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The Crafty Coop Posts

The Fair is coming!

We’ve been so busy with life… and snow days and kids activities and broken feet, and all of a sudden fair season is upon us!


We’ve been working hard behind the scenes (and if you aren’t following our Instagram, you should!  We post in progress photos of things and tidbits about what is going on.) to get ready for our first fair this weekend.  We’ll be hanging out all day at the Spring Bash Vendor and Craft Fair at the Haverhill Amvets from 9 am to 2 pm.

We’ve got things from our shop, some new items and some of our custom order items to show off.



We hope to see you there!




Easter Favors for our Upcoming Craft Fair

Since Easter is coming – and so is our Spring Craft Fair at the Haverhill Amvets – we’ve been working on some fun holiday favors.

I had a pack of mini egg cartons left over from the previous Stampin’ Up! catalog so I made toppers from the Hey Chick! stamp set and the layering squares and circles. I really love the chicken with the crazy feathered “hair.” That chicken really embodies us as “Sacrificial Chickens.”

Inside is shredded paper “grass” and egg-shaped candy with some Hershey Kisses.

I also made some bunnies using the Stampin’ Up! Curvy Keepsake box thinlits and the inspiration from the picture linked at the bottom of this post from Bloglovin. I didn’t have instructions, just the photo, so I took some liberty in substitutions that fit with the tools and papers I had on hand.


Bunch of bunnies


We weren’t sure about adding these to our Etsy Shop because they seemed awkward to ship but upon further review, they will flatten out nicely to allow for straightforward mailing so they should be appearing there soon!




Minion Mayhem

When my youngest son asked for a Minion birthday party, I knew we were going to need to come up with some fun things to make this a really fun party.  It all started with the invites.

Kathy and I spent an afternoon making these invitations and they were a huge hit with the kids.

Since we were holding the party at our house, I decided that the best way to maximize our space was to use centers.  The kids were in 1st grade this was also a concept they were familiar with.  So food in one room, activities spaced out and the kids kind of rotated through.

One center was a create your own minion, which we used toilet paper tubes for. 

Another was our Box of Shame and minion cut-out picture taking center.  The kids had a ball with that.


We set up a Pin-the-Eyeball-on-the-Minion game.


And we had the big kids help out doing fake tattoos, taking pictures and generally helping out.

We also had a lot of fun coming up with food names for everything.

My hardest task was the cupcakes!  The cake part was fine, but the decorating was way harder than I had figured on and my frosting came out all weird.  Don’t look too close.  The kids thought they were awesome though!

We also put together a few favors to had out at the end.

The minion mix was especially fun, we included little candy eyeballs in the mix!







A Very Pastafarian Holiday

In our home we have added some extra holidays to spend with our very best friends who are family. We’ve themed them after the Pastafarian holidays and celebrate with pirates and pasta. These special holidays are Friendsgiving, Friendsmas, and Feaster.

We’ve been building a small cache of Pirate decor that we use for all of our celebrations. We also have our skulls from Halloween play double duty as pirate skulls. We have some decorative netting that makes any box look sea worthy and our ring toss doubles as a pirate treasure map:

But for me the most fun is always in the food. I love to have fun things for people to eat:

I’d love to link to instructions but going back through Pinterest all I found were dead links.

The Oreos are sprayed with Wilton’s Silver Color Mist to resemble doubloons.

The strawberry crabs are sitting on a Nilla Wafer and some cream cheese frosting. Their antennae are red licorice whips and the eyes are from Wilton.

There are so many different inspirational posts for different ways to cut a watermelon that I cannot possibly list them all. Here we went for a rather simple ship held together with toothpicks and decorated with stickers.

Lastly, the chests are made from Hershey Nugget Candies and stuffed with Mini M&M Candies held together with Chocolate Melting Wafers.

Bon Voyage and Aaargh Matey!


Recycled Comic Book Roses

Back in college, and for a while afterwards, my husband collected comic books. He would pick up new books each week to follow the story arcs he liked. At some point this stopped and the books ended up in a box that we moved twice. The books sat forgotten until our children found them. Nothing in the box was rare or expensive so we let the kids read them – repeatedly – until their favorites stopped resembling books and started to look more like an unkempt sheaf of colorful paper.

The books ended up back in the box a lot worse for wear. I couldn’t toss them into the recycle bin though. I felt they had something else yet to do. I didn’t know what until I found this tutorial on making paper roses out of old books.

It took me until after I had made all the roses to find my toothpicks so I used a wooden skewer instead to curl the petals. This didn’t seem to impact the overall result and I am very happy with the roses.

Including the cover, I made a total of 34 roses from one issue of Superman, The Man of Steel. I added some leaves and shiny leaf-like doilies to a dozen of the roses to put in a vase for display. The rest of the roses are waiting for a proper purpose. I’d like to get some pins and turn a few into boutonnieres. I think they would be a great accessory for a super hero themed wedding!

In the News

The other day I was scrolling through Instagram (oh, come on, we all do it!) and happened to watch an Instagram story by the Kensington Royal.   It’s an Instagram devoted to stories about the younger royals.  Yes, yes,  I know.  I love stories about the Royal family.   I’ll blame that on my mom.  This story happened to feature the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.

Now, why am I talking about a fashion show put on by the Royal family in London?  In this case, it’s because of their commitment and focus on environmentally friendly practices and handcrafts that brings it to my attention.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General and Eco Age (a marketing firm focused on sustainability) paired together designers and people around the Commonwealth to show the human potential of fashion.  53 countries were represented, with handcrafts and materials from those countries used in the finished products.

One of my favorite looks came from a collaboration between a New Zealand fashion designer and heritage artisans from the Cook Islands.  They used techniques in the fabric that they use in marriage quilts, which are made by families for brides.  The mixture of the old and new of so many of the pieces was really amazing.

The other reason I wanted to highlight this particular party was the use of so many sustainable items in the party itself.  They reused plinths from old BBC sets to put the mannequins on.  The mannequins had paper flower headdresses and those were made from recycled materials.  The mannequins themselves were made of sugar cane, which is biodegradable.

I enjoyed seeing an event with such a focus on a sustainable future!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This is Jared.

Jared is my husband, our 3d printing guru, and our own personal Kylo Ren.

In our house, Star Wars is a big deal.  Not just “we like Star Wars movies”.  More like–my boys want a Star Wars themed bedroom, my husband made his own Kylo Ren costume and we went on a Star Wars themed cruise a few years ago–big deal.  So it was only a matter of time before we were throwing Star Wars themed birthday parties.

This is Cedric.

His birthday falls in December, and a few years ago, just before the premiere of the brand new, much anticipated Star Wars movie.   And so, our first Star Wars themed party was born!

We booked his party at a local eat-in-theater, Chunky’s.  It’s a great venue for a kids party because you can really do as much or as little as you want.  They provide the food and cake, and obviously, the movie.  We decided to decorate up a bit and have some fun gift bags to take home.

One of the things we decided to do was provide an activity for the kids while they waited for food and the movie to begin.  We spent some time making these paper mache Death Stars that the kids could then decorate.

The party proved so successful, that Cedric, now turning 11 wanted to have a party to see The Last Jedi!  I made invites for the party with cutouts and stamping items.

This time I got my husband, Jared, involved in the project and he helped model and print out lights saber handles to make favors.

These were a huge hit with the kids at the party and fun to make!

It’s not every birthday party that has it’s own Kylo Ren.



Custom Bouquets

In our house we can’t have flowers. The cats eat them. When my daughter started participating in her school theater group I needed to come up with something non-floral to give her when everyone else was getting beautiful bouquets.

The first crazy bouquet (for my favorite “unimportant nun” in The Sound of Music) was made of stuffed flamingos and wooden roses:

Then Meghann asked me to make one for her daughter, Sophia, and we chose Goldfish Crackers as an inside joke:

The girls were in a summer program that did a kid’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Sophia was the Red Queen and Cara was the White Rabbit. They got coordinating bouquets with corresponding “red queen” and “white rabbit” plushies, wooden roses, Alice in Wonderland decorations, and in each of the silver boxes was a piece of jewelry:

Cara was part of the ensemble in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. For this she got her favorite flamingos again but in chocolate form this time:

Followed quickly by Sophia’s performance in Aladdin Junior with this chocolate genie and lamp bouquet:

Cara is currently rehearsing her ensemble songs for Mary Poppins and Sophia is a muse in Xanadu Junior. I need to determine appropriate bouquets for them and soon!

Eco-Friendly Events – Cutlery

One of our priorities at the Crafty Coop is to be as environmentally conscious as possible when planning our events. Our personal events have evolved as we’ve learned more about how plastic impacts us all on a global scale. Single use plastics should be the absolute court of last resort when doing anything – not just when hosting events. Are we perfect? No. But we’re working hard every day to learn more and do better. We will use this blog to help share what we learn along the way and hopefully inspire some of you to make simple changes with big impact.

When throwing events at home I’ve struggled with how to feed more people than I have cutlery for. I admit to using plastic cutlery for events in the past. You might even see photos from older events with colorful plastic cutlery. I made a simple change to eliminate that need. I went to our local Savers and picked up a variety of mismatched stainless steel cutlery to use when we have more guests than place settings. The second hand settings were inexpensive; I won’t be sad if an overzealous helper tosses one by accident at a barbecue. They are also far sturdier than even the highest quality plastic choices. I can dress them up to match any occasion with colorful (and compostable) napkins and paper rings or baker’s twine:

As consumers we need to make renting place settings popular again. Pay someone to wash the dishes at your local venue. My hope is the more we ask to use real cutlery the more venues will return to offering these services.

Sometimes there isn’t really any other option but to use something disposable. When that happens it is important to think about where your trash is headed after the party. I’ve been experimenting with my family and friends to get an idea of the products available and their merits vs limitations and these two are the best I’ve found depending on your circumstances:

Do you have access to a commercial compost facility? If you don’t know what that means then odds are you don’t. Not a lot of people do yet in America. We’re fortunate here in Haverhill. I have a service called Roots Compost that picks up my home compost weekly. Some of the most progressive cities in Massachusetts provide curbside composting but in light of the ban on food waste about half of the municipalities have compost sites available.

If you do have access to a commercial facility then I recommend this PLA cutlery. PLA is a plant based plastic, and what we use for our 3D printed projects, that breaks down in a commercial composting facility. This won’t break down appropriately if tossed in your regular trash and sent to a landfill or if put in your backyard compost. The cutlery is well made and if not for the “100% compostable” imprint on the handle – almost indistinguishable from its plastic counterparts.  They have an upper temperature limit so if you’re serving super hot foods these might not be an option. We had some break during use but not many. I’ve had similar results with typical plastic cutlery.

If you don’t have a facility for compost then consider this wooden option. They aren’t fancy but they are useful. They don’t have the heat limits of PLA. This form factor is sturdier than some of the ones modeled after typical cutlery. We didn’t have any breakage when we used these. The one complaint we heard was that it seemed like “eating with a tongue depressor.” Not all of my guests felt this way but it was a deal breaker for a few. We gave those people our everyday forks instead.



A Crafty Birthday Story

I designed a few fun wreaths to make with a wreath form, stamped accessories, ribbon, and some clothespins. These wreaths were a hot trend in some of the crafty Facebook groups I belonged to. I held a few classes to teach others how to make these wreaths. One of those classes was on my birthday!

Meghann and I loaded up my car with all the supplies to teach the class and we headed out. Having a December birthday means the odds are good that there will be snow. I had a lot of childhood birthday fun canceled due to weather. Now that I’m an adult I get to make my own choices regarding weather and thought we’d be fine if we took the drive slowly.

We got to the Tobin Bridge and the car was acting off. I pulled off the road at the top of the bridge and got into a space where the work vehicles usually park. I thought perhaps a nice policeman might drive by and check on why there was a car where it should not be but that did not happen. We had a flat tire. The car was pretty new and I wasn’t sure where all the things were but I managed to find the jack, lug wrench, and spare tire. I got everything changed and we were on the way again. We’d left early enough that even with our mishap we were at class at the start time although I was pretty damp.

Class went really well and the ladies who came out loved their wreaths:


After class, Meghann and I went for pizza at one of my favorite pizza places, Town Spa.