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Craft Wars, August 2012


(Check out our projects in Somerset Memories)


Crafting Tutorials I've done:

Sweet Sensations Centerpiece

ATC Holder

Voyeuristic Tendencies?  Check out my online galleries at:

My obsessive personality compiled these lists to share:


 Watch The Guilty Crafter videos!







I cook poorly, I craft obsessively and I love the look of a retro cocktail. When I am feeling guilty about taking time away from my family with my obsessions, I make videos about my guilt as "The Guilty Crafter" or I blog here. Thanks for stopping by!


Anatomy of an April Fools' Day Lunch #5

I thought I was running out of ideas for April Fools' day lunches but a trip to the grocery store inspired me. Since my kids now look forward to my twisted April 1st lunches for them, this year, when they open their lunches, I hope they'll trick their friends by eating all this without hesitating. Watching someone eat "mayonnaise" by the spoonful and drink straight "apple cider vinegar-" can you imagine something more disgusting? And apologies to people who don't mind eating a frozen veggie medly on occasion. In the Guilty Crafter house, we would all revolt. In every sense of the word.

Happy April Fools' Day, eveyone. 


Guilty Crafter's April Fools Day Roundup

Over the past few years, I have really embraced April Fool's Day lunches. My kids are not fooled at all at this point but they do love to see what I come up with. If you search "April Fool's Day" in the search bar on this blog (to the left), you'll get more details on each individual food. Filling a banana peel with lemon jello, was a bit tricky, for example and you might need some tips on opening cans from the bottom to empty them out to add other foods. but since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I'd gather all the final photos I have so far for one quick, easy look. Click on the thumbnails for bigger images. Questions? Ask in the comments sections below:



Sometimes I Teach Classes

Just keep this little "clipping" I found on Twitter. This class was a lot of fun. Color trends are always fascinating but we also gave our class VIP treatment in our booth and had them make several projects using Rit dye.


How to Dye Shoes in a Mason Jar

I'm still happily dyeing away for Rit dye over at I realized I should probably be adding my projects to my own blog as well as their site. For now, I think I'll add my photos. Just click on the photo to be taking to the site for my step-by-step tutorials.




Portlandia Fashion: Put a Bike On It

Have I mentioned how much I adore Portland? Oh? Just a billion times? Well, in my accelerated attempts to blend in with the locals, I have many clothes that embrace the "Put a Bird On It" concept made famous (or infamous, depends on who you ask) by the TV show Portlandia. But even I know there is a limit to how many birds I can sport around town so I'm starting to have this compulsion to but a BIKE on everything else. And why not? Portland is a total bike city.

Check out this project I did today. I had a spare, oh, 5 minutes in my day when I remembered that I had this really cute S*E*I Iron-On Art flocked transfer from a sponsored goody bag (the perks of attending craft trade shows). What I also had handy (as in , I wore it all weekend and it was lying in a heap in the corner of my bedroom) was this fairly drab skirt I got from a thrift store recently. The skirt is the perfect thing to wear over crazy leggings when paired with my favorite black rain boots but it really is too plain for my tastes.

One hot clothes iron later, and I have permanently ironed on this super cute- and FLOCKED!- bicycle transfer and totally jazzed up my little skirt. Notice how I added it to my skirt straddling a side seam for a little off-center, custom look? Now it looks like one of those expensive, hand silk-screened skirts I've been coveting at the Portland Saturday market and no one will be the wiser. Hmmm... I wonder if S*E*I makes birds too...


3D Printed Bracelet with a Touch of Class

I've been loving 3D printed jewelry for quite awhile now. The possibilities are endless and gorgeous. I know, I know. You think you can't afford a 3D printer so you're ignoring all the cool things about this new technology. Not true. You can print things so easily from, for example. Or check your local library- mine prints up to 4 items a month for the cost of t materials (averaging about 80 cents for, say, an iphone cover).

Now that PSA is over, let's get to my bracelet. I was given the an bracelet as a gift recently at the Craft and Hobby show. Someone was there doing 3D printer demos and the bracelet was a sample. But what a sample! It has a beautiful, shimmery sheen to it. Later, I was gifted a box of (sponsored product alert!) Swarovski crystals and I immediately knew the bracelet and the beads were a match made in crafty heaven. I love the idea of taking something so high tech and making it look rich and elegant.

I could bore you with the directions (because they're so incredibly simple) but really, get your hands on a pretty but plain little bracelet. It doesn't have to be 3D printed (but come ON- get on that tech bandwagon already!). And now grab your iLovetoCreate Liquid Fusion Clear Urethane Adhesive (I got a sample of this at the show) and glue some pretty crystals on. Let it dry and wear it to your next outing. When the sparkle catches someone's eye and they ask about it, you'll be able to say? "Oh this? It was made on a 3D printer and I embellished it myself). You get to teach someone something AND show off your creative side!


No More Wire Hangers!

That crazed scene in Mommy Dearest had a few things going for it- camp, great quote and, who would have guessed?!- craft inspiration. Ditch those wire hangers, kids. Wood is wear it's at. I bought mine at Ikea and with a bit of sanding and a quick dunk in a dye bath, they are just what I needed to add a little DIY fun to our guest powder room. You can see the painstaking step-by-step photo tutorial here but I bet you can figure out the finer points just by looking at the picture, right? Right. Now quit crying and go make me a cocktail! 


Simple but Dance-worthy Beef Stew


I googled "Pyrex bowls" for an image because no matter how delicious it is, let's face it, beef stew is ugly.

I've mentioned that I'm a completely uninspired cook, right? I use religiously which doesn't exactly make me Julia Childs. But whatever. I'm trying. What I have finally gotten comfortable with is not sticking rigidly to a recipe. People who love to cook all the time have been telling me this is unnecessary for years but it takes confidience and experience. It also takes a stellar memory because whe I make something my family loves- like the stew I made last night that made my family literally dance with happiness- any tweaks must be duplicated EXACTLY.

This is why I'm adding the most simple beef stew recipe on planet Earth right here. Not because you don't already know how to make it (I didn't) or because this one is so crazy complicated but because my family LOVED it and literally danced around the kitchen with glee as they polished off WHOLE pot of this last night because they love a simple dish. And now I have to duplicate this dish with OCD-like precision from now until eternity or they will no longer smile and dance on beef stew night. So I'm making a record of any minor adjustment I made.


2 lbs cubed stew meat (purchased at the "good meat" store by our pizza place)
3 tablespoons olive oil
 Heat up olive oil in the big le Cruset pot and then add meat to brown it
1 tsp garlic powder, some salt and pepper (sprinkle on meat as it's browning)
4cubes beef bouillon, crumbled
4 cups boiling water from the tea kettle
1 small branch fresh rosemary
1 tsp of thyme
Cover pot and let simmer an hour
Now add:
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
 1 large onion, chopped
Cover and simmer until done
Sprinke in some Wondra flour to thicken up the liquids in the last 1/2 hour or so




Glue Resist Tea Towels (As seen on Portland's KATU AM Northwest)

Halloween Glue Resist Tea TowelsHere's what you should know about my 3rd appearance on Portland's KATU news morning show AM Northwest:

1. Last time it was way worse (click on that to see what I mean- update: I'm still happily married).

2. This time I was prepared: I chose a project I knew inside and out. Unlike last time.

3. I fixed my crazy on-camera hair issues by figuring out how to get away with wearing a hat for my segment (see witch hat).

4. I still freaked out and stumbled a bit because:

a. The guests in the green room were more intimidating than the usual personable and cool local authors and cooks. First up: TOM GREEN for the love of Pete! I had to internalize a little fan girl moment. Then there was Derik Nelson aka The Unnamed Guitarist from Glee with his musician brother Dalten and sister Riana (the trio performed) plus a really sweet local dietician (hi Jessie!) and Ariel from Disney on Ice. Ariel. On ice.

b. And most notably, there was a full, live studio audience that I did not know about until I literally walked on to the sound stage to begin my segment. What- the- ?!?! I didn't expect that. So I was freaking out for a minute or two into my segment. Sigh. Anyway, here's the segment:


(I should note here, for the record,  I was clearly too old for the green room today- I'm the only one who recognized Tom Green and Tom Green and I were obviously the only one who didn't know who the Glee guy was. When Tom Green walked out to his interview, the young publicist said, "Hey- he was married to Drew Barrymore!" (she had Googled him, I think) and THEN the rest of the green room started wishing we had taken a photo with him. (We consoled ourselves by taking photos with each other instead but hey- Glee guy!)

I should also note I like to take advantage of the fact that my feet are never on camera so I wore my favorite rain boots. I looked a little crazy. Half witch/ half puddle jumper. Even Tom Green just kind of side-eyed me the whole time he was eating his donut. When Tom Green is looking at you like he's not sure what's going on with you, you know you're looking a little crazy).

But whatever. It was a cool experience as always and I got back on that horse after last time when I was pretty sure I'd never even talk to Mr. Guilty Crafter again OR go back on live TV. I have lived to tell the tale. I just have to figure out how to make it seem normal that I'm wearing a wig next time... 

As for my craft project, here's are the tips I didn't have time to truly emphasize on camera:

The main tips are these:

Yes, you can dye in a mason jar. It's just like dyeing an Easter egg. AND you keep the dye in the jar practically indefinitely. I have a few of these dyes under my sink for dye emergencies (that's a thing).

When you use glue as a resist, the best is Elmer's Blue Gel glue. It just is. 

Draw that glue on. There are no rules. Think of it as an unwieldy pen. The thicker the glue, the more effect you'll get.

Let that glue FULLY DRY, sister. No shortcuts. Use a blowdryer if you're impatient (been there, done that).

Go ahead and break the rules and use room temperature water with the liquid Rit Dye. If the water is super hot (as usually recommended), it starts to dissolve the glue and all your hard work washes away.

Shake that jar. Agitation and proper water volume is the key to getting an even dye job. Think of all that dye trying to flow into the fibers of your fabric. It's not going to happen if you project is wadded up in the jar and then quickly pulled out. You also need enough water to get in and around your fabric.

Little known fact- once you have pulled your project out of the jar, spray it with Rit Dye Fixative. For reals. Otherwise, a ton of color will rinse away in the next step. I'm not just saying this because I do consultant work for Rit Dye (but,disclaimer: I do). Spray, spray that fixative. 

Once you have all the fixative misted on to your fabric surface, pop it the project into a baggie, seal it and put the whole thing in the microwave for about 20 seconds. The steam will help the dye work it's way into the fabric fibers even better. DO NOT do this if your project has any metal on it (duh but you never know).

Now rinse that sucker WELL. Then wash it if you feel like you must. Let it dry. Iron if you must (but only if you're going to be on a live TV show and don't want to look messy- otherwise, don't bother, it's just a dish towel). 

I wish I had enough time to have shown this project
Use your tea towel for gifting a bottle of wine

And done. Cute, right?


Glue Resist Tea Towels for Halloween

It is 7 am, I'm all packed up and headed out the door to tape a craft segment for AM northwest in Portland. This time, no major catastrophes or marriage threatening events have occurred so I am optimistic (scroll down a few posts to see what happened last time I did a live craft segment on AM Northwest). Later today, I'll post a detailed tutorial on how to recreate my craft project and I'll post a link to the video from the show. Stay tuned and happy Halloween!