Category: Interviews with Fellow Crafters

DIY No. 2 Pencil Mason Jar


Delight the teacher or principal in your life with a pencil jar. Not just any pencil jar… but a No. 2 pencil jar. Fill with pencils that have pretty felt flowers made your school colors. This makes a great gift for the back-to-school season – or any time!

Difficulty level: Easy
Time required: 1 hour
Age range: 10+

Things you’ll need:
Pint mason jar
Yellow acrylic paint
Felt sheet
Paint brush
Scissors
Hot glue gun and hot glue
Black permanent marker
Small piece of poster board or light cardboard
6-8 pencils

Things to do:
1. Paint your jar with two coats of yellow paint, allowing the paint to dry between layers. Don’t paint around the lip area, since you’ll be screwing the band back on (the band only – you’ll leave the flat metal lid out).

2. Decide how many pencils you’ll have in the jar, and make a round template that’s the size you’ll want the flowers to be. Mark a circle in the center to fit over the pencil eraser later.

3. With a few snips, make your circle template into a flower. Trace onto the felt and cut out however many flowers you’ve decided to use. Make sure you also cut out the center of each flower.

4. Warm up your hot glue gun and glue the flower to the pencil, just beneath the eraser. Repeat for all pencils.

5. When the jar is completely dry, use your black permanent maker to write No. 2″ on the jar so it stands out. Screw the band on the jar. Fill with your pencils and share with your favorite teacher, principal, or school secretary!

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Interview with Brandy Faulkner of Brandywine Designs

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Bats, owls and spiders combined with antique style lettering give the paper crafts of Brandywine Designs an autumnal, vintage appeal. Owner Brandy K. Faulkner says making her Halloween art helps her recapture the magical feeling she experienced as a child celebrating the scary but fun.”

Brandy grew up with crafting not just as a creative outlet, but as a way of life. I lived on ranches my whole childhood. You couldn’t just run to the store. So we learned how to improvise and make things ourselves. My mom made everything homemade. I learned how to make everything from homemade donuts to candles.”

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The knack for improvisation she learned as a child gave the kind of can-do attitude that enabled her to start a professional crafting business from scratch. After losing her job when the business she worked for closed, she started her crafting business with no money, offering upcycled, altered items for sale. Initially, she tried selling on EBay, but found the environment for crafters there less than friendly. Today, she sells her wares on Etsy.

Brandy finds inspiration in nature, as well as in vintage materials. I adore old paper and books. I could play with buttons, lace and glitter all day! And the changing seasons, each with its own special colors, scents, lights and sounds.” She also enjoys inspiring others: she participates with some of her crafty colleagues in a site offering how-to’s on seasonal craft projects. She also looks forward to teaching at craft retreats later this year.

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Although she only started selling her cards, labels, tags and other decorative paper elements in 2007, her natural aptitude and artistic flair has already gained recognition. Brandywine Boutique has been featured in several magazines, including the 2010 Halloween issue of Better Homes and Gardens. She advises other crafters aspiring to go pro with their work to be true to their personal craft muse: It may sound corny but follow your heart. By trying new things and trial and error I have found my style. In the past when I would try to do what was trendy and it never seemed to sell. But, when I made something for myself that I loved, it was always a big hit. If I find myself not excited about a project I drop it and go to something else. Basically I only create what I love.”

Photo Credits: Brandywine Designs

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