Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stained Wicker Basket

At the beginning of the month I did a post about two wicker baskets I found at the thrift store. Well here is what they look like after I used a walnut coloured stain (MINWAX - Special Walnut 224) on the one basket. The colour of the stain matches nicely with the dark hardwood floors in my studio and also goes well with the floors in the back hall and kitchen.

I wanted to show the difference between the original unfinished basket on the left and the stained basket on the right. I started by rubbing on the stain with a cloth, but soon realized that a brush was a much better option for applying the stain. I did two applications and waited overnight between coats. The finish is a bit glossier than I anticipated but I love the darker colour. I still have to make liners and labels for the baskets and I am excited to use them in my family command centre project.

What do you think of the darker colour?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Crafty Home Accents

If crafting something is not your thing, then consider finding handcrafted and unique items online or at craft fairs. Earlier this year I spoke about the One-of-a-Kind Show and Sale, and during the summer months there is no shortage of art and craft fairs that you can visit. I have previously shared my love of shopping on Etsy and I have highlighted my own use of this site. Today I wanted to focus on a few home decor items that I really like from various Etsy vendors around the globe. I created a "Crafty Home Accents" list, and I will undoubtedly be adding more items.

via Crafted Spaces on Etsy
Generally, each vendor will have information listed about shipping options and where they ship to. You can also message vendors to confirm shipping details. The site has tons of vendors to choose from and you can use the wonderful features on Etsy to "curate" and share your finds via facebook, twitter or pinterest. There is a great "Add to" feature that lets you collect items based on a "list" that you have created.

You can name your list(s) based on what ever criteria you wish, including who you are shopping for, or the part of your home you will like to decorate. This feature is great and is in-keeping with the previous "heart" icon; however, it provides the opportunity to better categorize the items you like prior to buying. I also think that it can be a great way to compare products.

Here are the links to a few products I felt were great Crafty Home Accents.

Crochet Lamp Shade - Babytogo
Gold Tufted Chair Photography - Obsessvision
Wooden Wall Clock - Paladim
Nesting Bowls - Vessel Sandwares
Yellow Rose Pillow Cover - Secdus
Round Ottoman - Foututissu
Patchwork Pillow Case - Hawthome
Crochet Rag Rug - Gunaspalete
Bean Bag - Zoe Est Kids
Embroidery Hoop Art - King Soleil
Pottery Bowl - Biscuit Cuit
Black Dresser - Poppyseed Living

Are you an Etsy shopper or is their another website that you prefer? What do you think of the items I have selected?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Social Media For Creative Businesses

by Dr. Cheryl Cottle

With the internationalization of creative businesses, comes the emergence of creativity as a national and economic strategic opportunity for business development. In many parts of the world, it is also valued and recognized as a great “human asset,” that contributes to the gross national product. The creative individual is also being recognized as contributing to the national image of many nations across the globe.

Throughout civilization, creativity has played a pivotal role in defining our cultural practices, norms and values. It reflects who we are, our history and our value system. It serves as a vehicle for social changes and fostering national pride. Countries are known for their dancers, painters, singers, song writers, film makers, crafts, food, furniture, clothing designers, fabric designer, jewellery designers, and architecture, just to list a few of the creative icons. With greater recognition from our leaders and policymakers, more and more creative individuals are coming out of their private enclaves and promoting their work through the many outlets that are available to showcase their work.

Some of the best avenues that are being used to self-promote, reach clients and sell creative products and services, are social media sites. While there are countless social media sites available, I strongly recommend those that are described in this article.

Joining Social Media Sites
Some of the most popular social media sites that a creative entrepreneur can join are; Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and You Tube. These platforms are great places to brand, market and promote creative products and services. It also gives creative business individuals a space to widen their network, and make connections on a global level. It also allows them to develop the personal prominence as an artist and creator of new information and resources.

  • Facebook
  • Facebook in particular allow you the opportunity to create a profile of yourself and through your profile you can connect with others and build your friend’s list. You can perceive your “friend’s list” as your audience for marketing and promoting your creative work. This is branding at a small scale and Facebook offers you the opportunity to be much more creative in how you showcase who you are and what you do.

    On Facebook you can also create your own group(s). You can name your group based on your business or an area of interest for your clients. This can be an effective marketing strategy, where you can have a following of like-minded individuals joining you as well as people who appreciate and support your work.

    If you are not open to creating a group, you also have the option to create a Fan Page and lots of people are opting for this alternative. A Fan Page has no limits as to how many people can join you and it gives you a great deal of autonomy.

  • Flickr
  • Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website that is owned by Yahoo. It was created in 2004 and provides a space for you to feature your images. You can store your images and easily access them when you need to on other web platforms. At the time of this article, records indicate that they have a following of over 51 million registered members and over 80 millions visitors.

    Flickr has the capabilities to store millions of files securely. You might be wondering; do I need to be registered to access images and photos from Flickr? Well you can access without being registered, but if you want to upload content on to Flickr, you must register an account. If you have a registered account you can also create a profile page with photos and videos.

  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest is another social media site that I think will appeal to the creative entrepreneur. Creative individuals use images and photos to illustrate their thoughts, share ideas and express themselves. As a creative entrepreneur, you can upload, save, and sort your images into “boards.” You can also manage your “pins” so that they reflect your area of interest and body of work.

    Pinterest is a “pin board” website that is designed for photo and video sharing. Users can create and manage theme-based boards based on their interest, inspirational subjects, health and wellness, almost any topic you may think about. It also allows you to upload your own images and create boards so that those images may be repined by other users. You can also create several “secret boards,” for information that you will like to share with a select group of individuals or have for “your eyes only.”

    To become a member of Pinterest you will need to register and create an account. Pinterest allows you to connect with your Facebook and Twitter accounts to start a Pinterest account. The platform also allows you to follow others in your network that has a Pinterest account. You can also share your activities on the other platforms. You can see a preview of the platform, in a previous Crafted Spaces article: 6 Reasons Your Business Should Use Pinterest.

  • YouTube
  • YouTube is another great social media forum with great appeal to the creative entrepreneur. This space allows you to create and share video on a range of topics. People can access your “channel” and view the information that you share. It also allows them to share your content with others, subscribe and leave a comment. You Tube accommodates over 800 million users. People on a daily basis upload and view information on the site. As a creative entrepreneur it is a great opportunity to share what you do and to brand your business.

  • Etsy
  • Etsy is an online shopping site that creative entrepreneurs can utilize to sell their products. It caters to many areas in the creative sector including, jewellery making, clothing designers, quilting, crocheting, knitting, painters, art, pottery, cooking and baking, home décor, just to list a few. You can access Etsy by registering an account, similar to the other sites.

    The difference with Etsy is that it allows you to upload your commodity and process online sales via PayPal. This gives you an opportunity to reach your clients and eliminate the “middle man.” There is a cost for using Etsy and you will want to review their policies carefully to decide if they are the right online shopping platform for you.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope you have found it informative.

    About the Author
    Dr. Cheryl Cottle is the founder and chief consultant of Cottle's Professional Consulting. Dr. Cottle is an education and business development consultant, and has written several post for Crafted Spaces. She holds a Masters degree in Instructional Technology and a Doctorate degree in Education and Computer Applications. She has worked as a consultant for over ten years and is also a social media expert, who works with individuals and organizations to achieve their professional and business goals. Dr. Cottle also provides women entrepreneurs with valuable business development resources through her CPC Women in Business group and other initiatives.

    Website | Facebook

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    How to Make Rose Scented Sachets

    I love making sachets and it is one of my all time favourite handmade gift to make. This project is a rose filled linen sachet with a velvet ribbon. I used an end of lightweight linen that I had left from another project. You can also make a sachet from old tea towels or an old handkerchief. If you have ends of fabric it is also a great way to make great use of them for this great little project. I have found that a lightweight fabric works best and I like to use natural fibers.

    I have used dried roses from my garden, but you can purchase fresh flowers, enjoy their beautiful scent and when they dry take them apart for your sachets. You can also use dried lavender or a potpourri mixture. A great place to start looking is at your local heath food or herbal store.


    • 61/2" square lightweight linen
    • matching thread
    • 8" velvet ribbon (optional)
    • ribbon rosebud (optional)
    • funnel
    • dried rose buds or lavender
    • scissors
    • hand-sewing needle
    • ruler (optional)
    • sewing machine

    1. Cut your fabric 61/2" x 61/2"(you can also make them smaller if you like).

    2. Using the edge of your presser foot stitch along the edges leaving a 1"- 2" opening and trim the corners.

    3. Turn inside out and push out your corners then press flat.

    4. Stitch 3/8" along three edges leaving the side open just under your 1" - 2" opening. I did a small back tacking stitch at the beginning and the end of my stitch. You are also leaving your needle in your fabric, lifting your presser foot and turning your fabric at the corners, so that you have a continuous line of stitching.

    5. Using a funnel, fill the sack with your dried flowers so that it looks like a nice cushiony pillow. I used about five large dried roses.

    6. Stitch 3/8" along the remaining inside stitch line and slip stitch your 1" - 2" opening.

    7. Criss-cross your ribbon at the ends leaving a 1" tail. Hand-stitch your ribbon on one corner of your sachet and hand-stitch a ribbon rose to embellish.

    8. Hang on a hanger or place in your dresser draw.


    If you are making several of them in an assembly fashion works really well

    I found a great tutorial on how to make larger "hanger sachets" which I think is a great idea.

    Tip: If you have a garden, collect your buds and save them in a bowl or opened glass container and store then in a dark cupboard for future use. When your blooms are fully dried you can take them apart and use them in your sachets.

    Do you like sachets? How do you use your sachets?

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Crafty Home: Furniture Painting Tutorial

    by Jelena Pticek | Poppyseed Creative Living

    No matter how easy a job may seem, if you want to do it right you will need to put some effort into it. The same goes for painting. The secret lies in good preparation. Make sure that you work with quality tools, starting with paint, brushes and sealants. Bad quality materials will make your job far more difficult and the end result may not be up to your standards. Also, don’t forget to take your time, work at your own leisure and most importantly have patience and have fun!

    Project piece
    Painter’s tape
    Sand paper, potentially paint stripper
    Primer (optional)
    Paint tray
    Rollers and brushes
    Jazzy hardware (optional)

    TIP: If you are a novice, chose a smaller project, like a small desk or a stool with straight lines. The simpler the lines are, the greater your chance at success.

    Step 1. Make sure that the surface is well prepped. Remove all the hardware and if you won’t be putting it back then fill all the holes with the wood filler. With drying the filler may contract a bit and create a dimple in the surface and you may have to repeat the process two or three times. Once the filler is dry and firm sand it off to create a smooth surface. If you want to make sure that the spot where the hole was closed in will not show through; close your eyes and go over the entire surface with the tips of your fingers, if you can not feel the difference then you have done a good job. Sand the entire piece, and then sand it some more. Remove all the dirt, tape off the areas that you wish to protect, and prime if necessary. (I rarely use primer and only when I want to repaint the piece that has been previously painted with oil paint. You need to ask for a special type of primer at the hardware store, the kind that allows transition from oil to latex.)

    TIP: Sandpaper comes in different grit designations - the lower the designation the coarser the paper. For most jobs using 120-grit paper will do, but for surfaces that require better sanding I will suggest 100 or 80-grit. For more information on grit sizing, click here. You can also use paint stripper on pieces that have several coats of paint. If you opt for that, make sure you wear gloves and protective clothing.

    Step 2. Once your surface has been thoroughly prepped and cleaned it is ready to receive the first coat of paint. I usually put two to three coats of indoor latex paint or furniture formula latex paint. Different pigments are mixed with different bases and colours like red and yellow will require more coats to ensure even coverage. You can use a small foam roller or a variety of brushes for your job. While rollers do a great job on larger surfaces, brushes are excellent for cutting in all the corners and crevices.

    TIP: When purchasing brushes, talk to the sales people, describe your project and they will be able to give you a good advice. In my experience, foam brushes tend to leave less brush marks and cause less drips than their “hairy” alternatives.

    Step 3. Between coats, I sand the surface lightly with a 120-grit paper to make sure that the next coat of paint adheres better. Wait for the paint to dry completely before applying the sealant. If you are going for the distressed vintage look, use the sand paper to distress the surface in places where it would get most wear.

    TIP: I do not use mechanical sander at this point as it does not allow for much control, but you may find that it works for you. In the course of years I have experimented with different distressing techniques. At times I use steel wool (never on light surfaces as it leaves grey residue - I learned this the hard way). I also used turpentine and my bare hands, but if you are just starting sand paper is the best option.

    Step 4. After you have achieved the desired look, you can proceed with protecting the surface. There are a variety of options out there of which I use the following two:

    1) Clear water-based polyurethane finish – it dries quickly, provides good durability and does not yellow over time. This finish is best for high traffic surfaces like tabletops.

    2) Paste finishing wax - protects and adds lustre to any stained or finished wood surface (using wax finish will give your furniture a much softer look). In addition, wax protects the surface against moisture and humidity. You can also apply wax over polyurethane finish.

    Step 5. Add your hardware once the polyurethane or the wax has been applied.

    TIP: Wash your brushes, paint trays and rollers thoroughly after use. It will save you some $$ and a trip to the hardware store.

    Et Voilà! This concludes our furniture painting tutorial.

    If you still believe that this is more than you are willing to cope with, send me an email at I will be happy to help you with your next painting job.

    *All images contained in this post are courtesy of Jelena Pticek | Poppyseed Creative Living.

    About the Author
    Jelena Pticek is the founder of Poppyseed Creative Living in Toronto, Ontario. "Transforming used furniture and found objects into funky, one-of-a-kind décor for your home or cottage. Poppyseed Creative Living is part passion, part promise. My passion: making the old new, art that works, and pieces that serve a purpose. My promise: originality, craftsmanship, and a process that's green, green, green." You can find Jelena's creations at local craft fairs, at her Etsy shop and at Freedom Clothing Collective in Toronto.


    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Crafty Home: How to Make a Shower Curtain

    I found this great vintage cotton sheet at the thrift store a while back and I immediately thought of making a shower curtain for the spring and summer months. I love the print and I really think that it is a fun, light option for my otherwise dark bathroom.

    If you have a sheet that you will like to make into a shower curtain, here is what you'll need to get started:

    1 twin or double size flat sheet
    thread to match
    straight pins
    tape measurer
    sewing gauge
    seam ripper
    sewing machine

    Your Fabric
    Measure the length and width of your finished sheet to confirm that it is adequate to make your shower curtain. A twin size flat sheet that is approximately 72" x 100" will work; however, a double size sheet will give you a little more to work with. Your sheet will already have a finished top and bottom edge. Your sheet may also be finished on the sides as well, or you may simply have selvedge edges. If you have a sheet with a decorative trim or edging, consider how you will like to use the sheet to keep this decorative element.

    If your sheet already has a finished edge you may want to use it as is. However, if you are hemming the bottom of your shower curtain, start by folding up the raw edge 1" toward the wrong side of the fabric and press. Turn up another 1" and press again. Edge stitch along the interior folded edge. If you will like to hem the sides, proceed using the same method as the top.

    If the top of your sheet already has a "band" you can; a) undo the existing stitching with your seam ripper, b) use as is or c) cut it off to create a new top. The sheet I used had a narrow hem, so I simply cut it off to create a new raw edge. If you have decided to make a new top, you will have to turn in your new raw edge by 2" and press, turn under another 2" and press again. Finish by edge stitching along the interior folded edge.

    Tip: If your sheet has a finished end that is already 2" wide you can choose to use this as is. If the folded end is decorative, this can add a beautiful touch to your shower curtain. However, if your fabric is lightweight with more than two layers of fabric, inserting a strip of interfacing to the top edge will provide extra stability to support the weight of the curtain.

    Getting your shower curtain holes laid out nicely can be tricky as you want the shower curtain holes equal distance apart, but you do not want excess fabric at the ends of the curtain. For my curtain, the fabric length was 70 inches, finished and I have a set of 12 shower curtain rings. For those math types, here is a formula that my husband came up with to figure out where to lay out the holes:

    Distance Between Holes = (F-2E)/H


    F = Fabric Length
    H = Number of Curtain Ring Holes
    E = End Length

    For my project, the measurement looked like this:

    F = 70 inches
    H = 12 curtain rings
    E = 1 inch

    = or approximately 5 ⅝ inches

    You will also have to consider how far from the top edge of your curtain you want the button holes; I made mine a ½ inch from the top and each button hole was ¾ inches long. You can also use your shower curtain liner as a guide, using a fabric marker or chalk to mark out where your holes will be. Mark the placement of the top and bottom points of your buttonholes. Using the buttonhole feature on your sewing machine, sew your buttonholes in a vertical direction. Check your sewing machine manual for instructions on how to make buttonholes. To open you buttonholes, pierce the fabric with your seam ripper and gently glide it down the center of your stitch lines cutting the inside of the buttonholes.

    Tip: You can use grommets instead of buttonholes; however, I used buttonholes rather than grommets, because I felt that the weight of the cotton would hold up better to buttonholes rather than grommets.

    Now you are ready to hang your new shower curtain!

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Thrift Store Find: Wicker Baskets

    I am working on a family command centre in the back hall, just outside of the home office. I have not gotten very far with the command centre, but I have prepared the wall and should be painting next. I am also looking for items that I can use on the wall to help organize mail, bills and school information. I will also like the wall to double as an art wall for my little one, so I am getting pieces together for that as well.

    I have come across a few pieces at the thrift store and I am hoping that I can use them in the way I have envisioned. Here are two wicker baskets that I recently purchased. They were $3.99 each and I am thinking of staining them in a dark walnut colour to match the hardwood floors in my studio.

    I could paint them, but I think that staining them will make them look more in keeping with the new decor I am working on for the house, and will be a great "Crafty Home" project. The idea is to fasten them to the wall and label them "in mail" and "out mail." I am thinking up cute ideas on how I will label them. I am open to suggestions!

    Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    Leadership Styles and How They Work

    by Dr. Cheryl Cottle

    Creative business entrepreneurs like other entrepreneurs must also manage their businesses in a professional way. Research shows that there are many skills needed to successfully build a business, and one of those is leadership. Leadership skills are connected to your interpersonal skills and relates to how you connect and interact with others. It has a significant impact on the success and sustainability of your business. As a creative business owner, you also have to interact and build relationships with people at different levels; including employees, customers, suppliers, landlord, trade show organizers, and all those who are in one way or another connected with you and your business.

    Leadership skills are very crucial to business owners to succeed in business. Research shows that there are many types of leadership styles including the autocratic approach and the democratic approach. The autocratic approach is generally associated to men, while the democratic approach is generally associated to women. The autocratic approach relies upon the individual exerting "power and control," as oppose to consensus. In contrast, the democratic approach to leadership relies upon collaboration, sharing and team work. It is a "softer" approach that has greater consensus and allows for people to be participatory.

    When there is greater consensus, individuals engage more and feel committed to what is being done. Recently Dr. Silvia LaFair suggests that leadership can be examined from the perspective of "Caring and Daring." She suggests that women are caring leaders because of their biological nature. They are by nature caregivers and nurturers, while men are regarded as "Daring." Historically and culturally men are the hunter-gatherers; they were expected to hunt for resources and bring them to the home. Dr. LaFair also points out that in today's organizations or businesses using one approach over the other is not effective and suggest that both men and women should adopt a combinational approach or blended-approach using a "Caring and Daring" approach to leadership.

    People prefer to relate to others if they feel that they are valued and appreciated by them. Having a people-oriented approach to human relationship will help build lasting and trusting work relationships. It will also help you to gain the commitment and dedication from those who you require support from. Remember you cannot do it alone. Sometimes we may think; I do not need to build relationships, I can do it alone, but remember that no one is an island. Some people are gifted leaders, while others will have to learn and develop their skills. Yes, it can be learnt and developed, and with time you can become the leader your business needs.

    What is your leadership style? Is this something that you will like to change or improve upon?

    About the Author
    Dr. Cheryl Cottle is the founder and chief consultant of Cottle's Professional Consulting. Dr. Cottle is an education and business development consultant, and has written several post for Crafted Spaces. She holds a Masters degree in Instructional Technology and a Doctorate degree in Education and Computer Applications. She has worked as a consultant for over ten years and is also a social media expert, who works with individuals and organizations to achieve their professional and business goals. Dr. Cottle also provides women entrepreneurs with valuable business development resources through her CPC Women in Business group and other initiatives.

    Website | Facebook

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