SMP Craft
17 Nov


Not everyone is lucky enough to live in the Big Apple all year round, but those of us who do will tell you there’s no better time to visit than during the holiday season. Lights are lit, bells get janglin’, and colorful decorations go up on all corners of the city–from the South Street Seaport to Central Park to Rockefeller Center, New York becomes a feast for anyone’s eyes, tourists and residents alike.

Today we’re proud to publish the second edition of A Very New York Christmas by Michael Storrings, award-winning designer, illustrator, and art director extraordinaire! This gorgeous, giftable collection captures the magical landscape and excitement of the holiday season in dozens of watercolors, including famous traditions like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Angel Tree, plus less well-known imagery like the Christmas lights in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights, the Boys Choir of Harlem, and the Holiday Train show at The New York Botanical Garden. These unique illustrations are sure to inspire you, either to visit NYC during the magic of Christmastime, or to paint your very own version of it!

Now, this brand-new edition includes four pages of full-color removable ornaments you can hang anywhere you like to get into the Christmas spirit. Since 2003, Storrings’s watercolors have been turned into bestselling ornaments that have a worldwide fan base and sell out in stores such as Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Bergdorf Goodman.

xmas 2

Including a delightful foreword from actor Cynthia Nixon, this jewel-like book combines festive quotations from literature and popular culture with Storrings’s charming watercolors of forty cherished New York holiday scenes, making this a perfect gift and yuletide keepsake.

Order your copy today!

NYXmas cover

Barnes & Noble
Powell’s Books

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12 Nov


I’ve yet to meet a Nerddom hobbyist who doesn’t make really cool stuff. There must be some scientific explanation for it.

Desirae May Friesen, Tor & Forge Books Associate Publicist, whose special guest post you’re about to read, is no exception.

Inspired by the visuals at New York Comic Con and compelled to cosplay, yet faced with the challenge of not being able to sew, she designed an amazing sewing-free painted costume!


New York Comic Con: the largest gathering of creators and fans of all forms of nerdy entertainment on the East Coast. I attended this last fall and quickly realized the highlight of the convention is all of the amazing and creative costumes–or “cosplay.”

Anachronistic Black Widow and Winter Soldier (WOW). Flickr Image by Steven Leung via

I was awed–and inspired. Here was something that could unite two of my biggest hobbies: nerddom and crafts!

And I immediately knew what costume I wanted to start with. Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero. Recently Marvel created an alternate universe where Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, is the one who gets bit by the spider, gets powers–and becomes Spider-Woman (aka Spider-Gwen).


Lowe, Hine & Latour Take Readers to the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’: Dave Richards via

Now the question was, how? See, there’s one problem: I don’t know how to sew. I can sew on a button, but despite my mother’s patient tutelage (she’s a professional seamstress) I never really managed to finish any projects. But I would not be stopped!

I already had black leggings and I found a plain white hoodie for the top.

This is where it got tricky. Since cutting out the design and sewing it together was beyond my meager skills I decided to try creating the design with fabric paint. I have no experience with fabric paint. But I am nothing if not daring.

I outlined the pattern with masking tape, checking first that it would stick to the fabric and come off easily without leaving a mark. So far so good.

I read the directions for the paint and then used the entire bottle of black paint for the front. I started out using spray paint, which clearly worked better as a splatter design–it was challenging to get a thick, even layer. So for the rest of the design I switched to liquid fabric paint and painted it on with a foam brush, again outlining it with the masking tape to get the clean lines of the costume design.


Use LIQUID Fabric Paint

Once the black paint dried completely, I painted the inside of the hood with red paint. The red paint bled through the thin white fabric so I improvised a fix by buying a bottle of white paint to coat the outside of the hood (and fix a few mistakes in other places).


WHITE Fabric Paint Touch-Up

Now I had to figure out how to do the design on the inside of the hood. Once the red paint had dried, I used glow-in-the-dark blue raised paint to make the web pattern.


Use GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BLUE RAISED Paint for the webbing

I don’t recommend making a project up as you go along. It is definitely easier to do your research ahead of time and plan out your steps. But I DO encourage you to try out a project even if you’ve never done something like it before.



Figuring out how to create something new was a lot of fun, even if it didn’t always turn out the way I expected. And even if I have the worst costume at the next convention I go to, I know that I will have as much fun wearing it as I did making it!

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3 Jul

11 DIY Outdoor Party Games

Got plans for 4th of July?

We heard this quite a bit this past week. And since we’re SMPCraft, as is often the case around a holiday, questions followed that mined us for solutions and ideas to decorate a deck, something to bring to a picnic in the park, give to a host throwing a barbecue, make for a beach party.

We offered some how-to tips and suggestions. But we also sent everyone off with a bigger idea: DIY OUTDOOR PARTY GAMES. Backyard, rooftop, park, beach games.

Several of these games can be put together in minutes with items most of us already have in our homes and enjoyed this weekend while others are a touch more involved. But remember, we have all summer to play!

1. DIY Giant Jenga Made By A Beautiful Mess

DIY Giant Jenga

1. DIY Giant Jenga

2. DIY Beer or Soda Bottle Toss Made By Landeelu: There’s nothing like that first sip of a hard earned bottle of beer!

DIY Beer or Soda Bottle Toss

2. DIY Beer or Soda Bottle Toss

3. DIY Ladder Money Bags Toss Made By Landeelu: Up the stakes. Make the levels monetary units of ridiculous sums. Top rung $1,000,000!

DIY Ladder Bean Bag Toss

3. DIY Ladder Bean Bag Toss

4. DIY Milk Crate Tug of War Via Women Daily Magazine: Try this on a full stomach. Not easy.

Tug of War

4. DIY Tug of War

5. DIY Recycled Bottle Bowling Made By Moonfrye: You can also use black or blue masking tape in place of the paint to cut the prep time in half!


5. DIY Recycled Bottle Bowling

6. DIY Tin Can Toss Via Inhabitots: Yes We Can recycle and repurpose!

6. DIY Tin Can Toss

7a. DIY Cornhole Toss Built By Prepare to get a workout playing this addicting game and waking up the next morning in need of an arm massage.

Corn Hole Toss

7a. DIY Cornhole Toss

7b. Here’s another version by Brit + Co that uses canvas and cardboard!

DIY canvas and cardboard Cornhole game

7b. DIY Cornhole Board Version 2

8. Giant Outdoor Chess Found on The DIY Network: We can see this game being a huge hit at a fancy dress-up Black & White themed summer cocktail party! Alternative to grass for those in regions experiencing drought: astroturf!

8. Giant Outdoor Chess

9. DIY Lawn Scrabble Made By W. O. R. D.


9. DIY Giant Lawn Scrabble

10. DIY Lawn Checkers Made By Lilyshop using paint lids!

DIY Lawn Checkers Made with Paint Lids

10. DIY Lawn Checkers

11. DIY Dunk Bucket Made By The Happy Housewife: Brilliant.


11. DIY Dunk Bucket

Happy 4th of July! Happy Summer!

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22 Aug

Freebie Friday: Stencil It!

For this Freebie Friday we decided to mix it up a bit. Instead of a pattern or project download, we’ve given you some FREE TIPS on using paint and a stencil brush from Stencil It so you can get started on your next design project immediately!

stencil 1   stencil 2    stencil 3

stencil it

There are lots of ways to customize your home: paint, new furniture, fancy home decor items from those fancy catalogs you never seem to ask for…but by far, one of the most expressive—and least expensive—is stenciling. Did you know stencils have been used for centuries to decorate interiors? It has come a long way these past few centuries! Helen Morris, founder of The Stencil Library, has kept stenciling a popular craft by developing numerous designs, styles, and techniques. (She’s even stenciled on glass, mirror, concrete, and even plaster.) Stencil It shows 101 ways to stencil in your home. From lamp shades to walls and even furniture, you’ll learn how to achieve new decorative schemes by using various configurations and color combinations to create a range of dramatically different looks. Stencil It comes with 15 specially-designed stencils to help you turn your entire home into a blank canvas.

Ready to start? Buy your book now!

Barnes & Noble

Check out our August and September titles:


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13 May

How-To Tuesday: Plastic Animal Bookends

Now that summer is approaching it’s time for me to do my belated Spring Cleaning! One of the most important tasks was to do some major upkeep of my bookcase. I got in the bad habit of just stacking books I acquired instead of putting them in their rightful place. While re-organizing I found I needed some bookends and went searching online to see what I could find. It didn’t help that Huffington Post published an article about Quirky Bookends so I had my eyes on lots of bookends.

I thought the whale bookends were absolutely perfect and wanted to make bookends with animals cut in half. Once I found Mad in Crafts and their post on plastic animal bookends, I knew what I was doing on the weekend!

Some things to keep in mind that I didn’t:
– Make sure the animal you buy is somewhat hollow and plastic. I bought a variety of animals from Michaels and two of them were solid plastic and were not able to be cut. (Even with a bone-cutting kitchen knife.) I’m thinking maybe rubber dog toys might be something to try. Those would definitely be easier to cut in half.
– Use an animal a relative size to the picture frames
– BE CAREFUL CUTTING THE ANIMAL. We (my helpful crafty friends) ended up using pruning shears after a variety of sharp objects refused to work.
– I had trouble tracking down solid medal bookends so I used acrylic picture frames like Jessica from Mad in Crafts. They still work. In fact, I found if I had tall enough books, the frame would actually bend a bit to become a right angle.
– When placing the animal halves on the frames mark each side so your animal is even and doesn’t look like it’s leaping into the unknown. (As my tenacious turtle does.)
– I painted everything and then glued the frames to the turtle I had cut. Mad in Crafts has those steps reversed. I recommend their method. This will make it easier to get your bookend and animal to be the same shade of spraypaint.
– Because I had trouble cutting the turtle, I didn’t bother trimming the shape to fit the frame’s surface. I used hot glue to close up tiny gaps and re-sprayed everything. Not the best solution so again, choose an animal that will be easy to cut.

– sharp cutting tool
– cutting board or other surface
– plastic animal
– 2 acrylic picture frames
– newspaper
– spraypaint
– glue

1.  Cut your plastic animal in half. Tip from SMP Publicity Assistant Michelle Cashman – Put a wet paper towel underneath your cutting board to keep it from slipping. Super important with this craft. Things could have gotten very messy the way we were trying to slice these animals.

cutting turtle successfully

2. Spray paint frames and animal halves. (Be sure to clean the frames first! I did mine outside and got some flying dirt and lazily painted over it. I would not recommend.) I went with my favorite color, but try white to re-create a porcelain look!

spray paint

3. Bend the frames to desired angle and paste the animal halves onto the picture frames. Apply pressure for animal halves for a good minute.


That’s it! Pretty simple for something that looks so awesome. I was amazed how little time it took. This may just become my new housewarming present for all my fellow bibliophiles!

bookends   finished

No living animals were harmed in the making of this craft.


Check out our May and June titles:

CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!



Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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