Tag Archives: crafts

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

Fourth Watercolor Project

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Fourth Watercolor Project

Hello! I have a vast repertoire of hobbies and enjoy reading, ice skating, writing, swimming, and, of course, shopping in my free time. Watercolor painting is a recent hobby that I’ve added to this list and I have been loving it and trying my hand at different projects as often as I can. This past weekend, I made this little painting for my nieces while Johnny took a nap lol check it out:

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My sister and brother-in-law have their daughter, Valerie, and will have another little girl very soon. We are SO excited and I wanted to make something adorable for their bed or playroom. They most certainly are cute as a button so inspiration for my most recent project was really easy to come by!

Val’s favorite colors are purple and pink so I obviously had to incorporate that and I think she will be super happy about the palette I chose. She’s also not old enough to know good art, either, so that’s another win lol. Good art or not, it was fun to make and I like how it turned out so that’s all that matters. 😀

Every time I paint something, I come up with ideas for another project that I would like to do. Without the watercolor class that I took, I would have never thought that it would be an activity that I would enjoy. However, here we are now on my fourth project and I am eager to continue creating more and more. I have some sketches ready to paint when I can and I also plan on making a rainbow painting for my nieces. I can’t wait to show all of you!

Have you started a new hobby recently? What do you like to do in your free time? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Tune in tomorrow for bloopers from my Country Concert OOTD!

Namesake Watercolor Project

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Namesake Watercolor Project

Hello! I enjoyed the watercolor painting class that I took so much that I just had to buy some supplies to paint during my free time at home. Although my leisure time is scarce during the week, I have managed to do two projects that I am really proud of. I created a likeness of myself and Johnny and also painted a dedication to my namesake this past week:

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The Lil Red nickname originally stemmed from a coworker when I worked retail thanks to my signature red hair and lipstick. At the cash register, he would ask if Lil Red helped the customer out and they always knew who he was talking about! I have had this project in mind to feature my blog’s tagline and a red lippie tube since the class I took and I love how it turned out. 😀

Because of the constantly changing color of my hair, it has been a while since I was able to wear a pure red lipstick. I miss it terribly but I still think that it is the epitome of chic. A bold red lip screams confidence, even if you aren’t really feeling yourself that day. A quick swipe of red lipstick can completely change a simple jeans and T outfit or enhance a date night look. This never fails to amaze me and is a true testament to the power of makeup.

It sounds silly but I honestly feel like my red lipstick helped shape me into the person that I am today. It gave me a confidence boost when I had none as well as inspiration when I created my blog. During my next tap out tattoo session, I plan on getting a red lipstick tube somewhere on my arm. For now, however, a painting will just have to do. I wonder what I’ll come up with to paint next!

What do you consider a signature part of your style? What is your favorite lipstick shade? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Michael’s Haul

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Michael’s Haul

Hello! My mom, sister, and I recently took a really fun watercolor painting class taught by the fabulous Ana-Joel of Falcon Grove Studio. We had the best time and our teacher’s kind words, wisdom, and talent inspired both my mom and I to give watercolor painting a try in our free time. I was so proud of my mom when she sent me pictures of what she had painted already!

This past weekend, Johnny and I did some errands and went to Michael’s so I could get some painting supplies. He also picked up a few things to trick out his banjo with and it’s looking really good!

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While I haven’t painted anything yet, I definitely plan on it this week and already have lots of ideas brewing in my head. Of course, it probably won’t look as good as I am picturing it but practice makes perfect and I’m excited! Prior to taking the painting class, I had never done anything like it before and I know that it will feel good to express myself through a different medium because you all know that I am a word girl at heart.

Ana-Joel was an amazing teacher and I think that it speaks volumes that she motivated at least two of her students to continue painting in their own time. She was so encouraging and it was really moving to see how she celebrated our efforts because it should be celebrated! Ana-Joel said that all art is special because it’s our bodies dancing and creating something new. I loved that and it made me feel inspired to try something new rather than stressed out about not being the best at it.

Every day when Johnny gets home from work, he has taken to building small metal models and I plan on joining him and painting. It’s going to be fun to be able to create things together because he is so musically inclined and I… am not lol. I can’t wait to show all of you what I come up with!

What kind of art do you like to make? What is your favorite medium to work with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Watercolor Painting Class

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Watercolor Painting Class

Hello!! This past Saturday I took a really fun watercolor painting class at the Quirk Cultural Center with my mom and sister. The class was led by the wonderful Ana-Joel of Falcon Grove Studio and she taught us how to paint different herbs inspired by an English country garden. To begin, Ana showed us the different techniques to paint rosemary, sage, mint, and basil and then we got to create our own masterpieces:

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My mom, sister, and I would definitely not fall under the category of artistically skilled and have never painted with watercolor before. However, we all jumped at the opportunity to take this class because it was local and seemed like something we could enjoy together. I am so glad that we did and left the class with work that we were proud of and an eagerness to take more classes with Ana again.

Ana is an amazing local artist who founded Falcon Grove Studio during the pandemic to help promote a feeling of safety and wellness at home through art. She is so gifted, kind, and genuine and we all felt lucky to have her as our teacher. Her words inspired each of the students in the class and I loved how she told us that art is special because it’s the way your own body moves to create something. As someone who isn’t good at art, it was so encouraging to hear that you are still making something meaningful.

As I said, I had never painted watercolor before and I had a blast. It was such a unique experience and I was blown away by this whole world that I knew existed but never tried for myself. Ana taught us how to mix colors and use the water to enhance our art and it was so cool to see colors transform from something as simple as adding a touch of yellow or red and a “juicy brush” loaded with water.

For my project, I chose to paint basil and sage and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. Are they museum level works of art? No way lol. BUT, I thought that it was a pretty damn good first try. Not only did I feel proud of what I painted but I also felt excited to try painting more and I think that definitely qualifies as a GREAT SUCCESS (Borat voice).

Ana offers a variety of different courses in person and online and I simply cannot wait to work with her again. I also have ideas swirling in my head for some commissioned pieces by her! Please check out her social media and Etsy page at the following and support this fabulous local artist:

What is your favorite medium of art? Have you ever taken any art classes before? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Tips For Boosting Your Creative Confidence

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Tips For Boosting Your Creative Confidence

Do you often feel like you’re not good enough? Do you feel like your work is never good enough? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with feelings of self doubt and insecurity when it comes to their creative work. However, there are things that you can do to boost your confidence and improve your creative output. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for boosting your creative confidence:

Believe In Yourself:

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that you are the only one who can control your self belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Remember that you can do great things and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Think about how you’ve come this far and all of the things you’ve achieved.

Believing in yourself is the first and most important step to taking control of your creative confidence. You are the only one who can make yourself believe that you are good enough and that your work is worth putting out there. So, start by convincing yourself that you can do it!

Be prepared:

One of the best ways to boost your confidence is to be prepared. It will show in your work if you know what you’re doing and you’re confident in your abilities. Make sure that you take the time to research and plan before you start working on a project. This way, you’ll have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and you’ll be less likely to second guess yourself.

Take Risks:

To grow and improve, you need to be willing to take risks. You’ll never progress if you’re too afraid to try new things or step outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes, the best way to learn is by trial and error. The risks that work will create a significant confidence boost that you can carry into future projects. Experimentation will help you learn and expand your creative intuition. A good example of this is Michael Treco, who does various art exhibits following his intuition.

Maintain A High Level Of Output:

You can’t be confident in your work if you’re not producing any! One of the best ways to boost your creative confidence is to maintain a high output level. Make sure that you’re regularly creating new work and don’t be afraid to share it with the world. The more you create, the more confident you’ll become in your abilities.

Confidence in your own creative ability takes time to nurture and that’s okay. Use the tips above to help jump start the process so you can be your best creative self.

Featured Image By: Pexels

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

Turning Your Art Hobby Into A Side Hustle

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Turning Your Art Hobby Into A Side Hustle

So you’re looking for a side hustle, and you love art. Or, perhaps, you need to find ways to inject more creativity into your life while also bringing in some money. If either of those statements rings true, then maybe an arts and crafts side hustle could give you the creative outlet you’re looking for while also helping you create a financial plan for the future. Here are five ways that you can turn your passion into a cash cow side hustle:

Create And Sell Digital Art:

This is one of the most straightforward arts and crafts side hustles to start. You don’t need to buy any fancy equipment to create digital art, and you can sell it online to clients from anywhere in the world. In fact, there are tons of digital art marketplaces out there, including Etsy, Zazzle, and Society6. You can also take your digital art a step further by creating video tutorials that show your clients how they can use their new products. This not only allows you to get some extra content out there but also gives your clients added value.

Turn Your Art Into Home Decor:

If you create more traditional art, you can still sell it to customers as home decor. Frame Your Art allows you to list your art pieces for sale online and each frame comes with a free print of your art. You can also partner with local shops that sell home decor to display your framed art in their stores or sell your art on Amazon through the Merch by Amazon program. The catch is that you’ll have to print it yourself (or outsource it to a company), box it, and ship it out to customers. But if you have the time, this is a great way to instantly create passive income from your art.

If you make art yourself, stock up on supplies from King’s printmaking supplies and get to creating. It’s an easy way to turn your hobby into a side hustle.

Start An Etsy Store:

Art is a great way to keep yourself busy. It can also make you money and Etsy has become a go-to marketplace for handmade goods. There are plenty of ways for artists to sell their artwork and crafts to the public. However, if you want to start an Etsy store as a side hustle, make sure that you’re abiding by the company’s guidelines.

If you’re a creative person, chances are you have plenty of ideas for new products to sell. You can either create your own designs or source items from other designers. No matter what, you’ll need to make sure that your product is high quality. People tend to be very selective when purchasing handmade items. Take the time to do things right so you don’t have to worry about returns or poor reviews on your page.

Create Handmade Jewelry:

If you love to make jewelry but don’t want to sell your creations online, you can still make money with them as a side hustle. You can turn your jewelry-making hobby into a profit-making business by hosting small craft fairs in your neighborhood. Just make sure that you have permission to sell goods on public property.

In addition to craft fairs, you can also sell your goods online through marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and ArtFire. Keep in mind that this side hustle is more than just creating jewelry. You’ll need to set up your booth or display, attend events, and promote your business. You can also sell your jewelry at local shops. This allows you to get more visibility for your products, and you may even be able to negotiate a percentage of the sales.

Open A Print Shop:

Are you a Photoshop pro? If so, you can use your skills to create all sorts of designs for clients. Many companies outsource their printing to individuals who have the necessary software and knowledge to create the perfect design. You can find these jobs on sites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour.

There are also online print shops that allow you to design customizable products such as T-shirts, posters, tote bags, and more. First, you’ll need to create a shop through the website and upload your designs. You usually have the option to use a template or you can upload your own designs. Once you have the shop up and running, all you have to do is wait for customers to order your products.

If you have a passion for arts and crafts and are looking for some extra cash, a side hustle will be just right for you. How cool will it be to see other people enjoying your one of a kind pieces?!

Featured Image By: Jess Bailey Designs via Pexels

Warm Up With These Indoor Winter Activities

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Warm Up With These Indoor Winter Activities

Hello! I love the way the snow makes everything look like a holiday greeting card… and that’s about it lol. Driving in it is for the birds and as someone who is constantly cold, I can do without the extra dose of brrrrrr. So, needless to say, I like to enjoy my winter activities from the great indoors! If you feel similarly, try out these ideas all from the comfort of being wrapped in your favorite blanket:

Present Wrapping Party:

I absolutely LOVE shopping for holiday gifts but wrapping them? Not so much! Of course, it is a necessary evil and making it more fun can make it, dare I say, pleasant? Invite your friends over for a present wrapping marathon complete with hot cocoa and holiday movies. You can even have a gift swap at the end as a little reward for a job well done.

All Aboard:

In my neck of the woods, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers all kinds of fun winter activities and you can peep the falling snow without being stuck in it! For the little ones, they offer the Polar Express and for adults, there tends to be a beer or wine tasting event as you ride the train. If there is something similar in your area, it could be a fun way to shake things up for a unique winter memory.

Craft Competitions:

There are so many winter baubles and trinkets that you can craft and you can up the ante by turning it into a competition. How about a gingerbread house bake off? Creating your own candles with festive scents? Or decorating ornaments for your tree or mantel? The prize could simply be bragging rights or a small gift to commemorate their victory.

Santa Hat Movie Viewing:

If you’re looking for a boozy time with friends or drinking a lot of hot chocolate, then have I got a game for you! Whether it’s a holiday movie or not, put a Santa hat on the corner of the TV and when any character ends up “wearing” it, take a drink. I promise that it will make the Hallmark movie marathon way more bearable! 😀

Winter Game Night:

Game nights are always fun and, this time, you can put a holiday twist on it. Try charades with famous holiday movie scenes to act out. Or, go around in a circle and each person will have to say the next word of a Christmas carol. Pin the ornaments on the tree? A holiday edition of Never Have I Ever? You could even make a photo booth set up for goofy holiday pictures… The possibilities are endless! Don’t forget a hot chocolate bar or trail mix station for your guests!

Don’t let it snow on your parade with the ideas above and stay comfy cozy all while achieving the ultimate holiday spirit! 😀

PS: Spread the joy by putting a “buy in” to each event you host by having your guests bring a canned good to donate to a local shelter. ❤

What is your favorite winter activity? What puts you in the holiday spirit? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah