Crafting Food Ideas, Paper Arts, and Mom Day Ideas

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 28 April 2013 at 10:34 am

6 Mother’s Day Gifts Ideas for Kids to Make
Here are 6 fun and easy crafts your kids can make to give as Mother’s Day crafts.

June’s made an awful lot of mail art of late… come see!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is tutorial on how to draw a motorcycle, tips on working with stencils, info on leather finishes and tanning processes, and how to turn a baked potato from a fast carb into a slow carb.

Dinosaur Cake Pops
Enjoy this fun birthday party idea–dinosaur cake pops!

Finding Inspiration in the Psalms
Cherie uses the Psalms for inspiration in three new prints.

Mixed Media Artist
When you find yourself too distracted to make art, try making chocolate whiskey fudge instead!

Saturday May 4 is National Scrapbooking Day
Here are some easy scrapbook ideas. Digital layout templates allow anyone to do beautiful scrapbook layouts; or scraplift the design to do a paper one.

Crochet Wash Cloth Overload, Yeah!

Blogged under Charity Crafting,My College Craft Club by Tammy on Friday 26 April 2013 at 2:23 pm

Above is a photo of some of the bags my craft club is putting together. They include travel soaps we have been collecting as well as hand made cotton wash cloths made by both club members and the Yahoo Crochlist, who have sent a whooping 33 wash cloths already! We are even able to double up and add two cloths per bag, which is great. It looks like I will have about three boxes full of these bags by the end of the semester.

Along with the toiletry bags, we have made blank journals and coloring books. I picked up some boxes of crayons at the dollar store. Plus, of course, there are the amigurumi toys I’ve been make. I’m up to 15 so far. I may be able to squeeze out one or two more before I deliver everything. We may also be teaming up with another club who wants to donate children’s books to the shelter. So I will have one full car when I make the final delivery!

Project Bag/Book Bag/Purse/Kitchen Sink

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Wednesday 24 April 2013 at 3:51 pm

Like any dedicated crafter, I try to make sure I have a small project with me pretty much all the time, just in case I have any downtime or, in my case lately, I’m stuck in a meeting and need something to keep myself busy. I am not the type that can just sit and listen without doing something or my mind wanders. In the past, I have either taken notes that I never actually go back and reference or I would doodle. Now that I have come out of the crochet closet and crochet during meetings (at least many of them), crocheting a wash cloth is my form of doodling.

Luckily, one of my favorite 31 bags is perfect for keeping my yarn, books, ipad, phone, wallet, keys… umm……yeah..everything but the kitchen sink handy.

Recently, I posted some tips about getting good deals on 31 Gifts bags, and I briefly mentioned one of my favorite bags and showed a picture of it along with a smaller bag, but I did not give details about these two bags, so here goes:

  • The larger bag is called the Cindy tote, and retails for $70 (unless you use my tips for getting deals of course…I paid $35 for mine). It has a zipper on the top to close it up, and it has two outside pockets on each end that are large enough to hold a water bottle, a large zippered inside pocket, and three other inside pockets. There is also a hook inside for attaching your keys. It has a flat base with little metal feet, so it stands up (when you put stuff in it), and it comes in 4 different patterns. Mine is in Railroad Denim.
  • The smaller bag is part of a set of make-up bags that come together. The set retails for $35, and they come in 5 different pattern groupings. For mine, the larger makeup bag is in Woodblock Floral, and the smaller one (that goes in my Cindy tote) is in Grey Pin Dots.

I have been trying to figure out a good bag solution like this for awhile and before discovering 31 bags I was looking a lot at Namaste’s products, but the large bags are all are made of vinyl, which I’m so-so on. The Cindy tote has plenty of room for a skein of yarn plus all my school stuff, and I keep a little pair of scissors and a crochet hook (along with makeup, pens, and other odds and ends) in the smaller makeup bag. They work perfectly together, and I now always have a project handy just in case I’m stuck somewhere.

31 Gifts Too Expensive? Or How to Get a 31 Gifts Bargain

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Tuesday 23 April 2013 at 3:49 pm

When I originally signed up to be a 31 Gifts independent consultant, I have to admit that I was a little surprised at some of the prices. Some products are very reasonable, especially considering the quality, but others, seem a little on the high side. In fact, price is the main issue that I’ve heard commented on from folks when I have shown them some of my 31 bags: “I wouldn’t pay that much for a bag!”

I agree. And you do not have to pay full price for many of the 31 products, at least you don’t if you follow a few tips I’ve used myself to get great deals. For example, pictured above are two bags I use just about every day. The largest bag is called the Cindy tote, and it normally retails for $70. How much did I pay for it? I paid half of that, $35!

So before anyone dismisses 31 Gift bags as costing too much, here are some tips you should use so that you can get quality products at bargain prices:

  • Check the current monthly special. If you go to my 31 Gifts web site, you will see rotating images that have information about new products, contests, and the current monthly special. Every month, the company has a deal of some kind, normally a purchase with a purchase type deal. For example, when I bought my Cindy tote, the monthly special was spend $31 and get another select bag for half off. I selected the Cindy tote as my half off item.
  • Check with me (tammy powley @ yahoo dot com) about future monthly specials. Since I am an independent consultant, I get to know about future monthly specials coming up. Sometimes I will know what the specials are for the next two months coming up. This way, you can find out which works best for your needs and plan ahead.
  • Host a 31 Gifts party and get discounted and free products. You do not have to have a bunch of people come over to your house. I can set up a web-based party for you, and as the host, you just need to invite a few friends. They can shop on-line or through a hard copy catalog. I will write a post sometime with more details about how a web party actually works, but as far as bargains go, this is how that works: A party has to have a minimum of $200 in sales. With that, the host receives $25 in her choice of free products, an opportunity to purchase any item of her choice for half the retail value, and a chance to purchase special discounted products only available to the host. As the sales go up past the minimum, so do the host’s benefits, meaning more freebies and more discounts.
  • Host a web party during your favorite special. As a double whammy, keep an eye on the monthly specials, and then when you see one that you like, schedule your party (with me of course) so that you get double the goodies, free products plus extra discounted products.

My strategy is not really groundbreaking. Just like any place you shop, it’s really all about the specials and discounts and timing your purchases around these. If you go into any department store, you will see lots of bags that are regular price, but if you are like me, you head to the back where the marked down bags are kept. The difference with 31 Gifts is that you don’t have to trudge to a mall or buy bags that have been handled by a zillion other people, and many of the bags and other 31 products do not have a department store equivalent anyway. Instead, you can relax at home and flip through a catalog, either on-line or in your hands, and you still get an opportunity to get plenty of bargains.

Cut Up This Book: Book Review

Blogged under Good Books,paper arts by Tammy on Tuesday 23 April 2013 at 5:16 am

Running Press sent me a review copy of a new title called Cut Up This Book: Special Occasions: Step-By-Step Instruction for Festive Decorations, Invitations, and Moreby author Emily Hogarth, and yes, you literally can cut this book up and make all kinds of fun paper-art items like cards, garlands, cup cake toppers, and other adorable decorations. The copyright on this book is May 2013, but I noticed it is already available through It normally retails for $19 US and $22 Canadian. It has a flexbind cover book, is 144 pages long, and is divided into three sections: Getting Started; Project; and Templates.

In the Getting Started section, it explains about the tools and materials you need to make many of the projects in the book, and it has photograph step out images for the techniques too. My only slight beef about this section (and this could be due to my age) is that some of the text is a little hard to read. It is chock full of information, which means in some cases lots of text on pages, and that text could be larger for some of us over-40 types.

There are 25 projects in the second part of the book, and a good number are clever but also easy to accomplish. For example, there is the “Cake Toppers,” which uses a little paper and tape to make a cute “Congratulations” sign to but on top of a cake, or another favorite of mine are the “Food Flags.” Again, you just cut the paper as described in the step by step instructions (which include step out photographs too), stick it on a toothpick, and you end up with little flags to stick into sandwiches that say “ham” or “chicken.” How easy is that and how practical too?

Finally, you get to actually cut up the book in the third section that has loads of templates and decorative paper. Each page of this section corresponds to projects in section two of the book. There are total of 60 templates, and while you can just cut out what you need directly from the book, the instructions also suggest that you can photocopy or trace images as well. Each template is numbered and includes the project name and page number it goes with also.

Considering all of the templates and papers you get in addition to the projects, I think this is book is a bargain.

PUSH Print Book Review

Blogged under Book-Art,Good Books,paper arts by Tammy on Monday 22 April 2013 at 5:48 am

Awhile ago, I received a review copy from Sterling Publishing of PUSH Print: 30+ Artists Explore the Boundaries of Printmaking (PUSH Series). In the US, it retails for $19.95, and it is $23.95 in Canada. It is what is considered a “gallery” style book where a collection of artists are featured, both their work and their approach to that work. The curators of PUSH Print are Jamie Berger and Keith Berger, who are both print related artists. Jamie is a designer and art director, and Keith is a pressman. Together, they collected the visual works of the 31 book-artists included in this book and interviewed each about his or her approach to this medium.

As you would expect a book about book-art to be, this is a highly visual text with lots of full color images of the artists’ work. Sidebars around the artwork photographs describe the artwork and has a series of questions and answers. The idea behind using “PUSH” in this series of books is (as the subtitles says) to look at artwork that pushes against traditional boundaries. This includes subject matter and also techniques used to create the art. This means you will find innovative ideas and contemporary themes throughout this book.

I have to admit that while I like the PUSH series, I’m not in love with it. Aesthetically, much of the work is hit and miss for me. Some of it I like, some of it I am so-so with, and some I just do not like at all. However, as I read through PUSH Print: 30+ Artists Explore the Boundaries of Printmaking (PUSH Series) a few artist friends of mine came to mind who I know this book would speak to, so if you are a little more adventurous than I am, I definitely recommend taking a look at this book as well as the others in the PUSH series.

Hugo-Rina the Ballerina Hippo

Blogged under amigurumi by Tammy on Sunday 21 April 2013 at 10:40 am

Hippo number 2 turned out much better than my first attempt, though not perfect. I will hold back from pointing out all of the things I wish had turned out different, but generally, I am happy with the end result. I even figured out how to make her a little tutu.

Unlike most of the other toys I have been making lately, this one is not for charity. It was a special request from one of my sisters who plans to give it as gift to a little girl, and she asked specifically if I could make a tutu for the hippo. As it happens, because I rarely throw out any piece of fiber, I also had a little purple tulle that I used as a bow around her neck, and it matches the purple tutu.

I used Vanna’s Choice baby yarn for the hippo (such a welcomed break from Red Heart Super Saver), and some left over Bernat Softee yarn for the tutu. The hippo is from a pattern by Stacey Trock, which is part of a free Crochet Me e-book, and I just winged the tutu. In the book, the pattern is for Hugo, and since this is a ballerina girl hippo, I’ve named her Hugo-Rina. Other than that my hippo is a girl rather than a boy, the other deviations include a tail and she has a closed snout, and I added few nostrils with a little black yarn. Oh, and of course, Hugo is not wearing a tutu.

Weekend Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 21 April 2013 at 8:14 am

10 Crafts for Teenagers
Crafts for teenagers range from wearables and accessories to bedroom decor. Need a little handmade inspiration to get started?

A CreativeDream
June’s been creating a bunch of paper bracelets!

Blue Birds and the Bible
Cherie combines blue birdies and Bible quotes in a series of prints.

May is the Month to Preserve Precious Family Memories
May is National Scrapbooking month. Why not get ready by firing up your scanner and digging out the old photos you haven’t digitized yet before they deterioate any further.

Outer space art quilt
Cyndi’s latest art quilt is finished, and now she is just struggling with a name!

Sewing the Seasons
If you are looking to expand your craft book library, check out this wonderful sewing book that is full of projects and even several seasonal recipes.

Please Take My Jewelry Kit Survey

Blogged under Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Wednesday 17 April 2013 at 6:23 pm

Last year, I sold a few of my jewelry making kits both wholesale and through my Etsy shop. I didn’t make a ton of money, but I sold enough to the point I think I might be on to something. So I’m taking another look at my approach to jewelry kits. As a result, I realized I could use some consumer feedback, and I’d really appreciate it if my fellow crafters (whether you currently make jewelry now or not) would take just a few minutes to take this brief survey:

Thank you!

First Amigurumi Hippo Attempt

Blogged under amigurumi,Charity Crafting by Tammy on Monday 15 April 2013 at 5:10 am

I had a request from someone to make a hippo. I have not made one before, and while I found a few patterns (free and otherwise) none of them really were what I was looking for. However, I decided to go ahead and make a few using various patterns with the idea that I could make a few extra to add to my charity toy stash. This is the first attempt, and it is from a free pattern called Hungry, Hungry Hippo.

The pattern was very strangely written when I compare it to other amigurumi patterns I’ve followed in the past. I could go into a lot of detail about this, but I am not a pattern expert by any means. In fact, I can’t even imagine coming up with my own amigurumi patterns, so I’m not even going to go there. Let’s just say that I would not recommend this pattern to anyone who is not familiar with the technique of amigurumi. If you are, then you probably have enough skill to make it work generally speaking.

As far as the finished product, he is cute, even though his snout is too large and this makes him topple over easily if you don’t set him down correctly. I had a heck of a time getting a decent picture of him. As a result, I took a number of them, which you can find on my Ravelry project page. I think one other reason besides the odd pattern that I did not enjoy making him is because I’m so, so, so sick of using Red Heart Super Saver yarn! I want to touch something soft for a change.

I do not plan to making this pattern again and have moved onto hippo attempt #2, a free pattern I received in an e-book published by Crochet Me. It is one of 8 patterns, and this one is called Hugo the Not So Hungry Hippo. The designer is my fav, Stacey Trock. I have already started hippo #2, and while I know the pattern will be easy to follow, I’m not sure what I think about this guy’s snout. It is open and shows a few teeth. I may change that once I get to that point because I’d prefer the snout to be closed.

Along with knowing I have a pattern that make sense to me, I found two skeins of bright pink Vanna’s Choice yarn in my stash, yippy! As this finished hippo will probably go to my requester, which means it’s not a charity toy, I wanted to use some of my own yarn anyway and not yarn that was donated for the cause (all of which is RHSS…eeehhh gads!).

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