Tag: crafts

Make ornaments from old greeting cards

Original article by Amy Johnson for Maker Mama 

It’s nearly time to start spring cleaning. Some things in life we find hard to throw away, and one of those is holiday and birthday cards received from those close to you.

One way to save them is to use old cards to make paper ball ornaments.

They’re free and easy to make with simple supplies, and would be perfect for your own decor or even as a little gift.

The main supplies you’ll need are some paper and a cutting tool, such as a circle punch.

You can use any paper you have around, but make sure it’s about card stock weight, otherwise it won’t keep it’s shape well. Likewise, if you don’t have a circle cutting tool, you can trace something circular and cut them by hand (double the paper up so it’ll go faster).

Start by cutting out 21 circles in different colours and patterns.

To create your template and start folding your circles follow these steps:

  • Lay out your extra circle piece.
  • Fold it in half.
  • Fold it in half again to make an X in your circle.
  • Fold a small section into the middle.
  • Fold an equal-sized section into the middle, overlapping the first section.
  • Fold the third section over the others, creating a triangle (try to keep the sections as equal as possible).
  • Cut away the flaps leaving your equilateral triangle as the template.
  • Place the template on top of a new circle and fold flaps along the lines.
  • Remove the template and you have the basic piece that will make up your ornament.

Now fold the rest until you have twenty folded triangle-circles (the template makes it go by pretty fast).

Next, bust out your craft glue of choice.

I went for the hot glue gun for the sake of time. I’ve used white glue on previous ones and had to paperclip the flaps together to ensure they stay together, and it took much longer to dry.

Take 10 of your pieces and line them up in a row, alternating the direction they’re pointing.

Next, glue the first and last pieces together.

You should have five flaps facing out on both the top and bottom.

Take your 10 remaining pieces and lay them out for the top and bottom of the ornament.

This time you want them all pointing toward the center, creating a circular shape.

After you glue the flaps together, you’ll have two domed pieces with five flaps on the bottom of each.

Glue the top and bottom pieces together along the flaps.

To hang it up, punch a hole in the top and string some yarn through.

By Wendy Knowler for Times Live 

You probably wouldn’t dream of eating the glitter sold in stationery and craft shops‚ but almost all the glitter sprinkled on iced cupcakes has no business inside a human body either.

Confusingly‚ the labels say “non toxic”‚ which leads many bakers and consumers to believe that the glitter is edible.

An admission by a contestant on the Great British Bake Off TV show in 2012 – that she didn’t know if the glitter she was liberally sprinkling on her cupcakes was edible or not – went on to make glitter one of Britain’s top 10 food safety concerns. Two years ago the USA’s Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about non-edible decorative glitters and dusts being promoted for use on foods‚ saying there was no difference between craft glitter and “non toxic‚ decorative” cake glitter.

South Africa’s health authorities have yet to take such a stand‚ and there is relatively little awareness among bakers and consumers about the fact that most cake glitter on sale in baking goods stores is a form of plastic.

But it’s not just the composition of cake glitter which is now called into question – it’s all products used to create “edible” decorations‚ including colouring powders‚ dusting powders‚ gels and gold and silver leaf.

Should it be swallowed‚ it will simply pass through the body same as a Lego block would.

This week the UK’s Food Safety Agency dropped a bombshell on the global baking industry by issuing an alert about the entire range of products made by South Africa’s most prominent cake decorations company Rolkem‚ saying the company had “failed to provide assurances of product safety”‚ and thus there was a potential risk that they could contain heavy metals‚ unapproved non-food pigments and/or other unapproved ingredients”.

Earlier this year a batch of two Rolkem gold products were recalled from the UK market after being found to contain high levels of copper. Those batches were not sold in South Africa.

Rolkem CEO Andries Kemp said the Food Safety Agency issued the alert because the company couldn’t meet the “unrealistic” deadlines imposed on it to produce test certificates for its 400 products.

“We shall supply the test certificates to all our stockists locally and internationally as soon as we receive them from the laboratory‚” he said.

“We are confident that all products will test clear.”

Pinetown-based baking supplies retailer Bake-a-Ton has since put a notice up in its store advising the following about all Rolkem products: “Until such point as our suppliers can provide proof of food grade certificates we do not recommend these products for use as edible in your baking and decorating.”

“We have also instructed our staff to educate customers correctly with regards to product usage‚” operations manager Justin Baker told TimesLIVE.

Despite Rolkem and other local manufacturers insisting that they stipulate that the glitter should be applied only to decorations which are removed before the cakes are eaten‚ it would appear that that message has until now been very poorly communicated between factory and retail shelf.

A staff member at Durban baking goods supplier Party Themes told me this week that the cake glitter is “fine to sprinkle on icing‚ but you just mustn’t eat it from the pot”.

When qualified food technologist Kate O’Dowd asked Cape Town-based baking goods supplier Barco for a break-down of its “Flitter” glitter product‚ on behalf of a friend wanting to add glitter to a lip balm‚ the company sent her an email describing it as “non-toxic and for removable cake decorations and crafts only” and listing the ingredients as polyester (90 – 95%) aluminium‚ epoxy resin‚ chromium and dyes.

“The reason for this is that glitter currently sold in SA is made of very thin plastic and as such it is not a product that can be absorbed by the human body‚” Barco co-owner Kevin Ritchie told O’Dowd.

“Should it be swallowed‚ it will simply pass through the body same as a Lego block would.”

“I was flabbergasted‚” O’Dowd said. “I don’t think many people realise those glitters which we see on so many cup cakes these days are actually plastic. And I’ve never seen anyone picking it off.”

Non-toxic glitter may not kill you‚ but don’t eat it – that’s the advice of Dr Zhaoping Li‚ professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California‚ Los Angeles. “At least not regularly or large quantities‚” he says.

Source: Martha Stewart

Monogrammed boxes
These elegant containers are perfect for jewelry, gift cards, and small items.

Materials:

  • Coloured card stock
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • Straightedge
  • Glue stick
  • Heavy books

Instructions:

In a photo-editing program, create a 2-page document. On the first page, draw a picture box, and then import a box template, from a CD, centering it carefully on the page.

Draw a second picture box, and place it on the template where you want the letter to appear. Import letter from a CD, sizing it as desired.
Copy template and letter from first page, and paste onto second page in the same position.
Delete letter from first page; delete template from second page.
Print first page onto colored card stock. Flip card stock over, and print second page with letter on other side.
(For a white letter, draw a picture box on the second page larger than the template. Color in box, make the letter white, and print onto white card stock.)
Cut out along template’s outside edges.
Using a bone folder and a straightedge, score straight dotted lines. Score curved lines using a round plate as a guide. Fold along straight lines, and seal with a glue stick.
Let dry between heavy books. Fold along curved lines to close box.

Punch-out pizzazz
Whimsical iron-on shapes turn basic T-shirts and totes into one-of-a-kind gifts.

Materials:

  • Photo-editing program
  • Iron-on transfer paper
  • Paper punches or decorative scissors
  • Iron
  • T-shirts or tote bags

Instructions:

In a photo-editing program, import patterns.
Print onto iron-on transfer paper, following the manufacturer’s instructions. (For crisp printouts, use paper meant for dark fabric.)
Cut out shapes using paper punches or decorative-edge scissors.
Iron onto fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Memory DVD
Create a DVD full of memories for the favourite dad in your life.

Materials:

  • Blank DVDs
  • DVD labels
  • Digital images
  • Printer
  • Envelopes
  • Card stock
  • Ribbon

Instructions:
Share memories of your Dad by creating your own DVDs and DVD labels on a computer. Simply take one of your favorite pictures, and print the image on a sticky label designed to fit a DVD – it’s a small touch that makes the gift extra special. When packaging the DVDs, place them all into individual envelopes, and then take your chosen photographic image and print it on card stock to make a one-of-a-kind cover.

Custom treats container
Take holiday photo cards to the next level: paste an image on a small container and fill it with your Dad’s favourite treats.

Materials:

  • Small box
  • Red nontoxic acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Card stock
  • Scalloping shears
  • Photograph
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Glassine
  • Favourite snacks (such as sweets, biltong and nuts)

Instructions:
Coat a small box, outside and in, with red nontoxic acrylic paint; let dry. Trace the box top onto card stock.
Draw a circle about 1/2 inch larger around the traced circle; cut out with scalloping shears. Repeat to make a second circle.
Print or photocopy a photograph, adjusting the color, if desired. Trace the box top onto the picture; cut out. Use craft glue to affix the photo to one of the scalloped red circles; let dry.
Affix that circle to the top of the box and the other circle to the bottom using craft glue. Line bottom of the box with glassine.
Fill with your Dad’s favourite snacks.

Source: The Kreative Life

Find some big sturdy leaves, that are waxy and veiny because they work the best. Here is my step-by-step tutorial on how to make skeleton leaves.

You will need:

  • Waxy leaves
  • Large pot
  • Water (12 cups)
  • Super washing soda – also called sodium carbonate (2 cups)
  • Metal tongs
  • Colander
  • Bleach
  • Shallow dish
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Cooling rack

The amount of water and super washing soda will vary depending on the size and amount of leaves. I would suggest using one part super washing soda to six parts water.

Directions
In a well-ventilated room, mix water and super washing soda in pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add leaves. Allow the mixture to simmer for 2-3 hours. After the 2-3 hours, the water will look very murky.

Using the tongs, place the leaves in the colander and run under cool water. (My leaves were pretty tough, so I don’t know if adding all types of leaves to the colander will work or if you’d have to rinse them individually if they’re more fragile.)

Pour out the murky water and rinse out the pot. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the leaves. It doesn’t have to be as much used before when simmering them. I added ½ cup bleach. Place the leaves into the bleach water and allow to soak for 20-30 minutes. This will remove as much color from the leaf as possible.

Now, this is where I did things a little differently. Instead of using the brush to remove the skin of the leaf, I placed the leaf flat on my hand and ran it under the sprayer on my kitchen sink. The skin started immediately coming off.

After about a minute under the water, the skin was completely removed. I’ll admit that some of the leaves tore a little, but I still kept them because it added a little character.

Mix water and food color in the shallow dish according to the tint you want. I used a blue and green mixture.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove from water and place on cooling rack. Allow to completely dry.

After mine dried, I painted a cheap frame and used a piece of scrapbook paper for the background.

Now that you know how easy making skeleton leaves at home is, what will you try next?

DIY coffee candle

Source: Crafting News

At the end of a long day, all I can think about is to unwind in front of my fireplace with a good book and a tall glass of wine. And the mood is always set with a beautifully scented candle that fills the room with the aroma of relaxation and home.

So I thought it was pretty cool when I came across this DIY coffee candle. One thing I also like is the smell of coffee in the morning. It usually wakes me right up, and I can feel all my senses come alive. How cool is it that you can make coffee scented candles? I know some of you could use this in your everyday life. I had to try it out for myself, and the results were beautifully scented, to say the least.

A word of caution
Before I made my candle I had read that there is a chance of coffee beans burning if they are too close to the candle flame. I ended up placing the coffee beans around the outside of the candle so that they are not near the wick, and so far have not had any issues. And if you don’t want to take that risk, you can replace the coffee beans with another scent such as lavender or vanilla.

What you will need:

  • Small bowls or glasses. Collect a few colorful containers you have around the house
  • Candle wax
  • Candle wick
  • Coffee beans
  • Vanilla beans, chopped

Making the DIY coffee candle

The procedure and the tutorial for making the candles is pretty straight forward. It is actually pretty easy and no skill is required, just the skill to have fun.

The basic procedure is to melt the candle wax. Then you hold the wick in the center of the container you want to use. After that you just pour in the candle wax along with the coffee and the vanilla while stirring with a chopstick to evenly distribute the ingredients. Or put the coffee beans in last to keep them away from the wick.

You have to give the candle a few minutes to dry up before sniping of the wick and voila you have your candle. The end result is a beautifully scented candle that will melt away your stresses.

For the full tutorial, click here.

Hobby-X 2018

Sponsored content

There’s a new energy and positive feeling to 2018! And nowhere is this more apparent than at the offices of Hobby-X, the well respected and highly anticipated expo for the hobbies and creative crafts industries, where I am chatting to Elizabeth Morley and Gloria Bastos, organisers of the show. The phones ring with enquiries from potential exhibitors and visitors. The bell rings announcing another contract has just been received. Preparations are in full swing, and the enthusiasm and energy are palpable.

The tagline of this year’s show is “because you love it”, and fittingly the exhibition encompasses a whole lot of fun activities that people pursue purely for pleasure. There is a complete car restoration and customisation area including Monster Trucks, Jet Dragsters and a unique car collection. Paintball and wall-climbing for those who never want to grow up. A food marketplace with exotic and interesting offerings will tempt the aspiring MasterChef.

A Kunsvlyt Theatre, with celebrity appearances by previous winners of the kykNET TV program of the same name, will run “best project” competitions throughout the show. At the nearby Kunsvlyt Café the less bold can try out the materials and projects – without the audience, and with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake to fortify them.

The workshops at Hobby-X have always been firm favourites both with retailers, who want to gain as much product knowledge as possible to be able to impart it to their customers, as well as the consumers who love to try out new projects and learn tips and techniques. This year there will be 10 workshop areas dotted around the show, with continuous hands-on craft workshops. Catering for smaller groups than the previous classroom style workshops, the new format will allow for much greater interaction with the teacher, and greater individual attention. And the choice of topics and projects is broad and on trend.

The core of Hobby-X has always been the materials, equipment, supplies and ideas for hobbies and crafts – and this sector is still fundamental to the exhibition. Paper products, adhesives, silicones and resins, mosaic, art supplies, craft materials, scrapbooking, pewter, power tools, paints, gadgets, gizmos and machinery are well represented. The exhibitors in these categories are all manufacturers, importers, distributors or agents, and a number of overseas principals will be at Hobby-X to support the local distributors of their products.

For Trade Buyers, the benefits of visiting an exhibition such as this are many. It’s a convenient way of staying up-to-date with your industry and current trends, finding new products to stock, building relationships with suppliers and networking with leading companies in your field. Part of the appeal of visiting trade shows is about getting fresh ideas for your own retail space, and finding innovative ways to update your store to give your customers a great shopping experience. But it’s also a unique opportunity to observe consumer behaviour and reaction, and analyse buying patterns at the show, enabling you to make informed buying decisions.
According to the Organisers, the take-up pattern by exhibitors was markedly different for the 2018 exhibition than it has been for the past many years, with a significant number of companies taking a wait-and-see approach before committing to the exhibition. This was directly attributable to the negative sentiment and lack of confidence felt by many throughout most of last year. But the sentiment this year is positively buoyant, and many companies are investing in their future with renewed vigour and optimism. This positive sentiment should also be reflected in the spending patterns of consumers, and so the time is ripe for Trade Buyers to take advantage of the platform presented by Hobby-X to re-stock their shelves.

As I am leaving, I overhear a phone call to a client. “I noticed that you haven’t yet confirmed your stand for the March show, and I wanted to let you know some of the exciting things that are lined up for this year which will make it an event not to be missed”. Whoever that potential exhibitor is, I think, I hope they sign up quickly. This could well be the best Hobby-X ever!

Hobbies have poor shelf lives

The shelf-life of a hobby is one year and two months, according to Brits.

Researchers who polled 5 001 UK adults found almost half have taken up a hobby only to give it up.

Twenty-eight per cent level the blame at work commitments, while 27 per cent said a busy family life prevented them from carrying on.

But this hasn’t stopped them pursuing something new – eight in ten currently have a hobby and dedicate a total of nine days over the course a year to it.

Commissioned by Barclaycard, the research also found 57 per cent believe they are happier and a quarter have acquired new friends – all thanks to their hobby.

Andrew Hogan, Head of Brand Strategy at Barclaycard, said: “Our research shows that in today’s often frantic world, having a hobby can have a huge, positive impact on both our personal and professional lives, as well as our overall health and wellbeing.

“That’s why it’s so important that we overcome obstacles to getting going, whatever that may be.

“We encourage everyone to prioritise their passions and start today.”

The biggest obstacles to spending more free-time doing pursuing hobbies and interests include work commitments, family commitments and not having enough disposable cash.

Although 13 per cent admit they are too lazy to spend additional time doing their hobbies and 22 per cent revealed they tend to procrastinate in their spare time instead.

Regardless of this, 54 per cent are more relaxed thanks to their passion, around a third believe they are healthier and 23 per have seen their confidence levels increase.

And two in five believe their outside interests have given them a more positive outlook on life.

On average, those who have made new friends as a result of their hobby have made 16 new pals.

With one fifth of those who made friends have even meeting a partner.

A third have a hobby they would like to try one day, with ten per cent hoping to give it a go some point in the next 12 months.

And a quarter would like to turn their interest into a career someday.

Over half agree everyone should have a hobby or passion.

Andrew Hogan added: “It’s fascinating to see that so many people daydream of turning their passion into a career – and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

“Taking that first step could be as simple as signing up to ukulele lessons or buying a bike.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk By James Cox

The ultimate hobby machine

Say goodbye to unnecessary cords and create more space to work on your projects with the ultimate DIY machine from Cricut. The machine is hailed as all you need for craft hobbies like scrapbooking. The machine retails at approximately $300 (R3 800).

There are so many ways you can create with Cricut Explore Air. Design with the 50 000 images, projects, and fonts in the Cricut Image Library, or upload your own images and fonts for free.

Make party invitations, decorations and favours. Create seasonal home décor or personalise wedding gifts. Add embellishments to your favorite photo memories.

Cut what you want
Upload and cut your own images and fonts free; works with .svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, and .dxf files
Cut or write fonts already installed on your computer
Buy images starting at $0.99

Design and cut with the iPad app
Design here, there, and everywhere! Cricut Design Space app for iPad works seamlessly with the Cricut Explore Air machine. Design on your iPad and send the project to cut, wirelessly. The free, easy-to-use Cricut Design Space software system gives you access to all of your images and projects from any compatible computer or iPad. It’s cloud-based, so your projects are always synced across all your devices.

What can I make?
Make all your birthday and party invitations, banners, decorations, and favors. Create distinctive seasonal home décor or personalise DIY wedding gifts with a quick monogram for that perfect touch. Add embellishments to your favorite photo memories. And give Family Game Night the ultimate make-over with fresh and fun games month after month. Don’t forget those last-minute school science fair projects, book reports, or the ‘All About Me’ poster. Satisfy all your DIY crafting needs, whether you use the Cricut Explore Air as a vinyl cutter, die cut machine, or fabric cutting machine.

What can I cut?
The Cricut Explore Air cuts a wide variety of materials, including paper, cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, poster board and fabric for DIY projects. Upload your own images or choose from the Cricut Image Library – the only limit is your imagination.

No settings required
Forget the complicated materials settings. Now you can get the perfect cut on nearly any material, just turn the Smart Set dial. You can even create custom settings for different materials.

Clean cuts, big or small
The Cricut Explore Air features patent-pending Cut Smart technology. Cut all sorts of shapes with exceptional precision in sizes ranging from ¼ to 11½ inch wide x 23½ inches tall.

Cut and write in just one step
The Cricut Explore Air machine can cut a card and then write a personalised message exactly where you want. It can also cut a box and score the fold lines in one step.

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