We all scream for ice cream!

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Thought I’d share some tips for making the ice cream cone card that’s been pretty popular … more like some what-NOT-to-dos.

What you’ll need is spackle – a compound used to fill cracks in plaster and produce a smooth surface. In the crafting world Whipped Spackle (by Faber-Castell), modeling paste, or Marvy Uchida’s Snow Marker also does the same thing. BUT a huge bucket of spackle can be found in any hardware store for less than $15 or in your favorite handy(wo)man’s garage. A little goes a long way!

I had scooped out some spackle from my dad’s stash years ago, so it was a little dry (can tell by hardness and it flakes vs smooth cream-like texture). It’s a quick fix by adding water to the dried spackle, it starts softening up. I’ve seen other crafters color their spackle (or other craft brand) by mixing in powder pigments. Since I had to soften what I had with water anyways, I decided to mix in watercolor at the same time.

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Note, since spackle is white, any color you mix will be a lighter/baby-color version. I was going for bolder colors, so I actually cut out a bit of my Peerless watercolor sheet and mixed it right in with the spackle (red arrow). It looked fantastic at first, but as it dried, the colors started to blend with each other and the shape of the ice-cream seemed to deflate.

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I had a Eureka moment … since I was mixing in water and watercolor, wouldn’t it be easier to just paint the spackle post application? Duh! It was tons easier, a lot less messy, and I could shade the ice-cream scoop as I would normally do when watercoloring.

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So the steps are:

  • Add water (if spackle has dried) to get spackle to thick whipped cream consistency
  • Use toothpick to shape spackle into ice cream scoops directly on project.
  • Allow to dry for a few hours.
  • Use watercolor to paint spackle as desired.
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You can also use spackle for other 3D effects like whipped cream on a fancy drink.

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Have fun!

 

 


Color Block Crochet Basket Pattern

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I had a sweet Craigslist find a few weeks ago that included a few JUMBO Bernat Blanket Yarns. With a lack of storage space, a quick Google of patterns lead me to Yarninspirations for a stash basket pattern. Perfect! Something on my bucket list to make and I had everything I needed.

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BUT, not so fast, as I had major gauge issues. I’m a tight knitter/crocheter and immediately ran into problems of the bottom the basket forming a bowl (left picture) rather then laying flat (corrected in middle and right pictures). I tried a larger hook (still got a bowl) and then loser stitches (ended up with floppy piece that wouldn’t hold it’s shape … maybe the reason for the poor Yarnspirations reviews?). After several iterations, I’ve reworked the pattern and here it is, free for you to try!

Size:
Approx 13” diameter x 11″ high

Materials:
1.5 balls of Bernat Blanket Yarn (10.5 oz) … more if you want basket with higher sides
Size L (8.0mm) hook

Instructions:

Bottom of Basket

Ch2
1st rnd: 7 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Join with sl st in first sc.
 – use Magic Loop method to seal hole.
2nd rnd: Ch 1. 2 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st in first sc. 14 sc.

3rd rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in next sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 21 sc.

4th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 2 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 28 sc.
5th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 3 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 35 sc.
6th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 4 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 42 sc.

7th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 5 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 49 sc.

8th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 6 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 56 sc.

9th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 7 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 63 sc.

10th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 8 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 70 sc.
11th rnd: Ch1. *1 sc in each of next 9 sc. 2sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 77 sc.
12th rnd: Ch1. *1 sc in each of next 10 sc. 2sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 84 sc.
13th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 11 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 91 sc.
14th rnd: Ch 1. *1 sc in each of next 12sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 98 sc.
15th rnd: Ch 1. *1sc in each of next 13 sc. 2 sc in next sc. Rep from * around. Join with sl st in first sc. 105 sc.

Unlike the original pattern, I spaced out the increases, so the bottom of the basket was closer to a perfect circle rather than a heptagon (7-point circle).

Transition to side of basket

Ch1. Working into back loops of each stitch, 1 sc in each sc around. 104 sc.

Basket will naturally fold up as pictured below.

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Side of Basket

Here, I used the amigurumi method of crocheting up in a spiral for a more natural transition in each round vs the join with sl st, then ch1 method. Use scrap yarn to mark rounds as the spiral method is so smooth, you won’t be able to tell where the start of your round is!

1st rnd: Working into both loops, 1 sc in each sc around. 104 sc.
2nd to 15th rnd: Repeat for 14 more rounds
16th to 22nd : Change color (if desired) and repeat for another 7 rounds.

Crochet_Basket_04

There’s definitely flexibility here if you want a taller or shorter basket, adjust to the number of round desired or where you want the color change (I went with the photography Rule of Thirds!). Each round gets you about 3/4″ or 1cm higher.

Handles:

1st rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each of next 22 sc. Ch7. Skip next 7sc. 1sc in each of next 45 sc. Ch 7. Skip next 7sc. 1sc in each of next 23 sc.
2nd rnd: Ch1. 1sc in each of next 22 sc. 11 sc in next ch-6 sp. 1sc in each of next 45 sc. 11 sc in next ch-6 sp. 1 sc in each of next 23 sc.
3rd rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc. 112 sc. Fasten off, weave in ends and Voila!

Crochet_Basket_05

The reviews on Yarninspirations state the basket won’t hold it’s shape unless it’s filled, but as pictured, I didn’t have issues with it standing up using the pattern posted here.

Happy tote/basket-making!


My First Day-off

I’ve been spending nearly all my vacation days working on all things related to Tinker Craft Studio, including this website (much thanks to YellowTang for helping a lay-person to build her own website). Still, I couldn’t keep up with the small orders I had to fill, sourcing materials and the website was not progressing as quickly as I liked.

I approached my bosses about the possibility of switching to 80% full time and setting a full day aside to really pursue my dream of handmade goods. Thankfully, they were super supportive and didn’t make me take my dream elsewhere!

I worked my last full week and yesterday was my “day-off” and here’s a couple of thoughts:

  • First thing: To change out of pjs or not? Since I’ll mostly be working from home, I had a mental debate about spending time to be presentable or not. I opted for the latter of course.
  • To answer emails or not. I quickly realized that since I wasn’t taking a full week off, but just a day off people were still emailing me. I couldn’t help but answer some of the more urgent emails, but it’s going to take a new kind of discipline to shut out my science research related work.
  • My craft space has not been cleaned/organized in months as I quickly move from one project to the next in the evenings. I was immediately distracted by cleaning-up which included making this sand globe (what would you call this?) that has been taking up space on my desk for nearly 2 years. There went 2 hours, but I have a new decorative piece … and more importantly desk space!
    IMG_4737_cropped

    Sand Globe is what I’m calling this

  • nine-to-five it is not. It was nice to have uninterrupted time to work and create and I am so blessed to have this space to myself, but it’s also easy to keep working and working. Definitely some new habits and discipline I will have to learn to inhabit.

For those who work from home, do you have any advice or tips to share?


My favorite (must-have) tools

Mainly for paper-crafting (though they’ve come in handy for other projects), these are my go-to tools. There’s definitely substitutes that can be made, but I’ve found these essential, basic tools are pretty necessary and versatile. Plus none of them were crazily priced either.

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Following the picture above from left to right:

  • X-Acto Knife.
  • Previously, I owned dollar store X-Acto-like knives, but they were constantly coming lose or chipping. Finally, invested (really, just $5) in the brand name and am super happy with it’s quality. I have a size 11 blade on this one. The super sharp tip on this one is really handy. The very tip of the blade has since chipped and probably needs to be replaced, but the rest of the blade is still cutting strong after 3 years of frequent use.
  • Surgical scissors
  • Leftover from a lab that was shutting down, I decided to disinfect and take this pair home. One of the best tools I own as it cuts so cleanly and gets in small spaces.
  • Needle Quilling Tool
  • Originally bought this for quilling, but the sharp tip has been handy for picking up small details, making holes, curling die-cuts (like flowers), and unclogging small glue openings.
  • Bent Forceps
  • Another surgical tool, but this one from the flea market, is great for picking up and placing those tiny pieces (like beads for eyes!). Many craft brands sell their own versions and I’ve only played with another more bulky one who’s claim was it’s more ergonomic. That may be valid, but I find I only use it for a moment at a time. Note, mines have “teeth” for better gripping, but if you squeeze too tight, it sometimes leaves teeth marks on your work.
  • Pentel Aquash Brush
  • The most “expensive” item on the list coming in at under $10! The handle part of this brush is a barrel that can be filled with water (or other concoctions you come up with) and squeezes out through the brush. Currently, three different brush sizes available and brush is very durable. Great if you want to paint on the go.
  • Brush
  • Any old, cheap brush. I heat-emboss and use fine glitter on a lot of my cards, and the best tool to gather all those static-cy, that’s-not-where-you-belong, annoying pieces is to brush them off or back into their container.
  • Clear Ruler
  • Key word = clear. Great for seeing what you’re measuring off. This was a freebie from a lab product show (Sarstedt) and I love how super thin and flat it lays on your work. If you know anyone who works in a lab, it’s worth exchanging a drink for it!

Is there other must-have’s that’s on your list? Please share below!


What’s this all about?

IMG_1625_cropped A little about this page and me.
  • I love crafting and have been doing all types of crafts since I was little. I constantly see things and think to myself “I can make that!” (it may take a few grey hairs later though).
  • Only recently, have I made this a little more than a personal hobby and will use this place to blog about some tricks and shortcuts I’ve learned over the years. Especially tricks I’ve picked up from my day job as a lab researcher in childhood diseases … Art/Craft experiments are completely valid too!
  • Crafting can be very wasteful and expensive, especially with new trends/styles that come and go, so these posts will be mostly about creating with what you already have or using cool home substitutes.