Crafting Aint For Sissies

Crafting ain’t for sissies. You have to have patience, perseverance and persistence. You will also need to keep an open mind and have a willingness to learn new things. Yes, most crafts are steeped in tradition. As in, a traditional way of creating some things. These are great but sometimes there may be other techniques that can be used to create something new and exciting. As with any artistic endeavors most of the crafts we create reflect our inner visions. That is when you can truly be called an artist. Once, you learn a technique there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use these and expand on them.

So, if you started out being a traditional crafter and learned how to do things from one of your older family members but then tweaked those techniques to create new and different items we hope you will share them with us. My mom is always willing to learn new things and likes to figure out how to create items that us kids and grandchildren like and hope she will create. Once she sees a picture of something she has me look for a pattern and/or video on how to make it. Then she puts her own twist on it once she figures out how to create them by using her own style in colors and adding tweaks to the pattern. Below are some pictures that my youngest son sent over for his grandma to try out. We haven’t started on these yet as we are still getting ready for the big Florida Fall Festival at the end of May in White Springs, Florida.

He was also the one who sent us the picture of the dragon scale gloves that we now offer for sale. We made them before Christmas and sold out. Of course, my son got his pair first and we gave away some for Christmas presents last year. The pattern we purchased and the video we watched had the scales going all the way around the fingers. We had a custom request to make the inside palm side smooth to make it easier to grab hold of steering wheels and typing. So mom worked at it and after a couple of tries figured out how to do that. They turned out really well and this coming Christmas season we will only be making the ones with the smooth inside palms.

Keep on crafting and get in touch if you want to share your own versions of traditional patterns with our readers.



Stabilizing Crocheted Totes

Stabilizing crocheted tote bags of any size can be a challenge. After researching online we found a couple of solutions including creating and sewing in a liner into the bag, crocheting actual crochet thread with the yarn when creating the strap and crocheting around a double length of cotton clothes line. Granted, creating a square pocket out of cotton fabric and sewing it into the inside of the bag will stabilize the inside of the bag and keep things from falling out but the crocheted handle will still stretch as you use it. Our inventory has over 100 different sized totes already so we had to come up with a way to improve the bags that we had without having to take them apart again.
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No White Tent Events

If you haven’t had a chance to join the No White Tent website/forum you might want to give it a try. They list mostly south and central Florida events on a regular basis but they allow their members to post events in Florida for craft vendors ourselves. I really could use some help adding events in the North Florida area. They do specialize in events that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg for the craft vendors and usually ask for only those events for under $50. Of course, you can include events that are not strict about the type of vendor tent you have as well.

To post an event is pretty easy once you have joined the site. It doesn’t cost anything to join or add events either. They even encourage event coordinators to post their events on the site as well. Once you post the event it stays on your event listing so you can keep track of the ones you are most interested in attending. All you need is the name of event, copy of the event poster picture, the dates and times, who is sponsoring or coordinating that particular event, phone number, website address (or Facebook page), where being held, city and state and finally a brief description of the event. I try to remember to include the vendor fee amount and whether the application is available for download. I have already posted a couple events scheduled for the next couple of months.
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Making Beaded Dragonflies

Several months ago my grand-daughter was watching some movies on my computer and came across a beaded dragonfly tutorial I had downloaded from You-Tube. She created a couple and insisted that I do it with her. Well, ever since I have been making them into earrings, put them inside bottlecaps, broach/pins, barrettes and I even may make them into key chain charms. Once, you get the basics down you can experiment with different size and types of beads. I think the basic thing to remember is that the top wings are longer than the bottom wings so keep count as you go. In real life dragonflies do not have curling antenna but it looks pretty cool when you have them.

I prefer 26-gauge wire and seed beads for those that I am making into earrings and larger beads and 24-gauge wire for things like broaches and barrettes. I also like to mix up the colors for the top and bottom wings. Sometimes the same colors for everything but the middle tips. The lighter colors on the bottom and darker colors on the top makes for a dramatic effect and using bicone crystals for the bottom of the tail and head beads are nice as well.
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Northeast Florida Craft Vendors

Northeast Florida Craft Vendors really need more opportunities to sell their handcrafted wares. South and Central Florida really gets all the good events with tons of people attending until all the snow birds start heading back up north. It would be great if more of the state parks would start holding events all year long. In the late spring and summer concentrate on those parks with swimming areas. Maybe we should start our own coalition and lobby the start park event planners to allow us to hold events once a month in one or more of them in our area.

I cannot think of one state park in our area that doesn’t have a fairly large area where tents and trailers could be pitched, a small stage for local musicians to come in and play and the park visitors to come over and spend a little money. They could charge a percentage of sales as a vendor fee like the Florida Folk Festival. That seems more equitable to all parties. Most musicians would play for a small stipend or even free depending on the amount of advertising and if they were allowed to set up a table to sell the CDs.
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