Sunday, September 22, 2013

Here Comes the Rain Again...

Rain Boots - Rain Cloud Serving Board - Umbrella - Rain Coat

The rain is finally back in Portland. I spent this rainy weekend breaking in our new Waffle Maker with the husband (we have dubbed the weekend "Waffle Fest 2013"). I've also been virtual shopping for new rain gear (and some gear that's just cute and rain themed!).

What kinds of things are you window shopping for with the change in seasons?

Monday, September 16, 2013

DIY Cloud + Lightning Brooch

The rain is back here in Portland, and I am LOVING the Fall weather. We've even had some thunderstorms so far this year (which is very rare here). It inspired me to make this cute little felt brooch (a perfect craft for a rainy afternoon!).

To make this felt brooch you will need:

Grey felt
Yellow felt
pin back
cotton ball or small amount of polyester fiber fill
thread (colors of your choice)
cloud template (I used the one from my rain cloud brooch)
fabric glue or hot glue (optional)

I started by cutting out my shapes and choosing some thread. I made some templates out of index cards, you can use my cloud template or easily make your own. I free handed my lightning bolt pattern onto my felt (its basically a zigzag line that comes to a point). I like a really bright yellow with matching thread for the contrast it gave my final project, you can definitely use lighter colors if you prefer.

I wanted my lightning bolt to have a little more heft so I doubled the layers and used a blanket stitch to sew them together. Blanket stitch is great because it seems to smooth out the edges of your final shape (which is really useful with felt pieces that can be quite fuzzy around the edge).

Next, I placed my lightning bolt onto one of my clouds and moved it around to decide just where I wanted it placed. Once you decide, you can sandwich the other piece of grey felt on top and get your needle threaded to sew your clouds together.

I decided to give my cloud a silver lining (ha! I do in fact, love this weather!) and thought a backstitch would look cute all the way around. You can do another blanket stitch, or get even fancier with something else if you like, I'm not the boss of you and your crafts :)

Once you get a little over halfway around your cloud, I usually start adding some stuffing in to make sure I can get all the way into the ends. For this I just used a cotton ball, but if you have polyester fiber fill laying around you can use that instead. Continue sewing and adding cotton until your cloud is fully stuffed and you have stitched the entire way around. Tie off your string and weave in the ends if you feel it necessary. Finish your brooch by attaching a pin back onto the back of your cloud (you can use fabric glue, hot glue, or stitch the pin back onto the back of your cloud).

Above you can see a detail of my silver lining stitching. I used a metallic thread because I like things that are sparkly, but you could easily substitute a plain grey or silver colored thread without the sparkly filaments.

Tada! Has the weather inspired you to make anything super cute lately? I'd love to hear about it!

Don't forget to follow The Craftinomicon on your favorite social media platforms so you don't miss out on any crafty goodness!

Silver Metallic thread for this post was provided by Kreinik Threads. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mocha Roasted Almonds

It's rainy and chilly here today in Portland and I'm loving it! I decided a yummy smelling snack needed to be made in my oven today and these Mocha flavored Roasted Almonds fit the bill! They only take a few ingredients and about 40 minutes of your time (they also make a great Holiday gift. You know, if you're thinking about that already.).

To make you own Mocha Roasted Almonds you will need:

2 1/2 cups Raw Almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 egg white

Preheat your oven to 325 (F). In a small bowl (3 cups or more by volume) beat your egg white until it is just frothy and beginning to lighten. Add in your almonds and mix them around until evenly coated with egg white.

In a zip sealed bag, mix together your sugar, cocoa and espresso powder. Shake until evenly combined. Add in your egg white coated almonds and shake to coat. Pour onto a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat mat.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes or so (this will clump together a bit if not stirred often- you can break it apart after it has cooled if necessary). Make sure you line your pan, as the mixture will stick to the pan if you do not (melting sugar just does that, you know).

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before packaging. Eat these as a snack on their own, or put them on ice cream, cupcakes, etc. as a delicious topping!

If giving this as gifts, an easy way to package this is to put it into clear bags and stick that into one of these little boxes as shown below. You can find them at most craft and hobby stores (paper mache boxes would also work well.). Just tie it with a piece of colored ribbon and you have an easy yet cute treat box that is reusable!

Have you made any extra yummy snacks lately?

Don't forget to follow The Craftinomicon on your favorite social media site so you don't miss any upcoming food and gift ideas!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Product Review: Glu6

I have been testing out this cool new glue in a couple of my projects this week and figured it was time to write up a more detailed review for all of you (this blog is by no means a product review blog, but when I find something I like I'm going to share it!). Maybe it's the Portlander in me, but I really like that this glue is made from recycled styrofoam (yes, that big blocky white stuff that packages all your electronics etc. That same stuff you thought couldn't be recycled into anything useful!). Right off the bat, this glue gets bonus points for trying to solve an eco problem and giving you a useful product.

I used the Glu6 Craft Paste to make the fish scale patterned placemat shown above. The majority of the paper circles used were punched out from glossy magazine paper, but I mixed in some solid color copy paper circles and a few from card stock as well (to better test out the glue and to add some texture to the final project). The craft paste seemed to work equally well on all 3 types of paper (and is recommended for porous surfaces). It has a pretty slow curing time and a fairly strong orange scent so you will want to follow the recommendations on the package and use this in a well ventilated area. I tried out a few different brush options, including a foam brush, old paint brush and the little wooden applicator provided with the glue itself. Since this glue is not water soluble, the foam brush was a no go--it just got all gooped up in the foam and didn't spread very well. If you are spreading onto a large area, the wooden applicator worked pretty well, but if you are trying to glue something tiny, I found I liked the old hard bristled paint brush. Keep in mind that to clean the brush you have to use something like Goof Off or Goo Gone as again, the glue is not water soluble. This does come in handy if you want to use the glue as a sealer, because once it cures it is waterproof!

I used the Glu6 Original to make these Instagram Coasters. Since this comes in a fine tipped bottle, the application process is much easier. I also found that it formed a tight bond with my paper and ceramic tile (even though my paper was a little porous and this glue is recommended for non porous surfaces). This glue was also pretty spiffy at sealing my coasters, but it does take awhile to cure (I left mine for 2 days before sealing and then another 2 days after that before use). It has the same orange scent as the craft paste, and again should be used in a well ventilated area.

Overall, I really liked both of these glues and will likely continue using them for various projects in the future, especially papercrafts/scrapbooking (I'm kind of a sucker for quirky products that are made in the USA).

All Craftinomicon readers can get 25% off their Glu6 order at Nine Lives Products by using coupon code Fall2013 at checkout until October 31st!

Thanks to Nine Lives Products for providing me with samples of these Glu6 Products for review. I have not been compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Washi Tape Tea Lights

I was feeling like "making" something tonight but wasn't really feeling like an all night project. Luckily I had some tea lights sitting around and just found this Halloween color schemed Washi Tape I bought last year. The two were fast friends.

I used some pretty standard small tea lights from IKEA, these have a yummy sort of vanilla/baked goods kinda scent to them so I like them a lot.

I used Washi Tape in 3 different widths, so not all of the original tea light container is covered in all my tea lights, but I kind of like that. It also gives you some wiggle room on where to place your washi tape. Just tape around the tea light container and you're done! Festive little tea lights with very little effort. As always, keep an eye on the candles when they are burning so you don't have any fire mishaps :)

What are your favorite washi tape projects?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Instagram Tile Coasters

I've really been getting more into Instagram lately and have been taking more pictures on a pretty regular basis. I liked some of my instagrams so much I've been thinking of ways I can display them, but we don't have a lot of wall space (my husband paints so my walls are completely covered with very large paintings). So I thought these coasters would be a great way to use my photos in a way that they can be seen but also have an added use! I got ceramic tiles from the hardware store for about 40 cents a piece (yay for budget friendly crafts!) and printed out my instagrams on a laser printer.

I decided to try out this Glu6 original glue for this project as it is for non porous surfaces like tile, it's made from recycled styrofoam and I love a good green prodyuct. It can also be used as a top coat on the coasters because it dries clear and is waterproof after drying (be careful about getting it on your hands, it takes a lot of rubbing to get waterproof glue off those fingers!). I glued my photo directly to my cleaned tiles and let it dry overnight before applying a topcoat.

Once the whole thing was dry I cut a piece of felt to fix onto the bottom of the tile so it won't scratch my tables! You can do several 4 piece coaster sets for under $10! If you don't use instagram, you can easily use images from a magazine, or colorful scrapbook papers to make these coasters as well. They make great hostess gifts, so you may want to keep some on hand for the next get together you're invited to!

Have you made any cool projects with instagram photos?

The glue for this project, Glu6 Original, was provided by Nine Lives Products. Made in the USA (CA).

All Craftinomicon readers can get 25% off their Glu6 order at Nine Lives Products by using coupon code Fall2013 at checkout until October 31st!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fish Scale Patterned Paper Placemat

This is an easy project that is extra eco-friendly. I used a 2" hole punch to punch out circles from an old magazine and then pasted them onto an extra sheet of 12"x12" card stock. Even the glue was eco-friendly! I used Glu6 craft paste from Nine Lives Products, it is a new craft glue that is made from recycled styrofoam, how cool is that!? They make a few different glue products, all from styrofoam, you should definitely give them a try. The glue even smells kind of good, it reminded me of Gojo orange pumice hand cleaner, which all of my art classes used to have for us to use (elementary school and up). Totally nostalgic.

Start by punching out lots of circles from a magazine. I used an old fashion magazine, which had lots of super colorful ads and whatnot for great variety of small images, but any magazine should do the trick. You could also add in some newspaper images as well, but the ink on newspaper tends to smudge a bit.

I started at the bottom of my sheet of card stock and worked my way up to create this fish scale pattern. Your very bottom layer will use half circles. You could use a smaller or larger hole punch if you want, just make sure the size will fit evenly on your paper (since my paper is 12" wide, anything that divides evenly into 12 would work without needing to trim the paper).

Above you will see the finished starting row of my scales. To start the second row, choose a side to work from and you will again start with a half circle, as the fish scale pattern is staggered by an inch. The circles that are not on the ends will be full circles.

Continue your pattern up the sheet of card stock, as shown above. I tried to evenly disperse circles with lots of detail with circles that had solid color so that no one area was extra busy while one area was too plain, but overall it's a pretty colorful piece of work. Once your glue is dry you can coat this with a top coat or clear sealant. If using this for a place mat isn't your style, it would also make a great piece of wall art, or could be cut up into coasters. I'm thinking about lining the drawers in my craft desk with something like this!

Glu6 craft paste sample provided by Nine Lives Products, manufactured in the USA (CA). All opinions are my own.

All Craftinomicon readers can get 25% off their Glu6 order at Nine Lives Products by using coupon code Fall2013 at checkout until October 31st!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Propagating Succulent Plants

If you are anything like me, you are kind of into the whole succulent plant/terrarium thing that's been gaining popularity the last few years. These little plants can get expensive if you want a collection, but if you give them room to grow, you can actually propagate them yourself, turning one plant into a whole little family of plants. This big guy above was originally shown in my post about windowsill gardening (believe it or not this is the plant in the white teacup, all grown up!). I gave my plant a much bigger pot, and it really took off, sprouting new "branches" all over the place.

To propagate new plants from your own succulent plant, you start by removing "branches" like the one shown above, or even single leaves or petals from your original plant. When I take off branches like the one above, I also remove the leaves down a fair portion of the stem. You will leave these leaves or stems in a shady dry place for 2-3 days before repotting. The stems and leaves will sort of scab over on the ends you cut, you can then replant them in some soil.

Succulents need good drainage, so make sure to put some rocks in the bottom of your pot before adding your soil. I got a decent sized bag of river rocks at the dollar store, pea gravel works well too (you can even mix some pea gravel in with your soil for additional drainage for your plants).

Fill your pot with soil (I use organic potting soil). Do not add any water to the soil, or water directly after planting. My soil is actually a little damp right out of the package and this slight amount of moisture is more than enough while your plants form new root systems (you shouldn't need to water for a week or more after replanting).

Finally, plant your succulent cutting in the soil and pat firmly. Again, do not water the plant immediately after planting. Check after about a week and if the soil is bone dry, you may add a little water. If you are curious how the plant is coming along, you can remove it from your soil to see if the roots have begun to sprout yet (this is a great project for kids!). I have planted several of these (including some that are just single leaves and I will update you all in a few weeks with their progress! Soon I will have a whole windowsill FULL of succulents for future projects (maybe even to give as gifts this holiday season).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Embroidered Ribbon Tulips

Embroidery doesn't have to be done using specific patterns. This tutorial shows you how a few simple stitches, combined with ribbon instead of thread or embroidery floss, can quickly create some flowers. For this tulip I used ribbon about 1/4" wide, and made 3 straight stitches. I finished by back stitching some quick stems.

Start a single tulip by pulling your ribbon through the fabric from back to front.

After completing the first stitch, you will start the second stitch by passing back through your starting hole (again back to front). You will want to make this stitch about as long as the first, you will want to complete your second stitch to make a "V" shape on your fabric.

You complete the tulip by again stitching through your original hole and ending your stitch between the other 2 stitches. I generally make this center stitch a little longer than the other two.

Once your flowers are done, add in some simple stems. You can draw out your stems beforehand if you need a guide or try to freehand them.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Peach Chevre Salad

This should have made my list for "Things I Love" in September, but I thought it deserved it's own special post. It's that good. The hus and I got a cheese plate at one of our favorite restaurants over the weekend, and two of the many items on it were peaches and chevre. Luckily, they were right next to each other on the plate or I may have missed out on this taste sensation. I decided to turn it into a salad at home, but this would also be great served on slices of baguette as a late summer appetizer. Go nuts, I won't judge.

To make this tasty Peach and Chevre salad you will need:

4 cups lettuce of your choice (I used red and green butter lettuces, spinach would be great as well)
1 ripe peach, sliced
2 ounces of chevre (for those of you unfamiliar, chevre is a tangy goat's milk cheese great for spreading or crumbling)

Wash your lettuce and gently pat dry (or use a salad spinner- woo!). Place into a large serving bowl (or divide evenly into 2 bowls). Top with peaches and crumble on your chevre. This serves 2-4 people as a side and can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd. We are lucky enough to have peaches in season at our local Farmer's Market, so I am getting my fill while I can.

What Summer dishes are you filling up on?

Things I Love- September

Heart shaped yarn bomb I found on a walk through my neighborhood.

It is September already! I'm sure looking forward to weather that isn't quite so HOT, but beyond that there are lots of things I just love right now that I had to share with you. Also, make sure to look around at all the projects that have been going on here in the past couple weeks. There is lots going on this month as well, so make sure to check back or follow me on Bloglovin', feedly, facebook, etc. so you don't miss out on all the fun! Hope you all had a great Labor Day Weekend!

How great are these watercolor paintings from Oh Gosh, Cindy! on etsy? I am partial to the one above from Moonrise Kingdom, but she has lots of other great ones. I think this one will be living with me soon.

I'm also loving this cake plate from H&M. You can shop online there now in the US, and they have some great home goods that the US stores don't seem to stock yet. I may get this for my birthday cake (yay October is coming soon-Happy Birthday to me!). These plates are smaller than a standard cake plate (luckily I have a 6" cake pan that might just come in handy).

Last but not least, my tiny balcony garden is still going strong! This little watermelon should be ready soon and I'm so excited about it! I also have some California Poppies in bloom and several lettuces and basil. Finishing off this garden season strong!

What are you all in love with this month?

I was not compensated for this post by any of the above mentioned shops. I just really like this stuff.