First Major Craft Fair Tomorrow!

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My cat wanted to help me load my boxes.

My cat wanted to help me load my boxes.

I am so very excited I can hardly contain myself. I have my first major craft fair tomorrow. Now it’s not technically a craft fair – it’s a fundraiser that has vendors, but that somehow makes it more fun. I’ve done a few table things at church, but this is different – this is me with my full booth: EZ up, tables, driving, setting everything up, being completely responsible for everything including the look, feel, questions, purchases, etc. It’s super fun, and a little bit terrifying.

I’ve been slowly collecting things (props, table clothes, etc) with prior events, so there wasn’t a huge out of pocket expense this time, but there is still a lot to get. I found a small Christmas tree to display my ornaments, I found a great display thing for earrings, and I’ve got a bunch of frame with photos of my items blown up a bit bigger to hopefully attract some people to my booth.

After spending all of today setting my booth up again, making price displays and finishing up some items that needed to be assembled, I am ready to go. I am very excited and now – exhausted. Can’t wait to update you with photos of the day and of my booth! 🙂

Gluten and Hair

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So I came to a realization this week. Every time I shower, my head itches like crazy. Since I wash my hair every other day, the itching seems to mellow out the second shower. I *just* realized that the shampoo I have been using most of my life might be causing my head to itch.

To be clear, my head has never itched before – this is a totally new thing which has gotten more noticeable in the last few weeks. After my last shower and sitting down to itch my head, I remembered something my husband mentioned months ago – about how gluten can be found in some shampoos. I had dismissed him at the time, thinking I didn’t really NEED to cut out gluten from my diet (I was never diagnosed), so why would something like shampoo be an issue with me?

Turns out it is. Apparently. Anyway, I did some research and found out that Pantine Pro-V, which I use, is fine for some with gluten, and causes reactions with others (like me). Other shampoos can do the same. I tried my husband’s Herbal Essences, and that gave me the head itch too, so it’s looks like I need to head to Trader Joes for some organic fragrance free shampoo. Who knew I needed to go Gluten-Free with my shampoo?!

Here’s a website I found incredibly helpful when reading about shampoo and gluten: http://www.infobarrel.com/Do_I_Need_Gluten-Free_Shampoo

How to Make a Pressed Penny Bracelet

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When I was little, I collected pressed pennies from those machines at amusement parks, but there was nothing I could ever do with them. When I started stamping pennies, the next logical step was incorporating the pressed pennies of course!

There are so many cool things about pressed pennies: they are cheap souvenirs, they remind you of the place you visited, and you can craft with them without any special tools. I’ve seen a few tutorials on how to make a pressed penny bracelet using drills or using a hammer to try to punch a hole in the penny, but there is a really easy way – a metal hole punch! The other things you’ll need to make a charm bracelet are a bracelet (or material to make one), a bunch of jump rings or split rings, and a pair of pliers. Oh, and pressed pennies. Here are your tools:

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You may be able to find the hole punch pliers at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, but online is a great place to look. Split rings you can find at a craft store (or Walmart sells great copper colored ones!). Bracelets are difficult to find unless you can make your own. You may be able to find some good chain at a craft store, but finding a pre-made bracelet may be a bit difficult.

A quick clarification: jump rings are rings that look like the letter O. They have one circle of metal. Split rings are also shaped like an O, but have 2 layers of metal – they look like mini keychains.  I prefer split rings in all my crafts because then my pendants/charms don’t fall off my bracelet/necklace. You can also solve that problem by soldering your jump rings, but that’s a lot of work and time.

 

After gathering your materials, decide where you want to punch the holes in the pennies. Sometimes the hole punch will leave a mark on the pennies around the hole – if you want to avoid that, you can use a small (thin) cloth or towel between the metal and punch. I generally don’t since the cloth makes it difficult to see where you are punching.

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Once your pennies are punched, you’ll want to figure out the spacing on the bracelet. I like to estimate maybe 5-7 loops between each penny and lay the ring at those places to see how the bracelet would look. Then I adjust as necessary.

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Then I start on one end. Thread the split ring onto the bracelet loop, then add the penny. Use your pliers to wind the split ring all the way around. (You may also need to use the pliers to loosen the split rings, which can sometimes stick).

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Repeat the process until you’ve finished with your bracelet!

Punch pliers make this whole thing really easy. They are perfect for punching through pressed pennies (though they won’t punch regular pennies). Once you get the basics down, you can make earrings, necklaces, and all sorts of other fun things with pressed pennies! A bracelet is only the beginning!

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P.S. I sell the pliers in my store if you are interested. I buy them in bulk so I get a bit of a discount. But the real reason you’d want to get one from my store is because I include the bracelet and the split rings, which makes the whole thing REALLY EASY. But in all honesty, making a charm bracelet is a piece of cake, provided you have the right tools. You can also pick up just the pliers from any etsy seller if you’re looking for just those without the added rings and bracelet.

Stain

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The other day I decided to clean up my desk(!) – it really needed it. I clean up my desk fairly often, but I manage to make it messy rather quickly. I start at the left and move to the right. Over on the right side is where I toss things that I have stamped for fairs or inventory (i.e. not for orders) and are in various stages of production – some stamped, some stained and polished, some fully assembled.

outsideAnyway, I was almost finished cleaning my desk when I found a beautiful guitar pick I had stamped that looked a bit odd along the edge. It was fully stained and polished, but something had happened along the edge, and I wasn’t sure if I could use it – I needed a closer look. I reached for it, but it held firm to the desk: rather odd. I dug my fingernail under the side and pried the pick up off the desk. The pick made a jingling sound as it detached from the wood and flipped over, landing on the back side. While the front had once been polished and beautiful, the back was black and even a bit corroded. I shook my head, surprised. Reaching to pick up the pick, pieces of it flaked off in my hand. I looked at the desk where the pick had been and realized some of my stain solution had spilled – not much, but enough to cover the bottom of my brass pick and completely destroy it. I looked at the pick, took a few photos (for this post) and threw it away.

backAfter thinking about it awhile, I realized how interesting this post could really be. I was just going to show you the pictures to show you how powerful my stain is, but then I realized how I feel just like that pick sometimes. I feel perfect and polished on the outside, but on the other side, I am falling apart, corroded, and stained. I am eaten away by the problems in my life, and it’s not until I talk about those that they can be dealt with and overcome (often with prayer). When the problems go on too long, they become bigger and bigger until the stain completely takes over – even eating its way through to the beautiful exterior I try so hard to keep in place, and the metal is lost. Originally a smooth piece of metal, later imprinted with letters, shapes and marks (experiences), the stain can define the piece, taking it over and consuming it, or the stain can be polished away, left only in the dents – just traces, but never consuming the beautiful metal that I started with.