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Make It Monday – (Fairy) Makeup Magic

Okay, so, in case you didn’t know this about me, it’s Halloween in my head pretty much year round. ūüôā I love costume design and makeup (warning – I’m¬†not an expert!) so I love the freedom of expression Halloween promotes. This week, Tom and I decided we’re going to Scarborough Faire, the renaissance festival in Waxahachie, again this year. We’ve been several times, but don’t get to go every year because of time and money constraints. We also decided to do something we haven’t done yet, and that’s dress the part! This is a pretty last-minute decision, so we’re working with what we have. I’m going to be a faerie, and Tom’s going to go either Celtic or pirate, we haven’t decided yet.

Now, I understand if you’re not into dressing up for renaissance festivals, or even Halloween, but it’s a great hobby to have if you’re looking for an something artsy to do in your free time, or if you’re looking for a project to keep your kids busy.¬†I’ve found some amazing tutorials on making wings, doing makeup, and costuming, so I just thought I’d share my faerie costume with you guys!

This is the dress I’m going to use for the base of the costume:

I stole it from Tinkerbell's closet. She'll never notice - she's got a million of 'em!

I lucked out and found this at a thrift store. Of course, it was instantly in plans for a costume.¬†I’ll probably add some fabric pieces cut from scarves around the waist and hem¬†to create more dimension and give it a flowy, ethereal feel that’s indicative of the Renaissance period.

Then, I’m going to find some large leaves (hopefully at the dollar store!) to create a waist cincher. I’ll also need smaller leaves and/or flowers¬†for my hair, which I’ll wear in a messy updo – it’s going to be warm – and maybe some little forest friends, like bugs or butterflies.

Obviously, I’ll need some wings! This is one of the better tutorials I’ve found:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YAUxeopgNw

I think I’ll make mine smaller so that they don’t get in the way of all the fun to be had at the faire.

There are TONS of fairy makeup tutorials to choose from, but I think this one by kandeejohnson is great because you can modify it to match your outfit:

http://www.youtube.com/user/kandeejohnson#p/search/4/pjqLqJbgars

I have plenty of gold and green makeup that I¬†could use, but I haven’t decided how sparkly I want to be. Earthy or sparkly? Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, that’s my inspiration for the costume! I’ll post pics of the finished product and do a real tutorial.

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Chelsea

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Thoughtful Thursday – How To Navigate Etsy.com & Why It’s Worth It

For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, it’s a host site, similar to one like Ebay or Artfire, that only allows handmade, vintage (20 years or older,) and arts and crafts supplies. Of course, the non-vintage resellers and the¬†“this was handmade¬†by someone”¬†resellers¬†creep in, and I apologize ahead of time for that. (Clue –¬†read the description – if it seems strange,¬†or blatantly avoids the words “handmade” or “vintage,” it might not¬†be legit.)¬†We, the Etsy sellers, do our best to flag, or report, these kinds of sellers so that the site stays true to the vintage and handmade movement.

We’ve been on Etsy.com for over a year now, and have seen lots of growth and changes. There’s a huge social aspect to the site that allows sellers to¬†discuss business topics,¬†ask Etsy about bugs, and talk about life in general. There are forums, chats, live feeds.¬†There’s an Etsy blog filled with helpful tips on how to run your own business, how to survive craft fairs, and inspirational articles.¬†There’s a “Treasury” section where artists can feature everyone’s items but their own (well, you can do it, but it’s frowned upon) and possibly get their treasury featured on the¬†Etsy home page. ¬†Oh yeah, and then, then there are the shops.

Wait – did you find them? I know, I know. You clicked on one link, thinking it would take you somewhere, but it took you to a totally different place. This, along with non-vintage, non-handmade resellers is the biggest complaint amongst Etsy sellers. I’ve heard several comments from family members who found it nearly impossible to navigate Etsy.¬† So, since there’s no tutorial on the site guiding you through the maze that is Etsy, here are a few tips:

1. If you’re looking for a specific shop, go up to the dropdown button next to the search box. Click that button, select “Sellers,” then type the exact name of that seller into the search box. If you don’t enter the username correctly, chances are the shop may not come up in the search results.

2. If you’re looking to stay in that specific shop, use that shop’s sections, and¬†the “forward” and “back” buttons on your browser or on the Etsy page to look at items. Once you’ve clicked on a specific item to view the listing, use the “shop” link to go back to the store’s home page, or use the “forward” and “back” buttons on your browser.

3. Other links within a specific listing: If you click the shop name, it takes you to the seller’s¬†Bio. If you click “favorites,” it takes you to that seller’s favorite items and shops. If you click “feedback,” you can look at the feedback that seller has given and received. Click “contact” to send a private conversation to the seller.

4. If you are searching for a specific kind of item within a seller’s shop, use the search box at the top of the page, but be sure the dropdown button says “This Shop.” If you don’t see that option on the dropdown button, navigate back to the shop’s home page using your browser arrows, then try.

5. If you’re searching for a specific kind of item and want to search all shops on Etsy, select your category from the dropdown button. Select “All Items” if you want to search in all three categories: vintage, handmade, and supplies.

6. If you’re searching for an item, but don’t know exactly what you want, select a category on the left side of the Etsy home page. Searching by category allows you to narrow down your search and find the item you want.

7. If you have trouble remembering the names of the shops you like, or the title of an item you wanted to buy later, make an account with Etsy as a buyer, and click the “favorite” button on the shop’s main page, or on¬†a specific listing. Then, you can click the “Favorites” link at the top of your page to¬†see the list of¬†the items you like.

So, there you have it. There are¬†lots of ways you can search on Etsy, and¬†lots of ways you can end up in places you didn’t intend. “Why bother?” you ask.

First, there are few sites you can shop that sell a wide variety of only¬†handmade and vintage items. Etsy sellers take pride in their product, and put time and effort into making quality things, and researching quality vintage. You can rest assured that you’re buying something special, and that there was a lot of love put into the creation or selection and listing process of that one thing.

Second, you’re supporting small business. In tough economic times, supporting small business is one of the best things you can do to keep our economy going. Not to mention, you’ll boost their morale! Often, you’ll make a friend for life when you find a reliable seller who truly appreciates your business and is willing to go the extra mile for you because of it.

Third, you can almost always find exactly what you want. Many of the handmade sellers on Etsy take custom orders and/or customize¬†their items.¬†That means you get the size, color, shape, scent, flavor, and price you want. Just convo a seller you like, or put a request in the “Alchemy” section of Etsy for the item you want. Take a look at some alchemy requests, and you’ll see that there’s no such thing as too “out there” for Etsians! Somebody, somewhere, knows how to give you just what you want. And that makes it totally worth it.

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday – A Long, Hot Bath

It’s official, I’ve caught the cold that’s been going around. Of course, it waited to set in until I was babysitting¬†a friend’s kiddos! So, since I’m feeling, well, snotty, I’ll keep this Make It Monday short and sweet. Here’s a quick concoction for a wintertime bath that’s especially helpful when you’re sick, and that also makes a great, inexpensive DIY gift.

1 Cup Epsom Salts (or 1/2 C Dead Sea, 1/2 C Epsom Salts)

3-4 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Add the salts and oil directly to a warm to hot bath. The Epsom and/or Dead Sea salts¬†help¬†relax fatigued and sore muscles, while the peppermint oil helps open sinuses, stimulate the skin (a bit of an icy/hot effect mixed with the hot water), ease headache and lift your mood. It doesn’t hurt that it makes you smell like a candy cane, either! Drink a cup of tea, and enjoy the silence or some relaxing music while you soak.

Note: Only use pure essential oil, and avoid contact with eyes. While the oil will be diluted in the water, you may want to wait to wash your face in the sink after your bath.

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday ‚Äď Simple, Elegant Holiday Earrings

A pair of simple, sparkly earrings made using vintage beads.

If you’re looking for a quick, festive holiday accessory or a simple gift or stocking stuffer for female¬†family and friends, a pair of earrings is a pretty safe bet. Provided one of your friends doesn’t have piereced ears (you could always invest in some clip-ons), it’s the one piece of jewelry that women are most likely to accessorize with. Even if they don’t wear necklaces,¬†bracelets or rings,¬†they’re likely to put in¬†(and probably keep in) a simple pair of earrings that go with everything. Start an assembly line of beads and wire for this project, and you’ll be done in no time!

Here’s what you need:

Earring hooks in silver, gold, or steel

Matching headpins or wire

Decorative beads (plastic or glass; clear, silver, and gold are classic choices)

Round nose plyers

Needlenose plyers

How to make the earrings:

Step 1: Once you’ve decided which beads to use, place them in the order you like on a headpin. You can play around with shape – use 3 different size beads (small to large) to creat a teardop, for example. Repeat for the second headpin. If you’re planning on making all of the earrings the same, go ahead and repeat for all of the headpins.

Step 2: Taking a beaded headpin in one hand, use the round nose plyers to grasp the open end and curl it into a loop. Before you’ve closed the circle completely, bend the plyers back in the opposite direction a bit, so that the wire at the¬†bottom of the circle is crimped. This centers the loop above the wire, gives the earrings better balance, and makes them look more professional.

Step 3: Place the earring¬†hook¬†in the circle you’ve made, and close the wire using needlenose plyers to gently push the end in.

That’s it! You can customize the length of the earrings by clipping the headpins to different lengths with wire cutters, or leave them long for a dangly earring with lots of motion, adding as many or as¬†few beads as you like.¬†You can place the earrings in jewelry boxes to giftwrap, or punch holes in cardstock squares¬†to insert the earring hooks and attach to packages (a needle works well; the closer the hole is to the size of the hook, the less likely it will be that the hook slips off the card.) The ladies in your life will appreciate the beautiful jewelry, and you’ll appreciate spending less money and less time searching for the perfect gift!

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Chelsea

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Thoughtful Thursday ‚Äď There‚Äôs No Place Like (A Thrifty) Home

I am finally done with our Wizard of Oz themed Trunk Or Treat decorations and costumes! This is definitely the hardest I’ve worked for Halloween so far. I had short notice to get everything together – a little over a month – and I wasn’t sure if I’d get everything done, and¬†within our budget. With a little craftiness and thriftyness, though, you can make big projects fit into a small budget.¬†Since today is Thoughtful Thursday, I thought I’d share my thoughts on putting together an inexpensive Oz themed Trunk Or Treat.

First, you need a plan. If I hadn’t had a plan, I don’t think I’d have gotten everything done. We figured out which characters we wanted to be (hint: if you don’t have much time, I’d say the scarecrow¬†and Dorothy, or maybe the witch, are the¬†easiest costumes to put together.) Then I planned what I wanted the trunk to look like. I knew I wanted the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City, and the idea grew from there. I realized I wanted a rainbow, and for the yellow road to extend out from the trunk. Be realistic about what you can achieve, and consider the materials you already have before you go out and buy a ton of stuff.

For the background, I used white posterboard, sketching the scene from movie stills, then used acrylic paint and glitter glue I have in my craft stash to paint¬†the city. I cut out “hills” from different shades of green cardstock I already had to fill in the field. I decorated poppies I bought from the dollar store with the glitter glue, and glued them onto the background for a 3D effect. Also, using¬†foam board, I cut out a rainbow shape and painted it.¬†Here’s how it turned out:

Actually, I ended up clipping off the “Oz” lettering to leave less white space, and outlined the city with glitter. I think I might attach the letters to the rainbow, and add clouds from leftover white poster board. I’ll hang the leftover poppies from the top of the trunk with fishing line to fill in some of the empty space on the sides of the background, and place a blue plastic tablecloth (from the dollar store, of course) behind it all, with a light source (ahem, a flashlight) behind that. I’m hoping to use some fake plants to create a forest-y effect, and I’ll extend the yellow brick road from the trunk using cutouts from yellow posterboard. Altogether, the decorations for the trunk only¬†cost $10 because I used paint, glitter, paper and glue that I already had. I’m pretty proud of the way they turned out!

I confess, I bought the Dorothy dress for fifteen bucks. Although, I think it was a Juniors size, so it was a little short when I tried it on. Since it was such a great deal (no thank you, $45 costume,) I just¬†sewed some lace to the hem to lengthen the dress, bought some white socks for a dollar, and my mom helped me make these awesome ruby slippers¬†from $5 silver shoes from Wal Mart. I bought a picnic basket for $1.75, and added the leftover lace from the dress to make it match. Add some blue ribbon to tie around my pigtails, and I’ve got an entire Dorothy costume for a little over $20. Color me stoked!

The scarecrow costume was relatively easy. My husband already had a green shirt and black sweatpants to use, and I had muslin scraps to make a headpiece, fleece to make a hat, and jute to use as rope. All I bought was raffia to tie around elastic bracelets and anklets for a stuffed-with-straw effect, and the face makeup. I made the hat by dividing the circumference of his head by 4, then cutting triangles that had that length for the base, and were about 8 inches tall. I stitched them together with embroidery thread, then glued the top of the hat onto a round brim with hot glue, accenting it with a piece of jute. The muslin is basically just a large circle with an opening cut for the face, tied with jute around his neck. We’ll tie jute around his wrists, ankles, and waist, and I’ll probably add some patches to his pants and call it a day. His costume cost $3 – one for the raffia, and two for the makeup. My inner thriftmonster is soothed!

There you have it. That’s the entire process, minus a few gory details, of making our Trunk Or Treat theme. I hope the kids like it. No flying monkeys, no witch, no haunted forest, so hopefully they won’t think the scarecrow is scary! We were Thing 1 and Thing 2 a few years ago, and some of the kids were scared of us – I think it was the blue hair. Anyway, it should be a blast. We’ll see how it goes when we actually set everything up in the trunk. I hope it looks as good then as it does in my head now.

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday ‚Äď How To Make Inexpensive Ruby Slippers in 3-4 Steps

As I was looking around for ideas for my Dorothy costume this Halloween, I realized just how ridiculously expensive ruby slippers were! Even the slip-around-your-shoe kind were around $15, and let’s face it, I’m not gonna pay $15 for something I’ll never use again. So, I trotted my way to Wal Mart, where I found silver flat shoes for 5 bucks. Now, you could really just stop there, since the shoes in ¬†L. Frank Baum’s original¬†story were silver. (The moviemakers decided on ruby to¬†take advantage of the newfangled¬†Technicolor.)¬†As I found out after asking whether I should keep the shoes silver or¬†go ruby on Facebook, though, no one will have any idea why you’re wearing silver shoes and will think you’re crazy. So, my wonderful¬†mom volunteered to glitter the shoes after I painted them so¬†I could work on other parts of the project.¬†All I had to do was add the bows – love you, Mom!

Here’s how to do it.

You’ll need:

Shoes

Red medium-size glitter (a very fine glitter will take longer to apply) or rhinestones, if you want to get extra fancy

Craft glue

Glue gun

Brush

Red ribbon

Red fabric paint (optional)

Step 1

Find your shoes. I would choose flats, since there’s less area to cover (and they’re just more comfy.) I would also choose a lighter color, like silver or white, or red.¬†If there are any areas around the edges of the shoes that are made from a softer, more absorbent fabric, you may want to take the time to paint them red with some fabric paint. The fabric could soak up the craft glue, causing you some trouble when trying to apply the glitter. Just take the fabric paint and apply it from the applicator, or brush it on. Let dry.

P.S. – the shoes I bought had a draw string bow in the front. If yours have something similar, you can paint the bow red, or do like I did and untie the bow, knot the strings as close to the shoe as possible, and cut off the excess.

Step 2

Once you’ve done any painting you need to do, and it’s nice and dry, start applying the craft glue in small sections. After you’ve applied a little glue, shake glitter onto the area, and repeat all around each shoe. Let dry.¬†(Be sure to do this on a surface like poster board or paper¬†so that you can collect¬†and save the leftover glitter.) Once dry, tap the shoes on your work surface, and¬†see if they’re in need of another coat. If not, go to step¬†3. If so, just repeat step 2 again. You shouldn’t need to apply more than 2 coats to get the desired sparkly effect.¬†

The alternative, more time consuming version of step 2 is to apply red rhinestones individually to the shoes with craft or hot glue.

Step 3

Add bows. You can use cotton, satin, or organza ribbon, glitter or no glitter. Just tie 2 neat bows, and use hot glue to attach one to each shoe.

When you’re done, the finished product should look something like this:

Click your heels together 3 times ...

Altogether, the shoes only cost me $5, because we already had the glue, glitter, and ribbon. If you have to buy all of the supplies, the shoes will cost you about $10. (Hint: borrow a glue gun from someone if you don’t already have one.)

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to find red sparkly shoes that you’ll wear other than just on Halloween, more power to you! Here’s an example for $22.00¬†that would work: http://tinyurl.com/2ahbtxk

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday ‚Äď A Business Card Stand In 5 Easy Steps

This weekend, I decided that I needed to make a business card stand for our craft show booths. Last show, we just put a few cards on the table, and it got a little messy after a while. So, this morning I made one! Here are 5 easy steps to creating a one of a kind card stand.

What you need

Your Supplies

About a foot of thick wire (18 gauge is good)

Needlenose/round needlenose plyers

Wire cutters, if your plyers don’t have them

Step 1

Bend 2 corners, 1.25" apart in the middle of your wire.

 

 Step 2

Bend each side into a "V" shape, slightly taller than the height of your card.

Step 3 

Make another bend on the other side of the "V."

 Step 4

Bend one more time, allowing space for your cards to rest.
Step 5

Cut the wire, leaving room to create a design to hold your cards in the front. I chose a heart, but you can simply loop the ends, creat spirals or other shapes!

This is a quick and easy project that you can do while you’re waiting for dinner to cook. It took me about 15 minutes to finish, but could take a little longer if you don’t have much experience working with wire. I used steel wire, which is a little sturdier and harder to bend than, say, copper wire. For practice, you may want to use a softer wire or a thinner gauge. Add beads or charms for color and added interest if you like.¬†Once it’s finished, you can make minor adjustments to be sure the stand lays flat against its surface (don’t worry if it looks a little wonky while you’re bending the wire!) Viola! You have a unique and personalized spot for your business cards.

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Chelsea

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