Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged crafts

Stitch ‘N Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics

I have a confession to make: I am not much of a knitter. I feel like I should be, and I’ve tried to get beyond the basics numerous times in my life, but to little avail. My mom was a fantastic knitter. She inspired me to try it as a child, but I never quite got the hang of it. I focused instead on cross-stitch and other needlework and yarn crafts, as well as other art and craft forms more generally. Maybe the knitting talent skipped a generation.

Origami Pyramid Bag

It’s a hot July evening and I’m feeling like a wilted flower. Fashion has always been a great pick-me-up and I’m looking forward to sporting Silvermint’s strawberry Origami Pyramid Bag with a simple black sundress to a friend’s party. The bag attracted me with its unique design, convenient wristlet style, and high quality, interestingly-textured fabric and materials.

The Paper Bride: Wedding DIY from Pop-the-Question to Tie-the-Knot and Happily Ever After

Weddings are expensive. CNN Money states that, even with the recession, the average cost of a wedding in 2008 was $21,814. Paper goods, like invitations, save-the-date cards, and guest books can add up—so why not make them yourself?

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter is Kathy Cano-Murillo's first foray into the world of novel writing. The author, known to her crafting disciples as "Crafty Chica," already has a well-established fan base because of her popular crafting books, web series, nationally syndicated newspaper column, instructional craft cruise to Mexico, and product line.

Quilted Gadget Bag & Small Pouch

For no apparent reason, I fell in love with elephants when I was a little girl and started an ad hoc collection. By the time I was an adult I had gathered a small army of elephant kitsch that included everything from crystal statues to jewelry to candles to clocks. My penchant for all things pachyderm made gift-giving occasions an effortless affair for all of my family and friends, but while they were appreciative of the low maintenance mental exertion, their lack of creativity had me a little bit miffed.

Poppies Silhouette Pendant

This simple yet beautiful handmade pendant has a base of a one inch square piece of fiberboard and is but one of the hundreds of choices available from NoisyBirdStudio, a husband and wife team from New Hampshire. The husband cuts out the fiberboard tiles, and the wife does the rest. Once she creates her tiny pieces of art and prints them “using high-quality laser print and paper,” she sands and seals the edges and applies a “non-toxic glass-like resin” to the top. The resin on my pendant seems very sturdy and resistant to cracks and chips.

BooBoo Unisex Wrist Bracelet, Woven

The story behind a company and its products really makes or breaks my decision to purchase. Yes, aesthetics are a key determining factor, but my criteria goes beyond this alone. I want to know the who, what, where, when, and how behind it so that my money supports my values.

Paperie for Inspired Living: Stationery and Decorations for Weddings, Parties, and Other Special Occasions

Ever since I was in elementary school, I have been a DIY girl. I always received craft kits as a kid, and even now, I will not buy a sweater if I think I can knit it myself. So when I saw a book that claimed it could teach me how to make stationery and paper goods for special events, I was intrigued. In short, Paperie for Inspired Living is a DIY dream! Karen Bartolomei provides easily to follow instructions for each of the projects provided.

Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture

I’ve always thought of indie culture as the marriage of individuality and community, and of course, a celebration of the do-it-yourself (DIY) morality that is ingrained in our society. However, some of our most creative pioneers are often obscured from mainstream art, music, and literature.

Mortal Plush: I Am Not Your Toy (08/2009)

As soon as I walked into the gallery, I became a former version of myself: a little girl who was absolutely giddy upon seeing so many wonderful stuffed animals. Each lovely creature was mounted and labeled (it is an art gallery, after all), but I wanted to reach out and touch them all, as though they were living creatures, like I used to believe my stuffed animals were. The pieces were exquisite. With masterful detail, each artist had projected precise human emotion onto their works of felted wool, cloth, or other fiber art medium.

Birds of Paradise Earrings

Not ever being one to splurge on jewelry, I’m often times frustrated by the cheap and mass produced items I find myself buying off racks in department stores. I am no stranger to a green finger, a necklace that breaks as I’m putting it on for the very first time, or an earring that manages to fall off in transit, which always provides for a few strange glances once I arrive at work.

Upcycled Box

When I met my friend Jo at Café Coffee Day, I brought a gift for her with me: York Peppermint Patties. My mom gave me a bag full of the tiny circular treats before I hopped on a plane to return to the place of my temporary residence. From time to time she sends me care packages with miscellaneous unattainable American goodies that can’t be found in Kolkata’s plentiful markets: grits, nutritional yeast, black beans.

Vulva Portrait Pendant / Gush! Menstrual Pads / Vegan Lip Balm

Would you send a photo of your vagina to a stranger online? Sounds like a MySpace porn scam, right? In one particular situation, you’d be totally wrong. As I write, I have a replica of my own vulva around my neck. It is amazingly accurate and arguably one of the more tasteful pieces of jewelry I own—assuming you aren’t offended by my own very special vagina. I’m not. My necklace—and matching charm—are based on a photo and description I sent to Vulva Love Lovely, an Etsy shop that celebrates all things vaginal.

Bit of Arts and Crafts II Ceiling Fan Pull

It’s hard to know exactly how to describe a product that is, at once, so lovely, functional, and distinct. The Trace Ellements ceiling fan pull is a handmade, sturdy item that consists of smooth moss green and deep caramel swirled beads held together by thick brass wire. It can easily fasten to most ball chains, and adds a nice burst of color and elegance to an otherwise undecorated ceiling fan. It doesn’t matter whether your fan has a wooden finish, though it certainly complements a brown backdrop.

Kilobyte Couture: Geek Chic Jewelry to Make From Easy-to-Find Computer Components

As someone who has recently begun making and designing jewelry using the standard materials—such as beads, chains, ribbons—I was impressed to see a book about jewelry made from computer parts. Yes, that’s right, computer parts. Written by former Etsy seller Brittany Forks, Kilobyte Couture touts itself as "geek chic", but I think many of the designs and styles are simply chic!

Bleeding Chanel Necklace and Microphone Earrings

What do a straightedge vegetarian German jewelry maker and I have in common? Besides our love of a drug-free lifestyle and animal-free eating, we like the punk-rock aesthetic—and if I do say so myself, a delightful mix of the ideals. PorcelinaZERO, an online boutique run by an exceptionally friendly woman named Tanja, is filled with cute charms, funky rings, brightly colored cameo necklaces, and hip earrings. As I type, lightweight miniature microphones dangle from my earlobes.

Button It Up: 80 Amazing Vintage Button Projects for Necklaces, Bracelets, Embellishments, Housewares, & More

As a child, I remember marveling at the quart jar full of old buttons at my grandmother’s house; I would pour them out onto the floor and separate out the ones that I thought were the prettiest.

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

I don’t usually have high hopes for books based on films. Luckily, Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, which is based on the documentary by the same name, rises above what one would typically expect from this genre. Chock full of large color photos and interviews with crafters from fifteen cities around the country, this book provides a window into the modern craft movement in America.

Screen Your Stuff: A Fun, Funky Introduction to Silk-Screening Your Tees, Totes, Towels & More

Screen Your Stuff is an extremely basic introduction to silk-screening, aimed at young girls. Marion Levy and Veronique Georgelin share a rudimentary method that involves covering the screen with plastic laminate with shapes cut out of it.

Pearl Earrings with Mother of Pearl Accent

One of the best fashion tips that I’ve ever received is: "Don’t waste money on real pearls. They are easily destroyed by perfume and makeup and the average person can’t tell the difference between fakes and the real thing." That’s one of the reasons that I selected a pair of inexpensive, handmade pearl drop earrings crafted by Designs by K.

Arts and Crafts Market (8/30/2008)

These are tough times we’re living in, and it seems as if it has become increasingly rare for people to act out of the kindness of their hearts and the courage of their convictions. The economy is failing, the country is on the cusp of one of the most important presidential elections in American history, an ongoing war is costing the country trillions of dollars and many of us have to choose between paying the electricity bill and putting food on the table. So, what can we do in these times of great hardship?

Eggy Cup

Scrumdidlyump is the tongue-twisting brainchild of Katie Elkins, who (according to her Etsy profile) comes from the faraway land of Dixie and lives in the land of weirdos - an obviously highly enlightened place. Her Etsy store is a perfect reflection of this weirdness.


Ember Necessary Baggage is a company founded by one woman, Ellen M. Belanger, who creates personal bags – including handbags, totes, and wallets. Her artistry is seen in cleverly crafted designs and carefully stitched construction. Each and every bag is made by hand, often a one-of-a-kind piece.

Liddle Kiddle Embroidery Patterns (Artist Series #4)

I had never before attempted embroidery until I received Sublime Stitching’s Artist Series #4 embroidery patterns, “Liddle Kiddle” designs drawn by artist and illustrator Lisa Petrucci. The front of the packet promises “any skill level” and “EZ how 2,” and it’s true! By following the included instructions, I was embroidering immediately, even though I’m not a particularly gifted textile crafter.

Sew Everything Workshop

Handicrafts have made an incredible resurgence in the past few years; everyone I know (and their mama) knits or crochets. There are plenty of hip, modern knitting and crocheting books to go along with the trend, to show people things they actually might want to make. Sewing has come a long way as well, but unlike the other crafts, books for modern young women who want to sew their own clothes are few and far between (not considering books about reconstructing old clothes, of which there are lots of great ones).

I [Heart] Felt: 33 Eye-Popping Projects for the Inspired Knitter

I’m sort of a moron when it comes to knitting. Yes, I’ve made beautiful scarves for my partners and friends, the occasional hat that I inevitably give away, and I’ve donated time making squares for charity quilts. But when it comes to anything more complex than a multi-colored potholder, I’m a dunce.

Kick Ass Rubber Stamps

The padded manila mailer arrived and was opened to disclose a sticker reading “San Diego Craft Mafia,” three rubber stamps, and four small inkpads. The stamps are of a skull, rose and couple inches of barbed wire. All Asta Arts designs are drawn from old-timey tattoos and other gritty sources: the full-blown rose, snakes wrapped swords, nautical stars. The four ink pads—green, red, yellow, and black—are small enough that I needed to ink them by inverting the pad and placing the stamps on the carved rubber.

English Grammar Journal

The first thing I wanted to do when I pulled this wonderful journal out of its envelope was practice my English skills. Well, not really, but the lovely vintage cover and whimsical page inserts from what seems like old English textbooks throughout the journal convinced me that I did. The blank pages just scream to be be written on, and the way the journal is put together makes that as convenient as possible.

La Petite “Scooter Babe” Starter Kit

If at first glance needlepoint may not seem to be the most feminist of activities, think again. The sewing and decorating of textile goods has long been a task designated to women. While women have won their place in the workforce, female crafts such as embroidery are losing popularity. What better way to keep the art alive than with the funky designs of Sublime Stitching? The slogan reads, “This ain’t your gramma’s embroidery!” and with all due respect grandma, the La Petite Starter Kit, available for $22.50, is a bit more free form.

Felted Hairpin

For those tuned into fiber art trends, you may have noticed that felted creations have been making their way into many corners the past few years. One such corner is the world of hair accessories that Babs from MWAH! Creations has leapt into. One hundred percent wool and attached to an extra fancy bobby pin, these felted hairpins are two-toned and about the size of a nickel. My pin added lovely flair to my short coif, and I received compliments on the street.