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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Craft + War? Really?

The words craft and war seem to be mismatched.  Apparently the American appetite for competitive reality programming isn't satiated enough with Ninja Warriors, The Amazing Race or the Olympics for that matter.  We now need crafting to be a cut throat competitive world?!?

When the concept for Design Star was originally announced it made me bristle a little.  If its one thing I love about true artists and artisans is that they are generous with their time, expertise and materials--exactly contrary to the spirit of the show.  And now television programming introduces us to Craft Wars as a way to find the best crafter in America.  Here's the reality of this not-so-real world-- while there are 'rules' about scale and color and balance etc, in the end, design--and especially crafts--are largely subjective.  Every rule ever established has been broken or replaced with new rules--Black is the new brown, etc.    So why make it an Olympic-sized goal to make crafting of all things so competitive?  It is contrary to spirit of art, creativity and free-flowing ideas. 

One of the reasons I'm creative and crafty is because of the positive feelings I get when using interesting and pretty materials.  I like the feel of fabric in my hands as I glide it through the machine, or the feel of wood as I'm sanding it.   I like the experimentation with and manipulation of materials to make new and interesting things.  If I had someone breathing down my neck, stealing materials and looking to sabotage me, I think the crafting experience might resemble Mozart being swapped for a screaming rocker--peaceful to punk in 3.2 seconds.

So, crafting and war will come together in the newest of competitive reality shows.  I have no doubt that good ideas will be displayed--unfortunately it will be directly alongside some horrible behavior.  Behavior that is contrary to true artists and artisans.   We've made everything else competitive, I guess crafting can't escape the drama.  It makes me wonder what's off limits--food, singing, dancing, variety acts, fashion, interior design, chain saw carving, carpentry, dog sled races, and pageants have all had their day.  What's next?  Competitive parenting?   Cut throat gardening?   Graphic designers one-upping each other in Font Wars?   Why don't networks concentrate on programming that promotes collaboration rather than competition?    Or might this suggestion incite a blog war?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Laudry Bottle Caps, Toilet Paper Rolls, & Tin Foil

I heard that a church was seeking supplies for thier vacation bible school week and at the top of the list were three items-- laundry bottle caps, toilet paper rolls and tin foil. know I couldn't just let that go--I had to know what they were making with these things!   I pondered long and hard, my creative juices were flowing so much I was salivating.  What in the world would they use these items for?   I had ideas! 

I paced, I pondered, I imagined.  Was the bottle cap the head, the toilet paper roll the body and the tin foil the feet for some craft-project creature?   What about planting seeds in the laundry detergent caps, making hobo meals on the grill with the tin foil and making homemade marracas with the paper rolls?   Or perhaps the toilet paper rolls were going to be painted bright colors, strung together with tin foil balls between them for a garland?   Maybe the bottle caps were going to be used as sand castle molds?    Oh boy was I flowing with ideas!  Before the day was out I had thought of a myriad of ideas for the three items and I was quite proud of my crafty self for the follow-through.  When it was all said and done I found out the toilet paper rolls were going to be kindling for the camp fire, the tin foil was for leftovers and the bottle caps were going to be used as paint cups.   My creative bubble was deflated.  Where is the imagination?!  Where is the ingenuity?!   Where are my like-minded crafty peeps!? 

So I'm throwing down the challenge--what crafty things could one make with these three things--I'd love to know your ideas!   I know what you're saying--don't get caught up in her post PMS madness--but just do it--may the (creative) force be with you!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Frugal Unique Greeting Cards

Anyone who loves fabric, sewing or crafting likely has a bin of  fabric scraps.  If you have a bin you're likely a person who sees possibility and value in these scraps or you would have tossed them.  If you're really a fabric lover you might even see them as precious children in your family of supplies.  (My emotional attachment to fabric is a whole other blog!)

With age, I'm getting more frugal.  I have the notion that I'll never see Social Security benefits, and I figure I must find a way to curb expenses.  Enter the bin of scraps.  

Using my sewing machine, a heavy duty needle and my scraps, I created these frugal and unique greeting cards.  
   Inside the cards you can see the stitching
  Some stitching turns out better than others!

Now, if you're going to try this (and I hope you do!)   here are some tips:

1) Avoid any adhesives under the fabric unless its a very dry, thin type that fully evaporates otherwise it gums up your needle.  Don't use adhesive backed ribbon if you want to stitch through it.
2) Set your stitch length to long or the many tiny needle pricks actually create a perforation and your paper falls away!
3)  Change your needle about every 10 cards or as soon as you feel a drag or your thread starts breaking.
4) Don't be afraid to allow the stitching to be shown on the inside of the card--it definitely shows you've made it by hand!
5) If your machine doesn't give neat stitching on the bottom, simply cut a piece of card stock and glue over the stitching on the inside of the card.
6)  Don't be afraid to gently roll the card as you maneuver it in stitching area of your machine--large cards take a little more finesse but paper can be rolled back to a flat position, so don't stress too much.
7)  You can stitch paper to paper, but it doesn't stay as securely as fabric--every machine is different so I just encourage you to experiment. Avoid glittered papers as they muck up the inside of your machine!
8) If you will mail these, keep embellishments small and flat.

 If you come up with other ideas and tricks, let me know and I'll include them in an updated blog post!

Happy Frugal Card Making!