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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!


DIY Chocolate Bar Note Pad Set

(subtitle: How I Bought a Candy Bar as a Gift for a Child, Ate it Myself and Still Managed to Look Thoughtful)

Here's a typical morning at the Guilty Crafter house. No lunches have been made, kids have crazy bed head and I'm convincing everyone that cold cereal is a delicious alternative to their prefered eggs and oatmeal. And what am I doing in all this chaos? Making a spur of the moment craft, of course. Out of trash and a little guilt.

Here's the backstory: my little crafter woke up sad this morning because she realizes winter break means not seeing her best friend "Peach" every day (don't worry, Peach has a beautiful classic name she can use when she becomes president of the United States later).  That reminds me of the really cool gourmet candy bar I bought for Peach recently. I bought it because the packaging was so cute and said, you guessed it, "Peach" really big on the front. The problem is, I realized AFTER I bought the chocolate bar that it contained ingredients Peach is allergic to. I really had little choice but to eat the candy bar myself (because I care so deeply about The Children). Got all that?

So this morning, I am hugging my sad little girl and I realize we should make Peach a little gift so she can write notes to my little crafter during winter break. As luck would have it (or I guess we can blame the natural hoarding tendencies of crafters), I had saved the candy bar box. With a few sheets of peach colored craft paper, an overly sharpened pencil (really, my little girl sharpened and sharpened it until it was short enough to fit in the box), a bit of ribbon and a hole punch, I whipped out a quick little note set. My little girl's mood was lifted, I salvaged the special chocolate bar purchase, Peach will get a little giftie and I got to eat a pretty tasty candy bar for breakfast- almost guilt-free. It was a success all the way around.

Oh and the lunches? A banana, a juice box and a really unimaginative sandwich. But it all got done in time for the kids to catch their bus. Crafty mom for the win!


DIY Holiday Cards. Go Ahead and Cheat

So you're the "Crafty One" in the family and it's expected that you will be sending cards you made by hand, right? Ones that you started creating way back in June. Handmade paper and all that? If you need someone to give you permission to cheat, I'm your gal. Go ahead. They'll never know. ...Unless you make a video about it.

Evolution of a Crafter

I wrote the following blog post as a Lead Brand Ambassador for Fiskars back in September of 2011. I can't remember if I blogged about it at the time here on my personal blog but I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I don't want to lose this piece so I thought I'd repost it here because I believe it more now, over a year later, than I did even as I wrote it. I want to remember this and continue to push my creative boundries.:

I don't have a fun photo or video to post but this is probably the  most personal I've been in  a blog post in a long time so it's gonna be a long one...

A few months ago, I added a blog post here about my goal of trying to create the artistic community I wish I lived in. I have had amazing opportunities to travel as a Lead Fiskateer and I can't help but wish I lived everywhere I've been that has a rich, creative network of people. I've felt that way meeting hundreds of crafters in Seattle, Porland Oregon, Austin Texas, the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California (among many other places). What I set out to develop this year was a creative community here in my town- Reno, NV. What I am learning is that there are ALWAYS creative people. Everywhere. Yes, even in your small community. You just might not have as many people as the communities I've visited but I just know there are people just like us waiting to be found. Here's how I have found creative people in my "biggest, little city" and evolved a little bit as a crafter:

1) Realizing I wanted to find creative people was the first step for me. It was also helpful to tell other people this was my goal. I got a lot of unexpected help in my quest. Up until this year, I spent a lot of time wishing I lived somewhere else. This year, I decided to try and make this a city I'd want to move to if I didn't already live here.

2) If you see someone who looks creative or is doing something creative or even wearing something creative, stop and ask them about themselves. Creative people like each other. We just do. Most of us are happy to meet kindred spirits. Many of us are hoping you'll make the first move.

3) Let other people's creativity inspire you. After going through steps #1 and a ot of step number  #2, I have met the most interesting creative people. In January, Lynne Bruning of approached me at CHA because she recognized a kindred spirit in me when she saw me in my orange vintage prom gown. She suggested I meet her friend Jessica of right here in Reno, a meeting that went so well it  inspired  me to stop in at  Nancy Nelson's store and visit her blog Meeting  Nancy (and her business partner Missy)  and Jessica inspired all of us to work together to create a small, inexpensive event  to which we each invited people creative people we knew from town so that we could all meet each other. This  is where I met Dusty of They are all amazingly creative and talented. Just not in ways that I am. I am primarily a fairly conventional paper crafter, they're doing upcycling and couture design. But I have loved meeting them and I feel very inspired by their passion for what they do.   Even if I'm not necessarily able to duplicate their particular projects, we still speak the same language.

4) Open your mind to creative events that are outside of what you normally do. For years, I have watched as fascinating people come to Reno in August in preparation for the nearby, week-long event that is all about "radical self-expression." I always wished I could go see what is going on there. This year, I decided to quit wishing and just plan it and just do it. I spent a week at Burning Man and loved it- the art and the costumes were amazing. I also decided to find out what Maker Faire is all about so I volunteered to work there this year- so inspiring. In August, I attended BlogHer and met amazing, interesting women who blog about things besides crafting (who knew?!) I am attending Art & Soul in Portland next week which is a little more what I'm used to but still a bit more on the "arty" side. To round out my year of evolving as a crafter, I have been invited to attend the Holiday Symposium at Colonial Williamsburg in November  (any Virginia Fiskateers want to join me there?). This means by year's end, I will have experienced a full  range of creative expression all the way from radical artistic self-expression to the classic  crafting roots of our nation.

I am still assimilating all that I have learned in the past 9 months. I don't expect that many Fiskateers would have the time to go to as many things as I've attended this year (and I'm going to freely admit that a lot of this journey was based on me being a tad bit freaked out that I was turning 40- call it a mini/creative midlife crisis if you'd like) but I want to inspire you to think about doing something small. Look for creative shops in town. Make friends there. Notice flyers for kooky events- go to one if you can. If you can't afford an event, ask if you can volunteer there. I have gotten more out of volunteering at events this year than I think I would if I went as just an attendee. Look at some creative blogs that are different than what you generally look at. If you're like me, this won't necessarily change your style but it might be a nice recharge to your creativity and you might just feel inspired to try something a little bit, a tiny bit new. And don't forget to share your new finds with your Fiskateer friends so we can be inspired by what you are doing too.

So, are you with me? Are you ready to try something new? Expose yourself to something different and maybe just a little outside your creative comfort zone? Share your resolution with me. Tell me what you plan to do, see or who you'd like to meet. Sometimes just taking that first step and stating your intention will put you on the road to a little creative evolution. And having someone who is here to cheer you on never hurts when you're taking those first creative steps outside of your usual comfort zone. I'm cheering already.


Are you a craft room voyeur? Check out my room in an upcoming issue of Creative Spaces!

To my mind, the only reason to take a walk is for the off-chance a neighbor will leave their drapes open and I can get a peek inside. I stalk homes on Zillow so I can browse through the decorating decisions of thousands of real people selling their homes. Basically, I am a shameless voyeur. So what better karma than to have a really great magazine contact me about sharing a peek into MY most personal space- my craft room. After a few panicked calls to friends for decorating help, a few last minute dashes to thrift stores, my room is ready for it's close-up.

The best thing about the photoshoot (besides the obvious- having a deadline that forced me to straighten up the usual chaos) was the photographer who was sent to photograph my room. Whitby of Whitby Photography a) had a fun name and b) was not a crafter. It was like she had landed on my very colorful, very crafty little planet and she was amazed. By the time she left for the day, she was talking about craft projects she wanted to try. Poor thing. Crafting is contagious and I am the Typhoid Mary of crafting. She should have worn a hazmat suit but I always have fun infecting a newbie crafter.

This issue will be available for purchase in just a few short weeks.  I can't wait to see which corners of my space made the cut!  You can read more about it on the Creating Keepsakes blog and on the Paper Crafts Connections blog.  As we get closer to the publication date, remind me to post the horrifying before photos.


Old School Lockers

If you are one of "my" people, as in my frequent exclamation when I meet fellow thrifters/crafters,"I've found my people!", you'll understand the thrill it was to find school lockers on Craig's List for $20. Yes, twenty-dot-zero-zero. Zing! Mr. Angela Daniels surprised me but not grumbling at all when I asked him to pick them up and my kiddos surprised me by how excited they were to have these. Now they have a place for shoes, jackets and book bags. Score. I'm just waiting on the retro/vintage padlocks I found on EBay to complete the look. In the meantime, I'm sorely tempted to paint a frame of matte black around the doors. Should I? Or should I ignore the siren call of over-crafting something I should leave be?


Halloween Decor - Skeleton Chandelier

This is such a quick, inexpensive way to jazz up your dining room for Halloween. I simply draped a feather boa around my light fixture and then tied skeletons from a pack I found at Dollar Tree. Done. Perfect for my crafting attention span and budget!


Thrift Store Shopping for Kids 

Total cost of complete outfit: $21.

The other day, my friend Marion expressed an interest in introducing her girls thrift store shopping. I am looking forward to taking her to my favorite places and sharing some of my thrifting tips. I can't express enough how thrifting is a creative adventure as well as being part of much needed way of being part of recycling clothing. I read some fantastical statistic on how much clothing/fabric ends up in landfills long enough ago to forget the number but not too long that I don't still think twice before I buy too many "disposable" $3 shirts at Walmart. I also try to limit how many clothes my kiddos have by choosing versatile pieces- this cuts down on laundry and helps my budget. A total win-win.

Anyway, with that in mind, I thought I'd post a complete thrift outfit I picked up for my little girl this week. By thrifting standards, the whole outfit is pretty spendy but because it includes versatile boots and a jacket she can wear for 2 seasons (plus I'm pretty confident I can dye the jacket after she's worn it awhile to give it a whole new life), I think it was money well spent. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my little girl is very enthusiastic about having a wardrobe that is different than all her friends who shop in the same few shops in our relatively small city and I get the fun of putting together outfits for her while saving money.


Boo-(ze) Bags for Halloween

Like any good costume-wearing, candy-loving person, I love Halloween. Love. It's not surprising that I chose the subject of Halloween Boo Bags as my first Guilty Crafter video last year. So this year, when I was getting the neighborhood Boo Bags together with my kids, one of my friends remarked that I should put something into the kids' Boo bags for him. That's when the idea of "BOO-(ze) Bags" popped into my head (to be honest, I could swear I saw it as a Google search item while I was looking for Boo Bag Poems but I can't find it in that context now).


So if you've wanted to do Boo Bags but you don't have any kiddos around and you don't have any co-workers to Boo, I present to you my adult-oriented BOO-(ze) Bag idea:

You'll need to print out 2 things to add to your Boo'ze bags: 1) A Boo'ze Bag Poem (I just Googled "Boo Bag Poem," printed my favorite and added "ze" to the end of the word "Boo" everytime it appeared with a read pen). 2) An "I've Been Boo- (zed)" sign for your friend to hang up so everyone knows they've already had a turn at being "Boo-zed." I liked this one: 

 A great graphic to... I was going to say copy and print but I see that copyright there so... you do what you think is best. I may have printed this one out in defiance of copyright violations but I'll never tell. Anyway, the ghost is pretty fabulous but you can use it for inspiration and draw your own. Or buy the tshirt to wear while you're sneaking Boo-ze bags around to your friends.





Craft Room Makeover

You know how you sit for hours and days pinning organization ideas and amazing decorating-on-a-dime tips on Pinterest? Or is that just me? All this time, I was almost disheartened by the amazing ideas and tips I was pinning. It all seems like so much WORK and I couldn't get myself started. So my craft room has been sitting almost completely unused as my craft projects have spilled over into my formal dining room and on to my kitchen counters. I just didn't even want to go IN my craft room after awhile. As lucky as I am to have a dedicated crafting room, I was mostly taking advantage of the ability to close the door so no one could see it.

However, a few weeks ago, a favorite magazine contacted me about featuring my craft room. Sight unseen. What?! I seized on the very awesome opportunity to have a looming deadline- the very BEST thing to happen to most creative people. Now I HAD to do some of those ideas I'd been thinking about and I really did have to do it "on a dime." So, if I've been a little quiet on other social media outlets, now you know why- I've painted so many things- I don't even need to bring a paint chip to pick out fabrics- my hands are covered in all kinds of pretty green-toned paint. I have nailed, sawed, hammered, and mostly cleaned and reorganized. I have also asked for free consulting from my friends who own and respectively. And now? I'm ready for my close-up. I'll be sure to post all the information on where you can see my endeavors when the magazine is out on the newstands. In the meantime, I'm almost ready to film some new Guilty Crafter videos from my new and improved craft space for the first time so you should be able to catch a few sneak peeks in the upcoming weeks.

Now I just need a call from Laundry Weekly or some publications that will motivate me to clean/decorate other spots in my house. Otherwise...


Things that may happen if you take your kids to Burning Man

Last year, I went to Burning Man for the first time with a close friend of mine and I learned a few lessons which I shared in this blog post. At the time, I thought I might not want to bring my kids back with me (but not for the reasons you probably think). However, Time, being what it is, erased some of the rough edges of my experiences of Burning Man from last year in the same way that Time erases, say, the rough edges of the memory of childbirth and allows for kids to have siblings. So this year, after a fabulous, adults-only day and night with the first-time, begrudgingly attending yet *mostly* fun-having Mr. Angela Daniels  and friends, Mr. A.D. made the trek back out of Black Rock City to collect our little ones while I watched over our camp, put in time as a Greeter On Duty for Kidsville and did a little solo exploring. Once the kiddos arrived, we braved what truly were some gnarly dusty conditions and a few weird & wonderful things happened. So if you're thinking about taking your kids to Burning Man in the future, let me warn you about a few things that may happen:

1. Your usually overly-cautious 11 year-old may tear off on his bike, screaming over his shoulder that he's always wanted to find out what is like to be IN a dust devil. Yes, IN. And what can you do but remind yourself that you brought the kiddo to Burning Man to learn to explore a little and to experience what it's like to push himself outside of his comfort-zone? Your job is to make sure your little Burner has appropriate goggles and dust mask in place in the event that he successfully makes it into the center of the dust devil and is safe to bike, triumphantly, back to you.


2. Your 9 year-old may quickly reevaluate her position on what acceptable outfits are. There is no doubt that your kid will see nudity at Burning Man. Even if you are at the wonderfully staffed (by parent volunteers) Kidsville camp which allows no adult nudity, you can't avoid seeing the occasional, random naked Burner. Some are painted, some have elaborate accessories accompanying their mostly naked selves but they are undeniably nude. As my older kiddo pointed out, "Yes, but so many of the naked people I saw were European and they're much more comfortable about nudity so it's no big deal."  So, while your own ideas of morality may be traced back to the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock (like mine surely can be), your kids are developing much more flexibility in accepting how other people choose to express themselves. Which is, of course, what you may have hoped for them to learn.

3. With over 5 square miles to explore, including over 300 pieces of art (many of them interactive) and over 600 registered Mutant Art Cars, naturally your children will want to spend all day in the kid-friendly Kidsville camp making friends and jumping on one of the many trampolines instead. You might find yourself saying, "But don't you want to bike over to that giant octopus that is shooting out fire first?" Luckily, Kidsville is a favorite destination of many of the most outrageous art cars so many times, the best of Black Rock City comes to Kidsville.

4. If your kid says, "Can we hitch a ride on an art car?" and you say "yes," be ready to immediately sprint down the Playa (camera bag and backpacks smacking against your back) to catch up with him as he jumps up a ladder of a double decker art bus that is driving farther and farther away from you. You might age a little faster as you worry you might not make it but you will (and you'll realize you were much closer than your panic-stricken mind thought) and you'll have the ride of your life once you're safely on-board with your (formerly) overly-cautious child.

5. In the middle of an unplanned Burning Man adventure (and really, those are the only kind of adventures you'll have), you might find yourself far away from your bikes and camp and worry that your little one is hungry. Just keep your eyes out for the fabulous PB&J cart. We happened upon it when we suddenly found ourselves far away from camp after an impromptu trip on an art car. It was an oasis in the desert. We heart that cart. I hope they do another Kickstarter campaign next year. I want to contribute some P B and/ or J.

6. No matter how much you say you want your kids to be peace-loving and non-violent, you might just find yourself cheering for your little one in the Kidsville Thunderdome. It's like the awesome big Thunderdome on the Playa at Burning Man but scaled down. Most awesomely, the Thunderdome people may show up and actually referee the kid matches and, even though you try to be cool about it, you might be sheepishly proud of your little girl if she wins her match.




7. Your kids will be getting more gifts than you. Black Rock City operates on a gifting economy. This means people just, well, give you things if the mood strikes them. If you have your kiddos with you, they are guaranteed to bring out the gifting nature of the people around them. While my goal was to be as respectful to all the kid-free Burners as possible, we had countless people approach us and give stickers and jewelry to our kiddos because they missed their own kids back at home.

8. There are really too many things to mention that might happen if you bring your kids to Burning Man to list. Each family will have experiences unique to them. So, if you can brave potentially helacious dust conditions, a lot of heat and you can be open-minded and realize that Burning Man isn't what you thought it was, you might just enjoy a quality family vacation. A slightly weird but wonderful family vacation. We did.

 (make sure to read the Burning Man Survivial Guide ( and the Kids at Burning Man info ( when making your decision. Burning Man is not a casual weekend event and is definitely not a fit for every family. Make sure you have read up on all that it entails).

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