DIY: April showers tees

“April showers bring May flowers” or so they say. Well, I say make April showers fun with a rain inspired D.I.Y project. The weather is slowly warming up and my kids are longing for those special hours of outside play. While the clouds resisted to cooperate, we spent some time creating these great t-shirts. Kids love getting crafty, so take your little ones, nieces, nephews or cousins (or just your inner child!) and gather your supplies!

You will need:

* A pre-washed t-shirt

* Freezer paper

* Acrylic paint in colors of your choice

Textile medium

* A foam or spouncer brush

* Exacto knife

* Cardboard

* Surface for mixing colors (I use the cover of a take out container)

* April Showers stencil

1. Make your stencil. Click on the link to get the April Showers stencil. Cut a piece of freezer paper to  fit the image's 8.5" x 11" size. Feed the piece of freezer paper through the printer manually as you print the image, making sure the artwork gets printed on the dull side of the paper. Carefully cut out the drops and cloud shapes with your exacto knife. You have made your stencil.

2. Iron the stencil onto your t-shirt. Place the stencil shiny-side down on the center of the t-shirt and press with your iron on the hottest setting. Do not use steam.

3. The part the kids love, mixing colors and printing! Mix 2 parts acrylic paint/ 1 part textile medium. Textile medium is great because you can use acrylic paints to paint, stamp or print on fabric without having to spend a big budget on textile inks and your project will be washable. Place the piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt, under the stencil, so that the paint doesn’t transfer to the back. Take your sponge brush and dab it on the cloud area. Make sure you cover the whole thing. If you’re letting kids do this part, let them have fun while guiding them.

4. Move on to printing the drops. Mix different colors and dab your sponge brush. For lighter colors, you may need two coats of paint. Let the first coat dry before doing the second one.

5. Let the paint dry for at least an hour or so. Gently remove the stencil off of the t-shirt. Your stencil can be re-used a few more times so don’t throw it away!

6. Heat set the design on the fabric. Using your iron in the hottest setting, iron over the printed area for 20-30 seconds. Do not use steam. Wear and enjoy!

My kids are very happy with the results and are proudly saying “I made this”. Now they’re thinking to make them as gifts for all their friends but I’m not so sure about that... Remember to supervise children while doing this project, only adults should do steps. 1. 2. and 6.

Have fun and please share pictures of your April showers tees!

Natasha K.

*on Etsy*

*on Facebook*

A Question of Gift Giving

My mom regularly raids my jewelry stash. In fact, she's been known to call me on her way to an event to ask if I have anything made that compliments the occasion, and oh, can she swing by the studio for five minutes? I love that she's such a willing ambassador (did I mention she also carries my business cards with her at all times?), but it makes gift giving a bit of a challenge. When her birthday, or Mother's Day, or a just-because-day comes around, I don't want to give her more jewelry.

Which started me thinking about what other crafty folk do about gift giving. Do you usually make your gifts? Or do you keep a church and state relationship between what you make and what you buy/give? If you make things for a living, whether part-time or full-time, does buying something handmade by someone else feel like rare a treat? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

In the meantime, the Thanks Mom treasury is chock full of alternative treats to give this Mother's Day. Of course, I couldn't resist adding a few pieces of jewelry (I am my mother's daughter after all), but mostly these handcrafted items are inspired by other traditional Mother's Day gifts -- like flowers, cards, and candy -- given their own {NewNew} twist.


Get your shopping totes ready for the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade!

After bursting onto the scene last year with the inaugural event, the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade is back with even more handmade shopping for all. This year, we've moved out of the Knitting Factory and into Openhouse Gallery, a gorgeous, modern space in NoLita that will highlight our most talented local makers and their lovely wares.

Due to your suggestions, we've also extended our shopping hours this year. We will be open from 11am until 8pm, letting you shop early or late during the busy holiday season.

But you'll want to come early if you've RSVPed for a free goody bag because those puppies got snatched up within the first 24 hours of online registration! The limited-edition silk-screened totes, (filled with fun stuff), will be on hold for confirmed registrants until 2pm. After that, it will be released for sale to the public. Next week when all the goodies have been sorted through, we'll let you know some of the stuff that's in it!

So mark your calendars and visit our vendors page to make your shopping list. Remember many of them welcome custom orders, so if you act now, they can have your unique, handmade gifts ready to pick up by the big day!

-Lisa {Pretty Stationery for Beautiful Souls}

Gifts for Grads, or for Grads to Give Themselves

Left to right, starting from the top:
1. sass up that interview outfit with Glasshouse Jewelry cuff links
2. furnish the post-grad pad with cakehouse coasters
3. the Metal Sugar "Free as a Bird," ring celebrates your liberation
4. knock 'em dead in Jess Switaj ties
5. keep the high-end gifts safe with a Felt It I-pod cozy
6. save money: cook at home in a Panda with Cookie apron
7. a lovely Yours Truly xoxo lamp adds a unique touch to the teeniest apartments
8. chill out after all that hard work with a soothing Dew on a Petal candle
9. finally - time to nap on a stylish Red Bridge Studio pillow
10. give thanks for all the presents with Prism Pop mini cards
11. take the opportunity to graduate from dorm room posters with Jenna Newton's original art
12. open doors with a Warpe Design Wear key chain fob

- MaryAnne LoVerme