ARTISAN SPOTLIGHT + DIY LEGO FIGURE CRAYONS
I know, right?! Look at those beauties up there! I recently went to a birthday party for the twins of a good friend and these crayons were in the goodie bags. Not just your average, run-of-the-mill goodie bags filled with dollar store candies and crafts either.
AS you might surmise, having a birthday party for twins isn’t the easiest and combining themes for a boy and a girl extra tricky.
But when you put a bunch of creatives, small business owners and foodies together to help make things happen, the results are usually off the hook, and YES, Pinterest worthy. Don’t hate.
One of my favourite components to the goodie bags that the lovely Dana made (more on her down below!) were the mini lego figure crayons. We’ll get to that in a bit, but first I wanted to have a little chat with Dana (Ruprecht), on her business, her art and how she does what she does as a work at home mom.
Tell me a bit about your artisan business. When did you start it up, what inspired you to do so?
Dana: “My designs focus on handmade cards and crafts re-purposed, designed, or simply inspired by antique materials.
I started my craft business, Ashes of Roses, in 2007, but I had been crafting long before that. Over the course of 10 years, I had amassed quite a collection of vintage paper (photos, postcards, books) and was inspired by their connection with the past.
This collection has only continued to grow and inspire me. I enjoy creating cards and items featuring antique paper and images that already have a history, a story attached.”
What are your future plans for the bizz?
Dana: “Ashes of Roses is a small enterprise; I do a few craft shows a year, some private commissions, and on-line sales. Right now I am actually back in school, taking an Interiors course via evening study. Learning about how to create beautiful spaces is a natural extension of working with beautiful materials, so I’m hoping to merge these two interests within the next year or so by starting my own business and beginning a blog.”
What is it about crafting and DIY projects that you love?
Dana: “My feelings echo those of the great designer, William Morris: namely that mass production compromises our personal connection with the items we use or admire. Making something by hand gives you a sense of gratification and pride; it also teaches you to appreciate the skill and craftsmanship of others. Paying attention to detail is starting to become a lost art.”
How do you find the time? (Us crafty types just loooove that question, don’t we?)
Dana: “I don’t necessarily find the time… I make it. Just as some people make time to go to the gym, to cook family meals, or to do the laundry, I make time to explore and follow up on my creative impulses. It took me a long time to learn that I would never fulfill my best ideas if I kept relegating them to the leftover corners of my life.
It’s extra challenging when you have kids. I took a “maternity leave” from craft shows and things for the first 18 months after my son was born. He was the most important creative project I was working on at the time! But once the hormonal “fog” and sleep deprivation of new-motherhood cleared, I quickly became inspired again to return to card-making and paper crafting.
Often people say that they no longer have time to pursue their passions or hobbies once they have kids, but I believe it is crucial to nurture a side of ourselves that isn’t dependent on parenthood as our only identity. Also, it only benefits our children to see us doing what we love, and witness the joy we take in our accomplishments. It teaches them confidence in their own abilities, and encourages them to try new things!”
How do you operate as a work-at-home/stay-at-home mum:
Dana: “Having my own work space is imperative. Fortunately, we have a small extra bedroom in our home that functions as my studio. More often than not, it’s organized chaos in there! But at least it’s a place I can shut the door on whatever explosion of paper, glue, and glitter is happening, without feeling pressure to clean up.
Also, my husband is a photographer. His busy season (summer) is my quiet one, and vice-versa, so we are able to trade off on some of the parental responsibilities and household stuff when the other person needs undisturbed hours to work.
Usually, evenings are when I do most of work. In the fall, heading into Christmas, I’m rarely in bed before 1:00 a.m. That being said, now that my son is almost five, it is much easier to craft alongside him during the day. I can give him rubber stamps and ink to play with while I’m making gift tags. I can lend him a decorative paper punch and some fun paper while I put together my vintage paper packs. Many items can be assembled while watching Star Wars or episodes of Phineas & Ferb. Recently, my son acted as key colour consultant while I made Lego crayons for birthday loot bags. Never underestimate the creative input of a kindergartener!”
If you’d like to check out more of Dana’s incredible work, visit her on Facebook and prepare to be blown away!
So that’s a bit of the brain and heart behind Ashes of Roses and the brilliant DIY project Dana is sharing with us today. If you’re a mom with a crafty/foodie or other creative/artisan based business (creatives in design and technology too!) and you are interested in being featured here and have a DIY project of your own to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org today! I’d love to hear from you.
Now for the DIY portion, Written By Dana…
Round up all your old crayons and pick your colours. (Crayola has the best colours and highest quality non-toxic crayons.) Peeling off the paper is admittedly a little tedious!
Chop crayons into small pieces and fit into silicone mould. Do not over-fill, or wax will spread and leak into other colours. Place silicone mould onto baking tray and heat in oven for 5 – 6 minutes at 325F degrees.
Remove tray and let wax cool or “cure” for 5 – 10 minutes. Place in freezer for another 10 – 15 minutes to harden wax completely.
Before removing crayons from the mould, stretch the silicone around the Lego figure shape to loosen the wax. Carefully push each crayon out head first to avoid breakage. (You can find Lego “Mini-Figure” silicone ice-cube trays here.)
The end result – a Crayon Rainbow of magnificence!
These would make an excellent stocking stuffer, a loot bag gift as Dana used them for, or a fun after-school project to do with your child!
UNTIL THE NEXT. XO