Blog Hop!

I might have gotten into blogging to get more involved in sharing my crafty ideas, but there are just so many fun parts of blogging I'm discovering! The wonderful Ani gave me an award that I will post about very soon... I've gotten very into the linky parties and now I've discovered blog hops! (According to Mr. Linky, it's a linky party/list where everyone displays the same thing - all the content, basically - on their sites.) This one is for blogs under 6 months old and I've already seen some really cool stuff out there!

Anyways, a little about me (as per the blog hop instructions)... I'm a twentysomething grad student finishing up my PhD in the sciences and I teach a course for undergraduates and do some consulting work that keeps me very busy. I have a super-cute dog named Bella (she was named long before that Twilight stuff and so she frequently goes by her middle name - Monster). I love all kinds of crafty things, but I'm especially fond of felt, washi tape, jewelry, wreaths, no sew projects, bunting, chevron patterns and fleur de lis anything! If you want to know anything else, just ask!

Butterfly Specimen Art


After my snowflake specimen art came out so well, I've been trying to re-create the magic with some very mixed success. But this butterfly one came out so well that I can't wait to show it off! Seriously, it looks even better in person - more like an actual butterfly collector's display (where the actual butterfly is pinned down). And the pinks and green match my bedroom comforter, which is what I was hoping for!

This is the Martha Stewart punch I used (I got it on clearance from Joann.com a month or so ago) and then these are some of the butterflies I created... 

I used the styrofoam double-sided squares (cut into 4 so one square supported 4 butterflies because they were so little and the foam squares started out so big) and laid them out using the grid from Tatertots and Jello like so...


And then the final product was ready to be framed!

I don't yet have an awesome lightbox thing set up to help with photos, so once the glass was over it, no amount of maneuvering and altering the light could do much about the glare, so here are a few shots of the final butterfly specimen art!

And, because I love the Picnik collage, a look at everything...

I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences!

Blog Updates: Tumblr!

I haven't posted a tutorial in a bit because I was on a science-y business trip and then I decided to add some new dimensions to the blog - I have long-stored things I want to save on Tumblr and so I decided to add an official crafty scientist account here! It's basically a collection of all kinds of things I love and want to make... here's a peak at the site below:

And note that you can find it easily by locating the button (or piece of tape) on the sidebar:

Let me know what you think and if you're on tumblr so I can follow! (I'm actually sort of surprised that there aren't a lot more crafty blogs and bloggers on Tumblr... but maybe I'm just not finding them...)

Jute Home Decor


I saw this post on Factory Direct Craft awhile back and thought it looked pretty fun... especially to fill glass hurricanes for and display on some shelves or my new mantle (more on that at some other point). That tutorial was very thorough, but I feel like I should show you what I did. However, this project was really difficult for me to photograph because it involves hot glue and two hands, so between what I posted and the tutorial from Factory Direct Craft, I think it's pretty easy to do and each took about 2 minutes to make!

(On an unrelated note, Factory Direct Craft is a great place to get super-cheap craft supplies! And no one is paying me to say that, though I'd love to be paid for it! Hint to FDC...)

Jute Twine Home Decor

Supplies
  • Jute (I used 4ply and I think it might have been a little too thick, but it was the cheapest for about $4 on Joann.com... and I have TONS still left that I'm excited to do something with! However, it was a little smelly when I first opened it... but it doesn't smell now, for whatever reason, so I wouldn't worry if it has a little smell to it at first.)
  • Styrofoam balls (I used medium-ish sized ones from Walmart or Joann.com - maybe 3" size)
  • Hot glue & hot glue gun

The How To 

I just uncoiled the jute as I needed it - so I didn't cute a long piece first or anything. I just made a small coil on the styrofoam ball and hot glued it in place. To some extent, I just used a bit of glue and then once I had the coil started, I sort of squeezed more glue under the coil.

Wind the twine around outside the coil and on top of the little string that hangs out from the coil you started (the pictures help this make some sense). 

 
Slowly wind the twine around the styrofoam, gluing as you go. 

When you get to the end of the styrofoam, cut the jute and make a little coil like you had before and glue it down and ta da!

I put them in a hurricane/vase and love them! You really don't notice the glue spots poking out and you have super-cheap decor that looks like it could have come from one of the super-ritzy home decor shops!

I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences (this page has been updated so that even when I don't update my conferences list, you can find links to other people who are updating their lists)!

Bella on Valentine's Day

Bella has lots of outfits for Valentine's Day - most sent my loving family members - but it's still a little cold so she got to wear a little heart print dress under this big heart-shaped sweater. And she was so cute curled up in her little nest that I had to share...

Black, White, & Red Ribbon Wreath



In all my blog designing intensity, I forgot to post this little gem I finally made... I was inspired by this Halloween wreath from May Arts (it's the first wreath they posted) and you might recognize it from my Crafty To Do List/Future Research list. I didn't intend to make it for Valentine's Day, but recently I've been obsessed with the black, white, and red color combo (see my entire Pinterest collection of late)...

This was really simple to do, though it required multiple rolls of ribbon and pretty much took the entire roll... the white ribbon came from the dollar store ($1 total), the wider ribbon from Hobby Lobby was $2.50 each (4 rolls @ $2.50 for $10 total on super-sale), plus the thin red ribbon from Hobby Lobby ($1, also on super-sale), plus the green wreath base/form for $5 made this one of my more expensive projects (though still relatively inexpensive by regular people standards at $18 total, not counting the hot glue and straight pins I had on hand).

I honestly just wrapped the ribbon, stuck in some straight pins, and then hot glued a bow together... and ta da!

If I had it to do over again (and I've definitely contemplated taking it apart because I just pinned the bow on and hot glued the red loops to the bow itself), I'd put the more expensive ribbon I liked better on last so it showed up most... I had thought I'd be able to fill in around my favorites, but it definitely didn't work out like that, but that could be my own inexperience at this.

The end result is still this awesome non-traditionally colored Valentine's Day wreath or generally fairly versatile wreath. I have it on my front door which is fairly protected from the elements though I'm always interested in what people without storm doors do with their wreaths on the front doors and how they keep them safe... do people spray them with some kind of weather protectant? Glaze? Anything? It's been up for 2 weeks and so far, so good, but it still makes me a little nervous, but I love it! Polka dots definitely make me happy...


I'm linking up to some of my favorite conferences!

Blog Design + A Question

I've basically overhauled the entire design of the blog... I can't believe I just spent so much time on it, but now, looking at it, it totally makes me happy. So whatever. I used tons of awesome free resources and if you want to do this, you totally can! Seriously, if I can, you can!

Unfortunately, despite deleting and re-adding every widget and getting rid of fancy fonts, the site is still loading at about the speed of molasses. So that totally sucks. I've read lots of forum posts and help stuff out there to try to figure out what's wrong and I found Pingdom, which tells you how long each element of your page takes to load. Unfortunately, it's still telling me nothing's taking more a second or two to load, so that's not helping anymore... so if anyone knows what to do, has some ideas, please PLEASE let me know! Luckily, I think comments are finally fixed... what a crazy week in blog world! I would even pay someone to look at this and fix it, I just don't even know where to start or who to ask (though I am assuming this would be a less than $20 expenditure)... does anyone know anything about this though?

Anyways, enough of that... here's what I used and learned that can hopefully (maybe) benefit y'all!

I used the free program Gimp and this tutorial from Amanda (of KevinandAmanda.com). She takes you through how to make a scrapbook background using Photoshop, but she recommends Gimp and the tutorial totally worked... if I couldn't find something, I just used the help function and searched for it. But it was really simple. I went from the background to the header to the post divider and icon, Twitter background, etc...

This is the new icon (now on the facebook page and Twitter):

And this is a little peek at the Twitter site now (you should obviously check it out for real though!):

I found/used bits and pieces of awesome clip art and scrapbook downloads from:

  • Kevin and Amanda's Free Digi-Scrap kit (I swear I've never used any digital scrapbooking anything until 2 days ago, but now I kind of want to start...)
  • Pugly Pixel's clip art - especially the deco tape strips, the circles/dots (that are now bubbles coming out of the test tube/beakers)
  • Free kits and downloads from Shabby Princess
  • Design House Digital's blog hops, including Sara Schmutz (I'm not sure where these even start, but Sara's blog has lots of freebies and you can find parts of the blog hop to jump on here)
  • Scrapbook Flair's free downloads
  • Some of the Scrappy Freebies (but beware that I couldn't get a lot of these links to work... but some did and those were awesome!)

Hopefully something I learned can help one or two of you! I'll try to answer any questions you have though I will warn you that I am definitely NOT an expert and mostly did the trial and error (or Ctrl+Z, my favorite shortcut in real life and blogging/designing!) Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for making the site load faster!

Comments?

I'm continuing to work out my issues with comments, but I think the problem now is that I need to go back and work on adding comments or the ability to comment on older posts manually (if it's even possible... sadly!), but from this post forward, you should be able to comment. If anyone has any words of wisdom or wants to try anything out or has any ideas at all, I would LOVE to hear them! (Email me at craftingscientist@gmail.com if the comments won't work and you have some ideas!)

Blog Updates

I've been working on the blog over the last couple of days rather than real crafty stuff... unfortunately, I didn't move over my Intense Debate account from the WordPress login/style when I switched this blog from WordPress to Blogger (which was about day #2 of the blog experiment). Unfortunately, the programmers can't help with this and so I've had to remove that whole thing... so now, I'm back to regular comments on Blogger. This means that all my comments are gone... I have them and can still get to them via Intense Debate, but they won't show up here... very sad! But I'm still so excited that people are commenting and I'm sorry about this little hiccup...

Secondly, the loading time on the site is insanely slow and I'm trying to play around and reduce widgets and try to slowly figure out what's wrong and slowing it down. It's almost unbearably slow in Google Chrome! But I'm still trying to figure it out and if you visit and have this problem, I'm so sorry! Please stick with me - I'm just starting out with this whole thing!

Fringe Felt Flowers


I was inspired by some tutorials from some of my most favorite craft blogs and bloggers and so I've made these fringe felt flowers or felt pom poms or whatever you want to call them. I used this tutorial from Craft Snob and this one from Mrs. Priss and just sort of played around and I can't seem to stop making them... I took some pictures along the way to show you how I made mine, though the tutorials I've linked to are pretty freakin' awesome!

Basically, you start by cutting a long piece of felt and then fold it length wise or hot-dog style (apparently some of us have permanently incorporated the second grade terms) and glue it. You want to put the glue near the edges (not near the fold) so that you don't see too much glue later.
Then you want to cut some fringe from the folded side (where you did NOT put the glue). Cut about 3/4 of the way up to the edge or so... I didn't get these exactly even and I started to worry, but it really didn't matter too much.

Then you roll the fringe and glue - I tried to take some pictures of this process (above), but it's easier than it sounds!

You end up with these fabulous little guys! The longer your felt strip, the bigger your flower will be. Some glue spilled out of the bottom of mine when I was hot gluing them, but I didn't worry too much about it - you can only see this when you flip the flower over. 

I've made a whole bunch of them and I love them! I've made them in a variety of colors and added them to several wreaths I've made, but I'll put tutorials of those up at some point in the future... so for now, these are some of what I've made... 


I'm linking up to some of my favorite "conferences"!

Sports Printable

Just in case you're a last minute decorator - or you just like sports and want a free printable! - I made this little one - just for fun! Very last minute, but I like it and it didn't take me very long, so I'm pretty pleased! Grab one or grab them all! (I'm trying Scribd now for this one...)

I made 5 - one blue neutral-ish and then 2 each for Green Bay and Pittsburgh! Find them all in my collection here or click the link below to get to the first one... Unfortunately, the transition from Wor to PDF made some icky changes I'm not thrilled about and so I've uploaded both the Word and PDF versions to Scribd.

Sports Printable

P.S. Please let me know if there are any problems with the links or downloads or anything - I'm still trying out these document upload/download services!


Snowflake Specimen Art



I feel like I'm justifying purchasing this snowflake punch with all these posts, but I really do love it and this is just more evidence of it!

I saw this Halloween specimen art post on Tatertots and Jello back around Halloween and absolutely loved it and have been trying to make something like it ever since... unfortunately I found a number of ways to not make this work or look cool, but I finally ended up with a version I do like - thanks again to my handy dandy snowflake punch...


And these Scotch 3-D foam squares. I actually ended up cutting each square into 4 smaller ones so they fit behind the main body of the snowflake and stayed hidden to create the magical 3-D/floating illusion like this... (I tried to take some pictures of the frame laying down on its side so you could kind of see the floating effect.)


I'm pretty pleased with the result. Good luck if you try to make this - practice finally made (almost) perfect (and so the final one took less than hour and was very inexpensive - a dollar store frame, paper I already owned, 3-D foam squares for about $3, a snowflake punch I already had and voila)!


I'm linking up to some of the fabulous linky parties on the conferences page here - adding code for all the individual parties became obscenely annoying so that kind of ended.

Glass Etching for Your Bathroom Counter


I don't have a fancy die-cutting machine and I'm definitely still new to the crafting stuff, but there are a million tutorials about etching glass and everyone says it's super-easy... so I was excited to make some presents for friends for Chrismukkah, but tried the cheap way and it definitely did NOT work. I made these using the slightly more expensive etching stuff, but only an X-acto knife and steady hands did the cutting! So learn from my mistakes and see what I made for my organized bathroom counter - I love it and the photos definitely do not do these jars justice!



Glass Etching for Bathroom Counter Jars

Supplies

  • Glass jars or containers to etch
  • Designs/patterns to etch printed on cardstock
  • X-acto knife
  • Cardstock
  • Contact paper
  • Sharpie marker
  • Armour Etch glass etching cream (and paper towels and water to rinse it off)
  • Sponge paintbrush (use cheap ones in case the glass etching cream doesn't work out)



The How To

First, decide on your glass pieces and what you want to etch on to them and print designs onto cardstock. I found some clip art online and then typed up the words I wanted because I wanted an image on one side of the glass and text on the other. I used a font called "Awesome" which I found for free online and you can download for free here. This is an ideal font because the insides of letters are solid - meaning you don't have a tiny little inside of an "a" floating around and trying to stick on.


Once you have your printed design (you can see what I used above), cut out your design. Here, I cut out the inked part of the paper, which ultimately became the part that was etched on to the glass. I used an X-acto knife and my designs were all fairly big, so that helped. But this is where most people use the Cricut or Silhouette. I used the grad student, super-cheap method instead.


Then once I had my cut out cardstock "stencils" (photo 1), I laid my cut out cardstock sheet on top of the contact paper (photo 2). I left the contact paper side (not the paper backing) side up (or to be marked on) and then I grabbed my handy Sharpie and colored in the letters onto the contact paper (photo 3). After you lift up the contact paper, you'll see your design below (photo 4).


Then, grab your X-acto knife again and cut out the letters again (the photos above show that little process). I thought it was actually sort of helpful to have cut them out once before - like practice and your final design benefits from that!

After you cut out your letters, you peel off the paper backing of the contact paper and push the contact paper onto your glass. Make sure that you smooth out the bubbles and that the edges around the design are firmly secured onto the glass. If you don't watch out, the glass etching cream can leak and your design will be a little smeared. But I told myself that it gives the final product character.


The first time I tried this project, I used this cheap version of glass etching cream and it did not work. I left it on overnight once and it still had no effect. Maybe I was using it incorrectly, but I couldn't get this to work and so I highly recommend springing for the Armour Etch - there's a reason all the other bloggers use it!

Then, you smear the glass etching cream onto the glass area (exposed due to your contact paper stenciling). I used a sponge paint brush and was able to wash it clean later, so that worked out well for me, but I'm still not sure about whether I just got luck about that, so I recommend using the dollar store paintbrushes.

You're supposed to let the etching cream set for 5 minutes, but I wanted to be safe and so I left it for about 15 minutes... and nothing terrible happened, but I'm not sure whether I should have. I then wiped off the glass etching cream with a paper towel and then used a wet paper towel to just clean off any reside. Then I took the contact paper off the glass containers and washed the rest of the etching cream off the jars and ta da!

This is the finished product - I tried to use some HDR-ish effects so that you can see how they look, but I'm afraid nothing short of an awesome HDR camera could show you how awesome they look! But I think they really are gorgeous and I'm very pleased with them! (And I'm relieved that I finally got this to work - glass etching has been on my to do list for a very long time now...)

P.S. If you want the clip art and text I used, leave a comment with your contact info and I can email it to you!

I'm linking up here:
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