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Monthly Archive for July, 2012

Books: Grow Your Handmade Business

Grow Your Handmade Business

by Kari Chapin

(Storey Publishing)  Can I make a living creating and selling my crafts?  That’s the question Kari Chapin answers in this book, a sequel to her best-selling book, The Handmade Marketplace, also published by Storey.  This wonderful book cheers you on and coaches you on how to make a livelihood from your passion, including stories from other creative people, their struggles, successes, and advice.  That’s not all, she also covers the business side, including developing budgets, strategies, and also funding.  If you’ve always dreamed of having your own craft business, or already have one and are looking into the next step, this is definitely worth checking out.  While you are at it, be sure to give The Handmade Marketplace a look too.



Storey Publishing is giving away a copy of Grow Your Handmade Business to a lucky winner!  Enter a comment on this post by Wednesday, August 1st, Midnight PST for a chance to win a copy of this book.  You must reside in U.S. to win a copy. 


Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 29, 2012 11:13 AM | 321 Comments

Books: Vintage Designs to Knit

Vintage Designs to Knit

by Kim Hargreaves, edited by Kate Buller

(Trafalgar Square) On every page of this book, reviewed in Summer 2012 issue of Living Crafts, you’ll see something beautiful, classic, and familiar. Perhaps a sweater that reminds you of a glamorous movie star or an old movie or a grandmother’s photo. The designs are authentic and summon the styles of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. They are simple and sparingly adorned. This book is a must-have for anyone who loves the beauty of simple knits and purls….and some cables.

Finn and Edda on page 98

My absolute favorite designs are Finn & Edda on page 98, Agnes on page 124, and the red hot Audrey on page 8.  All yarns in the book are specified from the Rowan collection, and some are not all-natural, but the patterns are definitely worth spending the time to find the 100% natural equivalents.

Agnes on page 124



Trafalgar Square is giving away a copy of this book!  To enter the drawing, you must live in the U.S., and leave a comment here by Monday, July 30th, Midnight Pacific Time. 



Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 20, 2012 12:43 PM | 229 Comments

Good Finds: Knitting Cards


I was delighted when a package of Heartstring Note Cards arrived from Kaspareks.  It is made of quality thick paper and is very simple.  If you have friends who love yarn, receiving a card like this will make them happy, indeed.  I went online and saw they had a few more letterpress card designs, and frankly, the Juggling Bear and the Literary Cat designs are my top favorites.  Click here to see all of their letterpress knitting card designs. 


Juggling Bear

Kaspareks sells stamps of the same designs (and more) too.  Here’s a link to the stamps so you can print the designs on any surface. Once you are on their Letterpress Cards page, keep clicking on Next Page to see more designs …

Literary Cat



The winner is Kim, with following comment:  “So pretty! Thanks for sharing. Crossing my fingers you pick me! Thanks again.”  Thank you all who participated.

The folks at Kaspareks are giving away four sets (of your choice) of their Letterpress Note Cards to one lucky winner who is a U.S. resident.  To enter drawing, please leave a comment here by Sunday, July 22nd, Midnight Pacific Time.

Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 18, 2012 07:17 AM | 181 Comments

Books: A Felt Farm


A Felt Farm

by Rotraud Reinhard

(Floris Books) Adorable, precious, and lovely, this book will provide hours of fun felting a farm and all the people, animals, and props. There’s the farmer, and also his family, the dog, the lake, the ball that fell into the lake, and the stick used to fetch the ball out of the lake! Did we mention the iron stove, the donkey, and the visiting gnome? If you loved the “Knitted Farm” article in our Premier Winter 2008 issue, you will love this.  The book is filled with rich visuals, and following are three to enjoy!



The winner is Sandy Littell with following comment:  “I shared your post on FB and HOPE TO WIN!!!”  Thank you all who participated in this giveaway.

For a chance to win a copy of this book, please enter a comment below by Friday, July 20th, Midnight Pacific Time.  Giveaway open to U.S. Residents only.

Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 16, 2012 06:28 AM | 387 Comments

Big Soft Spheres by Susan Wasinger

Perfect for your budding superstar, these soft and squishy playthings are lovely to kick and roll and throw and catch and even just hug.

This tutorial is an exerpt from Susan Wasinger’s beautiful book:  Sewn by Hand.

Here is the tutorial:


scraps or fat quarters of light-weight
cotton prints (each ball requires
6 different prints)
heavy-duty thread
fabric scraps for stuffing
eco-friendly fill (see note under Fabrics)
bell or rattle (optional)


standard sewing basket
paper for template
washing machine/dryer
stiff brush (optional)


For the spheres: Since this will be used by a child, organic fabrics would be an excellent choice here. You really only need a few inches of each print, so raid your stash for suitable scraps.

For the stuffing: This is a great project to try eco-friendly fillings like those made of organic cotton, kapok, and bamboo.

Spheres in two sizes, 6 inches or 8 inches in diameter

Since these soft toys will be getting a lot of love and squeezing and maybe even a nibble or two, the stitching must be nice and tight to keep the stuffing safely on the inside. Use a small backstitch that has virtually no gaps to make it secure. For even more security, do a double row.

Portability factor: { pretty high }
Small pieces, very few notions, sew them anywhere, but leave the stuffing for home.

Prewash all the fabric for this project–very important! Cut out six of the pattern templates in the size you choose (click the image below to open an enlarged size and print the template for use).


The balls are most fun if each section of is a different fabric, so raid your deep stash! Try to position the template at a 45° angle to the grain of your fabric; this will give the best fray. Save all the cuttings and scraps (more on that later).

Wet each cut piece and rub it vigorously between the palms of your hands to rough up the edges as much as possible. Repeat the process until you see the edges start to fray. Once you have roughed up the edges on all the pieces, throw them in the dryer with something rough (like towels or jeans). This will help the edges really “bloom,” creating the soft, fuzzy fray that makes these balls so lovable. Continue the entire fraying process until you are happy with the amount of fray. You can see why it was so important to pre-wash your pieces–otherwise they might all have shrunk to different sizes through all this wetting and drying. Lightly iron your sections so they lay flat, but not so much that you squash the fuzzy edge.

Lay out your sections in a pleasing sequence, alternating dark and light, tone or pattern until you are happy with the effect. Remember that the pieces at the far left and far right will ultimately be adjacent to one another when the sphere is complete.

Lay the first two sections on top of the other with wrong sides facing. Pin then sew along one edge from point to point about ¼ inch or less from the edge, using a backstitch and heavyweight thread. Start and stop about ¼ inch from each point to leave room for the point of the adjacent piece. Knot your thread at the end of the stitching, but no need to cut it as you can use this same thread when sewing on the next piece.

Pin on the next piece to this first group, lining up the points, wrong sides together. Sew as before. Continue until you have attached all six pieces. Leave open the last seam for stuffing.

To give the ball a little more heft than just plain stuffing can provide, bundle some of the fabric scraps and maybe a jingle ball in a small square of scrap cotton.

Squeeze it together into a small ball, then tie off the top with a few stitches and a knotted thread. Wrap stuffing (I used bamboo fiber stuffing) around this bundle and stuff it inside your fabric sphere. Keep adding stuffing until the ball is round and firm. Make sure to work stuffing all around your bundle to keep it in the center of the ball. It is hard to over-stuff these spheres.

Pull the final two edges together and pin. You will need to compress the stuffing a bit to finish this seam, but it will spring back nicely. { photo 4 } Sew the final seam closed. Knot and bury the thread deep inside the ball. If necessary, you can tidy up the apexes of your sphere, where all six points meet, and close it off completely with a few little stitches.

Featured Stitches

Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 13, 2012 09:26 AM | 52 Comments

Books: Handmade to Sell


HANDMADE TO SELL:  Hello Craft’s Guide to Owning, Running, and Growing Your Crafty Biz

 By Kelly Rand with Christine Ernest, Sara Dick, and Kimberly Dorn

 (Potter Craft)  Hot off the press, and written by the founders, organizers, and executive staff of Hello Craft, a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters, this book gives you the A-Z advice on running your own handmade business.  From sourcing inexpensive materials, photographing your products, and setting up a booth at a craft fair, to launching an online storefront, branding and sales, all on a lean budget.  Handmade to Sell covers many subjects you may have questions on, and offers different options for each step of your way.  It is also full of fun illustrations and some photos.  If you are contemplating a new handmade business of your own, or already have one and want to make it more efficient, this is a great book to consider.



The winner is Jodya with following comment:  “The perfect how-to gift of encouragement for friends with talent & dreams for starting their own handcraft business! Hats off to the authors for leading the way.” 

Potter Craft is giving away a copy of this book to one lucky winner.  To enter drawing, please leave a comment on this post by Sunday, July 15, midnight Pacific Time.  This offer is for U.S. Residents only.  The winner is chosen on a random basis.

Thank you for your participation.


Please send books or products for review to:


Living Crafts

4521 Campus Drive #302

Irvine, CA  92612


Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 12, 2012 09:12 AM | 411 Comments

Good Finds: Lion Brand Bonbons


Beach color assortment

Bonbons is Lion Brand’s collections of 8 miniature skeins of yarn in one package. Each assortment includes 8 shades, perfect for any project requiring multiple colors, such as frinedship bracelets, amigurumi, colorwork, embroidery, and children’s crafts.  The cotton Bonbons are available in two assortments: mercerized cotton in brights (Beach), and mercerized cotton in spring shades (Nature).  Following is a photo of the Nature shades:

Nature color assortment

They have several patterns on their site, using this yarn, but our favorite is the Friendship Bracelet:

click on photo for free pattern

 Click here for several free patterns using this yarn.



The Winner is Susie H. with following comment:  “Oh wow! I’ve never seen these before, how fun!!!! Those nature shades are fantastic, and the bright colors are great too. Loving this giveaway! Thanks!”

The folks at Lion Brands are offering one lucky winner two sets of each of these cotton Bonbons, a total of four packages!  If you want a chance to win, please leave a comment below by Sunday, July 15th Midnight Pacific Time.  The offer is open to U.S. Residents only.  Thank you!


Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 11, 2012 10:00 AM | 459 Comments

Fairy Gardens- A Guest Post from the Magic Onions

Hello Living Crafts Friends! I am delighted to be here today to share some of the fun we have been having with Fairy Gardens this year. We host an annual Fairy Garden Contest on The Magic Onions from April 1st to August 1st and hope you will pop over to see all the gorgeous gardens our readers have made.

I have two children, Kitty who is 8 and Teddy who is 5… both of them are avid fairy gardeners. They play in the magical spaces they have created for hour upon hour.There is something reallymagical about working with your children to make a Fairy Garden. As with most things magic, I can’t quite put my finger on what makes it so. Perhaps it’s a combination of many things… working with moss and miniature is always charming. As is working with your children, especially when you are invited into their imaginations and can glimpse a little of what is true for them. This is a gift we don’t often get. Add a some creativity, thoughts of fairies and gnomes, a little pixie dust and it’s an enchanting experience for all of us. I’m super excited to share this Fairy Garden tutorial with you – we will be making a Fairy Garden in a pretty teacup… what could be more magical?!

Supplies we needed:
* a pretty teacup
* small stones
* moss that has been well watered

We began by putting a handful of clean, small rocks into our teacup.

As our teacup has no drainage holes in the bottom, the small stones will act as drainage, ensuring that our moss does not get flooded every time water it. Fill the teacup about halfway up with stones.

Next, we planted the moss. Use a sharp knife to cut a circle in your moss the same size as the top circumference of your teacup.

The roots of our moss went too deep for it to fit into our teacup. We used our sharp knife again to cut it the right depth… the moss needs to sit on top of the stones and have only green showing above the rim of the teacup.

Place your moss circle into the teacup and wiggle it around so that it sits comfortably on the rocks. Voila, your teacup Fairy Garden is ready for decorating.

Kitty made a cute fairy-sized banner with pretty scrapbook paper, string, glue dots and sticks.

She cut out tiny triangles from the paper. She pushed the two sticks into the moss and tied the string to the sticks. Then, using glue dots, she carefully stuck the paper triangles to the string to make her fairy banner.

We made a chair using sticks, garden scissors and our trusty hot glue gun. We planted a tiny succulent plant into a thimble for a fairy-sized potted plant.

We added a few miniature tools we found at our local craft store and a marble for fun.

What fun we have had with our teacup Fairy Garden. It lives on our dining room table as our centerpiece and the kids make up sweet fairy stories as our dinnertime conversation.

We water our teacup Fairy Garden sparingly a few times a week. As it is indoors, in indirect sunlight, just a little water is all it needs.

I invite everyone to make a Fairy Garden and enter it into our Fairy Garden Contest click here to see the details on how to enter and to view all of the amazing Fairy Gardens already entered. If you need even more inspiration, I also have a Fairy Garden Page that is packed full of many Fairy Garden ideas and tutorials, as well as a Tutorial on how to make a larger Fairy Garden.

Happy Fairy Gardening,

Blessings and magic,

Donni, at the Magic Onions

Thanks so much for joining us here, Donni, and sharing this beautiful tutorial!
For more inspiration and to see more of Donni’s wonderful work, please visit her websites:

Blog : The Magic Onions –
Shops: Fairyfolk –
Fairyfolk Weddings -
DovieMoon –
For more fairy garden ideas click here, and here to see Living Crafts photos of fairy gardens.

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Jul 7, 2012 06:36 AM | 7 Comments


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