Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Friday, 20 December 2013

Tutorial - Quick and Easy Gift Boxes - DIY Gift Idea

I made these simple wooden gift boxes to parcel up some of the gifts I've been making. They started out as inexpensive wooden craft boxes from Dollar Tree.  With a minimal amount of time and funds invested, they were really easily transformed into something that's impressive. AND its kind of like a second gift - because a pretty wooden box can be used to collect life's little knick knacks all year long.

To start, I sanded all the boxes with 220 grit sandpaper and gave them all a stain inside and out. I always use water-based stains from a Canadian company called SamaN.  If you don't have a rainbow of stain colours readily available like I do, mix up a substitute with 1 part acrylic craft paint + 1 part white glue + 2 parts water. Cheap and easy.  When the stain is dry, sand the box again.

Stamped Box

A bargain bin stamp that cost me a whole dollar + something called chalk ink

I just stamped all over the box... I had to press really hard on the stamp to get a good transfer because the wood surface wasn't 100% smooth.  It looked great until...

 ...until it dried and I got a coat of polyurethane on top.  Then I couldn't see the leaves very well anymore.  So I took a light grey coloured pencil and traced over the faded ink lines.

The faded ink turned out to be a happy accident, because I think it actually looks better with the ink and pencil crayon together.

Iron on Applique Box

I scored some iron-on snowflake appliques from my local sewing store's bargain bin (I admit, I've had these for a few months.  I grabbed these and more when I saw them in late August because I have a bit of a thing for snowflakes.)

I basically just followed the package directions to apply this to the top of the box.  I used some kitchen parchment to protect my iron.

A bajillion (or three) coats of polyurethane later, and she's a beut'!

Scrapbook Paper Box

This one was really simple: A bit of scrapbook or collage paper.

I cut a square slightly smaller than the top, rounded off the corners and stuck it on the top with polyurethane. (White glue would work fine too.)  Then I coated it with polyurethane a few times.

Stuff 'em!

The funnest part is letting these little boxes fulfill their destinies.  A gorgeous handmade gift inside makes for a complete and extra-special package.  

What are your favourite ways to present a present?  Do you have any other ideas for making inexpensive wooden boxes look like pretty and pricey?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Stuff I Love: Craft Show Roundup - 30 Craft Market, Dec 2013

If you follow Artisan 82 on Facebook, you know I have been participating in both December events for Peterborough, Ontario's 30 Craft Market.  This market provides high-quality and unique handmade goods all priced under $30.  While I was selling at this show, it was impossible to resist picking up a few things myself.  These are my favourite finds, all from sellers who you can access online.

I grabbed these little coin purses for my girls from The Little Bird Designs by Aimee Leptick.  Not only does Amiee have exceptional taste in fabric, she sells at I-can't-believe-I-only-paid-that-much-for-something-handmade prices.  Her workmanship is impeccable.  Look - those tiny coin purses are fully lined!  She sells online here.

My photo, product by The Little Bird Designs

I'm also the proud new owner of this handmade weighted hula hoop (adult fitness hoop) from Basia of Super Hoops.  My ribs are aching today from what I can only assume is horrible hooping technique - but I'm still practicing.  It's so silly and fun to hoop, and the turquoise leopard print hoop wrapping just seals the deal for me. Check out Hula Hooping with Basia! if you're interested in learning more about hula hooping.

My photo, product by Basia Baklinski of Super Hoops

I had the great good fortune to have my table located beside Heathyr Francis of Pin Studios whose nature-inspired raku ceramics are only surpassed by her sense of humour.  Heathyr and partner Colin made this awesome toad house.  I'm still drooling over the palette of the raku glaze. UhhHHHhhrghhuuuhh... so pretty... I'm glad there's currently a foot of snow on the ground outside, because I can't bear to put this beauty in the garden just yet.
My photo, product by Colin Hoag and Heathyr Francis of Pin Studios.

Two of the best things about selling at these local craft markets are meeting the other crazy craftspeople and checking out their wares.  30 Craft Market was a wonderful place to do both.  What are your favourite craft market finds?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wrap Bracelet - Knockoff - DIY Gift Idea

I'm not sure that this is a common problem, but I have someone with very expensive tastes on my gift list. It can be difficult to buy gifts for my youngest sister because she tends to like items that are often out of my price range. One way that I can get her something I know she'll love, while keeping it affordable for myself, is to find something in style and on trend, and do my best to duplicate it by hand.

When looking for inspiration to DIY a knockoff of an expensive gift, I start by looking online at items from her favourite stores, her Pinterest pages, her Etsy favourites, etc.  So... I knew by her online activity that my sister likes these bracelets. I was also sure I could make a great looking knockoff for a fraction of those prices. Whew!

First I purchased some supplies.  I knew by looking at the specs of the expensive version that the finished bracelet was about 80 cm (34 inches long).  Using my awesome math skills, I knew I'd need about 80 cm (34 inches) worth of beads and 1.6 m of leather.  It's pretty easy to shop when you're buying beads on the strand - the length of the bead strand is right there on the label.

I chose some round off-white beads with a faint champagne swirl through them.  They're not identical to the beads in the inspiration bracelets, but I think they're close enough in colour and style that I can make a great looking knock off.

The leather cord that I liked only came on this three-colour pack, so I'll have to make two more bracelets at some point.  It's hard to tell from the photograph, but there's a very tasteful metallic finish on the cording.  Most importantly, there's about 2 m of each colour, which is enough to make one bracelet.

So, I'm into this project for 4 packs of beads at about $8 each, the leather cord, some coordinating thread and a sweet little button from my stash and I'm at about $35 (CND).  That's about 20% of the cost of my cheapest inspiration bracelet! Yowza!

There's a metric tonne of tutorials on the internet, so I'm not going to duplicate one here.  Google 'beaded wrap bracelet tutorial'. Do it. I dare ya. Okay don't.  I checked out a bunch of tutorials and this is my favourite. Lots of pic, very clear.  Check it out.


I did a couple things slightly different from the tutorial. Firstly, I tied two knots at the beginning so the size can be adjusted slightly.  I think this is a good feature for a gift, since my sister's wrist isn't here for me to make it fit her perfectly.

To make your bracelet adjustable, start the bracelet with two knots spaced apart. 
Make sure your button fits through both holes.

The second time I varied from my tutorial was that I double stitched my beads on.  As I was working, I noticed my beads were sliding around a fair bit.  So when I finished beading the whole length, I went back and stitched the whole thing in reverse.  That is, I worked right to left the first time down, then left to right back up through the strung beads.  This secured everything really nicely.

My bracelet with stiches worked in both directions.

Ta da! Here's my finished bracelet.  I think it looks pretty swanky.  If you like this, I'd love you to share it, pin it, or try it yourself!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tutorial - Rusted Can Planters - DIY Gift Ideas

I haven't met a person yet who doesn't appreciate a handmade gift.  Knowing that someone put their time and hands to a gift gives a warm fuzzy feeling that just can't be bought.  Here's a simple and adorable DIY tutorial for this rusted can planter so you can spread the warm fuzzies this holiday season.                                                                I made this project from recycled cans and scrap stuff I had on hand (I did have to buy peroxide and floral moss).  Even if you need to start from scratch and buy everything to make this, you'd get all you need to whip up a few planters for under $10 (plus plants). That makes this project both budget and environmentally friendly! Double yay!
You'll need:
Soup can (I'll show you how to make it rusty)
Hydrogen Peroxide (I got mine in the First Aid section of the pharmacy.)
Little foam dots/pads.  Cut your own, or buy some like these.
Black tape (I used hockey tape)
Jute Twine (Mine came from the dollar store.  Your hardware store should also have it.)
A Plant with soil
Floral Moss

Mixing Bottle
Rubber Gloves
Spray bottle
Hot glue gun

1. Start with your can.  Remove the label (obviously), scrape off any glue, and clean the inside and outside with dish soap.

2. Mix up some scouring slush.  I didn't do any fancy chemistry here, just dumped some (oh... about a quarter-cup) coarse salt in a bowl, then added plain white vinegar until the salt was covered.

3. With gloved hands (or your skin will hate you), rub and scrub salty vinegar slush all over the outside of the can.  Let that dry, then repeat the process.

4. After the can has dried from your second scouring, put some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spritz the outside of the can all over.

5. And now the magic starts to happen!  Ohhhh Ahhhh.... look at the rust forming! The magic of science!
When the can dries, respray with hydrogen peroxide to increase the rusting.  Repeat until you like the amount of rust you've got.

6. Rinse and dry your can.  This is how mine looked... some rust, not totally rusted. Rustic.

7. You're going to want to protect yourself (and anybody you might give this to) from getting a nasty cut.  Put some black tape on the inside of the can to cover the edge where you cut the lid off.

8. Glue a few felt or foam dots on the bottom of the can.

9. Time to dress this can for the holidays! Glue the end of some jute twine into the middle of the can.

10. Start wrapping that twine!.

11. Wrap, wrap, wrap and secure the end with some hot glue.

12. Tie some festively coloured ribbon in a bow on top of the jute wrapping.

13. Use a dab of hot glue to hold the bow in place.

14. The next step is to prep your plant.  I live in a wooded area, and these tiny fir trees grow everywhere - between patio stones, beside our driveway, under the deck and other places that they have no business growing.  So, I just dug up a few for my planters.  If you don't have access to a plethora of tiny, free trees, check out your grocery store and discount stores for any pretty green foliage.  Potted herbs such as rosemary or sage would be especially lovely.

15. Put the plant in the can.  Pretty complicated, eh?

16.  As a final finishing touch, I added some floral moss on top of the soil.  I think this gives it a more polished look.  I got my floral moss at Dollar Tree for a buck.

17. TaDA! Your sweet little living handmade gift is done!

Now you can try out a few different versions. Here I used some inexpensive green cotton yarn instead of twine.

 Here I layered two colours of ribbon over wrapped yarn, secured the ribbons with some glue, then stuck on a coordinating button.
It doesn't take very long to make a whole bunch - and doubly-good, they're a great addition to your holiday decor until you can give them away. 

Try this yourself! I'd love to see any you make.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tutorial - Cute and Cuddly Monster Plush - Free Pattern included!

I had some extra fun-fur leftover from another project, so I thought I'd make a couple cute stuffed monsters for two special little people in my life. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm very tempted to keep these for myself... but I don't know how my husband would react to me nightly snuggling a little green monster...

 Here's how I made mine. The pattern is free for your personal use.


Page 1 - body
Page 2 - pieces


- fun fur
             If you're buying this off the bolt, 0.3 meters or 12" will get you a few monsters.  Alternatively, polar fleece or 2 sheets of craft felt also make a great monster body.
- 3 sheets of craft felt in three different colours
         The pattern is labeled colour 1, colour 2, colour 3 - neato, hunh?
- scrap of white, black, and pink felt
- thread
- poly-fill stuffing
- iron-on t-shirt transfers.
         I used these.  You'll need one sheet per monster. 


- scissors
- pen knife
- sewing needles
- pins
- iron
- pen

How To

Read all the instructions prior to starting.

1. Print out your pattern onto the t-shirt transfer paper according to the package directions. Roughly cut out the different colour sections on the grey lines.

2. Iron each pattern section onto the coordinating colour of felt. 
         I like to put a piece of kitchen parchment paper on top of the felt.  This protects my iron from oozing goo and prevents the felt from scorching. 

You should end up with a pile something like this.  In this example, Colour 1 is green, Colour 2 is purple, and Colour 3 is yellow.

3.Peel off the backing paper.  See how prettily the pattern has transferred?

4. Cut out your pieces close to the stitching line.  You'll notice that the t-shirt transfer paper stabilizes the felt, giving your pieces a nice clean edge.

5. Grab two horn fronts.  It doesn't matter which two horn pieces you use, as long as they're a mirrored image of each other.  Arrange the horn stripes as shown on the left side below.  Stitch across the long edges of each stripe as shown on the right side below.
      I used a contrasting colour of embroidery thread (3 strands) and a blanket stitch, because I wanted the stitching to stand out.  Regular thread and a regular old in-and-out stitch are totally fine too.

6. Put the horn fronts on top of their corresponding back pieces, wrong sides (printed sides) together.  Stitch around the outside edge of the horns.  Don't stitch across the base (flat edge) of each horn. Lightly stuff each horn with poly-fill and set aside.

7. Stitch the tongue onto the mouth, as shown.  There's no need to sew along the outside edge of the tongue.

8. Sew the pupils onto the eyes.  Sew the eyes, eyebrows and mouth onto the face.

9. Your monster face should look something like this.  Set the face aside with the horns.

10. Trace the body piece onto the back of the fun fur twice, being mindful of the fur direction.  The fur should lay downwards on the body. Cut out the pieces with a pen knife, cutting through only the backing.

11. Place one of the body pieces (this will be the front) on a table, furry side up.  Smoosh the fur outward from where the face will go.

12. Place the face on the body and stitch it down. Use a few pins to hold the face in place while you sew, if needed. Oh he's so cute!

13. Smooth the monster's hair downward, away from the top cut edge.  Pin the horns to the monster's head, stripey side down, as pictured.

14. Pin the second body piece to the front side, furry sides together.  Use your fingers to push the fur into the piece, away from the edges, as you pin.  Don't be shy, use lots of pins.

15. Leave an opening of about three inches at the bottom of the piece, through which you can turn him inside-out later.

 Here's what my little dude looked like after pinning.  Sort of like a lumpy green peanut.

16. Stitch around the body with a quarter-inch seam allowance.  Make sure you catch the horns in your stitching.

17. The last step is to turn him inside out, stuff him, and hand stitch the bottom hole closed.  Ta da! Your new monster buddy is complete!

I'd love to see photos of any monsters you make!