Thursday, September 30, 2010

Link Party Time! - Sponsored by CSN

CSN is our party sponsor today and they would love for you to take a look at their console tables.  I have personally done business with these guys  and am thrilled that they are continuing to support Tools Are For Women Too.  Along with console tables they also carry tools, kitchen items, and a huge variety of other products.   I bought a bench vice from then a few weeks ago, and  was pleased with the entire transaction.  Please check them out.

Now,  on with the party.  Here are the rules.....

1.)  You must be a follower to participate. 

2.)  Enter as many items as you want.  No Limit. 

3.)  Everyone is welcome.  You can post items from your blog or online store.  It's all good.

4.)  Items posted can include just about anything.  Blog buttons, store items, tutorials, a picture of crazy cat, or your Halloween project.  Have fun with it!

Would you like to sponsor a link party and give your site a little jump-start?  Just email me for rates and details.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Link Party Time! Let's Do This Thing!

Here are the easy peasy party rules this week....

1.)  Everyone is welcome including buyers and sellers.

2.)  Post as many items as you want.  You can post projects, blog buttons, Etsy Store items, your smiling face, whatever you want. No Limit.  Link like the crazy bunch I know you all are!

3.)  Become a follower if you are not one already.

4.)  Have fun!

Would you like to advertise your new blog or online store and give it a little jump-start?  Email me for rates and details.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How To Make Shadow Box Shelf Tutorial - by Stacy from Not JUST A Housewife

Have you ever wanted to make your own shadow box?  Well, I have a new treat for all of you today.  It is a tutorial on how to do just that, from Stacy, over at Not JUST A Housewife.  Stacy is one of our new "Tools" contributing authors.  This is her first post for Tools, so please make sure you say hello and give her a big welcome. 

Hi! I am Stacy and I am visiting from Not JUST A Housewife. I am going to show you how to make a shadow box shelf. I am on a mission to get you to use power tools if you are not already using them. Building your own furniture and decorations is cheaper, rewarding, and best of all you can make things to custom fit your space. If I can learn to use a sewing machine ( shudder ) then you can try power tools. I picked this project because it uses my three favorite tools. And they aren't as "scary" as some of the other ones.

I used some scrap plywood for the back of one of the boxes. I used the ruler on my level to measure the size I wanted and then used it as a straight edge to mark it.

I used some scrap hard board for the other box. Both the plywood and the hard board I cut with a jig saw. You can get a jig saw for as cheap as $20.00. A table saw would work as well. If you are buying wood at say Home Depot or Lowe's, they have a large saw at the back of the store and they will cut wood for you. Before we had access to a truck we had to do that to get the wood home.

Once the backs are cut out, you will need a miter saw. If you do not have access to a miter saw, you can use a miter box and a hand saw like this one below. This is a less expensive alternative.

A cute assistant is optional!

For a straight cut you will need to have the saw set at 0, which is the center. To move it to the right place, twist the handle to loosen it and then press down on the trigger ( see my thumb) and it will slide right where you need it. Twist it tight again to lock it in place.
 Make sure you have on safety goggles. Mine are old, big and ugly. I am too vain to show a picture of me, but trust me. I was wearing them!

The saw will take off about 1/8 of an inch, so cut on the outside of the line that you drew. I measure as I go for this reason instead of marking all of my measurements at the same time.
Once all your boards are cut and you have made sure they fit together correctly, it is time to nail them together. This is my favorite part!!! Oh how I love my nail gun :) It is right up there with my glue gun.

Nail all the sides together to make the box and then nail on the back.

I normally do this in my garage, but the lighting was better on the driveway. I sacrificed my knees for you to have good pictures.

If all your measurements were right then it should be all nice and smooth.

Now you will cut the molding. The miter saw will have to be turned to 45 degrees.

Before you measure your molding you will need to cut the end at a 45 degree angle. Then hold it up to your box to measure.

Most new saws have a laser that will show you where the blade is going to cut. Remember that the saw cuts off about 1/8 of an inch. The picture is hard to see, but don't have the laser match up to the line you drew. Slide it over about 1/16 of an inch or your molding will be a tiny bit too short. If this is your first molding project then it would be a good idea to buy extra molding. It can be tricky. You might even want to practice on scrap wood.

Before you nail the molding to the box, lay it out on the ground and make sure it is square.

Nail the molding on the box.

The nails get embedded below the surface. So you will need to fill the holes with putty. I LOVE Elmer's paintable, stainable, sandable putty. If I am going to be staining something dark I like to use the walnut color.

Putty any cracks or holes and give it time to dry. Then sand it smooth. If there is a big area that needs to be filled, you may have to repeat that process to make sure it is nice and flat.

I painted one of the boxes white and distressed it. Doesn't it look so shabby chic with that antique china?

I have one above my bed.

And they make great display shelves in kids' rooms.

What will you use yours for?

I hope you enjoyed my shadow box tutorial.  Please stop by and see me at my blog,  Not Just A Housewife.


Would you like to be a regular contributing author and be a part of the  "Tools"  team?  Send Rory an email.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Link Party Time! Combined Seller and Non-Seller Verision

I think everyone had a pretty fun time in Monday's party, so let's do another one just like it. 

1.)  Enter as many times as you like.  No Limit.

2.)  Post pretty much whatever you want.  Post your blog button, a tutorial, your latest project, an Etsy Store Item, a pic of your grandbaby,.....  Just have fun and link like crazy people!

3.)  Please become a follower if you aren't one already and link back to the party somehow.

4.)  Be sure to enter the giveaway while you are here.

That's all there is to it.  Let's get started.

Would you like to give your new blog or store a little jump start?  Email me for ad rates and details.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kinda Crazy Link Party and Giveaway Time!

In celebration of reaching 1,000 followers I am making this one big party.  It's kind of a weird one so make sure you read everything. 

First of all, everyone is welcome.  I am not separating sellers from non-sellers this week. 

There is NO LIMIT on the amount of items you can post. 

Post a picture of your store item, your smiling face, your blog button, your children, or your favorite movie star heart throb.  It's all good.  Link, link, link.  Sometimes we all take this party thing a little too serious.  Have fun with it, and make us all laugh a little.  Do me a favor though and let some others know about the party somehow, if you can.  Let's have a good time.

Meanwhile, be sure to enter my giveaway while you are here.  (Unless you don't like jewelry.)

Have fun with this kinda crazy party and good luck!

Would you like to promote your store or blog on "Tools"?  Do you stay up late at night wondering how you could be a contributing author?  Would you just like to say hi?   Email me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Giveaway Time! - Does Anyone Like Jewelry?

I told everyone a couple weeks ago that I would be sponsoring my own giveaway as a thank you to everyone for helping "Tools" reach the 1,000 follower mark.  My apologies for taking so long to do it.  I had not forgotten about it.  I was just busy working on my new jewelry project, which ties in with the giveaway.

So, whats the prize?  It's a $25 gift certificate towards any of my personally handmade bangles.  The one on the upper right is made of reclaimed walnut. I inlaid it with crushed white marble.

I turn each bangle on a lathe and sand them to a satiny smooth lustre.  I make them in a variety of sizes.  Here is one I did out of oak, cedar, and mahogany.

If you look closely, you will see it is made up of 5 different pieces of wood.  I used very thin slices of mahogany veneer to frame in the cedar centerpiece.

If you win the gift certificate you might want to put it towards this one.....

Each bangle is one-of-a-kind.  I created this little one using solid walnut, but when I did the inlay I used semi-precious stones, white marble, copper, and bits of sterling silver.  Here is a little better picture of the inlay....

This next one is not nearly as fancy, but I really love the way it turned out.  The oak grain really seems to pop and I think the shape is nice, don't you?  The grain pattern reminds me of alligator skin and I have been told that animal prints are in this fall.  Does it give you any ideas?

I don't as a rule show unfinished work, but I thought a few of you might want to see what I was working on today....

Solid walnut, inlaid with genuine turquoise gemstones, copper, and bits of sterling silver.  It still needs to be sanded and finished but I am closing in on it.  I had always wanted to embellish a project with turquoise.  What do you think?

So here's the deal.  Would you like to win a gift certificate for $25 towards one of my bangles?

Here is what you need to do to enter.......

1.) You must be a follower.

2.)  Leave me a comment saying you want in this giveaway.

3.)  I will give you an extra chance to win if you join the Pink Hardhat Forum and become a member.  Just let me know you joined and I will double your chances to win.

That's all there is to it.

By the way, The French Maid carries a few of my bangles in her Etsy Store.  Give her a visit if you would like to see more.

Good Luck!

Would you like to sponsor a giveaway and promote your online store?  Just email me for the rates and details.  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Link Party Time! - Just Because I Love It #7

I am posting this party early to give everyone a head start.  You can post as many items a you want this week.  No Limit.  But for every item you post, you must visit someone else that participated in the party. 

Here are the rules.....

1.)  You must be a follower to join the party.

2.)  Tools Are For Women Too is all about "paying it forward".  The parties are always free and pretty laid back.  Please return the favor and do what you can to promote it.  It's continued success depends on it.  Grab a button, write a post, send some emails, knock on your neighbors door, mention it at Club Med when you go there for dinner tonight.  It's all good.  Just do what you can.

3.)  Remember to visit at least 1 other blog for every item you post.

4.)  This is a Non-Sellers party.  If your item is for sale, please enter the other party below this one.

That's it!

Are you starting up a new blog or online store that needs a little push?  Email me for inexpensive ad rates and details.

Link Party Time! - Times Are Tough Thursday #11

Time for another Sellers Party.  If you have an online store, you are at the right party.  Join us and take advantage of some free advertising for your store. 

You can enter as many of your store items as you want this week, but for every one of your items that you enter, you must also visit someone elses store.  No Limit.  Enter 100 items if you want, but if you do you must visit 100 other stores.  It's all about traffic and this is your chance to stir some things up a bit.  So get busy and have some fun doing it.

Here are the rules.....

1.)  You must be a follower to join in. 

2.)  This party is for online sellers.  If your item is not for sale, please enter the other party, above this one.

3.)  Tools Are For Women Too link parties are all about " paying it forward".  The parties are free, so please link back to it some way and let others know about it.  Post a thread,  publish a post, grab a button, email some friends.  It's all good.  Just do what you can.  The success of the party depends upon it.

4.)  Make sure you visit at least 1 store for every item you post.

That's it!

Does your blog or online store need a little helpful push?  Email me for ad rates and details.

Stamp Your Way To Custom Charms - A " How To" Tutorial From Brooke

I am proud to introduce to all of you to the newest member of the Tools Are For Women Too team.  Her name is Brooke, and I consider her to be one of my good blogging friends.  This is a woman with some great skills in the area of jewelry making and I think you are all going to enjoy her future posts.  Welcome to the team Brooke!

Hello Everyone! I am Brooke from Sunset & Vine Jewelry and this is my first piece for TAFWT! and I am very excited to be here. Even if you are an avid jewelry designer you will be able to put some of the suggestions to use in this basic tutorial! Blogs, instructional books and seeking the advice of fellow crafters through forums can be incredibly instrumental in teaching yourself the fundamentals of a new craft.
Anyone who has spent more than twenty minutes with me can attest to the fact that I never stop thinking about crafting. I love to know the ins and outs of how things are made and than set about to prove I can do it too! Sure, others always say "you can buy that for like $20". Well you probably can, but where is the fun in that?  And maybe I can save a little money, which everyone likes, right! That is how I started stamping my own charms and pendants.

Before the thought ran through my head to break down the design process even further I would have purchased pre-stamped charms with a cute little saying like "LOVE" OR "PEACE". Than a problem arose in the creative process, as it usually does. How do you get "Emersen" stamped on a tag, or "May 21, 2005"? You don't unless you want to pay somebody to do it for you, and like I said earlier that just takes all the fun out of it and it can cost upwards of $150 or more for sterling silver charms and necklace!

There are many ways to get started with metal stamping and you don't have to be an expert to be successful. In fact I believe that someone who has never touched a bead or piece of wire in their life can accomplish this project! The other great thing about this is that there are multiple uses for the charms. You can get started with a minimal investment and once you purchase the basics.  You will need to start with metals stamps, a chasing hammer, and an anvil block.These are tools that you will have them forever and can be used them for multiple projects. You will have a choice in purchasing metal for the charms. A novice would probably like to purchase stamping blanks that come in a variety of pre-cut shapes, sizes and metals. Stamping blanks are also more economical if your budget is small. If you are experienced with metals and have a larger budget to work with it may make more sense for you to invest in a sheet of metal of your choice along with metal sheers to cut your metal, and metal files, to file and sand the edges of the cut metal.

Materials can be found at many jewelry supply stores, Etsy, Rings N Things, Beaducation, and even ebay. Once you have your supplies gathered you are ready to get started. Make sure your anvil block is on a sturdy even surface, you may want to place a towel under it and the surface you are working on to absorb the some of the shock and noise.

It will help to take a pencil and lightly draw a straight line with a ruler across your charm to indicate where you will stamp. This will ensure your stamps are even and in a straight line.
Take your first metal stamp and make sure it is lined up to mark the right way on the charm, hold it steady against the charm and give it a couple good strikes with the flat end of the chasing hammer. You will want to make sure you are striking the hammer against the stamp hard enough to leave a good impression.Once you are satisfied with the first stamp you can move on to the rest of your letters making sure they are turned the correct way. You will want to ensure you leave proper spacing between the stamps and letters so that your letters are not on top of each other and not too far apart.
Once you have finished stamping your name or phrase you are ready to attach your charm. Use chain nose pliers to open a jump ring and attach the ring to your charm. Place the charm unit onto a bracelet or necklace and your project is ready to wear!

Tips: If you are having problems getting your stamps to leave a dark enough or complete impression try these tips.

  • Make sure that the hammer you are using is heavy enough(at least 1lb.) and if it is not you can use a household hammer for stamping.
  • When I first tried stamping my stamp was not leaving an imprint on the sides. If this occurs you will need to employ a tilting method. While you are stamping you will tilt and tap in a clockwise direction. Tilt the stamp just slightly, not too drastically or the imprint will be overdone. Then just tilt and stamp, I usually do this in a 12-3-6-9 motion or N,E,S,W.
Making custom stamps is great for other projects too! I have seen them used for everything from custom golf markers for dad to vegetable markers in the garden. I would suggest making special gift tags for Christmas, tags for scrapbooking albums, a custom key chain for the new driver in the family, Fido his very own custom doggy tags or charms for your children's bookbags. Whatever it is that you do have fun and let your creativity shine through!


I hope you enjoyed Brooke's metal stamping tutorial.  You can visit her at Sunset & amp; Vine Jewelry.  If you would like to be a part of the Tools Are For Women Too team, drop me an email....


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feature Post: Introducing the Brina Babe Boutique

I would like to introduce you to Sabrina, from the Brina Babe Boutique. This is a woman with a story that I will think will mean a lot to all of you.....

Sabrina is a mother of 3, with a husband who serves our country in the United States Air Force. In December of 2009 she slipped and fell while trying to navigate some icy steps. She broke 3 vertebrae and ruptured her spleen. To make matters worse, she was carrying her baby at the time. Sabrina is still trying to recover.

Due to her accident, she was unable to move around very well for quite some time. Unwilling to give up, Sabrina decided to spend her down time building her own online business. She had always created hair accessories and crafts for her kids, but now it was time to take it to the next level. Brina Babe Boutique was born. How she has found time to raise 3 children, be a wife, and start a business, is beyond me. I really have to hand it to her. This is a very brave and resourceful lady, who just refused to give up.

Sabrina sells on Etsy and she has a website, as well. In looking around her sites, I found a ton of "eye candy". Everything has a real fresh and fun look to it. I love her Hot Pink Watch Set.

One of things that I think sets the Brina Babe Boutique apart from a lot other sites is the wonderful photography and the way she displays her products. The boy on the fire hydrant is showing off a Necktie she carries. Perfect hues and colors for the Autumnal season.

This Damask Wipe Clutch is pretty extraordinary. Sometimes a girl just doesn't want to carry around a plastic box of wipes. ( Is there a time when a woman does? ) Why not have something with a little bling? I was amazed at how inexpensive it was. Fabulous baby shower gift.

Here is a real beauty of a hair accessory. This gorgeous piece is an ivory magnolia made of silk, ostrich flutes and faux pearls. It comes from Flortini Designs. When looking at it, think in terms of bridal showers, glamour photo shoots, proms, and special events. Fun, elegant, and statement making.

Hand Stamped Rings are another item that Sabrina carries in her store. They are completely customizable. Pick out your size and let her know what you want the ring to say. I love the idea of a set of these for "him and her", "mother and daughter", or as wedding party gifts for your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Does it get any cuter? This Leopard Print Hat is too fun!

You are all going to love the Brina Babe Boutique and Etsy Store. Please give Sabrina a visit and say hello. She would love to hear from you.

Do you have a site or product you need a feature post for? Just email me for details.