Saturday, April 10, 2010

Logo Design for TheTinCanCottage

I just finished a custom logo for fellow Etsy seller TheTinCanCottage. Take a peak at my sketchbook thumbnails and the final logo below.
I love working with bloggers and crafters who have such unique ideas. Christine of TheTinCanCottage takes here 1964 Shasta Compaq Travel Trailer camping and antiquing while crafting up a storm. How fun is that? Check out her blog here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Project Freeze & How-To Prevent It

Does this ever happen to you? You are 9/10ths of the way done on a project, you step away from it for a day or two, and then two days become three and four...before you know it your project is covered in dust and your enthusiasm for it has gone out the window. This just happened to me with these vintage napkins I was embroidering. I did finally pick them up again the other night and should have them done soon.

That got me thinking - why does this happen? Getting things done is way more pleasant than procrastinating, so why do we do it? For me, I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of things I have going on, so I just do nothing. Not good. Also, I tend to take on LARGE and DIFFICULT projects which makes them hard to actually get done in a reasonable amount of time. Yesh. Also I love to have every thing 'put away' so I will literally forget that I have a project going on. Oh brother. 

Using these challenges I've made a few new rules I'll share with you to stop project freeze:

1- Limit the number of projects you have ongoing. Try to keep it to 3 or 4. Many crafters get a 'high' from starting a project from the sense of excitement you get choosing your supplies and planning your work. But if all you're doing is starting, you'll likely get overwhelmed with all the half-finished things you have lying around. Make it a rule to FINISH a project before you start one.
2- Allow yourself some 'quick and easy' projects. Why does every project have to get harder and more complicated? It's so satisfying to finish something, even if it's a bit below your skill level. Plus, it builds confidence to show of the skills you've mastered.
3- Keep your project in plain site. Even if you like to keep your work area tidy, leave a piece of your project on a table or desk to serve as a visual reminder to pick it up again.

Hope this helps if your sitting a few almost done projects.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Front Page - Collage Art Mystery

Collage is often looked down in the art world - all you're doing is cutting stuff out and gluing it down, right? Anyone can do that. Not so! Great collage art must have perfect balance and proportion, which is a deliberate special talent. When collage tells a story it become something truly unique, as the below artists demonstrate.

Artist Susan Scott has perfected a clean and rich style in her shop Sushi Pot. This is an example of her series of briocolage - which she defines as a construction or creation from a diverse range of available things. If this inspires you to collage yourself, check out her supplies shop to over at Sushi Pot Parts.

This sureal and spontanius collage is one of my favorites from livingferal. There is something totally unique an haunting about the work you find in this shop.

I love the paring of this pensive bird in a party hat with the vintage text. All the collages in Queen Be's shop have whimsical parings and loads of personality.

If you can't tell already, I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Made Right Guide. The Friday Front Page will feature handmade sellers who making great and inspiring products. If you'd like to get featured, please contact me. I'd love to see whacha got.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quick Pickled Vegetable's A-Go-Go

I've always been very intrigued with pickling and canning but found the whole process of boiling and serializing a bit daunting. Not to mention that with a  single error I could potentially kill myself and loved ones with botulism.  As someone who has accidentally left the sugar out of brownies, I felt my cooking skills were not quite up to the challenge. Well, no longer my friends! I got the book Quick Pickles by Chronicle Books for Christmas and I finally got brave enough to try it out.
Quick pickles are similar to traditional pickles but they are meant to be kept in the refrigerator and only last for a few months in most cases. This means there is no chance for harmful bacteria to grow (I'm not an expert here, but that's the gist of it.)

I tried out the recipie for American Midwest-Style Garden Pickles. I adapted the recipe a bit and here's what I came up with:

• 8 cups total of the following: cabbage in bite sized pices, broccoli, calouaflour, green beans snaped in half, corn on the cob cut into 1/2" rounds
• 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
• One dryed chilli
• 1 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
• 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon whole colves
• 3 cups white vinager
• 1 cup white grape juice
• 1/2 cup sugar (book calls for 3/4 cup, I'll do that next time)
• 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt (not table salt!)

Bring to a boil in a stainless steel pot all the liquid, spices, and corn. Simmer for three minuets.  Stir a few times as it simmers to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the whole thing over the chopped up veggies in a ceramic or glass bowl and allow it to come to room temperature. Stir it five or six times as it cools to evenly distribute all the liquid and spices. Cover and refrigerator. Should keep for three weeks in refrigerator.
Heres a snap of the veggies when I've just pourd the liquid on it. You can see the the turmeric is already starting to turn the cauliflower a nice shade of yellow. I've let mine sit over night before sampling to let the salt and vinegar do it's magic. So far they are pretty tasty and nicely crisp, if a little bit vinegary - that's why next time I'll use the whole 3/4 cups of sugar.
I'm calling this fist go a success, although my boyfriend says "they taste like my Grandma made" which I guess is a bad thing since he didn't like his Grandma's pickles. I will admit that if you don't like sweet pickles you won't like these.
This is also a great way to reuse glass jars which I love to do. Look how nice the veggies look floating in their yummy brine. If you have any pickling advice I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ephemera Discovery - Woman's Lib Snapshot

I've been digitally restoring some of my vintage card collection and I found this wonderful handwritten noet on the inside of a Birthday Party invitation: "Wear pedal-pushers or slacks to party." Ah for the days when when wearing pants was an exception to the rule. I like to think that 15 years later little Sheryl Lee was burning her bra and subscribing to Ms. Magazine.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Craft Space Organization - Results!

Well it took almost 6 week to really be "completed" but my craft space organization is complete. 


What a difference some wall shelves and a hutch can make! I did this entire re-vap for under $200, and I spaced it out so it wouldn't shock my checking account too much.

I now have dedicated sewing, crafting, and photography spaces built in to my work area. I also have easy access to my tools and materials, that are sorted into bins and stored in the hutch and on the shelves. 

I'm now much more inspired to get crafting!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tutorial - Paper Covered Pencils

Although I love all my digital conveniences, nothing beats a piece of paper and pencil for jotting down ideas or sketching out an illustration. Personalize this often over-looked office supply with this quick and satisfying craft.
• Mod-Podge
• Paint brush
• Pencils
• Decorative Paper
• Cup of water
• Medium weight decorative paper (I used this paper from my shop.)
Step 1 - Cut your decorative paper into 1 5/8" x  7" strips. This gives you enough over lap around the pencil  and a bit extra on the end.
Step 2 - Using your brush lightly wet both sides of your paper strip with water. This makes it more pliable and easier to wrap around the pencil.
Step 3 -  Brush a thin layer of Mod-Podge onto a pencil.
Step 4 - Gently stick the paper onto the pencil by rolling it on your work surface.
Step 5 - Brush more Mod-Podge onto the paper as you roll. Make sure you cover all of the paper's edges and ends well with Mod-Podge.
Step 6 - Coat the outside with a final layer of Mod-Podge (I swear, I'm not getting paid by Mod-Podge.) 
Step 7 - Set the pencils to dry by propping them up in a glass cup or jar. Let them dry over night.
Step 8 - Cut away any excess paper at the end with a sharp exacto blade.
Step 9 - Sharpen and get writing!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

REVAMP! Tacky Thrift Store Hutch to Great Craft Storage Solution

I'm still going on Step 3 of my craft space organization: a place for everything. I'll be honest, this step has drrraaaggg out a bit. Mostly, due to budget constraints and other project's I've been working on. This hutch revap was my last element to add to the mix, so I'll be posting my final triumphant 'before' and 'after' soon. 

When I was searching for storage solutions I went to about 5 local thrift stores and I was pretty disappointed with what I found. Finally, I found this hutch at a local store Uhuru that specializes in used furniture. If you live anywhere in The SF Bay Area I highly recommend it. It took a little work but I now have a piece that I will keep for years and gave me a boost of I-can-use-a-power-tool confidence.

I don't have any real experience with woodworking or furniture restoration so I'm pretty pleased with how this came out. My main advise to you if you want to try something like it is: BE FEARLESS! Take your time and have fun!
When shopping for your own storage solutions, try to keep an open mind. Focus on what you need not what you want. What I wanted was something this Eames storage unit. Not really in the budget. What I needed was a small storage unit, that would also give me a second work space.
Look for good construction and sturdy wood - not used stuff from Ikea! Look out for water damage and dry-root, these things can't be fixed easily. Don't get caught up with color or hardware, that's all changeable.
To remove the tacky finish, I sanded the heck out this baby. To keep my arm from falling off, I checked out a power sander from my local tool lending library. This is the first time I've used the tool lending library and it wont be the last. I've been intimidated by it up until now, but it was very easy to get what I needed, and the guys working there were very helpful. Also, per my craft philosophy, I avoid buying tools if I don't need to.
Since one of the doors fell off in my car, I removed the other one. Luckily this actually made it much easy to sand and finish. Once I sanded the layer of ugly varnish off I coated it with two coats of acrylic sealer to protect it. See how pretty the wood is? The clear coat really brings out the nice texture and the left behind varnish gives a nice weathered look. No varnish needed. 
The new handles came from the hardware store and were only $3 each. I avoided the temptation to get the really fancy ones and I'm glad I did. I wanted to let the design of the hutch come out, not draw attention to funky hardware.
I hated all of the hinges I found at the store so I ordered these from House of Antique Hardware.

The wire in the doors is called "hardware mesh," it's about $2 a foot at the hardware store. All I did was knock out the panel from the door and traced it on the mesh with a marker. Then, I cut it out with a craft scissors and stapled it into the back of the door. The doors were easily reattached with wood glue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rad Supplies Treasury

Cute Things Box made this great treasury on Etsy and was nice enough to include one of my 1"x1" square collage sheets. I love the rainbow colors, so springy. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Front Page: Sugar Rush

I love talking about food almost as much as I love eating it. Especially when it's full of sugar. Check out these tasty treats from some great Etsy shops. Great goodies for Valentines Day - or any day.
1 - Lavender Scones by Hoyeh. I imagine that princess eat these every day.  
2 - Pink Cotton Candy Chocolate Bon-Bons by Sugar Mohawk. Cotton Candy + Chocolate = Genius.
3 - Custom Dozen Truffles by Tabby Cat 13. Chose from flavors like cherry cake with white chocolate, or peanut butter cream with milk chocolate, and then eat them all in one sitting.
4 - Chocolate Covered Strawberry Vegan Cupcakes by The Cup Cake Mint. Nothing says love like cruelty free baking! 
5 - Triple Chocolate Hearts by Sweet McBirdie's. The holy trinity for chocolate lovers.
6 - White Chocolate Covered Peppermint Sandwich Cookies by Sweet Tooth Sweeties. Yum, I would like to eat about 70 of these right now. 
7 - Big Heart Mini's Sugar Cookies by Sunshine Bakes. These little cookies look like bit-sized love.

If you can't tell already, I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Made Right Guide. The Friday Front Page will feature handmade sellers who making great and inspiring products. If you'd like to get featured, please contact me. I'd love to see whacha got.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Make It Right Tips: Working with Paper Templates

I spend a lot of my creative time designing and testing new paper craft templates. A template is simply a pattern you use to make an item like a bag or box. You can purchase them online as PDF files and print them at home or you can purchase them at the craft store.  While testing out new ideas, I've made every mistake you can make, but along the way I've found a few techniques that I'm going to share to make your paper crafting more successful and satisfying. 
All you need to get started is the following:
 • self healing cutting mat
I have a small and a large one to accommodate different projects, but all you really need is one big enough to fit a 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.
double sided tape 
Must be double sided! Don't torture yourself by trying to fold over regular tape.
exacto knife with extra blades, size #11
metal ruler
I use both a 24" and a 6" ruler. The 6" is really handy, I recommend getting one. Do not use plastic rulers - the sharp exacto blade will cut up the sides and ruin the ruler and your project. I speak from experience here. 
awl or bone folder 
I use an awl because it's a great multi-tasking tool, I use it to mark holes when needed and for other craft projects. Feel free to use a bone folder if you chose.
decorative paper
Make your own, buy printable paper online, or get some from the craft store. You can even recycle paper bags. There is paper everywhere you look so don't be afraid to experiment.

Now for the tips. Most templates come with some sort of directions but I find that there are a few tricks that can be used with any template. I'm going to demonstrate these tips with my favorite paper gift bag, but these techniques will work for most paper template projects.
Tip 1 - Print out your template on card-stock so it is nice and sturdy. Some templates work great printed on the back side of decorative paper, however I've found that too often marks can show through, or my paper is the wrong size for the printer.  Obviously, if your working with a plastic template from the craft store you can skip this part.

Tip 2 - When cutting out your template cut just on the inside of the line. When done consistently this will give you a perfectly sized project.
Tip 3 - Trace your template on the wrong side of your paper with a pencil. (For the sake of visibility I'm using a dark pen on the right side for the paper in these photos.) Make small notches on the outside of the paper to mark fold lines.
Tip 4 - Don't worry about tracing the corners exactly. Just be sure your lines are nice and straight. You will use the lines as your guide when cutting, this creates sharp corners.
Tip 5 - Score your folds before you cut out the template lining up the notches you made when tracing the template. This creates very accurate folds.
Tip 6 - Use a fresh exacto blade for every project. Don't work with dull blades, it tears paper and makes your edges wonky. Cut out your project using your ruler to guide your exacto. Cut just on the inside of the line. 
Tip 7 - To cut inside corners, start by placing the exacto tip on the inside of the corner and slicing outward.
Tip 8 - Fold your project all the way together to see how it fits before you place tape on it. When putting on your tape, lay the paper flat and press it firmly, then fold your project back together, securing the tape.
Yay! Now I have a cute little bag to sit back and admire. 

Using paper templates is a quick and easy way to get crafty without investing in a lot of supplies or materials. If you want to try your hand at some paper crafting using templates check out these two super cute ideas.
On the left: This adorable milk carton template from Glazed Mud really struck my fancy. Wouldn't it be fun to put candy in these for a party favor?
On the right: This template for a pillow box from Greenka is incredible versatile and a great project for beginers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Made Right Guide's Craft Philosophy

If you've found your way through the maze of the internet here to Made Right Guide, you can probably tell at a glance that it's yet another craft blog. 

However, I have a few goals that I keep in-mind when I choose projects and features that I believe make Made Right Guide a bit different that a lot of craft blogs out there. Here, in no particular order, are some of the goals, assumptions, and ideas that make Made Right Guide what it is (and what it will become.) 

Most people do not have a large dedicate work area for crafting. That is why most of my projects are small in scale and should be able to be completed on a card table.  I you are lucky enough to have a large space set aside for crafting, that's great! You'll probably still appreciate a project that doesn't cover your whole worktable and half of the floor. 

Everyone has limited time. 
Keeping this in mind is a HUGE goal of mine. I want to share projects and inspiration that will help those who want a creative outlet in their lives, but are juggling family, work, and maybe even their own side business in crafting. 

Many people are unable or unwilling to spend a lot of money on crafting.
You won't find projects that require expensive tools or materials on this blog. I find that the best tools are often those that are well made, low tech, and do multiple tasks. 

You don't need a lot of stuff to craft and be fulfilled.
You can make fun, satisfying, and high quality crafts without a ton of stuff. More isn't always better. I strive to be satisfied with what I have and only purchase supplies and tools when I specifically need them for a project. My craft supplies and materials currently take-up half of a second bedroom and that is how I intend to keep it. 

Please understand that this is not a judgment saying that it's good or bad to have ample money, time, stuff, or space. Nobody should feel guilty for having an awesome studio, just like no one should feel bad about not having one. We can all craft side-by-side, trade ideas, and share our success and failures. So let's get busy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Front Page: Valentine's Day Paper Crafting

Valentine's Day has got to be the biggest paper craft holiday. Who didn't make a doily card or coupon for "one-free-hug" as a kid? Even as a grown up big kid, I think that paper crafting is a great way to express the sweet sentiments of Valentine's Day. Here are some stellar examples of paper crafts made with extra love.
1 - "Be Mine" Vintage Inspired Download-able Banner by Elles Studio  - Such a cute project, especially for those with limited time (like yours truly.)
2 - Vintage Paper Wreath with Crown Heart Art by White Serenade - A totally unique and stunning use of vintage sheet music.
3 - Retro Valentine Cup Cake Toppers by Joosy Card Co - Mixing two of my favorite things: cup cakes and vintage stationary.
4 - Hand Cut Heart Card by Crafts Cafe - Part of a great anatomically inspired series of cards.
5 - Lazer cut Valentine Cameo by Vector Cloud - I love how delicate this necklace is. A total conversation piece.
6 - Handmade Crepe Paper Garland by Bella Flower - Drape this darling garland anywhere for instant Valentine's Day flair.
7 - Squirrel and Acorn Heart Card by cabin + cub - Graphically stunning and so whimsical.
8 - Little Pouch of Kiss and Hug Coupons by Tracy B Designs - I love the oldie-timey look of these coupons.

Thanks to all these great crafters for letting me feature their creations! If you need even more Valentines day goodies check out the Etsy Showcase for Valentine's Day.

If you can't tell already, I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Made Right Guide. The Friday Front Page will feature handmade sellers who making great and inspiring products. If you'd like to get featured, please contact me. I'd love to see whacha got.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

20th Century Family Physician - An Amazing Vintage Book Find

I usually moan and roll my eyes when my boyfriend brings something that he's found in the trash into our apartment. However, when it's something like this, I have to give him credit: he found gold. The 20th Century Family Physician, A Popular Guide for the Household Management of Disease published by John R. Stanton Co. in 1929 is a 1,130 page tome on all physical maladies, from "Constitutional Diseases" to "Diseases of Women and Children."

While I don't want to belabor the point that we've come a long way since 1929, I'll just throw out one quote to demonstrate this point:
"Man is essentially strong and selfish; woman, weak and generous. In man embodied the individual; in woman, the race...a fact illustrated by...peculiarities of women: In breathing, the child and the man employ largely the muscles of the abdomen; woman, on the contrary, breathes almost entirely with the chest, because of the mutual performance for her sexual duties compels the use of her abdomen muscles for other purposes than those of breathing."
 Seems like sound scientific reasoning to me. Anyway, here's the pictures.

Many of the color plates in this book have layers to them that you can lift up to reveal levels of the human anatomy. Very cool and also icky.


I'm wracking my brain to come up with a craft worthy of this book...if you have any great ideas let me know.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vintage Valentine Restoration with Free Card Download

Over the past few years I've been collecting vintage cards just for the pleasure of having them too look at. From time to time I take them out of their box and just leaf through them, admiring the illustrations and enjoying the messages written on them. 

I've always wanted to do something with them, but what? I couldn't bare to cut them up for collage or paste them onto anything. I finally had the brainstorm of digitally restoring them and reusing them just as they were intended - as cards. 

You can see here how just a little digital retouching and color brightening can give an old treasure new life. 

If you'd like to give this card to your sweet-heart you can download it here.

Happy (early) Valentines Day!