Friday, 10 February 2017

Homemade Conversation Hearts

Happy Valentine's Month, to you! February is all about two things: love and candy. Now, I've said this before but I'll say it again, if you're anything like me, you celebrate Vday purely for the candy! So this week I'm showing you guys how to make conversation hearts at home. Yes, you can make these cute little guys in your very own kitchen! And they're not difficult to prepare; you don't even need a candy thermometer. Just round up your favourite candy flavourings and a whole lotta icing sugar, watch my video tutorial, and set to work.

The first time I made these, or any candy, really, at home, I was totally blown away. It's just so cool to be able to produce something as iconic as the Valentine's Day conversation hearts in your own kitchen. But truly, this is a fun and simple baking project, and you'll quickly learn that the old adage is true: candy is just sugar (and a tiney bit of colour!) but mostly just sugar. 

For the recipe and tutorial, check out my YouTube video:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Vintage Inspired Valentines

I think that every holiday has a sort of special kitsch factor. A wonderful tacky magic that resides in the seasonal candies or the familiar colour combos or the paper decorations that we buy at the dollar store. And this is especially true of Valentine's day. When I think of the February holiday, I don't think of dates I had, or dates I didn't have, or romantic candelit dinners; I think of paper heart garlands, and cinnamon hearts and handmade cards, and the colours pink and red, and streamers and balloons! I truly love all the trappings of Valentine's Day, and that's why this year I decided to head to the antique market in search of some sweet vintage Vday goodies. 

Chris and I went to the Freelton antique mall near Hamilton, Ontario one rainy and dull Sunday in January. Roaming around the warehouse was a great way to spend an afternoon, and our search resulted in an armload of vintage valentines. I brought the cards home to use as inspiration for my own handmade greeting cards.  

I really liked a little bird illustration that I found on a vintage birthday card. I used the graphic as inspiration for my own Valentine greetings, and I was really pleased with the result. I think it's so important to seek out sources of inspiration. Even though we have the ability to search any image on google, that sort of staggering variety can be the opposite of inspiring. If you want to draw floral motifs but you're having trouble finding images or getting inspired, look to vintage art and design. You can take a book out of the library if you don't have access to an antiques market. 

Old cards like these are a wealth of inspiration when it comes to fonts, floral motifs and other details. If you're into lettering and design like me, next time you find yourself at an antique store, check for ephemera like cards and pamphlets. It's funny how styles and trends really do come back around with time. All the fonts from the 50's look so retro cool, I actually thought some of the designs could have been produced today, as throwback bespoke greeting cards, of course! 

If you'd like to watch my video tutorial (and see a little bit from my trip to the antique mall) check out the YouTube video:

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Needle Felting

There's something about wintertime that makes needle felting extra appealing. Maybe it's working with warm fuzzy wool, or the idea of crafting cute Christmas tree ornaments. I don't know what it is exactly, but when the weather gets cooler, the felting needles come out. Case and point: I posted my first felting tutorial to YouTube this summer, and while the video was well received, the views didn't soar until autumn rolled in. Now the 'Needle Felted Owl' is one of my top videos. And I totally get it, because I'm sitting here in my pj's, curled up by the fire, looking out the window at the cold dark snowy landscape, and I'm felting an elf. 

And since we're all so into felting now, I thought I'd round up all my felting tutorials in one blog post and show you guys some other cute projects that I've worked on lately. I hope some of these cuddly little creatures will inspire your own creations! And feel free to copy these designs, there's no better way to get started than with a strong image in your mind. Sometimes when I see a cute ornament in a gift shop, I just snap a pic and use the photo to help me felt my own version. 

I'll start with my needle felted lumberjacks. I saw a lumberjack ornament in a holiday catalogue this year and thought 'I can make that!'. So I did. And they turned out perfectly Chrismasy and Canadian. Watch the full tutorial on YouTube.

You may remember this friendly gnome from last December. I made felted ornaments for everyone in my family and the gnomes were a real hit. This year I took the time to make one just for me. If you'd like to try crafting a gnome, click here to read the photo tutorial.

Animals are a lot of fun to felt, and I want to make so many different ones! A fox, a hedgehog, a penguin... and I'll get around to making all of those eventually, but for now, here's what I have tackled. Last year it was a Christmas mouse, and currently, I'm working on a snowy white polar bear.  

And birds are quite cute too. I've made many, many owls. The spherical ones felt up quickly and look lovely as tree ornaments. I have a video tutorial and a photo post on making owls. Take your pic of instructions!

Need a gift for the backyard chicken enthusiast on your list? May I suggest, a felted chicken. (In exchange for fresh eggs, of course!)

In my latest video, I give a quick intro to felting with this simple acorn craft. Place these acorns in a coffee table bowl for fun, touchable holiday decor.

That's all the felting I have to share. I know you guys will be creating some seriously cute tree ornaments and Christmas decor, so please share your work with me! You can post your photos on my Facebook page, or on Instagram. Tag me or use #shaydacreative. Merry Merry!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Preparing + Packaging Homemade Gifts

This Friday there are not one, not two, but THREE video tutorials available on my channel. I'm releasing this series of videos in the hopes of inspiring you to make some of the gifts that you give this Christmas. I love making gifts, mainly because I like to put the time in and give my loved ones something that feels really special, but beyond that, I also feel like I can give things of true quality when the items are made by hand. I can afford to use real wool to make warm hats. I use good leather to make beautiful wallets and passport covers, and I can use natural products like beeswax and coconut oil when making my homemade body products.

So here's the rundown of the tutorials. The first two videos cover two super simple body products that you can make in an afternoon and give as lovely gifts. There's an all natural lip balm and a scented sugar body scrub.

The lip balm comes together with 2 tbsp beeswax, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tsp almond oil and a few drops of essential oil (watch the tutorial for more info). I used a grapefruit oil to scent mine and it smells just like Christmas!

Choose a cute tin or box to add personality and make this lip balm an extra special gift.

The sugar scrub is even easier to make than the lip balm (which is super easy!). There are three ingredients: sugar, coconut oil and essential oil. That's it! Stir it all up and package in a mason jar. 

I used a spoonful of wintergreen oil to scent my scrub and the combination of wintergreen and coconut was so, so good. I wish you could smell it through the screen!

In the third video I show how to take homemade gifts and make them look, well, not too home-madey. It's easy to elevate the gifts we produce with a little thoughtful packaging. Your gifts will look store-bought-sophisticated and have the quality and heart of homemade and handmade. 

Wander over to my YouTube channel to check out all three videos, and to get all the DIY details on natural lip balm, scented sugar scrub and pretty packaging for your handmade gifts. 

But before you go, download and print a page of these hand-printed wreath stamps! I designed and carved the stamp myself, and I'll be using it to adorn many a holiday package... But you don't need to go to all that trouble! Just click on the link, print the PDF, it's best to print tags on cardstock, cut out the tags and away you go, you stylish gift wrapper, you!

Printable Wreath Gift Tags

Friday, 2 December 2016

Hand Drawn Printable Colouring Pages

Happy Friday! Thanks for stopping by! If you've been following me on social media recently, you may know about the re-branding that's going on over here at 'the 11th apartment' / 'Shayda Campbell'. I've decided to drop the original blog name in the hopes of creating a more cohesive online brand. From now on, I'll be Shayda Campbell across all social media platforms. No more 11th apartment.

Right now there's a lot going on and there's also a lot to celebrate! I'm excited about the new blog name; it represents a shift away from the original concept of home decor and celebrates the true brand that has developed over these last two years, a brand that's all about crafting, creating and sharing our collective love of artful, beautiful, meaningful living. 

So let's get to the celebration stuff! Today I'm super duper happy to have reached over 1 million views on YouTube! I honestly can't believe it, but it's real. And I'm also excited to say that I'm about to reach 40k subscribers. Crazy! All that, and it's also my most favourite time of year: magical, wonderful, December. 

To spread all the cheer that's happening over here at, I want to give you, my lovely readers and subscribers, three free printable colouring pages. These are original hand drawn pages, created by me. I made them because I want to thank you for being such a supportive and positive community. I am so lucky to have such great subscribers. I'm sure you've all noticed, but we are a really, really friendly community! I mean, we're just so nice! And not even by internet standards, but RL standards too! In the hundreds of comments that have been posted on the videos, in all that conversation, there is hardly a harsh word. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your viewership, your creativity, and, above all, your kindness. 

To view and download these 8.5 x11 printables, please follow the links:

Roses In The Snow.pdf

Holiday Owl.pdf

Winter Fox.pdf

I hope you like the colouring pages; please print and enjoy as many as you like. Share them with your kids and with your friends, and if you want to, show off those finished pieces on social media! (You can use #shaydacreative to tag your work).

Please don't attempt to profit from these pages in anyway (ie, sell them), and please credit me appropriately when posting/sharing online. Thanks! 

Happy Colouring! And thank you so much for watching/ reading/ subscribing, I get to do what I love because of you.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Holly Berry Gingerbread

What could be better than something that's beautiful and simple to prepare? Perhaps something that's beautiful and simple and Christmas-y? I think so! These cute little holly cookies tick all those boxes, and wait for it, they're gingerbread with cream cheese frosting. If you have yet to stray from the classic gingerbread/ royal icing combo, you are in for a treat! 

If you're currently putting together a holiday baking list, I can't recommend these holly cookies enough. They come together so easily and look so festive! And here's the best part: I promise you, these cookies are virtually screw-up proof. And I think I can vouch for that, I'm no all-star when it comes to icing. I mean, I have mastered the snowflake sugar cookie, but it took me, like, four years.

Spicy ginger, rich creamy frosting and a tart burst of pomegranate. These cookies are perfectly balanced and perfectly pretty. 

Here's how the cookies come together, if you haven't already figured it out! Make you favourite cut-out gingerbread cookie recipe. If you don't have one, I suggest trying this super soft and yummy gingerbread by Martha Stewart. When I make the dough, I like to add a little extra spice (ginger and cinnamon) as the flavour kick goes nicely with the rich cream cheese frosting. Cut out cookies in various circle shapes, you can use a simple round or a scalloped round cookie cutter, and bake.  

When cookies are cool, frost with cream cheese frosting. Gently add pomegranate seeds by pressing them lightly into the frosting. Finish with a tiny sprig of rosemary. See how easy that was? I hope you'll give these holly berry cookies a try this holiday season. Happy Baking!