Wednesday, March 28, 2007

When Our Tools Of The Trade Rebel

As crafters we all have our specific essential tools of the trade. Those are the variety of things we depend on in order to make our creations. As a doll maker and pattern designer, my main tool is my sewing machine. Something that I simply can't live without. Or at least I depend heavily on it in order to create and design.

This weekend I found my designing came to a screeching halt. As I sat in front of my sewing machine happily sewing a doll body together, to my disappointment my machine suddenly broke. Well, not broken in the sense of it fell apart but my bobbin casing tangled my thread and in spite of all my attempts to rectify it, it simply wasn't going to work. Talk about frustrating!!

There's not much worse that being in the middle of working on a project and have it all come to a sudden stop. You find yourself sitting there staring at it and scrambling to think of ways to fix the problem so you can finish the task at hand. This is where my patience really is tested.

After taking the machine apart (not something I recommend by the way), I quickly realized that it wasn't going to be something that I could fix. Once apart I also realized my attempt to put the darn thing back together was something of a laughing matter. I quickly realized once it was back together that I still had three screws laying on the table and no clue as to where they should go. That will be the last time I attempt to take a part a sewing machine to say the least.

My machine is a cheaper newer machine made of plastic. I've often thought that the older, all metal machines are likely more reliable as metal doesn't break like plastic does. For years I've desired to sew on a vintage machine. You know those ones you hear about that are labeled as "work horses". The ones that are forgiving when it comes to being overworked and at times neglected by those like me that may forget to oil them.

After pondering my dilemma I decided to look into some of the vintage machines. A Singer Featherweight to be exact. I've always loved those little machines and since I don't need all the fancy stitches that come with the new machines, a featherweight seemed like a ideal choice. Not to mention I have heard nothing but good things about their reliability. Of course the other perk is their portability.

I did a few searches on the online auction sites to see what was available and while I found an abundance of Featherweights, I hesitated bidding on any. The main reason was there were so many factors about those particular machines that I didn't know about. For example, if someone bought it from a estate sale or auction, then likely they wouldn't know if it was service recently or they probably didn't know much about the machine in general. So instead of bidding, I set out to find one that someone knew something about it.

So I started looking at a few web sites that sold these adorable little machines. I found some great information and the sites I found appeared a more reliable source because they specialized in Featherweights. Then to my good fortune I was on one of the message boards I belong to and after posting about my sewing machine adventure over the weekend, a gal I know from the board mentioned she had a featherweight for sale. She's had one herself for many years and swears by them. So of course I jumped at the chance to purchase the second featherweight she had. What sealed the deal further is the fact that she not only was familiar with featherweights, but she knew this particular machine. She recently oiled and adjusted it and has sewn with it. Her confidence in this machine is what sold me on it. I felt very comfortable buying from someone that I know is familiar and a fellow doll maker. As she knows the importance of having a reliable sewing machine.

Here's a picture of my new acquisition. It should be here by the end of the week. As you can imagine, I cannot wait to get it and get back to finishing that doll that is beckoning to me.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Crafters are "Collectors" too!

It seems that many of us with a passion for crafting also have a passion for collecting. For those that sew collecting could mean continually adding to our fabric stash. We come across a certain fabric and the drooling begins. Before we can stop ourselves our hands automatically gravitate to the wonderful fabric, we quickly whip out our wallets and before we know it we are on our way home with several piles of yardage. I suppose there are worse compulsions (:

I wonder about other things that crafters may collect. Do you have a collection? I'd love to hear about them if so. Just leave your comments below and tell me what you collect. For me, when I'm not crafting or designing patterns I love to browse antique malls. Granted my browsing tends to turn into buying. But a piece really has to catch my eye. Of course the price is a factor too and just how badly I want it.

I find that I am quickly falling into the "packrat" catagory. My goodness, what in the world am I going to do with all this "stuff"? Could I give up my collections and live a very meager lifestyle? Of course! I truly believe I could. But for now, I just enjoy the nastalgia of these vintage and antique pieces. Perhaps looking at them as a investment might be easier than admitting I'm a packrat.

I look around my house and think to myself, oh my! Imagine if we moved one day and just how long it would take me to pack everything. I think I'd quickly go into the "meager lifestyle" mode and have a huge yard sale. Anyway, here are some things I enjoy collecting. Mainly my collections are vintage or antique items and the catagories are usually:

~ Vintage books
~ Vintage baby & womens clothing (slips, petticoats, highbutton shoes)
~ Old oil cans and funnels (what the appeal is I'm not sure, just like the way they look)
~ Vintage kitchen items
~ Small vintage dolls
~ Old advertising and paper goods
~ Outdoor & Garden items (Tools, chicken feeders, Old birdhouses)

I think a fondness for collecting and crafting really go hand in hand. Folks that are creative tend to want to surround themselves with unique and inspiring things. I know for me the vintage and antique items I collect most certainly inspire me!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Featured Designer - Simple Thyme Primitives

First/Last Name:
Angie Spencer
Name of Business: Simple Thyme Primitives
Web site URL:

What primary things do you sell? I love to make dolls which include animals and other soft sculptured items, candle tarts, hand made soaps and stitcheries.

About Angie and Simple Thyme Primitives:
My business started about 3 years ago, first on ebay and then grew to selling to local shops wholesale and consignment. I opened my website January 10, 2007 which was a big dream. I continue to sell on ebay and wholesale to primitive shops. I will be doing my very first wholesale show in May so I am very busy sewing, stuffing and painting! I just joined Pattern Mart March 8, 2007 which was a huge leap for me too which I am very excited about entering the world of making and selling patterns.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Designing Minute

I made it back into my studio over the last couple days. It's amazing just how much I missed designing. I was itching to sew and work on a new doll.

I usually start out with a idea in my head and then opt to sketch it. It's just a quick 1-2 minute sketch to just get the idea on paper. Usually the finished doll doesn't look exactly like the sketch and that's ok. The purpose of the sketch is to give yourself a outline of sorts.

This doll is not quite finished yet and I'll work on her a bit more later. I have her sitting next to my desk and throughout the day I glance at her as if I'm waiting for her to tell me what else she needs and what creation I should make for her hold.

Try sketching your ideas. Even if drawing isn't your most natural talent and your sketch isn't quite as good as your 4 year olds, that's ok! It's meant to simply get the ideas on paper and give you a foundation to build upon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Creative Times Magazine Has a New Web Site

We are pleased to announce that Creative Times Magazine now has it's own website! Not just any old website but one with some very special features.


With the new website you can submit free patterns, featured business/designer info, featured retail shops, feedback, etc. Plus you can upload your free patterns and pictures right there on the submission forms any time you wish. Doesn't get much easier than that. A great way to promote your business FREE is to take advantage of submissions.


Additionally, we now offer web site advertising opportunities. You can also submit and purchase your web site advertising all in one step right from the website. This includes uploading your banner and/or button images. Everything is right there.Plus, whenever the issue ads go on sale you can submit and purchase those directly from the site as well. Including uploading your ad pictures, select a layout style and more. All in one step! ON EACH ISSUE PAGE YOU WILL SEE LIVE STATISTICS on how many people have downloaded that issue. This is important for our advertisers. Don't take the word of how many readers a magazine has. Insist on live or genuine statistics. Plus I will always be willing to show you graph style stats and our month download stats that I can send via email. Know what your paying for ladies. You work hard for your money and we are NOT all about just how many advertisers we can get for the issues. We actually limit that amount for the issues.

On the website we'll have more ad opportunities but those too will be limited. The issue stats are located right under the download button on each issues page. Or you can view them all in one place on the Archive page.

Craft Classes:

We also have a online class area and we currently are working on some awesome new features for online classes. Your going to LOVE IT I believe once it's ready. It will be SO easy to take a class or even host one of your own.


To celebrate this new website we are having a Easter contest in the current March/April issue and offering CASH & Prizes!!! So grab your copy and have fun playing!!So without further delay, we'd like to welcome you all to visit the new Creative Times website...browse around, grab the newest issue. Feel free to check out the submission area and submit any time you like.

Mailing List:

You can sign up for the mailing list for announcements, issue updates, specials and more.

Be sure and book mark it and share the link with those you feel would enjoy it as well.

Happy Crafting!