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Craft Fail – When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong – Book Review

Craft Fail Book by Heather Mann

Craft Fail Book Review Craft Fail   When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong   Book Review

Now here’s a book I can relate to! Have you seen Heather Mann’s new book Craft Fail – When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong. Filled with over 100 full-color photographs of hoped-for outcomes, this book provides a lot of laughs and sympathy for those “A for Effort” projects.

As a craft designer, I’ve had hundreds of craft fails, which thankfully have not made the pages of any published book, but it’s through those fails that I can completely relate to the home decor fails, fashion fails, holiday fails, kids crafting fails but mainly the food fails that are featured in this book. Maybe someday I’ll be able to make that perfect rainbow layered cake! In the meantime, I’ll know that there is a whole tribe of us out there that can laugh at our results!

Rainbow Cake Craft Fail   When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong   Book Review

What we hope to achieve – a tempting rainbow cake! © Workman Publishing

Cake Fails Craft Fail   When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong   Book Review

The reality for most of us! © Workman Publishing

Heather and son Craft Fail   When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong   Book Review

Heather Mann and son © Workman Publishing

Leave a comment to this post for your chance to win this cool book! Comment deadline November 30, 2014. Random winner will be selected December 1, 2014.

Disclosure: Publisher provided me with a free review copy of this book. Opinions and confession of craft and cooking failures are my own. Link provided goes to my Amazon Affiliate account :)


 

My 6 Essential Tips for Productivity

6 Essentials Tips for Productivity

11 10 14 Kabbage My 6 Essential Tips for Productivity

When asked to talk about this topic I had to chuckle because it took me weeks to fit it into my schedule. Honestly, there are days when I feel super productive and other days where I wonder where I squandered away my time. I used to be super proficient with multi-tasking. I’m not really sure when and where I lost that skill, but hey, things change.  An educated guess is that it’s because there is so much available at our fingertips at any given moment so let’s start with #1.

#1. Turn off the chatter. Both in your mind and on your computer. I found it very effective to schedule my social media time. It used to be that I would check in 10, 15, 20…. let’s just say… multiple times throughout the day. That was a time sucker! Now I limit my time to 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day with maybe sneaking in a few quick check-ins throughout the day. Since some of my creative design campaigns tie directly into my social media (ie. Blog Hops), I am “required” to check in on my social media. That’s fine, but I found that I really had to restrict my personal social time.

#2. Take baby steps from procrastination to productivity. I used to be very effective at pre-scheduling all my work. Then the pendulum swung the other direction and I would be burning the midnight oil trying to make a deadline. I tried all sorts of ways to prompt myself to just “get it done”. I’m an old fashioned girl and I found that even though I tried all sorts of electronic checklists and apps, honestly, a good old-fashioned checklist on a yellow pad is what works for me.  I write in pencil and put today’s date at the top and each day, I leave the things I did not finish and erase those that I did and change the date. One place, one list. Done.

#3. I work from my home office and design studio so there is even more discipline in trying to keep on track and not get distracted. Ooh! Look at the pretty flowers in the garden. Let me give my kitty some lovin’. Just like working in a “real” office, I set times for when I show up at work, eat my lunch and end my day (although that’s a tough one because I really think I am more productive at night). So make yourself up a do-able schedule and try to stick to it.  If you need to, schedule yourself some garden and kitty time.

#4. I love to organize. Anyone who has seen my design studio storage room knows this fact. The same applies for me with my office organization. I buy file folder trays 6 at a time and mark each one with the project I am working on. I find that I have to switch gears to different projects for different clients many times each day so it’s really helpful for me to be able to just grab the info I need right from the tray. I’m also addicted to notebooks. Whenever I start a new project, it gets a notebook with lots of pretty tabs. I find that I may need to change the tab topics as I get deeper into the job but I like to be able to grab my info quick. I also like yellow or white lined pre-punched paper for note-taking so that I can immediately pop those into my 3-ring binder notebooks.

#5. Reorganize. Take a look at where stuff is piling up around you. Even though I set up my systems of folders and trays and notebooks, I always seem to have a couple of go-to places where I just toss papers. I reserve some evenings when I sit down and go through those stacks and I assess and assign categories. But do it quickly. Don’t get caught up in thoroughly reading every single paper from beginning to end at this step or the next thing you know, it’s two hours later and, well, you’ve probably missed some other deadline.

#6. Share. Network. Repeat. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they have mastered their productivity. Share your ideas and keep your eyes open for others who might share their tips for how they are managing their work and businesses day-to-day. I have found that most people love to share their insights, advice and tips.

Growing your business? Have you heard about Kabbage.com? Kabbage provides small business loans in seven minutes or less, and is the leading online provider of working capital for go-getters. With so many tools and tricks out there to keep others productive, its great to see companies like Kabbage pride themselves on helping small businesses remain productive.

Holidays Made at Zazzle.com

Holidays Made at Zazzle.com

Holidays Made at Zazzle640 Holidays Made at Zazzle.com

Calling all my creative friends! With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about those hand-made gifts. If you’re like me, sometimes you just don’t have time to make completely hand-made items for everyone on your shopping list.

My solution? Zazzle.com. I create my own original artwork and upload it to a variety of blank surfaces. In this YouTube video, I share with you how to personalize an iPhone case and more to create perfect holiday gifts. It’s cool to transform your custom artwork into greeting cards, magnets, mugs, and much more. Use the code REELIOZAZZLE to get 15% off at Zazzle and even higher discounts on the products mentioned in this video.

Disclosure: Promotional consideration provided by Zazzle.com. Opinions and design selections are my own. I’m a Zazzle fan :)

Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

10 29 14 Cool2Cast ebook640 Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

As many of my creative friends know, one of my very favorite crafting mediums is Cool2Cast. I love it so much, I even put my name on it! With this casting medium, you can create pieces for embellishments, jewelry, home decor and more.Cool2Cast Jar 300x300 Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor Cool2Cast is very economical so you can make pieces one-at-a-time or by the dozen. If you have worked with silicone molds, candy molds, polymer clay molds and resin molds, you are going to love how you can use Cool2Cast to create cool new shapes. You can give the pieces added detail by embedding into them or embossing them.

I am SO excited to announce that I have teamed up with the team at Bella Crafts Quarterly to produce a NEW Cool2Cast eBook (watch my video announcement!) which you can purchase on-line and download and view as a pdf or purchase it from MagCloud in print format. This ebook is BIG! I can’t believe how much we actually stuffed into this ebook. With over 100 pages, I had the opportunity to get into every step of the basics of Cool2Cast.

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pixel Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

 

When I first started playing with Cool2Cast, I was immediately drawn to how awesome these pieces are to color with alcohol inks and they take stamping beautifully. Whether brushing, pouring or dipping into alcohol inks, you’ll be able to create some really unusual one-of-a-kind pieces.wreath e1414559231798 Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor

stamped flower embossed e1414559089842 Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany WindsorToday is the official kick-off to a 10-day book review blog hop. I am so very honored and delighted that my fellow creative friends will be featuring their own Cool2Cast projects and/or reviewing this ebook. I encourage and invite you to check out these blogs to find out more about the creative possibilities of Cool2Cast! But wait…there’s more!

Wednesday October 29, 2014 Marjolaine Walker www.marjolainewalker.com/blog/
Thursday October 30, 2014 Dana Joy www.gotjoycreations.blogspot.com
Friday October 31, 2014 Laura Bray www.laurabraydesigns.com
Saturday November 1, 2014 Roberta Birnbaum www.decorablesart.com
Sunday November 2, 2014 Vishu Reberholt www.fabnsassy.blogspot.com
Monday November 3, 2014 Steph Ackerman www.stephaniescraps.blogspot.com
Marjie Kemper www.marjiekemper.com
Linda Peterson www.lindapetersondesigns.com
Tuesday November 4, 2014 Larissa Pittman www.muffinsandlace.com
Wednesday November 5, 2014 Kristi Parker www.kristiscreativecafe.blogspot.com
Cindi Bisson www.fatcatcreations.blogspot.com
Thursday November 6, 2014 Beth Watson www.bwdesignstudio.blogspot.com
Rita Barakat www.ritabarakat.com
Susan M. Brown www.sbartist.com
Anita Scroggins www.theflamingochronicals.blogspot.com
 Friday November 7, 2014 Lisa Fulmer www.lisalizalou.com
Carmen Flores Tanis www.florestanisstudio.com
Suzann Sladcik Wilson www.Beadphoria.wordpress.com
Madeline Faiella www.madelinedesigns.typepad.com

To wrap all this up into a nice little package, I have assembled a Cool2Cast Starter Kit for a giveaway and the Bella Crafts Quarterly Team is delighted to also include a Cool2Cast eBook download! To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog post and let us know what Cool2Cast designs you are inspired to create! Comment deadline Saturday November 8, 2014. Random winner will be selected and announced November 9th.

C2C Giveaway Starter Kit and eBook 300x223 Announcing the Cool2Cast eBook by Tiffany Windsor


 

Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway

Craft Your Stash Lisa Fulmer

Craft Your Stash Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway

If you love crafting, you probably love to shop for craft supplies. If you’re like me, it’s a whole lot easier to keep adding to your stash than trimming it down. Well, thanks to my creative friend Lisa Fulmer, Craft Your Stash will help you transform your craft closet treasures into gifts, home decor and more. Lisa has definitely hit the target with this new book, which challenges you to use up the supplies you’ve got on hand.

Stash wall e1412486175695 Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway

Tiffany’s Craft Stash – Cool2Craft Design Studio

My stash has been growing and growing. I’ve done a good job of taking stock of it – I love organizing! But now it’s time to whittle away at it! In Craft Your Stash, you will find 19 imaginative stash-busting projects, each designed by Lisa to encourage you to dig in. Most of the projects call for basic tools and beginner-friendly construction.

Lisa has set up a week long blog hop to promote the book – the hop is wrapping up today but you can still visit her blog for all the details. You can purchase Craft Your Stash: Transforming Craft Closet Treasures into Gifts, Home Décor & More Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway at my Amazon affiliate link, get signed copies at www.craftyourstash.com, ask for it at your local craft and book stores, enter Lisa’s giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below or leave a comment on this post to win your very own copy! (Comment deadline: October 31st, 2014 – random winner will be selected and announced on November 1, 2014.)

stash button Craft Your Stash + Book GiveawayWay to go Lisa! So excited for this new book release! You have definitely sparked a desire in me to dig in, organize, and craft with my stash!

I’m delighted to join these other cool bloggers on today’s tour!

Sunday 10/5
Cool2Craft
Handmade Happy Hour
Ann Butler
Jader Bomb

Tools techniques intro pg6 7.pdf Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway tabletop tools Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway  tabletop stash Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway  projects Craft Your Stash + Book Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vlog: #friDIY – Introducing Gavin

friDIY Blog Introducing Gavin

8 15 14 Vlog FriDIY Gavin Vlog: #friDIY – Introducing Gavin

When I moved my design studio to Piru, CA last year, I had the amazing good fortune to have this young man knock at my door. I was deeply immersed in designing for my new book (to be released in November) so I quickly moved in, set up temporary tables and was totally focused on getting the manuscript delivered on time.

Within a few days of working at the studio, a knock came on the front door and there stood a pack of teen boys inquiring about what I was doing. When I told them I was crafting, their “leader”, Gavin, was SO excited and asked when they could come in and craft.  Turns out that Gavin is a super-crafter and I am SO inspired by his creative aspirations.

I recently commissioned him to create some crochet bracelets for my retail handmade gift store and he is super excited to be able to come on camera in the weeks and months ahead to share his creative world with you! Here’s our quick #friDIY YouTube video visit from this afternoon.


Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway

Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows 300

8 7 14 Dimensional v2 300 e1407342579544 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway

DImesional Denim CVR Final 3 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+GiveawayOne of the items on my to do list this year is to get back into sewing. I was an avid sewer in my teenage years but as time went by, my sewing machine seemed to find its way to the back of my studio. So with my new sewing focus in mind, whenever  Indygo Junction contacts me, it’s always a resounding YES!

I’m really excited about this blog tour and their new book, Dimensional Denim by Amy Barickman. This book was inspired by the desire to add depth and texture to their Crossroads Denim Fabric line (or recycled denim, which is featured in three projects). The book includes 10 fabric manipulation techniques and accompanying projects, as well as detailed illustrations, extra inspiration ideas and 5 pages of color photography.

I LOVE Indygo Junction’s Crossroads Denim Fabric and I was excited to see that they have 5 new color selections. For my projects, I teamed up the Wisteria, Ice Blue and Mushroom.

You can find Crossroads Denim at all of these online stores:

Fabric Depot
Nancy’s Notions
Fabric.com
Beverly’s Fabrics
Pacific Fabrics

fabric Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway

The colors are beautiful on their own, but I decided to use my Ann Butler polka dot stamp and her Color Box Crafter’s Ink to add some patterning to my fabric pillows. I wanted to try out some of the easier fabric manipulation techniques for my first projects so I selected the ruffles and the weaving. My first project was the tiny heart pillow. Then I decided to try a larger version and I finished up with the weaving technique. Since I only used two colors for my weaving, my pattern turned into a stripe effect and I love the tattered edges on these techniques! Watch my YouTube video!

Hero Color Adjust PM e1407342933457 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway

Check out more of the awesome ways you can use these techniques for home decor, accessories and more!

DD 5 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway DD 4 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway DD 3 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway DD 2 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway DD 1 Indygo Junction Dimensional Denim Pillows+Giveaway

Want to win your own copy of Dimensional Denim? Click over to the Indygo Junction blog to see how, or get your own copy now for 30% off using code DDBT14 at checkout! And make sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour schedule below!

8/4 Indygo Junction
8/4 Kollabora 
8/5 Amy Barickman
8/6 FishSticks Designs
8/7 Cool2Craft – you are here!
8/8 The Sewing Loft
8/11 Nancy Zieman
8/12 Skip to My Lou
8/13 Inventive Denim
8/14 Whipstitch
8/15 Coats and Clark


Disclosure: Fabric and book provided by Indygo Junction. Designs and opinions are my own.

Momma Aleene’s Upholstered Chair featuring Tulip Soft Paint

Momma's Tulip Soft Paint Chair 300

7 28 14 Tulip Painted 640 Momma Aleenes Upholstered Chair featuring Tulip Soft Paint

When Momma Aleene asked for her own special chair in the studio, I knew exactly what I wanted! My grand-niece Savannah Starr had painted this upholstered chair last year for her studio space but decided not to use it. I’ve seen it sitting in my sister’s garage for quite some time now so when she was recently cleaning the garage, it was an easy decision when she said “do you want THE chair?” It is a huge wing-back and I tried to fit it in my car without success so I thought I had to pass on it until Heidi offered to drive it down. It wouldn’t even fit in her SUV so she brought it in her pick-up truck. I tossed on some sweater pillows that Heidi made and now THIS is a chair fit for a queen!

I tried to find my before pictures of this chair, but without success, I can only tell you that from memory, it had a busy floral pattern.  It took two coats of Turquoise Tulip Soft Paint to transform this chair. What I love about the Tulip Soft Paint is that it dries soft and flexible. Everyone is amazed that it is painted! Now Momma has her own special place in the studio to catch all the action.

When I was looking through some vintage photos, I found this photo and love Momma’s pose. This was a promotional photo that was taken as she was just launching her empire :)

Aleene in Chair w titles PM e1406262162961 Momma Aleenes Upholstered Chair featuring Tulip Soft Paint


 

Cool2Cast Mini Charmed Frame

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7 26 14 Ann C2C Mini 640 Cool2Cast Mini Charmed Frame

I love to create and hang little reminders around the studio that feature positive statements. This Cool2Cast mini charmed frame took an interesting journey through my design process. I first thought that I wanted to place it on a big chunk of wood but as I started working with it, I really loved the charm (pun intended) of its mini size. Blog Hop Banner Cool2Cast Ann Butler Designs 2014  Cool2Cast Mini Charmed Frame

This week I’m participating in Ann Butler’s Blog Hop so my color inspiration came from the awesome colors of Ann’s ColorBox Crafter’s Ink and the tiny print charm of her rubber stamps. When you look very closely at the stamped image I used for the background, you will find dozens of tiny hearts – an icon that I use quite often in my crafting. To find out how I created this mini treasure, check out my YouTube video.Giveaway AnnButler Cool2Cast e1406075621815 Cool2Cast Mini Charmed Frame

I also invite you to check out Ann’s Blog Hop which features her Faux Quilting stamps and Cool2Cast. I’m so excited and honored to be participating in this Hop and truly inspired by everyone’s creations!

Please check out all the links below and remember that we all love to hear your comments, so take a few moments and check in with these amazing designers.

As an added bonus, when you leave a comment on this post or any of the participating designer blogs, you’ll be automatically entered to win a great Cool2Cast giveaway including a 1# jar of Cool2Cast, jewelry molds and pre-poured pieces! Giveaway comment deadline is August 8, 2014. Leave a comment at every blog for more chances to win!

 

C2C Mini Charmed Frame PM e1406075482737 Cool2Cast Mini Charmed Frame


 

 

 

Vintage Door Shelves featuring DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint

Vintage Door Shelves Tiffany Windsor 300

7 23 14 Howdy Shelves Vintage Door Shelves featuring DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint

 

This week’s #friDIY video vlog studio tour is packed with studio news including these vintage door shelves that I made for the Cool2Craft studio. Inspired by Mark Montano’s YouTube video tutorial, I used Americana® Decor™ Chalky Finish paint to transform a vintage door from dingy white to Rouge Red.

The coolest feature of the DecoArt Chalky Finish paint is that no priming or pre-sanding is needed. You simply wipe the surface clean and brush on the Chalky paint. Many of the 29 vintage, intermixable colors are one-coat and this Rouge Red is definitely one of them!  The paint dries to a matte, chalky finish and when completely dry, it is easy to sand back to give a more worn, vintage effect.

To finish off, I sealed the door with a coat of DecoArt Clear Crème Wax.These water-based waxes are available in three shades, and have a creamy consistency. Due to the porous nature of the Chalky Finish paints, the Crème Waxes literally fuse with the paint to provide a super strong layer of protection against daily use. When the wax is dry, you just rub it out for a satin finish.  For outdoor use, you would want to coat with Americana® Decor™ varnish.

The shelves were attached with wall brackets and were also painted and sealed with the same technique. What I love about this look is the more distressed the better!

A stop by three local thrift stores scored these under $10 farm inspired accessories including a bucket horse, red and white canisters and a wall plaque with a friendly welcome.

PicMonkey Collage w titles e1406255303251 Vintage Door Shelves featuring DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint


Disclosure: DecoArt provided all painting and finishing materials. Design and opinions are my own.