Thursday, November 17, 2016

DIY outside boot scraper and shoe brush

 This project is a great DIY that will save you money and can make a great gift depending on how fancy you want to get with it. 

    It is a basic shoe brush for knocking the dirt and mud off your shoes before coming into the house.     As you can see from the photo below I used a couple of scrap pieces of  2"X 8". The bottom one is approximately 14 inches in length and the side piece is about 7 to 8 in length. I screwed the short 2 x 8 at a right angle to the longer piece with 3" screws, making sure the screws are heavy enough to withstand being kicked and rubbed against.
The brushes are scrubbed brushes from the dollar store. They had a screw-on back that I removed and discarded and using the existing screw holes I used 1 1/2" screws to secure the brushes to the boards. Now I found these scrub brushes in the housewares section and could have just as easily used wooden brushes and simply predrilled my holes.
     And that was the complete project with a total cost of about four dollars. Now I could've gotten a little more fancy by adding a metal plate for scraping your boots on, but the heavy 2" X 8" I think will work just as well without. Now you could put Thompson's water seal on your project and that will help your project last a little bit longer. The main thing I was looking for was a shoe brush and boot scraper that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Most of the ones that I saw online were upwards of $15-$30 and the few that I tried didn't last more than one season. The worst-case scenario with this one is that I might have to replace the brushes at a total cost of three dollars.
     As it turns out, it also could turn into a moneymaker, as I've already had several people offer to pay upwards of $10-$15 for one.

So happy Nevada crafting and have a great day.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Toolbox Giftbasket

Toolbox Giftbasket

Him or Her

    Enlarge this design to whatever size you need.The length can be adjusted to however long you need. I recommend recessing the dowel handle or even drilling a hole all the way through for the dowel. Then hold in place with screws and or glue. Make sure you use the appropriate length screws and glue for the bottom and sides. Sand the sides of the project so that you can stain the wood afterward, but painting or decorating the box would probably also work. 
    Once you're finished with the project all you have left to do is to fill it with your favorite goodies for your favorite person and you will have a gift they will not soon forget. I love this project because it is such a versatile gift that can be given to him or her. It leaves them with something to use after they have consumed the goodies inside and could be used as a toolbox or even a planter for the front porch.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

DIY Bottle or Jar Cleaning Brush

Bottle or Jar Cleaning brush

This is a simple project with three main parts.
You will need the following.
  1. Wooden spoon
  2. Mop yarn
  3. 4 inch foam mini paint roller
  4. Hot glue - high temp.
The tools you will need are as follows
  1. A sander of some type either belt sander or Dremel tool
  2. quarter-inch drill bit and drill
  3. hot glue gun with high temp glue.
Take the wooden spoon and sand the handle down just enough to fit inside the paint roller. Then drill 1/4 inch holes in the lower half the spoon, as shown here.
Then using a hot glue gun inject a small amount of blue inside the paint roller and long handle. Insert the handle into paint roller and immediately cool with cold water. The cold water is to keep the foam from melting and two quickset glue. Once you have glued the foam roller onto the handle it should not turn. If the roller rotates on the handle it will not do a very good job in cleaning bottles or jars. After you have assembled the foam handle you can use a crochet hook or latch hook or even micro forceps as seen here, to assemble the mop yarn. Mop yarn may be hard to come by at craft stores so I simply bought a mop from the dollar store and cannibalized it for the yarn. Yarn should be 6 to 8 inches in length and can be added to the spoon by either using half hitch knots or double knots on either side of the holes, so as to prevent the yarn from pulling through. You may want to add two or three strands per hole in order to get the right density of yarn. If you find that after assembly yarn is still too long you can simply trim with scissors. Once you have finished this your project is complete and you now have the best bottle brush ever. It's makes a great gift or a great project just for yourself.
    If you're going to make these for sale it is important to keep in mind that the cost of your materials is critical to whether it is profitable. Most of the materials were purchased at a dollar store and the cost of materials was kept under a dollar. Where you may lose some money as with any crafts is with the amount of time spent in creating the item. This may be offset by adding the item to a gift basket or similar project.  It may be possible to save a little bit of money by cutting out your own spoons out of quarter-inch wood stock. 
   Be sure to try different materials as well. Here we tried mop yarn, craft foam sheets cut into 1/2" X 4" strips and fabric netting. Each gives a different quality cleaning action. The netting is good for scrubbing tough stains, the foam works good at moving material and the mop yarn a good all around  material that holds water well.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Contest winner

Congratulations to Lisa Hess for being the month of May Nevada crafter contest winner.

Be sure and check our website and blogs for future contests and contest rules.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Contest for Nevada Crafter month of May

Nevada Crafter month of May contest

For your chance to win these 3 glass lampwork charms, great for making necklaces , bracelets or wine glass charms, all you have to do is follow or like us on one of the following.

Free Patterns and Ideas Blog

Craft 44 blog

Nevadacrafter blog

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we are a Free Nevada Crafter online magazine

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

FREE Natural DIY Fiber Filling and Batting

I've been meaning to do this story for some time, as it actually has quite the history here in Fallon, Nevada. 
Milkweed, October 2015
    During World War II Japan cut off our supply of fiber fill (kapok) that was being used for making life vests, but a local weed came to the rescue. This plant that plagues farmers and gardeners alike is actually one of the most useful wild plants there is when it comes to textiles. My uncle told stories of kids going up and down ditch banks during the Great Depression collecting milkweed pods to sell the down. And I remember collecting monarch butterflies and yellow swallowtail butterfly caterpillar that feed on it. 
    It grows a seed pod that produces a hypoallergenic fiber fill that can be used in making pillows and stuffing quilts. The fiber is easily collected just before the pods open while the pods are still green. Pods are cracked and the seeds are raked off. You are then left with milkweed down that when allowed to dry makes an excellent fiber fill. There have also been a number of people who have experimented with combining it with other textile such as cotton or wool and then spinning that cotton or wool into yarn. (Sorry but I do not know the ratio used of cotton or wool to milkweed silk ) Unfortunately milkweed down by itself is too brittle for spinning but as I said before it has many unique and useful properties. Native Americans were also known to use the rubbery sap as a chewing gum by rubbing the sap between their fingers to make a rubber ball to chew on. Although I would not recommend it as it tastes awful and may be toxic, the white milky sap is similar to liquid latex. Fibers from the stem would also be used to weave into fishing line or cordage which was then used for making other things.
Drought and late in season, liberty pond
    It should be noted : before harvesting you should make sure that the milkweed has not been sprayed with an herbicide. If it smells funny or the leaves are brown then I would stay clear of these plants. The plants are readily found along ditch banks and ponds. And make sure you remove all the seeds, because if the seeds get wet, they will sprout.

Silky and soft to the touch
To me it is a mystery as to why this plant has not yet been commercialized, as it outperforms goose down. It is more breathable, more durable,and warmer than goose down. It also uses less water when compared to similar fiber crops. So if you’re looking for an inexpensive fiber fill this may make a
good alternative.
The green milkweed pods in the background of this photo are what you're looking to harvest just before they open 
Note green milkweed pods in background

milkweed at liberty pond

These beetles also make milkweed their home.

The fire and gem beetles are harmless and may be a good indicator that the plant has not been sprayed with herbicide or pesticide.

Friday, March 25, 2016

How do you humanely control roosting birds?

 Creating bird spikes with 3D pen

    In my first attempts at creating bird spikes, I simply used a quarter round or half round piece of old molding. Using a 16th inch drill bit I drilled numerous holes and then used the 3-D pen to partly fill the hole with extrusion from the pen and then moving outward creating spikes. 

     Although the finished product did not give me the rigidity in the spikes that I wanted it still seemed to work. 

In my last attempt I ran a bead of plastic at the bottom. This created better adhesion and stability to the spikes. I also tried creating lattice to give it additional rigidity, although I'm not sure that it was needed.
    The spikes do not harm the bird as they are not sharp enough or stiff enough to do so. They end up being more like the bristles on a soft broom and more of an obstacle that the bird can't quite figure out how to get around.
    A piece of styrofoam could be used in place of the wood, making it light enough to be stuck to a wall with poster putty. This might work great with woodpeckers and flickers that tend to roost on the sidewalls or under eaves .

Note: The Styrofoam will melt some with the 3D pen, so use gloves and some caution when working with it. 

I look forword to hearing any constructive ideas or suggestions. 

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Do you need a plastic washer for your craft project or whirligig?

Washers for whirligigs and crafting.


Always use the manufacturer's recommended replacement parts.

    Nylon washers are not very cheap, but I have found an alternative that cost next to nothing, helps the environment and works almost as well. 
    One of the things that I do on a yearly basis is to do preventative maintenance on my whirligigs and weathervane's. With all the moving parts and high winds, there is a lot of wear and tear on these mechanical wonders. What I found out is metal on wood wears out the most, so I use a lot of plastic or nylon washers. Although washers are not the most expensive part to a whirligig, they can cut into your profits.

  I couldn't help, but share this money-saving and environmentally friendly up_cycling of plastic jugs. As for the patterns, I simply invested in an assortment of metal washers to use as a template for the various size washers that I use in my whirligigs. After all for a couple of bucks worth of cheap metal washers, I now have a set of templates that are worth the investment and will never wear out. I could've very easily used a compass to draw the circles, but I wanted something that was more consistent with actual washers.

(Be sure to use the appropriate safety goggles and other safety equipment when using rotary tools)

    I have found almond milk jugs and other opaque or heavier jugs seem to make the better washers. Anyhow, using a metal washer as my template and a black marker to trace around the metal washer, I create my patterns. Usually, I take the time to make several hundred at a time, so I have washers on hand for later. Then I simply rough cut them using heavy-duty utility scissors, dollar store kitchen scissors or a Dremel with a fine tip rotary cutting blade. (An X-Acto knife on a cutting board will also work as well.) I then finish the washer by sanding the edges or dragging a knife blade crossways against the grain to remove any ragged edges. A Dremel with an abrasive bit also works very well.

For those of you who like to do things the hard way I have included the following photo as a pattern.
Now keep in mind these washers will not necessarily take the place of a heavy-duty nylon washer and will most likely biodegrade over time if exposed to sunlight.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

DIY Drawing Compass

DIY Drawing Compass

A drawing compass can come in handy, but most are the size kids use in school. I quickly found out that here locally, there were no large compasses to be had. Not only do they come in handy for my own art work, but there is some demand for the compasses them selves. So I present the following approximate pattern and photos of the one I made. 

(Please note: pattern may not be exact or to scale and some adjustments may need to be made. The pattern is presented as an approximate to the original and is intended as more of a guide. It should also be noted that the pattern may need adjusting depending on materials used and thickness of wood or other materials used.)

Note: 1/4 " wood was used

I used glue to hold and position the mechanical pencil and metal point. I then used wire to hold them in place while the glue set and left them in place to add strength. Any point can be used for the fulcrum, such as a nail, push pin, ect. 
Of course when I am making them for sale, I take care to use much nicer material, such as brass nails, ect. The size circle you can draw depends on how long or how many joints. A second screw and wing nut in the middle of the fulcrum, but I find it just as easy to just make the compass bigger. 
    I hope this idea is of help to the crafters and artists out there that need to make big circles and great art. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and please check out our other blogs and subscribe. Please feel free to make constructive comments or suggestions.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Making money with your artwork online

In this day and age finding a legitimate and ethical way to make money online is sometimes near impossible. But there are a few companies that actually look out for your best interest. One such company is the following.
Browse other gifts from Zazzle.
I have been working with for over eight years and although I have not gotten rich doing so, I have gotten fair and ethical treatment. As to how much I make it varies and as the old saying goes"you get out of it what you put into it."
    First Zazzle is one of the few companies that allows you to keep your copyrights. In other words what you create you keep. It should also be understood that artisans should never give up all their rights and should never give up those rights indefinitely. Zazzle is allowed to use my artwork so long as I have it on the website and on their products for sale. I can remove any of my products at any time and the copyrights revert back to me. At the same time I agree only to use products that I own the copyrights to and agree that I will not publish my designs or artwork elsewhere and that Zazzle retains exclusive rights . So it is a good idea to periodically read thoroughly any and all agreements with whatever company you are doing business with. The contract is there not only to protect the company but also to protect you.
    Zazzle does a fair job of protecting your artwork from plagiarist and will give you friendly reminders when you accidentally create something too close to someone else's design. But always keep in mind that no one is perfect and Zazzle has its hands full just managing their own website.
    Zazzle will also help you promote your products with designer ads and other promotional tools. This is where having a blog or website is helpful as you will need to be able to advertise and promote your artwork. The Zazzle blog is very helpful with giving ideas suggestions on how to promote your work.
     It should also be noted that there are a couple of other ways to make money with Zazzle even if you're not an artisan. It should be noted that once you sign up, you can help promote and sell other people's work and receive a commission for that promotion. What is really cool is that you can help sell brand-name products such as the following.
View more gifts at Zazzle. Selling and promoting products such as DC comics, Disney, Marvel, and far too many to mention here. It is easy and fun once you get the hang of it, so spend some time on the Zazzle website, see if there isn't some niche you can fill and make money from.
Just be sure and read all the fine print and make sure your following all the rules. It is a great way to create a passive income that can help pay the bills.

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