Decorating for the Artistic Soul

Archive for the ‘Handmade’ Category

When you wait till the last minute to make purchases, it always limits the options that you have. While this is true about nearly anything you can buy, it is especially true when it comes to gift-giving. When you want to have the best opportunity to find unique gifts that are well thought out and perfect for the person you are giving to, it pays to buy early.

This is why summer is a great time to begin shopping for Christmas or other end of year holidays. When you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of not being able to find what you are looking for and you also have the problem of a crowded marketplace. There is less time and opportunity to really shop around and look for something special for those special people in your life.

But when you begin buying early for the holiday season, such as Christmas in July, this gives you a chance to shop around for the best deals which helps you to save money. It also allows you to buy things in the off season when they are more likely to be more affordable and less in demand. Yet another benefit is that you have more time to shop unique and handcrafted items until you find something that works well for what you want.

If you have a lot of people to shop for, this technique is going to be especially important. You can spend time really thinking about what you want to get for each person and how to choose a special gift that shows you really know their personality, as well as your own. In addition to this, you can spread out the money that you spend on gifts over the course of several months instead of spending it all in the month of the holiday. This means it’s easier on your budget as well and you don’t have to skimp as much on the gifts that you do choose.

American made Christmas gifts are truly the way to go this year. You hear a lot of talk today about how important it is to buy American made products. This is especially true around this time of year when everyone is getting ready for Christmas. But do you ever wonder what makes American made Christmas gifts so special? There are several reasons why Christmas gifts made in American stand out above all the rest.

One of the main reasons for buying American made Christmas gifts is to help build up the economy of the United States. It supports American jobs and helps to reduce the unemployment rate. Buying products that are made in the U.S. helps to strengthen America and keep jobs from disappearing that we need so badly.  Another great reason is for the quality you’ll receive. Most all products made in the U.S. are made from good quality materials that you can depend on to provide excellent service for many years to come.

Here is another good reason for buying American made gifts. Did you know that approximately ninety percent of the toys sold in the U.S. are made in China, where human rights laws and child labor laws are being abused? These people are forced to work long hours for low pay in horrible conditions. When you buy these items, you support this type of behavior.

Don’t be intimidated by all the products you find that are not made in American, there are still many excellent items available that will fulfill anyone’s wish list. If you take your time and shop around, you can even find a variety of unique gifts that show your friends and family members just how much thought you put into the gifts you bought for them. When you’re out shopping this year, make it a point to buy American made Christmas gifts. You’ll be glad you did and so will the ones receiving the gifts you buy.

Egret and Waterlily Mosaic Wall Mirror

Egret and Waterlily Mosaic Wall Mirror

Unique mirrors are the ideal choice when you’re thinking of original gifts to give this holiday season or if you’re wanting to decorate a new home or even change the decor in a particular area. For almost as long as man has been around it seems that people have used mirrors and other reflective surfaces to decorate their living areas. The popularity of mirror decor has grown in modern society and there are now many more types of unique mirrors than you could ever think possible.

There are so many differing styles of mirrors available, so you are sure to find one to meet every need, function, occasion and style. There are designs made of decorative metals, woods, mosaics, and mixed media. They are very appealing and will enhance any decor. You can find them in all shapes and sizes on our site. They also make great gifts for most any occasion.

So, just a reminder, when shopping for unique mirrors, we have a very large selection to choose from at Unique Decor Online. Our unique mirrors are handmade by American artisans, so you know you are getting something truly special. You can also feel confident knowing that your purchase supports art and American-made products which in turn helps fuel the economy. And we can all benefit from that.

Keepsake Box

Keepsake Box

When you attend handmade gift shows, you are getting a multitude of benefits. For example, you get to see great handmade items and gifts from artisans in your area or who have traveled to your area. It is also beneficial as a way to support the art and crafts community in our country. Handmade gifts are more eco-friendly than store bought gifts so you are doing something great for the environment, too. Most off all, you can find wonderful gifts for people on your list unlike anything they have likely seen before, already own or will see in a store.

Handmade gift shows allow you to get something extra special and unique for someone special on your list. You can feel good about buying these types of gifts and handmade gift shows make it easier for you. When you attend the gift shows, often held seasonally, you can save up for holidays, birthdays and other events that may occur throughout the year that you want to give gifts for. Then you will always have something special on hand when a gift giving occasion arrives.

But handmade gift shows are also great even if you’re not doing a lot of buying yourself. You can attend them just to browse and look around or even to help you build your own creative ideas. Many artists and crafters will visit these handmade gift shows to get inspiration and ideas or to meet other people with similar interests.

14, 15 & 16 Treasure Chest Arts & Crafts Show

This fantastic 3 day long show will be held at St. Charles County Convention Center located at One Convention Plaza, St. Charles, MO. Times: Fri., Nov. 14, 3-8pm, Sat., Nov. 15, 9am-7pm, Sun., Nov. 16, 10am-5pm. The Treasure Chest Arts & Crafts Show featuring handmade items or items of a handcrafted nature. Absolutely no party plan type vendors. FREE parking and FREE admission!! Over 140 Booths, including juried artists.

We’re pulling up an old post from last year because it was such a popular one. We thought it might be a good idea to refresh it here for those of you just visiting us this year. It’s great for the new fall season and can help with your fall decorating ideas.

Fresh Gourds

When it comes to gourd art, many people ask how they can dry out their own gourds for making beautiful hand-crafted designs. If you do not grow your own gourds and would rather skip the drying phase and get right to decorating and designing, you can purchase already dried gourds. There are many great locations to purchase these already dried and prepared gourds and you can be well on your way to creating gourd art in no time at all.

However, if you grow your own gourds or if you’d like to try your hand at drying them yourself, here are some tips for you to follow. Remember that the most important tip for drying your own gourds is not to rush it. It’s very important that you let nature run its natural course and dry the gourds. You should never dry to scrape them or do anything to try to force them to dry sooner.

1. When you harvest the gourds is important. Get them when they are ripe at the end of season and when the stem has turned brown. Keep some of the stem on the gourd when you harvest it (1-3 inches, depending on size of the gourd).

2. Gently remove any dirt or soil that is on the gourd. You don’t have to scrub the soil away; just gently shake off the excess.

3. Use a rubber band or string to attach to the stem so that you can hang the gourd for drying. Find a dark, well-ventilated area to hang your gourds to dry. A garage or a basement usually works well.

4. Check in on your gourds often. If mold develops on the skin of the gourd, you will need to remove it. (You can remove the mold gently with a 10% solution of bleach).

5. When you check in on the gourds, you should tap them gently with your hand to judge how they are drying. Once they are dry to the touch and make a hollow sound, they are ready to use for art.

6. You only need to check on your gourds about once a month. It can take 2-4 months for your gourds to dry out depending on the conditions where they are and the type of gourd.

7. When your gourds are dry and you are ready to use them you can paint them with a layer of varnish or paste wax if you want to preserve the finish.

8. Begin decorating!

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Polymer clay is the new and modern way to make jewelry. The material used is referred to as ‘clay” because of its texture that makes working with the material similar to working with mineral clay. However, this compound does not contain minerals or clay but instead it is made up of PVC or polyvinyl chloride that is suspended in plasticizer. Check out our video below for “how-to” ideas on this fun way to make jewelry.

It is flexible enough to twist, roll or bend into any shape you desire making it easy and fun to work with. You will find a variety of different colors that can be used alone, blended together to make a unique color or you can place colors together without blending. The options are unlimited when you use polymer clay.

Another great thing about working with polymer clay is that it doesn’t dry out over time. Therefore, you can spend as long as you like shaping and working with it until you achieve the results you like. Once you have the shape and design you want for your jewelry it is ready for the firing process. This can be done right in your home oven and the shape or size will not change during the firing process.

You can make your own beautiful necklaces, pendants, earrings and more from polymer clay. This gives you the opportunity to have fascinating unique jewelry that no one else has ever seen before. The best news is that polymer clay is easy to find because this remarkable sculpting material is now sold in hobby shops, craft stores and art stores everywhere.

Another great craft idea if you’re looking for a great handmade gift, an activity for children or a hobby to keep you busy during the summer is to scrapbook a special event. Scrapbooks are great fun to make and even more fun to look back on later and reminisce all the memories. You can do a scrapbook of most any event such as:

• Birthdays
• Christmas
• Thanksgiving
• Summer vacation
• Easter
• New Years
• Pregnancy
• Birth of a baby
• Anniversary
• Wedding
• And more

If there is a holiday or special event happening, then you can do a scrapbook of it. It’s also possible to go back to past events where photos were taken and create a scrapbook from this. You can also make scrapbooks from many materials that you already have lying around your home so it’s easy and inexpensive to do.

First you will want something to be used as the book. You can use a photo album, a purchased scrapbook to fill or you can create your own. You can even use posterboard or construction paper cut to the right size and with holes punched in to tie it together to create your own scrapbook.

Next you need photos of your event to use in your scrapbook. You can cut them, crop them or change and edit them however you choose to make them right for your scrapbook theme and idea. It is a good idea to arrange your photos in the order and position you want them in before you start permanently attaching them to your scrapbook.

Now it is time to collect your other scrapbook extras. You can use pieces of construction paper, craft paper, stickers, stencils, stamps and anything else you desire to decorate your scrapbook. You may want to write in dates, captions or other details on your photos. It’s up to you what you want to do- this is the freedom of the scrapbook.

Add details, decorations and more however you desire. You may get wild and creative or you may choose to stick with a common theme. For example, if your photos are of a family 4th of July event, you may keep your colors and decorations red, white and blue. You can also include some great quotes about Independence Day and other fun, related details.

You can be as creative as you choose with your scrapbook, using any combination of materials, paper types and more. The point of the scrapbook is that it is handmade and creative and that it will create memories that are preserved for many years to come. You can make it a family event to create the scrapbook and everyone can have a piece of the creativity. You can also choose to give it to someone for a special gift or as a holiday gift.

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