Tag Archives: arts

Considering A Used Sewing Machine? Follow These Tips

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Considering A Used Sewing Machine? Follow These Tips

The cost of a sewing machine is significant. You need a reliable, sturdy machine with all of the capabilities you want right away and a few that you will probably desire in the future. A fantastic way to save some cash is to purchase a secondhand machine. But beware the buyer! The purchase of used equipment has its drawbacks as well. The following factors are important to think about:

What can it do and does it work?:

Any sewing machine, new or secondhand, must pass the most fundamental test – it must operate! Test out any equipment you want to purchase as soon as you can. Some stores will provide test models on the floor for new equipment. However, if you’re buying a secondhand sewing machine, you should test the actual machine, not simply the same model. Try the features out. Does the sewing machine produce uniform, skip-free stitches? Does it run without making any strange noises?

Bring along both delicate and more durable fabrics in different weights to test the machine’s capabilities. Remember, your results won’t be adequate if you don’t take the time to correctly change all of the parameters between these two, including switching to a heavy duty needle and thread.

Is it in excellent shape overall or has it undergone any repairs?

A sewing machine’s condition may not always be apparent at first sight. When buying from a store that sells old equipment, find out if the unit has been restored and what that entails. Find out the prior owner’s maintenance schedule and the most recent service date if you’re purchasing from them.

Who is the machine’s seller?

The safest option is usually to purchase a used or refurbished machine from a store because these items are frequently cleaned and fixed before being put back on the market. They could even have a modernized repair warranty. Unfortunately, the price difference between one of these machines and a new one won’t be as great because of the additional maintenance required. Directly purchasing from a prior owner may give you more wiggle room, but there will also be greater quality variety.

What does it include?

This is a crucial question to ask in relation to accessories. What comes with the purchase? Make sure you understand what you’re buying and what the final price includes. This is also a good time to double check that the machine is compatible with gear that you might already have.

Is it user-friendly?

It’s likely that a secondhand machine won’t have a user manual. It’s a relief that many of these can now be downloaded, but if you’re a novice sewer, it might be difficult to even know what questions to ask when getting started with a new machine. This is just another incentive to test a machine out before purchasing it!

Will it satisfy your needs?

It’s great to get a good deal on a used machine but is it going to be able to do everything that you want it to? What might be a smart purchase now could end up costing you more later if you realize you do want all of the bells and whistles.

What is the price being asked?

Last but not least, how much money can you afford to spend on a sewing machine? You’ll need to do some research to figure out what a fair price is for the item you want. Older machines are frequently pricey due to their enduring appeal, while more recent versions can be surprisingly affordable.

With all of these tips in mind, you will be better prepared to make a good decision if you’re on the market for a new to you sewing machine.

Resources:

Featured Image By: Alex Andrews from Pexels

Bubble Pop Craft

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Bubble Pop Craft

Hello! This past weekend was a whirlwind because my sister just had another beautiful baby girl! I am so excited to be a TT of three and my Val Gal is over the moon to be a big sister. While the little miss was making her grand debut, my dad and I watched Val over the weekend. We had an absolute blast playing outside, going to see a dance program, and making a super fun bubble craft!

When I was little, I could stay outside picking dandelions and blowing bubbles for hours and Val shares the same sentiments. On Sunday morning, it was very dreary so we couldn’t play outside. But, in the recesses of my brain, I remembered a craft that I had seen on Pinterest by Broogly that was sure to keep her occupied. Check it out:

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What You’ll Need:

  • Bubble soap
  • Food coloring
  • Paper

What To Do:

  • Mix food coloring and bubble soap together
  • Blow bubbles over your piece of paper to create your pop art. The longer the bubble sits on the paper, the deeper the color will be.

This bubble pop craft was so easy to put together and Val and I spent over an hour and a half making six masterpieces for her baby sis, uncles, and grandma. While this is definitely a better craft for doing outside, we were able to make it work with minimal mess by placing beach towels over the kitchen floor to blow bubbles on. The mess actually came after the project was complete when I accidentally knocked into Val and blue bubble soap spilled all over the floor. WHOOPS lol.

Not only was this craft entertaining but it was educational too. I got to teach Val all about mixing colors to make new ones and she assisted in helping me make purple and orange bubble soap. I loved how her orange turned out! She would tell you that the purple was the best and, as always, it’s her favorite color. ❤

The next time we make this craft (because there will for sure be a next time), hopefully the weather will be nice enough to do it outdoors. I plan on getting bigger sheets of paper and think that it will turn out really cool if we use one of the automatic bubble blowers. Do give this craft a try if you have little ones – they will love it!

Where do you find fun crafts for your kids? What crafts have you made together this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Paint By Numbers Misfortune

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Paint By Numbers Misfortune

Hello! My best friend, Lea, gifted me with everything that I needed for my own personal wine and paint night for my birthday. She got me a paint by numbers kit, which I have heard of before but never tried and was eager to give it a shot. This past weekend, I decided that I would get started on my project before a friend showed up for a game night. Unfortunately, it was way harder than I could have ever imagined:

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After unboxing the paint by numbers kit, I was surprised by how difficult it looked but was hopeful that I would be able to complete it. The kit included the canvas, three paint brushes of various sizes, numbered paints, and supplies for hanging it up. With everything that I needed provided, I was still under the impression that once I got the hang of it, it would be easy. That was, however, far from the case.

I had a few hours to kill and I thought that I would start with the biggest task on the canvas first, painting the background and small details white. I began working on one of the vases and even with the smallest paint brush available, I was getting paint in the wrong places and covering up numbers I would need later left and right. After the epic failure of attempting one color on a vase, I started painting the background because that should be easy, right?

WRONG!!!!

The biggest paint brush that the kit had was hardly making a dent in the vast spaces on the canvas that needed covered up. Not to mention that you had to perfectly outline the vases and flowers with the white paint too. I switched back and forth between the biggest and smallest brush to accomplish this and was constantly covering up other spaces that needed painted. You seriously almost needed a toothpick small brush to get into all of the tiny nooks and crannies and the smallest brush was way too big for the task.

Of course, I am so thankful to Lea for her super thoughtful gift but I can’t say that this project is one that I plan on finishing. After my first effort, I essentially shot myself in the foot since so many areas got painted over. I am sure that other easier paint by numbers kits are a lot of fun and would happily try one of them. I just don’t have the surgeon steady hands to successfully complete this canvas!

Have you tried a paint by numbers kit before? What did you think of it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

4 Stress-Busting Means Of Engaging Your Creativity

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4 Stress-Busting Means Of Engaging Your Creativity

To open this post, we need not speak about the difficulties of the last year, and just how life has changed. It’s a well-worn topic. However, it’s very true that the importance of self-care and the willingness to keep ourselves in check (and to check up on others) has never been so important. As such, figuring out a few methods for achieving exactly that is certainly worth our time. One method that is rarely spoken of when it comes to self care is that of practicing creativity.

Why is this? Well, sometimes, creativity can feel like work or practice. It’s not as if playing a piano is something we can all sit down and just learn by ear, it takes hard work and practice to get good before you can begin really flexing your creativity. The last thing you want to assign to someone having a stressful time is more work.

Or is that the case? Does creativity have to feel like work or could it feel like play? Perhaps it could be both. After all, most runners are all too familiar with the feeling we get when starting a run (feeling groggy, tired, irritable) and then how fun it gets once the endorphins are flowing and we feel like we could keep going for hours. Creativity can function in that way. It can also help us feel confident, relaxed, energized, inspired, productive, useful, and able to express ourselves. That has to be worth something quite important, to the point where we would totally recommend keeping on top of those considerations from now into the long term.

Let’s see what creative ambitions can fit within this worthwhile category:

Journaling:

People rarely feel that journaling is a creative hobby, but it truly is. Putting your thoughts, ideas, impressions, beliefs, or experiences down into written form can be very cathartic. Journaling can not only help you expel your ideas more readily, but it helps you understand exactly what you were thinking and why. This is doubled when you return to that which you’ve written and see just where you were at the time, and how you’ve grown. Giving yourself this kind of insight is not only a great practice for your mental health, but it can help you learn a new skill. Writing isn’t easy and it takes plenty of practice to get good at. A journal is a fantastic place to become more literate. It can also serve our next task:

Creative Writing:

People often think that creative writing needs to be strictly within a category. Either you’re writing poetry, a short story, a novel, or a travel log. That’s not true, of course. Writing is whatever you’d like it to be. Some of the best writing we have is when authors have the courage to break the rules, like the novel Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce, filled with difficult-to-decipher language that is both strange and very curated, almost poetic.

Creative writing helps us focus on our thoughts and what impressions we may wish to grant an audience, but it also helps us present a story line, write our thoughts for people to read, or perhaps veil our artistic insights in poetry or songwriting. Creative writing, like journaling, can be quite cathartic except the rules are much more open and freeing, giving you a sense of potential in every word you jot down. Why not try and write a page long stream of consciousness this week? It might inspire you to further expand your creativity.

Arts & Crafts:

Of course, many people prefer feeling like they have something tangible to offer, and arts and crafts can help us focus on actually making something rather than endlessly reflecting. That can be great to keep us focused and somewhat distracted, rather than ruminating on the tough times we’re going through.

For instance, you might find that putting together a wonderful mandala kit helps you create a beautiful decoration that you take pride in every time you see it. Arts and crafts can also serve a real purpose. You might use your seamstress skills to fix up some of your old clothes or reupholster your furniture by giving it a lick of paint and a varnish. Maybe you’ll just reclaim some wood and use a chisel and hammer to try your hand at amateur sculpture in your garage. Having a project like this on the go can feel very rewarding, as over time it takes form and you see your plans come to actual life.

Painting:

If you’re looking for some inspiration, there’s a special Twitch channel playing Bob Ross episodes 24/7, showcasing how even amateurs can enjoy painting and get something from it if they try. Why not gather some paints and give it a shot? You could mess around with watercolors and have fun with your teenage child. You might decide to do a self-portrait, something fun and whimsical or perhaps as realistic as you can try to make it. You can also experiment with the surfaces you paint on if you like, such as painting a beautiful family mural in your kitchen or corridor wall with images of your loved ones.

Don’t discount painting just because you may not have had time to enjoy it before. The process can be highly rewarding if you give it time, piece by piece, with a little verve and care.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily see the benefit in trying a new creative passion, even if you’ve never touched that process before. These suggested activities are cheap, fun, and can sustain you during difficult times. Best of luck!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Reader Map DIY Craft

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Reader Map DIY Craft

Hi! One of the things that I love about blogging on WordPress is how they tell you what countries are reading you every day on your stats page. When I first started lifewithlilred, it was always exciting to get a new country reading me and it still is. So, I decided to pin a world map to a bulletin board and placed a thumbtack in the designated position for each country that I had readers in:

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Over five years ago when I began my reader map, my dad and I spent an entire afternoon locating each country so I could place a pin to start keeping track. It was a fun and downright educational way to spend some time and I thought that it was a great craft for my blogger friends to work on, especially when we all should be practicing self isolation.

Dig up an old map from your school days or print one out for yourself and you will get a visual representation of your blog’s global klout by the end of the project. I love having a reader map and the best part? Adding new thumbtacks to it as new countries start reading me! My most recent pin being in Seychelles. 🙂

What have you been crafting to help pass time in quarantine? Which DIY project that you made are you most proud of? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cool Crafts: Personalized Card Making

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Cool Crafts: Personalized Card Making

Creating cards and letter writing is a lost art. Taking the time to make something with care adds personality to your crafting, something that cannot be replicated when buying cards from a store. That’s actually where most of the fun comes in, making a card that is entirely unique and took incredible patience and skill. If you’re just teetering on the brink of getting started and buying the various equipment you need, then take a look at these examples where card making becomes the perfect craft:

A mark of professionalism:

What if you could make your business card yourself? If you had the freedom, what kind of design would you use? When it comes to card making, it’s not just the normal greeting cards that you will be able to make, but business cards too. Right from scratch, you can decide the material so when someone touches it, they get a unique sensation. A business card made out of foam, for example, is much more memorable than typical card stock. Being able to make your own 3D designs so again, anyone who is rubbing their finger over it gets a different feel. And, rather than the typical rectangle business card, how about curved edges? Any colors, fonts, dies and materials, the choice is yours.

A bespoke wedding:

Wedding cards are, perhaps, the most difficult to choose. It’s not like a birthday that comes around every year, weddings are once in a lifetime. People who have been invited to the wedding will often fret whether or not their card looks extravagant enough and does it warrant being saved by the couple. Usually the married couple will only choose a select few cards that they’re going to save for the rest of their life along with all of the other wedding day memories. To make your card worthy of being kept and valued, you’ll need to make it yourself using Sizzix dies. These dies are some of the most detailed in the crafting world and there are plenty of them to choose from. Characters, letters, houses, animals, patterns and jewelry designs, for starters.

For your wedding card, you may wish to use thinlit dies, which are intricate patterns that are used to cut out the frontal design of your card. This allows the cover to be see-through and show a bit of what’s inside without opening it. The festive repeats, floral, seasonal, and mystical dies would go great for celebrating a moment of love and happiness.

Celebrating a milestone:

Normally, people get into crafting because they want to make a brilliant birthday card, which is fine. But you can use your crafting skills to make a card that marks a special milestone. This could be something like giving your parents an anniversary card for their 20 years together. It might be giving your daughter a card for her promotion at work. A moment in time where an achievement of perseverance and struggle is documented, acknowledged, and celebrated is perfect for making a personalized card.

First, you need custom dies which you can very easily order online. But what kind of dies would you need? For a promotion, how about the logo of the company they work for? For an anniversary maybe a picture from the photo album? Anything that relates to the focal point can be made into a 3D design with a custom die. Next, you should use materials and colors that match the event. Again, you could use corporate colors for the promotion card or the favorite colors of the couple. Ribbons and flowers are a great addition to personalized cards as a change of material and adds depth to the card.

Making a children’s book:

Children will one day grow too old to be read bedtime stories but, while you have the chance, make them a personal bedtime story. You can make up your own characters and story line to reflect the kind of teachings you want them to learn. With using the dies, you can make a 3D book which has lots of opportunity for interactive storytelling. Popup books are popular because they have moving parts, so you might want to incorporate that into your crafting skills, as well.

Handcrafted cards are incredibly personal and will instantly be recognized for the hard work you have put in. Start crafting a card and make something special for someone you care about!

Six Ways To Bring Out Your Inner Artist

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Six Ways To Bring Out Your Inner Artist

Art is often seen as something that is reserved for a dedicated few. It’s something that seems incredibly beginner unfriendly, inaccessible, and also expensive – but all three of those claims are far from the truth and the reality is that everyone possesses the creative mind required for art. The big hurdle to overcome is the initial step and, in this article, we’re going to show you six ways to bring out your inner artist:

Visit an art gallery or art-related event:

There are likely dozens, if not hundreds, of art-related events and galleries that you can visit for inspiration. It could be an art gallery, it could be a photography workshop, or even just a speech by a famous artist or design professional. Whatever the event is, attend it and see if it can change your mind to bring out your inner artist.

Look at the art of your favorite books and movies:

Everyone has a source of inspiration for their creative works and yours could be from your favorite books, movies, or cartoons. Plenty of cartoonists love watching different cartoons from all different eras for inspiration and some painters enjoy fantasy scenes from movies and use them as references for creations.

Find an alternate art medium:

You don’t have to stick to paints and canvas or even pencils and paper. There are plenty of fun and expressive mediums and tools that you can use such as chalk, graphite, sculpting, or even using Lego to create unique works of art. There are no limitations when it comes to art, so use whatever you want to be expressive and create something unique to you.

Try and go digital with your art:

Many people stay away from traditional art tools and mediums because they believe that it’s hard to recover from mistakes and they just hate to see their work crumpled in the bin. This is where digital tools can come in handy. With features like copy and pasting, layers, and the ever-so-useful undo button, it can make getting into art a lot easier.

Make friends in the art community and learn from them:

There are plenty of ways to get out there to meet the art community either in your local area or even over the internet. You could attend a paint and sip class to make friends while you work or you could join art communities over the internet and discuss things such as art tools and ideas together. You’ll find that it’s much easier to bring out your inner artist if you have friends that enjoy the same things as you.

Have a purpose for your artistic creations:

Lastly, try and find a purpose for your art. If you just use art as a creative stress reliever, then that’s perfectly fine. But if you’re interested in art because you want to sell fashionable shirts or posters, then having a goal to work towards will help motivate you and bring out your inner artist.

Remember that art isn’t about being perfect so create, explore, and always have fun!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

PatCatan’s Haul

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PatCatan’s Haul

Hellooo everyone! When my siblings and I were younger, I can always remember my mom taking us to the local craft store called PatCatan’s once summer vacation began. We would pick out different crafts and art supplies to keep us occupied and it has been our go to destination for those needs for over two decades.

Sadly, the store is being bought out by the bigger chain, Michael’s, and will be closing on September 30th. This is a major disappointment, because PatCatan’s is so well loved by everyone in my community. But, a huge haul because of the massive sale that they were having helped soften the blow. Take a look:

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I love nothing more than a good sale and everything that I purchased above was at least sixty percent off, making for maximum savings. I was able to get some early birthday presents for my bestie for a fraction of what I would have paid at Target. I just know that she will love her new throw blanket and the metallic pink mason jar filled with a bouquet of fresh flowers!

And, of course, lots of treats for myself were purchased, too. I indulged in a few things that I have always wanted, like the mermaid tail blanket and the wooden body model, which I will be displaying on my desk. The yellow parasol was also a must, too, as I am obsessed with my black one and have been using it often this summer.

I wasn’t expecting to find such cute accessories at a craft store and couldn’t say no to the hair clips, which I got for a dollar each and the blanket scarf for a whole five bucks! I am madly in love with the lip barrettes, which are so perfect and unique. I have worn them a few times already and the compliments have been pouring in. Such a fun new staple bought with pocket change!

I am so happy with all of my purchases above and I’d be a liar if I said that I didn’t want to hit up PatCatan’s again soon for some more shopping. I am hoping to get a head start on holiday gifts if I make another trip there, so we’ll see what happens!

Who else has had a good shopping haul lately? Where is your favorite place to shop for craft supplies? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Galaxy Wine Glass Craft

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Galaxy Wine Glass Craft

Howdy! I end up at one of the many local libraries with my clients several times per month, because there are always fun activities being held that are completely free to the public. From crafts and record clubs to murder mystery games and movie nights, there is a program suited for everyone’s interests. This past week, I took one of my clients to a craft activity at the library where we painted our own galaxy themed wine glasses. Here are the results for mine:

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Needless to say, ours definitely didn’t turn out like the amazing examples seen above. But, it was sure fun, nonetheless. The library provided everything for this event and all I had to do was register myself and my client and show up. The librarian purchased the wine glasses from the Dollar Tree and the acrylic paints and brushes from Michael’s for a budget friendly craft.

The glasses were pre-painted by the librarian so that we were just able to decorate and she said that there were three coats of black paint on the glass. We then used outer space inspired colors like blues, purples, and reds to create our own little galaxy. The glasses can be baked in the oven to preserve the paint if you intend on drinking out of it. But, do remember to put the glass in the oven as soon as you turn it on so it gradually gets used to the heat and doesn’t shatter!

I plan on using my glass strictly for decor. It’s not perfect, by any means. But, my client and I had a blast making them and it was a craft that can easily be replicated at home if anyone is interested in giving it a try. 🙂

How do you get crafty? What kind of programs are held at your local library? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Four Fantastic Reasons To Take Up Crafting

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Four Fantastic Reasons To Take Up Crafting

If you’re in the market for a relaxing activity that promises endless hours of fun and satisfaction, you should definitely consider crafting. Why? If the four reasons below don’t convince you, trying your hand at something crafty certainly will. Next time you’ve got some time on your hands, do yourself a favor and give crafting a try:

Curiosity:

One thing that defines all crafty folk is curiosity. You get a kick out of working out how to go about creating something out of its component parts, and it’s not just the intellectual knowledge you hunger for, but the experience. If you’re naturally curious, crafting offers endless opportunities to discover new processes, get your head around intricate designs, and get to grips with different materials. Whether you’re into embroidery or woodwork, once you get started, you’ll discover an endless world of complexity to uncover for yourself.

Be a Gifting Goddess:

Everyone has that friend who reliably produces the most jaw-dropping gifts, which they then reveal were made by hand! With a little crafting expertise, you can be a gifting goddess too. No matter what area of crafting you’re into, chances are you’ll be able to whip up a gift for someone special. If you’re into knitting, woolen gifts always go down as a treat (even the once cringe-worthy Christmas jumper is having a revival these days!). Or, if you’re a baker or cook, why not gift a batch of homemade cookies or a tasty jar of preserves? If you’re new to your craft and are not quite up for full-on gift production, consider other crafty ways to personalize your shop-bought gifts. You could make your own cards, or invest in a punch board and create your own personalized gift bags.

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Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Crafters Are Forever Young:

Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Research has consistently demonstrated that taking up new habits can have a positive impact on the sharpness and adaptability of your mind. Learning new things creates brand-new neural pathways, which work against the natural deterioration of the brain that comes with age. While it doesn’t matter what new things you do, crafts are a great choice because you’re unlikely to get bored with an endless array of new techniques and skills waiting to be mastered.

New Communities:

While crafting can be a rewarding solitary activity, crafters should be aware of the danger of becoming reclusive. If you’re looking for ways to get out there more, getting into a new craft will open up new worlds for you, socially. Learning from others is the best excuse to meet people, and a quick glance online will give you a sense of the local crafting communities available. Even if there are no craft events coming up, you’ll find a thriving online community sharing tips and inspiration, so there’s no need to feel alone. Crafters can be a shy tribe but remember: there are no strangers out there… only friends you haven’t met yet.

Whatever your reasons for taking up crafting, don’t forget the most important benefit of all: crafting simply makes you feel good! Who cares how good your results are. What matters is that you’re enjoying yourself. 🙂

Featured Image By: Jasmin Schreiber on Unsplash