Archive for the ‘Crafts & Projects’ Category

August 3, 2012

Baby Footprint Magnets

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magnet

I really wanted to have a footprint keep sake, but the local craft stores didn’t have any footprint kits. Wierd, no? Since I wasn’t as interested in all the fine detail you get with the ink pad as the general shape of the foot, I decided to just use non-toxic fabric paint. My mom held Nicki in the cradle position, and I painted a little fabric paint on her foot. I’d then take a piece of paper, place it on cardboard for support, and press it up against her foot. I found it easier to move the paper to the baby, than the baby to the paper. Less messy that way too. We took about a dozen footprints until I got a reasonable one. (Someone likes to wiggle her toes a bit.)

I scanned the best footprint I had into the computer and make duplicates. I was planing on sending a footprint magnet to family and figured I’d need about a dozen magnets. Even if I got better at taking her footprints I was still going to really be testing my newborn’s patience if I sent everyone a real footprint and not a digital duplicate. Scanning them into the computer also allowed me to alter the color of the footprint, and let me clean up any issues like stray marks left by wiggling toes as well as preserve them for posterity!

If you’re making one or two, it’s cheaper to go out to Michaels and by magnet backing. If you’re sending them out with your birth announcements (which is what we did), or planning on redecorating the grandparents’ fridge, you might want to consider Xyron Creative Station with Magnet Refill Cartridge. I refer to it as my “sticker making machine” and used it to adhere my wedding invitations to the pocket fold. It’s definitely a handy device if you like to make a lot of paper crafts.

See, super easy. Added bonus: you can use the left over magnet backing to make photo magnets!

February 2, 2012

Gender Reveal Jewelery

With our anatomy scan a few days away, I’ve been thinking about creative ways to reveal baby’s gender to the world. I wanted to do something fun and quirky, but also subtle, that I could keep with me over the following twenty weeks. Since I’ve been itching to start another jewelry project, a mother’s pendant was the perfect fit.


A birds nest pendant with Swarovski pearls I made in 2010.


Completed mother’s pendant using rosaline and light blue swarovski pearls and silver wire

The pearls and jewelry wire came from Fusion Beads. Fusion Beads is great for this kind of project because they allow you to order just what you need. Their per-bead prices for these small projects are excellent. At any other craft store I’d have to buy a package of pearls, even though I only need three in each color.

I ordered 8 mm pearls in rosaline, powdered pink and light blue. Rosaline is closer to what I normally think of as baby girl pink, but I tend to prefer darker, dusty pinks. The pearls were on sale for 13 cents a piece when I ordered, but even at 23 cents (the current price), it’s not too costly to purchase a few extras if you’re not sure which color you want. I splurged on the wire and got non-tarnish 24 gauge wire for $4.16 (current list price is $4.90). Total cost of the project $5.33.

To make this pendant, start out with with about five feet of wire. Insert three beads onto the end and make a loop to end the wire.

Wrap the wire around so the three pearls are nestling tightly together.

Continue to wrap the wire around the pearl cluster. You’re going to want to periodically string the wire between the pearl cluster and wrap it around the loops to help hold them together. Chris cross behind of the pearl cluster as you go, it will help keep the loops from getting too unwindy and fill in some of the gaps. Don’t worry about being neat; messy is more bird like anyway.

Keep wrapping and looping the wire until you get a nest of desired size. I find it tends to look unfinished and sloppy for quite a while, and doesn’t look much like a birds nest until you get to the last foot or so of wire. When done, tuck the end of the wire behind the pearls.

I used three pearls so it would be more obvious that it’s a bird’s nest, but I’ve also made it before with singleton pearl. If you’re having multiples, you could easily adjust the pearl cluster to match the number of babies, or if you have children you could have each pearl represent a different child.

Team green? How about a pea pod necklace?

September 18, 2011

DIY Wedding Invitation Ornament

I still can’t shake the Christmas feeling I’ve been having lately. I am also missing all the wedding related craft projects (Weddings are great excuses to craft!), so I decided to make a wedding invitation ornament. I’ve seen several of these on the internet lately, and it was too cute not to give it a try. Total cost was only $3.24, not including materials I already had on hand.

I only had a couple left over wedding invitations, so I decided to print a new one. Originally I purchased white metallic card stock with the anticipation of printing all the invitations myself, which I never ended up using. The metallic sheen reminded me of snow, it was perfect for this project.

I used a paper cutter to get nice, even strips. The strips were then wrapped around a pen to make loose curlicues, and inserted them into a clear plastic ornament from Micheal’s ($0.99). Once cut and inserted into the ornament, the metallic paper reminded me of a satin ribbon. It looks very delicate.

Don’t worry about getting every strip into the ornament. I had more strips than room in the ornament, so I kept only the strips with a non trivial number of words. I had a poem on my invitation, and one of the lines had only two words. The resulting strip looked blank, so I passed on it.

Insert some small curlicues first. I made the mistake of putting our names in first, which were on much larger strips. They blocked off access to the bottom of the ornament. A pair of tweezers can be used to maneuver the ribbons a little, but it’s a bit like making a ship in a bottle, and very time consuming. I couldn’t get the smaller curlicues in behind the bigger ones. I ended up pulling all the strips out of the ornament and trying again.

The invitation needed a little something extra to make it unique. I still had my wax seal for the invitations, so I bought some sculptey (a bankable clay) in order to create our very own monogram charm. The sculptey was $2.25, and I have a lot left over for future projects.

This is where I lucked out. There was a miscommunication when I ordered my custom seal and I ended up with two: one with the circle border and one without. I had only intended to order the borderless seal, which was the one I used for the invitations. It looked really nice with the faux wax (not from waxseals.com), but when working with the clay the missing border looked sloppy. I described it to my husband as “Dog Collar Like”. The seal with the circle looked just a touch more finished.

After working with the clay to soften it up, I pushed the seal down as hard as I could. I used an exacto knife to trim the edges. I found it easiest to pick up the seal, sculptey still attached, and trim the excess sculptey with a pealing motion. Lastly, I used a pin to puncture a hole above the “D”, and baked the charm for 15 minutes to harden.

But the ornament still didn’t feel complete. The monogram pendent was a nice touch, but the sculptey doesn’t have the same finishing touch as, say, a real charm. We had a subtle wine theme at our wedding. Our favors were wine charms. I made TONS of charms. We wanted to have enough that every couple or family could take home a complete set. Of course, not everyone wanted one, so we had a few left over. I found one of the blue ones (to match our wedding colors). Call me crazy, but it actually reminds me of a vineyard label. I think I have a new favorite ornament.

* I did buy the ornament hook this weekend ($1.50 pre 20% off coupon at JoAnns). Since I’m working on multiple Christmas ornaments, I figured the hook would make the work easier. It’s not necessary. Pre-ornament hook I used a wine glass, which worked just fine.

June 4, 2011

Back to Beading

I had some free time today (first time in weeks, wahoo!) so I got out my beading supplies and decided to take a crack at the seed bead nets I wanted to try. After about six hours, and one false start, I finished with this:

Seed Bead Net

I’m very happy with how it turned out, especially for a first attempt. Well, technically second. If you want to try this, I recommend using a beading string rather than any kind of wire or cord, and size 10 needles. For my first pass I used a translucent beading wire, but the wire held its shape if bent, which ended up emphasizing all my mistakes. I’ll post a tutorial later, I plan to make a few more first so I’m sure I’m not leading anyone astray with bad ideas.

About two months ago I talked about the profitability of Etsy stores, and the difficulty of turning a real profit. This project serves a perfect example. Let’s ignore material costs, which were pretty negligible. This net took me 6 hours. Using the 30K a year target, I’d have to charge approximately $90 in labor costs. If I omit the the time spent down a bad path, and the assumption I get faster with practice, I might able to get away with charging $45 in labor. Yet, a search shows they sell for between $5-$35. If I set my price to $35 to match the high end, then my hourly rate gives me $23K a year. And that is, of course, assuming I sell well – 857 to be exact.

Even though I know exactly where the $35 price tag comes from, I still can’t help but think the price is too high. I couldn’t see myself shelling out more than a few dollars a piece for a bead net, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. At the current rate it would make it one of the most expensive ornaments on our tree. As cool as I think the net is, it isn’t the coolest ornament we have. As with all things combining internet and profit, you have to be in it for the fun, not the money.

March 30, 2011

Stocking up

In just a few days I will be Washington bound to start my internship at Microsoft. I expect to be busy. Very busy. In addition to my internship, I will have my thesis to keep me company. I need to make as much progress as possible so I can stay on track for graduation. Still, I need something to occupy my hands with. It’s good to take a break from research sometimes, no? I need something somewhat monotonous, that I can do with the TV on or while I’m waiting for dinner in the oven. Most of the projects I have planned have multiple stages. I find that if a project isn’t monotonous, I have difficulties putting it down to pick up again later. I therefore need to find a large block of continuous time for them, which is something I doubt I will have in the coming weeks.

I think I found my project.

I love this idea for seed bead ornament nets. I’ve been looking for ways to personalize our Christmas tree. The problem is I’m very picky, even when it comes to something as simple as the ball ornaments. These embellishments will really let me personalize, and add a bit of sparkle. Lily, our cat, discovered this past Christmas that she can bat ornaments out of the tree. While the ball will be destroyed, the net will survive the fall to the floor. I can keep reusing them. Perfect!

The timing for this new project is also excellent (despite Christmas being a solid 9 months away). This week’s Michaels coupons includes a 25% off the entire purchase. Perfect for stocking up on seed beads.

I just have to start off by saying what a difference a year makes. Compare my Anniversary photo to the photo of me in the “About Sarah” section of the side menu. The bathroom scale might not report much of a change, but I see a world of difference. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I have been wanting to do a family travel map for a while, so when our anniversary was coming up I thought it would be a fun project to do together. I loved the idea of working on a project together, that’s also practical in the sense that we’ll hang it up and love to look at it rather than something that gets stored away. (Like our wedding album. Sad, but true.) We wanted to combine the traditional first anniversary wedding gift, paper, with the modern anniversary gift, clocks, so we added a series of world clocks to the map.

I’m very happy with how this turned out. I ended up using just traditional rubber cement to mount the map onto a foam core backing. Most people recommend spray adhesive for an even spread, but I had so much rubber cement left over from a wedding project that I wanted to use up. Rubber cement worked fine for this project because the map was on thick matte photo paper: no wrinkling or bulging. It’s not perfect, but it works well enough.

The frame came from Walmart (about $18 + tax). I could have gone a little cheaper, but I liked the look of the frame, and the dark mahogany brown color. It matched the map perfectly. The frame had a plastic shield over (ie fake glass) but it was fairly easy to rip out and make room for the pins. Once I pulled out the plastic, I realized how flimsy the frame was. The foam board backing is necessary to help it keep it’s shape, as well as provide a place for the pins to go.

We used medium black tacks (purchased on amazon since they were cheaper when you factored in shipping – $9). The tacks have a tendency to disappear when you stand a few feet back because the map is so dark. We decided to pin places we had been to together, including before we were married or even engaged. Other options include having pins of different colors for each family member, or pins for with kids and sans kids.

The wall clocks are of important locations to us. We met, married and honeymooned in three different time zones which happen to move West to East. The progression works very well with the concept of world clocks. The time is set to the time of our ceremony, 5 o’clock Eastern Standard Time. I suppose, if we hadn’t, I probably would have had one large clock for where we were married, and several smaller ones indicating either places we had been, or wanted to go. I printed the clocks on photo paper which gives them a bit of a glossy shine, kind of like the glass on a real clock.

I want to keep up the tradition of an anniversary craft project, but next year will prove to be a challenge. The traditional gift is cotton, and the modern gift is china. I have no idea what I will do.

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