Celebrate Mother's Day With Cutoff Crafts May 8th at the Silver Lake Mall


May 9th is Mother's Day! It's the time to tell our moms just how much we love and appreciate all they have done for us.  Some moms like the traditional set: grab some flowers, sign a card, and finish it off with a nice dinner.  For others, our moms are a little more...eccentric. These moms will love the standard Mother's Day gestures but we all know that they will also adore something more unique.  Either way, we want to show our love and support the best way we know how.

Cutoff Crafts is celebrating moms this weekend (May 8th) at The Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d'Alene, ID, with our collection of gifts that are sure to spark the interest for all of our mons. Each gift is carefully handcrafted to ensure it's longevity and pristine beauty. What is even more amazing is that our collection of gifts ranges from conventional to eccentric.  Our earrings feature bright flowers and adorable hearts to epic dragons and Doctor Who charms. 


We have necklaces that can't be found anywhere else. Many of the necklaces are crafted of carefully selected vintage beads placed on a silk cord, and adorned with a sterling silver clasp. Some even feature a pearl knot between each bead to help protect the beads from rubbing against each other, add to the beauty of the piece, and to add strength to the necklace.

Chinese melon beads from the 1700s with a sterling silver clasp, hand strung on a silk cord.


And to finish off the ensemble we have delightful bracelets in different styles made by our expert chainmail artist, Michelle.  Opening one ring at a time and blending the metal into a gorgeous pattern, Michelle creates works of art that will be beautiful on the wrist and demand the attention of passersby. 

Bottom to top: Half persian 3 in 1, European 4 in 1, Turkish Round, Pseudo Mobius, Pseudo Mobius

Of course, if jewelry is not in your mom's wheelhouse, we have other items moms are sure to enjoy.  Our local crochet artist, Sandra (that's me), creates fun items that are both decorative and useful.  Ranging from look-a-like plants to adorable stuffed animals, the items are sure to be enjoyed.

Some of the crocheted plants Cutoff Crafts will be featuring this weekend are realistic looking little cacti and little roses in a clay pots.  These plants are a wonderful gift because, unlike real flowers, they will never wilt.  As an added bonus, these potted plants never need watering.  

 Cutoff Crafts is debuting a brand new item - magnets.  These little gifts will feature small flowers, butterflies, or other tiny creations that can decorate refrigerators, filing cabinets, and other metal surfaces in the home.  WARNING: Keep away from electronics.

Crochet cactus (top left), crochet rose (top right), flower magnets (bottom)

For the keychain collectors we will have butterfly keychains ready to help celebrate Mother's Day and spring!  For the coffee lovers we will have comfy coffee cozies that will help protect the hands from hot and cold beverages. For the animal lovers we will have small stuffed animals featuring hedgehogs, octopi, cats, unicorns, and more. 

  

Butterfly keychain (top left), Sea Side Coffee Cozy (top right), crochet hedgehog (bottom)

There is so much to find at our store and all of our items are handcrafted with care. The list above is a small sample of what we have to offer. Come by, check out the items, and find the perfect Mother's Day gift.  Hope to see you May 8th at the Silver Lake Mall, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.



Strawberry Sunset - A Game of Intense Garden Planning

 By Michelle D.


I love gardening. Unfortunately, even though it looks like spring outside, the nighttime temperatures are still hovering around 15*F. This makes it rather difficult to grow things. I also adore card games, especially games that focus on more peaceful themes. One night, I was surfing the internet looking for something to strike my fancy when I suddenly ran across a small game called Strawberry Sunset. It had rather good reviews, what looked like an interesting mechanic, and seemed like it would be a nice relaxing game.


I ordered a copy and decided to give it a shot.

Strawberry Sunset is affordable and extremely portable. The entire game, including the instructions, fits in a standard playing card deck sized box. Visually, this is a stunning card game. The graphics are simply gorgeous and extremely accurate. The cards themselves are printed on fantastic quality cardstock.


The game did require someone with healthy eyes in order to read all the instructions, as they are printed in a rather small font. However, the instructions are also available online at https://stellarfactory.com/pages/how-to-videos in a PDF for free.

The goal of Strawberry Sunset is simple - score the most points to win the game. This is done by growing strawberry plants, building a long walkway, making a massive reflecting pool, attracting birds and bees, and constructing a beautiful statue garden. The means can get rather complex, but in the end the goal is to score the most points while making an aesthetically pleasing garden.


There are three decks, one of root cards, one of flower cards, and one of fruit cards. The decks are all stacked on top of each other at the start of the game. Players have their own garden. Each turn, a player either draws two cards blindly from the deck or draws one card from one of the compost piles (discard piles). They must then play one card in their garden. If the player drew two cards, they discard the extra. Each deck gets its own discard pile, which allows players to draw a card specifically from that deck in the future. Cards are placed down one at a time vertically in the player’s garden. Each card must overlap at least one quadrant (called a plot) of a card already in play. They can overlap more than one plot. They can even cover another card entirely! The card just has to be played vertical and overlap at least one plot.


The game absolutely requires a large flat surface to place the cards down on. The card placement requires precision. The slightest bump of a table can shift everyone’s gardens leading to much frustration. Floors make a great option for a stable playing surface.

Strawberry Sunset is a fantastic game to help improve spatial skills and visualization. It was also far more complex than I originally thought. The first time I played this with my family there were frequent exclamations of:
"This is harder than it looks!"
"This is intense.”
"Shhh! I am thinking."

This is a game of intense garden planning that requires strategic thinking and tactical maneuvering. It is very easy to pick up and play, yet rather hard to master. Scoring can easily become a group event and is a wonderful way to encourage mathematical skills in younger kids. The game is quite replayable.


All in all I recommend Strawberry Sunset to anyone looking for a compact game that is beautiful and wants a chance to flex those brain muscles.

Cutoff Crafts Now Glows-In-The-Dark!

 by Sandra G.

Last Saturday (April 3rd), we hosted our first booth of the year at the Community Market in the Silver Lake Mall, CDA. We brought our popular handmade jewelry, crochet toys, pin cushions, coffee cozys, and more. The booth turned out amazing and featured many of our fan favorites. Check out the image below and see our epic setup.

While every event is exciting and features a lot of our handmade goods, this event featured something new to our repertoire and we were ecstatic to get it on the shelves. We were (and are) so excited to announce that Cutoff Crafts glows-in-the-dark with our new merchandise! Yes...we glow!


Thanks to Michelle's amazing chainmail and jewelry crafting abilities, we now have several glow in the dark bracelets for sale. From Foxtail to Byzantine, each bracelet is meticulously arranged to form a beautiful piece that literally glows when the lights go out.  Some bracelets even include scales that glow!



What is really cool about these glow-in-the-dark bracelets is that when you take a blacklight and shine it on the bracelets, the phosphor is instantly energized and ready to glow. The bracelets can also be energized by sunlight or other light sources. Once the glow stops, simply recharge for more glow-in-the-dark fun.

We will be featuring these bracelets at the Community Market for the next 8 Saturdays while supplies last.  If you wish to see them glow simply ask for a demonstration.  Trust me, we will be all too excited to oblige (I really love our new glow-in-the-dark items). 


Happy St. Patrick's Day Printable Coloring Page

Sandra G.


It's the day of green! It's the day of pinching those who don't wear green, not that I condone violence in anyway. But if I find someone in my family missing a specific color today, there will be the right of pinching. Be afraid.  Honestly, the act of pinching is rare in my family because there are two days we prepare for, St. Patrick's Day by making sure we wear green and April Fool's Day.  We are a cheeky bunch. 

The act of wearing green is only part of the fun we get to enjoy on March 17th.  St. Patrick's Day also features decorations inspired by shamrocks, rainbows, gold coins, and leprechauns as well as meals consisting of corned beef and cabbage. Drinks are often dyed green, rivers turn green, and people seem to let all their worries disappear in a good ol' pint of cheer...so I am told. I guess we can say it's a great day to celebrate.

In celebration of such an iconic day, I have created a coloring page featuring shamrocks and a leprechaun's hat.  To get the coloring page simply click the image below and save it to your computer, then print and color.  Have a happy and fun St. Patrick's Day!





DIY: How To Make A Beaded Lizard (With Pictures)

By Michelle D.


When I was a kid I learned how to make beaded lizards using large plastic pony beads (Amazon affiliate link) for mighty, durable, lizard bodies. We were always travelling on long road trips and this was a wonderful craft project to keep me endlessly entertained. The materials are very portable, the pattern can be as simple or as complex as the crafter chooses, and a lizard doesn’t take that long to complete. I loved having the freedom to play with my lizard designs, altering both the colors and the build. I made long lizards, fat lizards, lizards with six legs, and crazy pink lizards with blue eyes and gold toes.

Pony Beaded Lizard I made as a kid

Making beaded lizards was fantastically eye opening being able to safely experiment in a way that was always going to yield a final art piece. Some lizards came out more elegant than others, some were extremely silly, but each one was a final complete lizard.

Somewhere along the line I became an adult. I’m still not entirely sure how this happened. Now I work with fancy glass and ceramic beads from all over the world. 

One day I was talking with Sandra and remembered how much fun the little beaded lizards were to make. As I was reminiscing with Sandra I suddenly paused and thought, “what if I use fancy silver lined Czech glass beads to make a cute little lizard?” What followed was an absolute cascade of lizards and birds in a riot of color. I absolutely love how they came out! 


Here's how I make my lizards. I hope they can bring you the joy they bring me. 

Beaded Lizard Tutorial

Supplies needed:

A pair of scissors

Cordage (Coat’s Extra Strong Upholstery Thread [Amazon affiliate link])

Green, white, and 2 gold beads (silver lined Czech glass beads [Amazon affiliate link])

Optional:

Glue

Materials needed

Any type of cordage will work, whether that is elastic cording, silk thread, or polyester upholstery thread. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. This little fellow is done on Coat’s Extra Strong Upholstery Thread.

I used silver lined Czech glass beads for the body. The silver lining gives them a gorgeous luminescent glow in the sun. However, I always double check to make sure there are no blisters or bubbles marring the beads. It’s a rare but unfortunate failure point of lined beads.

Directions

1. Cut a strand of thread 1-2 yards long. If you are using upholstery thread, give it a sharp tug or two to stretch it a bit.

2. Slide two green beads on to the thread. This is the tip of the nose. Slide them alllll the way to the center of the thread. There are now two equal lengths of thread, one on either side. These are what will be used to weave the lizard.

Step 2

3. Slip three beads (green, white, green) on one strand of thread, only going a little ways on to the thread. Then take the opposing thread and feed it through those same beads going the opposite direction. Again, only slip the thread a short ways through the beads. Grab one thread tail in each hand and gently pull them both at the same time. The three beads will butt directly against the two bead nose point. This is one complete bead rung of the lizard!

Step 3

The next steps will be bead rungs following the same instructions of step 3

4. Slip 4 beads (green, white, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

5. Slip 5 beads (green, white, green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

Step 5

6. Slip 6 beads (gold, green, white, white, green, gold) on one strand and make a rung.

7. Slip 3 beads (green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

8. Slip 3 beads (green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

9. The legs are a bit tricky, but easy once you get the hang of them. Take a single strand of thread and add three green beads. This is the leg. Next, add three white beads. These are the toes. Thread the same strand back through the three leg beads, forming a loop. When tightened against the body, the leg will jut out and the toes will rest splayed open. Each side gets a leg at the same time. After forming the legs, add the next body rung like normal.

Step 9 part 1

Step 9 part 2

Step 9 part 3

10. Slip 4 beads (green, white, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

11. Slip 5 beads (green, white, green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

12. Slip 6 beads (green, white, green, green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

13. Slip 5 beads (green, white, green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

14. Slip 4 beads (green, white, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

15. Do step 9 for the legs

Step 15

16. Slip 3 beads (green, white, green) on one strand and make a rung.

17. Slip 2 beads (green, green) on one strand and make a rung.  Do this 5 times to make the tail.

Step 17

18. At the end, I tie off with a surgeon’s knot tightened against the last tail rung. I then take one thread end and tie it to the left side with two overhand knots. I repeat on the right side with the other thread end. If I am planning for the lizard to see serious wear and tear, I will put drops of glue on each knot to help secure them. 

Step 18

Trim the ends, and you have a beautiful lizard creation!

Original inspiration meets new creation



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!