Friday, 26 June 2015

A Room with a View Courtesy of Window Art


Courtney deVerges, sales assistant, office hand model, amateur window artist
I’m rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of my big leap to move to New York City after spending my entire life in the south. I successfully survived the winter, which was quite the feat, and now I’m experiencing (and loving!) how alive the city becomes in the summertime.
NYC has so many things to offer, but spacious living quarters is NOT one of them! My good friend from college and I live in an itty-bitty apartment (in a GREAT location, luckily)—which means there are no closets, no dishwasher, no washer or dryer, and NO views (unless you consider a dark alley and a brick wall idyllic . . . yeah, didn’t think so). So I thought to myself, why not create my own view that I can wake up to every morning? That’s when I grabbed a Klutz favorite, Window Art, and put on my interior decorating hat.

Window Art has been a Klutz mainstay for almost 15 years and now I see why. With a few squirts of paint, a steady hand, and the patience to let the paint dry, I was able to turn a boring window typically hidden behind a curtain into a room with a view!
Since I decided to create designs that were not in the book, first I drew skyscrapers on paper with a permanent marker. My rendering of the Empire State Building was a tad too tall to trace it onto the plastic sleeves that come with the book, so I used a large zip-top plastic bag. It worked just fine. Then I followed the steps in the book by placing the plastic tracing sleeves (or plastic bag) over my drawings, and tracing the buildings with the black paint.

I also traced a sun and a moon, both designs included in the book. Tip: It takes a little bit of practice, but the designs come out better if you don’t let the tip of the bottle touch the plastic when you’re tracing. That way, the outlines create an unbroken barrier to hold your fill color.
I let the black paint dry for a little while and then began to fill in my designs with the colored paints. It’s important to be generous with the fill colors. Have no fear—I thought the fill colors were bleeding over the black details, but once the paint dried overnight the colors sort of shrunk within their barriers and the black details were still perfectly visible! Check out the before and after pics:


See, even though it looked like the blue paint was covering up the black window details, once it dried the windows were very clear.
I let my designs dry for a good 24 hours, then carefully peeled them off the plastic and placed them on my window. And ta-da! I had my very own one-of-a-kind stained glass designs. Not only did I add some pizazz to my mini bedroom, but also now I can say I have a view! Who needs a swanky rooftop after all?








Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Craft Day at Grandma's (with Potholders and Other Loopy Projects)

Kim Ryon, sales manager and grandma extraordinaire

What better way to bring out my inner seventh-grade crafter on a special afternoon with my granddaughters than to tackle a project that I remember doing during summer camp—Potholders! I have clear memories of sitting on a rickety picnic table at a community park creating these colorful kitchen accessories.
I couldn’t wait to make new memories with my granddaughters when I saw Potholders and Other Loopy Projects. This Klutz activity kit is packed with hundreds of colorful loops and a loom that makes it easy for kids of all ages to weave a variety of fun crafts. It was a perfect activity to take on with my granddaughters, who are 4 and 9. We planned a “Craft Day at Grandma’s” so that I could share my exceptional knowledge of welting and weaving with them, but in a last-minute panic my daughter-in-law asked if she could leave her son with me too. I couldn’t say no to my grandson, but I was sure that Isaac would be bored out of his mind since his favorite thing to do at our house is help Grandpa with yard work, or fix anything that needs repairs. But boy, did he prove me wrong. By the time his older sister, Lena, was done picking out the colors for her potholder, Isaac was already halfway through his own.
Potholders and Other Loopy ProjectsPotholders and Other Loopy Projects


















We only had two looms so the youngest, Lyla, took pictures while she waited her turn (but she was itching to make a potholder of her own). Once it was her turn, she loved stretching the loops straight across the loom, and I loved seeing how proud she was of her color combination! The second layer of loops was a bit harder for my youngest granddaughter, since it required weaving over and under, but I was excited to reminisce about my own childhood and share my expertise (with a quick glance at the instructions of course).


Voilá! After only about an hour we had two finished potholders, three happy kids, and lots of precious memories!





















The crafts were supposed to be a surprise gift for their mom on a later date, but as soon as she walked in the door, they couldn’t wait to show her what they had made her. They were so proud of their accomplishments that they have been begging me for another project ever since. So stay tuned for the next “Craft Day at Grandma’s!”

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Astound and Annoy! (with Prankster Magic from Klutz)

by Linda Olbourne, editor, buyer, and self-proclaimed dinner entertainer

I’m not a prankster, but the rest of my family definitely falls into that category. While my role as the “gullible victim” is an important one, I felt it was time to turn the tables a bit. Dinner plans with my husband, our friends, and their children were fast approaching, and I was determined to show these folks a thing or three!
Here’s the situation: You’re out to dinner at a restaurant and the kids are BORED.
We’ve all seen it (and most of us have done it)—just whip out the phone or tablet to keep everyone happy until the mac and cheese arrives. It’s fast! It’s easy! It’s . . . no fun for an adult who wants to actually hang out with the kids long before packing them up for college. I don’t get to see my young extended family or the kids of my friends on a daily basis, so when they are around I want to get some quality time with them.
But how much fun can you have at a restaurant without annoying everyone around you or upsetting the waitstaff? Well, a lot, actually. A little pre-reading of Klutz’s Prankster Magic set me up to star in my own ridiculous dinner show and I loved it.
I practiced at home first, enlisting my cat, Posey and husband, Shane as test subjects.
For my first trick, “Phony Fork Bending” . . .
Props needed:
  • A dime: Try your couch, pockets or purse for this one.
  • A metal fork: 99.9% of restaurants with tablecloths can help you here.
You hide the dime in your hands, move the fork down, tip the dime forward and BAM. It looks like you’ve managed to bend your fork up at the back.
I made Shane demonstrate because I haven’t done my nails:
It’s cooler in person!
The best part is when you “magically” bend it back into place. This was a great opportunity to really use my full repertoire of sound effects. “Grrrrrrrr ahiahahiayaaaaaa!” is a favorite.
Reactions may vary. At dinner, they ran from wonder and disbelief (4 year old) to eye-rolling and the silent treatment (12 year old), but I can handle it. And conversation followed. ACTUAL CONVERSATION.
It was a win, so I decided to press on and practice something new for a future dinner or lunch date. For my next trick, “Mind vs. Straw!”
Props needed:
  • A paper wrapped straw
  • A salt shaker
This one I practiced at work with a straw from the local coffee place and one of those plastic salt shakers from the store. (None of my coworkers asked what I was doing in the kitchen, by the way. Odd.)
My straw didn’t have paper, so I rubbed it on my shirt. This trick is all about building up static electricity. So rub the straw, and then balance it on the top of the shaker. Now, you can get your finger close and “lead” the straw around without touching it. MAGIC.
video
You’ll see in the video that my finger actually was totally touching the straw, but it still looks pretty cool.
Important side note: I was also able to create static by rubbing a plastic straw on my cat at home. Posey (the cat) has almost forgiven me, but I would definitely suggest you stick with rubbing your straw on paper or a shirt unless you want to see this face.
If coin tricks, card tricks, or grossing people out with fake chewed gum are more up your alley, there is plenty for you in Prankster Magic.
While a good magician never reveals her secrets, a Prankster always should! It’s just as fun to show them how you did it as to do the trick in the first place. Take my husband Shane, who I’ve been practicing on. He thinks I’m hilarious.
What? We were out of bananas.

Friday, 24 April 2015

So Many Letters

Hannah Rogge, Director of Product Development, and wearer of mostly blue outfits.
 


Having grown up in NYC, I’ve been a huge fan of graffiti-inspired letters since I started recognizing the alphabet. I like how these large-scale forms of color sometimes reveal a recognizable letter and are at other times so abstract that they can barely be “read” as letters.
I find letters are quite fun to draw! I used to take great pride in lettering the topics in my notebook or drawing my name over and over. Psych signs* were really big in my high school, and the girls with the best lettering skills always had waiting lists of people who wanted their names to be drawn. (I’m sure boys have great lettering skills, too, but my experience was at an all-girls school.)
*Oh, wait . . . not everyone has a school obsessed with psych signs? They’re signs with people’s names on them (usually very athletic people) to psych them up for a game and show support. Something like “Go Hannah” . . . except that I’m not terribly athletic. (But I still appreciated the vote of confidence.)
Note: This is a reproduction of the original art. 
Lizzy’s (my high school friend) was much better.

That’s where my interest in letters comes from and why I picked up Klutz’s Lettering book. 


Lettering makes it easy to have fun with a message. There’s a lot that kids (and adults!) can do with all of the stencil letters included in the kit.
Yes, exactly. You can say anything.
Perhaps . . .
Why, yes, they are. Thank you for noticing.

Making messages with this book is a lot of fun and super easy! Besides, there are important things to remember, like:

and
(Just like it was for me when I made these signs for the office.)

For reading this!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Spring It On with Mini Pom-Pom Pets

Today’s post is brought you to by Flora Kim, a product editor with Klutz. 

Early spring in NYC is tough. One minute it’s sunny and gorgeous, and the next thing you know it’s freezing and you have to break out your giant puffy coat (again). While I was waiting for Mother Nature to make up her mind, I decided to craft a little springtime magic for myself with one of my favorite Klutz books: Mini Pom-Pom Pets.

All you need to create your own menagerie of pom-pom animals is a dinner fork and a little elbow grease. Wrap some yarn around a fork, tie it up in a bundle, a few snips with the scissors, and ta-da! A pom-pom is born.


Tip to the craft-wise: When I first cut the loops of my yarn bundle, my pom-pom looked . . . weird. I was a bit alarmed. But I promise you, after a good trim, no one will know if your pom-pom had a less-than-adorable start.

The book also comes with eyes, noses, and other extras that transform your plain pom-poms into cute critters. My favorite extra? The blush marker—it was the perfect finishing touch for my ducky.
 
I decided my new pet pal needed to be on display, so I made a mini springtime wreath. I crafted this wreath base by twisting some old packing paper, but you can use a premade wreath, too. After adding paper flowers and leaves, I glued on my ducky. How CUTE is this little guy?

Be sure to check out Mini Pom-Pom Pets, and I hope that you’re not waiting too long for spring, wherever you are!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Celebrating Craft Month with Shrink & Link Jewelry

Today's post is brought to you by: Emily Feliberty - Klutz Marketing Manager

 
March is National Craft month and as you can imagine it is a serious celebration in the Klutz office. It’s a time when we shake off the winter blues and set aside some time for crafting, or what we like to call “working.” ;) While I’m not exactly known for being the craftiest one in our group, I vowed to honor the festivities and try out our newest product, Shrink & Link Jewelry.


If you’ve never played with shrink plastic, here’s the deal: It’s a sheet of magic plastic on which you draw and color designs. Cut out your designs with ordinary scissors, bake them for mere minutes on a cookie sheet and, through the miracle of quantum plasto-physics, your creations shrink to approximately 44% of their original size! Yes, I know—amazing. But wait, it gets better. Now, with the help of a handy-dandy hole punch and a custom shaping tool, kids can finally layer their creations and curve their teeny tiny plastic art like never before. With more than 50 traceable designs and 55 brads, they’ll be shrinking and linking, over and over again.

Need a visual? Watch me Shrink & Link here:



 
I kept mixing and matching, and before I knew it I had a limitless wardrobe of “did-you-really-make-that?!” jewelry. Check out my designs!




 


Who knows, maybe I’ll be dubbed the Ultimate Klutz Crafter sometime soon. Maybe not. In either case, happy National Craft Month!



Thursday, 12 March 2015

Fairy Tale Dress-Up with Fashion Forms

We're welcoming Klutz Marketing Assistant Devin MacDonald to the blog today to share her experience with a Klutz classic. 


While I’ve graduated from the baggy hoodies, baseball caps, and cargo pants of my middle school tomboy-hood, I’m still pretty much the antithesis of a girly-girl. I can’t apply makeup to save my life, I wear the same pair of scuffed boots every day, and I harbour the not-so-secret hope that I will live to see the day when it is socially acceptable to wear nothing but monochrome jumpsuits (think construction worker, not chic and catwalk-ready). But, despite my tendency to shy away from the frilly, blingy, and otherwise fabulous, I will always have a soft spot for pretty princesses.

With a shiny new take on Cinderella hitting the silver screen this week, I found myself with a familiar urge to indulge in a little bit of fairy tale dress-up. So, I grabbed one of the Fashion Forms kits that have been staring at me from our conference room for weeks, and I decided to get my design on. 

What I find so neat about Fashion Forms is that it’s all about combining basic shapes in creative ways. So, with patterns for six tops and three skirts, you can pretty much make any no-pants look that crosses your mind. It got me thinking about which classic princess costumes I could recreate with those shapes, and—after inspiration struck—how I could transform those outfits into modern-day ensembles.






I mean, can’t you totally picture the Little Mermaid roaming the beach in romantic, flowy ruffles and a sweetheart halter on her land-dwelling days?


Can’t you see Snow White rocking a Peter Pan collar and a cute-but-classy pencil skirt while holding court with her woodland friends in a cozy little home?


What about a fit-and-flare number for everybody’s favourite Frozen queen?


It’s amazing how scraps of paper can transform into miniature outfits for a princess with a dab of glue, some imagination, and a few sparkly embellishments. It’s also amazing how time flies when you let your inner little girl out to play; I was surprised to find that I’d been at it for a couple of hours when I finally shook the sequins from my fingertips to check the time, but I enjoyed every second of it. My craving to experiment with adorable attire: satisfied. I feel like I just played the ultimate game of dress-up.

Now, to find a fashion-forward little friend so I have an excuse to crack my kit open again . . .