Can I Make This?

When I was a young girl my mother called me expedient, meaning I was more interested in finishing a craft than I was in doing it correctly. Maybe so; I'd get excited about the idea of the finished product and didn't always have the patience to work with small pieces, wait for glue to dry, do things in the proper order.

After reading about the young Norma Kamali and how she would baby powder her shoes to make them extra white, I once glued glitter to a pair of my own shoes. Norma and I met the same ending: she left little white outlines of chalky baby powder everywhere she walked in her classroom, and I trailed glitter where I walked (since I didn't use the correct kind of glue.)

This was frustrating to my mother who was an accomplished craft person in the areas of embroidery, painting and sewing. She once nearly lost her mind "teaching" myself and two girls from my girl scout troop how to use a Singer machine to make nightgowns for the sewing merit badge.

The result back then was that my finished products didn't last very long. (Although I think I did wear that flannel nightgown with the little blue rosebuds on it until it fell apart.) But old habits die hard and while I am now more patient with myself when making things, it's still true that when I see a DIY project on the web, my mind goes straight to this thought: How would I screw THAT ONE up?

This story goes to the issue of how easy a maker thinks a project is, and how easy the inexperienced "student" finds it to be. I know that as a food editor at Chocolatier magazine, we always assumed the reader/baker had no experience. It was agonizing sometimes to edit recipes in such detail, but I still have all my old issues of the magazine because you couldn't go wrong with a single recipe from Chocolatier, while the average recipe in a newspaper article is so full of errors it's hardly worth spending the money on ingredients because the dish is often likely to fail due to a lack of recipe testing or editing. So this article on DIY projects by Daily Candy editor Zoe Schaeffer caught my eye:

"Skeptical of DIY fashion projects? So were we—until we came across the clever ideas from these top style bloggers. From suede booties to accented aviators, their innovative creations look cool—not crafty. Don't believe us? Here, 13 DIY styles that look as chic as the real thing."

This one does not seem so difficult, right?

"Steal the bedazzled beanie style from the House of Holland runway show with help from Erica Domesek of PS I Made This," reads the article. "Arrange plastic gems, buttons or beads on an old beanie in various cluster designs," she says. "Once you've decided on a pattern, use it as a guide to follow and simply sew the embellishments into the fabric with a needle and two pieces of thread."

The success of this project depends on the ability to sew the beads on in the correct jaunty angle. I think I would get five sewn on, realize I had 27 more to go, and give up. Also, I'm pretty sure something awful would happen when I put the hat on and the s-t-r-e-t-c-h made the beads all move to weird places. How about this one?

"Pining for designer T-strap studded heels? This pair could easily be mistaken for the real thing. To create them, "Line the edges of a pair of pointy-toe kitten heels with black ribbon by gluing, making a few slits when rounding the front to create the curved edge," says Radosevich. "Next, cut the straps off a pair of old sandals and attach them to the kitten heels by gluing a piece of ribbon to connect the strap and shoe." Once dry, glue gold or silver studs onto the straps for a runway-ready finish."

I'm with Radosevich until she cuts the straps off a pair of old sandals. I just see myself losing the straps when the glue failed and hobbling around in my half-designed shoes.

Not sure I need to go on, you get the idea. Creating something not only requires the skill to do it, but the confidence that you can do it without screwing it up. And confidence comes from success. So, start small, buy the right glue, and craft on!

Susan/Wink and Flip Wink and Flip


Want to get Published in a glossy Stampington Magazine?

Is getting published in a magazine a big dream of yours? 

 So many artists and crafters dream of getting their creations published. It can feel so far out of reach or just plain confusing, so....

Here's a brief 5 step process to get you started.

  1. Look inside the magazines that you love and ones that would be a good fit for your work. Find out what their submission guidelines are. There are lots of inspiring themes that Stampington put out on their submission page for all their publications. Other magazines such as "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" set challenges for their readers so this is also a great way to get your artwork out there.
  2. Find out who the editor of the magazine is and write them a cover letter, talking a little about your work, what inspires you and the process you went through to create your piece. be sure to include links to our blog/website too. Many magazines accept international submissions, but if in doubt reach out to the magazine.
  3. Make up your package to send to the magazine (the details of what to include will be in the submission guidelines). Package it up and decorate the outside of your box/envelope so it looks pretty when it arrives on the editors desk.
  4. If you are a writer, photographer or have a great idea for an article, you can also send email submissions to magazine companies such as Stampington outlining your idea.
  5. Don't be discouraged if your initial work/submission doesn't get in the first time you submit, keep trying and one day you will find a magazine and a little congratulations note yourself in your mailbox.
When I first started on this journey, being published felt like such a difficult thing to do and I was so confused as to how to go about it, however it really is about reaching out and looking at the opportunities through submission guidelines and challenges.
Then inhaling deeply, being brave and taking that first step.
Good Luck!


Louise Gale - Your Creative Career Consultant for the NewNew Blog

My Favorite Things: Craft Catalogs

People (such as myself) like to complain about junk mail. And with good reason.

It is so disappointing to come home, open my mailbox, and spend the elevator ride to my apartment shifting through cable offers that don't apply to me, high school alumni solicitations (hello, that's what Facebook is for!), magazine renewals, and let's not forget the miracle formula that will improve my eyesight. I have no idea how I got on that list.

Oh, but the excitement, the pleasure a new catalog brings! Instantly I forget the Iowa City Regional Bank credit card offer with 0% interest for the first month only, and am instead transported to the life I wish I had. Imagine it...endless hours and resources to pursue every idea, every craft I'm intrigued by, until it either consumes me or some other idea takes its place. Also, each idea would be wildly successful and make a million dollars.

As a jewelry designer, most of the catalogs I get have to do with specific tools and trade. My favorites, like the annual Rio Grande catalog, I savor. I still have copies from 2007, 2008, and 2009, marked with post-its and dog-eared page corners. Unfortunately, I took the 2010 on vacation to FL and left it at the house where I was staying. I do expect to get it back.

The Fire Mountain Gem catalog is a heady alternative to TV for a perfect post-a-long-day-at-work zone out. I especially love the pictures of real people who work for the company, posing with their creations. If you spend enough to get the 1,000+ page catalog, expect to lose a day or two thumbing through it.

Then there's the Blick Art Materials and Studio catalogs. Every year they come up with themes and request submissions from artists and students. I still have the one from 2009; it reminds me of my dorky college days. Not only are the covers artistic, but the catalog itself evokes wandering through a well-curated but packed attic. There are items you'd never expect to find, laid out in an old-school, small-type, this-is-the-only-catalog-you'll-ever-need kinda way. Eventually someone will find a SKU for the Lost City of Atlantis in a Blick catalog. It could happen.

The truth is that I order a lot of my supplies online, with occasional forays into local stores. However, I still love getting paper catalogs. For starters, nothing beats the ol' Post-It system (I borrow mine from the office, but yay for the Staples catalog!) for bookmarking things you need, want, dream about, will never get but like to pretend you will. Also, stuff disappears from the web all the time and the catalog is a permanent record -- not just for future shopping lists -- but also of what I was into at any given moment. It's fun to flip through old catalogs and review what I dog-eared in 2005. Some things I've forgotten -- like my thankfully brief but unfortunate conviction that pipe-cleaner hair clips were the next big thing, don't ask -- and sometimes I'm surprised at how consistent my interests have been over the years.

And finally, whatever you're into, there's a catalog for it. How awesome is that?

Do you have any favorite catalogs? Come on, spill...

Sue De
made for you


Crafts In Chelsea! Handmade Market -- Tomorrow, Saturday October 16.

Fall Foliage Cuties-Notecard
My Zoetrope
Hello Hello!  It's that time again for the 100% local Crafts in Chelsea handmade outdoor market!  Sponsored by the {NewNew} and PS 11, this outdoor event will take place tomorrow, Saturday, October 16 from 9 - 5 pm.  Located at 21st Street between 8th & 9th Avenues, over 100 of the best local New York Artists and craftspeople will be featuring everything from jewelry, pottery, clothing, accessories, and fine art.
handmade shoulder zip flap bag / / le voyageur grand
Sans Map
Visitors to the fair will enjoy the opportunity to converse with the artists about their creative processes while shopping for one-of-a-kind items.  Perfect for your pre-holiday shopping!
Petite Maliha Earrings Spring 2010 Collection Limited Edition
Loella Medina
This event is in conjunction wiht PS 11's annual Fall Festival -- an indoor event that includes food, arts and crafts, bouncy castles, games, and even a petting zoo for New York City children.  Last year this event drew record crowds and helped to fund programs for the students of PS 11.

Felted Soap (soap in a sweater)
Nordea Soaperie
Carnivale Necklace - Vintage Lucite and Antiqued Brass
Wish by Felicity
Brown screen printed shirt (double deco swirl) Long sleeve
We hope to see you there.  Weather is supposed to be lovely!
Pumpkin Soup Tureen or Lidded Bowl
Lenny Mud
Lemon Topaz necklace - Gold filled
Yania Creation