C is for Crafts

AtoZ2019C

You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Today, the Blogging from A – Z Challenge is the letter C, and I thought I would do a post dedicated to crafts, crafts that I have tried and crafts that I would like to try at some point.  I will be sharing what these crafts are and why they appeal to me.

Crafts I have tried

  • Artist Trading Cards.  I discovered Artist Trading Cards (also known as ATC’s) several years ago through a friend on Live Journal (remember that blogging platform?!).  These are little works of art that are made on card that is 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size (the same size as playing cards).  The artist creates artwork on them that is, usually, in their normal style and then these would be traded with other artists, a bit like business cards would be traded among business persons.  I really liked making ATC’s as the size was perfect to create on and less daunting than a full size canvas and I liked how quickly you could make artwork.  I also liked how versatile you could be, trying new techniques or skills you have learned.  I have not made any for a while as I don’t have anyone to trade with….
  • Calligraphy.  Calligraphy is a really intricate and ornate form of handwriting that is undertaken with an ink pen and special pen nibs.  Sometime nibs are wide, others are really flexible and can produce a huge, stunning range of different effects.  You can find loads of videos on the internet of people practicing calligraphy and I’ve spent many an hour mesmerised by the whole process.  As with all hand lettering, this is something that you really need to take time over and practice to achieve really good effects.  I really wish I had the patience to sit and practice daily to improve my writing.
  • Candle Making.  I have written a whole post on candle making which you can find here.  I really like being able to make candles as presents and with the range of scent options available you can make something truly personalised to that persons style.  I have since started to make wax melts which is a perfect way to use up any left over wax and scents.
  • Card Making.  I started out making cards for friends and family back in the early 2000’s as I couldn’t always find cards that I liked or that were suitable.  I really enjoyed the whole process, from thinking about ideas for cards, hunting for the right papers and making embellishments to seeing the face of the receiver when I gave them the card I had spent time making.  I enjoyed it so much that I started to make and sell them.  I stopped making cards when I started uni as I didn’t have the time and my creative energies were spent on my class projects but I’m now slowly starting to get back into making cards for family and friends again.
  • Ceramics.  I played around with ceramics in the 90’s when I was in school and I really loved making things from clay and glazing and firing them.  I was never really sure how they would look until they came out of the oven so there was always an element of surprise.  I would really like to try this again but don’t have the space for a ceramics oven or the funds to be able to afford to take this up at present.
  • Collage.  I was not really interested in collage until I started my Foundation Degree in Art, Media and Design where we made boards of inspirational images to use as part of our research and development stage for projects.  I really like the look of some of the collages you can find online, some of them are really well thought out and clever.  I have been thinking about using a pinboard and making my own that I can change around whenever I fancy, full of quotes and images that I find inspirational.
  • Glass Painting.  I dabbled in glass painting a few years ago and decorated vases and bottles using old nail varnishes and a black fabric paint as the design outline.  The things I created were given away as gifts.   I like the idea that you can turn even a simple coffee jar into a work of art and the object gets a new lease of life instead of being binned.  I think that combining candle making with glass painting to create decorated candle holders with the hand-made candle inside would be a lovely way to mix these two skills.
  • Jewellery Making.  My interest in jewellery making started as a kid when my Mum and Dad bought me a book about jewellery that came with some beads and jewellery findings.  I devoured the book from cover to cover and then re-read it several times!  I made all the projects in the book and then went on to buy tons of seed beads from the local market.  I learned to weave them into patterns and made bracelets, necklaces, rings and ankle chains from them.  Since then I have branched out into making charms and key chains from lots of different things like shells and toys from crackers.  Jewellery making is really fun and you can make things as complicated or as simple as you want and it’s really nie to be able to wear something you have made and get compliments on it.
  • Knitting.  My Mum taught me how to knit when I was small though I never got further than the basics and can knit a pretty nifty scarf in basic stitch now.  I dip in and out of knitting but get frustrated because it takes a lot of time to create something as I am so slow.  I also find I have to really concentrate or I forget where I am and what I am doing and drop stitches and make other mistakes so it’s not something I tend to do.  I really admire people like my mum who seem to be able to create really lovely things like jumpers and toys and appreciate the effort and time that goes into this craft though it’s not really something I can see myself getting fully immersed in.
  • Polymer Clay.  Polymer clay is so versatile.  I an’t remember when I first discovered polymer clay so I must have been fairly small at the time but it is something I always have in my craft stash.  I have made beads from it, card toppers, little trinket dishes and little ornaments.  I love that this medium can be used for so many different things, doesn’t take up too much space and you can bake it in your home oven to harden it.  It is available now in so many finishes too.
  • Print Making.  When I was a kid I used to love carving up potatoes and making prints with them and since then I have tried other methods of print making including etching, lino printing, screen printing and something my college tutor called glue prints.  Glue prints are one of my favorites and really easy to do, all you need is some thick card and PVA glue and a print medium like paint or ink.  PVA glue is used to create the image you would like, and you build up areas with layers of glue and leave it to dry in between.  Once the layers are dry you apply your print medium then place it face down onto damp paper, rub the back of it then lift up.  I’ve not done this for a while but I do have plans and ideas that I would like to try at some point soon!
  • Scrapbooking.  Scrapbooking was a natural progression as it used the same skills, and items, that I had already gained from making cards.  I started out with a 12 x 12 inch scrapbook and papers and really liked to record my memories in a creative way.  Since then I have diversified and have used other sizes of scrapbook.  I currently have a La De Dah journal that I am using as a scrapbook.  I love that you can add anything and everything to a page, whether it be journal pages, quotes, images, embellishments and really, the only boundary is your imagination.

Crafts I’d like to try

  • Book Making.  I love the idea of making my own books to journal in and would love to use all sorts of different papers.  I have seen so many lovely hand-made books and really want to give this a go at some point in the future.  These would make really lovely presents too.
  • Felting.  I really would like to try my hand at felting different things.  From what I have seen, there are so many amazing things you can make felting from cute little critters to flowers and jewellery besides a whole host of other things.  I think that I would make some felt embellishments for cards and scrapbook pages.
  • Floristry.  Floristry seems to be a craft that could be really calming.  I like the idea of creating beautiful decorations for the home using flowers and greenery.  And there really is nothing better than the scent of fresh filling your home afterwards!
  • Macrame.  Macrame is the art of knotting strings and has become really big in the last few years and can be found in wall hangings and plant holders, bags and other decorative objects.  I love the look of some of the wall hangings that have been made using the macrame technique and really would like to give it a go to create something of my own to hang up.
  • Mosaics.  I have always loved the look of mosaics and how versatile it can be in interiors, from frames to vases, table tops and floors, it is a way of injecting interest, pattern and colour to a range of different objects.  I like that you can create a mosaic using all manner of materials not just coloured tiles.
  • Soap Making.  I would like to learn how to make my own soaps and create my own scent for them and make different soaps for different types of skin.  These would be lovely to gift to friends and family as well.

 

My Hobbies and Interests

I thought I would share with you my hobbies and interests on the blog today as a way of getting to know me a bit better.  I find that knowing what someone enjoys doing, what their hobbies and interests are lets me get to know them on a bit more of a personal level.  So here are my hobbies and interests…

Arts and Crafts

I’ve always been into arts and crafts, from a very young age you would find me at the table with a paint brush or coloured pencils and crayons grasped in my hand creating masterpieces for people’s fridges!  My Grandma nurtured this instinct in me, both her and my Dad share a love of painting, and I used to go to her house and we would have a fantastic time painting and making things with toilet rolls, glitter, glue and plasticine.  That love of art saw me gain an A in GCSE art, then a D in A Level art.  I continued with my love of art and discovered scrapbooks and card making, photography and jewellery making which helped me no end when I studied a Foundation Degree in Art, Media and Design and then a Bachelor’s Degree in Photographic Art.

Currently I am enjoying candle making which I find has been really good for my head space since I have been off with stress, anxiety and depression.  It is something that I can lose myself in and has a somewhat medative quality to the processes (melting the wax, adding dye, scent then pouring the wax).

I have also started a lettering journal as I have found a love for hand lettering and really wanted to create a book of different hand lettering styles that I can use in my bullet journal and in other crafts in the future.  I have been sitting of an evening with a hot cup of tea and sketching out different alphabet styles which has been really relaxing and fun.  I have found it to be a great way to empty my mind of all the thoughts I have had during the day and helps to prepare my mind for bed.

I am intending to go over the pencil lines with pen at some point and add some colour and notes to the pages.

Reading

I love reading, being all snuggled under a blanket and getting lost in another world is one of my favorite things to do.  Unfortunately, since my mental health took a nose dive I’ve not really done much reading.  My stress and anxiety have decreased my concentration levels to a state where I found that I couldn’t follow a story and kept reading the same thing over and over again, I’d lose my place and get distracted easily which has been super frustrating for me.  I used to read at least a book or 2 each week but since september I have not read a full book.  I started reading The Snowman by Jo Nesbo back in september and am still reading it now.  I did manage 5 whole minutes the other day which I was pleased with and feel that is a sign to me getting better slowly.

Home Interiors

I have put this as one title though it includes painting and decorating, upcycling and DIY!  Since I moved into my own home I have been obsessed with all things decoration from upcycling my chairs and my lamp, to choosing colours to paint my rooms.  I have really enjoyed all parts of making my house a cozy home that reflects my personality and I’m on the look out to create some more lovely things for my home this year.  I already have a project lined up for the summer months that involves a lot of sanding, painting and cutting of wood!

Planners and Diaries

You may have seen my post Preparing for 2019 where I spoke about the diaries and planners I had ready for 2019, and I suppose you could call it a hobby or interest of mine as I’m forever on the search for the perfect planner for my life, even now, with the planners and diaries I already have for 2019 there are a few that I’m still looking at (hey, you can never have too many right?!).  I love to be organised and find that writing things down helps them to stick better in my brain rather than using my phone calendar and I have a lot to remember from bills that need paying, blog posts to write, household things and doctors appointments, along with making notes on what I have done that day, work things, dates, places to visit etc my planner can get full pretty quick!  I had used a bullet journal for a few years as I loved the creative side to it, designing layouts, doodling and painting on the pages and adding things in but eventually fell out of love with that method, especially in the run up to Christmas where I seemed to be too busy to make layouts and it all sort of slid off my radar.  While I still like the idea of a bullet journal I decided it wasn’t really the right method for me and have gone down the pre printed, multi diary/planner route for this year as I think having several planners/diaries for different aspects of my life may be a better option though only time will tell!

Blogs and Blogging

While I may not have been reading books at the moment I have been reading lots of blogs and blog posts.  I love reading about people’s lives, things people are doing, outfit posts, posts about products, creative posts about art and making things, recipes, lifestyle and all manner of other things.  I sit down each morning when I wake and, accompanied by my dog Roxy, and a coffee I catch up on the blogs I follow, sometimes I search for topics that I am interested in and read a few posts that catch my eye and I feel like I have caught up with friends.

Since starting this blog I have really enjoyed the freedom it has given me to express myself and share bits of my life, what I have been doing and thoughts and feelings.  I have found it to be really therapeutic, sitting in front of my laptop and composing posts, taking photos and planning topics to write about.

What hobbies and interests do you have?