Last Day to Win Sewing Book

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Wednesday 29 September 2010 at 10:28 am

North Light Craft Books is having a drawing for a free copy of Free-Style Handmade: Bags and Skirts. To enter the drawing, just send an email to them at with the phrase “Free-Style” in the subject line. I saw this announced on the publisher’s Facebook page. The deadline is tonight by 11:59 eastern time, so do it ASAP so you don’t forget.

Simple Thank You Appreciated by Charity Crafters

Blogged under Charity Crafting by Tammy on Tuesday 28 September 2010 at 6:43 am

One element of crafting that I tend to focus on here is crafting for charity. I even have a blog post category for it and often post information and links to charities needing people to make items for them. While I have finally settled on mainly making crocheted baby items for a local charity as well as crochet squares for Heartmade Blessings, from time to time I have made items for other charities I have found posting a need on-line.

I’m sure these other groups mean well, so I’m not going to mention any specific names; however, many of them are a “black hole,” meaning I have sent them handmade items to their specific instructions only to hear nothing back, not an email thank you, little post card, nada. I realize this could take time and money they don’t have, so for one of my latest charity donations like this I enclosed an SASE and a note asking them simply to let me know if they received the items.

I figure there is no easier way to do this. Someone who gets the items simply has to scribble out a note, stuff it in the SASA, and mail it off. This was a good few months ago, and so far, no SASE has been returned. This sort of burns my toast a little because I could have spent the time making items for a group that I would at least know got them. Heartmade Blessings, for example, has a Yahoo group set up, and most of the posting on there is a simple “I’m sending out squares to so-and-so” or “Hey, so-and-so, I got your squares, thanks!”

It is amazing how much a simple response like, “Thanks, I received them” is appreciated!

This SASE incident sort of sealed the deal for me because it had happened so many times before. One time, I packed up a ton of jewelry supplies and mailed them off to some woman’s shelter. The shipping was something crazy, and yet, I felt it was worth it since I had been personally asked to do this. Did I hear anything? Nope!

Though I still plan to post on this blog about charity crafting needs, I have personally become much more selective about who gets my crochet or jewelry goodies. For those who work with groups like this, take a note from Heartmade Blessings and remember to thank donors if you want to keep getting the items you need. Seriously, an email “thank you” can literally take a few minutes per donor and may be reason enough for them to continue sending you the crafted items your group needs.

Silty Powley 1994 – 2010

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Friday 24 September 2010 at 10:26 am

Silty left us quietly last night after being one of my best girl friends for the past 16 years. She taught me a lot about being fearless and sure about yourself.

The word “no” and the phrase “you shouldn’t do that” were not part of her vocabulary.

She enjoyed simple pleasures like warming herself in a sunny window and sitting on my lap weekend mornings while I ate breakfast and attempted to read the paper as she stole a bite of my breakfast.

She also taught me about going after what you want in life. My husband found her one day walking around the offices of an engineering company he was working for in Riveria Beach, Florida. She was only a few months old and had been living in the industrial yard behind the building. There were automatic doors from the yard into the offices and labs because of the heavy equipment they would have to move in and out, and she just walked through those doors one day in search of a new home. At the time, we had a huge menagerie and had just lost an 18 year old cat. I thought we just couldn’t find room in our home or hearts for another furry creature, but he brought her home, and we all fell in love with each other immediately.

I know she had a good life and was well cared for and loved, but we will miss her.

Late Craft Link Love

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 20 September 2010 at 9:54 am

About Family Crafts
Sherri will be hosting a blog carnival in honor of Halloween… Find out how you can join in the fun!

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen reminds us that September is Ovarian Cancer month. Stop by and read about the Ties That Bind book she created last year and help spread the word!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi discovers the art of making boxes.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to make a wire wrapped stamp and purl stitch with beads, 4 of the hats from the Sculptural chapter from 1,000 Fabulous Knit Hats, a bunch of painting tips, and how to replace a turn signal bulb in your car.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Remember the chewing gum twins, โ€œTwo, two, two sticks in oneโ€? Well, Eileen set out to make a monoprint โ€“ which means one single print โ€“ and ended up with two!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi is continuing to post about altered book techniques…all month!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how to make monster ping pong ball eyes inspired by the new book-Me Make Monster!

Organic Produce Happy Dance

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Thursday 16 September 2010 at 4:03 pm

I’m just showing off some of the yummy organic produce I got today. I know I’m crazy for taking pictures, but it so pretty when I first get it home and go through it all. My husband and I are part of an organic food buying group, so every two weeks we are loaded up with organic fruits, vegetables, and organic/range free eggs. It has taken some time for us to get organized, but we are getting better at it. I managed to already put a big salad together to munch on over the weekend, and hopefully, the hubby will be in the cooking mood when he gets home soon. Of course, these apples taste great “as is.”

Fuji Apples and Dapple Dandy Pluots

Starkrimson Pears and Cantaloupe

When Crafting Hands Rebell!

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 15 September 2010 at 5:00 pm

I have struggled with hand issues for many years. This is no big surprise. Many crafters half problems with their hands because of the repetitive motions that activities like jewelry making and crochet require. Add to that the constant rat-a-tat-tat of the keyboard, which I do as a writer and also teacher, and my hands (especially my dominate right hand) often rebel.

It has been particularly bad lately, to the point that my right hand tingles pretty much 24/7. Since I have to work on a keyboard, I have had to cut back on my crafting for awhile in the hopes that, if this just doesn’t go away, it will at least subside at some point.

Now I am pretty much a work-a-holic, but since I can’t craft during my limited down time, I have been trying to think of things to do that are semi-craft related:

  • Get organized. My work bench is a total disaster area right now, so I’m sure once I can get back to some serious jewelry making, I will be really appreciative of a clean and clear work surface. I may even see about getting a few new organizers for all this overflow that keeps invading my work space.
  • Catch up on craft reading. I have jewelry books and even some DVDs that I really need to read/watch and review. The review part requires typing, but reading and watching will give my hands a little break.
  • Take photos. I am not breaking any records over at my Etsy shop, but I still want to keep it well-stocked, and boy, wouldn’t it be nice to have photos of extra items to list so that when I sell something I can add new items fairly quickly and keep around 50 items listed? What a concept.
  • Enjoy some social networking. I still keep a toe in social networks, but I don’t get to read as much as I’d like in some of the forums and other sites I enjoy visiting. As long as I don’t type too much, maybe this is worth adding as well.

What do you do in your down-craft-time? I sure could use some ideas!

Crafty Weekend Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 12 September 2010 at 6:34 pm

My hubby has been busy in the kitchen again this weekend. I so envy his cooking ability! We are still getting bi-weekly shipments of organic produce, so this means we have to really plan. This requires cooking and freezing a lot of it. However, this has really helped me keep away from processed food. I especially love the quiches he makes, which I keep asking for every week.

Okay enough about me, me, me, onto this week’s crafting links!

About Family Crafts
Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? Sherri has some fun and simple ways you can celebrate with the entire family.

Aileen’s Musings
This week Aileen offers you her gouache painted sunflower tutorial using a black and white photograph she took of her harvested sunflowers.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi has some great samples working with paper that has a white core.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world

At Craftside this week there are tutorials on how to purl stitch with beads, embellish a softie with a heart, a recipe for a stop chewing spray for dogs, and how to eliminate a side seam on a pants pattern.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Many artists and crafters find it helpful to set goals for their art but do so in different ways. How about you? Do you have any goals or methods for improving in your art?

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Confidence is sexy. Madge muses about the power of embracing uniquely wonderful you.

Mixed Media Artist
What did you name your business? Cyndi is betting that there’s a good story behind it!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how I took a bite out of a sweater with inspiration from the new book Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller.

New Writing Project in the Works

Blogged under writing by Tammy on Saturday 11 September 2010 at 6:24 pm

In a month or so, I’ll be off to a conference for English teachers, and of course, this meant I had to think up something to present. As a result, I am about knee-deep into another writing project, though this one has nothing to do with arts and crafts. This is not necessarily a bad thing though.

If you don’t count writing up assignment instructions, power point presentations, or handouts for my classes, then just about all I seem to write about any more is related to crafting. As I was pounding away on the keyboard a few days ago, popping back and forth from my sources I had researched and thinking about my approach to this un-crafty type topic, I realized how much I really enjoyed writing, period.

I particularly enjoy the process when I’m invested emotionally in a topic. This article I’m writing now is sort of a second chapter or continuation of one I wrote a little over a year for a book on Florida culture (Florida in the Popular Imagination: Essays on the Cultural Landscape of the Sunshine State). Because the topic is fairly timely – the Space industry on Florida’s Space Coast – a year later the paradigm has shifted, which means I have more to talk about ๐Ÿ˜‰

After I write and present this, it may not amount to anything else. The conference does publish a small selection of articles, but I am not counting on mine being picked. In fact, I know I will be presenting to a mainly liberal audience who knows little (and probably cares even less) about the space industry and who thinks our president walks on water, so I may have to dodge a few piece of rotten fruit during my presentation.

Anyway, this has really made me start thinking lately about writing in general. Don’t get me wrong. While right now it is nice to not be working on another jewelry book, I do expect to write others at some point of time, even if it means self-publishing. But, I think I need to really start thinking about other writing projects, if for no other reason than to do it for myself.

Who Is Your Design Muse?

Blogged under Jewelry Designing,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 8 September 2010 at 5:48 pm

This is an image I used in an art book I made for a class I took a few years ago. Without going into too much boring detail, our project required that we construct an alternative book. The assignment really made our heads spin. What the heck did this professor want? I sent him idea after idea, and he kept saying, “No,” but he never really would verbalize what would bring a “yes” answer. Finally, a friend of mine who was also taking the class who also knows I’m a huge Emily Dickinson fan said, “Just channel her.”

We were down to the wire at this point with one week before the project was due, and we both realized we basically needed to just “do it” and hope for the best. So I took her advice and thought about Dickinson and how she did what she wanted to do with her life (at least what she could do that was within her socially restrictive environment). She wrote poetry but threw out the poetry rule book. She wrote what she wanted to write without thought about what someone else would think, without censoring herself.

And that’s what I pretty much did for the next week as a labored over my project, which I crafted using all types of techniques from cross stitch to decoupage. My professor raved about it, and I really feel the experience forced me to break through creatively as well as academically. I’m such a rule follower that typically my censor is on full blast 24/7!

I still call on her now and then when I need a little help, and very often, she speaks to me. What about you? Do you have a creative muse?

EDIT NOTE: I am so busy with, well, life right now that I pulled this from a very old post and did a little editing. I hope you still enjoy it, even if it may seem a little familiar to you.

Late Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 6 September 2010 at 12:51 pm

I have been trying to have a lazy holiday weekend, though you know how it goes. Because you have an extra day, that means you can add more to the do list. So my craft links I normally post on Sundays ended up sliding over to today! Other than being pretty productive this weekend, we have had some down time for some fabo meals like this stir fry with mushrooms, ginger, and baby bok choy. This was great with a few rare tuna steaks! Okay, onto link love time!

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen offers you a tasty treat with a printable recipe card for delicious cinnamon rolls!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi has a new sewn paper sample to share.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to make a perfect placement template when die cutting, how to paint a Pop Art cow with a free downloadable pattern, how to combine drawing and collage, and 7 pastel drawing techniques from the book The Art of Pastel.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Are you looking for ribbon weaving or Homecoming Mum Chain directions? Look no further.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares another post in her series on How to Write and Publish a Craft Book. This time we’re looking at PR and Marketing.

Mixed Media Artist
Do you like making altered books? Or have you always wanted to try it out? Cyndi’s got a series going right now that looks at altered books techniques and altered book artists!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how I restyled a little dress with a bit of inspiration from the pretty book- Sew Serendipity.