Crafting Disasters -or- The Reject Pile

We have all been there: excitedly take on a project and dive in head first, only to get frustrated that it does not turn out the way we wanted or imagined it, and end up feeling defeated and deflated. Nobody’s perfect! And despite what Pinterest or Instagram would have you believe, not all craft projects turn out perfectly picture worthy the first time, or at all!

scraps1Being a life-long crafter, I have known my fair share of disappointing crafts, and have had a good portion of what I make end up in the garbage. Here are some examples:

Topiary Tragedy: A few years ago I took a floral arranging class, and as it was around the holiday season, we made mini Christmas tree topiaries. Sounds cute, right? Mine was coming together nicely, having a rustic vibe going with red ribbons and gold bell ornaments. That was when I discovered a can of gold spray paint in a forgotten corner of the craft room, and decided to mist my topiary for a “golden glow”. I got carried away. Like, AWAY away. My cute little topiary ended up completely gilded, looking more like a trophy, or award for “worst Christmas topiary ever”. I was crushed, after so much work to have completely ruined it. Everyone else seemed to really like it though, and kept complimenting it, but in my mind it was all out of pity. Needless to say, the evidence has since been destroyed! 😛

Coaster Calamity: My brother is an engineer, and has a mind built for figuring out how things work, and understanding materials. We sometimes bounce ideas for projects off each other, as we both love making things. He was over for dinner and saw a box of a puzzle we had under our coffee table, alongside magazines and board games. He said: ” Wouldn’t it be cool to build the puzzle, and then cut it into squares to use as coasters? You will have to back it with some cork or felt, and coat it with some kind of lacquer to water proof and heat proof it…”. We discussed this concept in depth for a while, going over different options. After he left I decided to attempt it, and spent the next 2 weeks putting together this 1500 piece puzzle. I coated it with lacquer, and got to cutting. It turned out choppy and messy, and there was no way I could make the ragged edges look polished. After a lot of hot gluing, some felt, and ribbon to cover the edges, it looked like a miserable children’s craft gone wrong. I stopped after the first coaster and threw the rest of the puzzle in the garbage.

Bracelet Bonanza: We all had that one childhood friend who would spend recess and lunch time hunched in a quiet corner cranking out incredibly intricate colorful friendship bracelets, for those lucky chosen ones. I have mastered the braided, and wrapped style, but not much more. I was persuaded by a Pinterest project to attempt this craft again, this time adding beads and metallic bits to glam it up. In my head, I pictured it as a cool boho chic festival-style accessory. In reality, it turned out looking childish and gaudy, and none of the new knot and braid styles I was attempting to learn turned out like the picture. I was so convinced this would turn out great, that I forgot I don’t even like wearing bracelets! Needless to say, another waste of materials and time.

So how do you overcome these crafting disasters? Do you throw in the towel and exclaim “I give up!” or do you try again? Personally, I have a certain threshold for failure, and after a while I just need to step away and take a break to re-assess the situation. We can get so caught up in the idea of something turning out a certain way, or a beautifully photoshopped picture of a perfect looking craft, that we forget our own abilities and limitations. It doesn’t always turn out right! And that’s OK! you learn and you move on, but don’t let those little disasters deter you from continuing your craft journey! Just maybe in a different direction… 🙂

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What a crafty year!

Can’t believe 2015 is over so soon, and at the same time sooo looking forward to all the great things 2016 has in store! In bullet form, here are some of the personal highlights for me this year:

  • Started this blog! duhhhh!!
  • Moved to a new apartment and got to decorate it!
  • Bought an apartment, and got to renovate it! Phew… enough moving for one year!
  • Started planning our wedding for next year- stay tuned for details!

And here, at a glance, are all of the crafty projects I have posted about in the past year, as a quick reference if you are feeling crafty during these cold winter night:

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Toilet paper roll wall art

 

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Melted vinyl record bowls

 

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Beer bottle vase

 

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Recycled pennant bunting

 

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Thrifted cake plate / cake stand

 

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Painting laminate furniture

 

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Felt succulents

 

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Crisco candle

 

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Magazine paper trees

 

3 stockings

Felt stockings (ornament / gift card holder)

 

I hope you find some inspiration and give at least one of these projects a try! And here’s to a crafty, inspired, thrifty, and colorful 2016! 🙂

Smash your Stash

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As I was putting away all my craft supplies after our move, I got to thinking- I have A LOT of craft supplies! I have already briefly addressed my habit of accumulating an unnecessary amount of crafting supplies in my previous post, so I got to thinking. What if… for a whole year I didn’t buy any more crafting supplies, and only used what I had? Crazy and extreme, I know! But I think it would be a good idea for a couple of reasons:

1) It will make space for more…. Just kidding! But it would help if it took up less space. So if I use it up without replenishing = more space!

2) It will challenge me to create within restrictions. From my experience, that is usually when I come up with the best and most creative ideas.

3) It will reinforce my “consume less” attitude that I already apply to other aspects of my life.

So- will it be difficult? You bet! But I am willing to give it a try. I know 1 year is a long time, but I figured with the size of my stash it will definitely last me that long. Also, a caveat- gifts don’t count! (Haha you knew there had to be a loop hole!).

Feel free to tag along with me on this challenge, or share your experiences of working from your stash!

DIY Cake Plate / Cake Stand

cake plate collage

I have been wanting a cake stand like these ones above for a while, but they are pretty expensive! So for about $5 I put this just-as-lovely alternative together…

I used:

– Short glass candlestick holder

– Shallow glass plate / saucer

– Hot glue gun

I wasn’t going to write steps, as this is pretty self explanatory, but here goes:

Step 1: Glue the candlestick holder to the plate.

And you’re finished!

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If I didn’t tell you otherwise, you would have never guessed that this ‘crystal-look’ elegant cake stand is made out of thrift store finds hot-glued together!

This would look awesome spray painted as well, or made using a ceramic saucer. I’m thinking a really cute antique-y one with dainty flowers and gold around the edge would look stunning.

DIY could not be easier than this, so I hope you give it a try!

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Easy and FREE Pennant Bunting DIY

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If you are like me, you have probably been pinning and coveting all these awesome bunting ideas that are so popular for parties or room decor. I wanted to make something like that, but didn’t have a budget for materials. So I decided to make one for free!

I used:

– Cereal/ cardboard-y food box

– Washi tape

– Ribbon / yarn / string / twine, etc.

– (I’m assuming you already have scissors, a pen, and hole punch)

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I decided to do a notched shape, but the traditional triangular shape will work perfectly. Cut out your shapes, and decorate them to your liking. String them up and you’re done!

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I like bunting with lettering, so I decided to go with “HOME” for the entrance to our apartment. I used a regular black pen, and doodled / zen-tangled the insides of the letters, which by the way is a very calming process!

Lesson: If you are craving a craft but have no budget, there is always a way! Use things you already have, and make something out of nothing 🙂

bunting project

Beer bottle upcycle

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What a better excuse for a cold one! As spring is officially here (in my part of the world at least) I find myself drawn to flowers and everything green. However, as I have repeatedly proven that I cannot keep anything alive (I managed to kill a cactus. Twice.) I opt for fake flowers instead. This easy upcycle puts a cozy spin on an old beer bottle.

bottle before
Beer Bottle: Granville Island Honey Lager. Pretty soon our local brewery, Steel and Oak is going to have bottled version of their beer, so I look forward to using those too! (If you are in New Westminster you must try their Royal City Ale- my favorite!)
Alternatively, you can use a glass jar, a tea tin, or other similarly shaped container that could work as a vase.

Yarn:  I used leftover cream colored acrylic yarn from my wintertime knitting phase, but you can also use twine, string, or anything else really.

How to: Use your choice of glue to attach the yarn to the bottle, wrapping tightly as you go. A few extra dots of glue may be needed in curvy areas of the bottle to make it more secure.

bottle after 2If needed, you can go around the whole thing a second time to fill in any gaps or bare areas. My yarn was pretty flimsy, So I went over the bottle twice, starting from the top working my way down. You can be as neat or as messy with this as you prefer, I tried to keep it generally lined up but didn’t get too finicky about it.

Total time: 15 minutes!
Total cost: FREE!

I hope you give this DIY a try, it works great as a bud vase enough for just one flower, or you can cram a few thinner ones in there. For a more rustic look you could also use dry branches, anything really!

❤ Shay

Stop pinning, Start making!

PINNING PIC

For most creative people, inspiration is everywhere! There is nothing bad about seeing a project and getting that spark to make it. Where it gets bad though, is when you have 1,000 pins on your “Crafts” board on Pinterest, and none of those have actually been made. The whole point of inspiration is to give you that ‘ZING’ moment where you go “this is awesome! Such a good idea! I should totally make this!”. What often happens though, is we get so carried away with so many amazing inspiring ideas, that we never get the chance to let our own creativity emerge by actually making something. It’s like “pinning paralysis”, where the more creative ideas we are exposed to, the less likely we are to feel confident about actually making anything. So the next time you run across that awesome candy buffet, or that great gift idea for a close friend, or a gorgeous decor project, keep the following in mind:

Supplies: do I already have what it takes to make this? How much would it cost for tools and ingredients? Is this a material I have never worked with before?

Time: How long would this take to make? Am I likely to finish it all in one go? Or will I start it and then forget abut it for a few months? Is now a good time for me to commit to a more serious project?

Necessity: Do I need this in my life? Am I going to thank myself later for making this? Or is this just going to add to the clutter in my life? If I am making this for someone else, will they appreciate it enough for it to be worth making? (more about craft-worthiness in a future post)

I know it seems harsh or limiting to think so critically about your sources of inspiration. The point of this is not to restrict creativity, but to make sure it is directed at the right things. Think about it: if you find a source of inspiration, then soon you act upon it and make something wonderful, you will feel even more motivated and excited about continuing your creativity. If, however, you continue to endlessly pin incredible ideas that linger and never come to fruition, you may end up feeling your creativity is stilted and blocked. (more on how to overcome that in a future post)

So go ahead, take on a project that has been sitting in one of your boards for a while, and make it your own! Take pride in fulfilling that original spark of inspiration and expressing your creativity.

Got an inspiring Pinterest project to share? Leave a link in the comments, and I might just feel inspired and make it!