Shari Austrian, a 39-year-old artist, and uber-crafty mom created an online Etsy store called Little Brick Lane to complete any homeowners dream of owning a Lego replica of their own house (check out the picture above!). Austrian and her family were building a house in Rye Brook, New York when she suddenly rediscovered her love and talent for miniature architecture.
Her own house was the very first that she built out of Legos. It took 30,000 Lego pieces to replicate her 3,400-square-foot home. When her model was complete, her children and her family were in awe. Her family then started asking for replicas of their own homes, and this then sparked the idea for her new business.
Austrian’s business is called “Little Brick Lane,” and she uses photographs and architectural plans that her customers provide to build their tiny masterpieces. Not only does Shari build the outside of the house, she will fill the abode with tiny replicas of the furniture if the customers are willing to pay more. Exteriors cost around 75 cents per square foot, while dollhouse-style interiors will cost around $1.25 a square foot.
Austrian says that working with Legos makes it relatively easy to accommodate different architectural designs. Although she is able to get almost every necessary piece that she needs form her two main Lego suppliers, there are still product limitations.
For example, she says, “Lego sloped bricks do not often align with commonly used roof pitches, and Lego offers few plant variations that represent typical landscaping.” The resale value of a home can increase by 14% when landscaping is done, but unfortunately that effect will be difficult to replicate for Austrian’s new project.
Even so, Austrian says she likes the challenge and craft required to build Lego homes. A single replica home can take between eight to 10 weeks to complete. Austrian explains that her process starts with analysis and processing during the first two week. She wants to figure out what she needs to build, and then order the pieces. Many people see this as just simply play and not beauty, but Austrian begs to differ.
So far no sales on her Etsy store (prices range from $1500-2500.), but she sure has a lot of admirers and respect for her work!
I love piñatas, but it makes me sad to think they’ll be smashed to smithereens. Therefore, I present this piñata craft: Photo frames! Not for smashing, but for decoration. They can also be used as shadow boxes or even candy trays!
You can buy or make a big piñata for the party activity, and then make these smaller ones as giveaways, decorations or centerpieces. This idea makes me so happy, I love functional ideas!
This is an awesome idea because you probably have everything on hand to make one. There are so many ways you can use this!
Directions: Draw (or use tracing paper) a design on a piece of cardboard, then cut a second piece. Cut a square in the front on one piece, this will be the front. You can adjust the size however you want. You can even cut a circle or a heart instead of a square.
Cut a 1” wide strips of more cardboard (great way to use up the excess!). Hot glue the strips around the inside of one of the pieces. Place the second piece on top and glue or tape in place.
Optional: Paint the base of the piñata to match the tissue paper/party streamer.
Cut strips of the party streamers, make snips to create the fringe and then use white glue to affix it in rows. If you are hanging it on the wall or setting it on a table, you don’t really have to add fringe on the back.
Add other embellishments as desired!
Cut a hole big enough to put candy inside and use it as a centerpiece!
I’m so happy I’m finally posting this! Here is the info for my 2018 Crafty Chica art retreat! I chose San Miguel de Allende because it’s my favorite city EVER. I’ve been once, and I knew I wanted to return, and I thought – why not make it a group experience?
First – we have nine spots left. I meant to share this sooner, but better late than never! This trip is five days and includes a stay at a beautiful ginormous retreat that overlooks the beautiful city. You can see the image below that shows the daily activities. We’ll be doing lots of eating, crafting, sightseeing, and shopping!
I chose the first week in December because that is the time I went and it’s pretty mindblowing. There is a giant tree in the center of the city, plus twinkling lights strung between all the buildings. We’re going to do a lot of shopping, we’ll visit the artist alleys where you can see beautiful art pieces being made right in front of you – and you can buy them direct from the makers!
How it came to be!
I set it up with my friend Rose from Dulce Travel. I actually bumped into her when I was on my trip there, she was there to buy merchandise for her then shop she had in San Jose. We tagged along as she shopped and OMG. I bought the coolest items, EVER.
Time passed and I found out she now has a travel business. I asked if she would lead our group and take us to all her favorite places. And here we are!
There are two options – one is all inclusive (you just book your own airfare), and the other is for workshops only. The latter is if you want to book your own place to stay, meals, etc.
I’ll be teaching a couple workshops, but I made sure to also include two by local SM artists!
Recently voted the best city in the world by Travel and Leisure, Magazine. San Miguel de Allende’s stunning architecture, memorable pops of color and charm make it a great spot for art lovers looking to experience a city they will never forget. Simply walking down the streets of this town and enjoying the old-world cobblestone feel paired with the vibrant colors is a culture lover’s favorite.
San Miguel de Allende in 360: Voted T+L's World's Best City 2017! | Travel + Leisure - YouTube
San Miguel de Allende was also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, In order to be classified on this exclusive list, the town must have significance to the world, whether that be a cultural, scientific or historical significance.
The ART RETREAT will consist of daily workshops hosted by Crafty Chica, and local artisans. The all-inclusive ART RETREAT includes accommodations in a private home, Casa Alta Vista, all meals, highlighting the flavors of the region, and finally what San Miguel de Allende is best known for; lots and lots of art galleries, quality shopping, fine folk art, jewelry, and women’s wear.
Join us and experience this one of a kind cultural awakening, and fall in love with la cultura Mexicana again and celebrate the artist in you!
I’m one of those crafters who like to make and stockpile things. These glittered cardstock embellishments are a perfect example. I tried out the Fiskar “thick” punches (here’s an affiliate link to the ones I used!) and kinda went crazy punching up all my glittered cardstock.
I mean, all of it, literally.
This is what started it, I used this punch first to make a bunch of circles.
Then I went on to some others. What hooked me is that you can’t use glittered cardstock in regular punches, they’ll break. These even cut through the sequin cardstock.
Then I put all these glittered cardstock embellishments in little baggies. I used a few of them to liven up some boring picture frames I had in my craft room. I glued some together like a wreath and then cut it in half and glued it at the top of the frame.
Like this! And then I added some other pieces as well.
Here’s what it looks like glued to the frame. Much better!
What I love about these glittered cardstock embellishments is you can use them for cards or shrines, gift tags, anything where you want a pop of sparkle. And the idea of cutting them in advance makes it much easier!
Planning a kid’s party can be overwhelming. After all, there is so much to do! It seems like you have to organize a gazillion details, from the invitations, decorations, and activities to snacks, dinner, and cake. Sometimes, it feels like there’s no end in sight!
And a lot of times these parties are filled with delicious foods and drinks, but they tend to be kinda unhealthy. But unfortunately, this is how the life of a parent goes — as much as you try to get your child to like healthy food, they always go for the sweets, the carbs, and the processed foods. But don’t fret! There are plenty of nutritious and delicious party foods you can serve at your next shindig that will make both you and your child smile (and don’t worry, a paleo-vegan birthday cake isn’t on the list).
Here are some of our favorite suggestions, tips, and tricks for serving nutritious and delicious foods at a kids party.
4 Healthier Desserts - YouTube
Use bright, natural colors
When decorating for a party, experts suggest sticking with three main colors in your decorations. When it comes to food, there’s nothing wrong with embracing every color of the rainbow. Of course, anything you serve that looks bright and vivid probably has a ton of artificial colors and flavors in them. Throw the candy and cookies away and try to make your food spread as colorful as possible with natural fruits and veggies! And if you serve fruit as a source of natural sugar, the children won’t even notice they’re missing any other sweet candies or chocolate! Okay, maybe that’s wishful thinking, but you can still try.
Make your own popsicles
There’s a lot of excess sugar in the popsicles you buy at the store, so simply make your own popsicles if you’d like a frozen treat. Just take sugar-free juice, throw in some frozen berries, and you’re done. Alternatively, mix up your favorite healthy smoothie recipe, pour it into popsicle trays, then let it freeze overnight.
Healthier grill favorites
On average, Americans eat burgers about more than four times a month, but all this meat can be incredibly fatty and high in calories. So instead, choose some healthier favorites you can grill such as grass-fed beef, lean chicken breasts, pineapple, even vegetables. Instead of greasy burgers and hotdogs, serve up healthy kabobs featuring lean meats, tasty veggies, and grill-friendly fruits.
HEALTHY DIPS | 3 EASY RECIPES - YouTube
No child’s party is complete without a bunch of finger food, but instead of the usual fried foods, go the route of savory dips. We’re talking hummus, peanut butter, and guacamole. You can serve with pretzels, corn chips, vegetables, and crackers.
Customized drink bottles (video by Mom’s a Mess)
DIY | $1 Personalized Tumbler Cups | Dollar Tree - YouTube
Eliminate soda altogether by creating customized water bottles for the kids to drink from. Better yet, have a decorating station where they can be involved in the process of creating their own masterpiece. This is a fun party craft, and they will love that they each have their own bottle with their name on it to take home.
Put everything on a stick (video by HGTV Handmade)
Like we’ve mentioned before, children love when their food is presented in interesting ways. No matter what’s on the menu, see if you can put your meal on a stick. In addition to kabobs, some fun ideas include cheese and apple slices, chicken bites with vegetables and roasted potatoes, and fruity dessert stations.
These six tips and tricks are all you need to incorporate healthy food into your next kids party without having a headache. We promise, your kids will love them and you will too!
When I work with clay, it’s hard to toss the scraps. I make something out of every little piece with the intention to use eventually put each one to work. I finally followed through to make this crazy-looking copper and ceramic wind chime. I also pulled out my sari ribbon stash to give it some softness and warmth against the thick and chunky fired clay pieces.
Here is my bisque stash. All of these are pieces I made with cookie cutters, coiling, stamping and more. I made holes in them because I knew they make perfect charms. For the ones that didn’t have holes, I used a diamond drill bit. Then I added color with underglazes and then added accents with a liner brush on top. Lastly – fired them in my kiln.
When it comes to attaching the jump rings, I used two pairs of needle nose pliers. If you really want to secure the rings, you can add a bit of flux and solder and hit it with the micro torch. I used a combo of the jump rings and wrapped wire. I really wanted a mixed media type of look.
Okay, truth: I ran out of jump rings! But it still looks cool with the wrapped wire!
Use a variety of open frame beads, anything that can be connected and has weight. It’s a chime, remember? Set aside your strands. We’ll get back to those later.
Now comes the copper part. I used copper coil from the hardware store. I also used a copper coil cutter and cut it to shape. This took a little bit of patience. I then even used a mallet to shape it into a circle. The goal is to get the ends smoothly cut and lined up together.
Tap the mallet on the copper coil on a hard surface until you have a balanced circle.
Wrap the ends with copper tape, add flux.
Put on the goggles and the gloves. Make sure everything is cleared out of the way and work on top of the kiln shelf or heat brick. Follow the manufacturer directions to melt the solder onto the copper tape. I keep the flame on medium. you don’t want to point the flame directly on the solder, move it in circles around the area to heat it evenly.
For a little bit more texture, I wrapped the circle with the wire. I like going that extra bit.
Then I wrapped the seam with sari strips and let them hang down. Next, use jump rings or wire to attach the strands, and even more pieces to your copper and ceramic chime if you want!
I’ve decided I’m going to keep adding to this. It will be one of those progressive, on-going projects. And if I ever need some charms, I can always go and remove them from a strand? Maybe not, we’ll see how things pan out…
I hope this project inspires you to try a Bernzomatic ST500: 3 in 1 Micro Torch, it comes in handy for so many projects. From food to crafts to repairs. We now have three of them in the house!
From the Bernzomatic site:
“Find Your Fire. There’s a fire in each of us. Waiting to ignite. We believe in carrying the torch ignited by our founder in 1876—whose quality craftsmanship and progressive mindset are what blazed the trail that got us here today. We believe in awakening the innovators in all of us—inspiring a culture of creators who can break boundaries, mark new territory and go where no flame has burned before. We believe in empowering those who’ve found their flame and dare to follow it. Because the ones who do are the catalysts of bold transformations that redefine the limits of what we can achieve. We believe in our fire and in your fire. It’s time to ignite.”
Thanks so much for checking out my project!
This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Bernzomatic. All ideas, opinions, and the excitement to work with this new art genre are 100% my own.
Now that I’m running a physical store here in Phoenix, I’ve been designing all kinds of new goodies – like Crafty Chica stickers! The only problem was out-of-towners wanted them too. I finally uploaded them to my shop, so now anyone can buy one!
Happy dance! This is just the first batch, I’ll have more soon!
If you have a borderline insatiable wanderlust, you’ve probably made it to some of the world’s most famously beautiful places. One problem many intrepid travelers have is reconciling the desire to fly by the seat of their pants with having a plan set for them when they arrive. Well, if you are visiting a new place for the first time, you can always find a local tour group. There’s often no need to plan in advance; just show up and go for a wild ride.
Tours also help you get familiar with your new destination, so grab your backpack and let’s look at some of the best and most bizarre guided tours in the world.
I love bus tours, especially if you just want to chill and see the basic sights. This Vine is a trip I took to Miami. We took a bus tour across the city. This is one of the easiest, most common, and readily available types of tours through the world’s cities takes place on a bus. Motorcoach tours and travel are a $55 billion per year industry and have an incredibly positive effect on the economy.
There are two cities where taking a bus tour is almost a requirement. New York has buses that drive through the crowded streets of Manhattan with passengers sitting on the roofless upper deck. You will see everything from the flashing tourist mecca that is Times Square to the tragic, but hopeful World Trade Center Memorial.
The other must-do tour is the original London bus tour. Get ready for an education in British history where you’ll see the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and homes that were once reduced to rubble by German bombs in WWII.
Adventurous? Military submarines need to operate at least 100 meters below Sonic Layer Depth to avoid detection by sonar, which requires them to be built out of metal with high yield strength. That makes them pretty hard to see out of.
Luckily, there are commercial submarines with big open windows that don’t need to delve into the utter depths of the ocean. Instead, they stay fairly shallow so tourists with a fascination for ocean life can learn more about various sea ecosystems.
Amsterdam’s Red Light District
For the more open-minded traveler, there are regular tours of Amsterdam’s notoriously explicit Red Light District and they are actually quite fascinating. Here you will find prostitution, coffee shops of the green variety, sex shops, a beautiful canal, and a 13th-century church in the middle of it all. Harmonious juxtaposition at its very finest.
If you have more delicate sensibilities, there are also bike tours through the city that explore parks and museums.
Traveling like a pro means improvising on the fly when needed, but knowing you have a backup plan. One of the best ways to get to know a new area is by taking a local tour. So, next time you don’t know what to do when you’re in a foreign land, find a tour. It’ll undoubtedly be a memorable experience.