Ask Maria: Candy Crafts = Bugs?

Question:  Crafting with candy seems very popular lately. What keeps the candy from attracting bugs?

Answer: I think you are right that crafting with candy is very popular right now. Many “candy crafts” incorporate candy that remains in its original packaging, so that would not create a pest problem. But other crafts use candy out of its packaging, which could cause a problem. If the unpackaged candy is being used in a way where the candy is edible, it’s best to make it close to the time it will be used and wrap up or throw out any leftovers.

That brings us to the non-edible candy to be used in crafts that have a “life.” I use Kyrlon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating spray found in art or painting supplies. I either spray several light coats on the finished project or will individually spray the candy pieces before I create the projects. I like using a spray over brushing on a sealer mainly because candy dyes aren’t color-fast and if you brush on sealer, often the colors will run.

You can find Krylon Crystal Clear spray on

Some fun candy projects on

How do you make sure you don’t end up with bugs eating your candy crafts? Please share your ideas in comments!

Ask Maria: Bye-Bye Printed Books, Hello Digital?

Question:  Just recently, Encyclopedia Britannica announced it will no longer publish books, but go digital. Do you think art and craft books are headed in the same direction?

Answer:  Radio was supposed to die when television was introduced and yet we still have plenty of radio stations broadcasting. Radio adapted, found niches, but like most publishing/broadcasting companies has to struggle to continue to grow and bring in profits. We have seen many crafting magazines disappear off the newsstands over the last few years again; I’d make a bet that advertising revenue just didn’t make the magazines profitable. All that said, I think that those who crave more knowledge about art and craft are very tactile people who probably enjoy holding a book while they read and learn. I think the publishers will be like the radio folks–adapt, find their niches, and continue to publish books. Those who live green, like taking books on the go, and enjoy not having to give up craft supply space will enjoy digitally available titles. My only fear with digital is that those who don’t want to invest (pay for books) will use the digital format to pirate said books.

Check out some digital books on!

Or maybe you’d like a traditional book?

What do you think? Please share your insight and opinions and leave a comment!

Ask Maria Ruffled Scarf Crazy

Reader Question: I’ve seen some beautiful ruffled scarves lately and would love to make one, but not sure what kind of yarn is being used. Any help?

Answer: I have seen these scarves too and you are right–the scarves are fabulous, and amazingly easy to make. You’ll need what most are calling ruffling (also called frilly or twisty) yarn. There are many brands to choose from and at first look the yarn looks like flat ribbon, but when you loosen it up it folds out to look a lot like netting. I’ve listed below a pattern plus several how-to’s for knitting with this new and exciting yarn. My friends are raving about this fashion look and you’ll find the scarf a very quick project!

Try your hand at making a ruffled scarf with this wonderful project, Ruffelina Frilly Scarf by Michael Sellick from The Crochet Crowd.

Here are some step-by-step knitting instructions using Ruffelina yarn from Bernat.

Check out this great video showing how to create the ruffle style using the ruffling yarns.


Maria Nerius is the Craft Expert at She’s worked and crafted for over 30 years and loves to answer questions about any craft technique. Send us your question today!



Ask Maria: Combine Crochet and Knit with The Knook

Reader Question: My friend said there is now a crochet hook that you can also knit with but I can’t find it anywhere. Have you heard of such a needle?

The team is just back from attending the 2012 Winter CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) trade show and we did find the amazing tool you are talking about. It’s called The Knook from Leisure Arts, a company you may recognize for being a leader in needleart and craft books. We even got to try our hand at knitting with this crochet hook.  Ribbon is used as your “second” knitting needle while one end of The Knook is pointed end with a hole to thread your ribbon through.(there is a traditional hook at the other end) the ribbon stays  attached to this pointed end.  The idea behind The Knook is that you can combine crocheting and knitting within one project. Leisure Arts has several excellent videos demonstrating the technique and stitches.

You can purchase The Knook on

Starting tomorrow, is giving away a Knook to one lucky winner!

Maria Nerius is the Craft Expert at She’s worked and crafted for over 30 years and loves to answer questions about any craft technique. Send us your question today!

Ask Maria Pigment Ink vs Dye Ink

Reader Question: What is the difference between a pigment ink and a dye ink? Is one better than the other for stamping?


Answer: A pigment ink is a slow drying ink that is water resistant. A dye ink (sometimes called watercolor ink) is not water resistant unless it is permanent ink and is not as color fast or fade resistant as pigment ink. Differences include the color palettes, time to dry, and transparency.

Pigment inks can be used for embossing, the process of stamping an ink image, covering it with embossing powder, and heating the powder so it rises. Dye ink just can’t match the consistency of pigment ink. You can add to this mix inks called hybrids which were designed to have the best features of pigment and dye inks.

Which type of ink you select really depends on the technique you want to achieve. Dye inks have brilliant transparent color. Pigment inks are best for embossing and if you want to stamp on a non-porous surface you’ll want a permanent ink. Most stampers have a variety of different inks to experiment and don’t forget that all these inks mix well together.

Do you have a question for Maria Nerius, Craft Expert at Just send your question!

FaveCrafts 365 Favorite Tool Do-Over

I watched a movie last night and in the movie one of the kids goes running through the house yelling, “Do over! Do over!” I’d never heard the phrase before and just loved it. Imagine if we could just yell “Do over!” every time we messed up, wanted to change our minds, or just felt like starting over! Life doesn’t really work that way after the age of 5, but I thought it might be fun to have a little FaveCrafts 365 Do Over…  Check out the v-log!

FaveCrafts 365 Time to Dust off the…

There is a wonderful sewing machine gathering dust in one of my cabinets in the studio. I need your support in helping me to get motivated and get that machine a’humming!

I checked out some very cool projects on! Will you help me get that sewing machine dusted off and busy sewing some of these cool projects?

This dog leash would be perfect for Little Eddie!

My friends and yours would love to get a fabric postcard!

Imagine turning these quilted cards into Christmas cards!

Such a sweet clutch!

An envelope to organize your life? Sign me up!

FaveCrafts 365 On A Serious Safety Note…

Recently a home very close to me blew up. You read it correctly, the home blew up and went down in flames in less than 15 minutes. The cause of the fire was craft related and this video talks about being very careful when using some craft supplies. It was a blessing that the family was not home at the time of the explosions and fire, but they lost everything from the roof over their heads to treasured family photos.