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Vendor Spotlight: Little Windows Make 3 Necklaces Kit

Reported by Taylor Usry

I recently had the chance to play with an awesome product – the Little Windows Make 3 Necklaces kit. Doesn’t it come in the prettiest package?! Just like a box from Tiffany’s – stunning blue box and all. Presentation is important! I couldn’t wait to open this kit up, but before I get into it, let me share the deets: the kit retails for $48.00 and is available from the Little Windows store. It comes with everything needed to make three 1 1/8″ square resin necklaces, including:

And there are leftovers to make more goodies. Extra is great! The kind folks at Little Windows also included a small doming tray for me to try out. And for cropping your photos, the Little Windows Photo Cropping Software is available for free. It is internet-based, which means it works on both Macs and PCs.

Making the necklaces could not be any easier. The hardest part was deciding what to put in them! Once you’ve made the choice (more on my first tries in just a bit) the online photo cropping software is super easy to use.  It can be accessed from any computer, so you can take this craft on the road with you. They only make two shapes available, though – medium squares (which fit the molds included with this kit) and medium diamonds (same size as the square, only on an angle). The other sizes you see pictured in the template above can be purchased as add-ons for the photo cropping software; molds for them can be purchased as well. You can watch the demo they provide to see just how easy editing your photos is – just upload and crop. Up to eight medium square photos will fit on the 4″ x 6″ specialty photo paper. Once you’ve printed your photos out you place the cropping template on top of it, trace around the edges with a ballpoint pen and then cut it out. Now you are ready to make your jewelry!

The resin is very easy to mix – just pour to the correct lines on the mixing cup, stir for 2 1/2 minutes, and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then you fill the molds about 3/4 of the way full, if you are just using photos in them. When you add the photos it’s important to slide them in, not lay them on top and push down – that will cause your resin to spill over the edges. If you have bubbles, they usually disappear after 10 minutes. If they don’t you can either pop them or pull them out with the mixing wand.  Once you’ve got the the photo all set into the resin, you place the molds back in the dust cover and let them sit for about 12 hours. It’s important to note that you can do more than just photos in these molds – you can do beads too. I’m not sure if you have to have a certain type, though – the ones I had at home bled into the resin and tinted the whole thing pink.

I used a photo of my little sweeties in one of the necklaces above. I turned it black and white before I printed it. The other necklace I didn’t want to be just a photo, but I read on the site in the FAQ section that the reason you have to use the specialty photo paper was that regular photo paper was too porous and wouldn’t work. So I was hesitant to try just plain old patterned paper or cardstock. Instead I scanned a piece of Webster’s Pages Waiting for Santa paper and uploaded that. It turned into the cutest little holiday necklace! So the possibilities there are endless – you can use scanned papers, pictures of art, landscapes, people…I really don’t know what to make next!

After you’ve let the resin sit in the molds for about 12 hours, the next steps are super easy. You pop the molds in the freezer for about a minute, pull them out and twist them like an ice cube tray, and then tap them on a hard surface (I used my counter) – and out they come! The hand drill makes short work of the hole through the top. Then you put a silver pin through it, twist it into a loop, and put them on a necklace. I’m not kidding, it really and truly could not be any simpler. And the step-by-step instructions included with the kit have excellent pictures as well as written instruction (for all types of learners). It’s foolproof!

With some of the leftovers I used the doming tray to try our a technique they call doming. The concept is simple – just pour resin on top of your shapes and allow it to set. You can use these little trinkets as magnets, for custom embellishments, stick-ons for cell phones or iPods…there is no limit to the possibilities! Shown above are my first batch of domed images – the leftovers from what I printed and didn’t turn into necklaces.

I tried the beads with this technique too. But again, I think the beads I have just aren’t for use with resin. They look super cool, especially on the photo-paper base I used, but they did bleed a bit. I punched out a piece with a flower punch, poured the resin on and added the beads. I pushed them into the resin and when it dried you can see above how they sit up off of the flower. What an easy way to make cool custom trinkets for projects!

I cannot say enough great stuff about this kit – I know I’ll be making tons of things with it! Currently setting up in the molds are a cool set that uses the layering technique. I wish I had a picture to share, but it just doesn’t look right in the mold and I can’t take it out yet. So I’ll direct you to the ones on the Little Windows site.

When I first saw the price of the kit I thought it seemed a bit high. Once I used it, and saw the quality of the things that come with it I changed my tune. I can say unequivocally that this kit is worth the money. It’s easy to use, the website is super helpful and easy to navigate, and the extra components are way cool. I feel like I keep saying the word easy, but that’s because it really and truly is!

The kit would make a great gift for anyone. Or you could get it for yourself and make some unique gifts for others. Either way – just get it!!

READER DISCOUNT
Order one of these great kits or Little Windows custom designs for yourself or as a great holiday gift!  Craft Critique readers can enjoy FREE SHIPPING by entering the discount code CCFREE at checkout.  Offer expires December 14th.


EDITOR’S NOTE: If anyone is having problems entering or redeeming the free shipping discount, please email the folks at Little Windows and they will happily refund the cost. Just email them directly to correct, Thanks!

GIVEAWAY
The great folks over at Little Windows are offering our readers a chance to win one of their Necklace Kits (MSRP value of $48).  To win, just answer this question in the comments section at the bottom of this article on our website.

Have you ever used a kit to make a gift like this?  Is this something you would purchase and make yourself or give to a friend?  We’d love to hear what you think!

One Comment per Person, contest will remain open until Friday, December 10th at 6pm CST.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit & Crochet

Reported by Jen Geigley

Knitting books are my most favorite resource, and I have to admit that I get excited when I see anything with ‘gift’ in the title (because that little word usually means quick-knits or smaller items that are easy to finish). So I was happy to have the chance to check out Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit & Crochet by Mags Kandis. If you love to knit, and enjoy giving your hand-knit items as gifts, you’ll adore this book.

A peek inside Gifted reveals a wide variety of projects for both knitters and crocheters, including scarves, mittens, hats, and baby items… but then also venturing into more creative territory with things like trivets, coasters, a wrist rest, notebook sleeves, knitting needle cases, and more. The book is divided into two sections: Gifts for the Body has patterns for lots of accessories, and Gifts for the Soul includes non-wearables and several felted projects. The best part is that all of the projects really are small and perfect for gift-giving.

I loved the little details and embellishments included throughout, like these crocheted flowers. This book also includes cool ideas for sewn fabric gift bags and sachets to pair with your handmade gifts
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Mags also shows examples on how to add these small additions to accessories, and ways to personalize projects with beads, needle-felting, embroidery or applique.
Several projects in the book explore sewing techniques and use scraps of felted knitting or even re-purposed items like old sweaters, which was really fun to see!
The first project I decided to try was ‘bevy of bangles.’ This is the perfect starter project if you’ve never attempted felting something you’ve knitted before (you really can’t screw it up… and look at how cute these bracelets are!).
You start by knitting a narrow strip of stockinette using 100% wool yarn, or another fiber that will felt well. I used Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Full o’Sheep in two different colors.

Using a three-needle bind off, you end up with huge rings that look like this (before felting). You can hand-felt these using hot water in your sink, or do what I did – throw them in the washer and dryer. Just check on them periodically to make sure they don’t shrink down too far.

Mine ended up looking like this. I used extra strands of Full o’Sheep to wind the contrasting colored stripes around the bangles.
I love how soft (yet solid!) these are! Mine turned out a little bit chunkier than the ones shown in the book, but all yarn felts differently. This is the perfect stash-buster – it hardly used up any yarn at all. Such a fast and fun project!

The second pattern I wanted to try was the ‘linen summer wrap.’

The photos of this scarf/wrap were just too pretty and I couldn’t resist!

I love the yarn they used in the book (Berocco Linen Jeans unbleached muslin) but wanted to use something I had on hand, so I grabbed a skein of I Love This Cotton in olive green.
In one evening – and using only one skein of yarn – I had this awesome lightweight scarf! I love how it drapes and cotton yarn totally works for this. I love it so much that I think I’m going to make another one in black right away! It’s totally wearable with just about anything.

Here are just a few more peeks at fun patterns this book includes:(I love the ear warmers!)

Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit & Crochet (by Mags Kandis)
Interweave Press
Price: $24.95
Paperback
136 pages
30+ projects and patterns

Pros:

  • This book offers a wide variety of small projects.
  • Gifted is not just a pattern book – it includes sewing, repurposed, recycled and felted projects.
  • In my opinion, the majority of the patterns are very usable and/or wearable. (And very gift-able!)
  • The little felted bits, gift tags and hearts are super cute and fast to make and would be a cute addition to just about anything you make.


Cons:

  • Some projects are knitting patterns and some are crochet patterns. If you’re not bi-stitchual (meaning you only know how to knit or crochet) you may not be able to make all of the projects in the book.

  • There are quite a few felting projects in this book. (I believe 15, to be exact.) If you’re not keen on felting, this seem like a lot to you. On the flip side … if you’ve felted anything before, it might get you excited to try it! 
  • Some of the projects take a bit more time to complete, like the fair isle or felted granny square bag. (Lots of the patterns included are fast and easy ones … but not everything can be a one-night project!)

Have you picked up a copy of Gifted yet? With autumn coming fast, what do you think you’ll be knitting and gifting this season?

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Hey Santa!

The Craft Critique reporters have come up with their ‘must-haves’ (or ‘must-gives’) for this holiday season. Feel free to print this out, highlight the goodies you want, and leave it laying around for your personal gift-giving entity to stumble upon…

(alphabetically by reporter’s first name, because with my last name I hardly ever get to go first 😉

Dana Vitek

  • The full-sized Scor-It. I know, I know, everybody loves the Scor-Pal, and I do too, I have it and use it all the time, especially on 3-D objects. But I picked up the mini Scor-It on a whim, and it really does do a better scoring job on my cards.
  • Clean surfaces in my craft room. Actually, what I really want is the equivalent of a sous chef for crafting. Also a nanny and a cleaning service.

Deborah Phipps

  • Nestabilities: I have so much fun with these, I would *love* to have the circles, the squares, Labels One, and Labels Two! I have the ovals and long rectangles, they add so much to my paper crafting. I just don’t get tired of these!
  • A Serious Cutter: I have a Fiskars cutter that does small jobs, but I need a guillotine-type cutter to have smoother edges and more professional cards and scrapbooks…it’s a little strange I don’t already have one ;).
  • Lastly, I would like to have be a member at Splitcoast. I would really like to support the website I love and I just haven’t worked it in the budget yet!

Emilie Ahern


Heather Strenzwilk

  • Fiskars limited edition “A Total Flake” squeeze punch. It is the ultimate snowflake (for snowlovers), it fits in 1.5 inch circle and the punch is green so I’ll be able to recognize it easily

Heather Voinski

  • A BIG scrapbooking bag….because in 2009 I am going to make it to a crop 🙂
  • Project pans for my melting pot

Jessica Dietrich

  • More Copic Markers. I am new to these as of a few months ago and cannot BELIEVE what a difference they make in coloring. They are so blendable and smooth to color with and I am in love! I have about 36 markers but hey, only about 300 more to go! LOL!
  • A better storage system for my clear or unmounted rubber stamps. I have yet to find one out there that I’m really happy with. Any suggestions?

Julie Campbell

  • Prism Paper Rack I love anything that helps me stay organized! This white coated metal paper rack has 36 divided pockets & holds 8.5 x 11 cardstock (which is my favorite size for card making). And… this organizer ships free to the U.S.!
  • Tim Holtz Idea-ology masks I have seen some amazing projects made using these masks! They can be used with paint, an airbrush system, sponged with ink…. the possibilities are endless!
  • Claudine Hellmuth Studio Sticky-Back Canvas. These are self-adhesive canvas sheets that you can decorate with paints, inks and dyes. Then you cut out and stick onto cards, scrapbook pages, and more. I love the idea of combining different art mediums such as paints and stamping! Fun!!! Claudine’s paints are amazing too! Check them out HERE.


Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

  • Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter: This is a serious sewing machine. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Bernina, but I can’t stand the idea of attempting to sew another large quilt with it. It’s just too hard to manage the fabric and I end up hating my stitches. The Mega Quilter offers an enormous arm area (9″x6″) and the option to convert it to a long arm machine with a portable table. Of course, there’s no price anywhere online, which certainly means that it’s ridiculously expensive. Sigh. Someday…
  • EK Success Glass Cutting Mat (13×13): I have long touted that cutting on a glass mat is significantly better than cutting on a self-heating mat. There’s little to no drag and it just cuts like butter. I have also been using the glass from a $1 picture frame for the past three or four years. About a year-and-a-half ago, that sheet of glass broke. I still use it. Sad, really. I think it’s time to upgrade. For $19.99 I can get a glass mat with grid lines that is actually bigger than my 12×12 piece of paper. Definitely on my wish list.
  • Ultimate Screen Printing Kit from Speedball: I’ve been wanting to experiment with all sorts of printing these days, and a screen printing kit is high on my list of desires. This one from Speedball retails for $139.99 and includes 2 screen frames, an instructional video, and all the ink and tools you need to get started. I’m a little afraid to start playing with screen printing because I think I’m going to love it and become a total addict. And can really afford to start a new hobby? I’m running out of room around here as it is! And yet, I really, really, really want it!

Katie Renz

  • ATG Gun – I have and recommend because of affordability in the long run, I find it easy to maneuver.
  • Scor-pal – I have and recommend because of it makes professional-looking scores as well as benefiting those who enjoy making 3-d projects.

Melissa Norris

  • On the top of my list this year is the Claudine Hellmuth Studio line of paints by Ranger. After seeing them in action at CHA I know they are of superb quality and are available in such beautiful colors.
  • I’ve really wanted to learn how to embroider better, so that’s why I want one of the embroidery kits from Sublime Stitching (www.sublimestitching.com). With modern patterns, full kits with supplies, and instructions for how to do all the stitches, I know I will be a pro in no time!
  • I have been making a lot of mini books lately, and one of my favorite ways to add pages to an existing book is using Sheer Delights by KI Memories. These frosted, heavy overlays are a great way to add sturdy pages to a book without adding a lot of bulk. And there are designs to go with any theme!

Kristine Fowler

  • The Best of Becky Higgins Sketches: each month I look forward to Becky’s sketch column in Creating Keepsakes, so would love to get my hands on this book and have a pile of her sketches all in one place. I love Becky’s style because she quite often uses 4×6 photos in her work.
  • Scor-It: I’ve always used a Bone Folder, and my Personal Trimmer to score my projects, and while it works in a pinch – it doesn’t always give the most accurate results. Using the 12-inch ruler on the full size version I think would make it easier to get score lines exactly where I want them – especially when it comes to finding the exact centre.
  • Wacom Intuos 6×8 Tablet: #1 on my wish list for sure! Since I work with graphics programs every day, I figure I’ve got a good excuse for wanting this one. Of course, if Santa brings it, I can use it for photo editing and digital scrapbooking too!

Simone Collins

  • Red Enamel Marker Bin: this is a stylish and functional way to store all my markers, pencils and brushes all in one spot. It will look good on a shelf and also make it easy to grab your stuff and carry it to a crop or just in front of the TV.
  • Copic Black Multiliner Set: these pens are refillable, the tips are replaceable and they write beautifully on any project. I definitely need these to “fix” my bad stamping skills before coloring with my Copic markers.
  • Envelope Templates: I love the idea of using old magazines and papers to make my own envelopes! These templates are wonderful and make this process super easy. Also, adding that little envelope liner piece makes your cards even cooler, right?

Suzy Haghighi

  • Making Memories Slice Die Cutting Machine – Because it is small enough to sit on the desktop, has cartridges that coordinate with Making Memories seasonal collections, and is SO CUTE. Please Santa….I’ve been so good! *adjusts crooked halo*
  • Scor-Pal – I own this baby and all I can say is….where have you been all my life? I can now score cards and create 3D projects in a jiffy. The scoring tool snaps right into the unit and the self-healing Scor-Mat fits on top so it all can sit on my desk and I can work right on top of it.
  • Copic Markers – These alcohol ink markers are so vibrant and blend on your paper like a dream without any hatch marks. They are all I color with lately. With over 300 colors available, can a girl ever have enough?

Tracy Schutz

  • Xyron 250, because I’m tired of getting glue and adhesive on my fingers trying to attach ribbons and die cuts to my cards!
  • Complete set of Rectangle Nestabilities to cut and emboss panels for my cards and paper projects, because they’re a great value for the money and so versatile.

Sarah Moore

These items are on my GIVING list! Buying them via these links also helps to support Craft Critique!

So, now that you’ve made it this far, why don’t you tell us what’s on YOUR list? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!