhesive, attach the cookies to the plate and bake in your oven. Premo bakes in an oven at 275 degrees F, and I would bake your plate for 30 minutes. After cooling, it can be attached using the same adhesive to your ring base.

If you don’t like rings, it can be done as a pendant, or even earrings.


Incredibly Lifelike Embroidery

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So I know I posted about embroidery recently already, but I just saw this and had to share it.

Yes, that is embroidered, AND it’s super tiny. :O I’m seriously in awe. I know it’s become popular to do miniature sized creations lately but this is just incredible to me. The artist who named them is Japanese artist ipnot and she was inspired to work with thread due to her grandmother. She introduced ipnot to embroidery and she was so taken by it and the french knot that she then spent years perfecting her techniques.

Working with a selection of over 500 different colors and shades of yarn from varying brands and lines, ipnot creates everything from sushi rolls to chocolates bonbons and more. Each tiny creations is remarkably realistic and her use of different stitches and colors to even emulate texture is amazing. It’s all in Japanese, but if you like the few things I’ve shared here you should do yourself a favor and check out her main gallery as there is so much more.


Stained Glass Creations

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I’ve been into stained glass a lot lately with my personal art projects, so I wanted to share an artist that has some pretty inspiring stuff with a modern take on the medium. Must be all this sunshine thanks to Spring coming in causing me to look out windows all the time. 🙂

New Jersey artist is Neile Cooper has a big thing for negative space in her stained glass and I kinda adore it. Combine that with her beautiful design work and you get some pretty stand out beautiful pieces. Not everyone can afford to get an entire wall made out of stained glass in their house, obviously, but the effect is quite striking. I love the way it almost blends into the nature around it.

For us plebeians with normal houses though, she makes some stunning sun catchers that you can check out on her etsy store. My personal favorite are the gemstone ones as I feel the colors and geometric lines lend themselves to it very well. She also makes some neat butterfly wing jewelry in stained glass style that is quite unique.


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