Insta-crafter of the week…Jonah!

Kids like Johan warm my heart!

I just had to share this article on my new favorite crafter, and fellow Wisconsinite, Jonah Larson. He’s 11 years old and loves to crochet!

And you can follow him on Instagram

Considering that the kids in WI have had sooo many snow/cold weather days off of school, I have a good feeling that Jonah has made great progress on his pending orders.

Stay In, Stay Warm and Make Something

If you haven’t heard, much of the Midwest is trapped inside due to the effects of a polar vortex. Temperatures here in Wisconsin are in the double digit negatives – without windchill. Gang, that’s cold enough to turn boiling water into snow nearly instantly.

Looks better than it feels…

Since Winter (the dog) shockingly has decided that -20ºF might be too cold to play outside, we have hunkered down. I’ve spent the day tidying, which is usually the worst thing to do, but I feel pretty good about it. Even on a day as ‘miserable’ as today, I’m feeling pretty happy. And it might just be because yesterday I made over a dozen pieces of jewelry, and I’m still feeling a crafter’s high.

Apparently I’m not alone: According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, 658 students at Otago University in New Zealand, participated in arts and crafts. They journaled their emotions after partaking in creative endeavors and overwhelmingly felt calmer, happier, and more energetic the next day. The craft didn’t matter – writing, coloring, designing, knitting; all reported crafts netted an improvement of mood. That’s not the only study…there are dozens that detail how crafts can improve mood and treat anxiety, and even further promote MORE creativity!

So even though the weather is awful and you’re probably stuck inside, it’s the perfect day to make something! And if you’re interested in even more examples of how crafts can make you feel better check out:

Scrap Leather Envelope Wallet

Have a leather good that fell apart? Bought scraps online for another project? This is a great quick project that is fast and easy (but doesn’t look like it).

Tools Needed:

  • Leather
  • Cutting surface
  • Cutting tool (I’m using a rotary cutter here, but you could use an Exacto or similar blade)
  • Rivets
  • Leather Hole Punch (these often come in rivet sets). I’m just using a hole punch from Martha Stewart Crafts
  • Rubber Mallet (do not use a standard hammer – you’ll damage your tools and the noise will be awful while you do)
  • Metal Ruler
  • Chalk marker or similar to mark on the leather without being permanent

Since I wanted to use this envelope to hold cards, I used one to start my template. However, if you wanted this for something else like a phone, the same basic idea applies. Draw lines giving yourself about 1/4 inch extra space.

Mark the halfway point of each side of your rectangle. Next mark another mark about 3.5 inches from the original rectangle on all sides.

Cut diagonally from the vertical middle mark to the horizontal mark.

You’ll want to end up with a shape like below. Don’t forget to cut out the notches like in the photo – it’ll make the folding both neater and easier.

Using the leather hole punch, punch a hole in each corner.

Make sure to line the holes up by folding the corners into the middle. Start by folding in the right side, left side, then the bottom up.

Line up the rivet snaps and hammer them together using your mallet.

I’m showing an inset to help remind you how the rivet snaps come together – the female snap part pairs with the exterior tab, and you use the tool with the narrow point to hammer into the flat slide of the base.

The two male parts of the snap pair together (the longer goes on the bottom). Use the tool with with the concave point to hammer into the convex part of the base.

That’s it! Once you have the rivet hammering down, you can translate it to lots of other scrap goods – like cord wraps and key chains!

So may options for leather scraps and rivets…

DIY Reed Diffuser

While cleaning I rediscovered a small bud vase I received from a friend (I believe it was from Crate and Barrel, but it was years ago, and a gift). Instead of getting rid of it, I decided to repurpose it. I wanted to start us with a project that was easy, healthy and anyone could do it right now, either with things you have around, or things that would be easy to get: A reed diffuser. There’s so many options and all are easy, so let’s do this!

Recipe 1: Essential Oil in Carrier Oil and Alcohol

Gather your ingredients.

This is my preferred method: Use ¼ cup oil (I like sweet almond oil, but you could also use safflower as neither are petroleum based nor have a scent) with 2-3 tbsp alcohol and a generous quantity of essential oil until you achieve a ratio of 70% carrier oil and alcohol and 30% essential oil). Swirl to mix.

The oils and alcohol mixed and ready…

Recipe 2: Essential Oil in Alcohol and Water

Pour ¼ cup of hot tap water into your container. Add ¼ cup alcohol (rubbing alcohol or Vodka) and approximately 20 drops of whichever essential oil you choose. Swirl to mix.

Recipe 3: Essential Oil in Carrier Oil

Start with your carrier oil (see above for recommendations). Add essential oil and swirl to mix. Try for a ratio of 30% essential oil to 70% carrier oil.

For the reeds, you can buy specific diffuser reeds, but you can also use bamboo skewers. More reeds will diffuse the oil faster.

Boom! Reeds in and you’re done.

A gentle reminder: some essential oils can be toxic to pets. Please make sure keep your diffuser out of reach, and avoid Clove, Thyme, Wintergreen for both cats and dogs. Anise, Yarrow, and Juniper are also toxic to dogs, while Basil, Birch, Juniper, Cinnamon, Fennel, Tea Tree, Oregano, Peppermint, Citrus, and Eucalyptus Oils can harm cats. Watch any premade mixes, as they might contain any of the previously mentioned oils.

The final product

What do you think?

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