Author: Shalina/OneCraftyKittenSG

Quick update

Life has been getting kinda busy around here! But, Im happy to report that I have been working hard at keeping to my daily creative challenge – that is, to do at least one creative activity a day.

My favourite make so far has to be the card I made using the Chirpy Chirp Chirp stamp set and coordinating dies from Lawn Fawn. The little chickies couldnt be cuter and I really enjoyed creating a scene around them. For the background, I used Selley’s No More Gaps (basically, caulking for windows) over a Heidi Swapp stencil. I didn’t have a palette knife at the time so I used a protractor to spread the paste LOL. Hey, needs must.

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For the other two cards, I used the Flutter By stamp set and dies also by Lawn Fawn. I struggled a bit with these.

For the trio of flowers, my plan was to watercolour them with distress inks. Unfortunately my ink bled and in an effort to save the flowers, I sopped up the colour which gave them a faded, grungy look. I added some wink of stella and a generous coating of glossy accents to finish them off. I ended up quite liking this card, and you’ll have to take my word for it because the picture I took really doesn’t do it justice.

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For the single flower, I was really just looking for an opportunity to practice using my Copics. I really struggled to pull a card together using the flower and butterfly but in the end I think it turned out ok. Just “ok”.

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Speaking of Copics, my order from ArtFriend came today! I debated getting a set or buying individual markers. The price per marker would be cheaper in a set but there’d be markers in there I wouldn’t need/want. In the end I decided to pay more per marker and get them individually but I was careful to get markers I’ve seen blend really well together. I’m really happy with my choices and will be using these a lot more now.

I have two more finished cards to share, which hopefully I will get around to doing over the weekend…

Where I buy stamps and dies in Singapore

I got some happy mail today from Craftlovers Singapore! I have to say that their customer service is excellent and I received my items in very good time. Their delivery was actually made personally (not via Singpost or a courier service). I made sure to only order stuff that was in stock because I didn’t want to wait for items to get restocked/imported. If you’re not in a hurry, there’s a much wider range of products available for pre-order.

Some other craft shops in Singapore that I frequent are MapleTreeHouse (online and retail) and Cotton Bunnies (online). MapleTreeHouse has a HUGE range of products, however I found that their online prices are slightly higher than at their storefront at IMM. For example, their mini distress ink cubes are $4.50 (for Gold members) online, but I bought them for $3.25 at their store. 🙂 So, if the item you want is in stock, it may be worth going down to take a look first. The thing I don’t like about MapleTreeHouse’s website is that it’s not so easy to tell which items are in stock or not. Even though they do have a filter for “in stock items”, I found that even items under that category were labelled on “Backorder”. Carousell is also a good place to look, but I prefer to get used stamps/dies there because they are usually still in good condition, but at a much cheaper price than you’d pay retail.

My recent haul from MTH and Cotton Bunnies:
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Of course, there is Made With Love at 313 Somerset, however I find their prices quite exorbitant, and don’t usually shop there unless I really need something urgently. 😦

I don’t usually buy stamps at Paper Market (outlets at Plaza Singapura and Raffles City Shopping Centre). My favourite things to get there are glossy accents and tombow mono multi adhesive as they have good prices on those items. I also like to get stickles and the wink of stella glitter brush pens there. Recently I saw Tim Holtz stencils on clearance there for a really good price…was so tempted but I managed to resist! :p

These are just the places that I frequent. It’s exciting that there are so many new craft stores popping up in Singapore. For us paper crafters it means more choices, better prices (hopefully lah!) and more crafting!

Argyle Father’s Day card

One of the things I struggle with is designing masculine cards. My “style” leans more towards pretty florals and pastels, so whenever I have to make something more modern or graphic, it’s a bit of a reach for me.

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Since Father’s Day is coming up, I had this idea for a card with an argyle design floating around in my head. I tried to put it aside because I really didn’t have any kind of stamps that would work for this, but for some reason, I kept coming back to it. So I considered buying the Lawn Fawn Argyle Backdrops stamp set, which would have made this card *so easy* but in the end I knew I just didn’t have time to get it shipped in to Singapore.

Finally I decided to try and fashion my own stamp out of some regular craft foam. I only did this because the main shape I needed was a diamond, which was a basic, solid shape. I am not sure how it would work with a more intricate design (hmm – must try!). And of course I tested it first on scrap paper and made sure it would stamp well – which surprisingly, it did!

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I used my Cricut to cut out the diamond shape because I thought it would be more uniform than me cutting it out with scissors, but honestly, its a simple diamond shape. If you are really concerned about fussy cutting, then print out the shape on copy paper, use it as a template, and cut it out with an exacto knife. I cut 2 shapes and adhered each on an acrylic block with my tape runner.

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I used memento inks (the yellow is Cantaloupe, and green is Bamboo Leaves) and it was super easy to tell if the stamp was inked up well by turning it over and checking the coverage. Then I used a silver gel pen and a ruler to draw the crisscrossed lines. I went back to the Cricut to cut out the letters for D-A-D. I wanted them to be black but only had thin construction paper in that colour, so I cut the letters out 4 times and layered them for sturdiness, then glued them down with Tombow Mono Liquid Adhesive. I *love* how shiny the silver lines are on this card.

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Even though I had to get a bit creative in order to find the supplies to make this card, I think that made me enjoy making it even more. It’s so satisfying to know that the card you made is truly one of a kind.

Wine glass and gift box workshop!

These days, I make a conscious effort to look on the positive side of things. I really do. However, no matter how you look at it, 2016 did not start out well for me – from family members falling ill, to having to move out of our home for unexpected house repairs. My crafting/handmade business was starting to grow and things came to a screeching halt when I lost my workspace at home.

Looking back at the last four-five months, I feel grateful that it was not worse. I feel blessed that it is getting better. And I am looking forward to the second half of the year bringing bigger and brighter things. 🙂

 

At the start of the year, I started Singapore Crafting Socials, a Meetup group that focuses on individuals who love to craft. Then, life happened, and I no longer had a venue for our meetups, and had to put them on hold.

I’m beyond excited to finally announce our first meetup of 2016! For our inaugural activity, we will use vinyl to add an initial and name to a wine glass. The class will include the basics of working with vinyl such as weeding, burnishing and transferring vinyl, sharing about where to get supplies locally, as well as some more challenging techniques like layering vinyl and adhering vinyl to a rounded surface. Then we will also assemble a gift box to hold the wine glass. It’s a great beginner’s level class but also offers something extra for a more experienced crafter. The class fees are only SGD$15!

You can sign up for the class here: http://www.meetup.com/Singapore-Crafting-Socials/events/231097750/

Do join the meetup group as well as there will be more classes and meetups announced over the coming year!

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Some updates, and a card

Hello internet! I have been away for so long, and have some updates to share.

Firstly, I quit my day job! It does feel quite scary to no longer have a regular income to rely on, but after going back and forth and making countless pros and cons lists, I came to the decision that it was the right thing to do. There were many factors that led to this decision, but ultimately, what I love most about it is that it will allow me to focus on what I truly enjoy – being creative, and being around people who love being creative.

Secondly, after some hiccups, Dave, my family and I finally fixed the date – wedding date, that is! It will be a July wedding, and after much reluctance, I agreed that it would *not* be a DIY celebration. While I had initially planned to make my own cards, wedding favours and some of the decor, my family convinced me that weddings are stressful enough on their own without having to deal with DIY mishaps. The one thing I am doing myself though, is sewing my own wedding dress.

Okay, yeah, I know that sounds a bit crazy, especially since I’m no couturier and my skills are at novice-level…at best. But, I plan to keep the design simple, give myself a lot of time for trial and error, and allow myself to accept and love my mistakes, if – ok, when – they happen.

Thirdly, I have been bitten by the card making bug! Yes, yet another expensive hobby I don’t need…but can’t help loving!

I’m not sure what it is that attracts me to card-making…I don’t send postal mail very often, and my circle of friends and family aren’t in the habit of exchanging cards and handmade gifts. For me, I think its the fact that it’s a relatively small project, a bite-sized cookie, if you will, and it’s really up to you how much or how little time and effort you want to put into it. Either way, you can still achieve a great outcome each time.

Most of my card making supplies are in the USA at the moment so when the urge hit me to put together a card, I tried to quell it. Make a card without stamps, dies, copic markers or expensive watercolour sets?! Nah, surely there’d be no fun in that. But the urge kept coming back.

So, I followed my heart.

The card below is a simple side fold A2 card with a watercolour background and a no-frills sentiment. The card front is not watercolour paper since I didn’t have any on hand – its just drawing block paper I picked up from Popular. :p And surprisingly, it held up well. Any warping was fixed by using a ton of double sided tape on the back side. I didn’t have any enamel dot embellishments so I used a hole puncher and punched small circles out of glitter craft foam and attached using some glossy accents. I used cheapy Pentel tube watercolours which actually turned out decent. The sentiment was cut out using my Cricut Expore Air using purple shimmer cardstock and vellum. (Yes, the Explore Air can cut fragile materials such as vellum without tearing!). I then added some sequins I picked up from People’s Park Complex donkey years back.

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What did I achieve? Certainly not a “designer” card. But, what can I say. It was so satisfying to sit at my table, crank out a project from start to finish, and just allow myself to indulge in a bit of creative me-time. 🙂

Some thoughts on the business side of crafting

If you are a “maker”, someone who works or does business in the creative industry, especially so if you sell handmade goods, you will always have people who question you on how you create your products, why you price them so high/low, whether this is a reflection of the quality of your product, whether it is truly made by you or a machine, etc.

It has taken me a while to get to this point, but I no longer take offense at such questions. My first instinct, and I suspect this is how it is for many crafters, is to avoid or skirt around questions about the machine I use, how I made the product, the cost price I have in it. I mean, no one really goes into Precious Thots (the gift shop) and asks what the cost price of a Forever Friends bear figurine is, so why should that be different for small business owners/home crafters, right?

The truth is, no one “owns” the methods and processes we use to create our wares. With social media, there are a million and one tutorials teaching every Tom, Dick and Harry how to make the exact product you’re shilling. But not everyone has the time, resources and patience to invest all that you have into your business. Some people are genuinely curious and if you choose to be defensive and withhold information, your response will be noted. And they will tell all their friends and family about it.

Yes, there will be people who drop such comments as a slam on your product. There will always be those who don’t appreciate the time it takes to design a decal, the hours you put into weeding an intricate vinyl piece, the patience required to put a decal on exactly straight. The truth is though, these people? They aren’t your target customers. There’s no need to be offended or feel down when they drop those comments, because they were never going to buy anything from you anyway, and you don’t have to take part in a transaction of snark and sarcasm. The best response you can give them is to smile, and if they do ask, politely educate them on why your pricing is such, and the effort that goes into the final product. Who knows, you might even convert them someday.

These days, if someone asks me what machine I use to cut my designs, I will tell them I use a Cricut Explore Air and it is a godsend. I also tell them that I buy my vinyl from sign shops because I want a good quality vinyl that has a lifespan of up to 5 years outdoors or 10 years indoors. If they are still curious, I explain the design process, the methods of prepping and applying vinyl, the time involved in turning a blank canvas into a sellable sign, etc. Only good can come out of such interactions. Even if they take the information, turn around and start selling their own products, you can’t guarantee that they wouldn’t have done that on their own anyway, with resources from the internet. There’s more than enough room for everyone in the market, and if you stand behind your product, keep your pricing fair, and maintain an open and honest demeanour, your customers will return.

Christmas is in the air!

With less than 6 weeks to go before Christmas, things are looking very festive at One Crafty Kitten HQ, i.e. my little workspace. Someday I’ll share pictures of my crafting corner and where all the items purchased via my Etsy store are made.

Here are some pictures of the things I’ve been making to sell at the upcoming Christmas Bazaar at Joo Chiat:

If you’ll notice, the black shadow box frame with the gold and red baubles doesn’t have a vinyl design on the front. That’s because it can be fully customised. I have a couple orders with bible verses that I’ll be posting pictures of soon, so you can see what our custom work looks like.

While most of my crafting time has been spent getting stock ready for the bazaar, I took a short break this weekend to make Christmas cards for my family. Here is one I’m made for my MIL. She loves snow globes, snowmen and her dachshund. The trees, dog and snowman are images from the Cricut monthly subscription. The snowglobe shape is from Birdscards (thank you for sharing the file!).

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I didn’t want the sequins to snag on the paper cut outs so I added a layer of acetate over them before adding the sequins. It was a very laborious card because of the little fiddly bits but I loved making it and I hope she likes it too.

I also happened to use up a roll of double sided tape and thought the leftover cardboard insert was perfect as a wreath. I wrapped some gold ribbon all around it, secured with UHU glue, then used some burgundy and gold berry sprays as an accent. This would be a great seasonal arts and crafts project using repurposed materials for little ones.

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It was a fun weekend of crafting, and a nice change making personal projects. 🙂