Andy Peutherer: I am a Scottish artist and Photographer. My landscape work featured here is based on the spectacular scenery of The Scottish western Isles, Scottish highlands and the Hebriden Islands such as The Isle of Skye, the Uists, Lewis and Harris. I have a great passion for the landscape and natural history of Scotland which has led me to attempt to capture the almost surreal elements of the Scottish landscape, weather and wildlife. My paintings are created with mixed media such as spray paint, acrylic, emulsion and ink which are used together with self taught techniques to illustrate the wild, unpredictable and spectacular nature of the land and sky. I strive to create images which have a more original style than traditional water colours and oils.
When I was a kid, we got in the car and drove my dad out to a nearby town to take a hot air balloon ride. I remember watching the balloons gliding through the sky. These earrings remind me of that day.
Elle got started in handmade when she was struggling with depression and loneliness. Jewelry-making was her way to be totally immersed in something that was not only positive, but kept her mind off of what she was going through. She fell in love with jewelry making and never looked back. Her style incorporates vintage pieces with modern beads.
Encouraged by friends and family she jumped into selling through her shop Elle’s Beads. After taking a blind leap, she learned as she went setting up up a business strategy, goals, and a budget.
I’ve met such great artisans, both in real life and through venues like Etsy, and I feel like I have a sense of community and belonging now.
Elle’s grandmother is a huge influence. She uses her antique sewing machine and vintage buttons to make a lot of her creations. She’s also inspired by items that people cast away as trash. She has a way of viewing things not as what they are, but what they could become with a little bit of fabric, paint, or beads. She’s also started sewing now due to her grandmother’s influence (she was a seamstress) and makes a point to only use eco-friendly materials in the accessories she makes.
My favorite item is my Vintage Sapphire and Silver Glass Pearl Necklace. It’s the first eco-friendly piece I ever made and it’s from an old vintage earring I repurposed as a brooch. I’m really passionate now about reusing old materials and making them into something beautiful and new. This necklace is a constant reminder to me of the beginning of that journey.
Elle supports the views that many of us handmade artisans have, even though handmade goods can cost more than mass-produced goods, especially those imported from overseas, they’re so much more valuable! When you buy something handmade, you’re supporting an artisan – a small business and an entrepreneur. You’re supporting a craft and a subculture that values the importance of keeping craftsmanship alive. Each handmade item is a little bit different and Elle, like all handmade artists puts her love and a part of herself in every piece.
These adorable vintage birdies are my personal favorite!
Elle is a full-time paralegal working for a non-profit in North Carolina. When not working at her day job or on her business, you can find her relaxing in front of the television, catching up on the latest book club book, or talking on the phone with her family. Online you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and her blog.
Ryan Ringel’s boys are hard on their toys. Any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or big brother or sister can probably relate. Ryan’s oldest son especially loves a good puzzle. But when ordinary, store-bought puzzles were subjected to his enthusiasm…over time, the results were not pretty.
Of course, store-bought puzzles are merely cardboard or chipboard with a sticker slapped on, or paper glued to the front…hardly designed to stand the test of time. Ryan’s boys were going through puzzles like tissues during flu season.
One day, Ryan was inspired to make more durable puzzles while watching a sculptor use a scroll saw to create intricate patterns in wood. He figured the same technique could be used to make puzzles for his kids, puzzles that were more interesting than the standard square or rectangle, as well as tougher than the flimsy ones from the mall toy store.
The first puzzle (“Faye Fish”) was a huge hit with the boys, and could keep them entertained for hours, without breaking apart, peeling, or bending. Soon, Ryan was making puzzles for the kids of his friends and neighbors, as well as his sons’ classmates, and My Daddy Puzzles was born.
Every puzzle is drawn by Ryan, and cut, sanded, stained, and painted by hand in his Alexandria, Virginia workshop. Each design is available in a variety of paint colors, in natural stain, or unpainted.
The poplar or maple hardwoods used to make them are grown and harvested in the USA, and the paints and stains used to decorate them come from a company in Ohio.
The puzzles are simple, yet challenging enough to keep kids as young as 18 months entertained and mentally stimulated. They’re painted on both sides to add a layer of difficulty, and range in size from 5 pieces for the littlest ones, to 10 pieces for older children.
Birgitte of SewDanish: Since early childhood, I have been crafting and however busy life has been, I’ve always found time to do just that. Making things energizes me and makes me happy.
I love creating something from “nothing”. I often combine and incorporate recycled items and vintage fabric in my products, giving them a new lease on life.
Some years ago I was very lucky to do City and Guilds part 1 and 2 (now diploma) in Patchwork and Quilting as well as several courses in contemporary machine and hand embroidery. Pure Bliss!
I love dying my own fabrics, threads and anything else that can be coloured. I’m very excited about building up textured surfaces from lots of layers of fabric, paper, paint…. almost anything goes.
I often work a series of small numbers within a theme, exploring the possibilities. Since each item is handmade, the individual item will always be unique. Besides making contemporary wall hangings, I like making small things that can be used in daily life, like book covers, key rings, make up purses, drawstring bags, cards…
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!