DIY

DIY “Marbled” Mug Using Alcohol Inks

I have a new obsession with alcohol ink.

Alcohol ink mug

I’ve been playing around on Yupo paper with various inks. I share photos of those pieces on my personal instagram from time to time, if you want to check them out.

Today, I just wanted to share a quick and easy alcohol ink DIY project. It’s sooo simple! All you need is a glazed ceramic or porcelain mug, paintbrush, alcohol inks, a straw (optional), 99% isopropyl alcohol and an oven. Maybe gloves, too. This can get messy.

  • I bought a white ceramic mug for $2.99 at HomeGoods.
  • I used a paintbrush to paint some isopropyl alcohol onto the surface of the mug first
  • I then started dropping my colors on, randomly. I used colors from this Lakeshore set and this Nature Walk set of alcohol inks.
  • I swirled the mug around here and there to let the colors run *sort of* where I wanted them to. You really just have to give up a bit of control when it comes to alcohol ink!
  • I used a straw every once in a while to push some ink around even more by blowing air through the straw onto the wet ink.
  • When I was happy with the results, and after I was sure all the ink was dry, I put the mug into my oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes to set the ink. I’ve also read that you can cure your mug (or plate, or bowl?!) with a layer of dishwasher safe Modge Podge, but I haven’t tried that.

Voila! I’m pretty much ready to alcohol-ink anything ceramic at this point. So much fun!

kimberly

 

DIY, Soap

Making Cold Process Soap for the First Time

About a month ago, I finally tried something I’ve been wanting to try for ages: making cold process soap! I think I’ve been drawn to soap making not only because of how beautiful artisan soaps can be, but also because they contain simple, real ingredients (and I’ve been known to have several mysterious skin allergies crop up from time-to-time).

Cold process soap making kit

So, I bought myself a beginner soap making kit from Bramble Berry. The kit came with everything you need to make your first batch of soap, including a recipe. The kit did not come with any colorants, however, so I purchased some of those separately to try (go big or go home, right?). The box the kit comes in even doubles as a soap mold, though if and when I do this again, I’ll purchase a proper silicone mold.

Other than the oils, lye, fragrance and other basic ingredients that come in the kit, you’ll have to supply a few things on your own like bowls, a stick blender or other mixing tool, gloves, eye protection, etc. Bowls and gloves I bought at the dollar store on the cheap, and they worked just fine!

Since I’ve been dying to try this and because this was my first time, I made sure to do a bit of research before diving in. I found some soap makers I like on social media and learned what I could from them. Bramble Berry’s blog is a great source for this kind of thing. Their youtube channel, Soap Queen TV, has a lot of great info and tutorials. I am also in love with just about every soap made by Tania of Soapish, and she’s got a great youtube channel and an even better instagram account.

Cold process soap

So, feeling mostly well informed, I got started (and soon learned that soap making is more about trial and error and less about feeling well informed from the get-go)… I mixed all my ingredients and then portioned things out into several bowls and mixed in my fragrance oil and mica colorants (Caribbean Blue and Aqua Pearl) – one bowl had fragrance oil but no colorant.

Cold process soap

I had to work pretty quickly because I got a little overzealous and I think over mixed my soap a bit. So, not much time for process photos here! But I did what I think is called a drop swirl, adding my base soap and then the colored soaps as well. I let the batch cure for about 24 hours and then cut up my bars with a sharp knife before letting them continue to cure for several weeks.

Cold process soap

Obviously there’s some room for improvement here, but I feel really good about the results of my first attempt. And the Cranberry Fig fragrance smells so delicious (though next time I think I’ll find some colors that “match” the fragrance a little better)! The soap lathers really nicely and has a smooth, creamy feel. I definitely see more soap making in my future.

kimberly

This post is not sponsored and there are no affiliate links here – I just wanted to share my thoughts and experience :)

DIY, Recipes

I Mirror-Glazed a Cake!

Hello friends! I thought I’d share something a little bit different today. We’ll call this a little something from the “baking diaries,” and I’ll make a confession here that I watch a lot of baking videos on YouTube. I’ll even give you a list of some of my favorite channels: The Scran Line, Zoe’s Fancy Cakes, Rosie’s Dessert Spot, and Cupcake Jemma.  I’ll stop there, because the list is quite long! And I’m realizing as I’ve just listed out some favorites that I might have a slight affinity for Australian and British accents…At any rate, I can’t really explain the obsession with baking channels, except that I do love to bake when I find the time (I think I get that from my grandmother), and I just really like to eat sweets. :)

Mirror glaze cake

Anyway. Mirror Glazes seem to be pretty trendy lately. You can mirror glaze cakes in all kinds of colors with all kinds of different, beautiful results, and it’s pretty simple and super shiny. I’ll include a recipe for the glaze I used, below.

As some of you may know, I’m a librarian by day, and I work in a research library that focuses on the collection of materials (books, newspapers, ephemera, etc.) printed in American before 1876. There’s a lot of marbled paper in our library stacks. Every month, we have a birthday party to celebrate staff who have birthdays that fall within that particular month, and I signed up to bake one of the celebratory cakes for the March party. I’d been wanting to try a mirror glaze (I practiced it once before and it went…ok), and it seemed like this was just the occasion to try the technique. And if I could get the glaze to resemble marbled paper, even better!

Mirror glaze cake

I baked a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and froze it overnight. I used this recipe. The recipe calls for coffee in the mix, which I think makes this particular cake especially delicious!

The next morning, when the cake was good and frozen, I got to work on the glaze. Of the two recipes I’ve tried, I like this one best. It requires the use of real white chocolate chips (instead of white chocolate melts that one may be tempted to use) which make a world of difference. Ask me how I know.

I separated my glaze into three different bowls and colored one white, one a deep burgundy and one a lighter shade of red. I only used a small amount of the glaze for the lighter colors, and colored the bulk of my glaze the darker red, because I knew I wanted it to be the dominant color. I waited for my glaze(s) to reach the correct temperature (also vital…) and then poured them on . First the darkest color, and then drizzles of the lighter colors here and there. The pouring was rather haphazard, intentionally. I ended up with this great, random marbled effect. And it was so shiny! The gelatin in the recipe means that the glaze firms up a bit once it cools completely, so your design stays put.

Mirror glaze cake

Another word to the wise: transport can be tricky! Make sure you handle with care (aka don’t let the side of the cake hit the side of the cake carrier. You’ll be sorry…Ask me how I know).

So, if you really want to wow your friends at a party, I’d recommend a mirror glaze. Mine’s not perfect – there are some air bubbles here and there, and then we had that little mishap during transportation…But it was still a hit! And it’s not hard at all if you’ve got a good recipe!

kimberly

Cards, DIY

Christmas Cookie Boxes!

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Every year I bake cookies and package them up to give to my staff as holiday gifts. Each year the packaging changes and is something handmade by me! This year, I made a bunch of gift boxes to deliver the cookies in. The gift box is assembled using the Mama Elephant Gable Box die and some double sided tape. Before I could assemble them, though, I had to stamp some patterns on them and color them up!

Poinsettia goodie boxes
Some boxes were cut from white card stock and others from craft card stock. Some had poinsettias and others had pine cones. I stamped most of them with Memento Tuxedo Black ink, but others I stamped with VersaMark ink and white heat-embossed the images. I then used either copics or colored pencils to do my coloring.

Pinecone goodie boxes

While I was finishing up coloring all of the boxes, I had to bake some cookies to go inside! This year I made four different kinds:

Christmas cookies

After I’d finished coloring all of the boxes, I cut widows in one side of them, using the same die set. Some had simple scalloped circle windows while others had a more ornate window that I gave a little dimension to by layering it on top of some fun foam. I then added some vellum behind the window. I thought about using clear acetate, but I used some Press’n Seal to line the insides of the boxes so they wouldn’t get dirty or greasy on the outside, so a clear window would have been obscured anyway.
Christmas gift goodie boxes

Then it was time to start adding my mini gift tags – more about those here.

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Christmas gift goodie boxes

In addition to the stamped and colored boxes, I also made some solid color boxes, just to change it up a bit. I wanted these solid boxes to be just as fancy as the others, so I added my jazzed-up mini tags onto those boxes.

Christmas gift goodie boxes

I managed to fit about 6-ish cookies into each of the boxes. It generally went like this: One snowball, one chocolate chip, 4 holiday bites and several pieces of toffee, broken up. Sometimes I’d add an extra snowball, if there was room.

Christmas gift goodie boxes

I really love how they turned out, and I had a lot of fun making them!

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Christmas gift goodie boxes

Happy Holidays!

kimberly

Cards, DIY

Mini Christmas Gift Tags

Sharing a short and sweet post about these itty-bitty gift tags I created to go along with some gift boxes I’ve been making!
Mini messages Christmas gift tags

To create the tags I first used some tiny tag dies that I got from Simon Says Stamp, which I don’t think are available anymore. These are similar. I cut the tags from white and craft card stock and stamped various sentiments from my Mama Elephant Mini Messages stamp set in Versafine Onyx Black ink. I decided the tags looked a bit too plain on their own, so I cut some more tags from red and green paper, and then offset the colored paper behind the stamped pieces and stuck them together with some double sided tape. I then ran some twine through the tags to finish them up.

Wplus9 woodland basics die cuts

I decided I wanted to jazz up a few of the tags even more, so I took out my Woodland Basics dies and cut several shapes from some different colors of cardstock. Some of the die cuts were way to big for me to use on my tags, but the smaller dies turned out to be the right size. The above photo isn’t great, but I wanted you to be able to see some of the die cuts! This is a really great stand-alone die set. I especially love the pine needles!

Mini messages Christmas tag

So, I added some sprigs and berries here and there until I ended up with something I was happy with, gluing each piece onto the front or back of the tag as I went along. I only did this on a few tags but I really love how they turned out.

Mama Elephant mini messages on Christmas gift tags

Don’t forget to check back for tomorrow’s post to see how the tags look when I put them on the goodie boxes!

kimberly

DIY

DIY Holiday Decor // Rose Gold Reindeer

Rose gold reindeer on mantle

Hi! I come to you today with a different sort of paper crafting experiment that I did over the weekend. Some of you may remember my bright, sparkly, reindeer DIY from several years back. For that project, I sketched a reindeer image onto a large canvas, covered it in Mod Podge,added lots of sequins, and stuck it on my fireplace mantle. Something about antlers and sparkles screams Christmas to me. That’s normal, right?

This year, I thought I’d do something a little different, but mostly the same. I used the same subject matter, but made a smaller version and used a different technique, and I love how it turned out!

Foiled deer holiday decor

To start, I google image-searched “reindeer silhouette” until I found a simple image that I liked. I then printed it out with a toner ink printer (NOT an ink-jet or other kind of printer) onto some cardstock. I needed this to print with toner ink because I planned to foil it with my Minc foil applicator (though you could try using reactive foil and a general laminating machine for this as well). I had some 5″x7″ picture frames hanging around and wanted to use those, so I made sure to cut the printed sheet down to a size that would fit inside my frame. I got the frames at the dollar store, so this project was really inexpensive, too!

Foiled deer holiday decor

I ended up making two framed reindeer. For this first one I chose some rose gold foil. I cut a piece of the foil, layered it over my appropriately-sized panel, put it in a carrier sheet and ran it through my Minc to fuse the foil onto the printed image. I have the larger-size Minc, but the Mini Minc would be perfectly for this, too.

Foiled deer holiday decor

I chose a different reindeer silhouette and some gold foil for a second image, and then put both in frames. One lives on the fireplace mantle and the other in the dining room.

Gold and rose gold foiled reindeer

I love the chic look of these decorations, and they were so simple and quick to make! The beauty of this project is that you can use this technique with any subject matter and with any size frame – as long as the panel will fit though whatever size Minc machine you have!

I have a few other holiday decor DIY ideas in mind – we’ll see if they make it off the ground. Never enough time!

kimberly

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DIY

Easy DIY Wine Rack

DIY wine rack

It’s been such a long time since I’ve done any real DIY projects around the house, but I’ve been wanting to construct some kind of wine rack for quite a while. I found this plan on Shanty 2 Chic and knew it would be perfect (and easy enough for a girl who is still a novice when it comes to power tools).

DIY wine rack

The whole project went very quickly. We followed the directions (I did have some help!) and were able to assemble everything in less than an hour. All of the cuts were very simple, and everything is attached with screws and some wood glue.

DIY wine rack

Once everything was put together, I sanded and then stained the rack with some Dark Walnut stain – two thin coats!
DIY wine rack

After the stain dried, I got out the sander to rough sand it in some spots to give the wine rack more of a rustic look.

DIY wine rack

Once I was finished roughing it up,  hex bolts were inserted into the pre-drilled holes on each shelf. Lastly, I painted on some chalkboard paint at the front of each shelf so that the wines can be nicely labeled. However, I have yet to get out and buy some chalk, so that part will have to wait. :)

DIY wine rack

Some of the wines fit a little too snugly, so if you decide to make a wine rack for yourself, make sure you drill the holes for the hex bolts as close as you possibly can to the edge of the shelf. I have to learn to be careful about snagging the wine labels on the hex bolts, too.

DIY wine rack

We had to mount the rack with heavy duty toggle bolts, but wood screws would probably suffice in most cases.

DIY wine rack

I love how this little lady turned out. She’s such a nice addition to the dining room!

kimberly