So you’re looking for a new craft skill to learn but possibly don’t know where to start? You have a few things to consider including why you want to craft, how will you learn your new skill, how will you organise yourself, what kind of crafter will you be and finally what craft to try.
5 Reasons to craft
- Relaxation – Craft has often been used as a method of relaxing and unwinding at the end of a busy day. There are many crafts which allow you to relax through easy to remember techniques or by allowing you to express and release tension.
- Finding your inner artist – It is my personal belief that every person has an inner artist waiting to find their own skill. You may have already found one or two crafts you enjoy, but why limit yourself to just that? Trying something new can be fun and exciting and you may find something that releases your creative potential in other areas of your life.
- Socialising: It is surprising how many people are now crafting in some form or another. Why not join up with family and friends to swap ideas and show off your skills. If you don’t have crafty friends or family nearby, there are many groups across the country you could join.
- Making something specific – Whether you are looking to make something practical such as clothing, or something decorative such as a rug, you will feel a sense of achievement by completing a project you set your mind to. Crafting also provides you with the skills to create heartfelt gifts for those you care about.
- Dieting / Quitting smoking – Ok, you may laugh at this one, but consider how difficult it is to eat biscuits or smoke a cigarette if your hands are busy with creating something. When I began to crochet, I lost weight just by focusing on other things instead of my cravings for junk food!
4 ways to learn
- Reading books – All through school we are encouraged to learn from reading books and in crafting this is no different. You don’t need to splash out lots of money either, pop into your local library for a range of free resource books covering various topics in crafting. If they don’t have what your after, ask in your local craft shop or book shop if they can recommend anything.
- Watching videos – In the technical age we live in, it is easy to find various videos online for almost any craft you wish to learn. Have a look at different ways of doing the basics as well as investigating how complex things can get – it might spark something in you.
- Talk to crafters – Once again, turning to friends and family is a great way to learn what they know. Swap skills with each other and compare different ways of doing the same thing.
- Join a class or workshop – Search in your local area for groups and workshops that are involved in crafting. Some groups are based round one type of skill i.e. knit and natter, but you will often find they are quite willing to accept people who don’t knit! Formal classes can be great ways to learn new skills too. Join a one off taster class to try something new, or a full block of workshops to master basic skills before going alone.
3 Tips on setting up
- Create your space – Try different places you would like to set up your craft. Find somewhere that is comfortable but practical. I used to use the floor to create cards until the dog decided she would join me after a rainy walk!
- Making time – If you can, think about when you will do your crafting. Can you take it on the road with you if traveling as a passenger, is it the type of craft that you can put down mid project or do you need to set aside time to spend an hour or two on it?
- Inspiration – Don’t wait until you sit down to find inspiration, save ideas in a notebook, on your phone or even a quick sketch on scrap paper. Once you get into the swing of recording when inspiration strikes, you’re crafting time can be used to create rather than plan.
2 ways to appreciate crafting
- Make It – Use your materials, tools and imagination to create anything you like. And if that doesn’t work…
- Buy it – There are many talented people out there that create for a living. If you can’t make something yourself, support those that can and others will support you in return.
1 Craft Per Person?
No Way! You wouldn’t eat just one type of food, so why just stick with one type of craft. There are hundreds of different ways to use arts and crafts materials; have fun trying out various combinations and see what you can create.
Feel free to share with us the latest craft you tried and what helped you on your way.
What is a nicer way to spend a day off than wandering along the shore with family and the dog? Perhaps only something that makes teh walk a little more interactive for the younger family members. This is where ‘Secret Stones’ come in.
All across the UK, people are painting and hiding stones in their local area, which are in turn found and re-hidden by others. Some people have amazing artistic skills and have created very detailed designs, others are maybe younger and not quite got the hang of detail on such a small scale – but the thrill of finding either style is the same.
Here are a few we found, and re-hid on our walk through Queensberry Bay Caravan Park at Powfoot, near Annan.
This inspired us to come home to do our own versions, which are being distributed along Annan River Path today.
We used acrylic paint to do the background colour, waited until they were dry and used marker pens to draw and colour our pictures. Once totally dry, they were coated with a clear acrylic spray paint to protect them from the elements.
If you would like to join us in the ‘Secret Stones’ fun, you can book to use our classroom where you can paint your stones and leave them to be coated with a clear protective spray varnish. You can collect them to hide, or I would be happy to hide them for you – then you have the fun of looking for them!
Join the Dumfries and Galloway Secret Stones group on Facebook, or send us photos of your finds so we can share with them.
Last week I was kindly invited to go squirrel spotting at Eskrigg Nature Reserve in Lockerbie. My cousins, who invited me, had been before and raved about how fantastic it was to see the wildlife up close. I hadn’t even heard of it before, but was definitely intrigued.
Traveling from Annan in the car took around 20-30minutes. On arrival, we parked in a small car park next to the Dryfesdale Cemetery, the home of the Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance. The parking easy to find, free and had plenty of space for around 12-15 cars. It was pleasant to jump out of the car on such a warm day – most likely the hottest we have had so far this year. Perfect for wandering through sheltered wooded area.
To find the actual woodland, we walked to the road side and turned left, back towards Lockerbie. Only a minute along the path, we found the entrance across the road. The temporary roadworks were handy for keeping an eye on the traffic, but with a long stretch either side, it was safe to cross when clear.
The path starts off with a large signpost telling you bits and pieces about the wood and what types of wildlife may be spotted. It then stretches off between the trees, lined with berry bushes along the way. The eldest cousin, who is only 9yrs old, decided he knew where he was going and led us down a side path. Although it was clearly a path, it was a little muddy in places, and not nearly as easy to follow as the main path. It did take us past a couple of make-shift shelters though which was interesting.
We quickly reached a pond area, where we sat and watched the ducks and small fish for a while. There was also a wooden walkway that went around the pond and ended at a small viewing hut which had two small stools in a wooden shelter, with windows facing the pond. After a short time in the hut, we turned back and followed the walkway back to the main path.
A few hundred yards away, we then found another viewing hut with seats and information leaflets. You could easily sit here and watch the squirrel area without disturbing them. The squirrel area was full of squirrel friendly trees, a number of which had boxes screwed to them full of nuts to feed the squirrels.
Even though we sat for around an hour, waiting for them to appear – there were sadly no squirrels came down to visit us. Although it was a very hot day – the squirrels were probably happily in the breeze higher in the trees, laughing at us!
If you are looking for something to do on a dry day, take a little visit to the woods. It is a lovely, easy walk and dogs are welcome too (although it is recommended to keep them on the lead so as not to scare the squirrels).
As they do every year, Annan Riding of the Marches committee invited local businesses to take part in a window dressing competition this year, and sent us the categories at the end of May. In the past I have proudly earned a first and a third for the Riding of the Marches category; so this year I wanted more of a challenge!
‘Old Annan’ was the theme of choice this year, and I’m very glad I did. Having heard about haaf netting from various people, it was decided that fishing would be our theme.
Research started by reading up online about various fishing regulations and traditions based in this area, but it soon became apparent more in depth inquiry was needed. So off to the museum I went.
Annan Museum, located in Bank Street, is somewhere I hadn’t been for years, so I couldn’t honestly remember what it was like inside.
Downstairs was a very interesting exhibit about art work found in the basement of the old Creighton grounds. The paintings and drawings had been done by the patients and collated by Dr Browne during the years 1838-1857. The drawings were fantastic! I was shocked to find so much detail and such quality in their execution and design of the displays. It was incredibly interesting to read the story of the individual patients and be able to see the progression in their styles over the term of their treatment. According to the information displayed, it is claimed that during this time the most commonly used treatment was more electroshock treatments and other such drastic actions, so to read about this new method of stimulating the patients with art, music and general creativity really appealed to me.
This specific exhibit has now closed, but I am hoping to visit again soon to see The Sword in the Story exhibit about a mysterious sword reportedly linked to Kinmont Willie, along with other swords of years gone by.
Upstairs in the museum is where the research for our window display properly started. The room leads you from local discoveries about the bronze age, through the Victorian era and to more recent history such as Chapelcross Power Station. Although distracted by the fantastic artifacts including coats of arms, bronze age tools, Victorian toys and clothes, it was easy to spot the fishing area.
Annan museum have a whole area dedicated to various fishing aspects in the Annan area. There is a short video on a loop about the Haaf netting and how they do it; a selection of model boats showing the progression of fishing over the years, lots of artifacts from older methods of fishing as well as a book of commemoration of those who lost their lives whilst fishing the Solway and local waters.
After spending a while wandering around, I headed out and talked to the lovely ladies on the desk. They were happy to answer any questions I had and encouraged me to return a little quicker this time.
It was with great enthusiasm I came back to Mad Notions and started planning my window display. As you can see, it includes the three most common fishing types of this area including haaf netting, fly fishing and our wonderful harbour.
Judging day came and all I could do was hope for a good reaction from the judges… and I was delighted to receive a first place in our category!
Our display will be in place until mid July, but the museum is open most of the year. I recommend going for a visit – you may well be pleasantly surprised at what our little town has went through to reach where we are today.
Who loves fairies and gnomes? There’s a group of youngsters in Annan who love them and made them new homes.
Have a go of your own and let us know how you get on by emailing your pictures to email@example.com or sending us them through Facebook.
Or if you’re near by, why not sign up for one of next classes.
I am Debbie, a professional children’s photographer and I am excited to be returning to Mad Notions, Annan to capture Mini Children’s Photo Shoots on 1st & 3rd June ’17.
As a qualified Nursery Nurse as well as an experienced Photographer I understand the individual needs of children as well as the art of children’s portrait photography.
A Mini Children’s Photo Shoot consists of a 30 minutes portrait session for your child(ren) in my mobile studio at Mad Notions with various age suitable props. Within a few days of your Mini Children’s Photo Shoot a selection of approx 16-25 watermarked images are uploaded to your own secure online gallery on my children’s portrait website www.debskidportraits.wordpress.com.
The gallery is password protected so the photographs are only viewable to anyone you choose to give the password to. A (40.5cm x 30.5cm) mounted print of your choice is included in the £40 cost with other photo products and prints available to purchase at extra cost. I will deliver your free mounted print and any extra photo products to Mad Notions for you to collect from there within a couple of weeks of receiving your order.
Laura’s craft room in her premises at Mad Notions is perfect for children’s portrait photography as it is just the right size for my mobile studio. It also has plenty of natural light entering from the window, sometimes the light needs boosted by my flash which is very well diffused firstly through a diffuser and secondly by an umbrella and is carefully positioned to never fire directly at your child. All children’s photographs are left as natural as possible however if you would like any blemishes such as spots or bruises airbrushed out with Photoshop just ask and I will be happy to oblige. Sibling groups are welcome but may take a little longer to capture so may result in not quite so many images to view/choose from in your online gallery.
A Mini Children’s Photo Shoot by Deb’s Kid Portraits at Mad Notions Costs £40 & Includes:
30 min Children’s Photo Shoot at Mad Notions
1 (40.5cm x 30.5cm) mounted print of your choice (extra photo products available at additional cost)
Full editing/processing of all images
A password protected online gallery of approx 16-25 watermarked images
Free delivery of your photo order to Mad Notions
More information about my children’s photography and customer reviews can be found on my website www.debskidportraits.wordpress.com and my Facebook Page www.facebook.com/debskidportraits
If you would like to book a Mini Photo Shoot by Deb’s Kid Portraits on June 1st or 3rd contact Laura at Mad Notions, 1/3 Bruce Street, Annan, Scotland and pay a £15 deposit – the outstanding balance of £25 is payable on the day before your Mini Children’s Photo Shoot (£40 payable in total).