Monday, November 30, 2015

Project Penguin #1: Christmas Tree Name Art

Hello! This is Trevor. In August, some of you participated in Project CAT (Crafting in August with Trevor), a summer craft challenge for kids. I'm back for a winter version! It's called Project Penguin. It is a crafting challenge for kids that starts today. I will give you ten challenges between November 30 and December 11. Then you have until Sunday, January 3 to make that craft or something inspired by my craft. Then post it as a picture on the blog. There will be two winners. I will choose one winner and one winner will be random. Both will get prizes.

Our first project is Christmas Tree Name Art.


 

Materials: paper, pencil, crayons

Step 1: Fold your paper in half lengthwise. 

Step 2: Write your name in cursive using a pencil, with each letter slightly smaller than the one before it. If you have a letter that drops down, like the Y in Cindy, make the tail go to the right. Trace the pencil line with green crayon. Press down hard.


Step 3: Fold the paper back in half and scratch to transfer the crayon to the other side. It will be light. If you can't see it, go back and add more green crayon to your name, then press again. 


Step 4: Trace your transferred name with green crayon.


Step 5: Make your name thicker. 


Step 6: Turn your paper so that the first letter of your name is at the bottom and the last letter is at the top. It should look like a tree!


Step 7: Decorate it with a star and lights. Color the trunk brown. This is my mom's. Mine is at the top.



Now it's your turn! Make Name Art like my project or inspired by my project. Then take a picture of your project and link it below. You have until Sunday, January 3 at noon Pacific. 
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A note to parents from Cindy: In order to submit the photo, you need to upload it to somewhere you can link. I recommend creating a free Flikr account for your child's artwork. 


Friday, November 27, 2015

Craft Foam Gingerbread

A friend bought one of those inexpensive craft foam kits for her daughter's party and ended up with one extra gingerbread shape, but none of the self-adhesive pieces to decorate it. So she asked if I wanted it. Of course! Here's what I made:


Materials: craft foam gingerbread (either from a kit or cut from a piece of brown craft foam), small hole punch, white yarn, small white buttons, white brads

Start by using the small hole punch to create holds around the perimeter of the gingerbread man. Sew the white yarn through the holes, using backstitch. Punch holes for the face and insert brads. Glue buttons onto the gingerbread man's chest. 

The completed gingerbread can go on the tree as an ornament. Or, glue it to the front of an inexpensive, plain gift bag to dress it up.

 
Just a reminder: Project Penguin starts up on Monday. Trevor has been hard at work designing and preparing all the crafts. Kids of all ages are welcome to play along for a chance to win prizes. Tell a friend! The more, the merrier. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sailboat Sympathy

I had to make another sympathy card this week. It was one of the hardest I've ever done. My childhood best friend Nancy's dad passed away after a short battle with leukemia. We were next-door neighbors until I was 10, and in many ways John was a second father to me. 

I tend to put butterflies, flowers, trees and/or crosses on most of the sympathy cards I make, but none of those felt right. Finally, it came to me that a sailboat would be perfect. John built a sailboat by hand (literally - no power tools at all) in his backyard. Nancy and I were about five when he finished the boat, took down the shared fence between our houses, and gathered a couple dozen friends and neighbors to carry the boat to a waiting trailer. Over the next 10+ years, I spent many, many days on boats with their family.  

I started by cutting out a white sailboat, set against a beautiful blue sky. It was pretty, but didn't seem to fit the occasion. I changed the sailboat to black and added chalk to the background to create a sunset. 

 
Rather than a funeral or a memorial service, the family held a celebration of life. It was wonderful to hear so many (often hilarious) stories about a man who will be missed by all who knew him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Interview with Brenda Cook, Creator of The Craftys Trophies

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Brenda Cook, the talented artist behind those stunning bowling pin trophies given to the winners of The Craftys. Brenda runs Lemon Tree Workshop, producing custom hand-painted glassware and gifts.

  

Cindy: Brenda, thanks for agreeing to an interview! Tell us a little about yourself.

Brenda: Okay, where to start… My first non-commissioned mural at the age of 3 done purely by crayon was a brilliant success until Mom came home from work and took a look at her bedroom wall. My first solo exhibit singling me out amongst my kindergarten peers involving a ship with smokestacks surrounded by air and sea creatures lead to a fit of hysterics (she only tacked my piece to the wall), in which Mom had to leave work to calm me down. My first art contest win at the age of eight at the San Francisco Zoo was I felt well deserved as I'd put a lot of time and thought into my fairy princess drawing (with floating stars).

After receiving two scholarships for art, I studied fine art and design in Illinois and my home town of San Francisco. I scored my first job as an illustrator and graphic designer at the age of seventeen. My entire career has revolved around fine and commercial art, from running my own graphic design and illustration business to selling commissioned watercolor portraits, animating video games, designing websites and corporate logos... you name it. When I’m not freelancing, cooking, gardening, sewing, watching scary movies with my husband or singing and playing Hawaiian music with my ukulele band, you’ll find me painting.


Cindy: How did you get started with decorative painting?

Brenda: My mother-in-law started taking one stroke classes and she treated me to a workshop taught by local southern California artist April Numamoto. I didn’t know what I was doing but I had so much fun, and it was easy to get hooked. My MIL would have painting parties and would bring me to April’s classes and I’d learn the strokes, observe the students and their work. I decided that I wanted to pursue it as a career so I got certified by April in one stroke painting Levels 1 and 2. She is one of the best decorative painters I've ever seen.

Cindy: When and how did you begin selling your work?

Brenda: I’ve been selling my own handmade creations since I was a child. To me, selling macramé belts and embroidered bags was a more enjoyable way to make spending money than babysitting. I’ve been an employed artist for pretty much most of my life, and it seems that every career I’ve had has helped me gain experience to do what I do now, from writing, product and social media marketing, web design, photography to graphic design – all of these skills are needed to be able to create the final product. I started selling my products on Etsy last November and it’s been nonstop commission work ever since - and I love every minute of it. Helping someone design a completely unique gift is very fulfilling.

Cindy: I've been pouring over the gorgeous photos in your gallery. In addition to glassware, you paint on ukuleles. How did that get started? Any other interesting items you've painted, besides the bowling pins?

Brenda: Thank you! I’ve always loved to sing and about 7 years ago I bought a ukulele as a mini back-up band for myself. I remember my husband challenging me to give him a concert at the end of the weekend, so I spent an entire day learning how to tune it (typically a 30 second process) and the next day learning how to play 3 chords. On Sunday night I was able to play a barely recognizable version of Amazing Grace and he was so proud of me. Not long after I joined a Hollywood group, the teacher heard me sing and asked me if I would get up on stage in Little Tokyo and sing a Chinese song? What? I said sure. I learned how to sing a popular song Tien Mi Mi phonetically and that started my association with that group and a love of ukulele that has spiraled into a whole new world of friends, fun and music. Playing the ukulele is very addictive. I also love to sing Hawaiian Music and my band plays private parties and luaus in the summertime. As far as other items, I’ve painted lamp shades as part of a restoration project. I painted a cherry blossom mural in my bathroom. Once you’ve been to Italy and seen every square inch of every building tiled with mosaic or hand painted, the bare walls at home aren’t going to cut it anymore. I painted my mural in our tiny second bathroom, and it got so hot in the summer it took forever. My friend Linda said it probably took less time to paint the Sistine Chapel. Ha! I think she’s right.


Cindy: I love all the beautiful flowers you've done, especially the iris, the bird of paradise, and the stargazers. And the snowmen are so cute! And the cacti are stunning. I see a dog, a cat and a hippo, but no rabbits. Perhaps you need a model? Seriously though, where do you get your ideas?

Brenda: I love anything to do with gardening and home décor. I love collecting china and unusual items like vintage Japanese toys and Hawaiian dresses and crocheted potholders. I think I just like to collect things. I’ve had a career as a graphic designer, video game animator, online dating spokesperson, etc. but I’ve always harbored a secret wish to be a giftware designer. Now, thanks to Etsy, I am able to make that wish come true, even if it's on a small scale. I have an ongoing ‘New Idea’ list that I never seem to have time to get to, so I’m thrilled when someone asks for something original and new because I get to add that item to my collection. I try to keep my work as original as possible, because that's the hard part. The designing. I studied for many years to be a designer. Painting is a different story. That came easy to me at a young age. You can learn to perfect your painting skills, but being able to create something that's uniquely yours is truly valuable.


Cindy: What's the significance behind the name Lemon Tree Workshop?

Brenda: I wanted a cheerful, approachable name that hadn’t yet been used. I live in a 1929 traditional Spanish home that was once owned by MGM studios and I paint in my workshop out back in the garden. Although my garden is small and I have a few different kind of fruit trees, the Meyer lemon tree has always been good to me. I've been able to make lemonade cake, flavor salmon dishes, make morrocan lemons, lemon drop drinks, etc. Yum! If I were president, everyone would have a Meyer lemon tree.

Cindy: What is the best thing about your job? What are the challenges?

Brenda: The best thing is that I get to manage my own time. I get to study and implement new marketing strategies. I get to experiment with photography. The challenges come around the holidays when I have to guesstimate how many orders I can accept before I reach the point where someone might not get their order in time. Another challenge is to make sure that when someone purchases a piece, that I find out if it’s a going to be a gift or not so I can make sure the recipient gets a hand written card. Sometimes people don’t tell you that they have a deadline and it’s my job to find out so everyone is happy.

Cindy: How did you come to be the one to decorate The Craftys trophies? Tell us a bit about that process. Did you design them as well as painting them?

Brenda: I belong to a pretty large decorative painting group on Facebook, and someone posted that they were going to be featured in The Society of Decorative Painters Magazine, so I looked up their site and saw a link to The Craftys contest. I love to enter all art related contests. I've won a few; they're hard to resist. I entered my hand-painted Cherry Blossom ukulele (and a few glass pieces) and the uke was picked as a finalist in the decorative painting category. I received an email from CraftFoxes and was asked if I would paint the trophies. I could see the finished design in my head so I sent over a photoshop comp, then it was tweaked and approved fairly quickly. There were 17 categories and I have experience with pretty much every craft out there from sewing to crochet, so it was easy for me to design each bowling pin. We found the pins on Craigslist and had them shipped over to me. They were plastic coated and all beat up and well loved so they had to be primered a few times, painted a few times, then the hand lettering, then the images were painted, then they were sealed with a varnish, and delivered to San Francisco for the contest. I had a lot of fun painting them. I think my favorite pin is the quilting pin.





I really love what I do. I think that's the key to living a good life.

Cindy: Brenda, thank you so much for your time!

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You can find Brenda at her website Lemon Tree Workshop, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest and at her Etsy shop. Go check out her gallery and start thinking what you'd like painted on a glass, mug, ukulele or bowling pin!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Water Bottle Santa Claus

We've been working on Christmas crafts around here for awhile. Some are for Project Penguin that we'll start sharing on the blog next week and some will be gifts that we won't share on the blog until after Christmas. This Water Bottle Santa is neither of those.  



Materials: 8 oz. water bottle, white gesso, paint (red, tan, pink and white), black Sharpie, cotton balls and glue

Start by removing the label from the water bottle. Give the entire bottle, including the cap, a light coat of gesso. Let it dry. Paint the top and bottom sections red and the middle section white. Mix the tan and pink paints to get a skin tone you like, then paint an oval in the center for Santa's face. Let the paint dry.



Use the Sharpie to draw eyes and a nose in the face. Then tear bits from the cotton balls to make a beard and eyebrows and glue them in place. Make a small ball of cotton for the top of Santa's hat and glue it in place.



Finally, stretch out a cotton ball and then roll it like a snake to make a long, even coil. Glue it around the base of the hat, hiding the area where the white and red paint touch. 

I'm rethinking my original statement that this Santa isn't a gift. Someone just might get Santa after all...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Coming Soon: Project Penguin!

Hello! This is Trevor. Back in August, some of you participated in Project CAT (Crafting in August with Trevor). I'm back for a winter version! It's called Project Penguin. It is a crafting challenge for kids that starts next Monday, November 30. I will give you ten challenges between November 30 and December 11. Then you have until Sunday, January 3 to make that craft or something inspired by my craft. Then post it as a picture on the blog. My mom will explain how later. There will be two winners. I will choose one winner and one winner will be random. Both will get prizes.


See you next week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Font Fun

In my free time (read: time I should be doing chores or exercising), I've been learning about fonts. I've gone through a few library books, including the outstanding Playing with Type, as well as done a bunch of online research. Along the way, I've found some really cool stuff that I'm very font fond of.



Here's a fascinating animated short about the history of typography:


Next, 18 insanely addictive font games. I really like Kern Type, because this is exactly what I do when I'm adding letter stickers or chipboard pieces to cards, layouts and other projects. Type Connection is pretty cool. The Fontastic Quiz only has 10 questions, so it's hardly a waste of time at all!  

Ever seen a font you love but can't find its name? I've used Identi-Font numerous times to try to identify a mystery font. My success rate is mixed, but considering that there are at least 3 zillion different fonts, it's amazing that it is correct as often as it is.

And finally, a quiz to answer a burning question: What typeface are you?

My results:
Helvetica - Classic and reliable, you're picky about design. Clean and streamlined, you don't get bogged down in detail or decoration. Versatility and simplicity is key, and you're the master of both.
That sounds about right. What typeface are you? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Is There Such a Thing as Mexican Grits?

We watch a lot of Food Network around here (as evidenced by our many cooking competitions and other crazy culinary adventures). I'd been craving creamy polenta since watching a contestant make it on one of the shows. We had leftover quesadilla fixin's (beans, tomatoes, cheese, avocado) that would be just as delicious on polenta as they were on corn tortillas.

I prepped everything, then went to grab the polenta. One problem: we didn't have polenta. I totally thought we did, but what I thought was dried polenta was actually dried grits. Close enough! I made the grits, stirred cheese into it, spooned it into bowls and topped it with more cheese, beans, tomatoes, and avocados. 

 
I don't know if Mexican Grits was already a thing, but as far as I'm concerned, this will be a new staple in the deRosier household. Delicious! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Money-Wrapped Gift

Over the years, I've shared a bunch of creative ways to give money as a gift. Here's my latest version:

 
One of Trevor's friends recently turned nine. We picked out a fun book for him and worked together to come up with a way to wrap it using dollar bills (nine, of course).

We set aside three bills to make the bow, then used six bills as ribbon. Trevor folded each into fourths, then we carefully taped them together around the present. (Scotch tape holds well without tearing the money when you remove it.) The bills didn't quite reach in the back, but that's no big deal.  


Next up was the bow. Trevor followed the simple instructions to turn a bill into a bow using this Dollar Bow Garland tutorial. He tied it with a piece of string. Then he folded the remaining two bills into fourths, then bent over each tip to make them the right size to look like the ribbons from the bow. 


He trimmed the string, then we taped the bow together and taped it onto the gift.

I'm already hard at work on Timothy's money-themed Christmas gift. I cannot wait to give it to him and to share it with you all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Playing with Type: Type as Patterned Texture

Today I'm sharing my next project from Playing with Type by Lara McCormick. The challenge wasw to create a pattern using a single letter from one typeface.

Materials: alphabet stamp, ink, cardstock, glue, rhinestones



My card was for my friend Courteney, so I chose the letter C and her favorite color, purple. I experimented on scratch paper with different ways to create patterns using the C. I liked the floral-inspired design I got when rotating the C four different directions. I stamped the pattern on cardstock:

 
I used a leaf stamp on all the white space between the flowers. Then I dabbed purple ink to fill in the flowers and green to extend the foliage. 


Finally, I matted the cardstock with a dark purple and glued the whole thing to a lavender card base. Self-adhesive gems became the centers of all the flowers.

What a fun challenge! I never would have thought to try something like this without the prompt.

Monday, November 16, 2015

French Tricolor Mosaic

Like everyone else, I was horrified by the events in Paris on Friday night. I decided to make a mosaic of France's flag in the same style as my United States flag mosaic. It took about 20 minutes from start to finish.



Materials: white cardstock, pencil, ruler, old magazines, glue

I started with a little research about the French flag. I was curious about the symbolism and history of the flag, plus I wanted to make sure I got the proportions correct. Armed with knowledge, I got started.

1. Cut the cardstock into a 7.5" x 5" rectangle. Draw vertical lines at 2.5" and 5" to divide the paper into equal thirds.

2. Tear pages from magazines that have solid areas of blue, white and red. Finding white is not a problem. It's all over the place. Blue is fairly common in photos (blue skies, blue water, etc) and advertisements. Red is tougher to find in large enough areas to use. Knowing this, I went straight for a gardening magazine that happened to have an article about red in the garden. If you look carefully at my reds, you can see the variegated petals amongst the pieces.

3. Spread glue in one section. White glue works well, as does a glue stick. Tear the magazine into pieces about the size of your thumbnail and place them into the wet glue. Overlap them as you work and let the pieces hang off the edge somewhat. You'll trim those later. Avoid using the edge pieces from the magazine. Straight lines amongst the otherwise-random shapes in the mosaic really detract from the overall look.

4. Repeat the process with the other two sections.

5. When the mosaic is dry, trim the excess magazine bits off the edges.


Prayers for France and prayers for the world.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Craft

In my line of work, I see A LOT of turkey crafts tutorials this time of year. I also see numerous Pilgrim crafts, leaf crafts and cornucopia crafts. You know what I almost never see? Pumpkin pie crafts. Time to change that.


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Pumpkin Pie Craft


Materials:

  • cardstock (white and tan for pie, brown and blue for background) 
  • paint (orange and brown)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • cotton ball


Steps: 


1. Cut out the pieces for the pie. Start with the bottom crust. It is a long, tan rectangle with a slight angle cut from one end. Cut a slightly smaller rectangle from white, adding the same angle cut from one end. The two rectangles should layer with a little bit of tan showing on the bottom and right of the white. Cut an obtuse triangle from white for the top part of the pie, then cut a wavy strip of tan for the edge of the crust. It should be the same length as the shortest side of the obtuse triangle. 


2. Paint the white rectangle orange. Put a drop or two of brown into the remaining orange paint, mix, and paint the obtuse triangle. 

3. Create a background using the blue and brown cardstock. I actually made my pumpkin pie craft into a card, so I glued a blue rectangle and a brown rectangle onto a white card base. If I were making it as stand-alone art, I would use a solid piece of blue and glue a brown rectangle to it to represent the tabletop. 

4. Glue the pie pieces to the background. Stretch out the cotton ball slightly, then glue it where whipped cream would be.

That's all there is to it!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Interview with Amy Latta, Winner of The 2015 Craftys Best Craft Blogger

Huge congratulations to Amy Latta of One Artsy Mama for winning the 2015 Craftys Award for Best Craft Blogger!


I had the pleasure of working with Amy two years ago, plus she is a frequent contributor to Fun Family Crafts. She is wonderfully creative, an excellent writer, and an all-around nice person, so it was very exciting to hear her name announced as the winner! Along with congratulations, I had a bunch of questions for Amy. She was kind enough to agree to an interview. Thanks, Amy!


Cindy: Describe where you were and what you did when you found out you'd won the title of Best Craft Blogger 2015.

Amy: I had no idea I'd even been nominated until Friday morning when I got a tweet from the Craftys saying I was a finalist! I had entered a few of the categories myself, but hadn't submitted my own blog. I was curious to see the award broadcast, so I tuned in live on You Tube that night. I was sitting at the dining room table in front of the laptop with my 7 year old son {Little Crafter} on one side of me and my hubby on the other. LC just kept saying confidently that I was going to win. I saw the number of finalists and told him I was sure I wouldn't, but that it was an honor to have been nominated. I could hardly believe it when I heard Mark Montano announce my name! LC, meanwhile, was grinning and saying that he knew all along I just *had* to win. The biggest surprise was when I heard Mark mention that I had won more than just the cash prize; there's a book proposal involved! I almost fell out of my chair because a book has been a dream of mine for at least a year now. Once I got past the initial shock, I immediately went to my One Artsy Mama & Friends Facebook group and my blog Facebook page, as well as my personal one, and announced the exciting news!

Cindy: How long have you been blogging? Why did you start?

Amy: This March, I will be celebrating One Artsy Mama's fifth anniversary. I had no idea that craft blogs even existed until March of 2010, when I was searching online for a St. Patrick's Day craft idea for my son and his friend. I had stopped my full time job as a dance instructor to be a stay at home mom and was anxious for a creative outlet. When I stumbled across a blog called "that artist woman," I was immediately inspired and had to find out more about this blogging thing. That very day I decided I wanted to create my own blog in the hopes of sharing about the projects I did on a daily basis with Little Crafter. At the time, I had no idea it would ever be a source of income or that I'd develop the following I have now. My ultimate goal was to reach 1,000 people, and I just wanted to inspire someone.

Cindy: Name 3 traits you have that make you a successful blogger.

Amy: Creativity: In this business, you won't get far without that! Responsibility: I'm very careful about meeting all my deadlines and all the requirements anytime I work with a brand. Integrity: I am honest and transparent with my readers. My brand is built on honesty and the fact that people can trust what I say. If I recommend something, I truly use and like it. If I say something is quick and easy, it truly is.

Cindy: How has your blog changed over the years?

Amy: Originally, my idea was that One Artsy Mama would be all about kids' projects. But I love to create things myself too, and I quickly found out that readers were interested in those things too. Jewelry, home decor, furniture projects, fashion, crochet, and other types of posts were very popular with my audience, so I expanded what I do and now share a huge variety of project types. Just a few years ago, I really found my "brand" and my passion: "Honest Inspiration for Everyday Life." I realized that my heart's desire is to help people who don't feel crafty and creative see that they CAN make beautiful things. That's why no matter what I share, it's relatively quick, affordable, and simple. Anyone really can do it!

Cindy: What advice do you have for someone who hopes to take the title of Best Craft Blogger 2016 (or beyond)?

Amy: Gosh, I really have no idea! In fact, I'd love to hear from the judges to find out just what it was that made them cast their votes for me! I guess my advice is just to stay consistent and true to your brand, to keep creating new things all the time, and to do whatever it is that you personally do best.

Cindy: Part of your prize is doing a book proposal for Chronicle Books. Any thoughts on a possible subject or theme?

Amy: I've been thinking about this for awhile now, actually, so I do have an idea for what I'm going to propose...but I'm going to keep that under wraps until the process is underway. You can be certain, though, that it will resonate with my brand and what One Artsy Mama is all about.

Cindy: Name 3 of your favorite craft bloggers.

Amy: That's much too hard of a question! I have so many friends in the blogging community and we all inspire one another. The craft blogging world is kind of like a sorority of nice girls who encourage each other and understand that we're all cut from the same cloth.

Cindy: Besides your blog (One Artsy Mama), where can people find you?

Amy: I regularly contribute to the Craftsy Jewelry Blog, and I'm also a writer for the Tampico juice company's blog for moms. Otherwise, you can find me at Starbucks. ;)

Cindy: Thank you for your time and congratulations again!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

I made another sympathy card recently, my least favorite kind of card. This is for a dear friend who lost her brother. I made two butterflies fluttering by the cross to symbolize two siblings who will meet again someday.

 

It seems appropriate to share this today. While he was not a veteran, he did serve the community for many years as a police officer in Oakland. I'm so grateful for all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, corpsmen and civilians who risk their lives to protect mine. Happy Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Playing with Type: Ransom Note

As I mentioned recently, I've been working on a new logo and business cards. I've got a bunch of sketches taped to the wall next to my desk where I can look at them a bunch of times a day and make tweaks here and there. I've been playing with different fonts, trying to find just the right ones that are a perfect fit for me and my blog. That led me to researching about fonts and the history of typeset, which led me to the library, which led me to checking out this book:

 
I fell in love immediately. Playing with Type has 50 challenges that relate to typographic design. Each is explained clearly and illustrated with beautiful examples. I read the book from cover to cover, stopping only to put a post-it flag on the activities I absolutely want to try. As you can see, a lot of the challenges appeal to me! I'll be sharing each as I complete them.

............

Challenge: Design a ransom note using found type. 

Materials: magazine, scissors, glue, paper

I started by tearing the titles, headlines and other large print out of a magazine. (I used FamilyFun.) Only after I'd made a pile of all the interesting words did I decide what I wanted my message to be. 



This is a message I need to hear. Often. I enjoy working and love being productive, almost always at the expense of relaxation. Once I decided on my message, I cut out the letters I needed from the pile of words, made some adjustments until I was happy with the balance of colors and sizes, then glued each letter in place. Now it's hanging at my desk. 

What a fun project! I'd strongly encourage you to play along. If you are interested in getting the book, I've included an affiliate link below:


If you do end up making a ransom note, inspirational or otherwise, please share it with me! I'd love to see it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The 2015 Craftys

On Friday, I had the honor of attending The Craftys award ceremony in San Francisco. The Craftys began in 2014 to celebrate the best in crafting and DIY across the United States. The debut was a huge success. There were over a thousand entries culminating in Stephanie Klose taking the grand prize for her stunning knitted wedding dress


For 2015, the second year, The Craftys expanded to include sixteen categories:

  • Craft Blogger
  • Crochet
  • Decorative Painting/Mixed Media
  • DIY Pinterest Board or Instagram Account
  • Edible Crafts
  • Fashion Sewing
  • Felt Crafts
  • General Crafts
  • Home Decor/DIY
  • Jewelry
  • Knitting
  • Online Store
  • Paper Crafts/Scrapbooking
  • Quilting
  • Sticker Art
  • Young Crafter

Fifteen professionals in the craft industry served as judges. They had the difficult job of paring down the large number of nominees into ten finalists per category. The winners were announced via a live webcast hosted by the fabulous Mark Montano

But before I get to that, how about some looks behind-the-scenes? 

I was able to bring a +1 to the event, so Steve joined me. The event was held at the beautiful headquarters of Chronicle Books on 2nd Street in San Francisco. When we arrived, we were escorted up to the fourth floor for pre-show mingling, photos, and a wonderful spread of food and drink.






With cocktail in hand, I took some time to explore the areas beyond the reception room. The building has an industrial feel with eye-catching book cover art on display.


Down each hallway, Chronicle's latest books are displayed. I thumbed through quite a few of them in the short time I had, though I could have happily spent all day reading!


There were delightful touches of whimsy throughout. The bright tape on the floor and wall spelling BOOKS only reads correctly from a sofa in the center of the room. I *might* have leaned over some seated strangers to take this photo. 


After about an hour, it was time to begin the live broadcast. We moved into an adjacent room and got seated. This was my view from the front row:


Here's the view from the back of the room. You can see me in the blue, front and center, with Steve in black on my left.


Mark Montano did an excellent job as host. It was great fun watching him. I've had the pleasure of meeting him in person a handful of times after first watching him on TLC's While You Were Out. He's as charming and well-spoken off camera as he is on camera.



Beth Kingston was Mark's co-host. What a pleasure to meet her! She is awesome.



I was very impressed with the finalists' projects. There certainly is a lot of talent out there! I'm glad that The Craftys is bringing recognition to those amazing artists, crafters and bloggers. 

Speaking of bloggers, I was most interested in seeing who would win The Craftys Best Craft Blogger. I had the pleasure of working with one of the nominees, Amy Latta of One Artsy Mama, back in 2013. She does a lot of kids' crafts and is a frequent contributor to Fun Family Crafts. I was thrilled for Amy when Mark announced her name as the winner! As part of her prize, she'll be doing a book proposal for Chronicle Books. Amy has agreed to do an interview with me, so I'll be sharing that later this week. Thanks Amy and huge congratulations!
If you missed the live broadcast, you can it here and see all the winners:


I loved the trophies the winners received. This one, for Best Online Store, was in the reception area for us to photograph. The very talented Brenda Dee Cook of Lemon Tree Workshop is the artist behind these awesome trophies.



After the broadcast ended, we were invited back to the reception area for more mingling, photos, food and drink. Steve tried to get a photo of just Mark and me, but I insisted he jump in the photo too. 

 
All too soon, it was time to go. On our way out, we each got swag bags with a bracelet kit from Beadaholique, a printing kit from Lumi Inkodye, and greeting cards from Chronicle Books. Fun!


We had a wonderful time attending The 2015 Craftys! Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Thank you to all the sponsors and organizers for all your hard work. What a joy to see outstanding artists and crafters receiving the recognition they deserve!