The 'Original' Creative Crafting Magazine written by Crafters, for Crafters

Creative Crafting magazine began in August/September 2009, when a group of crafting friends on the Creative Connections network decided that it would be a good idea to raise awareness of the crafting community. From this point they started work and the first issue of Creative Crafting was published in October 2009 and are still publishing today.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Create a Log Cabin Effect Pin Cushion

Published in Issue 19, October 2012
Written by Flick from Perfect Patchwork

Create your own
Log Cabin Effect
Pin Cushion

What you will need
Small picture fabric for centre (approx 1 inch square)
2 inch strips for surround
Calico for mounting (4 inch square)
Batik for backing (4 inch square)
Ribbon (6 inch piece)
Toy Stuffing
General sewing thread
Pins
Scissors or Roller Cutter and Mat

Instructions:

Step 1. Seam allowance is ¼ inch.
Centre the picture fabric on the calico and stitch around all four edges, to secure.



Step 2. Fold the 2 inch strips in half width ways and press. 
Take the strips of colour 1; attach the top and bottom strips withthe fold towards the centre, then attach the side strips.



Step 3. Complete round two with the second colour, and round three with colour 1.





Step 4. Trim 1/8 inch from the last round of stitching.
Take the length of ribbon and fold in half; centre at the top of the pincushion and stitch in place (very close to the edge).


Step 5. Lay the finished piece face down onto the backing fabric and stitch, leaving a gap at one side of approximately one and a half inches. Trim the backing to fit, and trim the corners to enable neat turning.

Step 6. Turn the pin cushion to the right side.



Fill the pincushion quite tightly, and stitch the small gap to complete.     

This design can be modified by using wider strips and a larger centre square picture to make a full size cushion. 


This pattern is designed for personal use only, and not for resale.
©PerfectPatchwork 2012 all rights reserved.                            




How to create your Candle Cup

Published in Issue 19, October 2012
Written by Bridge from Inkahoots

How to create your Candle Cup

You will needVintage/pretty coffee or teacup
Length of 1" wick
Wick fastener
Small long-nosed pliers
Wooden skewers 
Wax (block or beads)
Scented oil
Patterned paper
Ribbon
Small saucepanPlastic jugScissors


Step 1 Wash & dry cup. Cut a length of wick. Make sure it's long enough to reach the base of your cup from the rim, plus enough to tie a knot.

Step 2 Thread wick through the wick fastener until there's a small end left on the flat side. Pinch the raised collar on the top side tightly with the pliers to secure the wick.


Step 3 Balance a wooden skewer across the top of the cup and tie the loose end of the wick to it, so that the wick fastener lies flat on the bottom of the cup with the wick taut. Make sure the wick is central. 



Step 4 Melt the chopped wax or beads in a saucepan over a low heat until clear.



Step 5 Pour a small amount of wax into the jug and then into the bottom of your cup to fix the wick and it's fastener in place. Let it solidify. Keep the rest of the wax melted in the pan over a really low heat.

Step 6 When ready, pour the wax into the jug and add the oil - the more you use, the stronger the scent! Stir in well. 


Step 7 Pour the remaining wax into the cup, keeping the wick central. Don't fill it to the top - leave room for topping up the wax as it can shrink a little when cool. Let it cool and solidify.


Top up the wax, using the same method as before, if you need to. Again, do not fill the cup to the rim, let it cool and solidify.
To finish, cut a pretty paper topper, poking a hole in the middle for the wick and place on top of the wax. Tie a coordinating ribbon to the handle…


                                                                                         …. and there you have it, a really pretty present for yourself or a friend! You can make so many lovely variations with different scents and styles of cup - I tend to do mine in batches like little cakes. Have fun!






In the Spotlight with Mr X Stitch .... Olisa Corcoran

Published in Issue 19, October 2012
Written by Mr X Stitch


Jamie Chalmers, also known as Mr X Stitch is on a mission is to bring the world of cross stitch and embroidery to a whole new audience.He has been cross stitching for years and really believes in the benefits of stitching, both from a relaxation and a sustainability perspective.
Many of you may have seen Jamie on ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Britain’.

Each issue, Jamie introduces us to a fascinating member of the crafting community. If you have missed out on any of Jamies interviews you can find them online for FREE from the Creative Crafting website back issues page.

Name: Olisa Corcoran

Medium: Hand embroidery and textile art

What's your story?
I was a fairly serious amateur photographer and writer for many years. During a difficult time in my life, a friend taught me how to knit in order to help take my mind of my troubles. Unlike toiling alone at my computer or working in the darkroom, I found making things with my hands to be incredibly immediate and satisfying.  Although I enjoyed knitting, given my background of writing stories and shooting photos, I sought a medium that allowed me to make items with my hands but also tell stories.



Through various knitting blogs, I found my way to hand embroidery and fell in love with the creativity and the narratives the artwork captured. I signed up for a beginning embroidery retreat at the John C. Campbell Folk Art School in the Smokey Mountains.  I remember the crazy magic I felt learning the chain stitch. I instantly became hooked. The textures of threads and fabric, the combination of colors and the opportunity experiment with design and story were addictive.


In particular, I’m attracted to transferring sharp, simple designs into soft, wonky stitch. Thing like hazard and prohibition signs (both real ones and that I’ve made up with oddball meanings of their own) and various typefaces are very appealing to me. I also like playing with self-portraiture. I’m a constant and ready subject for my own photography and stitching and I can tell myself what to do!
I started blogging about my work in 2010 (www.cocoaeyesthestitcher.blogspot.com). This has allowed me to connect with other embroidery and textiles artists around the world, which is something that I love. Through sites like Mr X Stitch and social media networks like Twitter and Flickr, I’m exposed to work of other artists who are pushing the boundaries of textiles on fiber arts.


What's your favourite piece of work thus far? 
Two pieces that I made early on are still my favorites. I stitched “Turntable” for a Phat Quarter Swap on flickr. I was quite inexperienced when I signed up for the swap and I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into when I designed it!  It took me ages to finish.  For weeks, I would come home from my corporate day job and spend hours stitching. Through that piece I learned how much I love working with heavy fill stitch. I’ve continued to use this thick, shiny texture on many pieces since then. I also like my thread-sketch self-portrait called “I Am an Oak.” It is the opposite of the Turntable piece; I sketched it and stitched it very quickly in simple back and split stitch.  It allowed me to explore a recurring dream I have of discovering my own face in the surface of an oak in the forest.




What do you find challenging?
Finding time to work on all of the art projects that I have in process. My house is filled with hoops of works in process and sketchbooks with images I want to explore in stitch!


Any advice for newbies? 
Don’t be afraid to look beyond traditional patterns for inspiration for your stitching. I spend as much time looking at art exhibition catalogs and in museums for ideas as I do in classic pattern books. Do something unexpected, like, say, look at a Giacometti sculpture and imagine how you would transfer than into stitch. Keep playing!





An Interview with .... Nanuk Jewellery

Published in Issue 19, October 2012


Tell us about the lady behind Nanuk Jewellery 
My name is Louise, and I set up Nanuk Jewellery about 3 years ago to start selling my own hand made jewellery designs. I studied Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery at Kent Institute of Art and Design, and a couple of years after I finished my degree I began to make and sell my own work.


When did first begin creating your designs, and why? 
I have always enjoyed making things and trying new crafts, and eventually got into beading and jewellery-making, but Nanuk jewellery really kicked off once I left university. After some time working for a local jeweller’s and making a few pieces for people in my spare time, I set up on my own making and selling my designs.

What is it that you enjoy about your work?
I love being able to make the ideas in my head into actual objects – although they often end up quite different from the original idea! – and seeing people wear and love something I have created. I especially love to work on commissions, when I have designed something especially for that person.


What is your biggest crafting achievement, and why? 
I have been very pleased with some of the wedding jewellery I have been lucky enough to work on lately. I also recently made a moongazing hare pendant which someone had asked for, and I was thrilled with how it turned out (as was the customer!), so much so that I am planning to make some more, including my Nanuk bear in a similar design.



Other than your crafting, what else do you like to do?
If I’m not making jewellery, I’m usually making something else! I love to draw with pen and ink, making cards and decorating notebooks and things, and I am hoping to begin introducing some of these into my Nanuk range. Other than that, I love to read when I have time, and get out and about taking the dog for walks.

If you had to choose your favourite from your creations which one would it be?
I tend to switch favourites whenever I come up with a new idea I like! However, I think my Leaf Dragons, the pendants and earrings, are my all-time favourite designs, and I would like to create some new dragon-themed ideas.


Where does your inspiration come from? 
I get most of my inspiration from the illustrated books of fairy tales I had whilst I was growing up, featuring the work of artists such as Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac. I love all the detail and colour, and I like to use a lot of stones and beads and wire-wrapped details to represent this in my work. I am also inspired by the stories themselves, which had led to the mythical creatures and dragons featured in some of my work.

If you could change one thing about what you do, what would it be?
I would definitely get someone to do my finishing for me! All the emerying and polishing can be time-consuming, and very fiddly on some of the more intricate designs.


Do you have a favourite website?
My favourite site at the moment is probably Folksy (http://folksy.com), which I sell my work through. There are some amazingly talented people selling their work on there, and so many beautiful things, I have to try not to get too distracted browsing through them!

Has any person helped or supported you more than any other?
My family and friends have all been very supportive of my endeavours, but my sister in particular is my biggest fan. She is always willing to tell everyone about my work, and she has helped me with craft fairs and by letting me bounce ideas off her.

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I have a slightly freaky ability for remembering completely random/useless facts and words – very helpful for crosswords!!

Find Nanuk Jewellery here:




It's Christmas!

Published in Issue 19, October 2012
Written by Tracey Kifford

It's Christmas!

In the immortal words of Slade’s Noddy Holder ‘Are you hanging up your stocking on your wall?’ Well, fairenough if you aren’t, but for the craft designers among us now is the time for making preparations for the festive season. The watchword is to start early; taking a leaf out of the supermarkets book, late August/early September is the time to start. You need to decide what your best selling items are, build up your stock, plan for craft fairs and markets, source packaging and raw materials early so that you don’t run out and press gang as much help as possible. Remember the run up to the holiday season is when customers come out of the woodwork and spend, spend, spend. Just think when you’ve sold out your entire stock and counted the profits you can sit back, pour a drink and take a well-earned rest over the Christmas holiday! Maybe it’s not quite as cut and dried as that but you can still dream J WowThankYou asked a group of sellers what their Christmas preparations are like – when do they start preparing and what the pitfalls are. 

The talented Samantha of Manfymoo produces delightful purses and bags with cow and pig prints and she has written a little poem to sum up the Christmas experience for busy craft designer/makers everywhere…


Christmas is a busy time for us crafters,
Attending craft fairs with my fellow grafters.
Hoping customers will spend lots of pennies,
Bags of sewing, wrapping and sending.
All my goodies are delivered by Royal Mail,
So let’s hope there will not be too much wind and hail.
Drink Milk with Santa and leave a carrot for Roo,
Make someone smile at Christmas with Manfymoo!
Samantha Wallbank – Manfymoo


ChicnTrendy’s Helene and Suzi have a love for natural products, producing a range of painted wooden and pottery products as well as felt and hessian bags. Christmas is one of their busiest times of the year. Helene explained how they prepare for the Christmas rush.

We start thinking about Christmas in earnest during early September as that is when we spend a week together on a sort of craft retreat in France. There are just two of us as well as my husband and dogs so no intrusions just time to spend thinking, planning and crafting – sharing hints and tips we have found in our experimentation/product development from earlier in the year. 

Our main preparation is planning what to make especially for Christmas – this year 
(2012) we will offer more products in hand made felt including bags, a new range of decorated and gold leafed glass and a larger range of natural wreaths and Christmas decorations. At this point we also plan which Christmas Fairs to attend – based on last year’s experiences which were pretty positive (we have only been trading for just over a year). In fact our success at the Christmas Fairs last year was an impetus for us to take it more seriously and now we have also taken to using a number of craft website to sell our items as well. We have realised though that our product range is best appreciated when it can be touched and seen in detail. The disadvantage of this is that we have to attend the fairs in person and as much of our product is breakable and heavy (pottery and now glass) we spend hours packing and unpacking at arrival and departure from the various venues.  


One of the main differences about our Christmas prep compared to the rest of the year is planning the logistics of the targeted Christmas Fairs as we do not go to fairs during the rest of the year. This year will also involve setting up a special Christmas section in our on-line shops with Christmas specific gifts and decorations and we will be doing this during October. Another new idea is to start offering small ‘make-it-yourself’ parties and workshops locally to us during October and November.

Sandra of Sandy Mitchell Jewellery produces some fantastic contemporary necklaces, brooches and bracelets. One of her best times of the year for sales is Christmas and here she shares her preparations in the lead up to festive season. 

As a designer and maker of contemporary jewellery who sells both wholesale and retail I have to start thinking of Christmas back in August when most people are lying on a beach sipping a cocktail! I send out a newsletter to the shops and galleries who stock my work in September and then start my retail promotions via events, exhibitions and through my website at the end of September. 

I usually offer some kind of incentive to customers to place an order early - such as 10% off for orders placed before the end of October or free shipping. This makes a huge difference and spreads the work out more evenly in the months before Christmas. 

I usually end up working on individual orders right up until about 10 days before Christmas – there is no point in taking orders beyond that because you are then at the mercy of the Post Office! 

I try to design something 'sparkly' for this time of year or something that will go with the LBD (little black dress) to wear at parties. Last year my best seller was a Christmas Sparkle Bracelet – this year I am launching a Christmas Sparkle Sphere Necklace.

By about 18th December I start to wind down and I usually take my holidays over Christmas and New Year as a well-deserved break.

Catherine of Little Memories Keepsakes produces a fabulous range of keepsake jewellery including finger, hand and paw print cufflinks and key rings and pendants. Here she explains how Christmas is different to other times of the year for sales and work and how her craft business fits into her busy schedule.  
Typically my keepsake business toddles along for much of the year with a relatively steady turnover each month. January is quiet along with the summer holidays and during these periods I only get a smattering of orders (which suits me as I have two boys at home). I set up my business nearly three years ago and on average I make 60% of my entire annual turnover between September and December.

 I now make sure that by the time it gets to mid-September I've ordered all the business stationery I'm likely to need (to give out at events) and have ordered as much stock as I can afford. The last thing you need when you've got 15 pairs of cufflinks to make is to be thinking about ordering promotional postcards and gift boxes on a three week lead time!  I keep my social calendar as clear as possible without offending anyone.  The last two Christmases I've tried to take orders right up until mid-December and it's meant late nights and early mornings to ensure the work gets finished in time. 

I used to attend events all year round, now I concentrate mainly on September to November with a couple chucked in around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  If you're at an event lasting 5 hours there are inevitably quiet periods so I try to plan my work in the run up to the event so I can take bits and pieces of jewellery that need polishing by hand with me.  Plus I use these quiet periods to arrange appointments and contact customers about finished jewellery so that no time is wasted!
This year should feel slightly easier as my youngest is now in nursery every day so I'll have some more ‘free’ time to turnaround the jewellery. Of course I still need to find the time for my other part time job, housework, Christmas shopping and running the house! January is then for updating the website, doing my tax return and booking our summer holiday with the profits! 

Laura of Kozmic Dreams produces a brilliant range of knitted owls and cats as well as some fantastic baby hats. Here she explains how Christmas affects her work schedule and what she has to do to make the festive season a success for her. 

Most crafters think about Christmas on and off all year round, which can be quite disconcerting when we're in the middle of Summer! I tend to attend a lot of local craft fairs from September onwards and sell a wider range of goodies to include hats, scarves and stocking fillers. 

I try to target as wide a range of potential customers as I can. I have lovely postcards that promote my goods and lead everyone to my WowThankYou shop. I love going to craft fairs as well as selling online; the Christmas fairs usually have a great atmosphere and even if I don't sell anything, I love chatting to other crafters. It's also the best way to do some market research and get feedback on my products. People also tend to pick up my postcards and hopefully this leads to future sales. 

Beverley of Just Bev Soaps loves Christmas but has to start preparations in the middle of the year to keep up with her sales and craft fair commitments during the festive season. Here she explains how she manages her time and resources. 
Christmas for me begins in August if not July. In July I have to think about what I am going to make and from what. August is the month I need to make soap. All cold press soaps have to dry for four to six weeks before being sold anyway and so that is one of the big hurdles for me. Around this time I also have to source fragrances from suppliers and that can be a big delay if their Christmas ranges are not ready.

I sell at farmers markets and fairs quite regularly throughout the year and so around about September time I take samples of Christmas products to gauge what my regular customers need for Christmas. September is also a time for wrapping and making up boxes/bags/
baskets etc. ready to sell. When we get into November we have so many fairs that we really do not have time to make new products or wrap gift boxes anyway. I also make sure to look back at the previous year’s sales so that we are stocking our previous Christmas best sellers. One of our biggest winners at Christmas has always been chocolate orange soap made with real chocolate! This I demonstrated at a fair two weeks ago and people were amazed that we actually used real fair-trade chocolate!

So there you have it. How do you prepare for Christmas? Start early with your preparations, plan your work load accordingly, go to some selected craft fairs to sell and fly the flag. Make sure you have enough reserves of stock to cover the Christmas rush and above all keep smiling and have a drink or two, you deserve it.  

May we be the first to wish you a very Merry Christmas from the WowThankYou team 




An Interview with ... Auli'i Beads

Published in Issue 19, October 2012



Tell us about the lady behind Auli’i Beads 
So, a bit about me ... I've always loved jewellery and you could frequently hear "not more bracelets? " being said in my general vicinity. A colleague asked just how many bracelets etc I had, as I always seemed to have different ones on and they always seemed to be colour co-ordinated with whatever I was wearing. What can I say I like jewellery!

When did first begin creating your designs, and why?
I began creating my designs in the last 18 months. I'd bought some beading elastic to repair a bracelet which had broken and had quite a bit left over. I was going out and I just couldn't find a bracelet to go with the outfit I was wearing and I remembered the left over elastic. I decided to get some beads and make myself a bracelet as I'd be able to get exactly what I wanted then. I was pretty much hooked after that.


What is it that you enjoy about your work?
I've always wanted to be creative but really didn't think I had it in me until I started making bracelets and getting positive comments. I love designing new items. There isn't anything about it I don't like (expect having too many ideas at one time).

What is your biggest crafting achievement, and why?
I think my biggest achievement to date has been making a bracelet for a friend's boyfriend. It was one of the first woven bracelets I'd made, so I was a bit nervous. Not only that but it was the first time I'd made something for a man, my designs are usually for women. The bracelet was a surprise for my friend's boyfriend and I'm pleased to say he was delighted with it.


Other than your crafting, what else do you like to do?
Other than crafting I love watching films, reading and I'm a big Rugby League fan.


If you had to choose your favourite from your creations which one would it be?
I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite from my creations but if I had to at the moment it would be one of my charm bracelets "Rouge Noir". I just love it. Luckily I have very tiny wrists so I can't keep this one for myself!

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from all over the place. It can be something I see while I'm out, something in a magazine, a book or on tv.



If you could change one thing about what you do, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about what I do, it would be to give myself more hours in the day to work on my designs.

Do you have a favourite website?
I don't have a a favourite website but love looking at anything bead related.

Has any person helped or supported you more than any other?
I'm lucky that my friends and family have all been really enthusiastic and supportive of my jewellery making. It's lovely that they all get excited for me.

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
A random fact about me - I have an 8 year old long haired chihuahua called Tito.

Visit Auli’i Beads at
www.folksy.com/shops/Aulii
www.facebook.com/AuliiBeads
www.auliibeads.blogspot.com