Cold Weather Crafting

What do you make while you're cooped inside?

People who are quarantining are really missing the warmer weather in many parts of the country right now, and many are turning to fun indoor projects to keep their minds occupied while sheltering in place. From coloring to watercolors, light woodworking to jewelry making, there are so many cool indoor hobbies to take on during the cold weather months.

My teen likes to make costumes and wants to go into business making and selling them, and lately my favorite cold weather projects include wax art and watercolor. I just learned that there's an art called wax painting, or encaustic wax, which has me pretty excited! I definitely want to learn more about this art.

What indoor arts are you into right now? Share them in the chat!

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Valentine's Diamond Art

Are you making anything?

Diamond Art Club sent us some fun ideas to check out for Valentine's projects this year, including this cute "Love Birds" piece and a pink and red project simply entitled "Love." The projects are great for people who love coloring by number and intricate crafts where you concentrate and maybe even meditate. They do require a steady hand! If you love puzzles it may be up your alley. You can find them at the website or JoAnn's stores.

If you're like me and you're much messier with your crafting, you might find making hearts with tissue paper "stained glass" more your speed. It's a great craft for littles, too, since there's not a lot of setup, mess or cleanup!

What are you making this week for Valentine's Day?

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Best Coloring Sheets Online

Have you checked out NASA's coloring pages?

While I'm not a big coloring person, I do love how accessible coloring is as a craft. It can be done by most people and it's inexpensive and relaxing. People seek out coloring books based on their interests, whether they are fandom-related, "grown up" coloring books or otherwise particular to a subject of interest. My mom even got one full of swear words for the holidays!

Yesterday I saw that NASA has a bunch of coloring sheets that would be perfect for space lovers, kids learning about science and any other science buffs. We haven't been able to go to our Science Center since last spring and I sure miss it. This isn't the same at all but it's still a nice way to learn while relaxing.

Where do you find the best coloring sheets online? Share them in the chat.

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Inauguration Crafts

What are you making?

Lots of people are preparing for Inauguration, whether they'll be watching, celebrating, or teaching students about how it all works. It's an historic inauguration on multiple levels, from many firsts to our first inauguration with Covid-19 precautions. In preparation, lots of parents and teachers are prepping some fun activities and crafts.

I've seen printed banners of Biden and Harris, noisemakers, signs and lots of other crafts coupled with inauguration games. Kids are making crafts like handprint bald eagles and American flags, and Dr. Jill is going to have a children's activity during Wednesday's festivities, too.

What kinds of crafts and activities are you planning?

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Cozy Winter Crafting

What are you making?

It's that time of year when it's lovely to practice the beautiful art of hygge, stay inside on really cold days and do some crafting! I've got my ambient mixer on and I'm working on a plarning project to make a mat for someone without a home to sleep on. What are you working on? 

The Octopreemie project has been on my radar for a while and I'd like to work on that once I learn how to really master the art, but plarning is a nice, easy way to get used to using the needles! Both are really great ways to get artsy indoors during the cold months.

What are you creating right now? Share it in the chat!

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Subversive Crafting

What have you seen--or made?

When art makes a bold statement, it can really make you think. Sometimes it's not pleasant. Once I took a group of kids on a field trip to the Contemporary Art Museum where a violent video played on repeat as an artistic commentary. Other times, it just pulls at your gut--like when we see photos of the groceries of one family next to those of another less fortunate family. Then there's art that draws controversy, like this 33-meter vagina made in Brazil.

Obviously it was meant to cause controversy, but the beauty of it remains: the artist wanted to draw commentary on gender inequality and how phallic symbols are so prevalent in society, yet vaginas aren't as accepted (except maybe in Georgia O'Keefe paintings). It's a delightful piece even if people are outraged by it.

I've seen everything from seed bombing to plarning (plastic yarn making, which you can make into mats for people to sleep on), yarn bombing (wrapping items in yarn) to messages on stones left for others to find in sidewalk cracks. What other kinds of guerilla or subversive arts and crafts have you seen? Which made you think the most?

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New Year's Crafting

What are you making?

Now that my kiddo is a teenager, we don't do nearly as much crafting as we used to do together during the holidays. We still make things here and there; my teen actually made toilet paper ornaments for everyone this year! Looking for a project that holds a teen's interest is a challenge in and of itself.

We used to make New Year's ornaments filled with wishes for the year to come, cute noisemakers and other crafts. This year, I'm looking for something we both can enjoy that's not as "babyish," although I think these are all still pretty fun as an adult!

I'm thinking origami stars with wishes written on them might be a good idea. We haven't made those in a while. What are you making for New Year's Eve? What would you suggest for a teenager to make? Share your ideas in the chat.

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Last Minute Holiday Gifts

What are you making?

Even though many of us are at home these days, time still manages to get away from us. Have you been crafting up a storm? I know my family has done some crafting but not nearly as much as we'd planned on doing at the beginning of the holiday season.

My teen made these cute felt crafts (and used hot glue to speed the process up) and we cut up some cute geeky snowflakes. I printed some bookmarks to give with gifts, but that didn't take much craftiness! We've tried a few craft kits, some fun drawing challenges and a couple of paint along videos on Youtube.

What last minute crafting have you been up to? Share it in the chat.

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Diamond Art Kits

Have you tried these?

After a cozy day of tree decorating, Christmas movie-watching and driving around to see lights from the car (complete with cocoa!), my family and I settled in to try out a Diamond Art Kit that was sent to us to review. The project we received is the beautiful Starry Night Santa. We'd never tried one of these kits before and looked forward to it very much.

At first glance, the project seems very daunting. There are what seem to be endless "diamonds," the little faceted pieces that gleam and shine when you apply them to the project. The boxes are super tiny and I wondered how we would even get the pieces in the boxes! It's essentially a more challenging paint-by-number kit, but instead of painting, you're adding tiny "diamonds" to make a 3-D, shining piece.

When I first heard about Diamond Art Kits, I thought they were a bit pricey for a craft kit, but now that I have it all before me I think the cost is definitely fair, especially since you can get free shipping just by buying two kits. They also offer specials sometimes for additional deals. The kit includes a quality, fabric-backed canvas, all the "diamonds," an applicator and tweezers, a tray, wax for the applicator and a guide with tips.

It is definitely a challenge to get started! You add wax to your applicator to help hold the diamonds, then carefully place them where they go on the canvas. I actually found the tweezers to be more helpful and used those, which was good because there were three of us. It might even be helpful for kits to include additional applicators for families because it's easily a group project.

If you love meditative art or color by number crafts and you have good dexterity in your hands, this might be the perfect craft for you. It will definitely take time to finish so if you're spending a lot of time at home now (as most of us are doing), it will help keep you occupied! I'm more of a messy creative who likes to customize my work and I'm not very patient, but we're going to try to finish our piece between the three of us. With my patient family's help I think we can pull it off!

Have you ever tried a Diamond Art kit? What did you think? Which one is your favorite?

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Crafts For Good Causes

Share what you are making!

While crafting is a wonderful way to embrace creativity, enjoy downtime, relieve stress and even generate income, it's also a great way to give back. There are so many wonderful crafting opportunities to help others, especially during the holidays. Some projects on our radar right now include:

Plarning, or crocheting water-proof mats out of plastic bags. A friend is teaching us how to do this so we can donate mats to unhoused people in our area.

Octopreemie loveys, which help comfort premature babies. My kiddo was a micropreemie and this is very close to my heart.

Letters, bookmarks and cards to people who are homebound, children in foster car and people in assisted living facilities. These are much more up my alley than crocheting. Call local agencies where you live to see what's needed.

What are you making this season to share some love and kindness? Tell us in the chat.


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