It’s always hard for me to focus on doing crafts during the summer because I love warm weather and being outside as much as possible. But once fall and winter roll around, it’s always a little easier to be an inside-dweller and get back into crappy crafting.
Like most of you reading this, I spend entirely too much time on my laptop and generally staring at screens. There’s something unique about crafting that appeals to me on a psychological level because it’s so different from what I do to make a living.
Here are some of my recent craft creations that have made my brain work in different ways than my day job.
Hands down, this winter’s craft-of-choice has been loom knitting. I’ve done knitting and crocheting, but this is a different approach for a similar result, and one that I find to be way quicker and easier than the alternatives.
I bought a set of colorful looms at Michael’s and a few balls of yarn. The process of loom knitting is really as simple as wrapping yarn around pegs over and over again. After looping the yarn around each peg twice, you pull off one piece of thread with a needle, which makes a knot.
And after just a couple hours….BAM….you have a hat!
One thing I really loved this winter about loom-knitted hat making is that it’s a portable craft. I have knitted hats while riding in the passenger seat on road trips and even inside our new pop-up camper with a bottle of wine and a podcast.
The simplicity of the process and the pretty-much-perfect results every time motivated me to make more hats…
And more hats, and more hats! Basically everyone on my Christmas list got a hat this year.
Sewing has taken a bit of a backseat so far this winter and continues to intimidate me. I received this shirt pattern from a friend and decided I would use it to try making my very first shirt.
Hours of struggling resulted in this blue thing that has two sleeves. Two sleeves = shirt, right? I continue to have issues with translating my personal measurements into properly sized garments, and this shirt was drastically large and floppy on me.
Some seams are inside out, but at least all the pieces are in the right place. I can’t say that I’ll be wearing this out of the house anytime soon, but I am glad that I at least stuck with it and finished it. Maybe the next shirt will be easier?
Another craft I’ve really gotten into lately is needle felting. Check out my post, My First Attempt at Felting: Project Plush Gnome, to learn more about how this whole felting thing works.
For Christmas gifts this year, I decided to make two felted birds….one for my grandma and one for my sister-in-law. So far, I’ve made a needle felted gnome, a monkey, and an owl-in-a-tree, and I’m always surprised at how fool-proof this craft is. I literally just stab fluff with a needle until it takes shape and it somehow turns out looking pretty good.
I was super pleased with how these little birds turned out. I bought the little nests at Michael’s and super-glued the birds to them so they have no chance of escaping.
I used one of those paint-a-mug sets designed for five-year-olds and made a mug for my grandma too. I mean seriously, what else do you give a 92-year-old besides homemade gifts?
The paint is supposed to be cool with microwaving and dishwashing, but only time will tell. It was a really basic set so all the writing and drawing was done free-hand, adding to the kindergarten look of it.
After painting it, the instructions said to put it in the oven for 30 minutes, which I did. I’m not sure if I’ll make another one of these, but it was an easy craft an I think my grandma enjoyed getting it.
Sometime earlier this fall, I painted a birdhouse with crazy colors that would drive even the most sane bird batty. I have a bird feeder and hummingbird feeder on my miniature balcony outside, so I thought a birdhouse would be a fun addition.
However, I have not yet figured out a way to attach it to the balcony. So it remains sitting on the living room floor taking up space, dreaming of future bird residents.
In other news, I sculpted a really dumb-looking elephant.
Sculpting is definitely not my gift, and I honestly don’t have the patience or precision for it. But a couple years ago, I randomly made my husband an elephant out of clay. It was purple and lumpy and barely distinguishable. When we moved to Atlanta, that poor purple elephant’s ear fell off, which must have been quite painful.
Elephant 2.0 is blue, has tusks, and is misshapen in different ways than Elephant 1.0.
So what’s next for this crappy crafter?
Well, I figure it’s high time for a new sewing project. I’ve been wanting to learn to make handbags for awhile now and just settled on a pattern I found online.
One barrier to sewing for me is going to the craft store. There isn’t a convenient one nearby and I really don’t like shopping in stores for much of anything. So to eliminate that barrier, I ordered some materials via Amazon Prime and used some old fabric I had lying around. Yes, that’s the same gnome fabric from the skirt I made from my very first sewing class!
So far, I’ve cut out the material, pressed out the wrinkles with my fancy new Rowenta iron, and gathered everything up to dive right in…one of these days…
Creating via crafts is so different from creating via words, and I’m so glad I didn’t wait until old age to pick up on these hobbies. I try to be a minimalist and hate being surrounded by clutter, but I do enjoy giving homemade gifts and wearing things I’ve made with my own two hands.
My crafts are far from perfect, but that’s not really the point. For me, crafting is just as much about the process as the end result. When I’m not cursing in agony and frustration, the process of creating something from nothing feels therapeutic. It makes me focus on one thing at a time and takes my mind away from whatever else is clouding it up. I wish I could sneak a couple extra hours into the day to make more time for crafting, but for now it’s a great mini-escape for me that results in something that I can show off, give away, or just laugh about.