January 2013Occasionally Crafty: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30

Make it Work- Crafting with your leftovers!


Welcome to our first Make it Work party! I know I'm not the only one who has lots of leftover craft supplies just laying around, so let's do what we do best and craft it into something beautiful!

Valentine's day is drawing near and I really wanted to make a wreath, so when I saw my leftover wreath form just hanging in my craft room I knew I was going to Make it Work!

I drew from my yarn stash, ribbon stash and felt stash to make this super cute Knit Valentine's Day wreath!

Here's a close up of the knit pattern, which was basically like knitting a scarf and wrapping it around a wreath form. If you want the specific pattern go ahead and comment and I'll get it to you.

And here's the finished product! It is going to look so cute on my front door, I can't wait to put it up this weekend :)

Now we want to see what you can make from your leftovers! Search through your archives or get to work on a free project and share the link on our FB page (make sure you've gone over and liked us) or in the comments and we'll re-share them throughout the day! We'll do this once a month so don't worry if you can't 'make it work' this time!

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Monday, January 28

Making My Own- Laundry Detergent


Before I get to my latest Making My Own post, I wanted to remind you about the new link up series we're starting THIS Wednesday! It's called Make it Work, and you get to come up with a craft just using your leftovers. That's right, no quick trip to Michaels, this one is going to cost you nothing. We'll do this once a month and you can link up the projects you've done without running to the store! So search your archives or get going on your Make it Work project and be ready to share it with us on Wednesday!

Also- Valerie made it into week four of So You Think You're Crafty!  So, head over and vote for your favorite "Upcycled" project, and please share the word with your friends!

Now, Making my Own Laundry Detergent.

Yup. I went there. With all these things I've been making on my own, laundry detergent was always in the back of my mind. When my current detergent was almost out I knew I had to give it a go. I am really trying to be more frugal and this is yet another cost efficient thing you can do on your own.

Let me start by saying that doing all the Making My Own series is something that I love to do. Do NOT ever feel like you are failing because you buy store bought instant oatmeal or a packet of taco seasoning, ok? I am not in the business of trying to make you feel like you should be doing all of these things. When we moved back to America, real life hit us hard. It was time to scrimp and save and this is how I do it.

So onto laundry detergent. This is one I was super hesitant about. I pictured my clothes coming out crispy hard or smelly or something, but so far I haven't noticed a significant difference than my previous detergent. Hooray!

I found my 'recipe' on the TLC website (no longer available- email me for the recipe!). It was simple and straightforward, and only a little bit time consuming. It took about an hour.

I found all of my ingredients at Wal-mart in the laundry area.

Here's my soap all shredded up and ready to be boiled.

Here's the mixture of shredded soap, washing soda, borax and water.

All I have to do is stir my detergent before use and put 1/4 cup into my wash. I did the math and I can do 144 loads of laundry if I use 1/4 cup every time. All of my ingredients pictured above, including the bucket that I won't have to buy again, cost $11. I still have enough washing soda and borax to do 2 more batches of laundry soap, and only have to buy the soap to shred again (99 cents). That means I could theoretically do 432 loads of laundry for $13. I'm game for that!

I will keep you posted as I keep using it to see if there are any negative effects or anything I change from the recipe, but so far so good!! Please comment if you make your own detergent and have any tips for me!

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Friday, January 25

Valentine's Day Specimen Art


Are you ready for Valentine's Day posts already? It's not too far off, which means if you've been wanting to add to your decor, the time is now!

I've been wanting to make some specimen art for a long time. I love that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. I love that I can just use my scraps and make something awesome.

I've also had this idea nagging me for a long time. See, some holidays get all the attention. But what about St. Patrick's day, Easter and even the 4th of July? They need some love too! So my goal this year was to make an interchangeable specimen art! It will always hang in the same place and the content will change with the seasons! All I needed was the perfect frame, which I happened to find at Wal-mart. I wanted something deeper so I could do 3D effects but not worry about smooshing anything or having it where kids can touch it.

I think it's a great addition to my (very minimal) Valentine's Day decor, and a great start to a year's worth of Specimen Arts!


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Wednesday, January 23

DIY Darth Vader Stenciled Shirt/Pillow

No Crafternize post today!  Things have been a bit crazy.....

I thought I'd post the project I made for week two of SYTYC.  If you haven't voted for this week's projects, please do!  I could use some more votes! :)   The poll closes tomorrow night.

Now for the post:

If you are the mom of a boy, then it is likely that he is now or someday soon will be obsessed with Star Wars.  If it hasn't happened yet, prepare yourself--it most likely will.  Even if you never show them the movies, somehow, they will learn about light sabers  Luke and Han Solo, and of course the big baddy himself- Darth Vader.

My oldest son is no exception:   he's learned how to turn almost anything into a light saber  only wants to check out Star Wars books from the library, and tells everyone he meets about all the characters and what they do.  So, when I heard the theme for this week was "For the Boys", I knew I had to make something Star-Wars related.  Here is my Darth Vader Stenciled Shirt.

I sketched out a Darth Vader head, based on some different clip art images I found online.  Once I had a sketch I was happy with, I traced it onto freezer paper.

Normally I would use my Silhouette to cut out the stencil, but I'm having trouble with my blade.  Since I was on a deadline, I used the old-fashioned method:  X-acto knife and a cutting board.  I cut out all the parts that I wanted to be painted.  Then I ironed the freezer paper onto my t-shirt.  I used two coats of black fabric paint to fill in all the openings, and when it was dry to the touch, I peeled the freezer paper off to showcase my design.

My son LOVED his shirt.  Knowing it would look even cooler on a black background, I made him a matching pillow for his bed.

If you would like the Silhouette file I attempted to use, drop me a note in the comments or via email, and I'll be happy to share it with you!

I'm linking up to some of these parties this week.  Have a great week, all!

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Monday, January 21

Making My Own- Brownie Mix


Valerie made it into Week Three of So You Think You're Crafty!  Thanks for your votes and support!  Please take a minute when you're done here to check out this week's projects and vote for your favorite.  The theme is "Knock-Off", and there are some great projects as usual!

Next, I wanted to take a minute and let you know about something fun we'll be doing next week.  You know how you buy craft supplies for a project and then you have leftovers?  And what usually happens to those leftovers?  If you're like us, they usually sit around in your house, taking up space.  Well, we've challenged ourselves to come up with a project using ONLY supplies we already have.  We're calling it our "Make It Work" series (thanks Tim Gunn!) and will be sharing our projects the last week of each month.  If you'd like to play along, we'll be hosting a "Make It Work" party on our Facebook page all next week, so get out your leftover supplies and start crafting!

Now, on to today's post:

A friend of mine on Facebook re-posted a picture and recipe for a simple homemade brownie mix. I knew I had to give it a try and see if it was worthy of a Making My Own post! I even happened to have everything on hand which made this much cheaper than a box mix!

For the dry mix, combine:
1 Cup sugar
1/2 C flour
1/3 C cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

When you're ready to make some brownies, just add your eggs, oil and vanilla as indicated on the bag and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. This makes an 8x8 pan of brownies, which my kids DEVOURED. I made another batch this weekend and added about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and they were even yummier! I wouldn't say these were the best brownies I have ever had, but considering the cost of these vs. the box mix, I would make these every time. Yum!

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Friday, January 18

HOME: Stenciled Wall Letters


I may have mentioned once or twice that I am competing in this season of So You Think You're Crafty.  I hope you are all going over and voting each week, even if it's not for my project.  There are so many talented crafters in the competition this season, and it's been a blast!
I've really excited to have made it through to week threee- Knock-Off, so stop by Monday for a new group of projects!

The first week's theme was On the Wall, and this was my project:

I love the way it looks in my home.  I'm not sure it translates well to pictures, but it really is the first thing I notice when I walk in the front door.  I love it!

(Just in case you are wondering, my kitchen table is missing because we were refinishing it! :)

If you'd like to do something similar in your home (maybe with your word of the year?) then I whipped up a quick tutorial.

Supplies needed:
12x12 Wall plaques (I used a 2'x2' oak board from Lowe's that was cut into 4 equal pieces)
Paint in your choice of colors/Paint brush
Vinyl or Contact Paper for a stencil
Craft cutter or xacto knife
Command strips for hanging

Once you have your boards cut, sanded and ready, paint them the color you want your letters to be.  Mine is vanilla white.  I needed two coats for the coverage I wanted.   Let your paint dry completely- several hours or overnight.

Cut out your letters.  I used my Silhouette, but you could certainly draw them and cut with an Xacto knife.   Apply the letters to your painted boards and make sure there are no bubbles on the edges.

Paint over the stencils with your primary paint color (black for me).  Again, I used two coats.  Let dry to the touch, then remove the stencil, pulling slowly and carefully.

What happens if you have some bleeding on your stencil?

Well, I use a flat brush like this, and just carefully paint over it.

Doesn't this look better?

Once your paint is completely dry, hang them using Command Strips:  they hold the weight perfectly AND don't damage your walls.  Love!

I'm linking this up to some of these parties- come check them out with me!

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Wednesday, January 16

Craft Paint Storage Tip


I wish I had my own craft space.  But I don't.  My craft space is really an office/guest room/sewing corner/craft room.  In fact, it's usually a big mess.  We have this big wall unit from IKEA that helps me keep things organized.

Most of this side houses various craft supplies.

If you notice, one of those drawers houses my craft paint.  I know that a drawer for craft paint doesn't work for everyone, so this week's Crafternize it!  is really more of a helpful tip.  Here it goes:

Every time you use a new bottle of paint, dab a little of the paint on the lid and let it dry.  When you are looking through your stash to see if you have the right color, you'll be able to see it quickly and easily.  Do this even if the manufacturer supplies a paint chip dot.  They aren't always accurate.

Why is this important?  Well, look at how many different greens I have. (Side note- what is up with me and green?  Too much green ribbon, and now 10 different shades of green paint!)  But anyways, if I have a project that requires green paint, I can see how that paint will look dry so I can make sure it's the right shade.  The color in the bottle is often different than how it dries.

So, there you go:  a helpful tip and an idea for how to organize those paints.  I used to have mine all thrown in a box, but then I never knew what I had.  This way I can just open the drawer and check before I make a trip to the craft store.  Consider storing your paints in a place where you can easily see what you have.

Sharing this with some of these parties:  come check them out with us!

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Monday, January 14

Making My Own- Instant Oatmeal Packets


Okay folks, this is by far the easiest Making My Own recipe I've posted. This is something I'm sure a ton of us use and hate spending so much money for! We sure do pay for convenience, don't we?

Introducing, Making My Own instant oatmeal packets! I got the recipe over at Countrified Hicks, and it is so simple and easy to alter to your liking. She even makes her packets at double size since it usually takes two of the store-bought packets to fill up her kids.

Can you just imagine how great these would be for road trips, camping, and just every day living? I made 4 of these packets and didn't even make a dent in any of the ingredients you would need to make these, which means these are super cost efficient as well. I hope you get good use out of these!

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