There it was clear as day on pg. 16 of Debbie Chilatas’ book Soapylove: Squeaky Clean Projects Using Melt and Pour Soap, but I didn’t listen. Clearly stated under the section on molds it says “Glass and metal are not good choices”. Did I listen, noooo of course not. I didn’t break the soap making rules because I am some sort of rogue crafter I did it because I had done it before and it worked. Done what you ask? Use a Teflon coated cookie/muffin tin as a soap mold. In my defense it mostly worked, but there are still a few bars of yummy smelling soap forever lodged into their Halloween themed homes.
It all started when I got a copy of Soapylove to review. I knew it was going to be good because I had worked with Debbie on an episode of Craft Lab and really what is not to love about soap that looks good enough to eat like Soapsicles, Cameo Bars and Jelly Donut Soaps. The colorful book is a reminder that soap does not have to come only in boring white bar form. I had gone through a small soap making phase years back and flipping through Soapylove I was inspired all over again. The colors, the creativity, the easy to follow instructions I could not wait!
As if my soap making urges were not strong enough another package arrives from yet another Craft Lab guest Soap Queen herself Anne-Marie Faiola and her soap making one stop shop Bramble Berry. Apparently Debbie and Anne Marie have joined forces and there is an entire Soapylove line at Bramble Berry. The package looked and smelled heavenly. First there was a package of Naturally Clear Melt & Pour Soap. I had no idea that you could literally melt this soap in your microwave in a glass, pour the soap into a mold, let harden, wash glass and presto soap is born. Who wants clear or white soap when you could have Ruby Red, Fiery Fuchsia, Turquoise Blue or Sunshine Yellow – the options in the Soapy Love Jewelry Box Colorant Set. You know I loved that name and the cute little medicine dropper packaging. Then there was that amazing smell, I wanted to sit and huff the box that everything came in. You can choose between Delectable Desserts or Candy Jar Fragrance Sets. Luckily they sent me both to play with since I could have never decided. So with a copy of Soapylove, a box full of delectable soap making supplies and a Halloween party on the horizon I embarked on my soap making journey.
As mentioned I had made soap once before using a muffin tin as a mold and I swear it worked, this time I did not have the same kind of luck. I should have listened to Debbie and stuck with flexible plastic molds. Even an overnight stay in the freezer and a hot water bath did not help un-stick the last few hold outs. Luckily for the guests at my party a few Halloween soaps pulled through. Cutting up the Soapylove Naturally Clear Soap was super easy and I just used a kitchen knife. I would nuke about 3 cubes at a time and then add colorant and scent to the liquid soap and pour into the mold. Did I mention the Sparkle Dust that comes with the colorants?!?!?! In theory my idea was a good one since the cookie tin had shapes like spider webs, ghosts and Frankenstein – unfortunately it’s true that metal non flexible molds and soap don’t mix.
Don’t you worry I have learned my lesson and still have plenty of soap making goodies to play with. I’m thinking of making some of the ideas from the Soapylove book for Christmas presents. Cookie tins may not have worked, but according to projects like the Marbled Soap Cones and Ice Cream Bars cookie cutters work like a charm!
***Soapylove was kind enough to send me free goodies, really who in their right mind would say no to free craft supplies***
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
When I laid eyes on Martha Stewart's Baby Food Jar Snow Globes years ago, my crafty heart went all aflutter. I was always smitten on the idea and swore that one day when I had a baby I too would use my jars creatively. Well here we are years later and I'm ready for action. I typically make my own baby food, but I do keep a few jars around the house for meals out and on the go. Nothing says that all snow globes have to have a Christmas theme? What about Halloween? I thought this often slighted holiday deserved a snow globe of it's very own. Grab some empty jars and handful of other supplies and follow along with today's edition of I Love to Create.
Small Jars without labels
Liquid Fusion Glue
Decorative Halloween Ribbon
Tulip Fashion Glitter
Small Halloween Trinkets
Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Finding just the right Halloween themed trinket to go inside your snow dome can be the trickiest part about this easy project. Michaels had a whole slew of figurines from their "Spooky Town Collection". I opted for a trick-or-treating pirate and Dracula.
Once you have chosen your figurine using Liquid Fusion Glue, which is water proof, attach your trinket to the lid of the jar. Allow to dry completely.
I could have left my jars plain, but why when decorative Halloween ribbon was on clearance? Using Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky GlueI covered the lid and attached fun ribbon. Not only does it give the snow globe a little more visual interest it also covers brand names like "Earth's Best" on the baby food jars.
Once all the glue is dry it is time to fill up your snow domes. Fill your jar almost completely full with distilled water, add a wee little bit of glycerin (I found mine on the soap aisle of Hobby Lobby) and a sprinkle of Tulip Fashion Glitter.
Screw your lid on tight. You could even add a little Liquid Fusion Glue to the rim to make sure it never comes unscrewed again. Tip your globe over and let it snow glittery faux blood on Drac and creepy black rain on the Trick-or-Treater!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Looking for something to do next Thursday night in Austin? Might I suggest coming to take my Collage Curios Class at Stitch Lab. There are 2 spaces left!
Thursday October 29th
Love what you see on the scrap booking aisle, but don't care a thing about it? Incorporate all the fun papers into your jewelry! In this class you will make a bangle bracelet, large disc earrings and necklace using paper and decoupage medium. Learn to look at pictures in magazines, junk mail, wrapping paper and more in a whole new way. Feel free to bring any paper you would like to class, but I will also bring a large stash of her collage curios like vintage wrapping paper, wall paper, book illustrations, old cards and more for you to choose from as well as jewelry supplies and decoupage medium.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
What happens when I go and spend a week with my mother Fredda Perkins? We turn my daughter into a black cat bobble head! Mom and I have quite the creative synergy together and always manage to whip up something fun. I just had no idea that this visit would produce something this craft-tastical, it might be the best thing we have ever made together and we have been a craft team for over 30 years. Today for I Love to Create I am going to show you how to create your very own personalized, black cat bobble head!
Thin Craft Wire
Crafty Chica Little Paint Pack
Tulip Fashion Glitter Black
3 orange balls from Pom Pom Fringe
2 Wooden Discs
Photo Paper for Computer Printer
Craft Fur Black
Stiffened Craft Felt
Decorative wired ribbon
Small Wooden Dowel
Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
Drill with bit the size of Dowel
If you recall last week’s post on how to make a Hissing Black Cat Banner you will remember that I collect black cat figurines that I only display at Halloween. Therefore, we opted to make the bobble head a black cat. First things first. We painted our parts black. Using Crafty Chica paint in black I coated my cone, Styrofoam ball, dowel, wooden disc and wooden ball. If your pieces are slick or already have paint on them use a piece of sandpaper to give them a little tooth.
MEASURE TWICE CUT ONCE
The size of your dowel will depend on the inside diameter of the spring you use. My mom stole our spring from an infrequently used screen door in her house (shhh don’t tell my dad). You need a dowel that will fit inside the spring. You need two pieces of dowel. One should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. The other should be long enough to go though your wooden ball and extend into the wooden disk below then extend above the ball about 1 inch. Attach the cutting tool to your Dremel to cut the dowel to length or use a small saw. You'll also need a cutting disk on your Dremel to cut a 2 inch lengh of spring. Using a drill bit the size of your dowel, drill holes in both wooden disks and the wooden ball.
Once the paint has dried on your Styrofoam ball use a bread knife or some other cutting tool with serrated edges to cut off about 1/4th of the ball. Lay the cut side on a sheet of sandpaper and sand it til it is smooth and level.
Next glue your wooden ball onto your wooden base and glue your longer dowel piece inside making sure about an inch extends above the ball (it will hold the bottom of the spring) and into the hole in the wooden disk. One of your wooden discs should be small enough to fit inside your cone. Glue that disc into place and also glue your dowel into the center hole. Allow glue to dry.
EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH GLITTER
We coated the cone with Aleene’s Tacky Glue since it is nice and thick and has good grab. From here we coated the glue with glitter to give our black cat a flocked or furry effect.
CHOOSE YOUR PRETTY KITTY
It was hard choosing just the right photo of Tallulah, but in the end we opted for one where we could very easily crop out her face and she had a pretty smile. We cut out wax paper(you can see through it) the size of the flat surface we had cut into our Styrofoam ball to use as a template. We printed the picture on photo quality paper. We placed the wax paper over the photo and once satisfied with the placement, we cut out the circle picture. Using Aleene’s Foamtastic Glue we adhered the photo to the Styrofoam ball and allowed to dry.
Using the teensiest weeniest bit you can find for your Dremel drill 3 tiny holes on each cheek of your photo. Using wire clippers clip off 6 4” pieces of wire. Stick the wire through the holes and into your foam to secure. Do not use glue, as it will pool up on your photo. Bend and trim wires to desired length and style.
THE BETTER TO HEAR YOU WITH
Cut out two ears from stiffened craft felt. Mark where you want the ears on your foam bobble head. Using a straight razor carve a little slit where the ears will go. Fill the slit with Aleene’s foamtastic Glue and stick your ears in. Allow to dry. You may need to use thin nails or pins to hold the ears in place until dry.
FUN WITH FUR
We had a dickens of a time finding craft fur, save yourself the trouble and go to Hobby Lobby first. Cut your Craft Fur into strips and adhere to your bobble head with Aleene’s Foamtastic taking care around the face and ears. Once the glue has dried you can go back and give the kitty a haircut especially around the face.
ARMS AND TAIL
Using a drill we put a hole in either side of our cone and wired a pipe cleaner through. We cut out paws from the stiffened craft felt and attached with Liquid Fusion Glue. We also drilled a hole for the tail and used a chenille pipe cleaner since it was a bit puffier.
PUT IT TOGETHER
Once all your glue and paint are dry, put all your pieces together. You are going to need to carve out a small hole in the base of your Styrofoam ball in order to attach it to your cone. Again we used Aleene’s Foamtastic Glue to attach the ball to the cone.
We also made a ruffle collar using wired Halloween ribbon to hide where the two pieces connected. To ruffle the ribbon, just pull the wire on one edge making sure it doesn't pull through on the other end. We also added 3 pom poms from ball fringe as buttons. As an added bonus, once the black paint was dry I added polka dots to the wooden ball using a small dowel (the end of a nice new pencil works well too).
All that was left to do was display my new purrrrfect bobble head with the rest of my black cats. Tallulah fits right in and the bobble head is so cute I may leave this one black cat out all year round.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Since we are getting a new paint job and new flooring back at our house in Austin, Tallulah and I have been spending some time stowed away at my parents house in McKinney, TX. I have posted pictures of their pink Victorian house here, you can see what Christmas decorating looks likes around these parts here and oh ya the backyard was in one of the Benji movies.. A new addition to the home I grew up in is my mothers studio. She already has a sewing and jewelry studio on the 3rd floor of the house, but now she has her own little crafting cottage in the back yard. I have a bit of studio envy I must admit. I took a bunch of pictures to show you so that I would not be jealous alone. My mother keeps her crafting space about as organized as I do so it's good to know that I come by it honestly. I never trust people with spotless organized crafting spaces anyway, they must spend more time cleaning and labeling than they do crafting. I also snapped some pics of her amazing 3D mosaics that she first carves out of foam before she covers in broken plates.
You can see more pictures of her studio, backyard and art here. In the meantime Tallulah and I are having a lovely time during our visit. I have taught my crafty business seminar in Dallas, we went antique shopping in Oklahoma, crafted so much my hands are literally black, been to a classic car show at 'Big Tony's', caught up with a few old friends and had a good time all around. My mom keeps me pretty dang busy while I'm here.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Today’s I Love to Create Column is a two for one special! Not only do I have a fun Hissing Halloween Banner how-to for you I also have a book review and a contest. That is more like a three for one special!
First things first let’s talk about the books. I have been a fan and a customer of Repro Depot for a good long while now so when I head they had a set of books and stationary coming out there was no doubt in my mind that they would be good. Good was a bit of an understatement. The two Repro Depot Pattern Books in Folk and Floral are chocked full of just that patterns. The fun part is all the patterns also come on a disc making it easy as pie to print these patterns out for craft projects like say a Hissing Halloween Banner. There are actually a few pages of crafty inspiration at the back of the book with ideas for the paper including place mats, greeting cards and light switch covers. I opted to work with all black and yellow and patterns, but there are tons of color options in the book. All the patterns and the colors do seem to have the distinct feel of crafting in the fall of 1973. Each book has oodles of patterns with little people, southwest designs, pears, roosters and even nuts. The forward is by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge giving Repro Depot and the pattern books two thumbs up and we know she has great taste. There is also a set of greeting cards available from the line. The blank cards are adorable as is or would be a great foundation for further embellishments (check out our how-to for Thank You and Christmas Cards). Lucky you we have a set of those greeting cards to give away today, but first you have to check out our Halloween Banner How-to!
Repro Depot Pattern Books
Twinkle Type Letters
Aleene’s Acid Free Tacky Glue Stick
Aleene’s Tacky Transparent Tape for Crafters
Aleene’s Hot Glue Gun
Aleene's Liquid Fusion Glue
Black Cat Silhouette
CHOOSE YOUR PAPER
It’s a hard choice but you need to choose a theme and color scheme for your banner that will dictate which patterns you choose. I opted for black, white and yellow patterns since my banner was going to have a black cat Halloween theme. Print your patterns onto 8.5 X 11 printer paper with your printer setting on best.
Yup, it’ an accordion fold just like you did in kindergarten. First trim the white edges off of all of your pattern sheets. Next cut your paper into two rectangular strips. Use your Aleene’s crafters tape to attach the two ends together. Next accordion fold the strips with the folds being about 1” wide. Once you have gotten to the end bring your accordion together and attach the two ends with tape. I also used a glue stick to make extra sure it stuck together. Thanks to everyone who posted instructions on Face Book about making rosettes. I also found the instructions on Paper Source and Dream Create Inspire helpful.
Once you decide what shape you want your banner to be and you know that your rosettes will look good with them get to cuttin’. If you want your banner to look pretty from the front and back print out and cut two of each sheets.
My letters would get lost in the shuffle attached directly to the center of my rosette so I opted for some old sheet music to help make them pop. I used a roll of packing tape as my guide and traced and cut out 6 circles.
Since I was making this banner to go with my black cat collection not only did I want the banner to say “Hiss” I wanted to have pictures of hissing cats to illustrate the whole thing. Lucky for me Martha Stewart had these handy dandy hissing cat silhouettes on her website. I printed them out on card stock and placed them on top of black paper and cut out with a craft knife. Each cat came out slightly different, but I like it that way. I used my Aleene’s glue stick to adhere the cats to sheet music discs.
GET YOUR HISS ON
The next thing I did was use my glue gun to attach my rosettes to the banner pieces. Next I used my glue gun to attach the sheet music circles to the center of the rosettes. Last but not least I used my Aleene’s Glue Gun to attach my twinkling letters H-I-S-S to the center 4 circles of sheet music.
STRING AND HANG
I used a black and white polka dotted grosgrain ribbon to hang my banner. I put a thin line of Liquid Fusion glue across the top of each panel and the banner and laid my ribbon on top making sure the pieces were spaced out evenly. I cut the ends in a decorative fashion and hung in my kitchen with push pins.
I am pleased as punch with the way the banner looks and how it helps draw attention to my collection of black cats. Plus it gives me something fun to look at as I stand at my sink and do the dishes.
So now about winning those snazzy cards. All you have to do is leave me a comment right here and next Thursday we will choose a winner. I'd love to hear about how you celebrate and decorate for Halloween!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Since I am teaching my Crafty Business Seminar in Dallas this week at The Make Shop & Studio I have been going over my notes and adding all the new info I have read and learned about to my handouts. One of the topics that I always cover is blogging. Not blogging about your pet cat or what you watched on TV last week, blogging for your business. When you run an online craft business having a blog to help augment your brand can be not only helpful it can also be tons of fun. This is actually my 1,156th blog post and obviously I’m not just writing these to make Naughty Secretary Club a household name, I write them because I enjoy writing. The fact that the blog helps my business just so happens to be an extra perk.
All that being the said I always recommend blogging to my students. Some people scoff as if they would never have the time others are very interested and just not sure how to go about the whole thing. Well you don’t have to take one of my Crafty Business Seminars to get the scoop. Just check out a few of these amazing resources.
Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal
Ok so I’m a little biased about this book because I am one of the profiled bloggers. However, even if they didn’t feature me I would recommend this book as a great tool for someone looking to start a creative blog. The subtitle is after all A Guide for Crafters, Artists & Creatives of All Kinds. Topics covered include how to take great photos, building a banner, blogvertising, contests, bloggers pet peeves and more. Some of the most beautiful blogs on the net are profiled, the ones that you can spend the hours on drooling over the pictures. A few faves from my blog roll are profiled like Everyday Beauty, Inside a Black Apple, Design Sponge and Loobylu. Author Tara Fey knows what she is talking about as she writes her own amazing blog Typing Out Loud.
I got turned onto Problogger reading mega blogger Gala Darling’s Icing. I subscribe to their daily newsletter and though they are not always directly applicable to my blog type I generally walk away having learned something. Definitely worth checking out, they have a book too.
Crafty blogger extraordinaire Diane Gilleland has not one, but two E-books you can download all about blogging. I must admit that I have not read either, but from being an avid crafty pod reader and listener I’m sure both E-Books are amazing. Your two E-Book choices are Making a Great Blog: A Guide for Creative People and Creating a Blog Audience: Unconventional Marketing Guide. Both are on my short lists of to-do activities.
Every crafty blog reader and writer worth their salt is familiar with Whip Up. Not only are there links to some of the best craftiness on the web they also have an oh so informative tips section for crafty bloggers. The ladies of Whip Up bestow their knowledge of blog etiquette, blog tone and how to network within your blog circle.
These are a few good places to get started if you are pondering starting a crafty blog. These and of course signing up for my crafty business seminar in Dallas, Austin or Houston. I leave you with 5 blog tips that I have learned along the way.
1) Please do comment. I of course don’t always comment when I read blogs, but blog writers do appreciate your comments and feedback. However, don’t be a know-it-all. A multi paragraph comment where you try to outwit and out inform the original bloggers post is never a good idea.
2) Have your contact information on your blog. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on a blog (and sometimes a website or Etsy page) and there is no email or contact information to be found. Don’t make me leave a comment to get in touch with you I might have something important to ask you about.
3) Oodles of pictures are a good thing, just make sure the pictures don’t suck. One of the main things people like about creative blogs are all the pretty pictures. After all if you are going to take the time to write a how-to project or document some adventure you have had what’s the point if it is illustrated with dark or fuzzy pictures. Blogs are basically online magazines. Do you think that Elle Décor or Country Living would sell many copies if their pictures and styling sucked? Well nobody sells a lot of magazines anymore, but you know what I mean.
4) Unless you are Perez Hilton there is no need to post more than once a day. Your information will just get lost in the shuffle. Sure there are exceptions like Craft Magazine, but for the general blog once a day is plenty. The key, and I should take my own advice, is regularity. Blogs that post something everyday or at least 5 days a week seem to have the greatest success from what I can tell.
5) If you have something really juicy to write about that you are just sure your readers will love post it on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Those seem to be the days when blogs get read the most. Don’t waste a great how-to project for a Saturday when people are out at the bar or spending time with their family and not reading blogs. If you are a poster with great regularity your amazing Saturday post will get lost by Sunday and Monday by the time Tuesday rolls around and people are really into reading blogs again.
Got any hot blog writing or reading advice? Lemme know, in one paragraph or less of course :)
Monday, October 12, 2009
Guess who is headed to Dallas this week? I am! Besides hanging out with the fam I am also teaching a class at The Make Studio in Dallas. Not just any class for the first time I am teaching my Crafty Business Seminar outside of Austin! Spots are still open and did I mention there will be adult beverages involved? Friday October 16th 6:30-10:30. Read on for more details...
Starting Your Crafty Business Did you know you could have your own craft business up and running in under an hour? Signing up for Etsy is that easy. Or do you think a traditional website is the right angle for you? May take a little longer, but it is not a whole lot trickier. Once you have your business all set up the next steps are letting the world know, networking and making some sales. This class will you give the run down on getting started!
Marketing Your Crafty Business The success of your business is 40% what you make and 60% how you market it. Not yet signed up for Twitter? Don’t have a blog? Not swapping swag with other crafters? You could be missing out on easy, crucial and often free ways to promote your crafty business. Whether you knit booties or solder jewelry this class will help you understand the best avenues to market your small business. (Instructor: Jennifer)
Taking Your Crafty Business to the Next Level Things are running along smoothly with your small crafty business, but you want to know what else the world has to offer. How do people get product lines, book deals and TV shows? There is no secret formula, but Jennifer Perkins has experience in all three areas and will tell you what she knows.
Don't live in Dallas? Don't worry. I will be teaching the class in Austin at Stitch Lab this fall and in Houston spring 2010 at Adorn Me.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
I have had this little wooden Crafty Chica shrine sitting on my shelf for quite some time. From time to time I would glance over at the wooden frame thinking one day the perfect project would come to me and today it did. I am currently seeing the world through orange and black colored glasses with Halloween just around the corner so today when I looked at the little shrine I saw the silhouette of a haunted house. My friend Vickie Howell had just used Tallulah as a model for her PBS article so I thought for I Love to Create I would create my own little Wee Witch Shrine.
Liquid Fusion Glue
Crafty Chica Little Paint Pack
Decorative Ribbon & Trim
Hambly Home Decor Overlay
Aleene’s Glue Gun
Crafty Chica Wood Frame
First things first I needed to paint my shrine. I used my Crafty Chica paint pack and mixed colors when I had to like for instance to get orange. I used a trick Kathy Cano Murillo herself taught me on an episode of Craft Lab to achieve the polka dotted legs. Dip the end of your paintbrush into the paint and use it to make dots.
ALL THE TRIMMINGS
Using various glues I attached rickrack and ribbon to my shrine. I also traced a Hambly Overlay into the shape of my shrine and cut out with scissors. I brushed a thin layer of Liquid Fusion glue onto the painted shrine and attached the overlay.
Using my glue I added a few little last minute embellishments to the shrine like vintage plastic flowers, googly eyes and a witch sitting on a crescent moon cabochon. All that was left to do was frame my picture and set the shrine on a shelf. Buddha is borrowing Tallulah’s witch hat until Halloween.
Be sure to check out all our Halloween blog posts and take a look at our Halloween Videos for HGTV for added inspiration!