Posted on Leave a comment

Count-down to Craft

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. 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!
  2. 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?
  3. 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

  1. Make It – Use your materials, tools and imagination to create anything you like. And if that doesn’t work…
  2. 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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Rainy Days are made for Crafting

So, we enter another weekend with miserable weather, but don’t let this stop you from doing some exciting crafty activities. With all sorts of indoor activities on offer, for every age group, there will be something you can do to keep the family entertained.
A number of young children enjoy the idea of playing with different sensations. They enjoy the feel of slimy textures a little more than adults do. It is fairly easy to set up an impromptu sensory bin or ‘feely box’ with a large tub and some household items.
We have created a Pinterest page to gather together some ideas. Some of them, such as the insect ones, will take a little more planning and preparation than say a colour sorting one, but it is cheap and easy to hide small toys or items in a tub of rice, spaghetti, water beads to let children dig for them. Make it even more exciting by including ‘tools’ such as spades, sieves, toy diggers, cups or any other item that is safe.
Older children will also enjoy making small worlds, such as fairy gardens or dinosaur lands. Get them involved in gathering together appropriate materials and build it together. Although be prepared for children to want to play with it for a while, it may be that they would like to leave the world built for a week or so. Consider this when building and think about investing in a large shallow tub or plant pot that can be used over and over again.
For older children, they could have a rainy day theme and create works of art using water and other materials. They could even create a drawing on paper using chalk or pens and place it in the rain to see the effect it has on their creation. There are so many rainbow themed crafts too, that you could spend a whole rainy week indoors creating wonderful items and pictures.
Visit our selection of ideas relating to the rainy days we get so often.
Or, if you have been stuck in the house for a while, why not investigate what is in your local area for craft groups or drop ins.
We have had a few people in today, on a wet and cold Saturday afternoon, painting ceramic money banks to use at home. You can book in advance if you would like to reserve a space or you can just drop in on a Saturday afternoon (and Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school break) to see what all we have on offer.
For those of you a little older, and falling more in the adult category, there are many ideas you can find online  for revamping furniture, creating new storage areas in your home, or why not just take the opportunity to relax with a hot drink and enjoy working on your most recent project; whether that be crochet, knitting, card making, jewellery design or anything else you’ve turned your hand to.
Rainy days are made for crafting.
Posted on 1 Comment

Milk Cartons to Fairy Houses

Who loves fairies and gnomes? There’s a group of youngsters in Annan who love them and made them new homes.

Last Saturday, 19th Jan, we got really creative and made fairy houses from milk cartons. Yup, those plastic bottles that we throw away or recycle every few days or so. It was fairly straight forward too.
Materials: 4 pint milk carton (cleaned and de-labelled), marker pens, craft knife/sharp scissors (and an adult to help), foam, felt, artificial flowers, artificial leaves, stickers, double sided tape/hot glue gun.
                                                                                         
How to:
1. Choose your milk carton of choice. We used the 4 pint plastic ones with screw on lids. A lid isn’t totally necessary, but can add more detail to the roof if you don’t have a hole in it!
2. Use a permanent marker to draw on the roof, doors and windows. Better to use a dark colour to show up, but be careful as if the pen is too thickly applied, you’ll dye your fingers whenever you touch it.
3. An adult will need to use a craft knife or very sharp scissors to cut round the windows and doors. Some of our youngsters wanted the full door cut out, whilst others preferred them to be ‘hinged’.
4. Use any foam, felt, flowers, leaves etc lying around to decorate the outside of your house using double sided tape or a hot glue gun. Fitting curtains can be very fiddly, but can be done as some of the pictures show – although definitely easier to fit on the outside of the windows.
5. You can now add inside details such as felt beds, lids as tables, and much more. Some of our fairy houses had TVs on the wall and supposedly also had WiFi. Some high tech fairies in Annan!

Have a go of your own and let us know how you get on by emailing your pictures to mad-notions-craft-shop@outlook.com or sending us them through Facebook.

Or if you’re near by, why not sign up for one of next classes.