Craftcation 2018 Recap

I’m sure the world is wondering… “Sabrina, how was Craftcation? Was it really as good attending the 2nd time around?”

The Answer: YES! Returning to Craftcation as an alum was a very different experience than going as a first timer, but it is just as magical, energizing, and inspirational as the first time. Its now been 2 months since I returned from the conference, and I still get warm fuzzies thinking back to those 4 days.

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To refresh your memory on what I’m talking about, you can check out my post about last year’s experience here.

Here are a few things I did differently this year:

  • I was an ambassador! Dear Handmade Life takes applications every year for ambassadors, basically those of us who CANNOT shut up about Craftcation. I was SO honored to be selected. The cherry on top was being gifted an ADDITIONAL swag bag upon check in. It was pretty epic.
  • I took more business classes than crafting classes. I know, I know, it sounds crazy! But there are SO MANY accomplished and successful presenters that teach every year, and I found myself not being able to resist the business sessions.
  • I rented a car. The train was a fun adventure last year, and there’s always a shuttle for those who didn’t bring a car, but I wanted a little more flexibility this time around. I’m so glad I did! I got to do some fabric shopping in LA the day I arrived and some sightseeing on my last day there. (I also lost my phone on the Rental Car Shuttle, but that’s a whole other story…)
  • I skipped class. But to be fair, they recommend you skip a class or two! Last year I scheduled something for EVERY session, but this year I consciously scheduled in a few open slots. I used that time to go to the beach one morning, to make the obligatory trip to Superbuzzy for fabric shopping, and to check out a few breweries.
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Beer Flight at Topa Topa Brewing. Succulent centerpieces were on point.

Some other highlights (since I seem to be sticking to last year’s post format…) :

  • Laughing and crying (simultaneously) at the Bust Through Imposter Syndrome panel.
  • Experiencing my very first Earthquake! We were in the middle of our Etsy Think Tank when the room started vibrating vigorously. Luckily I was in a room full of West Coasters who knew what was going on.
  • Spotting a Tsunami warning sign the next day at the beach. (If I’d seen it before the earthquake I’d have been a nervous wreck!)
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Don’t worry. She’s not running away from a tsunami.

  • Getting distracted while taking a boomerang on the beach, getting splashed by a rogue wave, and having to go back to the room to change my wet leggings. (oops)
  • Taking a class with Debbie Stoller, then teaching her how to make friendship bracelets later that day!
  • Iron Craft Ventura. A.ma.zing. The hosts were hilarious and the crafting was impressive!!! I’m so happy this existed and I was able to witness it.
  • Getting a tattoo. Ok, it was a fake, but the experience was legit…aside from the fact that the tattoo parlor was a hotel room. It started with a shot of bourbon at the door, involved sterilization of the tattoo site, and latex gloves. I’d say that’s pretty legit. (Also, I for real want a scissor tattoo now.) Oh, I should probably mention this was part of Wanderings (see last year’s post for an explanation).
  • Another Headshots session with Sarah Deragon. The lead up to this was a bit of a rollercoaster and I almost ended up canceling the session a few days before. I’m so happy I didn’t. Sarah is a magician and even a bit of a therapist without realizing it.

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  • My solo Beer Trip. The beer nerd in me was singing as I drove down the highway to Oxnard, and my introvert heart was so happy to enjoy a little bit of quiet time away from the party.
  • Beach House Tacos with Robin. I randomly roomed with Robin last year, and we kept in touch and decided to room together again this year. It was so nice to be able to wrap up our Craftcation experience before heading our separate ways.

The beauty of attending Craftcation as a 2nd timer (or, I would imagine, as a 3rd, 4th, or 5th timer…) is you’ve already gotten the basics under your belt. You know the venue (shoutout to Ventura Beach Marriott!), you know more or less how things run, and chances are this time you know a few people!

For me, my 2nd year gave me a chance to look at the event with more focused eyes. Last year got me fired up to kick my business back into gear. This year I’d had an opportunity to put some of that learning into place and think to myself “what’s next?!” I took advantage of office hours, tried to make new friends (have I mentioned everyone is SO friendly?!), and meet some of the people I was already stalking on Instagram.

(Next year: convince the organizers to make a yearbook so I don’t have to feel so awkward when I creep over to ask “hey, are you @XXXX on Instagram?”)

Have you ever been to Craftcation? If so, what were some of your highlights from 2018?

 

 

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Dino Planters

I have what one would call a “black thumb”. You know those articles about plants that anyone can keep alive? Yeah, I’ve killed them all.* So it should come as no surprise that I’ve been wanting to get myself an air plant. They’re supposed to be good for indoor air, and they’re impossible to kill.**

The only problem? I’m super cheap. I’ve seen the adorable planters and hanging planters in stores, but I can’t bring myself to spend double digits on them. Plus, I always get the nagging thought “you could totally make that yourself!”

When I finally spotted a couple cute dinosaurs at the Dollar Tree, I knew it was time to make myself a Dino Planter!

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Materials needed:

  • Cute rubber dino. It needs to stand on its own, so no squishy ones. Other figures work too, it doesn’t have to be a dinosaur!
  • Box Cutter (there may be a more elegant/efficient way to do this, but this is what I used.)
  • Spray paint. (any color! make sure it says it’ll adhere to plastic)
  • Pebbles/weights (Optional. to make sure your dino is stable and that your plants won’t drop all the way down)
  • Air Plants. They actually sell these on Amazon and even Target, but if you’re like me and live in South Florida you may be able to find some in the wild. (Might I recomment Matheson Hammock park? It may or may not be where I got mine…)

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Step 1: Cut an air plant sized hole into the top of your dino. Be careful to cut AWAY from yourself and watch where you have your fingers. You don’t want blood on your dino! You want to have your air plants in hand before doing this, to make sure they’re going to fit nicely. (Leave space for the air plants to “breathe”.)

Some tips: If you’re doing this project with kids….please don’t let them do the cutting! Depending on your dino it could be pretty tough. My technique for making the hole started with some gentle stabbing motions, followed by slicing. (Its must easier to slice through the plastic once you have the cutter in there.)

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Step 2: Spray paint your dino. (You know the drill….make sure you’re in a well ventilated area and protect anything in the vicinity that you don’t want painted. Like your grill, for example.) Wait the recommended drying time before handling again.

Step 3: Throw in some of those pebbles/weights into the dino hole. Doesn’t have to be filled all the way, just enough to keep the dino from toppling over.

Step 4: Nestle your air plant into its new home.

Place Air Plant in Dino

And voila! Your dino planter is done!

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*The zizi plant is an excellent suggestion for my fellow black thumbs. I’ve had two that have survived “droughts”, and they even do well in low light situations!

**As I have since learned, air plants need maintenance too….they need to be soaked and then dried every week or so. That sounds manageable, I think…

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Happy National Spaghetti Day!

Did you know today is National Spaghetti Day?

Yeah, I didn’t either…but now that we do know, I wish you a good one!

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What is it, meatball?

 

To make these cuties all you need is scissors, some felt in white (cream), red, and brown, a little bit of polyfill,  felt glue (for the eyes and mouth), and a needle and thread.

Step 1: Cut 1/4″ strips from the white felt (cream, really) until you have a plateful. I had five 36″ strips. (I used the felt that is sold by the yard, not sheets.)

Step 2: Cut the spaghetti sauce shape out of red felt.

Step 3: Cut 2 circles from the brown felt. Mine were 3″. With a needle and thread make a running stitch along the border of the circle (about 1/8″ from the edge). Place a wad of polyfill in the center, then gather and stitch the opening closed.

To make the eyes I used scraps of white and black felt, but you can also use embroidery!

 

Bon Appetit!

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Glittersaurus

Confession time: I’m not a huge fan of glittery stuff. I prefer a shiny gold anything, any day. (Sequins don’t count. I love sequins…) However, the moment I set my eyes on these little wooden dinosaurs at the Target dollar spot I knew they were destined to become Glittersauri. (That’s the plural for Glittersaurus, obviously.)

 

These kits are meant for 3 year olds, so lucky for me it was quite easy. Although matching the numbers to the parts seems more suited for a 5 year old if you ask me.

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I sprayed all three dinosaurs with a white base coat, which gave me a smooth surface before proceeding to the glitter. For the first Glittersaurus I attempted I just went straight into the purple glitter paint, and that was a mistake. It took quite a bit of spraying to get full coverage, and I ended up running out of spray paint before I got the coverage I wanted! The proper way to go about this would’ve been to make the base coat the same color as the glitter paint. (Duh.)

I set about to do the next Glittersauri properly. I picked out pearly pink and teal acrylic paints from my stash that matched perfectly, and went to work. It took me FOREVER to finish the base coat on these two dinos.  There’s a lot of little nooks and crannies and my OCD side wanted to be sure there was not a single speck left unpainted. My impatient side eventually won, so don’t inspect them too closely.

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(My boyfriend asked me why I didn’t spray paint all the pieces before assembling. My answer: 1) because I didn’t think of that, and 2) I actually think the paint would add too much bulk and make it harder to fit the pieces together. Plus 3) spraying them afterwards kinda helps seal those seams a little. At least I think so.)

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So there you have it! My Glittersauri!

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Party with Plaid Crafts

Every crafty girl needs a crafty girl gang.

Case in point: when Plaid Crafts and Craft Box Girls selected me to receive a Plaid Party Kit for 4 I knew exactly who I was going to party with!

I invited my friends Paola (of Dapper Animals), Andrea (of Vintage Unicorn), and Nabila (of One Tiny Dinosaur) to party with me.

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Plaid Crafts sent me 4 boxes with 4 full sets of supplies (!!) from their FolkArt line to decorate a pallet coaster.

Each kit included:

  • 1 pallet coaster
  • 2 stencils (1 geometric pattern, 1 alphabet)
  • 1 set of paint brushes
  • 2 Brushed Metal Paints (Brushed Antique Gold and Brushed Rose Gold)
  • 2 Pickling Wash Paints (Sea Glass and Gypsy Rose)
  • 1 stencil brush
  • 1 roll stencil tape
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Project kit from Plaid Crafts featuring products from their FolkArt line.

The kit was accompanied by instructions on different ways to use the products, including using stencils and creating ombre effects with the Pickling Wash.

I’d never used a Pickling Wash before, and I must say I really liked it! Its designed with porous materials in mind, making it perfect for our wood coasters. You paint your surface, then after about 30 seconds you wipe off the excess paint to give it a light wash of color. Some of the girls experimented with repeating the process and keeping the paint on longer times to achieve a darker color.

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Andrea’s Pickling Wash in action

Our favorite effect to create was the ombre. It takes a little bit of practice, but when perfected, that transition from Sea Glass to Gypsy Rose is just gorgeous!

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Paola’s awesome ombre using the Pickling Wash paints

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Did I mention the good quality brushes??

I was super happy that they sent us two stencils to try out. I loved the letters and the geometric pattern allowed me to add a little something extra without having to freehand any designs.

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Alphabet stencil on Nabila’s coaster

My favorite product (aside from the brushes…I was so impressed by the quality!) was the brushed metallic paints. I had a hard time choosing between the gold and rose gold so, inspired by the girls making ombre coasters, I made a subtle ombre that went from Antique Gold to Rose Gold with the stencil.

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My new glue gun coaster.

We stuck to using the materials supplied with the kit 99% of the time, only breaking from that when one of us used a fine tipped pen to make an illustration on one of the coasters. (How cute is that chubby dinosaur?!)

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We had so much fun with our Plaid Craft Party!

What would you make with a party kit of your own?

A huge thanks to Craft Box Girls and Plaid Crafts for sending me the complimentary party kit!

If you’re looking for a crafty girl gang and would like to join us, we’ll be hosting crafternoons in the future! Follow us at The Imposter Collective to be the first to hear about it!

LOTR Brunch: Gandalf the Grey-ish

Last Sunday’s Geek Girl Brunch had us making a visit to The Shire to hang out with our favorite hobbits, elves, and wizards. The theme: Lord of the Rings!

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Group shot! Photo courtesy of Geek Girl Brunch Miami

Aside from the great brunch (Thanks Ms. Cheezious!) GGB is always a fun opportunity to dress up, whether in casual cosplay, serious costuming and props, or anything in between.

I landed somewhere in between as Gandalf the Grey. I wanted to keep my costs low while still making an effort to get crafty. My solution: a grey dress I already had, a self-made fleece hat (Gandalf’s signature wardrobe piece, duh) and a grey “cloak”.

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That’s me! Gandalf, sans staff. Photo by Melificent

My so-called “cloak” was made by simply taking a rectangle of fleece, gathering the corners, and pinning them to my dress around the shoulders. Done! (#lazycosplay)

I put a bit more effort into the hat since I wanted it to be the defining piece of the outfit (although if someone shows up in grey to a LOTR event, you’re kinda going to guess that they’re Gandalf….) After reviewing several pictures of Gandalf from the movie and random cosplayers, I figured I could get the effect I wanted by making myself a “witch hat” and then bending/stuffing the cone to get the Gandalf look.

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I made the hat without a pattern, using only math as my guide…and the only math you really need to use is to determine a radius to make the brim.

While I used fleece, I’d actually recommend using something stiffer, like felt. For the brim I had to use an interfacing to keep the hat from becoming a floppy fleece beach hat.* And then because of the interfacing (it was white and wouldn’t look great exposed) I had to use a 2nd layer of grey fleece for the bottom of the brim. The trickiest part of the project was sewing the cone to the brim, but with plenty of pins and some patience (always my weak point) it didn’t turn out too terribly. 

In total I used about 2.5 yards, keeping my project under $12. I managed to wear the cloak a surprisingly long time, considering it was in the 90’s in the courtyard. I kept poking people and getting stuck in tree branches with my hat, so that was amusing.

To finish, I’ll leave you all with a picture of our swag from the brunch. Isn’t it awesome?!!

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*Now I can’t get the image of Gandalf sunbathing with his floppy fleece beach hat out of my head…

Amigurumi Baby Groot

One of the fun parts of moving is that the packing and unpacking phase can uncover stuff you forgot you ever had. (Sometimes fun, sometimes leads to anxiety.) While emptying yet another box in the craft room I discovered that I had printed off a GROOTORIAL from Twinkie Chan nearly 3 years ago!

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At the time Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol. 1) had just come out and we were all about Baby Groot. Fast forward a few years; now GOTG Volume 2 is out, and we are still all about Baby Groot. (Well, Kid Groot. Was that not the best opening sequence to a movie…ever?? Kid Groot is the best.)

Finding this pattern was a sign that it was time to whip out that crochet needle and make me a Groot!

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This project wasn’t too difficult. I ended up ditching the written pattern and following her video tutorial instead. She made a few changes in the video that worked better for me….like the size of the base, and the final size of the head. My Groot ended up slightly larger than her potted version, but smaller than the one on the video. I also skipped the vine-y bits around the torso. The hardest part was making those skinny little arms. It was so hard for me to keep track of the stitches!!

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I didn’t put my Groot in a pot since I figured he would rather be free to wander out and about.

I was right!

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Ok Groot. Can we have our Bubble Teas back now???*

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Groot, that is NOT your sushi!!*

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Has anyone else made themselves a Baby Groot (or Kid Groot?!)

If not, check out Twinkie Chan’s instructions and let me know if you make your own!!

 

*Sushi and Bubble Tea from Lan Pan in Dadeland Station. Groot’s adventuring photo shoot (and spooning partner, Link) courtesy of Nabila from One Tiny Dinosaur.