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DIY Wood Bead Clutching Toy for Babies

The month before LG was born I went on a toy-making spree. Even though I knew she wouldn’t be able to use them for a while, I also knew I wouldn’t have the time to make them after she was born! I’m very glad I made them ahead of time so they were ready when she suddenly became interested in toys at about 12 weeks. This wood bead clutching toy is one of several natural, wood toys I made. Now that she’s starting to play with them, I’ll be sharing tutorials for two more wood baby toys in the coming weeks!

DIY wood bead clutching toy tutorial

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Teaching the Value of Handmade

I think most, of not all, makers have run into a situation where someone else has failed to adequately value their work. Whether it’s a stranger at a craft show, friend, or family member, it can be frustrating and painful to hear someone dismiss your efforts. A careless word can keep a person from embracing his or her creative potential for years – my husband mistakenly believed he wasn’t creative or good at making things for over a decade after an ill-considered comment from a family member. I used to feel so bad for him when he’d say he just wasn’t creative or good at making things! Now he’s awesome with polymer clay and is definitely a better knitter than I am. {{It’s so adorable to watch him knit and crochet cute items for our baby!}}

Although the handmade movement has gained traction in recent years, many makers still struggle to have their creations adequately valued. I believe this trend of valuing handmade will continue, especially if makers work to educate others and really teach the value of handmade. With the advent of mass production of goods, accumulating lots of stuff became a popular status symbol, but an increasing number of people are deciding that possessing large quantities of mass produced, frequently poorly made stuff isn’t as fulfilling as the commercials make it out to be (plus it’s downright unsustainable!). In my experience, the more people are exposed to handmade and educated about what goes into making items, the more they realize they’d rather have a smaller quantity of nicer, lovingly crafted items.

If you’re a maker who would like to see others place greater value on handmade items, I hope these tips for teaching the value of handmade help you out! Also, please be sure to leave a comment if you have additional advice on how to help others see the value of your work!

Teaching the Value of Handmade [click to continue…]

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As longtime readers know, I’m all about remembering to be grateful and developing a daily gratitude practice. Although having a new baby has kept me busy and unable to physically write down things I’m grateful for each day, I try to consciously offer gratitude in my mind on a daily basis for all the wonderful things in my life. In the first few weeks when LG’s sleep schedule was nonexistent and she wanted to nurse basically around the clock, I reminded myself of how thankful I was to have a healthy baby I was capable of nursing, a caring husband at home to help us out, a safe place to live, etc. I’ve found that being thankful is often most effective and needed when life is challenging. Those newborn days are behind us, but I still try to remember to be consciously grateful every single day for our smiling, healthy baby and her wonderful dad (among many other things!). Although mentally listing things you’re grateful for is fantastic, physically writing them down is even more beneficial, especially if you’re new to a gratitude practice. That’s why today I’m sharing a “lucky” printable gratitude banner for St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a fun and easy way to get yourself in the habit of gratitude and you’ll have a cute seasonal decoration at the end of the week.

Free Printable Lucky Gratitude Banner [click to continue…]

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Last spring I created a “loopy” ribbon lei tutorial class and posted it as a free course available to Artisan Life subscribers via Teachery. For a variety of reasons, I’ve decided to move the class and I’m happy to announce that How to Make a Loopy Ribbon Lei is now live on Skillshare!

how to make a loopy ribbon lei - Hawaiian ribbon lei online class

This lei is so beautiful and it’s lovely as a graduation gift, Mother’s Day present, welcoming gift, or for virtually any special occasion. Although it does take longer to make than the braided lei, double braided lei, and tricolor lei, you can find on my blog, the process is quite simple. Because I want the class to be accessible, you can follow this link right here to enroll for free, even if you don’t have a “premium” Skillshare membership. If you’re the kind of person who likes free trials, you can also snag two months of Skillshare premium for free by following this link. If you do this, you can watch as many premium classes as you’d like, not just my loopy ribbon lei class!

Hawaiian ribbon lei online class (free!)

If you need a ribbon lei in hurry, you might want to check out my posts on how to make a braided ribbon lei:

Or how to make a double braided ribbon lei:

I’m really hoping to get another lei tutorial made this spring since it will be my last spring in Hawaii, but we’ll have to see what sort of time the LG allows me! I’m sure I can make another type of lei (I already have a design in mind!), it’s photographing it and/or creating videos that are challenging with Baby. Part of the problem is that her play mat typically lives exactly where I need to assemble my photography setup! It’s okay, though; she’s already ‘growing up’ so fast. If I don’t get a new lei tutorial made in time for this spring’s graduation season, it will just have to wait a little bit longer. Our LG sure is worth it. =)

I hope you decide to stop on over and enroll in How to Make a Loopy Ribbon Lei for free and enjoy the class!

Natasha of The Artisan Life logo

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, The Artisan Life will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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Faux Ceramic Polymer Clay Gift Tags Tutorial

My gifts have a reputation for being the “worst dressed” under the family Christmas tree. I’m not really sure that it’s a fair assessment of the situation – any wrapping job looks pretty shabby next to my mom’s presents. It’s kind of like how you can’t feel too bad if you don’t bake as well as a family member who happens to be a professional pastry chef or something. In an attempt to spruce up gifts this year, I made some faux ceramic polymer clay gift tags. They turned out so nice that I decided to share the process in a tutorial! Nothing about these polymer clay gift tags is specifically ‘Christmas,’ so they can be made for any occasion during the year. I hope you enjoy and, as always, please let me know if you have questions about the process!

Polymer Clay Faux Ceramic Gift Tag Tutorial

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Hello and welcome to another installment of Currently Crafting where I share the items we’re making right now and any helpful tidbits I’ve learned along the way! Today I’m sharing some knitting baby leggings and quick tutorial for an easy magic loop knitting technique that’s perfect for smaller items done in the round.

easy magic loop knitting tutorial [click to continue…]

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February 2018 Free Blog Planner Printables

Time has really been getting away from me lately – I almost forgot it was the end of the month and time to share my February 2018 free bog planner printables! Having LG has really made the days go quickly, plus I’ve had a cold for the past week. I truly cannot believe LG is three months old already. She’s always been wide-eyed and alert, but right around 12 weeks she suddenly transformed; she went from being newborn-y to being much more interactive, staying awake longer, bating at toys, and bringing things to her mouth in the period of a few days. One day I was wondering if she was bating at a toy on purpose and two or three days later she was not only hitting toys with intention, but grabbing them with both hands and bringing them to her mouth. The changes were so rapid and incredible to watch! She absolutely loves going “wheeeee!” through the air and smiles her big, gummy smile so much. It’s amazing.

But enough about our LG for the time being, let’s get to the free blog planner printables for February! As I mentioned last month, I’m doing things a little bit differently this year. (If you missed the annual planner calendar, please stop by this post to grab it). Today I’m sharing both a blog stats tracker page and a set of three pages designed to help you set your intentions and lay out your goals for February.

free blog planner printable for February 2018

Monthly intentions for February 2018 free blog planner printable

You can either log into the printables for members area or, if you’re not yet a member of The Artisan Life, you can become one and grab the free printables at the same time in my Selz “store.” Download the stats tracker here and the goals/intentions package here.

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start and I’ll see you again next week with more tutorials and other fun!

 

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Gilded Polymer Clay Valentine Tutorial

Valentine’s Day has always been strongly associated with handmade in my mind. When I was a young child, my mom and I used to create homemade Valentines with paper, glitter, and doilies. This association as stuck in my mind, which is why today I’m sharing a guided polymer clay Valentine tutorial to help you celebrate the day in handmade style! This polymer clay heart can be used as a Valentine (just grab a fine tip Sharpie and write on the back!), a gift tag, or a brooch. It’s versatile and easy to make so I hope you jump on the homemade Valentines wagon and craft along!

Easy Gilded Polymer Clay Valentines [click to continue…]

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Okay, so today’s fair isle cowl from a Craftsy class isn’t really a “currently” crafting project, nor is it truly mine. Today I’m sharing a look at something my husband made in December. It was a gift for my sister, so I couldn’t share photos of it until after our holiday trip! I’m so proud of my husband’s knitting that I have to share, even if this isn’t, strictly speaking, “my” project. I did come up with the idea to use the cowl as a gift and ordered the yarn, so that counts for something, right? After all, it is always the project supervisor who seems to get all the credit…

fair isle cowl from craftsy class

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As regular readers know, I’m a huge fan of ‘doing it myself’ whenever I can. If you’ve been here a long time, you may even remember that I did virtually everything for our wedding, even the reception and the cake! Not knowing how to do something doesn’t necessarily stop me – I’m happy to learn new skills. This does not mean I am intent on doing and making absolutely everything in my life for myself. Sometimes a project is truly beyond the scope of what I can, or am willing to, do. Other times I’m just not interested or realize that the DIY version would be unsatisfying or overly expensive. Over the years I’ve developed a mental checklist I go over when I’m deciding whether to buy or DIY. Since we’ve been making a lot of things for Baby lately, this questionnaire is fresh in my mind and I decided to share it with y’all! Then, in the second half of the post, I share a fabric coil rug tutorial I decided to make after stepping myself through the buy or DIY mental process. I hope you enjoy!

How to Decide Whether to Buy or DIY [click to continue…]

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