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Message board: Calling all craftsters

Q: Are you a craftster? Do you find arts- and- crafts projects of the 1950s and '60s delightfully retro and inspiring? Do you crochet, make art out of cigar boxes, or glue Popsicle sticks into purses?

You should definitely talk to Leah Kramer -- she started craftster.org and [co-]owns a shop in Davis Square -- Magpie. She is an original hipster/craftster -- and I think she just wrote a book too! Very amazing lady. -- jesslow

I love crafting and have been doing it since I was really young. Lately I've been focusing predominately on cards, and I find my inspiration in papers and rubber stamps that have a vintage feel. Papersource (www.paper-source.com ) is a great place to find materials for all sorts of craft projects. But I'm not above taking cool designs from junk mail or things like that and reworking them into cards; there's so much cool stuff that just gets overlooked every day! For me, crafting is something that allows me to focus intensely on a particular task so that I can get my mind off of the banality of my day. It's a great, fun way to wind down. -- kellybellybean

I like to do all those things, especially making purses out of Popsicle sticks. My favorite crafts are intangible. They are the ones I think about but are impossible to actually create. If you can picture a large blimp attached to a giant tuna sandwich with ping-pong balls on top of a 45-foot-high stack of pancakes next to a bag of peanut M&M's under three boxes of Life cereal that floats next to the Partridge Family bus, that is one of my creations. -- pjh24

Not all crafts are for special usage or display; some are just for managing stress or stretching your imagination. I like to make baskets. Not ordinary baskets, but containers for things you might normally throw away. My latest is a basket for leftover pancakes. It has a special glaze covering for its contact with the syrup residue. I also have a basket for leftover milk cover rings. That's the ring that you have to pull off the small round cap of the gallon container that you usually throw out. From these rings I can make plastic eyeglass frames for small-eyed people and rings for fat fingers and bracelets for people with no wristbones. I have thousands of them. -- anah

I'm a knitter and crocheter, and I am fatally attracted to vintage patterns and craft projects! I actually have a book coming out on Sept. 1 called ``The Museum of Kitschy Stitches." It's a look at the best of the worst patterns out there from days thankfully gone by. Although the book and my online gallery poke fun at vintage patterns, it's done out of love. For some inexplicable reason, I find a 1970s salmon-colored, fringed, belted, crocheted man's vest as appealing as a gorgeously tailored cashmere cardigan from the '50s. The only difference is that I would wear one and put the other on display for all to see and enjoy. I've recently become obsessed with beer- can hats and have come up with a few different patterns using beer cans. It seems like everyone had one at some point but can't remember where it went. -- StitchyMcYarnpants

Yes, I am a craftster! I knit, sew, sculpt, and have dabbled in embroidery and cross-stitch. I have always loved wearing things that I have made and that are different than what you find in stores. Much of my inspiration comes from vintage clothing (especially the 1960s -- I collect knitting and sewing patterns from that era). I have plans for so many projects that I don't have time for. -- zantimissknit

I have an addiction to craftster.org. It's a sickness. If you can go to that site and not be inspired, then you may not be human and you should start considering the fact that you could be an android or alien hybrid. I think kitschy crafts appeal to us because they remind us of our youth, before life got complicated, back when Tang was a perfectly acceptable breakfast beverage and macrame owls were prized. Crafting for me usually involves looking over what I've got laying around and figuring out what I could make with it. And the projects must be quick, because I have the attention span of a gnat. Army-men earrings, record bowls, altered books, these are a few of my favorite things. -- monster

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