Hannah Milman on crafts made with love

By Delece Smith-Barrow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 10, 2010; 3:12 PM

For Hannah Milman, crafting is more than a profession. It's a biological calling.

"It's in your DNA," says Milman, the executive editorial director of crafts at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. "I can't remember a time I didn't make things."

These days, Milman makes pearl-and-shell necklaces with leather bands and adds glitter to whatever needs livening up. With the holiday season approaching, she's been thinking about winter crafts: Her latest project involves intertwining tinsel and garland, and then twirling them around LED lights.

"Lit garlands and lit wreaths for the future," she says.

Milman is one of four judges of The Post's first Holiday Crafts Contest, which is seeking original creations by Nov. 30.

Crafts can be sewn, woven, knitted, molded with plain paper or papier-mache or created with other materials. They can decorate a tree, hang on a wall, sit on a table or be wearable. They should be winter-appropriate. For more information and official rules, visit washingtonpost.com/holidaycrafts .

We recently spoke with Milman about the first craft she designed, where she gets inspiration and tips for first-time crafters. Here are edited excerpts.

What was the first craft you made?

It was a birthday present or a Christmas present for my great-aunt, since I always made everything. I remember coloring a teeny little flower and cutting it out. I glued [the flower] to the end of a little pin and I put it in a little card.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I get inspired everywhere. . . . I think it's things that are familiar to you. It's inspiring to think how I'm going to do woodland a little different this year. Maybe it's all winter woodland all white. . . . Color inspires me, a walk in the woods with Martha.

Sometimes I can be inspired by something I see that's old. I just went to Brimfield, which is the antiques show [in Massachusetts], and was just very inspired by some of the old stuff. But now I get inspired by gems, constantly: diamonds, emeralds, rubies, anything sparkly.

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