Travel Themed Baby Hat and Card

Another friend of mine recently had a baby girl and I wanted to give a handmade gift as usual. 

I like to have an idea to work from, to make each one personal, so I asked about her nursery theme – travel – and searched Pinterest for ideas.

My husband agreed that This Little Pink Aviator Hat would be perfect! It’s actually for sale on Etsy, but I found This Pattern and made my own with a few modifications.

  
To go with it, I made this hot air balloon card – a simple drawing, colored, cut out, and layered. 

  
I added some bath stuff and a bag and it was ready to go (sometimes I do matching booties but my other projects were piling up)! 

I’m thinking about doing some more cards like this for my shop, since they might be a little more fun and personal than my art print cards. I would appreciate any suggestions! 

Sculpey Bead Baking Rack Review/Tips

  

So I bought some extra supplies a few months back and did a couple craft haul posts – Part 1 and Part 2. Now I want to talk about one of those items specifically, the Bead Baking Rack. I opted for the cheaper Sculpey one rather than the Amaco brand, because I wanted to fit several other tools into my budget, and I have to say I am very pleased with this item for the price.

It comes in a deceptively small package with the pins nested inside the rack part. The nesting feature is very convenient for storage (I have mine standing up in a jar with my blades, ball tools, etc). The pins are pretty sharp and seem like a perfect thickness to me. They’re easy to use – I twist the pin as I’m piercing the bead to keep from distorting it. And with 12 pins, you can bake plenty of beads at once using both sides of the rack, and maybe even have some flat items underneath. 

I would say the only downside is having to place the rack on a separate tray to bake (or in my case a tile) which means you run the risk of the whole thing sliding off on its way in or out of the oven. This would be the advantage of the Amaco version, which is a rack and tray in one. But you could use a tray with sides to avoid the problem, and maybe start your project with the tray already in place so you don’t have to move everything.

This tool has definitely made my claying life easier. I barely made beads before, due to the difficulty in making nice uniform holes and baking without flat spots. Also I guess most of my ideas didn’t involve clay beads, but I’m pretty happy with the tulip-inspired ones shown above, in progress, and below, finished as convertible bracelet/necklaces. They are available in my Etsy Shop or on my Website

What do you use to make your beads turn out just right? Have you discovered any great clay tools to share? 

   
 

Easy Earring Display Idea

I’ve just finished all my custom orders for the moment, so I thought I’d write a quick post to share a super easy DIY idea – an earring holder made from a window screen.

  

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of earrings. I used to have to dig for the pair I wanted when deciding what to wear.

So when I saw a tutorial or two for using screening to turn a picture frame into an earring rack, I decided to make an even simpler one with some window screens I had lying around from another project.

I can’t remember how much they cost but probably not much. And all I did was put the little bracket things on the corners, tie some cord around them, and cover up the ugly label. 

You could certainly make the edges prettier with some fabric, lace, scrapbook paper, paint, etc. But I’m lazy and I think the earrings add plenty of color.

  

Hang this in your bedroom or bathroom and you can see all your favorite pairs of earrings when you’re getting ready. I actually have a second one in my studio that I use for stuff I’ve made.

Well I hope you like this idea! How do you keep your jewelry organized?

Current Orders

I’m super busy with orders at the moment, which is a little stressful but great for business. So I thought I’d share some of what I’m working on.

This necklace, sold to a friend, is one of my first experiments with resin. I’ve had quite a challenge getting rid of the little tiny bubbles, but I’m pretty happy with the design.

  

These kettlebell earrings were for sale at the grand opening of my husband’s gym, Crossfit Metanoia of Fayetteville NC. Stay tuned for a possible full post about the gym itself!

  

I’m doing variations of these cat cake toppers for three weddings coming up! One of them will include a miniature of the Philadelphia “LOVE” statue.

  

And lastly, I’ve just sold 4 of my statement necklaces to one customer, which is really exciting because movie-themed stuff is popular (the HTTYD earrings are my best sellers) but I would also like to sell some of my more original designs like these. 

 
I’ve also had a couple smaller orders in between, and I have new items in the works that I hope to finish eventually! 

DIY Elephant Baby Shower Cake Toppers 

Today I am going to share an easy & fun tutorial for a popular item in my Etsy shop – elephant cake toppers! I have a few different sets, starting with some bird ones I made for a friend, but people seem to really like the elephants.

The cake toppers help me supplement my jewelry sales during the non-holiday season. But when a customer has a last-minute cake crisis, there isn’t always a lot of time to order new decorations. So good news: these are pretty simple to make, especially with my printable template (my husband’s genius idea – I used to cut these out freehand!).

  
Supplies: All you need for this project is polymer clay in two colors (or one color plus some paint), toothpicks, a roller/brayer or round object like a pen to roll it out (unless you have a clay/pasta machine), an exacto knife or other sharp blade, a dotting tool (or your toothpicks), and something to bake on – a baking mat, tile, piece of foil, etc (whatever you use with clay, don’t use with food!). And of course, your printed and cut-out template. My larger elephant is about 1.5 x 2 inches; let me know if it’s not printing the right size.

  

 

Instructions: After conditioning your clay, you will need to roll out each color to about 1/8″ thickness. Then place one elephant template on each sheet of clay, smooth it down with your fingers, and carefully cut around it with your blade. With the leftover clay, cut out the two hearts (remember to use the opposite color for each elephant). Once you remove the paper, stick the hearts on where the ears would be and smooth out any rough edges.

As an optional finishing touch, you can use the dotting tool/toothpick to add little dots or “stitching” around the edges. Then carefully push one toothpick into the bottom of each elephant. Bake according to the package instructions. Here’s what some of mine look like (on my display cupcake). 

  

Well I hope that made sense! Now if you’re in a time crunch, on a budget, or just feeling crafty, you can make your own adorable cake toppers! Feel free to make them for yourself or friends, but if you’re using my template, please don’t sell them. I know I’m not the first person to make elephant cake toppers, but I did create my own template and wouldn’t want us to be selling the exact same thing. On the other hand, if you’d rather buy than DIY (available Here), now you know how they’re made. 

These are great as a baby shower decoration – boy, girl, neutral, favorite colors, etc – and I’m sure they could be modified for other occasions. I would love to see pictures of yours in the comments! 

Craft Haul Pt 2 (Amazon & Hobby Lobby)

So I mentioned in my last post that my rotary tool, clay blades, and bead baking rack from Amazon hadn’t arrived yet. But then they did! You can see I bought the cheapo version of a Dremel; I figured it would suffice for light-duty usage. 

  
Then I ended up going back to Hobby Lobby for more of my usual supplies. 

This time I got clay and such, sandpaper & Velcro for making my own sanding discs, another kind of resin because the Magic Glos got me all inspired to try something new, and patterns because they were 99c and I could use a new art supply bag.  

 

But then I found the perfect backpack at the random discount store next door! I’m sure I can use my patterns another time.

 

So I’m busy as usual, working on perfecting my sanding, experimenting with resin, and hopefully doing some just-for-fun items soon 🙂 

Hobby Lobby (& Amazon) Craft Haul

Hi guys! I’ve never actually done one of these craft haul posts before, but I just went to my favorite store with birthday money and a long list, so I thought I’d share!

I usually buy more clay & jewelry supplies, but Hobby Lobby was having a big 50% off sale on scrapbooking stuff, and I’ve just started selling art prints and greeting cards in my second Etsy shop. So I ended up buying mostly papercrafting items – paper and a punch board for envelopes, blades, envelope seals, glue, etc. I went back later and got a postcard template stamp.

But I also got some Christi Friesen powder pigments and some Lisa Pavelka resin (which I couldn’t believe was on clearance!) to try with my polymer clay. Then I ordered blades and a bead rack online and, perhaps the most exciting item – a rotary tool to save my hands from lots of tedious sanding!

The loom bands are actually for my hair, the embroidery cards I use for jewelry box tags, and the miniature light bulbs – can you believe they actually work?? – are for dollhouse lamps. Because I love tiny things and kind of have a knack for making them. 

  
I haven’t gotten my Amazon items or tried everything yet so I might have to do another post, but I hope this gives you some creative inspiration! What do you usually buy at the craft store?

Crafting With My Husband

My husband is home from his six month deployment to Africa. It wasn’t that long, as deployments go, but after three of them you get pretty independent, and you really have to try at reconnecting afterward. But it’s easy to get lost in the daily demands of work, housekeeping, and socializing. 

That’s why we decided to go on vacation together instead of visiting family right away, and it’s why we’re working on planning activities together besides just sitting around or going to dinner (not that I mind those two things).

This can be difficult when our interests are so different. He’s a Crossfit coach and I occasionally go jogging; he likes to draw once in a while and I paint and make jewelry for a living – or part of a living, haha. But we are trying to meet in the middle. 

So I’ve been doing some quick, simple workouts with him, and last night he spent an hour or two doing crafts with me. Here’s my tiny mushroom house and his big dinosaur (they’re not quite finished).

  

Of course, we don’t have to share each other’s passions to appreciate them. There’s nothing wrong with being different, and there are plenty of other things for us to do (next up: day trips around North Carolina). But it doesn’t hurt to step into someone else’s shoes for a bit, and maybe have some fun while you’re at it!

Craft Room Organization – Work Tables

There are a lot of expenses to consider when you’re running a handmade business. On top of supplies, tools, and packaging, you have to think about things like furniture, technology, and website/shop fees. 

So I try to work with what I have and just upgrade when necessary (besides my love of trying new tools & materials whenever possible). For a year or so, my main workspace was a little wooden table left by the previous owners of our house. I could fit most of my clay and clay tools, but found myself having to move around the room to finish pieces that included paint or jewelry findings. And as I accumulated new supplies, I began to run out of room.
I wanted a folding table so I could also bring it to craft fairs, but decided to be cheap and buy a thrift store desk instead. It’s actually perfect because it has extra shelves and fits pretty much everything I need for the whole clay jewelry making process, plus I wouldn’t really want to move all my stuff now that it’s set up.

 

My workspace before & after (the “before” got a lot more crowded than it is here).
 
But when my husband insisted on buying me my folding table (thanks babe), I also got to upgrade my shipping station (previously on an old TV stand that wasn’t quite big enough for everything or tall enough for sitting in a chair). Now I can have my printer and all my packaging supplies in one place, and get my items ready to go at the table instead of on the floor. 

 

My shipping station before & after (ignore all the nail polish; that’s for another project).
 
So I guess if there’s a point to this post (besides “yay, new stuff,” haha), it’s this: if you’re on a budget, you still have options for making your business or hobby work. But if you have some extra money or you use something a lot, a little upgrading & reorganizing can make your life a lot easier. 

Thrift Store Shoe Refashion – Floral Heels

I’ve been on a search for the perfect red heels to add some color to a black dress. It’s hard to find a pair that’s cute, affordable, and fits right. And when I actually know what I want, it’s nowhere to be found. I think I’ve settled on a pair of Mary Jane pumps, but in the meantime, I got hooked on the idea of floral shoes. 

So instead of buying another pair, I decided to try re-covering some thrift store heels I had lying around. The ugly dress I challenged myself to re-fashion is not turning out quite as planned, but some of the leftover fabric ended up working perfectly for the shoes. It was just sheer enough to lay nicely but not show too much background (the shoes were originally black but painted red, which matched well). 

I cut a few separate pieces of fabric to fit the shape, stuck them onto the shoe with a layer of Mod Podge, let it dry, trimmed the edges, and finished with another layer. 
Unfortunately I don’t have a “before” picture, and I’m still working on some finishing touches, but I was excited to share these. I sent a photo to my husband and he thought I bought them this way!    

   

I’m thinking I could wear these with a nice red dress I bought for a date night, and no one would even know.