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Online Classes for Crafters and Mixed Media Artists

cartoon woman holding craft class book

This post will be divided into 3 parts. There is a proliferation on online craft classes right now so there is lots to cover.

I’m always taking a class, improving some skill or learning a new one. I love the fact that now I can take classes online and there are so many to choose from. Here’s a list of some websites I’ve found. There are pros and cons to taking an online class and the pros are obvious! You don’t have to leave your house and you save some time. I teach both online classes and in person classes and I find that students sometimes will have different reasons why they prefer to take a class online vs in person. Most of the time students will prefer an in person class because they’ve tried a skill they can’t quite master or the skill set they want to learn is complex and intimidating so it’s better to have that hands on training. Many prefer the online training because so many sites now offer lifetime access to the videos or materials needed. This allows craft students to work at their own pace. So here are my reviews. I’ve taken classes at most of these websites I’m going to review,if I haven’t I’ll note that in the post.

1. Craftsy

Craftsy

I am a self professed Craftsy addict! I have taken at this point 10 classes with Craftsy and love every single one. Craftsy is my number one choice for online craft classes for  a few reasons. I’ll begin by saying that once you sign up for a Craftsy class you always have access to the classes. The classes are self paced but you always have access to the instructor via message board. Some of Craftsy’s unique features are

1. You can take online notes (it’s like a notebook you can write on while you are taking the class)

2. Ongoing access to the class instructor. If you only get halfway through the class and decide to pick it up at a later time you’ll still have access to your instructor.

3. All online classes come with downloadable class materials.

4. All the classes I’ve taken are very thorough. Most classes I’ve taken are between 3-6 hours long (some longer) and are in easy segments.

5. The quality is the best I’ve ever seen online. The instructors are top notch, the videos are professional and the downloadable

6. Critiques from your instructor. In some classes this can be invaluable tool for improving your skills.

7. There is always something new. Craftsy keeps adding new classes and has been adding to types of classes as well (such as fine art and photography).

 

Now for the good part! These are my favorite classes I’ve taken at Craftsy

I. Artisan Cheese Making

Yes! You can make all types of cheese at home. This class starts with easy cheeses and moves to more complex types. Mary Karlin is an excellent teacher and explains each step and phase of the cheese making process in depth. This is one of my favorite online classes. If you want to make artisan cheese at home, this is the class to take.  The class is taught Mary Karlin, author of Artisan Cheese Making at Home 

II. Machine Finished Hand Applique

If you love the look of hand applique but don’t have the time this is an excellent course. Learn time-saving techniques that help you avoid drawn-out hand appliqué processes without sacrificing quality stitching. Beth’s hand appliqué tips help you at every step, from the initial creation and organization of templates, to embellishing your quilt motifs with embroidery stitches. You’ll be making beautiful applique in no time! In this class you also get a great e-book for free.Beth’s e-book “More! Hand Applique by Machine” is a great bonus!

III.Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals & Clusters

Do you love beautiful jewelry? If you do you can learn to make it with this extensive class taught by Aga Kruk, instructor of Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals & Clusters. I loved this class. It is one of the longer courses I’ve taken but I learned so much about making jewelry. You make 5 pairs of earrings using different techniques, a multi-strand necklace and a pendant. Very pretty jewelry.

These are my favorite classes I’ve taken so far but I really haven’t had a bad class at Craftsy. They also have many other features I didn’t have space to list here so please go and check Craftsy for yourself.

 

2. CraftClass  With Alison Lee

CraftClass with Alison Lee provides both live and downloadable video of past classes. CRAFTCAST™ LIVE  are online recordings that are  90 minutes long and  you can download the recording onto your computer. The recording is enhanced with some video (slides) of relavent information on your class. Each class comes with a PDF handout that includes additional information on the topic. Most of the classes are project based jewelry classes (there are a few exceptions but most are classes are jewelry). I have taken the class on Image Transfer. Most of the class was a discussion between Alison Lee and the instructor with some slides shown so you can see each technique. For this particular topic I was wishing there was video and some projects included. For me this wasn’t an effective way to learn techniques but it gave me an overview of the different transfer processes. The class covered

  • Photocopy transfers
  • Beeswax varnishes
  • Basic monotypes
  • Transfers onto polymer clay

 

3.Paper Crafter’s Library

If you love paper crafting you’ll be jolted in paper crafting heaven with this site. You can pay by the month or annually so you can have access to over 1500 video tutorials and online classes (about 4 a year). The site is always updating by adding new videos and classes.  If you are new to paper crafts you will certainly gain alot of knowledge from this site. Even experienced crafters will pick up some new techniques. The site is run by a small team of experienced paper crafters.  You can see the video library here. Videos cover basic techniques, projects and advanced technique. Emphasis on many classes is on using paper tools in unique ways. Many of the videos come with downloadable PDF’s. This is a great resource and I strongly recommend it.

 

I still have two more posts to go so stayed tune…. I have a couple of surprises!

 

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Handmade Back to School From Etsy

It’s back to school time! Where did the summer go? It went by so quickly and although I’m sad to see my daughter go back to school it’s time to start looking for some back to school essentials. Here’s a few items from some Etsy shops.

pencils with custom engraving DIY

 

Pencils are an essential item for back to school and I really like these that focus on getting a little motivated when writing. Love the colors too a nice change from the traditional yellow pencil. From the Etsy shop Carbon Crusader.

handmade lunch bag

 

A couple days of all that new brain work is going to make your students very hungry. You can pack those lunches in style with this adorable French Bear Bag from Needful Wishes Cute Cute Cute.

 

retro frame glasses

 

To make yourself look super smart you could wear these glasses from the Etsy Shop SunnySpex. These are a an 80′s throw back which is a throw back from the 1950′s . So here you’ll have a double retro pair of glasses.

 

little girl dress with alphabet print

 

If I were five I would want to wear this. What a perfect dress for a little girl starting her first day of Kindergarten. This is a really sweet dress from the Etsy shop Sweet Emma.

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Altered Paper Bag Recipe Book

Altered bag recipe book

I put together this darling recipe card holder in less than 4 hours! It uses altered paper bags as its pages. Although I bought this as a kit, it’s a great way to use up some of those paper scraps you’ve been collecting. I added lots of little touches here and there that weren’t in the instructions. There are lots of slots to place your recipes cards. The book uses lots of textured materials such as textured paper,burlap canvas and wood.

 

Altered book recipe page

altered book recipe front page

Cork and Paper Embellishments on the Front Cover

I’m already planning my next altered paper bag book. It will have a very different look from this one and will be filled with different types of goodies. I’ll be sure to include full instructions as well. I got this kit at our local scrapbooking store. Now all I have to do is fill it with recipes.

Inside of altered recipe book

 

Thanks for taking a look!
Christine

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Making Soap for the First Time

Learning a new craft is sooo much fun! If you don’t know by now I am, by profession, a soap teacher. I teach others how to make handmade soap. I have a classroom and lots of supplies where I share my craft of soap making.I feel like I have the best job in the world!!  I had the great pleasure last week of teaching a two day class with Mansi. Mansi is a trained artist in Chicago and teaches others how to paint. She does a lot of wonderful work with nursing home and Alzheimers patients showing them how to paint. Mansi was interested in learning how to make soap and sharing her new found craft with her students. We had a wonderful two days making all kinds of bath and body products. Here’s a few pics of some Mansi’s creations. The first thing Masi learned to make was a loofah soap.

set of handmade soaps

Loofah Soaps

We then went to make a rose loaf soap made from shea butter soap and organic roses. So pretty!

Organic rose soap

Shea Butter and Organic Rose Soap

It was a great day teaching Mansi how to make bath bombs,bath salts and lots and lots of soap. These little aliens in spaceships are really soaps!

Aliens in spaceship soaps

Lost in space alien soaps

These are some bath bombs Mansi made. Have you ever attended a creative workshop like this just learning new things? It’s a lot of fun but it’s also very satisfying learning a new craft or skill. I hope you enjoyed looking at these handmade goodies. If you’re learning a new skill or craft right now I wish you many hours of crafting happiness!!

pink and green bath bombs

 

 

 

Make Beautiful Things……..Christine

Aurora - Hi! I found your blog via pinterest and I am looking for some soap inspiration. I usually make CP soap, but am thinking about making more melt and pours lately. I’m curious if the rose soap is CP or M&P, as it looks like it could potentially be either!

Either way, gorgeous soaps!

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Little Bitty Bird Houses

I’ve bought these little tiny wooden bird houses at Joann’s for only fifty cents apiece. I could wait to bring them home and craft them up. I bought 10 of them and I’ve finished three. The rest I’ll decorate for Christmas gifts next year.

Altered Bird Houses

Trio of Altered Bird Houses

I used lots of fun glitter to them. To get get good glitter coverage and spread Mod Podge on and pour the glitter over. The Mod Podge worked great. I also used Mod Podge for the the Little French Bird house.

This Little French Bird House I covered with scrapbook paper, ribbon and buttons from the French General.

Altered French Country Bird Houses

The Little French Bird House

 

These houses were covered with glitter and decorated. I gave a little bling to my bird.

Glittered Bird House Craft

My bird has some bling!

My little Christmas Bird house is embellished with paper and garland.Christmas Glitter House

Speaking of glitter I found these beautiful glitters over at createforless. They have so many beautiful colors and in those beautiful bottles too.

Vintage Glitter for Crafts

Vintage Glitters

I hope you enjoyed these mini bird houses. When I make the rest I’ll be sure to post them.

Christine

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The 52 Week Photo Challenge Week One

I’m so happy to be participating in the Clickin Moms 52 Week Photo Challenge. They have a Facebook group where all the photos are posted.  This is my first week and the theme is New Years.So here’s my photo with my daughter with all of her New Years gear on! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to really take my photography skills up a couple of notches! Wishing all of you a Happy New Year.

Week One Challenge New Years

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Altered Clay Pot Let It Snow Tutorial

Clay Pot altered with blue paint craft tutorial

 

With the holidays upon us you can make some quick stunning gifts with a few items you have around the house. I’m sure most of us have some clay pots around or if you don’t you can go to the Goodwill (that’s what I did) and get a few for fifty cents or less. In my previous post I made some quick and easy glittery snowflake soaps, so to make my soap presentation a bit more dramatic I made this altered pot to present my snowflake soaps in.

Here are the supplies I used

1. Clay pot

2. Martha Stewart Pearl Paint in Aquarium or other blue or blue-green color
3. Acrylic Paint in White

 

 

4. Craft Sponges

5. Recollections Glitz or other white glitter

 

 

6. Scrapbook paper for rosette

7. Rubber or Acrylic stamp (Let It Snow)  for banner on rosette and small piece of white paper for the banner

7. Metallic Pigment in Silver and Light blue Pigment Ink

8. Silver Wired Ribbon 1.5 inches wide

9. Glue Gun

 

DIRECTIONS

 

1. Paint your clay pot with your white paint. Let it dry and repeat this 2-3 times until your pot is covered with paint. Be sure to paint the inside too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. With you sponge paint brush, brush on the Martha Stewart Pearl paint. While the paint is still wet sprinkle some glitz on the top of your pot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Make your rosette.  Make it large to fill up the front of your pot.

4. Paint on some of your Metallic Silver on the sharp edges of your rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Make a bow to go behind your rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Cut a 1/2 inch by 5 white piece of paper and make your banner shape at the end (see photo) Stamp with the Let It Snow stamp and edge it with the light blue pigment ink. Glue your banner behind your embellishment and glue your rosette and embellishment together. Now glue bow behind your rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Glue your bow/rosette about a third down on your clay pot. You’re done!

 

Now you can fill it with those beautiful snowflakes we made in the last tutorial or use fill it up with some pretty glass ornaments.

See you next post!

Christine

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Snowflake Soap An Easy Gift to Make

white snowflake christmas handmade soap

 

Christmas Snowflake Soap. Looking for some quick gifts that are pretty and inexpensive? Try making these pretty glittered soap snowflakes. This soap uses white melt and pour soap and is very easy to make. I am including the links to the products (disclaimer, I own this online store!) The snowflake mold is very durable and can be used again and again. I’ve used a Peppermint Creme fragrance oil in this soap so it smells crisp and fresh but is creamy at the same time. The glitter that is applied gives the soap plenty of sparkle. Adding glitters and mica to soap is a good way to give soaps depth and some drama. If you get any bubbles on top of your soap when you pour it into the mold you can spray some rubbing alcohol on the bubbles and this will remove them.  This tutorial will make you three soaps that are about 5 oz each.

A list of supplies you will need

1. One pound of ultra white melt and pour soap base

2. Soap Glitter

3. Snowflake soap mold

4. Peppermint Creme Fragrance Oil  1/2 oz

5. Microwavable glass measuring cup

6. a fork or small whisk to stir your soap

7. A small paintbrush to apply your glitter. An inexpensive one is fine.

Directions

1. Cut your soap base into 1/2 inch chunks of soap and put in your glass measuring cup.

2. Melt in microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave to see if there are large chunks of soap. If there is still unmelted soap microwave again for 15 seconds and repeat until you have very small pieces of soap. Stir with your fork or whisk until the small pieces  of soap are melted.

3. Slowly stir in your fragrance oil into the melted soap. Don’t stir to vigorously or else you will have too many air bubbles in your soap.

4. Pour your soap into your snowflake soap mold. Pour right to the top.

5. Let your soap harden. Leave in the mold at least 6 hours.

6. Once your soap is dry remove from the mold. Dip your paint brush into the soap glitter and lightly brush into your soap. Be sure to get into the groves of the snowflake. You can repeat this if you want a bit more sparkle to your soap. Now you are ready to package your soap.

In my next tutorial I’m going to show you how to take an old clay pot and turn it into a glittery gift basket to hold those handmade soaps.

That’s it! Very easy! Have fun make soap gifts!

Christine, Make Beautiful Things

white handmade snowflake soap

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Crazy for Candy Corn

I love Candy Corn. The colors, the taste, the shape of the little treats. Here’s some Candy Corn Eye Candy and a little video how these goodies are made. Here’s my Candy Corn board on Pinterest…full of all kinds of Candy Corn stuff.

candy corn board pinterest

 

These Candy Corn Soap Cupcakes are from my other blog. I used Candy Corn Fragrance oil….very yummy and no calories.

 

Candy corn cupcake soap

 

 

 

 

How about this cutie in this Candy Corn hat? What a sweetie..From the Etsy Shop MitziKnitz

baby in candy corn hat

 

Go over Hoosier Handmade she’s put together a collections of Candy Corn Cupcakes, Cookies and more!

candy corn treats

 

 

Enjoy this last weekend before Halloween!

Christine

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Handmade Halloween

Handmade Halloween Book

I buy a lot of craft books and craft magazines. Everyone once in a while a craft book comes along and I know I  will have it forever. This is one of those books. But this is isn’t a book review. No, I just want to tell you HOW INCREDIBLE THIS BOOK IS. If you are a crafter and you LOVE Halloween you will love Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting  Written by crafter extraordinaire and founder of Glitterville, Stephen Brown , he takes Halloween to new glittery heights and really puts the happy in Happy Halloween.  There are so many things to love about this book but I’ll tell you just a  few. The first is the projects aren’t hard but they are amazing (start now and you can make everything in the book in time for next Halloween). The other thing I love about the book is it just keeps giving you ideas. All these Halloween projects can be turned into Christmas and Easter projects with a little imagination. The instructions are very clear and the photography beautiful. I hope there will be a whole series of these Glitterville books. If there is I’ll be the first buyer.

 

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