I’m a serial craft-hopper. There, I’ve said it.
This means that I love (adore!) trying out new crafts, but once I’ve made it through my first several learning sessions, just as I’ve begun to get a handle on how it works and finished a few projects successfully, that particular craft loses a touch of luster for me and I find myself putting it aside in search of a new one.
During the numerous classes I’ve taken and crafting groups I’ve sat in on, I’ve heard many others confess to having this impulse too. There’s something alluring about getting your feet wet with a brand-new crafting experience. Working with new supplies means having new textures, shapes, and colors to touch and explore, new tools and techniques to be learned, and new and different ways of thinking and using your imagination — all coming together to create an entirely new and different something. Match that with the feeling of satisfaction that comes once you’ve executed a new procedure with precision, and you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that there is any better way to go than to craft-hop.
Sure, one could accuse me of simply being noncommittal, except that trying out new crafts doesn’t mean I don’t return to familiar crafts. I just refuse to limit myself to (for example) sewing things, when I could be sewing and
knitting wonderful new items! Life hands us so many restrictions as it is, it seems only fair to have a space where we can feel unbound.
Besides, I believe it’s absolutely healthy to crave newness. Each time we pick up something new, we get to begin again.
That said, let’s jump in!
Little Felted Animals
by Marie-Noëlle Horvath
My first foray into felting was such a treat. I chose Little Felted Animals
primarily because the layout of the instructions looked clean and simple, and the animals in it were too cute to pass up. And look at what we made! Okay, the eyes look a tiny bit blobby, but the glue hadn’t finished drying yet when the photo was taken. But as you can see, there are two adorable, very different looking little bunnies.
This brings me to one of my favorite aspects of crafting: variations. They are as inevitable in hand crafting as they are in nature, even if you’re attempting to be a replica machine. There were two of us felting, and we followed identical instructions! My point is, if you decide to set to work on your own felt animal, don’t expect it to look like the one shown on the page. Sure, you want to get the proportions right, but sometimes what you think could be a mistake is actually your own style coming through. I say go with it.
The Natural Beauty Solution
by Mary Helen Leonard
My fellow crafter, Rachael, and I didn’t quite hit the mark with the lip balm recipe in Natural Beauty Solution
, which was not at all the fault of the author. When measuring the beeswax, we eyeballed it and learned the hard way that it is crucial to use the exact amounts specified. Our lip balm turned out a little bit too waxy, and while the friends we gifted the tubes to graciously accepted them, exclaiming, “It won’t melt in the heat!,” I was somewhat bashful about our unintentional modification. I will be returning to this book again, next time making sure to test the recipe accurately.
Takeaway lesson: What you’re essentially doing when making homemade body care products is basic chemistry, so follow the instructions carefully on your first try. Once you’ve got a handle on the formula’s intended consistency, then of course you can give yourself room to improvise with the ingredients.
The Hands-On Home
by Erica Strauss
“Urban homekeeping” my coworker touted, about Hands on Home
. How could I resist cracking this one open? I surprised myself by picking the homemade bath bombs recipe. Truth be told, bath bombs have been known to linger in my towel closet for years, untouched. But seeing the therapeutic ingredients list laid out on the page struck a pragmatic chord in me, and wow, am I glad I made these.
We encountered zero hiccups in the process, and in my second batch, I substituted coconut oil for the water (equal parts) without any problems. Going to test them out in the bath, I thought, This will be a nice treat, but it’s probably not very practical for regular use
. Wrong. The citric acid combined with the baking soda creates a fizz which is soothing to sore muscles, in addition to the Epsom salts. Plus, there wasn’t any glitter or flowers to clean up in the tub afterward. Not that you can’t add those things in if they make you happy.
I just have one tip for making these: don’t be afraid to press the powdered mixture very firmly into the molds, maybe a bit harder than you might think you need to, in order to ensure they stay packed when they’re dry.
by Lotta Jansdotter
I fell in love with Everyday Style
upon seeing the cover; it’s just as gorgeous on the inside, which is not surprising, given Lotta’s eye for design and far-reaching involvement in products on the market throughout the world. Much of what makes her concepts so appealing is their intrinsic simplicity. Her sewing patterns create the sort of versatile, effortless looking garments the Scandinavians are so well known for.
Because my sewing skills are horribly rusty, I chose to make her fabric bracelets project. They were an amazing success, even though we nearly got derailed once or twice from swapping out, on a whim, some of the supplies and techniques (I’m fairly certain being a crafter means constantly wrestling to mate our inner defiant nature with the outer material structure of things, but we’ll save that for another post).
Portland has a burgeoning crafting scene, and I have not seen fabric bracelets at any of the craft shows or shops in town. Making such a unique, customizable accessory in under an hour felt like being let in on a secret, which I’m now sharing with you. Try it out and see if you don’t get the bracelet bug, or worse, become a rabid Lotta fan. It’s contagious.