SMP Craft
31 Mar

The Easter Egg, Re-Imagined

We have a special guest blogger for today’s post, Jennifer Lutz, craft enthusiast and interior design writer for Christmas Tree Market. Jennifer shared with SMP Craft how to celebrate Easter with unconventional style; instead of stopping at dyed eggs, create an Easter Tree adorned with unique ornamental eggs using unexpected materials!

Cute and Crafty Easter Trees A beautiful and meaningful part of Easter festivities, an Easter tree is commonly made with bare tree branches adorned with colorful eggs, a traditional symbol of life and renewal. This year, make your Easter tree more delightful and unique by displaying decorative eggs made of string, fabric, and other creative materials.

Felted Easter Eggs If you think using real eggs for Easter decorating is messy or uneconomical, creating felted Easter eggs is a great option. The “wet” method for felting eggs requires packing the wool-wrapped eggs in a nylon legging and placing them in the washing machine. This project from Pamela Susan uses the “dry” felting technique which allows you to make more precise and elaborate designs on the eggs. All you need are Styrofoam eggs, colorful wool roving, and felting needles to create these fuzzy and delightful additions to your family’s Easter celebration. Attach ribbons on the eggs for hanging on the Easter tree or simply display them in a white decorative bowl or glass vase.

String Easter Eggs Making string art ornaments is simple and enjoyable, and the results are fascinating. As demonstrated in Crafty Endeavor, this project requires inflating a number of small water balloons. Next, take embroidery floss, pearl cotton thread, or crochet thread and dampen it with multi-purpose glue or a mixture of liquid starch and flour. For the next step, wrap the string around the balloon to form a latticework. When the string has dried, pop the balloon and remove it carefully. Make your string eggs more fun and fancy by combining different colors of string, adding glitter, or placing a small toy or treat inside the balloon before wrapping it in string.

Pompom Easter Eggs Soft, pillowy pompoms are perfect for adding cheer and warmth to your Easter tree. Take a pair of scissors and some yarn, and follow the simple steps provided in the Country Chic Cottage. You’ll be rolling out fluffy pompom eggs in no time. Getting the egg shape is simply a matter of cutting off less of the yarn in the middle and more on the top and bottom. Use a needle and some thread to form a loop at the top of the egg pompom for hanging on your Easter tree. To keep these yarn eggs company on your tree’s branches, follow this video tutorial and use store-bought pompoms, googly eyes, and craft glue to make adorable pompom bunnies and chicks.

Scrap Fabric Easter Eggs Turn leftover fabric into attractive and inexpensive Easter tree décor with this easy project from Dwell on Joy. Cut scrap or Jelly Roll fabric into thin strips, and hot glue the strips onto plastic eggs. Make sure the fabric strips go in different directions. For hanging on your Easter tree, hot glue a strip of fabric to form a loop on top of the egg. These colorful and rustic pieces also look great draped across the mantel as a garland strung on a length of twine, piled together in a bone china bowl, or scattered around your dining table during Easter brunch.

Flower Easter Eggs Easter means spring is nearly in full bloom. Try this crafting idea from At the Picket Fence and celebrate the beauty of the season by decorating your holiday tree with flower Easter eggs. For this project, you will need faux flowers, foam eggs, some ribbon, and your trusty hot glue gun. Begin by clipping the flowers off the stems and attaching them to the foam eggs with hot glue. Work around the egg until it is completely covered, and make sure to arrange the flowers close together. Glue a length of ribbon onto the top and hang your lovely flower eggs on the branches of your tree. Really pretty!

Cookie Easter Tree With charming bunnies, carrots, and heart shapes, this endearing Easter tree from Sweetopia looks too sweet to simply eat. This cookie Easter tree features cute shortbread cookies hung with baby pink ribbons on a pale green wire ornament tree. Cookies
Photo by Dana Robinson via Flickr.

If cutting the dough into complex shapes with a paring knife takes a bit too much time, cut out basic egg shapes instead. Before baking, use a barbecue skewer to make a good-sized hole in the dough where the ribbon will thread through. Decorate your mini cookies with a rainbow of pastel-colored royal icing to create one of the most memorable Easter trees ever.

Peeps Easter Centerpiece More of an Easter treat than an Easter tree, this centerpiece from The Hungry Mouse uses cute Peeps chicks to form a bright and bouncy topiary. Peeps
Photo by Hey Paul Studios via flickr.

Chicks are another beloved symbol of new life, and this topiary will need about six to seven boxes worth of soft, marshmallow hatchlings. Get your children to help with this project and make a colorful tabletop piece your family will enjoy seeing and eating. Another Easter decorating idea is to reuse your tabletop Christmas tree and decorate it with your DIY Easter eggs. That way, you save up on time putting branches together, and you get an Easter tree that’s more contemporary. Celebrate Easter in unconventional and inspiring style by decorating your home with these simple and easy-to-make Easter-inspired ornaments.

Jennifer Lutz writes about home décor at blog.christmastreemarket.com. Google+ Twitter Christmas Tree Market: Facebook; Twitter

 

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14 Mar

MMM…Mugs, Mugcakes, and Mugshots

Top o’ the mornin’, lads and lassies!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up in a few days and we wanted to help you get in the spirit with this Freebie Friday! Though we try to stick to crafts on here, this Shamrock Mug Cake from Leslie Bilderback’s cookbook was too good not to share…

irish cupcake

Image via The Cake Blog

Ingredients
1 large egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon liquid green food coloring
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 drop peppermint extract (or 2 to 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey)
1/3 cup self-rising flour
Pinch of kosher salt

In a large mug, whisk together the egg and oils with a fork. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, food coloring, buttermilk, and peppermint or whiskey. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1.5 – 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.

This individual cake only takes 5 minutes to make, so you can use the extra time personalizing your own mug before baking! This craft couldn’t be simpler so feel free to use this as your go-to gift from now on – we won’t tell…

supplies

Image from The Sweetest Occasion

Supplies needed:

Mug (and/or other dishes) – plain white will work best
Oil-based Sharpies or paint pens in any color you’d like
Glass cleaner
Lint-free cloth
Oven

Since you’re going to be creating your own designs, don’t spend a lot of money on the mug. You can find plain dishes for pretty cheap at dollar stores and most craft stores – although porcelain dishes seem to hold up best in the dishwasher.

Before you get the creative juices flowing be sure to clean and dry the mug
completely so you are working with a completely smooth and shiny surface.

Image from The Sweetest Occasion

Once your “canvas” is ready, get to work! The best part of this craft (aside from how simple and cost-effective it is) is that if you mess up your design, just clean and wipe the mug to return to the blank surface.

After you have finished personalizing the mug, place it in the oven at 375° for a half hour – and you’re done! Just remember to let it cool completely in the oven before using!

This craft has a bit of a reputation online for not always working so here are some tips to help this craft goes smoothly:
~ Pay attention to what Sharpies and mugs you buy.
~Wash the mugs first (in a dishwasher if you have it).
~ Don’t write on the handle.
~ (I know I’ve already said this, but bake in the oven at 375° and let it cool completely in the oven before use.)
~ Hand wash whenever possible to ensure it lasts longer.

mugshot

My TGIF Mugshot

Buy a copy of Mug Cakes and put that personalized mug to good use!

Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Amazon
Books-a-Million
Powell’s Books
Walmart
Overstock

 

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11 Mar

How-To Tuesday: Use an Overripe Apple to Make Stationery!

My sister’s birthday just passed and I want to make her a belated something. She’s a second grade teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the mother of two gregarious affectionate children—a five year old and an eight year old. Her professional and domestic domains are Germ Central. Runny noses, sticky paws, slobbery kisses. No wonder whenever we talk, she’s almost always “getting over a cold.”

Which gets me to thinking…

Inspired by her occupation and ailments, I decide she needs an apple-themed gift—something playful. Apple

The Challenge: my apples. Baking is out. They’re not just bruised but nearly rotten. I’d neglected them and they’ve turned on me. Gone bad. Ah, but I have a plan for my rotten little apples. Our intern at work told me about Johnny Appleseed Stamps: cut an apple in half, dunk it in paint, and voila! An apple stamp.

Challenge No. 2: The Paint. The only paint I have in my apartment is nail polish and leftover black paint from a summer weekend spent salvaging an old desk. Rotten apples + Black Paint? AppleBlackPaint

Working in book publishing, I’m certainly a nerd for words and living in Williamsburg Brooklyn, I’m surrounded by artists. I channel their spirit and, being my mother’s daughter, I improvise.

So what’s my plan? Johnny Rotten Appleseed Stamped Stationery Cards. The text? Familiar apple sayings. And since I’d be using black paint, there’d be a hint of the macabre!

So what’s in my arsenal? After some mulling over, I decide against dunking (too much paint, too messy) and instead use an old paint brush. So I use: a rotten apple cut in half with a knife on a cutting board, paper towels to wipe my fingers, black latex paint, paint brush, white paper, black sharpie, scissors.
LayoutMy first attempts turn into rorschach-like blobs. BlackApple AppleStampToo much paint (I seem to recall one of my fellow crafters experiencing something similar while stenciling). But with less paint, I’m pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The indented core has left a somewhat sweet heart-shaped center and within a few minutes, the paint dries and I’m able to start designing.

appleofmyeyeRottenAppleApple-a-dayFull-Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I did alright with the rotten apple and black paint. Less than 45 minutes start to finish. I hope my sister likes them!

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1 Mar

March Madness!

We sort of…dare we say it…intercepted? Stole? Karen’s post… When Karen thinks of March, she thinks more about basketball and NCAA March Madness than crafting.

But the ‘real’ highlight of March for her is St. Patrick’s Day: Green beer, green burgers, green eggs and ham (March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday!) …shamrocks…leprechauns…pots of gold… rainbows! Don’t get us wrong, these are all lovely things to celebrate. But Karen, we reminded her, March is also National Craft and National Crochet Month. We have marathon posting, giveaways galore this month! So, since this is our first post of March, let’s do both: cool craft & crochet projects with St. Patrick’s Day elements as the core theme! These ones caught our eye:

PATTYS-DAY-CANDY-POPP

Link via The House That Altars Built

green-eggs-and-hamLink via MAKE

RainbowLink via We Heart It

Fortunately, Karen, being the good sport that she is, saw our point and now even has a St. Patrick’s Day Craft in the works! Stay tuned for Karen’s reveal on St. Patrick’s Day, Monday, March 17th.

In the meantime, don’t miss our almost daily posts for more craft projects, free pattern downloads, and book giveaways!

Link via MyThreeBlindMice

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11 Feb

How-To Tuesday: Candy Filled Hearts

It’s Valentine’s Day in a few days and we’re getting in the mood here at the office! Candy is everywhere and we decided to find simple and cute ways to give candy to our co-workers–of course, this will work for sharing with anyone!

CandyHearts_Finished

MATERIALS

  • Cardstock (in multiple colors of your choice)
  • Single hole punch
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Decorative paper, lace, etc. (optional)
  • Glue (if you use optional decorative paper above)
  • Candy

INSTRUCTIONS

Fold a square piece of cardstock in half vertically and unfold. Then fold horizontally. Create strong creases in both instances.

         With the cardstock folded in half horizontally, cut the top of a heart on each side of the vertical fold line.

Step 2

Unfold and it should look like this:

Step 3

        Decorate as you see fit!

IMG_0050 IMG_0051

         Grab opposite sides of the cardstock and pull together (one of the two major fold lines will naturally go together easier).

Pinch

Where the cardstock meets, punch a hole completely through.

Insert ribbon or twine all the way through. Make the ribbon as long as you’d like and tie at the top. (You may need to wrap through twice for extra support depending on the strength of your paper and weight of the candy used.)

hang

Hang on a door, add candy, and surprise a special someone!

 

Something else that makes this day so sweet? (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) Torie Jayne’s How to Show & Sell Your Crafts hits the bookstores today!

How to Show & Sell Your Crafts

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Author of the Month

This month we sit down for a Q&A with Molly Goodall, artist, designer, creator of the unique children’s clothing brand, Little Goodall, and author of Wild Things to Sew and Wear. Originally from North Carolina, Molly earned her BFA in fashion design from Parsons School of Design in 1997, where she became focused on children’s wear. She then worked as a toy designer in New York before deciding "it would be more fun to be an artist" and moved to North Texas, where she, her husband, and son currently live.


Molly Goodall, author of Wild Things to Sew and Wear

Project of the Month

Little Monster


Perfect for any rambunctious little dude or dudette, this frighteningly cute hat, mittens, and booties set will have the neighbors forkin’ over the treats in no time. All measurements are given for sizes 6-12 months, 12-24 months, and 2-3 years. From Nuriya Khegay’s fun-packed Monster Knits for Little Monsters: 20 Super-Cute Animal-Themed Hat, Mitten, and Bootie Sets to Knit.

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