Tag Archives: Crafting

Get Your Craft On!

2 Mar

As we all know, March is National Craft Month. Oh… you didn’t know that? Yeah I guess no one does but whatever.

To celebrate I would like to totally jam my blog up with fun, funky, affordable crafts and creations. Obviously I’ll post some myself, but I’m a working woman! And unfortunately that means I don’t have as much time to craft as I would like to… meaning all day, every day, every single second.

If you have a craft, painting, recipe or creative tip to share please submit your ideas to the masses. Click the “submit” tab in the upper right corner for details on how to do your thang. Submissions will of course get complete and total credit for everything they do. Besides that, stay tuned for this month of crafting glory!

Happy National Craft Month!

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Super Easy, Super Fast Craft: Mr. Kate Scarf

29 Feb

Today is Leap Day, so imagine my horror when I opened my closet to find that I did not have a single piece of yellow or blue clothing to wear to work! I would have gotten poked in the eyes, Leap Day William would have been ashamed, and I certainly wouldn’t have gotten anything from his bucket of sweets before he went back into the Marianas Trench (if you’re questioning anything I just said, just click the “Leap Day William” link)!

After some more digging, I decided I had no choice but to DIY my Leap Day attire. So I turned to one of my favorite crafting and style bloggers, Mr. Kate, for inspiration.

I’ve made a t-shirt scarf before, but obviously I needed one in yellow for today, so I whipped up this 10 minute scarf last night before bed! It’s super simple and you only need a few  supplies: an unused t-shirt, scissors and a scrap of fabric about 8 inches long. If you want, you can even use the scraps from the t-shirt you work with, so the scrap isn’t 100 percent necessary. Can’t be any simpler.

A few months ago I found a deal at one of the craft stores by me on t-shirts, so I bought a ton and have been holding onto them for crafting purposes, but you could also use a junky old shirt you don’t wear anymore. I’ve seen this craft done using shirts with prints on them and that looks really cool, but obviously it wouldn’t fit my leap day need so I grabbed my yellow t-shirt.

First thing’s first: cut off the hemline at the bottom of the shirt and cut off just below the armpit part of the shirt (P.S. I hate the word armpit and I’m mad that I had to write it… twice). You’ll be left with a rectangular loop of fabric. You can ditch the other parts of the shirt, or save the top part to use later on.

Take your rectangle and cut about a one inch strip of fabric from the bottom of one of the connected ends (where the shirt would sit on your side) up to about one inch before the end of your other connected end. Definitely check out the photo, it’s a little hard to explain, but it’s easy when you get going. This craft is not for the perfectionist. The cuts don’t need to be perfect. The first time I did this I used a ruler, and then realized it was pointless. To get a general inch, I use my “rule of thumb.” An inch is sort of kind of the size of the top of your thumb to it’s knuckle. If you really need to measure an inch out for this project, just use your thumb!

Continue cutting strips until you’re out of space, Making sure you leave about an inch at the end of your t-shirt. You want all of the strips to still be connected at the end. When you’re done it will kind of look like a hula shirt for a really tall baby or something. Now hold each strip at both ends and lightly tug on the strip. The harsh edges you get from cutting it will curl in, so that each strip looks like a long, skinny cylinder. The photo below shows the top half after I pulled the loops, and the bottom half before. Definitely check out the Mr. Kate video below for any questions. You don’t need to pull hard, and if you have strips that are skinnier than others pulling hard might actually lead to breaking, so be careful!

Now that all your strips are pulled and looking svelte, take the section that hasn’t been cut, open it up (kind of like you were putting it on as a t-shirt). Take your scarf while it is open (see photo) and just bunch it together. What will happen is the strips that you cut and tugged on will open up turn into your scarf, and the uncut piece will just be a small section on the scarf. Use your scrap of fabric to wrap the uncut area together, so that it doesn’t open up while you’re wearing it and so that it doesn’t stick out in the middle of nowhere. I used a blue t-shirt from my last t-shirt scarf (for Leap Day’s sake!), but you can use whatever you want! Yarn, leather (last scarf I made I used a leather strap from an old boot I had), ribbon, or a piece of scrap from your t-shirt so that it doesn’t stand out.

And voila! I recommend you check out Mr. Kate’s video below and her post for a full explanation. I wasn’t about to make a video, because quite honestly I lost my camera charger and my camera was on the verge of death, and as I mentioned I  was just about to go to bed, so there was no way I was taking a picture of myself looking as I did. Plus, Mr. Kate is much cuter and quirkier than me, so I’m pretty sure you would enjoy it more if you watched her!

Super Easy, Super Quick Craft: My Cheap But Fantastic Valentine’s Gift

11 Feb

Alex and I have decided not to do anything too crazy on Valentine’s Day. We are going away next weekend and we really wanted to save money, so we’re not going overboard on a holiday on the worst day of the week… a Tuesday.

My problem? I love giving gifts. It’s why I love holidays. Oh gosh it’s my favorite thing. So I decided to go out and make a cheap and easy gift for him. My boss told me about this online company called Chocomize, which allows you to build your own chocolate bar with really crazy ingredients like gold flakes and rose pedals and all sorts of crazy spices. Alex loved the site, but he wanted to use his favorite candies, like Nerds, Sour Patch Kids and SweeTarts. The kid loves candy.

So this morning I went out to the craft store and got meltable milk chocolate, then headed over to Five Below to pick out his favorite candies. The chocolate cost about $2 and each box of candy cost around $.89, so it came to about $7 for a gift.

If you’re a candy maker, you might already have a mold to make a chocolate bar, or if you wanted to go out and buy one go ahead, but I decided to save three bucks and use the lid to a small shoe box that I had (from those amazing Target flats I blogged about a week ago). I took the lid and wrapped it in wax paper, then taped the sides down on the underside and voila! A free candy mold!

Next step is melting the chocolate and getting all of your candies ready. Pour the bag of chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for intervals of 30 seconds, stirring every time. This takes a lot faster than you would think. For me it took around 2 minutes to get everything completely microwaved, and in that time I had opened all of the candy and gotten it ready. This is actually more important than you’d think: You don’t want the chocolate to harden before you can get the candy in.

Pour the melted chocolate into your mold. To make sure it was all even in the mold, and to get the bubbles out of the chocolate I tapped it against the counter a couple of times. You’ll see the bubbles rise to the surface and then pop! Then comes the fun part: the candy! Just go nuts. How am I supposed to explain how to decorate, it’s all up to you! This bar of chocolate is pretty huge: it used up one full box of Nerds, a bag of Pop Rocks, Spree, Sour Patch Kids and SweeTarts. AKA Alex’s fantasy candy bar.

Pop the candy bar in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, unmold and you’re done! You can put anything into this so that it matches whoever you want to give it to. They also have a ton of other melting chocolates. I almost went with a dark chocolate mint, since Alex loves anything mint chocolate chip, but I figured it wouldn’t go with all of the candies, so I stuck with milk chocolate, but the world is yours! After refrigerating this project took me about 15 minutes. Seriously. And it only cost me $7! It took longer for me to write this post than it did for me to make this gift, and I’m completely thrilled with it. I can’t wait to give it to him, it’s absolutely perfect.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Try This! Cheap Melted Crayon Stencil Art

8 Jan

I’m not going to go off on a rant of how amazing Pinterest is. It pretty much got me back into crafting, painting and being creative.

One of the most interesting things I have been watching on the site was melted crayon art. A lot of artists online had taken crayons, glued them to the top of a canvas, and melted them with a blow dryer so that they ran down and formed a big colorful rainbow. As cool as that concept was, I knew I could do more and do it better. So here’s what I did:

I used a pack of crayons, painter’s tape, a canvas, an Xacto knife or similar blade, some acrylic paint and a glue gun. You’re going to want to buy a new glue gun, as you will be running crayons through it. I got the glue gun pictured for $2.99 at A.C. Moore, and it would have lasted for another melted crayon project had my brother not blew a fuse in the middle of working and- literally- caused it to light on fire and blow up. Have you ever seen a fireball shoot out of a glue gun towards your hand? Yeah, me either. It was bloody terrifying.

This is a generally inexpensive project. Like I said, the glue gun was three bucks, a 64 pack of crayons was four dollars (make sure you use Crayola. Off brands are thicker and won’t fit into the glue gun), two dollars for the tape, blade and paint and four bucks for the canvas. You can reuse the tape, blade, glue gun and some of the crayons so it ends up being really affordable.

After painting a canvas with your desired color and allowing it to dry, cover the canvas with your artist’s tape. This will be the foundation for your stencil. For this project I decided to use Robert Indiana’s Love sign as my stencil. I was making this for my friend, Alicia, who is from the Philadelphia area like me but now lives in Ohio, so I wanted to make her something to remind her of home.

I drew my stencil onto the blue tape, then very lightly cut away the negative space. Remember that you are working on a canvas, if you cut into it too deeply it will slice through the fabric (which happened to me at one point!).  You might be thinking: why don’t I just draw and cut it elsewhere, then tape it onto the canvas? Originally that was what I did, but painter’s tape will not stick enough if you keep moving it around, it will just peel away and you need this taped down stencil to be completely sealed down.

You need a miniature glue gun because it fits the crayons perfectly, but the spring-loaded lever is thinner than the glue gun’s barrel, so the trigger has to be removed. This is super easy to do. There are several screws holding it together. When unscrewed it will pop open, and the trigger device will pretty much fall out. Screw the gun back together and you’re good to go.

Now it’s time to peel your crayons. And I’m not going to lie, it is super annoying. The easiest thing I found to do was to take your blade and run it down the paper, and it usually pops right off. While you’re doing this start heating your glue gun. Make sure you peel a lot, once you get melting things go very quickly.

Finally, the fun part! Lean your canvas upright, with paper or a drop cloth on both the floor and the background as the crayons can splatter.

Slide your crayons into the gun and allow them to melt a little bit, for about a minute before pushing them through the gun. They should run out almost like water from the top of the canvas all the way down. Push it through for a long time if you want it to run to the bottom of the canvas, but get creative! Make some trails longer and some shorter, with a lot of bright colors! One thing I did that was really successful was flip the canvas from one side to the other. That way I got an even cover on all areas.

When all of the canvas is covered and you are happy with the results, it’s time to remove the stencil. This is the hardest part of the whole process, as the crayon is very brittle and easy to chip away. This is a work of art, here people, not a toy, it should be fragile. Luckily I think I’ve found the easiest process. Either A. light a candle and keep it nearby or B. boil some water and keep that on hand. Then, take your blade and heat it up before tracing the stencil with the blade. Work as slowly as you need to, so that you avoid breaking pieces of crayon off that should remain on the painting. This is the reason I suggest using a slightly less detailed schedule, as peeling away more detailed pieces might be impossible.

Once the stencil is off, you’re done!

I wish I had better photos because I absolutely love this painting. Unfortunately my camera is getting a little old and isn’t as great as it used to be, but this is such a fun and colorful piece, yet still pretty chic. Surprisingly enough it only took me about 2 hours to complete, so I made another one for my boyfriend’s place a few days later. I found this the best method, because through the glue gun the grease and the colors don’t separate like through the blow dryer.

There are a ton of different ways to work this. You could choose one color pattern and work with that to match one specific theme for a room you have in mind, and of course you can do any stencil you want (I was thinking initials might be a really neat touch to a couple’s bedroom). Of course you could always skip the stencil, the crayons look amazing enough together and it really transforms into an interesting modern painting if hung horizontally.

I’m so excited to have a place to hang this up, whenever that is.

Try This! Awesome and Easy Nail Art

7 Jan

If you happen to have known or met me in the last four years you might have learned that I work dabble in journalism. That being said I’m totally obsessed with newsprint. The type, the kind of blackish-grey color of the copy, the paper itself… newspapers are a fantastic thing.

So naturally I freaked out when I saw that I could turn my nails into newspapers… yes, that’s right.

I stumbled on this image on Pinterest (a fantastic website, if you haven’t given it a try you must, must, must go) and pretty much ignored it because the website was in French I figured it would be impossible to do. Still, I couldn’t get them out of my mind and went to research them, and they were amazingly easy. So, here goes!

First things first, all you need is your nail polish, a clear coat, some newspaper, a paint brush and alcohol. By alcohol I mean vodka, schnapps, I guess tequila? I used an old cheap bottle that was lying around, honestly every little thing about liquor makes me sick so I never touch it (beer’s too delicious).

Paint your nails any light color you have. I really like a light grey or off-white. From the other nails I’ve seen, anything too light looks kind of ridiculous, but white nails always look weird to me. I actually didn’t have a light grey, so I took an ugly white nail polish I had and mixed it with some straight black. I’m so thrifty! Follow with two coats of clear polish on top, and wait for it to dry! I can’t stress that point enough, you will be lying that super-thin newsprint on it and it will stick to your nails if they are wet. This part sucks. I can’t stand waiting the 25 minutes for my nails to dry completely, and normally I end up just falling asleep or something while waiting. Oh my gosh I can’t even explain how much I dislike drying nails!

Take your newspaper and cut 10 1 inch strips (one for each nail). You really don’t need too much paper, so make sure you do a little reading! Find pieces with a lot of straight copy, not with big giant spaces or images, and make sure you don’t have any weird or unsettling words on your fingers. When I began I was worried that any color on the page of the page would bleed onto he nail, but that isn’t an issue here, so just focus on one side. Get your alcohol off to the side and your paint brush. I used a very, very soft calligraphy brush as to not scratch the polish with hard bristles.

 

Now that your nails are dry, take your brush- now covered in your booze of choice- and paint over your nail so that it is totally soaked. I got it really really covered, so that puddles formed in the corners. Before the alcohol dries quickly press the newsprint down into place. This will be like a stick on tattoo, so once it’s down, it’s down. No moving it around. Press the paper down and push it all the way into the creases and hold it in place for about 45 seconds. Some websites suggested keeping the papers on there until they dried completely, but I found that it made the paper stick to my nails. When you peel away the paper, your print should be there!

 

Follow up by washing off any newsprint that may have stuck to your cuticles and a final clear quote on top, and badaboom! You look ten times cooler than you ever have.

I can’t stop looking at my nails. They are so fantastic. Just a little bit crazy but also very chic and classy. They’ve had me thinking about alternative ideas with newsprint paper- which is sold unprinted in all craft stores. You could probably print photos and graphics on the newsprint… go nuts with it!

I’m so excited to show this off to my journo friends! Write on!

 

Midnight Craft: No-sew Jersey bracelet

30 Oct

I can’t sleep. It might be the apple cider K-cup I drank a few hours ago (yeah, that’s right, I bought them and they are awesome), or it might be the fact that it’s two days before Halloween and it’s been snowing all day so I have been doing nothing but lying around and sleeping. Whatever it is, I’m up and I needed something to do.

I found this awesome bracelet tutorial on Hellogiggles.com. At first I looked at it, thought ‘hey that’s neat,’ and sent it over to my friend Alicia, because she’s less lazy craftier than me and I thought she would like it. Then I sat and stared at it for a couple minutes, watched an episode of “30 Rock” and decided to give it a go.

When looking over the blog’s guidelines there were some definite things an unmotivated, broke girl like me had to tweak. First of all, I’m not buying jersey. I have 3 jillion (at first I put 300, but then I realized some people have a ton of t-shirts and it might not be a stretch, so I decided to be a little dramatic and make up a number) t-shirts sitting in my drawer that are never worn and are made of the same fabric. The problem was, the tutorial required at least 58 inches of fabric, and my tshirt wasn’t 58 inches wide (I used a size medium which was about 8 inches or so off, an extra-large or XXL might make the cut) so I got Erica with it and did it my own way. So here’s how it went (to see larger versions of the photo, just click them!):

 1*I started with an old t-shirt, scissors and a ruler. That’s all you need. I picked a shirt I wasn’t using in a color I thought was still pretty nice. In my case it was a sage green little number from my days working at a nature park. I have almost an entire drawer of just this shirt, and they are all covered in dirt and unexplainable stains, but to be fair I was working outside in swamps and nature trails, with children, in the most humid months of the year. Best job I ever had.

Anyway, so I took this old hunk of junk and cut the bottom hem off, then from one side of the bottom of the shirt I cut up one inch. That’s basically the only use for the ruler, if you need to measure up one inch. Luckily for me, I took a year of art school and learned to eyeball that kind of stuff. Those useless life lessons are totally worth the ten years in college loans.

2*From here I cut a continuous strip of one inch fabric away from the shirt. Remember when you were a kid (or a bored 22-year-old) and you would make paper mobiles by cutting a whirlpool into a paper plate? It’s essentially the same idea. Cut your shirt at a very small upward angle, almost like a coil, so that by the time you get around the shirt completely the strip is still connected. In the first loop you may have to trim up the edge a little bit to keep it at one inch, but once you get the coil started its very easy to continue. By the time you get to the armpit part of your shirt you should have one massively long strip of fabric. In my case I got about 275 inches out of one shirt.

Now that we have our materials it is time to weave the actual bracelet. I feel like this is a technique every little girl has done during those Cat’s Cradle string games or whatever that was, so it should seem familiar, and once you get going you’ll be amazed how quickly your bracelet actually comes together.

3*Create a tail of about 3-4 inches, then, with your palm up, weave the strip under your right ring finger and over your pinky (switch it up if you’re left handed).  The long part of the strip should run off your pinky.

I chose to make a two-finger bracelet, but the blog I found this one offers a three and four finger example as well, which makes it thicker and requires more fabric. In those cases, use one more finger every time (If you want a three finger bracelet, start the weave at your middle finger. For four, start at your pointer finger, always starting under) Check it out to get a clearer idea.

4*Wrap the strip under your pinky, then weave it up and over your ring finger and back under so that it is sitting on the back of your hand. When referring to the picture on the right, at this moment it should only look like the bottom 2 loops on my hand.

5* Take the strip and loop it around the back of your hand to the front, in a full circle around your ring and pinky fingers. At this point your hand should look like mine does in the picture.

I suggest taking the long strip and securing it between your pointer and middle finger at this point. You have to pull and tug at things, so its good to have the ends secure.

6* Pull the loops on the bottom of both of your fingers up and over the band on top. They will snap off of your finger and begin the foundation of your bracelet. You want to pull each one individually. In my case they seemed tight, but they snapped over and it worked out. I had to pull the bands up higher than the base of my fingers. From here it looked like the top strip with a thin band between the ring and pinky finger.

After you pull the first loops over and off your fingers, pull the tail and the excess strip tight. You want to make sure nothing comes loose or wiggles around, so that when the bracelet is finished it won’t become unraveled.

7. *Continue steps 5 and 6, wrapping the band around your fingers and pulling the lower pieces up and over the band. Every time you do one round, just start it back over again. Make sure your tail pieces are tight at all times. Securing the strip with your middle and pointer fingers is my best advice to keep everything tightened and looking good. Continue this until you have the length of your wrist.

After the first three to five pieces its going to look kind of like a mess, but once it starts to get some length to it you will start to see the shape of the bracelet. Trust me on this. I restarted this bracelet four or five times before I just pushed through it and realized I was actually doing it right.

8. *Gently pull the loops off of your fingers, once you have it to your desired length. Make sure that the loops don’t fall out once you remove it off of your fingers. Grab the two loops and pinch them together.

From here I measured the bracelet to my wrist again and found that it would be way too big. In that case all you have to do is (gently!!) pull out one or two rows of loops out. If it is too small, slide the two loops back on your fingers and add the extra length the same way you did before.

9. *Take the remaining length of fabric and pull it through the two loops. This project did not take 275 inches of fabric. At the most it took 45 or 50 inches, so I had a lot of fabric to pull through these two loops.

10 *Pull the top and bottom tails very tightly. I noticed that the tighter that I pulled it the cleaner the ends looked, and obviously the more secure it is.

From there I took the tails and tied them together. Knot them twice, trim the edges and you’re done!

You don’t have to worry about tying and untying the bracelet, because it has a lot of stretch and it will loosen up. I trimmed it really close to the knots, and I kind of wish I left it a big of a longer tail, just because it adds to the look a little bit. The strips looked a lot like ribbons, so if you wanted to keep the tails long that is a cute look too.

I really love this bracelet. It’s super comfortable and it looks a lot like a hemp bracelet that I wear in the summer. Again this is the two-finger bracelet, and it is super thick, so I don’t know if I would even try out a bigger bracelet.

There is a ton of fabric left, so I think I might make a belt or necklace with what I have. Gotta love upcycling!

Try this!

14 Sep

This was my craft of the day!

They were super, duper easy and they look absolutely adorable. Want to know how I made them? Check out this amazing craft blog for this and other really neat stuff!