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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!

Entries in Guilty Crafter (14)

Monday
Jul302012

Thank You Card Wreath (Craft Wars Pop Craft Episode #5)

Last week on Craft Wars, the contestants had to make a wreath from old Christmas sweaters for the Pop Craft. For the master challenge, they had to make a Christmas tree from shipping supplies. For my take on this on episode #5's challenge, I combined the 2 challenges and made a wreath from shipping supplies. Sort of. More importantly, I resisted the urge to craft for Tori's chicken Coco (for this week, at least).

 Check out my DIY video. I'm thinking the wreath is still a little plain. Maybe I should do watermark stamped images on the middle of the cards or add in some big die cuts that can go on the cards inside the envelopes? At any rate, I'm on a roll! What do you think?

My episode is quickly approaching but we're still more than a week out so, according to my contract with the production company, I can't tell you the exact date yet. Stay tuned! And don't forget, the show time has changed to 8/7c! Join me for the west coast showing live on Twitter at @GuiltyCrafter #CraftWarsVets.

P.S. The lovely letterpress cards on the outside of the wreath were from the art retreat I attended this spring called The Makerie. If you're budgeting for a retreat to attend next year, you should go to that one. It was awesome. The card you can see in the photo was actually made by Bird Dog press. The studio owner was an instructor at The Makerie. Without her, I wouldn't have all these cards to make into a wreath. Letterpressing is definitely beautful. If you don't lose a limb ;). If you're a safety first crafter, just order cards directly from the studio rather than make your own: http://cargocollective.com/birddogpress. Me? The cards I made are in the photo to the right. I like living on the crafting edge.

  Don't forget to check out the other Craft Wars contestants who have made Pop Craft challenges this week too. And leave 'em a little comment love, would'ya?

Traci Remely (episode #1) Wreath

Nikki In Stitches' Wreath

Pattye (my Craft Wars partner) aka FooLaLa's Xmas baby ornament

Cheryl (she won Craft Wars with her fab school house) cutest baby announcement EVAH

Lisa's homage to Margot's Suessical Christmas tree

Margot Potter's Sweater Wreath

Andrea's Colorful Christmas Easter Wreath

Tuesday
Jul172012

Craft Wars Recap Episode #4: Altar or Falter

Fresh off watching the show, I thought I'd recap my favorite 3 moments from this episode of Craft Wars:

Moment #1: The Krafty Kathy T-shirt:

Last week I blogged about my fascination with what the contestants of Craft Wars chose to wear. As I've mentioned a thousand times, this was a big deal for me since I couldn't control much else until the timer started and the cameras rolled for "my" episode. Well this week, "Krafty Kathy" BROUGHT it in the creative outfit department. I. Am. Obsessed. With. Her. Shirt. Obsessed I tell you. Thinking about the awesomeness of this t-shirt will help me get over Coco the Chicken. Almost.

So here's the thing with the shirt. It must have some handmade kcrafty touches, right? I mean take those sleeves, for example. Don't you think they were added on? And the font used for "Krafty Kathy." It's so... so... retro...? Is this a tongue-in-cheek, humorous shirt? Or is it a serious fashion statement? I don't think we'll ever know. That's the genius of it. But you know what is worthy-of-obsession greatness about it? Krafty Kathy got her fellow "cheer mom" and assistant to wear a matching shirt. And by matching, I don't mean that her assistant (Stacy) had a "Krafty Stacy" shirt. She didn't even have a "Krafty Kstacy" shirt. Stacy had on a shirt that was an exact match that read "Krafty Kathy." How do you get your friend to agree to that? Whatever the answer, this is the moment from episode #4 that will keep on giving for me. Reality show wardrobe GOLD. Pure gold.

P.S. For the record, Krafty Kathy makes some pretty awesome dollar store crafts. It would have been fun to see what she could have brought to the Master Craft.

Moment #2: The Canned Voice-overs

Maybe I was just overly influenced by the many references to this phenomenon on Twitter but there did seem to be more voice-overs in this episode than in the previous 3. For example, a judge would be making a critique and then the camera would cut to a shot of their back so you could only see a brief bit of their wildly gesticulating hands. The judge would then voice over a very detailed and specific criticism leaving me to wonder if they had flubbed a line or just completely added in something that wasn't said on the spot. Not that I think this is a big issue as far as the competition goes. It was just distracting.

Moment #3: The Live Twitter Chat

I can't help it. The episode was fun and I was SUPER thrilled to see my friends Andrea and Lisa create something so fun and then WIN the whole thing. However, the most fun of this show, as in past episodes, is to participate in the live chat. This week, I learned that more than a couple of #CraftWars fans on Twitter are convinced that only white people win this show. Kind of a leap to judgement after 4 episodes, no? But the best part of the live chat? I caught the eye of Tori Spelling (she tweets as @ToriandDean) with a link to the Coco the Chicken Toy Box post (see my blog post below) and she retweeted the link. Holy cow- I got the Tori bump- my blog blew up for a few moments there. Cool beans!

Bonus Moment:
Andrea and Lisa hugging it out at the end of the episode. I don't want to get all mushy or anything but I swear to gravy that there is something about the nature of crafting that makes it unlike any other hobby I know of. It's can be so personal and life-encompassing. I have seen some extremely close friendships formed that started as two people who met and shared a passion for crafting. Lisa and Andrea are such great examples of this. They are different ages, live in different parts of the country and yet they are truly great friends and it all started with crafting. I think that's pretty cool.

Now I need help. What do I make for THIS week's Pop Craft Challenge? A keepsake box? Is that interesting enough? Should I make a "Krafty (K)Angela shirt in case I get invited back for some variation of a Craft Wars rematch show? I would have to make Pattye one too. I suppose.


Tuesday
Jul032012

Let's Talk Craft Wars, Shall We?

Okay, I give. Everyone is a buzz about Craft Wars. People magazine, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, etc. I don't think any professional crafter is doing a better job of addressing her opinion that all crafters should watch this show, regardless of reservations they have, than the Impatient Beader Margot Potter (you can read her thought-provoking blog post "Why Craft Wars is Good for Crafts"). But I thought I would also take this occasion to chime in on some of the comments I've read on Facebook and Twitter and give you my, I-was-on-the-show-and-also-I'm-obsessed-with-reality-shows spin:

Craft Wars is Unrealistic: First, let's get some perspective. Let's talk about the two most amazing creativity-based reality shows of all time (in my opinion, naturally): Project Runway and Top Chef. These shows are no more reality-based than Craft Wars. You take people at the top(-ish) of their field and ask them to... what? Make a meal out of food found in a vending machine? Make a dress out of supplies found at a 99 cent store? Of COURSE that's ridiculous. But it's entertainment. And what is really crucial to me, the person at home who NEVER aspires to cook very well or, and of this I am very certain, sew a truly beautiful/wearable garment, is this: I am watching this show because it's endlessly fascinating to me to see creative people do what they do best- create. And create on the fly. You get a really great front row seat to seeing creative people pushed outside of their comfort zone so that you, the viewer, can get a teensie, tiny glimpse into the creative process of people who do this all day long. Do you want to wear the dress made out of sunshades and dog leashes? Probably not. Do you really want to eat the "soup" made from mashed up Cheetos and coffee creamer? Not so much. Were you entertained? Riveted.

I Could Do WAY Better:  Isn't that fun of reality shows? We get to sit home and not really and truly grasp what it's like to have a multitude of cameras in our faces and producers yelling for us to look this way and that, explain what we're doing all the while working with strange materials using tools we've never seen prior to that instant AND be on a time crunch. A very, very REAL time crisis, I hastened to add (remember, my episode is coming up so in all fairness, I have to admit that this post is a little self-serving). So YES, you probably COULD do better. With one hand tied behind your back. Using your teeth. I get it. I watch all those Real Housewives shows and truly believe for whole minutes at a time that I would rise above the drama if I were friends with those ladies. While on camera. In forced situations. I believe it. I really do. Whole minutes at a time. And that's the fun of watching. I get to feel a little smug here and there. I am a better person. I could do WAY better. Go me.

Tori Spelling- She's Not a Crafter!: Oh my. So much about Tori Spelling's involvement with Craft Wars on the interwebs. Here's what I know of Tori Spelling. Back in the early 90's she drove a kick-ass car. One that I exclaimed over as I pulled up to a 4-way stop in Beverly Hills. EXACTLY at the same time my then-boyfriend squealed that it was being driven by Tori Spelling. This event (me enthusing over a car while my boyfriend exclaimed over a 90210 star) portended the inevitable demise of our relationship. Okay, this has nothing to do with crafting. All good taste in cars aside, Tori Spelling says she's a crafter. Who are we to say she isn't? I would die to be invited to one of her cute parties and she has little kids. Sounds like a likely crafter to me. Even if she is committing a cardinal sin and is LYING and secretly never, ever crafts a thing... well? She's the HOST of the show, not a contestant. And please don't get me started on the legions of staffers creating impossibly perfect crafts for Martha Stewart. And I like her too. I like people who think crafting is fun and worthy of a TV show. They're my people.

Crafting Isn't About Competition:  Sadly, I have to admit a little known secret. It kinda is. If you're trying to get published in crafting magazines, you have to submit (i.e. "try-out") your work and there are a LOT of people vying for that little bit of real estate. You want to be an instructor at one of those fancy, arty events? Get your portfolio ready.  Oh, but you don't do that? You just craft for fun? SMART! However, while I can't speak for all the other contestants on Craft Wars- for me to get on the show? I tried out.  The producers at Craft Wars didn't "discover" me and think I was super awesome and beg me to be on the show until I finally relented. I sent photos of the best craft projects I've done. I jumped through hoops. I crossed my ink-stained, glue gun burned fingers. In short, I asked for it. I was probably just this side of begging for it. I kind of, sort of knew what I was getting into it. The (very small and meek) adrenaline junkie that lives within me wanted to go head-to-head with some other crafters and mostly just for the adventure of it. To say I had done something like this. It's all in good fun. I know my crafts aren't saving the world. I know that judging crafts is a very subjective thing. And I promise that, win or lose my episode, I will not take my crafting too seriously. Never have, never will. I just do this because it's fun.

The Judges Are Meanies: Hee hee. I love this one on Twitter. Yes, the 2 episodes we've seen, the judges were quite free with their opinions. But that's what they are. Opinions. I venture that each contestant on the show has seen a reality show before. We also knew that our moms weren't going to be judges.  And what fun would that be? Then every show would end in a 3-way tie. Even my own kids at ages 9 and 11 beg me for "real" critiques now when they show me things they've created. Of course I think every single thing they make should be given it's own show at MOMA but I understand their dawning realization that critques, real ones, help you grow and, done skillfully (or in the collective understanding that you're on a reality show), don't kill your creativity.

And another point- this is not a personality-driven show. You get 1 hour to meet 6 crafters. That's not much time to get to know anyone, let alone feel any kind of personal investment in them. As a contestant, this is a huge relief for me. As a viewer, this gets dangerously close to boring. Who can we hate? Who can we love? Who can we get to know? The judges. They need to exhibit some big personality. Right?

They Should Teach Us How to Make Something on Craft Wars: Wrong tree, you cute little puppies. There are a gabillion and one tutorials online. Videos, pay-per-view classes, blog posts, manufacturer step-by-steps. You can learn all day long on line or in the crafts section of your local library. And here I'll just speak for myself- enough all ready. I would never, ever watch Project Runway if they were earnestly trying to show how to inset a zipper. And Top Chef would find itself quickly removed from my DVR lineup if I had to watch a step-by-step tutorial of how to make, well, anything. I want to just lie on my couch and be entertained, feel a little smug and maybe, if I'm lucky, feel a little inspired by watching people be creative. Even if it's not in a field that I'm really into.


That's it. That's my turn on the soapbox. I will say this one last thing: I think that if you want a really good show about crafting, Craft Wars is a great start. We've tried to gather as many past and future contestants from Craft Wars as we can uncover- join our live Twitter chat every Tuesday when that week's new show airs at 7 pm PST (hash tags #CraftWars #CraftWarsVets). I have a feeling that the networks are paying attention to what crafters are saying we want. This is a quick medium, this reality show TV world. Help shape it. Make it more of what you want it to be. Voice your opinions as a crafting enthusiast. Blog about it, Tweet about it. Go ahead and give constructive criticism with your bad self.

Oh. And I should admit, if you follow my GuiltyCrafter twitter feed, I go easy on the contestants. I know each of us kind of asked for it by being on a show but I am pretty certain that every Craft Wars Vet went on the show to do their very, very best. And besides, I am afraid their mamas might be reading my Twitter feed too. I know my fellow contestants are.

Saturday
Oct082011

Boo Bag Poems & Killing People with Craftiness

Thank you all so, so much for all the nice feedback and for "liking" The Guilty Crafter's Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GuiltyCrafter. Mr. Ask a Ninja is already thinking of new ideas for shooting November's shows based on some of the suggestions you've had.

 One thing I am trying to be better at is follow up so if you go to the Guilty Crafter Facebook page, I have posted a printable link to the Boo poem for those of you who have asked (finding and printing that poem is 1/2 the works sometimes, I swear). I also posted some photos of my kids getting ready to go Boo this week AND I posted some suggestions of how to Boo for those of you who assured me that your neighborhood is no fun at all. Personally, I'd boo cranky neighbors anyway until they finally gave in and played along (I am a big believer in killing people with craftiness) but I did think of some other options for you.


If you have November craft ideas you'd like to see, please post them on our Facebook page. I'd also love photos of any Boo bags or Boo bag ideas you have so please, post away!

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