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Book Review: Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden

Reported by Melissa Norris

I’ve been eying Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden at the bookstores for some time. The fun little amigurumi creatures looked too adorable. I was really excited to get the opportunity to review this book and get to work crocheting.

The book is a small, hardbound book with bright colors and great illustrations and photos. There are some tips (like crochet abbreviations), resources for materials, and instructions for special techniques. However, this is a not a “learn-to-crochet” book; you will need to have basic crochet knowledge.

There are patterns to create 21 different creatures that range in difficulty from beginner to epic! The patterns consist of both the written instructions, and the illustrated stitch diagram.

There are instructions for the basic body parts, which are used to create most of the creatures. If there are special instructions, they are listed in the pattern for each creature. After you create the basic body parts, there are instructions for assembly, including adding any details like embroidery, felt accents, hair, etc.

I chose to make the ninja, which was a basic difficulty. I had a hard time at first, because all the patterns I had previously made had been from one author, so I had to adjust to the pattern style that Christen uses. There were also some stitches used that I hadn’t used before (I’m not an epic expert), but after observing some YouTube videos, I was all set. And it only took me two evenings to complete (and that was with plenty of child, husband, dog, and TV distractions).

Ninjas totally hide in plants you know.

Pros : 

  • Creative patterns, far from the traditional animals and dolls
  • Great photos and illustrations
  • Instructions are easy to follow, especially for advanced crocheters
  • Instructions for basic body parts can be used to create your own creatures
Cons :
  • Not a book for beginners, crochet/stitch instructions not included
  • Would love to have seen a spiral binding, because it’s hard to keep books open while you’re working sometimes
Overall, I’m quite happy with the book and look forward to learning some more stitches and techniques, so I can move up to more difficult creatures. The book has a MSRP of $14.95 and is available for purchase at any bookstore. Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!
is also available at Amazon.com

So will you whip up a bunch of Creepy Cute Creatures before Halloween? Leave us a comment and let us know!


Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight : Top Notch Templates by No Bow…No Go

Reported by Melissa Norris

Top Notch Templates by No Bow…No Go are templates used to assist you in creating amazing, boutique hair bows. I  will admit to being skeptical of this system. I said to myself “I’ve made bows before, why would I need this.” Then, I remind myself that yes, I have made bows for my daughter in the past, but usually ended up taking me a long time, having to get someone to help me hold, while I twisted wire, or worst, the bows ended up falling apart after one or two wearings. So I decided to go in with an open mind, and give the system a try.

First, let’s get started on what the system is about. There are bow templates, which are made of durable, quality materials, and instructions for how to make the bows. You can create your own kit on the website, so you can choose from as many templates as you like, bow instructions (in the form of either a printed, spiral-bound book; 3-hole-punched book, or and eBook). For the purpose of review, I received the full, spiral bound book (which was wonderful) and 12 templates. I also received the Clip Grips, which are self-stick, non-slip pads to help hold the clips on, especially for baby-fine hair.

Knowing from experience, I decided to read through the book and understand what was going on before getting into the bow making. The instructions are very detailed and organized and feature instructions for 8 various bows, as well as some enhancements, to take the basic bows further. There are also pages on how to line alligator clips for use, set up your work area, seal the ends of ribbon, and set the finished bows, so that they retain their shape, wear after wear. One of my favorite parts of the instructions involves a photo of all of the finished bows and the various templates needed.
After reading through the instructions and tips, I got my work area set up. You don’t need much to get started. Just some ribbon, clips, scissors, needle and thread, and something to seal the ends. Suggestions are offered, as well as alternatives if you don’t have something listed. In the past I have used fray check or clear nail polish to seal the ends of my ribbon, but did you know you could use the side of a wood burning tool? I didn’t until I saw it in the book! It quickly melts the trimmed edge and creates a nice seal.
So, lets get started creating a bow! The templates are easy to use, and the instructions are very easy to follow. You just wrap your ribbon around the template according to the instructions, then clip into place (with clips using non-slip material) so your ribbon doesn’t slide off. Until you want it to, of course!
After you get the ribbon in place, you stitch up the middle in the “slot” of the template. The instructions detail how many stitches, and which ribbons to go through to get the bow to crease the correct way. After completing your stitches, you just remove the clips and slide the bow off. You also don’t finish off your stitch, just leave the thread a bit long because you pull it to tighten the bow, then wrap it around and stitch to finish.
You then attach your bow to the clip of your choosing (with hot glue) and create a center. There are instructions in the book for creating 3 different centers, straight, pyramid, or knotted. You then wrap your center around your bow and clip and you’re finished!
There is also a great set of instructions for an Itty Bitty bow. This bow is 1″ wide and only uses 5″ of ribbon. Such a great way to use up ribbon scraps and make cute bows that can be used on scrapbook pages, cards and more.
The Itty Bitty bow is made using one side of the 2 template and is super simple to make.
The templates and instructions in the book are a great starting point, but you don’t have to be limited to hair bows attached to clips. My daughter is really into headbands right now, so I decided to add a bow to a headband instead.
Here is my bow after finishing the work on the template and stitching shut. All I need to do next is add my center.
I added a dab of glue to the back and stuck the bow on. I went with a knotted center, and wrapped the excess around the headband, gluing into place.
And here is the finished product. Such a quality bow and it didn’t make me go nuts in the process!
Now she’s ready to go!
Pros:
  • Easy, easy, easy! And seriously, each one took 5 minutes to complete.
  • Versatile – The bows made with the templates can be used for anything and everything.
  • Detailed – The instructions are quite detailed, so if you get confused, don’t worry!
Cons:
  • Cost can be high if you don’t see yourself using the product multiple times
  • Not many other uses besides making bows.
The basic starter set begins at $19.95 and includes 4 templates and instructions. The price goes up for more templates or the printed instructions and can be purchased direct from their website.
Overall, I think this is a great product. I can definitely see myself using the templates again in the future for a variety of projects including gift wrapping and holiday decor. And when I said easy, I meant it. If you have the supplies on hand, several bows can be whipped up quickly for birthday party gifts or a quick bow to match and cute new dress. I look forward to making more!The No Bow No Go Instruction booklet and TNT Top Notch Templates can be purchased online at their website {NoBowNoGo.com}.

What do you think? Look like something you’d be interested in using? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Fiskars Craft Caddy

Reported by Melissa Norris

I am smitten with my Craft Caddy by Fiskars. After receiving, I couldn’t even decide what to put in it. I feel all of my supplies needed such a deserving home.

The Craft Caddy is a superb organization tool, because you aren’t limited in what it can be used for. You can place whatever your heart desires into the 4 cups. From office supplies on your desk, to your collection of deco scissors, to those markers and pens you use on every project, everything can have a home in this storage system.

The Craft Caddy is made up of 5 pieces, 4 removable cups and a spinning carry handle/cup holder. It’s made of sturdy, durable plastic and comes in a variety of colors (red, blue, green, purple).


I choose to keep my Prismacolor colored pencils, Sharpie Markers, and a couple of my daughter’s paintbrushes in mine. I really like having bright colored objects in mine, because let’s face it, they’re so pretty to look at.

Pros:

  • A storage system that isn’t particular to one item. This can store anything and everything, all over your home.
  • Made of lightweight and durable plastic.
  • Cups are removable, if you only need one set of items and have limited space.

Cons:

  • None really, when it first came out it was hard for me to find online, but that’s not the case any more. However, most of the websites I’ve looked at don’t give you an option to choose the color, so I’m not sure if you just get what you get, or if you can put in the comments on those websites what color you want.

The Craft Caddy retails for $12.99 USD and can be purchased online from Fiskars, All Art Supplies, and JoAnn. I’m also sure they can be purchased or ordered at local scrapbooking stores that carry Fiskars products. I’ve even seen them on occasion at my local Target.

Do you have this caddy? What do you use it for? Let us know!!