Friday, November 22, 2013

The Joy of Crafting...

As the stall holders for the Handmade Craft Market are in the final stages of preparing for the Christmas market I thought now would be the time to ask why there are so many of us who craft.

Having a hobby is a great way to relieve stress, relax, enjoy some alone time, create, learn and teach. Many of the HCM stall holders indulged in their hobby turning it into a business, they've taken an extra step in the process, bringing the joy they take in their hobby to the public and sharing the wonderful feelings that only true handmade can do.

For many of us though crafting can be a kind of therapy - when times get hard, such as depression or grief the simple act of making something with your hands can be a kind of release for your emotions, allowing your brain and your heart a bit of a time out as you focus on your creation. 

Here are some of the reasons our stall holders create - 

"I have always enjoyed doing things with my hands that also requires using my head to calculate, and intuition to know what will work, whether it be hand crafts, cooking or repairing things. Knowing that I can create something worthwhile that is needed has always been a joy to me. Soap and balm making was a craft I took up out of desperate necessity - my children and I reacted to too many ingredients in commercial products, and we were running out of options. Being a crafty person it was only natural that I would try make what we needed. Moving on to selling my products was partly out of my need to do something with all my 'extras' and partly out of wanting to help others. Seeing customers being able to relax in the knowledge that someone has done all the research and thinking to cater to their needs gives me even more fulfilment than just crafting for my home." - Kaylene, Naked Eden

"I create because my quilting is my oxygen. It keeps me sane, grounded and gives me purpose. It brings me joy when I see peoples faces when they receive something that I've made - whether it's directly from me or as a gift that someone has purchased from me for them." - Marni, Frankenstein's Fabrics

"I craft because as a creative person it is a way to restore my sense of self in the crazy world I live in. I love to create things for other people as its a wonderful way to spread some love." Julie, Merry go Round Crafts

"Creating is a compulsion for me ... I get twitchy if I'm not making something. I LOVE to figure out the easiest, most efficient and cost effective way of doing any given craft. And most of all I love to teach, because creativity is in all of us, and seeing lightbulbs go on when someone finds their "thing" is divine." Dawn, DawnLewis/Hello Dollies

"I bake and decorate cookies because these little pieces of edible art satisfy my creative spirit and because I believe life should be sweet." Rhian, Flyawaypineapple

"Creating gives me a break from being mum, I get to do something for myself and escape for five minutes (until the screams start)." Natalie, Quirky Designs for Kids

The joys of crafting can be shared - simply by purchasing handmade products as gifts for friends and family you too can participate in the cycle of spreading such wonderfully uplifting items.

If you would like to learn some crafting don't forget we are running some special classes at the Christmas market. Click here for more information.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shop Handmade this festive season...

With Christmas now only 48 days away its time to get organised!

And this year let’s make being organised by buying handmade!

Every single day of the year the stall holders of the HCM are working tirelessly towards their goals of creating handmade items – whether it be clothes, bags, quilts, soap, candles or food – to sell at local markets around the coast and beyond.

Those stall holders invest their time and money into websites, Facebook and other social media, marketing strategies, photography and that always loved of duties – paperwork – to get the job done. These stall holders are usually a one-person operation with items being designed and cut out in the dark of night when small children are in bed, hand-sewn while waiting for school pick ups and displayed beautifully every market.

This Christmas Market is also a great chance for you to learn some new crafting skills that you could put to use in making your own handmade goodies for gifts.
You could learn to make a set of stylish cards, learn all about Copic markers or even how to use that poor, old ugly fabric that’s hiding in your stash. Our teachers are knowledgeable, friendly and ready to help you create!

For all the information on classes including how to book check out the previous blog post here.

Make a choice this Christmas and support the Central Coast’s crafting community.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Handmade Craft Market's Classes

The Handmade Craft Market hosts the cream of the Central Coast’s creative force and the upcoming Christmas market on the 30th of November is no exception. This time we’re bringing the craftiness to you in a new way, which will enable you to dip your toe into the world of inspiration that the stallholders live and breathe everyday – classes!

We have a small taster of classes for you to choose from - 

Christmas Cards with Tanya Mulhall
Want to make a beautiful set of handmade cards for your friends and loved ones this Christmas? 
In this class learn the basic techniques needed to make and decorate cards. Tanya is a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator and extremely knowledgeable in all things paper craft, let her guide you through making this gorgeous set of Christmas cards just in time for the festive season.

Cost: $15 (one hour)
Where: Handmade Craft Market, Scholastic Stadium, Duffys Rd Terrigal
When 30th November 2013

Bookings must be made and paid before the market, as there are very limited spaces available.

Please contact Tanya Mulhall via mulhallta@ozemail.com.au


Copic Class with Dawn Lewis
Have you wondered what all the hype is about Copic Markers? 
Never picked one up?
This class is for you!

Cost: $15 (one hour) Includes 2 x Copic markers, A5 blending card with stamped images, information, instruction and hands on blending practice.
Bring: Where: Handmade Craft Market, Scholastic Stadium, Duffys Rd Terrigal
When: 30th November 2013

Dawn Lewis is a Copic Certified Instructor, authorised Copic stockist and host of Scrap It TV, and she wants to show you how easy it is to colour like a boss!  Ages 13 and over.

Bookings must be made and paid before the market, as there are very limited spaces available. Contact Dawn via enquiries@dawnlewis.net.au or visit www.dawnlewis.com.au

The Ugly Fabric Class with Marni Franks

Do you have a fabric in your stash that you look at every so often and think…

“Why on earth did I buy that?”

We have the solution to help you fix that fabric – whether it be ugly, colours you no longer like or a print that you can’t stand – all you need to do is come along to the Patchwork Basics class that will be held at the Handmade Craft Market on the 30th of November.

The class will also include some patchwork tips, basic knowledge, cutting, tools, and colour 101. Tools used in the demonstrations will be available for purchase after the class.

Cost: $15 (one hour)
Bring: Your ugly fabrics, a notepad and pen
Where: Handmade Craft Market, Scholastic Stadium, Duffys Rd Terrigal
When 30th November 2013

Bookings must be made and paid before the market, as there are very limited spaces available.

Please contact Marni Franks of Frankenstein's Fabrics, 0416 023 637, email frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com or visit www.frankensteinsfabrics.com for more info or to book.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crafty Tip #4

Before I dive into this week’s tip we have something very special happening at our Christmas market in November. To find out all about it and to see the display make sure you pop by the front desk on Saturday to see what’s happening. Let’s just say it will be interesting, educational, inspiring, interactive and might just help you out with those Christmas presents you need to buy. My lips are sealed, so make sure you make a note of it. You really don’t want to miss out on this.


So with the market only two sleeps away I have for you the last of my 4 crafty tips. Last week’s tip was all about your sewing machine, this week we look at machine needles and why they are so important. I apologise for the lengthy post but there is a lot to cover.

You’ve probably gone into your local craft shop and seen all of those tiny little packets of machine needles and wondered why there are so many. Short answer is because there is a needle for every type of sewing/craft/material out there as well as different machines needing a variety of styles of needle.

So let’s take a look –

There are two styles – flat-backed and round. This is to do with the part of your sewing machine where the needles are attached. The shaft where the needle is inserted can be different from machine to machine. It’s really easy if you think of it like this; domestic sewing machines are usually a flat-backed needle and commercial or industrial machines are round needles. There are some exceptions to that rule but it stands for the majority. Some overlockers also take round needles. If you are ever unsure, check your machine’s manual or take the original needle from when you purchased the machine with you when buying new ones.

This section is where the type of sewing/material comes into play. If you are sewing heavy duty fabric you need a needle that is up to the task – like a jeans or leather needle. If you are sewing fine fabrics like chiffon try a microtex sharp needle. There are types of needles for every task and choosing the right needle makes your sewing job that much easier.

Types of needles: Jeans, Leather, Embroidery, Quilting, Microtex Sharp, Universal, Stretch, Jersey/Ball Point, Metallic

This is a sub-category to Types. Machine needles come in different sizes within the types of needles. This is so you can tailor the thickness of the needle to the type of fabric you are using. Fabric comes in grades; thin, medium, thick and so you need a variety of needles to accommodate those grades. For example a universal needle in a size 80/12 is the most commonly used size as it is as its name implies universal, but the size 80/12 means that it’s the medium size of its type making it the universal needle of the universal needles.

Machine needle sizes go up normally in twos. Example: Universal 70/10, 80/12, then 90/14, 100/16 and lastly 110/18. There are only a few sizes within the needle type as there isn’t much call for sizes smaller or larger and due to manufacturing constraints would be more costly to produce. The bigger the number the bigger the needle (this is opposite in hand-sewing needles, more on that next time).  So if you had a fabric that is and all purpose cotton drill and were folding it over a few times it would be come thicker, because you need a universal needle you would go for the 90, 100 or 110 depending on how thick the folds were. The other rule with needle size is that the bigger the size of the needle also increases the holes that they punch into the fabric as well as the eye of the needle. This is relevant with the next section.

When choosing needles it also pays to have what thread you are using in mind along with your fabric selection. This is because of the size of the eye of the needle. Microtex is the prime example of this; I use a Microtex 70/10 when I am appliqueing as the needle is quite fine and doesn’t leave huge holes in my fabrics, but as the eye is tiny I need to make sure that my threads aren’t too thick. I use machine embroidery threads as they are slippery (rayon, viscose) and slide through the eye with no issue. Decorative metallic threads however need a larger eye so the metallic coating is not stripped off the thread – in this case I would use a metallic thread specific thread or a larger sized embroidery needle.

Parts of a needle
Shank – the uppermost section of the needle, which is inserted into the machine and held in place with a screw.

Shaft – the body of the needle, the thickness determines the size of the needle.

Front Groove – on the round part at the front of the needle, this groove acts as a guide for the threading the eye.

Eye – the hole in the end of the needle through which the thread passes. The eye carries the thread down into the bobbin case to form stitches. The size varies with the size of the needle.

Point – the tip of the needle, which passes through the fabric first. The shape and sharpness of the tip varies depending on type of needle.

Scarf – is a short indentation on the back of the needle. This allows the hook in the bobbin case to get as close as possible to the eye and catch the thread to make your stitches.

See you all on Saturday!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crafty Tip #3

Machine Maintenance

Getting closer and closer to the market now and I can hear the whir and hum of sewing machines and overlockers all over the coast as products for the Handmade Craft Market are finished and ready for market day.

Speaking of machines did you know how important it is to have your machine regularly serviced? It’s like having your car serviced – vital, so as to insure good working order and to extend the life of your machine.

So this week’s crafty tip has a few things you can do to help your machine’s performance and your sewing stay true to your skills.

1.     Use the right tools – Make sure you have the correct screwdriver, oil, tweezers, can of air and small brushes.
The right stuff - Can of air from Officeworks $2.50

2.     Turn all the power off and unplug all the cords. Safety first.

3.     Unthread the machine and remove the bobbin.

4.     Take your time and make sure you don’t lose any screws you remove, 
making sure you keep an eye on what screw came from where and the various sizes.
5.     Don’t use oil on your machine unless you know that it needs it. Many machines these days don’t require oiling as they are made from different materials/parts than machines that do need a bit of oil.
6.     Make sure that the dust and other particles you clean out of your machine are thrown out. A common bit of debris found inside machines are broken needle tips, which can be a hazard.
7.     Put the machine back together and test sew to make sure everything is okay. Adjust tensions and rethread as necessary.
8. To prevent any disasters with your machine plug it into a power board with a surge protector. And when travelling with your machine make sure it's stored in a suitable box/bag/trolley and that your machine's pressure foot is in the down position.

Take off the storage tray. 
Remove the needle and foot including the shank.
Unscrew the faceplate.

Remove faceplate.
Remove bobbin case.
Lie machine on its back.

Unscrew the cover plate. 
Remove cover plate.
Attach the nozzle on your can of air and blow the dust away!
Use tweezers to remove any clumps of dust that are stuck. 
Turn the machine back up and use a small brush to remove any more dust you can see.
Oil any spots that require it or that your machine manual advises to.
DO NOT oil if your machine doesn't need it.
Lie the machine back down and reattach the cover plate.
Put the machine back up. Dust out the bobbin case (front and back).
Put the bobbin case back into position.
Screw the faceplate back on, return the needle and foot/shank
back to their rightful homes.
Pop the storage tray back on. Rethread the machine, power up and
test your stitches and tension.
Then back to work!
NOTE: This tip in no way replaces the need for you to have your machine serviced yearly. There are things that a mechanic will check that you cannot do yourself.

See you next week with our last tip and some exciting news!