Candy Corn Tree

Who knew candy corn grew on trees?

 

Over the years, I’ve made some pretty amazing things with my own two hands. And yet, I think the object that has most impressed my family by far is this Candy Corn Tree I whipped up during our DIY segment of Sticks and Stones #13.

With a glue stick, $3 (candy corn was on sale!) and about 8 minutes, I was able to create something that my family thinks is crafting genius. And I can’t even take credit. I saw a similar picture online and re-created it with my own spin. A word of warning: if the environment gets really humid, the candy corn melts off the branch. But you can always glue more on to it.

I’m not sure what to take away from this lesson. That it doesn’t take much to create something spectacular? That I already knew. That maybe I shouldn’t try so hard? …..maybe. Or that candy, especially candy corn, always wins.

Whatever the lesson, check out how this bit of fall fun was made at Sticks and Stones podcast through our website or on iTunes. Happy Halloween!

Dyeing for a Change

A little food coloring yields a brand new lunchbox.

By now you probably heard that I’ve been working on the video podcast Sticks and Stones with my friend Julia of Wee Sheep Knits. We share our creativity with the world by giving insight into projects we’re working on and providing a DIY segment for the folks at home to try.

In Episode 9, Julia taught us how to dye wool yarn using food coloring. It was right up my alley. (Truth be told: we may have burned out my microwave setting the dye, but it was still a blast.) It’s one of those projects that leaves you hunting around for other objects you can dye. And find something I did: my kid’s lunchbox. I decided to give dyeing whirl beyond the yarn when my daughter and I dyed her lunchbox.

The original light pink lunchbox that’s about to get a makeover.

The lunchbox began life as a pink LL Bean nylon lunchbox. My daughter got it when she was in Kindergarten and after 4 years of use it shows no signs of giving up (go LL Bean!).

The problem is that my now 4th grader is not the pink princess she used to be. We decide to pour on the food coloring and see if we could give it a makeover. I’m happy to report that it was a success! Here’s how we did it.

Tools:

  • Wilton icing colors, available at craft stores or online
  • Popsicle sticks
  • rubber gloves
  • boiling water
  • towel
  • vinegar
  • heatproof container large enough to hold the lunchbox
  1. Preparing your supplies: Boil the water and have it waiting in the wings for Step 3. Rinse the lunchbox so the nylon is completely saturated.
  2. Dyeing the nylon: Wearing rubber gloves (so you don’t dye your hands), use a Popsicle stick to spread the icing dye across the nylon of the lunchbox. We did this procedure in our kitchen sink to keep the dye contained so it wouldn’t color unsuspecting bystanders like the kitchen counters. We found that rubbing the dye on directly gave a brighter color. You can also dilute the color in water. Sticks and Stones Episode 9 gives more insight into this process.

    My artist painting food coloring on her lunchbox.

  3. Setting the dye:Pour boiling water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio into the heatproof container and then place the lunch box in the container as well. I used an aluminum cake pan, adding vinegar until the pan was about 1/4 full and then adding hot water until it was 1/2 full. I poured warm water inside the lunch box so it would remain submerged. Put the lid on the cake pan and wrapped the whole thing in a towel so it stays hot longer. Once this mixture cools, I emptied the cake pan and add a new batch of hot water and vinegar to the cake pan and flipped the lunch box over to submerge the lid, as the whole lunchbox didn’t fit in the pan. Again I lidded the cake pan and wrapped it in a towel.
  4. Rinse cycle: Once you’ve set the dye with hot water and the water has cooled, it’s time to rinse out the excess dye with running water. Hang the lunchbox on the washline so it dries completely.
  5. Laundering: Finally, I washed the lunch box in the washing machine with regular detergent to make sure all the excess dye came out.

I let my daughter apply the colors to the lunchbox. She chose sky blue and leaf green Wilton icing colors. The butterfly patch did not dye at all, but the nylon lunch box did. And laundering the lunchbox removed the bits of dye that got inside the lunchbox. So now I have a happy kid and a few more years before I have to buy new school supplies.

Playing with Resin

An Alexander Henry owl and Amy Butler dots preserved beneath resin become stylish necklace pendants.

My sister-in-law loves fabric, so when I saw a post on Craft about how to use fabric and embroidery in jewelry, I knew I’d found the right birthday gift for her.

Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos really is magic when it comes to quickly making a pendant or earrings.

Instead of using a frame pendant used in the Craft post, I used a double-sided pendant from Hobby Lobby and two single pendant frames from Rio Grande. Then I employed Lisa Pavelka’s Magic-Glos UV Resin. This stuff is so easy to use and it cures in the sun in 5 minutes! Who could ask for more (except for maybe a sunny day).

On episode 4 of Sticks & Stones, the collaborative video podcast I’ve been working on, I talk about how I created the pendant. Below are the official directions:

  1. I found fabric my sis-in-law loves, in this case Alexander Henry’s Spotted Owls and a classic dot pattern from Amy Butler. Then I embroidered parts of the design with sewing thread and embroidery floss. After experimenting a bit, I found it’s better to¬† embroider a few areas of the design rather than all of it. The resin mutes the texture of the stitching, but the stitching brightens the pattern a bit. It’s also a good idea to cut a template the size of the inside of the pendant, so you can move it across your fabric to decide which part of the design you want to use.
  2. Iron fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric and then cut the design to the size of the pendant. Use the template you created to cut out the design.
  3. Place the design inside the pendant.
  4. Use Magic-Glos to finish the pendant. Several thin layers of Magic-Glos work better than one thick layer. Cure each layer in the sun before applying the next layer.

The original owl pendant.

Truth be told, I messed up the pendant I showed on Sticks & Stones so I had to make another pendant for my sis-in-law’s birthday. I ended up making her two pendants so she can choose which one she wants to slip onto the necklace.

Magic-Glos covers photos, metal, found objects, just about anything you would want to collage onto a pendant. You can also use it for inclusions, such as sprinkling in glitter between the layers of resin. This maybe be my new go-to birthday present for friends and family.

See Episode 4 of Sticks and Stones