Tag name:Good Reads

This Is Not A Chair: An Exercise In Seeing The World

August 12, 2015 / No Comments

This Is Not A Chairsource: Maureen Didde

I am currently participating in a free, online class called Tangible Things. It is given by Harvard University and it is about seeing and understanding the objects around you.

We did a exercise today that I would like to share with you. The exercise consists of stretching your mind by looking at an object in your home in as many ways as possible.

For instance, a telephone is a form of communication, but it’s also an artifact of modern design, a scientific invention, a retail commodity, a method of relaxation, etc.

To do the exercise yourself, follow these instructions:

1. Watch the video called This Is Not a Chair located on Youtube.

2. Complete the template This is not a _________; it is a __________.

3. Photograph the object, if desired.

Here is my finished exercise

This in not a plate. It is a decorative object. It was purchased for the pleasure it brings to the eye.

This is not a plate. It is a method of eating. It allows the user a simple way of enjoying food away from the immediate area of the stove.

This is not a plate. It is a part of a cooking technique. Food is placed on the plate and then heated in a microwave oven.

This is not a plate. It is small bit of American culture. Corelle became popular about 35 years ago and is still sold today.

This is not a plate. It is an example of modern science. This plate is made from Vitrelle, a substance first invented in a lab.

If you decide to do the exercise, please send me your results. I would love to read them.

Styles Of Crafting

March 2, 2015 / 1 Comment

Styles Of Craftingsource: Margarida Sardo

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my style of crafting. I’ve recounted every project I’ve done over the last couple of years, and I’ve come to a realization….I’m a utility crafter.

What is a utility crafter?

It’s a crafter who crafts useful projects only.  I don’t make decorative eyeglass cases,  pretty little toe rings or lovely lingerie bags. Those projects are charming, but their not for me.

What I do make are fitted sheets,  skirts,  replacement board game boxes,  greeting cards,  gifts of food,  and mini-notebooks.  All things that are cheaper to make myself or can’t be easily located.

The only exception is scrapbooking. Scrapbooks don’t save me money and they aren’t really useful.

I’d love to expand my crafting horizons and make a couple of things just for the creative fun of it.  Unfortunately,  I  never have time. Instead I’m busy crafting gift tags, making free, printable board games and sewing storage bags. Oh, well.

What is your crafting style? Please send me a comment and I’ll be happy to publish it.

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Favorite Reads

March 2, 2015 / 1 Comment

Favorite Readssource: utnapistim

When I stumble upon a blog I really enjoy, one of the things I always do is check out what THEY read. I figure, if I enjoy their blog, we must share the same interests. And, being a blogger, they must really know who the “stars” of the blogging community are.

Here is my list of current favorites. They may not be the blogs I love in a month from now, but as of now, these are the blogs I read every day.  Hope you enjoy!


  • Crafty Pod – Why? Wonderful podcasts on a wide variety of crafty topics.
  • How About Orange – Why? Super classy blog with lots of very doable projects and great resources.
  • MeggieCat – Why? Links to  tons of very unusual resources. (Has not been updating recently)
  • Cathy of California - Why? I love all the photos she puts up of vintage crafts.


  • Small Notebook – Why? This blog always has new takes on old homemaking problems.
  • Home Living – Why? This is the blog of the famous Lady Lydia of Ladies Against Feminism



  • The Simple Dollar - Why? Because he doesn’t just recycle the usual trite money saving suggestions. He actually thinks things through before writing about them.

Board Games

  • Yehuda – Why? Lots of good information on games and gam­ing in Isr­ael.
  • Print And Play Podcast Blog - Why? Reviews of print and play games. (Only up­dates a few times a month)


  • 101 Cookbooks - Why? Gourmet veg­et­ar­ian rec­ipes with gor­geous pic­tures.


  • ProBlogger - Why? Darren is the cream of on­line blog­ging res­our­ces.

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A New Camera And A Quick Game

February 15, 2015 / 2 Comments

Ever since I left the US four years ago, I’ve been telling my old friends how beautiful my new home is. I just got a new camera two weeks ago, so I decided it’s finally time to prove it. Here is the view from my  balcony at dusk and then, sunset.

How many of you can guess, just from the architecture, which country I now live in? (Looking for clues in previous posts is cheating!)

park 1B

park 2B

park 3B

If the architecture isn’t enough of a clue, here are three more:

1. My current country is in Asia, but near the African border.

2. My current country is the most religiously significant country in the world.

3. My current country is constantly in the US news.

Please send me an email with your answers.

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Incorporating Change Into Crafts

October 30, 2014 / 1 Comment

changeWhen my kids were teens, the only craft I did was needle­point.  Later, after my sis­ter intro­duced me to scrap­booking, working with photos was my obses­sion. Now­adays, my craft of choice is graph­ic de­sign.

I’ve en­joyed three comp­lete­ly dif­fer­ent crafts over the last 10 years, two of which I rare­ly work on now. What has hap­pen­ed to all those years of know­lege and exper­i­ence? Are they now worth­less?

The an­swer is a de­fin­ite NO. While it’s true I might never go back to en­joy­ing needle­point or scrap­booking, the rem­nants of my past interest show up on frequ­ent oc­ca­sions.


There may be sev­eral subtle an­swers to that ques­tion, like in­flu­ence on style (scrapbooking) or wil­ling­ness to pro­gress slow­ly on a pro­ject (needle­point). But I like a less subtle answer. More of­ten than not, when I work on graph­ic de­signs, they are usual­ly print­able for scrap­books or pat­terns for needle­point pro­ject. Those old hob­bies  haven’t dis­ap­peared from my life, they just mani­fest them­selves dif­ferent­ly now.

An­other ex­ample. When I was young­er I used to eat only marga­rine or but­ter. Later, for health reasons I switched to olive oil. Now I use a mix of olive oil and yogurt as a fat on potatoes, pasta, rice and vegetables. It’s de­li­cious, but I would never have start­ed this new prac­tice, if I didn’t al­ready have a love of creamy (from the but­ter) and olive oil (from my low-fat days).

Here are my questions to you:

How have your interests changed over the years?  And, how have you cur­rent inter­ests been im­proved by the rem­nants of your past?

To merge your new inter­ests with your old, con­sider the fol­low­ing ques­tions…

…Can you use the skills learn­ed from a pre­vious hob­by in a new en­dea­vor? A lover of sew­ing and cross stitch­ing can com­bine pre­vious­ly mas­tered skills to create hand­sewn baby out­fits with cross stitched col­lars.

…Can you use the sub­ject mat­ter from an old in­ter­est as the mo­tif for a new? A sew­ing and golf­ing enthus­iast can use golf themed fab­ric to make sofa pil­lows and awning for a porch swing.

…Can you com­bine two or more inter­ests to make a third comp­lete­ly new inter­est? A hard­core fab­ric dyer and rub­ber stamper can  exper­iment with using fab­ric dyes to stamp on cot­ton.

I’d love to hear your answers to these ques­tions. Please write a comment to let me know what new and exciting projects you came up with!

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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

August 31, 2014 / No Comments

here are a few of my favorite thingsEach morn­ing I check the hund­reds of sites on my Goog­le Read­er, look­ing for new and in­nova­tive posts to use for Craft Stew.

What do I love to find on my feed?

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things….


Quirky craft projects

Tutorials that help me to design my own project

Link Compilation Posts

Clothes Patterns that can be adjusted for all sizes

Instructions for creating my own tools

Design ideas with clean, fresh lines

DIY’s that teach me completely new skills

Delicious recipes with gorgeous photos

Tutorials that make something fabulous from throwaways

Completely new concepts in crafting

Think pieces that really have something important to say

Fabulous book reviews featuring tons of photos

Extremely Practical Posts

Posts that teach skills that can be applied again and again

Projects that can be personalized to my needs

Articles that save me money

Quick and easy crafts that look like they were hard to do

Very, very  scary projects


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Crafts: What’s Hot And What’s Not

August 11, 2014 / 2 Comments

what's hot, what's not

I look at a LOT of blogs each day in order to find posts for Craft Stew. As a result, I feel I have a good sense of what’s newest and brightest and what’s yesterday’s news.   Here’s my list of What’s Hot And What’s Not….

What’s Hot: Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting and Embroidery
What’s Not: Decorative painting, retail craft kits and collage

What’s Hot: Vintage style crafts
What’s Not: Traditional style crafts

What’s Hot: Unique, hand carved or small run rubber stamps
What’s Not: Mass produced rubber stamps

What’s Hot: Free sewing patterns
What’s Not: Overpriced commercial patterns

What’s Hot: Elaborate cupcakes, paper holders and  toppers
What’s Not: Elaborate chocolates from purchased plastic molds

What’s Hot: A  few fresh blossoms arranged in a simple container
What’s Not: Overblown floral arrangements

What’s Hot: Recycled Projects
What’s Not: Projects utilizing expensive store-bought craft supplies

What’s Hot: Projects with simple, yet clever design
What’s Not: Projects using  embellishments to disguise poor design

What’s Hot: Unique jewelry made from found or crafted components
What’s Not: Jewelry created by stringing together craft store beads

What’s Hot: Sewing stuffies and crocheting amigurumi toys
What’s Not: Sewing dolls and crocheting baby blankets

What’s Hot: Paper crafts as home decor
What’s Not: Paper crafts for  scrapbooking

What’s Hot: Finding supplies in  dollar stores and thrift shops
What’s Not: Purchasing supplies from craft stores

What’s Hot: Woodworking with used or alternative materials
What’s Not: Woodworking with new and expensive sheets of wood

What’s Hot: Projects that build on pre-written tutorials
What’s Not: Projects that are duplicates of pre-written tutorials

What’s Hot: Collaboration with other crafters; sharing resources
What’s Not: Witholding information, techniques and processes

What was out, but now is back:

Plastic Canvas
Loom Crafting
Tie Dying

I’m sure this list will offend plenty of loyal readers. If you disagree, please let me know. I’m always open to other opinions.

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