Let's do a giveaway! I've been really busy lately working on things to build my little business along with doing all the regular daily tasks at hand and it's all been stressing me out and making me irritable. So I propose that we try a giveaway to bring some of the fun back into it! I'll be making some more of these Chevron Necklaces this weekend for a couple local shops (Blue Cockatoo and Frosty Darling will both have some of my jewelry on hand for Valentines!) and I think it's a great piece for my first giveaway. Just leave a comment below to enter and I'll pick a random winner next Sunday, the 16th. And hey, all of my close friends, please don't be shy (you are quite possibly the few that read my blog right now!)
Sorry I disappeared for a few days there! Got a little caught up in all the holiday preparations, get togethers and traveling that we did. It was a wonderful Christmas for us and I also came back with some new ideas and some amazing fabric that I can't wait to show you. For the time being though, I put up a couple new necklaces in the shop tonight and there's a sale on my jewelry and tons of other lovely goods over at the new Poppytalk Market for Boxing Week.
Thanks to my (not so) little kid sister, Mantha, for modeling all the jewelry last week! Isn't she adorable?
I bought up the last of the vintage swim tags from the antique store tonight. Here's a sneak peek of three of them, they'll be up in my shop today or tomorrow. I have some more plans for those little stars too, I hope it works out as good as it is in my head.
Don't forget to check my last guest post today over at Sycamore Street Press too!
I made some ornaments a couple week ago and it's pretty simple, so I'd like to share a tutorial with you! If you've ever made sugar skulls, the concept is pretty much the same. I chose to make my ornaments with salt because I live near the Great Salt Lake and I wanted to see if it worked. You can also use sugar, which smells better and may be a little cheaper in bulk. There's not a lot of difference between the way salt and sugar work for this, except that I did find that salt will sometimes turn a little yellow in spots while the sugar tends to stay white.
Step 1. Mix together 1 cup sugar (or salt) with 1 teaspoon meringue powder. Meringue powder is the key ingredient to make this work, you can find it in cake decorating stores pretty easily. Add 3 teaspoons water and mix it together. It should now be at a consistency where the sugar will stick together and hold shape a little.
Step 2. Scoop the sugar mixture into your choice of candy or chocolate mold and then scrape the excess off with the backside of a butter knife.
Step 3. Cover the mold with a cut to size piece of cardboard.
Step 4. Flip the mold over, holding the cardboard in place and then slowly remove the mold.
Step 5. You should now have your sugar shape on the cardboard. If the sugar sticks in the mold, add more sugar to the mixture to dry it out. If your sugar falls apart and won't hold the shape, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Make as many shapes as you want, keeping in mind that each 3D ornament needs a front and a back. tFor making repeated molds, it can help to wipe out the mold after every few shapes. Let the mold dry for at least 3 hours, more if it is larger. If you are using a very large mold, you will need to let it dry for a few hours, until it is hard to the touch, then turn it over and scoop out the inner sugar, leaving a 1/4 inch wall around all edges. This is necessary for heavy ornaments as they won't stay together it they are too heavy.
Step 6. Cut your ornament hanging strings to about 5 or 6 inch lengths. Mix up some royal icing using half a bag of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup meringue powder and 1/3 cup water. Mix together with an electric mixer for several minutes, until it starts to hold a peak. Scoop a few spoonsfuls into a cake decorating bag with a very small tip. Squeeze frosting around the top edge of one side of your mold, add the string at the top of the ornament, in the frosting, and then put the other half of the mold on top of the icing. Smooth out any excess frosting on the joined edges with your fingers.
Now let it dry for an hour or so, or until it can be held by the string and not fall apart. The smaller the ornament, the less drying time it requires. Decorate as you please with frosting. Try adding paste food coloring for more decorating options. I also tried a few adding glitter to the original sugar mixture and this worked out nicely. I did some of the sugar mixture in color by adding the paste food coloring to the teaspoons of water before putting it in the mix. Adding coloring to the sugar seemed to make it a bit weaker, but it colors it nicely
Blue glitter heart ornament and paste food coloring heart ornament halves
I've been working on the beginnings of some mini arrows (only 16 inches - the tall ones are 30 inches.) I'm excited about these, they will fit into bud vases perfectly and give more options for display possiblities, plus they use up the scraps of wood left over from making the first tall arrows. I also realized tonight that using the dremel for the initial cut saves so much time compared to the hand saw and is much easier on the back - yeah for aha moments! Check my shop early next week for the first batch!
There are two things that I have been wanting to experiment with lately and I think tomorrow's regular library trip will include some reading material on them. The first project would be using natural dyes. I've been enamored lately with all the beautifully dyed pieces I've been seeing pop up. Like these dyes with walnuts and crushed cochineal (which is a small insect!) that Jane and Holly from Love It A Lot did with some friends a few weeks ago.
Or these woad (a cabbage type plant) dyed tights by English artisan dyers at Tender Co.
Also, these lovely cards by Britt Browne of Paper Moon Project that I posted about last holiday season, made with cranberry dye.
My other new interest is in using enamel. I thought this palette of spoons was dipped in enamel but after tyring to find the photo credit, it turns out that they are dipped in paint from the new Fired Earth collection. Still though, enamel would be pretty, I just need to decide what I'll be dipping.
By the way, I came across those spoons via Pink Shirts and Car Wrecks, who has now introduced my reader to the Tumblr Things Organized Neatly, which is just as it sounds and will have me browsing for hours!
Best dance party costume ever! My friend Jill put this together and I wish I could have seen it in person, but the dance video is almost just as good -this lobster can move! Jill is a never ending fountain of creativity, from handmade lobster costumes to scratch n sniff cards. Can't wait to see what she does next!
Garlic scented scratch and sniff 7 color! block print Halloween card by Jill K in LA