Welcome to my blog of all my crafting adventures! You can become a fan of my Facebook page by clicking on the icon on the right. If you are local to College Station, TX and are interested in purchasing any of my items I sell at the Farmer's Market, please email lisa@lilyandoak.com.

My new website is up and running! You'll find it at www.lilyandoak.com. All of my Scent Melts and warmers are listed. I am working on pendants and magnet sets next. If what you want is not there yet, let me know what you'll looking for and I'll get it set up next.

Places I'll be selling:

February 19th--Brazos Valley Farmers Market in Bryan 8:00AM to Noon--Looks like it might rain, so I might stay home. :)

February 26th--Brazos Valley Farmers Market in Bryan 8:00AM to Noon

You can always contact me to view my products at my home in College Station.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fun Printable Mazes

My husband likes to make mazes for our kids to do when they need to sit quietly. He just finished a set of three and offered to let me post them on my blog in case anyone else wants to give them a try. These mazes are a bit non-traditional in that there are words, pictures, math equations, etc that when you reach them, you can "jump" to the item that corresponds to it. For example, the one below has sets of objects and numbers that correspond to them. Feel free to print these mazes for your own personal use. They are in PDF form. If you like them and want to share, please link to this post. Also, my husband would appreciate any comments on how well these mazes are enjoyed--are they too easy, too hard, confusing? Download them here. Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kitchen Greenhouse

Not exactly a craft, but definitely an art--which I'm still trying to get figured out...

It's seed-starting time and this year I'm excited about my indoor setup. Last year, my seedlings were tucked away on a table in the corner of my bedroom with a few UV lights and they got a little neglected. I also tried to skimp and had bought cheap soil. Not sure how much of a roll that played in the demise of dozens of tomato seedlings, but I decided not to take any chances. This year, I purchased a huge bag of good potting soil and planted four flats of seeds--that's 144 seedlings. :) Some are landscaping plants, some are vegetables. We plan to actually put some effort into landscaping our front yard this year and I'll grow as many vegetable plants as I have room for in the back. The remaining plants will go with me to the Farmers Market where they will hopefully find some good homes.

In order to give my indoor starts adequate lighting, I have used work lamps with cool spectrum UV bulbs. This year, since I had so many flats, I either needed more work lamps, or something more heavy duty. I ended up going for an actual flourescent light fixture that uses 4 foot T4 bulbs. My husband built me a great stand to hang it from and now I've got a nice lighting setup for my indoor greenhouse. I still use the work lamps to sort of "spotlight" a few areas. Ideally, I would hang a second light fixture next to the first--maybe next season.

For anyone wanting to start seedlings indoors, I buy the florescent bulbs that are labeled as "cool." I think some call them "daylight." The important part is you want one that is 6700K. This is a blue light which promotes plant growth. A lower number is a warmer light, which promotes flowering and fruiting. I was able to get my light fixture and two bulbs for $20 at Walmart.

My kids helped me plant the seeds--which was a little chaotic at times when my two-year-old wanted to help, but I am glad they are learning at a young age the love of gardening. My husband and I both grew up with parents who gardened so we never really discuss if we should garden, just where we should try to squeeze it in. It is also fun to use this as a teaching opportunity to discuss with my kids the needs of plants. Lately, most of our discussions are all about not over watering. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Polymer Clay Flowers

I found some great directions by Sue Heaser for making various flowers with polymer clay. It didn't look too bad, so I decided to give it a try. Here are the results of my first attempt:

A rose

A carnation
Neither were perfect, but I thought they weren't too bad for a first attempt. I'm excited about the potential of expanding my current line of magnets that I sell at the farmers market with some designs incorporating various flowers.

Polymer Clay Image Transfers

I have recently decided to give polymer clay a try as a crafting medium. I was intrigued by some items on Etsy done with image transfers onto polymer clay. It looked neat and a great way to once again hybridize my crafting with my scrapbook design work. After doing a little research, I found that you can use inkjet printable t-shirt heat transfer paper. I bought some Avery brand light colored t-shirt transfer paper at Walmart and decided to give it a try.

I printed off a few designs from my collection of images onto a sheet of transfer paper. I cut them out close to the edges of the images, except on the words. Also, I flipped the images so that they would be correct once transferred to the clay. This is most evident with the "test" images.

Previously, I had test baked samples of the various polymer clays available at my local Joanns, Hobby Lobby and Michaels. I found that the Sculpey Premo brand was the most flexible and least brittle once baked. My other test squares all snapped in half with not too much effort. The Premo bent into a "U" shape without breaking at all. I also rolled out some white Premo using the thickest setting on my clay machine (Sculpey brand purchased at Joanns--reg priced $25, but paid $15 with 40% off coupon). Using clay shape cutters, I cut several small shapes. I use a smooth bathroom tile from Home Depot for my work surface. I can pop it right in the oven and I don't have to worry about the clay chemicals on my kitchen table. The clay should not be used with any tools that will later be used to prepare food. I then place an image on each one and rubbed to get all parts firmly attached to the clay.

Next came baking--275 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Remove the clay and gently pull off the paper. Continue baking to finish polymerizing the clay. The Premo clay requires 30 minutes total for a 1/4 inch thick piece. Mine are about 1/8 inch thick, but 30 minutes seemed fine.

The transfer worked great in that the image was transferred in vivid colors to the clay, but I did not like the edge that was left by the small border of unprinted transfer paper. In the future, I will try to have the paper go completely to the edge of the clay.

On the rose, there was a tiny pinhole in the clay that was really obvious in the finished image. This is a good example of why it's important to make sure the clay is smooth and the entire image is firmly in contact with the clay.
Overall, this image transfer method definitely has potential. One huge advantage for me is that it works with inkjet printers. There are other methods, but many require laser prints and most of us do not have a color laser printer in our home. Stay tuned to see my future image transfer projects. On the list of things to do is to make zipper pulls for my kids that have their names on the back--in case they misplace their belongings.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Simplifying and a Freebie

For a while now, I have been designing digital products as well as making tangible items to sell at my local Farmer's Market and on Etsy. I viewed them as two different endeavors that would each attract different people and therefore each needed their own blogs. However, the more I've done, the more my designing seems to bleed over into my crafts. Also, I have a hard time keeping up with one blog, let alone two. Today I am announcing my simplification and union of both blogs. All new craft items I create will be posted here, instead of at customgreetings.blogspot.com. Also, I am venturing into some new craft mediums (my husband laughs at how many "hobbies" I've been through in the last couple of months). I will be sharing my tests and successes here so hopefully others who want to give some of these mediums a try can learn from my research and mistakes. :) Check back soon for a look at what I've been creating today, and for stopping by, here's a scrapbooking freebie. Click the preview to download it. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you like the download--it helps me know what people might like in the future! :)

This cheerful tulip freebie coordinates with the Project 365 color palette at Bouquet of Pixels. Be sure to check out the monthly Project 365 kits for beautiful, coordinated supplies for a year of events and holidays.