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Tag Archive | "crafting"

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Jars of Cute: Adorable Arts and Crafts

Posted on 11 August 2009 by Tim

Hello & welcome to the daily blog of an artsy girl who likes it cute, modish and a bit quirky! – Jars of Cute

Please Note: Jars of Cute is now called Lushlee.

About Jars of Cute

Ange says her site, “Started as a virtual space to collect cute inspiration, Jars Of Cute is now an online cute catalog, updated daily with visually endearing and interesting finds.” JoC receives over 45,000 unique visits per month [Quantcast] and is one of the few sites focused entirely on cute arts and crafts.

Without further ado, here’s my interview with Ange from Jars of Cute!

You’ve been blogging for just over one year now and I’d say you’ve been quite successful. What made you decide to start blogging and how did you get into the cute niche?

jars of cute I actually started my personal blog in 2005 and was actively blogging on that up until 2008. However, after 3 years of personal blogging, I started to feel a lack of motivation and purpose with that blog, and at the same time, I found that I was increasingly putting up posts that were similar to what you see on Jars Of Cute today, and not so many “personal” posts. And since I’ve enjoyed collecting “cute things” since I was kid, it made sense to me to morph my personal blog into Jars Of Cute. So in November 2008, I closed down my personal blog, bought the www.jarsofcute.com domain, and put my focus on Jars Of Cute instead!

Do you run Jars of Cute as a business or a hobby?

I’d consider it a hobby today, but one that I’d like to turn into a business someday if possible.

Which three posts would you recommend to a new Jars of Cute reader?

Oooo…that’s a tough one for me because I have so many favorites! Also, even though Jars Of Cute is one of the only few blogs that focuses exclusively on cute stuff, there’s quite a wide range included in that. And so, 3 posts might not be enough to give a full indication of everything it has to offer. But anyway, here goes my 5:

The site focuses on “cute art, craft, and design”, are you a crafter yourself?

I don’t sell crafts but I like to do crafting for my own enjoyment, things like paper crafting, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. I also do digital illustrations and have done freelance web design in the past.

Are the items you post generally hand-made by individual crafters or are they a mix of commercial and independent items?

They are a mix of commercial and indie products. I don’t have a specific preference so long as it catches my fancy and is cute enough to be featured on Jars Of Cute!

The layout of Jars of Cute is really nice. I especially like the related post thumbnails you have. What plugin are you using for that or is that custom?

It’s a standard plugin called YARPP (Yet Another Related Post Plugin) that I customized to fit my purposes.

Do you get reader participation in recommending cute things to write about?

Yes! My inbox is flooded daily with submissions. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to review every single one as much as I’d love to. There are definitely plenty of good ideas in there, but I can only feature items that are a good fit for Jars Of Cute.

I noticed you’re using Twitter, has it been useful for your blog?

I started to use Twitter for Jars Of Cute in early 2009, and overall have definitely found that if I tweet regularly, it does bring in traffic. I find Twitter to be a great tool for recommending cute stuff and links to my followers without having to write a full blog post. I’d love to tweet more but of late haven’t been able to keep up with it too much. That said, it’d be great to let your readers know, if they are interested in cute stuff, to follow me on Twitter.

Ange, thanks for sharing your site!

cupcake-burgers-t Wow! Where else could you find something as unique as hamburger cupcakes? Or as delicate as the paper sculpture pictured below? Only at Jars of Cute!

If you’re into arts and crafts, then you will want to subscribe to the JoC feed now. If you enjoyed this interview, please leave a comment below! Thanks!


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Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Tim

Diane Gilleland, of CraftyPod.com and DIYalert.com, wrote a nifty book about a craft style she enjoys called kanzashi. As you can see, her book is titled Kanzashi in Bloom. I noticed Diane’s book signing from Powell’s Books event calendar and although I was a bit out of place in the crowd, I’m glad I went.

In fact, Diane noticed me and came over to introduce herself, which caught me a bit off guard but was a pleasant surprise. She politely listened as I stumbled through explaining why I was there.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re dying to know what the heck kanzashi is! So let’s get rolling…

What is Kanzashi?

Diane explained that kanzashi is an ancient craft from Japan that started in 1600 during the Edo period. It began as a decorative addition to the elaborate hairstyles of geisha. Later this style was adopted by geisha-in-training known as maiko. Traditionally, kanzashi utilizes silk cloth. However, a variety of materials can be used including precious metals, wood and tortoise shell.



Unfortunately, kanzashi is a dying art. According to Diane, there are only 5 masters in the world! She met one of the masters and, at the book signing, passed around an elaborate hair pin with a small bloom and flowing petals to demonstrate the fine craftsmanship. I have to say, it was pretty impressive. I’m quite sure my big clumsy man-fingers couldn’t fold such intricate patterns!

If you’re interested in more of the history of kanzashi go here.

Kanzashi in Bloom

Diane’s book demonstrates in full-colored detail how to make 20 Simple Fold-and-Sew Projects to Wear and Give. Kanzashi in Bloom shows you how to create the floral patterns with a plethora of quality photographs, taken by Diane’s mother, along with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

The method of crafting these floral designs has been simplified from traditional processes to make it easier to learn. Diane also modified the process to account for different material types, since most crafters will not be using silk or other pricey material.

Diane has made crafting kanzashi so easy (and fun) that everyone in the audience at Powell’s, including me, successfully made two different flower petals. The picture to the left here are the two I made. Not too bad, right?

After you’ve made a bunch of petals then you can take a needle and thread to string them together. Then arrange the petals into a flower shape and add any additional decorations.

Take a look at what readers have made from Diane’s book!

If you’ve read the book, and tried out the designs, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Made by Tim


Kanzashi in Bloom - Thumb

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