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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 I am a war veteran. A Craft War veteran (2)


DIY Succulent Birdhouse Garden on Live TV: What Really Happened

If you read the post below, you know that I was excited to be a repeat guest on Portland's local morning show "AM Northwest" this week. If you also happened to watch the video of my live appearance, thank you and I hope you thought I did reasonably well. I still haven't figured out how to make my hair look good on TV but, other than that (and saying, "right" too many times), it was fine. If you know what REALLY happened as I got ready for the news show, I think you'll share my feeling that I was AMAZING, all things considered...

To backtrack, I've been SUPER busy here in my new hometown. Portland is a fun city so we've had back-to-back guests. This weekend, it was my fun-loving mother-in-law. We were too busy shopping in the Alberta Art's district and touring local wineries for me to have time to create my succulent planter/birdhouses in advance. I wasn't too worried though, I'm the Clay Aiken of Craft Wars after all. I am accustomed to creating things quickly and under pressure. Right?

The day before my AM Northwest appearance, I got the greenlight from Lowes for a shopping spree for my project. Wheee!!! It was almost, but not quite, delayed consolation that I never won the Toys R Us Shopping Sprees that used to be given out, with much fanfare, in the 80's. I bought all my goodies- particularly loving on the fashion-forward gardening gloves and the 98 cent wooden yardsticks. Because it was a shopping spree, I even splurged and bought 2 Valspar paint samples in a pretty lavendar and a complimentary yellow to jazz up my birdhouses into something a little extra special. All I needed was Mr. Angela Daniels to help me cut the yardsticks into pieces that would be glued to the birdhouse roof to create a planter box. Got that? That's ALL I needed Mr. Angela Daniels to do. Make 16 very quick cuts on 6 yardsticks. In a pinch, I probably could have done it myself with a steak knife (I try and stay away from powertools since I tend to be accident-prone and I've never had real training on the big boy toys in the garage). But I didn't need to. I have Mr. Angela Daniels for that stuff.

See where this is going? First, I showed Mr. AD the very easy-to-follow instructions from the Lowes site just to make sure he understood my final vision. Then I worked on other things while he made the cuts in the garage. This apparently EXHAUSTED the poor man (16 small cuts on thin yardsticks, mind you) because he went to bed early, immediately following his woodworking job. I stayed up to glue and embellish and figure out what to wear on TV. An hour later, I started to add the rulers to the birdhouses- the yardstick pieces were 1/4" too short! Aaarrrgh! But I decided to let Mr. AD sleep and wake him up early in the morning and ask him to re-cut the pieces. Anxiety was now starting to build. I would not have time to have my Gorilla Glue dry completely before the live show so I had to dig through all our moving boxes to find my hot glue guns. I finally went to bed at midnight, having blown through the one single glue stick I had managed to ferret out of the boxes. Good grief! I was now going to have to figure out where to buy glue sticks on the way to my 8 o'clock call time.

At 5:45 am, after tossing and turning most of the night, I gingerly and apologetically woke Mr. Angela Daniels. I explained that the wood cuts were too long and needed to be trimmed a bit. To his credit, he got up immediately and came to surmise the situation. He Just. Couldn't. Grasp. The. Issue. I don't know if I wasn't explaining it correctly or if it was too early but 1/2 an hour later, I had devolved into chanting, "I just don't want the dirt to fall out of a crack." and then "No gaps, no gaps" over and over. Seriously. It took me a full 45 minutes of trying to not kill him as I finally got him to understand that, even though he thought it wasn't aesthetically pleasing, he would have to cut the yardstick for me to close up any gaps around the birdhouse. All I cared about was dirt staying on the roof and not tumbling out around the sides. Live. On TV.

Satisfied I had finally conveyed the urgency of the situation, I went to get ready. I could hear Mr. AD down in the garage cutting (sorry neighbors!) and I felt I could relax a little. I still needed hot glue sticks but if I was lucky, my grocery store would be open early and I could swing in and (hopefully) pick them up on the way to the TV station. When I was dressed, I returned to the kitchen to collect my newly cut yardstick pieces. Mr. AD was standing, in his bathrobe, working hard- at painting my birdhouses. PAINTING them. With a crazy bright blue I didn't even know we owned. PAINTING with that color. MY birdhouses. I still can't explain what possessed him. He can't explain it either. We aren't going to talk about it anymore. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Long story short, I lost my mind, screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?" I snatched up the very wet, very bright blue bird house as dramatically but still as carefully as I could (if you look closely in the video of the show, you'll see that my fingers have paint on them). I stormed to the car with all my supplies. I managed to score some glue sticks, make it to the TV station with enough time to spare that allowed me to quickly create a sample birdhouse/succulent garden planter. I created it ON the counter of the news anchors' make up room. This meant that important (I assume) people were stopping in to the make-up room to do their makeup as I apologized and shuffled and re-shuffled my cloud of chaos (which included scattered potting soil everywhere). I was a HOT MESS. I also realized (too late) that Mr. Angela Daniels had not done the final cut on the piece of ruler that I would be glueing on during my segment. Just not cut it at all. WTH?! Luckily the camera man did a close up of that "wonky" piece so I can lord this over Mr. AD ad nauseum.

A hot mess in a cocktail dress. I guess that's one way to stand out in a sea of revolving guests on a morning show. But in the end? I *think* you can't totally tell that I built my sample birdhouses in the makeup room. The great thing about realizing this is (and it took me a full 36 hours before I would watch the video of myself), I promise you can make this project in under 30 minutes. I can say that with authority. From experience. And it's still kinda cute. The whole thing tipped over in the car on the way home though. I had to re-glue the faucet on and replant everything for my blog photos. This evening, one of my kids asked, "Who spilled DIRT all over the backseat?!" Breathe. It's going to be there for awhile.


I'm On Craft Wars! What?!


After signing more legal paperwork than I signed to buy my last car, I have been VERY careful about not letting it slip (and thus violating my confidentiality agreement) that I am going to be on the new TLC show "Craft Wars" this summer! Woot. Cue the confetti. Toast some champagne! Tell a friend! And above all, CUE YOUR DVR!    I don't just obsessively watch reality shows, I am ON one, Honey Boo Boo Child!

Legally, I can't tell you much yet. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or over on the blog or follow me via my Guilty Crafter videos (and corresponding Facebook and Twitter accounts), you know that I over-share EVERYTHING (obviously). It was positively torture to get to fly to Los Angeles, and do all the fun things I did with my Craft Wars teammate Pattye Duffner and not be able to share everything.  We also couldn't take photos on set so I can only share a few, not-so-great photos from the weekend to give you a sneak peek. 

First I should tell you about my teammate Pattye Duffner. We worked together for 2 years on the first online scrapooking reality show for Scrapbooks Etc. magazine. Never saw it? I think we were a little ahead of our time as far as webseries go. There are still a few episodes floating around the internet. I think the final season of the show is a great example of how Pattye and I work together. Here you'll see me trying to be (boringly) professional about the technique I'm sharing. Pattye is having fun needling me and trying to throw me off as much as she can while I try and ignore her and keep going (cameo of the lovely Leah Fung here too). This is probably a good preview of what will come out in the final edits of our Craft Wars episode: Final Episode of Scrapbook LifeStyle.

You can see why I asked Pattye to come on Craft Wars with me by checking out the creative work she does for her company FooFoo LaLa here: FooFoo LaLa and please do like her FooFoo LaLa Facebook page. Mostly I asked Pattye because she is always super supportive of my creative endeavors, she is an incredibly talented interior designer and crafter, we had THE best time working on camera together during our Scrapbook LifeStyle years and she is hilarious. I also felt like having a talented sew-er would be important (and I'm SO not that). Even though I created this layout (left) of Pattye in 2009 as a very sarcastic joke, I can probably never repay her for the HOURS she spent on the phone with me while I agonized over what we should wear on camera for Craft Wars (to be fair, that was really the only things we could control about this show before we got there so I seized on clothing colors as my go-to control element) and everything that we experienced (good, bad, hilarious and exhausting) during our Craft Wars experience.

Anyway, the above collage represents the very few (and not well lit) photos we were able to take while we were in Los Angeles. Normally I would have Instagramed and Tweeted them ad nauseum so you can thank TLC's confidentiality agreement that your newfeeds got a little break that weekend. In no particular order, you can see one of the highlights of our visit- the uber fabulous Mark Montano heard we were in town and invited us over to his beautiful home which was filled, top to bottom, with his gorgeous and inspiring art work (including some fascinating but freaky doll art as seen in one of the photos). He is the consummate host and even treated us to drinks at the famous Dresden (holla, Swingers fans!). He was good natured when it finally dawned on him that we were probably in town for Craft Wars and hadn't told him (and wouldn't fully admit it when he asked). Mark even rallied a second evening when I got it into my mind that I HAD to have pie (and might even, hypothetically, die if I didn't) at the super awesomely kitchy dive House of Pies after a long day of taping. Thank you, Mark!

You can also see the shoes I agonized over for weeks and weeks in the collage. I avoid paying full price at all costs but I just couldn't resist these striped espadrilles. I was obsessed with them. And when you see our episode of Craft Wars, you'll want to remember these shoes and my obsession with them. They seem to have unduly influenced me in some crazy ways that I didn't even realize at the time. You can also see Pattye and me being total fans when I took her to a thank you dinner at Villa Blanca. Did we see any housewives while we were there? YES! The restaurant was FULL of housewives. But not Housewives with a capital "H." Basically a restaurant full of housewives like Pattye and me hoping to see Lisa Vanderpump or even Cederic trying to sneak in the back door (we didn't). But we had a great dinner and a nice stroll along Rodeo Dr. And as a bonus to the trip, I had my first serving of Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt at the L.A. airport. I've been dreaming of their Lychee flavor ever since. Delicious!

That's all I can think of at the moment. I hope you tape the show. And yes- I am in the promo on TLC for the show (see below). Well, to be precise, my LEG is in the promo. I am wearing jean capri pants with copper buttons at the knee. You can see a bit of my bright blue shirt (layered with bright yellow at the bottom) too. Oh. Yes. I am SUPER famous now! When you see the promo on TV, make sure you yell, "I KNOW those PANTS!" really loud. That's what I've been doing. And P.S. I am kind of terrified about seeing the final edits of the show. I'm excited-slash-petrified. Terrified. For reals.

One last thing. I love Tori Spelling. I just do.

Oh. And no. I'm not going to tell you if I won or not. What fun would that be?

Did I mention I'm terrified?