Custom Pouches

These pouches only need basic sewing skills, a couple swatches of fabric, a button, and a magazine clipping or picture. Sew the two swatches together (facing inside out), making sure to leave room for the flap. Then sew the button to the front and cut a hole in the flap for the button to fit through. Sew around this hole and the flap a couple times to make sure it doesn’t fray. To make it customized, sew a picture around the back and cover it in varnish after to make sure it stays. I got my pictures from an article and an old Matisse calendar!

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Incense Holder

Yesterday Steph gave me some AMAZING incense and it reminded me of this incense holder I made a while ago.

All I did was take an old cardboard jewelry box (earrings are often sold in these boxes) and use a box cutter to slice a small x in the top so I could stick the incense in. Then you can paint whatever design you want on it.

I didn’t think about it until after I was done, but a longer box (like for a necklace) would be better if you wanted to catch the ashes that fall. Or you could just have it over a tray like me.

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Jellyfish & Self-Consciousness

I made this sweet little collage of some jellyfish a couple weeks ago with tiny strips from magazines. Jellyfish are my favorite animals by far. Graceful, carefree, and beautiful, but they can seriously mess you up. I just think they are such cool creatures.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and much of it has been inspired by indoor percussion, an immensely time consuming but satisfying activity that I participate in with my school. I play the vibraphone (like a xylophone) and our show’s concept is insomnia. It’s much more performance-based than marching band and the hardest aspect for me is definitely to stay in character, as an insomniac.

As a generally serene person, it was really awkward and uncomfortable for me to make angry faces at an audience while I played. Performing the show did not really become fun until I gave up on caring about what I looked like and just did it. Now I love performing so much more.

Anyway, my point here is that I think some people let their self-consciousness and fear of criticism limit their true capabilities. I was like that for a long time. Doing more art is really helping me get over this and stop caring about what other people might think. I think too many people believe that any artistic activity is limited to professionals and the naturally talented, and that’s not true at all. Everyone can do it and everyone should do it! Art is fun. And it’s even more fun when you stop comparing your work to someone else’s and just enjoy the process of making it instead. My jellyfish picture is really nothing that took any talent, but I love it because no one else would spend so much time on a stupid little picture like that. Art is all about taking something from your mind and expressing it in the real world, and even the tiniest ounce of self-consciousness will affect it. And when you think about it, what is there to be afraid of, anyway? If you don’t feel like someone is judging you every once in a while, you’re probably not doing enough interesting stuff or taking enough risks. So stop caring. When you think of a cool idea, just go with it.

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Handmade Notebooks

With a glue gun, pretty fabrics, cut up t’shirts, scrap paper, and cut up folders, these gorgeous, adorable notebooks can be created and decorated with style. I’ve been selling these for HOPE for Ariang (organization explained below) to promote education in Southern Sudan. Please contact if you are interested in having your own notebook or would like to simply contribute to HOPE.

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Magazine Pens

Allison started making these pens from magazine clippings. When covered with all different random or coordinated colors/designs/words and varnished, they come out looking like beautiful fancy pens. I have been selling them for $3 (or 2 for $5) for STAND, the Student Led Anti-Genocide Movement. The money I’ve raised goes to an organization called HOPE for Ariang, a non profit started by Lost Boy of Sudan, Gabriel Bol Deng, who has returned to his village in South Sudan (after fleeing from genocide at age 10)  to build a school and make education a component of the village’s life.

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Ice Tea Can Trays

Here are some little tray boxes I made from woven strips of Arizona and Peace Iced Tea. Only a few strips can be made from each can, so it took quite some time to collect enough to make these. Weaving them was the hardest part along with making sure there are no sharp edges sticking out, but for the most part they were real fun to collect and put together. They make adorable desk decorations and are quite useful as well 🙂

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Apple Stamp Greeting Cards

I learned this craft in preschool, so that’s proof that anyone can do it! All you need to do is cut an apple in half. (If you cut it perfectly in half, you will have two flower stamps, but if you cut it closer to an edge you will have a flat inner surface to design a stamp on.) Penetrate the flat inner surface with a fork or knife. There’s no going wrong. Any design you make will work. Then, proceed to use the apple as if it were a regular stamp. Stamp it on papers and cut them up along with other scraps to make greeting cards. Challenge yourself to leave the least amount of scraps possible- my cards got tinier and tinier as I tried to work with my depleting table of paper scraps. Have fun!

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