Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Where should I start? Like everyone else, this month is truly packed with so many things that I have been busy sewing, selling, and shipping these past few weeks and haven't had much time to share an update here. Just over a week ago, I participated in Tiny Expo in downtown Ann Arbor's district library where I met many talented local artisans as well as new customers! The show featured just over 40 handmade vendors, each with a unique product, design, and skill. This was my fourth time participating in a local craft fair, and just like the past three, I left the show in awe and appreciation of having been a part of such a talented set of local handmade artists.
I have always been a huge fan of attending local craft fairs, but I never thought I would ever participate in one myself. It wasn't because I didn't want to, rather I always thought I would never be committed enough to put the time and effort into making enough items to sell, preparing a creative display, and having the confidence to approach new faces for a full day. I will admit that I underestimated the amount of work it takes to participate in a craft fair, however the sense of pride I received for having accomplished it while simultaneously feeling like I am part of the handmade community was beyond what I expected. This is the reason I continue to participate in handmade shows, despite knowing that indeed the level of effort and time is a huge commitment. For those who may not know, my first craft fair was about three years ago, and it was a complete flop. I am so glad that I decided to give it a second try. Isn't it surprising how things turn out if we just push to keep on trying?
So, if you stopped by the Lina and Vi table last weekend in Ann Arbor, thank you. It was great to meet with customers in person and hear feedback on my handmade items in real time. That is something that is hard to convey when working with customers online through our Etsy shop.
In other news, we are nearly out of ready to ship burlap pillows, but we still have one brown Plymouth Michigan pillow available in time for Christmas! If you are local, we can arrange a pickup in the metro Detroit or Ann Arbor areas. Send me a message on Etsy to coordinate a local meetup! All other burlap pillows are still available for order with a 1-2 week production time.
Thanks for dropping by,
Saturday, December 3, 2016
I'm taking a break from preparing for Tiny Expo today to share a new DIY with you for the holiday season! A couple of weeks ago, my husband decided that the birch tree near the front of our house needed some trimming. He cut a few small limbs off of the tree and offered them to me to see if I could make anything out of them. I will never let free crafting material go to waste, so with his help and some help from Pinterest, I dreamed up a fun personalized birch wood slice ornament for our tree.
Today I am giving a short tutorial on how to make a customized birch wood slice ornament. You can choose to personalize it or leave it as a rustic, wood ornament for your holiday decorations.
- birch wood branch
- miter saw
- modge podge
- sponge brush
- drill with small bit
- (optional) adhesive vinyl and transfer paper
- (optional) Silhouette Cameo
Note: Please find help if you are not trained on how to use a miter saw and/or drill. Please use the proper safety equipment when using these tools.
- Once you have the birch branches removed from the tree, you will need to slice them vertically using the miter saw. I sliced mine about .75" to 1" inch thickness.
- After you have the birch wood rounds, you will then use your drill with a smaller bit to drill a hole at the top of the round in order to thread the twine through to hang the round like an ornament. Once the hole is formed, cut some twine with scissors and knot it so that you form a loop to hang the round.
- The next step is to personalize the birch wood slice. I made one using the silhouette of an English Spring Spaniel along with the letters of my dog's name under the silhouette in black vinyl. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the vinyl as well as the transfer paper to transfer the vinyl decal onto the round. I have found that vinyl does not adhere well to raw wood. You may opt to put a coat of modge podge on the wood first and let it dry before adhering the vinyl. If you don't have a Cameo, you could also use the freezer paper method to make a stencil by hand with a pencil and X-acto knife. You can iron the freezer paper onto the wood and use acrylic paint to paint on the custom design.
- After the birch wood slice has been designed, paint a thin coat of modge podge over the design using the sponge brush and let it dry for an hour or so to secure the design on the wood.
That's it! This was a quick afternoon project that made use of some natural elements as interior decor for my Christmas tree. Along with the English Spring Spaniel wood slice ornament, I made personalized ornaments for each of our nieces and nephews which will double as tags on their gifts this year.
There are several different ways birch wood slices can be used in home decor and crafting. Instead of just drilling one hole in the round, a second hole can be drilled into the round in order to thread the slices onto a long string of twine for garland that would look great wrapped around a Christmas tree or hanging on a mantel.
I hope you are having a great start to your weekend! I am looking forward to seeing a few local folks at Tiny Expo next Saturday in Ann Arbor.