Crafty Kitchen: Turkey Cookies

There are lots of turkey cookie recipes out there, but I wanted to come up with one that was easy and didn’t involve and baking so kids could easily be…

Fabric Corner Bookmarks

Some friends living in South Korea tipped me off to a trend they’ve seen in stores: the corner bookmark. These slide-on bookmarks can be made from fabric or paper, and…

Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

Looking for an easy DIY pumpkin? Look no further! Here’s a cute way to make them out of fabric. You could even have an older child make or help make…

Thanksgiving Place Setting Printables

Is everyone getting ready for food and family? I know we are around here! To help dress up our Thanksgiving place settings I designed a few printables. There’s the menu:…

Broken Herringbone Quilt

My younger sister and her husband are expecting their first baby next month and it’s a girl! For their baby shower, I made them a quilt with matching pillow and…

Easter Eggs and Bunny Cookies

My tutorials are usually more sewing based, but today’s Easter themed post includes tips on fun Easter eggs plus a recipe for these no-bake bunny cookies (or buppins as my son calls them)! And if you need even more Easter inspiration such as a printable Easter mobile, Easter mazes, egg wraps and more, check out this post from We Love to Illustrate.

The Bunnies

These no-bake bunnies are much easier to make than cut-outs but still give you that cute Easter bunny look! If you’re wanting to make these easier for kids to decorate, scroll to the bottom for some alternate decorating tips.

I used my standard no-bake cookie recipe for these with just a little extra oats. In a saucepan combine: 1 cup white sugar, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a rolling boil (when it’s boiling hard enough that when you stir it keeps boiling). When the rolling boil starts, start up your timer for one minute. When the minute is up, remove from heat and quickly stir in 1 3/4 cup quick cooking oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Use  a spoon to quickly drop by teaspoonfulls onto wax paper.

You can double the recipe but it’s hard to get them all done before they dry unless you’ve got some helpers! As soon as the cookies are on the wax paper, press two white chocolate chips into them for eyes with the flat side facing out. Press two slivered almonds into the tops for the ears. If they look like blank-eyed zombies then you’re doing a great job.

Next, melt one block of almond bark white chocolate coating (that’s the block in the lower right of the photo below) and mix in two drops of red food coloring. (You can also melt some of your white chocolate chips but I’ve never had good luck with them in the microwave, only on the stovetop on low heat.) Then spoon it into a ziploc bag. Twist the top so the chocolate is all firmly in the bottom corner. Then snip 1/8″ off the corner. In the photo below I haven’t twisted the bag yet. Make sure to twist it around several times so the chocolate doesn’t go squishing everyone when you squeeze on the bag.

Start piping on the pink for the noses and ears.

Next, squeeze out the remaining pink chocolate back into the bowl and add food coloring to make it dark brown. I added 2 drops blue and 1 drop green but you may need more or less depending on your food colorings and chocolate. Spoon it into the unused corner of your ziploc bag, snip that corner and pipe on the eyes.

And now you have a cute little field of bunnies (ready to be eaten!).

Alternate decorating tips: Piping the melted chocolate will be too difficult for younger and some older kids. You can use jelly beans for the features by using black for the eyes and red or pink for the nose. Leave the ears just the plain almonds or cut a pink or red jellybean in half lengthwise and put it in front of the almond. Another option is to look for confetti sprinkles or something similar in the cake decorating aisle in your grocery store. After a few minutes, the white chocolate chips will melt and you can press the blue or purple sprinkles into the chips to make the eyes and add the pink ones for the noses. You can also use mini chocolate chips for the dark part of the eyes.

The Eggs

I’ve always enjoyed the tradition of dying eggs. Now that I’m doing it with my own son it’s fun to think about combining different colors and learning how they all work together so you can make this project a bit educational too!

Start out by hard boiling the eggs. I prepared my dyes using a standard Paas egg dying kit and following the instructions to add together 1 tablet, 3 Tbsp. vinegar and 1/2 cup water. You can also make your own egg dye from food coloring using 1 tsp. vinegar, 20 drops coloring and 1/2 cup boiling water. You can find more information on the McCormick website.

Next, drizzle rubber cement over the eggs. On some I used the brush that comes in the bottle and on others I used a toothpick. Then I waited about 20 seconds and put each egg into a cup of dye. The rubber cement wasn’t dry yet but I was impatient and figured most kids would be the same way! I let each egg sit a few minutes, pulled them all out and re drizzled with rubber cement. Back into the dyes a second time, then one more round of rubber cement and dying. Below you can see stages one, two and three.

Next, gently dry the eggs with a paper towel and rub off the rubber cement. The dyes weren’t completely dry yet when I did it so they rubbed off a little with the rubber cement but I like the effect it gave the eggs. I don’t recommend eating these eggs. The rubber cement is not non-toxic and the shell of an egg is porous so it’s possible you could be ingesting some of it if you eat the egg. But they make a great decoration! Rather than hardboiling, you can also poke a hole about 1/8″ in the top and bottom of the raw egg and blow the insides out then rinse. They’re more fragile that way but you can also leave them out of the fridge for an unlimited amount of time!

And as a side note, the eggs below were the inspiration for the rubber cement eggs. I know these look quite a bit different but they are made in a similar way of covering over different colors and re-dying the eggs. I made these back in high school and college. They’re a Ukranian art form called pysanky. Each egg is made using a tiny funnel filled with melted wax that you carefully draw onto the egg. Then, starting with the lightest color dye, you dye the egg, add more wax decorations, dye again and keep repeating untill you get to the darkest dye color, usually black. A little too involved for kids but it’s so fun combining the different layers of colors! If you’re interested in learning more or trying it yourself, I bought all of my supplies and how-to books from The Ukrainian Gift Shop.

Pssst. Our new sponsor, Crafty Girls Workshop, is having some fabric sales this week! Use the coupon code PILLOWCASE for an extra 20% off your order, including sale items! Click here to look around: http://craftygirlsworkshop.com/category_119/Fabric.htm

Start Your Crafts Business: Tips from Crafty Girls Workshop

CGW Anna Luna Anna Luna, owner of The Crafty Girls Workshop in San Antonio, Texas, recently shared her insights on running a handmade business. Familiar with both the brick-and-mortar and online retail venues, she’s faced the highs and lows that running a business can provide.

Anna is not just a super-cool business owner and lover of all things crafty, but she’s also recently become a Craft Buds sponsor! We are so excited to have her on board, and we know that you’ll love getting to know her around here. Crafty Girls Workshop

I recently got the chance to talk with Anna and ask her some of those things I’ve been dying to know, like . . .

1) How long have you been working with Crafty Girls Workshop and how did it get started?

I’ve had Crafty Girls Workshop online for 2 years and recently opened a brick and mortar shop to teach classes. It started with the love of bright fabrics and easy patterns that I sold online and I realized that I loved teaching and missed that interaction so decided to open the studio in December of 2010.

2) What are some of the biggest thrills associated with running a crafty business?

It’s always fun to meet new crafty people and network with people who have the same interests as me. It’s been completely awesome to meet the “celebrities” of the sewing and quilting world such as Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner. Oh, and I got to see Ty Pennington at the Houston Fall Quilt Market last year, that was quite a thrill. I especially love teaching children to sew. I’ve worked with girls who are 7, 9 and 10, and they have a desire to learn which is just so fun to experience.

Color Wheel Quilt at Crafty Girls Workshop 3) What are the greatest challenges with running CGW, and how do you work to meet them?

Balancing my urge to buy the next greatest new fabrics or notions with the reality that if I buy it I have to figure out how to make it sell and it might not be something people in my market will actually buy. I guess I’m just a shopaholic at heart (and fabric-a-holic).

4) Why is it important to you to give back to the community (teaching classes to non-profit groups)?

I believe that sewing and creativity is something that everyone should experience, not just those who have the financial means. I also believe that quilters and sew-ers are some of the most generous people around and we just have a natural inclination to want to give back to those in need.


5) What’s your best advice for readers who are looking to get into selling crafts supplies, running a handmade business or someday teaching classes?

The best advice is just go for it. Even if you start really small with a shop on Etsy or Meylah, both are great places to jump in or even just get your feet wet a little. Plus, be sure to have a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account to be able to network yourself.

And lastly, sign up for my newsletter because I’m planning to have an online class called the Crafty Business Startup that addresses this exact question and will go into TONs of detail about marketing and other business issues. (And if you like my fabric, I send out monthly coupons for newsletter subscribers.)

Sale!

This week only, Anna is offering visitors to her shop 20% off their purchase with the discount code PILLOWCASE.

And because she is so generous, she’s also giving Craft Buds readers 10% off through June 30 with the discount code CRAFTBUDS. What are you waiting for? Check out CGW’s fabric and patterns, and be sure to leave her some nice comments here or at her blog if you learned something from this article.

Petite Purse + Wallet and Flower Mini Tutorial

I made this purse, wallet and optional flower for my contribution for a silent auction. The purse is the “Buttercup Bag” sewing pattern that you can get (free!) at the Made by Rae site. If you haven’t found Rae’s site yet, it’s amazing and you should go take a look around! The bag has a magnetic closure and a pocket inside and little pleats around the outside. I’d recommend either using a heavier weight fabric or some fusible fleece between the layers to give it a little weight.

The wallet and flower were both things I made up as I went along. For the flower, I used fusible web and ironed together some of the blue and brown fabrics. Then I cut out five 1″ squares. Then (like origami) I folded the sides in so they met in the middle. I did that to all five squares and ironed them flat. Then I cut out a 1″ circle, stacked everything up and hand stitched it all together with a button in the center. I put a safety pin on the back so the user could put it on the strap, the purse, or choose not to use it at all.

For the wallet, I measured out two strips of fabric 5 1/2″ wide by 9 1/2″ long. Then on one side, I cut the last 2″ of the length into a triangle. Next I put right sides together and stitched all around the wallet, leaving an opening at the bottom and using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Then snip the corners and turn it right side out and iron it flat.

Stich along the open edge to close it up. Then fold over the bottom to make a pocket and stitch down the sides.

To finish it off I stitched a decorative button to the flap and put a snap underneath which you can see in the second photo from the top of the post.

 



Fresh Picks for Friday 4.1.11

First off, Craft Buds is joining The Ultimate Blog Party (April 1-8), and you should too! Lots of prizes for linking up your blog in one of many categories (mom blogs, specialty blogs like crafting, business blogs, etc.).

For those of you visiting from the party, Craft Buds is a place with weekly craft and sewing tutorials, fresh ideas for promoting and running your handmade business, and (my favorite) a weekly linkup of craft supplies or handmade giveaways!

Each week, we also highlight some of the freshest handcrafted items and ideas from our blog hopping, and that’s what you’ll see here today. These “fresh picks” are selected by the editors, and you can submit your project for consideration. And without further ado, this week’s fresh picks!

Magazine Rack Transformation
What a Rack: A fresh coat of spray paint transformed this old-school magazine rack into something spectacular at Stop Staring and Start Sewing.

Spring Has Sprung: Celebrate April by getting your flower vases ready for fresh-cut blooms. Tutorial at Happy Clippings.

S’more, Please: Sometimes a recipe just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, you need to see the finished product. Thanks to Colleen at Freaked out ‘n Small for this delicious teaser and recipe review.

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

Make This Dress:
Get ready for spring with Sara at Sew Sweetness, who is hosting a sew-along to make this cute dress! You can still join in, and even order the pattern at a discount if you visit her blog by today (April 1). There are even prizes for a few lucky participants.
Giveaways Roundup
If you haven’t stopped by, make sure you check out the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 20 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

Finding Inspiration for Your Handmade Business

Hi, I’m June, and I blog at June Bug’s World. When I signed up to do a guest post on “Inspiration” for Craft Buds, it didn’t occur to me that I would have trouble writing the post because of a lack of inspiration. That’s irony for you. But being stumped really helped me to see the biggest issue I face when it comes to finding ideas. There are just so many cool ideas out there it’s hard to distill down to that one project you just have to try.

pinterest

We’ve heard about Pinterest, Etsy treasuries, bookmarking your favorites, “liking” craft pages on Facebook… but have you ever counted up all the sources you’ve marked? It can get overwhelming. There’s not enough time in the day to look at all the creative talent out on the web.

So this is how I (try to) keep it simple. I bookmark pages, “like” things on Etsy, but first and foremost… I use my brain. If I see an image or hear a song or have an idea I will trust that if it is brilliant, it will stay in my brain. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t a strong enough idea to work out as a real project for me. If it doggs me, keeps me up at night, pops into my head whenever I sit down at the computer, then I know it’s important enough for me to turn into a design.

Etsy treasury

Then I pull the picture into my design folder. Or sketch it out. Or let it fill all my thoughts until it solidifies into a real project. A project that I can pick fabrics for and start cutting. Most of the time I’ve thought about it enough that it comes together just as I hoped. Sometimes it doesn’t, but always it’s something I really enjoy doing and can feel really proud of.

For example, with my Swooping Solids Pillow, I saw this picture on one of my regular blogs (elsie marley):


And I just COULD NOT get it out of my head. I kept going back to that post, over and over, until I decided it would be my next project. It fit all of my prime design criteria: curves and color. The fact that it was all laid out in “blocks” helped too. So I went and picked out some fabrics and started cutting away. I didn’t sketch anything – I kept it all in my head – and I made some modifications along the way. In the end? A design of my own, inspired by art:


And while this project was a little too time consuming for me to use it in my Etsy shop, the basic idea stuck and turned into some very marketable items:


And I think that’s the best way for inspiration to flow – from an image I found all the way into a signature item that I can use to grow my store inventory.

Things that help?

  • Pick your favorite 5-7 craft blogs, and visit them regularly. More than that is too much. Less and it’s feeling like not enough sources.
  • Enter contests. Visit those linkups and browse around. Comment on other people’s posts that you love. But remember that “it’s gotta stick” is what matters.
  • And I try really hard to only work on 1-2 projects at a time. Because for me, completion is what counts.

Blogs I like to visit for inspiration:
Noodlehead
Grosgrain
Stitched in Color
Elsie Marley
The Long Thread
I am Momma Hear Me Roar
Pink Penguin

Contests and Linkys I love
Bloggers Pillow Party
Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday
Sew Modern Monday

What is your favorite way to find inspiration for your handmade business or personal craft?

Fresh Picks for Friday, 3.25.11

Here are this week’s inspirations! If you’d like us to consider your project for Fresh Picks, fill out the submission form here.

Life of the Party: Check out this vintage superhero birthday party at Kara’s Party Ideas, courtesy of Maureen & Adria at Anders Ruff!

Perpetual Calendar

Day by Day: A bright and funky perpetual calendar tutorial at Sandy’s Space!

Fleece Flower Petal Pillows
In Full Bloom: Cute and inexpensive home decor! Fleece flower petal pillows tutorial at Come Together Kids
 

Blitz ‘Em: Timothy Adam at Handmadeology is offering a free 5-day e-course called Social Media Blitz, aimed at crafters who sell their handmade items online. Check it out!

Giveaways Roundup
If you haven’t stopped by, make sure you check out the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 15 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

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