Tag Archives: Craft

I Could Totally Make That!

7 Oct

The above sentiment is often heard from patrons at craft shows and occasionally impolite folks commenting on a crafter or artist’s social media page.  A local garden artist recently had this happen to her on her Facebook page.  Mary of Garden Whimsies by Mary makes garden art, known as whimsies, using upcycled dishes, vases, knick knacks, and the like.  While the majority of the comments on her creations are very complimentary, she also receives occasional requests to share the type of adhesive she uses, and some even are so bold as to tell her that they could easily make whimsies too.  Some were actually pretty rude about it.

This is a topic that is not new but still warrants discussion.  Let’s use Mary’s Garden Whimsies as an example.  Here is one currently for sale in her Etsy Shop:  whimsy

Let’s first play devil’s advocate and say that yes, anyone can glue these 5 objects together.  Now, let’s consider it a little more thoroughly:

  • I would have to research adhesives to determine which is best for china and glass
  • I would need to ensure that all pieces were assembled in such a way to prevent the piece from being lopsided and/or tipping over
  • I would have to source the actual pieces which would likely involve a few trips to thrift stores to make the piece economical enough to make myself
  • I would need to have the talent for combining different pieces in an attractive and visually pleasing way
  • Since the vases are hollow, I would need to take great care to not leave any gaps in the adhesive, otherwise moisture could get inside the piece and create a mold issue

And these are only the factors I am aware of as a person who has never made such an item.  I am sure there are many other factors involved in making a piece like this.

As a seller of handmade goods and an avid crafter myself, this topic is not new to me.  I often see items for sale that I could easily make myself.  However, the key is politeness.  I know that it is extremely rude to say such a statement in front of the maker.  And even if I can make the item myself, I may buy it anyway.  Why?

For the same reason many of us eat at restaurants.  While we can cook a meal, we just don’t want to at that time.  We would prefer to pay for the convenience of having another person make the meal (or other item) for us.  We might also appreciate the unique style that maker brings to the item that we might not have.  We are not just buying a meal or a product; we are buying convenience.

Just like Mary, I am very transparent about how my products are made.  My specialty is korker ribbon hair accessories.  I learned to make them by finding tutorials via my friend Google.  Obviously, anyone can use Google and learn to make the same item, and that’s OK with me.  My customers are those who prefer not to make their own and prefer to purchase them from me.  In fact, since I purchase ribbon in bulk, the cost of my bows isn’t much more than what it would cost the average person to purchase the materials at their local craft store.

So, stating dismissively that you could make an item that someone put a lot of effort and love into is really oversimplifying it.  And it’s also very rude to say to that person.


A look at my sewing and crafting area

7 Jan

I am fortunate that organizing is one of my strengths.  Since I know that there are many others who don’t have this ability, I like to lend my help when I can.  To that end, I’m sharing pictures of my sewing and crafting area.

I don’t have a separate room for my sewing and crafting, but this doesn’t bother me.  I’ve had one before, but I never used it because I felt isolated from the rest of the family, and I missed having music and/or TV in the background (those things are in the living room in our house).  Our current house has an open floor plan that is quite spacious by my standards, so I found a nice little corner between the pantry and a doorway.  The previous owners just stuck a baker’s rack there; there isn’t much you can put in such a location.  Lucky for me,  it’s the perfect sewing area, especially after a trip to IKEA!

First up is a photo of the entire area with the exception of 2 things which I’ll show you at the end of this post.  The desk is from the Jonas series.  It has a pull-out panel that can go on either side.  It was $130.  On the desktop I keep my sewing machine, serger (a Brother 1034D, under the slipcover), lamp, small trash bin, pincushion, glue gun, and a bowl for little miscellaneous stuff.  Underneath the desk are sewing projects I’ve cut out and are ready to sew, plus a plastic bin with 4 drawers where I keep sewing notions.

Next is my elastic rack.  This was sold at Michaels as a ribbon rack; I’m not sure if they still sell it.  I used it for ribbon until my stash outgrew it.  That’s my serger thread and some decorative items on top.

Since I’m working with a small space, I decided to utilize wall space- a lot.  This is where IKEA really came in handy.  I labeled everything in the photo, but I’ll name it here as well so I can link to the specific products for you.  The little jars hold small sewing notions like snaps, hooks/eyes, buttons, rivets, eyelets, buckles, etc.  IKEA sells a spice rack to fit this jar, or you could put them on a shelf like I did.  You can add that rubber shelf liner to the shelves if you’re worried about the jars falling off.  The white bin is sold as a recycling bin, but I store my pressing ham, hand-sewing kit, and plastic pill bottle that I keep dull pins and needles (you don’t want those poking through your trash bag and stabbing you!).  In the 3 jars in the wire basket is my thread.  Those purple hooks hold scissors, metal ruler, and a wrist pincushion.  I forgot to label the pink and purple plastic cups, but those are also at IKEA for $1.  Those have sewing tools in them.  The fabric bins are Kwik Sew 3900, a great fabric organizer pocket pattern that I modified for use on the rails, which are also from IKEA.  Each pocket has a long tube on the back which a cafe curtain rod goes through to hang it from.  Since these rails are permanently affixed to the wall, I needed to make this tube so it could open to put it on the rod.  I did that by lining it and sewing Velcro to the back of it and the pocket.  Those pockets hold things like patterns I’m working on, press cloths, zippers, and parts for my serger.

Here is my sleeve board (for pressing small items) which I covered in the same fabric as the wall pockets (hanging from a coat hook), and a wall organizer I made, also in that fabric. It makes for a nice, neat, uncluttered look.  That’s especially important since this is in our main living area.  The wall organizer is made with a piece of thick interfacing fused to the main fabric, bias tape around the edges, and vinyl pockets with bias tape on their upper edges.  I put grommets in the upper corners for hanging.  This holds all my sewing machine needles so I can see all of them easily, plus other small notions that didn’t fit anywhere else.

The 2 other organizational tools I have that are behind me when I’m sitting at the desk are below.  The first is a lazy susan ribbon organizer that my husband made for me.  It’s made from a prefab table top from Home Depot, 1/4″ wooden dowels glued into pilot holes, and a lazy susan bearing purchased here, attached to a scrap piece of wood.  The other item is a cart available from several retailers including Joann Fabrics and Crafts and Michaels.  I keep my bow making supplies in it.

I think that covers everything.  If you have any questions please ask and I’ll be happy to answer them!

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