TIPS

When I first started crafting, I had no idea how to stain fabric or rust bells or make a french knot.  I am grateful to the crafters and artists who publish tutorials to teach and inspire others to create! The tutorials here may seem like old news to many, and keep in mind there are many different ways of doing things, but if you are just starting to craft & create, I hope you find them helpful.   

♥ Lisa

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One of the best organizational tips I've ever received was from my friend Patti (Primitive at Heart).  By placing each pattern in a page protector and filing patterns by seasons or item, it saves so much space and time.  It makes it so much easier to find a pattern. And the binders and protectors can be fairly cheap.

one of my Chestnut Junction patterns - love them!


I just taped on labels with scrap paper, but you could get fancy with purdy color binders and fancy paper labels and have fun with it. 
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DON'T BE SCARED: PRIM IT UP
I remember when I was scared to stain projects, now I can't not stain anything.
It really is simple and here is a very easy way to start if you have never primmed up a project before.

Three basic ingredients are coffee, vanilla and cinnamon.  I believe everyone has a different recipe and that's the fun part: experimenting as you go with different spices and perfecting your recipe.
You can paint your stain on or dunk your project in a bowl of stain.  I like to use a little 2oz sprayer filled with coffee (a lot of people use instant coffee, I  use regular coffee left over in the pot for ease) I fill the sprayer with about 3/4 of coffee and 1/4 vanilla.
For this project we'll use a pretty white polka-dot egg

Spray your stain right on the project being sure to cover the whole surface.

Sprinkle your cinnamon or spice mix on your project - don't be afraid, go ahead!

Rub your spice in real good all over. Spray again and repeat if you want more.

Set your project in the sun to dry.  Depending on what you use in your stain recipe, you will want to flip your project as it dries.  Sometimes the stain will rise to the top of the project.

When dry, brush off the excess spice and you are done!  If you have never primmed up a project, I hope this encourages you to try something new! Have fun experimenting with your own stain techniques. But be warned, it could be addicting!

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SEW SIMPLE: STUFFING TOOL

This is a real simple tip on a tool to stuff your dollies and other creations.

 All you need is a wooden skewer and a piece of sandpaper or nail file.  The skewers can be purchased in a large pack very cheap.  The nail files can also be bought in a large pack at the dollar store.

Next you may want to enlist the help of your cat.  Note: the cat will probably offer help whether you want it or not.  Simply file the sharp end of the skewer until it is well rounded.  Check the edges of the skewer for any splinters and file those areas too.

This is the only stuffing tool that I use, it works great.  I also use the sharp ends of the un-filed skewers for painting thin lines or small spaces on doll faces.  I use the nail files on the edges and surfaces of salt dough ornies after they are baked to smooth them out.

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CINNAMON STICK TUTORIAL

A couple of winters ago I was crafting in the middle of the night in the middle of a snowstorm and needed cinnamon sticks.  Didn't have any, so I made some, and here is how:

Gather up:
ground cinnamon
coffee or your favorite stain recipe
acrylic paint (I used antique copper, but you can play with the color)
osnaburg fabric
paintbrush
gloves are optional (it can get messy)

Cut your osnaburg fabric 3.5" x 5" (or longer if you choose)
brush or spray on your stain
brush on your paint
sprinkle cinnamon and gently rub in

Find the center of your fabric and roll one of thelong sides of the fabric tightly to the center
Roll the other side of the fabric tightly to the center, meeting the already rolled side
Sprinkle additional cinnamon if desired
Set aside to dry


Tips: the paint is what will make the fabric hold together, so make sure to cover all the fabric with it.
If you don't like the shape of the stick, play with how tight you roll the fabric.
After rolling both sides of the fabric to the center, dab some paint on each end and dip in cinnamon.

I tied these faux cinnamon sticks to some ginger ornies with red & off-white check fabric strips and loved the look...will be making some more this year!