Crafty Bloggers Unite 06/20/08

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Friday 20 June 2008 at 8:46 am

It’s Friday, and that means some crafting link love from around the web. These talented craft bloggers are bringing you lots of “how-to” information this week. Enjoy and get crafting!

Aileen’s Musings
View Aileen’s Textured Deli Wrap Journal Tutorial

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Coming down the isle at Craftside are announcements, party favors and containers, jewelry and ribbon work all with a wedding theme but easily transformed for any occasion or special event!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Thinking of submitting your craft designs to magazines? Do your homework first! Here is lesson 2 on getting your crafts published.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Stitch a Hopeful Quote from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Polymer Clay @ Craftgossip.com
Bangles, cuffs and dangles – it’s a plethora of polymer clay bracelets!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Check out another vintage Craft that repurposes old labels and buttons into something with a purpose

The Impatient Blogger
Join The Impatient Crafterâ„¢ Margot Potter in this fun filled video lesson where she shows you how to make inked and collaged pendants. Oo la la!

Mini-Collage Pendant Video

Blogged under Crafty Videos,Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Thursday 19 June 2008 at 5:49 am

Thank you Margot for another wonderful craft video. I think she outdid herself this time. She shows us how to make this very cool little collage pendants that you secure in glass frames. I like how you can use up all kinds of little scraps to make these.

I’m a big scrap whore….err…hoarder…er…I mean, so this is something I would like to try with my collection of parts and pieces. The backgrounds she makes are also wonderful and could be used for larger pictures if you want a collage for your wall versus to wear around your neck.

Crochet is Cool!Double Take on Doubestitch?

Blogged under Around the Web,Crafty Videos,Jewelry Designers/Artists by Tammy on Wednesday 18 June 2008 at 7:56 am

Has anyone seen all the talk on the crafty web about the new book out by a couple of talented crocheting sisters, Erika and Monia Simmons called, Double Stitch: Designs for the Crochet Fashionista ?

For the longest time, knitting has been hogging all the crafty glory, but thanks to these sisters, finally, crochet chicks are coming out of the closet and showing how cool it is to crochet. Yeah! According to the interview, their designs are fairly simple, hmmm…definitely sounds like a Crafty Princess kind of book.

Take note here crafties – These gals have been crocheting since they were kids; this is something they love to do, have done for a long time, have a knack for it, and voila, it became their niche. If you are still trying to find your craft niche, then this is something to think about – seriously, ya know?

You can see a brief interview along with the authors at NBC5.com and I found a Double Stitch fashion video for you too.

Their book is published by Interweave Press, who has a few pages of it you can get peeks at on its web site (though they are pretty tiny as far as reading the print). And, of course, Amazon.com has it for sale too.

Do Your Craft Homework – Know Your Market

Blogged under Getting Craft Work Published by Tammy on Tuesday 17 June 2008 at 9:26 am

I posted lesson 1 already, so now we are onto lesson 2 of my series on getting your craft work published.

School teacher that I am, one important lesson I feel you must learn right away is that homework is critical to your success. Luckily, you aren’t taking one of my English classes which requires writing essays for homework. Instead, your homework is much more fun, but it is still equally important and has a purpose: for you to “know” your market.

Learning about the craft publishing market and specifically about it in relation to your topic(s) niche is important because you need to be part of this conversation. To do that, you must first “listen” to what is going on, and the best way to do that is to familiarize yourself with publishers and their publications. For example, if you want to break into magazines, then read the magazines in your topic. If you want to write a book, you need to read what has already been published on that topic.

I’m not saying that you have to subscribe to every craft magazine and buy every craft book ever published. Obviously, there is just no way most of us could afford to do that, and you don’t have to either. That’s one of the cool things about brick and mortar books stores these days. Spend the afternoon reading, taking notes, and maybe sipping a cup of coffee (or in my case tea) at one of your local Barnes and Nobles, Borders, or whatever you have nearby. Bring a notebook and pen. Take notes. For example, if you are researching magazines, you’ll want to ask the following questions:

  • What type of magazines are published in your topic? What are their titles/publishers/web site URLs?
  • What sort of focus do these magazines have? Are they high-end-artsy? Country crafty? Mixed media?
  • How many of the articles are written by the magazine editors, and how many are written by freelancers?
  • What type of freelancers are writing for them? Do they include brief bios? If so, read them. What kind of experience do these freelancers have?
  • What is the difficulty level of the crafts they publish? Do they have a mix of difficulty or are they mainly for beginners?
  • Do the how-to articles include components that are very unique or do they use materials that are easily available at a local craft store?
  • What type of audience do you feel the magazine is targeting? Hobbyist? Professionals?

These are a just a few questions to get you going, but you see what I mean – study the publications so that you have an understanding of them before you decide to enter into this conversation. This will help you narrow down which magazines are the best for for your particular craft style.

Craft Gossip Is Gossiping About Moi!

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 16 June 2008 at 8:10 am

Here is some more shameless self-promotion compliments of Crafty Gossip’s newest blog editor, Jennifer Perkins, who now writes for this network as the Craft Artist-Life and Interview blogger.

Jennifer interviewed me about life as a craft blogger, my two new books, social media, crafting media, and more. Please check it out and, of course, you’ll want to sign up for their RSS feed while you are over there because they cover all kinds of crafting news and information: “Tammy Powley AKA the Crafty Princess

Some other news is that I just opened up Tammy Powley’s Crafty Princess Etsy Shop. That’s a mouthful! I’m slowing adding items for sale, and while I may at some point put up some finished jewelry, I plan to primarily concentrate on selling items to help others craft such as beads, pdf files, and other related supplies and information. I’m about half way through reorganizing my studio, and that means I’m discovering all kinds of odds and ends that I forgot I have (items I have purchased myself not had donated from suppliers or sponsors of some of my books and other projects). Some of those you’ll see posted in my shop. If I manage to get things rolling over there, I have some unique outlets where I can get my hands on more jewelry making supplies, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m testing the waters right now, seeing what sells, if anything. Margot Potter has also opened up an etsy store recently and has some adorable little Kewpie dolls for super cheap. She’s going to be running a contest with them, so she’s selling the dolls since they are a buger to find in the States. I’ve already ordered a few and have some ideas for decorating them. We’ll see what happens with that.

So, please, please, stop by my esty shop and give your thoughts: What do you think sells best over there as far as supplies? Do you think my pictures are okay, or do they look crappy? Any feedback is welcome since I’m such an etsy virgin!

Make Cute Lacey Boxes

Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Sunday 15 June 2008 at 11:43 am

When I give a gift, one of the things I like to do is consider the entire package, meaning that it doesn’t just end with the item I’m giving, often something I’ve made of course. How I present the gift I think is just about equally important, so that’s why these little lacey boxes interest me. They are perfect for dropping in a some cotton and a pair of earrings or maybe put a bracelet in an organza bag and put the bag in a box.

Packagetech.com has a free downloadable pdf file you can use for the template. They suggest you print it up on card stock so that it’s nice and sturdy. Then you can decorate the top with your choice of stickers like the butterfly ones pictured above. I like that you can add a little paper craft to your other craft item with this simple and pretty little box pattern.

Devaluing Your Crafts and Yourself: Why You Should Not Get Paid Peanuts for Your Craft Work

Blogged under Around the Web,Crafting a Career,Crafty Videos by Tammy on Saturday 14 June 2008 at 5:44 am

I saw a great post yesterday over at Freelance Writing Jobs: Harlan Ellison: Pay the Writer. This caught my attention because just recently I was having an on-line discussion with some fellow professional crafters about the topic of payment, or lack there of at times.

In this video of writer Harlan Ellison (WARNING: He has a potty mouth, so if you have kids in the room, turn down the volume), he talks about how everyone wants a writer to work for free. This is over at YouTube, so I’ve loaded it here (further down on this post), but make sure you also go over and read some of the excellent comments on Deb’s post as well, and in fact, if you are a writer/crafter, you may also find other great info (like job postings) on her blog.

I do agree with a lot of what Ellison says. Very often, other people devalue the work writers do (everyone thinks he/she can write, right?), and this is true with craft designers as well. Now we aren’t all as famous as Ellison and with craft designing, sometimes monetary gain is achieved in other ways. Maybe you have a new book, a kit, crafty gizmo, etc. that you want to promote. An unpaid article or excerpt in a magazine is helpful for promoting it. Maybe you are a total novice with zero credits on your crafting resume. A few of your pieces in a well-known beading magazine’s gallery section is a way to get your toe in the door. Maybe you are working on branding yourself more. A page or two in the gallery section of another well-known crafter’s new book is a good way to expand your branding efforts.

Once you get to a certain stage in your craft career, however, there comes a time when possible jobs will come up that you will need to think twice or three times about. I really love what I do, teaching, designing, and writing. It’s all good. So, it can be really easy for me to think it is, well, really easy – That what I’m doing any other crafty princess with a glue-gun could also do. As a result, though, this only devalues my work to me and can to other people, like editors, if I’m not careful.

I’m not saying that I have to get paid for every little thing I do, but most of it, yes, I do need to get paid and paid a decent amount of money. And, I need to have some control over my content as far as copyright. Without the people crafting the projects for the magazines, books, and web sites, there would be no content for publishers to publish in the first place. While, sure, there are a lot of novice designers doing it for peanuts, I think you get what you pay for in the end. If you want inexperienced designers/writers who need a lot of hand-holding, bring no established audience to your publication, and who may or may not make the deadline, then paying them minimum wage is the way to go. But, if you want quality content from a recognized name by a professional who will deliver, then that will cost you.

Edit: I’d like to add here, that I am not saying this to dismiss the work of new designers but to point out that those who have been around for awhile have experienced that is worth something. They have proven themselves.

Okay, I’m coming off my soap box for a little while. Now here is Mr. Ellison to lay it on the line. Remember, I warned you about his language:

You know – I almost didn’t write about this topic because I don’t want to alienate anyone who I have worked for already or might some day, so I hope no one in the industry takes this the wrong way. I realize there may be reasons/issues I know nothing about that may dictate the amount of payment offered for certain jobs. I also really respect the editors and publishers I’ve worked with and some I haven’t had the chance to work with yet but just know “through the grapevine.” Like I said, I love this kind of work, and some of that is because of the great people I’ve worked with. But, I know I am not the only designer/writer out here in the craft world who feels she/he deserves a fair deal when it comes to compensation and ownership of our work. When I viewed this video, I just couldn’t help but say “Amen” to much of what he said.

Crafty Bloggers Unite 06/13/08

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Friday 13 June 2008 at 8:19 am

I know it’s Friday the 13th, but I’m looking forward to a good day no matter what happens today. I’ve been sick since Monday and yesterday managed to pull out of the fog for at least most of the day. Today, I also am feeling better this morning, which after spending a night or two on the bathroom floor, well, I’m thrilled to feel even semi-normal!

Before the flew bug bit me in the you-know-what, I was about a third of the way into a massive overhaul and reorganization of my office slash craft studio, and I think I may manage to complete it this weekend if my energy level stays on par. It is so comforting to have my craft supplies around me, all organized in their neat little bins and boxes rather than scattered in one room or the other.

On another “up” note, I am also able to finally see again! I got my bifocals yesterday, and the world is now my book so to speak. It is so nice to be able to read things on the television screen or to be able to work on my bead dummy manuscript this week without having to do the hoochi-coochie dance to get the pages just at the right angle. Yes, I know bifocals are another sign of aging, but I’m so happy to be able to see again, I don’t even care!

So, now that I’ve done my happy craft dance for you, onto more craft goodness around the web from my fellow craft bloggers who totally rock!

About.com Cross Stitch
Don’t toss old or unwanted CDs! Transform them with Cross Stitch instead.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen’s listed a few of her favorite products and why she loves them.

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Over at Craftside there is an inside peek, patterns and projects from The New Knits For Men and a chance to win a free copy of Making Jewelry with Hardware Gems, and Beads. Sign up for the Craftside Newsletter and get a free postcard desktop frame. Also check out posts that include free Father’s Day graphic quote downloads, and patterns and “how-to’s” for retro placemats, napkins and a needle felted bag.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Get a crafting blast from the past and flip through the pages with the Crafty Princess and this 1974 Women’s Circle magazine.

Diary of a Crafty Chica
Find out why you need to make a bliss book!

Polymer Clay @ CraftGossip
Polymer clay hits the beach with a fun shell inspired tutorial.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Over at Sweater Surgery there are some wild photos of Fire Hula Hooping, an Alice In Wonderland cake, picts and crafts from CRAFT Magazine’s 07 Release Party at Reform School and crafting/recycling depression era style from my Grandfather in honor of Father’s Day.

The Impatient Blogger
Madge shares a new painting by her mother, the coveted Frankfurter Loaf Recipe and details on her Kewpie Doll Challenge!

Free Crochet Projects at Crochet Today

Blogged under Around the Web,Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Wednesday 11 June 2008 at 11:22 am

I am so fighting the urge to get a subscription to Crochet Today! Must….not…buy….another…magazine subscription….Not enough time to read them all!….must…fight the…urge!!!

Luckily, I can get some free crochet fixes from some of the free projects they have posted like this little crochet heart. This project has a few things going on: it can be used in combination with all kinds of other non-crochet crafting; it’s easy so even a beginner could do this pretty quickly; and you don’t need much yarn so you could use up all those yarn scraps you tend to collect.

I’m still working on a mammoth afghan which is starting to smoother me, so it will be nice to break into some less “heavy” crochet projects for a little while, especially considering it’s 90+ degrees outside!

Sick Cat, Sick Dog, Sick Me, Lots of Craft Work to Do!

Blogged under Crafting a Career by Tammy on Tuesday 10 June 2008 at 4:46 pm

I have a number of elderly pets (including 3 cats who are each around 15 years old), so I’m at the vet’s office a lot. I even have a standing weekly appointment for one cat whose kidneys are on the way out, so I bring her by each week for fluids. I have another cat that is diabetic and a third that has a thyroid problem. The dogs, for the most part, tend to be in pretty good shape because they are younger.

This past weekend, though, we had a more than usual run at the vet’s, and sickness has run-a-muck here! Friday, I brought in the girl cat for her fluids; Saturday we brought Rocky Boo Boo in because of a possible ear infection; Sunday my thyroid kitty was not doing well, so that was a trip to the ER vet ($400+ later…); and then to top it off, I woke up Monday around 2am with an intense stomach virus. I’m managing to keep down crackers today, but it’s all I can do not to just go back to bed and say the heck with it all!

But, unfortunately, when you are even semi-working for yourself (or worse being completely self-employed), you are the head cook and bottle washer and that means no one else will blog for you; make corrections for the galleys in her next book; make minor typo corrections for the metal clay book’s possible second run; or update your About.com site and get a newsletter together for tomorrow. All of this to do on top of caring for the animals (thyroid kitty is doing much better, feeding him diluted baby food via syringe, and he’s sassier than ever and Rocky is back to rockin’ and rollin’), and I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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