Wednesday, February 25

Custom Photo Necklaces Are Here!

I have always had a weakness for photo jewelry, such as lockets, for which to keep a loved one close to your heart (and of course, show them off!). I was particularly awed by the beautiful designs of Planet Jill; simple, small-scale, classic designs. But with prices starting at $70, I determined to find a way to make my own...

I wanted to make a quality piece without the heavy price tag. And happily, resin was suited perfectly!

The photo can be embedded inside the resin making it durable and waterproof. Using a mold eliminates the need for a pricey sterling frame, and I also rather like the simple look of the sparkling, clear resin.

I still love sterling, so the pendants hang from Sterling Silver Italian box chains (my favorite).

Custom necklaces are just $30, with a variety of styles and photo options available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 18

Good Night Waffles

Ok, so almost every time you order a Belgian waffle from a restaurant, what do you get? A pancake - in the shape of a waffle. But really, pancake batter and waffle batter should not be the same thing - (i.e. dumped out of the Krusteaz box).

So here are the BEST waffles ever.

Made with yeast, they are airy and soft on the inside while crisp on the outside, sort of like a doughnut...need I say more?

They are called "Good Night Waffles" because you make the batter the night before, and let it rise. It's very easy; it's just takes some forethought.

Here's the recipe: Makes 6 waffles

1/2 cup lukewarm (105 degree F) water
1 Tbl granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 yeast packet)
2 cups whole milk, warmed (about 105 degrees)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda

The night before, or at least 8 hours before baking, combine the warm water, granulated sugar and yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, until foamy. Stir in warm milk, melted butter and salt. Beat in the flour until smooth; (you can use a hand or stand mixer on low speed).

Wrap bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight (or for 8 hours) on counter top - do not refrigerate. (Note: make sure you use a large enough bowl - or the batter may end up all over your counter when it rises. I mix everything in my Kitchen Aid mixer and that works great.)

In the morning:
Preheat your waffle maker. While the waffle maker is heating, stir in eggs, vanilla extract and baking soda into the batter. Pour into waffle grids. (I use my cup measure and pour about 1/2 - 2/3 cups batter). Cook until golden brown. If your waffle maker does not have a timer, (mine doesn't) then watch the steam - the waffle should be done when the steam has stopped or has almost stopped coming out. Just take a peek to see how done it is.

Waffles can be kept warm in a slow (200 degree) oven. I just lay them directly on the rack to keep them crispy while the rest are cooking.

Serve with toppings of your choice!

And, really great: leftover batter can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just stir the batter in the morning, and have freshly baked waffles - again! (I double the recipe, so I can have enough batter to do this the next day, or next couple of days).

This recipe came with my aunt's Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker. It's the fancy kind that you flip halfway through baking. I just use our plain jane cheapo one, and it works just fine.

Let me know how you like them!

Monday, February 16

FAM Anniversary! You can win 30 Items!!

You read that right! This must be the best contest ever, as you have the chance to win 30 unique handmade items! Wow - not 1 of 30 - but 30, all at the same time!

It's FAM's 1st year anniversary, and we're celebrating!

Would you like an invitation to the party? Consider yourself officially invited!

It has been one year since the birth of the Fabulous Artistic Moms of Etsy! To celebrate our 388 moms membership, we are having a Fabulous Anniversary Bash Giveaway! Over 40 Artists have donated prizes!! There will be 1 Grand prize winner who will receive over 30 handmade items from these Fabulous Artistic Moms and 10 Honorable Mentions who will each receive one prize! So, here is how to enter ...

Rules of the Game
1) Visit one or more of the shops below and look for the cupcake hidden (like the one above) or the text "FAM Birthday" in their listings.

2) Post a comment on the FAM blog with the listing URL (http://...) for the item where you found the cupcake, your name, and your e-mail address. Entry Posts will not be made public. (Make sure the URL is for a single listing and not the shop's main page.)

The game runs from February 15-21, 2009. A list of winners will be posted on the blog.

Would you like an extra entry?
1)Visit a different shop and find another cupcake! Post an additional comment on the FAM Blog with the listing URL (http://...) where you found the cupcake, your name, and your e-mail address. You may leave up to 5 entry comments for finding cupcakes!

2)For every item purchased from one of the shops listed below, from February 15-21, you will get an extra entry. Simply post an additional comment with the transaction URL link with your name and e-mail address.

Here's the necklace donated by Skinner Studio

Many shops are also offering special sales during this event. A list of sales will soon be posted on the FAM Blog.

I will be offering 20% off your order, and free shipping on orders over $30 after discount. Just enter FAMBASH in 'notes to seller' at checkout and wait for a revised invoice, or refund via PayPal. Offer good thru Feb 21st at midnight PST.

Prizes Donated for the Bash!!
Giggleberry Creations - Unisex fabric banner
Whimsical Creations - Cupcake Ornament & Birthday Hat Ornament
Annie Howes Keepsakes - DIY Scrabble Pendant kit w/tutorial
Apple Loves Orange - 5 photo gift tags in "Black"
Tender Heart Babies - FAM Princess Bank
Michon - freshwater pearl earrings
DoubleDippedSweets - Turtle Caramel Apple, your choice of nuts!
Handmade by Andrea Baker - The Oogly Friend - Snowflake
Crafts by Carer - Crochet Top Kitchen Towel
ChamberryCherryDesigns -personalized cosmetic makeup bag
BerryCreek Soaps - Monkey Farts Scented Aloe Vera Soapsicle
Crochet by Momma J - Sachet Pillow
Sweeet Pickles Pottery - Little Dish many uses
Elegant Snobbery - 8 x 8 Chocolate and Roses Cupcake Print
ImagineThat Art and
Imagine That Inc. - Original Design with Artisan Handmade Beads Necklace
Ravishing Jane - Plum Striped Earrings
GingerKittyDesigns -Pearl bead bracelet and earrings set
Skinner Studio - Red Cherry - Chiyogami and Resin Necklace
Alphabulous - Iron on patch, letter or number and bookmark of their choosing
LJ Design Photo - 5x5 photo and 4 gift cards of a cupcake
Macaroni and Glue - A Hint of Shimmer - Boxed Set of 10 Flat Notes
Oh Mandie - Sugar - Whimsy Earrings
New England Quilter - Pink Fabric Coiled Basket
TheTieDyeGirl and
TheSewingChic - $20 gift cards
Mock Frog Jewelry - bakelite necklace w/ black satin ribbon, ball chain
Valerie's Gallery - Blue and Green Felted Wool Bowl
KlymyshynDesign - Aqua Thread Earrings
Huggabears - butterfly and flower totebag
Haberheartwork - Glass pendant with ballchain necklace
Kims'c Custom Cards and Gifts - One free item from my store (excluding printing services), winner's choice
Sensationally Sweet - 1/2 pound chocolate assortment
TheBrassHussy - Brass Musical Swirls with Green Filigree Capped dangles - Earrings
Sweet Pickles Pottery - Fleur de Lis Wine Bottle Stopper PickleJuice - 3 Hand Hooked Wool Flowers-spring colors
Bear River Photo Greetings - Premade Photo Greeting card design
Tiny Storm - Pair of earrings in the Czech glass color of the winner's choice.
Memory Books and More - Card
Pumpkin Pea - A Pair of Flower Duo
Spare Time Crafts - First Aid Etui boxes
Momo's Bows - Hair Bow
Oli Bear - Pacaifier Clip
Nicole's Homemade Treats - Peppermint Chunks (1/2 lb.) & Rocky Road (1/2 lb.)
Original Cyn Studios - Small brown purse with blue strap
Keep Your Baby Close - Set of 2 Cloth Mama Pads

Look for the Cupcakes in these Participating Shops:
5littlemonkeys -
Annie Howes Keepsakes -
Apple Blossom Designs -
Apple Loves Orange -
Bear River Photo Greetings -
BrassHussy -
Cat's Cradle Creations -
Crochet by Momma J -
CuteAndSweet -
DoubleDippedSweets -
earth baby boutique -
Ellie's Creations -
Giggleberry Creations -
GingerKittyDesigns -
Haberheartwork -
Handmade by Andrea Baker -
Huggabears -
ImagineThatArt -
ImagineThatInc -
JensenBeachBeads -
Jennifer' s Craft Store -
Keep Your Baby Close -
Kim's Custom Gifts -
Klymyshyn Design -
LJDesignPhoto -
LJDesignCards -
Macaroni and Glue -
Michon -
MOCKFROGjewelry -
MoMo's Bows -
New England Quilter -
Nicole's Homemade Treats -
OhMandie -
OliBear -
Original Cyn Studios -
PaintPuddles -
PickleJuice -
Sensationally Sweet-
Skinner Studio -
Stonecafecreations -
TenderHeart Babies -
Teton Cocoa Company-
TinyStorm -
Tisa's Creations -

Friday, February 6

How to Make Resin Jewelry - Part Two

Part Two - Mixing and Coloring


You will need your EasyCast Clear Casting Epoxy Resin, which includes 1 bottle of Resin and 1 bottle of Hardener.

TIP: (It is best to use these products at room temperature. If they are too cold when mixed it can create a lot of air bubbles that you may not be able to remove, creating a cloudy look in your finished piece.)

Now, determine how much resin you will need. Many of the ready made jewelry molds only hold 1 – 2 oz. TOTAL of resin. So if you are just using one mold, and want to fill all the cavities, you will likely need 2 oz.

For my project, I wanted to make 5 oz. total. EasyCast resin has a 1:1 mix ratio, so I needed 2.5 oz of resin and 2.5 oz of hardener; to make a total of 5 oz. when mixed.

Take your plastic mixing cup and pour the RESIN to the desired line.

Next, pour in an equal amount of HARDENER.

You can see in the photo that when I poured the hardener, it went slightly over the 5 oz. line – that’s ok. If I’m going to go over on my measurements, I want to err on the side of adding more Hardener, which is why I always pour the hardener second. (Note: this is ok on a sort of larger batch as shown here. The smaller the batch of resin, the more accurate you need to be. If for example, you are mixing only an ounce or less or resin, a few drops too little or too much can make a big difference on how the resin cures. For the best results, try to be as accurate as possible.)

Now, with your wooden stir stick, start mixing. You will notice that the resin and hardener are slightly different colors. When you first start mixing, it will produce a swirly effect.

As you keep stirring, the mixture will become cloudy.

Keep stirring. As you do, scrape the sides of the cup with your stir stick to make sure you get all the resin combined. Keep stirring until the mixture has again become clear, about 2 minutes. It never hurts to stir a little more – you want the resin and hardener to be thoroughly combined to avoid softness or tackiness in your final product.

You will probably notice a lot of tiny air bubbles in your resin – it’s okay. Most of them will rise to the surface and pop as the resin sits and warms up a bit. You can avoid creating too many bubbles during stirring by stirring slowly, not whipping the mixture. You will also be able to remove bubbles with your heat tool.


Now it’s time to color!

Different forms of colorants include resin dyes and tints, artist pastels, mica, and pigment powders. For all of these types, add the minimum amount, one drop at a time, until you reach you desired color. Too much colorant could react with the resin, not allowing it to cure properly, producing a soft or sticky piece.

If you want to make several different colors, set out several 1 oz. mixing cups, and divide your resin mixture among them. Then, color away!

For liquid dyes and tints, just add one drop at a time, and build up slowly.

For powdered pigments, use a clean stir stick to gather just a tiny (1/2 pea size) amount at a time, gradually adding until you reach the color you want.

Yes, you can mix dyes and colorants, liquids and powders! They will produce lots of fun colors and effects.

This is white opaque liquid dye mixed with antique silver pigment powder.
Mix thoroughly to create an opaque or uniform look. Or, just lightly swirl the colors together to create a marbled effect.


Now you’re ready to pour. The shallow, flexible type molds do not require mold release, so all you have to do is pour it in. Slowly fill the mold cavities to the top or just below.

If you see any air bubbles, you can remove them by using the heat tool. Sweep it side to side about 2-3 inches above the mold, in a continuous motion. (Be careful not to stop too long in one spot, as it could melt your mold!)

Set your mold(s) in a safe place to cure overnight. They will be ready to remove in the morning. The longer you wait, however, the easier they will be to pop out from the mold.

This type of resin takes 24-72 hours to fully cure, depending on temperature and humidity.

Oh, and that big mess you made? You can just leave it overnight too – everything will be easier to pick up once it has cured and is no longer sticky.

I like to leave stir sticks in my mixing cups and use them as a sort of handle to pull the old resin out after it has dried. Voila!

To remove your finished resin pieces, gently flex and twist the mold. You will hear the pieces releasing. Turn the mold over and push on the back of the mold to pop the pieces out. If you have trouble, you can pop the mold in the freezer for a few minutes and try again.

Here are some of the cured pieces.

The next segment will discuss sanding, polishing, and drilling...

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to understand and informative. I have complied all my tutorials, refined them, added new information and pictures, and added 2 complete step-by-step project instructions in this 32-page digital booklet, "Getting Started With Resin Jewelry". For more information, click here.

Tuesday, February 3

How To Make Resin Jewelry - Supplies

Part One – Getting Started with Supplies

Resin is an amazing medium, affording near endless possibilities for created new designs. There does, however, seem to be a blatantly large void in the realms of Internet information on the subject. So I wanted to share some of what I have learned in a series of tutorials on the materials and techniques used in resin casting. I’ll start with the absolute basics…

This first installment is just about materials and supplies. What to use and where to get them.

1. Resin

I recommend starting with EasyCast clear casting epoxy resin. It is great for beginners because it has an easy 1:1 mix ratio. It cures slowly, which is good and bad. Bad because you have to wait a day or more for your piece to fully cure before you can pop it out of the mold. But good – very good, if you need time to fiddle around with colors or inclusions. You have at least a good half hour (depending on local temperature) before the resin starts to gel and thicken.

You can find EasyCast at most local craft stores, some hardware store, and of course online.

2. Plastic Mixing/Measuring Cups & Stir Sticks

You will need plastic cups with graduated lines for measuring. Don’t use wax coated paper cups, as the wax could flake off into your resin. The best part about plastic cups is that they are reusable without a big cleanup hassle. Just leave your mess of resin in the cup, let it cure, then peel the whole thing out.

You can also find wooden stir sticks, or craft sticks at your local craft store or supermarket (Popsicle sticks).

3. Ready made Molds

A variety of ready made jewelry molds are available online.

4. Wax Paper, Gloves, and Paper Towels

Resin is very gooey, sticky, and hard to clean up. You need to protect your work surface and yourself.

Disposable gloves will keep your hand sticky-free.

Waxed paper makes a great work surface – drips won’t soak through, and resin won’t stick to it, so you can just leave all your mess right there and clean it up later after it has dried and is no longer ooey-gooey.

Keep some paper towels on hand to quickly wipe up drips that land where you don’t want them.

5. Heat Tool

This is not necessary, but very useful in removing air bubbles in the resin. Not so critical if you are using glitter or something, but with clear resin the bubbles will show a lot more and you will want to get rid of them.

You can get an Embossing Heat Tool in the rubber stamp aisle of your craft store, or online.

What about a hair dryer? - You can use one, but you need to be very careful. A hair dryer blows more air than heat - if you get too close, it can blow the resin right out of your molds and completely ruin your project. If you really want to try this method, be slow and careful. Make sure your settings are on "LOW" and "HOT/WARM". Begin by holding the hair dryer high above your mold (like 2 feet or a little more above). Turn the dryer on and, pointing it straight down, very slowly bring it down closer to your mold, watching the resin carefully to make sure it is not being blown around. At some point the heat should be able to reach the resin and pop the bubbles.

Dyes & Pigments

Above are the bare minimum, basic items you will need. But what’s the fun in that? You need some color!

There are liquid dyes and pigments made especially for resin. In addition to these, there are a variety of other liquids you can use including oil and acrylic paints - since these are not specifically formulated for use with resin, finding the right types and proportions may be a matter of experimentation.
Dry pigments afford another opportunity for a wide range of color. Anything dry, and free of oils, can be added to resin. Consider some of the following:
Artists Pastels
Clothing Dye (powder form)
Tempura powders
And type of powder pigment
Artist pastels offer an endless array of colors. Use a craft knife or razor to gently shave the edges of the pastel.

I especially like Pearl Ex powdered pigments for their subtle shimmer and deep jewel tones.
These items can all be found at your art/craft store. While you are there, peruse the aisles for other fun things to mix in your resin: buttons, candy sprinkles, etc.

Well, now that you have all your materials, you’re ready to start casting! The next article in this series will discuss how to mix the resin and how to use your dyes and pigments…

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to understand and informative. I have complied all my tutorials, refined them, added new information and pictures, and added 2 complete step-by-step project instructions in this 32-page digital booklet, "Getting Started With Resin Jewelry". For more information, click here.

Monday, February 2

Half Moon Bay & a Friend for Shiloh

My husband and I just returned from a fabulous two day, sans kids, get-away in Half Moon Bay, California. It was fabulous!

I quite dutifully packed the camera, various zoom lenses, charging pack, everything....except the CF card, so no pictures this trip! Which really only enhanced the whole experience. There were I'd say, about a billion or so fantastic photo opportunities; the weather was PERFECT - at least 70 all day (yes, that's January in California!), sun shining, waves crashing, but alas I could not take any photos - I had to simply live the moment and enjoy it for pure enjoyments sake. Quite liberating actually.

So here are a couple of stock photos for your viewing pleasure...

The "Mint Room" where we stayed at The Old Thyme Inn; a wonderfully charming Bed & Breakfast fashioned from a 110 year old Victorian home. The inn-keepers, Rick & Kathy, served a fabulous breakfast each morning. My favorite item was the "broiled grapefruit". Rick was happy to share the recipe, so I'll try it in a few days and let you know...

Here's Aiden helping me get the laundry done before our trip.

Now, the other item I just had to mention is that Shiloh has a new friend!

But first, I have to show off the amazing packaging she came in. This wonderful treat came from Yoborobo, please check out her Etsy shop here.
This is by far the most fabulous packaging I have ever seen from any Etsy seller (or any other seller for that matter). Especially considering my purchase was only $6. But she did not skimp on the packaging in any way. Included for free was a darling handmade "Owl Love You" card and a cute felted red heart pin.

Wow, it really made me feel special! And made me feel that my purchase was very special too...

Meet Sally!

"Sally is a small owl with a big heart. She partial to sunny days at the beach, and romantic strolls through the park. But if she can’t have that, she would be thrilled to come home with you and adorn some part of your life: your cubicle, your car, your work-out bag. Sally isn’t picky." (from yoborobo's description)

Shiloh seemed a little frightened at first...

But now they are fast friends.

Here they are playing a rousing game of hide-and-seek.