Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trying Something New

This post could also be subtitled Michelle does not need a new hobby. But she has one. 

When was the last time you learned a new skill? I have been a maker/DIYer/tinkerer for as long as I can remember. Over the years I have gravitated towards certain mediums and gotten pretty good at them (paper, fabric and ink). I have dabbled in a few things that frustrated me because it didn't come easy (sculpture, jewelry making, ahem tennis)

Guys I get OFFENDED when I start something and I am not naturally good at it. It's a patience thing. A confidence thing. Not necessarily a good thing. Can you relate? Learning a new skill can be so rewarding! Using those parts of your body or your brain that are dormant can be such a high. Picture a crossfitter who works out like crazy for three months and can FINALLY turn over a huge tire (or climb a wall, or whatever crazy things cross fitters endeavor to achieve). That's an amazing feeling!

Not that I would know about flipping over tires. I am more of a tilt your cocktail glass up kind of girl.

This year I have challenged myself to learn two new skills: Photoshop and weaving.

I know....huh? What do they have to do with each other? Nothing except I don't know much about either. I might talk more about Photoshop in the future, but basically I didn't learn the program in school and I know there are a million ways it could be useful in my business and creative endeavors. So, thru Google and a few online courses I am slowly but surely learning how to edit pictures and create graphics. If you'd like to see what I've learned I've been creating digital downloads for my shop! You can see them HERE.

Back to  weaving. 

I've done pot holders, dream catcher, god's eyes and all those crafty fiber projects in the past, but for Xmas I asked for a lap loom so I could learn to weave properly. Oh man, it is hard and FUN. One of my favorite online crafters is Rachel Denbow of Smile and Wave. The past few years she has been weaving and sharing tutorials on her blog. She wrote a book last year that I promptly ordered from the library. Twice. She's an amazing teacher. (sidenote: she is teaching a workshop this weekend and ohmygod I am excited to attend. I will try not to fan girl, and learn as mush as I can. I'll share pictures next week!)

So far I have only created one proper wall hanging. I don't even think I'll hang it up. It was really just a sampler. As you can see I tried several knots, shapes, stitches. 

Some of it looks like a hot mess BUT I DID IT! 

 There was a couple of time (while pulling out a row or two) that I was so frustrated. WHY THE HECK AREN'T I GOOD AT THIS. Why is this more like an hourglass less like a rectangle. I lost count on a pattern a million times. But, it was that good kind of frustration! and there are actually a few parts of the design I really like: - The fringe at the bottom (called rya knots?) was fun to add. The black, gray an white yarn was a bit thicker and created 'bubbles'. I liked that effect..

 When I teach a workshop I always tell people ' everyone is a beginner once!' and 'you can definitely learn to do this!' Because they can! And the satisfaction of making something with your own two hands is amazing. And addicting.  And so good for you.

So, I'll practice. I'll take this workshop and see where this medium takes me. Maybe it will lead to new handmade products to sell. Or maybe I will only pull it out when I want a new 'something' to decorate my home. Insert witty quote about the journey being more important than the destination. 

What was the last thing you tried to learn? Was it hard or did it come easy to you? Was it a one time for fun activity or something you have kept up with? I'd love to hear about it! 

See you soon

Monday, June 12, 2017

Easy Tassel Earrings DIY

Hello friends! 

 I was doing a little online browsing and came across these really fun tassel earrings and fell in love- except they didn't come in the color I wanted. I was inspired to try and make them myself and a new workshop idea was born! 

You can reserve your seat for the June 29th in person workshop HERE, but if you are not local I put together a short tutorial so you can join the fun from home. I also recorded the process and wanted to share my first video! (find that on my YouTube Channel HERE)  I have wanted to share videos here forever, but I was really intimidated. I don't have a great video camera or microphone and so I put it off. Well, I did some short videos for National DIY Day and it was so empowering! Those videos gave me a little nudge to just DO IT. It is NOT perfect and it definitely took more than one take to get it right - but, hey I can only get better, right? Please enjoy and I hope to share more videos with your over the summer.

Let's get going on our earrings, shall we?

Supplies Needed (affiliate links to Amazon): small scissors, needle nose pliers, thick embroidery floss, earring hardware, a piece of stiff paper (cut to desired length of earring). You will only need ONE skein of floss and 2 sets of earring hardware. All these supplies can found at local craft stores! 

1. Trim your stiff paper to the length you want your earring to be.Mine was about 3 inches. Wrap embroidery floss around paper as many times to achieve thickness desired for tassel. Do NOT separate strands of floss like you do with embroidery. I wrapped my floss about 30 times (you'll see in the video I just kind of eyeballed it, lol)

2. Cut floss, set paper aside. Cut a second piece of floss to about 20 inches. 

3. Take that second piece and tie short end to top of tassel while it is still on the card. Gently slide wrapped floss off paper, keeping it together with your fingers.

4. Hold tassel in one hand and take the long end of second piece in the other. Wrap it around the tassel about 10-11 times to create the top of the tassel. Go slow and make sure each wrap is tight.

It should look like this! 

5. This part can be a bit tricky - wrap the long end around one last time loosely, then tuck the end into the wrap and pull to tighten. That will secure the floss without using glue or any other adhesive! Once your wrap is secured, trim the loose end of the tassel to your finished length.

6. Using pliers, attach two jump rings and earring back to knot on top of tassel.

7. Now is the time to SQUEAL, because these are TOO CUTE and you made them with your own two hands. YAY YOU!

Did you have fun working along? If you do make your own tassel earrings, PLEASE share a pic with me on Facebook or Instagram @hotwheelsandglueguns. I LOVE seeing what y'all make with my tutorials! Need a little more visual instruction? Why don't you check out my YouTube video?

What other DIY's would you like to see here this summer? I have a list of posts to get tarted, but I would love to hear your ideas! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message.

Thanks for stopping by, be back soon!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Back To My Scrapbook - National Scrapbook Day

The first Saturday in May is notorious around Kentucky for being DERBY DAY. If you don't live in the state, you may not know it was such a big deal.Most years I hang out with friends and watch the race, but this year I had a nasty allergy attack and it was rainy cold, so I stayed home.

Why am I telling you this? Ha! Well I spent the day updating my personal scrapbook. Used to be, I filled my scrapbook with pages and pages of paper and pictures. These days I am so busy, well I haven't had to the chance to do this in AGES. It was so much fun!  As a happy coincidence the first Satuday in May is ALSO National Scrapbooking Day - so there was lots of memory keeping talk online and folks on Instagram to share with. Have a peek at what I made (and if you want to make something similar, I linked most of the products up to an online store!):

(supplies:  paper- Photo Play, American Crafts / journalling card- old one from my stash 

Graduation Day. My oldest nephew graduated last summer! It was such a fun weekend. I had this design in my head for a while (I think I saw something similar in a magazine?) and it turned out to be a great way to add a lot of pictures in a layout that is not too 'cluttered' 

 metal flair and enamel dots from my stash)

I never have pictures from Thanksgiving, so I was so happy to get these from my cousins' FB page! About half my extended family gets together and it is a perfect day. I found a craft kit from A Beautiful Mess that I had for maybe a year (I actually had forgotten I had it!) and it was perfect for this occasion.

cards from an old A Beautiful Mess kit gold crosses - from my stash)

Each month in my scrapbook starts with a pocket page like this. I use it to add random pictures, and pictures of my family that they shared online. I love including updates from their lives in my book! Bottom left is my beautiful niece (far right) on her homecoming night! Bottom right is another niece with my dad and his wife on a weekend in Gatlinburg. Top right, two nephews and a niece just being very photogenic = ).

It may have been a bummer of a Derby Day, but it was a pretty good day pulling out my paper and glue! SO, are you a scrapbooker? Did you make anything this weekend? Do tell!