Metro Atlantans get crafty at home

Kim Bryant poses in her home art studio.
Courtesy of Kim Bryant
Kim Bryant poses in her home art studio. Courtesy of Kim Bryant

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

From home décor projects to wearable works, learn how to get a little crafty with your extra time at home.

For one former Fulton County School System art teacher, finding the bright side isn’t just hyperbole—it’s her calling. Despite the pandemic’s restrictions, Kim Bryant was still set on adding a little color to her 12-year-old’s birthday celebration. The Marietta mom planned a small paint-pouring activity, in which the family donned colorful berets and poured thickened acrylic paints onto canvases.

“It is a really fun craft because you can’t predict what your art will look like, so you’re left with a surprise,” says Bryant, who has been creating these and other immersive activities for her two home-schooled daughters well before the rest of the city transitioned to virtual learning.

Arts and crafts have always been a great family outlet in the Bryant household — but even more so this year, she admits. “Art can also be a therapeutic way to deal with feelings and emotions,” the mother of two says, adding that it also “provides an alternative to screen-time activities such as video games.”

But those benefits apply to all ages — adults and children. According to Stefan Gheorghe, a crafting expert at DIYS.com, there has been a rise in do-it-yourself (DIY) jobs and a growing interest in crafting since the pandemic.

“With still only limited access to things we can do, taking up DIY tasks and venturing into arts and crafts will not only allow us to concentrate and focus on something else, but [it] will fuel us with a relaxing and rewarding sensation,” says Gheorghe, whose website offers a wide range of tutorial projects and DIY inspiration.

So, whether you’re looking to fight boredom, step up your style with homemade fashions or complete some useful fixes around the house, there are so many reasons to craft. And, if you need motivation and inspiration, these metro Atlantans are sharing a few rather crafty ideas.

Kim Carey and her family pose in their homemade masks. 
Courtesy of Kim Carey
Kim Carey and her family pose in their homemade masks. Courtesy of Kim Carey

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Mask Mania

As a lifelong crafter, Kim Carey is always up for a new challenge. She’s sewn Halloween costumes, created Easter basket liners and made totes for her 2-, 4- and 6-year-old kids. And since the pandemic, she’s picked up mask-making, too.

“The influx of needing masks has kicked my sewing up into high gear,” the Brookhaven mom says. “With Christmas coming up, I’m making masks with Christmas patterns. Baseball has started, so I have baseball patterns. Halloween is about to come, so the kids are going to school with candy-corn masks. They love being able to pick out their own masks as a way to express themselves.”

Kim Carey enjoys using fun fabrics and patterns to bring a little self-expression to mask wearing.
Courtesy of Kim Carey
Kim Carey enjoys using fun fabrics and patterns to bring a little self-expression to mask wearing. Courtesy of Kim Carey

Credit: Kim Carey

Credit: Kim Carey

Fashion Fix

When the pandemic hit, stylist and personal vintage shopper Sarita Goombs of AtiraStyle had a lot more time on her hands, so she used that energy to get creative.

“I’ve always loved graphic tees and have been collecting them for years. So, I decided to start creating some of my own designs,” says the Smyrna resident.

Sarita Goombs models one of her t-shirt designs.
Courtesy of Sarita Goombs
Sarita Goombs models one of her t-shirt designs. Courtesy of Sarita Goombs

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

With a heat press, a plethora of fabric dyes and a Cricut (a digital cutting machine), Goombs has created a line of statement t-shirt designs, which she wears for her own enjoyment and also sells on her website.

“This creative outlet has somewhat helped take my mind off of everything going on,” Goombs shares. “The BLM movement has inspired some of my designs. It’s been a way for me to express my feelings and to support the movement.”

With a love for bold patterns, Robin Cubbage enjoys reupholstering chairs and other items
Courtesy of Robin Cubbage
With a love for bold patterns, Robin Cubbage enjoys reupholstering chairs and other items Courtesy of Robin Cubbage

Credit: Robin Cubbage

Credit: Robin Cubbage

Remix and Reupholster

Robin Cubbage, also of Smyrna, started dabbling in the DIY world 10 years ago. From headboards to lampshades, she’s refurbished and reupholstered nearly everything but the kitchen sink (though she has actually updated her bathroom sink, too).

“I would see ideas, and I would think I could do that, so I would try. I also figured I had more time than money,” Cubbage jokes about her home décor improvements. “I’m probably most proud of recovering my chair.”

Cubbage, who loves bold colors and patterns, also makes her own chalk paints, which she’s used to update old furniture.

Leah Gaither only used a handsaw, sandpaper and hammer to make her very first wooden artwork.
Courtesy of Leah Gaither
Leah Gaither only used a handsaw, sandpaper and hammer to make her very first wooden artwork. Courtesy of Leah Gaither

Credit: Leah Gaither

Credit: Leah Gaither

The Wood Works

Boredom from home confinement sparked Leah Gaither’s foray into woodworking. But that wasn’t a result of the 2020 pandemic, it was actually the 2016 snowstorm.

“When I bought my first house, I didn’t have a ton of money. But I had expensive ideas. I saw something I wanted, but couldn’t afford it,” says the resident of Flowery Branch. “My mom brought home a couple of pallets from work, and I was snowed in my house for a long weekend with not much else to do. I decided to try to make the item myself, and somehow it turned out amazing. One project turned into another, which turned into many.”

One of Leah Gaither’s most recent wood crafts was a Black Lives Matter door sign.
Courtesy of Leah Gaither
One of Leah Gaither’s most recent wood crafts was a Black Lives Matter door sign. Courtesy of Leah Gaither

Credit: Leah Gaither

Credit: Leah Gaither

Since then, Gaither’s wooden creations have grown along with her tool arsenal — from cheese boards, laundry shelves, benches and decorative door signs. Though she warns other aspiring woodworkers to be wary of the headaches of sawdust and wood stain, she says you ultimately don’t need much to get started.

“I started out with a handsaw, a piece of sandpaper and a hammer. Now I have a 10-by-10-foot Tuff Shed that’s full of power tools,” she says.

The Carey kids always enjoy chalk drawing activities.
Courtesy of Kim Carey
The Carey kids always enjoy chalk drawing activities. Courtesy of Kim Carey

Credit: Kim Carey

Credit: Kim Carey

Krafty Kids

In addition to activities like paint pouring (which helps children learn about viscosity), Bryant recommends other projects, in which kids can learn through the use of arts and crafts. As great fall activities, she suggests leaf paintings and clay-pumpkin sculpting.

Carey also recommends chalk paintings, in which you tape off patterns and designs for young children to color in between the taped-off sections. It’s an easy way to get the kids started on a craft, and it’s something the whole family can enjoy together.

“I think that it’s helpful to keep children engaged with the visual arts and crafts because the process of creating can strengthen their creativity, self-confidence, problem-solving skills, critical thinking and patience,” Bryant says.

This year has taught us to slow down and find enjoyment in the little things. So, use this time to your creative advantage by delving into a new hobby. In the end, you’ll reap the rewards of the cathartic experience and walk away with a fancy finished project.

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