Create Your Own Incense & Magical Clouds

Incense, you either love it or you hate it. That’s what I’ve found in being a lifelong pusher of it!

“Hey, you don’t mind if I burn incense do you?”

Often met with a casual eye-roll or possibly a sure and then, can I put this out? It seems a person either appreciates the presence of it in their home or they despise it because of the sheer invasiveness of the smokey scent. Many times powerfully strong, incense can leave your environment highly fragrant in a matter of minutes.

The process of making herbal incense without the use of salt peter, or even charcoal is actually quite easy. However, perfecting the art is another matter. Perhaps the easiest way is by using a binder commonly called Makko. Makko not only serves as a water soluble binder, but as a burning agent as well. Makko is a natural tree bark from an evergreen tree and contains no synthetic chemicals, charcoal, or salt peter.

Incense began use as an instrument in spiritual practices. With the killer scent it packed in such a small size, it also became a hit with hippies and homeowners everywhere. If you can appreciate the presence of lemony-sweet sodapop in your home, or more commonly a woody-spicy fragrance, you’re definitely a contender for incense!

Now, you can buy incense for pretty cheap just about anywhere that sells fragrant candles. If you can’t find it in your area you’re in luck because there’s an even bigger selection online! Be sure to gaze at the carnival of delicious, handmade incense scents on etsy and imagine the sheer wonder of your home or studio being transported to a fragrant fantasy land!

… but if you wanted absolute control over the fragrance you could make your own as well.

DIY Incense

Now, it sounds very easy to create your own incense but the trick is mixing the ingredients correctly so that you get a nice, even burn. Your incense might be too smokey, might not burn properly and could keep going out prematurely.

To begin making your incense (this is the Japanese way), mix an incense base with makko (incense powder), and add some warm water. When using a resin your incense will become more difficult to burn. Therefor you should use resins, like Frankensense, at much lower percentages as the burning agents (makko and sandalwood).

“Sandalwood is common to almost every incense formula, and serves as a wonderful base aroma as well as a burning agent of its own right. If you were making an incense of sandalwood alone, the amount of makko required may be a little as 10%.”

Mix the ingredients into a dough-consistency and knead it thoroughly. Form into cones or sticks (form sticks around bamboo reeds) and Knead the incense-dough thoroughly and form into cones or sticks. Allow them to dry slowly, about a week. Check them to see if they’re dry and enjoy your new incense.

In-SCENTS

My favorite part about candles and incense is the *aroma*, like most people I adore a waft of delicious fragrance to pass by me while working at my desk. It’s a shame you can’t have them in cubicles! It definitely would have lightened the atmosphere in the slightest way. Especially when there happens to be a microwave area in your office.

Don’t use cheap oils — they can irritate the skin and the aroma can provide no benefit.

You can combine your favorite oils to create aromatherapy benefits *or* just to delight your nose.

Incen-spiration

Ehehe.. my favorite part of blogging has always been the eye candy.

lisn_to_finland_5
(By Ilkka Suppanen)

After seeing this incense design exhibit I *had* to find rainbow incense, cute holders, and well-designed incense packages~

cafetime

Japanese incense comes in many shapes in sizes, sometimes with especially cute scents and packing like these Cafe Time incense sticks.

Incense Holders

Now that you have some great incense to try you might want to purchase a cute handmade holder *or* make your own.

Bowl / Teacup Nab a cute bowl or teacup from the local antique shop or use your grandmother’s you’ve been saving in the attic. Fill it with sand, stick your incense in the bowl — add some to the middle or add in a circle around the center. Light and enjoy!

Holder These leave the most ashes but hopefully you’ll have this in an area where ashes can be easily cleaned up! Create a clay sculpture, be it a cupcake, mushroom or anything you like. Grab an incense and stick it into the (still wet) clay where you’d like your incense to be.. Move the incense around a bit to make the hole a little wider. Remove the incense and bake your holder (or let dry if it is no-bake clay).

Tray The typical wooden (or clay) tray is usually longer than the length of the incense stick, has a little ash dip in the middle and a hole on one of the ends for holding the incense. These generally leave ashes scattered also.

Plant That’s right, I often stick a lit stick right in a big, potted plant.

Lace for Your Jewelry: Resin Pendant Tutorial

Resin can be a fun hobby or business for the crafty miseducated diva in all of us. The possibilities are endless, allow your creativity to run wild and create pieces that are quite unique and fun. With some initial prepping steps, you can suspend just about any material in resin.

In this basic tutorial I will be casting jewelry pieces with resin, but you can use resin for whatever else you would like to make like paperweights, coasters, soap dishes and many other things. There are even many different types of resin that can be used, for different types of desired uses.

I myself use a two part casting resin that is pretty user friendly. I am a novice at resin, just learning as I go and getting better each time. Its fun and I thought I would share some basic tips and give crafty divas something new to try…cause like me I know with all this creativity you have inside of you, you always want to try something new. So this is something for you gals who are aching for a new creative outlet.

I chose to cast fabric for the purpose of this tutorial. I have played with sprinkles, glitter, and candy before. So I thought I would try something new, so here goes….

resin

Supplies

  • Easy Cast Resin
  • 2 Plastic Cups
  • 2 Stir Sticks
  • Wax Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Resin Molds
  • Fabric of choice
  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Timer

Before hand I prepped my pieces of fabric by cutting them a little smaller than mold shape, and sealed them off with mod podge, or you can use an acrylic sealer if desired.

Instructions

    1. Take a plastic cup and pour in 1 oz. of resin, then pour in 1oz. of the hardener in the same cup, so you end up with 2 oz. total. (Easy Cast has a ratio of 1:1)

    2. Take one of the stir sticks and gently mix the concoction, make sure not to whip as it causes air bubbles. Scrape the sides periodically and mix well for 2 minutes. The mixture will look cloudy at first but this will clear up after resin and hardener are mixed together thoroughly.

    3. Take this mixture and gently pour into your other clean plastic cup. Stir gently again for 1 minute this time. The mixture at this point should be clearer than before.

    4. Set mixture aside for 5 minutes, so the resin can self-degas. Take this time to clean up a bit and get your mold and fabric piece(s) ready.

    5. When ready, pour a little bit of resin into each mold, about a quarter full.

    6. Then place cut fabric, right side down into resin. You can use a toothpick to position and press fabric. This will also help remove any air pockets trapped underneath the fabric that can caused some bubbles.

    7. Then this is where you will need to practice some patience…let the piece(s) rest overnight or for several hours until cured. You can check if it is cured with a toothpick, this way no fingerprints will be left behind.

What I covered in this tutorial are the basics, but you can get more creative by adding different layers. Below are photos of some layer pieces I created, I hope you find them inspiring.

After your pendants are cured, you can jazz them up by drilling holes, adding jump rings, gluing on bails, posts, brooch settings, what ever you like, let your imagination run wild, its all up to you! Your end result will be beautiful and unique pieces.

A great source of reference and inspiration of mine is a book that I turned to when first approaching resin after multiple searches on Google, a book called “The Art of Resin Jewelry” by Sherri Haab. In this book she goes over in detail all different types of techniques with resin, like the so fun and yummy candy jewelry.

Athina’s Creations

See more in my shop here.

Originally published on 12/08/2009.

I Love Contemporary Macrame Designs

Get this DIY set at Wool and the Gang!

Get this DIY set at Wool and the Gang!

As a kid I remember my mother having quite a lot of craft projects she was in the process of completing. My mother was always into making/reworking things, cooking, gardening, crafts. I distinctly remember a 70s mushroom rug she made that I would die for today, macrame tapestries and planters, layered candles with a 70s color palette. Of course when I came along things took a more cartoon-y feel with care bear pillows, pastel bunny paintings and bright rainbow everything. I didn’t appreciate all of the 70s beauty as a kid because I had been jaded by the bright rainbow hues I had grown accustom to being surrounded by. I despised quite a bit my polkadot brown, orange and yellow mushroom bed skirt, the psychedelic carpet, the orange velvet chairs. I started to hate brown, orange, yellow, green and red. I steered from the palette and wanted nothing more than bright pops of color, neons and pastels. I proceeded to cover myself and my room in these colors. I absolutely gagged at macrame; the hemp-y natural browns and mustard owl tapestries.

I partly feel that the time (1980s) I was born (both design wise and technology wise I lived in both worlds, pre-tech natural and post-tech digital) is one reason I have a constant battle going on within my brain of palettes and designs for my personal projects and home decor. Do I stick with 60s or 70s hues and keep loading my shelves with vintage, psychedelic beauties? With mushrooms and daisies? Do I cut back on the brights and pastels? Do I lean more towards my preference for modern Japanese-esque decor or my appreciation for the antique and ornate French decor? Do I engulf my home in the modern, minimal Swedish designs or run to the psychedelic bohemian love nest with drapes, floor pillows and tapestries? Will it ever just work together? If you know me you know my closet is the same. I do not and have not ever “matched.”

And here I find this visually-overloaded attention deficit again.. I have such an appreciation for crafts and handmade goods. I cannot seem to stick with crochet, knitting or sewing long enough to decide “that’s the one!” and so here I find myself admiring macrame and wondering why I once despised it when now I cannot imagine a better “fun” goal than taking on a project such as making a macrame chair or an advanced tapestry. This came about as my love of gardening has grown and expanded to the point that now I have plants here I cannot keep outside because of this (WACKY) Indiana weather. All of these plants would love being hung from the hooks in the dining room while the color pop of a macrame string excites me to a point I can hardly communicate. It’s likely because of the macrame goodies you can find on a quick google image search, the kind of search that sends you into a rabbit hole of, “I HAVE TO BUY, OWN OR MAKE THIS. It is my destiny.” So there I am. Color charged and obsessed. As obsessed as I still am with my recent hobby of raising chickens and learning enough about wood working to build a colorful coop with my husband.

What new craft or hobby are you finding interest in? Can you relate to the inability to pick one and stick with it? Are you always wanting to do more?

Photo from A Beautiful Mess Blog

Photo from A Beautiful Mess Blog

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Get this beauty at Niroma Studio

Get this beauty at Niroma Studio

macrame chair

Macrame Tutorials

  • Macrame Cushion (complete with pompons!)
  • Macrame Straps for Tube Top
  • Macrame School
  • Macrame Wall Hanging
  • Macrame Plant Hangers
  • Wool and the Gang Tutorials
  • So Little Time, So Many Things to Create

    David has been working in the studio a lot lately.. he has a couple shows coming up and some other art events. So I’ve been working up in my half on making a complete mess. As I said in the last video, I’m doing wedding decor so the studio is not video-ready. It looks instead like someone took a big, pastel puke in the middle of my floor. Really though with all of the glitter, ribbons, pompoms and flowers… it was only a matter of time. I’m making just about everything in the wedding and although it will be pretty minimal, the items I make will be pop surrealism crafty cute~ pastel rainbow = my favorite thing forever.

    pastel rainbow wedding

    I’ll also be using a lot of these pastel kawaii materials (I got bulk goodies because I found so many great deals on things I LOVE) to make some goodies for the shop but that will probably come around after the wedding is over, maybe not but probably! The shop will be getting a revamp next year due to our new tshirt printer and products getting finalized~

    On that notion I also started doing some sketches again in spare time that wasn’t spent crafting. I had painted an entire painting of an alien scene when David left a canvas he didn’t need on my craft table.. and the only thing I liked about it was the HANDS. How often do illustrators feel that way? I’m not sure.. but it’s not common for me. So I wondered why I don’t sketch anymore and how much more fulfilling it would be if I sketched a bunch of my ideas out prior to sketching on a canvas. Like I used to do. So I’ve been doing little sketches of my moods displayed on a cartoon-y girl. I also pulled one into illustrator after David asked why I’m not doing them in Illustrator. Something about the actual sketching (besides the mobility of it) is providing some sort of therapy for me in my late-night busy brain, tired body situations. If I like any enough in the future I might make some prints of them, not sure yet!

    night sketching

    thinking girl sketch

    whatever sanrio pop kawaii bow

    deer fawn girl sketch

    whatever girl

    And I’ve been doing dolly crocheting again while waiting for things like appointments or meetings to start..

    kawaii kokeshi crochet

    What have you been working on?

    Artist Trading Cards DIY: Make and Collect

    Inspired by the many trading cards of the past, artist trading cards (often called ATCs) are another fun way to trade with a personal flair. I have a feeling that even non-proclaimed-artists should create ATCs — what a cool way to revive aged-pop cultures? I plan to attach bubblegum to mine so let me know if you’d like a bite~

    The cards must be 2.5in by 3.5in or 64mm by 89mm (no exceptions ^^). They are also generally made as limited editions (it’s a time to relax and handmake something small and exclusive) and should probably contain your name, theme, contact information and anything else you’d like to include! If they’re part of a series you can also number them, ex. Moon Cats 3/6. It might be a cool idea to use different themes or criteria for each series to keep it fun~ challenge yourself and be creative!

    Pattern

    ATC envelope pattern.

    Swaps & Collecting

    ATCs For All Forums
    Swap Bot
    Altered Art Swap List
    Etsy ACEOs

    DIY: Neons vs Pastels » Craftspiration

    Because I can never decide which one is better so all of my pastel-coated paintings always have a little hot pink strewn through-out and same for my collages. Why choose one when you can have both? Have a hot pink Easter.

    acd27d96ddd66ad82b3258b806492a10

    Easy Neon Hanging Planters Tutorial by Brit + Co

    6cf0cdc3e15d511f1ee10652a732d236

    Candy Necklace Inspiration by Love the Day

    89de91bf10cb582702c376ba53c450f3

    Chocolate Surprise Egg DIY for Easter

    79e1cffc88b2f91b9975e91b0676942d

    Dip Dye Placemats by Design Love Fest

    and lastly a breathtakingly beautiful home office and craft studio to inspire you to design your work space to fit your inspiration ala I Love Crafty:

    new office 14

    new office 31-1

    How to Make Citrus Peel Potpourri

    potpourri

    Need an easy and sweet little gift for friends? Want to add some deliciously spicy scents to your environment, closets or dresser drawers? Why not make potpourri? It’s easy, comforting and smells wonderful! This year at our Holiday party I made a big bowl of potpourri in one of Mistereducated’s handmade, sparkly bowls. It was a combination of citrus peels from the fruit salad we made, dried orchids from the flowers he raises, roses from bouquets he’s given me, spices, herbs we grew and tended together, etc. It was filled with lots of love and the spirit of our happy home. I placed the bowl in the center of the table and on the edge I placed silky white sachets filled with the potpourri for guests to take upon leaving.

    1. Peel orange, lemon or grapefruit trying to keep large pieces of peel.
    2. Cut into peel-shaped slivers or your own shapes with sharp scissors.
    3. Lay out on a tray with no peels touching each other and let dry for a few days.
    4. When dry, add peels into glass jar with cloves, cinnamon sticks cut into smaller sections, nutmeg, small pinecones and dried flowers such as pink rose petals.
    5. Add 3 drops cinnamon essencial oil and 3 drops orange essential oil.
    6. Lid and shake jar. Keep closed for several months making sure to shake or stir each month.
    7. Voila! Open and place potpourri around house in bowls, baskets or in sachets.

    Citrus Stovetop Potpourri

    1. Grab a pot.
    2. Add fresh orange peels from 2 oranges (no need to dry).
    3. Add spices of your choice: cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.
    4. Put enough water to soak and submerge ingredients.
    5. Simmer on stove over low heat to achieve scents, turn stove off when done.
    6. Can last a few days if you want to re-simmer tomorrow.

    slice

    Want to use SLICES of oranges to make potpourri?

    1. Slice the orange into thin, even slices.
    2. To dry in your oven, set the temperature to 100 degrees F and put in oven for approximately 4 hours. The dried slices should be brittle when removed.
    * Make sure to rotate and shift the drying trays every half hour and turn the food occasionally to ensure even drying.

    Crafting a Better Life of Love This Holidaisy

    daisuki
    I’ve been feeling a need to write. It’s been awhile that I have felt compelled to write a personal entry but I miss doing such so here I find myself plucking at the keyboard. I don’t often write personal entries these days because of what I’m still going through and an attempt to keep it under wraps mostly until it is long over. I’m still in the midst of a divorce and custody battle and I feel it’s best to keep it to myself and my family in order to protect myself, my ex and most importantly my daughter. It has been very draining to say the least, to start my life again from scratch after I had given most of myself to another for so many years. However even in the midst of this I have found love, happiness and the beginning of a family I always wanted that came easily and without negativity. Our home is filled with love and once everything is over I can fully start a new and devote myself to my new family, the family I had always wanted for myself and Colette.

    So anyway, I am living many of the dreams I never really thought I would acquire. I am a housewife of a beautiful man who is a genius realism artist and gorgeous home in the city where I have everything I need to cook decadent meals and delicious desserts for family and friends. I get to spend my days working on beauty and fashion graphic design from my home office while chatting with my boss who becomes a closer friend everyday. I keep only true friends around and the rare free time I have for having fun I get to spend with amazing and creative women (such as Jamie Sucre) chatting and enjoying the finer things in life like sparkling cider, fairy lights and skittle-flavored shisha. I spend my evenings relaxing by the fire and crocheting with my mister by my side, taking a motorcycle ride through the city for a tasty dinner or playing games with our total of 4 children which include tons of laughter and imagination. I’m so inspired by this life filled with love and whimsical creativity and color that I cannot stop creating and planning for new projects for our family and for our work. I get to do many things it seemed I had no time or energy for in the past because I was so down about things I felt I couldn’t change.

    halloween13

    For instance this year I crafted my daughter’s costume because I couldn’t find a Chibi Moon costume small enough for her size and we dressed up together and Sailor Moon and Chibi for trick-or-treating! It was her first time to actually go and it was a blast. We traveled through the colorful leaf covered sidewalks to houses with lights and faux spider webs to fill our bags with candy. It was like a dream. Then Colette and I hung our tree very early this year, Nov 1, and decorated it with candy sweet adornments. I hung my stocking, sewed a French-y damask one for mister to complement my Versailles style stocking and promptly bought gorgeous, fluffy fabrics for the children’s stockings and embroidered characters on the front. Theirs are still pinned and waiting to be completed but they are oh so excited!

    holiday

    Winter is my favorite time for yarn crafts as well, don’t you feel the same? I’ve currently got a crochet project going on for Jamie and a knitting project using a magic yarn ball someone made me last year. I was so excited about this yarn ball I saved it until I got settled in my new home so I could look forward to knitting my mother a scarf this winter. It’s not my style of colors and happens to be her favorites: muted forest greens and soft blues and purples all woven together in wool. I’m so taken by this yarn ball surprise I’m crafting one for a penpal friend online and we’re swapping soon so I will be sure to do a feature on that for you to participate in the fun! I feel there was a period in my past I was almost so excited because I spent most of my time crafting things for friends and family while my baby cooed in the background. It’s so fun now that she’s 3 and can actually help me or give me advice on things she likes most. She will always be my little cherub, the center of my heart. She is too perfect and I cannot wait to spend my whole life with her and my soul mate crafting a better life of love, color, whimsy and true, internal happiness which I once thought unreal. I hope you are also feeling reminiscent and content at the end of this year seeing what resolutions you will make and what things you are most grateful for.

    hairdye

    Also for some random updates I finally got my hair done for the holidays as I had planned, scary change but I felt it was time for a big change to match the way my life has changed. I’ve also become really into American Horror Story on FX — I watched seasons 1 & 2 around Halloween and now I’m caught up with season 3. I had stopped watching horror entertainment for my whole previous marriage because my life felt so chaotic without it. Now that my life is secure and stable for the most part, filled with love and calmness, I have gotten back into horror for fun. What are you into this year? XX

    ahs

    Step into StoopidGerl’s Delicious World of Wonder

    Bang Bang

    Kim (aka StoopidGerl) is one of my closest online friends. We are both colorful artists that had adorable baby girls very close in time to each other, her Chloe Pearl was born several months before Colette Fawn and we learned a lot from each other along the way. Our pasts share many similarities as well so it’s no wonder that we hit it off immediately once upon a time. I’ve been planning a feature on Kim and her amazing creations and splendid aesthetic for WAY TOO LONG and here it is!

    So as you’ve probably noticed I’ve been featuring a lot of my favorite artists and handmade mavens. I feel Kim (stoopidgerl) fits with the Miseducated way of life as much as anyone I know, her work reminds me what earth would look like if many of our rainbow-obsessed, candy-coated brains puked all over the place. Her style is no ones but her own and if you look into her world you’ll never want to leave. Please visit her gorgeously kitschy shop to purchase any of her works of art.

    How long have you been crafting your world (your intoxicating-eye-candy photos and dazzlingly-saturated-with-color pieces of jewelry)?
    I got started a few years ago. Working from home has been a dream come true!

    When did you decide to turn that hobby into a business?
    After I graduated from school I somehow ended up working a super crappy job at a Sears Portrait Studio. Going to work there made me want to kill myself! It was HELL on earth. I got pretty fed up with it and ended up quitting one day. I needed something to do and I needed money. I had been selling on Etsy for awhile and then I decided to take the plunge and try to do it for a living. I don’t know how it happened but it was magical! My shop took off quite quickly. I really love what I do and I think that is the key to my success!

    All of us reach creativity blocks at some time.. where do you find inspiration when you reach a block?
    The nearest candy shop~!

    A lot of my inspiration comes from the past… movies I’ve seen, people I used to hang with, places I visited, my childhood…

    Sometimes I find that browsing Flickr is inspirational. I love to just get lost in Flickr. I could spend hours browsing photos and adding them to my faves! There is some phenomenal shit out there!

    Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry that you have made?
    Oh my goodness it is hard to pick just one but if I had to choose my absolute favorite I would go with this~
    Rainbow Bright Heart
    It is impossible to be in a crappy mood when you surround yourself with so much color. This necklace is a sure pick-me-up when you need one!

    Do you have any exciting stories about the purchase of one of your pieces?
    I shit myself with glee when Courtney Love purchased a necklace from my shop several years ago.

    Miss World - HOLE resin necklace

    What inspires you when decorating your space?
    …the pursuit of happiness! I love all things that are sweet, rainbowy, clownlike, kitschy, and cool.

    workspace 09-30-08 (2)

    What sort of things are must haves on display in your home?
    I have been a collector of cameras ever since I went to school. I took a short break from collecting for awhile and recently got back into it. I have a neat little collection of minty green vintage cameras that sits on a shelf in our living room.

    all here

    I also have to have clowns… lots of clowns.

    Do you have any tips for readers trying to design their world?
    Don’t worry about sticking with any sort of theme… just go with the flow and hoard all the things you love!

    Eat Cake

    You can purchase Kim/StoopidGerl’s amazing creations at her rad Etsy Store.

    Vegetarian Goddess Quiche Brunch Recipe

    As you know, I’ve blogged recipes here in the past but have never actually made it one of my focuses at all until now. Having recently become a vegetarian and focusing much of my energy on being a domestic goddess I’ve become passionate about cooking and crafting my own recipes again as well as updating my old meat-inclusive recipe box creations.

    With inspiration from my love I have began to embrace vegetarianism and healthy eating so I have updated my quiche recipe to fit our diet and to give him a little tasty and healthy pampering after a long work day.

    servings: 19″ pie (serves 5)
    prep time:
    cook time: (10 min for veggies, 30 min for quiche)
    total time:

    Ingredients

    1 pie crust
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup shredded carrots
    1/2 onion diced
    1/2 cup fresh chopped spinach
    1 clove garlic crushed
    splash of olive oil
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    dash of nutmeg
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and cook the vegetables in order of firmness until tender.
    3. In a large bowl add sauted vegetables, cheese, eggs and spices and mix together.
    4. Pour the mixture into a pie shell.
    5. Bake quiche for 30 minutes in preheated oven on middle rack and enjoy.