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Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

In keeping with January being a consumption free zone for me, I have made my thank you cards instead of buying them.  It is amazing how simple it was to make them, once I had a few key materials.  I got a wonderful collection of rubber stamps from a women on freecycle, and I used sheets of card stock cut in half for the note cards.  There are plenty of other ways to make cards, so if you don’t have access to free rubber stamps, please don’t let that stop you.

I love writing thank you notes now.  My mother used to make me sit down and write them after every birthday and Christmas, and I hated it.  But as an adult, I am glad that she taught me the value of being thankful.  It is wonderful to get the creatively spelled notes from my 5 year-old  and 8 year-old cousins.  It is also wonderful to get the notes from many of the adults in our family.

In fact, it is nice to get real mail instead of bills all the time.  My mother-in-law is great about this!  She is always sending me clippings and photos that she thinks I will appreciate.

Now, I know that I’m a bit old-fashioned about thank you notes.  Most of my family doesn’t send them anymore, and I am not always religious about writing them either, but I would hate to see them no longer being sent at all.  Gift giving is fun, getting presents is fun, and I think that it is just as much fun to truly express our gratitude for the presents that we receive.

Homemade note cards

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Little by Little

My rag rug is almost complete.  I am steadily making progress, adding an inch or two at a time.  I picked it up today for the first time this week, and got about halfway through the remaining jean strips.

I love watching my projects grow.  I think that is why I picked up my craft habit in the first place.  I would be a faster crafts person if I didn’t stop every ten minutes to admire the little tiny bit I just did.  But, on the other hand, by stopping and admiring my work so frequently, I am noticing my mistakes much quicker, and it is far easier to go back and rip them out if I don’t have to undo hours worth of work.

Also, on a more positive note, enjoying the process gives me a great deal of satisfaction.  I know that my projects will get finished eventually, and if I can’t appreciate where they are, the what’s the point of moving forward?  I make things because I love knowing that I can.  I love knowing that I put all my love and creativity into it.  And I love knowing that in this hectic world, I can sit down and make something useful and beautiful.  Often, other people wonder why I would do this when I could buy a rug at Walmart for ten dollars.  I think that the point is slowing down and enjoying the journey, even if it is taking much longer than I originally thought that it would.

Rag Rug in Process

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After three stores, I finally found the key ingredient (aside from milk) in milk paint, hydrated lime.  Now this is not to be confused with regular, everyday lime evidently.  Oh no, it is specially mixed with just the right proportion of water so that it is “hydrated” but still feels dry.  Supposedly, you can’t use regular lime because it will heat up the mixture and ruin it.   Unfortunately, hydrated lime was supposed to be in every hardware store, but no longer.

I was informed at Lowes that it can be used in explosives and that they don’t carry it anymore.  I have no idea if this is true, but it does seem like I keep being thwarted in many of my experiments by items being taken off the market because of evildoers.  I was going to make soap initially this week, but found out that lye is no longer commonly being stocked at stores because it is used in making meth.  I will probably try to make soap the really old-fashioned way with ash, but that will be a project for another week, when I have enough ash stored up.

So, back to the milk paint.  I modified a recipe that I found online, but I think that it used too much lime.  The results were very pretty, but not what I expected.  The color was nice and vibrant, but turned out a bit marbleized.

Just in case you still want the recipe: take 1 cup milk, slightly less than 1/4 cup hydrated lime, and pigment to color.  I used RID’s green coloring and added turmeric and cinnamon, to get the color just right.  I couldn’t find a natural way to make green, so I went with the dye that was the easiest to find.  First mix the lime with a little bit of milk to make a paste, then add the rest of the milk, and finally add the color.  Milk paint can be stored in the fridge for a couple days to keep the milk fresh.  Oddly enough, the items painted don’t smell like milk; and more importantly, do not smell like soiled milk.  I don’t know why this is, but it sure was a nice surprise.

My candlestick holders upclose

Candlestick Holders from afar

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Candlestick Holders

Mark has owned four boxes of long tapered skinny candles for as long as I have known him. Every time that I passed them in the attic of our old house, I wondered how we would burn them as we don’t have any candlestick holders that size. Then, when Mark was about to pack them to move to DC, I said that we should just throw them out. Fortunately, he didn’t listen to me, and I just ran across them as I slowly unpack our basement.

I’ve decided that I cannot have these cluttering up our basement for years to come, only to come across them every three months and wonder when, if ever, they will be burned. So I’ve decide to make the candlestick holders myself. It took longer than I thought it would to find a suitable wooden base. I wanted something interesting, not fussy, but low to the ground as these candles are very tall. I finally ended up at Micheal’s and got a couple wooden spheres with a flat base, and a couple small rectangles all made out of wood.

I then took my drill and made a hole about a half an inch deep into the top of the spheres and then glued the flat part of the sphere onto the rectangular base.

Tomorrow, I am planning on making milk paint for the first time! Regular paint has all sorts of toxins and nasty fumes to it, milk paint is made of three things: milk, hydrated lime, and pigment. I’ve always wanted to try it, and am looking forward to the results. Check back tomorrow and see how my candlestick holders turn out!

Homemade candle stick holders

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