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DIY Sharpie Mug

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There’s a trend going around the world of craft blogging right now, especially on websites like Pinterest & CraftGawker, & that is the DIY mug, decorated using only a sharpie, which you set by baking it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I’m a coffee-holic, & can never have enough coffee mugs in my life, so I was determined to give this one a try. So, after going through some trial & error, I wanted to do a sort of “review” on my experiences with it & how well it actually works.

I had seen this project done with both a regular Sharpie & a paint Sharpie, but the first thing I tried was an original Sharpie & mugs I found at the dollar store. There are various how-to’s & reviews of how this went for people out there on the interwebs, but this was one of my favorites because her creations are just so darn cute.

I drew my inspiration for the design from this blogger. I just thought it was so gorgeous & I’m really not that creative usually. It actually turned out pretty good considering that I have no hand-eye coordination or talent when it comes to drawing or creating anything with a paper [or ceramic] & a pen. So I stuck it in the cold oven, turned it on to 350, waited til it got up to temperature before timing it for 30 minutes, & then turned off the oven & let the mug cool in there.

After letting it cool & then leaving it to sit on the counter for a few days beyond that, I had my mom hand-wash it while she was doing dishes. Immediately the ink became cracked & faded. I also tried using it for my coffee & found that where my lips touched became faded very quickly as well. Not so great. I was pretty disappointed.

I was determined to make this work somehow, so I decided to try another technique I had found by Wild Olive, which involved using a Sharpie Oil-Based Paint marker instead of a plain Sharpie. I actually used the same mugs, I just used a Mr. Clean bleach eraser to get my previous designs off of them, which wasn’t very hard to do. I also chose to brush rubbing alcohol onto the cleaned surface & let it dry before attempting my new designs, because after doing some research I found that that’s something you do when using actual ceramic paint to make it stick better. I created a similar design to the one I had originally done in regular Sharpie, as well as a text quote that read “All if fair… In love & War”. I put it in the oven for 30 minutes on 350, & as far as I can tell, this technique works much, much better. The Paint Sharpie is made to be used on things like this [it even says so on the package] & it’s really obvious. Not only is the design more opaque, but it looks and feels a lot more permanent & professional. I created mine a few weeks ago while at home with my family, & just recently used the text one for my coffee. I had no issues hand washing it the first time around, but only time will tell.

Overall, I would tell you to not even waste your time trying to use a plain Sharpie on a mug or other piece of dinnerware. If you’re truly interested in creating a personalized work of art that has the potential to be used and stand the test of time, spend a little bit of extra money on a Sharpie Paint pen, or other similar pen. It works MUCH MUCH better! 

After my failed experience with the original Sharpie, I got super interested & almost obsessed with finding something that would work & be mostly permanent on ceramics. What I really wanted to find, but had hardly any luck with, was the Porcelaine paint that I have heard such good things about. I found a little bit at Michaels, but it was all on clearance, which means mostly cleared out, & they didn’t seem to have any more of it. BUT, on that note, they had other ceramic paint [Delta PermEnamel] on crazy clearance [like $.79 a bottle] & I went a little crazy & bought TONS of it. I also got a few starter kits that came with surface conditioner [basically rubbing alcohol, which is where I learned that trick I mentioned earlier], a bunch of small pots of color, & glaze. It was air dry, so you didn’t have to bake it in the oven, but you have to let it dry for 21 days before use. So I made some fun mugs with that paint, & hope to create more & possibly sell them on my Etsy.

I hope this post was helpful for anyone considering trying out the DIY Sharpie mug idea, or anyone interested in getting into ceramic painting! It’s so much fun & not a super expensive hobby to take up. I really enjoyed learning something new, & I hope you give it a try as well!

Dani

PS: Please check out my latest post on this subject here.

DIY Decoupaging a Styrofoam Head

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I’ve been home on vacation from college for a little over a week now, & I’ve been spending a lot of that time doing all sorts of crafty projects. The first one I decided to undertake was decoupaging my ugly styrofoam head. I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize I could solve the problem of it’s ugliness with a little Mod Podge & paper, but once I got the idea in my head I immediately did a little shopping for scrapbook paper. I got 3 different patterns in similar colors – a plaid, a polkadot, & one with various letters all over it. I chose to cut the pieces up using scissors [because I wanted to cut out the letters individually], but you could just as well rip up the pieces for a less perfect look.

 

 

Decoupaging is fairly simple, which is why I love it so much. I actually can’t believe I haven’t done more of it in the past – it’s that easy & gives such great results! I poured my mod podge into a small container & used the foam brush to spread a little of it onto the foam head. I did one piece of paper at a time, layering it alternately between the three designs, & then spreading a little more mod podge on top of it. I used my finger to smooth it out & keep it from getting gloppy. Because of my perfectionism though, this project was slow moving & took me a few days, but if you’re determined [& not as picky] you could absolutely complete it in a matter of hours.

The face is the hardest part because you need to have smaller pieces since the larger ones wrinkle & get ugly easily, so I started there, working my way from the seam on top of the head down the front. After completing that, the back of the head is a piece of cake. It gets difficult again around the neck & the base. You want to continue decoupaging around the bottom a little  so that it looks smooth & finished. I also tried to make sure my letters were going the same direction throughout.

I thought I had more pictures of the process but I guess not. It’s pretty straight forward though, & if you have questions just leave a comment & I’ll do my best to help. You can also do a Google search if you’re impatient, as there are lots of similar tutorials around the web.

 

My dad ended up cutting & painting a base for me with part of a broomstick handle that fits inside the head, but if I hadn’t had his help I would have simply purchased a round piece of wood from Michaels [about $4 or $5] & found a way to glue my head onto it. They come unfinished, so you can paint it, varnish it, or leave it as is. A nice base really finishes your styrofoam head & can help it double as a piece of artwork as much as a model for your work.

I hope this helped anyone looking for instructions on decoupaging a mannequin head [or anything else, for that matter]. This is my first semi-tutorial post, so feedback is welcomed.

Thanks for reading & happy crafting!

My First SMASH Book

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So a while back, I came across this blog after I came across an image from her post about her SMASH books on CraftGawker. I was on the hunt for a different kind of planner for my upcoming school year, & thought that maybe this would be the answer. It wasn’t, but I am so glad that I came across her blog about these amazing books.

Basically a SMASH book is a scrapbook for your everyday life. It’s a journal full of scrapbook pages, as well as various list pages – it has a pocket in the back, & comes with a pen/glue stick. You can buy a variety of accessories for your SMASH book, such as tabs, pockets, washi tape, etc. at Michaels, or online. The blog owner I linked above used hers as a creative organizer, which is a wonderful idea. You can organize ideas from magazines, the internet, & other places. I’m excited about mine because I want to use it as I described it originally – a scrapbook for my everyday life.

They come in a variety of sizes, colors & styles. The ones I have recently come across include a retro-themed book, an eco-friendly book, a wedding-themed book, a baby-themed book, & the pretty pink book, which is the one I purchased for myself. My book arrived at my door less than an hour ago, & I’m already thinking of the possibilities for every book I’ve ever seen.

My first SMASH book will be simple. I’m about to start my final year at my undergraduate university, & it should be an intense & action packed year. I want to use this book to document the journey. This is the year I’ll be applying to & [hopefully] getting accepted to graduate schools, as well as finishing up my research & traveling to conferences to present it. I already have big plans for specific pages in my book – I want to use the “Things to do” page to make a list of what I hope to accomplish this year, & I can check them off when I do! I want to use the pages that look sort of like the old date cards in library books to keep track of the books I complete this year, because I’m an avid reader & I’ve never attempted to keep track of them. Finally, I want to use the “Top Ten” page next summer, after the year has ended, to write in the “Top Ten” events & memories of the year. All the pages in between will hopefully be full of ticket stubs, pictures, & receipts from the fun I have with family & friends.

So that’s my latest  adventure in crafting & creativity. Go find your inner-scrapbooker & buy yourself a SMASH book – I don’t think you’ll regret it. :]

Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange!

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So I finally completed my gift for the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange & I’m really excited about it. I’ve never done this before & I’m a little shy, so I actually didn’t get to know my gifter or my giftee very well – but oh well. Maybe next time.

So the girl I was to be making something for said that she liked useful kitchen stuff, so I decided to sew her a half apron. I’ve been DYING to make myself an apron, but it’s even better when I get to make it for another person! I also decided to make it without using a pattern, which was scary since I’m a fairly new sewer – but it came out great! Of course, it’s not perfect – I didn’t realize that the fabric I chose to use for the waistband/tie was slightly see-through, & some of my top-stitching is obviously not perfectly straight, but who cares! I SUCCESSFULLY SEWED AN APRON! It’s super simple, it doesn’t even have a pocket because I didn’t want to mess up the apron itself. I also decided to also make a few washcloths to go with the ‘kitchen’ theme. Originally, I wanted to make those wooden spoons with the painted handle, but I don’t have any supplies for it, so washcloths it was. I really love working with cotton yarn, & I also love the idea of them being SO useful. The washcloths aren’t in my giftee’s favorite colors, because I wanted them to somewhat match the apron instead. :] Either way, I’m proud of my handiwork & I hope my giftee loves the set as much as I do!

Check out the Craftaholics Anonymous blog, there’s some great stuff on there. I think you can get to her site through the Handmade Gift Exchange button somewhere over there –>

Busy Summer

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Today I took a break from all the craziness in my life that is GRE preparation and research paper writing to do a little crafting. I’ve only added one thing to my Etsy since opening it, & it depresses me to know I’m simply too busy to do much more. Hopefully, when all my summer work is [mostly] over, I’ll be able to craft my heart out – because that’s really what I would like to do all summer.

Firstly, I’ve been considering business cards for The Yarn To Tell for awhile now, but for the longest time I was trying to design them on Vistaprint or Moo & then I came across handmade cards somewhere on Pinterest & fell in love. That’s when I realized it would be super easy & inexpensive to make cards using my personal printer & cardstock, especially since I don’t need the 200+ you get when you purchase through a website.. In the end, I also added a zig-zag embellishment using my sewing machine & some lavender thread, & they turned out so great. I can’t wait to leave them all over town & hand them out to friends & family.

After completing a small stack of cards, I went to work on the gift I’m making for an exchange I’m participating in. I’m doing this month’s Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange – my first EVER, I’m so excited! I don’t quite have pictures & I’m hoping to make some other things to add to the gift, but I’ll keep you updated on my progress, & there will be pics when it’s all ready to go. :]

It was a busy day, but this is a pretty short post. I’m working on more items to list on Etsy, as well as a shrug that my mom commissioned me to make her. Life has just been so crazyyy.

As mentioned, don’t forget to check out my latest listing on Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell! Here’s a peak:

Thanks for reading, & happy crafting!

Grand Opening of The Yarn To Tell on Etsy!

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Hey guys!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! I finally finished the chevron scarf I’ve been working on and will be shipping it out on Monday. I also decided that since I was free and able to craft in most of my spare time, I would open an Etsy shop no matter what it took.

Well, as many of you know, I’ve been a little crazy about the prospect of opening an Etsy shop. I wanted to be absolutely, 100% prepared & ready to deal with whatever was to come with it. I read blog after blog about the ‘Do’s & Don’t of Etsy’, ‘How to have a successful shop’, & so on. Finally, though, I realized I really just needed to jump in & go for it. Today, I jumped.

My shop is here: The Yarn To Tell on Etsy.

It seems so small to me, but I know that I will continue crafting up a storm & probably be listing at least every few days for awhile. I’ll probably start doing ‘made to order’ items once this next month & a half is over, since McNair & my research is going to be at the busiest late June/early July. I’m much too excited about the fact that I can sell the things I take time to make & make other people happy, so I need to stay on top of the other, more important things in my life – like school. School first, crafting second.

I’m currently working on a few things. Although I don’t get to travel often, I really love the recent ‘travel wallet’ trend. Maybe it’s only new to me, but either way, I’m in love with it. I think it’s genius & I want one. Last night I drew up a full scale model for one, so I’m hoping that I’ll get feeling adventurous & soon so I can try to come up with something on my sewing machine. I’ve also got another cowl more than halfway done, & I’m looking into making dishcloths, because they’re just so darn functional. Other than these few things, I have a pretty long list of ideas that I’ll be working on in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. :]

Check out my Etsy shop & also go ‘like’ my facebook page: The Yarn To Tell on Facebook. Don’t forget to tell your friends!

Dani

Coffee coffee coffee [How to make a latte at home without an espresso machine]

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I’m writing this post because I have to tell you guys about my miracle latte.

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a coffee addict. A coffee-holic. I can’t go a single day without a cup [or several] of coffee. But don’t confuse me for a coffee snob. I love coffee too much to be especially picky about it, which is why this discovery is so wonderful. I hope this post can be a help to my fellow snob-free coffee lovers, especially those who, like me, can hardly afford to purchase their daily latte & can relate to actually paying for it with change from their car/couch/purse/friends on several occasions.

My best friend gave me $50 to spend ‘irresponsibly’ for my birthday. I chose to purchase [after a lot of serious decision making, because a few seasons of Friends also sounded very appealing] a stovetop espresso maker & everything I would need to go with it. I spent the weekend in my hometown with my family, so mom & I made a trip to the local Bed, Bath, & Beyond to purchase my prize. Unfortunately, they only sold six- & nine-cup Bialetti’s in store, so I had to special order a smaller one & come to terms with the fact that I would not be hand-making myself some latte’s that evening. But, after purchasing two bottles of flavoring & a pound of espresso, I decided to try and make some latte’s anyway.

I’m sure I’m not the first to do this, but all those time I did a Google search on ‘how to make a latte at home without an espresso machine’, nothing like this ever came up. Basically, all I did was brew espresso in a coffee pot, with a few scoops of espresso & a small amount of water [since you only need maybe 2 or 3 oz of espresso for your beverage], add an ounce of flavoring, heat & froth some milk, & voila – I had a latte, & it even tastes like a latte that you would get at your local coffee house!

I used a shot glass & measured out a few shot-glass-fulls of espresso to my cup, along with a shot-glass-full of flavoring. I heated milk in the microwave for 3 minutes [don’t forget to take it out & stir it at 2 minutes so it doesn’t explode on you] & then used a hand blender to froth it before using a spoon to hold the foam back while pouring the milk into the cup of espresso & flavoring, then I added a dollop of foam to the top. Tonight I actually tried using my coffee press to froth my milk & WOW, if you like thick heavy foam, this is the way to go. The hand blender seems to take a lot longer, is a lot messier, & makes a much thinner foam. I only had to pump my coffee press once or twice before realizing I already had an inch or more of foam. They also sell a variety of milk frothers at department stores that you can look into, but if you have a hand blender or coffee press, there’s no need!

I’m sorry for my lack of pictures. Since I was home, the few I got was difficult enough. Maybe I’ll get to take some better ones when I get my Bialetti.

I got my espresso at Winco, a local discount grocery store that I absolutely love. A pound was only $7.00. I got the coffee flavoring at URM for about $3.50 each, which I thought was an amazing price & why I ended up purchasing two bottles.

This is a picture of the first miracle latte I made. Doesn’t really look like much but just TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. Seriously.

I also took some pictures of the other things I got for my birthday from Jessica & her boyfriend Cookie. They both graduated last weekend & left town for good yesterday, which I’m absolutely still in denial about. But anyways, Jessica gave me a scrapbook of our four years together, which was amazingamazingamazing, & Cookie got me two seasons of Friends that I was SO EXCITED about. It really just makes me want to buy the other 8 seasons, but I have to remind myself that that would be very irresponsible, & I already spent my $50 of guilt-free money. SIGH.

 

Also, I got my test swatch of clothing labels while I was home for the weekend & I’m a little sad to say that they didn’t turn out. But it’s okay – perfect, actually – because while I was home, I realized that I wanted to have some sort of image as part of my logo. It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to use a lilac, because it has some meaning to me since my hometown is the ‘Lilac City’ & we always had them in our yard when I was growing up. I think I remember my favorite flower being lilacs when I was much younger, & a boy that “liked me” when I was in 3rd grade picked some & brought them to school for me. Plus, I always see birds, scrolls, & other random [but adorable] things used, & I wanted something somewhat unique. So, I did some redesigning the last couple days & came up with an Etsy banner and clothing label logo that I like much better.

It also looked much more promising when I uploaded it to Spoonflower than the last batch did.

So, I’ll have to reorder them soon. I suppose this is the exact reason you order a ‘test swatch’ first. Hopefully this batch will work out & this will be my permanent logo – but I’m not worried, I think it will be.

 

Thanks for reading & happy Mother’s Day [a couple hours late]!