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DIY Sharpie Mug 2.0 | Christmas Gifts 2014

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It’s hard to believe that my blog post about my experience with the sharpie mug craze is over two years old now and has gained an insane amount of popularity. I still to this day get hundreds of views from that post and see comments from fellow crafters looking for advice on their creations. I am, of course, no expert on the topic, but I did want my first post to be a sort of “did it work or not” post for others to use as a reference, and I’m happy to say that it has done just that.

Thanks to all of that, this year when I decided to give a sharpie mug as a gift, I thought I would document the process. I was especially excited because I had to get creative after being unable to find a good white coffee mug, and chose to use a black one with a metallic Sharpie oil-based paint pen instead. This has surely been done by others, but I have never seen it myself, and after so many of my readers mentioned troubles with colored pens and the like, I was curious about how this would work out!

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My best friend and I are currently living in different states and I have always loved the state art that shows two places being connected by a dashed line. I also really liked the quote “together forever, never apart, maybe in distance but never at heart.” So, I found some state stencils online and printed out a few different sizes on heavyweight cardstock, chose the one that worked best, and used double sided tape to stick it to my mug. I then traced around the states and removed the stencils – easy as that! There was some bleeding of the paint under the stencils, as you can see in the pictures, so I used a Q-tip dipped in alcohol (a great trick suggested by a reader!) to clean up the edges. Then I freehanded the line, the hearts, and the quote.

I let it sit overnight before sticking it in the oven. I placed it in the cold oven, turned it up to 350 degrees F, and timed it for 30 minutes. Then I let it cool in the oven overnight.

I really like the way it turned out After letting it sit for a few days after it was done, I tried to scratch at the Sharpie, and it seemed pretty solid. I should also point out that I had no discoloration or fading after baking my mug. I placed the states and the quote quite close to the lip of the mug because I intended this mug to be for decoration only, perhaps on a desk to hold pens (my friend is a teacher), and I made sure to let her know when I gave it to her.

While we’re on the subject of Christmas gifts I gave this year, my friends & I did all homemade gifts this year since I’m a poor college student and was trying to survive the holiday on the little that I had. The second gift I made this year was Instagram tile magnets, and they were so fun, so easy, and so inexpensive!

Insta SuppliesI decided to do this after coming across this blog post on Pinterest. I already had some Mod Podge and photo paper lying around that I had picked up from the Dollar Tree, so I ran out the next day and got the sheet of tiles (36 of them for around $2-$3) and the roll of magnet tape. I saved Instagram pictures from my friend’s profile (which is really tricky – the only way I found to do it was taking a screenshot and cropping) and used Word to create a sheet of them. I printed them at home on photo paper using my own printer, cut them out, and got to work. I used a flat watercolor paint brush to lay down some Mod Podge on the tile before carefully placing the paper and then painting on another layer of Mod Podge. Streaks and bubbles are no issue, since they generally disappear as the Mod Podge dries clear. After letting them dry for several days, I cut small pieces of magnet tape and stuck two pieces firmly on the back of each magnet.

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These six are the first ones I did using my own pictures because I wanted to test out the process, and I think they turned out so beautifully! After making six for myself and six to give to my friend as part of her Christmas gift, I have 24 tiles leftover – so I’m looking forward to making some more of these for my parents and other family members and friends!

Finally, I did some crocheting over break since crochet hooks are the only needlecraft tool I could bring home with me on the plane. I made a beanie as a gift for my friends fiance, because he wore the last one I made him until it fell entirely apart.

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I used this pattern that I found – where else – on Pinterest. Clicking on the picture will also take you directly to the pattern. I was looking high and low for something that looked really nice but wasn’t too “girly”. This one fit the bill perfectly and was so easy to make. I used Red Heart Soft yarn, which is a new favorite of mine, and did it in a crimson color. I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures of that hat being made or completed, but I made another hat using the same pattern and got a few pictures of me working on that.

Yarn

CircleI got this yarn from Hobby Lobby a few years back and really only purchased it because it was named “Danielle”. The yarn is SO pretty and made a gorgeous hat. I made it for myself, but ended up giving it away to my 17 year old neighbor on Christmas Eve because it looked like something she would be able to rock – and I was right, she looked so great in it!

I also made a couple of crochet headbands as the final touch for my best friends Christmas gift. I hadn’t intended initially to give her those because I have already given most of my friend crochet headbands as gifts, but right before the holidays I saw some pictures of her wearing the last headband I made her and it was clearly falling apart and needed to be replaced. Luckily, those are easy to whip up, and this time I made her two so she doesn’t have to wear one to death!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! I know they are getting farther and farther apart these days, but I unfortunately can’t craft or blog regularly while also being a full time grad student, so I just do it when I can, and I think that makes them more sincere and put together anyways. :] Thanks so much for reading and as always, happy crafting!

Making a Comeback

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Hi guys! Long time no post! I tried hard to focus solely on my studies & take a break from crafting, but I’ve come to realize I am just as passionate about this as I am about my career. Crafting is my outlet – I need it to survive. So I am determined to get back on the horse and spend some of my free time rejuvenating my blog and my Etsy.

This weekend, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to go about doing this. First, I decided I will not be crafting unless it is going to serve a purpose. Graduate school has made me very conscious of time and time-constraints. I have very little time and a lot of constraints! If I’m going to successfully craft, particularly to sell, then I need to be crafting for the sole purpose of selling. I’m pro at making things for myself and then never wearing them – I have bins of cowls and headbands and hats that I thought I loved, but then never actually wore. What a waste! If I can’t enjoy my items, then I want to make things that other people will. I would much rather purchase something amazing that someone else has made than make something for myself – I think there’s an aspect of novelty and fun that way, something you don’t get when you’re going through the development process yourself. I’ve always failed at making things for myself, it’s just taken me an unusually long time to realize that.

Some things I’ve been working on this week:

The Bow Headband by NorthThirty-Fourth:

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The Turban Ear Warmer by This Ninja Creates:

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And the Urban Slouchy Beanie by Little Things Blogged:

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I hope to have new stuff on my Etsy starting something this Spring, so be on the lookout!

Thanks for reading!

 

An Extended Vacation

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Hi guys! I know it’s been forever & I know I keep saying this will stop happening – but who am I kidding! I’m a student, & life is always insane!

I graduated from college in May & moved home to live with my parents for the summer. At home, I got a full time job & pretty much did that for 4 months, while packing & getting things ready for my big move 8 hours south for graduate school! Now, the time has come for me to make the big move, & unfortunately my MASSIVE craft collection can’t come with me.

My apartment in my new hometown is tiny. Like so small, it doesn’t even have a real closet or a full-sized fridge. That’s right, I’m going to have to survive with only a mini-fridge for a year. Yikes! Anyways, the lack of a closet or ANY storage for that matter makes it really difficult for me to take my bins & bins of yarn, embroidery thread, sewing machine, craft books, etc. with me. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad this makes me.

Ultimately, I hope to get a two bedroom apartment I can afford & keep the rest of my years in graduate school. That way, I’ll have a bedroom AND a craft room… & a living room & kitchen, which I’m not really used to having in separate places either!

I also feel the need to apologize for my lack of crafting & blog updating this summer. I’m not really sure what happened. For the first month of summer, I remember being so elated at being a college graduate. I sat in the sun & tried to tan [‘tried’ being the keyword], I read lots of books, I crocheted, & I bugged my dad to help me clear a space for my sewing machine. I was so gung ho about having 5 whole months off! Then I got a job, & all that went out the window. All I did after that was sleep, eat, shower, & work. & now, it’s suddenly September & I’m moving out of state in a few short days. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! Hell if I know.

 

One last thing – On August 5th I had almost 600 views on my blog! That’s super crazy for this blog, especially because I haven’t been updating it. Over 400 of the views were said to be brought here by Facebook, but my Facebook page hasn’t been getting much traffic lately so it couldn’t have been from there. Many of the views were only for my one post, the Sharpie Mug post, which isn’t all that uncommon, but typically if people are brought to the blog they look around a little & other pages [home & about] get some hits. I guess I was just kind of confused & wondered if this is a common thing. Was it some sort of spam? Could someone have linked to my page & I have no idea? Am I just worrying too much when I should just be enjoying my small spike in views for a day? I know. I can’t help it.

 

Thanks for reading guys. I’m taking my knitting needles & crochet hooks with me to graduate school, but no yarn. That means I have hope that some crafting may occur at some point this year. Otherwise, I’ll see you in a year, when I have a new apartment & ample space to frolic & craft in!

A SMASHing Update

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I’ve been meaning to do a post like this for awhile, since I’ve had my SMASH book for about 8 months now. I have to say, I’m not that great at updating it – but I’m getting better! It’s actually really hard to get used to picking up business cards or saving receipts, or other things that are normally inconsequential & trash-worthy. But I think I’ve succeeded at SMASHing most of the important things that have gone on this year.

First off, this is what my SMASH book looks like:

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I had to get one those nifty bands to hold it all together, or else it would look like this:

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Some sample pages that don’t need any explanation:

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I didn’t actually go to New York this year, but when I got hooked on tiny crossbody bags, I had to downsize my wallet & found these things still in my old one from my two trips to NYC in 2011:

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Things I’ve accomplished or experienced since starting my SMASH book:

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I had to document the only accident I’ve ever been in. Except this was a hit & run that happened while my car was parked on the street overnight, so I guess technically I’ve still never been in an accident [& I hope to keep it that way]!

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So that’s what I’ve got so far in my SMASH book. I enjoy it, but every time I see someone else’s beautiful book I’m like ‘damn, I suck at this!’. Oh well – the point is to be “messy & beautiful” [which is perfect for me since I’m so bad at scrapbooking]!

I also finally gave my best friend her Christmas/Birthday present which means I can post about this beautiful infinity scarf I made. I’m so jealous – why is it that I can make adorable things for other people, but not for myself? I just don’t understand. But it turned out beautifully & she loved it, & that’s what matters. :]

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In other news, I went to a grad school interview in February & got accepted! The funny thing is that this place was at the very bottom of my list when I first applied, but a lot can change a. after you’ve gotten lots of rejections & b. after you visit & fall in love. I really loved it there – the area, the program, & the people – & am fairly certain I’m going to commit to attending soon.

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Beavers

 

I also got waitlisted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which basically means they liked me & I was qualified, but that they liked others more & wanted to offer their open spots to them first. My being accepted or rejected hangs on how many of the people they originally accepted choose to accept the offer.

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Either way, the wait is finally over. All the work & lack of sleep & lack of crafting & anxiety was worth it. I’m going to grad school! YAY!

 

I hope Spring has come early where you are as it seems to have here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s beautiful & sunny out today, even tho it’s still only 40 degrees out.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

One Year

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Last week sometime marked the one year anniversary of my having this blog. It’s hard to believe I’ve already had it so long and I doesn’t seem like I accomplished much – but according to my “Crafting Resolutions”, I actually did a lot of what I had hoped!

These were my resolutions for 2012:

1. Buy circular knitting needles & learn how to use them I actually don’t think I’ve done a post on this, but I did purchase some circular knitting needles & start a project with them!

2. Practice hand sewing

3. Buy a sewing machine, practice using it My beautiful Singer 160.

4. Sew something from a pattern I sewed my first item in this post.

5. Make a sweater

6. Complete the two blankets I have started crocheting

7. Write knitting/crocheting patterns  I made things with my own patterns here & here.

8. Start a shop on Etsy My Etsy.

9. Knit & crochet for myself  These last two are pretty self explanatory.

10. Always enjoy what I’m doing

So it looks like I reached most of my goals. I knew the sweater was a long shot [I’m an instant gratification kind of crafter], & I’ve given up entirely on one of the blankets, so that was never going to crossed off the list – & hand sewing… Yikes. That is why I bought a sewing machine.

Overall it was a good year of crafting. I have yet to make an actual Etsy sale even though I opened it in June, but I know that it’s my fault. I’ve been really busy and haven’t been very vigilant about promoting my shop – I’ve also done a lot of crafting for friends & family that has taken away from doing things for my shop. Just a few things I’ll have to work on in 2013.

This year, I want to:

1. Finish lots of existing projects, including:

-My parents granny square blanket [it’s too cute not to finish].

-My dad’s Rams scarf

-My mom’s shrug

2. Refrain from starting new projects without finishing others first!

3. Sew more

4. Make a sale [hopefully more than just one] from my Etsy shop

5. Become a more successful knitter

6. Work with higher quality yarn

7. Complete a project using my circular needles

8. Try new crafts

9. Purchase a physical item from another Etsy seller, not just patterns

10. Say ‘no’ more often

Bring it on 2013!

 

Some other things that happened in 2012 since the last time I wrote a decent post:

WisconsinI traveled to Wisconsin for a research conference & did an oral presentation of my work.

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HairNewI donated my hair to Locks of Love for the third time in my life.

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New YearsI celebrated Christmas & New Years at home with my family

 

And after a long crafting drought thanks to Grad school applications, I’m finally working on stuff again. I’m currently making headbands in my school colors – several months later than I wanted to [since our football season is now over]. Regardless, they’re cute & I can’t wait to start selling them on Etsy.

Headbands

 

I’m also making myself an oversized scarf in forest green, taking my inspiration from these picture I found on Pinterest:

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I’ll keep you updated on the progress of that one.

 

Lastly, many thanks to everyone who has stuck with my blog or who has visited my blog in my many months of absence. Stick around – there will be more to come!

 

 

 

 

Alive, but barely.

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I just wanted to do a quick post to let anyone following this blog know I am, in fact, alive. This has been the busiest semester of my college career, and I simply haven’t had enough time to be crafty. It makes me really, REALLY sad though, because my blog is getting more hits than ever before. Just know that I do keep an eye here, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you can still leave a comment and I will respond promptly.

Life for me has been especially crazy because I’m currently applying to graduate school. I don’t think many people know just how intensive that process is, so I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m applying to 11 Ph.D. programs & I’m drowning in all the work I have to do between those, school, research, and various other activities. With Christmas coming up, I’m realizing just how busy I really am, because I haven’t been able to make the Christmas presents that I was hoping to. So, it’s looking like most of my family and friends won’t be getting gifts. At least, not until after Christmas, because I will likely have A LOT more free time during Christmas break [if I can get all my grad applications done, as I plan to]!

So, in short, life is absolutely insane right now & I’m really missing my crafty outlets for the stress. Hopefully next semester will be much less crazy, since all my graduate applications will be complete & I will just be waiting to hear back from them.

In the mean time, don’t forget to check out my Etsy shop here. I still have many items for sale that are ready to ship, which means that my busy-ness won’t get in the way of the speed of shipment. You can also like my Facebook page here.

Thanks so much for checking out my blog! Keep checking back – there are bound to be updates sooner or later! xo

New Listings on Etsy!

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I’ve posted 4 new listings on my Etsy page in the last few days, so check them out, if you will. I would appreciate it very much.

Fall & Winter are right around the corner, & I’m loving making cowls/infinity scarves for that time of year. They’re some of my favorite accessories, so I figure other people probably love them as much as I do.

The bright, floral colors are a great addition to any Fall/Winter wardrobe, since people often get down & depressed on the coldest & darkest days of the year.

Check out the new listings here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell

Dani

 

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