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All Are Welcome Here

Misfits unite! At A Crafty Crew we realize the magic of bringing everyone together — quiet writers, dedicated equestrians, weird artists, loving foster parents, individuals committed to yoga practice, and families who nurture wholesome family values. We understand being passionate about your special interests and your creative lifestyle.

We get you!

We’re writers who love being lost in our own heads, immersed in thrilling stories we make up. We’re horse lovers who go to the barn day or night, rain or shine, heat wave or freezing wind. Because being with our horses is our positive energy source and our happy place. We’re artists who wake up at night haunted by exciting new design ideas that won’t go away. We’re the tireless foster parents who put their kids health and happiness ahead of their own. We’re girls who practice yoga in cute tights grunting and groaning with every wonderful stretch.

You’re not alone. You’ve found friends, fans, and family here. We know what it takes to forge ahead when things get hard. We see you driven by dreams that won’t be ignored or forgotten. We’re made from the same stubborn mold as you. We don’t bend or break under pressure. Obstacles make us stronger, more resilient, and even more determined to succeed. Quiet self-confidence combined with pit bull tenacity is our superpower.

Let it shine!

We know you’re awesome. Don’t be shy! Let the rest of the world know it too. At A Crafty Crew we encourage self-expression in all its colorful forms. That free-spirit energy fuels our creative flame. It inspires us to dig deep to create original artwork for our unique apparel, mugs and Eco-totes that speak to you.

Whether you’re sitting in a crowded coffee shop sipping a steaming latte or nestled snug in your bed with a good book, you’re important to us. That’s why we continue to create comforting, feel-good designs to make you feel included and loved.

Our commitment to supporting a strong artistic community doesn’t stop with our feisty fashions or unique accessories. We also strive to nurture your spiritual well being. We inspire productive hands-on activities for all ages by offering smart, fun, easy-to-make, inexpensive craft project tutorials.  

We’re excited to share a new acrylic painting-on-canvas design titled All Are Welcome Here. Watch the how-to video on our YouTube channel. Get your FREE copy of the companion eBook with color pictures, full size pattern and supply list on our website.

Thanks for stopping by. We look forward to sharing more as we continue to support, encourage, and inspire your creative lifestyle.  

Live, Love, Create,

Lisa, Jessie & Niki

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Our Story

A Crafty Crew:
Content and Merchandise to Inspire Your Creative Lifestyle

A Crafty Crew began as a small spark of an idea. Our mission is simple: we want to share our unique talents to empower other creatives who share our diverse interests by building a supportive community. Our journey to this point of growth wasn’t fast or easy. We overcame obstacles, we learned to trust our individual visions, and we continually challenge each other to bring the absolute best of ourselves to our work. 

Times are tough, but we won’t allow adversity to shadow our dreams. Here at A Crafty Crew, we’re 3 driven women prepared to encourage everyone through positive attitude and creativity. With passion and focus we can change the world. We kindly ask for your support. Join the crew and let’s get crafty. Please Like, Follow and Share. Help us grow and we will help you live, love and be creative.

Here’s to our bright and happy future.

Live, love, create!

Lisa, Jessie & Niki


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5 Tips to Get into Your Crafty Creative Zone

The creative zone is a wonderful place where new ideas are conceived, and innovative pieces of art are brought to life. In the creative zone, time doesn’t exist. It’s a beautiful realm full of wonder and surprise. It’s a place of magic we all want to visit. So, how do you produce the right environment to get to this artist’s heaven on-demand? Here are some tricks to fast-track you to the zone.  


1) Find your sweet spot.

Identify when you feel most productive creatively. Don’t fight it. Not everyone is meant for a 9:00 to 5:00 workday. For me, my most fruitful hours are between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. I like to work even later if I’ve gained momentum that’s getting projects done. My day starts a lot earlier than 11:00, but I like to go for a walk and tidy the house a little before I get serious about crafting. Then, I can focus on artistic projects without distractions.


2) Free-play without a critic.

Play with your medium without a rigid plan. Allow your spontaneous artistic mind to wander and explore new ways to combine materials to make interesting new pieces. I pull random craft items out and lay them on a table. Then I mix them up to get unique combinations. This exercise is a process. Once you’ve exhausted the routine combinations, it’s amazing how fresh new ideas reveal themselves.


3) Take a break.

Look outside for inspiration. Exciting original crafts are the product of creatives who actively seek out stimuli to generate new ideas. Take a walk, go to the beach, the mountains, the zoo or the park. The exercise and fresh air nurtures your creative spirit and promotes action.


4) Sketch design ideas on paper.

You don’t have to be good at drawing for this exercise to work. The process of doodling frees your mind and hushes the internal sensor that holds you back. Forge ahead. Be bold. The idea is to let the drawings come naturally. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much this simple act empowers your artistic style. Try it!


5) Dedicate time to developing your craft and your talent.

Commit to branching out and trying new types of crafts that excite you. In this unfamiliar territory you’ll find renewed energy that’ll quickly develop into exciting new craft ideas.    

The creative zone is wonderful rejuvenating place that replenishes our positive energy. Make it a  priority to set aside time to make a craft, get messy and get in the zone.


Be kind to yourself. Keep trying. Wherever you are in your crafting journey, you’re doing great!

Live, Love, Create!

Lisa 


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Vegetarian Noodle Soup & Chicken Noodle Soup Made Easy

Simple but true, one of my favorite things is when a family member steps into our kitchen and says, “that smells good.” Cooking homemade soup with fresh vegetables always gets that exact reaction. The best part is my hearty soup delivers what the enticing aroma promised, a hearty bowl of delicious flavor and comfort.

We have vegetarians in the family. Cooking simultaneously for both plant lovers and meat lovers can be challenging. I devised an easy way the simplify meal preparation that satisfies the big appetites of the whole hungry crew.

Watch the recipe come to life!

Vegetable Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Time: 40 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 3 celery stalks sliced
  • 1 C carrots sliced
  • 1 med. onion chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp. chopped parsley
  • 12 oz. five cheese tortellini cooked
  • 8 oz. tri-color spiral pasta cooked
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Optional: 2 C shredded chicken

Optional toppings:

  • grated Romano cheese
  • seasoned croutons 

Step 1

  • cheese tortellini
  • tri-color pasta

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta.


Step 2

  • onion
  • carrots
  • celery

Chop the onion. Slice the carrots and the celery.


Step 3

  • olive oil
  • onion

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent.


Step 4

  • vegetable broth
  • carrots
  • celery
  • salt & pepper
  • garbanzo beans
  • bay leaves
  • parsley

Add the vegetable broth, vegetables and seasonings. Stir in the bay leaves, garbanzo beans and parsley.


Step 5

Cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.


Step 6

Move half of the soup to a second pot. Add the pasta.


Step 7

Cover both pots and heat through.


Step 8

Serve hot with grated Romano cheese and seasoned croutons.


Enjoy!


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“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle

Get your highlighter ready, because this is one of the most underline-able books ever!  So noteworthy, that it deserves it’s own, new word: underline-able.  This book in one word is: transformational.  Glennon has such a unique way of stringing stories together as seamlessly as a pearl necklace.  (I’ll admit, at times I wonder how she can recall these events and conversations in such great detail.) Each story offers its own brilliant insight, and by the time you’ve finished the book you realize the beauty of the entire necklace is actually in the string that binds the pearls together. 

The buzz-word for 2021 seems to be “resilience.”  And is it any wonder after a year like 2020?  If you’re like the many of us who aim to dive deeper, stay longer, and come to peace with ourselves, then you NEED “Untamed” on your reading list.  I found so much encouragement in this book that I’ve already gifted it to two friends, and counting.  

It’s all too easy for anyone to lose touch with themselves in these fast-paced times, but even more so for women who tend to put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own.  Have you ever felt so out of touch with yourself that you weren’t even sure of the way back?  “Untamed” is that way back, in the form of a clearly lit path with a beautiful view to the top of a mountain where you can find yourself again.  These pages of inspiration are for you if any of these apply:

  • You value others’ opinions, and forget to ask yourself for your own opinion
  • You turn outside of yourself, or to substances, to numb internal discomfort or uncertainty
  • You place more importance on perception and appearance than your inner environment
  • You often think/say ‘I should be happy’ or ‘others have it worse’
  • In the words of Glennon herself, you’ve felt “tamed by shame” (p.46)

Free yourself; read “Untamed!”  The healing comes from within you; “Untamed” just provides the medication, in the form of permission to love your whole, beautiful self. Get ready to build yourself up “by design instead of default” (p.6).


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For the Love of Wine

For the Love of Wine

Don’t judge! In my defense we’ve been saving wine bottle corks for years. Yes, years. I knew one day inspiration would strike. I’d eventually find a creative way to enjoy the corks I lovingly saved from the trash.  

As it turned out, this wood plank project had two winning advantages. It used a bunch of corks and it makes a striking statement in our butler’s pantry where we pour the wine.

Watch the how-to video here!


Let’s get started!


You will need:

  • Wine bottle corks 60 -70 count
  • Wood 8 in. x 20 in. x ¼ in.
  • Light wood stain & dark wood stain
  • Wood block for the cutting jig
  • Right angle  
  • Marker
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Foam paint brush
  • Adhesive E6000
  • Saw tooth hanger & nails
  • Hammer
  • Power Tools
  • Orbital sander
  • Drill & drill bit
  • Bandsaw

Cut the ¼ in. thick wood to a 8 in. x 20 in. piece. Use an orbital sander to sand the wood plank to a smooth finish.

Use a foam paint brush to stain the wood. We used Golden Pecan stain on the entire surface including the edges and the back. We followed up with Red Mahogany around the perimeter. The two colors were blended with a dry paper towel. Set the wood aside and let the stain dry overnight.

Make a cutting jig for the corks. We took a scrap block of wood and drilled a hole slightly larger than the thickness of the corks. The hole is also slightly deeper than the length of the corks. Drill a second similar hole on the side of the block of wood.

Using a bandsaw cut guidelines through the holes. The first guideline is used to cut the corks in two length wise. The second set of guidelines is used to cut the corks into four even discs. Cut 60 – 70 corks in half using the wood jig and bandsaw.

Use a right angel and marker to draw a 45 degree angle line on eight corks. Match the best fitting pairs together to make four tight fitting corners for the outer border.

Draw the full size text pattern on paper with a pencil. I based the pattern on the width of the corks. The height is based on two corks laid out end to end. Trace the finished pattern with a black marker. 

Match the corks to the full size pattern and draw cutting guidelines on the corks with the marker. Cut the corks to size and lay them on the paper pattern.

Turn the wood over. Attach the saw-tooth hanger in the center on the backside.

Back on the front side, use a pencil to draw a light center line on the board vertically. Draw a light line in the center horizontally.

Glue the border on the board. Apply a small amount of glue to the back of the cut corks. Continue adding corks working toward the middle line on the board. Custom cut a cork or two to fill any remaining space left in the middle.

Glue the border on the board. Apply a small amount of glue to the back of the cut corks. Continue adding corks working toward the middle line on the board. Custom cut a cork or two to fill any remaining space left in the middle.

Lay the word out in the center of the wood. Use extra corks as spacers. Glue the cut corks on the board. Let the glue dry overnight.

It’s time to celebrate your new creation! This rustic custom made piece of art makes a thoughtful, easy, and inexpensive gift for wine loving family and friends. But I totally understand if you want to keep it for yourself. 

Cheers!

We’re just getting started! If you enjoyed this post, FOLLOW our blog for more creative fun, food and friendship from A Crafty Crew.

Live, Love, Create,

Lisa


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Great Things Take Time

Great things take time

A few months back I got a new horse. Her name is Carousel, but I lovingly call her Carol. She’s a talented, pretty and young warmblood filly, but not broken yet (hasn’t been ridden or sat on). When I got her I knew I was going to be putting in a lot of work to get her under saddle, but to say she’s been a humbling experience is an understatement. After four months of owning her I thought I’d be riding her and a lot further then I am by now. After all, she is not the first horse I’ve broken and brought along, and she will not be the last.

But, no horse is ever ruined because someone took their time with them. Yeah, I could just go balls to the wall, hop on my horse and pray for the best; or I can take my time and respect the fact that my horse needs a slow and steady approach to being backed. My goal here is longevity and a positive working partnership. Things like that take time. And I need to constantly remind myself that even if it’s taking time now, it will pay off because I know she will bloom and learn quickly when we start riding together. Every baby step is not a waste of time. It’s just slower progress than my ego wants. And that’s okay!

Another thing I always try to keep in mind is that all horses are individuals and one saddle does not fit all. What worked for one horse might not work the same for another. Learning what is the best approach for the horse you are working with will make things go smoother in the end.

Enjoy a peaceful visit to the barn here.


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“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
by Maya Angelou

If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading Maya Angelou’s work, stop here, go to the library (or Amazon), and treat yourself.  

Maya Angelou is a figure of American history and a bold reflection of the Black American experience.  Among her many achievements, Angelou was the first female inaugural poet and first Black inaugural poet, paving the way for Elizabeth Alexander, and more recently Amanda Gorman. She recited her poem, On the Pulse of Morning, at President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

On the Pulse of Morning – 1993, Maya Angelou

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is Angelou’s first of several autobiographical novels.  This one in particular spans her memory of ages 4 through 16 years old.  The amount of trial, change, and triumph she experienced is uplifting.  And the way she writes about them is inspirational.

Angelou’s memoir is filled with an array of timelessly relatable childhood experiences, such as a first crush, learning to drive, and earning her first job.  These coming-of-age events are contrasted with more that are painfully unimaginable for most others, such as the Great Depression, war, abandonment, and rape.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Angelou’s authorship is her perseverance and victory.  Despite her experiences of racism, discrimination, and rape, Angelou doesn’t write as a victim — her experiences shape her without defining her.  In addition to her heart, Maya Angelou writes with imagination and whimsy, such as her morphed recollection of Mama’s confrontation with Dr. Lincoln.  Angelou’s stories leap from her heart and onto the page.  To me, this quote is “why the caged bird sings.”

Why do you think the caged bird sings?


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DIY Stained Glass Door

DIY Stained Glass Door

Welcome!  This is the house where we love, laugh, learn, and lean on each other.  Here, we relax, reflect, and rise up to the calling of our potential.  

These are all the things I wanted to say with our front door.

Seems like a tall order, but when you’re able to build it from scratch — all the way from design to construction, and even installation — then it is possible.

Watch the magic here!

Design

Some people will tell you that I’m drawn to sparkles like a moth to a flame.  And, why not?!  Who ever said we’re supposed to outgrow glitter?  Regardless of what they say, bevels were a MUST in my front door design.  Their simplicity and beauty make bevels a timeless staple in any glass masterpiece.  They cast the most beautiful rainbows across the house.

Construction

Building stained glass feels similar to building a complex puzzle.  First, you have to cut all the glass pieces to size, then after cutting hundreds of lead pieces to match up with the glass, you get to fit it all together.

Soldering is a bit tricky.  You have to get the heat and distribution just right, otherwise you could end up with lumpy joints, or in the worst case cracked glass.  Jake’s experience with soldering computer parts came in handy here.

Cleaning the completely constructed glass may arguably be the most rewarding part of the whole process.  By the time the piece is whole, there are fingerprints all over the glass, the lead has oxidized, and remnant putty muddies the design.  Cleaning the piece is like a grand reveal!

Installation

Have you ever walked a tight rope, 50 stories high, above a swarm of hungry alligators?  Me neither.  But that’s what installation felt like.  Or at least, I imagine they’re the same feeling…  I held my breath the entire time!

Preparing the door itself wasn’t bad; we could always go buy a new door.  But after countless hours, and pouring blood, sweat, and tears (literally, because glass is sharp and Florida is hot) into the stained glass — it officially became priceless.

Thankfully everything went off without a hitch!  The only thing I thought when I saw sunlight streaming through my new, handmade, designer door was: my cup runneth over!  What a breathtaking sight!

So, welcome!

This is the home where we love, laugh, learn, and lean on each other.  Here, we relax, reflect, and rise up to the calling of our potential.  We’re glad to have you over!


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Molten Lava Cake

Molten Lava Cake

This recipe is a fan favorite and a baker’s dream — it’s quick, easy, requires only 5 ingredients, and pleases any chocolate-loving crowd.  As quick as these cakes are to make, they’re devoured even quicker.

If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, you can sweeten the recipe by using milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.  Customize the presentation with your favorite fruits, or even some ice cream & whipped cream.

Watch the full video recipe for pro tips!

Molten Lava Cake

Yield: 4 cakes

Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 eggs (2 whole, 2 yolks only)
  • ¼ C sugar
  • ¼ C flour

Optional, for garnish:

  • ¼ C powdered sugar
  • 1 C raspberries, strawberries, or cherries

Step 1

  • butter
  • flour

Preheat your oven to 450 F.

Prepare 4 ramekins by coating them with butter, then a light dusting of flour (start with about ½ Tbsp of flour per ramekin). 

Place the prepared ramekins on a baking sheet.


Step 2

  • eggs, 4
  • sugar, 1/4 C

Beat the 2 whole eggs, additional 2 egg yolks, and sugar in a medium bowl on high speed.  The egg mixture should grow pale, and become a thicker consistency.


Step 3

  • butter
  • chocolate, 6oz

Melt the butter stick and chocolate together.  A double broiler works best, over simmering water, however a microwave can also do the trick — microwave for 15 second increments, stirring between each run.  Stir until smooth.


Step 4

  • flour, 2 Tbsp

Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture and use a folding motion to evenly combine; stir in flour.  

Once combined, use a spoon to evenly fill the prepared ramekins.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the top and sides of the cakes appear set but the centers are gooey.

Let the cakes cool about a minute before plating (watch our video for pro tips).  You can also eat the cakes right out of the ramekins, but make sure to allow enough time for cooling.


Step 5

  • optional garnish

Garnish your cakes with powdered sugar, fruit, or even whipped cream & ice cream.

Enjoy!



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