DIY Hair Gel

Ok...time for another fab DIY project! I am sure most of you have used hair gel one time or another. How about making some hair gel that is inexpensive, and you can customize the scent. Flax seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and some say it can be used to prevent hair loss or encourage hair growth.

The ingredients are really simple: 1/4 cup flax seeds, 1.5 cups of water.

Optional ingredients: preservative, essential/and or fragrance oil.

You will also need a saucepan, spoon, and a strainer.

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the flax seeds and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the flax seeds for about 10 mins, then turn off the heat.

Strain the seeds out of the liquid, and dispose of the seeds. You are left with a sticky, runny gel. Once I strained off the seeds, I was left with about 5oz of gel.

I made two batches, one with 1.5 cups of water, and the other with 2 cups of water. I didn't notice much difference with the gel's thickness, but I ended up with 9oz gel (2 cups water) and 5oz gel (1.5oz of water)

Once the gel has cooled down a bit (maybe 30 mins) you can add a preservative. I used a common wide-spectrum preservative that is easy to use. Phenonip can be used at .05-1% rate. I also added 10 drops of rosewood essential oil. You would need an accurate scale to add the correct amount of preservative. If you choose not to add any preservative, you can keep the flax seed gel in the fridge, and use it up within two weeks.

I did not try out the gel yet, but it should provide a soft hold, and avoids having "crunchy" hair. If you give it a try...please post a comment, and let me know how it goes!

Until next time....happy crafting!



The New Market in Town

Living in NYC, I can tell you that peeps love their flea/craft markets. I am here to let you know that there is a new market in town (variety is the spice of life!) The LIC Flea & Food opened it's gates on June 15th to much fanfare. Located in Long Island City, Queens, it is a hop, skip, and a jump from Manhattan, and also a quick train ride from Brooklyn. I have been a vendor there on Saturdays since opening day, and I am having a great time. I always ask anyone that stops by my booth if they live in the neighborhood. Surrounding the flea are many new luxury high-rise apartments, and some more are in the midst of construction. Just about all of the neighborhood folks that stop by are really happy to have a new market nearby. They often show their support by coming out and shopping!

Now, I am going to be honest...I don't like the word flea. I sell handmade goods, and many folks approach my booth and try to haggle with me about prices. I understand, that's what you do at flea markets, but I am firm on my prices, so I don't play that game. I will say that this market has a nice mix. Not too many "junky" looking booths. The market itself does not promote food over crafts, or vintage over handmade (not like another market which shall remain nameless....)

Here is just a sampling of the wonderful artists who show off their wares every weekend:

Tree-D Patchwork are beautiful works of 3-D art using different mediums, including fabric. Contact owner and creator, Meryl Thurston if you want your own personalized piece made from sentimental blankets, clothes, or any other fabric.

Maarte by Iza

Designer Annaliza Pasaylo-Huffnagle uses her native Filipino culture as inspiration for her Maarté by Iza collection of "Eco Friendly Jewelry", that makes a statement without saying a word.

Janet Belden is a life-long ceramicist that has a wide variety of beautiful pieces. She has also shared her expertise and knowledge by teaching classes at the West Side YMCA for over twenty years!

Donna Levinstone

I am always impressed with artists like this. Drawing and painting is a talent that you are born with (I don't think I could teach either have it or you don't) My photo does not do true justice to her beautiful work with pastels.


Need to adopt a robot? This dynamic duo will help with that. Wonderful and whimsical pieces would be right at home in any decor!

Ice Riders NYC

I have to say that these guys have saved my life every weekend. It has been HOT in NYC, and there is nothing better than shaved ice! This friendly bunch shave the ice using bike power! I have tried many different flavors including green apple, watermelon, lemonade, and dreamsicle....yum!

I hope you get a chance to stop by and check out the market. Located in LIC, Queens (46th ave & 5th street) the market is open every Saturday and Sunday (10a-6p) and should be open through October.

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea nordeasoaperie

Thinking outside the box...

Ahhh, Spring is here! That means the "crafty" season has begun! I have always loved strolling through a craft fair marveling at the wonderful things created by true artisans. Now that I am one of those "crafty" folks, most weekends I am somewhere out selling my wares. But, I have a hard time staying behind my booth. I am still interested in checking out other vendors' creations.

One thing that draws me to a table are the displays. I particularly love when artists choose unconventional objects. Interesting displays are always an eye-catcher, and I took a few pictures while I was at a craft fair last weekend.

Kam, who owns Kamspots had an interesting display for her ceramic hanging planters. First of all, her planters could have been displayed on a paper plate, and still gotten a second look (they are absolutely beautiful!) I was intrigued by the display, and she told me that it was a towel rack...yes like the rack in your bathroom...That's what I call creative!

Angela Colombo, designer and creator of EnchantraGirl injected a bit of nature into her display. Turning a bit of driftwood into something to showcase her delicate bracelets, was a smart move. It is a nice change from the black velvet busts that so often adorn a jewelers craft table.

Lisa LeClaire of Lisa LeClaire Designs highlighted her jewelry with some colorful shot glasses. They were the perfect fit for her eye-catching, sparkly jewelry. Her entire table was shining, and it was hard not to take a second look!

And finally, a little creativeness from Nordea Soaperie (yes, that would be me!) I had a hard time figuring out how to display my lavender sachets. I embroider each design by hand, and didn't want to throw them in a box. I found this display meant for cupcakes! It was perfect because each design can be seen, so customers can check out all of the designs without sifting through a box!

Remember that the annual Spring Handmade Cavalcade is coming up in a couple of weeks (May 4th.) I would bet that there will be a lot of creative displays to be seen. Of course it goes without saying that those displays will be showcasing some wonderul crafts too! Hope to see you there!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea  /  nordeasoaperie

DIY metro card holder (vs.2)

In my last blog post, I made a metro card holder, but it wasn't the one I REALLY wanted to make. I actually wanted to make a type of billfold with two pockets. This is similar to the plastic case that I had been using since the early 90's (which understandably was on it's last leg.)

This one takes a bit more time, but I like the results a lot better. I started with two pieces of denim about 6"x5" Again, I am still working on the huge pile of old jeans I have stashed in the corner of my bedroom.

I pinned the pieces together with the right sides together. Then I sewed around 3 sides, leaving one side open.

After turning the denim pouch right side out, I cut out a piece of stiff paper (like a file folder) and cut it to size, and tucked the paper inside the pouch. Then I sewed up the open side, and folded the pouch in half.

Then I cut out two pieces of fabric and sewed it to the inside of the pouch to create pockets. I like two pockets...metro card on one side and a bit of cash (or credit cards) can be placed in the other pocket.

For a bit more security (especially if I am storing cash) I added a bit of velcro on the sides. I cut out a small square, glued it in place, then gave it a quick stitch, just to make sure it stayed in place. This way, when I close the stays closed!

That's it...quick and easy!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea  /  nordeasoaperie

DIY MetroCard Holder

On Sunday, New Yorkers got the bad news that metrocards were going up in price again. If my memory serves me, this is the 4th fare hike in 5 years. In addition to the higher fare, we now have to pay $1 if you buy a new card, instead of refilling an old one.

That means that taking care of your metrocard is more important than ever! Keeping the card safe from the elements (my huge pocketbook full of stuff) needs to be priority number one! I do have a little plastic sleeve, that has seen better days, so I decided to make something new to keep it dust and scratch-free. I am always looking for uses for the huge pile of old jeans stacked in my apartment, so a denim metrocard holder is what I decided to make.

  1. Measure the metro card, and cut out two pieces of denim slightly larger to account for seam allowance.
  2. Place the right sides together and pin them in place. Sew around the perimeter of three sides, leaving the top open.
  3. Trim the excess fabric around the seam, and turn the fabric inside out so that the right sides are on the outside.
  4. Cut a piece of stiff paper to size(like a file folder) and slip it inside of the top opening to give the holder a bit of structure. Once you slip in the stiff paper, go ahead and sew up the top of the metrocard holder.
  5. Cut a piece of decorative fabric slightly shorter (length) than the denim square. The width should be the same.
  6. Place the fabric on top of the denim square and sew around the three sides, leaving the top open so you can slip the metrocard in the pocket. That's it...quick and easy!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea / nordeasoaperie

What About Love...

Let me just say...I don't really hate Valentine's Day. I just find it slightly annoying. If you love someone, you should let them know all year round....not just on Valentine's day! The day is completely jammed down our throats, I barely had time to take down my Christmas lights. As soon as the new year began...hearts and candy began to choke the aisles of my neighborhood convenience store. And I might just throw up if I see another Jared commercial!

Ok, so my mini rant is over...I feel better getting that off my chest! Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to highlight a few etsy artists that have some "anti-valentine's day" items. The one thing that I love about etsy is that you will probably find something cool, interesting, and definately one of a kind!


Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea nordeasoaperie

Fabric Covered Buttons

As you can see, I've got a lot of buttons in my stash. Unfortunately, sometimes none of them will work for a particular crafty project I may be working on. Last September, I decided to finally replace a missing button on a jacket. I headed down to a button store in the garment district and ended up buying a button for $3. Yes, $3 for one button. I found the price to be ridiculous, but I had no choice. A few months later, I came across instructions online to create fabric covered I will never pay $3 for a button again!

First, pull out your stash of fabric scraps. It doesn't take a lot of fabric, so there is probably something in the fabric stash that will be useful. I decided to use the greenish-colored fabric (seafoam) because I had no buttons that matched the fabric.

Measure the distance from the edge of the button to the middle of the button. You want the fabric to be able to reach the middle so you can completely cover the button.

I traced a circle on the fabric around the button, making sure that there was at least 1/2 inch extra all around.

Then, I cut the fabric. My measurements were pretty close, but it wasn't necessary to be exact.

Taking a needle and thread, I used a running stitch (I think that's what it's called) and stitched along the perimeter of the fabric circle.

After placing the button in the middle of the fabric circle, pull the thread taut so the fabric gathers around the button and covers it completely.

You can even trim a bit of the fabric around the outside of the stitches to reduce the amount of bulk behind the button. You don't want too much fabric because you want the button to lay as flat as possible when you use it.

Continue to stitch up the fabric until it is taut around the button. Knot off the thread, and you are done! A beautiful button for whatever project you are working on!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea nordeasoaperie

Quick & Easy DIY Fabric Coasters

Now that I have a new obsession in sewing, I am starting to find all sorts of fun projects to work on. I happen to have a weakness for coasters. I have them all over my apartment, and I always have some on my table at craft fairs (so that customers can put down their drinks and pick up my soap!) So, here is a quick and easy tutorial that anyone can do:

First, I cut out four squares of fabric for the top portion (an old pair of jeans!) and another four squares in a coordinating fabric (the same size) for the bottom portion.

Then I cut out four squares of batting slightly smaller for the padding.

Then I cut four strips of colorful ribbon that would fit across the front of the top square. I glue it on to keep it in place before sewing.

Using my trusty machine, I sew the colorful ribbon strip onto the front of each top square.

Then, I glue the batting onto the back of each bottom square.

I place the top and bottom squares (right sides facing each other) together and pin them in place before sewing them up. You want the right sides to face each other because you need to leave a 1.5" section open so you can turn the completed square inside out. If you look closely, you can see where I marked my opening in blue marker near the top of the square.

After you turn the square inside out, the right sides should be facing out, and you simply need to hand stitch the small opening to finish it up.

So there you have it....easy peasy fabric coasters! Great for a quick housewarming gift, or if you are heading to a friend's house for dinner...I always like to show up with a little gift of appreciation!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea / nordeasoaperie

The Art of Soapmaking

I sell my soaps at craft fairs just about every weekend (April-December) and I always get asked who makes the soap and where "you guys" are located. I smile and say there is no "you guys" just me! I make everything on the table. The lip balms, the lotions, and yes...the soap!

The cool thing about making soap, is that I can make something that cannot be found in most stores. Some of my more popular soaps have unusual ingredients like cucumbers, bananas, and beer. The other day, I took some pictures when I made a batch of my cucumber aloe soap. So, I will explain a bit how the magic works!

Making soap is simply following a recipe...just like you would follow a recipe to make a cake or an empanada. An accurate scale is a must. I first puree the cucumbers and measure out the aloe juice to mix with the lye (sodium hydroxide.)

You cannot make soap without matter what anyone says. No soap! When handling lye, you should be wearing protective goggles. If you were to get any in your eye, you risk serious injuries!

Then I mix the lye into the aloe juice and cucumber puree. I do this in the sink just in case of any is contained in the sink. The last thing you want is little bits of lye all over the kitchen.

While I was pureeing cucumbers and measuring out aloe juice, I melted all of my oils and butters. You can make soap with just one oil or twenty oils. It takes a bit of experimentation to come up with a recipe that you like.

Then I mix everything up with my trusty stick blender. You don't need a blender, you can use a spoon, but the stick blender speeds everything up.

I mix until the soap batter reaches trace. This simply means that the soap is mixed until the batter is thick and emulsified. I mix it until it is almost solid in the pot.

Most soapers pour the soap into a mold once they reach trace. I take things a step further and cook the soap in the oven. This is called "hot process." Basically, I am accelerating the chemical reaction by the addition of heat. This means that the soap is fully "saponified" and ready to use asap. Normally, If you don't add heat, the soap needs to sit for at least 4 weeks before use.

While the soap is cooking, I measure out my fragrance/essential oils and my "superfat" shea butter. Because the soap is fully saponified, the shea butter is not involved in the chemical reaction, and in theory, will be left free in the soap. This means that the soap will not overly dry you out!

Then I pour the soap into a mold. You can use just about anything for a mold...tupperware, a shoe box, silicone muffin pans, an empty carton of milk. You just need to properly line the mold, so your soap can be removed. Once the soap is hardened in the mold, you can take it out and slice.

Here is the soap sliced and ready to be labeled and wrapped. I always include all ingredients because some people may have certain allergens. I once met a woman who was allergic to olive oil!

Until next time, happy crafting!

Nordea nordeasoaperie

Holiday Gifts on a Budget

Washington is buzzing with talk about the "fiscal cliff." I am not quite sure what that all means for me, but I do know that I have considerably less money in my bank account compared to ten years ago.

I like giving gifts for the holidays, especially unique, handmade items. Unfortunately, some people in my family, and even some friends do not really appreciate how special handmade can truly be.

I have witnessed friends making lists of all the things they plan to return, and what they plan to get instead....not really embracing the true spirit of gift-giving.

For that reason, I am a fan of giving a bunch of "little" gifts. And by that I mean gifts around $10. I usually pick out 4-5 "little" gifts for each person, hoping that they will like at least a couple of the items. I hate to think of myself plunking down a considerable amount of money for one big gift, that the person may not like.

I often turn to etsy to find those special little items, that cannot be found in target, wal-mart, and other big department stores. Here are some awesome picks from members of the Etsy NY team:

Koto Designs

I hope I have given you a few ideas for some gifts this year, and remember, whatever gifts you may receive this thankful! Until next time, happy crafting (and/or shopping!)

Nordea / nordeasoaperie