Allison Murray is an inspiring Maker with a knack for creating fun fashion accessories. She's also handy with a Dremel rotary tool and eager to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for creating cool DIY gifts this holiday season.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog? How did you get into making?
I've been making things since childhood. I'd sit on the storm cellar door with my grandfather painting birdhouses in between board games and singing old country tunes. My grandmother was always good about encouraging me to color and we'd design models with fancy clothes together.
My mom created the Busy Bee Craft Club for me and my friends and we'd make reindeer out of clothespins or tie dye dresses out of little boy's undershirts. To this day, my family is a bunch of Makers, myself included.
Do you have any tips for creating DIY gifts this holiday season?
Gifts are one of my favorite things to make. In the past my family and I actually had handmade Christmas celebrations where the only gifts that were allowed were handmade. My father made us replica pirate guns one year!
I think that as long as your heart is in the right place, a handmade gift is always appreciated, but it doesn't hurt to think of what the person likes or needs. Do they cook a lot? Maybe decoratively burn the handles on some bamboo cooking utensils. Are they a fashionista? Why not make a one-of-a-kind pair of earrings?
With the internet there are endless tools, tutorials and videos to help you make whatever you think they would like the best.
What's one tool that's always at your desk or workbench?
The tool that is always nearby is the Buck knife my father gave to me after I told him I had started a website and that I was going to try to make a living out of it. I was scared to tell him because I had been laid off and tried the self-employed thing before. Since he'd come to my rescue with my mortgage a good number of times during those days, I worried that he would be disappointed in me. Instead he gave me the knife from his pocket to take as my own to help me with my projects and find my own way in life.
How do you incorporate Dremel tools into your work?
I incorporate Dremel tools into my work to speed things up. I hate sanding down little bits of metal with a jewelry file. It’s so monotonous and boring. My Dremel rotary tool really helps me get through these things quickly and easily.
If you could work on any project — assuming money and time weren't an issue — what would you make?
If time and money were no issue, I'd want to take an old house and fix it up. I had a little bit of experience with that in the first home I purchased, but finances always meant that projects were delayed or the budget was much smaller than I would have liked. Luckily, with the help of my dad, we were able to fix my old house up into a little ranch-style thing of beauty! I'd love to have the opportunity again without financial constraints.
Do you have any advice for new Makers who just picked up a Maker Kit and are ready to dive in and start creating?
Hit up Pinterest! You might feel a bit intimidated, but if you go to Pinterest you can find a million projects to use with each of those tools. When you can follow a project with a step by step, it will boost your confidence using any tool. Before you know it you'll be bringing your own crafty ideas into reality!
To see more of Allison’s work, check out her blog.