Make Today: Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, Makers!

Regardless of your current marital status, I promise there are tons of people you love who need some appreciation today. Family, Friends, Pets, etc. There are also tons of different ways to express your appreciation for those wonderful folks! If you’re like me, you’ve been eyeing up printables and other DIY Valentine’s projects… Remember our printable mailbox from last year?

This year I’ve once more taken to making my own Valentines. A little more two-dimensional, but still pretty awesome. I was inspired by the easy to follow tutorial from the Jones Design Company blog and set to work creating my own fake calligraphy. This card was made using some kraft cardstock and a pen and ink set.

outside: “Romeo & Juliet…”

Even someone with the most atrocious penmanship (ahem, me.) can dress up their handwriting. A steady hand and patience is key, trust me.

inside: “Are a couple of punks compare to my Mom & Dad”

My parents got a good chuckle out of this one ;)

I know it’s been a little quiet on the misc*makers front lately – but that doesn’t mean we aren’t busy little bees. Keep your eyes peeled for more easy projects to tackle.

Enjoy :)

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Pin’d: After the Vino is Finished

I’ve recently fallen in love with the online inspiration boards over at Pinterest. Check back here often (or follow FrostedTreats on Pinterest) to see what’s inspiring me!

Pinboard: After the Vino is Finished

For some reason I’m drawn to projects that give new life to empty wine corks and bottles. Have a look!

(Click images to go to Pin and Source)

How to Make Wine Cork Magnets

How to make Cork Handled Cheese Knives

Wine Cork Monogram

Wine Cork Keychains

Happy Pinning!

-Jessica

Lia’s Summer Finds

Every year, usually in March, when the snow finally has completely melted and the sun’s rays filter through the clouds, you can find me in flip flops without my coat, and picking out what bathing suits I should buy. Keep in mind, in New Jersey in March, it is still about 40-something degrees and it’s more likely than not we’ll get another flurry or two.  So then, I have to pull my coat back out of the basement and polish up my boots because I’ll get in at least another month of wearing them.

What never fails to surprise me though, is after so many months of waiting for summer and 2 months of delicious heat, why on earth are they showing khakis and thermals at the end of July?!

This makes me want to lash out at the media and marketing companies- don’t they REALIZE how frustrating it is for people like myself who are finally just getting into the slow summer rhythm to go shopping for a pair of short shorts and are instead overwhelmed with sweaters? I like to go shopping for summer clothes IN the summer. And I like to go shopping for fall (which happens to be my favorite season) IN the fall.

In an attempt to fight back this saddening marketing ploy, I will list some GREAT summer finds for those of us who still want to shop for summer during the summer.

This metallic bathing suit handmade by carolinebenoit11, may be a little pricey for my pocket (because I’m a poor graduate student), but it’s PERFECT for a warm summer night. One pieces are very in this season and I love LOVE the one shoulder.

(gold one piece bathing suit | link)

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Oh how I wish I had a little girl to dress her in this! CharmingNecessities is one of my favorite shops on Etsy. I love frills, lace, floral patterns, and little girls outfits that look like they’re made for little girls. If you need a gift for your child, your friend’s child, your grandchild… look at this sweet bubble romper. This picture alone will melt your heart!

(vintage beauty sunsuit in English rose | link)

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Ahoy there! This tiny keepsake bag made my ZiBagz is ADORABLE with a nautical color palate that I love. Again, the nautical theme is very in this season and I love the red and navy blue together :)

(ahoy sailor mini keepsake bag | link)

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And last but not least, this is for the little man in your life! This cute, fully lined swimming trunk made by PigtailsandPatches pulled at my heartstrings. With another few months of warm weather, I could just imagine this bathing suit getting tons of use. I love the plaid! (and the fish!) And the best part? Everything in this shop can be personalized. I am a sucker for personalized, embroidered, initialed items because growing up the unique spelling of my name could never be found on bracelets, cups, or keychains. My poor future children are going to have their name on everything!

(little fish boys | link)

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On that note, I hope all you happy readers are having a wonderful summer and enjoy the rest of the warm weather while you can!

-Lia

A day with Balloons

Each year, the county fair takes place in my hometown. All through my childhood years, hot air balloons would launch at the fairgrounds and fly right over my house. Since then, whenever a hot air balloon is seen, I become a giddy little nerd. Fast forward about fifteen years, and now I find myself hanging out at a ballooning festival, up close and personal with hot air balloons, hanging with a couple of the greatest friends a girl could have! You may recognize one of them as a fellow misc•maker.

(Courtney, Alex, and Jess)

The last weekend in July brings scores of hot air balloon enthusiasts to Readington, New Jersey. Alex and I were lucky this year to be invited to this event by a future misc•maker, Courtney. We watched with excitement as balloons inflated all around us and began to float off before our eyes.

We even got a chance to stand inside one of the balloons as it filled up! Here’s me and Alex with Courtney’s soon-to-be father-in-law. Mr. Leota is among the nicest people I’ve ever met and I can’t wait until the next balloon festival! I’m told next time we will be helping to chase down the balloon to help it land. How cool is that!?

Let’s tie this into crafts, shall we? Leading up to the balloon festival, I tried my hand at replicating the Leota’s balloon in polymer form and here it is! Challening, tiny, but ohh soo cute!

(Photo by Adam Leota || Balloon Charm by Jessica @ FrostedTreats)

Overall, this was the most amazing thing I’ve experienced this summer.

Well, Gotta fly!

Shop: My Favorite Etsy Purchases

Since I spend my days making things, I often find I troll around Etsy.com for supplies rather than taking advantage of the amazing handmade goods. Certainly other makers out there get the same flash of, “But wait, I can make that…” instead of adding something to their shopping cart. Sometimes,  however, we need to realize that in order to really support the handmade community, we need to give credit where it is due and make some purchases. Here is a quicky list of a few of my favorite handmade shops on Etsy that have provided amazing customer service. Check out these fabulous shops and enjoy!

My Little Chickadee Creations

For this past Christmas, I tried to get as many gifts as I could handmade for my family and friends. I came across My Little Chickadee through the EtsyTwitter Team and ordered a set of custom stamped coasters to give to my father. Needless to say, they were very well received! This shop also offers save-the-date magnets and ornaments. The quality is fabulous and the service is superb.

Sweet Petula

I. Love. Handmade. Soaps.

When I saw this shop featured on Heartsy, I jumped on the deal! I was able to order a bunch of wonderfully unique handmade soaps. The soaps came individually wrapped in charming papers, perfect for giving. Though I mainly purchased this for myself, I suppose I’ll end up gifting one or two… Or not. More for me!

What’ve been your most favorite Etsy purchases?

Bookmarks Galore and A Giveaway

We can all agree that a good book can transport you to worlds filled with action, adventure, fantasy, romance… No one wants to tarnish their favorite piece of literature by “dog-earring” the pages to keep your place. Sure, you could grab a sticky note or a scrap of paper, but where’s the fun in that? One of my resolutions for 2011 is to read at least one book per month- so far, so good! Gotta do it in style, right?

A quick trip though the super creative blogs and project websites out there will net you a ton of cute and clever bookmark projects. Paper, fabric, ribbon, paperclips… Surely any maker would have plenty of supplies to choose from to make the perfect bookmark.


Don’t keep these all to yourself, though – bookmarks make great gifts for any occasion. Good for teachers, young readers, or your best friend. You can even make custom bookmarks for your next party as favors!

If you’re strapped for ideas, take a look at some neat tutorials I’ve gathered.

 

Cereal Box Bookmarks by Plum Pudding

Short, sweet, and to the point. Ribbon and repurposed cardboard from your pantry – PERFECT! You could take it a step further and stamp or paint a design/name on the blank side!

 

Super Scrappy Bookmarks by All Things Crafty

These bookmarks are great for the scrapbook-aholic! Fabric flowers, decorative cardstock, brads, and ribbon, ohhhh la la!

Fabric Bookmarks by Rubies & Pearls

Even if you don’t have a fabric stash on hand, this project is a great way to repurpose an outgrown tee shirt or bandanna! A sewing machine isn’t even necessary – since you’re only sewing a straight line, these could easily made by hand. Great beginner sewing project!

No Slip Bookmark by MaryJanes & Galoshes

Nothing is worse than losing your place in a book. Even the most adorable and fancy bookmark runs the risk of falling out. MJ&G has a fabulous solution! I’ll definitely be making one of these for myself – normally my books end up in my pocketbook and I cannot tell you how often I’ll find my bookmark floating around at the bottom of my bag. This project is great for the reader-on-the-go!

 

Corner Bookmarks by Whatever Dee Dee Wants

Another quick, cute, and minimally invasive bookmark tutorial. I can definitely seen creating an assembly-line for these to whip up customized party favors or quick holiday gifts!

 

Japanese Paper Doll Bookmarks by Omiyage

Origami is a touch out of my skill set, but these instructions make this project sound more than possible! Lovely washi paper, simple cuts and a touch of glue – these would make great bookmarks for a birthday party and could be made into decorations by hanging them from a bit of ribbon!

 

Bow Tie Paper Clips by How About Orange

This project has been floating around the internet recently and I LOVE it! All you need is a bit of scrap fabric (ribbon would probably work, too) and a paperclip! Simple, elegant, feminine, and full of possibilities!

 

Sunflowers and Strawberries Clips by Frosted Treats

I’ve had a lot of fun making bookmarks that include my miniature charms. I do a lot of reading and I love to have something adorable inside my book when I turn the pages. I’ve also given these as gifts and they do quite well at craft fairs!

 

Now for the giveaway – to spread a bit of literary lovin’ we are raffling off

a set of Frosted Treats Sunflowers and Strawberries paper clips

and a $15 Amazon.com giftcard! Woo!

To enter, simply comment on this post with the title of your favorite book!

Here are a few chances for additional entries – Just comment again each time you complete one of the entries!

1) Subscribe to misc•makers and keep up on our future posts!

2) Follow misc•makers on Twitter!

 

There you have it. Our first giveaway!

A winner will be chosen by random number generator in one week – March 21, 2011.

Good Luck!

Etsy Shop Reading List

Lately I’ve been overwhelmed and overjoyed at the number of friends of mine who have taken on the challenge of opening up their own Etsy shop. I’ve had my own shop, FrostedTreats for almost three years. It was the best decision I could have made.

Originally I set up shop to thin out the ridiculous stock of charms I had made for fun. Then came the realization that I could also help fund my creative hobbies with the proceeds from my sales. From there my little mini business has continued to grow. Not only am I able to showcase the nifty little trinkets I make to the world, but I’ve also been able to answer questions and illuminate the online craft marketplace for my real life friends. How to take quality image photos, shipping dilemmas, custom order etiquette, and beyond.

 

The best bit of advice I can give anyone just starting out with an Etsy shop is to READ UP! Find resources everywhere. Don’t assume that you know exactly what you’re doing. There are tons of experts out there who can point you in the right direction – don’t neglect the wealth of information around you. Here is a quick list of recent articles around the Etsy-verse.

Starting an Etsy Shop from the Bottom Up by Handmadeology

Though I’ve only highlighted one post from this site, Handmadeology is a terrific resource! Look through and try to absorb all of the wisdom and knowledge available! This article here isn’t quite a step-by-step look at setting up a shop, but more of a “get your head right” pep talk. Valuable advice right there!

Photography Tips for Crafters by Elizabeth Carls

Since your potential customers cannot touch, hold, examine, or try on your creations, the only way they can fall in love is through photos. The perfect product photos are hard to come by if you don’t know what you’re doing. The biggest tip I can give is to use natural light. Set your photo shoot up outside or in a bright room with big windows. Indoor lighting and your camera’s flash result in pretty bland, poorly lit photos. Other than that little tidbit, read through Elizabeth Carls’ article and find out other ways to enhance your images!

Etsy Checklist – Tips to Sell More by Handmade Marketing

Another great seller resource with a myriad of articles aimed at Etsy success. This post gives a brief but well-rounded look at the basics of online craft selling. Photos, SEO (search engine optimization), networking, tagging, social media, etc.

20 Tips for Selling on Etsy by Everything Etsy

More brief snippets of advice on set up and success. Everything Etsy is another good resource to dig through… This site also features Etsy finds, giveaways, a shop directory and sales on occasion. The biggest tip here? Whatever you plan to do with your Etsy shop – have fun with it!

The Great Pricing Debate by IndieFixx

Sooooo, you want to sell your creations. Good – now how much should you charge? This question is one that everyone who endeavors to market their crafts has to battle with. You don’t want to charge too much and scare off buyers, but you don’t want to charge too little and end up broke. This post helps to calm some fears and steer the would-be entrepreneur in the right direction to find that delicate pricing balance. Bottom line – be fair to yourself. If you cannot support your hobby/business with bargain basement type prices – raise them! Don’t feel bad about it either. If you’re creating quality items, higher prices are not unreasonable. Take into account the cost of materials, time and labor, and your talent.

The Etsy Seller Handbook by The Storque

This link will bring you to more links – tons of links – wonderful links. The Storque is run by Etsy itself and posts a number of helpful articles on how to succeed with your shop as well as adorable tutorials and DIY projects! Definitely a must-read.

 

I hope these resources help calm your nerves and answer some questions. Feel free to ask questions here, too! We will gladly impart some of our knowledge :) Take a look now at some wonderful Etsy shops run by some wonderful people!

 

Adina and Gem

High quality jewelry made with colorful beads, sterling silver, and a keen eye for style.

 

Yardsale Press

Funky art prints, cool coasters, and LOTS of great color!

 

Enjoy, makers!