The Crafting Continuum

Black Friday- It’s For Crafters Too

Black Friday- that simple phrase brings up a lot of opinions and feelings.  We never did the Black Friday shopping when I was a kid.  As a young adult on a budget, I felt bound to go out early Friday morning so I could afford to cross those nicer gifts off my list.  As someone nearing middle age, I do most of my holiday shopping throughout the year.  Black Friday has now become a day where I shop for me.  My hubby gets dragged to ALL the craft stores.   

Ah, but the craft stores… So many deals.  As someone who works with all sorts of medias, it’s a dream come true.  While not everyone has released their Black Friday adds (ehm!  I am looking at you JoAnns and Michaels!) many of the craft stores have the same sales each year.  Many deals start at 50% and then the sky is the limit.  I am hoping JoAnns will have their normal bead sale (where I can pick up bead strands for just $2!).  It’s also a time to stock up on embroidery floss, craft paper and Cricut supplies. 

Thanks to technology, many deals can also be found online.  So, if you don’t need to touch everything, or are concerned about impulse control, it is a great option and allows you to stay in your P.J.s.  That is where you will find Cora on Black Friday- online yarn shopping with a cat or two (or four) in her lap.  I am a tactile shopper when it comes to craft supplies (Amazon not withstanding).  So I go out after sleeping in a bit and stopping for breakfast.  Plus, the dogs somehow know when it’s black Friday and the pet stores have their favorite treats on sale.    

While supply chain interruptions might limit some of the goodies to be found, there are deals everywhere you turn.  And many stores are doing some awesome deals early. Shop safe (mask up) and enjoy!

Here is how my 6 year old spent Black Friday last year:

Deals as reported on Black Friday 2021 Black Friday Ads and Black Friday Deals Online | BlackFriday.com

Family Craft Night

Bring on the fun!  This ain’t your mother’s craft night.  Well, actually it is, and your cousin’s and BFF’s...   Our monthly craft nights start this Saturday, August 21, 2021, and are sure to be a good time.  Each month we will offer several crafts that are good for (almost) all ages.  (Little fingers might need some help.).  This month offers mini woven yarn baskets and cork keychains.  These fun crafts can be simple, or elevated- depending on your skill level and aesthetic.  We provide the supplies and the instruction, you provide the company.  While donations are greatly appreciated, they are not required.  We want our space to be welcoming and to allow your creative juices to flow.  

This Saturday will be an especially busy one for us as we are joining Payette's Fine Art at Hounds on the Hill in Puyallup.  This annual community pet event brings out a fabulous assortment or vendors and community organizations and allows you to show off your four-legged friends.  If you are out and about, feel free to stop by our booth and grab a flier (or two, we encourage sharing). 

At the park or in the studio, either way we hope to see you Saturday!       

I am not an artist

I've always been a creative type. I love to make things and build things. I tinker and I dabble, and I enjoy making different things with my hands. I've finished hundreds, probably thousands of projects.

But I've never considered myself an artist.

In college I taught myself to knit on colored pencils (because I was a broke college kid who couldn't afford needles). A few years after that I taught myself to crochet and that became my true love.

But I am not an artist.

I wanted a "welcome" sign for my garden gate. I scoured the internet for ideas but didn't find anything I liked. So I made one myself. I didn't like any of the birdhouses I found online, so I made one myself.

But I am not an artist.

I decided I didn't like my plain backyard. So I redesigned and completely rebuilt it-by myself, by hand, into a beautiful garden oasis.

But I am not an artist.

I sing, I dance, I even acted way back in the day (I have several VHS to prove it!)

But I am not an artist.

I write silly short stories and poems, song lyrics and, yes, even blog posts.

But I am not an artist.

I've (tried) painting, making jewelry, macrame, photography, cross-stitch, ceramics, calligraphy, felting, even scrimshaw.

But I am not an artist.

An artist is a painter, a sculptor, a musician, a writer. Someone who makes things that people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars in the pursuit to acquire. Artists are an "elite" group who make things far beyond my meager abilities.

...Right?

I've fallen into a trap we call "hobbies". Creating things for fun, for stress relief, for simple pleasure. Looking at something created by my own hands and devaluing it as "not art" because I created it. I've listened to the voice in my head too many times saying it is "not good enough" or "not perfect", therefore it is less than what others would have, could have done. I've passed up opportunities to try new things because I might not be able to make it look good, or as good as others. I might fail.

But these are all lies we tell ourselves.

We are all artists in our all rights. Maybe we will never be remembered like da Vinici or Michaelangelo, but fame is not what makes an artist. Creating is. And it doesn't matter how good you are. What matters is that you tried, and that hopefully you had a good time.

YOU are an ARTIST!

Finding inspiration

Tis the season!  

No, not really, it’s summer- no matter what the stores are telling you.  We have months until the holidays!  

When I am not feeling crafty but want to feel productive, I find myself organizing my beads.  I put away lose beads from previous classes and take apart pieces I made but decided I didn’t like. I also disassemble necklaces, rings and bracelets purchased at yard sales and Goodwill (gold mine for vintage beads).  I get my hands in with the glass and crystal and plastic and enjoy the simply playing with the beads.    

This is when inspiration hits.  Sometimes I find beads or charms I had forgotten about and suddenly an idea forms.  Other times I simply find a combination I hadn’t considered before.  Today I was putting away charms and found my holiday-themed stash.  With these colorful charms, I find less beads is better and these simple designs are quick and easy to put together and make fabulous earrings.  Work with what moves you when it moves you.    

Books are another great form of inspiration.  There are a billion beading magazines and books out there.  Your local bookstore or craft store is guaranteed to carry a selection, or check out your local thrift store.  I can’t tell you how many different art books I have purchased second hand.  My most favorite finds are books from the 70’s-80’s with long forgotten patterns and styles.  Jewelry, like fashion, goes in waves and is ever-changing.  Of course, there are online options like Pintrest (have you checked out Craftopia's boards yet?) and simple online searches for ideas.  

There are times when this cleaning/organizing doesn’t yield inspiration- and that’s ok!  Artists are not always inspired, that’s what makes their pieces of art so special and unique.  Don’t force creativity, search for it, and welcome it, but also be prepared to accept that today might not be the day for a masterpiece.    

Grand Craftopening

Welcome to Craftopia.  We are just starting out, but we hope you will join us on our journey to bring more art & crafts and artistic opportunities to our community.

What exactly is Craftopia you ask?  Craftopia is a creative space, a space for learning, creating, sharing and enjoying the company of other crafters.  It is perfect for anyone just starting their crafting journey as well as those who have been creating masterpieces for years.  It is what happens when two highly creative people want to share that creativity with the community.  

Craftopia was dreamt up over a few years and it's finally time to breathe life into it and see what happens.  We could not be more excited, and nervous, but mostly excited.  Our dreams are large, our own space with open areas for the community to create, classes and workshops, even a storefront for local artists to display and sell their wares.  But to start- classes!  Our Grand Opening is on the 17th from 3-6pm, and after that we start holding classes for those interested in learning new skills.  We will be offering classes for all ages and in several mediums.  I love to make jewelry, but also tend to try anything and everything I see.  (I am literally a serial crafter).  We are starting out with crochet and jewelry, but as we grow so will our offerings.      

We are so thankful to Payette of Payette's School of Dance for allowing us use of her studio to start our classes.  Payette is an amazing artist herself and works in a number of mediums.  She is also a great dance teacher- in case you know anyone interested in learning some new moves.  Covid was rough.  Being apart was rough (even for an introvert such as myself) and I am so excited that we will finally be able to gather once again. I hope you can join us on the 17th and then are intrigued enough to sign up for some of our classes.  We would love to meet you and see what gifts you have to share. 

IT’S HAPPENING!

That's right, folks! We're really doing this!
Our first classes are on the books and open for reservation! Be sure to check out our first offerings, starting in July, on our Classes & Events Page. We're starting off easy, but look forward to adding more and more classes as we get rolling.

To start, we have the following :

  • July 8- Introduction to Earring Making
  • July 8- Crochet Basics Series (4 weeks)
  • July 17- Introduction to Earring Making
  • July 22- Twin Bead Bracelet Class
  • July 31- Twin Bead Bracelet Class

If you haven't already, we'd also love you to check out our social media sites! Like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/craftopiaWA, Follow us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/CraftopiaWA, or pop over to pintrest for some of our favorite crafty ideas at www.pinterest.com/CraftopiaWA.

Looking forward to getting crafty with you soon!

It starts with a dream

If you could quit your job right now and do anything, what would it be?

Me? I'd spend my days crafting, dancing and gardening (when the weather is nice, of course).

Nothing against my day job, really. It pays the bills and leaves me enough extra money to support my craft addiction. And it provides me with a healthy work-life balance so I have time to do the things I enjoy and get a decent night's sleep, which I realize is more than many people can say. But is it fulfilling? No. Is it stimulating? No. Does it make me feel accomplished and like I'm living a life worth living? No. Do I want to spend the next 30 years plodding away, waiting for the one day when I can -hopefully- retire and actually live my dreams? NO!

Oh, and did I mention that I actually work three jobs?  And have a small crochet business?  

So out of that, the idea of Craftopia was born!

I wasn't the only one feeling that way. My Crafter-in-Crime, Darcy of Serial Crafter, agreed that this would be a much better way to spend our lives.  Nearly everyone I ran the idea by also thought it was pretty fantastic. So now all that we need is a building, some time, and money.  

Enter Covid.  Oh, hello life coming to a screeching halt!  Our business idea definitely depends on in-person happenings, so that all got thrown on a back burner. I mean, are we sure 2020 actually happened?   Because it all seems like one big, hazy dream.  Well, perhaps more like a nightmare.  

Fast forward, here we are in the middle of 2021.  Things are slowly getting back to whatever the new "normal" will be.  And it is time to do this thing!  We have a space, thanks to the generous partnership of Payette's School of Dance and we have the supplies thanks to Darcy and my craft supply shopping addiction.  So all that is missing is...YOU!  (Ok, so time is also still a bit of a challenge, but we are working on it)

We are super excited to be rolling out some craft classes over the next few months and working with other groups to make this dream a reality.


Here's the ultimate dream:  to create a comprehensive, welcoming space for people to come and explore the world of arts and crafts.  This would include having classes and craft parties, creating a co-work space where people can come and use supplies and equipment that would otherwise not be available to them, and providing a space for local artists to sell their products.