Curly Quills

You made that out of paper?

My 9-month Project :)

Well here is my latest project, 9 months in the making!

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I’m loving being a mom to this little guy, but I’m itching to get back to my crafting! He’s been quite the content little man, so maybe we can get a few things made here and there 🙂

Jamie

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What’s wrong with me?

Long story short: nothing is wrong with me.

Short story long: this is the reason why I haven’t been quilling, posting on my blog, or doing much of anything for the last 24 weeks:

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Yep, there’s my little guy! He’s being a little stinker again today, curling up into a ball to get his picture taken.

I have been working on some non-quilling (craft space) crafts that I do hope to post in the near to not too distant future, but long story short, again: I’m just really tired. This pregnancy thing makes a girl really tired (and yea, I know I haven’t gotten to the sleep deprived part yet 🙂

I realized today that I shared this on my Facebook page, but not here, so I just though I would share it here if anyone was missing me 🙂

Jamie

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Craft Studio – as compete as it’s going to be (for now)

Well, it’s been a long time Since I’ve blogged. My craft desk has been pretty much completed since around March 20, but a lot has happened since then

  • We finished the desk on a Monday night, right around midnight
  • That week was very stressful for me at my regular job, as we started some new student testing, and I was the proctor that following Friday.
  • On Saturday (March 23), we had a housewarming in our house for family and friends. I was beat
  • The following Saturday, I went to the doctor and discovered I had shingles (stress-related). Not fun.
  • Since then it’s just been getting stuff together; still unpacking boxes, and I still haven’t found my rotary cutter.

Well, when push came to shove, we got it done, and I love it! One thing I discovered is that neither my husband nor I can cut a straight line (with a circular saw) to save our lives! So, without further ado, here it is!:

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Before

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After

 

Here is a video of it coming together -> Craft Space – 2

A few highlights:

  • My computer is in the corner – this is an older picture, and I scored an additional monitor for it for $20 🙂 .
  • I currently have a desk light pointed to the wall (behind the computer) until I get a light made to hang overtop of it. Good thing I have a craft desk to make this!
  • To the left of the computer is more the business side of the desk. Here I have my printer, my paper trimmer, computer paper, and all of my envelopes and shipping supplies. I also put my silhouette there when I’m using it.
  • To the right of my computer is all of my quilling paper (in binders) and a small craft space. I have my sewing machine there, as well as my cutting board for cutting fabric, and my ribbon.
  • On the wall to the right of my computer, I put up 3 white shelves for storage. The blue boxes on top are inventory storage, the middle shelf holds my silhouette (when not in use), and the bottom shelf holds more storage boxes, as well as my sewing basket. I asked hubby what he thought of the sewing basket, and he said “it’s scary how well that matches”.
  • The actual craft table in the center of the room is made from two $16 bookshelves from Wal-Mart, and two beveled edge shelves from Menards. It works for now, but I think I may want to take a queue from another site and get a hollow-core door for the desktop.
  • As the craft table is slightly higher, my pink chair was slightly uncomfortable to sit in there, so I managed to get 3 chairs from a friend (he bought in an auction) for $10 each. 2 of them are the taller kind, so they are great to sit in. They do need to spruced up a bit, but again, what is a craft space for 🙂

So there it is! If you have any questions of something in the space, please let me know!

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Craft Space – Day 2

Well, since yesterday’s wonderful power outage, I thought for sure the desk building would be on hold for at least a week. However, my wonderful, wonderful husband created a work-around by running a long orange extension cord through our living room out to the garage! The saw worked, and didn’t dim the lights in the garage, so we had a good idea we would be safe running the saw off of that.

As we got the two 22″ wide boards cut yesterday, we began by cutting those boards into smaller pieces. We started by measuring the height of what the boards needed to be, either 26 1/2″ or 15 1/5″, depending on the board.

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Then we got to work setting up the straight edge and making cuts. The first was was ok, but the second one – not so great on the chipping part.

The board chipped

I noticed that when hubby was sawing, he was going alot faster than he had the day before, and I suspect that might be a reason for extra chippage.

However, I also saw this on tv once: put some painters tape where your going to saw to help prevent chipping. Hubby didn’t think it would work because it was “cheap-a$$” tape (as he put it). I said oh well let’s do it anyway!

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This cut actually turned out GREAT! However, I can’t give complete credit to the tape, because I did tell hubby that he looked to be going faster, so he went slow with the saw this time. So we did this on the remainder of the boards and continued until we got both of the boards cut.

Look, the boards are ACTUALLY in my basement!!!

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On another note, I’m thinking of painting the white wall one of these shades of Benjamin Moore blue:

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1. 767 Graceful Sea
2. 772 Hawaiian Breeze
3. 780 Crisp Moring Air
4. 787 Grandma’s Sweater
5. 794 Paradise View

If you know me, and my love of palm trees and tropicals, you should know before even reading this sentance that I’m already leaning towards Hawaian breeze. I like it because it’s blue with just a slight hint of green. I think it will look good with all of the natural wood colors. The other one I like, as crazy as the name is, is Grandma’s Sweater. The name reminds me of a blue cable-knit turtleneck sweater that my mom would always wear. 🙂

So that’s where we’re at with the end of this day. Hoping to have more soon!

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Craft Space – Day 1

We actually started working on the desk! How exciting is that?!?!

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Does this thing come in pink?

First things first, we (hubby) had to “prepare” the sawhorses by adding some wood to the top of them. I guess your supposed to use a 2×4, but we didn’t have any, so we just used some scraps we had for now.

 

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Next, we (hubby, again) had to change the blade in the saw. He picked up a blade for laminate, it has either 120 or 150 teeth on it, for about $7.99. I was expecting this to be more expensive, but I’m ok with that price tag! We decided to go with using the circular saw rather than the table saw because he knows how to use the circular saw better.

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After that, we were finally ready to cut! We started by measuring out the 22″ piece that we needed, then added an additional 1 1/2″ to that to put our straight edge (the extra 1 1/2″ is the distance between the straight edge and the blade).

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Here we go on the first cut!

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One cut down, many more to go!

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Now, I would show you more pictures, except about halfway through the second 22″ cut, the power went out. This was when we learned the hard way that the garage, the kitchen lights, and the upstairs bathroom are ALL on a 15 amp breaker. Guess we will have to figure something out here!

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Craft Space – A New Beginning

Well, here it is! This is what will be my new craft space in our new house!

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Isn’t it a pretty little chunk of the basement! The back wall (behind where the door is open) is about 10 feet wide, and the side wall (of space that I’ll be using) is about 12 feet wide, so I have a really good space to work with. I’m not sure how happy my husband is, because I think he may have thought he would be getting the whole 900 sq. ft. basement as his “Man Cave” and my craft space would be in the sun room, here (please don’t mind the mess, we’re still unpacking!):

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Granted, who wouldn’t LOVE to craft in that space with that view! And all the sunlight (on sunny days)! However, the sunlight that warms my face would also be detrimental to my quilling paper, so it just can’t stay there.

Also, I think his tone might have changed when I won this at work with $40 worth of tickets for his man cave. It goes nicely with the PS3 he got for Christmas.

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Well, as some of you may not have known, back probably 6-9 months ago I saw a pin on Pinterest for the $5 savings plan. Since we were in the process of looking for a new house, and I knew I wouldn’t want one that didn’t have an adequate crafting space, and I knew I would be getting that crafting space at some time, I decided to start following the $5 savings plan to have money to furnish my craft space when we finally did get a house. The basis of the plan is that any time you get a $5, put it away. The plan uses $5 because it accumulates faster than $1, and it’s not big enough that you would miss it, like $10 – it’s just that perfect, in between amount. So I started that plan, and ended up with $500 by the time we bought our house! I will confess, I did supplement it with $120 I made working overtime a few days at work, but even if I hadn’t done that, i still would have a decent amount of money to do something with 🙂 Sidenote: There’s also a 52 week savings plan that I came across that looks like it might be good, also. Go search that one out if your interested!

Also during the time of searching for a house, I was pinning like crazy of good ideas for my craft storage and organization, and found that I really loved this setup by Nichol Magouirk:

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I really just fell in love with the white furniture, and having a corner desk for all of the “work” that is required to run a business, but having a separate craft table for actually doing crafts at. More views of her room can be found on her blog here:http://nicholmagouirk.typepad.com/things_that_really_matter/2010/09/my-craft-studio-in-photos-and-video.html

After looking at her space, and finding where she got it at, I quickly found that there was NO way I could afford the $2000 – 3000 to have a space like this. I briefly considered the storage cubes from Michael’s, but they don’t really have a way to have a “corner” space (which I LOVE) and their cubes are only 14.5″ deep, which is not enough space for office supplies.

I don’t recall how I stumbled across Ana White’s website (I’m sure it had something to do with pinterest!), but I’ve been in love ever since! And wouldn’t you know, she has a plan to build a desk that is modeled after the one above!

Corner DeskAna White Office Corner Desk Plans

Nice, huh!

I also wasn’t too crazy about the narrowness of the base units, so I decided I would build two open base units and two file cabinet units from the Eco Office plans.

bookshelf-base-modern-6_0Ana White Eco Office Open Shelf Base 

file-base-modular-office-1Ana White Eco Office File Base

I’m SOOOOOOOO excited to start this build! I was originally wanting to build it out of white melamine, but looking at the quality of what is available in my area, I went with an epoxy/acrylic sided birch plywood, which looks similar to the bases (but a little lighter).

I did have to do some planning on how to build this, as my desk is going to be MUCH larger than the plans, so some of this project may be building by ear. My desk is going to be about 9′ x 12′. I had to make a “visual guide” in the basement to get a better idea of what it will look like. Hubby is running an electrical line around the perimeter of the basement as there isn’t any power there.

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After a bit of a snafu in getting the wood to our house, it is there, sitting in the garage, just waiting for me to start building. I would love to start this weekend, but alas, I will be spending the weekend at my sister’s house, babysitting her 4 kids while her and her hubby go to a hockey game.

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One other plan that is not shown here is to build a separate “crafting table” in the center of the room. That will have to survive as another post. I hope to keep this updated as much as possible, but, as of right now, it still may be another couple of months before we actually get Internet at our house. So until then, happy crafting!

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Little Windows Resin How-to and Review – Part 2

Well hello there life! How are you doing? Oh, yea, pretty busy there, eh? Yes, I should know! You’ve been keeping me from getting the second part of this blog post up!

**My sincerest apologies for life getting in the way.**

So here is Part 2 of the Little Windows Resin How-to and Review. You can read the first part here: Little Windows Resin How-to and Review: Part 1

Now that my charms have set in the mold for 12 hours, it’s time to remove them!

**NOTE** one of the first things I like to do is give a light touch to each piece, just to make sure they are fully dry. On my last batch, I had one piece that took 18 hours to become mostly dry – I unmolded it and it was hard, but I was able to put a hole in it and sand it without any damage to the piece.

1. The molds are flexible. Take each end (the long way, and twist them away from each other. You should hear some cracking sound – it’s OK! It’s just the charm separating from the mold!

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Twisting the mold

2. Turn the mold over and begin smacking it on the table (open side down) until the charms come out. Sometimes it will take a light tap, sometimes a little harder. Your pieces should be solid and have a little give to them. You do NOT want to push the charm out of the mold with your finger, or it can mess up your charm, becasue they are still soft at this point. If your pieces won’t come out of the mold, try sticking them in the freezer for a couple minutes, then twist the mold and smack it again.

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3. Put a hole in it! I used the hand drill sold by Little Windows to do this – if you have something similar, that should work (it may be best to do test pieces first – but if your ordering the resin, the hand drill really isn’t that expensive to add to your order). **NOTE** be sure you have a protective covering on your work surface! I actually have two sheets of cork board (the kind you hang on your wall) as a barrier so I don’t accidentally drill through my kitchen table 🙂

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4. When you drill all the way through, turn the drill the opposite way to get it back out. There will be a few left over shavings on each side of the piece, but they can easily be wiped/cut away.

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5. Once the hole has been drilled, I like to give the back a light sanding to give it a nice finished edge. Some times, there can be areas of thin resin that stick up higher than the overall piece – these can usually be cut with a scissor or sanded away (I’m sorry I don’t have a picture). I used a very fine grit of sandpaper (I believe 1500 grit) and rub the piece in a circle 20-40 times. I usually keep turning the piece to get an even sanding on each side.  There will be a white powder all over the piece (and your fingers), but this easily wipes away with a paper towel.

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Wipe the piece gently with a paper towel to remove the sanded resin.

6. I used some ice pick bails I got on Etsy here to hold the charms. Start by opening the bail up, then attached it to the charm in front first, then close it in the back (a pair of jewelry making pliers works good for this step). As the charm is still a little soft, it will give a little and the bail may squeeze into the charm. I like to make sure that mine are secure enough so the bails don’t come out by themselves.

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There you have it! A completed charm! I also bought some wine glass hoops from this shop on Etsy to make them into wine glass charms (not shown).

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Have I mentioned that I LOVE this product?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I do. I really do!

*~ Tips & Tricks ~*

After doing a few batches, here are a few extra tips I have that may help you out with yours:

  • Think about what you have going on for the day, or also the next day, to determine when you should start. My batch, using all 4 of the small molds, probably took about 3-4 hours, not including the 12 hour drying time, of course 🙂 Generally, mixing, molding, and removing bubbles took at least an hour. Once *dry*, removing from the mold, drilling, sanding, and adding bails took a couple hours. Since it’s harder for me to determine what time at night my charms will be done, I generally start them at night, and come back and do the unmolding in the morning.
  • For the 4 small molds, I ended up using 40ml of Part A and 20ml of Part B. This will *just* fit in the blue mixing cup. I also added a little time (30 seconds to a minute or more) to the mixing/setting up time because I was making such a large batch – that is a suggestion from the creator, Fran (and could also be why I had that last piece not dry right away on my last batch). This amount filled the circle and square molds to the top, and filled the rectangle and oval molds almost to the top. I didn’t have to scrape the mixing cup to get enough resin – I could have, but I didn’t feel the need to.
  • When you are not working with your hardener, keep it in the fridge. If your house gets too warm, the hardener will turn yellow, and, unless you want yellow pieces, you won’t be able to use it.
  • If it’s summer time, then  you shouldn’t have a problem with the temperature of your house (unless it is too hot, then you may want to wait until it cools down). If it is fall, like it is here now in Michigan, our heat is turned on for the winter, but we like to keep it around 68 to save on our energy bills. Per directions of the resin, your room temperature should be above 70 degrees when working with the product. On a day that I’m going to be making charms, I will turn our heat up to 72 and keep it there until I unmold the last charms (i’ll turn it on Friday night or Saturday morning and leave it there until Sunday afternoon/evening). I really do believe this step does help, because I forgot to do this one time, and most of the charms were fine, but I did have a few that had dried completely on the outside, but never dried on the inside. Sometimes it’s just best to follow the instructions!
  • Keep checking back here for more tips and tricks – I may add more as I make more charms with this product!

Happy Crafting!

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Little Windows Resin How-to and Review – Part 1

Here’s another how-to manual for all of you – this time, it’s for Little Windows Resin.

I just have to start by saying how much I LOVE this stuff! I have always wanted to try putting some of my quilled items in resin, but a combination of living in Michigan and not having an indoor (warm) space to do normal (toxic fumy kind) of resin, I was on the lookout for something that just *might* work.

After some googling, I found Little Windows! It claimed to be low odor and non toxic, and I looked at some other blog reviews, so I thought “hey, I’ll try it out just to see what happens!”

These websites could not have been more true! It really is low odor, I would call it no odor, because it really doesn’t smell AT ALL! After using it the first time, I got on the website to send a comment of how much I loved it. I totally didn’t expect to get a response from Fran, the actual creator of the product! She absolutely loved my use of the resin, she asked me to take some photos and send them to her to include on her newsletter! I was flattered! Honestly, I really can’t say enough about this product, so here goes the tutorial!

Little Windows Resin How-to

I started first by covering my workspace with wax paper. I usually would do this in my studio, but since there’s no air conditioning there, and it’s 90* outside, the dining room table it is! Here are all of the supplies:

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Shown here is the 12 ounce resin set, which comes with a large bottle of Resin, a medium bottle of Hardener, 3 large mixing cups (blue), a dozen small mixing cups (clear), and 6 mixing wands. I have also purchased the small mold set, as shown above. This set contains 4 molds, circle (8 charms), oval (6 charms), square (8 charms) and rectangle (6 charms). I would say these molds are approximately 1/4″ deep. They come in a box with a clear lid that you can use when casting your molds to keep them from getting dust on them. Other items you will need is a pair of tweezers (optional), a hand drill (or a way to pierce a hole through the charm), embellishments, some paper towels or napkins, and a timer (I used my phone).

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First, figure out how much resin you will need. Resin is mixed in a 2:1 ratio of Resin to hardener. One batch of 10ml resin and 5ml will fill one of the molds. As I am planning to fill all 4 molds, I’m going to triple the recipe (30 ml resin and 15 ml hardener). It is a good idea to look at the markings on the side of the cup before you begin to pour, as the numbers tend to disappear once you start pouring. *Update: I ended up having to make a small batch for the 4th mold, so if doing all 4 molds, quadruple your recipe to 40ml resin and 20 ml hardener – this will fill up to the top of the blue mixing cup.

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Cup filled with resin

Fill the cup up to the proper line with the resin first. The resin is thick, and slightly cloudy when you pour. When you are finished pouring, wipe the excess liquid off of the resin container with paper towel and put the lid back on.

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IMPORTAINT STEP!

Add the hardener next, making sure to go to the proper measuring line. The hardener is much thinner than the resin, and is clear. When you add it to the resin, it will stay to the top; see in the picture that the bottom is frosted, and the top is clear. When you are finished pouring, wipe the excess liquid off the hardener bottle with the paper towel and put the lid back on. *NOTE: the hardener likes to be kept cool, or it can turn yellow. I am planning to keep mine in the fridge, so when your done using it, be sure to keep it in a cool, dark place.

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See how the liquid in the bottom is frosted (resin), but the liquid at the top is clear(hardner)?

Next, use one of the stirring wands to stir the resin and hardener together for 2 1/2 minutes. When speaking with Fran, she said that when making a larger batch, I may want to stir it for 3 minutes, just to make sure that it all got mixed together, so that’s what I did. You want to be sure that you stir very gently, as this process will inevitably create bubbles – the harder you stir, the more bubbles you will create. When you start stirring, the resin and hardener will being to swirl together; you want to make sure there are no more swirls when the timer is up, so be sure to gently scrape the sides and bottoms of the cup to make sure everything is mixed together well.

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Resin and hardner swirling together.

Once your timer goes off, wipe any access resin off your wand onto the side of the cup, and let the resin rest for 5 minutes. Since I made a larger batch, Fran suggested to let it rest for 6 minutes, so that’s what I did. As I was not in my studio, and my dog is roaming around, I decided to cover up my cup while it was resting just to help ensure that no dust got into the cup. You don’t have to cover it, but you can if you want to.

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Now that the resin is mixed, you can pour it into the mold. Start with one mold, and fill each cavity about halfway. Work with only one mold at a time (to make sure you have enough to complete that mold so you don’t have to make more while it’s setting). When you pick up the cup, try to squeeze the end you will be pouring from, to make more of a point to pour the resin into the mold – this is easier with the smaller cups, but it does help some.

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Begin by sliding your embellishments into the mold from the side – this helps to keep too many bubbles from forming while your putting them in. These molds are developed so if you were inserting a picture here, you can slide it in right-side up. I wanted my charms to have the rounded edges of the bottom of the mold, so I put my embellishments in upside-down. More ways to add embellishments can be found on the Little windows Blog.

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When all of your embellishments are added, you can pour resin on top as much as you need. If you add too much to one cavity, try to add a little less to the next one (more on why will be in the next step). In the picture above, I added way too much to the one on the right, second from the front (it’s doming above the edge), so the row in the front has a little less resin in it.

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If you pour too much resin in one cavity, use the wand to scoop it up and put it in another cavity. You may have noticed in the previous photo that some of my roses were sticking up out of the resin. Since I am using the bottom, as the top (and my roses are in upside-down), this is technically the back, and sometimes they may be slightly taller than cavity, so it is OK by me if they stick out a little bit.

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Removing bubbles

When you are finished filling your mold, put it under the doming lid and move on to filling up the next using the same process. Now on to my light bulbs.

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Final pieces under doming tray.

Same process, but these ones always give me a substantial amount of bubbles before they sit – I have a feeling it’s because it is quilling and it does have “holes” in it when you put it in the resin. That’s OK, we’ll get them out! Once all of your molds are set, cover them with the lid (and box bottom if needed) and set the timer for 10 minutes. This allows any bubbles that may have formed to rise to the surface.

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When 10 minutes is up, start with the first mold you poured and look at it to see if there are any bubbles that need to be removed. Using your mixing wand, scoop the bubble out with the tip – sometimes the bubbles will pop, and sometimes you will pull them out. Wipe the access resin off your wand onto a paper towel and continue on, being sure to turn the mold around each direction to make sure you got out all the bubbles. The above picture isn’t from my first mold, but it had a better set of bubbles to photograph! If you end up moving stuff around and create more bubbles that are in the bottom, go ahead and cover it, and let it set for another 10 minutes to let them raise to the top again(again, something I love about this product is that you have a lot of time to work with it). Generally speaking, you have about 30 minutes to work with the product, so if you have to let it sit for bubbles more than once, that is fine, just don’t keep coming to it too much.

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Scoop out the bubbles!

Once you are satisfied with your embellishment placement, and all the bubbles are out, cover all of your molds and let them sit for 12 hours. Put a sign up like I did if you have to. Now go about your day, or go to bed if you set them at night.

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That’s it for now. Since I’m writing this while i’m still in the midst of my 12 hours, the Part 2 of this post will be how to remove the charms from the mold, drilling a hole in them, and sanding the edges. I hope you have liked this tutorial so far – be looking for the next steps in the next couple of days.

**Update**

Part two is now here: Little Windows Resin How-to and Review: Part 2

Happy Crafting!

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Quick Tip – Sealing Projects

When you need to seal a quilled creation, you don’t really want it to lay flat when sealing, or it may stick. It will also take longer to do as you only have access to one side at a time.

My way of sealing is to use an Indian beading loom to hang my items on. I received this one from my mother-in-law (thinking I could do bead looming as a craft, since I’m crafty), so it didn’t cost me anything. Just add some thread, and string your items up to be sprayed!IMG_2084 IMG_2083

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Inventory of the Papers

Whelp, I finally bit the bullet and made an inventory spreadsheet of all my paper.

It looks a little something like this…

Inventory

I made columns to keep track of the color family, the name, item number, and size of each of the colors. I did some cusomized cell highligting in the color family for 2 reasons: 1) so I can sort by the field and look at just the colors in that area, and 2) When I add a new color and type in the color name, it will automaticall change the color of the cell to the color I chose (typing red will give it a red background, green will give green, and so on).

I also have a column for the strips that I have on hand, but just don’t have the time to update that tonight. My list will get a LOT longer when i do that, as I know I have more in my binders than I do on hand. I probably will just update that list once a month – that will help tell me when I need to get more paper.

So, what is my inspiration for doing all this somewhat spur of the moment? Whimsiquills is having a 20% off sale until June 30 🙂

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