Sunday, April 28

Update from Hawaii!

Hi friends. :) Just writing to say that I'm in HAWAII! I flew in this past Wednesday (18 hours travelling, whaaat?) and won't be back home until Friday night, Michigan time. 

So far we've walked up a mountain to Makapu'u lighthouse, trekked through the jungle to a waterfall, hung out at beachside bars, eaten delicious food, and snorkelled in Hanauma Bay!

Follow me on Instagram for updates... I'm mostly soaking in the beautiful scenery, but I'm trying to post pics too! ;) 

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Friday, April 26

Art of Patrón: Gold Dipped Bottles

Just over a month ago, I posted about the Art of Patrón contest centered around the creative reuse of Patrón tequila bottles. Examples of previous entries were beautiful, elaborate crafts (chandeliers, goblets, clocks, etc.), but I've been on a really simplistic craft-kick lately. I've been super busy with school (FINALLY DONE, YAYY!) so any quick craft has been my bread and butter. ;) 

I came up with this craft idea while I was sitting in class one day. Honestly, it seemed kind of obvious, but I liked it anyway. I had been wanting to try out Pebeo porcelaine paint for a little while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I love how they turned out... So subtly elegant, right?! 

Stuff you'll need:
Patrón bottles (found mine on eBay), Pebeo porcelaine 150, square tupperware container (larger than your bottles), cookie sheet covered in wax paper

Pour your paint into the tupperware container (I used two jars of paint, but had more than one left over). Carefully dip your bottles in the paint, tipping the tupperware if needed to get the paint higher on each side of the bottle. Let the excess paint drip off into the tupperware for a minute or so, and Place the bottles upside down on the cookie sheet. You need to keep an eye on them, as the paint may drip down the sides. I actually ended up placing the bottles right-side up on top of some old metal tealights to hold them off the cookie sheet, but you do what you feel is best. ;) After 24 hours, place your bottles in a cold oven and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Then wedge your tapers into the bottles and you've got yourself some stylin' candle holders! 

Did any of you make some upcycled Patrón bottles? If so, be sure to enter the Art of Patrón contest by April 30th! Wouldn't these be gorgeous for a centerpiece or a wedding?

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Monday, April 22

WhimseyBox String Art

As I mentioned in my WhimseyBox review post, March's project was sting art with bakers twine. While I was disappointed in the box overall, I figured I may as well use the supplies.  This project worked up quickly in an afternoon.

The box came with design templates, but I decided to make my own design in honor of my little blog (MonMakes Things = MMT). I used Adobe InDesign to make a design in the size of my wood block, printed the design, and put nails into the corners of each graphic element. Then I simply wound the bakers twine around each graphic element, tying off and gluing string ends where needed. And ta-da! 

Of course, you could change this up by staining or painting your board, using a different string material, and making your own custom design. I'm pretty happy with my little project. :) And I love having something that reminds me of the blog and my goals on display in my apartment. Of course, it still isn't the project I was hoping for from WhimseyBox, but what're ya gonna do? 

Have you ever made a string art project? Or do you want to? They're really pretty simple! 

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Friday, April 19

Whimsey Box: A Review

About two months or so ago, I heard about a company called WhimseyBox through blogland somewhere. It's another monthly subscription set-up, like UmbaBox or BirchBox, but this one contains craft supplies. And for only $15? Obviously I was more than intrigued. I spent some time browsing their website, and admittedly found some of the information to be quite vague (shipping times, supplies included, etc.). Upon receiving my first box, I think that this vagueness may have been intentional. 

First of all, my box took seemingly forever to arrive. I signed up at the beginning of March and the website said something about boxes shipping in the second half of each month. Again, quite vague... Nearing the end of March, however, I began eagerly checking my mail daily, anticipating my WhimseyBox arrival. This went on for more than a week before I received an email on March 29th informing me that my March box was "on its way" and would arrive in about 5 - 7 business days. Of course I found this a bit surprising, not to mention frustrating, but I was so excited about the concept that I let it go without too much thought. 

My box finally arrived 7 days later, on April 5th. A bit silly to receive a "March Box" in April, no? Oh well. I was thrilled to find my package on my doorstep, especially after waiting for so long to receive it. 

I opened the package to find the supposedly fabulous white Whimsey box; the company talked up this box as if it was the best box I'd ever own. Frankly, the box was nice, but relatively average. Inside the box, the contents appeared beautifully packaged. Look at that ribbon and tissue paper! Quite the buildup, no? That card under the ribbon is the advertised "art card," but is actually a rather flimsy cardstock print with project instructions printed on the back. Mine was bent, which didn't make a lot of sense since it was IN THE BOX... There was also a business card that had tape remnants on it as if it had been peeled off something else, which was odd... 

The box was advertised as being full of new and exciting products to inspire creative projects for makers. Inside, I found a block of wood and four paper template diagrams on top (instruction sheet pictured is the back of the "art card"). Underneath the wood, there were two small spools of bakers twine, two spools of wire, and a small stamped canvas pouch containing 50 small nails. The pouch reads "you're gonna nail it," and is really pretty cute. WhimseyBox suggested a string art project, and supplied everything necessary for such an undertaking. 

That said, does this look like $15 worth of supplies? Don't get me wrong, I understand that shipping and packaging is included in the cost, but I must admit that overall, I was pretty disappointed. I think that crafters are a frugal bunch, and I would be surprised if an experienced crafter and frequent user of craft coupons would spend $15 on these supplies. In fact, I had these supplies or similar ones on hand already. As an actual company, I would think that WhimseyBox was buying these supplies at a wholesale price, or that they could even get free samples from companies in exchange for advertising their product. For that reason, I cannot logically understand how this adds to $15 worth of product. 

Furthermore, I would not call the proposal of a string art project innovative. String art has been around and gaining popularity on Pinterest for at least a few years, and I would hardly call replacing string with bakers twine or wire a notable reinvention. Overall, I had hoped for more inspiration. 

The underwhelming product assortment, lack of inspiring content, and disappointing shipping time left me pretty dissatisfied. At first, I wanted to chalk it up to a bad month, understanding that the company was in the process of moving from Houston, TX, to Boulder, CO. I figured that perhaps April's box would be better, especially since due to the extremely late ship time for March's box, I was already "resubscribed" automatically for April's box. I then researched the company a bit further online, and found that March's ship time was actually a marked improvement from past boxes; shipments were reportedly very late and unpredictable while communication on behalf of the company was extremely lacking. Frankly, as time goes on, I grow more and more disappointed with the company. Yes, they're a start-up and yes, they're an indie business, but this level of disorganization is downright unacceptable for a professional company. 

I love the concept. I love the idea. I love the website and graphic design. Their social media presence is wonderful. Their ideas are innovative. But their execution? It leaves a lot to be desired. 

I suggest giving this company more time to grow before subscribing, if you choose to subscribe at all. Perhaps you will enjoy the projects more if you are a relatively novice crafter, but even still, I'm not sure that the products will be worth $15 to you. 
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Wednesday, April 17

Chicago Mini-cation!

About six months ago, my best friend moved to Chicago because she just couldn't stand to hang out with me for another second. Okay, just kidding. She moved there with her boyfriend because of his semi-swanky magazine job. So I've been telling her for months now that I'd come visit and I finally made good on that promise this past weekend. Boyfriend got a day off work and we set out on a mini-cation! Of course, if you follow me on Instagram you're seeing these photos for the second time.... So SORRY! ;) 

We walked a lot, rode the train, played free games at an arcade bar, caught up with old high school friends, took touristy photos in "The Bean," had a delicious breakfast feast, and went to the zoo! I have the blisters to prove it. They're really gross. I'm like, embarrassed at how disgusting my toes are right now. I'm just hoping they heal before I'll be sporting my sandals on the beaches of Hawaii! 

I have one more week of classes and then I'm off to the islands. I'm hoping to get some serious crafting done this weekend for y'all. I've been having blogging withdrawals with all this homework and whatnot taking priority lately... All I wanna do is make pretty things and tell you all about it! ;) 

What have you been up to, readers? Anything crafty or fun? I'd love to hear about it!

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Monday, April 8

I ♥ Crafty Friends

I love having crafty friends. I love seeing their inspiring creations and I love sharing my creations with them! I love my boyfriend, but frankly, he is not the most helpful when it comes to constructive criticism regarding my crafts. ;) So I am always excited to discuss and share new ideas, products, and content with my beloved creative soul mates. 

My former roommate, the lovely Mrs. Whitney Williams, is one of those crafty friends. She is also one of my friends whose style I know to a tee. There have been many times when I've stopped while I'm making something and thought, "Ohh, Whitney would LOVE this!" And that gets me so excited. :) I had one of those moments when I was making my crochet-along mary jane slippers and again when I was making my lacy crochet beads

Of course, as soon as I posted a photo of the slippers, Whit was smitten. She immediately wanted to order a pair, and I knew that I would be sending her lots of goodies along with them! Whitney and her husband moved across the country last summer, so much to my dismay we don't get to spend much time together these days. Just another reason I wanted to send her a bunch of super pleasant surprises via good ol' air mail. 

I ended up sending Whit the pair of slippers she wanted, a crochet heart pillow, a necklace made from my lacy crochet beads, and a teddy bear plush (new design). I didn't tell her I was sending things in addition to the slippers (uhh, that'd ruin the surprise!), so she was blown away when she got her package. She is one of those beautiful people that is so genuinely thrilled with life at times; don't you love that? 

I wanted to share Whitney's instagram photos of the package with you, just because I think they are so lovely! Of course I realize that I'm biased, ha. She gave me great feedback and suggestions that are going to help me develop better products. I am trying desperately to convince her to start a blog of her own, but alas... I haven't made much progress yet. ;) 

Do you have any trusted crafty amigos that you bounce ideas off of, or that you just love to get crafty with? Someone to help you perfect your vision?

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Friday, April 5

Bang Bang Bang

You know what I think is funny about blogs getting "quiet?" That blogs get "quiet" when life gets crazy. 

My semester is drawing to a close and I'm being slammed with final projects, group presentations, papers, and research. Oye. Just a few weeks left! Then I'm off to Hawaii on what was supposed to be a friend trip, but has turned into a solo trip. I'm trying really hard to think positively about that, focusing on all the warm sun shine I can soak up on the beach, how many blogs I can read, and how good it will feel to just do nothing for a while. I'm staying with a good friend, but he'll be working a lot of the time, and my travel companion bailed. Any suggestions on traveling alone? 

And hey -- I got braids on my head and bangs on my face! As evident in the ENORMOUS photo of me above... I'd been contemplating bangs for a few days and just took the plunge. I rarely get my hair cut, and every time I do, I change it pretty drastically. Normally I grow it reeeeeally long and then cut it all off. The bangs have taken some getting used to, but I like 'em. They'll be around for a bit, I think. I like when old trends get trendy again. Second-grade me would be so hip with my stirrup pants (leggings) and heavy bangs...

In other news, I feel like I'm stuck in a creative dry spell. Of course that may be my negative self-talk too. Oops! But it seems like I'll have a giant whirlwind of ideas, work on those for a few months, and then I've got NOTHIN'! What do you do when you're feeling uninspired? 

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Monday, April 1

Star Light Star Bright Light Garland

So as I mentioned in my Craft Envy post about pretty twinkle lights, I've been longing for the soft glow of string lights since I reluctantly put away my light-up palette Christmas tree (in February...) And I finally managed to check this project off my "idea" list! 

This was one of those projects that took a few tries... It was actually inspired by a stack of cardboard scraps. But this isn't made with cardboard. I scratched that method when it SUCKED. Now this DIY is really easy, and will be even easier if you can find string lights with a white cord. 

Stuff you'll need:
several sheets of white craft foam, exacto knife, cutting mat, globe string lights, white spray paint (optional)

  1. (Optional): I bought my lights just after Christmas (clearance, hayoo!) so the cord was dark green. I lightly sprayed the cord with white Krylon Plastic spray paint. Now, it was real cold out here in Michigan so I impatiently put like, one coat of paint on the lights. They're really just less green... ;) If you're painting your lights, remove the bulbs and place a small square of painters tape over each bulb opening. 
  2. Using your exacto knife, cut your craft foam into 4"x5" rectangles.
  3. Freehand cut your rectangles into stars. The knife seemed to cut easiest from the middle out to the edges. 
  4. Cut a small notch out of the center of each star. 
  5. Push each bulb through the notch and screw it back into the cord. And voila! 

I hung my lights with little cord clips from 3M; I'm a big fan of them. I love the warm glow the lights give the room. The white foam actually looks really pretty with the lights, and the whole thing is so cozy. I think they'd look great draped on a rustic wooden headboard, but I'd have to have a headboard at all to try that out. Maybe some day.

What do you think of my star light star bright garland? Something you'd try out perhaps? 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter this past weekend! 

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