Crafty Life

Third Time’s the Charm

  • 4 min read

Behind the scenes - designing needle felt reindeer

Creative projects have a mind of their own.

Designing can be like trying to walk north without a compass or sunlight to guide you.

As a crafter, there’s nothing more satisfying to me than when a design starts turning out right. There’s magic in the process. An idea goes from a theoretical, intangible thought into something physical and real. And, if all goes well, it’ll be pretty and practical to boot.

Design is a messy process. Yes, experienced designers have a better idea of what materials to use and how different techniques will turn out. It’s still just an educated guess. And if you’re a bit crazy overambitious like I am, you might even decide to learn new techniques while designing. All at the same time. Cue tears.

Behind the scenes - designing needle felt reindeer

My latest design challenge was to make nine reindeer. I needed something smallish, characterful, and easy to repeat for all nine of them.

In all my uneducated enthusiasm I was quick to wrap up nine bodies from wool yarn. Wham, bam, done. I knew from previous needle felting adventures that a yarn base was a cheaper filler than roving wool. Then, after sleeping on it, I realised I had no easy way to add sturdy legs. Or a neck. Bummer.

I might as well have worn a big paper bag saying “YOU SUCK AT MAKING” over my head, because that’s what it felt like. It took a lot of Oreos and coffee to get over myself and get on with it. 

Where do I go from here?

  • 4 min read

Organising craft materials

Fall is my favourite season.

I can’t even call it autumn when I say that—nostalgia makes me go back to my American childhood. Living in Maine for 10 years made autumn easy to love.

Autumn makes me feel fresh and alive with ideas. It’s a throwback to all those school starts. As an adult, my favourite parts of school remain: lots of books and raiding the back-to-school sales for stationery. If I didn’t use a Kindle I don’t think I could physically fit all my books in my office. (Thank goodness for technology, right?)

Even more than on New Year’s Eve, I’m thinking about what I want to do with the next year. Where do I go from here?

Where do you go after you’ve been burnt out?

Where I Craft

  • 4 min read

My craft room | Crafting Fingers

I’ll be completely honest. It took four months in this house for me to get my craft room organised.

First, my desk sat on the back wall. That wasted too much space throughout the rest of the room and was a bit dark. Then when my desk was by the window, there wasn’t any wifi signal. And the impractical period of 4PM to 8PM all summer was too bright for me to see the screen.

I felt a bit like Goldilocks. Too much space. Too dark. Too bright. Too little wifi.

Now the room is perfect. And I love having my blue bureau centred in the back.

Sneak peeks of an old school

  • 3 min read

Skolbacka's hidden attic

Skolbacka used to be a school—hence the name “school hill”. Now my parents own it.

My parents bought the place this summer. I spent my holiday—a leisurely three weeks—exploring the building and spending time with family. The school has so much character and history hidden in its rooms. The hidden attic (above) is probably the most charming.

Here are a few peeks of my stay. 

10 Lessons On Creativity

  • 8 min read

10 things I learnt about creativity at #Blogtacular 2015

I’ve always loved to make.

But when you’re chasing your passions and trying to use creativity to fuel your lifestyle, it gets hard. Things don’t feel carefree anymore.

Even attending Blogtacular felt like making a statement. “Hello world, I’m a blogger!” Who am I to share my ideas? What if everyone thinks I’m some passé bore? (When I did get the guts to say hello, so many people had the same fears. Go figure.)

It’s easy to get anxious when your ideas aren’t just about having fun. How are you supposed to approach creativity when it’s your work?

These ten lessons have changed my perspective. I hope they help you too.

1. You never lose the fear.

Grace Bonney, with all her poise and hard-earned experience, shared how things have changed since she started blogging in 2004. (You can still see some of the first posts on Design*Sponge.) Her message was to embrace change and the fear that comes with it. If you don’t, you’ll burnout.

Yup, even Grace has to deal with self-doubt and making mistakes. And in her five steps to embrace change, she told us to acknowledge our fears first. The boogie man is a lot less scary after you peek under the bed. 

It’s an almost brutal truth, but it’s comforting too.

Grace’s talk will be free to watch online at Blogtacular soon, so I won’t spoil everything. Until then, get some inspiration from the Design*Sponge mission statement.

10 things I learnt about creativity at #Blogtacular 2015

The goody bag tote by Nikki McWilliams

The hassle-free way to plan your next DIY (printable)

  • 3 min read

Printable craft project planner |  #crafts #DIY #printable #freebie

Who has two dozen WIPs and more to come?

Yeah. Guilty as charged.

The only catch about exploring new ideas and trying new techniques is that sometimes (if there’s no hard deadline) it’s easy for a project to just go on forever. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Some ideas are like wine and need to mature for a while before they can be best put to use. Totally cool!

Problem is when you get back to a project and have no freaking idea what you were using to make it.

This free printable planner is here to fix that. Download, print, and enjoy:

Printable craft project planner |  #crafts #DIY #printable #freebie