DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather (For Beginners)

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Can you believe it’s almost spring? Here in Portland, the rain clouds have been taking more frequent breaks to let the sun shine and people are preparing their gardens for the new year. One rainy afternoon I felt the urge to get out my watercolors and play. I had fun experimenting with a favorite subject (one that fits our DIY Craft Challenge theme this month), FEATHERS and decided to share a few of my favorite ways to paint one.

This is a great project for those who are just learning how to use watercolors. Be sure to check out my other posts on Watercolor Basic Supplies & Techniques and 8 Watercolor Techniques For Beginners.

Materials Needed:

• Watercolor paper
• Watercolor paints
• Small + medium size brushes
• Black fine tip pen (I use 0.3 Copic Multi Liner)
• Pencil
• White gouache
• Sea salt
• Feathers (for inspiration)

Prep Your Paper & Sketch

Start by cutting your watercolor paper to three pieces of equal size (I cut mine to be 4″ x 6″). OR you can simply paint all three feathers onto the same page. Then lightly sketch a feather shape with pencil. To do this, first draw an elongated oval shape. Then sketch a straight line down the middle (this will be the stem).
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Watercolor Feather

METHOD #1: Color Wash + Black Pen

Start by creating a color wash within the feather shape. To do this, first paint your feather shape with a thin layer of clear water only.
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
Then prep a few colors by wetting the pigment with water. While the feather shape is still wet, use your brush to drop color randomly onto the wetted surface (I like to use two or three colors for this). Allow the paint to flow together. You can even lift your paper slightly to help it run together.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Wait a minute or two, and while the paint is still wet, sprinkle some sea salt over the top. Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt from the paper.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once dry you can decide whether or not you want to do a second color wash layer. I chose to add some more red/orange paint to the bottom of my feather to achieve a darker, more vibrant hue. Don’t forget to paint a stem!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next get out a fine tipped black felt pen. I use a 0.3 Copic Multi Liner. First draw two lines down the center. You want the lines to come to a point near the top of the feather to create the stem. Next you can begin drawing lines from the stem starting and at the top of the feather and working your way down.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Experiment with leaving space between the lines at different intervals. You could also try different mark making techniques like dots, dashed lines, or even illustrated patterns.

TIP: If drawing with pen directly onto your watercolor feather is too nerve-wrecking, you can lightly sketch your lines with pencil first and then go over with pen.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #2: Color Wash + Watercolor Details

Start by sketching your feather shape. I chose to sketch my stem in an arc/curve shape this time. Then create a light color wash by first painting the feather shape with a thin layer of clear water and then dropping paint at random onto the wetted surface.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

TIP: To paint a lighter shade color wash, all you have to do as add more water to your paint to dilute the pigment.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

OPTIONAL: Because I like texture, I chose to sprinkle some sea salt over the color wash (just like in Method #1). Let dry completely, then brush off any remaining salt.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Next create a second layer with feathery details. First choose a darker color (I chose a dark green) to paint the stem.
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Using a small brush, begin to paint whispy lines starting at the stem going out to the edge of your color wash. Experiment by using a few different colors of the same hue.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Once you complete your second whispy layer, you can continue to add more color or detail (while the paint is still wet) until you achieve a look you like. Once finished, let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather
DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

METHOD #3: Color Wash + Gouache Details

Sketch your feather. This time I chose to create a slightly more detailed sketch. Start with the basic feather shape and then using your actual feather as inspiration, lightly draw ‘more wild’ feather shape.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Fill the feather shape with a color wash the same way we did in the last two methods. Paint the shape with clear water and then use your brush to drop in color at random.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then while the paint is till wet, choose a darker color and add in some stripes. Do this by dropping in the dark color in intervals, leaving gaps in between each ‘stripe’. You can keep adding color until you get a look you like. Then let dry completely.

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Then add some white gouache to your palette and using a fine tip brush, paint a line down the center of the feather and add in some white dots. Let dry and you’re done!

DIY: Three Ways To Paint A Feather

Three ways To Paint A Feather

The March DIY Craft Challenge Theme Is BIRDS!

First I want to say thank you again to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! If you missed our roundup of submissions yesterday, be sure to check it out. We are truly blown away by the creative projects that everyone made and shared with us!

Put A Bird On It

With spring just around the corner we are drawing inspiration from our winged friends, the birds! There are endless ways to create something with this theme whether it be the eggs you dye this Easter, the bird feeder you make for your backyard, or the feathers you collect on your afternoon walk. We hope you’ll find some feathery inspiration this month and use it as an opportunity to revisit a project you had forgotten about, experiment with a new technique or skill, or simply treat yourself to an afternoon of making something you enjoy.

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think. – Rumi

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March DIY Craft Challenge by Adventures In Making

Inspiration Sources:

1. Curly Paper Bird by Paper Craft Square
2. Wise Owl Pincushions by Quilt Magazine
3. Washi Tape Bird On A Branch by SuWolf
4. Birdseed Heart by Intimate Weddings
5. Paper Mache Birds by Ann Wood
6. Watercolor Feather by Lucy Akins
7. Peep Hot Chocolate by Needles And A Pen
8. Sugar Cookie Easter Egg Nests by Lovely Little Kitchen
9. Bird Sketches by Drawing The Motmot
10. Lego Bird Feeder by Gary Mueller
11. Painted Feathers by Free People Blog
12. Bird Garland by Art Bar Blog
13. Bird Costume by Probably Actually
14. Ombre Dyed Easter Eggs by The Crafted Life

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, March 1st and ends on March 29th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on March 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?
Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

DIY: Heart Bath Bombs (For Valentine’s Day)

DIY Heart Bath Bombs (for Valentine's Day)
Happy February! Today we are sharing a BONUS project on how to make pretty Heart Bath Bombs for your friends and family this Valentine’s Day. Alison and I got together with some friends to make these and they turned out wonderful! We used all natural ingredients and scented them with pure essential oils of lavender and rose geranium (ie. Heaven!).

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Ingredients:

• 2 cups baking soda
• 1 cup citric acid
• 3 tablespoons kaolin (white) clay
• 1 tablespoon hibiscus flower powder
• 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
• Rose petals
• Witch hazel
• 25 drops lavender essential oil
• 25 drops rose geranium essential oil

Additional Tools:

• Heart silicone mold
• Mixing bowl
• Spray bottle
• Parchment paper

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Gather your supplies and pour some witch hazel into a spray bottle and set aside. Next add rose petals to the bottom of the silicone mold (be careful not to add too many, you just want a light sprinkle) and set aside. In your mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (baking soda, citric acid, clay, hibiscus powder) and mix with your hands, breaking up any clumps.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Next combine the olive oil and essential oils together, then add it to the mixing bowl and use your hands to fully incorporate.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

Now comes the fun part. Spray witch hazel, a few sprays at a time, into the mixture using your hands to incorporate. You’ll want to work quickly as the citric acid will fizz with each spray. Continue to spray a little at a time until you reach a clump-like consistency that holds together in your hands.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)
DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)
Finally, pack the mixture into the silicone mold. Really push it in tight! Let dry in the mold for 10-15 minutes, then turn onto parchment paper and remove the mold. Let bath bombs dry overnight.

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

We’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to check out our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge and submit your own handmade project!

DIY: Heart Bath Bomb (for Valentine's Day)

DIY: February (Peace Sign) Badge Kit

February Badge Kit Tutorial #diycraftchallenge

We are so excited to be back and have our DIY Craft Challenge up and running again. This year we are changing things up and have created a little DIY Badge Kit available for purchase in our Etsy shop! Each month we’ll have a different DIY kit to go along with our DIY Craft Challenge theme. Since this month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, I’ve created a fun embroidery inspired badge using basic embroidery stitches. We invite you to visit our new Etsy shop to purchase a kit OR if you already have the supplies on hand, feel free to use this tutorial to make your own!

The monthly badge kit is designed to be a mini (warmup) project to get your creative juices flowing for the DIY Craft Challenge. We’d love to see your finished badges so be sure to snap a photo and use #diycraftchallenge on Instagram! And don’t forget to submit a ‘Stitches & Threads’ inspired project of your own this month. For more details on how to submit, CLICK HERE.

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February Badge Kit Includes:

• Two 2″ felt circles
• Embroidery floss
• Embroidery needle
• One 1.5″ paper circle (for template guide)
• Pinback

Additional tools needed:

• Sewing scissors
• Felt tip pen

CLICK HERE to purchase a kit!

Step One: Create A Template

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First you want to sketch a peace sign onto one of the felt circles to be your guide for your embroidery stitches. Use the paper circle provided to draw a circle. Then sketch a vertical line down the middle. Complete the peace sign by sketching two more lines starting at the middle of the vertical line and moving diagonally to form two pie shapes (see photo below).

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Step Two: Stitch the Design

I’ve chosen four different embroidery stitches for this project. Feel free to change it up and use different stitches than the ones I’ve chosen!

Reference THIS POST full instructions on how to:
– Thread your needle & tie a knot
– Tie off your thread (once you’ve finished your stitches)
– Chain Stitch
– Fern Stitch

First, stitch the outline circle using a chain stitch.
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Next stitch the inside lines to complete the peace sign using a Fern Stitch.
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Lazy Daisy Stitch: Embellish your peace sign with one or two Lazy Daisy flowers. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create a loop (with your thread coming up inside the loop). Then anchor the top of the loop to the felt with a small stitch, from B (inside the loop) to C (outside the loop). Repeat this lazy daisy stitch for each petal (always starting at the center) to create a flower.

Lazy Daisy Stitch #tutorial #embroidery

Note: You’ll notice the Lazy Daisy stitch is quite similar to the Chain Stitch.

Video Link: Lazy Daisy Stitch

Step Three: Finishing Your Badge

Finish your badge by stitching the front and back felt circles together using a Blanket Stitch. Blanket Stitch is a decorative stitch primarily used for edging. Start by holding the two felt circles together (right sides facing out). Insert the threaded needle through just the top layer (front) only and pull the thread through (this way your knot will be hidden between the two circles). Next, starting at the same place as your first stitch, insert your needle into the back circle, pulling your needle through both layers. Pull your thread through leaving a small loop. Insert the needle back through the loop and pull tight to create your first stitch. Begin your next stitch approx. 1/8″ away from the first. Bring your needle through both layers of felt. Pull the thread through, leaving a small loop. Insert your needle through the loop and pull tight. Repeat this process until you’ve stitched all the way around the edge of the circle. Insert the needle back through the loop of your first stitch to connect the circle.

Blanket Stitch Tutorial #embroidery

Video Link: Blanket Stitch

Tying Off

When tying off, you want the end the thread to be hidden in between the two layers of felt. To achieve this, you can tie a knot (optional) and then insert the needle in between the two felt layers coming out at a different spot. Pull the thread through and trim thread close to the felt with scissors. The end of your thread should now be hidden in between the felt layers.

Optional: Add a pinback

For easy pinning you can add a pinback to your badge. Simply stitch it into place making sure to insert your needle through the back layer of felt only.

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And that’s it! Show off your Peace Sign badge by pinning it to your bag/purse or stitching it onto your favorite denim vest or jacket!

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CLICK HERE to purchase a February Badge Kit from our Etsy shop!


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SHARE YOUR PROJECT ON INSTAGRAM USING #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE

 

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (for beginners)

Embroidery is one of my favorite craft mediums. It’s the perfect ‘lap’ project to work on while watching a movie and I love that I can pick up my project, work on a few stitches and just as easily put it down again. I first learned embroidery from my grandmother, who taught me to sew when I was a kid. Since then I have accumulated a big collection of vintage embroidery kits, endless boxes of floss, and have been known to transform my own art into embroidered masterpieces.

In case you haven’t heard, the DIY Craft Challenge is back! This month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, which pairs perfectly with embroidery. I’ve been longing to create a beginner embroidery tutorial for quite some time now, so this month is the perfect opportunity! And since it’s February, I made sure to design a project that can also become a Valentine for someone special in your life!

What is an embroidery sampler?

An embroidery sampler is created as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework. It’s the perfect way to practice different kinds of stitches and make something pretty at the same time.

There are hundreds of different types of embroidery stitches in existence. For this beginner project, I’ve chosen just seven: three basic outline stitches (Running Stitch, Back Stitch and Chain Stitch) and four decorative stitches (Threaded Running Stitch, Cross Stitch, Star Stitch and Fern Stitch). To make these stitches as easy to learn as possible I’ve included both photos with written instructions and a video link for each stitch.

7 Embroidery Stitches For Beginners

MATERIALS:

  • 8-inch diameter embroidery hoop:
    The Heart Sampler pattern was created for an 8” hoop but if you would like to make a different size sampler, you can shrink or enlarge the pattern provided to fit your hoop. I’d recommend not going smaller that 6” for this pattern.
  • Hand-sewing/embroidery needle:
    You’ll want to use a medium sized needle with a sharp point and a long opening, or eye, at one end, for easy threading.
  • Embroidery floss (7 different colors):
    Embroidery floss comes in a small bundle or skein and there are tons of colors available (check your local craft store). A length of floss is made up of six smaller strands or plies that are twisted together. You can use all of them or divide them up and use two, three or four plies for a thinner line. For this project, we’ll be using all 6 plies on all our stitches EXCEPT the star stitch, where we will use only three plies.
  • 12”x12” square of fabric (quilter’s cotton or linen works best):
    The looser the weave of your fabric, the more forgiving it can be when taking out stitches and starting over. A finer weave fabric is more likely to show holes from your needle.
  • Sewing scissors:
    Sewing scissors are sharp and used only for cutting thread and fabric. Avoid using your sewing scissors to cut paper or anything else beside fabric so that you don’t dull the blades.
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Fine-lead pencil (or nonpermanent fabric marking pen):
  • Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad (or light table or sunny window)
  • Washi tape (or masking tape or pins)
  • Paper cutter (or scissors & ruler)
  • Heart Sampler Pattern

Other Useful Tools:

  • A needle threader (helpful when you find yourself struggling to thread your needle!)
  • Thimble (can prevent you from stabbing yourself in the finger with your needle. Ouch!)

DIY: Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step One: Prep the Pattern & Fabric

Download the Heart Sampler Pattern HERE and print out onto white copy paper. Then cut 1.25” from both the top and bottom of the page to create a square piece of paper with the pattern at the center.

Cut your fabric to size. I cut mine to be 12”x12” square leaving me plenty of extra. You could also get away with a 10”x10” piece of fabric too. Press your fabric to rid of any wrinkles using a hot iron.

How to use the pattern:

Use the lines of the pattern as a guide for your stitches. You’ll notice that each line has an assigned number to indicate which stitch to use. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to make each stitch. There are a few stitches that are used more than once (like the running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch). Feel free to fill in these stitches as you go along.

Step Two: Transfer the Pattern to Fabric Using the Light Method

The easiest way to transfer a design onto a light-color fabric is to trace it. Place the square paper pattern face down onto the center of the square fabric and secure with washi tape or pins. Flip over and use a light table or my favorite tool, the Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad, to transfer the pattern to the fabric using a fine lead pencil or nonpermanent fabric marking pen. You can also tape your fabric/design to a sunny window and use the natural light to trace.

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Step Three: Prepare the Fabric & Floss

Place the fabric into your embroidery hoop making sure the design is centered. To make your fabric taut, spread it over the smaller inside hoop and fit the larger outside hoop over the top with your fabric in between. Tighten the little screw on the outer hoop and gently pull on the edges of the fabric until you have a taut surface to work with.

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Threading your needle:

Threading the needle can be a little tricky, especially when using all six plies of floss. It may help to slightly dampen your finger and twist the end of the thread into a point, or try squeezing the floss ends flat between your thumb and forefinger. Then slide the needle’s eye onto the floss (instead of pushing the floss through the eye). If all else fails, use a needle threader.

Once you’ve threaded your needle, knot the longer end of the floss by first wrapping it around your finger, then roll it off and tighten into a knot.

Video Link: How To Tie A Knot For Hand Sewing

Step Four: Stitching the Design

running-stitch

1. Running Stitch: To begin stitching the Heart Sampler, let’s start with the most basic embroidery stitch- the Running Stitch. Begin at the center dashed line of the heart pattern. Starting at the bottom, pull the threaded needle to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then return to the back of the fabric at B. The distance from A to B can be as long or short as you want. For this project, I recommend making small, even stitches of equal length. End your last stitch so that your needle is to the back of the fabric and tie off.

Video Link: Running Stitch

Tying off:

On your last stitch, return the needle to the back of the fabric. To tie off, pass the needle under a previous stitch creating a loop. Bring the needle back through the floss loop, and tighten. I recommend pulling the thread gently when tying off to ensure that the knot ends up snuggly next to your fabric (and not half an inch away). Avoid yanking the floss.

Video link: How to tie off a stitch

Embroidery Tip!

Your thread will get twisted up as you make your stitches. To correct this problem, hold up the hoop and let the needle and floss dangle straight down so that the strand can untwist itself. Just make sure not to lose your needle!

back-stitch

2. Back Stitch: Move over to the next line on the pattern (from the middle running stitch). Starting at the bottom of the pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then go backwards and return your needle to the back of your fabric at B. Next your going to move your needle forward, coming up at C. Repeat this process to create consecutive back stitches by once again working backwards, poking your needle through at the end of the previous stitch, then moving your needle forward. Be sure to make small, even stitches of equal length. Once you reach the end of the line (of the pattern), tie off.

Video Link: Back Stitch

cross-stitch

3. Cross Stitch: Next we are going to try our first decorative stitch! Starting at the bottom of your pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A and then back down again at B (creating a diagonal straight stitch). Next make a second stitch from C to D. Make sure each cross (x) overlap is in the same direction. Once you finish your row and tie off, notice what the back or your stitches look like. The back of a Cross Stitch row should look like the image shown.

Video Link: Cross Stitch

threaded-running-stitch

4. Threaded Running Stitch: First make a line of small close Running Stitches. End the floss. Start a second floss strand (in a different color) at the same spot as the first line of running stitches, bringing your needle to the front of your fabric at A. Working on the front only, without stitching through the fabric, insert the needle under the first Running Stitch, then through the second Running Stitch. Continue weaving back and forth under the Running Stitches until you reach the end of the line. End floss and tie off.

Video Link: Threaded Running Stitch (Warning: This video is not in English, but her demonstration of the stitch is all you really need).

chain-stitch

5. Chain Stitch: Start again at the bottom of the pattern and move your way up. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create your first chain. Begin the next stitch in the same way by inserting the needle back into the fabric at B (now under the loop), coming up at C (outside the loop). Bring the thread around and under the needle point and pull the thread through. On your last stitch, end the chain by inserting your needle into the end of the last chain (outside the loop). Pull the thread through to the back and tie off.

Video link: Chain Stitch

fern-stitch

6. Fern Stitch: Fern Stitch consists of three Straight Stitches of equal length radiating from the same central point A. Starting at the top of the pattern and moving your way down, bring the thread through at A and then make a Straight Stitch to B. Bring the thread back through again at point A and make another Straight Stitch to C. Bring the thread back through at point A (for the final time) and make a final straight stitch to D. Repeat this pattern by moving the needle down and coming up through the next center stitch to begin the next three radiating stitches. The center stitch follows the light of the pattern design.

Video Link: Fern Stitch (Note: This demonstration is done differently than described above. Either method works!)

star-stitch

7. Star Stitch: This is an Eight Point Star Stitch. Begin by first making a basic cross stitch. Then make another cross stitch diagonally on top of the first one to form a star.

Video Link: Star Stitch

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Step Five: Finishing for Display

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Once finished, turn your embroidery sampler to the back and take a look. My grandma always said that the back of your embroidery project should look just as neat and tidy as the front! But don’t worry. It’s OK is yours doesn’t look so tidy, since no one is meant to see the back of your project anyway (unless you show your grandma and she wants to check your stitches lol).

You can now prep your project for display. If you plan to make your heart sampler into a pillow, for example, you can remove it from the hoop and move on to your sewing machine. Or you can leave it as ‘Hoop Art’ by using the embroidery hoop as a frame for the project. To do this, make sure your Heart Sampler is centered in the hoop and the fabric is nice and taut. Then use sewing scissors to cut away the excess fabric.

embroidery-sampler-38

The DIY Craft Challenge is back!

It’s a little late, but we want to wish you all a bright and happy 2016! 2015 was a big year for us, full of laughs and tears both personally and professionally.

After taking a bit of a hiatus, we’re excited to get back to Adventures-In-Making and are making a few changes to push the focus to what we’re really passionate about… getting YOU involved! Tutorials are great, but our goal has always been to make Adventures-in-Making about a community of people embracing opportunities for creativity in their own lives. We want to inspire you, and to have you inspire us!

New Year, New Adventures…

Today we are reintroducing our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge! For those of you who have participated in the past, we welcome you back for more fun! And for anyone new to our website, we invite you to look through our archives, check out past DIY Challenges and stay tuned for the new projects we have in store this week. Each month we choose a new theme to explore from the many shapes, mediums, and subjects that surround us. We invite you to join in the fun and share your own creations with us.

So, What’s New?

Like I said we are changing things up this year! So for the first week of each month we will share projects and posts to inspire you to a new creation, or to share an old one. After week 1, you can find us on social media where we’ll be sharing some of our favorite theme-related projects from both our archives and from around the web. Anyone can submit a project thru the last week of the month (we’ll give you a deadline reminder). Then we’ll do a final round-up post of everyone’s submissions on the last day of the month!

We’re really excited to relaunch our DIY Craft Challenges (especially after all the requests from you guys!) and to let the themes inspire us all to learn and try new things. We hope you’ll join us and help make the A-I-M community a positive force for creativity.

Now without further ado…

diychallenge_logo_page2
DIY Craft Challenge: Stitches & Threads

Inspiration Sources:

1. Scrappy Applique Embroidery by Jessica Sower
2. Pea Pod Pin Cushion (Source Unknown)
3. Succulent Embroidery by MoonriseWhims
4. Empire Yarn by Jill Draper
5. Embroidered Constellations by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
6. Embroidery Alphabet by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
7. Embroidered Gift Tag by About The Nice Things
8. Clothespin Wrap Dolls by This Heart of Mine
9. Cat Embroidery by Bugambilö
10. Many Ways To Sew A Button by The Button Blog
11. I Heart Portland by JessB
12. Crochet Granny Squares by The Writing Tree

FEBRUARY DIY CRAFT CHALLENGE: STITCHES & THREADS

We’re kicking things off with our first theme of 2016 – Stitches & Threads! So get our your favorite sewing supplies and make something new. Don’t know how to sew? Not to worry. Challenge yourself this month and see what you can make with your favorite color yarn or embroidery floss. Experiment with making stitches on paper, learn a few simple embroidery stitches or draw something that is ‘stitch’ inspired. There are no limits to this theme! See where it takes you and most of all, have fun!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, February 1st and ends on February 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on February 29th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

DIY: Season’s Greetings Printable Herb Packet Gift

Season's Greetings Printable Herb Packet Gift Idea
I recently created this fun holiday printable idea for Garden Therapy and thought I would share it here on A.I.M for you to enjoy! -Rachel

Quick and easy holiday gifts are essential for surviving the holiday season. This free printable “Season’s Greetings” Herb Packet is perfect for small gifts and can easily fit into the mail with your holiday greeting cards! Use herbs harvested from your own garden to create flavorful seasoning mixes paired with a simple and delicious recipe.

CLICK HERE to for the full tutorial and free printable download over at Garden Therapy!

Season's Greetings Printable Herb Packet Gift Idea

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy (for cold/flu relief)

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy
Since making up a batch of turmeric paste last week I’ve been adding it to my morning ritual of drinking hot lemon water. I usually add a dash of cayenne and ginger powder and now I’m adding a teaspoon of turmeric paste as well. In the midst of my current obsession with turmeric and its amazing health benefits, I’ve been collecting recipes via Pinterest. When I stumbled across this recipe for a Turmeric Hot Toddy I knew I had to try it.

I usually only crave a hot toddy when I’m sick with a cold since the drink is known to ease the aches and pains of the common cold. But since my morning ritual tea is so similar to a hot toddy (minus the booze), I decided to give it a try and enjoy a hot mug on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy

How does a Hot Toddy ease cold symptoms exactly?

• For hundreds of years brandy has been used as a traditional remedy for the common cold/flu. The natural warming properties of brandy, mixed with its relaxing quality that induces healthy sleep and the antibacterial nature of alcohol, together creates a much needed boost for the immune system. You can read more on the health benefits of brandy here.
• Lemon and honey can relieve a sore throat, help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.
• Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, a natural blood purifier, and is antioxidant and antiseptic.

Note: Even though I do enjoy the cold/flu relief felt when sipping a hot toddy, it’s not the only remedy I turn to when I’m feeling sick. It’s also a good idea to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t forget that alcohol actually dehydrates the body, so think of a hot toddy as a way to pamper yourself when you’re feeling sick and drink in moderation.

turmeric-hot-toddy-3

Turmeric Hot Toddy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 1-2 oz brandy or bourbon
  • 1 tsp turmeric paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. In a glass mug, juice ½ lemon and add turmeric paste and honey. Stir to combine. Fill half way with hot water and stir until turmeric/honey is melted. Add 1-2 ounces of brandy or bourbon and top off with more hot water.
  2. Garnish with a lemon wedge, cloves, cinnamon stick and a star anise. Drink hot!
  3. Note: you can substitute herbal tea for the turmeric paste

RECIPE: Turmeric Hot Toddy

BIZ: How To Prepare For Your First Craft Show

My booth at the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale, 2013.

Camp Smartypants‘ booth at Crafty Wonderland Holiday Sale, 2013.


UPDATE: This post originally ran on April 9, 2014. Since holiday craft show season is on the way we thought we’d share it again in the hopes that you find some useful tips and enjoy the free printable checklist!

Applying for your first ever craft show? We’ve got some important tips to help make your experience fun and successful, plus advice from seasoned craft show vendors and a free printable checklist of must-have items you should have with you.

Choose your show:

When I first started my business, Camp Smartypants, I applied to as many craft shows as possible. Some shows I was busy with customers and other shows I sat in an empty room with no one but other vendors. I recommend doing a bit of research about the event before applying for any show. Find out how many years the event has been running and what ways they promote the show. How many shoppers do they expect to attend? Is it indoor or outdoor? If they don’t seem to have much of a promotion plan, I’d say look for a better show. Without proper promotion, potential shoppers won’t know about the event and you’ll be sitting in your booth by yourself, bored all day.

It’s also a good idea to find out who the show’s past vendors are. Take a look at the event website and browse through their photo galleries (if they have them). Would your products fit in with the other types of vendors? It’s also great to see how people have set-up their booth displays for that particular show as well.

Here I am at my very first craft show in 2009 at the Doug Fir in Portland, Oregon.

Here I am at my very first craft show in 2009 at the Doug Fir in Portland, Oregon.

 

Applying for your first craft show:

Depending on what type of event you are applying too, you’ll need to fill out a detailed application. Make sure you follow their application instructions exactly and provide clear photographs to your work and a link to your website or Etsy shop. Some shows may even ask for a photograph of what your booth will look like so if this is your first craft fair, don’t wait until the last minute to apply as you may have to set up a mock booth to photograph for your application. Also be sure to read the F.A.Q. page on the event’s website. They will often explain further how to submit a good application.

Note: Some shows, like Crafty Wonderland here in Portland or Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle, are fairly competitive to get into, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t accepted the first time you apply. Instead review your application and look at how you can improve it for the next time you apply and yes, you should definitely apply again!

Our first craft show was in Missoula, MT called the Missoula MADE fair. We were living in Spokane at the time, so it was the closest one to us. It was summer and held in an outdoor park downtown and it was very memorable! The day started out sunny and beautiful, but they’re known for quick sudden thunder storms to roll in. The wind picked up and it started hailing and raining for about the last hour of the show. People were packing up and leaving. We had lots of prints, cards, some tea towels and pillows, but were lucky enough to be towards the center area of the covered canopy they had, so our things didn’t get too wet, but still, it was pretty crazy. – Year Round Co.

How Much Product Should I Make?

As much as you possibly can. Bring everything you have, even if you don’t think you’ll sell all of it. You want your booth to look nice and full. You don’t want a big table with only a few items on it. I’ve always gone by the rule, the more you make, the more you’ll sell.

Designing Your Booth:

I always set up my entire booth at home before the show. That way I know exactly how things will be set up and I can take my time figuring out the best display for my products. Use a tape measure to mark off the exact dimensions of your booth space in your living room and start setting things up. Experiment with different arrangements of your products to find the most appealing setup. It’s good to display product at different levels so that the customer’s eye has multiple places to look when visiting your booth.

Year Round Co. show booth

Year Round Co. (formerly Slide Sideways) at Renegade Holiday Show in San Francisco.


Our current display is made up of pallet wood that Scott put together and painted. Our display has to be durable enough to be taken apart multiple times a year while also fitting into our car and, of coarse, look good and able to hold all the product we carry, so a lot of thought went into the design and how it would break down. We seem to constantly be evolving how it looks or how our new products fit into it too. –Year Round Co.

BOOTH ESSENTIALS:

Table. Consider the size of your allotted booth space. Your booth display should fill your entire space. You don’t want a table that’s too big or too small.
Tablecloth. When choosing a tablecloth (I like using a twin size flat sheet), consider the color and look of your products. You want a tablecloth color that will compliment your handmade goods and make them stand out. Usually neutral colors work best (unless your products are the same color). Avoid using patterned fabric for your tablecloth as this can potentially distract the viewer and make your booth look too busy.
Banner. Make some sort of sign or banner with your shop name on it. I made my sign by hand-painting my shop logo onto canvas and sewing it into a banner I can hang in front of my table.
Signage. All your products need to be clearly marked with a price. Consider making small signs or tags to attach to each item.
Display Items. This is where you really have to be creative. Choose display items that are lightweight and easy to set up. You don’t have to break the bank; great places to find baskets, frames, containers, etc. are local thrift and vintage stores. Don’t be afraid to give an old crate or shelf a DIY facelift with a little cleaning or new paint job. You can also look at IKEA or a display fixture store in your area (like Portland Store Fixtures here in Portland, Oregon.) Lastly, when designing your booth, you can’t depend on having a wall behind you. Everything in your display needs to be free-standing.

A Tea Leaf's booth at Crafty Wonderland, 2012

A Tea Leaf‘s booth at Crafty Wonderland 2012

I use wood crates, old tackle boxes and vintage glass collected from thrift stores to display my handmade jewelry and art. Some things I make sure to have with me at every craft show are: a lint roller, paper towels, coffee, and a mirror for customers to use when trying on my jewelry. –A Tea Leaf

The Day of the Show:

I like to arrive to any craft show 1-2 hours before the doors open. I don’t want to feel stressed or rushed about setting up plus I like to give myself time to run to the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee/tea, and get settled into my booth before the doors open.

It’s also a good idea to ask a friend or family member to help you load in and out for your event. Remember that you have to load your entire booth into the show space and you may have to carry things quite a distance. (If you have a hand truck or rolling cart, bring it).

In addition to bringing my entire booth display and all my products, I always bring the following items to any craft fair. It’s better to ‘be prepared’ than be freaking out about forgetting something or something going wrong. This checklist will help you have a stress-free, successful show! You can download it here and use it for your first show!

Free Printable Craft Show Checklist by Adventures In Making http://www.adventures-in-making.com

CRAFT SHOW CHECKLIST: (Free Printable)

A chair. If it can fit behind your booth, you’re going to want it.

Water bottle and food. You most likely will not be able to leave your booth during the event. Depending on how long the event lasts bring plenty of snacks or lunch so you don’t get hungry/cranky.

Emergency tool kit: Pens, pencils, tape, hammer, pliers, box cutter, scissors, safety pins, tacks, twine, zip ties, extra price tags/stickers, band-aids, tampons, Ibuprofen, hand wipes, napkins.

Change, cash box and calculator. make sure you have plenty of change (mainly $1 and $5). I usually get $100 in change for a show and that’s been plenty for me. I keep all my change in a metal cash box behind my booth. You could also wear an apron or fanny pack to keep all your change in.

Square App. an essential tool for any craft show. The Square App allows you to take credit cards on your smartphone or tablet. You can order the Square Reader for free here. Before the show starts, set up your free account and do a test transaction (I usually charge $1) to make sure it’s ready and working. Make sure your device is fully charged and don’t use up your battery power on facebook or instagram during the event. Also- ask the event coordinator if they have wifi access for vendors.

A notebook and pen to track sales. It’s good practice to write down every sale. That way you can review what items sold the best and how much money you made at the end of the day.

Business cards. Business cards a SUPER important to have at a craft show. I order mine from Got Print. You can also look for local printers in your area. Make sure your business card includes your name, your shop name, your email and website/etsy shop. This way customers who aren’t looking to buy something the day of the show can find you again.

Mailing list sign up sheet. So you can stay in touch with your customers.

Tools of your craft. Especially good for last minute repairs. If show traffic is slowing down, I’ll usually get out my supplies for making my products and get to work. Customers love seeing you in action! It could spark conversation and questions about you and your work. Just make sure it’s something you can put down easily so you can continue to interact with customers and make sales.

Packaging materials. You’ll need to bag or box up your product when someone makes a purchase. Make sure you have enough bags, tissue, etc. to properly package sold goods for customers.

Wear comfortable shoes and layers. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely be on your feet most of the time so comfortable shoes are important. Also, you never know what the temperature of the room will be (or what the weather will be if you’re event is outdoors) so it’s best to have a few layers of clothing you can take on/off.

We keep a small box that holds all the nuts/bolts/screws we need, plus a screw driver, extra hooks, and tape. We always keep pens, lots of business cards, and sometimes even our wholesale info on hand too, you never know if a potential store owner will be stopping by. Snacks and water are never forgotten either! – Year Round Co.

A FEW FINAL TIPS:

Show Etiquette. Tearing down your booth and/or loading out before the show ends is extremely bad show etiquette and disrupts the flow of any show. Even if you sold out of all your products, don’t tear down your booth (unless you have special permission from the event coordinator). If you tear down early, a lot of shows will put you on their ‘naughty’ list and won’t invite you back to do the show again. Also, be sure to leave your space as you found it and throw away any garbage.

Exposure and feedback. Don’t be too upset if you don’t sell out or make a ton of money at your first show. Many of the shows I first attended I didn’t make much more than the cost of the booth fee. Exposure of you and your work and customer feedback are the best things you can gain at your first show. This is your chance to test out your products, interact with customers and receive instant feedback on your work. As a rule, if I at least make my booth fee back, I consider it a success.

Outdoor shows. If you are planning to attend an outdoor show, I recommend using a pop-up canopy. They are quite an investment to buy, so ask the show coordinator of there’s someone you can borrow or share a canopy with. Also remember to prepare you booth for inclimate weather. You don’t want anything to fall or collapse due to a gust of wind and you don’t want your product to be ruined by rain or fade in the sunshine. Also- sunscreen and bug repellent are important.

Network! A craft show is the perfect opportunity for you to meet other like-minded people! Talk to the other vendors. Tell them it’s your first show and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. I’ve made many new friends this way and it’s great to offer each other advice and support.

Opportunities. Local shop owners might be attending the event on the look out for new handmade products for their shop! I’ve received many consignment opportunities with stores that first saw my work at a craft show.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: The Ultimate Craft Show Preparation Link List by Handmadeology

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year to make things. There’s something about the crisp autumn breeze that makes me want to spend an afternoon with a hot cup of tea and a craft project. I’ve been collecting small pumpkins for the past few weeks and drawing inspiration from this post by Hello Natural, I decided to make my own pumpkin candles.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Supplies Needed

• Small pumpkins
• Soy wax flakes
• #2 candle wick
• Wick tabs
• 30 drops clove essential oil (optional)
• Glitter

Additional Tools

• Carving knife
• Spoon
• Pliers
• Tin can (or double boiler)
• Popsicle stick
• Clothes pins
• Scissors

Cut the top off of each pumpkin and use a spoon to scrape out the insides.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Prep your wick with metal tabs (alternatively you could also use pre-tabbed wicks). Cut the wick to size and insert it through the metal tab with the end of of the wick lining up to the bottom of the tab. Use pliers to pinch the metal tab tightly around the wick. Place into the center of each pumpkin. Use a clothespin to hold the wick into place.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Using a double broiler, melt soy wax flakes over medium heat. Use a popsicle stick to stir the wax. Once completely melted, add the essential oil (optional).

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Pour melted wax into the prepared pumpkins. Allow wax to dry almost completely, then sprinkle glitter over the top. Use a hairdryer to ‘hot top’ the glittered wax. The wax should remelt slightly and allow the glitter to set on the top. Allow to dry completely and trim wicks.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts

Simple as that! Now you can light them up and enjoy a hot cup of pumpkin spice.

DIY: Glitter Pumpkin Candles  #autumn #fallcrafts