Paracord Possibilities!

Did you miss me yesterday? Well, I’m telling you the lazy days of summer are not LOL! OK, I have to be honest, they are a bit lazy because I have had time to whip up these beauties using my hubby’s stash of parachute cord:

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The best thing is that my kids love making these too! I’ll be showing you a paracord bracelet with a feminine twist later this week, maybe even tomorrow if I have my act together;) Paracord is very easy to work with, it is strong which means our paracord creations can be undone in a survival situation and you have several feet of rope at your disposal and the cord is durable, it won’t fray if you burn the ends and it has a bit of “slip” to it so it is great to learn knot tying and macrame techniques. It is also easier to handle then braiding cord for young jewelry makers. Also, it is rugged and manly, boys won’t mind a “survival” bracelet, key-chain or zipper pull! Now that I have sold you on the power or paracord here is a quick tutorial to show you how to make a paracord ball key-chain:

When you are buying paracord don’t go to the craft store unless you want to get ripped off.  Go to a military supply store where it is much cheaper (100 feet for about $7 vs. Joann 16 feet for $2.49) Joann also sells the little balls we just made for $3 each. Aren’t you glad you saw this before you bought one;)

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So if you want to make a necklace leave an 8″ tail when you make your ball. After the ball is made hold the cord around your neck to determine the length you want and cut both ends to length.  Burn one end (remember this is a adult only job and use the blue part of the lighter flame so you don’t discolor the cord) and quickly attach a small ribbon end. I am really excited because I have a use for all of the small ribbon ends I have leftover from the Blue Moon multipacks I buy, I always use up the larger ones but not the little ones, yay!

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Attaching the clasp is another adult job, not that is is dangerous but if you are anything like me you will be using language you do not want your children to hear when attaching the small barrel clasps and split rings. Why barrel clasps and split rings then, you ask? Here’s why, A split ring is like a jump ring on steroids, it has two wraps of wire (like a teeny key ring) so there is no open area or weak spot. If I used a jump ring on the ribbon end chances are the thin metal loop would wiggle it’s way through the split in the ring. Also where the split ring attaches to the swivel loop on the barrel clasp you want the thickness of the 2 wraps to keep that from slipping off as well. Why a barrel clasp? Well, honestly I don’t care for them very much but I always seem to have a ton of them, they come in jewelry grab bags and finding kits and I am pretty sure they breed and multiply in my storage box when I am not looking. Also the barrel clasp is very small, easy to close and plain so good for these unisex necklaces. I highly recommend investing in a pair of split ring pliers if you plan on using split rings very often, or if you need to open key rings a lot to save wear and tear on your fingernails. I bought mine at Joann with a coupon, it was the bead buddy brand and it was only $10 regular price. No need to spend a ton. They are worth their weight in rescued fingernails! 😀

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So here is the way I attached the clap to the necklace, sorry about the above tangent…

  1. Burn ends of cord and attach ribbon ends with nylon jaw pliers.
  2. Attach split rings to each ribbon end.
  3. Open loops on barrel clasp by twisting with small pliers (the same way you open a jumpring) and attach to the split ring, close the loops and make sure they are secure.

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I explain how to attach the ball to a key ring in the video. To finish the key ring trim the cord 1/4″ from knot, burn ends and press into knot to secure by melting. If you notice some of the white core of the cord showing you can touch it up with a permanent marker. Classy.

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I think I will get some white and dark green cord and make 2 toned necklaces in girl scout colors and school colors too. I love the look of the neon cord too, a very “in” trend in jewelry and fashion this year not to mention that nautical inspired jewelry is very hot right now, I think I need to find some anchor clasps and charms! Oh the possibilities of paracord!

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Let me know if you have any questions and til next time happy crafting!

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Circus Dogs & More Moldy-Oldie Fun!

Howdy friends! I spend most of my free time over the last couple of days trying to get my studio under control. The summer is hectic, the kids are home, packages arrive, projects get done but not put away and there there was the rummage sale (ever notice how rummage sounds like rubbish?) where I picked up a garbage bag full of wool felt and various other craft supplies for $2…wow, that is a lot of piled up craft-crap to deal with! So then I sorted, and put away, came up with a great way to store my fabric (the felt is in a plastic tote and nice and flat…until I pull out a piece from the bottom and it is a mess again, clearly the felt situation needs more consideration but that is for another day!)

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When I was cleaning and sorting I cam across another moldy-oldie tool I loved called the colorbox stylus with moldable tips. Wow, this is fun, you heat the tips with a light bulb, press it to a texture such as a stamp (I used the bubble background from Lost Coast Designs) or embossing folder and you have a cute shaped stamp. Don’t worry, you can also do this with cheap kids foam blocks from the dollar store! Why am I gabbing? Just watch the video! We will make this card from start to finish and drag out other oldies but goodies too!

Fun huh? I love the crepe paper and stenciling too, it is great when we can mix and match old with new and come up with a look that is all out own dontcha think?

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You can find the Circus Dogs stamp set from Lost Coast Designs here. So, what old tool or supply have you used lately? Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Tips for stubborn stickers and stamps!

Don’t you hate it when your supplies won’t behave? Maybe you have had a stash of stickers lying around for a couple years but when you go to use them they are firmly stuck to their backing paper…or maybe it is a beautiful photo realistic detail stamp that won’t stamp right? Well, I have 2 tips for you to solve those problems in today’s video!

In case it was not clear the silverware peices were stickers I bought 10 years ago when I first started scrapbooking. I bought them for a scrapbook page of my son eating his first baby food. These were leftover from that page and too nice to toss so I kept them. They are metal actually but the tip of heating the stickers with a heat gun will work for any stickers or self adhesive embellishments (just make sure the embellishments won’t melt with the heat!) Also it is a great way to remove price stickers from items! The braying ink tip is one I’ve used for a while, it is really useful if you have only traditional dye based pads. I use this trick when stamping any stamp with a lot of stippling (tiny dots) such as photo realistic stamps and stampscapes and sometimes the really detailed House Mouse Stamps! Nobody likes to waste expensive cardstock so taking the extra minute to grab a brayer is worth it! I hope this tips help you get some use out of old stickers and troublesome stamps (geez, will it be safe to throw anything away again LOL!) and if you have any questions leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Fabric Stash Storage!

Hello friends! It rained yesterday, really rained and the kids and I were stuck inside but since I like to be home it was nice, I didn’t have great weather to feel guilty wasting;) So I hung out in my sweats and set off to tackle the ever growing baskets of fabric scraps that have accumulated in my craft room. Here is the after picture:

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Now, if you are brave…or kind…or a highly functioning hoarder like myself watch the video and see how I got my mess under control. Don’t mind the glittery sweats, we are all friends here right?

I have to say I am rather pleased with myself. I did not spend a penny and my fabric is neat and tidy and ready to use and best of all I can get the piece of cloth I want without messing up the rest of the stash.  The best part was that I was able to toss stuff I was given that I did not even like but felt like I should keep anyway. I am stopping that madness! The small scraps of fabric and felt I still like have gone into a bag and I will use it with my kids craft class next month. Tackle the stash, make it usable, toss the stuff you don’t want, make a plan for the rest! BTW if you have cloth you don’t want contact your local Project Linus and they will use the fabric to make security blankets for children in need or maybe turn the stash into a lovely quilt or blanket to donate, that way you can enjoy the cloth, create, destash and feel good;)

Have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!

Easy substitutions for healthier living;)

OK folks, I know this is not a health blog so if you just want to see a funny card and go on your way here you go:

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Stamp: Sunday International, Quote: Rita Rudner

Wow, you are still here? Great! Many of you know that i am a vegetarian, vegan actually for 19 years. I don’t harp and preach to people because it is none of my business what you choose to eat, I just want people to feel good, enjoy life and be healthy. When I told you about my husbands health scale last month you showered me with support and kindness, my husband is doing well now and I thank you for all the thoughts, prayers and good vibes sent my way. May I repay the favor? Many of you told me of your health struggles and those of your family. I think that you can make small changes to your life that will last and make big impacts to your long term health. We all know that when we go on a diet or start some unrealistic workout regime (yes, I meant to say regime and not regimen because it feels like a regime doesn’t it?) we do great for a week or so then fall off the wagon and feel like a loser, go back to bad habits and end up worse then before, clearly this doesn’t work.  Let’s start with 3 food substitutions that will save you calories, lower cholesterol and make you healthier. Think of these substitutions like health investment. Put a little away every day and in no time you have a lot saved up with interest!

  1. Old Fashioned Oats instead of other junk for breafast: A half cup of cooked oatmeal has 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 2.5 grams of fat and only 150 calories. Add milk (or soymilk) and some fresh fruit like bananas, blueberries or even applesauce for a filling yummy breakfast. You can even add a bit of brown sugar or other sweeter.  Feed this to your kids and spouse to start their day healthy too, you can gook old fashioned oats on the stove in 5 minutes, make a big pot, I really don’t think you can overdo it with this food…if so you will only do it once LOL! PS I am a fan of eating your largest meal in the morning so add in a *tofu scramble or  meat and eggs if you like.
  2. Use cooking spray instead of oil: If you are making pancakes, eggs, roasted veggies or *oven fries you can use cooking spray instead of vegetable oil or olive oil, I’m not saying that oil is bad but you can cut out a significant amount of fat and calories and no one should miss it.
  3. Recipe crumbles (Textured Vegetable Protein) in place of ground beef in recipes: Recipe crumbles are made from soybeans and they can replace meat in a recipe. You can buy them at a health food store in bulk dry and unflavored or you can get them in the freezer at the grocery store already to go. You will find them next to the veggie burgers. I recommend the Boca brand as they are vegan but if you don’t mind eggs in it you can try the Morningstar brand. I am not known for my cooking but my *vegetarian chili gets rave reviews and nobody believes there is no meat in it because I use the crumbles. I bag of frozen crumbles is about $3-$4 and will replace 1lb of browned ground beef. Try it is tacos, chili, hamburger helper type meals, chop suey, spaghetti sauce or any other recipe calling for hamburger. One serving of the Boca crumbles 13 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol and only 70 calories.

* recipes below

We all know that working out is boring and hard to stick to. However playing is fun. We did not need to be told to “go exercise” as kids, just playing was good enough. What activity do you enjoy? I love badminton, luckily my kids do to so I have a net set up in the backyard and we play a few matches a day. No. it is not as good as lifting weights but my barbels collect dust (or hold my tripod down during craft videos) but my rackets earn their keep! I also like to bike and roller-skate. Do you garden? Thoroughly clean your house? That counts too, just be active! Walk the dog, chase the chickens, swim with the kids (or just splash in the water, you are moving, isn’t it fun?!?)

OK, wait, maybe you want to do these things but you feel too out of shape or silly. It’s OK, let me give you a hug. 🙂 Put on your comfiest shoes head outside and start walking. Walk for 5 minutes, and come home. how do you feel? Can you do this every day? It only takes 10 minutes total. If you can’t do 5 minutes do 4 or 3 or 2. If 5 was no problem walk for 10 minutes, turn around and come home. If you have a dog take him with you! (same goes for a spouse!) Walking 20 minutes a day will give you such a health and weight loss boost because it is something you can do, you don’t need special equipment or a gym membership, the hardest thing is the first step. Pretty soon you will just do it, it will become habit and you won’t even think about it. You might even get to know your neighbors and have a walking buddy!

Easy Healthy Recipes! (if I can cook this so can YOU!)

Tofu scramble: (quantities and ingredients are up to your liking, that’s how I roll in the kitchen!) Spray a large frying pan with canola oil, brown onions, peppers and garlic over medium high heat then add a block of tofu (silken is lower is calories and fat but I prefer extra firm for the protein content and texture) to the pan. Mash up the tofu with the wooden spoon you stirred the onions with. Add corn, salsa, Tabasco sauce, and anything else you like. Salt to taste. Really since you are not dealing with animal products and everything here can be eaten raw you just need to heat it up so no worries.

Veggie Chili: I think chilli is an “anything goes” type of dish but here is a typical batch, you can also do this in a crock pot, just cook any onions, garlic and peppers in the pot first for 1/2 hour with a bit of oil and salt. Brown as much onion, garlic and papers as you like in a large sauce pan with a wee bit of canola oil or cooking spray over medium heat. I don’t mind oil here because it is dispersed in a  large pot of chili, it also helps break up the spice. then ad

  • one 15oz can each of corn, dark red kidney beans, black beans garbanzo beans and any other bean you like,(rinse/drain all beans first!) tomato sauce and diced tomatoes
  • cumin, chili powder, salt and Tabasco sauce.
  • 1 bag of Boca crumbles (or 1 cup dry TVP plus 1 cup boiling water to reconstitute it)

You can even dump a beer into the chili for extra flavor! Enjoy alone or over rice, potatoes or tortilla chips if you are not watching calories.

Baked No-Fat Fries: Super easy, I recommend making these when you are baking something else (like banana bread or muffins) wash 3 potatoes. Slice in 1/4″ thick rounds. spray a cookie sheet with canola oil spray. Place potato rounds in a single layer on pan. Spray potatos with canola oil and sprinkle on garlic powder and salt. Bake at 350 on bottom rack of oven for 40 minutes flipping them at 20 minutes. serve immediately! I used to make these with oil and they always burnt and stuck, the spray is better!

While the fries are baking on the bottom rack you can make weight watchers pumpkin muffins on the middle rack. A friend shared this recipe with me and it is awesome: Use an electric mixer to mix a box of spice cake mix with a large can of pumpkin. Add a cup of chocolate chips if you like, spoon into muffin cups and bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out dry, about 30 minutes. Pumpkin muffins and fries, now that’s my kind of diet!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you like the healthy vegan recipes, if nothing else you have something to feed a vegan should one come to dinner;) Happy crafting!

Make a 3-D card or gift box with the Envelobox Creator!

Howdy friends! A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to make flat envelopes with the Envelobox Creator from Crafter’s Companion. Today I will show you how to make a 3-D box with it:

Easy huh? I love how I can make cute boxes for lumpy cards or jewelry gifts. Now if only it would punch the notches for me….

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I used the Envelobox Creator to make this gift box for a pair of earrings!

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

WOYWW:Make your Own Roltap Mini Brayer!

mwahahahaha! That is the evil laugh I make when I figured out how to duplicate a store-bought tool or supply…I’ll get to that later but first here is a pic of my work-space for Whats On Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Hmm, I’m sure there is a desk under there somewhere….

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Quick Tip, see the dumbbell on the back of my tripod? The back leg is raised up so when I tip my camera down I get a straight-on birds eye view shot of my work area with little parallax (perspective) distortion. Then I can flip the video around if I need to later with no weird angles. The dumbbell keeps the tripod from tipping over. Speaking of videos here is a quick tutorial showing you how to make your own mini brayer similar to the discontinued Roltap I used in yesterdays tutorial:

Are you feeling a little bit like an evil genius too now? Go ahead and let out an evil laugh if you like, feels good huh? If you want to see what other crafty people are up to check out Julia’s blog for more WOYWW fun! Til next time happy crafting!

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