Friday, February 27, 2009

March is National Crafting Month (2 days early!)

It's the most wonderful time of the year! March is National Crafting Month!

I love crafting. I had a moment a few weeks ago when I realized that almost everything I was wearing (my boots, socks, and undergarments aside), everything I had used to get ready that moment, and everything in my purse, including my purse, had been crafted by me or my mom. It was an interesting moment...

Raymond jokes that everything is an opportunity for crafting, that everything needs a cozy, and he's right. I love trying new things - I started by making chocolates, then took up crochet after a friend made me an amazing scarf. Then I tried knitting when I couldn't use those funky fluffy yarns for crochet, then I started sewing when I found it hard to make sweaters that would fit me. Now I make all my own bath & body products (except for toothpaste and deodorant), and I've learned how to fabric stencil and bead recently. What's next? Silkscreening!

So many people say "Oh, I'd love to do that..." and they don't. Why?

Do you fear failure? Are you scared it won't turn out how you planned or that your friends will laugh at you (well, then they're really not your friends!) or you'll waste supplies? Consider every attempt that doesn't work as a learning experience. Cast your ego aside and analyze the situation. Perhaps you didn't follow the pattern well, or didn't use exactly the right supplies, or weren't patient enough. We aren't all going to be awesome the first time we try something, but that's how we learn. We gain confidence from our successes, but our mistakes are when we learn the most. (We call these learning opportunities or teachable moments in social worker speak!)

I know I always thought I wasn't good with my hands...but crafting proves I'm not too bad! I thought I had no colour sense, but looking at threads for cross stitch helped me learn how to match hue and shade! And I'm a total chemistry fanatic now because of the bath & body stuff. So what do you think of yourself? Why not challenge that perception?

Or perhaps you're broke? There are tons of ways to get crafting supplies on the cheap (the dollar, thrift, or discount store are great hunting grounds) or free (re-use and recycle)! Go in with some friends on a product you can share, and make sure you sign up for all the "spend this much and get something off your next purchase" cards.

Chocolate making
Basic supplies: Chocolate (0.69 per 100 grams at Price Smart or Superstore), peanut butter or nuts
Equipment: Double boiler or heatproof jug and a microwave

Basic supplies: Paper, needle, dental floss, cardstock for the basic cover, pretty paper for a fancy cover
Equipment: Ruler, pencil, scissors or paper cutter
Starter project: Single pamphlet book

Basic supplies: Knitting needle, yarn, a pattern
Equipment: Scissors
Starter project: Dishcloth

Basic supplies: Crochet hook, yarn, a pattern.
Equipment: Scissors
Starter project: Dishcloth

Basic supplies: Thread, fabric, pattern
Equipment: Scissors, needle, an embroidery hoop

Bath & body products - bath salts
Basic supplies: Epsom salts, dead sea or fine sea salts (optional), fragrance oil, food colouring
Equipment: Bowl, spoon, bag to put the sea salts into
Starter project: Bath salts

Bath & body products - bath bombs
Basic supplies: Citric acid, baking soda, oil, fragrance oil, food colouring
Equipment: Bowl, spoon, mold (optional, you can use your hands to make round ones)
Starter project: Bath bombs

Bath & body products - lotion bars
Basic supplies: Oil, beeswax, some kind of butter (shea, mango, or cocoa butter)
Equipment: Double boiler (preferably) or Pyrex jug and microwave, spoon, mould (ice cube tray, silicone ice cube tray, very clean containers from the house, muffin tins)
Starter project: Lotion bars (coming up!)

Fabric stencilling
Basic supplies: fabric paint, sponge brush, freezer paper, fabric
Equipment: X-acto knife, iron
Starter project: Basic fabric stencilling

Jewellery making
Basic supplies: Beads of some sort
Equipment: Wire cutters, pliers

Basic supplies: Paper, photographs,
Equipment: Scissors, glue stick, tape
Starter project: Try making a card

Digital Scrapbooking (this is free if you download freebies!)
Basic supplies: Paper, free files downloaded, photographs on your computer
Equipment: Computer, printer
Starter project: Digital Scrapbooking

Basic supplies: Fabric, thread
Equipment: Scissors, hand sewing needle, pencil or chalk for hem lines

I hope I've offered you a few ideas that will cost you less than $10 in supplies to get started. Okay, you can go nuts and spend more (I always do!), but why not try something you've never done before?

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