Monday, October 27, 2008

Preserving Stamped Candles

tealight in stamped candle
As you know, I made these candles to sell at my upcoming craft fairs & it occurred to me that people might be concerned about buying something that will eventually melt away. So, I remember reading about a way to keep the image intact so that you can use these candles year after year: make them into tealight holders!

I decided I needed to make a sample to show people that it can be done & I also typed up instructions to go with each candle I sell. Basically, I just burnt the candle until the crater was wide enough to fit a tealight (took about an hour). Then, I simply scraped out the bottom of the crater a little more until I could fit the tealight in so that the top was fairly even with the top of the candle. Now I can just replace the tealight when it burns down. Cool, huh?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holiday Hostess Gifts: Fun with SU Big Shot Dies

My Moms' Group (for which I made that bulletin board) asked me to show them how to make some "Holiday Hostess Gifts" for a fun crafty morning meeting. I picked two projects using SU! Big Shot dies: the 3D Ornament die & the SU! exclusive Baskets & Blooms die. With a group of at least 10 people, using dies makes it SO much easier to prepare the materials! I could cut 4 sheets of the Holiday Treasure designer paper at a time for the baskets & three for the ornaments. More than that & where the paper is supposed to be scored for fold lines gets cut instead. I recently bought the Premium Crease Pad which is supposed to help you get better fold lines so I'll let you know how many sheets I can cut with that. This picture shows my friends Shannon & Danielle (of Stamp 4 Life Award fame & yes, she wouldn't have missed it three weeks after a C-section!! That's my girl!) crafting away.

Another reason I chose these projects is because they look really cool yet are pretty easy to make. Here's my friend Sue, a self-proclaimed non-crafty person, displaying her handiwork. She even had time to watch Danielle's new baby so Danielle could have her hands free (maybe the Starbucks helped!) :-) I thought it was pretty neat teaching this group because I'd been introduced to stamping myself at a moms' meeting in that very room four years previously. When people get intimidated by this craft, I try to remind them that I was there once too & I'm still learning every day. I love that when it comes to being creative, there's no right or wrong. Besides we're all crafty in different ways. For ex., I'd go to Sue for cooking advice in a heartbeat cuz that is just not my forte. My mom, the gourmet cook, still wonders where she went wrong...

I've made a bunch of these baskets & ornaments to sell at my craft fairs too. For the baskets, I added one of our felt Snowflakes & a bling brad. They are filled with Hershey's kisses. For the ornaments, I used our taffeta ribbon & added a simple bead at the bottom. The paper is "Ski Slope" from the Holiday Mini.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Handstamped Candles

Now we come to what has to be my favorite project of all: handstamped candles! I finally decided to figure them out (just google handstamped candle tutorial & there are plenty out there!) Actually, there are so many tutorials out there that it can be kind of confusing since they all have different nuances.

The easiest way I've found is this: stamp on white tissue paper (not the Kleenex kind--the gift bag kind). I've found that Staz-on, Dye-based inks, Markers (the wreath & snowflake images), Watercolor Crayons (the Madonna image) & colored pencils all work. I haven't tried craft ink or embossing (but I've read embossing works). When using the Watercolor Crayons with an Aquapainter, just try not to have the tip too wet. Then you cut the image out closely & lay it on your candle (cheap & white work just great!) Next, wrap a piece of wax paper around the candle & over your image (this is an important step that some tutorials leave out) & hold tight. Then, heat the image with your heat tool until you see the tissue "disappear" & melt into the wax. The wax paper keeps the image smooth. Next, just peel back the paper & that's it!

If you'd like, you can embellish too. I tied matching ribbon around the candle & added some Stickles (glitter glue). I've had 3 Stickles for over a year now & really fell in love with them for this project--so much so that I went & ordered a bunch more (plus "Liquid Pearls"), thus spending my craft fair profit already. Sigh. I found the best prices at Cutters Creek (cuz shipping ended up being free), by the way. I'm not really cheating on Stampin' Up! I swear--they don't sell them!
This second picture is of the back of the candles--so yes, you can add as many images as you want to your candle (these are 3" x 3").

I'm hoping these will be popular at my craft fairs--so, my pricing advisees (& you know who you are)--I'm open to pricing suggestions!! (Please!) Oh--& which one do you like best? (i.e. what kinds of images should I make more of--I have Christmas trees & snow men too!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fun with Shrinky Dinks Pt. 1

Ah, the craft fair fun never ends :-) My work was just accepted by the Herndon Community Center's Holiday Arts & Crafts Show. So, if you can't catch me at St. Timothy's on Nov. 22, come by the Herndon Community Center (on Ferndale Rd. in Herndon) on Dec. 7. I just hope I have enough stuff!

I can't remember where I first saw Shrinky Dinks used with stamps, but I saw some wine charms (both kinds) on splitcoasterstampers (in the gallery) & decided to try them out. I had all kinds of jewelry-making stuff from when I had the inspiration to make my own jewelry a couple of years ago (got as far as supply shopping!) & I had the Shrinky Dinks from some other inspiration but hadn't used them yet. Now I remember--I saw someone make a baby mobile embellishment on the Carol Duvall Show years ago!

Using Shrinky Dinks is super easy. You can use your heat tool instead of an oven like when you were a kid. Simply stamp with either Staz-on & color in with permanent markers or stamp with pigment ink (I used Stampin' Up!'s Craft Spots.) I punched out the images & made sure to punch a 1/8" hole so I'd have a place for the jump ring or wire. The plastic shrinks to 1/3 its size so keep that in mind. For the ring wine charms, I used crimp beads as extra security that the beads wouldn't slid off & then twisted the end of the ring up too. The new "Cheers To You" set is perfect for wine charms, don't you think?
Another way of making the charms is to use just wire so they twist around the base of the stem. You could even use them for napkin holders or other kind of embellishment--on a key ring or backpack, for example. These take a little more time than the rings (& more beads of course) but I just beaded while watching TV. Jewelry pliers are useful too. I think the Tart & Tangy set is especially cute--think fruity summer drinks!

The other thing I'd like to point out is the packaging. The tops are simply SU!'s Exclusive Top Note Bigz Die folded in half. Super fast & easy.

Shrinky Dinks--more fun than a Slinky :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Magnet Bookmarks

I'm still hard at work on making sure I have enough items (& variety of items) to sell at my craft fairs. My sister-in-law gave me a gift of commercially produced magnet bookmarks a couple of years ago & I've been meaning to re-create them ever since!

So here's my first effort at making them. They are the coolest little things. I love them because you can keep them in your book as you read & they don't cover up any of the words or slide out of place. Plus, they are super easy to make (shhh!) I'm going to show them to my tech club this Friday along with another craft fair project. (So, if you're local & want to join a regular stamping club--think about it--we do cool stuff!!)

Anyway, here's what you do. First, I swabbed up a piece of glossy cardstock using our daubers & a variety of classic ink colors in stripes. Then, on half the page, I stamped small images in Black Staz-on ink. I cut the other half in 2" x 3/4" strips. Then I punched out the images with a 3/4" circle punch. Fold the strips in half & glue the circle on one end. Finally, place a 1/2" x 1/2" magnet square on the inside of each half of the strips. TIP: Make sure you're placing the magnets so they attract each other! If you accidently turn them so they repel, you'll need to glue another magnet on top of one of them in the right direction. You can buy little magnets in craft stores, or I happened to have business card size magnets lying around that I just cut up.

I made 85 of these little guys in one day (in between carpool, laundry, etc.). I'm going to sell them for $1.50 each because I did individually bag them for display & they are ready-made gifts with the little card attached (ok, that part took a second day). Fair price? What do you think?