Friday, July 31, 2009

Resin Hearts

Jewelry that is both attractive and inexpensive will always sell really well at craft shows and fairs. The resin heart pendant above cost me only pennies to make so I could easily sell them for $1 at the local Fourth of July festival earlier this month and make a profit. These turned out to be one of my top sellers that day.

If you are new to doing craft shows, the best piece of advice I can give you is to tier price your merchandise. Have several items priced at $1, have several more priced at $5, $10 and so on. The lower end items may sell better, but sales are sales and it is those lower priced items that will attract customers to your space. I noticed that having something that will attract a child's eye, such as these resin necklaces, will do wonders for bringing more people to your space. Just something to keep in mind as you plan your inventory!

Happy Crafting All!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Scrapbook or Journal?

When I was young, there was really only two options for what I could do with photographs: 1) Stick them in a shoebox to keep them safe or 2) Put them into a photo album, which was usually the kind with adhesive and clean plastic covering. Now that I'm older, I know that those old albums are the not best place to store my memories simply because once the picture has been in there a while, it's impossible to get it out.

Scrapbooking and I just don't get along. I have seen some absolutely gorgeous scrapbook pages that showcase a genuine artistic talent. However, I still believe that a scrapbook should be a photo album and I just can't bring myself to spend hours designing a page with $50 worth of embellishments for just one picture. It won't tell the whole story attached to that memory.

Lately, I've found myself leaning toward journaling, which is almost a hybrid scrapbook. Combining the artistry of scrapbook with a little storytelling, the journal saves the complete memory in both images and words.

Showcased above are some simple journaling pages I created for a recent family trip to Craters of the Moon here in Idaho. In mirroring 8"x10" sheets of paper, I was able to place several pictures taken at the park with pictures of the family and a little written reminder of what I loved about the day. I used mostly scrap papers, left over from other projects and was able to whip the pages together in about a half hour. Simple and fast - two things I love in a project!

Happy Crafting All!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Make A Quilt With Me, Week 2

So if you did your homework last week, you'll have your supplies. Now is the time to get down to the fun and actually start playing with the material.

Below you can see the material I started with. I chose purple, yellow and teal fabrics with a very subtle print design. The purple will be by Fabric A, Yellow is Fabric B, Teal is Fabric C. For my backing fabric (Fabric D) I chose a cute patchwork flannel print in soft pastel tones.

For right now, Fabric D will get set aside.

Step One: I highly recommend you wash and dry fabrics. This will take care of any shrinkage and color bleeding that could distort a finished quilt if not done before hand. Once the fabric is dry, iron it smooth. Some quilters like to press their fabrics with a little starch to make them a little stiffer and easier to work with.

Step Two: Cut the following strips:

  • Fabric A: 6 strips 2.5" x width of fabric
  • Fabric B: 14 strips 2.5" x width of fabric*
  • Fabric C: 6 strips 2.5" x width of fabric
(*Set aside 8 strips of Fabric B for the border and binding. You only need 6 strips of each fabric for the blocks.)
Step Three: Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew together one strip of Fabric A to Fabric B. Then sew one strip of Fabric C to opposite side of Fabric B. You end up with a long strip of the three materials approximately 6.5" wide. Repeat the process until you have 6 identical strips.

Step Four: Turn each strip over and press your seams to the darker fabric. Some quilters prefer to press their seams open. For this project, to keep it simple, just make sure the seams on all the strips go the same direction.

Step Five: From each long strip, cut six (6) 6.5" fence rail blocks. (Double check the width of your blocks and make sure you end up with squares. If each block is off a little, it will make sewing the blocks more difficult later on.)

Step Six: Set your blocks aside and relax. Next week we will go over arranging your blocks and sewing them together. I recommend putting your blocks into a gallon size plastic bag that can be sealed to protect them. (I actually like to store material for quilt projects that I am currently or soon will be working on in zip-lock bags to keep them clean and all together.)

I really hope you are enjoying the process so far. Are you excited now that you are seeing the materials you picked out actually joined together? Just think, in a few short weeks, you will have transformed those strips and blocks in a wonderful little quilt!

Happy Crafting All!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wire Wrapped Ring

I have always been fascinated with the beauty of wire wrapped jewelry. There is so much skill and artistry that goes into making each piece. One thing I love is the wire tends to have a life of it's own and you can never make the same exact piece twice.

This fascination and my desire to constantly learn new techniques in jewelry making, has inspired me to try my hand at wire wrapped rings. Above is my very first attempt. It's really not very good, but it is simple and wearable. I used half hard 24 gauge sterling silver wire, not the best choice for learning, but that is what I happened to have on hand. The dark green stone (which I think is bloodstone) is accented with simple glass seed beads.

Again, not very fancy, but it looks like a ring which is good. It's always important that your first attempt at something at least somewhat resemble what you were trying to make! I have ordered some less expensive copper wire to practice some new techniques on and can't wait to start experimenting. Hopefully this will inspire some of you to try something new as well!

Happy Crafting All!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crochet For The Baby

No matter where you are or what time of year it is, it seems everyone knows someone who is expecting. My stepdaughter is expecting her second child in Sept. A co-worker of my husband's just found out they were expecting a little girl. There is always someone, and there is always a need for a gift.

I love to crochet baby blankets for the expecting couples because even though they will probably have a ton blankets of all types, on that was made by hand and with a lot of thought and consideration seems to mean more. Anyone can go and pick up a gift set, but to be able to give a that shows that much time put in to it really makes a statement. More often than not, the crocheted blanket turns into a child's favorite blankie and then a cherished keepsake.

The blanket pictured above is about half finished, but will be a total of four granny squares and a border in white, pink and green. The soft tones will work well in any little girl's nursery. If you don't know if the blanket will be for a boy or girl, or just want to make some to have for future gifts, yellow, green and white also make a great combination.

I'll post new pictures when the blanket is finished. Until then...

Happy Crafting All!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Basic Baby Quilt, Wk 1 - Let Process Begin

Last week I showed you a sample of the simple square block to make this lovely quilt. Starting this week, I will walk you through making the quilt pictured above. The whole process should take about 6 weeks to complete. I have broken the process up so that there isn't too much to do each week and you don't end up feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Plus, I understand that in this day and age, people are busy and can't always set aside a huge block of time for something. The idea is to have each step take only a few hours a week - so if you can block out a half hour a day to work on this, you should not have any problems. A new step will be added every Wednesday until the quilt is finished.

Now down to business....

For the first week, the only thing I am going to have you do is gather your supplies.

You will need:

  • Four cotton fabrics, in 44"-45" width
  1. 1/2 yard each of Fabric A and Fabric C (for blocks)
  2. 1 yard of Fabric B (for blocks, border and binding)
  3. 1 1/4 yard of Fabric D (for backing)
  • Batting, Crib Size (45" x 60")
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Rotary Cutting Mat
  • Quilting Ruler (I prefer 6.5"x 24")
  • Safety Pins
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Comfortable Work Environment
This ends up being about a 40" square quilt, perfect for a new baby. When choosing material, I like to use solids and tonals to keep the quilt from being too busy. Plus, solid cotton fabrics will tend to be less expensive than some of the lovely prints you can find.

When considering your work environment, you will need to be able spread out a bit. I used to sew at the dining room table with my ironing board set up in a corner. Look at your own situation and determine what the best place will be, especially if you are having to set up and take down your work area each time you are ready to sew. Make it as easy and convenient as possible so you don't lose interest in finishing to project.

That's all for this week. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line and I will be happy to answer them as best as I can. Have gathering those supplies!

Happy Crafting All!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Simplicity Is Key

When it comes to earrings that can go with multiple outfits and occasions, simplicity really is the key to success. If a person is going to spend money on an accessory, they will generally want to get something that can go with almost everything and accent rather than dominate a look.

These simple drop earrings featuring aqua resin beads accented with teal and white beads lends itself to so many different looks - from a lovely wedding reception dress to summer work outfit. Classy or jeans, most people will love (and feel more comfortable buying) an accessory that will go with everything.

This is a point many jewelry makers need to keep in mind as they are designing their pieces to sell. While it always great to have extravagant pieces that showcase an artist's skills, talent and voice, it is also important to have pieces that a woman can wear on a daily basis. Just a little food for thought.

Happy Crafting All!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fiber Resource

Recently, I have been showing off my crochet handy work with patterns that I found on For today's crochet post, I thought I would share a link to the Lion Brand site.

I love the Lion Brand site, which currently has over 2,300 knitting, crochet and yarn craft patterns. The do control how the patterns are downloaded however, but requiring you sign up for a FREE account. This is actually not a bad thing because you will also be able to choose mailing list options. The mailings I get include few patterns and information on new yarns, exclusive sales and other fun things that the company offers.

The site is a fantastic resource for knitters and crochets alike, from all skill levels and definitely worth looking at! Why not create your own project with one of their patterns and send me a picture of your creation so it can be shared with the cyber world!

Happy Crafting All!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Is Wedding Season

It seems that summer is the best time of year to get married - the beautiful weather lends itself perfectly to outdoor ceremonies and receptions. The simplest way to let the bride and groom know you wish them the best on their special day is through a handmade card.

Of course, the idea of a handmade card can seem overwhelming to someone who doesn't necessarily enjoy paper crafting or someone who is short on time to get that card ready. The card I made, displayed above, is simple, elegant, conveys a heartfelt sentiment and only took 15 minutes to make.

A plain white card, a scrap of soft pink card stock paper, a pair of stamps (each costing only $1 at Michaels) and an optional decorative paper punch (like the one I used on the pink, which is from a line by Martha Stewart), created this super simple card. The flowers in the bouquet were colored in to give the perfect accent colors. This card can easily be personalized to match the wedding colors by switching up the colors of the flowers and the background paper.

Again, super simple, inexpensive and straight from the heart - what could be better?

Happy Crafting All!

Make A Quilt With Me

Have you ever wanted to try making a quilt, but thought it was too time consuming? Too hard? Too frustrating? Well, I have great news for you - starting next week, I will be sharing instructions on how to create a beautiful baby quilt using the super simple Fence Rail quilt block, shown above. If you don't have time to learn quilting, this project is designed for you because each step should only take a few hours a week. When you are finished, you will have a great quilt to give as a gift or keep for a little one in your life.

The first step will be next week, and the whole project will take about 5 weeks to complete. I hope you are all as excited about this process as I am!

Happy Crafting All!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sometime Simple Is Best

When designing jewelry that I plan to sell, I try to create something beautiful that can actually be worn. This means sometimes a piece a less artistic than it is functional. These earrings are a perfect example of that principle. Made from crackle glass beads and creamy Druk glass beads, this pair of earrings is simple, stylish and sophisticated - or everything a woman could want in a pair of earrings! Afterall, why spend tons of cash for a pair of earrings that can be too heavy or bulky to be worn comfortably, just because they are more artsy? The artistic pieces are great, but every jewelry collection needs its functional pieces as well!

Happy Crafting All!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eight-Legged & Fun To Make

This little guy seemed perfect for a summer project. The pattern is from the Lion Brand Yarn Website; another of the amigurumi patterns they have listed there. He was so quick and easy to make you could easy put together a whole octopus family the kids - perfect for a trip to the beach or the sand box (with a little imagination!). This project is sure to be a hit, no matter who you give it to!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Simple Invitation

An invitation to a get together is the first impression your guests will have of the event. An invite that looks slapped together does not give a promising first impression. But, you don't have to spend a fortune on the invites.

The above invitation was put together for a family barbeque. It was simple and inexpensive. By layering dramatic green tones of scrapbook paper that I found on clearance, I created a striking background for the simple glitter foam flower stickers. A $1 "You're Invited" stamp on plain white paper and colored with colored pencils completes the card. It is simple, fun and, best of all, inexpensive. Guests loved them and it only took a couple of hours to make a dozen of them!

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Simple Quilt For A Weekend

It took me roughly 8 hours to make the above 48"x48" quilt. I used in great method from "Crazy Shortcut Quilts" by Marguerita McManus & Sara Raffuse - a book I highly recommend because it turns the most difficult part of a quilt (the actual quilting) into a fun step.

There are several different varieties of quilt designs in the book, and since I was trying it for the first time, I chose the simplest and smallest to do. Because I don't have a full size quilting machine, I am forced to do all of my quilting on my little Singer, which can be very challenging once I start working on something larger than a twin size quilt. However, the book illustrates beautifully how to create simple crazy quilt blocks, do all the quilting and then sew the blocks together!

I've decided that Wednesday will be the day I discuss my quilting projects, and starting next week I will be going step by step through the current project that I am working on. (Which will unfortunately not be one from the above mentioned book.) Hopefully I will inspire a few beginning quilters like myself to follow along and maybe even try some of the things I'm doing.

(Don't worry jewelry fans and all other crafters - I am aiming at having different projects from different crafting disciplines every day of the week. Mondays will be crochet projects, Tuesdays are for jewelry, Wednesdays are quilting, Thursdays are paper projects and Fridays will be some of the eclectic other things that I have been working on. This will help ensure I post more often with a little more consistency. Hopefully, everyone will join me!)

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sparkling Earring For Summer

Earring are a simple accessory that can add drama or glamor to any outfit, year round. However, summer seems to be the perfect season to show off your favorite pair of earrings. With up-dos all around, summer is the perfect time to dangle something pretty from your ears!

These two pairs of earrings that I recently created would be great for whatever summer might bring. The pale yellow faceted beads in the above earrings are simple enough for day to day wear, while the dramatic contrasting orange and cream in the earring below are sure to get you noticed when you wear these to a summer party!

For whatever reason I need to wear them, summer is my favorite time to create jewelry and earrings become the simple must-have accessory for women!

Happy Crafting!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Is Busy

Even though these last few weeks have kept me too busy to post, they have not kept me too busy to craft! My projects have been eclectic to say the least, including the above crocheted amigurumi pig that I made using the free pattern from the Lion Brand Yarn website. It was super easy and took me about 5 hours over two days.

I love amigurumi projects - they tend to be so adorable and sooo easy to do. Many of them take very little time and can even be done on a road trip. Plus, my younger brother loves them, so I know they will never go to waste, just sitting on a shelf somewhere. As an added bonus, they can make such wonderful gifts, for young and old alike.

Happy Crafting!