Daily Archives: October 18, 2010
When the folks at Quirk Books offered me the chance to review “Witch Craft: Creepy Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More!,” I immediately knew I needed to round up some friends and have some crafty fun. After all, craft books aren’t like novels. There’s no underlying meaning to be debated within their pages. They’re instruction books, and to see if they’re any good, they need to be tested.
As a total crafting novice, I knew that the book would be a success if I could follow the instructions and come out with something that even vaguely resembled the photos.
“Witch Craft” is a clever and colorful collection of 25 “witchy” crafts compiled from a wide variety of craft bloggers and other clever crafters from all over the place. Kachmar and McGuire widely kept the skill level of all the different projects varied; There are a few crafts that even small children could probably accomplish, but yet there are a few you need to know a thing or two about crocheting/knitting in order to do. From how to make Ruby slippers and Blood Orange punch to how to knit a spider hat or make a vampire bite necklace, if you’re looking for a delightful craft book around Halloween time, this one’s for you.
With the assistance of my adorable husband (and photographer) Eric, and our friends Morgan and Aaron, we picked a few of the projects from the book and all got together for an evening of crafting. And tacos and board games, too, but that’s not important.
We picked three of the projects from the book – “Crystal Balls, Spell Jars, & Snow Globes,” “Creepy Crocheted Bones,” and “Poison Ivy Lip Embellishment.” These three projects seemed to represent a fairly wide range of skill/ability of the crafts within the book. Not to mention, they all looked really fun in the photos.
(Supplies were gathered in advance. Fortunately, Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood was recently blessed with a Michael’s store, which I can’t rave enough about.)
Project #1: “Crystal Balls, Spell Jars, & Snow Globes”
(This first craft comes from Shalet Abraham at Peculiar Momma.)
Making these was a blast – and I think they turned out really neat.
Basically, you take glass jars or bottles and fill them with water and put glitter and other items inside them, then hot glue the bottles shut and adorn them with whatever you like. We had a lot of fun filling the bottles with items – I’d bought small stones and weird bone-like beads, in addition to some crazy multi-colored glitter. The secret is to apparently to add a few drops of glycerin. (Glycerin, if you’re looking, can be found in the baking isle of your local craft store. It has something to do with the color of icing.) Once they’re filled and hot glued together, you can decorate them any way you want.
(Aaron had a lot of fun playing with wire to make his bottle.)
I bought a variety of bottles for this project – and we soon learned a valuable lesson: though any glass bottle will work, really, the easiest ones to glue shut were the two bottles with corks. The bottle I used had a glass lid, and required mad amounts of hot glue to keep closed and not leaking. If I made another one, I’d absolutely get a corked bottle. (Just a tip.)
Project #2: “Creepy Crocheted Bones”
(This project was contributed by Alicia Kachmar, one of the compilers of the book as well as the operator of an Etsy store called Eternal Sunshine.)
Not knowing anything about crocheting, I left this project in Ms. Morgan’s incredibly capable hands.
Morgan is one of the most talented crafters I know. In addition, to whipping up adorable objects for everyone around her, she also runs a super-cute Etsy store. Crocheting bones gave her no trouble at all as she breezed through the project – the whole time assuring us that the whole thing was easy. The results are certainly adorable – it has an evil smile, per my husband’s request.
Project #3: “Poison Ivy Lip Embellishment”
(This project was contributed by Jill McKeeves of ForStrangeWomen.com)
Of all the projects, this one excited me the most. I’m not sure why. Maybe it spoke to the part of 6th grade me that wanted to be a nature girl and make my own cosmetics out of household items and berries from the woods. Or maybe it’s because I might not be able to use knitting needles, but I can certainly follow a recipe.
Who knows?And who cares?
I was excited to make some lip balm – and in truth, it wasn’t that hard to do. The hardest part was gathering some of the ingredients – namely, beeswax and vitamin E oil. (The recipe calls for the oil from two vitamin E capsules, but when I got to CVS on a hunt for said capsules, I realized that pure Vitamin E oil was actually cheaper, so I went with that.)
This project involves cooking, and as such isn’t really one I’d let the little folks tackle. It involves setting a glass measuring cup inside a saucepan of boiling water and melting ingredients together. Since you use things like olive oil, essential oils, beeswax, vitamin E extract, and honey, it’s safe to actually put on your face.
My essential oils selection was limited, so I went with a vanilla and pomegranate oil. Mixed with the honey and the olive oil, it smells remarkably like tea. Bigelow’s Raspberry Royale Tea, to be precise, which was my favorite tea when I was growing up, so of course I’m crazy about the finished product. (But everyone else liked it too, so it’s not just me.)
We used small candle tins for our containers, and adorned them using a hot glue gun and some leftover colored rocks from project #1. I think they turned out wonderfully, and as I write this my lips are moistened by this pleasant little concoction. The recipe doesn’t make much, though. The containers actually came in a set of four, but we only filled three of these containers. (And honestly, the contents could have fit into two – but we had a third friend who wanted to try the finished results.)
Crafting may not be my full-time hobby, but it’s a lot of fun. If you’re looking for a fun project to spend an hour or so on, “Witch Craft” has several. The book is a charming little treasure, and something I think a lot of people would find some joy in. Design-wise, it’s laid out with a great sense of color and fun, and it’s a blast just to look through.
Kudos to McGuire and Kachmar for putting together a seriously fun collection – and kudos to all the clever folks who created the projects that fill it’s pages.
“Witch Craft” is in stores now, and you can learn more by going to the Quirk site for the book.
Bonus: There’s a recipe for “finger cookies” from “Witch Craft” contributor Grace Hiura up on the Quirk Books site right now.