Category Archives: science

Introducing….the Crafty Little Club (+giveaway)!

I’ve hinted at it and now it’s time for the big reveal….. For the better part of this year I’ve been working on a passion project – the Crafty Little Club!

Science-themed craft subscription box

In the beginning…

I’d been wanting to start a crafty business for a long time but just couldn’t seem to come up with an idea that felt right. I worried that a business selling finished products would start to make my sewing hobby and joy feel like a chore, and I was also pretty sure that I wouldn’t have time to make much.

After I had my son early last year, I also fell into a bit of a creative slump. Those early months were a blur of wakings, feedings, and poops, then just as we started to feel like we were emerging from the fog we went and moved to a new state (Hi Oregon!)! We rented a house when we first got here but it just had a skinny little landing area at the top of the stairs as my crafting space. There was no door so I had to put things away when I wasn’t working on them. I may sound like a total slob, but having to put away my projects is such a damper on my progress, especially these days when I’m often just stealing 20 minutes here and there.

So there I was, over a year after my son was born, finally feeling like myself again, and missing my hobby. On a whim, I decided to go to the Sew Expo outside Seattle and boy was I glad that I did. I left feeling energized, inspired, and jazzed to make time for myself and my creative hobbies again. On the drive home at the end of the weekend, I floated an idea past my husband – what if instead of putting my time into making finished products to sell, I instead channeled my creative into making patterns?

As we talked, an idea started to form.

I had just signed myself up for a monthly embroidery club and I was loving it! I’d recently re-discovered embroidery and was finding myself surprised to enjoy my stitching time away from my machine. Not to mention the fun of getting a surprise craft in the mail every month. As we brainstormed, I thought about what interests me and I couldn’t help falling back to my nerdy roots – SCIENCE!

Science-themed craft subscription boxes

And so, the Crafty Little Club was born.

The Crafty Little Club is a science-themed crafting subscription box that will keep your hands busy and your heart happy, at any skill level. For just $25 per box (shipping included in the US), science and craft enthusiasts who join the club will receive a new box with a different theme every other month. Each box contains everything you need to create two embroidery or hand crafts including high quality materials and detailed instructions. The contents of each box are a surprise until they are mailed out, but receiving a crafty secret in the mail is half the fun! Subscribers receive 6 kits per year, but you can quit the club at any time.

The first kits mailed out on the first of this month and I thought it’d be fun to share a little reveal video to show folks what the first theme was and what they can expect with the kits:

It’s been such a wonderful experience to work on this project and see it through from idea to launch! In addition to the creative design aspects, which I knew I’d like, I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed some of the other things I needed to figure out: building a website, sourcing materials, budgeting….

It goes on and on. And to be honest, it will keep evolving and I will keep needing to figure things out. One of my favorite pieces of advice that I really took to heart, was from Chris Guillabeau’s book, Side Hustle (not an affiliate link): don’t wait until it’s perfect, just start doing it and figure it out as you go. I have a tendency to try to plan every tiny detail out entirely, complete with backup plans, before I make a first move. But that’s a good way to make yourself feel overwhelmed and never actually start anything. The best way to get going is just to get going!

(Now if I can only figure out the best way to convey that the boxes AREN’T FOR KIDS!! Adults craft too, people!)

The Giveaway…

Well, if you’ve made it this far then you deserve to hear about that giveaway I promised 🙂 I’m giving away a free box (November’s “Virology” box) to someone in the US or Canada (sorry rest of the world….shipping….). Pop on over to Instagram and check out my giveaway post. Follow me @craftylittlesecret and tag two friends in the comments, and that’s it! Giveaway closes this Wednesday, November 21 at 16:00 PST. I’ll choose one winner at random and contact them by DM.

If you want to check out what other’s are doing, don’t forget to follow #craftylittleclub. I’m so excited for this experiment :).

Chemistry Oven Mitts

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! And only 5 years after I originally hinted they may be available in my Etsy shop 😀

Robot Lab oven Mitts from Crafty Little Secret

Oh my dear friends, I have been gone for so long and I have so much to tell you! But much of it will have to wait because [Spoiler Alert] one of the reasons I’ve been gone so long is that I was busy birthing and raising a child. And boy oh boy, turns out that takes a chunk out of your free time.

I’ve also been busy working on a passion project and I’m just about to burst with excitement because I’m very near official Launch with a capital “L”. So stay tuned for more on that soon!

And, oh yeah. In the past 16 months I’ve also moved. Twice! One of those times was across state lines and the other was into my very own house. [Another Spoiler Alert]  Buying, moving into, and making a home out of a house also takes a big bite out of your free time. Who knew?

Science and Chemistry Oven Mitts by Crafty Little Secret

Babies, new businesses, big moves. It all adds up to me being terribly neglectful to this here poor blog. But I’ve got some fun projects that I managed to work on during all the Busy of the past 2 years that I’m dying to share with you and I’m scheming on a way to make some more time for myself to actually manage that.

So until then, I leave you with this PSA to let you know that you can, finally, have your very own pair of sciency oven mitts. Ta-ta for now, but hopefully not for long!

 

BioCouture

A friend originally turned me on to Suzanne Lee and her BioCouture a while ago and I was recently reminded of her insanely cool work when I saw her Ted Talk online.

Suzanne is a fashion designer who paired up with a microbiologist to basically grow her own fabric! The fabric has the look and texture of a strange translucent leather and can be molded or cut and sewn into all different patterns.

In a simple fermentation process, similar to that used when making Kombucha, a mixture of yeast and bacteria essentially spin cellulose fibers in a sweet green tea bath. After a little more than a week, a thick mat of cellulose is harvested from the top of the culture. This is the fabric Suzanne uses as the base of her creations.

bio filmShe can create patterns and colors on the clothing using iron oxidation,

iron oxidation

vegetable dyes,

vegetable dyesor indigo dye.

indigoShe can even mold the fabric into whatever shape she wants to either add texture to a piece, or to mold the piece in its entirety.

mold1mold2

One of the major hurdles for BioCouture to overcome is that the fabric produced biodegrades and is not waterproof. Meaning if you got caught in the rain wearing one of these outfits, you’d likely ended walking home in the buff. But using microbes to create fabrics leaves the door open for remarkable innovations as bacteria themselves are master innovators. If an organism could be engineered to create a cellulose mat with all the desired characteristics, growing your own fabric could become a reality!

You can watch Suzanne’s full Ted Talk and learn more about it, below.

Holiday gift ideas for the crafty nerd in your life…

I love trying to make as many gifts as possible for the holidays. It’s easy on the budget and I think people really do appreciate a handmade gift. In my endless search for inspiration I’m always coming across things that I would love to have made for me, but that not many people on my gift list would appreciate.

So. If you’ve got a crafty nerd in your life, here are some handmade ideas that might light up their holidays!

Laura Splan is an artist who “explores perceptions of beauty and horror, comfort and discomfort”. Many of her pieces include representations of parts of the human body, microbes and illness, including these viral doilies that I love – perfect for that special virologist in your life!

Laura Splan

The doilies are pretty intense and are computerized machine embroidered. Maybe you’d like something you could make yourself for your favorite virologist? Try this bacteriophage crochet pattern available on Ravelry for $5!

bacteriophage

Since I’m a virologist myself, you’ll sense a strong microbiology theme to these handmade gift ideas….but it’s the prettiest science, anyway! Just look at these stained glass microbes for proof (available from the trilobiteglassworks etsy shop)!

glass microbe copy

It’s always nice to try to give the gift that keeps on giving, and nothing does that more than microbes! Especially this set of 12 cross-stitched microbes of the month, available in aliciawatkin‘s Etsy shop.

microbe month

This pillow would be perfect to help your favorite molecular biologist to spend this holiday season asleep in their bed while visions of mitochondria dance in their heads.

cell pillow

Better get these gifts while they’re still available though, microbiology and nerd crafting is taking off! Etsy seller CleanerScience seems to be all out of their petri dish soaps!

petri dish soap

Or maybe the lab rat in your life would love this knitted dissection! Amazing!!

mouse dissection

All this gift making can make a nerd hungry! Don’t forget to nourish your cells with these science-themed cookies. I love the electrophoresis squares, find out how to make your own with a great tutorial on Not So Humble Pie (these chocolate atoms are pretty cute too)!! In fact, just go here and check out all her amazing science-themed baked goods! You can get your own Labcutter cookie cutter set over at ThinkGeek.com

cookies

Special thanks to Birdie for helping me compile this list! NERD!!!!