My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

The items that I post reviews on, have either been purchased on the internet or through a local vendor. Additionally I will review items that I got on sale, as a gift or as a sample from either the manufacurer or some other source.

Note: always read the manufacturers directions on how to properly use a product and craft carefully. Additionally, I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a few cents (literally) from your clicking on my Amazon links. Since they raised the minimum payout from earnings to $10 I haven't seen a credit for a while but eventually I will get one.

Every penny counts when trying to set a budget to get supplies to use for my reviews, tutorials and hauls. However, you do not have to use my links. You can use your favorite search engine to find the best price for your budget.

Chinese Double Coin Knot - Hair Comb Tutorial

    I have been enjoying all the very cool textile jewelry that I have been seeing all over the internet lately.  I especially like the use of knots in jewelry and home decor.  I filmed a brief television segment on
My hair model "Ariel" and a few of some of the projects for the show.

A view of the pony tail knotting project.

various chinese knots and I thought I would share with you one of the knots that I
demonstrated for the viewers.
    Below are the instructions of how I made the "Chinese Double Knot" hair comb using the same knot like the one below.

Note:  My directions and method of doing the knot may or may not make sense to you.  However,  there are many ways to do chinese knotting.  I highly recommend getting a book on the various knots and their meanings.  Additionally, you can always go on YouTube.  I find it is a fun resource for learning many new techniques.   You can also find celtic knots that are very similar to the chinese knots in appearance but not meaning.  
   The chinese double knot represents "good fortune and abundance".  Making jewelry or hair
accessories with the chinese double knot is a nice handmade gift with a sweet sentiment attached to it.

Materials Used:
1 yard of cording in two contrasting colors
2 beads with large holes
hair comb
Modge Podge

Tools Needed:
Cork Mat
Pins or Tacks to hold the cording in place
soft paint brush
measuring tape

Here is how I made the knot:

Step 1
Prepare the cord ends by brushing them with a little modge podge.  Place aside and allow it to dry.  This seals the ends and keeps them from fraying.

Step 2
Once they are dry, take the two cord and pin the to the board.  You do not need to use the board, I just find it helpful in getting the tension just right.

Anyways, anchor the one end of the cord at point "A" and form a loop with the coord and pin down (like you see below), from this point you will be working with the loose end known as cord "B".  Use pins, as needed,  to hold the shape.

Step 3
Form a second loop by looping cord "B" as illustrated below.  Make sure the "B" end loops under "A".
Step 4
Form a third loop by taking cord "B" down through the two loops as illustrated below (Watch the over and under weave...this is key to get the knot correct). It will kind of look like a pretzel.

Step 5.  Once you have completed the knot pattern by weaving the cord down through the two loops as shown above, you will remove the pins so that you can tighten the knot.  I found that tightening the cord slowly keeps the knot from losing the tension necessary to maintain the right shape.  Below is what it supposed to look like.

Once you master the basic knot, you can weave it with more than one cord and have fun combining colors and beads.  I made the one below with two different colored cords and attached it to the hair comb.

Here is are some close up views of other things I made using the same knotting technique.

  • The final size of your knot completely depends on the size of the cord you use.  For the hair comb I chose a cord that was 1/8".   
  • If you are planning on making earrings to match, then I would choose a very thin cord in a similar color. 
  • You should also take into consideration the texture of the cord you pick as that will also affect the final piece.
  • Again, you can not beat YouTube as a great source to see how different people make these knots.  Each person has their own technique and I am sure you can find someone whose technique works for you.

As always, the opinions expressed on this blog are mine.  Additionally, always use care when working with art and craft supplies, especially if you have children and pets around.  All photos are copyrighted.  

A peek at the Glitterfest gift show held in Santa Ana, California

As spring is approaching, one of the fun upcoming events is the "Spring Glitterfest 2012" show.  This is

an opportunity to embrace the creativity of the spring holidays, enjoy unique handmade items, and/or collect vintage collectibles.   The "Glitterfest" shows are created by Sheryl Simpson and

Dianne White.  Here is a peek at what I found at this year's Fall Glitterfest which was held on October 15, 2011, at the Elks Lodge in Santa Ana, California.  My friends and I arrived early to be able to catch all the fun and excitement of the event.

So we followed the excellent signage and joined the line of excited attendees who were kind enough to share their excitement with us.  They told us a little about the various artists that they were going to see.  Below is a peek at some of the wonderful work these artists had on display (and for sale).
IAbove is "In My Blue Room" and below is work by "Dennis Haynes". 

I also stopped to see the fun characters created by Jenny Hernandez (The Polka Dot Pixie).
Jenny also teaches sculpting classes at different locations throughout the year.  You can also so see more pictures of her whimsical characters on the Polka Dot Pixie flicker site.
The outside area of the show had some amazing booths that included the "Blossom Vintage Chic" booth, where I got to meet Debbie Watts.
I had a fun time talking to her and seeing her great selection of vintage and antique merchandise.  I also
spent some time talking to Linda Fitt and Sandi Woods of Eurotrash.Co.  They had some fun mini kits

for jewelry making and for tabletop decor, as well as a great selection of vintage inspired jewelry.
I was excited to find out that Michele Legler (Mosaic Cottage)  had a table at this show.  I love her

mosaic work and I was excited to see what merchandise she had to sell. She makes these very cool
mosaic cupcake pieces  and mosaic cakes that I just adore.

Another fun booth was "Beyond the Poison Apple" with fun selection of holiday merchandise made by

Rose Polanco.  I especially enjoyed her cute Halloween inspired tree ornaments and potion bottles.
Of course it would not be glitterfest if there was not at least one vendor actually selling an amazing selection of German glitter.  The Myer Imports German Glass Glitter Staff was so very helpful in
explaining the difference between the glass glitters and some of the cool fun things I could do with them.
They have a blog where they post ideas, links, and more on glitter related topics. I purchased some cool silver glitter, that tarnishes over time, to use on my crafty projects.

Additionally, each person who attended could enter their names in a drawing to win one of the many
Fun earrings by Sandy Moreno

Trinket Pin by Susan M. Walls

lovely prizes shown below (this is only a sample of the prizes).

A close up of the cool fairy piece.

The spring show is scheduled for March 10, 2012 and will be held at the Elks Lodge in Santa Ana, California.  The admission is $7.00 at the door and the parking is free.  You can park at the store in Tustin and take the shuttle or park at the Elks Lodge. I recommend the shuttle service because then you can visit the vintage "Whimzy" store and have a lovely lunch in the downtown Tustin area.


Review of the Mepxy Brush Markers

Recycled Soda Tab Earrings colored with Mepxy Brush Markers

I really enjoyed crafting with the Mepxy Brush markers (from the U.K.) because of their versatilty, ease of use, quality, and excellent color selection.  Above is a pair of recycled soda tab earrings that I made using the markers to color the metal.

The Mepxy markers are now being sold in the United States in art stores.  The markers bring Anime artists, calligraphy artists, and crafters a new choice in alcohol ink markers.  Mepxy even has a blog dedicated to anime artists with a fun gallery and ideas for using the markers.
The set that I got is the Mepxy 12 colors basic set which includes:

  • B06 Peacock Blue
  • L07 Natural Green
  • 006 Cadmium Orange
  • V06 Iris Purple
  • C05 Cyan
  • M09 Magenta
  • P04 Lavender
  • W07 Light Mahogany
  • G07 Vivid Green
  • N18 Sepia
  • R08 Vermilion
  • Y06 Bright Yellow
and separately, I purchased:
  • 00 Colorless Blending Pen
  • Marker Blending Palette
I had a opportunity to test them out and here are my findings in using this product.  The colors are high pigment that makes for a very rich color.  I made a color chart so you could see how they look on ivory card stock.

The inks are also translucent which makes blending the inks very easy to accomplish.  I did a sample blending using two of the colored ink markers and the colorless blending brush.
They all worked very well together and I was quite pleased. The dots pattern on the dress was done with the colorless blender pen.

 The colorless blender pen is used to remove excess ink from the image or to blend colors.

Like the other quality alcohol ink markers in the market place, these markers come with two tips.  The marker has a fine brush tip on one side

and a wide chisel tip on the other.
Shading with these markers is pretty easy.  You can add color by going over the same area with the marker or use a darker color.  The colorless blender pens are great for lightening up areas to create more dimension in a picture.

I read on the Mepxy website that the ink is toner friendly and won't react to it nor would it remove images from it.  So I did my own test on this.  I used five colors and none of them lifted the image from the paper.

I decided to test the markers on different surfaces to see how they looked.  I started by testing them on metal soda tabs.  I used the markers to color the metal soda tabs.  These have recently become popular in recycling craft projects but are often hard to find in nice colors.  So I colored a few with the markers and as you can see some of the colors are more opaque than others.
I also tried the Mepxy markers on wire hooks.  I used the markers to color the wire in various colors and it worked perfectly.  This also worked well on plain metal staples.

Then I tried it out on a cut up piece of aluminum soda can that I had run through my Big Shot machine.  This also worked really well.
Note:  When working with metal, allow the ink to dry in between coats of different colors.  Also use a toothpick to hold the metal during the painting process to avoid smearing the ink while it dries.   I decided to heat set the ink to ensure that the ink would remain colorfast and permanent on the metal.

For my First Project, I decided to make some simple Soda Tab Earrings with materials I had on hand.

Next, I decided to try test them on some plain cloth flowers.  I took apart the flowers and used the yellow color to paint the center of the petals.  I let them dry for about a half hour. Then I proceeded to wet the outer surface of the petals (one at a time) with the colorless blender pen which was immediately followed by inking the surface with the orange marker.
The finished flowers looked great.  I liked the vibrancy of the colors and I think the colored flowers are much cuter than the original plain flower.

Then I decided to see how these would work on canvas that has been prepped with gesso.
      For my second project, I used the markers to make a page in my altered art journal.  First, I colored the background with the markers.  Then I stamped several designs onto the page. I  filled in the color on the skull with the Mepxy markers.  I could layer the ink without blocking out my stamped images by doing only one coat.  I quickly finished off the page by adding some simple embellishments.
Mepxy Alcohol Ink Markers used in Altered Art Journal Pages

My third project was to use the markers over various card stock to see how it would hold up.  As you can see in the photo below, it worked great on the canvas, card stock, and the various trims that I combined to make a fun wall hanging for my daughter.

      The Mepxy Alcohol Ink Brush markers worked well together with all the different elements that I tested them.  I certainly got the results that I wanted from them.  This product seems to work on so many surfaces that the possibilities for crafting use are vast.
      The Mepxy Alcohol Ink Brush markers also work great on shrink plastic, air dry clay, epoxy clay pieces, lace, assorted papers, various metals, and more.  I enjoyed the versatility of these markers and the intensity of the pigmented alcohol inks.  They are very easy to work with, however, I can not stress enough that once the ink is applied to a surface, it will dry quickly.   Make sure to plan your project with this in mind.  Personally, I love that it dries quickly because it lets me move on to the next project phase.
    The markers are also sold individually at around $10 (but I found them online for less) which makes it easy to collect the colors you like.  The sets retail for $72 to $74 but again, a google search listed them at several retailers for various prices.  These markers would be great for the art students, journaling, or crafter's.  My kids love them for doing Anime drawings because of the smooth flow of the ink and the double ended tip.


  • Immediately place tips back onto markers so they do not dry out.
  • I was told by the rep to store my markers horizontal.
  • Do not use with Staz On ink, because it can react to it.
  • These are rich colors and will seep through cheaper quality paper, so take that into consideration when planning your projects.
  • If you decide to color soda tabs with alcohol ink pens, you have to clean them and sand them to get alcohol ink to stick.  Then you need to heat set it (I use my embossing tool).  The intensity of color you get depends on the amount of ink you use and the brand of ink you use.  
  • I found the ink adhered differently to different types of metal.  So I recommend you do a test first to make sure the alcohol inks will work on the metal you are planning on using.

New Disclosure: I am not affiliated with Mepxy Brush Markers, however they did provide these markers to me to do a honest review on my own blog and on the Craft Critique blog.  If you want to read the pros and cons, then go to the Craft Critique blog post and scroll down to the bottom.  The I do Craft Critique Reviews, they like us to post both the pros and cons of a product. I just do not have room to do that on my own blog posts here.

Additionally, I am an Amazon associate and will earn a few cents (literally) from your clicking on my Amazon links and make a purchase. This year was my biggest earner, I earned a total of $9 from my Amazon associate link. Every penny helps when trying to get supplies to do reviews and tutorials.   However you should know that you do not have to use my links. You can do your own Google search and find the best price for your budget.