Craft Bloggers Unite 12/19/08

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Friday 19 December 2008 at 9:24 am


Today is my day to catch up on my half-finished holiday activities, which includes a half-decorated Christmas tree, the other half of my Christmas cards assembled and mailed, the rest of my holiday house decorations pulled out and set up, and the rest of the Christmas presents wrapped and ready to give. Somehow I only managed to get half of all the above accomplished at this point, and now I feel the stress of it weighing me down. I mean - it’s just sad to look at a half-decorated Christmas tree! But, school is over until the new year and I have zero appointments today, so it’s just me, the animals, and Christmas today. Just call me Mrs. Clause.

If you are also feeling the holiday pinch to get everything done, then grab a few minutes for some quick and creative ideas from my fellow craft bloggers.

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
The 15 days of Holiday Goodness Giveaways continues at Craftside. Just answer questions and you are entered to win free books! And while you’re there check out a tiny embroidered necklace, a decoupage reindeer necklace, a fun centerpiece, a floral barrette tutorial, a winter memory photo ornament project and a couple of invitation ideas!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
The fastest festive reindeer necklace ever! Perfect for holiday party crafting.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares another simply stunning ornament idea you can whip up in a flash!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Holiday Guerrilla Marketing Tip for Crafty Princesses - Don’t forget that so important and handy business card this holiday season.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Use the free back stitch motifs for quick ornaments or stitch several together for a larger project.

Layers Upon Layers
There are lots of projects that can be done in time for the holidays, even at this late date!

About Family Crafts
Using these free printables, you can make your own cards, party invitations, favors bags, place cards, napkin rings, gift tags, and much more to help celebrate Christmas!

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen shows you a few more quicky Christmas cards she made from old cards and things. Stop by and get some ideas for yourself!

The Crochet Dude
Have a blue Christmas by adorning your packages with inexpensive Christmas ornaments. Drew shows how to do a quick and colorful easy addition to your packages with the help of his faithful feline.

Crafty Princess is Exposed

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Thursday 18 December 2008 at 4:17 pm

Errr…Or…actually…I have gotten some exposure from Cyndi Lavin, blog editor of Jewelry and Beading. Check me out as one of her latest Artist Profiles.

Crafting a New Room, Marmoleum and More

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Thursday 18 December 2008 at 7:47 am

We have a major home improvement project going on. What we call “the dog room” aka family room is having a floor to wall make-over including paint, new flooring, new furniture, new TV, and entertainment center. It has been a long, long time coming since we have lived in this house for 10 years and have barely done a thing to it, at least on the inside. I say “we,” but really, my DH is doing most of the work when it comes to muscle since (a) he is Mr. Perfection and so gets really bossy when it comes to projects like this (b) I am very wimpy and after rolling a paint brush about three times I’m ready to take a nap.

Right now, we are in the painting stages and have decided to be daring with bright colors in the turquoise family. Next is flooring and because this is a room that gets tons of traffic - many of them of the four legged, 100 pound variety - we are pretty sure we are going to go with a material called marmoleum from Forbo. I am leaning towards a dark brown to contrast the bright walls and hide as much dirt as all those feet track in as possible. The room is huge, 24×18′ so I know we are going to probably pass out when we get the bill for the floor, but the old floor (a faux parkay vinyl) is literally disintegrating. I’m not a big fan of ceramic tile, especially for a room that size. It’s too cold and hard on the feet (and we tend to go bare foot a lot around here). Wood I worry about scratching from dog nails and water issues since the room opens up onto a screen porch. So, I heard about marmoleum, and the more I read about it the more I like it:
Life-cycle analysis shows that our linoleum products are the ecologically preferred floor covering. Linoleum is produced from renewable materials: linseed oil, rosins, wood flour, jute and ecologically responsible pigments. These materials underlie the charm that gives each design its inimitable, distinguished look.

I’ll keep you posted on how things are progressing. Right now, there are a few walls paints as well as some trim work. The thing with this type of project that I find a little overwhelming are all of the decisions that have to be made and running around to stores that has to been done, which I sure don’t have time or patience for. But, hopefully it will look fabulous in a few months, and after 10 years, we sure deserve to have a fabulous room to chill with the dogs and watch TV.

Crafty Teacher Takes a Break Soon

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Monday 15 December 2008 at 6:42 pm

I have one more final to give before I can finish plugging in all the grades into my spread sheet and upload them. Come Friday, I’ll be officially off the day job until after the new year. Of course, I have a long list of crafting and non-crafting items on my to-do list, which tends to grow the more I think about it:

  • Work on the file maintenance for my About.com Jewelry Making site while also jamming on some extra jewelry making projects and articles
  • Update my very inactive Etsy shop!
  • Continue to work on organizing my office/studio
  • Work on curriculum for next semester, which includes rethinking my comp I class
  • Doing some creative writing
  • Continue the baby afghan I finally started the other day
  • Get some Emily Dickinson materials together for a super brief seminar I’m teaching in the spring
  • Starting some research for an article I’d like to write on Jane Austen’s Persuassion
  • I love my job, but I’m so ready for some time off!

    Craft Some Zero Calorie Holiday Goodies

    Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Sunday 14 December 2008 at 6:05 pm

    After making a Frosty the Snowman Pin for my About.com Jewelry Making site using some adorable (and cheap…25 cents each!) painted wood pieces I found at Michael’s, I decided to make up a number of Christmas pins using a similar approach to my Frosty pin. I wanted to whip them up all at the same time, so I made them assembly line style, spreading out the pieces (gingerbread men, snowmen, Frosty, and Christmas trees), covering them with a coat of Mod Podge, then dabbing on some opal glitter glue here and there after that dried, and then finally, adding pin backs to almost all of them.

    I plan on bringing these to school tomorrow as some “zero calorie goodies.”

    I have a number of similar project instructions listed here.

    Crochet Mouse Toy

    Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Saturday 13 December 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I was in the checkout line of Petsmart yesterday when I spied some little cat toys by the register. One looked almost exactly like the mouse pictured above. Of course, I couldn’t buy it when I know I can make this! I did, however, buy a similar one because I knew my girl cat would love it. Of my three cats, she’s the one that really enjoys a good cat toy. Any way, I was over at the Lion Brand web site cruising through crochet stitches, still contemplating the baby blanket project, and I flipped over to its free project page to discover this little guy. I’ve downloaded and saved the instructions. Of course, I don’t have any gray yarn, but I’m guessing she might not care :)

    Craft Bloggers Unite 12/12/08

    Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Friday 12 December 2008 at 5:47 pm


    With the economy in a world of hurt right now, there is no better time to start crafting. Who needs to buy presents when you can make so many yourself? And here are some talented craft bloggers to help you craft the perfect hand-made holiday.

    Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
    See how easy it is to alter custom game pieces that will have players fighting over them.

    Aileen’s Musings
    Aileen goes green for Christmas, and shows you what you can do with all those extra Christmas cards and gift tags we all have hanging around!

    Cross Stitch at About.com
    Try your hand at a traditional embroidery style with this free Candlewicking ornament.

    Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
    Alexa shares how to create a custom mat frame from journal pages…a perfectly sentimental gift everyone will love!

    Cathie Filian
    Got wine lovers on your holiday gift list? Cathie Filian has some easy DIY ideas for quick gifts worthy of Napa Valley.

    The Impatient Crafterâ„¢
    Commemorate this historical election year with an easy to make festive Obamornament!

    Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
    The 15 days of Holiday Goodness Giveaways continues at Craftside. Just answer questions and you are entered to win free books! And while you’re there check out a lace trim Christmas tree and New Year’s Eve party hat, 4 of the cards from the new book-1000 Handmade Greetings, a holiday memory photo ring tutorial and a free crochet Santa pencil topper pattern.

    Crafty Princess Diaries
    Read the Fine Print When Crafting for Charity - Make what they want and give what they need.

    Layers Upon Layers
    It’s not too late to make pretty fabric hearts for your tree…or for everyon on your gift list!

    About Family Crafts
    With just a little bit of time and a few simple supplies, you can give everyone on your shopping list a home-made, personalized calendar.

    Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Bead Ornaments

    Blogged under Design Ideas, Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Thursday 11 December 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Finally, our once naked Christmas tree has at least most, though not all, of our ornaments on it. We managed to get a tree last weekend, even though the live Christmas tree pickings this year have been dismal, but then we had to let it rest so it would stretch its branches. Of course, that meant that decorating had to wait until after the weekend, and it was back to the grind for DH and moi. Last night, we popped a cork of beaujolais and got to decorating. I still have most of the house decor-stuff to put out, and just when I was ready to give up last night we found another box full of ornaments, so those will have to wait until this weekend, but the tree is now looking like a real Christmas tree finally!

    One of the cool parts of putting up our tree is rediscovering all the cool ornaments we have, many of which have memories tied to them, like a funky one my niece made out of a juice bottle. Yes, she’s in college now, but I still hang it up. It was, at one time, her master piece, so why not? Along with the odd hand-crafted ornaments like this one, I have a lot I have also made over the years. One year I went really wild and made a lot of beaded ornament covers like the one pictured above. They still are one of my favorites because you have so many options with them by just changing out the beads and even the color of ornament underneath it. Plus, they only take about an hour to make, which considering this is done using bead weaving techniques, that’s a blink of an eye!

    Your Jewelry Making List for Santa?

    Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Wednesday 10 December 2008 at 7:36 am

    A student of mine asked me the other day what I wanted for Christmas. You know that is something I honestly haven’t really given much thought, and I was stumped. I had no answer because I can’t think of anything tangible that I could add to my Santa “want list.” I would like to wake up Christmas morning 30 pounds lighter, or I wouldn’t mind it if Santa and his elves came in over night and finished up the remodeling project my husband and I just started, but of course, neither of those are going to happen!

    This season, however, is also about giving, so that is mainly what I’ve been thinking about even though my list is a little shorter this year since my immediately family decided to draw names.

    If you have a “give” list of your own, in particular if you are looking for ideas to help out the novice jewelry designer, then you may want to check out my Gifts for Jewelry Making Beginners. Or, you may find the list helpful if you have been thinking of trying out the hobby of jewelry making but weren’t sure what to ask Santa for.

    Paint Your Portrait by Mixing Media

    Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 8 December 2008 at 7:42 pm


    I was going to hold off mentioning this new book I received for review until I got through all of it, but it is so amazing, I wanted to go ahead a spill some of the beans early: Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques by Cate Coulacos Prato is not your ordinary craft book or even mixed-media craft book. When I first started flipping through the pages, my immediate reaction was “What is this?”

    As I made my way page after page through the rest of the book taking in all the artwork pictured and doing a skim read (which is how I normally approach a craft book for the first time before I read it more closely), I got it: Prato is talking about using mixed-media techniques to not just create self-portraits but to also provide a way for artists to have a reflective experience. So, then my reaction was “Wow! And Wow! And, gutsy!”

    On my second cruise through her book when I stopped to read a little more, I couldn’t help but start thinking about how I could approach this for my own use, and I think that is what the idea behind this book is mainly about, offering the reader/artist a guide for pulling out very personal artwork as you go on a journey of self-discovery.

    I’m still making my way through this. It’s not like this book is super long (120+ pages). It’s just that it is not a quick read because it gives you a lot to think about, so I would not recommend this for the casual crafter. But, if you want to dig into your creative soul, now we are talking!

    Don’t be surprised if I mention this book again at some point in the future. There is a lot going on here, and I’m very intrigued.

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