The Kira Nichols Etsy Shop

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Toucan Felt Badge and Bird News

I sat down to make this little badge tonight after doing nearly nooooothing all day... I got a ridiculous headache yesterday morning in the middle of a cardio class, then came home and dry-heaved and sat in the dark all day, curtains drawn, feeling nauseous and awful. I think it was a migraine, and I did not enjoy my day! Today I'm feeling better, but still sluggish and tired. I was feeling up to making a little toucan out of my new felt (from Etsy seller SweetEmmaJean) this evening, but after I cut out the pieces, I was 2 minutes into needlefelting the pieces together and my one and only felting needle snapped. Boooooo! I did give up, but came back to it about an hour later. Lo and behold, I have finished it just now with stitching and about 2 minutes worth of needle felting. I wanted to share :)

Also, take a look at this smug, tricky bird. There is bird news in my house, that isn't huge news, but my world was rocked nonetheless. My beautiful Peanut Button birdy boy is NOT a boy, but indeed, a big fat HEN. I got the DNA test results back on Tuesday, and I was a little upset. I know, I know, Peanut is the same sweet, kind bird and I still love him... uh, her... just as much. It's just going to be weird adjusting to the new feminine pronouns after 6 years of "Mister Peanut". I'll be honest, I'm probably going to continue saying "good boy!" to him...DAH! her... for a while. Well, it was 50/50 and we just guessed wrong when he was a chick. In my defense, she never ONCE corrected me. I'll cope.

Happy Thursday to you all, I hope it's been a good week for you so far.

And! Don't forget to enter my Hey Hey Crochet Giveaway Yay, if you haven't already. It's as simple as leaving a comment :)

CLOSED Simple Crocheting Book Giveaway!

Hey friends! I am pleased to announce that one lucky reader will win a copy of "Simple Crochet" by Erika Knight, along with a 120 yd. skein of Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn and a crochet hook. Everything you need to go from beginner to awesome expert crochet-warrior princess. 

St. Martin's Press sent me a copy to review along with one to give away. The author really lays it ALL out in this book... Differences between yarns, tools, terminology, etc. I already knew much of it from experience, but there's always more to learn. I can imagine that if you knew nothing about yarn aside from "what is yarn?" you could jump right into this book. Learning to crochet by yourself (like me!) can be a little tricky but the illustrations in this book are honestly super helpful. Between that and YouTube, I'd say it can be learned pretty darned quick. Don't get me wrong, you'll need to focus a little, but it's easier than knitting (says me!)

My favorite part, and what I think  is the most helpful to me is that there are 20 project patterns in the book and they go up in skill level for each successive project. So you don't jump into a project and feel like you've bit off more than you can chew. If you follow the progression, you can develop quite the skill. And the projects are of useful things, like slippers and mittens and laptop covers...So you don't end up with like 1000 scarves and 300 doilies (though there are a couple in there, for your experience :)

Anyhoo, there are 3 ways/chances for each of you to ENTER!
1. Be a follower here, and leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite snack! or favorite animal.
2. Be a liker on Facebook and comment on the giveaway photo there
3. Share the giveaway link on your blog or Facebook and post another comment here letting me know you shared (and a link to your blog, if applicable. I like to look at blogs!)

Each person can enter up to 3 times in the ways above. International readers are welcome! The winner will be chosen on Monday, September 10th in a random way. Thank you for entering, and good luck!

Who Else Wants Shrinky Dink Earrings?

 I made a bunch of pairs of shrinky dink earrings today! I was struck with the idea to make some for my shop this afternoon when I was attempting to take a nap. The nap wasn't very successful, but I did get some earrings made and listed today :)

 I have this Marilyn stamp and I have been wanting to use it, so I made these ones, inspired by her pink "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" dress in my favorite movie!

 Truth: I made these ones a long time ago and they've been sitting around my craft room... So, they're discounted, just for you.
Aaaaand, I had to make some Halloween ones. Honestly, I think Halloween is the funnest holiday to craft for. Pumpkins, witches, gargoyles, ghosts, black cats! I could go on...

Anyhoo, I hope you all don't mind the blatant Etsy linkage, but a crafty lady's gotta make some sweet moolah to spend on craft supplies and chocolate bonbons. I went to Michaels on Wednesday, and I bought ALL. THE. CLAY. Well, all the white polyclay...that was good quality...and on sale. I'm trying to sculpt up an inventory of Wicked Witch Bookmarks (buy!) so I'll be ready for the Christmas rush. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Amazon Parrot Card and Pug Happy Birthday

 This card that I made is pretty versatile, since "squawk" can be translated into so many different sentiments :) Thanks, hello, thinking of you, sorry, you name it, it's squawk. I made this little card using Amazon from Stampotique.
I had to add a little bit of glitter glue, I just couldn't resist.
And I made this birthday card a while ago, too using Floating Dog from my stampotique line :) Add a hat, boom, he's festive. Happy Monday!

ATCs! Crookshanks, orange tabby, and the letter N

I couldn't resist trading some ATCs this month. It's been a while since I've made any, but ATCs are kind of addicting. I made all these on certain requested themes and requested toucan-themed cards in return :) 
The letter "N" as part of a collection spelling out a partner's last name. I wanted a sort of zentangled look, but less fuss and clutter, so I just stuck with lines and swirls and then used watercolor to add pizzazz! 

 This one is a pet portrait of an orange tabby cat named Mayhem. I kinda loved drawing this, and it made me think about offering custom watercolor pet portraits in my Etsy shop. What do you think?
And finally, Crookshanks, for a Harry Potter animals theme. Well, I'm off to the beach! Have a splendid weekend, everyone :)

How to travel with jewelry without the stupid jumbled mess

Hey guys! I'm back on this episode of iVillage's "My Best Idea" telling you how I pack my necklaces when I'm out and about. Check it out, and check out my huge earrings :)

More Wicked Awesome Series Witch Bookmarks & Baby Snakes

 Nope, I haven't stopped making wicked witch bookmarks :) And lucky for me, you haven't stopped buying them. So I thought I'd share some of the new fun bookmarks I've made for the "Wicked Awesome" series of these bookmarks. They're available for purchase in my Etsy Shop!
 There's a new Wizard of Oz movie coming out in January 2013 that I'm pretty excited about.
 I think the blue one in the middle is my favorite out of this batch. She's got just a hint of a smirk...
 And speaking of wicked things, there's been some heavy, heavy rain here in south Alabama the past week or so and it seems like all sorts of creatures are being, quite literally, flushed from their various hidey holes. My house has been reptile city. This GORGEOUS teeny tiny baby milk snake was in my garage when I got home from a Zumbathon Friday night. I had to scoop him up and take pics in my light box, since he was too much of a wee precious jewel to go un-photographed.
The next morning, there was this baby black racer snake on my front porch, and he was super feisty. He kept lunging and striking at my camera, the tiny thing. He was thinner than a regular sharpie marker and maybe 10 inches long, to give you an idea of size. Harmless, but cheeky. AND a green anole lizard also somehow got into my kitchen that day. Reptiles!

And last Tuesday after a REALLY heavy rain, Bobby saw a huge, sad-looking beaver crossing the road. I'm hoping that ALL the rain cries itself out over the next couple of days, because it's our anniversary this weekend and we have plans to head to the beach! Anyhoo, I hope everyone is having an adventurous week so far :) Happy Tuesday!

Birdy Branch Mug Rug

In case you're wondering, "What is a mug rug?" I'll tell you. It's like a mini-art quilt, an over sized coaster, and an undersized place mat all rolled into one. They're meant to be big enough to go under a mug and a little snacky thing like a bagel or sandwich. They're useful and FUN TO MAKE!

I made this little bird and branch mug rug using lots of different fabric scraps and felt. Since it's such a little project, they're a great way to use up those little pieces of cool fabric that you haven't had the heart to throw out.
It's not perfect, but I like it :)
And here's the back, where you can see the fun quilting. What's nice is that you don't need a long-arm quilting machine... I did all this on my regular sewing machine!

"I was rescued" Hammered Penny Dog Tag

Take a penny, hammer the flip out of it, stamp it with metal punches, drill a hole, BOOM. Custom dog tag. This one says, "I was rescued". :)

August! Continuing the Art Calendar!

 I'm 8 days late on my August calendar page, but I say better late than never when it comes to these... I can't give up now! I'll say it again: I can't believe I've stuck with it ALL YEAR :) I'm quite proud of myself...

 For this month, I needed something little because of the tiny space I had for a focal point, and colorful to match the background. I picked this wee bird from the Parrots Collage Sheet.
Aaaaand lastly, I had to share the collage of all 8 months so far :) To see more calendar page delightfulness, check out the challenge at the Kathryn Wheel! Happy Wednesday to you all.

Groovy Silver Beaded Ring

Another groovy project to share :) I custom made this sterling silver ring in beachy ocean colors and stamped "groovy" on the silver just for my crafting buddy! Crystal and pearls... It reminded me a little of beach glass.
I used some buffing compound and my Dremel to polish the band up to a high shine. My other rings have been a sort of hammered finish which is cool, but it was also neat to see the silver get so dang shiny. I kinda missed a bit on the inside of the ring, you can see it in the picture. Oops. Oh well, still pretty.
And here's the packaging I used. The box is made from kraft cardstock and I folded it up with my scoring board. That thing sure does come in handy when I need to make boxes or little gift bags. 

Anyhoo, I'm home from my vacation in Texas at my sister's house and I had SO MUCH FUN :) I didn't blog as much as I had planned, but who can spend time on the computer when there are super things to be done? It made me wish that there's an Alamo Drafthouse Theater near where I live. We went three times. And I went to Sea World four times. And Corpus Christi once. And shopping a million times. Shopping with my sister is the best shopping there is... The only thing that would have made it better would be if my mom was there, too! She's going to Texas at the end of this month, though. I'm a little jealous, but oh well, I had my good times. It's nice to be home! Happy Monday, friends!

Toco Toucan Altered Altoids Tin

This month's challenge over at the Unique Crafters Challenge Blog is GLITTER AND SHINE! 
I made this altered Altoids tin lid with all sorts of sparkly, shiny fun stuff. The clouds in the background are cut out of American Crafts glitter paper, which is unlike any other glitter paper I've used. It's so smooth and totally not the normal glitter texture. Nothing falls off of it, and I think I'd describe it as more glowy and reflective. Seriously, it's awesome. I have to find some more of it.
I also slapped on a border of beads, along with glitter glue on the inside rim and some rhinestones.
Here's a shot of the polyclay toucan I sculpted before the acrylic paint job. 
"My favorite color is shiny." 
The bottom has a dangling pendant with lovely, sparkly glass stones :) I couldn't resist adding just another glitter and shine element.

So, if you've got the hankerin' to create something shiny this month, don't hesitate to enter it in the Unique Crafters Challenge! You can win some radical supplies. 

Happy August 1, folks!