Madeit Storefront

In an effort to just get out there, I’ve listed some things on my Madeit storefront! makeMonster @ MadeIt Currently I just have a few plushies and some embroidery art for now, but next weekend should have some jewellry up, and possibly I’ll get around to finishing some wallets or other Kraft-Tex things I’ve been working on 🙂 Preview: madeit, makemonster, store, I may have to work on the old photography skills… CSC camera =/= instant photographic talent. My favourite is the Lovely Octopus!

octopus, stuffed, plushie, felt, applique, sewing, DIY, craft, fabric
Look at those wee nobbly feet!!!

I decided to go for MadeIt instead of Etsy, mostly due to the Australian-centric base of MadeIt which tends to stop re-sellers. It feels a bit more like a community, not unlike you’d get at a local craft fair! If you’ve never been to MadeIt.com.au, I would suggest just popping over and having a look. There’s some really talented artisans on there, and may have even seen them at your local craft show.

Testing Kraft-Tex with Waterproof Ink & Stamping, DIY Sew-In Labels (Kraft-Tex Testing V2)

So I left off last time with just treating the Kraft-Tex (washing, mooshing, and then letting dry), with the intention on testing out how well it takes paint. I’ve decided to make a few ‘leather like’ labels to put into handbags or other things. I figured it would take the ink really well, but I didn’t know how ‘washable’ the ink would be after it were stamped.

As a side note, I got my stamps from this guy:

HootOwlPress – Custom Stamps

And I was really super chuffed with how they came out! Don’t let my stamping skills fool you, they’re super awesome on paper and you can get special stamps for fabric (which in hindsight would have been a much better idea).

So here is what I gathered to test out my wee experiment of stamping on Kraft-Tex:

stamping, branding, ink, product branding, kraft-tex
Step 1: Gather supplies.

I used something called ‘laundry ink’ which is a completely washable permanent ink. Be forewarned, it WILL STAIN EVERYTHING YOU OWN. It stained the stamps and my hands, but I will be happy to note this did not decrease the effectiveness of either.

I stamped the Kraft-Tex, making sure I loaded up the stamp with plenty of ink. I held it onto the material for a few seconds before slowly (I REITERATE: SLOWLY) peeling off the stamp, making sure nothing moved in the process.

stamping, crafting, kraft-tex, DIY, product labels
Step 2: Admire your stamping skills. Success! Kind of. I wasn’t that careful with these because they were just an experiment. I didn’t really think at this point that they would hold up. I am a pessimist.

I let them dry overnight before attempting Stage 3.

kraft-tex, washing, stamping, DIY, product labels
Step 3: Set up the washing station. Please admire my use of eco friendly laundry detergent in this endeavour.

To really drive the point home, I used scalding hot water and plenty of soap. I let the Kraft-Tex soak for 5 minutes before really scrubbing them, in essence, trying to rub off the ink.

kraft-tex, washing, stamping, DIY, product labels
This is the result after soaking and scrubbing like my life depended on it.
Keep in mind that the loss of stamp detail is mostly because of my inability to stamp things straight and not that anything washed off.

Sweet!!! No loss of the inked image after soaking and scrubbing. I promise I’m not working for these guys and trying to promote their product because I’m getting kick backs. These experiments are mostly to settle my own curiosity and to understand the limits of this weird material before making things out of it.

kraft-tex, washing, stamping, DIY, product labels
Step 5: Let dry. All finished! After the abuse there was no loss of the inked image nor did the Kraft-Tex break down.

I let them dry overnight, and the results were pretty awesome. They turned more ‘supple’ like leather, but there was no loss of the stamped image, nor did they break down. I’m pretty happy to use these as product labels that won’t degrade if they need to get wet. Nor does the laundry ink smear or fade after washing.

Bits and Bobs, Unfinished Projects

The past few months have been rather quiet, with regard to working on anything business or craft wise. I can’t really say the same for other aspects of my life! Work has been busy (which is good, considering the Newcastle economy is a bit crap), Pat is off to do his training until September-ish, and I’ve been staying away for work quite a bit.

But anyways! Enough excuses. After a few weekends spent catching up on doing household tasks that I’ve been neglecting (say, a rotting pile of wood/banana leaves/weeds that have been piled onto the driveway for a few months and were starting to smell), I’ve gotten the proper mind-set to actually accomplish things. Little things, but things none the less.

Sometimes we have to realise those little things add up and eventually snow ball into something great. I’m still at the stage of watching the snow accumulate on the ground (a rather slow and agonising process let me tell you), but I’ve managed to finish off two relatively small projects that I’ve managed to drag across the pond and in through many many house moves before actually spending the 30 minutes to finish them.

small accomplishments, unfinished projects, plushie, monster, DIY, crafting, felt, sewing
While organizing some bits and bobs from my stash I found a plastic baggie containing two half finished projects… a plush doggie and a wee square monster! No time like the future to finish them… Small accomplishments.
crafting, sewing, DIY, plushie, monster, felt
Basically all I had to do for this guy was finish sewing on the eyes and sew him all up! Isn’t that fabric amazing? I bought it during the poor high school years. Yeah, most people were saving their part time job money to buy booze or food, and I was splurging on fabric.
dog, plushie, felt, stuffed, craft, DIY, sewing
The dog took a bit more time, but really, after everything is planned and cut, it doesn’t take that much time to sew everything together. Here he is all stitched up, waiting to be stuffed like a family lined up a Ryans buffet.
unfinished projects, plushies, felt, crafting, DIY, sewing
Well, here it is, a whole half an hour worth of work to finish some wee projects that I’ve been carting around for a few years now.

Craft Room Organizing and Stash Show and Tell

I haven’t really been much lately for doing things around the house… My excuse is that I’ve been in and out of the house since March, half living up on Ballina and other jobs. I got it in my head to at the very least unpack all my craft stuff and take stock of all the things I haven’t touched in a while!

Olive Tree Markets, fabric stash, remnants, Japanese cotton, craft room
Some Japanese cotton fabric remnants I got from the Olive Tree Markets
Fabric stash, fat quarters, Amy Butler, IKEA, craft room, unorganised
Old fabric stash, mostly from the US which I brought over in my suitcase.
fabric stash, craft room, unorganised, so much pretty fabric
Other fabric stash, mostly from Australia ($$$$) and the bottom one’s are from IKEA
Japanese cotton fabric, Nippori Fabric Town, stash, craft room
Stash of Japanese Fabric from Nipori Fabric Town (Tokyo)
craft room, fabric, stash, unorganized
Craft room 1.0 before the move, showing my swathes and swathes of fabric yet to be touched

The finished product (if you can even tell)! This is all a very moot point, because the room will have to be cleared out eventually to make room for a housemate when Pat leaves for his pilot training (sob sob sob). But I’ll take it while it lasts! Not like I will do anything, but hey…

What is Kraft-Tex Paper ‘Leather’ and how to treat it

Kraft-tex, fabric
Kraft-tex drying after being washed

I won’t lie, this stuff tripped me out when I first saw it. I was walking through Byron and little shop had these massive leather tote bags in all sorts of metallic colours. The shop owner saw me touching them (because I’m like a 4 year old and have to feel everything shiny), and asked if I knew what is was made of.

“Feels like painted leather” I said.

“Nope, it’s paper!” She replied, smiling as the shock moved across my face.

What. The. Hell.

I spent that entire night frantically googling this mystical material.

The makers of bags are called Uashmama (who have a whole range of cool things), and call it ‘washable paper’. It feels exactly like leather, but it’s a manufactured paper product that’s a vegan alternative to cow hide. I’ve even seen their stuff pop up in Newcastle now, at one of my favourite Hunter Street shops, Studio Melt. I don’t know exactly their source, but commercially it’s available as Kraft Tex (or KraftTex, Kraft-Tex depending on where you look).

But with some more research, I discovered that this isn’t some new technological miracle, it’s been around for ages. If you own a pair of jeans with a leather name tag on the back, it’s probably not leather, but this Kraft Tex.

Of course I bought some. It comes in bolts like fabric, but feels like card stock. The website said to wash it once to give it a bit of texture. So this weekend, I decided to see what happened when I washed a bit. I didn’t send them through the machine, but soaked them in boiling water for ten minutes. After they became soft, I crumpled them and molded them a bit to get that rough texture. After drying, as if by some miracle, it turned into a really supple leathery material!

The next level is seeing how well this takes fabric paint. I bought some silver over the weekend, and in my head I have some really cool accent pieces for tote bags I want to do.

Japanese Seed Bead Wrap Necklaces and Packaging

Full disclosure: I’m not a jewelry person. I haven’t worn earrings since a New Years party… Nearly a year ago (side note, damn this year has gone fast). Necklaces for me are tiny neck prisons that always threaten to snag on an unseen nail somewhere and strangle me to death.

I felt this up until I started my recent purging and Ebaying of the majority of my crap in an effort to de-clutter. While cleaning out those IKEA drawers to get them ready for painting, I found an old necklace I made YEARS back.

seed beads, necklace, glass beads, wood beads, multi strand
First necklace I ever made!

It was my first attempt at making jewelry that didn’t involve embroidery floss and knitting. I thought it was pretty cool and I remember wearing it a few times! It was delicate enough to where it didn’t annoy me, was green, and asymmetrical (I’m not a fan of symmetry). Not blowing smoke up my butt, but I thought it was pretty cool 🙂

I became inspired to make the same style necklace, but also be able to have variable lengths depending on what mood you happened to be in. Long flapper style, doubled up, or 3 layers of a choker style. They can also be wrapped around your wrist/ ankle as a layering bracelet!

So, while messed up from my recent orthodontic adventures (re: not going outside because I look like a TMNT villain) I made one and became addicted. I ordered a fat stack of very nice seed beads and other bits from Fire Mountain Gems ($15 flat rate shipping to Oz, whoop whoop!) and went into production…

More photos of them later, when I can model (aka I’m not a hot mess from spending the day in the sun doing chores and crap) and show them off. But for now, here’s the packaging that I came up with!

product packaging, wrap necklace, DIY packaging, jewelry packaging
Wrap necklace packaging, version 1 (embroidery floss spool inspired)

Keeping with the “wrap” theme I modeled them off of embroidery floss bobbins. When I get the stamps I’ll put the logo and art on them.

product packaging, wrap necklace, DIY packaging, jewelry packaging
Wrap necklace packaging, version 1 (embroidery floss spool inspired)
product packaging, wrap necklace, DIY packaging, jewelry packaging
Wrap necklace packaging, version 1 (embroidery floss spool inspired)
product packaging, wrap necklace, DIY packaging, jewelry packaging
Wrap necklace packaging, version 1 (embroidery floss spool inspired); this is my favourite one!

The shadows are pretty awful since its so late in the day, but, oh em gee that orange…

Saturday Project: IKEA Moppe (or Fira / Mackis) Chest of Drawers Makeover

I think anyone who lives within a fifty mile radius of IKEA has one of these:

IMG_0068.JPG

The classic IKEA wee chest of drawers that’s had a few names over the years. I think I bought mine when they were called a Fira, but they were also sold under the guise of a Moppe or Mackis. At any rate, I’m sure you have one banging around your house somewhere, most likely filled with random tatt as mine once were.

Continue reading Saturday Project: IKEA Moppe (or Fira / Mackis) Chest of Drawers Makeover

Saturday Project: Before and After Dumpster Find Mannequin

mannequin, dumpster dive, repurpose, DIY, recycling, spray paint
Dumpster dive mannequin find before and after spray paint

I will go on and admit my secret shame: I dumpster dive. Not as much as I did back in the States, but if I see something interesting in the trash I have no shame picking it up. Australians also seem very good at putting their “nice trash” outside the dumpster… Council Clean Up Day, anyone!?

When I lived in downtown Newcastle the back entrance to my place was an alleyway where all the shops would dump their trash and it would sit for weeks before they got it emptied. Awesome for when my partner wanted to make seating for the veranda out of palettes, not so cool when it piled up and you couldn’t open the gate.

But I digress. One day I found this little gem shoved awkwardly in the side of the dumpster, probably by the guys who ran a t-shirt printing business at the end of the alley.

I carried it back up to the apartment much to the shock and horror of my partner.

Something needed to be done with it. I had all of these lofty ideas to paint it, put all sorts of designs on it, decupouge, cover in fabric or duct tape… None of this ever happened. I hauled it from one house to the other, thinking it would eventually go in the bin again.

I got some kick up the ass when I was home for a weekend and figured the very least I could do was spray paint it. One trip to Bunnings and $7 lighter, I had a can of blue spray paint.

I went to town on this thing. The partner tried to give me a few pointers (which I promptly ignored, even though he is amazing at anything DIY), and in about an hour it was done.

One thing I will recommend: clean off any marker before starting! I gave the mannequin a good wash but couldn’t get off the permanent market. I should have dissolved it with something to get it off, because as I was spraying the marker would dissolve from the paint. I wound up just giving it a first coat and letting it dry for a few hours but I could have saved myself some time and some of the nightmarish imagery.

Saturday Project: DIY Organic Lip Balm

lipbalm_jb

I’ve been wanting to make my own lip balm for a WHILE now, because it seems like one of the easiest things to do in the world. I was dabbling with the idea of going commercial (HAR HAR HAR) but it’s been put aside for now since I’m away for work so much.

I made two relatively large batches (I think it was 8 of the bergamot and 6 of the lemongrass) and gave them to the Unsuspecting Partner and a bunch of mates. Results are in and they like it! The bergamot went over relatively well!

So, this is piss easy to make. Seriously. I don’t know why everyone and their mom doesn’t do it. From scouring the internet I used this basic ratio:

  • 2 parts coconut oil
  • 1 part beeswax
  • 1 part shea butter
  • 0.25 parts ‘nice oil’ (such as sweet almond/avocado/macadamia)
  • 2-5 drops essential oils
  • 1 to 5% vitamin E (this helps to act as a natural preservative)

I made approximately 100mL of lip balm, so I used this basic recipe*:

*Note that I used mL and g interchangeably at 1:1, which I know isn’t scientifically correct, but for this application I really didn’t give a crap.

Steps

1. Assemble tools (measuring spoons, scale, glass Pyrex bowl for mixing ingredients, pots for lip balm, spoon for mixing). Wash everything like it’s going out of style; I’m talking hot water, soap, the works. Dry thoroughly, because introducing water to beauty products is like asking to cover your face in mold. It isn’t okay.

2. Measure out ingredients. I used a scale to measure the solid items and just kitchen tablespoons to measure the liquids. Note that once you use tools for beauty products, they should ONLY BE USED FOR BEAUTY PRODUCTS. I know you can eat all of the ingredients, but still, cross contamination with food/things you put on your skin, kind of wigs me out.

3. Melt the coconut oil, beeswax, liquid oil and shea butter in a double boiler (Pyrex container in a pan of simmering hot water). Don’t have it as a rolling boil because it may splash and you will not have fun after that. Stir until the mixture is entirely melted and clear. This will most likely take longer than you think, as the last few bits of the beeswax took forever to melt in mine!

4. Take Pyrex out of double boiler. Add essential oil and vitamin E. Stir stir stir!

5. Pour into container of choice. If the mixture starts to harden, put it back in the double boiler until liquid again.

6. Cover containers (foil, plastic wrap, clean tea towel) and let sit for 4 to 6 hours or until hard.

See, super simples? Next time I make a batch I will be sure to include pictures of the process, even though there’s like a billion tutorials already on the internet. I just feel like everyone should be able to see my hideous 80’s designed rental house kitchen.

You should also check out my Instagram!

Saturday Project: Dresser Before and (somewhat) After

dresser, furniture, DIY, before and after, furniture sanding
Before and after of my free (thanks Sally!) wood dresser

Sanded the hideous varnish off of this dresser a mate gave me, and probably got cancer in the process from breathing in the varnish dust.

After sanding everything (stopping frequently to blow the varnish dust out of my nose and think about my life choices), I added a coat of Danish oil to seal and protect the wood. Just waiting on some hardware! I went the way of the EBay for some “cup” pulls, rather than a local distributor, because $2 for a pull was a bit more economical than $25 each pull for the EXACT SAME THING (I kid you not).

Seriously, Australia. Not cool.