Around the World with 80 Artists: An Interview with the Author

Crafting traditions can be found across the world. No matter where you live there is sure to be a tradition of creating and crafting. Creativity and art have the ability to bring people together and inspire harmony. This very tradition was the driving force behind the upcoming collection, Around the World in 80 Artists.

This collection of projects from international artists and designers was compiled by Mahe Zehra Husain of the Creative Art Academy as a way to celebrate diversity in art as well as raise money for the Malala Fund to educate girls around the world. This book contains 80 projects from 80 artists from 22 different countries across the world. This project highlights a love for creativity as something that holds us together. To help fun this project, check out the kickstarter fund here.

Around the World in 80 Projects

Mahe Zehra HusainTell us a bit about your project (Around the World in 80 Artists) and what inspired you to create it.

I was so tired of seeing sad stories in my Facebook news feed, it seemed as if the world was falling apart over small differences in color, religion and lifestyle. The crafting community was so different in comparison. There was such a feeling of friendship and appreciation among the artists I knew, I felt it was super important to highlight that positive and show the world that creativity can hold us together.

Your book focuses on projects from around the world. What crafting traditions inspire you?

I am influenced by my South Asian heritage. I love bright colors and mixed media and am known to incorporate a lot of bright fabrics in my work.

Out of the 80 projects in your book, which projects are your favorites?

That’s a hard question! I am super into watercolors and coloring pages and so I really like the tutorial I am sharing with you and I also love the coloring pages included in the book.

Can you tell us a bit about your process for this project? What sort of challenges did you face?

It was hard to get 80 artists together but Facebook helped me a lot there. I set up a group and invited a few artists I knew and then they started inviting others they admired and so slowly we made our way to 80 artists from 22 countries.

If you could only craft with 3 materials for the rest of your life, what three would you choose?

Paper, Glue and Scissors

What country or region do you take crafting inspiration from?

Meet the Authors: “The Crafter’s Book of Clever Ideas”

One of the perks that comes with being the editor of a crafting website is that designers will send their latest projects and publications right to you. When a new book from F+W Media arrived in the mail, I couldn’t wait to take a peek. The Crafter’s Book of Clever Ideas: Awesome Craft Techniques for Handmade Craft Projects is a quirky collection of family-friendly projects that were created by co-authors Andrea and Cliff Currie.

You might recognize Andrea as a “Craft Wars” champion (and you can read her reflections on the experience here). Her husband, Cliff, is a designer in his own right, and while the main goal of these tutorials is to have fun, you’ll pick up techniques from the pros along the way. I feel extra fortunate that I also got the chance to interview Andrea and Cliff about their crafting styles, sources of inspiration, and more.

What 3 words sum up your crafting style?

Andrea: Fun, Colorful, and Surprising

Cliff: Different, Multi-functional, and Fun

What is your go-to crafting tool?

Andrea: Hot glue gun because it’s equal parts useful and dangerous. Just how I like my men. 😉

Cliff: If I had to craft my way out of a precarious situation using just one tool, I’d pick a good pair of scissors. I can’t think of one project I’ve done that doesn’t involve using scissors. I like having heavy-duty, precision, and fabric scissors nearby me at all times. In fact, I’m pretty sure every drawer in our house has at least one pair of scissors in it!

Andrea, you’re a Craft Wars champion. How has that experience influenced you?

It’s not often you get to test your skills in front of an international audience and a panel of very discerning judges. What I learned is to embrace my kitschy style and to not worry what others might say, even if they are industry leaders! If you can’t sell your vision/style then you won’t ever be able to sell your products. Craft Wars was a crash course in selling my creations and I’m very grateful for the experience.

Cliff, some of your projects in The Crafter’s Book of Clever Ideas call for unusual supplies like Legos and dinosaur figurines. Would you say that the materials inspire your crafts? Or is it the other way around?

I have a little obsession with the 80’s. OK, it’s a big obsession, which I’m sure you’ll pick up on in the book. I enjoy working my childhood toys into fun projects and I’m lucky that the CEO (Andrea) has the same affinity for all things 80’s as I do. So, I suppose you could say the supplies inspire the crafts but it’s mostly a decade that inspires my crafts!

You’re called “America’s Handmade Sweethearts.” What is the best part about working with your spouse? Are there any unique challenges that come with it?

Andrea: Working with Cliff has been a wild ride and I love every thrilling moment of it. I suppose the audience that deemed us “America’s Handmade Sweethearts” never really saw those not so “sweetheart” moments. You know, like when we have creative “differences” and “accidentally” ruin a project by spilling alcohol ink on it. Yeah, those are the moments you realize that working with your spouse was the best decision you ever made.

Cliff: I couldn’t imagine not working with my glittery gal. She is so incredibly talented and driven which really pushes me to the edge of my creativity. We really have a symbiotic relationship. Her weaknesses (engineering and methodically measuring) are my strengths, and my weaknesses (design, color theory, and imagination) are her strengths. So the creations we collaborate on always turn out really amazing because it’s equal parts of both of us.

The Crafter’s Book has a unique his/her format. How did you develop this idea?

Andrea: We had never seen a “he said/she said” style book before and it was something we felt we’d buy if we saw it, so we pitched it and we were lucky enough to have F+W Media pick it up! Plus, let’s be honest: we wanted to battle out our creative differences in a book where the readers get choose who is the supreme crafter in the family, all while enjoying a plethora of fun projects. So far, we don’t have a clear winner but it seems like people lean towards Cliff’s projects slightly more. It pains me to say that, by the way.

Did you collaborate on the projects even if they were distinctly “hers” or “his”?

Cliff: Yes, we collaborated a lot. Well, actually it was more me relying on Andrea to steer me towards projects that were cohesive with hers.

Andrea: Yeah, we really didn’t foresee how hard it was going to be to create complementary yet very different projects but once we got about halfway through the book we found a fun groove, which made the projects flow much easier.

This book has a lighthearted, “just for fun” vibe, but many of the crafts combine fun and functionality–the Miniature Taxidermy Bulletin Boards come to mind. Would you say that making crafts practical is one of your goals?

Andrea: I suppose Cliff’s functional style has really rubbed off on me. When we were first married (9 years ago) I was happy just glittering something and calling it a day but he really pushed me to think out of the box and to find more uses for each project. Nowadays I’m always looking to craft up something fun and functional.

Cliff: I used to always work with wood and metal (very manly materials) and then Andrea sprinkled her sparkle all over the house and eventually our styles collided into a mishmash of practical and whimsical. Oh, and I’m not afraid to say that I LOVE glitter!

Do you ever feel uninspired? How do you break out of “crafter’s block?”

We always get crafter’s block at just the wrong moments, but when that happens we know to step away. Usually we go for a hike or a bike ride. Living in sunny San Diego makes it easy to refresh our brains and bodies at any given moment.

What can we expect from America’s Handmade Sweethearts in the near future?

It’s probably no surprise that we have a billion ideas for future books but we’ve learned to let things come naturally rather than tediously pushing one idea forward. While we let our thoughts simmer we are remodeling our home, which is a large undertaking even though it’s only 1,400 square feet! You should expect to see some pretty amazing transformations on our blog handmakemyday.com and fun craft projects ta boot!

 

What’s your favorite craft to make with your friends and family?

 

 

 

Interview with Quilting Arts TV’s Susan Brubaker Knapp

Quilting Arts TV - Susan Brubaker Knapp photoCool news, quilters! FaveQuilts recently had the opportunity to correspond with Susan Brubaker Knapp, new anchor of Quilting Arts TV, to talk a little about her own quilting and her advice for all those home-quilters out there.  She was kind enough to answer YOUR questions, which we collected via our Facebook page and our newsletters. Many thanks to Susan and don’t forget to tune in to Quilting Arts TV!

Is investing in a fabric cutter (such as Accuquilt or Sizzix) economical, or should I just keep on cutting the traditional way?

I think it depends on how you work, and what kinds of quilts you want to make. If you make a lot of quilts with traditional shapes, then fabric cutting machines can save you a ton of time.

Is it okay to sew wider top & bottom borders (& keep side borders narrower) to lengthen a quilt?

Absolutely! Why not? Just make sure that the quilt still looks balanced, and that basic design principles have not been compromised just to lengthen it. The most interesting quilts are those where the quiltmaker has taken a basic design or pattern, and changed it in ways that makes it more uniquely hers.

My binding is always uneven–sometimes it looks great, and sometimes it looks terrible. Is there a trick to it that I’m missing? 

I had problems with my bindings when I first started quilting. My mother –who was a former home economics teacher and an excellent quilter – told me so! And I ignored her for a long time (after all, she was my mother). And then I started entering shows and I got marked down for my bindings. I crawled back to her, and asked her to teach me the right way.

My best advice is to find a video or a book by someone who really knows her stuff, and follow the directions exactly. I have several good quilting reference books on my shelf. If you learn better by watching, rather than by reading, you can see my technique in my new Quilting Arts Workshop (available as a DVD or download) called “Fabulous Finishes:  Seven Techniques for Binding, Facing, Framing, and Hanging a Quilt.” Or watch multiple videos by experts online, and experiment with them to determine what works best for you.

By the way, I think double, straight-grain bindings are the easiest to do and achieve great results.

Common binding mistakes:

  1. Cutting off too much, or too little, or cutting unevenly, when squaring up your quilt before binding. This leaves you with the wrong amount of fabric and batting to fill up the binding, so some places are wide and plump, and others are skinny and flat.
  2. Not sewing a uniform ¼” seam allowance when you sew the binding on.
  3. Not paying attention to your corners (or simply not knowing how to handle them) when you machine stitch the binding on, so that they are not square or full. Corners are what separate the newbies from the pros.
  4. Rushing through the step where you hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt, or failing to align it uniformly (it should just cover the machine stitching line, so that the binding is the same width on the front as the back).
  5. Going too fast, or not caring enough to do it right, because you are desperate to be done!

What do you do with the blocks that just don’t turn out for some reason? Perhaps due to color combinations or you just don’t like the block. You spend a lot of time and money into the block, hate to just toss them in a land fill.

Hmmm…. Here are some ideas:

  1. Take them to a friend, or offer them up to someone at your guild.
  2. Put them into a sampler quilt with neutral sashings and borders. Donate it to a charity so that you will never have to see it again! Not nice enough for a child, vet, or the elderly? It would still make good pet bedding!
  3. Sew a bunch together, and then sandwich them with batting and backing and use them to practice machine quilting.
  4. Make them into potholders and donate them to your guild’s quilt show boutique. Or give them to someone as a birthday or holiday gift.

What marking method do you prefer?

I don’t mark very much (I am usually free-motion quilting and thread sketching), but when I do, I really like the mechanical pencils with ceramic leads by Bohin and Sewline.

What has been the most difficult quilt /quilt block you have done personally?

The two that have been the most challenging for me are probably Pickle Dish and Feathered Star.

Do you have any tips or trade secrets about how to master free motion quilting? 

First, relax. If you partake, have a beer or glass of wine. (Not too much; you don’t want to stitch through your fingers!) Put on music that makes you chill out (for me, it is classical. For some reason, music with words doesn’t work for me.) If you are tense, your quilting will be tight and jerky. Tell yourself that this is going to be fun, and liberating.

Start on a project that is not dear to you. Make a sandwich from solid fabric, batting and backing fabric; pin and use it to practice. Consider buying one of those panels – you know, the ones with teddy bears or flowers on it – and use it to practice quilting around the elements. Practice, practice, practice. Chances are, you won’t be good at free-motion quilting unless you practice MANY hours. Set a goal of doing five to ten minutes of free-motion stitching each day, and use this time to practice different motifs. I’m convinced that anyone can learn to be a great free-motion quilter; it just takes practice.

What are some of your quilt inspirations? Where do you get your ideas for your quilts?

Almost always my art quilts are based on my original photos. I take photos almost every day, where ever I am – even when I’m out walking my dog – and choose the best ones to convert into works of art made with fabric and thread. For my traditional (contemporary) quilts, my inspiration may come from a great fabric or fabric collection, or a color combination I’ve noticed in nature.

What is your design process?

For my art quilts, I start by taking a great photo and tracing the basic color areas in the photo onto tracing paper. I enlarge my drawing to create a pattern. I use this pattern as the basic template, and then create my pieces using either wholecloth painting (painting with acrylic textile paints on white fabric) or fusible applique (using fusible adhesive to fuse down the pieces). Then I heavily thread sketch (free motion stitching through the surface of the quilt and interfacing/stabilizer) before I machine quilt.

For my traditional/contemporary quilts, I often design using graphic design/illustration software (I use Adobe Illustrator), so that I can scale elements, and move blocks around on my computer before settling on a final design. If you don’t have this kind of software, you can often do the same thing with graph paper.

Are there any shortcuts to cutting and measuring triangles?

I can’t really speak to this, as I’ve always done it the traditional way.

Scrap quilts can be a little overwhelming–many quilters have huge scrap fabric bins and no idea of how to start using them. Any advice?

If you make a lot of scrap quilts, I highly recommend getting into the habit of cutting up fabric remnants (from other projects) into the shapes you use most often in your scrap quilts. Do this each time you find yourself with a remnant that it is not big enough to use for a new  project. This could be 2” strips, or 4” squares, for example. Then put them into zippered plastic bags or bins according to color or value. This way, they will be ready to go when you want to make your next scrap quilt.

Need new fabric?

Lily Ashbury High Street Jelly RollInspired by Susan’s advice and want to get started on a new project? We’re giving away a FREE jelly roll, the Lily Ashbury High Street Jelly Roll, courtesy of Moda Fabrics!

Moda Jelly Rolls are always a great investment, as the pre-cut fabric drastically cuts down on preparation time without sacrificing piecing accuracy. They are cut specifically to minimize fraying while you work, and are perfect for a wide variety of projects, from home decor to clothing.

The Lily Ashbury High Street Jelly Roll comes with 40 2.5X44-inch die cut fabric strips (including duplicates), so there is plenty of material for you to work with. Lily Ashbury has done an absolutely fabulous job of blending softer pastel shades with a bolder, almost neon spring palette. The fabric design has a sweet bohemian feel, very easygoing and light, which would be appropriate for any season.

Do you watch Quilting Arts TV?

Exclusive Interview & Giveaway for Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love!

Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love

AllFreeSewing is so excited to have Kerry Goulder, creator of Kid Giddy to talk with us today! In addition to running a blog, shop, and more, Goulder is the creative genius behind the new book, Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love: 18 Toy Patterns for the Storytelling Sewist, which was just released this year. True to its name this book offers a fantastic journey that any imaginative sewist should take. See what Goulder has to say about what inspired her to create this collection, the challenges she had while creating it, and more!

When you’re through reading, find out how you can win your very own signed copy of Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love: 18 Toys Patterns for the Storytelling Sewist.

 

Kerry Goulder from Kid Giddy1. Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love is your first sewing book. What inspired the topic?

Everything we do in life has a story behind it. I wanted to capture some of the stories from my own life in a fun and meaningful way for my kids, to have and share later in their lives. I knew I wanted to write a story to go along with each pattern, and wanted the book to have the appeal of an old (but new) story book to be shared with loved ones while making their projects or giving them.

2. The variety of characters and elements in this book is incredible; do you usually design with someone specific in mind to give the toy to, or do these creations come to life as you sew?

Many of the patterns have been inspired by different people, places, or times in my life, as well as from my dreams. Some patterns have also been inspired by trends popping up all around, like the hot air balloon. I have never been in one and probably never will, but the beauty of them floating in the wild blue yonder is certainly tempting.

3. Do you have a favorite toy from this collection?

I’m not sure I can pick a favorite. I tell my girls that it’s not nice to pick favorites because it could make others feel left out. I will say that although some are easier and quicker to make than others, it doesn’t always mean I love those more. Many of these patterns I have held onto for years in the hopes of putting them all together in one book.

4. What was the biggest challenge for you while creating this book?

Keeping the family, church, and life balance was by far the hardest challenge. There were many days I woke up and fell asleep crying from the stress of deadlines and the feelings of being unbalanced in my life. I wondered often if I was doing the right thing, but couldn’t throw in the towel. I’m a perfectionist and wanted what was in my head to show in the book. For me that meant not just one gnome, but four, not just one mushroom or buoy, but multiples of each. I didn’t want the photos to be limited to single samples, so I made a ton of extra pieces for many of the patterns. Looking back, I wouldn’t do anything differently regarding the book or the samples, but would def bring in a sewing helper to help balance my time with my family.

5. Do you have any creative role models?

Other than my retired art teacher mom and my twin sister artist…there are a few designers I have kept tabs on since learning about them many many years ago. I discovered Heather Bailey and her invention, the Trash Ties™ when I invented the Tuck ‘n’ Go™. At the same time, I found her Nicey Jane™ and Pop Garden™ fabric lines which I still hoard in my studio. Around that same time a friend had told me about this fabric she saw recently and thought I’d like it. It was Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern™ fabrics, and yes, I hoard them too. In the past few years I’ve discovered SarahJane – she’s such a sweetheart and her fabrics are equally hoarded here. All three of them have inspired me for years to find my own voice.

6. Do your kids have a favorite toy that you’ve made (either from Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love or otherwise)?

They love all of the patterns but the Gnomes are most loved by all. When working on new patterns I don’t make anything with muslin (I guess you could say it annoys me because it is a boring color). I make all of my samples and patterns in beautiful fabrics, so my girls get to keep any “misfits” and love them despite their quirks! When a pattern works the first time, they are sad they don’t get to keep it.

7. In terms of being a published designer, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I think the best advice I have ever gotten as an artist (not just a published designer) is to be true to myself. There are so many ideas out there, and so many artists are being copied left and right. We each have something to offer without having to copy someone else’s work. Learn new skills and techniques, but stay true to you and your own style. Be original so others can’t help but notice.

Thank you, Kerry!  All of the editors at AllFreeSewing are beyond excited about this treasure trove of toy patterns. If you’d like your very own copy of Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love: 18 Toy Patterns for the Storytelling Sewist, we’re giving away a copy! Even better about this copy? It’s signed by Kerry Goulder herself! Enter once a day, every day until December 16th! Best of luck to everyone!

Tell us, what was your favorite toy when you were little?

Interview: Marisa Pawelko, Author of Crazy-Cool Duct Tape Projects

There are so many hot trends in crafting right now that it’s hard to know where to start! Here at FaveCrafts, we’ve decided to look into a versatile, very useful craft material that you can use in practically any situation; duct tape. We’re very lucky, because we got a copy of Crazy-Cool Duct Tape Projects, one of the best guides for crafters looking to work with the material. It’s also a great look into the mind of the creative and business savvy designer herself, Marisa Pawelko.

The book‘s scheduled to be released on December 1st, but we are so pleased to have gotten the chance to learn more about it before it’s release from Marisa herself. She’s the go-to crafter for all things duct tape, as well as for some great tips for those hoping to make a career out of their crafting Find out all the details in our exclusive interview:

What made you decide to start crafting with duct tape?

I was sitting on a bench eating an ice cream cone on a beautiful summer day and I witnessed a lively exchange between some tweens and a young man whom they obviously looked up to. He must have been some sort of youth group leader. They inquired about what he was wearing on his wrist – a basic folded strip of purple duct tape, to which he exclaimed “It’s duct tape! All the cool kids are doing it!” I was instantly very intrigued and decided to get some rolls and before I knew it, I’d become totally hooked!

Your book shows a lot of techniques and details. How do you come up with such impressive project designs?

When I was designing the book, the publisher asked me to come up with 24 original project ideas. I brainstormed on projects that would be functional, fashionable and easy to create! School, home decor and fashion are all areas where people like to express their individuality, so I chaptered the book according to those topics and initiated the most intense month long duct tape craft binge imaginable!

What makes duct tape different from other materials?

I love crafting with duct tape because it is quick, easy, forgiving, inexpensive, non-messy and comes in a diverse array of colors and patterns. It works really well with all of my other favorite tools and materials (which are also listed in the book). I like to say that duct tape crafting is just like sewing except without all that pesky needle and thread! And if you happen to make a mistake you can easily take it apart or just cover it up with more duct tape!

What kind of impact do you think the changing economy might have on the popularity of duct tape crafting?

Duct tape crafting is a very affordable craft obsession. You don’t need a lot of expensive tools or materials to do it and it makes for a really fun group activity! Crafters love the eco-friendly and thrifty idea of covering existing items, but I believe the duct tape frenzy will continue to be wildly popular with crafters regardless of the state economy.

Do you see any upcoming trends in duct tape crafts? Are there any types of projects (clothing, decor) that are popular already?

I’ve seen lots of people creating two dimensional artwork with their favorite media characters. Duct tape clothing is always fun for special events and a lot of crafters are beginning to incorporate duct tape into their gifts and seasonal decor as well! Of course the duct tape wallet and rose are classic perennial kids favorites that never go out of style!

Your success has been amazing! Do you have any tips or advice for crafters looking to start their own businesses or pitch a creative new idea?

Thank you! I’ve been very fortunate to work with such amazing and supportive brands! My advice would be to determine what it is that you truly love to do and find a way to offer something in that area that is unique. You have to truly love it in order to succeed, because being an entrepreneur requires a lot of energy, dedication and determination. The most important things are to: believe in yourself, work hard and never give up! It also helps to hold yourself to a really high standard and go the extra mile when it comes to making presentations.

Do you have a particular project in this book that you like? (We personally love the Suspenders and the Water Bottle Chandelier)

You are great at asking the tough questions! I love those girly looks too, but I’m also a big fan of the retro-rebellious look of the rearview mirror dice, collar & cuffs and the fingerless gloves. What’s great is that Crazy-Cool Duct Tape Crafts contains 24 projects (plus handy tips and tricks) that can easily be adapted to suit everyone’s individual sense of style! It’s definitely got something for everyone!

Find out more about Marisa on her blog, Modern Surrealist and take a look at some of the items in her shop.

Here are some of Marisa’s projects that she would like to share with you:

Interview: Candice Windham, Author of Scrapbooking for Home Decor

The editors here at FaveCrafts were lucky to get our hands on a copy of Scrapbooking for Home Decor, a must-read for any crafter looking to add a personal touch to their everyday decor. There are designs in here for crafters of all kinds, with full color images to demonstrate different techniques and projects. Best of all, author Candice Windham tells her own family’s story throughout this book with her crafts, showing crafters how you can include your favorite old family photographs and trinkets to make one-of-a-kind, truly personal works of craftsmanship.

We’re excited to announce the book’s release today, October 1st, but we’re even more excited to have gotten the inside scoop on this book from the award-winning crafter herself, Candice Windham. She gave us the details about the book, as well as some great tips for crafters that you’re not going to want to miss. Here’s what she had to say in our exclusive interview:

Your book includes several tips and tools of the trade; how did you pick up all these techniques?

Just like anyone else – classes, books, internet, just plain old curiosity. I also belong to a rubber stamp club, the River City Stampers. We are a very diverse group from newbies to professional artists ( we boast four CHA Designer members!) Our 35 members meet monthly and share ideas and projects, so I’ve learned a lot from them. I’ve always been interested in new techniques and never met a tool I didn’t like!

When did you start scrapbooking?

I actually began as a child. My Aunt Carolyn, who was only ten years older than me, kept scrapbooks on her favorite singers and movie stars. I tried to do everything she did, so a scrapbooker was born. Of course, since I used whatever papers my dad brought home from his printing shop and usually a paste made of flour and water, those pieces have long since fallen victim to the acid/lousy adhesive curse. I’d give anything to still have them.

What’s your favorite type of project?

I love three dimensional projects. I also like things that have a purpose, thus my tendency toward boxes and containers.

Material?

Beautiful papers (especially Graphic 45),Golden transparent acrylic paint, Viva Décor metallic finishes.

Where did you get the idea to apply scrapbooking to home decor?

I like for my work to be out in the open. I have many scrapbooks, but can’t remember the last time anyone took one off the bookshelf to look at it. I also love my family photos and use them in my art every chance I get. I actually teach a class using transparent acrylics and photocopies of family photos to create very large, personal paintings.

You talk about the background of the pictures you use. What kind of inspiration does your family serve in your crafting?

I have very few old family photos, but the ones I have are so special. My style is also slightly on the vintage side, so these old pictures mean the world to me. Now, if you ask my son about photos, he’ll tell you that there was always a camera in his face growing up! Those will come into the picture (no pun intended) soon.

Is there a particular project in this book that you find special?

The cover project, Love Letters. My parents had a love story that lasted all their lives. When I saw that it had been selected for the cover shot, I actually sat down and cried. They would have been so proud.

What do you think is the best advice for crafters new to scrapbooking?

Don’t feel that you have to have all the latest and greatest tools and products. This is the voice of experience speaking. These things take up valuable real estate in your craft area, so be sure you really need it before you buy it. On the other hand, do your homework. Buy the best you can afford in scissors, punches and cutters as well as adhesives. These will pay off in the long run. I have a paper trimmer that was pricey ($200 +) but I’ve never had to replace a blade (self-sharpening) or have it re-calibrated to cut straight. I’ve owned it for more than ten years, and this baby gets a workout almost every day. I have even cut mat board with it (but I don’t think the manufacturer would like that!).

What do you want crafters/readers to gain from your book?

A love of crafting and family heritage, and when i say “family”, I mean extended family as well. I have a couple of projects in the works using photos from my high school days with my BFFs. I also hope it will encourage people to think outside the box. The Grandma’s Garden piece is a perfect example of that. I had a lot of test tubes left over from a class I taught, a wonderful photo on my sister and me with our great grandmother holding flowers we had brought for her, and we were standing in front of a large Camellia in her backyard. I remembered how she was always sharing cuttings with my grandmother, and the project just came to life. Also, the tools chapter offers insight in tool selection, and the techniques chapter shows different ways to achieve results using what you have on hand as opposed to running to the craft store every day.

Are there any techniques or crafts that you think will be popular in the future?

I think the trend toward home decor will continue as well as the vintage look.  I am continually seeing new techniques for creating an aged look on the most modern, up-to-date objects. With the Baby Boomers reaching retirement years and programs such as Who Do You Think You Are? increasing interest in genealogy, there is an increased desire to make sure our descendants know our stories, so scrapbooking, whether it’s in a book, on a wall or sitting on a side table, will continue be popular.

If you’d like to find out more about Candice, her book, and her crafts, be sure to check out her blog!

Craft Wars: Interview with Angela Daniels!

Here at FaveCrafts we can’t get enough of TLC’s new show Craft Wars! Not only is it fun to watch but we’ve gotten a lot of great tips and inspiration for future craft projects. Tonight, crafter extraordinaire Angela Daniels is one of the contestants and we have the inside scoop! We interviewed Angela about her experience on the show, her crafting style and got some great tips that we are sharing with you. Be sure to watch tonight’s episode to see if Angela wins!

Who is your partner on the show? How did you decide?

I had an easy choice. Pattye Duffner and I have know each other ever since we met on the set of the first (only?) online reality scrapbook show “Scrapbook LifeStyle.” Not only is she a talented crafter, she is hilarious and my main goal was to have a good friend to go on Craft Wars with me so we could have fun with the experience. Plus, she sews like crazy and I knew this was my big weak spot in the competition. I loved knowing I had someone with her interior design background and sewing skills in my corner and she DID make us all laugh all day during filming. Her microphone was linked to a PA assigned to us so even when I wasn’t in the same area as Pattye, I knew she was getting in a good jab at me because the PA would burst out laughing.

Did you have any strategy going into the show?

My strategy was to try to relax, have  fun and try not to get to freaked out about winning. I can be extremely competitive with myself and I have a tendency to panic when I put too much pressure on myself. My secondary goal was to make sure Pattye and I walked away with our friendship intact. I hedged my bets on that one by taking her to a fancy restaurant on Rodeo Drive the night before we filmed as a thank you for being on the show with me. You know, just in case I lost my marbles during filming and started yelling at her or something (which, thankfully, I didn’t!).

 

What’s your go-to crafting tool that you couldn’t create without?

I love the simple tools. You won’t often see me buying the latest and greatest tools on the market. If I had to choose the most versatile tool that I keep in my craft bag at all times, it would probably be a bone folder. It’s invaluable for scoring things but it also helps with rub-on accents and a variety of other uses it wasn’t intended for.

What was your favorite moment of the show?

My favorite moment of the show was when I was able to look at a finished project (done JUST in the nick of time) for the briefest moment. It made me feel like Pattye and I had made something that we were proud of. That was a big goal of ours. We wanted to try and wow the judges, but mostly we just wanted to be able to watch the show with our kids back home and be proud of what we made together.

What did you learn from the show?

The best thing I learned from Craft Wars is that crafting is crafting. I was so worried about making something BIG. Like most crafters, everything I make is generally relatively small. I just didn’t know if I could do something large scale. As it turns out, and I should have known this, crafting big uses all the same skills and techniques as crafting small. All you need is more time and bigger supplies. I came home inspired to do some bigger home decorating projects with that confidence.

Was it hard to stay true to your crafting style under all that pressure?

If you asked me in the middle of a timed challenge, I probably would have said yes but now that I have had time to relax and reflect, the answer is no. No matter how hard I try to change up my style, it generally comes out the same. I like linear design. I like things that are relatively symetrical and clean. As much as I enjoy looking at shabby chic designs, my end project never comes close. My design aesthetic always veers in the same direction- linear and graphic.

The pop craft challenge looks so difficult! What’s running through your head during the pop craft? 

Pattye and I had done a few less structured and less serious time challenges for the online show we were on  years ago so I thought we would breeze through the stress of a timer. WRONG. At one point, I was struggling to thread a needle (I swear it had the smallest eye in the history of needles to make matters worse) and I was literally shaking with nerves. It felt like it took hours to thread that darned thing and I couldn’t believe I was on camera shaking as Pattye tried to lighten the mood by joking with me. I had to take a deep breath to keep it together!

What’s your best advice for all the crafters out there?

The most important piece of advice that I try to live by is to just DO it. I have a tendency to set an ideal of perfection so high that I don’t even want to start a project. And NOTHING I create ever comes close to looking like the ideal I had in my mind. This can either defeat me or I can realize that, hey, it’s just crafting. I’m not trying to save lives here. If I make a shoddy craft that ends up in the trash, I can live with that now. What I shoot for, always, is to embrace the process of creativity. The joy it brings me. To end on a bit of a bumper sticker-ism, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

Check out Angela Davis on Twitter as @GuiltyCrafter and find her crafting tutorial videos on  her Youtube channel.

If you are loving Craft Wars or just need some crafty questions answered be sure to tune in to FaveCrafts Radio starting at 11am EST. We’ll be talking to Craft Wars vets Lisa FulmerAndrea CurrieMargot Potter, and Angela Daniels! You can hear them talk about their experiences on the show, the pressures of crafting with limited materials and time, and how life has been for them after the show. The best part? You can call in and ask all your Craft Wars questions live! Just call 646-200-4435 if you have a question for these crafty ladies.

Be sure to watch as Angela goes head to head with two other crafters in tonight’s episode of Craft Wars on TLC at 8/7c!

Have you been inspired by any of the crafts on Craft Wars? Which has been your favorite?

 

 

Craft Wars: Interview with Margot Potter!

Last week’s episode of Craft Wars was a Christmas extravaganza! Aptly named “A Christmas Craft-tastrophe” this episode had contestants scrambled to create festive wreaths, with ugly sweaters, and Christmas trees with shipping materials. Somehow they still managed to create some wonderful crafts.

Here at FaveCrafts we got the scoop from crafter extraordinaire Margot Potter and got a chance to talk to her about the show and her experience.

Why do you call yourself “the impatient crafter”?

I am an incredibly impatient person, it’s my biggest weakness. About eight years ago, I had an epiphany and realized that my impatient approach to creativity was actually my gift. That ability to find the path of least resistance is the key to my most innovative ideas. Plus, we’re all time challenged these days, so the brand seemed to have a lot of viability and resonance. Once I thought of it, I knew I was on to something big!

Do you think that helped you in the pop craft challenge? Have you ever been in a similar time constraint before?

Yes! I can edit my ideas quickly, that was a big help. KISS! I am a professional designer and author in the craft industry, so I work to incredibly fast deadlines on a regular basis. It definitely helped, but honestly one hour is just not enough time! Still I’m proud of what we accomplished. I would hang that wreath on my door.

How did your crafting background prepare you for this competition?

I think my theater background was a bigger boost, because I’ve worked on a lot of sets and I have a sense of what would look good on stage or camera. I knew bold and vibrant would read better. The crafty part came in the decorations, paper flowers, notched and glittered ornaments, and rolled rosettes. Knowing how to do things that have impact and are simple to execute was a big boost!

 

You chose Mr. Potter as your assistant, was he a crafter before he met you? Was it hard working under pressure with him?

I met my husband years back when I went into his bead store/gallery in Pittsburgh to buy crimp beads. We owned a bead store and gallery later together, so we’ve been in the creative biz since we met. He is a crafty guy and has a great eye for design, but he hates people knowing that. He’s more of a behind the scenes person, I had to drag him into this. He’s used to that though, I’ve dragged him into all sorts of wacky things over the years. I’m kind of like Lucy Ricardo. Thankfully he is not like Desi, he’s calm and collected. It was great working with him, because he stays cool when I get flustered. We make a great team.

I loved how you used lots of color and sparkle in both your crafts. How would you describe your design style? Was it hard to stay true to that through the challenges?

I like to say that my style is eclectifunky and retrofabulous. I don’t have a single guiding aesthetic, because like fashion and trend it’s ever shifting. I love all things vintage, so that’s always a part of my work. I am easily bored, so my body of work reflects that restless creativity. I think more like a high fashion designer, thematically. One season it’s glitter and pop art colors, the next it might be understated elegance. I will say, it may be funky sometimes, but it is rarely boring! I think that definitely came out in the show!

What tool was your lifesaver during the competition?

I have to say that without hot glue, this show would be impossible. I really don’t use it much in my normal life, because I’m craftastrophe proned. I even have a regular Today’s Craft Casualty update on my Facebook page! Somehow, I did not get burned during the show! Huzzah!

I loved how you made those easy fabric rosettes for your wreath. Any more awesome crafting tips you would like to share?

Craft with your heart, color outside of the lines, try new things and don’t be afraid! Look for vintage craft magazines every chance you get, the BEST tips are in those pages. You can’t believe how much cooler the crafts were back in the 1940s-60s. I bow down to the greatness of crafters past!

How can Craft Wars benefit for the crafting community and could this show transform crafting?

A few years ago the networks shifted gears and decided that crafting was dullsville. Even using the word ‘craft’ was taboo for production companies pitching shows. But the winds of change are always blowing and if this show does well, new shows will have a chance of being produced. It’s exciting stuff. I have been waiting to pitch my show ideas and so for me, personally, it’s a harbinger of possibility. No one show is going to appeal to everyone, but if this gets people crafting like Cake Boss got people making cakes, well hello and hallelujah! I’m a Pied Piper of Creativity, I love seeing people give themselves permission to be creative and more than that, to embrace the idea of “Live Handmade.” Viva los crafts!

Be sure to check out these some of our favorite jewelry projects by Margot Potter on FaveCrafts and AllFreeJewelryMaking:

Tune in tonight at 8/7c for a brand new episode of  TLC’s Craft Wars!

 

Have you started making Christmas crafts yet?

Craft Wars Interview with Winners Andrea and Lisa!

It was so fun to watch the creative feats of the contestants on last week’s episode of Craft Wars! The theme was Altar or Falter and the contestants were challenged to create a keepsake box using locks and keys (in only an hour!) and a wedding display made of old jeans, baby blankets, candlesticks and wedding invitations.

Here at FaveCrafts we were extremely impressed by the crafty creations of the winning duo, Andrea Currie and Lisa Fulmer (congratulations ladies!). We were excited to ask these crafting queens some questions about the show, their experience and their favorite crafting tips!

Have you two ever worked on a project together before the show?

Andrea – I feel like I’ve known Lisa forever, but what initially connected us was our shared duties as co-hosts on the internet craft show called the Cool2Craft Pajama Party. Our love for crafting mixed with other fun commonalities (like breaking out into song and dance for no apparent reason) eventually turned us into what we call “Crafty Sisters.”

Lisa – Andrea and I did do one webcast together here at my house where we did a pop-craft on the spot for everyone. We made these funny tiaras for each other that lit up with little battery-operated twinkle lights, it was a riot! Andrea is my heart, we truly are cut from the same cloth.

Lisa, how long did you ponder going on the show as Andrea’s partner? Or was it an instant “yes”?

Lisa – Andrea barely got the words “I need to ask you something” out of her mouth before I said yes—I would do anything for my crafty sistah! I was honored and so happy for the opportunity.

Andrea, I saw that your husband made you some good luck shoes for the show, what’s it like living with a man crafter?

Andrea – Those sapphire glittered shoes are the third pair of glittered shoes that Cliff has created for me! However, I consider these blue gems the luckiest of all 😉 Living with a man crafter is so fun because I’m not the only one covered in glitter and glue! It’s also nice to have a spouse that doesn’t give you weird looks when you ask for help with weird projects like giant paint chip valentines.

Did you have any strategy before you started? Was there any sort of plan going in?
Andrea – It was nerve-wracking to not be able to plan anything  beforehand. I told Lisa before the show that no matter what they threw our way we had to think out of the box and create projects that were whimsical and fun. The only thing we had control over was to trust our creative instincts and our many years of combined crafting experience. In the end, it was those things that helped us quickly adapt to each challenge and bring home the win!

Lisa – Andrea and I have complimentary skills and styles, plus we always seem to be inside each other’s head, so we made a great team!

What part of the challenge was the hardest?

Andrea – By far the pop craft challenge was the hardest. I never thought an hour of my life would go by so quickly. My heart was racing a gazillion miles a minute and I think I forgot to breathe too! In the middle of the pop craft we were so far behind and I really thought we weren’t going to be able to finish it. Luckily, we managed to pull it all together into a cute little gnome home keepsake box.

Lisa – The pop craft was the single most exhausting hour of my whole life!

Any big plans for the prize money, more crafting supplies perhaps? 🙂

Andrea – I’m giving Lisa half of the loot and I plan to use my half to create my dream line of craft products and designs!

Lisa – I’m so grateful for this gift. I will be using the money to build my marketing communications and consulting business.

What’s the one crafting tool you can’t live without?

Andrea – Even with my hot glue gun follies on Craft Wars I’d still have to say that I still reach for my hot glue gun 90% of the time. Tee hee 🙂

Lisa – Lots of really good scissors in all shapes and sizes. I have a pair handy in every nook and cranny of my house.

That use of the aluminum foil on the punches was smart. Do you have another crafting tip you can share with us?

Andrea – Why thank you! Another good tip is to freeze hot glue sticks 15 minutes before use so that you don’t get those hot glue gun strings that the Craft Wars judges hate so much.

Lisa – I never waste paint. When I’m done with a project, I swipe every last bit off my brushes and mop up every drop from my palette by brushing small pieces of fabric or art paper with the color. I can use these later in fiber art, mixed media collages, and cardmaking. I also keep large sheets of art paper and fabric on hand to use whenever I’m spray painting, misting, and stenciling. Capturing all those stray spurts and smudges on a nice foundation can be the beginning of something really cool!

Make sure you catch the next episode of Craft Wars on Tuesday on TLC!

Learn more about these lovely ladies and check out their awesome craft projects on FaveCrafts:

I can’t wait to see what the contestants make this week! Are you a fan of Craft Wars?

 

 

Meet The Crochet Dude

Meeting The Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky, has been one of the best highlights of my professional career as Mikey from The Crochet Crowd. I might be like you where when you see a celebrity you freak out and say the dumbest things. You realize you are tripping and then you bury yourself further to make yourself like a lunatic. Now that I painted that real image of what I was like, you can imagine poor Drew putting up with me.
Despite my initial introduction of being all nuts and crazy, Drew really took it in stride and was so kind. I have met other celebrities who stink of attitude but Drew was so polite, genuine and a guy that I would love to have in a crochet circle. The video that is attached below is Drew and I speaking for the first time about crochet. Though we had met earlier in the day, we left the crochet talk for this interview so that the conversation was new information being shared between each other.
The highlight of this video is that him and I are just talking about the love of our chosen career paths. We are both celebrities in our own realm and come at crochet from a different vantage point. This video, which I must admit was a pure accident… but genius move, truly is a real conversation between crochet artists. Watching this video is like ease dropping behind the scenes of the Crochet world from a teaching point of view.
To keep this video genuine, I barely clipped anything out because we were catching him signing autographs for his brand new book called Use Up That Yarn! being published by Lesiure Arts. Look for it on Amazon or your near pattern book retailer.
Meet Drew Emborsky & Michael Sellick.
The Crochet Dude (Drew Emborsky) and The Crochet Crowd (Michael Sellick) together sharing the love of crochet together.

Watch & Listen to our casual conversation!

Find some free crochet patterns by The Crochet Dude.