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! 

Patriotic Greeting Card

Patriotic Greetings

If there was one common thread among my ancestors, it was a love of the USA.  This new home promised them opportunities that their former country could not.  It promised jobs, land, and freedom. 

Summer patriotic holidays were a chance to gather families, watch parades, and share a love of their new country.

My family didn’t arrive in the USA on the Mayflower.  
So when I read about the history of our country, very little was said about how my family came to the USA.  I never felt that my story was told in those classroom-history books.  The history books always left me wanting.  I wanted to know my history so I could cherish it and pass it on to those who came after me.  

I didn’t have to look far to know what a true patriot was, since my Dad served in the army.   Among his medals were two bronze stars and a purple heart.  Like many of those who served in the military, he served so we could enjoy our freedoms.  My Mom also had a strong love of country and like my Dad, she passed it down to us.

My years of research have shown that those who came before me were artists in varying degrees.  One line, the Spadafora Family, has a long history of jewelry making.  Many of my Spadafora cousins continue in that tradition.   My Lopetrone Family is known for their strong photographic skills.  Beppe Lopetrone was a fashion photographer before he died.  Since I have created a number of clay masks, I have to think that some of my Italian ancestors were mask makers. My Marchelitis and Hortiage Families are known for their artistic abilities.  Knowing my ancestors allows me to understand why I am an artist.  I was born into it.

Family-History Crafting
It should be no surprise to you that I love creating work that includes my family history.  It allows me to share my research with the rest of my family.  My family may not have seen the “shot that was heard around the world”, but MY patriotic history starts in 1893.  It is a rich history just the same.

Researching your history can be a lot of fun.  Using your family history in your crafts will add to the enjoyment of your research.  Greeting cards can be a fun way to educate everyone about your ancestors and what you have learned.

The patriotic card in the above photograph is a fun way to invite family members to a family reunion or a fourth of July celebration.  Use an ancestor’s photo on the front of the card and tell everyone a little bit about the person inside the card along with the party information.  You can send everyone the same photo or send everyone a different photo and encourage them to bring it to your event.  The cards can be part of a table display and a way to get people talking about your history. 

The blue and white Washi tape by Elmer’s is an easy way to add some color to your project.  The embossed paper by Core’dinations is a fast way to add dimension to your card. 

So, how do you start finding your family history and start crafting?  Join my mailing list for an exclusive reminder for my next post:  FREE Online Family History Research Guide.   Just enter your email address in the box in the right-hand column under my photograph.