Tutorial Thursday: Handmade Headband Holder

Do you or that special princess in your life have a lots of headbands?

You can create this super cute Headband Holder to keep all your headbands in one place.

Check out the Tutorial below created using Snapguide.

Check out How to Make a Headband Holder by Wee Bit Trendy on Snapguide.


Niesha Kennedy-Robinson is a lover of things handmade.  Besides being a wife and a mother, she is the owner and operator of Wee Bit Trendy, a small online shop that provides Handmade Faux Treats for Baby.  She loves DIY (why buy when you can DIY), and doing PR for Sharp with Art Group and West Park Arts Festival.

How to Make Paper Ornaments (An Etsy Workshop at West Elm)

Tonight our Handmade Philly Etsy team hosted an ornament making workshop at the Chestnut Street West Elm store. The store provided a lovely spread, and local Etsy artisans shared their wares.  Our team worked on a paper ornament craft from an Etsy pattern.  We decorated a tree for the Bethesda Project, a nonprofit that serves the chronically homeless.  The event had a tremendous turnout, and it was so exciting to see each ornament form, knowing that the tree would be so much more beautiful with each addition.  We hope that the folks at the Bethesda Project love it as much as we do.

For ways to help the Bethesda Project, click here.

For the pattern and instructions: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/how-tuesday-paper-ornaments

Thank you again to West Elm and to Etsy for such a meaningful event!

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DIY tassels (and a Harry Potter birthday gift)

On my blog last week I shared my creative journey into the magical world of Harry Potter. My husband and I worked together to create a very special hand-crafted birthday gift for my nephew:

One of the flourishes I added to each wizard’s wand was a handmade tassel. They are very easy to make. All you need is colorful embroidery thread and scissors. Here are the steps:

1. Begin by wrapping one color of your embroidery thread around your four fingers, four times.
2. Add a second color of embroidery thread and wrap that around four times.
3. Remove the thread from your hand. You will now have a small circle of thread. With a separate piece of thread (about 3 inches long – long enough to use as a tie), tie a knot at one end of the circle.
4. Use your scissors to cut through all of the thread at the opposite end of the circle.
5. With another separate piece of thread, tie a knot around all of the tassel threads about 1/2″ down from the main tassel tie. If you have crafting wire, that can be used instead of the thread in this last step. Just wrap the wire around the tassel threads a couple times for a secure fit.

This is what the tassels looked like on the wands:

I hope this inspires the inner wizard in you! – Kate

Manual Setting on your Camera

Does your camera have a manual setting? Do you know how to use the manual setting? If not, here is a little advice.  Using the manual settings can change the look of a photograph dramatically.  Below I describe how changing your aperture can change the look of your photographs.  Depending on your camera and lens your f-stops (aperture) will vary, but below is the norm.

0.5   0.7   1.0   1.4   2   2.8   4   5.6   8   11   16   22   32   45   64   90   128
Larger aperture opening                                       smaller aperture opening

By changing the F-stops on the camera you can focus on one small part of the photograph or have the entire scene in focus.  In order to focus on one small item open the aperture all the way.  My camera’s largest aperture is f-stop  4.5.  I love using the wide open aperture because it really shows a focus on one item.  This is great if you are pinpointing one small item.  Close the aperture down a bit more and it is great for portraits.  If you keep the aperture wide open and take a portrait photo you may focus on the nose, but the eyes could be out of focus.  I like to do under 8.0 for portraits because it will soft focus the background.  If you are taking scenic photos then usually it is better to go with a smaller aperture, an 8.0 or higher f-stop setting.

Of course, the ambient light is also a factor.  Use the smaller apertures if you want your entire photograph in focus, but you need to make sure the shutter speed lets in enough light.  Most cameras come with an in camera light meter and this will help you to make sure you get the correct speed of the shutter.  I program in the aperture size I want and then aiming towards my subject I use the light meter to get my shutter speed correct.  You may need to make adjustments to the aperture if you don’t have enough light.  Keep in mind if you are hand holding your camera try to stay at a shutter speed no slower than 1/125 of a second.  If you go longer than that you may get camera shake unless you use a tripod.

I know it is a bit of a technical subject, so go out and experiment.  Now that digital cameras are so prevalent you can see what you get as soon as you take it.  If you have any questions please contact me and I will try to help.

Heidi Kelly


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Valentine ornaments made with wire and yarn

Posted On January 27, 2011

Filed under DO IT YOURSELF
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While out shopping in Manayunk recently, I saw a lovely window display of yarn and wire hearts in the window of Green Street Consignment Shop. I thought those hearts would look pretty in my windows too so I set out to make my own. With yarn from Hardy Supply Co, pipe cleaners, and a wire clothing hanger, I did just that. Directions and photographs are below.


colorful yarn
masking tape
wire clothing hanger (big heart)
pipe cleaner (small heart)
needle nose pliers (or something to maneuver the rigid wire hanger)

1. Start by prying apart the wire hanger. Do not use your bare hands as you will probably cut yourself. Use needle nose pliers for a good grip as well as some gloves to protect your skin.

2. Once the wire hanger is no longer connected, bend it into the shape of a heart. Use your pliers again to twist the ends of the hanger together at the bottom of the heart. For an extra seal, wrap a strip of masking tape around the bonded ends of the hanger.

3. Tie the yarn to the top dent of the heart. Use another strip of masking tape to keep the knot in place.

4. Start wrapping the yarn tightly around the wire.

5. Once you have finished wrapping the  yarn around the wire, start to wind the yarn around the sides of the heart for a colorful webbed look (image 1). At each anchor point on the web (image 2), wrap the yarn twice around (image 3). Use different colors of yarn for this part. Once you are done with a color, tie a knot around the wire (image 4) and trim the loose end with your scissors.

6. The below photos show the first step for shaping pipe cleaners into small hearts and a finished small heart. You don’t need pliers or gloves for the small hearts.

Tutorial by Kate Holeman of The Lettered Set.

Watercolor tip: use salt to make snow!

Posted On December 14, 2010

Filed under DO IT YOURSELF
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Salt soaks up water, right? Well, using salt on your watercolor paintings is a fun way to create abstract, starburst patterns. If you use salt on a blue sky scene, it looks a lot like snow. Below are the steps I used to create this little winter-scape painting.

For the house shape (this has nothing to do with salt yet) make two angular shapes with a dark brown and a slightly lighter brown. Achieve the lighter brown by adding water to the dark brown in your mixing tray. This two-tone look adds to the sense of depth and perspective. For the snow-covered roof, use a light wash of blue to indicate the shadows of the snow. Leave some of the roof, where the sun would hit, empty (white) to make the snow look bright. For snow on the ground, use a very light wash of blue to indicate some of the shadow areas.

Now for the sky. Put a couple of dabs of blue watercolor in your mixing tray. Use your brush to transfer the water from your water cup into the mixing tray. If you are using dry water colors, just add drops of water to the color block. Either way, think of the brush like a miniature mop, soaking up some water and carrying it over to the mixing tray.

Once you have a good amount of really watery blue color, you are ready to add the sky. I was working in a small area so I only needed about a tablespoon of blue water color. Use a wide, flat brush (see mine above) to apply the blue color to the sky. Work as quickly as you can to avoid blending problems. Imagine pushing and guiding the water color across your painting. As soon as you see that your brush is out of color, quickly dip it back in the color tray to get more. This step, if you work in a small area like I did, should only take you about 20 seconds.

Now for the salt. Before the blue sky drys, sprinkle course Kosher salt on top of the sky area. Leave your painting to dry completely, with the salt on it.

When your painting is dry, brush the salt off of it. If the salt sticks to the paper, use the handle end of your brush to gently pick it off. To finish my painting, I used gouache to fill in the yellow windows, dark door, chimney smoke, and decorative red border.

Happy painting! – Kate Holeman from The Lettered Set

Hand Color Your Photograph in Photoshop

When I first started work in photography my favorite thing was to hand color my black and white photos with Marshall Oils. Now everything is digital and I figured there has got to be a way to do it in Photoshop. I played around and this is the way I figured out how to do it.

To practice I took one of my old black and white photographs I already had uploaded on my computer and put it into Photoshop. 

You can also pick a color image and turn it into black and white. If you have an image that is color got to Image- Mode- Gray Scale. This will turn it into black and white, then Image-Mode- RGB so you can add color. If you already have a black and white image just change it back to RGB.

Next you want to create a copy of the background of your image.  Look down on the right hand corner where there is a small image of your full size pic that is labeled Background. Click and drag this layer to the little icon that looks like a folded over paper. This will create a duplicate layer of your background that you can edit.  Once you have created the duplicate layer and that layer is highlighted change the opacity.  I set mine at 33%. This is just above the layers and to the right you can just change the number or use the slider.  This will allow you to still see the image under the color.

Next you’ll want to set up your first color. I started with green for the bushes. (Remeber to always make sure you are working on the layer copy.) On the left hand side there are two color squares on top of each other diagonally. The top color is the color you are working in. Double click on the top and it will bring up a color pick screen. Roll your mouse around until you find a color you would like to use and then click ok.

Next I selected the paint bucket tool, which is in the left hand side tool bar (may be hidden under the gradient tool which is the rectangle with the lines of different colors). Then I just clicked the image where I wanted the color to go.  You should start to see slight color over the image (remember it won’t be complete coverage because of the opacity). Don’t worry if the color goes some place you don’t want it to, it’s very easy to erase. As you can see when I started adding green it went into the bottom part of the photo.

Once I finished with the green I clicked on the eraser tool in the left hand side tool box and just clicked over everything I didn’t want green.

Once I erased all the green it’s time to select the second color.  I picked a brown for the mulch at the bottom of the photograph.  Using the same steps to pick the green I found a brown. Once I picked the color I repeated the same steps I used for the green.

Once you have the image the way you like it, save it! Save the .psd file, this way you can always go back and edit the original file. I also flatten the image and save it as a .jpg. This is an easy format to print.

Hopefully, this will be helpful to you in creating new looks to old photographs.

Heidi Kelly

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