Friday, February 17, 2012

Deer Antler Project

We had the great fortune of knowing a Cherokee Indian descendant whose father hand carved recurve bow frames.  He gave us two.  One was stringed already, but more for show, which we gave to my Dad to decorate his man cave.  The other we purchased and is not yet stringed.  It has adorned our window sill in our bedroom for years.  Well, Kevin got his druthers up to hang the new curtain rods we got on clearance at Lowe's and I wanted that bow frame to be properly hung while his tools were out!  Kevin took two of his many deer antler pairs and drilled holes into the base, parallel with the main beam of the antler.  Now, he admitted to not doing it properly and it being a dangerous prospect as a result.  So, if you are going to do this, clamp the antler down, use stop blocks, whatever you need to get it out of your hand! Phew, thanks.  Anywho, now we had the quandry of how to attach it to the wall.  So, we glued, yup, glued a heavy duty nail into the hole left by the drill press.  We used Gorilla Glue because it expands to fill the space needed.  Worked like a charm.  Fletching glue doesn't work.  It is good for all sorts of other things, but this project was not one of those items.  So, once those nails were properly installed, glued and dried into the hole, you now have a sturdy base to attach to the wall, and is easily removable with no visible nail or screw heads on the front of the antler.  Then, we gently laid the bow frame to rest in its antler base.  Check it out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Upcycling Flannel Flat Sheets

So, we did another wonderful project with unused items!  I am so excited when we re-purpose items.  This time, we took flannel flat sheets that we don't use - my family is full of flat sheet haters, except for me! - and we created curtains.  For the window curtains, I just had to cut the flat sheet into 4 panels. It was the perfect size, almost exactly.  Very little waste here, as you can see in the photos.  Our windows are old, odd sized and hard to fit properly with modern curtains.  You can see the window sill peeking out form the middle of the curtain panels.
Yep, saddles are decoration in the girls' room

Ignore the unmade bed!
 Each panel fit one section of the curtain rod perfectly.  I had to cut open the sides of the top portion of the sheet to put the rod into.  So, if you look at a flat sheet, the top is folded nicely down about 4" or so and sewn.  To create the rod pocket, I opened the sides of that fold.  I cut it with pinking shears.  One of my new favorite tools, I must say!  For the two panels that came from the bottom portion of the sheet, I just folded them, pressed the seam at 4" and sewed it at the bottom of the 4" to leave the pocket open to insert the curtain rod.
Another wonderful use for flat sheets

For the other flat sheet we had, I cut open the sides of it, also, and hung it on the tension rod in the closet.  I had to cut the bottom up so it didn't lay so heavily on the floor, but that's about it.
Now, my husband keeps telling me that these all could be so much more fancy.  He told me I could add trim to the sides or bottom.  I could.  I agree.  I'm just so happy with repurposing all of these flat sheets that have laid around for years that I could burst.  Yes, my girls' room looks like easter colors, pastels.  But, they like the colors and they like the repurposed sheets.  So, they'll stay "unfancy" for now.  I'm conjuring up Caroline Ingles, making do with what is available. A stretch, to be sure, but it makes me feel connected to the old ways and more simple in nature.

I love being green!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  It feels good.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Burlap Cork Board Project

Home project #1.
I bought some burlap coffee sacks at a flea market Tuesday.  2 for $3 after my husband joked with the guy about coming down 50 cents each bag.  He was sincerely joking, but the guy sold them to me for $1.50 each happily and I was thrilled.  Both men asked me what I was going to do with them.  Don't they understand?  I don't have to have a project in mind yet, I just know I want to work with burlap.  That's good enough to spend the $3.  So, after getting home I started looking up projects.  I found a bunch.  So crafty some folks are!  I fancy myself a crafter, but really, I'm more of a copier when it comes to some things.  Or, a twister.  I take their idea, and twist it until it's mine.  
So it goes with this project.  I wanted a bulletin board for my kitchen.  One that's crafty and organized.  Her is my finished project.  Regrettably, I didn't think to make this a tutorial and take pictures of each step, so I'll post my steps instead.

I took a cardboard box, and split the sides into two equal pieces.  
Layering them opposite each other to shore up the weak spots.  
Then, I duct taped them together.  Yup, good ole' duct tape.  
I had some self adhesive cork material around, so I cut that to size, stuck it to the cardboard.  
Cut the burlap sack open, laid it on the cork, wrapped it around the edges and stapled them onto the back.  I used my husband's staple gun from his wood shop.  I love that thing and hate it.  It always seems backwards to me.  I almost stapled the floor and not my project on my first try.  
Anyhow, then I put more duct tape on the edges of the burlap on the back to keep it from unraveling more and called it good.
We tacked it up on the wall with finishing nails in each of 4 corners and one smack in the middle to keep it from bowing, since it isn't very strong in the middle.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rack Plaque Project

We have 41 items in our shop now.  It feels so gratifying just to have selection for people to look at.  The challenge is where and how to store items until they sell!  Don't worry, they are safe and sound.  But, we find small snippets of time to finish personal projects, too.  This Rack Plaque has been waiting since 2009.  The buck finally got the respect he is due.  We decided, after researching whether you could sell antler items, that we could sell our service to make this plaque.  So, we listed it as a custom order item, also.  It looks stunning with the Mossy Oak fleece.
First, my DH took Plaster of Paris to create the base and attach the antlers.  Then he sanded it into the shape and texture he wanted.  He finished the wood, wood burned the date into the bottom and set me free with it.  I cut a piece of fleece, which is thankfully stretchy and used fletching glue to secure it.  My fingers stuck together and everything!  But, the rack survived and so did I.  And, we are incredibly proud of this item.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Online Seller's Quick Guide To Fees

Hello!  I have someone asking me to list their items in my shop.  Now, they aren't really related, they are jewelry, so I'm thinking of splitting off my inventory into two categories.  But, I need to deal with explaining the fees, deciding what site is cheapest for them to use.  They aren't going to get the same benefit from Etsy as I do, for instance.  So, I'm in a decision making conundrum.  In looking at the fees to compare, I realized that it takes quite a few clicks to get all of the information.  I would have loved to find a site that details these items.  So, I thought I'd post about it.
Now, the caveats are these:  this is only a snapshot in time - the fees may have changed, so always look before you leap.  this is based on my research, for my shop, for my situation.  If you are a high volume shop, for instance, you may encounter bigger fees than I would, or smaller transaction fees, but monthly payments.
So, this is a compiled list of fees for the small crafter business as of 2/1/12 in alphabetical order to be fair.
webstore: 1 Month Free then $24.99/Month
Transaction fees for items sold on Webstore from 1.0%.  
Selling on Amazon Fees Not included
ArtFire offers 2 types of accounts: a Buyer account, and a Pro Seller account.
Pro Seller account - unlimited listings $11.95 per month
$0.50 listing fee
10% transaction fee
$0.20 listing fee
3.5% transaction fee
"Glider" - 25 product listings $9.99 / month
"Helicopter" - 250 product listings $29.99 / month
sellers pay 2.9% final transaction amount + $0.30

Yahoo! Stores
e-commerce starter $25.97 / month for first 3 months, then $39.95 / month thereafter
1.5% transaction fee on top of the monthly fee

Hope this helps!!!!!  If there are any more interesting ones, leave a comment and I'll try to add it, or at least approve it to be in the comments area!