Five Tutorials I Would Like to Try

link-love-icon250Following Diane and Tammy’s Link Love mission, today I’m sharing five tutorials I would like to try!

 

 

 

 

 

Chevron Scarf#1 Jody McKinley’s Chevron Scarf pattern on her JavaJem blog. I also featured this project in my recent post on variegated yarn projects. I just love how the six different colorways of Koigu combine so cheerfully. My biggest hesitation on this one is that I have never knit a single stitch. I’m thinking I’d have to tackle some much simpler scarves before attempting this beauty.

 

 

 

 

#2 This DIY Chevron Wall Art project by Emma of MyBojuLife. There’s lots of paint chip art out there, but this one grabbed my particular attention. I have a lot of leftover paint chips from when we remodeled one of our bathrooms, and this looks to be a quick and fun project.

 

 

#3 Rachel at LinesAcross has this tutorial on how to make beads from scraps of paper and leftover embroidery floss. This tutorial I also featured in a previous post on using flosses in jewelry. It’s a brilliant way to be creative and thrifty at the same time, and I think I have an idea of how to use these beads in projects other than jewelry…

 

 

 

#4 I love the concept behind this baby mobile by Alisa Burke guest posting at SewMamaSew. Once again, I featured this project in a fun previous post about water-themed crafts. With a minimum of planning and expense, she created this striking project. I don’t know any babies who are currently in need of a mobile, but I know some little boys who might like to help me make them a cool door curtain…

 

 

 

 

Picture of Rain Gutter Garden Planter Troughs#5 Last of the five tutorials I would like to try is some variation of this Rain Gutter Garden Planter tutorial on Instructables. Our house is on an incredibly tiny lot, and planters are our only option. Using rain gutters is an economical way to go vertical without creating too much weight. We’re thinking that some (shallow-rooted) herbs and lettuces might be a nice place to start!

My previous posts in the Link Love Mission include “Five Books I Made Something From,” “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating” (note: from early in the history of this blog), “Five Favorite Projects for DIY Crafty Goodness,” and my favorite and most important: “Five Blogs that Make Me Laugh.”

Variegated Floss Projects Part 3

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 3! In this six-part series I’m sharing a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Part 1 of the series covered variegated floss projects in the needlework areas of cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. Part 2 had variegated floss in plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-pom projects. This Part 3 will explore variegated floss projects in jewelry and scrapbooking!

variegated floss projects part 3 - DMC 4245

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses are beautiful and they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.

Variegated Floss Projects in Jewelry

As you’ll see below, I found a ton of ways to use embroidery floss in jewelry. Some of the ideas below use variegated floss, others use solid color floss, and even others use a combination of solid color flosses to achieve a variegated effect. Regardless, I believe ALL of these ideas would look great with variegated flosses.

variegated floss projects part 3 - embroidery floss tasselsFirst up is this easy tutorial on Brit+Co on how to refresh jewelry with these DIY embroidery floss tassels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel at LinesAcross has this simple and smart tutorial on how to make these beads using scrap paper and leftover floss. I think these beads show the nice sheen of embroidery floss. I can envision these beads incorporated into all kinds of fun projects!

 

 

 

Bracelets 

Create these fun pearl and floss bangles with this DIY from Kollabora,

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY, recycling, upcycling, Jessica Quirk, Floss, bangle, What I Woreor try this larger scale woven bangle made from a reused bracelet with the tutorial from WhatIWore.

 

 

 

Combine a curb chain bracelet and embroidery floss for the “ultimate ‘grown up’ friendship bracelet” with this DIY on HonestlyWTF.

 

 

 

Although this tutorial is in Español, the directions for making these cool and colorful leather and floss bracelets on ElCuadernodeIdeas are pretty straightforward (and Google Translate helps). Check out the nifty tags they created for these bracelets as well!

 

ThreeBlindWives has a tutorial for creating this “copycat” bracelet. Based on a bracelet seen in a department store, CharlieinKC made this for a fraction of the price using embroidery floss, jump rings, and a clasp. How simple! And how pretty would this be with some gorgeous variegated flosses?

 

Rafia Jewelry Starfish Embroidery Floss Charm BraceletI spied this embroidery floss charm bracelet on Wayfair. I like the simple combination of the floss and the charm, but at the price they are charging ($49!), that must be one heck of a nice starfish charm. Like the “copycat” bracelet above, I think this could be recreated in a much more… um, frugal way.

[Might I suggest starting with a skein of DMC variegated floss in one of their 18 different combinations that include blue?]

Rainbow hemp bracelet with anodized titanium oxide beads.In a more casual vein is this variegated rainbow bracelet from (now defunct) CraftingSite.com,

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - hemp macrame variegated braceletand this pretty (and reasonably priced) macramé bracelet available on HempCraft’s shop on Artfire.

 

 

 

Square knot macrame bracelet.Instructions to approximate both of these projects can be found on this helpful DIY by RingsandThings. Bonus: They mention “Mirage Beads.” Check it out!

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - friendship braceletThen there’s the whole world of friendship bracelets. There is no shortage of patterns and tutorials for these ubiquitous pieces. A good place to start might be the DMC-USA website, with lots of free patterns. Many of these would look great with some variegated floss in the mix!

 

Earrings

variegated floss projects part 3 - embroidery floss wrapped earringsSimilar to a floss wrapped bracelet, Rachel at TransientExpressions posted this tutorial on how to make these fun floss wrapped earrings,

 

 

 

and on her ShowMeCrafting blog, Tammy has this helpful tutorial on how to create earrings that combine embroidery floss and beading.

 

 

 

 

Crochet Lace Doily Hoop Earrings Peacock Color Scheme Dreamcatcher Statement Jewerly Variegated Yarn Ready to ShipThere’s a lot of inspiration to be found in these earrings from PearlBridalBotique. They combine crochet, variegated string, and jewelry so nicely!

 

 

 

 

Necklaces

variegated floss projects part 3 - mini yarn skein pendant necklaceFirst up are these really adorable mini-skein pendant necklaces available at Max’sWorld. What hard core knitter wouldn’t love one of these! They come in a variety of colors and there are also earrings and brooches that would appeal to knitters and crocheters – too cute…

 

OhTheLovelyThings has a tutorial for making this very cool tassel necklace. They started with white floss and dyed their tassels to create the ombré colors (their instructions are excellent). If the dyeing seems a bit ambitious, I will say that DMC already has some wonderful color families. That, and adding a tassle made with variegated thread would make for a really unique look.

 

IMG_0967Using just four skeins of embroidery floss and a clasp kit, Kris at HowDidYouMakeThis created this awesome knitted cord necklace. The possibilities for color combinations with this tutorial are endless!

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - variegated floss necklaceAnother project full of potential is this necklace tutorial by Gina Michele. Again, with a minimum of supply costs (twine, floss, a clasp kit), she created an excellent one-of-a-kind and very attractive necklace. Cool.

 

 

Similar to the “grown up friendship bracelet” above is this tutorial for the “DIY Sparkly Embroidery Thread Necklace” by Erin at ThanksIMadeItMyself. What a great way to recycle old jewelry into something modern and fun!

 

 

Picture of Hardware Jewelry: Wrapped Washer NecklacesI’m going to share a few projects for making pendants from hardware. The first is a tutorial from Instructables that uses floss and metal washers to make this necklace. While I like that they used a lot of variegated threads, I’m wondering if this necklace ended up being really heavy around the neck.

 

I also like this tutorial by Diane at CraftyPod for her yarn wrapped pendants. The yarn covers the washers more evenly while also offering more opportunities for embellishments. I can see these pendants being used in jewelry, Christmas ornaments, mobiles…

 

 

However, if weight of the pendant is of paramount concern, I’d recommend using wooden washers as seen in this DIY by SeeThatThere. In fact, I think I’d use Diane’s instructions with these wooden pendants for the best result possible!

 

 

 

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Scrapbooking

Some of these floss-and-paper ideas use variegated threads, some use solid color threads, and some use a combination of both. Once again, I think all of these ideas would look terrific using variegated flosses.

Tutorial step 5For example, there’s this really clever tutorial illustrating how to add this texture to a scrapbook page by Tessa at FancyPantsDesigns.

 

 

 

Next, CreatingKeepsakes has this post of “Four Tips to Scrapbook with Twine.” Most of the twine used in their creative examples is about the same gauge as embroidery floss…

 

 

 

 

Next, NordicNeedle has a downloadable pattern and ideas for using various types of stitches, threads, and beads in a scrapbook layout. This particular layout has an Easter theme, but all of these ideas can be applied with ease in any other theme!

 

 

 

 

Embroidery on PaperOn About.com, Cheryl Fall shares a tutorial on how to embroider on paper, using her free Gingerbread Dreams Pattern Set. As she says, “use this easy technique to stitch embroidery designs on heavy paper or cardstock to add embroidered accents to cards, gift tags and for using in scrapbooking projects.”

This project is very pretty in the white floss seen here, so imagine this project stitched in DMC 4010 Winter Sky or DMC 4017 Polar Ice to add just a touch of color.

variegated floss projects part 3 - grapevine stitchingcardsThe UK store StitchingCards has hundreds of patterns such as this fun grapevine ready for download and use in cards and scrapbook projects.

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - Pine Tree Designs Stitched Paper TagFor some of the most striking combinations of paper and thread, look at the gallery of Stefani Tadio’s PineTreeDesigns. She uses a mix of variegated and solid color threads, paper, and beads to make some really lovely pieces full of crafty inspiration. If you’re interested in her technique, one of her projects was featured in Ann Martin’s book All Things Paper.

 

 

That gorgeous tag finishes this Variegated Floss Projects Part 3! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of jewelry and scrapbooking that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery, and Part 2 which had plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-poms. Stay tuned for the next three parts of this series covering knitting, wreath making, string art, crochet, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here is Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Water Themed Crafts Part 6

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 6, the finale of this series! This series of posts are all about crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 123, 4, and 5 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, chainmaille to knitting and much more. Today, in this sixth post, I’m covering water themes in jewelry, candlemaking, wool dyeing, origami, flower arranging, and more!
Water

[Water by mbasie via Flickr]

Water Themed Crafts in Jewelry

First up is this ingenious way to keep track of your water intake. Contributor shazbraz at pinchingyourpennies.com created these bracelets. Every time she drinks a serving of water, she moves one bracelet from her left arm to her right. It’s simple, pretty, and an effective reminder!

The Nines Beading Pattern - Beaded Multistrand Bracelet Tutorial #1500Simple Bead Patterns has a tutorial for this wavy bracelet available in their Etsy shop,

 

 

 

 

Beach waves and sand knotted in cord and beads macrameI featured this project in Part 5 of this series, in the section on macramé, but as it is just so pretty and it really is a piece of jewelry, I feel like sharing it again here. Sherry at KnotJustMacrame shares this project which beautifully expresses an ocean beach. From her post: “When I added beads, I kept them random, again mimicking the colors of deeper water with highlights up through the foamy green and into the sand.” Sherry offers some tips and tricks on her blog, and has tutorials for sale on her Etsy shop if you like her micro-macrame.

I like this easy tutorial from Jordan at Picklee on how to make this casual and attractive hemp and sea glass bracelet. You could put this together in matter of minutes!

 

 

 

 

knock off braceletAnother quick and easy nautical-themed bracelet tutorial comes from HenryHappened. For less than $6 and 5 minutes time, she created this bracelet that also converts into a necklace!

 

 

Beading Tutorial - Beaded Barely Wavy BraceletOn Etsy, the Splendere shop offers lots of tutorials, one being this simple but elegant “Barely Wavy” bracelet,

 

 

 

 

 

and the LittleRock Etsy shop offers a tutorial on how to silversmith these fun and funky Wave Bangles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 6 - water bracelet inspirationSome creative inspiration can be found in this chunky aquamarine, turquoise, and silver bracelet entitled “Dream Big as the Ocean Blue” by Eni Oken,

 

 

 

and also inspiring is this unique and brilliant Beach Bracelet by TerahsClassicCreations. In the link, take a look at the bracelet when it’s unclasped and laying flat. Wow!

 

 

 

 

The WireWorkers Guild website has an interview with Louise Goodchild, who created this delicate and serene wire and beadwork pendant. She has other water-inspired pieces visible in the article as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Through the AlaskaJewelry website, artist Matt Bezak offers this unique and striking wave pendant with diamond accent.

 

 

 

 

The simple ocean-inspired bracelets and necklaces made from charms and beads are a great way to support the Crystal Cove State Park in California.

 

 

 

 

Ocean Mist BangleThe spiral peyote stitch has a natural wave-like form, and it can be used to make both bracelets and necklaces. This tutorial by Inspirational Beading is a great place to learn how to make this pattern.

 

 

 

On the PapernStitch blog, Jenny Hoople shares her tutorial on how to create this gorgeous Falling Water necklace. It beautifully combines pearls, semi-precious stones, and shell coins.

 

 

 

 

When Pearl at BeadingGem reviewed the book Irina’s Inspirations for Jewelry: From the Exotic to the Everyday, one of the projects she featured was this striking Shades of the Ocean necklace. It’s easy to see the progression of beach sand to deep water in this piece.

 

 

 

Instead of using real and often endangered coral, here’s a tutorial from Divya at JewelsofSayuri for a necklace and earrings using (non-endangered) epoxy clay,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Albina at AroundBeads offers a tutorial to make these pretty and delicate beaded coral tassels that can be made into earrings or pendants.

 

 

 

 

Natalie from NorthShore Days has a guest post on HappyHourProjects on how to make these quick and lovely wire wrapped sea glass earrings. She says that once you get a little experience, you can make lots of these earrings in very little time!

 

 

Copper Wave Wire Wrapped Ring TutorialThrough their Etsy shop, CrossedWiresJewelry offers a tutorial on creating this intriguing copper wave wire ring.

 

 

 

Skylight Jewelers of Boston have several wave-shaped bands in their repertoire, including this gorgeous two color ring.

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 6 - wave curl ringHetWestern offers this sterling silver ring that features a curl in the right break of the wave,

 

 

 

 

 

Titanium Wedding Ring by Exotica Jewelryand ExoticaJewelry has this striking Eastbourne ring with finely detailed waves and spray.

Water Themed Crafts in Candlemaking

ShamrockCandles has this DIY on how to make an oceanic candle with a sea shell plate. In addition, they have a host of other candle ideas and products with ocean themes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This candle was made with two layers, an inner core pillar candle about 1" smaller in diameter than an outer layer filled with shells and made with a higher melting temperature wax.EHow has this tutorial on creating these pretty shell-embedded candles that involves two layers of wax, the outer layer having a higher melting temperature.

Water Themed Crafts in Wool Dyeing

crock pot dyeingFirst up, I’ve found some interesting tutorials on using Kool-Aid to dye wool. The first method is from Leethal and uses a crock pot,

 

 

 

and the second method by Kerry at TalesofaNeedleandThread uses ice cubes and a sunny day. Both methods look like they could be a lot of fun, and they both produce gorgeous results!

Now, is it possible for those methods to produce anything as pretty as the following examples?

This variegated blue and green by RedRidingHoodYarns is just beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handspun Art Yarn - Blue Ocean 3.2 oz 174 yards Bulky WoolThis kinky and fun blue yarn by LenaBrownDesigns on Etsy already resembles ocean waves,

 

 

 

Handspun super bulky bubblewrap yarn - Beach Glassand this is the very aptly named “Beach Glass” yarn from GypseeArtSupplies also on Etsy. It’s so pretty!

 

 

 

Water Themed Crafts in Origami

healthy water themed crafts part 6 - wave origamiGilad Origami has a review of Peter Engel’s book Origami Odyssey. One of the patterns in the book appears to be this wave, folded by Gilad himself.

 

 

 

神奈川沖浪裏 - The Great Wave off KanagawaThe always brilliant blog AllThingsPaper featured this work by Andrea Russo, an Italian artist, titled “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”

Water Themed Crafts in Flower Arranging

The Dutchbaby website has a photo of this flower arrangement created to compliment a waterfall painting. The arrangement nicely captures the colors and shapes in the painting.

 

 

 

WeddingWire has this post of ocean-themed table centerpieces, most of which are simple and inexpensive while looking elegant.

Water Themed Crafts in Giftwrapping

Color Me Pretty:  Ocean BluesThe last photo in this post from Decor8 on ocean hues is this experiment in gift wrapping. It’s unique and so lovely!

Water Themed Crafts in Digital

Glass Bottle.pngMy last item for this post is from the world of Minecraft, and it’s how to make glass bottles which can then be used for holding water and then on for brewing potions. I wonder if beer is considered a potion?

 

 

 

That hopeful note finishes this healthy water themed crafts part 6, covering jewelry, candlemaking, wool dyeing, origami, flower arranging, giftwrapping, and a little diversion to Minecraft. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series!

ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst!

Green Embroidered Heart TrioWhen did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? SW: My mother is an artist. She is a printmaker as well as an expert knitter and seamstress. We were always encouraged to be creative, and I spent many hours drawing, sewing, and creating strange hats using scrap yarn and crochet hooks that my mother supplied. One of my favorite activities was doll making – creating a body out of a clothes pin or pipe cleaners and creating an outfit out of what ever materials we could find. I definitely credit my mother for fostering a creative atmosphere in our home and I hope I did the same for my daughter who is on her way to becoming a fine photographer.

Group of Beaded Bead Flying Saucer EarringsI actually have a fine arts degree in printmaking and continued to draw and paint for several years after graduating. Gradually as my professional life and family took up more of my time, I stopped painting and drawing. I have a full time job as a graphic artist/prepress technician, and thus spent my time designing, retouching and preparing the designs of other graphic artists for printing or web publication. Over the ensuing years, I really began to miss the idea of creating something unique with my own hands. I started going to life drawing classes and then began embroidering again. Then purely by accident about 8 years ago I saw some beaded jewelry online made with off loom bead weaving techniques – I loved the look and started learning both bead weaving and bead embroidery techniques. I am self taught – and I give credit to the many great craft bloggers out there who are willing to share their knowledge online as well as the crafters who took the time to post great YouTube instructional videos. I also invested in a small library of beading books and spent many night practicing and creating.

About the term craft — I think the term craft and art can be interchangeable – sometimes I think when something is termed a craft people look at it as a hobby – not something serious, so I like to think of myself as a bead and fiber artist and crafter. There are many people who create wonderfully artistic items using techniques considered “craft”. For example, last year I bought handcrafted brooms an from an artisan in Oregon. Not only are they lovingly handcrafted, functional brooms but they are aesthetically appealing and wonderful works of art as well.

French Lavender Sachet Embroidered Flowers Satin RibbonWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? SW: I dabbled briefly in stained glass and did not love it. However, if it has anything to do with beads, fabric, and thread, I am in heaven. I am still primarily a beader and hand embroiderer, but am incorporating my machine sewing skills into my work a bit more now. I also have played with polymer clay a little to make my own cabochons and that is something I want to continue exploring in the future.

What is your favorite craft book? SW: I don’t have a favorite, but I think Robin Atkins has written some nice beading books. Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher is a great reference book for beaders.

There are also some really great bloggers in the beading world. Inspirational Beading and Beading Arts are two nice blogs that come to mind. Both are informative and share a lot of information.

Purple Paisley Embroidered Wide Felt Cuff with Ombre Color ShadingHow have your crafts changed over time? SW: They have changed most definitely. I think my technique is far better than when I first started – and I have a lot more ideas now. I am willing to take more risks, and am also more willing to admit when something isn’t working and start again rather than being stubborn and investing more time in a project that just isn’t coming together.

 

Are you a person who is comfortable playing with color, or do you work better with color palettes you find – say, in photos or in nature? SW: I love color, and am always playing with it.

Boho Beaded HoopsRed and Black Beaded Sterling Hoops
Pale Blue Teardrop Beaded Sterling Hoops with Purple, Green and Orange Accents

Those are three examples of color palettes I have used in my beaded hoop earrings.

Nature's Jewel NecklaceI was inspired by the iridescent colors on a beetle for this one. Not only are the colors unusual, but the piece ended up having a bit of an ancient Egyptian style to it, which I also liked.

 

 

 

What craft project are you most proud of? SW: It’s a toss up.

Bollywood Bib Necklace with MalachiteThis Bollywood inspired bib necklace is a statement piece that took me many hours. What makes it special to me is the weblike gold embroidery I created in the background. It just adds something unique to the piece.

 

 

 

 

Moss Green Forest Fairy Cuff with Agate FocalThis cuff is another piece that I am very fond of. It has painted leather leaves and embroidery combined with bead weaving and bead embroidery. Despite the fact that I used so many techniques in one piece I think the monochromatic palette keeps the design cohesive.

 

 

 

 

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? SW: My beaded hoops are my best selling items. I have also done well with my cyclops pieces. I have a stash of realistic doll eyes which I used in little treasure boxes and a few stuffed creatures.

Mexican Folk Art Inspired Embroidered Cyclops Dragonfly Soft Sculpture Bead Embroidered Cyclops Gold Treasure Box

They are definitely on the odd side, which I like, and surprisingly sold quite well. I plan to make more cyclops boxes in the near future.

Moss and Burgundy Embroidered Tapestry Necklace with Vintage Rhinestones

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? SW: I think the challenge is ongoing – I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas. A lot of times the translation of that idea into a workable project isn’t always smooth. Sometimes I have to experiment and accept when a technique isn’t working well and be willing to start over again. Also, I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to supplies and I need to remind myself that instead of constantly buying new supplies I need to find creative solutions to design issues using existing supplies.

Green and Gold Abstraction BraceletHow has crafting affected your character? SW: It has definitely made me more patient and persistent. I also find it calming. I initially started creating beaded jewelry and embroidered objects as a calming therapy after getting home from my “day job.” Even after starting to sell my work and running an online store, I still find the act of creating calming. The repetitive nature of beadweaving is particularly therapeutic.

 

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? SW: I had made a cuff inspired by Boudica, the Irish Warrior Queen. It had a shield like shape (kind of like Wonder Woman’s arm pieces!) and a lovely brown, gold and green color scheme with an celtic knot symbol on it. A woman purchased it and messaged me saying that she had been suffering from some serious personal issues and that in recovering she had used Boudica as an inspirational figure, which was why she purchased the cuff.

Pink and Blue Microorganism BroochWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? SW: I am starting to play with hand painted fabrics as a base for my embroidery and bead embroidery. I am still in the experiment phase for the most part right now, although I did make a small series of brooches using fabric I had painted. The photo here shows an example:

I am also planning to play with polymer clay and make some cabochons to use. I have only used polymer clay a little bit but I am amazed at some of the fantastic things artists have created with this medium. I would love to take a class in metal polymer clay – I just have to find one that fits in with my schedule and is geographically convenient!

Many thanks to Sylvia sharing her art and craft with us and for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! You can follow Sylvia’s ongoing adventures on her blog, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and her Etsy shop.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, Halloween costume maker Justin Newton, and multi-crafter Pam Harris of Gingerbread Snowflakes.

Water Themed Crafts Part 5

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 5! These are crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 12, 3, and 4 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, chainmaille to knitting and much more. Today, in this fifth of six posts, I’m covering water themes in quilting, soapmaking, felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making.
Water Lily Leaf

Water Themed Crafts in Quilting

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - quilt patternThere are nearly endless examples of watery inspiration in quilts. First up is a pattern offered by McCallsQuilting for this interesting “Sunset on the Water” quilt.

 

 

 

 

A rich source of ideas is this Pinterest page from Theresa Callahan. It’s title sums it up well – “Fun: Fish, Boats, Water to Quilt, Sew, Craft, & Admire.” While these posts are concentrating on water rather than the things that inhabit the water, this collection has ample examples of ways to express water using fabrics.healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest quilting inspiration

Artist Barbara Schneider has a series of quilts based on light reflecting off of water. I find many of these to be nearly photorealistic and stunning in that quality. You can see them on her eponymous website – worth every second of your time.

Linda Gass has dedicated many quilts to exploring water themes – water rights, water origins, water usage, water and land interactions. Not only do her quilts raise interesting questions, they are beautifully executed.
Linda_Gass_3

This beauty by Martha at QisforQuilter is a favorite of mine. She took an illustration by Charley Harper from the 1961 book The Giant Golden Book of Biology and turned it into this wonderful quilt. Look closely at the details of each organism in the drop – it’s fascinating!

 

 

 

 

Again, from the photorealistic group comes the quilts of Melody Randol. All of the pieces she features on her website are incredible in their realism.

Also beautiful (but much easier to see how she achieved it) is this bargello wave pattern quilt that utilizes mostly bali fabrics. It’s by Cecile Allen and was featured on the Quilter’s Club of America blog.

 

 

WaterfallThe water in this is more abstract but beautifully expressed in “Waterfall” by the truly talented Karen Cattoire. I love how the silks and organzas shimmer just as water does.

Water Themed Crafts in Soap Making

Here’s a “natural” looking sea salt recipe from Finchberry,

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - seaweed soapand this recipe from RavenMoonSoap contains both sea salt and seaweed. Author Nikki says it “carries a wonderful sea aroma.”

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - sea glass soapThe recipe for these sea glass soaps from The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe look like a pretty way to bring ocean colors inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - soap wave textureThis video on YouTube by Missouri River Soap shows how to make a wave-like texture on the top of your homemade soap bars (skip to minute 11 to see her technique).

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave soap moldFinally, to make your soap projects look wavey, here’s two attractive molds. The first comes from WholesaleSuppliesPlus,

 

 

 

 

 

Image 1and this second mold comes from MilkyWayMolds.

Water Themed Crafts in Felt

We’ll start with a couple of felt board projects for kids. The first is this fun and kid-designed project by Alicia at The Creative Vault.

 

 

 

IMG_0652To start off the grown-up felting inspiration, I love all the wavey details in this tiny pincushion by Gretchen Brownbear on her Flickr photostream.

 

 

 

 

There a lot of needle felted projects that use ocean and sea colors, but I found this one on the SpinArtiste site to be a bit more unique than most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applying soapy water to woolWhen it comes to USING water to make felt, there is this wet felt tutorial at Rosiepink,

 

 

 

 

as well as this thorough collection of felting tutorials curated by Toni van der Geest on Pinterest.

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest felting tutorials

Water Themed Crafts in Perler Beads

Perler beads are perfect for fun and geeky projects. When it comes to watery ideas, here’s an underwater Mario scene by funkymonkey via SpriteStitch (love the coral!),

 

 

 

 

and here is a nifty perler bead water tribe symbol by Rachel via DeviantArt.

Water Themed Crafts in Macramé

Here’s instructions for a paracord macramé water bottle holder at KnifeForums that may encourage us to drink more water, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors!

 

 

 

Beach waves and sand knotted in cord and beads macrameSherry at KnotJustMacrame shares this project which beautifully expresses an ocean beach. From her post: “When I added beads, I kept them random, again mimicking the colors of deeper water with highlights up through the foamy green and into the sand.” Sherry offers some tips and tricks on her blog, and has tutorials for sale on her Etsy shop if you like her micro-macrame.

A study of water free form micro macrame necklaceSlightly earlier in 2013, she also shared this project, which was inspired by the “by the endless kaleidoscope of patterns” in water. It was her first piece of free-form macramé!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Furniture Making

DIYNetwork has a tutorial by Carter Oosterhouse on how to build this fun wave shaped cd rack. Although not many people display CD’s anymore, this could easily be used for paperbacks, DVD, bric-a-brac, etc. I also think this looks like a wall-sized mustache – what do you think?

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave shelfThen Instructables has these instructions on how to build your own circular cardboard shadowbox. The author states that “shape was greatly influenced by Elsa Paige bookshelf designs.” While the author’s example might be a little rough around the edges (it is for a kid’s room, after all), here you see a similar, but more refined, version by another user. All in all, it’s a fun way to incorporate a wave shape into your home décor!

water themed crafts part 5 - wooden wave tableIn furniture inspiration is this gorgeous wooden wave table by Merganzer via Xaxor,

 

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts part 5 - L'Eau chairthese fun Calligaris L’Eau chairs found through Houzz,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave hammockand finally, this enticing hammock by AuthorityHammocks. Does this look comfortable or what? Yes, please!

 

 

 

 

That relaxing chair completes healthy water themed crafts part 5, covering quilting, soapmaking, felt and felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series! Part 1 featured crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tilePart 2 featured polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glassPart 3 covered healthy water crafts in knitting, paint, beadwork, chainmaille, leatherwork, and gardening. Part 4 included needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glass work, basket weaving, and sewing.

And stay tuned for the sixth and last installment of these healthy water crafts, featuring jewelry, spinning and dyeing, flower arranging, origami, candlemaking, and more!

[Update: Here is Part 6 of the series!]

ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait, embroiderer of Hardcore StitchCorps.

When did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? MC: We were always an artistic family in general, but I wouldn’t say I started seriously crafting until I was 17. I’ve pretty much always found my own way with craft. My mom taught me to thread a needle and make a stitch when I was a kid, a friend showed me how to cast on, knit, and purl, and after that I work out the rest for myself. With cross-stitch and free embroidery it was very much on my own. A felted knitting pattern I did involved embroidery, and the book showed you how to do stem stitch. After that I just tried to mimic embroidery I’d seen before. When I found a piece of Aida floating in my craft supplies I decided to give that a go.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? MC: In high school I did a lot of collage with found objects (I eventually ran out of small, interesting trinkets) and had a stint making earrings. I used to be an extremely prolific knitter, and had a recent period carving linoleum stamps. Embroidery probably is my favorite though, in part for the ease of creativity. You can do SO much with counted and non-counted embroidery. People are also really easily impressed with embroidery!

Unlikely Small AdsWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? MC: Other than “How do you get the back so neat?” I don’t really know that I’ve received any! I don’t talk to many people about my crafts, and never have much opportunity to do it in public. I’m also sort of rubbish at making friends online (especially for someone who grew up using the internet), so I’m still in that “How do I befriend these other crafty folks, oh no I’m sure I’m annoying them, run away” stage.

 photo embr_zps514cdfdd.jpgWhat craft project are you most proud of? MC: It’s a pretty old piece, but I’m so proud of the Mercer Mayer illustration I did on a onesie. I didn’t have any transfer materials back then, so I just looked at the illustration, penciled it on the fabric, and free-handed most of the details. I’m also proud of my Roman mosaic, since it’s the first pattern I made from an image (granting that image was a mosaic…).

 

 

 

 

It Gets BetterWhat’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? MC: I haven’t done much that’s very large. As far as most stitches my Roman mosaic had 12,000. Because I’m disabled and not able to work, I tend to use crafts as my sense of being productive. This makes me focus a little more on the number of pieces I can finish, since that generally lifts my mood when I’m down. I’ve got the most immense pile of finished pieces just sitting around.

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? MC: Bestselling is definitely my Dalek pattern. It was one of the first in my shop. My most viewed on Flickr is the Robert Frost piece “Never be bullied into silence” with a rainbow border, which makes me quite happy.

 

 

frida photo frida.jpgHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? MC: I’m the first to admit that I’m a lazy crafter. Since my focus is generally keeping occupied and finishing things, if something’s hard I often don’t attempt it. I have a piece of non-counted embroidery that’s a portrait of Frida Kahlo. I started it after learning more about her, and feeling like after one of her surgeries she might have developed the same nerve pain disease that I have, given the descriptions. My usual reluctance to tackle more involved stitches or designs was forced to take a backseat because I felt so strongly about working on a Kahlo piece, and had such a strong vision of how it should look. Of course it’s still unfinished, but I’m getting there.

DMC color project finished!How has crafting affected your character? MC: People think that embroidery must require patience, and if I weren’t disabled maybe it would have made me patient, but I do literally have all the time in the world. For me I think it’s helped me calm down or slow down a little. I put on an audiobook, start stitching, and that’s meditation for me and it’s very much a way to help control the pain. I think maybe it’s made me more sharing as well. I want other people to feel the joy of creating their own patterns, even when it means less business for me.

May Cthulhu Devour This House LastCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? MC: I have a niece and nephew who live in the same town I do. I mostly give them homemade gifts, and my sister emphasizes it to the kids when something was handmade. When they come to my house they see even more handmade things. The last few times they were here they asked if I’d made pretty much everything they touched. I love that this is their first thought, versus “where did you get/buy this.” Long before kids know how much work goes into something, they do value the handmade, and I’m hoping to start knitting or stitching on canvas with my nephew this winter.

Rice pudding...What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? MC: I suppose it’s maybe WHY I craft. Crafting really has saved my life over and over since I got sick, in a lot of ways. When I had literally no disposable income, opening an Etsy shop meant I could still buy new socks and underwear, afford cleaning supplies and Christmas presents. Having something to keep my hands and brain busy helps cope with the day-to-day tedium and pain. I can’t draw anymore really, and embroidery helps me let out creative energy. Making things lets me feel productive and that’s really important to me.

 photo blackworkquiltfini01.jpgWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? MC: I have the start of a series of traditional quilt block designs worked in blackwork going, and I’m hoping to expand on that again soon. I’d love to eventually make a proper quilt out of them. I’ll never be able to become a quilter, as you really do need a lot of sitting up for that (and precision is not my strong suit), so I keep thinking of ways to cheat that. I have plans for a patchwork piece, made of scraps of evenweave fabrics of different counts, colors, and sizes as well.

Thanks so much to Meredith for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! I’ve admired Meredith’s work for a while now through her Flickr Photostream. Her pieces are definitely the kind of pieces I would stitch! She beat me to the punch on the DMC sampler (8th photo down), and I was also inspired by her hilarious “Unlikely Small Ads” (third photo down). That project, based on a segment from the UK TV show “Mock the Week” was one of the reasons I tackled my recently completed “Blazing Saddles” project. I always look forward to seeing what beauty and/or snark she will stitch next!

You can follow Meredith’s adventures on her blog and on her Etsy shop

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germond, Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets, and quilter and pursemaker Linda Martin.

My Top 5 Posts of 2013 Thus Far

I’m following the lead of Diane (of CraftyPod fame) today and posting my top 5 posts of 2013 thus far.

#1 Most Popular: Part two of my series on hexagons (HEXIE MADNESS, really), that covered crochet, felt, lace and tatting, polymer clay, origami, and last but not least, popsicle sticks. The hexie origami boxes are proving to be the most popular outgoing links, but my sentimental favorite has to be this colorful and fun popsicle stick hexagonal basket.

ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat ain't nobody got time for that cross stitch#2 Most Popular: The ACrafty Interview with Katie Kutthroat. Katie was one of the first people I ever contacted on Twitter. Katie’s cross stitch has always cracked me up, and it has been seen on the set of the HBO show Girls. It was very interesting to get a glimpse into her crafty process and to see how she benefits from stitching.

#3 Most Popular: My book review of Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo of CrochetConcupiscience. Her book explains the benefits of crochet for a variety mental conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction, for physical conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis, and as a tool in occupational therapy.

Her book also has a curious physical effect! Read the review for more info about Kathryn’s fantastic world of crochet.

 

Nicey Jane hexies#4 Most Popular: Part one of my hexagon series, this one covering quilting (featuring a link or two to CraftyPod), leatherwork, scrapbooking, weaving, and jewelry. Of all the links, I think the most popular is probably these bordered hexies, although the Diane von Furstenburg box clutch gets a lot of attention as well.

acrafty interview craftypod quilting happiness book cover#5 Most Popular: I’m very pleased to say that it’s my ACrafty Interview with Diane of CraftyPod! Diane was so gracious to give some of her valuable time to my fledgling blog. I have to say that CraftyPod is a wonderful resource of crafts and craft blog information, and I highly recommend anyone in a creative field to follow her adventures (and best of luck with the new book launch this week, Diane!).

 

 

Book Review: Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of finding the CrochetConcupiscence blog. Kathryn’s work on that blog, rounding up the best of crochet from around the web, is to be lauded. Not only does CrochetConcupiscence cover the best in patterns and projects, but also the best in what crochet can do FOR crafters.

Her book, Crochet Saved My Life, is a thorough summary of the benefits of crochet. Through a combination of interviews, article research, and her own personal experience, Kathryn explains the benefits of crochet for mental conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, for physical conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, restless leg syndrome, and Menière’s disease, and as a tool in occupational therapy.

The book isn’t “light reading,” but Kathryn keeps the writing interesting and direct. The stories around her own experience as well as the two dozen other people she interviewed are presented matter-of-factly – as a way to demonstrate how crochet has benefited their particular situations. And the benefits are many: calmness, focus, relaxation, creativity, productivity, generosity, and increased self-esteem just to name a few.

a crochet hook heartAlthough the book focuses on crochet, as a needlepointer and cross stitcher, I know that I definitely experience the same benefits as Kathryn’s crocheters. Fortunately, I do not suffer from any of mental or physical conditions mentioned in the book, but I still benefit from my craft. Indeed, I tend to think of my needlework as a bit of preventive medicine! I can easily see how many of the same benefits apply toward other crafts – knitting, scrapbooking, woodworking, gardening, pottery, beading, weaving, jewelry making, quilting, just to name a few.

Polymer Clay Crochet Hook HandlesI would recommend this book to anyone dealing with any of the mental or physical conditions listed above either with yourself or with a loved one. I would also go as far as to say that psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, counselors, gerontologists, life coaches, and other professionals in mental and physical health would find this book a very valuable resource in their toolkits.

One final, rather curious, comment about this book. In her chapter on depression, one of the topics Kathryn covers is the sense of touch. She mentions that “a fuzzy pet can be a great comfort,” and that “the feel of working with yarn can be one of those healing touch options” as well. Well, I found the book itself to have a similar beneficial effect! To be specific, the feel of the edge of the book and quickly flipping the pages with my thumb had a very calming effect. In fact, I found myself thumbing the pages almost unconsciously while I was reading. Fascinating!

Visit CrochetConcupiscence for the latest in crochet trends and benefits. And visit CrochetSavedMyLife.com for more about the book and Kathryn’s work.

ACrafty Interview with David Tedin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with David Tedin: carpenter, baker, basket weaver, woodworker, cook, and gardener. He is of Scandinavian heritage but has the soul of a Tuscan chef, and his biscotti is so good that he brings it to Italy (seriously!).

acrafty interview with david tedin basket collectionWhen did you start crafting? DT: To answer that, I would have to decide what is crafting and what is just making stuff. I can remember, before I even started school, nailing two pieces of wood together and nailing a sardine can on the back to make a truck. That would be making stuff. Because you needed something or thought it would be neat.

My family made gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions.  So I guess it started at home at an early age.

seashell jewelry collectionWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DT: Stenciling designs on towels and pillowcases, and making shell jewelry. This was something I enjoyed doing. There were kits, with packets of different shapes and colors of seashells along with instructions. You could make earrings, pendants, pins, and brooches. I haven’t seen these kits in over 50 years.

I’ve also tried whittling, carving, hide tanning and leatherwork, model making (many of these were kits, but some went with whittling and carving), drawing, pottery, basket weaving, gardening, cooking, baking, and woodworking.

acrafty interview with david tedin tableWoodworking is probably my current favorite since I now have the time, place, tools and equipment to do what I want. My woodworking now is mostly small furniture, tables, jewelry boxes, cutting boards, toys, and small projects that other people come up with for me to do.

 

 

Have you ever started a project without a pattern or plan? DT: Many times. It is part of the learning process. At times the results are amazing. Other times it comes out; what is that? Or I don’t want to do that again.

What craft project are you most proud of? DT: Here again, what is crafting?  I am a retired carpenter and a craftsman by trade.

With the help of my wife Rita, we designed and built a 7,000 sq. ft. two story, solar heated home. The only things that were contracted were excavation, concrete delivery, renting a crane to set trusses, hooking up the electrical panel, and installing cable TV. Along with some help from friends pouring concrete and setting trusses, we did the rest. It took 8 years. but it was a great way to retire. Even though I had been in construction for over 20 years I learned a lot. One benefit of many years of crafting, it teaches you how to pay attention to detail.

acrafty interview with david tedin basket from fishing suppliesHas a craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DT: Yes. After watching a lady weaving baskets I thought that would be fun to try. After finally finding a book with instructions on basket weaving, finding the material (reed) in Southeast Alaska was not going to be easy. The basket I chose was coil with a rod core and interlocking stitches. I was a long way from the Southwest where this type of basket is made, so I went to the fishing supply store and bought rope for the core and fishing line (the type used for halibut hooks). I use this basket today when I do weaving demonstrations. It is so strong you can stand on it.

How has crafting affected your character? DT: It has made me more…

  • Patient. When you are working with small pieces, messing up one part can ruin the whole project. This has carried over in my work. When you have to concentrate on getting the small pieces right, then paying attention to detail becomes much easier when working with big pieces in construction. I do not like to do the same job over because I didn’t pay attention.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin kneelerGrateful. For those people who have put up with the mess that I am sure to make with a project, and for the ability to do whatever I may choose.
  • Organized. With any project, I like to have the materials ready ahead of time. It is easy to lose interest if you have to go searching for what you need next.
  • Supportive. If someone shows an interest in something you are doing it is nice to be able to teach another how it is done or just talk about what you are doing. It is also enjoyable to work along side someone who is doing the same thing you are, sharing ideas and methods.
  • Adventurous. Sometimes trying something new may make the stomach a little queasy. It is not only can I do this but can I do it right. It is rather exciting to try something new, but you have to want to do it. I often times had that feeling when I would start a new project in my work.
  • Persistent. This is something I am still working on. Some projects have taken a long time to complete. I suppose it depends on my interest level, sometimes I can get distracted with something that looks more interesting.
  • Proactive. This for me goes with being organized. Anticipating what will be needed and how it should be done. It also worked very well for me in my work.
  • Independent.  At times it is fun to work with others, sharing ideas and different ways to do things; at other times it is nice to be able to work alone. I find it easier to concentrate and things tend to go more smoothly. Most of all the rest of the world goes away.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin basket with pink and purpleDiverse.  Many different things interest me. Seeing something and wanting to try it without the fear of not being able to is great. If I mess it up or quickly lose interest I don’t do it again. The best part is finding things you like and continue doing it.
  • Imaginative. After working with other people’s plans, designs, recipes, etc. and learning the basics I find it easier to adapt or do it my way with good results.
  • Observant. Hopefully I have learned to see what others like and dislike; and how others accomplish some of the same things I am doing.
  • Consistent. I do some things over and over the same way because other ways I’ve tried just aren’t as good. Baking biscotti is one example. With woodworking there is always something new to learn; even though you are making the same initial design. Basket making, and pottery take years of doing to make each one the same.
  • Brave. Just do it.
  • Calm. I’ve found that if I lose my cool or try to hurry what I am doing I usually mess it up.

acrafty interview with david tedin basketCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DT: I’ve taught and encouraged others who have shown an interest in what I am doing to go ahead and try it. I also have taught classes and done demonstrations to the public. I hope that when our kids were growing up my crafts made an impression on them.

 

 

 

acrafty interview with david tedin storage bench

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DT: Harvesting and selling the garlic we have raised, canning produce for the coming year. Making spice cabinets for the church bazaar; I’ve never made one before and a friend of ours wanted one modified to fit her spice jars. A half round table, because the plan I have looks interesting. A drop leaf table, a challenge to me because I have never done rule hinges. Basket weaving and baking comes with the winter months.

A special thanks to David for taking the time to do this interview. When he sent his responses back to me he said “I found out more about myself than I thought I would. Things I hadn’t thought about in years and things that I take for granted in daily life.” I always learn something from these interviews and it’s even more special when the interviewee gains from the process as well.

Dave happens to be my uncle (his wife Rita is my aunt), and their son, Chris Tedin, was featured in a previous ACrafty Interview. Another of their sons, Mark Tedin, is an artist probably best known for his continued work on Magic: The Gathering and other fantasy projects.

If you would like to contact David with questions about his crafts (or his outstanding biscotti), please contact me and I’ll be happy to relay the message…

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodquilter Betty Busbycross stitcher Katie Kutthroatembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?, jeweler Ron Buhler, and embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!.

ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler of Gold ‘N Silver

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler. Ron is the jeweler of Gold ‘N Silver, his brick-and-mortar store in Fountain Valley, CA.

When did you start crafting? RB: When I think back, I can’t remember ever not. From a young age I had the desire and a knack for bringing what I see in my mind to reality through my hands. I think it’s a God given nature in us to want to create. I was doing it before I knew what I was doing.

GoldsmithAt the young age of sixteen through family ties I was introduced to gold smithing and this caught my attention quickly. By its mere nature, it was special, if for nothing other than the value man has placed on the materials in which this craft uses. Now after some thirty-five years I enjoyed the craft and it’s challenges as Gold ‘N Silver jewelers.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? RB: I’ve worked with everything from paint to pencils and leather to wood but, in this interview, I’ll be speaking to the living I’ve made with rock and heavy metal, actually precious metal and gems really.

What’s your most popular project? RB: I have to say my best selling projects have always been wedding and anniversary rings.

Wedding RingsWhat craft project are you most proud of? RB: It would be hard to say which one project I’d be most proud of because over the last 35 years there have been so many, I never kept count. To focus though on what has been so special to me would be this… to actually get to play a part in something as special as someone’s wedding rings. I’ve enjoyed the privilege of making more than thousands of such rings all unique and specific to a bride and groom.

So many of these stories a have touched my heart in special ways. They have played a part in molding and shaping me. These events have given me great insight to the love and interaction of people in love, in this important moment in their lives. I’ve made rings for couples and then for the children that those very relationships have brought forth. In hindsight I wish I’d written them all down, what a story they would tell.

sapphire ringHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? RB: Great question. Sometimes good enough isn’t even close!  This speaks to the core of who I am in this regard. I can remember on more than a few occasions, after putting weeks of my time, effort, and money into a project, just stopping and starting over. You can’t let your pride get the best of you here. Sometimes even with all my years of experience you just don’t see it coming, many times you’re creating something new and you almost can’t guess what you’re going to have to do to get the results you’re looking for.

I’d lay in bed late at night going over and over all the ways I can think to create the outcome, rehearsing a process for making a certain ring or part of a ring. I have a vivid imagination. You and the couple have agreed on what the outcome should be and you start off on a journey. Ring making, like life, is a journey. The only difference is with the ring we can start over, in life starting over can’t really be done. Only starting from today can be done.

How has crafting affected your character? Has it made you more patient, grateful, organized, supportive, adventurous, persistent, proactive, independent, diverse, imaginative, observant, expressive, consistent, brave, calm, etc.? RB: Now you’re really making me think. When I read the list you have made above I noticed these are all what I would consider to be positive character traits. And while I would like to think I value and possess them all, I thought I might ask myself this question. Has crafting affected my character or revealed it? The answer would have to be revealed.

Fork in roadThere are times when I would have to check myself and choose the high road or the road less traveled. I believe from experience that if you want to take any “hobby” or “craft” to the level where it will impact lives or create a financial livelihood you must process all and more of these traits. Unless someone is backing you with the finances it will take to pay your bills and keep the power on, you have to be able and willing to curb your own desires and produce a product that fulfills the desire of the one to whom it is being produced for. Otherwise it will only be art or craft for your own wall or enjoyment. And that might be enough to fulfill your creative needs, and sometimes it has been enough for me.

On the other hand, when I create something that produces tears of joy to stream down the cheek of someone who has entrusted that treasure to me, ahhh, what more can you ask for as a craftsman?

Many thanks to Ron for taking the time to do this ACrafty Interview! At this moment, his shop is undergoing some renovations, so he couldn’t get me photos of his work. However, below is a photo of a custom paisley brooch he created for my Mom (thanks, Mom for taking the photo!). He did a great job of working with my input and budget to create this lovely and unique piece, and my Mom was thrilled with it!acrafty interview gold n' silver paisley pin

Gold ‘N Silver is located at 18850 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708. Call (714) 963-9594 to schedule an appointment with Ron.

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodquilter Betty Busbycross stitcher Katie Kutthroatpotter Chris Tedin, and embroiderer Sasha from What. No Mints?