My Adventure in Making Apple Swans Turns Jurassic

By Michelle D.


Recently, I watched this fantastic video on how to make art out of fruit and vegetables by Scrumdiddlyumptious. I was super inspired by the swans. Here was this incredibly creative way to make wonderful edible decorations that would be right at home at either a kid’s birthday party or an outdoor wedding reception. Talk about versatile! Also, I happened to have apples on hand so swans it was.


The first part of carving an apple into a swan is to make the body. I used a large apple to give myself more surface area to work with. I took one apple and cut it in half. This is the base of the body. The wings are made from nested V cuts and boy they are nowhere near as easy as they look in the video. I had to swap to a paring knife halfway through for better control. The apple skin was more resistant than the flesh so my knife kept biting deeper than I expected it to, every time it pierced through the skin.

Slice the apple in half to form the body


Make nested V cuts to form the wings

Next was the neck. I cut a slab from the other half of the apple. Then, I carved a “7” out of it. It is much easier carving the neck with the apple slice on the cutting board and the knife held vertically as opposed to trying to do it in my hand. Apparently, apples are fragile carving material, haha. My first neck did not go as planned. I didn’t realize the chef shallowed out the cut at the end and ended up making a plain C shape. Fortunately, it was easy enough to salvage.


The last step is to mount the neck on the body with a toothpick. My apple was starting to brown by the time I finished the swan. This was partly because I was going slow to be cautious, taking tons of photos, and new at the craft. It still is something to account for. If I were going to make a whole flotilla of swans for a party I would definitely be sprinkling them with lemon juice to halt the oxidization. I chose not to do a fancy crest or seed for an eye as I liked the plain look.


Now for the dinosaur!

I admit, the first apple swan did not make it. Instead it became a dinosaur. An apple brontosaurus is a much easier edible animal. I used one of my swan necks, cut a half round thick slice of apple for the body, cut a c out of the body, and boom. Dinosaur.


Now to eat my delicious and healthy creations!

Here is the video I used to make these lovely Apple Swans.  Watch it and make your own, then share your photos so that we can see your awesome creations!


Homemade Valentine's Day Chocolate Hearts Recipe

By Michelle D.

Valentine’s Day is upon us!

For as long as I can remember my mom has always made chocolate dipped strawberries for every special occasion; especially for weddings and Valentine’s Day. This year my sister chose to continue the tradition and made a batch for her beau. After she finished, I grabbed the chocolatey double boilers and decided to try something new. I present to you, homemade Valentine’s Day chocolate hearts! I wanted to do a new twist on our family tradition and to make something truly personal to give thanks to all the wonderful people around me.

This is a fun and easy to make treat that melts in your mouth. I made these delicious hearts for my family and friends alike. They are a great way to creatively express your love to those around you.

To make these Valentine's Day Chocolate Hearts, I first laid a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. This is where my creations will come into existence. I then set up my double boiler by adding water in the bottom pot. The upper bowl should rest on the rim of the pot. NOTE: The bowl should not be floating. If it feels floaty, drain some of the water.



To start melting the chocolate, I placed the double boiler on medium heat and added a half a bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 tablespoon of shortening to the double boiler bowl. Using the scraper, I stirred fairly often. The shortening helps the chocolate chips dissolve and makes the final chocolate hearts less likely to crack.


Once the chocolate is thoroughly melted, I stirred the chocolate mixture a few times using a teaspoon. This helped heat up the teaspoon and made the next step easier.

To form the hearts I loaded the warm teaspoon with about 3/4 full and with smooth sure strokes, made a V shape. This stage takes practice and patience but everyone in my family is happy to eat the “less than perfect” hearts, haha. What is really neat about this recipe is that anyone making the chocolate can drip it to make whatever design they wish. This recipe is extremely versatile.




To add a different flavored chocolate drizzle to the top, I simply made all of the base shapes first. Then I cleaned the double boiler and added a fresh round of the alternative chocolate and shortening. Here I have drizzled semi-sweet dark chocolate over milk chocolate. To get fine stripes, after the dark chocolate has melted, I dipped a fork into the mix and stirred. Then I used the fork to quickly flick dark chocolate on to the base shapes. For thicker doodles I used a small spoon. Feel free to experiment with chocolate combinations! They all turn out delicious.

Next, I set the tray of finished hearts aside to cool. After 30 minutes or so they were firm enough to peel off the parchment paper. If the hearts do not want to come off easily, I give them a bit more time to set up.


After I removed them from the parchment paper and placed them on a plate, they were ready to enjoy.


To make your own Valentine's Day chocolate hearts here are the tools and ingredients you will need.  You can then download the recipe by clicking the image below and saving it to your computer.

Tools:
1 Double Boiler
1 Scrapper
1 Teaspoon
1 Fork
Parchment Paper
Cookie Sheet

Ingredients:
1-2 Bags Chocolate Chips
Shortening


njoy your delicious homemade Valentine’s Day hearts!


DIY: How to Make a Washcloth Bunny



Valentine's Day and Easter are just around the corner. This is the time when homemade items can truly show how much we love and care for one another.  Whether it be delicious baked goods like cookies or a fun little craft to put beside a box of chocolates, a little touch of personalization is a must.  



Because I love to include little handmade crafts with my gifts, I did a search for something fun to make. While on Pinterest, I found a 'how to' on how to make a towel teddy bear.  It is an absolutely adorable craft that is pretty easy to make for almost any crafter.  Basically you roll up a towel on both sides to form a hot dog bun, fold it in half and twist to make the body, rubber band the head, rubber band the ears, fluff, and display.   Using those simple steps I created this little guy.

While I was creating this teddy bear made from a washcloth, my mom saw me and exclaimed that she used to make these and that her favorite is the bunny.  I blinked with confusion.  Who knew there were other animals that could be made from a washcloth. I had to know her secret and insisted she share her talents.  The bunny, as it turns out, is far easier than the bear!  Here are the instructions to make the bunny.

Materials

  • 1 Washcloth
  • 1 rubber band
  • 2 googly eyes
  • 1 nose
  • 1 12" long ribbon

Directions

  1. Lay a washcloth flat on a flat surface with one corner facing you
  2. Starting from a corner, roll the washcloth into a long tube
  3. Fold the tube in half
  4. Fold the tube in half again with the two ends going on top of the curved end
  5. Rubber band the most recent folded end to form the cheeks of the bunny, tie a ribbon around the rubber band
  6. Prop the ears up
  7. Glue on a nose, the eyes, and a fluffy tail. Let dry. 
  8. Display and enjoy.
 

So adorable! Be sure to share pics of your creations in the comments below.  We would love to see them.

DIY: How to Make a Cheap and Easy Centerpiece


Centerpieces help personalize an area. They can be popped on a bedroom dresser, tucked in a bathroom, set prominently on a dining room table, or placed on an outdoor table to greet any visitor to come to the door. Centerpieces are a wonderful way to set a mood and help make a space your own. 

Dressing up a room does not have to be expensive. I make my centerpieces out of things I have laying around the house from other craft projects. Anything goes: ribbon, silk flowers, glitter, scrap paper, stamps, tissue paper, fabric scraps, if it is laying around the house it is fair game. 

I was torn between making a traditional winter centerpiece and something a bit more cheery with the hint of spring. So I decided to make both.

The silk flowers were from the dollar store. The vase was a quart-sized mason jar. I cut a scrap piece of brown paper (the inside of a dead wrapping paper tube from Christmas) and taped it around the jar. Next I added the flowers and fluffed them up a bit. Silk flowers always get kind of squashed in storage. Place in a choice spot, and boom! Instant d├ęcor. 

Step 1: Cut scrap piece of brown paper


Step 2: Wrap paper around a mason jar

These particular centerpieces took me about five minutes to make and most of the time was spent rearranging the flowers. Brand new, the flowers cost $5-10 in materials ($1 per bunch from the local dollar store). Centerpieces really can be that cheap and easy to make. How creative can you get? Give it a shot! Share your creations in the comments below or on our Facebook Page!

Cutoff Crafts 2020 Holiday Gift Guide With Brand New Items

With craft fair season in full swing, Cutoff Crafts has been crazy busy.  I suppose that is to be expected since we are crafters.  Our first two craft fairs of the year had a huge amount of shoppers and they were both before Halloween. Planning ahead, we are preparing for an amazing Holiday season.

Coming for the Holidays, we have three more craft fairs where we will be displaying our fun crochet items, amazing handmade earrings, and beautiful chainmail bracelets.  The three craft fairs where you can find us are:

For those who cannot make our craft fairs or live in a different state, Cutoff Crafts has an Esty Page and we also take special orders.  If you happen to see something you like on our facebook page, blog posts, or anywhere on social media, contact us. We take orders and ship items.

I thought it would be fun to take a small virtual tour of what we have to offer this year from Cutoff Crafts.  We have been very busy trying to bring fun new items as well as keep what many have loved in the past. Starting the virtual tour we will begin with our highly popular items from craft fairs past. Returning this year in all their glory are several fun items that make the season bright.

  • Peppermint Swirl Earrings on Sterling Silver Hooks

These earrings feature adorable peppermint swirl beads with red and white beads to match.  They sit on a sterling silver shepherd hook that is nickel free. 

  • Crochet Octopus
One of our most popular stuffed toys is the eight-legged octopus.  The legs are crocheted to form a fun spiral, the eyes are googly, and the colors are electrifying.  They come in so many colors and due to the way yarn is dyed, each octopus is a unique piece. 
  • Chainmail Bracelets
These bracelets are made out of small aluminum rings. Michelle, the amazing Cutoff Crafts' chainmail artist, must examine every ring for flaws, open every ring, layer and connect them into a pattern, and then close every ring as she goes.  It is a crazy process that yields a beautiful lightweight statement piece.
  • Crochet Pokeballs
These pokeballs are soft enough to throw and not cause too much damage.  I say "not too much damage" because kids can break things with a feather, it is an amazing talent I have watched ensue.  I brought 5 of them to my first ever craft fair, and have been making more and more each time due to massive requests. 

NEW Items

While our returning items are exciting and bring about the holiday gift ideas, what I am sure most are looking for are the new items coming to Cutoff Crafts this holiday season. From designing new patterns to full on new crafting styles, Cutoff Crafts' holiday gift guide is featuring some amazing gifts for kids and adults.  The tour below contains a few of our newbie items entering the 2020 holiday season. 

  • Hurricane Lamp Earrings
These handmade beaded earrings are on sterling silver hooks and feature a cool faceted teardrop crystal and a light blue bead. As always, the hooks are nickel free.

  •  Pumpkin Shaped Pin Cushions

 We are extremely excited to share these brand new pumpkin shaped pin cushions.  They are hand sewn with button embellishments, pin sharpening sand bag, and marble weighted so it won't roll away in the middle of a sewing project. Each panel of the pin cushion is carefully selected to make a beautiful pattern.  Due to the creative process, each pin cushion is unique and one of a kind.



  • 100% Nylon Scrubbies
You asked, we deliver.  After a ton of requests for us to make these amazing scrubbies, Cutoff Crafts is bringing them to the next craft fair.  In many different colors, each scrubby is ready to take on the pots and pans in the kitchen. They are made out of 100% nylon making them strong and reusable.  Just pop them in the wash machine to clean and use again. 

  • Baby Yoda Ornaments 

These baby yoda ornaments are handmade balls of fun.  Each one is crocheted and features cute pointy ears and adorable eyes. The bottom of the ornament is a cream tan color of yarn to portray his cozy coat he wears and the top is an olive green for his skin color..

 

  • Kept Safe in My Heart Earrings

These Kept Safe in my Heart earring are a great accent to any wardrobe.  The lovely heart locket charms are on sterling silver nickel-free hooks.

  • Baby Unicorn

This year we are bringing a cute baby unicorn made by me (Sandra).  This pattern is of my own design.  I had a special request to make a little unicorn that can fit in the palm of your hand.  It took me two weeks of crocheting, ripping it apart, crocheting some more, tearing yarn to shreds, and eventually coming up with an adorable, chibi-like unicorn. The hair of the unicorn comes in different colors, the one below is strutting a rainbow mane and tail.


I hope you enjoyed our tour.  We look forward to seeing everyone at future events. As always, if you want one of these wonderful items featured here, contact us.  We are here and ready to help make your Christmas amazing!

A Crocheter and a Jeweler Create Together

By Michelle D.


Sandra and I have teamed up to unleash soft and fuzzy earrings upon the unsuspecting world! It is always neat to see what our two rather diverse styles can create together. Today I present three new, fun, and playful creations.

All of these earrings were handmade by Sandra and mounted by myself on nickel-free sterling silver hooks specially imported from Israel. These particular sterling silver hooks are incredibly forgiving to people suffering from nickel allergies.

Just in time for Halloween parties, we have the delicious looking crocheted candy corn earrings. These beauties are packed to the gills with stuffing giving them a firm and rather springy bounce. The Halloween Candy Corns are the perfect accent for handing out candy to trick-or-treaters or simply to sweeten a crisp autumn evening.


Up next is the incredibly vibrant crocheted hearts. They are an extremely vivid pink that pack a serious punch. Not for the faint of heart, these earrings proudly proclaim a love of crochet, crafting, and the color pink. The yarn has a lovely silky texture.


Finally, let me welcome in the floofiest of poofballs, the Emerald Pomple Earrings! These are an absolute delight to squeeze, fluff, and pet. I never fail to laugh when Sandra makes pomples for craft fairs and I am thrilled that now people can even wear them. Embrace the pomple!


We have all these and many, many more earrings for sale on our Etsy page. New items are being listed every week so feel free to check back often!

If our items have sold and are no longer listed on etsy, do not fear.  Shoot us a message and request a special order.  We are more than happy to create more.

Affordable Back To School Craft Time Fun

 


It’s back to school time! Whether you are home schooling, long distance learning, public schooling, or simply love cheap and plentiful craft supplies now is a great time to stock up. Did you know that the local dollar store has an entire crafting section? It’s true! Check out all this cool stuff I got for a dollar a piece.

 


Need to entertain kids, want to just unwind after a long, hard day of mentally taxing nonsense, or maybe play a word game? Boom! Coloring books, word searches, and crossword puzzle books are all available for a dollar. Crayons, markers, and coloring pencils needed to fill them in are also only a dollar.  There is a theme here.  Everything is affordable. 

 


School items can also be personalized with stickers so binders and notebooks don't get lost in a sea of clones.  The dollar stores have all kinds of stickers including the ones I am partial to: sharks and dolphins. Stickers are also handy for popping on envelopes, faces, shirts, walls… really they are only limited by your imagination.

 


Where there is school there is artwork and the need to display such wonderful pieces of the heart. From thumbtacks to frames, we can choose how upscale we would like to be. Personally, I went with the thumbtacks. I have no idea where mine keep running off to but I am sure they are having a party wherever they are.

 


I saw puzzles for a buck, do it yourself wood crafts, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, silk flowers, glitter gel, glue, flash cards, and so much more. Why yes, I was bouncing around like a kid in a candy shop. Crafting supplies without breaking the bank? Don’t mind if I do!

 


One final tip. I have a hard time keeping my events straight. I tend to have at least three calendars in my house at any given time. This is the best time of year to buy a few. Our local Dollar Tree only has calendars in stock for Back to School shopping. Afterwards, they vanish, not to be seen again until next September. I picked up a beautiful one with gorgeous pictures of rich forests and frigid mountains for 2021. Buy one for your friends, family, or pet squirrel because after the New Year’s Eve, calendars will cost $14-17 in most office stores.



 Having a fun, creative, time does not need to be expensive. Beautiful art can be made with every day supplies. I know I am going to be set for at least a few weeks. Unless I get into a sticker fight with my sister again.