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  • 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

  • Baby Crochet Inspired by Nature

    Crochet patterns for baby may be plentiful, but few baby crochet designs are as adorable as those in Nature's Gifts for Baby.  Today's Guest Blogger is Sara Leighton.  Sara designed the whimsical patterns you'll find inside of Nature's Gifts for Baby and she's here today to talk about her inspiration for them.  Welcome Sara!

    Hello, there!  I’m Sara Leighton, designer of the patterns in Leisure Arts' recent publication Nature's Gifts for Baby.  I’ve been a part of the wonderful crochet design community for several years now.  This is my first book and it gives me such joy to see it in print.  Many thanks go out to Leisure Arts for working with me and bringing this project to life.

    Nature's Gifts for Baby Front Cover Nature's Gifts for Baby Front Cover

    I’d love to tell you a little bit about the inspiration for each baby set.  There are seven sets in the book, each inspired by the incredible beauty of the natural world.  I love the thought of sweet little babies being all wrapped up in my designs!  What a compliment to have my designs invited into others’ lives as they celebrate their own little gifts of nature.  I’d also like to share some tips for customization for those crocheters who are particularly adventurous.

     

    Coniferous Set

    Coniferous Set Coniferous Set

    Forests are full of life and magic, just like babies!  I wanted to celebrate those precious moments with a hat and blanket influenced by the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest.  I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life and thus have been fortunate enough to have its gorgeous forests surround me and inspire me.

    Custom Tip: Make the blanket in any size by starting with any multiple of 6 stitches plus 3.  A larger blanket might mean a big forest of tree appliqués lining the bottom!  Remember that you’ll need more yarn if you’re making a larger blanket.

     

    Starry Set 

    Starry Set Starry Set

    The night sky has captured our imaginations and inspired many stories across different cultures.  The simple stitches and crisp details of this space-inspired set make it shine.  Truth be told, I was inspired to design this set because I am a space fanatic in my daily life.  It’s a good thing that I work as Campus Manager of a small private school, because working with young people helps me to get away with wearing my space dress, space leggings, space skirt, space scarf, and space earrings (though not all at once)!

    Custom Tip: Change one of the constellations to the baby’s star sign to make the set more personal. You could even write the little one’s name or initials in the stars!

     

    Fox Set 

    Fox Set Fox Set

    With a flash of bright orange, this sweet little fox set steals your heart.  I wanted to conjure thoughts of playful forest friends in soft snowfall with this whimsical project.  Foxes are fairly trendy these days — and for good reason!  They are totally adorable and irresistibly mischievous.

    Custom Tip: If springtime strikes your fancy, replace the off-white in the blanket with green.  You could also add a bow to the fox for a more feminine look.

     

    Seedling Set

    Seedling Set Seedling Set

    It’s so fulfilling watching the next generation be born, grow up, and reach their potential. This is a crisp, sweet baby set that seeks to recognize the joy babies bring to our lives as they blossom and change.  This set was inspired by a class activity that I enjoyed when I was in first grade.  We got to explore sunflowers at various stages of their development.  I never forgot the excitement I felt learning all about how living things grow and change.

    Custom Tip: Frame the panels instead of joining them to create unique nursery decor.  You could also make pillows out of them to add some fun to a favorite chair.

     

    Sunrise Set

    Sunrise Set Sunrise Set

    Mr. Golden Sun shines down on baby in the form of these bright, sunny hexagon motifs.  I like that you can work them up in your spare moments and soon you’ll have a beautiful set for your wee one.  When I was a very young one, under 5, I lived in sunny California.  This set is a tribute to that early and warm part of my life, my own sunrise.

    Custom Tip: The size of this blanket is easy to customize; simply craft more or fewer motifs.  You may even want to experiment with different hexagon arrangements.  If you’d like a larger blanket, be sure to factor in more yarn.

     

    Water Lilies

    Water Lilies Set Water Lilies Set

    This set was inspired by Monet’s paintings which reflect the simple beauty of a quiet pond.  I have a huge amount of respect for art, especially impressionism, and Monet’s paintings have always been among my favorites.  I finally saw a few in person a few years ago; I cried with happiness.

    Custom Tip: Monet created over 200 paintings in the Water Lilies series, with no two being completely alike. Place your lily pads and flowers however you desire to create your own unique version. Since variegated yarn is used for this set, no two sets will look quite the same.

     

    Raindrops Set

    Raindrops Set Raindrops Set

    Rain refreshes the earth, bringing water to thirsty plants and animals.  This cool set is a great way to play in puddles - without getting wet!  It rains a lot of the time where I live.  I love it!  The rain brings everything to life.

    Custom Tip: The cloud appliqués are very versatile. You can add as many or as few as you like to your set. Stitch letters onto them, stuff them to turn them into a matching mobile.  The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity. 

    Thanks Sara for your keen insights into the incredibly cute baby crochet designs in Nature's Gifts for Baby. You can find Sara everyday at her blog: Illuminate Crochet.  

    Have a great day!

    -Veronica

  • Quilting & Sewing Gifts For Men

    Top Gifts To Quilt & Sew Men

    Finding great quilting and sewing ideas for men can be hard, but we've got you covered. Whether the man you need a gift for is a lover of sports, fishing, hunting, or just spending cozy nights on the couch, he will love to get these gifts!

    1. A Quilt Fit For A Man Cave: This sports themed quilt is perfect for a hockey lover. Great as a wall hanging in the living room or laid over his favorite chair. Get started on great, masculine quilts with Man Cave Quilts.

    Sports Quilt For Men

     

    2. A Game To Play: Create this fun set - a quilt, pillows, and a wall hanging that acts as a game board too! He will love the idea of bringing the quilt out of the bedroom and into the den for game night, plus it will be a fun new holiday tradition to bond and play checkers together! Create this great gift for the guy on your list with Butterfly At The Crossroads ePattern.

    Quilt Checkerboard For Men

     

    3.  A Quilt For The Outdoorsman: Does he love hunting, or just love being outdoors? Then this blanket will be great for him. Choose realistic patterns to create a vibrant, special quilt he will love to show his friends! Get started on this great gift now with Best of Fons & Porter.

    Nature Quilt For Men

     

    4.  A Wall Hanging For The Fisherman: If he loves fishing, then he will love this thoughtful wall hanging. You'll love making them, too - these mini quilts are perfect quick projects to showcase your skills or just to celebrate the love of quilts. Create this gift he will love with Best of Fons & Porter: Quilt Lover's Gifts.

    Wall Hanging For Men

     

    5.  An Easygoing Flannel Quilt: Join the recycling revolution - Flannel shirts are so soft to wear, and they make an even cozier blanket! Get with the guy on your list to turn his old flannel shirts into something new, or stop by your local charity shops for materials. He will love the special, yet timeless design from Easy Timeless Quilts.Flannel Quilt For Men

    6.  Pillows Inspired By Nature: These pillows will be great for adding a nice touch to his favorite room in the house. Men who love nature and hunting will enjoy the fun designs with deer and trees, plus they'll be great pillows for naps! Create these easy-to-sew fleece pillows with Fleece at Home.

    Deer Pillow For Men

     

    Need More Great Gift Ideas?

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