The Complete Photo Guide to Beading by Robin Atkins

I’m often asked to review products and books and a company will send me the product or the book.  This time, it is the Complete Photo Guide to Beading by Robin Atkins. 

This book had me when I looked at its beautiful cover.  It boasts more than 650 photographs and it delivers.  However, it delivers far more than that.  It is a wonderful resource guide for the novice, as well as the expert crafter.

This book teaches readers beading techniques through the projects in the book.  The reader than can take these techniques and use them in future projects.  The instructions are well written, understandable, and the accompanying photographs really help the crafter understand the technique used.

The Complete Photo Guide to Beading by Robin Atkins would be a wonderful Christmas gift for yourself or your favorite crafter.  It is one book that they will use and keep in their craft library for years to come.  

Cricut™ Mini

Happy Thanksgiving! 

As a blogger, I am asked to review different products and publications.  I was thrilled when Cricut™ contacted me and asked me to test their new Cricut™ Mini.  The Cricut™ Mini is a portable, lightweight cutting machine that easily traveled with me around the house.  Having a laptop, I work in different areas of my home and the Cricut™ Mini was a dream to take along in my journey.

I even took the Cricut™ Mini to my mom’s when I went to visit her.  I loved that I did not have to drag dies with me.  I just brought the machine and the paper we would use. 

When I received the machine, I loaded the Cricut™ Craft Room Software, which is on the Cricut™ website, and then I hooked the Cricut™ Mini to my laptop.  It was a very easy process.  The Cricut™ Mini comes with pre-loaded graphic but you can also purchase other graphic on their website. 

Needing a quick Thanksgiving card, I used the free images that came with the machine.  It was a breeze to create this card.  Like you, I do not have a lot of time for crafting for myself.  Therefore, having a machine that can help me create a card in seconds was a joy. 

They even have samples online for some great Thanksgiving ideas.

The machine uses 8.5-inch paper and the software will tell you the cutting setting and pressure setting you need for the paper you select. 
This machine is able to cut a variety of different materials (i.e. vinyl, craft foil, fabric) and has hundreds of shapes.  They have many designs and cutting cartridges available for download on Provo Craft’s Project Center.  The cutting knife is super easy to change. 

My card was made in seconds.  I just picked out my design; put the paper into the machine, pressed cut (in the software) and the design was cut.  I just glued the cut shapes and text to the front of my card. Added some crystals and the card was made. It could not have been easier.

Make sure to visit the Cricut™ website and check out the Cricut™ Mini.  I love it and you will too.  Black-Friday Door Buster


ILoveToCreate Demo

Last Sunday, I had the honor of demonstrating the new Tulip ScreenIt at Michaels Arts and Crafts Store in Dickson City, PA.

Regina, from Michaels, was so helpful and I really enjoyed the time I spent with her.  She made sure I was next to the front door and even brought additional boxes of the ScreenIt for the display.

It was so much fun to print my designs on the cotton fabric.  I also wanted to show how versatile the ScreenIt is so I created a fun collage to match the fabric.  Imagine making your own napkins, table cloth and wall art for your next party.

The Tulip fabric paint goes onto the fabric wonderfully.   And you can use the screen 75 times!  This has become one of my favorite tools to use.  I'm sure you will love it too.

Happy Halloween!

World Card Making Day

Happy Card Making Day! 

Halloween is such a fun time.  Try making this great card for your Halloween party.  You can get the free instructions and downloads to make this card.  It is a card that I created for Velcro.

Book Review and Giveaway

As a craft Blogger, I am often asked to review products and books.  This week I would like to share a new book, “How to Make Stuffed Animals” by Sian Keegan.  

  • Quarry Books will giveaway one free copy of this book to one of my blog readers from the USA or Canada. 

Would you like to be the lucky person to receive this beautiful book?

  • Please leave your email address and message in my comments below this post between Sunday 23, 2012 and Saturday 29, 2012.  

  • The lucky person who will receive the giveaway will be announced on my blog on October 1, 2012. (A random number generator will be used in the giveaway).

The projects in this book are fresh and fun.  The book contains modern, simple patterns and instructions for 18 Projects.  Illustrated instructions for sewing 18 unique animals, including complete patterns.  The animals are designed with a clean modern aesthetic.

Projects are easy enough for beginning sewers. 

Learn how to make 18 stuffed animal projects with original sewing patterns and
illustrated instructions with this endearing new guide. With a complete overview of techniques and materials, “How to Make Stuffed Animals” shows that making these cuddly creatures is fun, addictive, and much easier than one would think. Anyone who has completed the most basic of sewing projects can master the projects in this book, and these cute creations can be used as decorative objects or the home or as great handmade gifts.

Inside, you'll find adorable animals like:
- A squirrel holding an acorn
- A grizzly bear
- A raccoon
- A horse
- A bird mobile
- Cute canines
- Furry felines
- And many more

Explore a comprehensive range of animals in a modern and simple style with How to
Make Stuffed Animals! 

  • Make sure to enter the giveaway by leaving your email and a message by posting a comment below!

Free Fall Craft Project Instructions for a Fabulous Bracelet

Congratulations to 
Ms Kaneka Chhim from California, 
the winner of the Crafty KT giveaway! 

Welcome to the Designer Craft Connection Blog Hop.

Crafty KT Sponsors
The KOOL TAK™ Manufacturer Challenge: 
Blog Hop.

September 8 to September 18 
the blogs of 12 professional and creative craft designers as they showed you how to create some great fall projects with Kool Tak™ products.

Visit the blogs in this hop by clicking forward on the Designer Craft Connections blog hop button.  The DCCBH button can be found in the side column of my blog.  

My fellow designers did an outstanding job on their projects and you will love their work.  One even created a video for you.  

After you visit all of our blogs, make sure to enter the giveaway.


which is valued just under $70.00

One lucky giveaway winner* who signs up for the Crafty KT newsletter will get:

Kool Tak™ 1 Layer Perfect (Use it for centering, piercing, and edge stitching) Tool
Kool Tak™ 1 Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets (Earth Tones)
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape ¼ x ¼ x 1/32” thick
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape 3/16 x 1/16 thick by 1.6 yards
Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME 2 ½ x 27 yards

*Only those with a mainland USA shipping address 
are eligible to win the giveaway.

Contributing Blog Hop Designers

Make sure to visit these outstanding professional craft designers (below) to see their great ideas for fall.   Click on the Designer Craft Connections Blog Hop Linky in the right column of my blog to be transported around the blog hop.   Once you visit the blogs, make sure to enter in the great giveaway at Crafty KT.  The giveaway is what Craft KT supplied to all the designers in this hop.  

This is my idea for a fun fall bracelet! 

 Altered Bracelet by Carol Heppner
Fall is around the corner and this project will transform a plain plastic bracelet into a fun bracelet that will take you throughout the fall season.  This is a great way to update old bracelets that you already have around the house.

This bracelet was inspired by "Women of the Appian Way" article I wrote for Somerset Studio a few years ago.  

 The gold-platted leaf that is the focal point of this bracelet is from a Salvation Army find.  It was an old necklace that had see its better days and it was very inexpensive. 

You will be surprised to learn that it was attached to the bracelet with the Kool Tak™ ¼ x ¼-inch Clear Foam tape.  Yes, the tape is that strong and I didn't have to wait for glue to dry. 

The Layer Perfect helped me equally space the same square-shaped tape around the top and bottom of the bracelet.  This gives the bracelet a finished look.  Layer Perfect has equally-spaced holes to help you line up and position all types of things.  

Once I was ready to place the square-shaped tape around the bracelet, I just placed the Layer Perfect over the bracelet and rolled it around the bracelet.  It was easy peasy and allowed me to place the squares in just the right place.  

Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool
Kool Tak™ Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets (Earth Tones)
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape ¼ x ¼ x 1/32” thick
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape 3/16 x 1/16 thick
Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME 2 ½
White plastic bracelet blank


Place the 2 ½  Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape around the center of the plastic bracelet and then add the tape to the top and bottom halves of the bracelet. Remove the protective paper on the tape to expose the sticky tape.

Randomly apply the gold foil on the tape.  Cover 90 percent of the tape with the gold foil.  Use the dark brown foil on the remaining 10 percent of the tape.

Place the 3/16 x 1/16 thick Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape around the upper part and lower part of the bracelet.  Because this bracelet has a rustic look, the tape was applied in an uneven pattern.  Cover the tape with the black foil.  Use the brown tape on any remaining exposed areas of the tape.

Use the Kool Tak™  Layer Perfect Tool to mark where you will apply the ¼ x ¼-inch Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape squares.  I used a fine-tip black marker in the Layer Perfect Tool holes to mark where I would place the squares.  For me, my measurement was every third hole in the Layer Perfect.

Apply the ¼ x ¼-inch Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape squares in a diamond pattern around the top and bottom of the bracelet.  Place the black foil on the squares. Use the gold foil to cover any remaining exposed areas on the tape.

Apply the same tape squares in the center of the bracelet. Apply black foil on some of the squares and gold on other squares.  Add blue-colored crystals to the center squares.  I wanted a random look to my crystals, so I did not line them up perfectly. 

Use the ¼ x ¼-inch Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape to attach the focal piece to the front of the bracelet.  You can use old pieces that you find in thrift stores or at flea markets or purchase a pretty charm from your local craft store. 

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September Fall Crafts

Designer Craft Connections September Blog Hop

Theme Material: Vintage
Project: Vintage Lace Pendant

The Designer Craft Connection Blog Hop is a group of Professional Craft Designers who come together each month to inspire you to create.

This month we are using old or vintage objects in our projects.  My project uses vintage lance and some old buttons from my button collection.

While I used the traditional soldering method to create my necklace pendant, you can use Ranger Ink supplies to create your pendant quickly.   Plus, their glass slide frames  
come with a pre-soldered ring on the top of the frame.  That makes life SO easy.

You can find Ranger Ink supplies on their website.

You will need Ranger’s 1" x 3" Polished Chrome frame (1) and glass slides (2), piece of vintage (or new) lace, buttons (2), jump ring (1) and glass glue.

Cut the piece of tape to fit the glass slides.  Slip the lace between the two glass slides and then place the glass slides into the frame.  Close the little flap on the frame.  Glue the buttons on the top of the glass frame and let the glue dry.  Once the glue is dry, you can use a jump ring to attach the pendant to any necklace. 

Make sure to visit the other blogs in this hop.  
Just click on the Designer Craft Connections Blog Hop button on the right.

Crafty KT is sponsoring
Manufacturer Challenge:
Fabulously-Fall Blog Hop

September 8 to September 18

Join 12 professional and creative craft designer bloggers as they show you how to create some great fall projects with Kool Tak™ products.  Click here to view the giveaway package.  
Make sure to enter the The Kool Tak™ giveaway, which is valued slightly under $70.00

Kool Tak™ 1 Layer Perfect Tool (This is an awesome tool!)
Kool Tak™ 1 Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets (Earth Tones)
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape ¼ x ¼ x 1/32” thick
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape 3/16 x 1/16 thick by 1.6 yards
Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME 2 ½ x 27 yards

We will choose one lucky giveaway winner from those who sign up for our newsletter.  Make sure you share this with your family and friends.

Only those with a mainland USA shipping address are eligible to win the giveaway.

If you sign up for my new blog posts (right column under my photo), you will get an email notification when the Fabulously-Fall Blog Hop goes live. 

World Card Making Day Blog Hop.

Join me and other craft designers as we create wonderful cards on World Card Making Day, October 6, 2012. 

Read more about World Card Making Day.

Crafty KT Blog Hop Giveaway is sponsoring a
KOOL TAK Manufacturer Challenge: 
Fabulously-Fall Blog Hop
and you are invited!

Visit our blogs from September 8 to September 18 to find some great fall projects that you can create using the Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect and other great Kool Tak™ products.

During September 8 to September 18 just click on the Designer Craft Connections linky on the side column of my blog to hop around to the 12 professional craft designers to see their creative fall projects.

Then, make sure to enter Crafty KT’s great Kool Tak™ giveway!  The Kool Tak™ giveaway is valued at about $70.00

One lucky winner will get:
Kool Tak™ 1 Layer Perfect (Use it for centering, piercing, and edge stitching) Tool
Kool Tak™ 1 Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets (Earth Tones)
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape ¼ x ¼ x 1/32” thick
Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape 3/16 x 1/16 thick by 1.6 yards
Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME 2 ½ x 27 yards

Layer Perfect is an awesome tool you will love to have around.  I love that it has a metal edge so you can use your craft knife with it and not worry that you are going to knick one of the edges. 

To enter the giveway, just subscribe to their newsletter during September 8 to 18:

Only those with a mainland USA shipping address are eligible to win the giveaway.

Welcome to the Designer’s Craft Connections Blog Hop.

This month we are working with back-to-school items.

I am always part of the Designer’s Showcase at CHA and I needed something to display my business cards and postcards for those who visited my tables.  Letter holders were a possibility, but they just didn’t fit the style of the work on my table. 

Using a bit of glue, pages from old text books that I had stored away and a bit of embellishment, I had something that wouldn’t stand out like a contemporary fixture. 

Because I would like to use this over and over, I wanted to use a glue that wouldn’t yellow over time.® sent me their Aleene's ® No-Sew Fabric Glue ™.  “After all,”  I thought, “if it will work on batiked paper for my dress and not yellow after time, it will work on this little project.”  I was right.

The buttons, crystals and other embellishments were from previous projects, which gave me a way to use up some of the supplies that seem to hang around the studio.

Make sure to hop to the other blogs to see how they use this month’s theme.  Just click on the Designer Craft Connections Blog Hop button in the side column on the right.

CHA Summer Show Recap
Over the next few weeks I will give you a peek at the various booths I visited at the CHA Summer Show.  Check out the products that may be coming to a store near you.  If you don’t see the products at your local store, you can always ask them to carry the products. 

So, make sure to sign up to for my email list to be the first to learn about my new blog posts.  When a new post appears on my blog, you are notified by email automatically.  This email is only used when a new post appears on my blog.

Just add your email in the box in the side column and then hit “submit”.  Then, you’ll never miss a post! 

Happy Crafting!

CHA Summer Show - Designer Section Meeting Thanks!

The CHA Design Members hold their section meeting at the CHA summer and winter shows.  This summer was no exception.  However, before the start of our meeting, we were able to have some great products as door prizes for the CHA Design Members who attended our early morning meeting. 

CHA Manufacturers are known for their generosity and the munificence gifts for the door prizes were breathtaking.

Beadalon® provided wonderful tools and supplies for jewelry making.

Impress Art® sent a great metal stamping kit which included their new hammer designed just for metal stamping.® supplied a goodie basket filled with their fantastic products, which was wrapped beautifully.  They also offered a Tulip® ScreenIt™ to every CHA design section member who attended the summer show.  The designer had to register with® at the show in order to receive the machine. 

Cousin® gave fantastic jewelry kits and their new Snap in Style® bracelets.

Die Cuts with a View gave a pretty container loaded with their magnificent products.

Sizzix® presented one lucky winner a Vagabond and some amazing dies.  

Velcro® sent a bag over filled with their superb fasteners for every need.

Westcott® loaded up lucky winners with excellent cutting tools that will make cutting a joy.

Beacon sent a bottle of Zip Dry for all the designers who attended the meeting, unfortunately, the box couldn’t be located during the section meeting. 

The Design Council and the 
Designer Members of CHA thank 
Beacon, Beadalon®, Impress Art®,®, Cousin®, 
Die Cuts with a View, Sizzix®, 
Velcro® and Westcott® 
for all their support and generosity.   

Cre8time - The Movement

It's coming....

The excitement is building.....

Hurry, join me and others

Click on the video below to learn about this great inspiring movement 
coming in January of 2013.

I'm so excited and you will be too!

Learn more about the movement 
how you can be involved by visiting CHA's website.

Craft and Hobby Summer Show - Crafty Couture Display

Once a year, the Craft and Hobby Association holds its annual summer show in Chicago and they ask twenty of their Professional Design Members to create a mixed-media dress for display in the main hall.

My entry, “Enchanted Beach Dress” is created from white Mulberry paper and a white silk scarf, which I batiked. 

If you ever worked with Mulberry paper, you know that it tears quickly when wet.  I had my challenge cut out for me.

Inspired by barefoot walks on a romantically moonlit beach, this dress with coordinating batik silk scarf celebrates the fusion of fashion and craft.  The paper dress’ silhouette has a sophisticated, yet simple design -- capturing a relaxing summer feeling.

The sparkling blue over-skirt represents the shimmering ocean waves.

The dress was fashioned from white Mulberry paper which has been dyed and batiked to coordinate with my silk batik scarf.   Batik is traditionally performed on silk or cotton fabric, but works very well on paper. 

The shell belt is accented with a starfish which has orange crystals for added sparkle. 

Special THANK YOU to:
for sending 
Aleene’s® for their OK to Wash it® glue 
and Tuplip® products 
which provide the rich color and sparkle.

And to
Velcro® for sending their thin mini wafers 
which holds the dress closed.

These wonderful companies not only gave me their products to use in this project, but also gave great advice on which of their products would be best to use.  

Pearl and Shell Summer Necklace

Welcome to the Craft Connections “First-Monday of the Month” Blog Hop.  This month  is about Vacations and Crafting.  If you missed last month’s blog hop post, you can check it out here!

Enchanting Vacation Necklace

There is something soothing and relaxing as you sit on the beach with a good book.  The hint of sunscreen mixes in with clean ocean breeze.   Our favorite vacation centers around the ocean and relaxing days. 

Stores selling shells are always one of our favorite places to shop.  It was in a shell shop on a vacation to Florida where I first found this pretty sliced shell.  I had it on a shelf for a few years before I decided to create this fun necklace. 

The fresh-water pearls and small shell add to the natural look of the necklace, while the crystals add a bit of sparkle.

I used crimp beads to secure the a cream-colored coated beading wire to the shell.  Then, I threaded fresh-water pearls, shell bead, and crystal beads on the coated wires.  I fished the necklace by adding a pretty toggle clasp. 

This necklace will always remind me of our wonderful vacation and will be a favorite to wear in the warm weather.

Make sure to visit the other blogs in this hop by finding the blue Designer Craft Connections Blog Hop button in the right-hand column of my blog.  Just click on the links to hop forward or backwards. 


Also, make sure to place my blog in your Pocket 
stay tuned for information on 
the Craft and Hobby Association Summer Show events.

Join me and be among the first to see 
what’s new in crafts from CHA.

Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts.  
Stay tuned!  

Craft and Hobby Association Summer Show - Getting Ready

There is always that feeling.  It’s small and fleeting, but it’s always there.  It’s that tiny feeling right after you accept that special job or face a big project.  It’s a short moment of time.  It always appears when a project is new to you.  It comes right after that joy of hearing the word yes.  
What’s that feeling?


That’s the moment that you realize that you now have to achieve what you have been asked or volunteered to do.  Even though you know you can do it, those butterflies visit your stomach just for a few seconds, then you move on with the job at hand.  You accepted the challenge, now it’s time to soar.

I am part of the Craft Couture Event at the Craft and Hobby Association Summer Show which will be held in Chicago in a few weeks.  It was a decision that I didn’t make lightly.  After all, I would have to create a mixed-media dress for the event.  Which, by the way, has to be transported via “carry on”.   (translation:  it needs to be compact)

Inspiration comes from many sources. 

Mine comes from visual experiences.  A trip to a Smithsonian museum in DC, a jaunt to the waters in Alexandria, VA or a past experience of walking on the beach.   

These could come together to provide me with the design I need. 

My design uses wonderful dyes from Tulip®.  These one-step dyes are rich and give great color.  Custom colors are easy to achieve using these dyes.   

 A special THANK YOU 
for their generous use of their products in my project.

The dress is under wraps until the show starts later in July. 
I’ll make sure to post photos of the dress 
and interesting products from 
CHA’s summer show on my 
Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts.  
Stay tuned!  

Make sure to put my blog in your Pocket account to read later! 

Altered Art - Quick and Easy!

There is a cooking show on TV that shows you how to alter packaged foods so they seem homemade.  You can do the same in your crafting life.  After all, who said crafting has to take hours?  Altered art can take any form.  It’s just about changing appearances.


Recently, I fell in love with a bracelet from a local discount store.  However, it just didn’t have enough bling for me.  I mean, who doesn’t love sparkle and shine?

Walmart carries Cousin® jewelry supplies and I knew they would have jewelry-grade crystals by Cousin®.   The crystals would add the sparkle for which I was looking. Can't find them at Walmart or other stores? Check out the Cousin® website. 

Gluing the crystals took no time at all.  I’ll let you in on a little secret that I use when applying crystals.  I use a kneaded eraser.  You can find the erasers in the drawing depart of craft stores. 

Just shape the eraser into a point and then use it to pick up the crystals and transfer them onto your project.  I’ve tried other methods and this is favorite — by far.

Do you have any crafting tips?  Share them with me and my readers by leaving a comment below.  We’d love to hear from you!

You can also share your tips on my Facebook page 

Upcoming post:  Getting Ready for CHA's Summer Show

Free Online Family History Research Guide

Free Online Family History Research Guide

Why would a craft blog have a Free Online Family Research Guide?  Family-History Crafting is a fun way to preserve your history and teach other family members about their history.   But, unless you know your history, you need to start somewhere.

As you start your research, you may find that your oral history (family lore) doesn’t match with the history you find in documents.  You may be surprised at what you do learn.  It is important to record both the oral and the documented history. 

For example, my grandfather always told us that his 13-year older sister, Elizabeth, was accidentally shot and killed by a nephew.   I sent away for a death certificate, but none was to be found (Death certificates were not always issued in the early 1900s).  I searched newspapers, since if it was an accidental shooting resulting in death, it surely would have made the newspaper.  Nothing was found.

Elizabeth never turned up in the census records.  If she was 13, she should have been listed in one or two census records.  Finally, I asked the church for the cemetery records and found that Elizabeth was only seven days old when she died of natural causes.  Even more surprising was she died five years before her cousin was born.  Now, if you ask me, it’s pretty hard to accidentally kill someone when you are not even born.   Sadly, that nephew died thinking he accidentally killed is aunt.  His family, however, was thrilled that I had cleared his name.

Moral of the story is to have an open mind when you are researching your history.  Go where the facts take you.

Family-History Crafting
What type of crafts can you create with your family history? 
As seen in the above photo, greeting cards are a quick way to share your history but many crafters create scrapbook albums for their history.   But there is more to Family-History crafting that creating a scrapbook album.

Think about creating a framed family-history tree which lists all the members of your tree.  You can use a number of free charts that are available online or create your own. 

Family-history is a great subject for an altered-book project or a collection of Artist Trading Cards.  Remember to use photos of family heirlooms and pets in your artwork as well.  Family histories are all about personalization.   Your family is unique and it is important to document as much as you can.

To learn how to research your family history, visit Family Search.


Where can I find free resources to search my history?
Visit your local library and ask them what is available.  If you do not have a Family History Center (Church of Latter Day Saints) near you, your library may be able to get vital record (birth, marriage, death) films for you to search. 

Your library may have census records for you to search as well as city directories.  If your library is online, you can visit their website to see what they have in their genealogical collection.

Make sure to visit some of my favorite online sites that are listed below.  Keep in mind that they are always adding information to their sites, so make a point of visiting them more than once.

Free Online Research Sites:

Free Family History Forms:
Once you start researching your history, there are a number of free forms that you will want to have.  Visit the following sites for some great forms.

Family Trees:
Family tree charts are important to use.  Below is a great site to use.

Free Software:
I don’t use this software because I have Family Tree Maker.  This software looks pretty good, but I don’t know how it really is.  I just wanted to let you know it’s out there.

Best wishes with your research.  Be sure to let me know how you make out and what great crafts you create from your research!