6 Reasons Why You Should Craft

6 Reasons Why You Should Craft

Crafting and being creative is my main hobby. This has been true for most of my life.

I think a lot of it boils down to how crafting makes me feel. So, today I will be sharing with you six reasons to craft.

It doesn’t matter what skill level you are at; the benefits are the same.

IT’S RELAXING

Being creative in the craft of your choice could help reduce anxiety and stress. There is something to be said about doing an activity where your mind can wander. If you aren’t into mindless doodling, the relaxation could come from the focus of a project, which pushes all other worries from your mind. I find crafting a good activity to do after a stressful day. I can put my emotions into the designs, let my body and mind relax, and focus on the task at hand.

YOU’LL EXPLORE SELF-EXPRESSION

Creating pieces can be like solving puzzles. Learning the different parts, colors, mediums needed. There isn’t a wrong answer. The more you craft, the more you get a sense of design choices, patterns, and colors that you lean towards. You might develop your own artistic voice. Even if you are following a tutorial or pattern, you can still add your own spin to the piece. It is interesting to look at old projects and see how they were influenced by what was going on in my life.

CRAFTING PROVIDES A SENSE OF PRIDE

The feeling that comes with finishing a project is amazing. Especially if it took a long time to complete. I love looking around my house and seeing pieces that I’ve made, it’s even better when people ask about them. There is a sense of pride that comes with explaining to someone, “I made that.” You get to share your passions and creativity with others and maybe inspire them as well. However, even if no one sees something I make, I am still proud that I attempted a project, learned from it, and maybe even finished.

YOU’LL LEARN NEW SKILLS

There are an endless amount of crafts and mediums out there to try. If you are like me, you want to try every one of them. However, some crafters like to stay within niches. Either way, there is so much to learn about crafting and the techniques or designs are constantly evolving. I love learning, so it is nice to foster that outside of a classroom environment.

IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

One major reason to craft or be artistic that is good for your health. Along with the mental health benefits, crafting can also offer physical advantages. Many crafts involve using your hands and help improve dexterity. Others might involve more rigorous use of the body. Crafting is also a great stress reducer and can help improve you mood.

HOBBIES IMPROVE HAPPINESS

Creating helps us through our emotions. Whether expressed in the piece itself or by allowing your mind to think through problems. But happiness also comes from being engaged in an activity you love. I like crafting. No one is forcing me. Being creative brings joy. You can also spread that joy by crafting with others or gifting friends with pieces.

Excerpt | Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan

Excerpt | Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan
Poisoned Primrose book cover

Poisoned Primrose 

Motts Cold Case Mystery #1 

by Dahlia Donovan

Genre: Cozy Mystery 

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Synopsis

Autistic, asexual, and almost forty, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley flees London with her cat and turtle to a quaint cottage in Cornwall. She craves the peace of life in a small village. The dead body buried in her garden isn’t quite what she had in mind, though.

Unable to resist her curiosity, she falls directly into a mess of trouble and runs head-first into the attractive detective inspector, Teo Herceg. She tries to balance her business with the investigation, but as the killer focuses on her, staying alive becomes trickier than advanced origami.

Will Motts survive the onslaught of murderously bad luck?

Can she solve the mystery before it all spins out of control and off a cliff? 

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Excerpt

Chapter One

A cat, a turtle, and a Pineapple walk into a cottage…. That’s it. That’s the punch line of my life choices.

“Well, here we are.” Motts closed the solid wooden front door to her new cottage, leaning back against it and releasing a pent-up sigh. She opened her bluish-grey eyes to stare at all the boxes, plastic bins, and bags. “Bugger. You’ve no one to blame but yourself for this, Pineapple Mottley.”

Pineapple Meg Mottley had been so named because her mother had craved nothing but the tropical fruit during her one and only pregnancy. There’d only been one issue. No one ever called her Pineapple; her uncle had nicknamed her Motts as an infant, and it stuck.

Meow.

The plaintive cry came from behind one of the boxes. Motts moved quickly to lift up her precious cat. Cactus was a tortoiseshell Sphynx cat; she’d found the poor dear at a shelter and fallen head-over-sneakers in love. He buried his head in her shoulder-length brown hair, purring his little heart out.

She stroked the suede-like downy fuzz covering his wrinkly body. “What are we going to do about this mess? Want to help me unpack? No?”

Figures.

What have I gotten myself into?

When her auntie Daisy had passed away, Motts had taken the inherited cottage as a sign. London had always been overwhelming to her senses. Polperro was a much quieter place with a slower pace suited for her autistic needs.

She loved Polperro. Her parents were both originally from Cornwall. A lot of her family lived in the area, as did her ex-girlfriend.

Despite having spent many a holiday with family at the cottage, Motts found herself overwhelmed by the sudden change. This was a terrible idea. I should’ve sold the house. I am such a silly fool.

Okay.

Take a few deep breaths.

Match Cactus’s purring. 

You’re going to be okay.

“Ahh!” She jumped when a rapid knocking on the door jolted her. “For goodness sake.”

“Motts? You okay?” 

She spun around and yanked the door open to find the welcome sight of her ex-girlfriend, Pravina Griffin, and Vina’s twin brother, Nish. “I’m….”

How do I finish the sentence?

Panicked?

In the middle of the biggest mistake I’ve ever made?

Just slightly overcome by irrational fear?

Nish moved forward to take Cactus from her arms while Vina led her inside. “Amma is bringing over supper. She wanted to let the sambar simmer a little longer. She even made your favourite kind of rice.”

The Griffin twins took after their Tamil mother, Leena, who’d been a Bollywood star before falling in love with Cadan Griffin, a Cornish-Indian cricket player. They’d settled in Polperro to run a coffee shop and bakery. Griffin Brews had been around for thirty-plus years, and now their children managed it, allowing their parents to retire early.

Leena and Cadan had welcomed Motts with open arms even before she’d briefly dated their daughter. Motts and Vina had realised over the years that their close bond felt more like that of siblings. They’d dumped each other but remained the best of friends, where they’d started in the first place.

“Let’s talk about something less daunting than unpacking. How goes the dating life? Did you fill out a dating profile on the site I emailed you?” Vina plucked Moss, Motts’s turtle, out of his travel terrarium. “Well?”

“No, I didn’t. There’s no box to check for asexual, biromantic autistic.” Motts gently took Moss to return her to a safer place. “No touching the turtle.”

About the Author
About the Author

Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress.  She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters.  An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

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My First Business Failed. Here’s What I’ve Learned for the Next One.

My First Business Failed. Here’s What I’ve Learned for the Next One.

I failed. My business was losing money, and I was missing the energy and motivation to sustain it. It wasn’t always that way.

When I started my business, I wanted it to be full of handmade products. I felt passionate about creating items with my hands. Handmade companies take a lot of time and money, both of which I was short on. My ambition was through the roof, but I didn’t have a clear plan of action or the financial means to achieve this.

Like many, I started a handmade business creating a product I liked to make. The product was a hard sell, especially at my high price point. When trying to sell at craft fairs, many potential customers would complement the work and follow up with, “But, what do you do with them?” I would spend countless hours creating, then stood behind a table for many more hours and would barely make enough to cover booth fees, let alone make a profit.

It was soul-crushing.

I tried to adjust by selling several different types of products and settled with those that got the most significant reactions from customers. I used the feedback to create cohesive designs and product lines. I also adjusted how I marketed my products, so confusion wouldn’t be there anymore.

It didn’t help. My current business was not working the way I wanted it to. I was spending more money than I should have, and it was stressing me out. I couldn’t devote as much time as was needed to not only get everything done but also to master my craft. I was also losing passion for the business, which eventually translated to my customers. I was making products I thought would sell, looking at other companies with jealousy, trying to find the secret.

I made the decision to close my business. It wasn’t easy, and I felt guilt over the money lost and years wasted. I took much needed time off and reflected on my failures to improve my next try. I still wanted to be an entrepreneur. However, I needed to create a business that fits in with my life, time, excitement, and financial means.

So looking back, here are five tips to help make your business a success:

Create a Business Plan

Coming up with a business plan is essential. It provides a space to think about your business goals, products, marketing, and more. Take the time to understand why you are starting a company and how you plan to succeed. Having a plan in place before you create your first product helps you know how and why.

Start with a Handful of Products

Don’t try to do too much once. Start with less than five products. You can have variations of these but limit the product types. Test them out with customers and get honest feedback. Figure out what is selling and what isn’t. Take the time to get a feel for your business and products. You may find that it takes too long to make items or save money on different materials. It is better to start small and build, then drown before you really get going.

Build a Network of Local Entrepreneurs

Get to know other business owners, especially local ones. You can learn a lot from them. It is also lovely to have a network of people going through the same struggles and successes. Being a business owner is hard work, and no one knows that more than other entrepreneurs. You might also make a few friends.

Create a Budget and Stick to It

Know how much money you have and create a reasonable budget. The point of a business is to make a profit. You also want to pay yourself and employees, if you have any. The easiest way to sink your company is by overspending and paying too much for supplies. You probably aren’t starting out with a lot of money, so don’t spend it like you have a million-dollar company. Staring slow and only spending money on essentials is vital. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t start in the red, but it helps you grow out of it as your business continues.

Avoid Comparing Your Business to Others

It is ok to have aspirations. It is ok to look at other businesses as inspiration. However, don’t try to be another version of that company. Don’t gauge your successes off that of others. You and your business are unique, and you need to focus on that. There is no magic formula for success, but you definitely won’t find it by being envious of or mimicking others.

I Tried Needle Punching

I Tried Needle Punching

This week I decided to try needle punching.

I have seen so many amazing art pieces using this medium ad I had to see how it worked. I used the Big Waves Punch Needle Kit to get some materials for this project but ended up using a different punch needle and yarn.

Check out the video below to see how I got on with this craft and see my final design at the bottom of this post.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.

Overall, this was a lot of fun and didn’t take too long. I think I’ve become used to projects that take multiple days, it was nice to be able to finish a piece within hours.

It took a little while for me to get used to the act of needle punching, but I had fewer complications than anticipated. Mainly, I need to work on keeping my punches consistent and not leaving gaps.

I need to do more research on the types of stitches and finishing techniques before I try this again. However, I’m excited by the possibilities that needle punching offers and will definitely be doing this more in the future.

 

Supplies Used

 

 
Holding up needle punch wave project.

The Duke Effect by Sophie Jordan | Review

<strong>The Duke Effect</strong> Book Cover
The Duke Effect The Rogue Files #7 Romance, Historical Fiction Avon Paperback 352 pages Amazon | Goodreads

She doesn’t care about love…

Despite being surrounded by her happily wed sisters, Nora Langley prefers botany to ballrooms and would rather spend a lifetime in her laboratory than consider affairs of the heart. An expert herbalist, Nora has been masquerading as her late physician father for years, dispensing invaluable medical advice. She corresponds with people all over the world, including an old army colonel. But when the man shows up on her doorstep, he is nothing like she expected—he is a young, handsome heir to a dukedom who suddenly threatens everything she holds dear.

He only cares about duty…

Constantine Sinclair arrives on the Langley doorstep in a desperate bid to save the woman who raised him, the Duchess of Birchwood… only to discover that the venerable doctor he expected is a bold and lovely charlatan. Furious at the deception, he vows to reveal her secrets. Determined to prove her skills, Nora promises to save the duchess in exchange for Con keeping her secret. Con reluctantly agrees… and soon, Nora’s brilliant, headstrong ways are throwing his carefully controlled life into chaos. What happens when the rigid soldier begins to lose his grip on his heart?

If you’re looking for a historical romance with a strong female character, a brooding male lead, and a little bit of steaminess, then look no further.

I found both characters to be interesting. Nora was a strong-willed woman who wanted more out of life. I liked that she wanted to have a career and goes against societal expectations. She is not afraid to stand up for herself. Con is a man who has a strong sense of duty and most of his actions throughout the novel are driven by this. Con probably grows the most, finally deciding to follow his heart, instead of what others say he should do.

I did feel like the characters were constantly avoiding each other. And although I liked this novel, I felt that some of the buildups of the relationship were lost because of this. Sidelong glances and attraction do not show why the characters are a match. I would have liked to see a little more time together between our leads. There was also a slightly absurd scene with a “love-potion” that I found a bit out of place and served no purpose except to bring our characters together sexually.

Overall this was a satisfying read. By the halfway point, I didn’t want to put this down. The novel included many tropes romance readers will be familiar with and the two main characters were an interesting match. Although part of a series, this story does well as a standalone, and I didn’t feel you missed much in terms of backstory.

Thank you NetGalley for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Adventure Awaits Print

Adventure Awaits Print

I enjoy bringing my hobbies into my home decor. It makes each space feel more personalized. Inspired by my love for hiking and the outdoors, this free printable says, Adventure Awaits, and features a hand-drawn mountain scene.

To download the print file, click on the download icon to save it to your device. Then print. Print quality is dependent on your printer. Art will print on 8.5”x11” paper.

Building a Miniature Library

Building a Miniature Library

This week I will be reviewing another craft kit, a miniature library room (or bookstore or study, however you interpret it). The craft kit I decided to try was the DIY Miniature Library Bookstore Kit: Sam’s Study. It was not a cheap kit as I spent around $42.00.

Given the price, my expectations are high. I been disappointed by my last kit reviews, so I hope that this miniature build proves to be worth it. The craft kit is recommended for teens and adults. Going into my first miniature room I’ve ever built I’m a little nervous about the difficulty level.

Hopefully, this will be fun.

Check out the video below to get a brief look at the building process and continue down to hear my thoughts on this craft kit.

So, after spending at least 20 hours on this build, here are my final thoughts.

I was really impressed with this kit. I found the materials to be of nice quality and the instructions were easy to follow and correct. One item, a lighter, was missing from the list of extra materials. But, that was the only mistake I noticed. The pictures on the box gave an accurate representation of the final product.

My biggest difficulties as far as the building went were the armchair and light fixture. With the chair, I kept getting glue on my fingers which then transferred onto the fabric. So now there are glue boogers everywhere. I also didn’t find the pattern very helpful. The lighting fixture had very small pieces. It was hard at times to hold everything together, but I’m proud of getting the electrical work done.

I chose to follow the assembly instructions pretty close, but I appreciated that there was room for creativity. The room could be arranged in any manner you chose. I’ve also seen pictures where other people have changed up the wall and floor, or painted the shelves, using their own materials.

I did lose interest as I was making the many boxes and books, but I think that’s a me problem. Overall, I really liked creating this room. I was able to complete the project in one weekend and have gotten many compliments. I absolutely recommend this kit and think it is worth the pricy cost.

Trying a Yarn Llama Craft Kit

Trying a Yarn Llama Craft Kit

I am once again trying out a craft kit and providing an honest review of the product. This week I decided to try a Yarn Llama kit. It looked so cute and the packaging was bright and fun. This craft kit is rated for ages eight and older.

Check out the video below to hear what I thought.

Craft Kit Used – Craft-tastic Yarn Llama Kit

I think with a little adjustment this craft kit would be great.

There were struggles with making this craft and I find it hard to believe that kids will be able to complete this. One major problem was that the yarn was difficult to wrap and slipped in many places. I suggest using a lot of double-sided tape and a hot glue gun to avoid issues.

There were also several issues with the instruction manual being inaccurate. This really bothered me.

Once completed, this yarn llama looked adorable, but I wanted to quit making it several times. So, I like the concept and think this could be a wonderful craft for teens and adults, but the instructions need to be redone with accurate description and materials.

Making a Floor Mat from Cotton Cord

Making a Floor Mat from Cotton Cord

This week I made a small floor mat for my bedroom. This rug was easy to make mainly using cotton rope and adhesive. I also added in a little DIY dye job for good measure. I’m very happy with how this turned out and this easy no-sew project is the perfect way to spruce up your home decor.

Happy crafting!

Supplies Needed

Check out the video below to see my process.

Make Your Own Clay Charms

Make Your Own Clay Charms

I enjoy playing around with craft kits. It is a great way to learn about a new medium without spending a ton of money on supplies. I’ve created projects with clay, but haven’t gotten into mini and charms. This clay charm kit was the perfect introduction for me and my son.

Klutz: Make Clay Charms


The twenty dollar price tag may look a bit high, but let’s break it down by estimated cost:

  • instruction book: $12-$20

  • clay: $5

  • jump rings and charm loops: $0.50

  • charm bracelet: $1.00

  • glaze: $1.00

  • clay shaping tool: $1.00

The material cost is very low, so you are mostly paying for the book and the convenience of a craft kit. However, you could make a good bit of charms with the provided materials (We made nine and still have a lot of clay left).

Don’t be fooled, you do not get a box full of clay. In fact, most of the box is empty. I find it a little misleading and annoying, but the back of the box clearly shows the included items.

Overall, this was a fun and fairly easy craft for both me and my seven-year-old. The instructional book was easy to follow and I liked that is showed reference images. It was easy to get the right sizes when you could put your clay up to the book and match measurements.

I like the variety of clay colors and that the book tells you that colors can be mixed. The clay charms had a range of difficulty levels, but all seem manageable for the age group targeted. After baking the charms stayed together well, except for the charm loops. I would recommend taking them out after baking, add glue, and reattach.