Coaster How-To

Halloween Coasters from the {NewNew} York Street Team

Basic Supplies:
-Sheets of felt
(mainly black + a contrasting color)
-Scissors or craft/exacto knife
-Embroidery floss in a bright color + needle

I like my craft projects quick and scalable! This Halloween themed coaster project is something you can keep very simple with the shapes provided and be done with some basic coasters within an hour, or you can really make them more durable by adding cork backs or even leather if you've got it, embellishing them with some embroidery via machine or hand, or even size them up to make placemats - it’s up to you!

The first thing I did was call out to members of The {NewNew} York Street Team to supply me with some scary silhouettes to work with. 6 Artists answered my call, supplying silhouetted artwork for a pumpkin (from CollectiveElements), ghost (from MayLuk), bat (from ME/KimmChi), bunny (yes, i said bunny) and skull (from Luckx4), and witch (by AlleneLaSpina).

All of this artwork, sized for coasters, can be downloaded HERE.

Choose the designs you want, or even make a set of all of one design.

Step 1:
Choose and print the designs you want. Use these as templates to cut the felt out. The size of the design files should be suitable for basic coasters if printed at 100%; for glasses with extra large bases you might want to scale these up a bit.

Step 2:
After you print out the templates, cut them out and pin them on to the color of felt you would like for your coasters. (I chose black for starters, but will cut them further and back them with a bright contrasting color in step 4).

Step 3:
After you have your desired number of designs cut out, use your exacto knife or scissors to add in details and design to the simple silhouette - making sure your accents are large enough to show through the cuts.

Step 4:
Use the templates you cut out in Step 2 to cut out more felt using nice bright colors which will be eye catching in contrast to the spooky black silhouettes. Pin these to the black silhouettes of the same design.
Step 5:
Using either hand embroidery or a machine, you can sew along the edges of the coasters in a nice bright contrasting thread - attaching the bottom layer as you go. For a great video tutorial on how to do the blanket stitch (the one around the bunny and witch CLICK HERE). You may have to press the whole thing with a hot iron when your done. And then you’ll have some spooky coasters to rest your spooky beverages on.

If you want to make these coasters more durable, you can use these templates and a craft knife to cut the silhouettes from a roll of thin cork or even scrap leather. Back them up to the felt parts and use a good glue- gorilla glue or E600, press them together and let them sit overnight under a pile of heavy books. When they are dry, trim up any excess.

Thanks to CollectiveElements, MayLuk, KimmChi, Luckx4, and AlleneLaSpina for submitting designs!

And thanks to those that came out to the Etsy Labs for the craft night I hosted with this project on October 20 - that's you RedBridge and ThePeachTree - THANKS!

Download this whole tutorial in PDF format


How To Make Wings for your Halloween Costume

You can use these to make wings of all different shapes, sizes to suit your needs. I’m purposely making strangely small oddly shaped monster wings.

What you’ll need:
Wire hangers
Panty hose (any color)
Decorations: Fur, feathers, sequins, whatever you have
Felt, fur, or other thick fabric
Sewing machine (optional)

Start with your two wire hangers. Shape them into a wing each. If you want bigger wings, try shaping your own from larger pieces of wire. If you’re using hangers, straighten the hook on each and wind them together.

Take a pair of panty hose, the color may determine what kind of wings these are, I’m using black. Don’t be shy to paint or dye the panty hose to get the desired effect.

Cut off the legs and stretch a leg over each wing. Pull the opening towards the center where the wings will connect together (at the hook part of the hanger).

Measure two strips of elastic of the same length around your arms and to the middle of your chest, comfortable, but with some tension.

Take two pieces of felt or fur (I’m using 4” x 4”) and glue or sew the two pieces together with the pantyhose, ends of the elastic loops and hook part of the hanger tucked inside. If you’re using a sewing machine like me, don’t try to sew over the wire hangers. Make sure that you sew over the pantyhose and elastic though, so they stay firmly in. Even if you’re gluing the two pieces, I recommend putting a few stitches in over the elastic bands the pantyhose, even by hand, for added security.

Now time to decorate! Glue, sew, paint your wings to your heart’s desire!

Try your new wings with a fairy dress, or a white gown and halo, or with butterfly antennae. If you’re like me, maybe you have some other purpose for wings. I can’t wait to finish my monster costume to try on with my new wings.

Karen's Monsters

Where to Find The {NewNew} on October 25 + 26

This weekend is really a doozie for Indie Artists and Crafters around town with specail themed shopping days down in Brooklyn and free crafting workshops at the Etsy labs as well as the Flea, let's start with Saturday Oct 25

From 10am to 3pm, Etsy Labs is sponsoring a FREE - that's right, I said FREE - Sock Monkey making workshop. All Monkeys made will be donated to to be sold to fund their programs for special needs artists. You can RSVP for this FREE event by emailing RSVP@ETSY.COM. And you can meet some of your local neighborhood street team their crafting it for charity.

And also on Saturday - you can find CollectiveElements and ShutterKate at the Handmade Faire in Medford New Jersey from
10 am to 4pm looks to be great fun - with door prizes for shoppers and goodie bags and oh yeah 100 vendors! Sounds great!

Also on Saturday - from 11am to 7pm the Brooklyn Indie Market has dubbed it - Steam Punk day! Plan to be there for their 2pm fashion show - with a steampunk reading - victorian inspired refreshments (!) and victorian photo sitting. Get that corset out of the closet and slip into that petty coat and come on down.

If you don't already know - the Brooklyn Indie Market is a NYC emerging designer market each Saturday and Sunday at Smith at Union - under a nice bright white and red striped tent. I can't promise a corset - but I'll definitely be there on Saturday.

Well if that isn't enough to make, do, watch an buy there' still Sunday!!

This Sunday at our spot at the Brooklyn Flea - we'll have handmade jewelry from Yaniamor, handmade soap from NordeaSoaperie, monsters and plush toys, tees and buttons from KarensMonsters, sterling silver custom nameplate jewelry from CajaJewelry (*new seller with us!), handmade jewelry using vintage findings from AdornmentsNYC and handmade jewelry using colorful glass and brass from Jantar.


watch band refashion

i love the classic, simple face of my trusty timex watch...


but i don't love the janky band, especially since it broke and i had to press a hair elastic into service to hold down the end:


clearly, it was time for an upgrade. i decided to go for a cuff style.

first i removed the band, leaving the crossbars.


then i found a fabric that i liked and cut it up. i made the length the circumference of my wrist plus an inch and a half for seam allowance and overlap for fastening, and made the width as wide as i thought looked good.


i then cut the same size in another fabric--because i had chosen corduroy for the front, i used a thin fabric for the back so that the end product wouldn't be too bulky.


i placed the two fabrics right-side-together, pinned them, and sewed up on both long sides and one short side.


i snippped the corners...


...and then turned it inside out, using a letter opener to poke the corners into shape (anything semi-pointy will do---a small crochet hook, a pencil...). then i turned the ends of the open side in and sewed them up. next came a fastener. i had some snaps in my sewing cabinet, so i went with that:


but you could go with lots of other options: a button, hook and eye, velcro, whatever.

then i sewed the watch on to the band. i realized as i was doing this--and having to be really careful to only go through the top layer of fabric so that my stitches didn't show on the back--that i should have sewn the watch on the the top fabric before i sewed the two pieces of fabric together. so, learn from my mistake! i just sewed around the crossbars, at the corners, using thin thread that matched my fabric:


but you could use embroidery thread or yarn, in the same color as your fabric or a complimentary one, and make the stitching more of a decorative element.

and, voila!


stylish and comfy.

- cakehouse

How to Make a Tote Bag

If you're like me, you have TONS of clothes sitting on your shelves that you don't use. I am always going to thrift stores and buying random crap. I often buy things for their bold colors or vintage patterns even if they don't fit properly. I tell myself I will alter it and wear it to death...but this rarely happens. In any case, one simple thing you can do with an article of clothing you love but never wear, is turn it into a tote bag.

I especially like to turn skirts into totes. I find that because skirts already have a nice finished waistline, that when upcycled into a bag, it gives the illusion of excellent craftsmanship. But the work required is minimal. Here are the steps.

1. First, find your favorite skirt that you NEVER wear. I literally have had this skirt over 5 years and have NEVER worn it.

2. You'll also need something for the straps. You can easily use the scraps from the skirt, a necktie, or a fabric belt. I opted for the fabric belt. I had one lying around that never fit me anyway.

3. Once you have selected your items, turn the skirt inside out, and just fold back the sides until you find a size and dimension you find pleasing.

4. Then simply take a sharpie (or any marker) and draw a line right on the fabric along your folds. Remember this is not an exact science. I just eyeball my measurements. I hate measuring! (You're not going to see the marker anyway, since it's inside out.)

5. Take scissors and cut right along your line. If your line isn't straight, don't worry. Just try to cut as straight as possible. You should now have 2 squares of fabric (3 cut sides and 1 finished waistline which will be the top of your bag). Now you are ready to sew!

6. Just sew up the 3 cut sides. Make sure the inside of the fabric is facing out. I use a sewing machine because it is so quick and the stitches are even and tight. But you can certainly handsew it.

7. Now for the straps...Loosely measure the length you want your straps. Cut them to size. And decide how you want to secure them to your bag. I personally like when my details are revealed. Sort of a craftsman approach. I prefer to see the stitching because it gives it more character. Turn your bag right-side out. And sew the straps to the bag.

8. You now have a super cute totebag and I guarantee no one else will have it!! And now you can feel good that you are finally using that skirt!

Super Easy Brown Sugar/Lavender Scrub!

I cook the same way I sew... Recipes and patterns are really just a guideline! This would explain why I am not a chef OR a seamstress ;) I did a lot of research on homemade scrubs a while back when i was thinking of fun bridesmaids gifts. This is the concoction that I came up with. It is so easy to make. I used all organic ingredients where I could, but most of the needed things are already in your kitchen. Your skin will be very smooth and smell like lavender.. ahhhh!

Brown Sugar/Lavender Scrub Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar (I used organic.. it is a bit chunkier)
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup oil (You can mix olive and canola if you'd like. I used all olive oil and it can smell a bit "salad-y")
1 Tbsp Vitamin E oil
1 Tbsp Lavender essential oil


mixing bowl
container for finished scrub. (I used a re-sealable mason jar. It is nice to use for a gift... you can tie a ribbon around it, or design a label for the top if you're feeling ambitious!)


1. Combine the brown sugar and sea salt in a bowl.

2. Once these are combined nicely, add the oil. Once those are all mixed together add the Vitamin E oil and Lavender oil.

3. Put your finished scrub into your container and enjoy!

Be careful in the shower because the oil can make the tub a bit slippery.

How to Make a Great Jewelry Display for Selling

Okay, I have had about half a dozen jewelry displays in my short lifetime and none of them really impressed me or made my jewelry stand out. I even had the opportunity to have nice designer busts and whatnot, which I then spray painted black, thus ruining them. I also don't like felted displays because I have a very large cat, so hair gets everywhere, even in closed spaces.

I really looked high and low for something affordable, portable and pretty to display my jewelry when I am selling and decided to just make my own jewelry displays! I make more earrings than anything, so I was focused on something that could display my earrings in one or two places and not make my table look too junky.

I came up with picture frames! They are in every thrift store, and with my simple instructions, they can make really nice displays for your jewelry. Also, if you really like a frame to something and it's not a picture frame, say a mirror, the instructions are the same.

I actually liked the pattern on this mirror so much, I decided it would make a great display. I got in from Salvo for around $4. Make sure the frame is in good condition, if not, it's okay to use it, you'll just have to take some extra steps in the middle of this how-to. You should also choose a frame that is pretty unique and will have a pattern or dimension that you will be able to see behind a few coats of spray paint.

Here's what you will need:

a picture frame or mirror, whatever size you can handle
1 can of clear varnish
a ruler or measuring tape
wood glue
screw in hooks ( you can get it from metalliferous or a hardwear store )
elmer's wood glue
a drill and drill bit ( a dremmel or flex shaft will work too)
a set of 2lb weights or heavy books
a great pencil
an eraser
spray paint of your color choice
Newspaper, scrap paper
Safety goggles
cut wood ( read directions first!)

1. Start with your nice, clean frame. Turn it over and remove the backing, any staples, cardboard and glass. Also, if you have any cracks in the frame, now is the time to glue the pieces with wood glue and set it aside for 24 hours before doing more.

2.After you take the everything off the back of the frame, measure the inside of the frame, as well as the depth, for instance, this frame measures 8x8 in and is 1/4" deep. You can then go to your local lumber yard ( I went to Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware in SoHo, NY) and get a piece of wood cut with the correct dimensions. My piece of wood cost less than a dollar, so this definetely won't break the bank!

3. Next, you will want to make marks on your wood, so you can find out where you will want to put the screw in. I did a graph of quarter inches. It doesn't really matter if you can't get everything really straight, as long as it's pretty lined up, it's okay. Afer you make all your marks, check off where you would like the screws to go. You can put the jewelry you will be displaying on the wood, to make sure you have enough space in between. Then you can mark off in dark X's where you would like to drill.

4. Depending on the size of the screw, make sure that your drill bit is a bit smaller than the size of your screw. Also, depending on the type of jewelry you have, you may want to make the screw go horizontally, or if you choose to make it go vertically, make sure to snip the back part, so the earrings will be easy to take on and off the display.

5. Now, for the fun part! With safety goggles on, carefully drill each X you marked on the wood. Erase the pencil marks that you made on the wood, as you don't need them anymore. Then insert each screw. They should be very snug in the hole. You might need to use pliers to tighten them into the wood.

Next, you 'll want to place the frame face down and apply a good amount of wood glue on the inside. Place the wood with the screws face down on the frame. It will take about 24 hours for the glue to dry completely, so place a few weights or books on the back of the frame and wood, so it can really be bonded.

6. After the glue dries, you're almost done! All you need to do is spray paint the front, sides and back with the color of your choice. Spray a few coats and finish off with a few coats of clear varnish and you're done!

You have a nice jewelry display for selling your wares!

Organization: Fabric Board How-To

I prefer hand written lists. There's a greater likelihood of getting things done if I actually see and read my lists. In my kitchen there's a perfect spot for a fabric board where I can post my to lists.

Here's a tutorial on how to make a simple fabric board for your kitchen or any other part of your home or office.

Foam board 1/2" thickness, cut to desired size
Medium to heavy weight fabric, larger than the board by atleast 2" all around
Heavy duty stapler with 1/4" staples*
2 sets of sticky magnets
*Depth of staples should be thinner than foam board thickness so they do not protrude.


1. Place Board in center of fabric
2. Hold top center of board and pull fabric tight towards you. While holding fabric staple across the top.

3. Flip board and repeat for opposite side.
4. Peel backing from 2 sticky magnets and place below stapled sides, one at the top and bottom.

5. For remainder, choose a side. Tuck and fold fabric neatly at corner edges, while pulling tightly on slight angle downwards and towards center of board.
Staple from top to bottom of board maintaining a tight hold as you staple. Adjust and tuck fabric as necessary.

6. Repeat step 5 for remaining side.

7. Attach 2 remaining magnets to the ones already on board. Peel the backing and hang finished board in desired location.

recycled bath mat

recently the towel that my husband has been using since college (!) sustained some injuries that made it unusable:

unusable as a towel, that is. as the base for a new bath mat, it was perfect. and so i embarked on a project to dress up our bathroom.


- an old towel
- a yard or so of fabric that you'd like to place your just-out-of-the-shower feet on [i used the ruffle from an old bedspread]
- pins
- needle and thread, or sewing machine


1) cut your towel into two equal-sized rectangles, at whatever size will fit best in your bathroom.


2) iron your fabric, and cut it into strips that are 4-1/2" wide, and 4" longer than the sides of your rectangle in length (so, unless you've cut squares out of your towel, you'll have 2 strips of one length and 2 strips of another).


3) iron down a 1/4" fold on each of the long sides of the strips, then fold in half and iron the whole strip flat, until it looks like this:


then fold back 2" at the short ends of each strip, and iron down.


4) place the two rectangles of towel on top of each other, lined up neatly. then place the strips of fabric under the edges of the towels and fold them over at the crease that you ironed in, so that they create a border. follow the photos below to make neat corners:


5) if you like the way it looks at this point, just sew a straight stitch along the inside edges of the border, being sure that you catch both the front and back edges, and you're all done!


6) however if, like me, you're not crazy about the color of your towel, or just want more of the fabric in the design, or just want to make life more difficult for yourself, you can keep going. i decided to fill in the middle with a lattice design, like the back of an old lawn chair. if you are going to go this route, don't sew that broder fabric down just yet....


start by cutting a bunch of strips of fabric in a width that looks appealing to you (i used 2"). remember to add a 1/2" to that width for finishing the edges. measure the open space of your mat that you need to fill, and figure out how many strips you need to cut to fill it. for length, cut them an inch longer than the open space, to allow for them to overlap (or, acutally, underlap) with the border fabric.

iron down a 1/4" on each of the long sides of the strips, then sew them down with a straight or zig-zag stitch.


**if you are working with a fabric that's prone to fraying, add 1" to the width that you decide on for the strips, and fold the edges of the fabric over on themselves again before sewing down.

7) weave the strips together...

CIMG1098 them around the edges, and baste them to the towels.

8) then put the border fabric back in place, fold it over the lattice, and pin it down. sew a straight stitch along the inside edges of the trim, being sure that you go through both the front and back edges.


and that's all!


- cakehouse

How to Buy a Home of Your Own in NYC

Nordea of Nordea's Soaperie creates her yummy body products in that most elusive space: a home in New York City that she actually owns! Knowing that she splits her time between freelancing and owning a small business, I was curious about how she pulled it off. Herein are the details:

When did you decide you wanted to buy an apartment in NYC?

It was always on my mind...when I first moved to the city, my mom kept telling me I was throwing money out the window by paying rent. November 2001, after returning from a long vacation, I really started to save money and seriously look for a place.

How long between that decision and becoming a homeowner?

I moved into my new home May 2004.

What steps did you have to take to make your dream a reality?

I saved every spare dollar I had. I got advice from friends who were homeowners, and thought about what I wanted in my new home (space, sunlight, and closets!) I sat down and figured out how much I could afford to pay every month (mortgage + common charges) and was realistic when I started looking for a new home.

What was the hardest part about saving for a down payment?

No vacations, no shopping sprees, and no extra anything. I found creative ways to prepare Ramen Noodles.

How did you find the apartment you ended up buying?

NYC Dept. of Housing and Preservation (a lottery system) plus pure luck and patience.

What tips would you offer someone of modest means who wants to buy a home in NYC?

Save your money, and when the time comes, make a large down payment (as much as you can afford.) I had very little money left in the bank after closing, but if my mortgage payments were even slightly higher, I could easily be one of many Americans struggling to keep their home in today's economy.

When did you start your business?

Officially in 2006

How did owning your own place affect your business?

There is no way I could possibly make soap in my old apartment. I don't even know where I would be able to store the finished product. My old apartment had ONE closet. No storage at all. I now have a room dedicated to soaping, formulating, and packaging.

What's the best thing about owning your own place?

More living space and direct sunlight. I can actually grow some plants!

The worst?

These days, money is tight. I'm always worried that my toilet is going to explode....costing me thousands of dollars to repair.


Monster Making How-To

This is a great project to do with kids or by yourself. Please use your own discretion for how much you allow a child to do. But from my experience, they love to make something come alive from choosing fabrics and a shape to decorating and naming.

What you will need:
Two pieces of fabric, or one folded in half
Sharp Scissors
Fabric Pencil/chalk
Polyester Fiberfill or fabric scraps
Sewing Machine (optional)
Needle & Thread
Pencil, pen, or chopstick
Decorations: Anything! Fabric scraps, ribbon, buttons, felt shapes, fabric paint, glitter
Glue (optional)

Step 1

Have your child draw a picture of a monster shape (simple is best).

Step 2

With a fabric pencil, draw the shape on the wrong side of the fabric however large you wish it to be when finished.

Step 3

Place the two piece of fabric together or fold one piece of fabric (right side in). Pin the two pieces together to keep them from moving as you cut.

Cut out the monster shape leaving approximately 1/4 inch seam allowance around the drawing. Don't worry about being perfect, monsters like to be a little messy.

Step 4

Decorate the right sides of the monster, don't forget to add decorations to the back as well.

Use whatever you have at home. Go on a treasure hunt to find great things to adorn the monster. You are only limited to your imagination

For young kids, gluing and drawing (with permanent markers) is easiest. For older kids they can cut out shapes and scraps and sew pieces on to the monster.

If you use paint or glue, it's best to let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. Alternately, you can wait to decorate until after Step 8 so you won't have to wait for the glue to dry before finishing the monster.

Step 5

Pin the two pieces of monster shape together, right side in.

Sew along the line you drew in step two, leaving a straight section open (we'll use that to turn the monster right side out). It's best to use knots or double stitch the section right around the opening.

Step 6

Cut small snips on the curves, snip off corners, and cut darts at sharp indents.
Be sure to cut only 2/3 of the way into the seam allowance and DO NOT cut the seam. This is easiest if your scissors are very sharp. On very rounded seams, the more snips you make, the more curvy the seam will be when turned right side out.

Turn your monster right side out through the opening. A pencil or chopstick is an excellent tool for making sure all the appendages and curves fill out.

Step 7

Using polyester fiberfill, stuff the monster. Use small amounts and start by filling in the furthest reaches and appendages first before filling the main body cavity. Again use the pencil or chopstick for this.

A greener alternative is to use fabric scraps cut up small instead of fiber fill. For tight places, make sure the scraps are very small.

As you fill the monster, squeeze the monster to make sure you're not over-filling or under filling the monster.

Step 8

Tuck in the seam allowance in the opening and use a slip stitch to close the hole.

Step 9

Name the monster and commence playing!

By Karen
of Karen's Monsters

Finger-Knitting Good!

Get ready for a fun and easy project to take on with a kid or two: the wonderful craft of finger knitting!

Finger knitting is simple and enjoyable. It also allows for a bit of imagination and ingenuity on the part of the finger knitter, as it is up to you what you'll be making your finger-knitted piece into. Here are a few suggestions about what you can make with finger knitted projects:

> Fun skinny scarves of many lengths, colors and styles.
> Key fobs/lanyards.
> Necklaces
> Bracelets
> Belts
> Use your imagination!!!

OK, here's what you will need to begin the finger knitting process:
- Some type of yarn or thick string
- Scissors
- Crochet hook
- Willing and able fingers!

Now here's how you do it:

1.) Take your yarn and weave it around the 4 fingers of your less dominant hand (i.e. if you're right handed, weave the yarn around the front and back of your left hand's fingers) minus your thumb. There should be yarn around the front and back of each of those 4 fingers.

2.) Now take the ball end of the yarn (part of the yarn that's connected to the ball of the yarn), and lay the yarn strand over the fingers that have the yarn weaved around them.

3.) Starting at one end of your fingers, pull the part of the yarn that's around your finger over the part that's laying on your hand, and to the back of the hand. The part that was laying on your hand will remain on that finger. Repeat this to the end of your fingers.

4.) Again lay a strand of the yarn over your hand and repeat the steps in #3 for every additional row.

5.) Continue with step 4 until you reach your desired length of finger knitting. Keep in mind that you should pull on the beginning of the work to determine how long the piece is as you're going, and continually do that to check on its length.

6.) When you've reached your desired length, simply bind off! All this involves is taking the loop that is around your pinky finger, transferring it so that it's around the ring finger, and passing the lower loop that's around the ring finger over this new loop. Then take the remaining loop on the ring finger, transfer it to the middle finger, pull the loop that's on the lower part of the middle finger over this new loop. See where this is going? Do the same thing with the last finger so that you have just one loop remaining on your index finger. Cut the yarn free from the ball, leaving a bit of a tail (a few inches long), and then just pull the tail through that remaining loop to secure your work.

7.) Your crochet hook comes in handy here because if you want to hide those end tails at the beginning and end of your work, you simply weave them into the stitches of your finger knitted piece with the crochet hook.

Or conversely you could leave them and tie extra bits of yarn on the ends for fringe if you prefer.

I apologize for having to spell this out. I had originally taken video of how to do this but it would not import to my computer! If anyone has questions please leave them in the comments! Another great resource for finger knitting how-tos is youtube.

Here are a few examples of finger knitted pieces I've made:
Skinny Scarf

Multicolored skinny scarf.

Enjoy the fun and exciting world of finger knitting!


The Guide to Indie-pendance: How to Be a Sane and Happy Freelancer

A couple of years ago, I left a coveted and creative position as a Visual Manager at a well-known retail store to work for myself. At the time, I was fairly uncertain of what that meant but I did have three years of bonuses stored away in my savings account and I was pretty sure that I was going to have a breakdown if I stayed at my job.
So I jumped.
My goal was to craft for a living, to make things and sell them on Etsy and at craft fairs. I learned very quickly that making things to sell was not going to earn me a living wage. Most of my crafts are one of a kind and I just can’t do assembly lines. But I found a lot of other work out there in the world of crafting. When people ask me what I do now, I say, “well, I do a lot of things” and that’s true. Sometimes I write for blogs, websites and even books, sometimes I work as a stylist on photo shoots, sometimes I even sell a few of those one of a kind, handmade crafts.

A photo of my "home office".

Working for oneself can be both extremely rewarding and excruciatingly frustrating. Though I am often watching the mail for checks to come in, I am also often in my PJs for days at a time. That’s pretty cool. And it’s incredible to be able to focus so much on your own career and business. But, freelancing is definitely not for everyone. Here’s a little guide to see if you have what it takes. I asked a couple of freelancers to share some of their tips and tricks for staying sane, paying the bills and managing time.

Money Matters

If you ask any freelancer what the hardest part of their job is, they will mostly likely say the money. Jobs fall through, checks take forever to process and some months you are left wondering how you are going to pay the rent. I recommend having a lot of money saved before you branch out on your own. Determine how much money you need to live on per month and save six months of that, three if you’re a risk taker!

Though it’s a little less stable, there are still ways to try to get a more secure paycheck when working for yourself. Lorelei was trying to balance her full time writing job with her burgeoning doula career and it was getting to be too much. She negotiated with her company to work part time and spends the rest of her week building up new clients. Though she is technically a freelancer, she continues to have a steady paycheck.

You also don’t have to commit to working for yourself in one fell swoop. MaryAnne works as a teacher, which allows her large breaks of time to focus solely on her jewelry business. “The breaks inherent to teaching allow me to produce enough to sell and keep the business afloat,” she says. “Wabisabi Brooklyn is only one year old, so maybe some day I will be able to support myself in the manner in which I've become accustomed (dental!); but even if that were the case, I imagine I would always keep teaching at least part time. Jewelry making and selling satisfy a certain side of me, but I get (non-financial) rewards from teaching that would keep me in it. In a perfect world, I'd just like to switch the ratio of the time time I devote to my two careers!”

If you’re totally strapped for cash, work a few days as a server or a bartender, have a stoop sale or sell a few things on Ebay.

It’s all about Timing
One of the hardest parts of working for yourself is learning how to budget time. Everyone has a different ways of keeping themselves on track but you absolutely have to plan what you’re doing every day, week and month. I keep a notebook with me at all times and write lots of lists. Crossing things off as I get them done always feels great!

Lark, an artist and web designer says, “Keep your freelance/ craft time separate and take your crafting time seriously and prioritizing it beyond social needs, if necessary. When I question what I should be doing at any given moment of "free time" I just head over to the studio and get cracking. I also prioritize my prior commitments with myself (i.e. creative work, meditation time, relaxation etc) over freelance work.”

Working for yourself also allows you the flexibility of working whenever you want. If you are most productive at night then you should set your schedule as such. I write best early in the morning when my mind is fresh, so despite being somewhat of a night owl, I set my alarm to 7 am when I have a big writing gig.

There are going to be times in your freelance career when you work day and night and you just want to hang out with your friends. I have worked many a weekend and late night but I always reward myself later with fun plans after a big job is done and, hey, sometimes I can stay out until 4 on a Monday. How many working stiffs get to do that?

Your Business, Yourself
Often as a freelancer, you will find that the lines between your work life and the rest of your life are blurred beyond distinction. This can be good and bad. On one hand, I love that my hobby (crafting) has become my work and thus my life, but sometimes I really need a break. It sounds silly but try to find hobbies or activities that have nothing to do with your job. Mine is karaoke but maybe yours can be tennis or fly fishing.

It is also really important to carve out a space to work in that is specifically for your work. While mine is in a spare room in our apartment, some people really need to get out of the house to get their work done. May, a ceramics artist and graphic designer says, “because of the nature of ceramic craft, I must have a studio. I found that separating work and home is very helpful for my sanity. I had a studio when I used to work in illustration as well and I found that I could be more creative in my work. journey to-ing and fro-ing to the studio gives me some creative thinking time and that is quite valuable too.”

Though the freelancing life is not always easy, I can imagine my life any other way. I hope to never have to work full-time for anyone again!
Thanks to May, Lark, Lorelei and MaryAnne for your wonderful insights!


Gocco how to Tutorial:

History of what Gocco is:

Gocco is a device that was invented in the 1970's, is a system that develops quick and easy printing. It is somewhat similar to a rubber stamp pad. If you wish to read more about it please click on the following link: what is gocco?

Using a gocco isn’t that hard, it’s really simple as long you are prepare and that you have all your supplies with you. Although there are few times I made some errors – it’s all about experimenting and accepting the errors you made.

Supplies – Gocco models - pg –5 or pg-11 – these two are the most popular models, although I really like the pg-11 cause the pad table is movable where you want to align your work.

I’ll be using my pg-11 for my gocco tutorial. In this tutorial I’ll be working on wedding related project I recently accepted. I’m working on Save the Date cards.

First I gather all my supplies:

  • Bulb
  • Master screen prints
  • Inks
  • Blue filter
  • Papers
  • Pencil
  • PG-11 machine & PG-11 Lamp Housing

Using a pencil comes in handy cause I like to align all my work before I start the actual printing.

The Design:

When designing from the computer make sure your dpi resolution set to a high resolution. For instance the image that I set is on 100 dpi resolution and text part is 600 dpi. You want to avoid printing your work pixilated. I always like to get clear and smooth prints.

Then I printed out my design on a laser jet printer on a black and white format. Make sure print out has a lot of carbon ink so this way your artwork will transfer onto the master screen print with out any problems. Or another way you can use a carbon pen and draw on your work.

Next I set my print out work onto the gocco pad plate.

Tips: Be sure to use a cardboard to set on top of the sticky pad. Do not expose the print out straight onto the sticky pad, Your carbon print out might not capture your work on to the master screen print cause the sticky pad is too strong that the paper will stick on the pad from keeping it from being expose once you lift up the gocco device.

I had once incident that I did not put the cardboard on top of the sticky pad and the design that I expose was stuck on the sticky pad keeping it from getting exposed to my master screen print.

Once I align and set where I want to expose my screen – don’t forget the blue filter and also the lamp housing.

The filter is to help you from prevent the carbon print out getting it stuck to the master screen print.

Here's are the final results of two of my master screen print being exposed:

At this stage I’m inking up my screen and printing it out and tada here’s the final touch.

And here's the final touch print out:

In this project I split up two screens because the area within the gocco device isn’t enough space for me to capture everything within one screen print out. The most I can capture is 6x4, so be sure to plan out ahead and figure how much space you need before printing and working on your design.

Hope you enjoy the little mini gocco tutorial, it’s a fun little project for all different occasion. Just remember practice makes perfect.

You Put a Hex On Me!

Here in New York, my daily commute is nearly an hour on the subway. Until I find a way to convince my employer to move out to Brooklyn (unlikely!), I will be in search of crafts to occupy my time on the train. Quilting doesn’t usually come to mind when one thinks of crafting on-the-go, but with just a little at-home prep work, English paper piecing is one way that you can take it with least for the piecing part.

Back in January I decided that I wanted to make a Grandmother’s garden quilt, which will take almost 2,000 individual pieces. Ouch. I expect to be done sometime around 2015. If you’re not into that level of time commitment, you could always sew up a few flowers and then applique them onto other blocks, or make cute little flower coasters. I think that they would also make adorable elbow patches for a sweater or jacket. Once you have the technique down, you could also move on to other small interlocking shapes.

These little hexagons are quite the rage in the online craft world right now. You can see some nice examples here, here, and here.

• Piece of fabric—at least 4” x 6” for the flower petals
• Small scrap of fabric for the center
• Freezer paper
• iron
• Scissors
• Needle and thread
• Nail clippers or small thread cutter

First you need a template. I created mine in Illustrator and I occasionally sit down to trace little hexagons onto freezer paper and cut out a bunch at a time. You might think I’ve got too much time on my hands, but really I’m just cheap—there are also companies that sell pre-cut paper templates if you’re not quite as masochistic as me. You will need 7 hexagons for each flower; 6 petals and one flower center. Cut your templates out of the freezer paper and place them shiny-side down onto the wrong side of your larger piece of fabric. They should be at least 1/2” apart to allow for a 1/4” seam. Set your iron to the cotton setting and iron over the 6 petal pieces to fuse them to the fabric. Repeat with the 7th piece on the smaller fabric scrap. Cut each hexagon from your fabric, leaving a 1/4” border all the way around the paper template. Some people just cut a square around the hexagon, but that leaves too much bulk in the seams for my taste.
From here on out your project is portable! Stash it in your bag and it’s ready to go with you on the train, in the car—even on the plane! Next, thread your needle and knot one end of the thread. Hold the hexagon with the paper/wrong side facing you. Fold the seam allowance down over the paper template. Use the needle and thread to make long basting stitches through the 2 layers of fabric and the template. (Do your neighbors a favor and pull the needle straight down or else straight back toward yourself—no one likes the feeling of a needle coming at them!)
When you come to the corner fold the next side over the template and continue all the way around the hexagon. You want to strike a balance between speed (you will be pulling these stitches out later) and accuracy (you want to keep the shape fairly true so that the blocks will fit together later). Take 2 short stitches to hold the thread when all of the edges have been turned under. Cut the thread (I carry nail clippers and a little thread cutter with me on the train) and continue turning the edges of all seven pieces. Now take two petal pieces and place them right sides together, aligning the edges. Using your needle and thread, whip stitch one edge together. Finish with a few tight stitches on top of each other. Cut your thread and repeat with the remaining 4 petals. You will now have 3 sets of two petals. It’s the flower center’s time to shine! Open one of the flower petals sets. Take the flower center piece and match it, right sides together, to one of the flower petals. Whip stitch one edge together, starting from the outside and stitching towards the second petal. (I’m right-handed, so I start on the right side and stitch left). When you come to the end of that side, open the flower center seam and fold it back down, repositioning it so that you can stitch the second edge to the second petal (you will have to fold the first petal in half to do so).
Continue this all around with the other 2 petal sets.

You should now have the 3 double-petal sections attached to the center. The final step is to whip stitch the petal sections together—just 3 more seams! After you've sewn all of the petals together, carefully pick out the basting thread from the center. Gently pull the freezer paper template out from the center piece. You may have to tug a little if it is caught in your whip-stitches. It’s up to you what you do next. If—like me—you’re now hooked, you start another flower set and just keep going, trying not to think too much about how many flowers lie ahead of you. Otherwise, applique the flower to another piece of fabric (again removing basting threads and paper templates carefully as you go and move on. I have fallen in love with this technique because it allows me to have a (very) long term project that includes lots of short-term immediate satisfaction as I complete each flower. I love seeing the little flower pile grow. It is also a very compact little project that can be tucked into my purse and pulled out for those inevitable train delays, traffic jams, and long layovers.
Then I'm marching ever-so-slowly towards my goal—even if I'm sitting still!

Pennant Banner Making at Etsy Labs

Monday Night at Etsy labs was a skill share on how to make pennant-style banners. And though our team has a brilliant banner that we created at the outset of our shared booth space at the Brooklyn Flea, it was great signage while our team spot was against the fence, but once we moved into the middle of the yard, we had no place to put the banner. So I thought it might be a great idea to take the quicky external cityscape banner i had made and learn how to make it into a couple of pennant-style banners that we could hand around the tents and really be eye catching. So the Etsy Labs Open Craft Night Project was perfect!

They listed the project materials needed as: fabric, scissors, fusible web, an iron and sewing machine. So I brought this banner in hopes of revitalizing it into something that would be really eye catching amongst all the vendors at the flea and frankly didn't look so rough.

I cut up the existing banner (which was a 20 foot long applique of a cityscape). I cut pieces to be square as I thought that might be easiest to work with. This gave me just about 21 square which should give me three nice banners in the end.

I routed around my fabric stash until I found something that would be really eye catching against the black and tapestry of the original banner - you can't get more eye catching than bright turquoise (which I got at our last team swap). My challenge here was that my original slap-dash banner was inconsistent sizes height-wise, so I just eye-balled it here, laying the banner square on top of the turquoise fabric and cutting about two inches extra on each side. I pinned each together as they were custom cut to go together.
Once all of those pieces were cut, I ironed the backing blue and ironed in the fold, and then another fold over to reduce any fraying and to get a nice clean line around the whole thing. I pinned each one of the seams in place to hold it before i popped over to the sewing machine to finalize the square.

I ran over to their wonderfully fantastic MODEL OF SEWING MACHINE to zip around the seam and finish each square. Ah, it was so nice to qork on a quality sewing machine, that responded so well to a light touch on the pedal and went through a layer of canvas and two of fabric very easily.
They looks so nice and neat, i feel like I could attach them together and make a beautiful quilt. But we're not done yet! At this stage I ran out of time at the Etsy Labs and had to take my project home for the applique and final assemble portion.

Now it's time for the applique. I used illustrator to finalize some typography and scale up the letters to fill the space on the squares. I ironed on the fusible web onto some nice bright white fabric that would really stand out against the bright turquoise background and the busy tapestry and skyline. I made sure to double each letter so that I can put words on both the skyline side and the flat turquoise side so that it will be readable even as the wind hits it.

I used the printed letters as a template and cut them out from the fabric and fusible web (making sure to reverse the letter before cutting them out). Then I just ironed them on for about 15 seconds until the web melts and fuses the two fabrics together.


Look for this new VIBRANT pennant-style doublesided banner in the coming months The Brooklyn Flea!


Wedding DIY: Ribbon Flower How-To

I love the look and ease of making homemade ribbon flowers, but seldom have the occasion. So when wedding season rolled around here at the NewNew, I was happy to have an excuse to share a couple with you.

The only supplies and skills that you need are ribbon (I prefer it with wires removed if it is floral wire, but that is to taste), needle, thread, beads and the ability to sew a running stitch.

Primrose (4-petal flower)

Start with 4 pieces of ribbon cut to 3.5" lengths. The dotted line indicates the stitching path you will take. You don't really need to mark it, I just keep it approximately 1/8" from the finished edge and 1/4 from the raw edge.

Start with the first petal and do a running stitch around the 3 edges. Pull thread tightly when you reach the end.

Sew one loop through the gathered ribbon to keep the petal together tightly. Without cutting thread, repeat on the next piece of ribbon, pulling it next to your first one. Remember to sew the loop between petals and repeat for petals #3 and #4.

Sew #4 to your first petal in a ring. Add a few additional stitches to keep the center together adding beads to some of the stitches. Tie off your thread at the back with a knot and admire your handiwork!

Daffodil or Fuchsia (5-petal with trumpet center)

Cut one 10" length of ribbon, marking lightly in pencil every 2" of your outer edge of the finished flower. The dotted line across the top is the stitch line for the trumpet, which you can mark if you need a guide (I like to freehand it).

Sew your ribbon into a ring with a running stitch and pull thread tight. Follow along your trumpet stitch line all the way around the ring.

Before you pull the thread tight, flip your trumpet edge through the center so the raw edges are on the under side of your flower. Pull the thread tight and it should look like the picture on the right.

Sew out to one of your marks from the center of the to the edge and pull tight. Like in the primrose, sew a loop to secure. Repeat at all 4 remaining marks (the 4th is your stitch that made the ribbon into a ring). Then add beads to the center to style your flower.

I glued together a few of these flowers along with a ribbon to make a simple bridal hair clip. The addition of the blue ribbon is so it can qualify as the traditional "something blue." Ribbon flowers would also make a fabulous veil base, boutonniere, mother-of-the-bride corsage, wedding favor, etc.

Why not dress up your creations with some beads from the {NewNew} team?

SweetSwoozie for crystal or GlassHouseSupplies for something more colorful.


Don't toss that cap!

It really is hard to follow some of the amazing posts dedicated to Earth Day this month at The {NewNew} blog. I was thinking hard What could I contribute? Then it hit me....BOTTLE CAPS!!!

We see it all the time at bars and parties - bottle caps getting tossed to the side and forgotten about. Poor things, so much potential use gone to waste. Bottle caps can be used in so many different ways. From scrapbooks to self adornment, the humble bottle cap is ripe for reuse. Today I want to show the very easy process of creating bottle cap magnets.

What you'll need:
  • 1 quarter
  • Picture
  • Bottle cap
  • Resin
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Magnet

    First, it's a great excuse to go out and buy some Stewart's Orange Creamsicle Pop

    I like to use old desk calendars as my designs (saving some paper while we're at it!) but of course you can use anything (ie: old magazines are great too!).

    The size of one quarter is a perfect fit for the inside of a bottle cap. This is what I use to measure the image I wish to cut out.

    You see it's a perfect fit! Next comes probably the hardest part of the project (which isn't hard at all) and that's mixing the resin together.

    Resin? Wait a minute, how are you helping the environment using that stuff?

    I understand your concern, but there are earth-friendly resins available that are less petroleum and more water-based, even corn resin (also known as polylactic acid or PLA). Moving along, you follow the instructions provided on the box - usually it's just mixing one part resin, one part hardener. Slowly pour your resin into the cap, do not fill it to the top or it will get pretty messy.

    I use a toothpick to try to pop any big air bubbles that may appear and to also keep the image flat on the bottom, it will want to push up to the surface so you must keep an eye on it for the first couple of minutes or else it will dry unevenly. Let the caps dry overnight. Once ready simply glue the magnet cap to the back and presto! Your own unique magnet!

    Feel free to use other parts of the image in other new ways too...

    Marilyn ~

  • A {NewNew} How To: Patchwork Blanket - Combat Global Warming with Style

    While I was thinking about what to contribute to our Earth Day blogging, trying to come up with a project that anyone could do, the idea of patchwork blankets kept coming to mind. I thought maybe it was too late for a tutorial on making blankets as it is almost May, but here in NY it has still been very cold, and we just had a blog posts on Salvaged Designer Fabrics and on our Pre Earth Day Team Swap. It actually seemed to make sense. I have made these simple patchwork blankets for myself, for friends and family and so I decided to share this “how to that anyone can do” with you.

    As a scenic and costume designer for theatre I have always had lots of bits of fabric from various projects around. Many of the pieces of fabric I had were too small to make anything out of, but too nice to throw out. Some reminded me of specific shows I had designed and I wanted to give them all a new life and save them from the garbage.

    If you have access to a sewing machine and can stitch a straight line you can do this project. No patterns, very little measuring. Easy. Eco-friendly. Fab. Here’s how:

    1) Gather your fabrics and decide on a theme or color palette. You can use any kind of fabric – You might have things around the house just dying for a new life. Here are some ideas:

    Leftover fabric scraps
    Vintage fabrics
    Favorite shirt or blouse that got ripped or got a stain (concert t-shirts, etc.)
    Your favorite sweater that you accidentally shrunk in the wash.
    That article of clothing that doesn’t fit anymore. (must have shrunk too!)
    That gift item that you were given but never used.
    Any nice fabric bits that need a new life

    2) Decide on the size of your squares. For this blanket you don’t need lots of the same fabric. For the blanket pictured I cut 7 & ½ inch squares based on the scraps I had available. I only have 1 square of some fabrics, 2 or 3 of others, it doesn’t matter – you can use whatever you have. To decide the size of your squares just look at the smallest scrap that you want to use and don’t make your squares smaller than that – it’s that simple.

    3) Trace out your squares & cut. I cut a square template out of the cardboard from the back of a used notepad. Trace around your square template to get all your squares a uniform size. If you are careful in keeping your squares the same size everything will line up easier when you stitch it all together. Cut your squares out on your lines. (To see how many squares you will need see step #4)

    If you are a beginner – here are some tips to keep this project simple: Use fabrics that are somewhat similar in weight and consistency. Don’t use fabrics that are too thick or heavy or too thin. Or, if you want to use a lighter weight fabric back it with something more stable, like a basic shirt-weight cotton. You can attach them together with a fusible product like “Stitch Witchery” or just attach them together as you zig or surge the edges. You can also back fabrics if you want to use something that is sheer or lacey. It’s best to keep woven fabrics “on grain” – this just means place your template so that the threads of the fabric are going the same direction as the edges of your template. This isn’t an absolute must, but will make it easier to stitch as your fabrics will be more stable and not give and stretch.

    4) Decide on the size of the overall blanket. You can make this type of blanket any size you want. The one pictured is 8 columns/10 rows of squares - about 48 inches by 62 inches. It is narrow enough that I was able to use a single solid width of fabric for the backing. You can decide on your overall size based on what you want to use as your backing and how much fabric you have available or the size of blanket you want. Once you know the size of the blanket you want to make you can easily do some basic math and find out how many squares you need.

    5) Zig-Zig stitch over the edges. Once you have cut out all your squares I recommend doing a zig-zag stitch around the edges or serge them if you have access to a serger, but don’t trim the size down as you surge so they will still all be the same size. This will help keep them from fraying and make the blanket more durable.

    6) Compose your blanket design. I just lay mine out on the floor. If you have a tile floor you can use the tile grid as a guide to help you layout all your squares. I usually start by spacing out my lightest and darkest squares and then fill in with the other squares, but you can compose your blanket in any way you like. I like mine to be somewhat random, but I generally avoid having two squares of the same fabric very close to each other. You can arrange them in any way you like.

    7) Stack it. Once you have placed all your squares to compose your blanket you are almost ready to start sewing. Take the first square of your first column and stack it on top of the next square down, then stack those two squares on the third one, and so on. This will make sure you keep it all in order and maintain your composition. When you have stacked your first column, just pin it all together with a large safety pin through a post-it note and label it “column 1” and continue to the next column. Once you have all of your columns stacked in order and labeled you are ready to sew.

    8) Stitch your first stack into a long strip. Place you first square from the top of your first stack on your table and place the second square on top of it, with the faces together. (If there is a pattern or top/bottom to the fabrics be sure to maintain this as you stitch things together.) Stitch the two squares together ¾ from the edge. (the bottom of square #1 to the top of square #2, face to face) Continue like this going through your stack top to bottom until you have one long strip of squares. You may not even need to pin these if you are comfortable with sewing and depending on the size of your squares. If you are a beginner a few pins doesn’t hurt. (keep each of your columns marked with the number so you can maintain your composition.)

    9) Repeat step #7 for each column/stack.

    10) Press your seams open. From the back of your strips just press all of your seams open flat so that the seam allowances are pushed out away from the actual seams.

    11) Stitch your columns together. Place column #2 (now a long strip) face to face on top of column/strip #1. You will probably want to pin things together here. As I pin things together, edge to edge and face to face, I make sure that I am matching up the four corners nicely. Once it is pinned, stitch the two strips together, ¾ inch from the edge as before.

    12) Repeat step #10 until all of your columns are attached and you have the front side of your blanket as one nice, big patchwork.

    13) Press your new vertical seams open, as you did before.

    14) Top stitch (optional) At this point you may do some top stitching if you like, it’s a nice detail, but not necessary. From the front of your blanket stitch straight top-stitch lines to both sides of your stitch lines. As you stitch, make sure that your seam allowances stay pushed out away from the seam. Top stitching like this will keep those seams nice and flat. Top stitch both your vertical seams and your horizontal seams. It will look like this:

    15) Attach a backing. At this point you are ready to attach a backing to your blanket. I have often used an interesting textured corduroy or something else soft with a little body in a similar weight to the front of your blanket. All you have to do is lay your backing fabric out on the floor (or table) face up and place your patch work face down on top of it. Line it up nicely and pin the edges together. Trim your backing down to be a little bigger than your patchwork front. Then just stitch around the outside, (with ¾ inch seam allowance as before) leaving about 12 inches open on one side. You now have an inside-out almost finished blanket. Pull the blanket through the opening so that it is no longer inside out. Admire.

    16) Press the outside edge flat and make sure your corners are pushed out. You may need to trim the seam allowance at the corners down a bit to make them less bulky and then push them out with something pointy (but not sharp) so they are nice and square and crisp.

    17) Stitch the opening closed by hand with a nice tidy stitch.

    18) Top stitch around the outside as you topstitched on each side of your seams.

    19) Admire your new fabulous eco-friendly hand-made one-of-a-kind blanket.

    20) Make popcorn & get cozy under blanket. Enjoy!

    HOW TO: Eco-Friendly Label Making!

    As a new member of The {NewNew} York Street Team, I decided to offer up a quick and fun little tutorial on one way of making eco-friendly tags or business promotional pieces, all from scrap materials... What follows is my tutorial:

    What You'll Need:
    •Scissors or an X-acto Knife
    •Scrap paper (with a blank area for writing)
    •An old magazine or other reading material that might contain interesting designs and be easy to cut out and use.
    •Something to trace with (This should be the size and shape that you'd like your tag to be...Look for something around your house that you could use)
    •A pen/pencil for tracing and writing
    •Scrap string
    •A staple-less stapler or appropriate adhesive

    What You Need to Do With All That Stuff I Just Listed:
    1.) Take the old magazine or other scrap reading material you've found and find an interesting design/drawing/background in it that could make for a cool looking tag. For me, I thumbed through an old Wired that my fiancée gave me the go-ahead to use (the last thing you want to do is cheese someone off by cutting up something they have no intentions of getting rid of). I found an interesting design inside, grabbed my tracing object and pencil, and traced around exactly what I wanted contained on my tag. In this case, I chose a genetically modified bell pepper because he looks pretty badass.

    2.) Grab that scrap paper now, and trace on a blank portion of it with the same tracing object you chose to use in #1, and then cut everything out!

    3.) Here's where staple-less stapler fun is to be had... Simply line up your design cut-out with your scrap paper cut-out (make sure the blank portion of the scrap paper is showing on one side, and your cut-out design is showing on the other), and slap em together with the wonderous staple-less stapler. If you don't have a staple-less stapler, you might opt to use an appropriate adhesive here instead.
    4.) Grab a pen or pencil now, and write whatever the heck you desire on the blank side of your tag. For mine, because I don't have official "business cards" for my eco-friendly shop, I simply wrote out my message and shop address with the best penmanship I could muster up, and will use it as both a tag and business promotional material.

    5.) Scrap string will come in handy now, to slip through one or both holes you've created with the stapler. I used scrap yarn from old knitting/crochet projects that I save. A crochet hook comes in handy for grabbing the string through the hole of the label and pulling it through, if you have one of an appropriate size lying around.

    That's pretty much it!!!

    If you want a more professional look you might opt out of the staple-less stapler and go for some adhesive or tape to hold the two pieces together. You might also have a stamp made that you can use to stamp these promo materials with your url, shop name, etc. Also for smoother edges, use an X-acto knife, by all means, when cutting these suckers out.

    Here's my finished result. Frankenstein Bell Pepper looks a little worse for wear, but he's wearing it well.