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.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Monthly Craft Challenge - Meet the Design Team

Published in Issue 21, February 2013

Monthly Craft Challenge - Meet the Design Team

Creative Connections recently started a Monthly Craft Challenge, where we set a theme for a challenge and leave it open for the month for all the members of Creative Connections to enter.
It is great fun and really gets people crafting ideas that they haven’t thought about before.
We have over 100 members in the Monthly Craft Challenge Group where everyone puts their entries and can see the new challenges. It is a great opportunity for people to see how others craft.
Once the month is up, we have a designated Design Team who go through all the entries and decide on the winner for that month voting for their top three entries.
These winners are then announced in the Group and via a blog post, and have the opportunity to send some information about the business to get a little shout out on the Creative Connections Blog, on Creative Connections Facebook page and a little mention in Creative Crafting.
The Design Team are made up of a selection of different crafters all specialising in different crafts so that we have as varied contributions for each theme as possible.
We wanted to ‘meet’ the design team so that you know who they are all are and what they all do.
So we asked each and every one of them a few questions about themselves and their business;

Nikki Killinger from Fairy Elephant Design
I run Fairy Elephant Design, creating Mixed Media, Resin and Art Jewellery and Polymer Clay designs.
I’ve created jewellery since an early age, I used to make real fossil jewellery incorporated into polymer clay brooches and pendants, and my dad was an oil painter, so I have always liked to create. The mixed media and resin jewellery is king of where Fairy Elephant Design’s started two years ago.
The thing I enjoy about my work is not knowing the outcome of a piece of work, and experimenting with new ideas.

My biggest crafting achievement is being featured in Making Jewellery Magazine’s Reader’s section, August 2012. I’ve had an advert in Vogue (June 2012) but am most proud of being in Making Jewellery magazine! My favourite creation is my resin and mixed media spoon pendant, ‘the man in the spoon’. As opposed to ‘the man in the moon’
Where do I get my inspiration from – my inspiration is my imagination. Whether that’s a good thing or not I’m not entirely sure!!

I joined the Creative Connections Monthly Craft Challenge to interact with other crafters, pass on some knowledge if I can and a gain a platform for my work.
My other hobbies other than crafting, are I love photography, and cardmaking, but then that’s crafting…
My tip to fellow craft business owners is to keep at it, and believe in yourself.
You can find Fairy Elephant Designs at or blogging at and their etsy shop

Claire Maelotti from Maelotti 
I run a business called Maelotti where I make bespoke jewellery and reproduce Giclee fine art prints of my husband’s artwork. I live in the East Coast of England and am married with two children.
I started crafting over 30 years ago when my Nan taught me how to crochet. Since then it has just snowballed. I started making jewellery about 9 years ago for family as gifts and it grew from there. 
As most of my items are created for the individual person I enjoy the challenge that each new piece brings. 
I would have to say selling my first piece to a lady in Canada who has become a regular client has been my biggest achievement so far.
My favourite creation is an onyx, cracked quartz and Swarovski crystal bracelet.
I have a collection of semi-precious stones which I use to create my designs with and I find that these give me the inspiration for my work. I also consult with clients on what look they want to achieve and what type of colours or stones they want in their piece. I try to make each piece unique to them and include them in the whole process so they have input and are constantly updated on the progress.
I applied to be on the design team as I love to get creative but never seem to find the time so this makes me find the time. 
As well as crafting I love to read and have several other crafting interests which include bobbin lace making, drawing, knitting and cross stitching for a charity called Love Quilts UK who make quilts for terminally ill children. 
My tip for fellow business owners would be to try to get customer service right as this will keep customers coming back if they know any problems are rectified without issue.
You can find Maelotti at on her blog and on Twitter 

Louise Oakes from Elsie May and Bertha
My business name is Elsie May and Bertha (named after my two grandmothers). I make lots of things with fabric, lavender and rose scented hearts, pillows and sachets, pincushions, needle cases, cushions, Christmas Decorations. With wool – scarves, shawls, ponchos, and slippers. For my arty side I make fabric pictures and mixed media collages. I hope to do more of these this year.
My name is Louise Oakes and I’m 45 (yikes) and I have chronic fatigue. I took redundancy in 2010 (jumping before I was pushed, chronic fatigue and full time work don’t go well together!) and set up EM&B to earn some money from my craft. I’ve yet to do that bit! Even though I set up in 2010 I have been making things since I was little. Making is my most favourite thing. Even when I’m ill I still have to have something at hand to do (though I may not do anything, it being there counts). My husband complains that I never rest because I’m always doing something, I can’t just sit there and ‘relax’. But I find making relaxing. Taking fabric, thread or yarn, using simple tools – needles – and creating something, that’s just it for me. The ‘why’ is hard to put into words J
I don’t think I have created my biggest crafting achievement yet. I want to do more of my ‘art’ side of my making this year - creating pictures out of fabric etc and mixed media collages. This side of my work will probably produce my ‘best’. My favourite creation is probably the latest item I’ve made – it’s hard to put over what I mean in words – that’s not my usual standard work, things that are made up from the different four elements either out of fabric or paper.
My inspiration comes from books, other people’s work, the internet, pinterest etc. Or the materials I am using. I can spend hours going through my stash imagining what I can make with things.
I joined the Creative Connections Monthly Craft Challenge as it is nice being part of something with other people. Its good having something with a regular deadline and it also makes me do things that I may not have done otherwise. For instance, I’ve been meaning to start to learn crochet for ages, but the January challenge of ‘NEW’ gave me the impetus to start. My other hobbies include reading, something else I have enjoyed since I was little. I like to watch TV too, and I craft when I’m doing that. Cooking and eating are favourites too.
My advice to fellow craft business owners is too charge ‘proper’ amounts for your work, there’s nothing worse than being at a fair and the stall next to you is charging pennies for work you are charging pounds for and it’s your living. If you can, have some money behind you, I haven’t and it makes living and making very hard!
You can find Elsie May and Bertha at on their blog on Facebook and on Folksy

Anji Smith from AnjiKrafts
My business is AnjiKrafts which came about purely as a play on words. I make anything I want; when the inspiration grabs me by the neck and will use any medium I can lay my hands on.
I started working for myself after getting very stressed out at my previous job where I was being sent all around the country and being given very little travel time. Everything these days seems to be target-led instead of quality so I decided to go for lifestyle change and buck the trend.
I’ve been crafting since my grandfather taught me to knit when I was 4 years old. My father was a carpenter at the local docks so I also had a plentiful supply of handmade boxes and picture frames which I would decorate with shells, pebbles, feathers etc with gay abandon. Gran taught me embroidery when I was 6 years old and I’ve been creating ever since. I also love attending local events where I can chat to other people who are interested.
To me my business isn’t work. Even when I’m sitting down doing nothing there’s knitting needles or crochet hook in hand.
I don’t have just one creative achievement. That honour goes to each and every successful creation using a different craft or medium. The latest is my first ever water colouring painting, it’s not perfect but I’m proud of it. My favourite creation is probably my kitchen witches because each and every one is different and I have to admit to talking to them while I’m finishing their outfits.
My inspiration comes from everywhere but I do have a lot of old craft books picked up from charity shops. It’s amazing how some crafts have withstood the passing of time whereas others have faded away.
I joined the Creative Connections Monthly Craft Challenge because sometimes I need a really big kick up the… to get me moving and need a challenge to kick start the mojo.
My other hobbies, most of my family will say – talking! If I’m not crafting or talking I’ve probably got my head stuck in a book. I only cook out of necessity and the only cake I bake is the one at Christmas.
My advice to fellow craft business owners is go for it but make sure you’ve got your living expenses covered. Most of all make sure you enjoy it as much as you did when it was a hobby. You will not make your best if it becomes a ‘job’
You can find AnjiKrafts at on her blog on Facebook on twitter and on pinterest

If you want to know more about the Creative Connections Monthly Craft Challenge then please pop on over the Challenge group on Creative Connnections you need to be a member of Creative Connections to join this group, both memberships are free. 

The February challenge is live and the theme for this month is LOVE. To add your entry then please go over to the Monthly Craft Challenge group on Creative Connections.

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