Review of Bubble Bath Crafts Book

Review of Bubble Bath Crafts Book

Adorkable Bubble Bath Crafts by Brittanie PyperAdorkable Bubble Bath Crafts

Page Street Publishing Co. sent The Creative Cottage a review copy of Brittanie’s new book – Adorkable Bubble Bath Crafts; 50 Easy, Geeky Clean Crafts to Make Kid’s Bath Time Awesome.

Author Brittanie Pyper is the Founder of Simplistically Living. Pyper says, “To a child (big or small), a bathtub is never just a bathtub. Whether it becomes a boat, a plane or even a pirate ship, bath time is fun.”

Adorkable Bubble Bath Crafts is a really fun book – I wish my daughter was younger (she’s a Senior at the University of Florida) and would have loved this book. We did a lot of fun events and arts and crafts projects when she was growing up including a cookie decorating party, mom’s and girl’s club tea party and a make your own felt puppet birthday party.

I can see any of the bubble bath crafts featured in this book used as part of a birthday celebration. What a fun idea to get your kids involved in making something fun that can also help them clean up afterwards!

50 Fun DIY Bubble Bath Craft Projects

The projects in the book are organized according to type of project including:

  • Fizzy Fun
  • Soap Suds
  • Scrub Lubba Dub Dub
  • Creative Coloring
  • Bedtime Readiness
  • After Bath Care

Many of the diy bubble bath projects have a monster theme which would be perfect to make as part of a kid’s Halloween party. The Spider Sense Bath Bomb, Bat Boomerang Soap, Brain Shower Jellies and Vampire Fang Soap look like a lot of fun.

For my New Age friends how about the Unicorn Horn Bath Crayons, Witches’ Brew Bath Pains, Phoenix Feather Soap or Fairy Wing Soap Petals. Any of these amazing bubble crafts would make great gift ideas just in time for the holidays.

I have my eye on the Elemental Soap which looks like actual quartz crystals with a colored center to represent the elements of earth, air, fire and water. I think it’s time to make a trip to my local JoAnne’s or Michael’s to find all the necessary supplies to whip up a batch or two of these fun bath crafts!

Bubble Bath Crafts Book Details

  • Adorkable Bubble Bath Crafts
  • Brittanie Pyper
  • Page Street Publishing Co.
  • June 13, 2017
  • $19.99
  • ISBN: 978-1-62414-375-5

White Dogwood Teacup Pincushion With Green Butterfly

White Dogwood Teacup Pincushion With Green Butterfly

Yesterday I posted up a gallery of a group of teacup pincushions I made during my Christmas break. My office closed from Christmas through New Years, so including the weekends I had a total of 9 days off. Our office was also closed for the week of Thanksgiving and I used that vacation to take a road trip to Gainesville, FL and Aiken, SC to visit friends and family. Since I used up all my extra $$ on my Thanksgiving road trip, I knew it would be staycation time during the Christmas break. So what’s a girl to do when she suddenly finds herself with lots of time on her side but next to no money? Well, it’s time to dig through my art and craft supplies and make some new treasures for my EBay store!

Fun Craft Project

Teacup pincushions go together pretty quickly using a glue gun to secure the teacup to the saucer base. Then you add the pincushion using a bit of cotton or polyester batting stuffed into your favorite, complimentary fabric. The fun part is embellishing the pincushion using a variety of silk flowers and leaves, ribbons, beads, buttons, and decorative yet functional pins.

Teacup pincushions make the perfect gift for anyone that is into sewing, fabric crafts, quilting, altered couture, crafts, etc. I have an ugly magnetic pincushion that I store most of my sewing pins on, but I usually have it hidden away in a box since it’s not too interesting to look at. These beautiful teacup pincushions are like little works of art and can be left on top of your sewing table, craft desk, or wherever you work on art and craft projects. The one-of-a-kind pincushions add a pop of color, fun, and whimsy to any craft room or artist studio.

Shop Thrift Stores For Craft Supplies

If you want to make your own pincushion, but you don’t have any teacups and saucers on hand, it’s time to make a trip to your local thrift store or flea market. You can find lots of matching cups and saucers at most thrift stores. My favorite pincushion was made by a good friend of mine and she used a mismatched cup and saucer, they were in complimentary colors so the final project came out great.

If you would like to purchase this green and white dogwood Stangl Pottery teacup pincushion visit my EBay store: http://www.ebay.com/usr/thecreativecottage.


Handmade Teacup Pincushions

Handmade Teacup Pincushions

Looking For New Art & Craft Projects

A friend of mine gave me my first teacup pincushion a couple of years ago. I thought it was a genius gift, made with a ceramic teacup and saucer and embellished with ribbon and silk flowers. I do a lot of sewing, fabric, and sewing projects but normally keep my pins stashed in my sewing notions box. But a teacup pincushion is small, decorative, and functional work of art.

I recently went on a road trip to visit my daughter and her bf in Gainesville, Florida before continuing on to visit relatives in South Carolina. My Aunt Laurie is quite crafty and has an entire walk out basement set up with various tables so her grandkids can work on projects when they visit. She was looking for another craft idea to make items to sell to benefit a charity group. I mentioned the teacup pincushion and she thought that was a great idea.

She had a black and white toile cup and saucer that was perfect for the project. She found a coordinating fabric for the pincushion portion then glued some extra Christmas greenery and ribbons to embellish it. It came out so I great I think she decided to keep it for herself.

New Project to Make for My EBay Store

After a recent move from a large house to a small apartment and decided to put my EBay store on hold. I finally feel like I’m all moved-in, unpacked, and settled in so I thought it might be time to revisit The Creative Cottage EBay store. Although my EBay store didn’t show any listings that were available to relist since I had closed the store over 6 months ago, I was happy to find that with a bit of searching I was actually able to find some of my old listings. So I was able to re-list a few items and use that as a template to list new items.

My original EBay store sold vintage and retro collectibles and home decor items. I have so many beads and craft supplies on hand that I knew this time around I wanted to start making a few items to either sell on EBay or even possibly on Etsy. I have tons and tons of vintage dishware, which I either haven’t had a lot of luck selling online or never even got around to photographing to add it to my online store.

Suddenly a light went off and I thought, “Ah-ha, I really like that teacup pincushion my Aunt Laurie made. I should think about making a few of my own.” I went through all my closets and dug out all my boxes on vintage home decor to take inventory of teacups and saucers and discovered that I have quite the stash. I also have lots of fabric, beads, and ribbons on hand. I took a quick trip to my local Michael’s store to buy a glue gun, glue sticks, a large bag of batting, and some silk flowers.

Teacup Pincushion Photo Album

The gallery shown below shows my first attempts at making teacup pincushions. I spent the Christmas holidays at a friends house and knew he would be spending a bit of his vacation time doing home improvement projects. So I packed up 2 boxes of arts and crafts supplies so I could make a few teacup pincushions to keep me occupied while he was working on his house. I made 12 different pincushions during the 3 days I was visiting and I still have all the supplies, including teacups and saucers, to make another 20+.

I’m not sure I they are going to sell, or if I will give some away as gifts to friends and family, but I decided to call it quits after making a dozen. But it’s nice to know I have the supplies to make more in the future if I so desire. My first attempt at taking photos of the pincushions didn’t turn out too good. I used a white background in my lightbox but it turned out looking a bit gray. So I decided to change the setup of my lightbox, add more light, and add a more interesting background using some of my fabric scraps.

If you would like to purchase any of my teacup pincushions, or take a look at the vintage and retro collectibles I have for sale, please visit my EBay store: http://www.ebay.com/usr/thecreativecottage.

What Gives Opal its Unique Color?

What Gives Opal its Unique Color?

Bead Traders logoToday’s guest post was submitted by Joe Smith from The Bead Traders.

What Gives Opal Its Unique Color?

The color of an opal is a magnificent thing. Unlike any other gem, opals can display all the colors of the rainbow in an iridescent, moving pattern of red, green, blue, yellow, purple, aqua, pink, and any other color you can imagine. The pattern and arrangement of the color which is displayed in an opal can take on many forms, and the movement of color across the face of a stone is known as the “play of color.”

This captivating miracle of nature has been admired by people the world over for centuries, and highly sought after for use in jewelry, museums and collectors’ pieces. The opal is arguably the most beautiful of all gems––at the very least, it is highly unique and a true treasure of the earth.

opal01The very idea that such magnificent colors have been hidden under the earth in darkness since ancient times is truly staggering.

The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. When Australia’s mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world’s primary source for this October birthstone. The word opal was probably derived from Sanskrit “upala,” meaning “valuable stone.” This was probably the root for the Greek term “opallios,” which translates as “color change.” In the days of Roman antiquity there existed a so-called “opalus,” or a “stone from several elements”––so the ancient Romans may have already known why the opals displayed such a striking array of colors.

But what causes the colors in an opal? What is different about an opal that makes the colors dance and play across its face and burn in every color of the spectrum?

The answer, put simply, is the diffraction of light. Much like a prism, which can refract white light and produce a rainbow effect, opals diffract the white light which is coming from above, displaying those amazing opal colors. To understand how this happens, it’s time for a lesson on the microscopic structure of opals.

The Structure of Opals

Basically, an opal is made up of water and silica (the main components in glass). A silica solution forms when silica from under the earth mixes with water. This solution fills voids or is trapped in layers under the earth, and opal begins to form.

Over a long period of time, the solution settles and the water evaporates, allowing the gradual formation of layer upon layer of microscopic silica spheres. The spheres are formed because particles of silica spontaneously adhere to other particles which form around it. These spheres range in size from 1500 to 3500 angstroms (1 angstrom is 1 ten millionth of 1 millimeter).

Opal Under a Microscope

Because they are spherical, there are tiny gaps remaining between the spheres (much the same as when marbles are placed together in a container). In these gaps between the stacked spheres, a water and silica solution remains. The spheres in an opal are not only remarkably uniform in size but are packed, in gem quality opal, in a very regular array. These tiny spheres and gaps hold the secret of the opal’s color.

opal02The Diffraction of Light in Opals

When white light waves enter the top of an opal, they refract and bounce around inside the opal, through all the microscopic spheres and the gaps between the spheres. As the light passes through the spheres and gaps, it diffracts (splits). Like a prism, the opal splits the white light into all the colors of the spectrum, and the light eventually bounces back out the top of the stone, at which point we get an eyeful of beautiful opal colors. The opal is the only known gemstone that is able to naturally diffract light in this way.

Small spheres produce opal of blue color only (the most common), whereas larger spheres produce red (the rarest color). When the spheres inside the opal are bigger (about 3500 angstroms diameter) the red or orange colors are produced. At the other end of the scale, at about 1500 angstroms in diameter, the blue end of the spectrum is diffracted. Between these sizes the rest of the colors of the rainbow occur.

Therefore the rarity of the colors (most common to least common) is as follows: blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Opals which display red can also display all the other colors of the spectrum. Therefore, the possible combinations of colors in an opal can be seen as: blue only, blue-green, blue-green-yellow, blue-green-yellow-orange, and, finally, the full spectrum of blue-green-yellow-orange-red. For this reason, the presence of red in an opal can greatly add to its value, since it is something of a rarity. Opals can also contain aqua and purple, as well as the other “non-primary” colors which are produced when two primary colors are combined.

Summary

The fantastic colors of the opal take shape in many forms––the sparkling images of the Boulder Opal, the vivid light flashes of Black Opal or the soft shine of Milk Opal––striking contrasts define the colorful world of this fascinating gemstone. Opals are almost like human emotions: You can always experience them in a new and unique form.

Selling My Retro & Vintage Collectibles Online

Selling My Retro & Vintage Collectibles Online

ebay-store-logoPopular Online Sites to Sell Vintage and Retro Collectibles

I’ve written a few posts about how I’m trying to downsize my personal belongings and generally declutter my life.

  1. eBay – http://www.ebay.com/
  2. Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/
  3. Ruby Lane – http://www.rubylane.com/ Main categories at Ruby Lane include jewelry, dolls, vintage collectibles, antiques, glass, and porcelain & pottery
  4. ArtFire – https://www.artfire.com/
  5. Chairish – https://www.chairish.com/

Chairish.comMy Favorite Items to Sell on eBay

  • Vintage cut crystal
  • American Brilliant Period
  • Vintage ceramic dish ware
  • Stangl Pottery

Etsy Buy Handmade logoSourcing Items to Sell Online

  • Your own stash of junk
  • Thrift stores
  • Garage sales
  • Flea Markets
  • Estate Sales
  • Classified ads on sites like Craigslist
  • Your own handmade art and craft items

The Creative Cottage’s Shopping Sites

  1. Artfire – https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/home/CraftDiva
  2. eBay – http://www.ebay.com/usr/thecreativecottage
  3. Website using WooCommerce – http://thecreativecottage.net/shop/
  4. Chairish – https://www.chairish.com/shop/creativecottage/product/list

I’d love to hear about your freelance writing successes and near misses. Drop me a line –lynn@thecreativecottage.net.

  • Take care,
  • Lynn Smythe
  • Founder of The Creative Cottage

© 2015, The Creative Cottage. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Lego’s Nature Connects Gallery – Mounts Botanical Garden

Lego’s Nature Connects Gallery – Mounts Botanical Garden

Mounts Botanical Garden Lego's ExhibitI’m categorizing this post as both Arts & Crafts and Home & Garden. It’s a slideshow I put together from my recent visit to see the Nature Connects Lego’s exhibition at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, Florida. I heard about the exhibit coming to Palm Beach County many months ago and have had it on my calendar ever since.

  • Nature Connects
  • November 14, 2015 through February 14, 2016
  • Mounts Botanical Garden
  • 531 North Military Trail
  • West Palm Beach, FL 33415

Nature Connects at Mounts Botanical Garden

The lego sculptures were designed and created by Sean Kenney. In 2005 Sean became the first ever Lego Certified Professional. According to Sean’s website “LEGO Certified Professionals are officially licensed by The LEGO Group and engage in certain types of commercial activities involving LEGO products. They are recognized by the LEGO Group as trusted business partners and operate as their own fully independent organizations.” Sean is NOT a Lego employee, but rather their best customer with over 5 million pieces in his collection.

With over 50 Lego sculptures, the exhibit can be displayed in multiple locations at the same time. The Nature Connects display at Mounts Botanical Gardens contained 15 Lego sculptures making up 13 displays, which are scattered throughout the many acres of the gardens tropical landscape.

Here are a few photos I took while enjoying Nature Connects at Mounts Botanical Garden.

 

© 2015, The Creative Cottage. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Don’t Be a Dummy – Make Your Own Jewelry Display

Don’t Be a Dummy – Make Your Own Jewelry Display

modge-podge-body-display-20 I’m always looking for unique and creative ways to display my jewelry. Now that I’m thinking of getting back into doing a few craft shows, I’m in the process of creating my booth setup. I haven’t done any shows in many years, so I’m totally re-designing my craft booth.

I’ve been wanting a dress form, or something similar, to use as a focal piece in my vendor space. A few weeks ago I had a booth at the Gardens Indoor Yard Sale and was across the aisle from a vendor selling plastic female torsos. She uses them at her shows, and her customers are always asking where they could buy them, so she started offering them for sale.

I didn’t want to spend any money at the yard sale, my goal was to get rid of some of my excess household goods while making a few dollars. The vendor came over to my booth and saw that I had a metal DVD rack for sale. She wanted to know if I was interested in trading the rack for one of the plastic torsos – SOLD! The form is made of white plastic, which I thought looked a bit tacky, so I thought about how I could make it look a bit more interesting.

Plastic Female Torso Details

  • Material: plastic
  • Details: hollow back female torso form
  • Fishing line hanging loop
  • 30 inches tall
  • 15 inches wide

Decoupage Fun

I had a bottle of Mod Podge in my craft supplies, and lots of decorative scrapbook paper, so I figured I’d cover the display in decoupage. The art paper was a bit too thick, so I decided to cover the dress form with a base layer of a thinner material. At first I tried tissue paper, but it was too thin and started to disintegrate before I could get it to stick to the form. I remembered I had some old newspaper pages leftover from the yard sale, which I had used to wrap some of the dishes and glasses I sold at the show.

The newspaper was the perfect thickness – not too thin and not too thick. I covered the form in small pieces of newspaper and added some of the decorative scrapbook paper in a few areas. I used Mod Podge with a matte finish, so it didn’t look too shiny. I’m pretty happy with how the torso turned out, and will use it to display necklaces in my craft booth. The display has a thick monofilament cord on the back, which I will use to attach to my tent.

Decoupage Jewelry Display

Click on any of the images shown below to view a larger photo.

© 2015, The Creative Cottage. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet by Lynn Smythe

Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet by Lynn Smythe

Bead embroidered cuff bracelet by Lynn Smythe.
Bead embroidered cuff bracelet by Lynn Smythe.

Blue Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

I’ve been making beaded jewelry and accessories for many years. I first got into creating jewelry as a hobby, when I was pregnant with my daughter, more than 20 years ago. That hobby quickly turned into a business and I started writing how-to articles for bead and jewelry magazines, taught classes at local bead stores and sold my creations at art and craft shows.

I even ended up running my own bead store, Dolphin Crafts, for a short while. But my kids were very young at the time and it proved too difficult to work 50-60 hours per week at the new store and still find the time to take care of my son and daughter. I put the crafts on temporary hiatus with the thought that once my kids got older, I would once again have the time to devote to being a craft and jewelry artist.

My daughter turned 20 a few days ago and my son will be 25 in March. So now that both of my children are grown up, I’ve decided to get back into arts and crafts on a part-time to full-time basis. My eventual goal is to move to either Northern South Carolina or Western North Carolina to be closer to friends and family.

Once I relocate the plan is to either open my own craft gallery, or rent studio space at an artist co-op. Right now I’m in south Florida and need a way to start generating income so I can save up and make the move. A few months ago I decided I want to start selling at local green markets and craft shows. Although I have quite a bit of product made up and ready to sell, once I start vending at shows, I’m going to have to get back into making new product on a regular basis.

Beading with Seed Beads, Gemstones, and Cabochons

Sadie Starr Bead Embroidery Book
Sadie Starr Presents Beading With Seed Beads, Gem Stones and Cabochons was my GO-TO resource when I taught myself the technique of bead embroidery MANY years ago!

As a bead artist, the first technique I taught myself was basic bead stringing. I get bored easily and felt that simply stringing beads was a bit too tame for my eclectic, funky tastes. I found a copy of Beading with Seed Beads, Gemstones and Cabochons by Sadie Starr at a local book store. Her book quickly became my “bible” as I taught myself the technique of bead embroidery.

I used to belong to the Gem & Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches and purchased many handmade gemstone cabochons created by members of the gem society. I incorporated many of their beautiful cabochons in my beaded pieces such as bracelets, necklaces and brooches.

A few years later I became fascinated with fused glass and bought all the necessary tools, supplies, and equipment to teach myself that technique. I now have a complete glass studio filled with two kilns, glass grinder, diamond band saw, jewelers torch, rock tumbler and much more.

Gallery – Blue Beaded Cuff by Lynn Smythe

Getting back into beading, I wanted a way to combine my original love of bead embroidery with my more recent fused glass pieces. The blue cuff bracelet shown in this post features three of my fused glass cabochons. I even turned one of the cabs into a button to use as the clasp for the bracelet.

I’m really pleased with how the beaded cuff came out and have already started another one in shades of green. My problem is I get so many ideas for projects that sometimes it’s hard to decide which piece to work on first. I keep an art journal so I can jot down my ideas, designs, and color palates for future projects. Now if I could just clone myself so I can work on them all at once!

Take care,

  • Lynn Smythe
  • Chief Designer and Blogger
  • The Creative Cottage

© 2015, The Creative Cottage. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Fused Glass Home Decor by Lynn Smythe

Fused Glass Home Decor by Lynn Smythe

Jen-Ken kiln.
Large kiln by Jen-Ken.

This blog post includes a photo gallery of some of the fused glass home decor items made by Lynn Smythe, Chief Designer for The Creative Cottage. Lynn started making fused glass jewelry pieces a few years ago after she purchased a small, tabletop kiln by Evenheat. A short time later she purchased a large floor model kiln by Jen-Ken. The larger kiln has a 14″ interior, which is perfect for making larger pieces such as plates, bowls and vases. In addition to fused glass creations, both kilns can also be used to make art clay silver, copper enamel and glazed ceramic pieces.

Now that Lynn’s children are grown up, she is getting back to arts and crafts on a full time basis. She is pursuing opportunities to sell her craftwork at art galleries and local shows. Go to The Creative Cottage Show page for a current list of shows where Lynn will have a vendor booth.

Fused Glass Home Decor by Lynn Smythe

Click on any of the images shown below for a detailed, up close view of the fused glass piece.


Take care,
Lynn Smythe
Founder and Chief Designer
The Creative Cottage

Loom Woven Beaded Bracelets by Lynn Smythe

Loom Woven Beaded Bracelets by Lynn Smythe

Beaded bracelets by Lynn Smythe.
Three beaded loom woven bracelets with fused glass clasps by Lynn Smythe.

Besides making fused glass and beaded jewelry, I used to write how to articles for various craft and jewelry magazines. This blog post shows a few of my original design loom woven bracelets, each of which feature a clasp made with one of my fused glass cabochons. I used size 11/0 Miyuki delica cylinder beads for the loom woven portion of each bracelet. The clasps were created using the technique of bead embroidery on ultra-suede.

One of my future projects is to offer my loom woven, peyote stitch and brick stitch bead patterns for sale on The Creative Cottage website. The patterns will include a color graph, a custom bead graph and a bead shopping list, showing the exact brand, size and color of beads used. I typically use cylinder beads, either Miyuki delicas or Toho Aiko, to create my bead patterns.

Craft Publications by Lynn Smythe

Altered Arts

  • May/June 2006 – Clown Album

Beadwork

  • Fall 1998 – Beaded Needle Case
  • Summer 1999 – Patterns
  • Winter 2000 – How-to Start a Bead Society in Your Free Time
  • December 2000/January 2001 – Flower Garden Loom-Woven Bracelet

Jewelry Crafts

  • May/June 1997 – A Lovely Lacy Miniature Pouch
  • November/December 1997 – Beaded Comanche Rosettes
  • May/June 1998 – Beaded Beads & Macrame
  • September/October 1998 – Amulet Bag Earrings
  • January/February 1999 – The Art of Glass Fusing
  • March/April 1999 – Make a Mini Amulet Bag

Lapidary Journal

  • September 1997 – Bead-Netted Cabochon
  • July 1998 – Macrame Beaded Earrings
  • April 1999 – Loom-Woven Bracelet

Take care,
Lynn Smythe
Founder  & Chief Designer
The Creative Cottage