Around the Web: Getting Crafty

For those of us lacking the Martha gene, there are a wide variety of websites around to help us out. Here are a few of our favorite places to find inspiration and instruction in the DIY world.

Maybe you’ve spent years mastering the art of origami, and know how to effortlessly transform plain cloth napkins into a menagerie of swans and other waterfowl. You’ve perfected the art of cake-decoration, and can create a rosebud or a Harry Potter out of frosting without a moment’s notice. Last month, you built a doghouse for your favorite pet, and the beagle next door’s been jealous ever since.

If you’re a wizard when it comes to craftiness, consider yourself lucky – most of us don’t have the skills to pull off anything more involved than sewing a button back onto a shirt (and even that can have its own hazards). Fortunately, for those of us lacking the Martha gene, there are a wide variety of websites around to help us out. Here are a few of our favorite places to find inspiration and instruction in the DIY world.

We’ve got to start with one of the biggies – HGTV.com is just as helpful as their TV station. The site is filled with articles and videos covering a wide variety of home improvement and crafty topics, both from the show and from readers’ suggestions. If your kitchen’s feeling cramped, check out their article on 7 Small-Space Makeovers for some ideas on making the most of your pint-sized palace. Want to get the kids to turn off the TV for a change? Visit HGTV’s section on Kid Craft Project & Ideas – maybe you can put them to work creating a beautiful Block Print Valentine’s Day card for Grandma.

One of our favorite collaborative crafty blogs is whip up, a site that features tips, links, and photos from contributors all around the world, along with a helpful forum where readers can discuss their current DIY projects. The site’s just finishing up a themed month on crafts for children, so in the recent archives, you’ll find tutorials for making worry dolls, winter glove puppets, and lots of other original ideas. Meanwhile, grown-ups can learn about ways to recycle your holiday scraps into original art, check out the web’s best knitting and crocheted projects, and much more. Spend some time here, and you’ll soon be eager to show off your own crafty skills on these great pages.

Another blog we love that focuses on making the world of domesticity fun is not martha, which features smart advice on home decor, making clothes, and cooking, along with tons of product recommendations and a daily dose of great links from around the web. Make this a daily stop for tips on some of the best recipes, shopping, tech, and craft-making links around. If you’ve been craving Girl Scout cookies, be sure to try out the recipe for homemade Samoas we discovered in a link here.

We all know everything’s more fun when there’s a whole community involved in what you’re doing – and crafts are no exception. If you want to engage with a wide group of DIY-ers, both newbies and seasoned pros, look no further than the quirky folks at Craftster, who’ve got super-helpful forums, monthly project challenges, city guides for craft-lovers, and tons of great photos and advice. Get Crafty, home of “the craftistas,” also offers a wide variety of great discussion boards, blogs, guides, and great people to meet.

So, if you’re in the mood to make something, start looking around for ideas on these sites – you’re bound to come up with a great new project. And if that sweater you try to knit doesn’t quite come out right, don’t worry about it – you can just pretend it’s a (very oddly-shaped) scarf.