DIY: Chipboard Village with Free House Template

IMG_3735_chipboardvillage
You might have noticed things have slowed down a little over here at A-I-M. Life goes in cycles, as we know, and unfortunately it’s been tripping us up lately. I’m still making things (some of them more therapeutic than others- like the DIY below), but the timing is tricky, and sometimes things don’t make it online as quickly as they should. We’d like to ask you to be patient with us, and give us time to refresh and collect ourselves. We’ll be back to full speed before you know it.

I’ve been trying to simplify my life because I have accumulated too many “things”; and I’ve made a resolution to truly embrace the making of things, rather than the buying or the keeping. (Our house is getting smaller by the second. Someone’s cursed us, I swear!)

So rather than storing ornaments, sparkles, trees and lights, I’m making new temporary baubles from recycled materials.

With that in mind I sat down to make my version (sweet and simple) of a winter village. I built a template that you can use to start your own winter wonderland, and I hope you’ll get as much peace and joy out of it as I did.

IMG_3286_chipboardvillage

Supplies

  • Scrap Chipboard: I like to save the backs of paper pads for projects like this, or you can grab a food package out of the recycling.
  • Pen and pencil
  • bone folder or scoring device
  • Craft knife
  • Paper glue: Elmer’s works great!
  • The printed template: click here or on the pdf below.

chipboardvillage_template

IMG_3287_chipboardvillage
Chipboard is great because you can mark it simply by pressing down hard on it. To trace the template on my piece, I clipped the paper down, then…

IMG_3300_chipboardvillage
used a bone folder and ruler to score the dotted lines (that will eventually be folded).

IMG_3308_chipboardvillage
Then I traced over the rest of the lines by pressing down firmly with a pen.

IMG_3312_chipboardvillage
Once I finished tracing all the lines I had a faint guide to work with. (If you like, trace the lines lightly with a pencil to help when you’re cutting.)

IMG_3316_chipboardvillage
Like most cutting projects, it’s easier to start by removing the small pieces of the template. In this case that meant cutting out the windows, the notch on the back, and two sides of the door. (Refer to the template to make sure you are cutting only the solid line pieces.)

IMG_3322_chipboardvillage
When I had the building and roof all cut out, I used a bone folder to score the folds a little more deeply. Then I began folding each flap gently away from the score mark. (Including the roof piece.)

IMG_3333_chipboardvillage
When I had the main part of the building folded, I applied glue to the flap (shown in gray on the template sheet) and held the pieces together until the glue held firmly. (You can also use clips or clothespins to hold it closed for a bit.) Once the base of the house was holding firmly, I added glue to the roof flaps (also shown in gray) and aligned and attached the roof. (You will want to hold this together by putting your hand into the house-box and pressing the flaps against the roof.)

IMG_3414_chipboardvillage
To frost the windows, I took a piece of cello tape slightly larger than the window, and attached it to a piece that was even larger. Then I taped that frosted pane right into the window-sash. I left the door bent slightly in, to welcome little chipboard guests!

Now that you’ve got the hang of home-building, you can reuse this template by resizing it, or come up with your own design!

IMG_3347_chipboardvillage
For my second building, I used the natural folds in a cracker box, and drew windows and a door with a pencil before trimming it out. Remember to leave flaps to attach the roof! (But in a pinch, a piece of tape will work as well.) Simply erase the lines, glue everything together, and plop it into your village… and when it gets dark…

IMG_3438_chipboardvillage
slip a few LED Christmas lights under your buildings for ambiance. (The notch I included in the template is super handy for running the wires out the back of the house.) Make sure to use low-heat lights, since they will be surrounded by paper!

IMG_3730_chipboardvillage
If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to stop at chipboard houses. I really want to add some chipboard critters… These little houses make my imagination run free.

One thing that’s for sure, they need to be surrounded by a forest. Next week I’ll show you a quick and easy way to build your own magic woods.

 

One note: I’m a big fan of letting the materials show in my projects, but remember you can camouflage the materials quickly by adding a little paint (spray or acrylic would work great) or by using it as a base for decoupage or collage (like our shadowbox project). Go crazy!

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

DIY: Finger Crochet a Round T-shirt Rag Rug

IMG_2201_roundtshirtrug
Despite my sister’s best efforts I’ve never been able to make sense of real crochet. The “finger crochet” method I describe below is something that came out of a lot of experimentation, but I’m guessing you fiber wizards could whip up something even better! If you’ve done a similar project, or have suggestions to make this DIY more clear, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments below.

When I finished re-weaving my t-shirt rug (updated photos at the bottom of that post) I figured out two important things.

  1. There is better way to cut a t-shirt into strips (fewer, longer strips.)
  2. Once you know how to cut t-shirts into long strips, no t-shirt is safe.

IMG_1957_roundtshirtrug
Which translates to: I had a lot of leftover strips of jersey, and wanted to use them up! I started braiding, tying knots, and eventually settled on a method that can best be described as the frumpy cousin of crochet.

PREP: Cutting one long strip

Knotting small strips of jersey (demonstrated in the woven rug post) is time-consuming, so the longer the strip the better. After digging around a bit I found this video that shows how to turn a loop into one long strip.

IMG_2100_roundtshirtrugI started by cutting the large loop of the shirt from the top, and sliced across from one side, stopping about an inch from the other edge.


Then I slipped the loop over my arms, and starting at the end of one cut I cut diagonally towards the end of the next cut on the other side of the fabric. Then the whole thing unwound in a continuous strip.

MAKING THE RUG


To begin I tied a slip-knot near the end of the string by making a loop, reaching through and grabbing the strip, pulling it though and gently pulling to tighten. (There’s a great demonstration of a slip knot at the beginning of this video.)

IMG_1975_roundtshirtrug
Then I reached through that loop, pinched the strip, and pulled it through to create my first chain stitch. (See steps 2 thru 4 on this Red Heart blog post). This whole project breaks down into pulling a new loop through an old loop.

I repeated this chain stitch about 5 times, then…


tucked the loose string end through the last chain stitch to loosely close the first set of chains into a circle.

IMG_2045_roundtshirtrug
To connect the next ring of chains I pulled the next strip (navy) through two existing loops– the one I just made (pictured here closest to my thumb), and the inside of an earlier chain that lined up with my new one (closer to my fingertip).

IMG_2047_roundtshirtrug
This way my newest loop connected my existing chain to the one inside of it. I then started a pattern of 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch…

IMG_2070_roundtshirtrug
going around and around the circle.

IMG_2073_roundtshirtrug
When I ran out of strips, I pulled the end of my string through the last loop, and tucked it into the rug– because one day I will have more t-shirts to dismantle, and this rug will keep getting bigger!

IMG_2253_roundtshirtrug_1

TIPS

  • As you are working, make sure not to pull your loops too tight, or stretch your chain when you’re doing a connecting stitch. The looser you work the flatter the rug will sit.
  • Different shirts will make thicker or thinner strings based on the thickness of their fabric. I opted for a very irregular look with lots of inconsistencies in my strips (width ranging from 1″ – 2″) but if you want a more regular look, stick with shirts of a similar weight, and cut your strips about 1.25″ wide.
  • If it’s looking weird, pull out your loops and start over! Once you get the hang of this version of finger crochet you’ll fly through this project, so you will quickly make up the time redoing it. Practice has never been more fun.
  • If you can, work for longish stretches to keep your tension consistent. This is a great “while watching tv or daydreaming” activity.
  • As always, plan to make one more rug than you have cats.

IMG_2196_roundtshirtrug_1

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.

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

SaveSave

DIY: Woven Paper Gift Basket

IMG_4049
After my experiment with the rolled paper gift basket, I decided that I needed a quicker version that I wouldn’t feel bad about parting with as a gift basket. (The rolled paper version was lovely, but it took so much time that it was more like a gift in itself.)

Using similar methods, and the same materials, I came up with a very simple woven basket that could easily be sized to fit different gifts.

Supplies I used

• A medium sized stapled catalog
• Elmer’s Glue-All
• A dowel for rolling strips
• Clothes pins
• Scissors
IMG_3949
My first step was to remove the staples that bound the catalog, and to cut it length-wised into 5″ pieces.

IMG_3956
I took each piece and quickly rolled it around a wooden dowel, starting at the corner. I then secured the other corner with a drop of glue, and carefully  slid the paper tube off of the dowel. I then flattened it with my fingernail into a long strip of paper.

IMG_3966

IMG_3969
I estimate how many strips of paper I wanted in the width and length of my basket (in this case it was 3 pieces by 5 pieces), and started weaving the base pieces together- alternating “over” and “under”. Every once in a while I added glue between pieces of paper to ensure that things wouldn’t slide around while I was working (a little bit goes a long way.)

IMG_3972
Once I had my base woven I used a straight edge to fold all of the woven strips to the center. This made it easier to begin the sides of my basket.

IMG_3978

IMG_3983
Using a similar “over and under” method, I wove strips through the existing strips. I secured each piece with a tiny drop of glue, and clipped the pieces together with clothes pins. When I got to the end of a side, I made a fold in the strip I was working with, and began weaving it into the next side. When I reached the end of my weaving strip, I attached it to another loose strip with a drop of glue, then continued weaving until I made it all the way around the basket.

IMG_3986
I repeated this with another strip of paper, weaving in and out along every side of the basket, and securing with glue and clothes pins. Once everything felt dry and stable, I simply trimmed the strips at the top of the weaving, and voila…

IMG_3995
a super simple gift basket made out of recycled materials- sure to brighten someone’s day.

IMG_4025
I have to say I don’t love the look of this basket as much as the rolled paper version- but it took significantly less time, and I think with a little experimentation I could (or you could) make it into something really special.

IMG_4064

Things to try

• Using more, smaller strips of paper for a more intricate texture.
• Using brown kraft paper for a simpler look.
• Weaving at a 45 degree angle, like this project from {nifty thrifty things}
• Finishing the top of the basket a little cleaner, either by covering them with a strip, or by rounding them off.
• Using stitched paper.
• Coming up with some sort of nifty handle.
• Making a lid so it can close like a box.
• Making a huge version that could be used as a fruit basket.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Yesterday was our first day of winter weather here in Portland. We are in the process of moving at the moment, so today I decided to make a batch of my favorite soup to enjoy after a long, cold day of packing and moving boxes. I discovered this recipe years ago and have made it over and over again ever since. It’s my favorite soup to have on a cold winter night (like tonight) with a fresh loaf of crusty bread. The flavors alone will warm you to the bone.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
To make this soup, first chop up a sweet potato, onion, three celery sticks and two cloves of garlic. Then heat the olive oil in a large pot and throw everything in. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Next stir in the spices: Two teaspoons of paprika, and a teaspoon of each of turmeric, basil and salt. Then add in a generous pinch of cinnamon and cayenne pepper plus one bay leaf.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Add in three cups of chicken stock (or veggie stock) and a tablespoon of tamari (or soy sauce). Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable
Add a can of garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes plus one chopped green bell pepper. Let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread.

Tip: This is a great ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ soup so feel free to add in more veggies. I often like to add in fresh spinach or kale.

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable

 

Gypsy Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, celery, garlic and sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add in the spices and stir to blend.
  2. Add in the chicken stock and the tamari. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Then add in the bell pepper, garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

RECIPE: Gypsy Soup #autumn #vegetable

What’s your favorite soup to make on a cold winter day?

DIY: Rolled Paper Gift Basket

IMG_4028
Sometimes the best gift is a collection of small things. I love to put together little sets at the store, and I’ve been looking for a awesome little gift basket that would be special enough to keep.

Since it’s the season of unrequested catalogs, I thought I would use this abundant (and colorful) resource as the primary material for my project. I was inspired by photos of a Mark Montano project to roll the pieces and form the basket out of little paper donuts.

IMG_4075

Supplies I used

• Glossy lightweight catalog pages
• A scrap 1/8 inch strip of chipboard (from a cereal box)
• A pen, and a dowel of two different diameters
• Glue – I used Elmer’s Glue-All for the majority of my gluing, but did have to use some E6000 to repair weak spots in my basket at the end.
• A bowl to use as a template shape for my gift basket

IMG_3883
To begin, I cut the catalog pages into 3 inch and 5 inch strips.

IMG_3885
I wrapped each piece of paper around my chipboard strip, starting at the corner.

IMG_3888
Once I had the strip almost completely rolled up, I applied glue to the last corner, and smoothed it down. Then I pulled the chipboard strip out, and flattened the rolled strip with my fingernail.

IMG_3890
I tried to roll each sheet so that as much solid color as possible showed on the final piece. (A fun puzzle.)

IMG_3893
Once I had a nice stack of rolled pieces, I began making my final donut shaped pieces. I started wrapping the strip around a pen, or dowel; applying a drop of glue near the beginning…

IMG_3895
and a drop at the end to secure the donut. I then smoothed down the tail end, held it closed for a few seconds, and gently slid it off of the pen.

IMG_3897
Using a couple of different widths of paper strip, and a couple of different sized dowels/pens meant that after several rounds of donut rolling I had a nice selection of building blocks for my final basket.


IMG_3902
I am going to admit something here. Since I usually jump into projects without sufficient direction, I have a lot of false starts. It took me way too long to figure out that I should work on the inside of a bowl. Live and learn, and let gravity help.

IMG_3935
This bowl turned out to be the perfect size for the small collection of items I wanted to basket.

IMG_3938
Starting from the bottom, I applied small drops of glue to the edges of my donuts, and began laying them in a single layer in the bowl.

IMG_3940

I started with the whiter donuts, working towards more saturated pieces as I went up.

IMG_3942

Does this make anyone else crave Froot Loops?

IMG_3945
I made sure to put enough glue to hold the pieces together once I removed it from the jig. Once all of my pieces were in place, I let the whole thing dry overnight. Once it was dry, I held the bowl upside-down, gently twisted the inside form to loosen it, and let it fall into my other hand.

IMG_4070
The glue did a relatively good job of holding things together, but there were definitely a couple of weak spots that I had to repair with the heavier duty E6000.

IMG_4083
IMG_4101
I love the way the basket looks…but….

It is extremely time consuming, with every little piece requiring multiple steps to form. The end product is worth it, but I was inspired to make a much quicker basket out of the same materials. (I’ll share that with you soon.)

IMG_4112

Things to try

• Making Christmas ornaments out of the donuts.
• Try newspaper, tissue paper, and other materials.
• Try painting or dyeing the final basket.

What would you try?

DIY: Cookie Cutter Candles

DIY: Cookie Cutter Candles #holiday #christmas #handmade #gift

I love coming up with creative handmade gifts every year for Christmas. I first saw this idea for cookie-cutter candles on PopSugar.com and knew I wanted to try making some. My mom has TONS of cookie cutters, so I sorted through them, picked out my favorite holiday shapes and got to work.

WHAT YOU NEED:

• Metal cookie cutters
• Beeswax
• Crayons (optional)
• Metal-tabbed tea-light wicks
• Small saucepan
• Clean tin soup can
• Aluminum Foil
• Masking Tape
• Craft sticks (for stirring)

DIY: Cookie Cutter Candles #holiday #christmas #handmade #gift

To turn a cookie cutter into a mold, you must first run masking tape along the edge of the cutter, snip the corners with scissors, and fold the tape outward so that the cutter sits flat on the foil.

Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water, then fill the clean tin can with beeswax and place the can into the saucepan creating a double boiler. Over medium heat, bring the water to a simmer and watch the wax as it melts using a craft stick to stir. If you’d like to add a color to your wax simply drop in a piece of crayon in your desired color.

Tip: If you want to make multiple color candles at once, use a different tin can for each color. You can fit 2-3 cans in the saucepan at once, melting all the wax simultaneously.

DIY: Cookie Cutter Candles #holiday #christmas #handmade #gift

Place a metal-tabbed tea light wick at the center of each cookie cutter, then begin pouring your wax into each one. You’ll notice in the photo above that some of the wax leaked out of the tree cookie-cutter. This can happy very easily. I recommend pushing down on the cookie cutter while pouring the wax.

Tip: Pour a thin layer of wax into the bottom of each cookie cutter and let cool for a few minutes. Then fill them up the rest of the way. This will help prevent the wax from leaking out of the cookie cutter.

If the wax does escape, simply let it cool and break it apart. Then put it back into your tin can and melt the wax again.

Once the wax has completely cooled (1/2 to 2 hours), remove the masking tape and pop them out of their cookie cutters or you can leave them as is.

Tip: If you have trouble getting your candle to pop out of the cookie cutter, place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until they pop out easily.

DIY: Cookie Cutter Candles #holiday #christmas #handmade #gift

I just love how my candles turned out and I can’t wait to give them as gifts this year! What are you making this year?

DIY: Cookie Cutter Candles #holiday #christmas #handmade #gift

RECIPE: Sweet Slumber Tea Blend

Sweet Slumber Tea Blend #recipe #diy #herbs
I am a big tea drinker, especially on cold winter days when I want to stay warm. This tea is one of my favorites- a delicious herbal blend of chamomile, peppermint, lavender and roses. I made up a big batch of this loose leaf blend to enjoy this winter and also to give as gifts.

Sweet Slumber Tea Blend #recipe #diy #herbs

To make this blend I first acquired the herbs I wanted for the tea. I always use high-quality, organic herbs purchased from my local apothecary. Mountain Rose is also a great online resource. Then I combined equal parts of the chamomile, peppermint, lavender and rosebuds in a small bowl and stirred to combine.

Sweet Slumber Tea Blend #recipe #diy #herbs

There are tons of creative ways to package tea. You can simply fill a mason jar, or fill your own loose leaf tea bags, tie with some baker’s twine and add a cute tag.

Sweet Slumber Tea Blend #recipe #diy #herbs

Sweet Slumber Tea Blend #recipe #diy #herbs

Labels and tags courtesy of Evermine.com

I can’t wait to try making more of my own tea blends. Anyone have a favorite recipe they’d like to share?