I am a big fan of social crafting, especially when it comes to learning a new skill. I joined some friends for Ladies' Night at Art Glazed Over, a local ceramics studio. I haven't painted ceramics since 1986 (and I have a "pretty" neon orange cat to show for it), so it was like starting from scratch. But learning in a group made it all the more fun (the snacks, drinks and massage available helped too). I quickly discovered that there is more to the art than just painting: Various paints make different textures and effects, and the number of coats you apply affects the final look. (There's also more advanced techniques, like using stamps and applying photos.) The colours appear more brilliant when the object is fired, so you never know what you're going to get. Here's my blah napkin holder at the end of the night. And here it is one week later, after being fired. The shiny glaze and bright colours make it so satisfying. Your local craft, yarn or fabric shop might offer a special social night or regular drop-in time. Learn a new skill, get help with a particularly tricky stitch, or just have some tea and a chat. Some places even organize craft-related outings, like the TTC Knitalong or Stitch 'n' Pitch. (Knitting, baseball and hot dogs...together? Brilliant!) On a barely related note (gnomes are often ceramic, right?), here's Baby Archie's Halloween costume, as promised. I've discovered that making clothes for little ones is quite enjoyable, because if you make a mistake, there's just a kid-size seam to rip out. I've already started planning for next year!