Which means, when I decided I need more toys for my toddler nephews, I was determined to make them myself.
My first thought was make a Quiet Book for the boys. I had visions of colorful felt puppets, button and zipper pages and wonderful pipecleaner weaving activities.
With these ideas in mind I headed off to the craft store. When I got there, I found that there were no individual rectangles of felt on the shelves. There were also no buttons and zippers.
However, I did see some wonderfully glittery pipecleaners and sparkly foam sheets. Tacky, but perfect for little boys.
I realized immediately that I was going to need a change of plans.
That’s where the internet came in. As soon as I returned from the store I did a search for homemade toddler toys + foam and another search for homemade toddler toys + pipe cleaners. After a bit of poking around I came up with two great ideas.
The first was for a foam sewing toy. It’s made by cutting foam into aquatic shapes and punching holes around the edges.
The second was for a simple jar toy with holes in the lid. Toddlers can shove pipe cleaners through the holes.
I made up both toys within an hour and still had supplies left for another day’s projects.
This experience has taught me a valuable lesson.
When I craft I usually follow a very simple system. I make a plan, buy or find the supplies, and construct the project. I do whatever I need to do to make the plan work.
This time I learned that flexibility may be just as useful as diligence. I had success with the toy making venture because I was willing to let my original plan go, and go with the path that opened to me.
My husband, who is very spiritual, says this is a lesson for life. I agree.
source: Go Interactive Wellness
When 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!
What do I love to find on my feed?
These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things….
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 prewritten tutorials
What’s Not: Projects that are duplicates of prewritten 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:
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.
Craft Link : Free Creativity Ebook
Most creative types have an abundance of ideas…but what happens when they suddenly desert you?
The need to create is a shared desire among artists, writers, musicians and even bloggers. But, sometimes we creatives hit a mental block and often find ourselves stressed, overwhelmed and unable to produce original ideas.
This happens to me from time to time, so I compiled a list of my proven ways to overcome mental blocks & boost creativity.
Go to 10 Ways To Overcome Mental Blocks & Boost Creativity to read more.
Several years ago, I wrote a post listing my favorite online reads. I love to hear about what my favorite bloggers read online, so I assumed such an article would be of interest to my readers, also.
Since that time, my choices for reading have changed a lot. In general, my reading has been pruned down, but there are a couple of additions. So, here is my new, updated list. 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.
- Little Grey Bungalow - Why? Lots of posts on retro living, vintage sewing patterns and forgotten crafting styles.
- Unclutterer – Why? Lots of good advise and links on living a simple life in a small space. Not just a rehash of the same old advise.
- 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.
- Print And Play Podcast Blog - Why? Reviews of print and play games. (Only updates a few times a month)
- Board Game Geek - Why? Anything and everything you could possibly want to know about buying, making and playing board games.
- Cheap Healthy Good - Why? I read this blog primarily for the constant stream of great links.
- Jewish Food List - Why? Simple, down-to-earth recipes for folks short on time.
- ProBlogger - Why? Darren is the cream of online blogging resources.
- TED - Why? Hundreds of stimulating lectures and videos on a wide range of topics.
Almost every project I do has some creative part of myself in it. Even on a needlepoint from a kit, I change the colors, the stitches and sometimes the size. On a scrapbook or cardmaking project, I make sure every aspect of the project is unique.
But what happens when creativity just won’t come?
In 10 Tips To Avoid A Creative Block, Jacques van Heerden deals with this problem. Though the methods written about in the article are for graphic designers, anyway can benefit from the ideas. For instance…..
Looking through designs that were created by other people is usually a great inspiration too. People around the world has gone about setting up Inspirational Galleries for us to visit and view masses of art on the same website, saving us time and effort. I recommend visiting Inspirational Design Galleries as a hobby day to day too, keeping you up to date with the design trends.
Take a look at this interesting article. It’s a quick read, and it may come in handy one day.
Description : Lots of great ideas to help you Organize Your Craft Supplies. I love this idea of using a floss container to organize ribbons.
Craft Link : Organize Your Craft Supplies
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!)
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.
The desire to be creative is something all crafters have in common.
Very few of us, even when following project instructions, follow the design exactly. We like to add our own fabrics, our own embellishments, our own little touch. Something that makes the project our own.
But what happens when inspiration just won’t come? Eight ways of “forcing” inspiration are discussed in an article at Marc Makes Art.
Here is my favorite :
Other Artists. When I feel uninspired, I go to the library and sit on the floor with art books sprawled around me. I always like to choose some favorites, and a few that are unfamiliar. I keep a notebook of ideas that sometimes includes rough sketches of an idea, but always a line or two about a project I want to start. Sometimes, it isn’t the library, but the Internet where I look at inspiring artwork. Drawn!, Flickr, DeviantArt, PhotoJojo, a random Google search, The Wooster Collective, or even a place like Bighappyfunhouse….Always explore the unknown genres of art, music, whatever when finding yourself uninspired.
Head on over to read the rest of the article for seven more inspiring ideas.
source: 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.