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Gift Giving Guide

  • DIY Beauty Queen Stephanie Rose: Make and Give Home Apothecary!

    We are honored to have Stephanie Rose, author of Make and Give Home Apothecary, give us some insight on why she made the massively popular book on making DIY beauty products. Read what drove her to create these unique and natural health and beauty staples!

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    DIY Beauty Products Minty Sugar Scrub

    Why "Make and Give"?

    I think it’s just as much fun to give a gift as to receive one, especially when it’s one of the handcrafted creations from my new book, Make & Give Home Apothecary – Easy Ideas for Making & Packaging Bath Bombs, Salts, Scrubs & More. I had so much fun creating the projects for this book, and I know that you will to. They are easy to master, look beautiful, and smell fantastic. And after you craft them up, you will have a pretty great stash of gorgeous gifts to give away.

    DIY Beauty Products Botanical Salt Gifts

    Homemade gifts are not only a joy to make, but they are also a meaningful way to share a sentiment that comes from the heart. When someone has a new baby, moves into a neighborhood, or becomes suddenly ill, we share a piece of ourselves to mark the occasion. A casserole for the new parents. Freshly baked muffins for the new neighbors. Or a get well soon card for somebody who's fallen ill. It's these little gestures that bring us together as a community and allow us to feel connected in the highs and lows of our lives. 

    DIY Beauty Products Handcrafted Lip Balm

    Why DIY Beauty Products?

    It was one of those occasions where I learned about the power of herbs. Unfortunately, I was the one who became suddenly ill, and as a consequence, I made huge changes to my life. One of the biggest changes was looking at what products I used on my skin. Many of us go to great lengths to be sure that what we eat is natural and healthy, but often the products that we put on our skin go overlooked. 

    DIY Beaut Products DIY Perfume Rollers

    Once I learned a few basic recipes, I was hooked. From just a few ingredients—many of which I found in my kitchen or grew in my garden—I was able to make a wide variety of real products that soothed and pampered my body. I was astonished that those small changes made such a huge difference in how I feel. The balms made my skin feel like silk, the herbal baths eased away the aches and pains, and the fragrances helped to lift my mood and settle me down. This lead me to create a home apothecary, filled with natural ingredients that could be whipped into a variety of lotions and potions to for myself, my family, and my friends. 

    DIY Beauty Products Coffee Bean Bath Melt

    Since using plant-based skincare products have made such a positive difference in my life, I’ve swapped out the casseroles for wonderful concoctions I create from my home apothecary. Herbs, flowers, cocoa butter, plant oils, beeswax, and essential oils can make an abundance  of homemade gifts that look like they should be on the pages of a magazine. From decadent cocoa butter lip balm to botanical salt scrubs, luxurious bath bombs, stimulating massage bars, healing foot soaks and more, the recipes contained in the following pages all draw on the healing power of plants in the most beautiful way possible.

    Make and Give Home Apothecary Botanical Salt Mixture

    Can Anyone Make These Products?

    The projects that I’ve shared in Make & Give Home Apothecary show a variety of techniques that you can easily replicate or personalize to suit your own tastes. Plus they give you the opportunity to customize the products so that they suit the person you're giving them to. Once you’ve completed them, I’ve included a creative way to package each product for gift-giving that makes them extra special. You can scale the projects up for wedding or event favors, or give a single gift for a special occasion. Package a few of the projects together for a gift basket or sell them at a fundraiser or craft show. No matter how you choose to give your gifts, be sure to make some extras for yourself because you deserve a gift too. 

    DIY Beauty Products DIY Floral Bath Bombs

    Be sure to check out Stephanie's new book, Make and Give Home Apothecary! Create these beautiful and natural gifts for the ones you love, or make some for a rainy day of relaxation. Click the picture for the link!

    DIY Beauty Products Home Apothecary Cover

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Merry Christmas in July! Fun Crafts for a Quirky Holiday

    It's the 25th of July, craft family. You know what that means? It's Christmas Day (in July)! We can all agree that this is an odd holiday overall, and while we complain about seeing all of this Christmas stuff way too early, we secretly can't deny how fun it is to see the festive decorations in store every year. Christmas time is supposed to be a joyous holiday filled with family, friends, and love. Why wouldn't you want that a second time in the year? Which is why we love to celebrate it here at Leisure Arts. We have a Giveaway going on until July Currently, where we are granting one lucky individual a chance to win 15 books, and an Oval Loom Kit.

    If you want to enter the Giveaway, Click Here. 

    You can give those books a once over if those interest you, but for this week's post, we're gonna  show you some other great crafts that you can make with the family unit for Christmas in July!

     

    Holiday Crafts For The Kids

    The people you buy the most gifts for are always the little lights of your life: your kids! Well, or nieces or nephews or grandchildren. Check out some of the best selling pattern books for kids that are currently on sale now.

    Kid's Snuggles - SKU # 75678

    Holiday Crafts Mermaid Snuggie
    Holiday Crafts Princess Snuggie

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A fun and popular book for the kids, this is a great pattern book full of gifts that spark imagination! Make nap time fun with character blankets and soft yarn.

     

    Baby Stacks -  SKU # 75668

    Holiday Crafts Bumble Bee Baby Stack
    Holiday Crafts Zoo Animal Baby Stack

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You'll have so much fun making these adorable designs for your little one at home! These baby stacks make for great activities that keep the baby's attention and coordination skills in good shape.

     

    Busy Baby Boxes - SKU # 75672

    Holiday Crafts Fairy Princess Baby Box
    Holiday Crafts Farm House Busy Baby Box

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A fun addition to playtime, these designs are great for keeping the little one's attention and are filled with up to six little crochet finger puppets as an added bonus!

     

    Fun With Crochet

    Crochet is one of our most popular categories, because there is so much versatility! We have a few of our new books in crochet available during our sale, like these two favorites!

    Artisan Jewelry - SKU # 75670

    Holiday Crafts Thread Crochet Fan Necklace
    Holiday Crafts Bead and Tassel Necklace
    Holiday Crafts Chain Link Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Thread Crochet is a delicate style of crochet, that can produce amazing results. Jewelry is a phenomenon that you wouldn't expect crochet to fit into, but it does! You can have all different types of unique jewelry from the styles above, from simple baubles to fancy chain links!

     

    Quick Crochet Flowers - SKU # 75684 

    Holiday Crafts Crochet Flower Dream Catcher
    Holiday Crafts Embroidery Hoop Flower Art

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is a great book full of fun home decor projects. The new designs take crochet to an elegant level that sophisticates your home with DIY Flowers and embroidery.

     

    Extras!

    I know that having all of these books to choose from is a lot to take in, so let us help! here are a few extra books that we love that you should pick up during our sale.

    Oversized Knits - SKU # 75680

    Holiday Crafts Oversized Blue Knit Cap and Scarf Set
    Holiday Crafts Oversized Messy Bun Hat
    Holiday Crafts Oversized Lime Green Shawl

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A book chock full of quirky designs, this is an interesting pattern book that will make you want to pick up jumbo knitting. The designs range from fun winter hats to flirty summer shawls!

     

    Make a Crochet Garden - SKU # 75669

    Holiday Crafts Crochet Cacti Pencil Cup Holder
    Holiday Crafts Hanging Crochet Garden
    Holiday Crafts Succulent Crochet Table Runner

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This pattern book has been one of our most popular this year, and for good reason! The book allows you to create a garden that will never wilt, and bring a unique edge to your usual home decor!

     

    After School Kid's Crafts - SKU # 7238

    Holiday Crafts Small and Soft Owl Satchels
    Holiday Crafts Felty Fun Unicorn Art
    Holiday Crafts Fun Felt and Stitch Tree Art

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A fun book to bring home to the kids! They'll make the coolest school accessories with the designs from this book.

     

    There are plenty more where these came from, Crafters! There are over 560 titles in the Christmas in July Sale section right now, so I would take advantage of it while it lasts!

     

    Shop our Sale, Now! 

    Use code JINGLEJULY at checkout to get the discount.

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Homemade Accessories That Are Cooler Than A Diamond Bracelet.

    As Marilyn Monroe once sang, diamonds are a girls best friend! Except for today, because this post is about homemade accessories that are way cooler than wearing a boring and cold diamond bracelet on your wrist.

    Making your own accessories sets you apart from the crowd, and brings out the creative monster inside of you. Some people make a living out of selling their homemade jewelry, and others just don't want to look like everyone else. No matter how you look at it, there are multiple reasons to start making your own stylish accessories. Let us help you make the coolest ones! Here are some of the best accessories that you can make yourself, that'll go with any outfit.

     

    Quick and Simple Stringing - SKU # 7212

    A beaded jewelry technique made from stringing a variety of beads together, this technique can turn a simple thread into modern magic. Just look at some of the designs you can create from our patterns!

     

    Homemade Accessories Classic Pearl Strung Necklace
    Multi-Colored Stacked Necklaces Multi-Colored Stacked Necklaces
    Homemade Accessories Retro Sunburst Turquoise Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Just look at that pearl necklace! It looks like you could get that at any fashionable jewelry store. But if your style is more subtle, you can make something simple that makes a statement, like the stacked necklaces.

     

    Quick and Simple Linking - SKU # 7213

    Similar to any chain link technique, this method lets you link jewels with metals or beads, or really any shiny thing you think would look good. This method can give you the chance to make grand statements, and let's you keep adding to your piece if you wanted. here are some striking examples!

     

    Homemade Accessories Stacked and Linked Amber Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Simple Citrine Linked Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Subtle and Simple Stacking Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These designs are perfect for the one who doesn't want to wear diamonds, but still wants to feel luxurious. Plus, it's a definite bonus that these beautiful baubles won't break your bank.

     

    Quick and Simple Wirework - SKU #7214

    Wire wrapping! An extremely intricate looking jewelry style, that is a lot easier than you think. This is a style that can really make any kind of jewelry, because you are actually forming most of the metal products yourself. This is by far the most creative and eccentric method of the three, and for good reason! Check out some of our examples from the book.

    Homemade Accessories Wire Wrapped Crystal Gemstone Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Beaded Silver Wirework Bracelet
    Homemade Accessories Wire Wrapped Bracelet and Broach Set

     

    You can tell how much work is put into each of these designs - and how unique it make them. This Jewelry type is for the stand outs, the ones who know they are making a statement when they wear it, and love it.

     

    Bonus Accessories!

    The bonus this week is a book that's gotten a lot of attention lately, so how could I not include it (again). You may or may not remember this book from last week's post on homemade spa materials.

     

    Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads - SKU # 7353

    The designs in this book merit a mention in this week's post, because of how simple but striking the designs are. Not only that, but they are unique because of what you can do with them. The lava beads are porous enough to absorb your favorite scented oils and fragrances so you get a two for one deal! They deserve to be put into this sophisticated self-made jewelry category. Check out our examples!

    Homemade Accessories Simple Strung Lava Bead Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Lava Bead and Gold Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Stacked Beaded Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These may not be diamonds, but they look luxurious without them.

    So, the next time you think about going to an expensive big brand retailer for high end jewelry, think about the options you have for making your own. You don't need to spend a fortune!

     

    Have you made any of these before? If so, post them to our social pages! We love to see what's going on in your studios.

     

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

     

     

  • Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble! DIY Health and Beauty Products

     

    Hey craft family!

    It's Friday the 13th! So instead of walking under ladders, lets talk about bath time. I haven't met a person who doesn't like to come home and draw a nice, warm bubble bath to relax in. Taking time out of our day for some self-care is essential to our minds and bodies, and do you know what the most popular product for self care is?

    BATH BOMBS!

    (Well.. and other health and beauty products like perfumes and soaps and salt scrubs, but those aren't as fun to say.)

    Bath and Beauty products swept the nation in 2017, and still seem to be the lush new luxury of today. People love to have clean skin that's been exfoliated with natural herbs and minerals, and love to smell like a freshly picked bouquet of flowers.

    We've just recently had two new releases on making your own set of fresh and natural beauty products. Imagine making your own perfect bath bomb or face wash or even your own beauty products like perfume and lip balm! It would sure save you a trip to the store, where you would buy processed products full of chemicals and unnecessary dyes. Check out some of the amazing health and beauty items you can make from home!

    Sparkle Fizz Bath Bombs - Glittering and Gorgeous

    Sparkle Fizz Bath Bombs - SKU # 7397

    Beauty Products Glittering Green Geode From Sparkle Fizz Bath Bombs

    Bath bombs are made up of minerals and oils to help soothe and exfoliate your skin when taking a bath. Plus, watching it dissolve in water is half the fun! This book gives you some great recipes for bath bombs, and gorgeous bath bombs at that! You can create some of the coolest looking bath bombs around, with all natural ingredients like coconut oil and sweet almond oil, citrus, and vanilla. Some even look good enough to eat (but please don't, no one wants a repeat of the tide pod challenge). Here is a window into some of the bath bombs recipes that are in the book.

    screen-shot-2018-07-02-at-9-16-44-am Sparkle Fizz Bath Bombsscreen-shot-2018-07-12-at-10-30-55-amscreen-shot-2018-07-02-at-9-16-54-am

    Any of these interest you? I know that Latte one in particular seems extra soothing. With these easy to execute recipes, you'll never have to trouble yourself with store-bought bath bombs again!

     

    Home Apothecary - Natural Beauty From Home

    Make Home Apothecary - SKU # 7397

    This is for the nature buffs who love to make their own products. This book is jam-packed with loads of homemade natural scrubs and salts. From homemade bath bombs, to "Tub Tea", this is the go-to book for self sufficient and natural beauty. Here's a little window into what you can learn to craft from this book.

    Beauty Products Natural Beauty Collage From Give & Make Home Apothecary

    As you can see, there is a wide range of what you can create. From Bath Melts to perfume, you'll never get bored with what you see in this recipe compilation. The book is also a useful resource of health benefits to these projects, as well as proper procedures while creating these products.  You'll feel safe creating the materials it tells you to, knowing that there are safety regulations and tips to guide you along the way. With easy to follow Instructions (with pictures), there is no reason to not buy this book and try out a few projects.

    Plus, just look at some of these beautiful products you can make.

    Beauty Products screen-shot-2018-07-12-at-11-29-45-am screen-shot-2018-07-12-at-11-29-36-am screen-shot-2018-07-12-at-11-29-24-am screen-shot-2018-07-12-at-11-29-12-am screen-shot-2018-07-12-at-11-29-02-am

    My personal Favorites, though, are these two!

    Natural Beauty Products screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-8-30-43-am

    The idea of having an all natural perfume and smelling like your favorite flower seems so neat! Also, Tub Tea? How creative! It's also better than dropping all of the salts  in the bath and moving the petals out of your face when you're trying to soak. It's off to the side and convienient!

    Extras... Accessories!

    Aromatherapy Necklace From Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads Aromatherapy Necklace From Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads

    Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads - SKU # 7353

    You didn't think I would just leave the blog post at this, would you? We always have something special at the end!

    You can make home made aromatherapy accessories with one of our favorite craft books, Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads! Relax anywhere you go as yo can smell your favorite scent on your new favorite accessory. Here's what you can make with our designs:

    Beauty Accessories screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-08-13-am screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-08-38-am screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-08-59-am screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-09-07-am screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-09-17-am screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-07-29-am screen-shot-2018-07-13-at-9-07-11-am Aromatherapy

    The diffusers and porous beads will make sure that your oils will last a very long time, and these simple and classic designs will go with anything you wear!

     

    Now you have some solid ideas to start your own personal day spa! try out these projects and give them to someone who would love it (or keep it for yourself, we won't judge you if you're selfish with your spa products).

    If you do try out one of these projects, share it to our social pages! We love to see what's going on in your studio.

     

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Crochet for Babies & Kids

    What do a crocheted ladybug blanket, a bumblebee cardigan and butterfly hat all have in common?  They're just part of the adorable collection of crochet for babies and kids in Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks.  We love the cuddly cute designs so much that we invited today's guest blogger, Michele Maks, to talk about her fabulous designs in Cute as a Bug. Welcome Michele!

    Oh, how I love to crochet for little ones!

    Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    Hi! I’m Michele Maks, the designer of all the cute crochetwear in Cute as a Bug. Don’t you just love to stitch projects that are as cute and fun as the small people you are stitching for? 

    screen-shot-2017-09-20-at-1-38-59-pm Crochet Star-Struck Hat in Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    While you'll find crocheted ladybug, butterfly and bumblebee items in Cute as a Bug, you'll also find this adorable Star-Struck set which I happen to think is also cute as a bug! What's not to love about these stars and stripes?

    Star-Struck Cardigan in Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Crochet Star-Struck Cardigan in Cute as a Bug

    Whether you are stitching for a girl or boy, cute and quick and easy is the way to go!

    I think this colorful crochet butterfly is a great example!  In Cute as a Bug you'll also find a matching hat and blanket for this adorable sweater.

    Crochet Butterfly Cardigan from Cute as a Bug Crochet Butterfly Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    And this crochet blanket coordinates with the ladybug and bumblebee sets, not only making it super cute, but practical too!

    In Cute as a Bug, you'll find: blankets,

    Crochet Ladybug Blanket from Cute as a Bug Crochet Ladybug Blanket from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    sweaters,

    Crochet Star-Struck Sweater from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Crochet Star-Struck Sweater from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    and hats – oh, my!

    Crochet Ladybug Hat and Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Crochet Ladybug Hat and Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    No Cute as a Bug crochet book for babies and kids would be complete without a bumblebee set to round it out.  This sweater and hat are perfect for both a boy and a girl! Like all the sets in the book, you'll find instructions for sizes ranging from 6 months to four years so babies and kids of many ages can join in on the Cute as a Bug fun!

    screen-shot-2017-09-20-at-1-46-54-pm Crochet Bumbleboee Hat and Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    Cute as a bug in a rug; play school will be abuzz about these handmade wardrobe winners!

     

  • Retro Christmas Cross Stitch

    Retro Christmas Cross Stitch Christmas is a super fun look at retro Christmas designs that will inspire thoughts of Norman Rockwell paintings and episodes of Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy!  We love the throwback cross stitch designs so much that we invited today's guest blogger, Lee Fisher, to talk about the inspiration for her fabulous designs in Retro Christmas Cross Stitch. Welcome Lee!

    Who doesn’t love Christmas?! The colorful lights, the sound of old familiar carols being sung, the stockings hung on the mantle above a crackling fire, the fragrant aroma of turkey or ham filling the house as one by one friends & family arrive. Gathered in the living room with the Christmas tree all a twinkle & trimmed with decorations that span the years, inevitably the conversation will turn to Christmases past and the memories of childhood.

    These were the thoughts running through my mind as I created the designs for Retro Christmas Cross Stitch. I wanted to capture those images which seem so familiar to our own childhood and the Christmases of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    When I was growing up we had a big, fat, floor to ceiling artificial Christmas tree with tons of decorations but among my favorites were the frosted gingerbread houses. I remember staring at them & being amazed at how real they looked…I wanted to reach out & taste the frosting! With that in mind I designed “Home Sweet Home”, the sweetest little gingerbread house on the block with its peppermint flowers & frosted gumdrop bushes all topped with a bright red cherry. What a wonderful treat for you to enjoy…and guilt free with zero calories!

    screen-shot-2017-07-19-at-3-42-46-pm Home Sweet Home Gingerbread House Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    A personal favorite of mine is “Let Heaven and Nature Sing” because this design is also taken directly from my life. I am pleased to present…my children~ Brandon, Shannon & Natasha. When they were little we often went caroling for the neighbors with the three little ones bundled up in their little onesie snow suits, caps & mittens absolutely butchering all the traditional Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. But our neighbors were gracious…they always clapped when we were done.

    Let Heaven & Nature Sing Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Let Heaven & Nature Sing Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    In the past, as it is now, traveling was always another important event during the holiday season. Going to Grandma & Grandpa's house, visiting friends or even heading out for Christmas Eve services, being all squashed together in the back seat with siblings and packages was just another part of the excitement of Christmas. On these trips I spent my time looking out the window, wide eyed, taking in all the sights & signs we’d pass. I particularly loved the very colorful & graphic advertising designs of the atomic era. These memories were the inspiration for “Happy New Year” and “Eat Drink & be Merry”.

    Happy New Year Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Happy New Year Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher
    Eat, Drink & Be Merry Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Eat, Drink & Be Merry Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    Christmas is always a time when we remember loved ones both near and far. Another tradition many of us like to observe is the sending of Christmas cards. In my home as a child, every card that came in the mail was treasured and put on display. Some setting on shelves, mantels and hanging on the wall strung on colorful ribbon. I remember some as having the cutest pictures of baby animals in the snow, like my design “Hello Old Friend” seeing his reflection in the Christmas ball. Others were decorated with glittering ornaments and candy cane like our “Merry Christmas” design. And some came with a single, simple sentiment like “Warm Christmas Wishes.”

    Hello Old Friend Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Hello Old Friend Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher
    Merry Christmas Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Merry Christmas Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher
    Warm Christmas Wishes Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher Warm Christmas Wishes Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    Of course one of the most enjoyable things about Christmas as a kid was…the gifts! Oh the colorful packages piled high and overflowing with spiraling ribbons & bows. And the excitement of checking all the tags to find your very own name. I remember some of these tags being just as ornate as the ornaments on the tree and always wanting to keep them. With that in mind I wanted to create a design that would be perfect for gift giving and “For my Deer Friend” was born. Finishing this one out as a gift bag or wine bottle bag is perfect and adds a delightful touch of whimsy to the occasion.

    For My Deer Friend Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher For My Deer Friend Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    One of the most magical memories of my childhood was a snowy Christmas eve when I was drowsily tucked up in bed dreaming of Christmas morning, when all of a sudden I heard bells…Jingle Bells!! I ran to the window and swiped away the frosty fog and down below in a swirly mist of snow were two big brown horses in jingle bell harness trotting down the middle of the street pulling a real sleigh and inside was Santa himself bellowing out “Merry Christmas, and to all a good night~ ho-ho-ho!” Over the years there has been a long running debate as to who it was. But to those of us who believe….there is no question about it and so I honor that memory with “And to All a Good Night”.

    And to All a Good Night Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher And to All a Good Night Design from Retro Christmas Cross Stitch by Lee Fisher

    I do hope you enjoy all of these designs as much as I do and that you too will cherish the memories of your childhood. I wish you and yours a wonderfully Retro Christmas!

    Lee Fisher ~ StitchyFish Designs

  • Wood Decor: Plates, Birds & Paint

    Aren't we ready for spring? Let's make a new wood decor project for our homes using paint and birds as we clean out our nests from the winter blues!  Since March is National Craft Month, I am also trying something new with my wood piece: decoupage with a crackling effect!

    When I think of spring, I think of birds building their nests as one reminder that longer days and warmer sunshine are closer than we think. I put my hands on the book I was ready to use, Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection (Leisure Arts #7066).

    Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection). Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection).

    In addition to using spring as my theme for my new project, I also wanted to incorporate the use of wood. Haven't you noticed how popular the use of wood has become again? Just search for ideas or walk through craft stores to find wood pallet projects, wood signs, wood initials, and wood tree crafts.

    I already had a 14" unfinished wooden plate that I could use, but I also wanted something a bit more non-traditional. I found the slight difference I was looking for with this natural-looking piece of wood from Amazon; it was advertised as a tree bark footed server. It was an authentic slice of tree repurposed as a kitchen item. Well, it seemed to be the perfect solution for me; I purchased it for this project!

    This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server. This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server.

    With my Birds and Butterflies leaflet in hand, I made a list of effect(s) I wanted my projects to have along with the required supplies. There's a great chart within the book that outlines what you'll need for each of the photographed projects shown in the leaflet.

    For both my wood plate and bark server, the first step was to sand each using both medium-grit and fine-grit sandpaper.

    A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth. A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth.

    For wooden surfaces, a primer was needed to be applied before anything else, followed by another round of sanding. After wiping away the dust once again, I applied a base coat.

    I masked the outer edge with plastic so that the tree bark would not get Primer on it when applied. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied. I masked the outer edge with plastic so when Primer was applied, it would not get on the tree bark. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied.

    After the turquoise paint was applied near the center of the bark server, I painted the surface with a spring green color. I didn't know if the darker turquoise area would be noticeable underneath the green, or, through how many layers the crackling effect would appear. Here's a close-up of the crackling effect.

    Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks. Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks.
    To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium. To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium.

    The wooden plate had its rim painted yellow with its center an antique white. Then a darker green was used in preparation for the future inset bird nest image to be decoupaged in the plate's center.

    The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the server. Except, to add an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, I used a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint. The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the bark server with one exception.. I added an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, by using a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint.

    Okay, so far so good but how to make this plate's crackling effect and use of the print images different from the bark server project? Below you'll see the completed steps that I had so far; I needed to pause with this project to consider my next step.

    One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension that just the crackling effect? One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension than just the crackling effect?

    Moving right along with the bark server, I needed to decide on the print images to use and their placement. I cut out many images from the book and started positioning them on the bark server without gluing until I decided on a final composition. I think the below placement looked like a winner!

    Deciding what print images to use on which wood pieces. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content! Deciding what print images to use and their placement on the bark server. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content!

    As I reread the crackling steps in the Birds and Butterflies leaflet, I noticed a sentence outlining how to create a "stained" topcoat effect. Maybe I would try that along with gluing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery around the plate's rim; that would create the effect of peering in on the nest and its inhabitants while in its natural environment!

    Maybe I'll try the "stained"topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and springs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect. Maybe I'll try the "stained" topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect.

    Here are my final two wood projects... I am pleased with the results. There are multiple steps to be coordinated with the effects and/or paint techniques you plan on trying. So be careful that you've outlined the steps you need to take and supplies you need to have on hand!

    Here's the finished wooden server that won't be used for food any longer. It is now a display piece, and I will happily display it in honor of spring! Here's the finished wooden bark server. It won't be used for food in my household; it is now a display piece! I will happily display the bark server in honor of spring!
    The final plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover! The final wooden plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover!

    There are multiple steps with each of these projects, but they are not difficult. You must make sure you follow the manufacturers' directions on each of the supplies that you purchase for the effect you desire to create on your project(s).

    Enjoy your new discoveries both in nature and in art; happy National Craft Month!

    Martha

     

     

  • Knit Gifts For Babies

    Top Gifts To Knit Baby

    We've compiled our most unique, unexpected, and beautiful knit patterns in a search for the best gifts for baby.  Use your knitting skills and softest yarns to create perfect, memorable gifts for baby this year.

    1. An Adorable Knit Sweater: These cute baby sweaters will be loved by everyone! Baby will get all of the attention and compliments - a great sweater for pictures! Use fun colorwork, lace, cables, and more to create the perfect gift for baby as shown in Adorable Baby Sweaters.

    Knit Sweater For Baby

    2. A Warm Hooded Blanket: The sweet cooing of a baby is surely the best sound in the world! Make that bundle of joy comfortable and happy with this unique knit. This cozy blanket features a pig hood, complete with ears! Enjoy making this little knitted 'hug' for the precious babies on your list. Get started now with Oh-So-Sweet Baby Knits.

    Knit Hooded Blanket For Baby

    3. A Snuggly Animal Lovie: Babies and toddlers will love this fun, huggable little creature. Knit a Brown Bear, Bunny, Lamb, Penguin, Duck, Owl, Puppy, Kitten, Panda, or Giraffe! This perfect, soft toy that comes in handy as a blanket for naptime as well. Give this great gift to baby with Animal Lovies.

    Knit Animal Lovie For Baby

    4. A Sporty Hat: Let your playful side show when you're knitting this cozy cap for baby. This fun football hat is perfect for daddy's little boy or girl. Wearing it is sure to get so many compliments and cute pictures, plus the warm knit will keep baby warm! Knit this great gift for baby with Knit Hats For Babies.

    Knit Football Hat For Baby

    5. A Cozy Blankie: So original, so adorable--a blanket this warm and beautiful will be perfect for that special baby! Delight a new mom with a blanket of sweet sheep for her little lamb. Baby will be delighted by the fluffy textures of the sheep too! This small afghan is quick and easy to knit, making it a truly precious gift. Get the pattern now with Precious Knit Blankies For Baby.

    Knit Blankie For Baby

    6. A Fun Diaper Set: Great for shower gifts and picture days, this knit set will be loved by both baby and parents! Baby will love to buzz about happily and explore the world in this cute, easy-to-knit set found in Diaper Cover Sets.

    Knit Bee Outfit For Baby

    7. A Playful Hat: Keeping babies warm is so important to their health! Knit this unique hat for baby to wear everywhere. Any baby would adore the soft texture, button eyes, and big nose! Plus, a variety of sizes are included so every baby can have the cozy warmth of a knit hat! Knit this cute hat now with Warm Hats For Wee Noggins.

    Knit Deer Hat For Baby

    8. A Flowery Little Afghan: Knit the perfect present for baby when you make this Pretty Posies Afghan. Fashioned with soft pastels and fun textured flowers, this afghan makes a great gift for keeping baby warm and for decorating the nursery. Plus, this fun-to-knit design come with plenty of close-up photography and step-by-step instructions just for you - find it in Our Best Knit Baby Afghans. 

    Knit Floral Afghan For Baby

    9. A Set Of Soft Knit Balls: The impulse to knit for little ones comes naturally for many of us! These knit toys - Baby's First Balls - will be a joy to make and to share! Parents will love how soft and gentle this toy is, and baby will love to throw and roll them around the house. Knit this unique gift for baby now with It's Playtime Baby!

    Knit Balls For Baby

    10. An Adorable Pair Of Booties: Every parent and baby can appreciate a nice, cozy pair of booties. And the bow on these is too cute! Keep baby's feet warm and safe with these loom knit Garter Booties. Great for a quick, small gift to show how much you care! Knit this great gift for baby now with Oval Loom Knit Collection.
    Knit Booties For Baby

    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Knit.

  • Crochet Gifts For Babies

    Top Gifts To Crochet Babies

    We've compiled our most unique, unexpected, and beautiful crochet patterns in a search for the best gifts for baby.  Use your crochet skills to create perfect, memorable gifts this year. Both baby and parents all be thrilled by these fun gifts!

    1. A Crochet Mobile: This colorful Baby Bugs and Happy Flowers Mobile will make any baby giggle happily when it is hung above their crib. They will love the fun colors and textures along with the smiling flowers and bugs. Crochet this great baby gift now with the Simply Soft Baby Brites eBook.

    Crochet Mobile For Baby

    2. A Baby Blanket Inspired By Nature: New parents will love how this gender-neutral blanket use imaginative stitch patterns, color blocking, and appliquéd shapes to celebrate the beauty of the natural world. Baby will the love the playful fox and cozy matching hat! Crochet this great gift with Nature's Gifts For Baby.

    Crochet Fox Set For Baby

    3. A Dumbbell Shaped Rattle: Parents and baby will laugh at this soft, unique rattle. Shaped like a dumbbell, it's perfect for baby to exercise their minds as they shake the rattle around and begin to explore the world. Crochet this gift that's sure to be a hit with everyone with Baby's Buddy Amigurumi.

    Crochet Rattle For Baby

    4. An Animal Lovie To Snuggle: Give baby a little friend to cuddle and take everywhere they go. Cute, fun, and loved by everyone who sees them, each blanket is a simple granny square with the toy attached at the center. Crochet this great gift for baby now with Animal Lovie Blankets. 

    Crochet Animal Lovie For Baby

    5. A Ferocious Hat: Any baby will look adorable in this fun animal hat, complete with ears. It is sure to keep their own little ears warm too!  Great for cold winter days and wearing for adorable photos. Crochet this quick and easy hat for a gift baby will love with Baby Hats.

    Crochet Bear Hat For Baby

    6. A Sporty Diaper Cover: Great for baby pictures or baby showers, this fast and easy-to-crochet diaper cover makes a great gift. New moms will love seeing their precious babies dressed in this fun, sporty piece. Find the pattern for this great baby gift in Sweet & Sporty Diaper Covers.

    Crochet Sporty Diaper Cover For Baby

    7. A Sweet Striped Afghan: Create nursery pizzazz with simple stripes and interesting stitch patterns that everyone will love. Baby will be entranced by these gentle waves of color. This adorable baby afghan is Easy-Plus skill level, making it a great project to relax with. Get the pattern in Sweet Stripes For Baby. 

    Crochet Afghan For Baby

    8. A Set Of Soft Stacking Rings: This soft crochet toy is perfect for keeping baby entertained and encouraging their little mind to grow. The plush rings are great and safe for little hands to explore. Everyone will love this thoughtful and unique gift for baby! Get started now with Everyday Crochet For All.

    Crochet Toy For Baby

    9. A Fun, Colorful Play Mat: This Crochet comfort for baby with this great pattern! This cozy scrap afghan is great for nap time, but also makes a classic, soft play mat for baby - a perfect addition to any nursery. Baby will love the bright colors, shapes, and textures of this gift! Get started now with Great Grannies!

    Crochet Play Mat For Baby

    10. A Cute Sock Monkey Set: Want a gift idea that will be a big hit at baby showers or any gathering? Crochet this adorable hat and diaper cover set! Transform Baby into a playful sock monkey with these cozy pieces, adorned with adorable ears, a pom-pom, and an oversized button for extra cuteness! Make this great crochet gift for baby now with Hats & Diaper Covers Book 2.
    Crochet Sock Monkey Set For Baby

    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Crochet.

  • Knit Gifts For Boys

    Top Gifts To Knit Boys

    We've compiled our most unique, unexpected, and beautiful knit patterns in a search for the best gifts for boys. These great gifts are unlike anything store bought! Use your knitting skills and softest yarns to create perfect, memorable gifts for baby this year.

    1. A Fun Hat & Scarf Set: Kids will go ape over this sock monkey earflap hat and pocket scarf. This wonderful knit creation puts the fun in functional! It serves to keep little ears, necks, and hands warm - plus the pockets are great for holding things! Knit this perfect gift for boys with the Big Book of Loom Knitting.

    Knit Sock Monkey Hat For Boys

    2. A Cozy Camo Hoodie: Put a twist on a classic knit hoodie with fun yarn that gives it a camouflage appearance! This Placket Neck Pullover is perfect for young boys who love hunting or just being outside. He will love wearing this knit outside for adventures on cold winter days, and the hood means there is no worry about losing a hat. Give this great gift with Knit Hoodies For Kids.

    Knit Camo Hoodie For Boys

    3. Knit Characters From His Favorite Stories: For the boy who prefers reading, these knit storybook characters will be a hit! He can play with them alone, or listen to their stories with the included CD. Fun for the whole family! Knit his favorite characters now With Storybook Dolls To Knit.

    Knit Storybook Characters For Boys

    4. A Sporty Knit Cap: If he is always wearing baseball caps, this knit hat provides cozy knit warmth while still looking sporty! Perfect for colder days. He will love this Little Guy's Baseball Hat. Get started on this great knit gift now with the pattern in Knit Hats & Scarves For Kids.

    Knit Baseball Cap For Boys

    5. A Knit Game: Knit this Tic-Tac-Toe Throw for hours of entertainment at any gathering. Everyone will be impressed with this unique knit. He will appreciate having something to do, and you might start a new party tradition! Find this unique pattern in Campus Knits.

    Knit Game For Boys

    6. A Warm Afghan: One of the most comforting gifts you can give someone, particularly a child who's 'on the mend,' is a cozy knitted item. Knit this small afghan for the boy on your list. It's a great size for napping or just hanging out on the couch watching tv or playing video games. He will think of you each time he uses it! Get the pattern in Vanna's Choice Heartfelt Gifts To Knit & Crochet.Knit Afghan For Boys

    7. A Knit Train Sweater: Your favorite little boy will be sure to love this fun sweater featuring a train engine design both coming and going. Knitted using worsted weight yarn, this cozy sweater is perfect for boys who love trains. Great for cold days! Start on this great gift now with the Train Sweater ePattern.

    Knit Train Sweater For Boys

    8. Knit Puppet Mittens: Kids will love acting out little skits with these knitted puppet mittens. There's a puppy, bunny, frog, mallard, piglet, cuckoo, dragon, toucan, panda, and flamingo. Knit the boy on your list just a few - or knit him all of them! He will love these fun puppets, and might even put on a show for everyone. Fun for the whole family. Plus, you can get started right now with the Puppet Mittens ePattern.

    Knit Puppets For Boys

    Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gifts To Knit.

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