Craft Bloggers Unite 01/31/10

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 31 January 2010 at 10:30 am

About Family Crafts
If you are looking for ideas for fast and fun home-made St. Valentine’s Day cards, check out what Sherri has to offer.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen is participating in One World One Heart International blog giveaway. Stop by and see what OWOH is all about and enter to win some goodies!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside went to CHA and it brought back tons of fun pictures of all sorts of creative people. Check out some of the fun pictures and projects along with a link to more studio space photos and how to bead quill around a core bead from the book Bead Quill Jewelry.

Crafty Princess Diaries

Another project is in the works, a super duper red crochet scarf in yummy cranberry.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Stitch a simple Be Mine Valentine design for your beloved.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Check out a new product Linda found and a new friend Linda made at CHA.

Mixed Media Artist

Cyndi’s shibori background quilt is finished…yay!!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Check out fun pictures with some great crafty and stylish peeps at The Craft Super Show and CHA

The Artful Crafter
Do you have any crafty angels – angels you’ve made or angels you’ve met?

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Blogged under Crafty Biz, Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Friday 29 January 2010 at 11:56 am

I normally keep my political opinions to myself when it comes to talking on the web, but after my experience today, I feel compelled to talk about it. I have a little Etsy shop that pretty much limps along because I just don’t have time to pay much attention to it. Somehow, I luck out and sell an item now and then, and that happened yesterday. I sold a pair of very cute earrings (if I do say so myself).

Today, I packed up the earrings and headed out to mail them. Normally, I mail my packages through the college’s post office, but today, I’m home grading papers and working on the book, so I figured I’d just pop up to the pak mail place, about 15 minutes from my home. I used to go there all the time but hadn’t been by in awhile.

As I pulled up, I noticed the windows were dark, as were that of about half the other small businesses in the plaza. It was closed. The sign said: “Sorry, due to the economy we had to close.” The sub shop next to it was also permanently closed, as was the shop next to that, and so on. How depressing!

The people who ran the pak mail were a man and wife team who worked their you-know-whats off and were just down right good people. This really brought home to me how all these small businesses are linked. Someone like me, a person with a small business, sells an item, and I go to another small business to ship it out. Next door to that small business is a sub shop, that I might buy lunch at while I’m there, or the people working in the pak mail might also get their lunch there on occasion. The sub shop guy might need stamps and go next door to buy them. Well, you get the picture.

This is also not an isolated incident around here. I know a number of folks without jobs. I read students’ papers that talk about how they have lost their home and it is now in foreclosure or how they have come back to school because they need to train for a new career after being laid-off. I just heard a few weeks ago about a restaurant I went to fairly regularly, and have been for at least 10 years, going out of business. All of these incidents are not separate. Like the pak mail closing, it is a domino affect.

The politicians in Washington don’t seem to “get” this. They are bailing out huge businesses that are corrupt and are also fixated on health care reform, something I do agree needs to be done but not now when there is an economic crisis going on all around us, or at least, all around those normal people who aren’t politicians. Let’s get people back to work, and then let’s fix the health care system. And by “fix,” I mean let’s work towards a system that at least the majority of voters can understand and agree on, not ram a bunch of new laws down our throats and tell us that it’s good for us and we should just do what we’re told because the powers that be know what we need better than we do.

Washington now has its eyes on a bullet train in my home state of Florida. Why would we take this train? Are we going to go to work? How can that happen when there are no jobs? These folks have zip idea of what it is like in this state. We don’t have a great deal of public transportation; however, many areas are super spread out. For example, I take the interstate to work, which takes about 20 minutes one way. I also have a crap-load of stuff I bring with me. Just making it from the parking lot to my office with all of it takes an effort. Can you imagine me lugging all of that stuff on a train or bus? We aren’t like large cities where you can walk a few blocks and buy an apple at the little grocer. There are huge subdivisions and anything considered “close” as far as shopping or work is at least a 10 minute drive. That equates to about 5 to 10 miles.

While the powers that be are all in a flurry about this train, they have decided to ax the country’s space industry, an action that will have huge financial repercussions in Florida as well as many other states. All of the money spent on programs like the Space Shuttle and Constellation will be flushed down the toilet. I read some place that Washington feels that is won’t matter much because all of those lost jobs basically belong to the elite and educated, not the masses. Again, they are showing their arrogance and ignorance. There are tons of people who work for the space industry who are not engineers. There are the folks who clean the offices, run the gift shop, work in the cafeteria, mow the grass, work as security guards, and so on. Technicians who assemble and test equipment are trained, but most are not at the level of an engineer as far as education. These are everyday working people who need to feed their families. However, rather than see this program into the future (like John F. Kennedy had the foresight to do), our new administration would rather scrap it, let foreign countries take over, and give us a train.

We have been sinking our tax dollars into the Wall Street elite and car industry (which has been heading in the wrong direction for decades), and yet, no one in Washington will give the little business owner a break. Our president spoke the other evening, and I’m sorry, but I’m tired of listening. I want to see some common-sense action. I want to see the people we elected do something other than hand out big wads of cash to the idiots who got us in this mess in the first place. I want to see the local sub shop and pak mail place open for business again!

Really Red Crochet Scarf

Blogged under Charity Crafting, Projects in Progress by Tammy on Thursday 28 January 2010 at 6:29 pm

I don’t get much time to crochet these says. Mainly, I crochet a little in the evenings when I’m chilling out and watching a TV. (And, yes, I do watch TV, horrors! I read so much for work, that I really need some down time ya know.)

Well, here is my latest project. It’s for the next charity challenge of one of my crochet groups which is making red scarves for a group called Heart Sisters. I’m doing a simple combination of regular single crochet and single crochet going in the back loop. This creates a kind of ridge affect. I’m not 100% sure of how I like it so far, but hopefully, once I put an edge around it and block it, the final product will look good enough to donate.

EDIT: Carolyn Thomas who runs the site mentioned above was nice enough to correct me that while her site does offer educational assistants related to women’s heart issues, it is not the same group I am making these scarves for. That group is actually called Women Heart, and you can find out more about donating red scarves on here.

I’m using Vanna’s Choice in cranberry, so it is a really deep, dark red color. Yummy! I’m still a huge fan of this yarn I have to say. While it is acrylic, it is so much softer than many of the other brands I’ve tried in the past. Hopefully, I’ll have this finished to show you the completed scarf next week.

Book Ideas from Unexpected Places

Blogged under Getting Craft Work Published, Publications from Moi by Tammy on Monday 25 January 2010 at 1:23 pm

Admittedly, I need another idea for a book like I need a hole in the head. I mean it. I have tons and tons of ideas, especially when it comes to making jewelry. I have even written on here previously about how I don’t need people to give me their ideas.

Sometimes these ideas come when I do not expect them, when I’m really trying not to even think about the next book. I’m in the thick of things right now with a book project that has taken over my life, more so than I remember ever happening with previous books. In fact, my husband is helping me a lot with this book project, so he also has no life. We are prisoners until this puppy gets done.

So as I said, I have really, really been trying not to think about future book projects right now because this current one has been all-consuming. However, it happened just the same. My mom has started to make jewelry, and after various emails and phone calls from her with questions, I finally suggested she try to use one of the 7 books of mine that she has in her possession. I mean, hello! I actually have given her books on this; why all the questions?

Finally, I spoke with her again on the phone and tried to explain about crimp beads this time. As I tried to explain to her about how it basically works with crimp beads and the different sizes and crimp tubes versus the actual round bead type crimps, I directed her to a page in one of my books.

But she continued to ask questions, and at first, I wouldn’t listen to her because the instructions and illustrations are right there, and in fact, she was asking about other jewelry techniques now that had nothing to do with crimp beads. She was all over the road. It reminded me of when I have gone out to eat with her sometimes, and she wants to order something that isn’t on the menu. If it isn’t there on the menu or if there isn’t something remotely close, then why would you even think of ordering a different dish?

Finally, after I was probably almost yelling at her over the phone in frustration, I realized what she was trying to explain to me. She was lost. She was trying to navigate through the books like someone who was ordering a dish that isn’t on the menu. And, ding! the light went on in my head, and I have to give her all the credit for my latest book idea.

I probably have said too much already, so I won’t go into more details. I’ve done this before and gotten sort of “bitten in the you-know-what” by it, so you would think I’d learned my lesson. Any way, I have yet another idea to add to my list, and it just reminds me that sometimes I really need to shut up and listen, even to or perhaps especially to people who know nothing about something I know tons about.

Craft Bloggers Unite 01/24/10

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 24 January 2010 at 5:45 pm

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
At Craftside there is the full low down on all the signings, classes, and make & takes with the authors for the big winter 2010 CHA show, some wonderful journal page art, how to make an Egyptian stick, a great tool for making stripes, turning a paper clip into a jazzy bookmark and some recycled zipper jewelry.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Have you ever stitched on silk gauze? Vote in the poll and tell us about your experience or lack thereof by leaving a comment.

About Family Crafts
Sherri has gathered together a collection of projects that would make great St. Valentine’s Day gifts. Nothing quite says ‘I Love You’ like a personalized gift, hand-made by you.

Jewelry & Beading
Check out Kathryn Lane Berkowitz’s gorgeous seed bead work!

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Happy UnValentine’s Day from Madge with this tongue in cheek card for iLoveToCreate

The Artful Crafter
How to use waterslide decals for decoupage under glass. Put your original designs anywhere with inkjet or laserjet decals.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen’s isn’t quite up to full speed again after having pneumonia so she’s reposting the link to her freebie’s page full of how-to’s, tutorials, and freebie images. Peruse and have fun playing!

Cathie Filian
Check out this cute appliqued apron that Cathie whipped up for Better Homes and Gardens.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Hey diddle diddle, the pig had a fiddle…This verse was printed on the fabric that Linda used as the inspiration for one of her favorite quilts.

CHA Crafts Big Time This Weekend

Blogged under Crafty Biz by Tammy on Saturday 23 January 2010 at 11:07 am

Many of my fellow professional crafters are in Anaheim, California this weekend at the Craft and Hobby Association’s (CHA) Craft Super Show. It started yesterday, and goes on through today. If you live in the area, then you can join in the fun on Saturday because it is open the public, though there is an admittance fee of $20 for adults. Professional crafters who are CHA members often go to these shows to promote their books and other related crafting products, so it is a good opportunity for this in the crafting business to get some exposure as well as network with other crafters. For hobbyists, it is a chance to see lots of new products and take workshops.

I have to admit that I’m not a CHA member, though I have considered joining. For me, I just know I would not be able to participate in many of the functions sponsored for this group, so at least right now, it doesn’t make sense for me to join. However, if you have been looking for a professional organization related to crafting, this might be a good fit for you. Find out more about their mission and member benefits on the CHA web site.

Giving Hope & Crafting for Haiti

Blogged under Around the Web, Charity Crafting by Tammy on Monday 18 January 2010 at 11:09 am

Craft Hope for Haiti Shop Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

I know I am not alone when I say that the nightmare happening in Haiti is mind-blowing and horrific. Watching the news makes me feel even more helpless and hopeless. Like many Americans, I have donated cash here and there, and since there is already a fairly large Haitian community where I live, there were already networks set up to donate additional items such as food. But, is that enough? Isn’t there a way to do more? Of course there is, and crafting groups are starting to pop up around the blogosphere to do just that. As I learn about them, I plan to post here so that other crafters can perhaps find additional outlets to help.

This first group I am writing about is called Craft Hope for Haiti. Made up of 7 crafters, they have set up an Etsy shop where you can donate goods or shop for some amazing items, anything from beads to pillows to purses. Even if you don’t have time to make an item and donate it, you can purchase hand-crafted work from other craft artists and still help out. According to the Etsy shop they set up, all the proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti.

As posted recently on the groups’ blog, they have already raised $7,000 in the first two days. I have to admit that it took me awhile to find it, but I finally located the specific instructions for those who would like to donate items to the shop here. One issue to be aware of is that you will be required to ship the item, and they ask that you add the shipping cost into the final price of the item. I don’t think this is a huge deal, but this means that you aren’t just going to ship off your stuff to them and be done with it. You will be responsible for finishing off the sale.

I would love to blog about more groups like this, so if you know of any, please let me know (tammypowley at yahoo.com).

Craft Bloggers Unite 01/17/10

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 17 January 2010 at 1:05 pm

The Crochet Dude
Drew reviews Arctic Lace by Donna Druchunas, and enter to win some lace weight qiviut!

Cathie Filian
Check out Cathie’s CHA plans! Her new book 101 Snappy Fashions and her new product line will be unveiled.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week Craftside’s got tutorials on how to make a paw print place mat, a tasty “bite” from the new book The Designer’s Graphic Stew, how to sew a neckband into a neckline, all the CHA author details and how to make a scratching box for your cat.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Cutesy Cross Stitch not your style? Seeking stitches for your sarcastic friends and family members? Check out Connie’s snarky stitchery patterns for a refreshing change of pace that avoids an X rating.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Learn to make Linda’s favorite baby-quilt standby–Baby Blocks.

The Artful Crafter
The Artful Crafter Are you sometimes frazzled by all the demands for your time? Here’s Eileen’s plan to make more time for her art.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
It’s Chipboard Week at The Impatient Crafter and Madge throws down an 80s inspired mixed media necklace for iLoveToCreate!

About Family Crafts
Sherri shares a collection of craft projects, all made from fleece fleece fabric. You can make everything from Sleeved Blankets for yourself and your pet to simple hats and scarves.

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Get into the early Valentine spirit with these colorful and cute Valentine brooches!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi’s shibori fabric is finished…and it was easy to make!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how I use some fun Sweater Surgery and button flowers to dress up a clutch and check out my Craft Super Show and CHA Schedule so you can join me in Customizing a Greeting Card Album and making all sorts of goodies with recycled wool felted sweaters.

Crafty Book Club, Yes, I Couldn’t Resist

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Saturday 16 January 2010 at 3:26 pm

Heavy sigh, I received a pamphlets from Crafters Choice in the mail, and yup, I caved…again….! I’ve been a member before, and then quit after awhile, but I just couldn’t resist and rejoined. The deal is pretty typical to most book clubs: 4 books for .99, plus some free gifts, and you pay shipping. You also have to agree to buy one book during the year, which to me is not that big of a deal considering my love of craft books. What is different from the last time I joined is that there are no auto shipments or stupid cards to mail back when you don’t want a book selection.


Granted, I do have a ton of craft books already, but you know what? I really do use them a lot. Even if I’m not making every project in every book, I find them to be a very good reference source, kind of like having my own library. I was tempted to join on-line, but I noticed there was one specific book that I wanted that was not on their site but was in the brochure, A to Z of Crochet edited by Sue Gardner. It supposed to have photos, not just drawings, and it had very good reviews on Amazon. Hopefully, I won’t get a substitute when they do mail these out, but I just got this thing a few days ago.

If you are looking to beef up your craft book library, books clubs can be a good way to go. You just have to have some self-control and not go too crazy once you join.

Jewelry Book Milestone No. 2

Blogged under Publications from Moi by Tammy on Friday 15 January 2010 at 2:29 pm

Ah, so I made my second deadline for the jewelry book today. And, boy, does it feel good! Of course, I can’t get too cocky yet because I have one more big push before it is over. If it sounds like I’m giving birth, I can only imagine, but at least to me, that is what it feels like. There is a lot of pain involved in writing a book but also a great deal of satisfaction and joy as well, even more so when I am able to hold it in my arms!

This past section of the book has required my husband and I to collaborate more than ever because it has a few metal related sections in it, and his metal skills are better than mine. That’s the “engineer” in him. Everything must be exact! However, it is still very much a creative process, and I have to admit that he has designed some really cool projects. I didn’t know he had it in him!

While it has been challenging working with someone else on a project when I normally work solo, even more challenging because we are married to each other, we have done pretty well not trying to kill each other. It is weird how we can collaborate on this, but if I need him to explain how to use the blue ray remote, it can turn into WWII around here. I guess I’m lucky that when it is important, we can successful work together.

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