This is a guest blog written by Candice of @cleosladder.

candice in messy bun beanie My name is Candice, and I am the creative behind Cleo’s Ladder. I was so excited when Madeline asked me to participate in her new campaign because I recently dove back into my favorite thing to do – dabble in a little bit of everything!

I’d say my creative side comes from my mom and her mother. My mom loves photography, drawing, and painting. I remember shopping with her, and we never bought something if we could think of how we could make it ourselves! My grandmother is a writer. I remember first exploring my creative side by drawing and sharpie art. I then became interested in literature and writing and pursued creative writing in undergrad. My creative side really flourished when I was finishing my Masters in Counseling. I had moved away from my family, was working two jobs, and found that when I was in my apartment, I was almost always crafting! I always used crafts as an inexpensive way to decorate, give gifts, or relieve stress.

My greatest accomplishment would have to be handmaking for almost every aspect of my wedding. I made the invitations, the programs, the bridal bouquets, groomsmen boutonnieres, almost all of the decorations, and even the gifts for the bridal party and groomsmen. Creating the items for my wedding made me feel a little more official if that makes sense. I had always made things and threw them in with another gift for someone, and one time had a very failed attempt at making infinity scarves for $15 and letting the customer pick ANY fabric they wanted, even if it cost me $30 to order! Oy. But seeing things I had made displayed at my wedding, on the ears or arms of my friends and family stirred something in me. I’m so proud when I look at the pictures and see what I created (with the help of my husband and parents, of course).

Here’s an example of the paper flower corsages I made. Our wedding theme was literature and books!

paper corsages made from books

Apologies for the 2015 IG filter, haha!

After our wedding, I dabbled in a bunch of different crafts. I tried to learn a new thing every year and use it as a Christmas gift. One year it was candles, another year polymer clay coasters. Then one year Shaun gave me the Cricut Air 2 for Christmas, and that same year I taught myself to crochet and that’s when things really took off!

During these difficult times in our world, it might help to get your hands busy! We need to take care of ourselves, and many creatives take care of themselves by learning new skills or trying something different. As I have worked on this post, I’ve been playing with polymer clay and making my own earrings! I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but it has kept my mind off of the anxieties of this world for a moment.

glass etched with mr

Along with crochet, I love paper crafts and vinyl work. When it comes to weddings and baby showers and Christmas, I can’t crochet something for EVERYONE, you know? So I dig out my craft box and pick something else to make. Recently I etched a wine glass and beer stein for a family member that was supposed to get married in March (sad). I used my Cricut Machine, but really you just need a type of stencil (or make one with vinyl and an Exacto knife), and etching cream (I use Armour Etch).

If you’d like to etch glass, be sure to clean whatever glass item, and I like to wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. Place your stencil on the glass item (using tape, vinyl, etc) be sure that it is secure and any gaps or openings are closed so that the stencil is flat on the surface. Review instructions according to the etching cream and apply as directed. Follow the directions and you should have a piece that you designed that is now glass etched! It should also be dishwasher friendly, too!

glass etched with mrs.

A little tip:

If you see minor imperfections, before you re-do it or beat yourself up, ask a friend or someone close to you, “What do you notice?” And if they don’t even point it out, then you’re probably overthinking it! I learned this trick from my aunt who has her own embroidery business, and I thought it was genius!

The other craft that is often requested for collaborations, giveaways, and for work gatherings are my banners! I love making these - it’s sometimes a nice break from working with fiber, but I always find a way to incorporate yarn! You can definitely make banners without a Cricut Machine, but I admit making banners is much easier with one! :)

banner that says boo to you

I always cut my banners using shapes or free images and fonts, and then I hole punch where I want to string my yarn and I always like to add tassels where appropriate… And it’s almost always appropriate.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about different crafts that you can dabble in alongside your main love! I used to believe in the “jack of all trades, master of none” mindset, but I recently threw that out the window. I love being a creative, I love dabbling in many things.

Handmade items are lovely in any form, and I’d love to know what you dabble in while quarantined, and after!

Love,

Candice @ Cleo’s Ladder

Madeline wearing her Fin in the sun hat

Hi, I'm Madeline.

As both an avid reader and passionate crafter, I aim to combine my passions and share them with the world through ofbooksandhooks . Here, you'll find book and crochet pairings, season's readings, and more. Please feel free to reach out to me directly on Instagram if you have any questions. Enjoy!