Crafting Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 30 September 2012 at 4:16 pm

Cherie Burbach: Yellow and Blue and Birdies
Cherie is on a yellow and birdie kick with her paintings.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world

This week at Craftside there is a pattern for a knit hat with a cable ribbed edge, a tutorial on how to draw the grim reaper, a link to Carla Sonheim’s blog tour filled with all sorts of fabulousness, and a recipe for a grilled steak salad with creamy cowboy ranch dressing.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Do you know the 3 best ways to sew hidden seams with panne velvet or any thick fabric?

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi did a (very little) bit of organizing, turning an old photo album into a place to store her fabric and paper samples.

Resin Crafts!
Carmi is happily surprised to make plaster art in her resin molds!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to use home made rubber stamps to customize a Freak Flag

Recently Finished Craft Objects and the Power of KAL/CALs

Blogged under amigurumi,crochet and knitting,Finished Projects by Tammy on Saturday 29 September 2012 at 9:55 am

KALs or CALs , which are acronyms for knit along or crochet along, are a little new to me as far as participation. I’ve known they exist, but most don’t appeal to me. I don’t like having pressure about my crafting put on me. I add enough on my own, so having some kind of deadline imposed by a KAL/CAL is extra pressure I don’t need. Another reason I haven’t done them in the past is because often I just can’t do them. For example, a sweater knit along is something I just can’t ever see myself doing. I wear sweaters only a few weeks of the year, and that would be such a huge project for an item I’d hardly ever wear.

All that said against KALs/CALs, I have recently participated in a few and got sucked into them because of my craft podcasting addiction. So far, the two that I’ve completed have been good experiences. Positively Knitting is finishing up a KAL this month called the Sacred Skein Craftalong. The idea is that you use yarn that you have been hording because it is so wonderful that you can’t bring yourself to use it. For me, it was three skeins of Chroma yarn in the Guppy colorway. I love this yarn, but I was determined not to use it unless I found the perfect project for it.

Luckily, I found the Cascading Stylish Shawl pattern, and I’m thrilled to say the shawl is finished and turned out great!

The Local KAL, aka LoKAL, is another one I participated in, and this one is run by The Fat Squirrel Speaks. She challenged participants to find local yarn and use it to make whatever they want. For me, this at first seemed tricky since there aren’t many sheep in Florida, but then I realized there are lots of alpaca farms in Florida. I found an Etsy seller who makes yarn and fleece from her own Florida alpacas, and I was set with my local yarn. When I got it, though, it was not the buttery soft yarn I expected. However, the seller also tossed in another skein of alpaca for free.

So as I tried to figure out what to do with the gray yarn, the original skein I had ordered for the LoKAL, I began a knit scarf with the other yarn. It is also not necessarily buttery soft, but it is much softer than the gray yarn, which is actually pretty dang scratchy. The LoKAL ends in the middle of October, so I was running out of time to finish the scarf, and then I saw some participants post pictures of amigurumi’s they had made. Voila! I got the idea to use the scratchy gray yarn and make mouse toys for my cats.

This is obviously a “before” picture. My cats love this little guy. I have tons of yarn left, so I plan to make more for my cat crew as well as extras to donate to a local shelter. This project is not the large, complicated one I had expected to do, and the yarn was not exactly a wonderful find on my part. However, the cat toy idea is a perfect way to use the yarn and make some cats happy. So again, I feel like I got something out of participating in this KAL.

Horrorgami Book Review

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Wednesday 26 September 2012 at 3:29 pm

Running Press recently sent me a review copy of yet another fun Halloween-themed craft book. Horrorgami: Creepy Creatures, Ghastly Ghouls, and Other Fiendish Paper Projects is written by Chris Marks and retails for $13.00 US and $15.00 CAN, though has it for $10.40 US. This is a cute little book (128 pages long), and it includes a dozen 6×6 inch origami sheets tucked into the back cover of the book. The 25 projects area all Halloween themed and use origami paper folding techniques you normally would see used to make items like the ever popular crane or boat. Marks, however, chooses to make spookier paper products like bats, the grim reaper, skulls, and witches. Each project is rated by difficulty using a picture of a rat. One rat is easy and up to four rats is “fiendish.” Step by step drawn illustrations show how to fold each section of paper to create the finished piece, which is included as a color photograph at the end of the instructions. I think this book would be a perfect rainy afternoon family activity, bringing the kids and adults together to craft. In fact, origami is a good way to help children with hand-eye coordination, and the finished paper items can be used to play with as well as decorate for the holiday.

KnitMare on Elm Street – Book Review

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 24 September 2012 at 4:08 pm

I have to admit a fondness for Halloween. It’s just a fun holiday where pretty much anything goes as far as being kooky and spooky. When I received this new book for review from Running Press, that is pretty much what I thought about when I looked at the cover and saw a Ferdy Hand Puppet in the center with a red-eyed monkey toy and extra freaky looking vampire on either side of him. Knitmare on Elm Street: 20 Projects that Go Bump in the Night by Hannah Simpson retails for $17.00 (though of course it’s a few dollars cheaper on Amazon) and has twenty knitted projects that are not your typical cuties monster toys. These toys give a node to zombies, clowns, ghosts, and other freaky characters you are probably already familiar with.

The supplies and techniques section cover the basics of what you will need as well as how-to knitting steps. It includes color illustrations with drawn hands showing how to knit, and oh, the hands are in need of a manicure, stat! As a beginning knitter, I did find some good information here, but I would hesitate to suggest anyone could learn to knit only from the information in this section of the book. One really unusual part includes how to use soft circuits so you can light up parts of the toys, such as their eyes. I thought that was extra clever.

Then there are the projects which will just make you laugh. I could see making these as fun gifts for your friends or decorating your home with them each Halloween. Some are a little on the cute side like the Abominable Snowman, but some are past the cute line, like Nosferatu (included on the cover) who has super long fangs and fingernails, ick! One of my favorite toys is a shrunken head that you can put in a cookie jar.

Project instructions include step by step patterns and some drawn illustrations to show how to assemble the finished toys or decor items (such as the Creepy Clown Cushion Cover). While there are a few fairly simple looking projects (liek the Voodoo Doll Cat Toy), I think most would be considered intermediate.

Any knitter who enjoy Halloween would enjoy this book, and considering there are 20 projects in it and it retails for less than $20, it is priced really well. You are talking about less than $1 for each pattern. I think there is a little something for everyone in this book. There are intermediate projects that can take a fair amount of time (like the Haunted House Diorama), but then there are also fast and easy projects (like the Zombie Egg Cozy).

Crafting Web Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 23 September 2012 at 11:35 am

Cherie Burbach
Cherie makes a blue glass sculpture with bud vases and beads.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on transfer dying with stencils and how to make a Duct tape skull shower curtain decoration for Halloween along with a call for entries for a new book 1000 Food Styling Ideas and a recipe for low-cal cocoa tapioca.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Just in time for Halloween, download this free zombie paper project.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
World Cardmaking Day is right around the corner. Are you ready for BIG prizes and GOOD causes?

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi finally figured out what to do with the soy silk fusion “fabric” she made!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
The Crochet Dude’s coaster pattern makes a great Halloween mini doily.

Chance to Win Free CraftArtEdu Class & More

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Saturday 22 September 2012 at 9:20 am has given me a little something to give to one of my lucky weblog readers – a free CraftArtEdu class! To get a chance to win, just answer this question in the comments section (making sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win): If you won a free CraftArtEdu class, which class would you pick?

Deadline for entries is September 30th, 2012 midnight eastern time, and this is open to everyone.

Once you get done entering my little contest, then you want to go over and enter the My Dream Studio Sweepstakes. Here is the press release with all the details:

Win $4,500 in prizes in “My Dream Jewelry Studio” Sweepstakes

(Florissant, CO, August 24, 2012), the craft and fine art e-learning community, launches “My Dream Jewelry Studio” sweepstakes. The sweepstakes offers 30 chances to win $4,500 in jewelry-making prizes, including free online craft and art classes, jewelry making supplies from, and a pair of custom, CraftOptics telescopes. The sweepstakes closes September 30, so enter today for your chance to win.

Here’s what you might win in the “My Dream Jewelry Studio” sweepstakes:

  • One grand-prize winner will receive a custom CraftOptics Rx telescopes, valued at $475; a $150 gift certificate to Rio Grande; and $125 in classes.
  • Nine, second-place winners will receive $150 gift certificates and $50 in classes from
  • Twenty, third-place winners will receive a free class from

Whether a novice or experienced artisan, brings the world’s most respected fine art and craft instructors into your home. Students choose from a growing library of more than 300 classes in jewelry, polymer clay, fiber, woodworking and fine art. Each class provides step-by-step tutorials, handouts, and feedback from the instructors.

“We’ve hand selected our instructors, many of whom are world renown. In the past, students would have to travel to a workshop or seminar to learn from our instructors, and pay for travel and lodging, too. Now, these world-class teachers are sharing their knowledge via The content in our online classes provide the equivalent of at least a three- hour in-person class, with prompts, handouts and faculty interaction, all available 24/7 on your laptop or e-reader,” says David Pyle, CEO,

Once you purchase a class, you can watch it at your leisure – start, stop and replay as needed. Each class you take is stored in your Class Library and you can go back days, weeks, even months later to watch the class again and again. Instructors are readily available to answer questions, and to provide personalized feedback. The average cost of a class is $28, with many available for less than $25. You can also sample a class from the collection of free tutorials.

Entries for “My Dream Jewelry Studio” sweepstakes must be received by September 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm ET. Be sure to read the official rules before entering.

About CraftArtEdu is devoted to nurturing and fueling the creative passions of people just like you by combining technique and imagination to create a world of infinite possibilities. Whether a novice or experienced artisan, CraftArtEdu helps you learn and create at your own pace and in your own place. Connect with on Facebook and Pinterest, and join the CraftArtEdu community. Join us!

Crochet Shawl Obesession

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Projects in Progress by Tammy on Tuesday 18 September 2012 at 5:52 am

Here is an update on my Cascade shawl: it is now an obsession! I am determined to get this finished by the end of the month. Now whether that will actually happen or not is hard to say. I’m just a smidgen from the halfway point. I started this on 8/26/12, and it was a casual project for awhile. But then I started thinking of all the CAL/KALs on Ravelry that are allowing double dipping (Dramatic Knits, Positive Knitting, Knitty Knatter, Knit Me Happy, and so on), and this urged me on to get this puppy done by the end of September. Plus this would mean one more Christmas gift will be done.

New Web Crafting Ventures

Blogged under Around the Web,Craft Classes,Crafting a Career by Tammy on Monday 17 September 2012 at 9:24 am

Crafting continues to be a pretty big business, especially on the Internet where all kinds of start ups are popping up lately. Here are a few new ones I have seen that you might want to explore.

First, there is CraftArtEdu. It is a combination on-line community and educational portal where members can connect with each other and also sign up for web-based craft classes. Right now, the classes are divided up into polymer clay, fiber, jewelry, fine art, and other media. It is free to join, and the cost of classes range from free to in the hundreds of dollars. There are lots and lots of classes, and you can preview a class before purchasing it.

Then I received an email about Creating a Craft Business. This new site is the vision of Clare Yarwood-White, who has run a successful bridal jewelry business for many years. Along with free information available on this new weblog, she also offers workshops in the UK and also provides mentoring services.

Crafting Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 16 September 2012 at 1:20 pm

About Family Crafts
Browse through this list of unique, homemade Halloween costume ideas and then share yours!

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
This week, The Artful Crafter tells how you can create free yarn crafting patterns online.

Mixed Media Artist
Twist twist twist some wire. Make a bracelet. Wear with pride!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to make a recycled champagne cork acorn.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen shows you how to turn a washing machine lid into a chalk/magnetic board!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi had no idea making molded soap was so easy!!

Cherie Burbach’s blog
Cherie makes a sculpture using green and gold glasses.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a pattern and tutorial on how to sew an acorn, two cat cross stitch patterns, an interview with Lisa Solomon author of Knit Thread Stitch, and some fiber nutrition tips.

Free Downloadable Zombie Project

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Saturday 15 September 2012 at 8:49 am

I recently wrote a review about the new book Zombigami: Paper Folding for the Living Dead by Duy Nguyen, and now I have a little something for you to download and enjoy from the book, a free downloadable project. Click on this link pages-from-9781402786464_int_008-049-2 for instructions on how to make Suzie Gravemaker.

Reprinted with permission from Zombigami © 2012 by Duy Nguyen, Sterling Children’s Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

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