Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Make your own (Joy) Boe's

For years women in Kenya have been recycling old magazines and newspapers into jewelry, like these paper necklaces from World Buyers. I love this for several reasons, their resourcefulness is not only Eco-friendly by cutting down on the amount of trash, but they make a living by being creative, often times becoming the breadwinner for their families.
I found a similar neat-o idea on Talk Crafty To Me for making your own gift wrap out of magazines this holiday season, or year 'round. All you need is some decorative paper materials like newspapers and/or magazines, old map's, or sheet music and double sided tape. You can also use fabric and substitute the tape for hot glue or colored staples.

Start by cutting a page lengthwise into nine 3/4-inch-thick strips of heights shown: Three at 11 inches, three at 10 inches, two at 9 inches, and one at 3 1/2 inches.

Twist each strip to form loops at both ends. Make a circle out of the smallest.

Secure the ends with a piece of double-sided tape.

Layer and stick, starting with the longest strips. End with the circle in the center and oh joy, you're done.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Beat Dazzler

The last day of my handmakin' marathon was spent gemmin' up a sweater for my holiday party! I guess that counts as a craft... (Leslie & the Ly's have certainly made a following out of their dedication to the collection). I can't think of a better way to kick off my week long stay-cation than a bedazzled bargain sweater and a brand new bottle of Maker's Mark. Cheers m'dears!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My hands made this for you... Six

Day 6: Candles

You've got two options here, either mix and pour wax into your own containers, which can be almost
anything, or just upgrade some store bought pillars with a festive approach. Both are fairly simple and inexpensive, and make nice gifts (the useful kind when the power goes out.)

Handmade Wax:

Re-using old candles that burned incorrectly and/or left a lot of unused goods on the sides when the wick went out, you save a lot of money and use something that would otherwise be trash. All you need is an old pot that you don't plan on using again (if you don't have one, get it at a thrift store for a few bucks), and a package of
new wicks, found at any craft supply store. The size of the containers you want to use will determine the size of the wicks needed, so you'll need to have that figured out beforehand. If you are making votives, you can also just use tea light sized candles by removing the metal bottom and just using the wick and wax.

The containers can be just about be anything, Martha Stewart uses tea cups, but I've seen shells, coconuts, acorns, etc. Even if you have purchased a candle in a decorative glass container, you can reuse it placing the container in the freezer until it's frozen. Then use a butter knife to wedge the wax out, it should just pop out
evenly. If needed you can wash the glass out, but this method is way easier than trying to scrape wax!

Once you have the materials, you will want to break up the used candles into smaller pieces which will be easier to melt. Put into the pot and simmer on low to medium heat until blended, slowly stirring the whole time. One thing to consider when using a variety of different colored waxes, when blended together it will turn into a blackish color no matter what. If you are blending different whites together the mix usually turns out a slightly darker, almost beige color. You can also add oil to the mix to give it a new scent, but I've noticed often times the original flavors when mixed together come out smelling great naturally.

Next, place the wick with the metal anchor at the bottom of the container. You will need to hold the wick upright as you slowly pour the mix in. You can also affix a flattened paperclip to the top of the container to hold the wick if it's easier. Allow the wax to dry and harden with about an inch of the wick sticking out. You can also decorate the wax with glitter or flower petals while it's still wet for a little sparkle.

For decorative pillars:Unscented candles are usually less expensive and come in basic colors. For the holidays you can upgrade their look by attaching cinnamon sticks to their exterior. Just use floral shears to cut the sticks to the height of the candle (works best with a candle at least 3 inches in diameter) and attach to the sides with a hot glue gun. Make sure the first one is securely on there before adding the next, which will go right up next to it. I think it looks best with just basic white candles, but brown or beige would look nice too. Make three at various sizes for a rustic table centerpiece, or give individually with a coaster to protect the surface it will be burning on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My hands made this for you... Cinq

Day 5: Magnet Sets

So easy, so cute. Magnets make great gifts for someone who has recently moved or bought a new home, or just to dress up a dull fridge. Literally, you need two things, a hot glue gun and small objects like buttons or old jewelry. These letters came off an old sign but I couldn't throw them away, I'm going to make them into an alphabet set.

Think outside the box (literally), make a set out of a person's favorite beer caps or wine corks for your favorite Wino. I've been collecting these all year and can easily use them by hot gluing a round magnet to the tip.

Package them in a recycled tin and you've got yourself a gift in seriously, no time.

This girl knows what I'm talkin' about... and has other cute/kitchy idea's too. Those are her magnet boards made with discarded vintage jewelry. The possibilities are endless!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My hands made this for you... Quatre

Day 4 : Homemade Bath Salts

Using a few basic ingredients, these easy to make soaking mixes smell wonderful and feels nice too. You can create your own label for them and/or customize the scent to fit the recipient. Save the next jelly jar you empty and you have yourself a nice glass container to put it in, (just make sure you soak it in hot water and bleach beforehand to disinfect it and get rid of the lingering food scent). Or, Ace Hardware sells a 4 pack of mason jars for only $5.00.


- Around 4 cups of sea salt, Epsom or kosher salt
- Aromatic bath oils or essential oils
- Dried fragrant plants, like lavender buds or wildflowers
- Bowl for mixing
- Glass containers like recycled bottles, mason jars, etc.
- Mini spoon or scoop (optional)


- Pour the salts together
- Add several drops of the oil then mix
- Throw in a few dried flower petals then mix again
- Pour mix into glass jar, or divide into several smaller containers if you are making several batches


Suggestions for masculine scents: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Clove, Frankincense or Patchouli

For an invigorating bath, use citrus or lemongrass. I actually zested fresh lemon peel into my mix which uses up a lemon on it's last leg, and adds an extra punch of scent

For a nice detox concoction, mix Tea Tree and Orange Peel

For a relaxing/ night time soak use Lavender and Ylang Ylang

Lastly, wrap it Raffia!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My hands made this for you... Trois

Day 3: Photo books

Ever wonder about those photos your friends take throughout the year? You know some shutterbug had a camera at your party, but you never got to see the images? I bet they wonder about yours too. A neat way to wrap up some of your favorite memories or share the one's you missed is by creating a photo book of some of the standouts, or a more artful one of just some of your personal favorites.

This one is made from leftover pieces of images, literally creating a book of scraps.

If you're looking for a simpler solution, you can always just burn a disc of the pictures and make a cover for the CD case. For example, label it 2010 and use photos from throughout the year, or come up with a theme and use photos that match. Someone bought a new home, or had a baby... or maybe a funny one with all the snapshots of your drunk buddies. You can also physically print them out at a local photo supply store/CVS/ Target/and put them into a purchased book. Grimm on has quality handmade albums that you can easily customize yourself, he does all the hard work and you get all the credit, Boom!

Either way, everyone likes photos yet not everyone has the time or money to take them themselves. This is the gift that lasts for years, so make it for someone special.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My hands made this for you... Day 2 (Deux)

Day 2: The hardest button to button

For this little craft you will be making flower shaped "button buttons" and will basically need three items: a hot glue gun (and glue sticks), clothing buttons, and pin fastener's. You can go to Michael's and get all 3 in one place, or if you're like me, you may already have a whole bunch of buttons you have saved from garments or somehow acquired (in my home, buttons are like dust bunnies, they seem to
just appear.) Also, most thrift shops or fabric stores sell bulk bags of miscellaneous buttons. Those are the most fun because you never know what gems you may find for such a cheap deal!

Start by selecting a few larger standout buttons, that will act as the "pollen" for the flowers. It's better to use a larger sized middle button, then smaller buttons for the "petals". If you have a special button that is vintage or extra decorative, use that as the center and more ordinary supplies for the sides. The petals don't necessarily have to be all the same color, they could also alternate colors. You can also layer buttons to give it a more embellished effect.

Glue each petal slightly at the underside of the center button, so that when it's worn they will poke out from underneath. It is easiest to lay the center button face down and glue everything in the same direction. Before it's dry you can turn it right side up to make any necessary adjustments before it's stuck. The last step is the glue the pin fastener to the back of the "button button", flat side down. Make sure if you have created something that has a certain up or down side, that you line up the fastener accordingly before gluing.

This method can be altered depending on what materials you have and who you're making them for. If you have a bunch of larger sized buttons or a lot of vintage pieces, you can just make a nice layered brooch that is not a flower. Or, for kids, use brighter materials like this mom did below.

LinkYou can also incorporate cut out pieces of felt and/or fabric to make an even larger statement like this chick from London. In this case, stitch the fabric or felt together with the button before gluing the pin onto the back.

Whatever you chose to do, the end result is a nice variety of unique and cheap brooches to give to the women or children in your life. They're perfect for decorating a tote bag, holding a scarf in place, or even on packages for a handmade sentiment.

Buttons made by SMSC clients at Sophie's Gallery

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My hands made this for you... Day 1 (Un)

The best things in life are free, or handmade at least. This holiday season why not do everyone a favor and make a gift instead of giving the stress of a mall shopping situation all wrapped up in a bow. That's bad energy, and no one wants that!

I am going to give you 7 idea's for homemade gifts this week, one a day, starting today. Anyone can do these, give it a shot.

Day 1 : Terrariums

The latest trend in home decor, great for men and women, co-workers and family members. Use drought tolerant plants such as succulents or cacti for a no-kill guaranteed gift that will make Mother Earth smile too. For complete instructions, click here. I made some awhile back that turned out pretty nice, but you can always alter the materials to fit your specific needs/likenesses. Don't forget to consider re-using glass bottles, or shopping at thrift stores for your container, you'll be surprised at how many things you can find once you've set your mind to it.

These are lovely too...

Necklaces by Erica Weiner

More of the green stuff at Botany Factory

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hello, tinsel-town

Here I am hard at work

The "holiday spirit" has finally attacked me.
After merchandising 3 Gallery/ Gift shops with a total of 7 artificial tree's all by myself (thankyouverymuch) I can justifiably say I wasn't even going to think about doing my own home.
But, in a random twist of fate I am feeling more hopeful for the New Year and what lies within it for me. This, along with the Winter Solstice and a potential gem sweater party, things are lookin' up! I still have some finishing touches at home, but in the meantime am enjoying the warm little glow of it while it lasts.

I am pleased with the results

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quietwriters, make some noise

This one is untitled

Lorsque je laisse mon clous croissent où les pointes blanches montrer
Je me sens plus agressif
ressemblant à un lion
creuser mes griffes dans le volant
mes crayons
votre dos.
l'autre soir j'ai rêvé que j'étais une panthère
bourdonnement grâce à un espace ouvert
mes pattes devant moi, l'herbe de préhension.
propulsée vers l'avant avec la vitesse d'un animal vicieux
ne pas de chasse, mais en jouer
mes mains étaient humanoïdes
mais mon corps était plus facile de déplacer
plus près du sol
une machine léger
de meurtre et de plaisir

Je coupe enfin mes griffes.
Je me sens plus domestique
comme mes mots ne peuvent pas déplacer vous autant
ma nature sauvage
suspendu momentanément
dans un souci de premières impressions.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010