Friday, January 29, 2016

Birthstone-Inspired Pendants

I've always loved the concept of birthstones. I don't know why, but something about having an official stone to represents me is really cool. I made these simple, inexpensive faux-birthstone pendants for my friend Courteney and her daughters (my goddaughters, Kylinn and Ellia). 


Kylinn and Ellia are 9 and 6 respectively. This craft is easy enough that they could have done it themselves. For each, you need: a heart-shaped resin jewelry blank, a letter sticker, a rhinestone in the proper color, and Diamond Glaze. Kylinn and Ellia both have July birthdays, so the red rhinestone was perfect to represent the ruby. Courteney's birthday is in November, so I chose a topaz-colored rhinestone.

My letter stickers started out white, so I used a Sharpie to color them black. I stuck them in the blanks and added the rhinestones. 


Then I flooded each pendant with Diamond Glaze. You want enough to form a dome, but not so much that it spills. The Diamond Glaze looks cloudy when wet and dries clear.


When the pendant is dry, attach it to a necklace or bracelet. It also makes a fun keychain and zipper pull. It really couldn't be easier!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Adventures with Fabric Dyeing

Over the years, I've done a fair amount of tie-dye, usually in buckets in the backyard. I've always dyed t-shirts and things like that, where splatters, uneven color, and other flaws are perfectly fine and add to the design. I've made things I loved and things that I didn't love as much, but it's always been a lot of fun.

Right before going to the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show, I tackled my first fabric dyeing project where I actually cared about the results looking professional. My CHA 'uniform' consists of dark jeans, a nice top and a short-sleeved layering sweater. My goal was to transform a boring oatmeal-colored sweater that I never wore into something fabulous that I could layer over a black polka dot shirt. 



I bought Rit Kelly Green Liquid Dye and gathered my other materials: my canning kettle, salt, an instant-read thermometer, rubber gloves and a plastic spoon. I followed their instructions for stove-top dyeing to the letter. This includes constant stirring for 30 minutes or more. (Yes, my arm was quite sore the next day!)



I followed the washing instructions carefully, with all fingers and toes crossed that it would look as good dry as it did sloshing around in the dye bath. It did!


Here's a selfie I took in the hotel room at CHA (make-and-takes, samples, and literature in piles on the floor behind me). I love the way the green looks!


I'm totally inspired to tackle more fabric dyeing projects!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

43 New-to-Me... #36 Quince

As promised, here is the next food in my 43 New-to-Me challenge, quince. I've been making a habit of scouring the product section of every market I enter and was delighted to find quince. I tried it both raw (OK) and cooked (fabulous).


While closest in appearance to an apple, I thought it was closest in taste to a pear. Steve, Trevor and I each gave it a 9. Seven foods left to scrap and share!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Introducing My 2016 Birthday Project!

As my regular readers know, I've done a year-long birthday project annually since my 40th birthday. Starting on the day I turned forty, I spent a year doing 40 Things. I went places I hadn't been, cooked foods I'd never made, and had adventures that were completely new. It was awesome in every way. It was so awesome that I've continued doing an annual birthday project each year. You can read about all of them on the Annual Birthday Projects tab directly under the header on the right.

My birthday projects have always started on March 12, which is my birthday. Obviously, today is not March 12 and today is not my birthday. In fact, today is Steve's 40th birthday. As I hope you can tell from reading my blog, Steve is 100% supportive of everything I do. When I jump into a birthday project (or any other wacky idea that gets into my head), he jumps in with me. He participated alongside me for many of my activities and watched Trevor to allow me to do other activities with friends.

For the past four years, I've known that when Steve turned 40, I wanted him to be able to do his own version of 40 Things and have the same wonderful experience I did. So, for my 44th birthday, I will be doing a project I'm calling 40-4-Steve. Get it? Instead of "forty-four," I'm doing "forty for" Steve.


Whenever Steve has casually mentioned somewhere he'd like to go or something he'd like to try, I've written it down. Those, along with other ideas Trevor and I brainstormed and anything Steve wants to add, will make up 40-4-Steve. I'll be scrapping our adventures along the way. It's going to be a GREAT year!

A word about 43 New-to-Me. Originally, I'd intended my challenge to go until March 11, but about a month ago I decided that it would be better to fast-track it and be completely done before starting 40-4-Steve. I've tried all 43 new-to-me foods, but haven't scrapped them all yet. I'll be sharing them as I finish the pages, hopefully fairly soon. In fact, I'll be sharing #36 tomorrow.

Happy birthday to the best husband ever!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Melted Crayon Heart Art

Time for another kids' craft using one of my favorite craft room staples, the warming tray!


If you don't have a warming tray yet, you can use any electric griddle. I recommend getting one at a garage sale or thrift store that you can dedicate to crafts though. Don't use the same one you use for pancakes, unless you have a fondness for eating wax (no judgment here). 

You'll also need cardstock, a paper scrap cut into a heart, some unwrapped crayons, and a mini grater (again, dedicated to crafts). If you don't have a mini grater, a plastic knife works too.


Turn on the warming tray. Place the cardstock on it, then put the heart in the center. Use the grater or the knife to grate/shave crayon bits over the paper. Put the heaviest amount of shavings near the edges of the heart, decreasing as you move away from it.


The wax will melt within a few seconds. When you're happy with the amount of color, unplug the warming tray. Remove the cardstock, then carefully lift the heart up and discard it. You can add a message inside the heart or leave it plain.


This craft works just as well with any shape in the center. Try it with a monogram, a star, a lucky clover, or anything else you can dream up!

Friday, January 22, 2016

This Meal is Brought to You by the Letter C and the Number 2016

With Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show wrap-ups complete, I can share some of the other creative things that have been going on in the deRosier house, like our New Year's Eve dinner. We host Trevor's godparents and their families for New Year's Eve dinner each year and I have great fun picking a wacky theme for the meal. On 12/31/12, I served only foods with the word "new" in them. On 12/31/13, I was inspired by Iron Chef to do 'Battle Potato.' On 12/31/14, I made a multi-course meal with oranges in every dish. I love the challenge of coming up with the menu and executing it.

This year?


Everything I served (and I do mean EVERYTHING) started with C. Our appetizers included crudités (carrots and cucumbers) and corn chips, with Creamy Chickpeas and Chive Cream Cheese dips.  


For dinner, I made cornflake-crusted chicken, candied carrots, cornbread, and cranberry chutney. We drank Cran-Cherry (for the kids) and Chardonnay or Cabernet (for the adults).  


For dessert, I served cherry clafoutis. I also put out various chocolates. Then I prepared Coke and Cream (a few tablespoons of heavy cream in a glass, then pour Coke over it - delicious!)


I'd planned cheese (cotijo, cheddar, colby and chèvre) and crackers for a late night snack, but everyone was stuffed. I also had Champagne and cranberry cider available for midnight toasts.

It was a lot of fun. I'm going to have to repeat this challenge with another letter. C was very easy; I wonder how some of the other letters would be...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Photo Wrap-Up of the 2016 Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show

One of my creative goals for 2016 is to improve my photography skills by completing at least 6 challenges or specific assignments. I printed out the January photo challenge from CaptureYour365 and brought it with me to the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show as a challenge for myself. The challenge has 31 prompts (one for each day of January) and are split by weeks into 'Personal', 'Color', 'Technical', 'Composition' and 'Inspiration.' Instead of using it as a picture-a-day challenge, I gave myself 90 minutes and the list as inspiration to see what I could photograph.

Let me begin by saying that photography at the CHA show is notoriously difficult, even for excellent photographers. The lighting is awful, the booths are crowded, there are almost always people in the background, and an irritatingly-large number of crafts and craft supplies have reflective surfaces. For a mediocre photographer like myself using a point-and-shoot, it's especially tough. Still, I had a lot of fun with my challenge and I'm actually happy with a few of my photos. Some are awful, but they make me happy anyway. :)

I allowed myself to interpret the prompts very broadly (hard for me as I'm usually very literal) and to just go with it. For each photo, I'll tell you the prompt and how the subject inspired me. I'm not going to link to every single manufacturer because of time restraints, but if you would like to know more about any of the photos, please ask in the comments and I'll be happy to share a link. 

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FRESH START: This display of dozens of dress, wigs and accessories made with Caron yarn by Yarnspirations was so cool and so fresh. I could imagine each of the mannequins ready for her own fresh start.


ONE WORD: Technically, I suppose CINDY is a name and not a word, but I'm counting it. This tote is by Everything Mary and was great for carrying around a bunch of stuff during CHA.


THIS IS SO ME: A adorable snowman and fabulous ice cream cones made from colorful craft supplies? It's so me!


NEED THIS: I've really started getting into jewelry making recently. I'm taking a wire-wrapping class soon and have started collecting beads and findings for projects I want to make.


MAKES ME HAPPY: Two women in the Holster Brands booth used hot glue to completely cover this white dress with candy over the course of the show. I stopped by often to see their progress (and to drool over the beautiful bags of candies). The finished dress makes me happy.


PUSHING MYSELF: For this prompt, I took a picture of my badge on the fluffy green carpet of the Hot Products display area. Becoming a creative professional and struggling to find my place in the craft industry has required a ton of hard work. I've been pushing myself toward this for so long and it's really exciting to see opportunities coming my way.


GOOD FOR ME: I am very goal-oriented and have a hard time relaxing. A simple reminder to stop and smell the roses is really good for me. 


WHERE I STAND: Three CHA shows and it's still a thrill to be there. I love every minute.


A RELATIONSHIP: No matter what he's doing, there is always a crowd around Tim Holtz. His relationship with his fans is cool. 


MONOCHROME: These purple patterned papers really caught my eye. They're so pretty together.


COMPLIMENTARY: The challenge word is complimentary (as in free or giving a compliment), but I read it as complementary (as in complementary colors or enhanced something else). Bazzill Basics had a huge wall of rolled pieces of cardstock in every color they make. It was stunning. I love these reds, oranges and yellows. These colors are actually opposite each other on the color wheel, but they still complement each other so I'm counting it. (I told you I was literal.)


DRAW: Few things make me as happy as a full spectrum of colored pencils.


MOSTLY WHITE: This wall of styrofoam heads in the FloraCraft booth went from floor to (almost) ceiling. The heads were white, but when they turned on the lights from below, they took on a neat glow. 


BLACK AND WHITE: This is a tiny portion of the Crystal Ninja's 1956 Porsche covered in over 247,000 hand-glued Swarovski crystals. The sparkle was incredible.


A TREASURE: Weave Got Maille had a literal treasure chest in their castle-themed booth. 


SEPIA: When I think sepia, I think Graphic 45. 


LIGHT: It's Lumiere, made with rubber bands and the Rainbow Loom!


WITH THE SKY: Richard Garay's booth had four different vignettes for his different lines. I love the colors (and sky!) in this section.


SIDELIGHT: The bright moon in Van Gogh's painting is to the side. So it counts. (Work with me here). The work on the easel was created entirely with washi tape. The artist worked on it for a few hours each of the days the show was open. Stunning.


UNDER: "Under the sea! Under the sea! Darlin' it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me!"


ARTIFICIAL LIGHT: Literally every single photo.


DAPPLED: I was smitten with everything in the Sweet Sugarbelle booth, including these cookies. Technically the light isn't dappled. Oh well.


SPACE: How cool is the constellation patterned paper by We R Memory Keepers?!


A FAVORITE: I love Deflecto's 3-tier cupcake stand, I love this yellow and pink color scheme and I love cupcakes.
  

ANGLED: The word angled can refer to fishing. This fish at the Doodlebug booth is so cute. 



CURVED: I love this octopus by Paper Accents. Gorgeous curves, great color, so cool.


CROPPED: This is only a tiny portion of a HUGE foam marionette at the FloraCraft booth. Adorable and so creative.



ON: I love that you can dress up anything by putting lace tape on it, including walls!


CONNECTED: The Lion Booth was the big showstopper, as usual. I took at least a dozen photos, but these give you a decent idea of how the yarn was connected to form the ceiling and walls of the booth.


TEXTURE: It's hard to get more texture than with a suit and tie made of rubber bands.
     

Challenge complete! Remember, please let me know if you'd like more information or links to any of the manufacturers and I'll be happy to get those to you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Rabbit Crafts (and Craft Supplies) at the 2016 Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show

Pets have always been big in the world of crafting. Many companies sell dog- and/or cat-themed papers, embellishments, and other products to scrapbook about pets or to craft a likeness of a pet. Other pets aren't as well represented, though you can find fish-, bird- and horse-themed items pretty easily. Rabbits are easy to find... as long as you want them to be Easter-themed. It is much, much harder to find rabbits for everyday scrapbooking or crafting.

When I went to the 2015 Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show, I made a point to look for and photograph the rabbits I found on display. You can see them here. They're adorable, though Easter is heavily represented. This year, I photographed all the rabbit crafts, supplies and displays I could find that were not Easter-themed. I've included links to all the manufacturers so all you rabbit fans out there can find (and buy!) these fabulous items.

First up, Little B. They debuted a line called Wooderful Life. It consists of absolutely adorable little figures and accessories that you can use to create a scene in a shadow box, music box, or on a shelf. They aren't in stores yet, but these are a must-have for any rabbit fan. 

      
 


Next is Craft Yourself Silly. They were the ones behind last year's Proggy Rabbit and this year they're back with this rabbit from the Buttoonies collection. And don't miss this beautiful needle felted rabbit kit on their site!


Doodlebug Design is a great place to find cute rabbit-themed papers, stickers, and more. A lot of it is Easter-related, but there's plenty that isn't. 



OK, so technically this set of buttons from Dress It Up is from their Easter Collection, but there's nothing about them that is specific to Easter. I love the realism... and the fact that there's a grey bunny in there. 


When I saw there was a company called The Pudgy Rabbit exhibiting, I couldn't wait to see what they'd show. They did not disappoint! This crochet kit is simply adorable. If I knew how to crochet, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. In fact, I may learn to crochet simply to be able to make this little guy. It's not currently showing in their store, so use this contact information to get one. 



There were eight different paper mache rabbits on display (six pictured) from Craft Pedlar. It would be so fun to paint, decoupage, or otherwise alter these guys.


Quilled Creations has some excellent rabbit crafts! Their farm animals set and this magnet set would make a great gift for a rabbit fan.



Huge props to Avery Elle for featuring non-Easter rabbits on multiple stamp sets! I like the middle set best.
  

Jane's Doodles has some excellent rabbit stamps as well!
  

Last, but not least.... Mosaic Trader


Yes, I am aware that this is not a rabbit. It is a rooster. And it's absolutely gorgeous in person. I asked at the booth if they had rabbits and learned that the artist does custom orders and can match your rabbit's colors for a surprisingly affordable price. I'm going to order a mosaic of Trouble and will review it for any of you who might want your own. Stay tuned! 

Update: Apparently the person who told me they could do custom orders was mistaken. Disappointing. But I'm happy to have found so many other cool non-Easter, rabbit-themed craft supplies!