Editor's note: We are in a time of intense upheaval, with daily outrageous, unprecedented attacks on our country. Lately I spend a lot of my creativity on crafting just the right slogan for the next protest or postcard. However, I do believe in the value of Taking Breaks and Avoiding Overload. I recommend feeding your soul with a bit of frivolity from time to time, as a self-preservation measure. It doesn't make you (or me) any less resolute.
So: here's a fun post from a vintage crafting magazine.
The crafty ladies of 1968 covered their bases with this headline:
I like that they call the pom-pom critters "weird," and they don't mean it in a bad way. That's fairly hip for a women's magazine in the '60s. They also aren't wrong.
Sorry, no directions included here — there were many very-wrinkled pages of them, and I trust that you can tackle these on your own. If you need a pom-pom making tutorial, I recommend made everyday's — she uses the ultra-simple method I use. For a tutorial showing a multi-colored pom, try A Lovely Lark.
I have a fickle relationship with puns. For the most part, I'd rather do without them. However, I give puns an all-access pass to Valentine's Day. There's something about the holiday that both inspires and excuses a certain level of corniness. Who am I to turn my back on that?
As you've probably noticed, there's not much crafting involved with these — consider them merely an invitation to draw some fish and write some silly puns.
This next one does require glue-sticking a separate fin-shaped piece onto the front. It might be my favorite.
Have you met Daniel Ranalli? He's a photographer, image maker, and art creator, and one of his long-running projects is to photograph sea snails in wet sand. He sets them up in a pattern or shape, and then watches as the snails make the art their own.
He's taking environmental art (ala Andy Goldsworthy, or for a more common example, the practice of stacking rocks into cairns) to the next level. In his words, "I tend to think of the snail pieces as a metaphor for the order we establish in our lives, and how the element of chance enters in to shape the result — regardless of how much we attempt to structure it."
A lot of his work — not just these oceanic snail collaborations — is Cape Cod-inspired and -based, which is near to my heart. Please go to his portfolio site and explore!
Because it's the thought that counts, not the price tag.
Regular readers will know I love cardboard as a craft material, for both its sturdiness and its free-ness. We still have plenty hanging around the house post-holidays, so made a couple of rings! Partly this project is in anticipation of Valentine's Day, which is a mere short month away. It's incredibly easy to make rings for everyone on your "i care about you" list.
Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard against the grain (i.e. the corrugations). Loop it into an overlapping ring around a finger for a good fit, then glue the overlapping parts. Clamp with a clothespin while the glue dries.
Cut a "gem" or other focal shape, if you like, and glue it to the ring.
Paint your glued ring with white acrylic or craft paint and let it dry.
I tried to make my gem look sort of faceted, so after the paint dried, I marked guide lines in pencil.
That's it! If you use permanent marker and acrylic craft paint, you shouldn't have much trouble with the color bleeding onto your skin or clothes, but I certainly would try to avoid getting these wet. Of course, you can also decorate these rings with stickers, or washi tape, or glue on fabric or beads or feathers or all of the above! They're ideal for a fun, quick party activity (make a bunch and paint them white beforehand).
Calling these rope dolls "action figures" feels like a stretch — I wouldn't let a kid actually play with these — but maybe in 1970 "action figures" didn't mean what they mean today.
I guess it's the fact that they are posed in the middle of an action? I dunno. I find their empty faces rather odd, moreso when given a pair of glasses (I'm looking at you, knitting grandma).
These are made by inserting a stiff wire through the center of a length of clothesline, which sounds like an advanced-level craft maneuver to me. The bowl-like hats are made by coiling glue-soaked string around the top of a lightbulb and letting it dry. That's a good tip, though you'll have to find an old-fashioned lightbulb for it.
Want the full (lengthy) directions? Sure:
Have you met Stephen McMennamy? He makes two-part photo collages — called "combophotos — using only photographs he's taken himself, matching colors/sizing/lighting to create odd (and often funny) images.
I like that he takes his own photos, and that he gets his family involved (that's his daughter acting as a road-raging driver, above). If you go to his Tumbler, he explains how each combophoto came to be, and there are many more combophotos to explore. Use Stephen's work as a starting-off point for a creative activity: Use a stack of old magazines, or (for the more ambitious/less magazine-hoarding) a smart phone/digital camera, to come up with odd combos of your own.
Just a short note to say that I'm alive, after barely surviving the rush of the holidays and a nasty head cold (which I am still trying to get out of). More fun and creative times are coming up soon! xo
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.