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Eye Candy Crafts by Deanne Crim ~ Crafty Crusader

Ravelry Store – Crafty Crusader – Crochet Patterns (instant downloads) https://www.ravelry.com/designers/deanne-crim—crafty-crusader  

Etsy Shop – Crafty Crusader – Patterns, Tutorials, & Unique Gifts https://www.etsy.com/shop/deannecrim    

Pinterest – Crafty Crusader – Deanne Crim https://www.pinterest.com/deannecrim/

Instagram – Crafty Crusader – Deanne Crim https://www.instagram.com/crafty_crusader/

Facebook Page – Crafty Crusader https://www.facebook.com/thecraftycrusader/

Facebook Group – Artsy Adventures in Crafting! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1804690782931781/

Original Blog: Sugarplum Village is now Crafty Crusader !https://deannecrim.blogspot.com

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Welcome to my New Crafty Crusader website! Here is where you will find creative inspiration and enough ‘Eye Candy’ to keep your Crafty ‘Sweet Tooth’ fully satisfied!

I don’t fit into any particular artsy fartsy box, I sorta jump around and in and out of just about every one of them! Sorta like a kitty who can’t be confined to any one in particular. No craft goes untouched in my world, if I can help it. Perhaps I am more of a creative information and crafty skills hound? I can’t be too sure. All I know, is that when people ask me what my favorite is, I am set whirling and spinning in my head…ONE? FAVORITE?!! Are you kidding me?!!

Suffice it to say, you can safely assume I will be taking you on countless creative journeys that you may not be prepared for, or better yet, you might not have even thought of! I like to keep you on your crafty toes…pointed and poised for the next greatest thing!!

But don’t get me wrong…

Traditional crafts are deeply rooted in my soul, nurturing a part of me that I hold dear. Although I was raised by rather uncreative parents, both of my grandmothers were very creative. Bubbie was always spinning something with her fingers, be it gorgeous beaded purses, button craft artwork, or the many wonderful crochet and knitted works of heart she shared with the family. Bubbie taught me to knit and crochet when I was 9 years old, and crocheting hit my sweet spot in a big way! Knitting, not so much.

crochet snowbabe by deanne crim

My Granny Annie was a bit more finicky in her skills and chose only to knit. As a matter of fact, in the early-mid 1930’s she was making the socks that my father and uncle wore every day. Granny Annie was also an accomplished oil painter in her own right, but looking at those creepy clown paintings in the guest room was just about more than any 6 year old could tolerate. I think my awareness of color, texture, proportion, and overall perfectionism comes from Granny Annie. I’m not sure if I should thank her or complain!

Fortunately, my parents recognized my obsession and noticeable talent for creative arts, and supported me at every turn, enrolling me in art and painting classes growing up. Having a window into formal training, no matter what the medium, gives a child a wider perspective on possibilities in life…it opens the imagination and gives it tools to express the creativity and vision that lives inside. I will forever be grateful to my beloved parents who gifted me with such expansive opportunities!

crafty crusader collage 3

From there, it was all my imagination…whatever I happened to see that tickled my fancy or inspired me, was soon on my crafty ‘plate’ to try and bring into reality. I spent a lot of time at the local library, riding my bicycle 3 miles to check out books on making soft toys, or teddybears, or whatever craft I wanted to learn. I taught myself how to make happy face bean bags, and rag dolls like the ones I saw at the Renaissance Fair, and when I was 11 years old and laid eyes on a sweet little hand-sewn felt mouse tucked inside a walnut shell cradle at a gift shop while visiting Bubbie, I was determined to make one for myself…and I DID!! Those little trinkets remain one of my most popular gifts for the past 45+ years! I even designed a crochet version to satisfy the ‘Happy Hookers’ out there! (The pattern is next up in the queue of my Ravelry Store available designs)

Ravelry Store – Crafty Crusader

I discovered many ahhmazing things when I left the mainland and attended college at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Fashion Design & Merchandising…on the island of Oahu…think Waikiki Beach…ditching class…crafty adventures…and all the fun that goes along with it! One such notable discovery was Chuck Crim, my #1 obsession… bff…soulmate…man of my dreams…the most incredible man in the multiverses! But that is another story for another time…we’re talking crafts here, right?!!

While meandering my way through the Ala Moana Shopping Center in the fall of 1979, I discovered FIMO® – polymer clay. There was no such thing as oven-bake clay back then, so walked into the small gift shop across from the bookstore, I was mesmerized by the teensy weensy miniature displays of ‘Sushi’ and condiments. Did I happen to mention that I am a miniature freak?!! Well, in case I didn’t…I am a big time ‘little thing’ lover!! Maybe its because I was always the tallest kid in the class? Maybe because my imagination takes flight when things get small? Perhaps all those neighborhood walks where I imagined little villages of tiny faerie people living in the bushes, launched my appreciation of all things small? I don’t know, but its something that has stuck with me my entire life, so I have just come to accept it…and FEED THE BEAST, as it were!

Playing with that oven-cured clay opened up a new world for me. Not just crafty, but financial, too! I designed little baseball players and caps and balls, and turned them into brooches/pins and charms, then I sold them to parents, girlfriends, and fans in the grandstands at the U.H. Rainbow Warrior Baseball games, of which my fiance Chuck, was a pitcher on scholarship. My fingers were kept busy sculpting figurines and personalizing them with hand-painted jersey numbers, sometimes dozens!

Crowds gathered around me in the bleachers, to look at the velvet cushion I had sewn to display the finished adornments. $3.00 each added up quickly, and was welcome funding to a struggling college girl! What brings me immeasurable joy, is when I hear from dear friends from back in those wonderful days, and they mention still cherishing their pins, keeping them in a place of honor and holding all those special memories we shared at the stadium, cheering our boys on, close to their hearts.

Somewhere between classes and beach trips, I discovered a sweet craft store called, Strawberry Hill, owned by a wonderful woman named, Barbara DelPiano. It was next to a fabulous Hawaiian Tomy’s BBQ hut (I think?), and I was quick to visit the moment I discovered it. The store was just a couple miles from my apartment on Kuilei Street, and when I saw that she carried a supply of FIMO clay, I became a regular customer. When Barbara caught a peek at what I was crafting with FIMO clay, the same stuff she couldn’t seem to sell to anyone else, she asked if I would be interested in teaching classes, and a whole new world was born! The classes were sold out and a giant success. Students were thrilled with their results, and Barbara was thrilled to be selling more clay!

Upon completion of his Junior year Chuck signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Milwaukee Brewers organization in their minor league system. This is when our real adventure began. We traveled across the USA, living in small towns and meeting ‘salt of the earth’ people, many of whom we are still close with. Of course I continued to make my infamous mini baseball player pins, touching hearts of girlfriends, wives, parents, grandparents, and fans alike, whilst subsidizing Chuck’s minuscule minor league income.

Along with baseball team pins, I had branched out and was designing characters and other whimsical sculpted gifts to fit various events and celebrations. My mind is always open and searching for a new idea and one particular afternoon I met a woman in the grandstand at a minor league baseball game in Beloit, Wisconsin. As we chatted she described clay jointed teddybears she made, and suddenly my direction took on a new focus. Teddybears had always been a favorite of mine, so the progression was a natural one. I began making jointed teddybears, sculpted with FIMO but detailed to look like they had fur. I took it a step further and fashioned ‘no-no’ bears, whose heads twisted back and forth as you wiggled their little stubby tail. A carefully crafted wire mechanism that I managed to finagle with some creative thinking, did the job.

Crafting kept me productive and occupied while Chuck was gone for weeks at a time on road-trips, and being the early 1980’s we didn’t have the luxury or convenience of internet or smartphones to keep us distracted. I tend to be of a ‘hermit’ nature, so I welcomed the alone time to be creative without interruption. It was about that time that I took a deep dive into beadwork.

The most natural place to end up when you are crafting with beads, is jewelry. And that I did. I purchased books and taught myself to make Native American style peyote stitch and diamond stitch, with techniques to design unique and memorable earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. French Beaded Flowers were a happy surprise that I fell into, and have been one of my go-to techniques when I am designing something special. They combine vintage old-world style with sculpted details and sparkling beads for a spectacular one of a kind creation.

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(To be continued…)

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