Misha Ashton: I am a photographer, graphic designer and craft maker located in Portland, Oregon USA. [working on relocating to Wellington New Zealand by the end of 2009]
I have been taking pictures for as long as I can remember and even with the whole digital craze, I am still addicted to film. Most of all slide film cross processed. None of my work is photoshopped, everything is done either in the camera or in the developing process.
Tani Marie: I have been handcrafting clubwear, swimwear and lingerie since 1999. I learned my craft building exotic dancewear. I was hired as a house mom at a gentlemen’s club and started selling clothes that I purchased to the dancers. Not being impressed with the clothes available, I decided to start making them. After a few months of designing and experimentation I was able to construct outfits to sell. Six months later, having a large variety of patterns, styles and custom orders it was time to do it full time.
The experience gave me incredible insight into fitting and complementing for all body types. My style has always leaned to the sexy side, and I draw inspiration from hip hop, 80’s punk rock, classic funk, classic pin ups, classic cinema, anime, lowrider cars and bicycles, roller skating and surfing.
The idea of recycling isn’t just about separating your household waste into piles of glass, paper and organic waste. Like the above photo from Skip To My Lou, recycling is a cute way of having fun – as well as keeping little people busy and entertained with these juice carton boats.
I love the idea of simple, easy to make crafts and home made treats – especially when minimal mess is acquired making said crafts and home made treats!
Much like these yummy looking Ritz cracker snacks, made by my sister-in-law, Amy.
These are a straight forward make and you will need:
Ritz crackers/a cheaper alternative.
Chocolate (Amy has used white chocolate, but you can probably use just about any variety.)
Melt the chocolate: you can try the bowl in the pan method or the microwave method. Sandwich together 2 plain crackers, spread a little peanut butter in the middle (to hold the crackers together) then dip into the melted chocolate and add sprinkles to them – the last two steps my 4 year old nephew helped out with meanwhile my 2 year old nephew sat that part out and was on hand to taste-test.
I was so impressed with these cute little treats and it further affirms to me that from simple things come great things – and you don’t need to break the banks doing it, or expend a lot of energy making things.
Much like these sweet (literally) building block marshmallow straws from Makes and Takes, a crafting blog jam-packed full of crafty ideas for kids, family time, recipes, home projects and so on.
For instructions to make these marshmallow/straw building blocks.
So when keeping it simple on the craft and making front with kids, make it accessible and inclusive to kids of all ages. Devise tasks for all age groups according to their ability levels, encourage (but don’t over bear) their creative and crafty sides – and remember to get them to help with the cleaning up process, too!
Allison Taylor’s story as a crafter begins in a familiar way: she first learned to crochet at her grandmother’s knee at the tender age of six.
Despite her grandmother’s considerable skill as a fiber artist, not to mention her infinite patience, crocheting didn’t quite stick with Allison that first time around. Six year olds aren’t famous for their attention spans, so it’s not really that surprising!
It wasn’t until much later when Allison was a college student that she picked up crochet hooks and some yarn again. Although she had never gotten into the knitting, crocheting, sewing, and other fiber arts that her grandmother had mastered, Allison had always admired her grandmother’s talent and skill with needles, yarn, and fabric.
When her grandmother became ill and was no longer physically able to craft, due to side effects of a stroke, Allison was inspired once again to take up the craft she had not been able to master as a little girl.
She made her grandmother a blanket, to show her how much she appreciated her, and how impressed she had always been with her fiber skills. Blankets are still Allison’s favorite thing to make, and friends and family can count on one for a gift whenever there’s a wedding or baby on the way.
Allison was “hooked” on crochet from then on, and turned her hobby into a side business with her Etsy shop that opened in 2008. Although she has a day job unrelated to crafting, it in no way diminishes her fierce love for making.
The best part for Allison is having strangers own something she made with her own hands: “It’s a way of sharing something tangible with people across long spaces, which is so rare,” she says. “It’s really exciting and touching, and I never get over it.”
She also feels a connection to her grandmother every time she picks up her crochet hook, another feeling many crafters can relate to. The emotional connection associated with creating and sharing handmade goods is probably one of the big reasons handmade is so popular these days.
The most popular item in Allison’s shop is the best friends beanie, which also happens to be her favorite thing to make for the shop! Customers also respond well to her continuum scarves and continuum collars, with their unusual shape.
Like most of her creations, Allison let the continuum scarf emerge on its own, without too much planning ahead from her. Her general technique is to pick up her crochet hook and yarn, and experiment with different stitches until something she loves emerges.
You can find Allison’s crocheted gems in her online shop. If you see something you like but are fixated on a certain color, don’t worry because Allison loves to do custom work!
RADCOW: I got Interested in Leather craft about a decade ago, when I was a teenager hitch hiking across Canada. On my travels I met a wonderful old hippy man named Longevity John. He was nearly 7 foot tall, with hair down his back, and eyes all full of kindness. He lived in a shotgun shack with no running water, or electricity, but made incredible and inspiring leather crafts and sold them on saturdays at the farmers market in town. John showed me a few things, and got the seeds of inspiration planted in me. The thought of someone making their living with their own 2 hands from thier crafts made my heart swell. Later, I got a job at a leather craft store, and began spending most of my pay cheques on tools, and most of my time playing with leather. Since then, the seed has grown, and I too make my living this way, selling here, and at festivals and craft fairs. I feel like I am on my true path, and I am eternally grateful to etsy, and to all of you who support hand crafters. You allow the creative instinct to grow and flourish. Thank you!