Handmade Philly + Tulpehocken Exchange: Winter Art Classes

We are stoked to announce a partnership between Handmade Philly and a new maker space, Tulpehocken Exchange. We are hosting a number of workshops at the new space, located in Germantown at 47 East High Street (the 47Arts building), including Silhouette Portraits, Holiday Watercolor Card Making, Winter Still Life Painting & Pastel Portraiture.

All classes are age 12 and up.

To sign up, email info@handmadephilly.com

winter handmade philly classes kirsten ashley updated

Check out http://www.uglystepsisterart.wordpress.com for more details about Kirsten Ashley’s art work and upcoming classes.


Multi-Media Materials: Holiday Shimmer & Shine

I felt inspired this holiday season to create some new ornaments for our tree. We decided to go with a funky skinny tree — my husband and I have been searching for the right one for a couple of years until a few weeks ago when we stumbled into Thistle in Frenchtown while waiting for a table at the Frenchtown Cafe (which, as a side note, has some of the best breakfast in the Hunterdon Co, NJ/Bucks Co, PA River Valley)…but I am digressing….

The store was in the process of packing up and moving to a new location, so you can imagine they had some sweet sales. Lucky for us! This tree was marked WAY down – so we took her home that day! (after an awesome breakfast, that is!)

This tree, it’s pinecones and antique feel, inspired the ornaments.

I purchased some sheet aluminum from Dick Blick, and an embossing tool.

In the process of making the ornaments, I found pencils (color and graphite) & crochet hooks work just as well – if not better – than the embossing tool. Although, I used the embossing tool for the small dots you see on the ornaments.

To create ornaments:

1. Put your favorite christmas carols on the stereo OR even better yet, Elf on the TV set muted with the carols on the stereo. 

2. Place the Aluminum (or copper or brass) sheet on a magazine or other soft surface

3. Use the graphite pencil to lightly sketch out your idea (or just wing it!)

4. Use the graphite or color pencil to press on the aluminum to indent it. This technique is alot like Reposse – or chasing….since you are embossing the metal from one side to have texture on the other. Both sides are reflective and shimmery on the tree.

Use the embossing tool & pencil to create textures in the metal.

5. After completing your design, you can easily cut them out of the metal sheet – be careful, although the metal is not really thick, it can be a little pointy!

6. Straighten out the pieces – I used the side of the crochet hook to smooth them out

7. Now you can use Glitter Glue or just white glue and loose glitter to add some shimmer to your ornaments.

8. To finish, use a needle and thread to punch a hole and string up your ornaments. There are many possibilities for this – including creating a garland of shiny ornaments, single ornaments, window decorations and more!!

Have fun – post your creations!!!

and Happy Holidays from Handmade Philly.

MaryJo Rosania-Harvie is an artist, art teacher and lover of all art materials! Like to see something specific in the Multi-Media Materials Column? Send in your requests, she’ll gladly try them out! http://www.maryjorosania.com

Melt and Pour Soap-Making: the perfect DIY Holiday project

glycerin soap Looking for a really easy, inexpensive project that will produce a gift nearly everyone loves? Try your hand at melt & pour glycerin soap making. This is distinct from ‘true’ hot process and natural cold process soap-making, which is much more involved and more time consuming. In M&P soaps, you can work on a simple project that will take you a short amount of time. Take advantage of the relative ease and get creative! There are lots of really interesting M&P soapers on Etsy from whom to get some inspiration.  A lot of the fun comes from the molds you choose to use, the scents you add, the addition of botanicals in a clear glaze top, or the creation of fun and interesting designs such as this bacon and egg soap set.

One of the best parts of soap making is the inclusion of natural fragrance. My preference is always to use pure essential oils, which are the natural product of extracting (via steam distillation) the volatile oils from plants. I find synthetic fragrance oils to be cloying and irritating, and often unhealthy because of the addition of chemical fragrance fixatives such as “pthalates”, which have shown endocrine disruption in laboratory testing with mice.

The first step is finding Melt and Pour soap base. And then it’s as simple as that…you melt it and pour it into molds! I prefer to use organic soap base, such as Stephenson’s, as many bases are weighed down with more questionable ingredients such as sulfates, or often irritating chemical foaming agents.

organic melt and pour soap base

organic melt and pour soap base from KandleKaz.com

You will want to use a stainless steel (not aluminum) or enamel coated pot. Put on a double boiler for best results, but I’ve also done fine melting the base over the lowest possible stove-top setting. Just be sure not to walk away too long, as you don’t want the soap to come to a boil.

Stirring melt and pour soap base

Stirring melt and pour soap base

DIY Directions:
1. Melt 2 lb block over low heat. (Stir with a utensil designated for soap making.)
2. Once melted, remove from heat.

Adding essential oil blend to melted soap base

Adding essential oil blend

3. Add fragrance to desired strength. I prefer about 60 – 100 drops essential oil to 2 lbs soap. If you add too much fragrance it will affect the quality of the soap.

Added colorant to soap base

Add colorant to soap base

4. Add some colorant if desired. You can buy soap chips from suppliers or use natural powdered herbs such as turmeric, which creates a lovely butter to deep orange color, depending on how much you use. You can also try regular old food coloring.  Stir well until blended.
4. Pour into molds and allow to cool completely before popping out (an hour or two).
5. Wrap in cellophane to protect the glycerin, which is prone to “sweating” when exposed to humidity. I prefer to shrink wrap soaps, as they are best protected this way!

1. Melt clear base in one pot and an opaque base in another. Add fragrance to both when removed from heat.

soap poured into molds

2. Pour a thin, clear layer into your molds and sprinkle some herbs or blossoms on top (lotus, chamomile, calendula, and rose, or lemongrass are all nice choices)
3. Once that is somewhat cooled down, pour the opaque base into the mold.

white base being poured into mold

white base being poured into mold

4. Cool, pop out of molds, and wrap in cellophane.

soap wrapped in celophane

From Nature with Love (melt and pour soap, essential oils, fragrance oils)
Essential Wholesale (essential oils)
Bramble Berry Soap Soap Making Supplies (everything, including molds)
Sun Feather Natural Soap Company (everything, including molds)
organic orange soap scented with cardamom and other spices

Post written by Sarah Powell, proprietor of natural bath, body, and herbal product business, Lilith’s Apothecary.

Photo Recap – Philadelphia Independent Craft Market 2009

Click to view 2424 Studio's website - Philadelphia Independent Craft Market

Philadelphia Independent Craft Market, Holiday Edition

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 During Philly’s first snow shower, 7 members of Handmade Philly displayed their handmade crafts at the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market, Holiday Edition. Holiday shoppers also enjoyed free Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

Over 5 awesome bands played their original music while we all browsed for that special one-of-a-kind gift. Many thanks to 2424 Studios in Fishtown for allowing the use of their magnificant gallery space.

” Quote – 2424 Studios, Philadelphia’s newest work studio community. Located in Fishtown at the corner of York and Gaul streets, right off of I-95, and convenient to public transportation, 2424 Studios consists of over 100 work studios and/or office suites that range from 350 to over 6,000 square feet. The rents start at $399 per month and units are now available! Also located within 2424 Studios is the “Skybox,” an unparalleled and climate controlled event space of over 6,200 feet that is for tenants’ use, for community use and for rent to the public. 2424 Studios is now open to the public so please feel free to come by any time to take a look.

Money raised by the Craft Market benefitted the 941 Theater. Thanks Julie for organizing another great show!















Not done your holiday shopping? You can always find the Handmade Philly’s members by searching Etsy for “Philly Team“.