Pet Memorial Heart Box

Several friends have lost beloved pets recently. I designed this memorial heart box to hold a furry family member's ID tags, collar, or other memorabilia after they've passed. Affiliate links below. 

Pet Memorial Heart Box



Paint the wood box and two wood hearts Medium Gray. When the paint is dry, use a fine grit sandpaper (I used 400) to smooth down any lifted grain. Apply a second coat of paint. Paint the inside of the box using the same technique.

Glue the wood hearts to the box to make the ears.

Cut three pieces of floral wire, approximately 5.5" each. Glue them to the base of the heart, with them splayed out to look like whiskers.

Cut out two inner ears and a nose from pink felt. Glue them in place. Line the inside bottom of the box with felt as well.

Add a photo to the box if desired, then fill with mementos.


What to Pack and How to Prepare for the AFCI Creativation Show

The Creativation Show, put on by the Association for Creative Industries (AFCI), opens in Phoenix in 40 days and I can't wait! Creativation is an amazing 5-day event that takes place each January. It brings together manufacturers, buyers, designers, and everyone else in the craft industry for sales, education, and networking. (Sorry consumers - this is just for industry professionals.)

This will be my 7th time attending Creativation. Each time has been more valuable than the last as I've improved the focus of my business, taken risks, and built deeper connections within the industry. Exciting things happen at this show. 

I wrote a post about preparing for the show back in 2015 when it was called the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) Mega Show, added a few more tips in 2016, then did another update before the January 2019 show. Now I'm bringing all of my advice into one post in Ask Cindy format. There are affiliate links in the post.

What should I wear to Creativation? 
Think comfortable business casual. In past years, it's been chilly at the Convention Center, but in 2019 it was warm. Wear layers. My show 'uniform' is a colorful blouse with a modest neckline, a light sweater, interesting jewelry, dark jeans, and super comfy black tennis shoes or boots. 

Jeans and tennis shoes?!
Dark jeans and clean tennis shoes, but yes. I'm a big believer in 'dressy on the top, comfy on the bottom'. Expect to walk at least 5 miles and up to 10 miles on a typical show day. Comfortable shoes are not an option; they are a must. I like jeans because they have plenty of pockets and are great for movement. Expect to frequently stoop and bend to look at products and perch on stools to do make-and-takes. Check out this post for pictures of me and others at the 2019 show.

Do I need business cards?
Yes. Absolutely. If you don't have some already, order them right now. 

How many cards do I need? 
I typically go through 100+ at a show. Do not be shy about exchanging business cards. I like to jot a note on the back of mine to remind the person where/how they met me. I do the same with cards I receive. And don't forget to reach out to everyone you met after the show! Follow their blog, check out their store, send thanks, email especially good photos you took of them, or simply say hi!

What else do I need at the show?
You'll get a tote when you register, but I strongly recommend a small rolling bag for the trade show floor.  You'll potentially receive a lot of samples and do multiple make-and-takes and your shoulders will thank you. My rolling bag is just wide enough for 12" x 12" paper, with plenty of pockets for snacks, a water bottle, Advil, Kleenex, business cards, ziplock bags (handy for protecting make-and-takes) and everything else I need. I also keep a 12" x 12" plastic envelope with a piece of 12" x 12" chipboard inside so that any paper samples or layout and card make-and-takes aren't ruined.

Snacks? Can't I just get food there?
Yes... maybe. There's a food court and concessions areas at the Phoenix Convention Center, as well as plenty of food options nearby, but they aren't all open all the time and the lines can get long. You may not have time to get a proper meal, particularly on the education days. I always carry nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars. I also carry hand sanitizer to use before I eat. 
Don't forget to hydrate. The climate in Phoenix is dry. Bring a refillable bottle (this one is awesome and perfect if you're flying); there are water stations outside the classrooms and drinking fountains at the restrooms. I recommend chapstick and lotion, too.

How's the wifi at the Convention Center?

I'm flying to and from Phoenix. What should I know?
You will return home with more than you are bringing, probably a lot more. When flying to Phoenix, check one large suitcase with a smaller suitcase inside. On the way home, check both.
Use the Metro to get from the airport to the Convention Center and/or your hotel. It's only $2 and is super easy, safe, and convenient. When you leave baggage claim, follow the sign to the Sky Train. Then buy a Metro ticket on Level 2 at the kiosk. Get on the westbound train. Get off at the Washington/3rd Station, about a 15 minute trip. It puts you on the south side of the Convention Center, an easy walk to the nearby hotels. 
To get back to the airport after the show, use SuperShuttle. It costs around $12. When I'm loaded down with an extra 50+ pounds of samples, make-and-takes, literature, and more, I can't deal with my luggage on public transportation. It's worth the extra $10 + tip to not have to manage that luggage on my own.
Know the prohibitions about flying with craft-related banned items before accepting samples. If you fly with certain craft materials, even in your checked luggage, TSA will confiscate your items and mail you a Nastygram. (Ask how I know!)

What's the area around the Convention Center like?
It's great! Clean, safe, and easy to navigate. I've seen a few homeless people nearby over the years, but none have been aggressive. I've felt safe walking alone, but if you don't, Phoenix has an awesome Ambassador program. You'll see people in orange "Ask me!" shirts who are there specifically to help with whatever you need. They'll walk you to your hotel, give you directions, recommend restaurants, help you buy a metro ticket, or anything else you need. Stop and talk with them! 
Phoenix is a GREAT city. There is so much to do around the Convention Center. Read all about my favorite things to do and places to eat in Phoenix

What else should I know?
Download the show app. 
Know what your priorities are for the show and plan accordingly. Make appointments with people you need to see, create route maps to hit your most crucial booths, and conduct business the first time you have the chance. Take as many classes as possible. 
Take notes about absolutely everything. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you'll remember everyone you met, everything you saw, and everything you did because you won't. Photos help. Take lots of photos.
Attend the Annual Business Meeting and Town Hall. AFCI is a trade organization. It is in your best interest be informed about what is going on in the organization. Attend meetings. Ask questions. Learn more.
Talk to everyone.

This sounds exhausting.
And it's SO MUCH FUN. Creativation is amazing. Being surrounded by thousands of people who share your passion is incredible. Try new things. Meet new people. Experience and enjoy it all. Say yes to opportunities and be open to possibilities.

I have more questions. 
Ask me in the comments, or email me: cindy.mycreativelife at gmail.com. I'm happy to answer any questions you have!


Pipe Cleaner Wreath Ornament

If you're not familiar with Red Ted Art, it's well-worth checking out. While I don't personally know Maggy, I've admired her kid-friendly crafts for years. Today's project is inspired by Maggy's Easy Yarn Wreath Ornament. I was curious to see what would happen if I switched out the yarn for pipe cleaners. I love the result! Affiliate links below.

Pipe Cleaner Wreath Ornament



Trace a 3" circle with a 2" inner circle on chipboard. Cut out the pieces to make the base of your wreath.

Snip a green pipe cleaner in half and set one piece aside. Fold the other piece in half, and hold it behind the base with the folded end pointing toward the outside of the wreath. Bend the two ends up and over the base, then thread them through the folded end. Pull tight. 

Continue adding pipe cleaner halves until the whole base is covered. 

Give the pipe cleaners a trim so that all the ends are even.

Bend the outer portions of the pipe cleaners to the left to mimic the way a real wreath is assembled. 

Cut a length of monofilament and tie it around the wreath to make a hanger. 

Take a red pipe cleaner (don't snip it in half like the green ones) and twist it to form a bow shape. Glue it to the wreath, covering the monofilament hanger. Add colorful pom poms to the wreath, including a red one in the center of the bow. 

Hang your finished wreath on the tree, use it as a gift topper, or slide it down the neck of a wine (or sparkling cider) bottle for a fabulous hostess gift!


Pantone's 2020 Color of the Year - Just Announced!

Pantone just announced the 2020 Color of the Year, Classic Blue!

According to Pantone, Classic Blue is...

"a timeless and enduring blue hue elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of Classic Blue offer the promise of protection; highlighting our desire for a dependable and stable foundation from which to build."
But even more interesting...
"As we cross the threshold into a new era, Pantone has translated the hue into a multi-sensory experience to reach a greater diversity of people and provide an opportunity for everyone to engage with the color. We will be tapping into sight, sound, smell, taste, and texture to make the Pantone Color of the Year for 2020 a truly immersive color experience for all."
I love the color and can't wait to see where it appears in 2020! 

Diamond Art Gingerbread Family

Remember the snowman family portrait on a pillow I shared recently? Similar concept, different holiday icon. Affiliate links below. 

Diamond Art Gingerbread Family



Drill holes in each gingerbread man's hands. Paint the gingerbread men and hearts Teddy Bear Brown.

Add white gems to the gingerbread people's face, arms, and legs using tacky glue. I used our family colors for the buttons.

Add white gems around the edge of the hearts. Thread the wire through the holes. I curled the ends of the wires around a toothpick.

Glue the hearts to the wire using Supertite. Alternately, you can drill holes through the hearts so that you can string them as well.

I thought about adding dates to the hearts: 5/30/04 for the heart connecting Gingerbread Steve and Gingerbread Cindy, then 6/07/06 for the heart connecting Gingerbread Cindy with Gingerbread Trevor. I love the idea, but at this scale it's not possible to do in a way that realistically mimics royal icing. I might go back and add it anyway. What do you think?


Pantone 2020 Color of the Year

As usual, I've been anxiously awaiting the announcement of the Pantone Color of the Year. They were teasing it all day yesterday, so I expect the news any time. Traditionally, Pantone selects the Color of the Year from its Spring/Summer palette, which is announced in the fall. According to Pantone,

"Combining our desire for stability, creativity, and more spontaneous design approaches, the color palette for Spring/Summer 2020 infuses heritage and tradition with a colorful youthful update that creates strong multi-colored combinations as well as energizing and optimistic pairings..."

Here is the Spring/Summer 2020 palette:

I really love the palette and would happy with most of these as Color of the Year. I particularly love Saffron, Orange Peel, and Mosaic Blue. My least favorites are Biscay Green, Coral Pink, and Cinnamon Stick. I'm not feeling super confident about COTY, but if forced to guess I'll go with Flame Scarlet. Or Classic Blue. 

What are you liking? Any predictions?


Washi Tape Christmas Gift Tags

I recently added to my washi tape storage, as my collection of this handy little tape has grown to a ridiculous size. I now have three full dowels of regular washi, plus a fourth for holiday washi. While I was organizing it, I whipped up a few gift tags using 8 different Christmas washi tapes. Affiliate links below. 

Washi Tape Christmas Gift Tags



Cut white cardstock into 4" x 2" rectangles. Cut off two corners to make the tag shape. Tear lengths of washi tape to decorate the front of the tag. Wrap the excess washi around to the back.

Cut a piece of complementary cardstock slightly bigger than the white tag, then glue the two pieces together. (This isn't necessary, but it hides the back where you've wrapped the extra washi.) Punch a hole at the top of the tag.

Cut two 6" lengths of yarn. Fold them in half and add them to the tag using a lark's head knot. Trim the ends so they are even.

Write TO and FROM on the tag and it's ready to go!