Tag name:Good Reads

The Importance Of Being Flexible

June 3, 2013 / No Comments

The-Importance-Of-Being-Flexible-214x300As I’ve men­tioned in prev­ious posts, I’m a prac­ti­cal craft­er. I don’t us­ual­ly make any­thing un­less it’s need­ed. And, I try to never buy some­thing which can be made.

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

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Incorporating Change Into Crafts

October 30, 2011 / 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, 2011 / 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, 2011 / 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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Ways To Boost Creativity

January 28, 2011 / No Comments

10 ways to boost creativity

source:  dolmansaxlil

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.

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Favorite Blogs And Sites

August 8, 2010 / No Comments

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.

Board Games

  • 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.  

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10 Tips To Avoid A Creative Block

August 7, 2010 / No Comments

10 Tips To Avoid A Creative BlockAlmost 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 card making 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.

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10 Ways Crafting Reduces Stress

February 23, 2010 / No Comments


In today’s  bustling world, taking the time for deliberate  relaxation has become a modern day necessity.  Between work, family life, and other responsibilities,  the average person spends his day going from difficult situation to even more difficult situation. Crafting  provides  a great way to break out from this routine and de-stress for a little while.

Here are 10 reasons crafting is good for your mental health:

1. Crafting focuses our minds on a productive activity.

2. Crafting allows  our stressful energy to be released through our hands in creative ways.

3. Crafting provides  an outlet for creative problem solving, which creates the  flexibility that is an essential element of stress  reduction

4. Crafting, like any  focused activity, creates a mild trance state which is highly conducive to relaxation and letting go of  stress.

5. Crafting gives us  time in our busy lives in which we can reconnect with ourselves.

6. Crafting is fun; and fun  things reduce  stress.

7. Crafting creates  a time in which we are free from worries (about time, money,  relationships, and the many other things we tend to worry about).

8. Crafting keeps us  productive and when we’re productive we stress less.

9. Crafting is a great get-a-way without having to go  anywhere.

10. Crafting is something we can do for ourselves (a self-care activity), and doing for ourselves (self-care activities) reduces  stress.

So, the next time the stress becomes overwhelming, consider skipping the beer and chocolate, and reaching for the knitting instead!

Ben Klempner, LMSW, founder and  editor of Effective Family Communication,  is a trained social worker. Please visit  his blog at: http://www.EffectiveFamilyCommunication.com


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A New Camera And A Quick Game

July 10, 2009 / 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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