Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have a new shiney!

My Silhouette cutter came in today.  I am in hog heaven.  My only complaint so far is that there aren't more instructions for creating new designs other than how to draw a line/circle/square.  I'm fidgeting with it a little bit at a time and seeing what works.  I'll post pictures soon, I promise.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Things to do before sewing

Okay, Ashley mentioned she would like to learn to sew.  While I'm no expert, there are a few things I have learned.

1. Buy a few extra inches of fabric.  I've had to run out to the store and buy an entire extra yard of fabric just because something shrunk two inches.  Save yourself the heartache, buy a little tiny bit extra.

2. Wash your fabric first.  Sometimes new fabrics shrink when you wash them, wouldn't you hate that to happen after you spent all that time cutting and sewing and getting everything fitted properly?

3.  Iron your fabric before you cut.  It just makes things easier, and you'll get a more precise cut.  If you've got wrinkles, it'll throw things off.

4.  Press.  It might seem like you don't need to, but believe me, most fabrics behave so much better when they've been steamed into submission.  It cuts down on the number of pins you have to use as well.

5.  Basting.  Sometimes it just works better to grab a needle and thread and hand baste something, such as when you're working in an area that you just can't quite get under the sewing machine all that easily, or something that just won't lay right for long enough.  Sometimes pins just don't cut it.  I'm not saying basting stitches have to be even or pretty, and most of the time I just grab a needle that has thread on it.  It makes it easier to remove your basting stitches later if the thread isn't a match.

6.  Edge finishing.  I don't have a serger, but sometimes I wish I did.  However, I do have a sewing machine that will do a zig-zag stitch.  When I have something that either wants to fray like mad or is just going to need to be plain sturdy, I zig-zag over any edges that are going to be exposed.  It makes a difference over time.

7.  Use the proper sewing machine needle, and change it often.  While I don't change my needle all that often, I can tell a difference when I do.  At the very least, inspect your needle to make sure it's straight and not dull or broken.  Your sewing machine will thank you.

8.  Good scissors.  Your wrist will thank you too.

While most of the above are good rules of thumb, there are always exceptions.  You don't want to wash dry clean only fabric, you can't iron some things because they might melt, some fabrics don't fray etc.  Ooh, there's number 9.

9.  Read the care instructions on the end of the bolt of fabric before you buy it.

And, as always, ask questions if you don't know.  I know the place where I buy fabric is a great place to ask questions when I don't know what to do (usually).

That's all I can think of right this minute.  Not bad for just throwing a few things out there, right?

Happy Crafting!


We had a blast!

So, today we met at Kimberly's beautiful home.  Let me take a moment to drool over her craft room. 

Now that I am done mopping up my keyboard, I shall continue.

Attending were me and my two little munchkins, Kim (of course), Brandie and her little girl, and she brought along Ashley and her son.  We sat around and talked for a while and our kids hit it off wonderfully.  I brought in a few examples of some of the things I've been talking about, and we agreed that when we do get together next, I will bring my quilling supplies and show everyone how it's done.  If you guys like it, you can order your own tools and such.  We don't have a definite date and time set, since the next week is Masters/spring break, and after that Kim is going out of town for a bit, so we'll just nail something down later on.

Big thanks to Brandie and Ashley for driving all the way out, and huge thanks to Kim for sharing her home with us!

Coming soon - a few little tidbits on sewing.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Conspiracy meeting, Tuesday, March 29

Please forgive me for not making this post yesterday, things have been crazy around here. I'm doing this from my phone as it is while I rock my little one to sleep.

The plan is still to meet on Tuesday at Kimberly's house.  The original planned time was 4:00, so we'll stick to that one, too.

I know we haven't organized much in the way of food, but I'm planning on making up some rice krispy treats, just because I have an over abundance of cereal.  If anyone else wants to bring something, that's all good, just leave a comment.

For those of you planning to attend, I think it would be better to give out the address via phone or email, so send me an email.

I would love it if you guys would bring some of your handiwork with you to show off!  Also, bring your calendars so we can get our dates matched!

See you there!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Design for Craft Conspiracy!

Have a look and see!  I worked pretty hard on it, given I'm still learning, so tell me what you think!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Craft Conspiracy Questionairre

Greetings, Conspirators!

I am so anxious to have our first real meeting!  In order to do so, I need a little input from those of you who would like to meet up.  If you are interested and live in the Augusta-Metro area, I need you to answer a few questions for me, so I know what you would like to see.  This is like voting, if you don't vote, you don't get a say, so vote already!

In order to plan what crafts we're going to teach, I need to know what you're interested in, as well as what you are able to teach.

Here are a few things that I can teach:
  • Paper Quilling - If you are interested in learning paper quilling, you will need a few tools.  I have plenty of paper to share, and the tools aren't really expensive.  This isn't a widely-known craft, which is probably why I love it. (I like to do "different" things.)  To see examples of quilling, check them out at Quilled Creations.  They have a shop and a gallery to look at.
  • Needle Tatting - I'm just learning needle tatting, but I've got the basics down well enough to get you started.  If you would like to learn, you'll need tatting needles (the only place I found them locally is Hobby Lobby).  This is also an obscure craft.  Lots of people don't even know what you're talking about when you say "tatting".  I'm planning on making jewelry with mine.  If you would like to see some really impressive work, check out Needle Tatting and other Nonsense.  Her video is what got me started with tatting, and she has some gorgeous pieces on her blog.
  • Crochet - I have enough yarn and different crochet hooks to lend during a session for a few people, but you will need your own if you plan to continue on yourself.
  • French Beaded Flowers - These flowers are absolutely gorgeous, and it's not terribly difficult!  It might not be something you want to do with small children underfoot, since you are working with wire and beads.  I learned a lot from Kimberly Chapman's site, including how to make a bead spinner.
  • Sewing - We can break up sessions based on the project.  I think a tote bag would be a good one, and maybe a child's dress for another.  If you have a request for something you would like to see, let me know.
  • Cooking and Baking - I used to cook for a living, you'll at least see me post recipes here from time to time.
  • Paper Cutting - The art of using colored papers to create a piece of artwork.  I don't have any pictures to show you right now, but I've done a few of these.  I'll tell you right now, it's slow and tedious, depending on the subject matter, but it's really rewarding.  Dude Craft did this tutorial for making a portrait, and I really can't wait to try.  I just have to find just the right picture and work on it in Photoshop for a while first.
  • Book binding - I've made a few hard cover blank journals.  Nice if you want something customizable for the cover.   
  • Fused Plastic Bags - I have finally figured out the right temperature setting for my iron, but I've only made one tote bag out of it.  I'm trying to think up a good way to use the plastic.  This would be a good brainstorming session.
  • Recycling Crafts - I've seen lots of things from making wall art out of toilet paper rolls (it didn't look cheesy, I promise), baskets made from newspaper or brown paper bags,  and all sorts of things made from magazine pages.  I'm all for the free craft supplies.
Now, here's a list of things I would like to get into.
  • Polymer Clay - I would particularly like to make some cute buttons.  They're so expensive at the store.
  • Stained glass/faux stained glass - It looks fun.
  • Knitting - I know how to knit and purl, but that's about it.
  • Quilting - I have made a small thing, but my corners just didn't line up all over.
Now it's your turn.  What would you like to see?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Meeting proposed for Tuesday, March 29, 4:00 pm

Okay, so far I have only had one person respond about our meeting next week.  I'm not sure if it's lack of interest for the topic of Paper Quilling or that no one can make it at that time.

If Jessica is the only one that is interested in paper quilling, the two of us can get together some other time.

If you guys want a different project, what would you like to see?

Give me some feedback, you guys! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Craft Conspiracy Mission Statement and General Guidelines

Craft Conspiracy

The purpose of this group is for us to get together, enjoy each others’ company, do some crafts, have some fun, let our kids play together, and maybe eat some food. We can all learn from each other, share tools and supplies, trade a few items that we aren’t using any more, and maybe even review products that we’ve tried before. We can take turns teaching at each session, take turns hosting the gatherings as well. There will be organizational meetings that may be held in person or via the internet and telephone, so if there is something you would like to see, please let it be known.
Many of us will be bringing children along, which is a great way for them to get together to play. Be prepared to get interrupted often. If there is a project that you would like to teach that might be a little too dangerous to have around small children, we might have to schedule a meeting time that will allow us to find babysitters, so keep that in mind. Some of the moms might even want to plan outings with the kids, such as going to the park.
If you would like to show off something you've made, bring it with you to the gathering, or bring a picture. The rest of us would probably like to congratulate you for your accomplishment. We'll have a little “Brag Time” during the meeting, and you might be asked to teach the rest of us how to do it, if you're willing.
If you run into a problem on a project, maybe someone else in the group can help come up with a solution. We'll have a brainstorming session if we need to.
If our gathering runs into a mealtime or snack time, we can all chip in a little and have a quick and easy lunch that’s kid-friendly.  If your or your child has specific eating habits (food allergies, will only eat certain foods, etc.), please make it clear to the person hosting or be prepared to provide an alternative.  We should talk about food ahead of time, so we can all have something we like, especially the kids.
There will be two types of meetings: Exhibition-style and Craft-alongs. If there’s something you want to just “show” for some reason (materials/tools are costly, excessive downtime between steps, etc.), you can show off the steps and everyone can just watch. This is what we'll call an Exhibition. If the project can be done by everyone at the same time, we'll call it a Craft-along. For Craft-alongs, you might be given a list of materials to bring with you, or a cost for materials. More detailed information will be covered in the “Instructing a Session” section.

Here’s a short list of “House Rules” that should be gotten out there, just so that everything is clear and fair to everyone. Most of this is just common courtesy and ethical behavior, but it’s better that it is said ahead of time and not assumed. If someone breaks these rules, there might be a vote as to what the penalty should be, or the person may be asked to leave the group.

  1. Follow the Golden Rule. Be nice. Leave religious and political bickering somewhere else.
  2. Communicate. If you have a question about what is acceptable, ask. It’s better to ask permission instead of forgiveness.
  3. This group is about sharing what tools, supplies and knowledge we have with each other harmoniously. If someone teaches you something, you must give him/her credit for that knowledge and not try to act like it was your own original idea.
  4. If someone produces an item to sell and they choose to share this procedure with the group, we want to support our teammate and not become competition. If someone sees such an item and would like to purchase it, please direct them to the appropriate person. Gifting is okay, but please take care not to over saturate the market. If you have a question, please ask the original crafter how they would like it handled.
  5. Leave it like it was when you got there (if not better). We will all help our host/hostess clean up our messes during and after each session. If we don’t, no one will want to share their home.
  6. The person responsible for teaching a session should supply a list of necessary tools and materials that everyone should bring ahead of time, so there isn’t a shortage while we are working. If you don’t have something on the list, clear it with the instructor ahead of time, some things might be shared easily. The instructor may purchase some of the materials for the group, as well as having patterns printed/copies run, etc. for each participant, and should be reimbursed for their out of pocket expense. If you can’t afford the materials but would still like to attend, talk it out with the instructor. Either the materials might be provided for you somehow or you can at least come to watch!
  7. Each session will have an RSVP for many reasons. The instructor needs to know how many people to provide materials for and if there is enough interest in the project, the host/hostess needs to know if there will be room available in their given space, etc. It is imperative to RSVP by the due date given, otherwise there may not be room for you to participate.

Leave comments, folks!

First park outing!

I think our little meet at the park went well.  Kim and her two dogs (Bella and Corona) came down, as well as  Brandie and her little Sophie.  Poor Brandie had to drive an hour to get there, but I think we all had a good time.  Aby is now in a semi-comatose state and I am hoping Kaylee is worn out enough to take a nap.

We're thinking our first "real" meeting (where we actually do some crafts) will be held at Kim's house in North Augusta (she actually has a dedicated craft room) on Tuesday, March 29th at about 4:00.  The craft we're going to cover is paper quilling.  If you would like to attend, let me know at least a week in advance.  I have plenty of paper and glue, etc. but we're going to need to order slot tools for those of you who want your own.  They're a whopping $4.00 each, but I'm not sure about shipping.  If you want to come out and just watch, that's fine too!  Other things that come in handy that we can pick up locally are cork tiles, straight pins or toothpicks (gotcha covered there), and tweezers.  If you want to check out more about this, have a look at  There's a gallery of completed pieces to look at, it's also where I'm planning on ordering the tools.

Coming soon will be notes and guidelines for Craft Conspiracy, none of it is etched in stone thus far, but I'm going to get it out there just so you can all have a look at it.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why the name "Craft Conspiracy"?

Little known fact:  Sometimes a group of ravens is called a conspiracy.  What do ravens like to do?  Collect shiny things. 

That, and we're all going to get together and conspire about crafty things.

I really like that double meaning.

(Thanks to my dear hubby for the name, it was his idea.)

Happy Crafting!

Here we go!

Welcome to Craft Conspiracy! The purpose of this group is for us to get together, enjoy each others’ company, do some crafts, have some fun, let our kids play together, and maybe eat some food. We can all learn from each other, share tools and supplies, trade a few items that we aren’t using any more, and maybe even review products that we’ve tried before. We can take turns teaching at each session, take turns hosting the gatherings as well. There will be organizational meetings that may be held in person or via the internet and telephone, so if there is something you would like to see, please let it be known. So far, we're planning to meet on Tuesdays, but we'll iron down the time and place soon enough, I hope!
I have created us a Twitter account as well as a designated email address.  Follow @craftconspiracy on and the email is
More news soon!

Happy Crafting!