Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Stitch Lab Newsletter: This week, Embroidery Love and a really cool crafty pen pal blog project

I was super excited when Leslie said this week's newsletter would focus on Embroidery. It's my favorite craft. I went a little overboard (as far as e-newsletters are concerned) and filled the thing with loads of information - not just blog love. So I'm posting the info here, 'cause there was some good stuff. Again, if you are local to Austin, you can sign up to receive the newsletter here. Even if you aren't in Austin, it's a fun newsletter to get ... see why below!


Don't call it a comeback! The Creative, Calming influence of hand embroidery is as contemporary as ever!

Embroidery in hoopSitting down with a hoop, embroidery floss and a needle has been a creative pastime for hundreds of years. And when you pass that needle through the fabric, you are not only creating something beautiful for yourself, but you are connecting to a tradition that has been handed down for generations. Hand embroidery is a fun way to make a gift for a friend, a quick and easy craft, and can provide instant gratification.

Our Favorite Embroidery Books
Sublime Stitching BookDid you know that the mother of modern embroidery lives right here in Austin? That's right! Jenny Hart, founder of the amazing Sublime Stitching is a fellow Austinite, and had done some incredible things to modernize this traditional craft and get young hipsters everywhere doing some handy hand work. Jenny's book, Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To is a fantastic starter book for anyone interested in exploring hand embroidery. Her fun, easy, conversational how-tos will have you stitching in no time, and the pages and pages of reusable transfer designs will satisfy your embroidery needs for ages!

Doodle StitchingLooking to incorporate some natural inspirations in your embroidery? Try Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. Aimee is an amazing artist who has combined her whimsical, beautiful art with some stunning embroidery. Her book has loads of fun projects - including stitching on canvas sneakers and an adorable tree stump pin cushion. Her sense of color is fantastic, and her style of art and embroidery are truly unique.

Our Favorite Embroidery Web sites:
The Embroidery Flickr Pool - needing inspiration for your next project? Five minutes in the Flickr Embroidery Pool, and your mind will be brimming with new ideas.
Needlecrafter - This site is undergoing some updates after a long hiatus, but there are still dozens of amazing FREE vintage embroidery designs that you can download, print and transfer for your next project. Enjoy!

Speaking of Embroidery, catch Leslie's free Embroidery workshop On Monday, February 4th at Design Within Reach

Our hand embroidery classes have always been favorites, and you can join in the fun with our latest scheduled classes. Enjoy this traditional craft with a few modern twists. And, if you'd like a taste of what hand embroidery can be, join Leslie at Design Within Reach this Monday (Feb. 4) for a free hand embroidery workshop. We'll even be using some transfers from none other than Sublime Stitching! There will be a large group, but it will be a great way to whet your appetite for the flossy goodness of embroidery. Click here to read more and RSVP for the event.

And my weekly Blog-spiration:
A tooth fairy pillow for my daughter

It's safe to say I am a full-blown embroidery nut. Of all the crafty goodness I explore, it really is my favorite. In fact, it's what first brought me to Leslie! I took a hand embroidery class from her almost two years ago.

I love to mix my embroidery and blog addiction, and here are a few of my favorites (if I listed them all ... well ... we'd need a full separate newsletter for that).

Feeling Stitchy - this blog accompanies the Flickr Embroidery group. Aside from posting highlights from the Flickr group, they also post tutorials, interviews with fellow needle artists, and have some great educational series as well. It's a group blog, so there are lots of talented folks writing for them.

Vintage Transfer Finds

Vintage Transfer Finds - meet Floresita, a New York-based artist with an incredible collection of vintage embroidery transfers. She scans, cleans up and posts a selection of her collection with information on the transfers. You can download the transfers and use them on your personal projects. Floresita's own embroidery projects are down-right amazing. Check out her Flickr gallery to see what I mean.

Needle N Thread - you have to scroll through some google ads at the top of the page, but the content is worth it. On this blog, you'll find some great video clips of embroidery stitches - perfect for when you need a quick refresher in the middle of a project.

And for a little more inspiration, here are some of my favorite embroidery projects I've seen through the Flickr Embroidery Group:

Thinking Embroidery
by Amiee Ray
Thinking Embroidery Art by Amiee Ray

Sad Girl Embroidery
by Floresita
Sad Girl Embroidery

The Lucy Portrait Pillow
by doe-c-doe
Lucy Pillow

And, because I LOVE embroidery with a sense of humor ....

Don't Tase Me, Bro!
by SewClever
Don't Tase Me, Bro!

Apron of Anxious Treats
by SwampThing
Ack! I'm on fire!

And ... one of my own creations - a zombie makeover on one of Floresita's vintage embroidery patterns

Zombie Jitterbug Girl
by Average Jane Crafter
Coming for you!

Embroidery can be beautiful, delicate, chunky, modern, retro, fun and artistic. Few crafts can cover such a range. Grab a hoop, some floss and a needle and hurry on in for one of our embroidery classes. The next embroidery enthusiast may be YOU!


Grab a crafty pen pal and participate in the Back and Forth Project!

Back and Forth Project

Austin is a hotbed of boundless creativity - we all know that. Here's a great new Austin-based project that combines crafting, good old fashioned snail mail and blogging.

Kathie Sever and Shannon Lowry have started the Back and Forth Project.

From their web site:
We'd like to build a tribute to the physicality of moving something back and forth between two people- and utilizing the internet as a means to document the beauty of getting back to a more multi sensory, visceral experience of staying connected. ... We invite YOU to submit a project you and a friend will make and pass back and forth through the mail as you each embellish it.

Read more about the project and see how you can submit your project on the Back and Forth Project Blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

An apron's second life

I'm a huge fan of thrift stores, but really - what crafter isn't, right? When I was in high school, I'd spend weekends with my best friend, Misty, scouring the local thrift and antique stores for cool stuff (ah ... fond memories of the big fake fur, green satin-lined bag, the Welcome Back, Kotter board game, and the cool vintage dresses I can no longer fit into ...)

I'd taken a little break from thrifting, though I'm not sure why. Over the last year or so, I've ventured back into thrift stores, and have a few fun finds as a result. A friend turned me on to one thrift store in south Austin that I now adore - they have one whole section of "shelves" that are full of craft supplies. It's where I got the "thrift find embroidery" and where I recently scored loads of beautiful wooden spools of thread for just a couple of dollars.

And when my eyes hit this amazing, fun vintage-y apron that was sporting a price tag of $1.99, I knew I had to have it. I thought it might be fun to actually use as an apron, or even just to hang up and enjoy - the colors and images are fantastic. But then as I was folding it up one day (after showing my husband, "Look! How cool is this!?" ... he just shook his head) I realized that the bottom of the apron would be the perfect size for a messenger bag.

All kinds of wheels started turning then. I'd signed myself up for one of Leslie's handbags and totes classes months ago, and decided I'd bring the apron in and see if I could make it work (Project Runway, anyone? I haven't watched last night's episode yet - don't spoil it!)

Here's where I'll hop in and share my fist big lesson I learned ... and I'll spare you the stream of curse words that spewed from my mouth when I realized what I'd done ... or had not done. I forgot to take a picture of the apron before I chopped it up. ARGH! (pounds fists on cutting mat) So I've drawn a very rough sketch of the apron here. It's a San Francisco apron with a great cable car scene at the bottom and fantastic read bais tape around all the edges. I wasn't able to save or use the bias tape, but it sure was fun to look at. When I laid the pattern piece for the flap of the bag on the apron, it was like the apron had been made for that exact pattern. It fit the bottom apron image *perfectly* - almost frighteningly so. With some of the fabric Leslie was selling, I was on my way to what is sure to be one of my all-time favorite bags and craft projects.

I was able to use almost every bit of the apron - the bottom half for the flap, and the bib (where the words, "San Francisco" were printed) became an inside pocket. The only part I was sort of bummed about was that I couldn't include Alcatraz anywhere on the bag. The flap cut it right in half at the top. It would have been fun to have it on there, but I'm ok with how it came out.

The bag wasn't hard too make, but had a lot of steps. As always, Leslie was incredibly patient in helping me piece it all together. She told me about how when she worked in the costume department at Zach, someone had put a sign up on the wall that said, "Why is there never time to do it right, but always time to do it over?" I have chanted that in my head over and over again this last week while I've been sewing, and I've really enjoyed taking my time and doing things right. Now I have a great bag that's well made and that I'm madly in love with. And I think it will even fit my laptop.

I'm looking forward to more of taking time to do it right.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Loads of crafty goodness - or why I (heart) CraftyPod

I have a serious addiction to craft blogs. My Google Reader* is overflowing, and I find myself subscribing to new blogs almost every single day. One of my favorite things about finding a new blog is checking out the blogroll on each one I find. I've stumbled on lots of other good blogs through random blogs I find. Random web sufing and stumbling is one of my favorite things to do. A lot of it has to do with finding things I love ... like CraftyPod. Ohhhh how I love CraftyPod.

I can put my blog addiction to good use - finding things for my newsfeed at and each week, I highlight a favorite craft blog of mine for the subscribers of the Stitch Lab newsletter. I think I'll start posting those highlights here, too. If you want to sign up for the Stitch Lab newsletter (especially if you are local to Austin - you really need to sign up!) go to the schedule page. The weekly newsletters are fun and full of great info.

So here's my "blogspiration" for this week - Treat Your Ears to the Joy of CraftyPod - Enjoy!


(all images from
This week, treat your ears to the fun and joy of CraftyPod - a podcast and blog that's all about making stuff. I stumbled on CP almost a year ago through a link on another blog (hooray for "blogrolls" - links in the sidebars of blogs. They speak to my love of stumbling upon things) I instantly fell in love with Diane's witty blog posts and quickly became addicted to her bi-weekly podcast.

The quirky, fun shows are sprinkled with Esquivel music and just the right length - usually 15-25 minutes. They make for excellent listening while on the treadmill. I ended up going back and listening to every show she'd ever done, and now I get all kinds of excited when she posts a new show. She's interviewed everyone from the Crafty Chica to the gals who run, and one of my favorite shows (which actually had me in tears at one point) was an interview with her mom about their life-long tradition of making Gingerbread houses. She makes you want to get up and ... well ... make something. Through her thoughtful interviews (I swear, I think of her as the Barbara Walters of the Craft World - she's a fantastic interviewer) she inspires great love for all kinds of crafts and all levels of crafty skills.

In between posting shows, she keeps her blog full of fun projects, fabulous vintage craft book finds and information about the classes and workshops she teaches all over Portland. She leads a highly successful chapter of the Church of Craft, and her views on how crafting and community building go hand in hand make my heart sing. If you're lucky enough to live in Portland, or know someone who is, check out the DIY Alert she runs - listing all the crafty happenings in the PDX area. I don't live in Portland, but I'm still signed up for the DIY Alert newsletter. She stocks it with great interviews and handy links.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Diane in person when I visited Portland with my husband last summer. I attended one of her Church of Craft meetings, and her bubbly, warm personality made me love her even more. She's like an ambassador for crafting: you can't be around her and not fall in love with making stuff.

So go an enjoy her blog and podcast. Together, they are like an encyclopedia of all things crafty and good.

* And if you are a Google Reader user, email me at averagejanecrafter at gmail dot com. I've recently discovered the joys of "sharing" blog posts that I like through Google Reader. Come share with me!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

File under: Instant gratification

Cupcake table runner
Originally uploaded by udandi
I just saw this post on undandi & the craft of money. Super simple idea, cute and will give instant gratification. Great if you don't have a lot of time to sew, but are craving that feeling of the satisfaction of completing something ... and if your table needs some 'cute-i-fying.'

And an update on my sewing fun yesterday - it was great. There are some really nice women in the class, and we had a lot of fun. I didn't want to leave at the end of class! I wasn't able to hit Craft-o-Rama afterwards, because I was already pushing my luck with my afternoon-long crafting class. I was so bummed. :-(

Fingers crossed ... I'll be cleaning out and setting up my sewing room/craft room/office tomorrow. Here's hoping the kids cooperate while they are out of school!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fabulous fabric from Jess at How About Orange

I've been enjoying How About Orange for a while now (which has been nice because I've actually been in a really orange phase for about 9 months!) Jess' designs, tutorials and random fun things she posts are fantastic.

But my jaw hit the ground this afternoon when she posted this:

It's her new fabric - as in she designed it. And myohmyohmy is it fantastic or what!? My fabric wish list just got a little bit longer. Can't wait until it comes out!

I never wanted to think about pinch-rolled jeans again ....

But then my pal, Anna, tagged me for a meme. Which I've seen on blogs but have never done, and didn't even know what "meme" meant (or apparently how it's pronounced ....) so now I've found myself revisiting pinch-rolled jeans and Speak-N-Spells. Why? Well read on ....

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago this month (heck, maybe even this week ...) I was starting my final semester of college, and was spending most of my time in the basement newsroom - I was the editor of the college newspaper my last semester in school. I was in the beginning, giddy stage* of my relationship with my (now) husband, and I was sporting (bottled) red hair.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Actually, one year ago today I was heading to New York City for my previous job.

Five snacks you enjoy?
1. Popsicles
2. chex mix
3. apples
4. gummy bears
5. cheeze-its

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to?

1. Belinda Carlisle, Heaven is a place on earth (had to write the lyrics for my favorite song in 1987 for English class ... this was the song I picked)
2. The Descendants, I don't want to grow up (had to write the lyrics for my favorite song in 1992 and this was the song I picked)
3. The Pixies, Wave of Mutilation
4. Radiohead: Fake Plastic Trees
5. Squirrel Nut Zippers: Put a Lid on it

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire billionaire
1. Get a wardrobe of my own custom-designed Converse
2. Take my family (husband, kids, mom and dad, sister and her fam) to Ireland for a few months.
3. Fund the Biscuit Brothers
4. Open up some kind of free, creative center for families - where they could go and take classes together or just make things together (art, sewing, music)
5. Buy a summer home in Portland, OR.

Five bad habits
1. Procrastinating - especially when it comes to housework
2. Getting too chatty when I get excited about something
3. Worrying about money
4. Rushing things - not taking the time to do them right
5. Being too hard on myself

Five things you like doing
1. Reading
2. just about anything crafty
3. hanging out with my family and good friends
4. random web surfing and finding stuff for friends online (I swear, I could be a personal shopper .... I'm queen of sending, "Ooooh! Thought of you when I saw this ..." links)
5. treasure hunting in thrift/fabric stores.

Five things you would never wear again
1. pinch-roll jeans
2. bubble skirts
3. Nicole Miller printed tights (I thought I was so new wave when I'd wear the wild printed tights with a black dress and a beret ... eesh.)
4. Legoons shorts
5. jellies sandals - fluorescent ones .... that matched my fluorescent pink fingerless Madonna-wannabe gloves ....

Five favorite toys
1. PEZ dispensers
2. Speak N Spell
3. my E.T. doll that I got for Christmas in 1982 and slept with until I got married ... (yeah, really)
4. any kind of fun little figurines from favorite movies and tv shows.
5. Lego

Ok now I am tagging:

.... I don't know ... I need to check with friends who won't smack me for tagging them .... I feel very chain letter about all this. (kidding Anna :)

*And strangely, I just realized that 10 years ago and one year ago (same week) major ice storms played a big part in my life. Ten years ago, Chris got stranded at my house in college because of a big ice storm. We made chili, cornbread and a huge plate of chocolate chip cookies. To this day, as soon as it gets cold, we both crave chili, cornbread and chocolate chip cookies. And last year, a huge ice storm postponed our trip to NYC by almost two days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

File under: Stuff I'd like to try

Ack! I've just stumbled on* a new-to-me blog, and I'm in love. I need another subscription added to my Reader like I need a hole in my head, but I can't resist this one. Check out Making it Lovely. There's some serious eye candy going on over there.

Nicole has a great tutorial on How to Make a Patterned Vase (and make it one you can change out with your mood). Simple fun things like this make me giddy. (not to mention, the cat in this picture makes me want to stick my face in her belly)

Plus, the stuff in Nicole's online shop, Pink Loves Brown, is amazing. Sewing themed stationery? A line of cards called the Periodic Table of Sentiments? (Ty = Thank You) I'm drooling and wracking up a huge mental credit card bill. Enjoy!

* found via Be Sew Stylish

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This weekend is going to be SEW great

Ba-dum-bum ....

Anyhow. This year is likely to be the year of the machine for me - the sewing machine. I won't be giving up on all my favorite crafty bits (especially embroidery ... can't live without that) but I'm going to be focusing a lot of energy on improving my sewing skills.

The fun starts this weekend. I'm starting a Beginning I Sewing Series with Leslie. True, I've take several sewing classes before, but they were years ago, and I know she can give me a great foundation. Plus, it helps me know exactly what the class is like so I can better help students in the future. After the three-week Beginning I class ends, I'm heading straight into Beginning II. That means seven straight Saturdays of sewing.

Did somebody say, "bliss?"

And to top off the fun sewing this weekend, I just found out that Diana Rupp, author of "SEW Everything Workshop" and owner of the Make Workshop in NYC, is going to be at Craft-O-Rama from 3-5 on Saturday. Her book looks really cool, and I love seeing/supporting cool crafty events here in Austin. I'm trying to figure out if I can convince my husband that the sewing class ran an hour and a half past its 3:30 ending time so I can head to C-O-R. It's a good thing I've gone and lost my debit card, because I know I'd be tempted to spend waaaaay too much money in there.

And sewing must just be in the air - when my super fun crafty pal, Jamie, and I were at the gym today, talking craft to get us through the treadmill torture, the woman next to us chimed in as she left: "Y'all have inspired me. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and have no idea how it works. You've made me want to learn." Rock on! I filled her in on sewing classes and was excited to encourage another convert.

I'm turning in to a regular Sew-vangilist.

Now that's a baby gift I can get behind

Ah, how I love the random things that flow into my Google Reader. Here's a baby gift idea from Japan - a rice bag printed to look like your baby in a blanket. Sounds a little kooky, but it gets cool when you learn that they fill the bags with the exact weight of rice that your baby was when he/she was born. That's kind of interesting .....

With some crafty tweaking, this could turn into a really cool baby gift. Wheels are turning ....

I think if I had one of these of my daughter, I'd freak, though. At four pounds, four ounces, she'd hardly be enough for a family size portion of Moo Goo Gai Pan.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Crochet or Knit for a cause

I'm just all kinds of posty today, huh?

My super rad cousin, Tracy, emailed me with information about the San Diego Wild Fire Blanket project. What's funny about Tracy and me - we've never really lived in the same city, haven't been able to spend much time together outside of random family reunions and stuff, and yet we are so much alike it hurts. It's fantastic. I wish we lived in the same city so we could be crafty, tomboy, journalism geeks together.

Until then, our Facebook messages will have to suffice.

So, via Tracy - whose newspaper was a hub of coverage for the wildfires - here's info on the San Diego Wild Fire Blanket Project:
Hey Ms. Crafter...

I've been working for a project making 8-inch crocheted squares that will be turned into larger blankets for families whose homes were destroyed in the San Diego wildfires. The squares churn out really quickly (yay, sense of accomplishment!), so they're easy to do while watching TV or waiting in line.

Here's the link to the project:

And here's a story my paper did on it (which is how I found it):

If you could spread the word to your crafty friends...

Muchas gracias!
Spreading along, Tracy .....

Yay! I'm a winner!

Yay! I'm a winner!
Originally uploaded by burb_mama
Winning feels so good! I couldn't believe my luck when I won this pattern from Stacy Sews (who has a fantastic blog, by the way - add it to your reader ... now!) I'm hoping this will be a successful project for me, but I'm going to wait until at least next month to tackle it. I'm still not sure what fabric to use. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks, Stacy!

For the love of Biscuits

I've always had a strange fondness for kids' television shows - really good ones at least ... not the kind that make you want to bang your head on a wall. So when I had kids, it was nice to have an excuse to watch kid shows with them. A few years ago, a dear friend introduced me to The Biscuit Brothers, an Austin-based kids' show centered around music education. She'd helped them on their earlier episodes and figured they'd be right up our alley.

They were.

Quirky, creative and fun, they inspire kids to explore music and model the kind of caring, generous behavior that we all could use a dose of. This isn't a show that will blind your eyes with blaring graphics or pierce your ears with brain-numbing musical numbers. It's more on the level of our favorite children's classics, like Mr. Rogers meets the Muppet Show ... on a farm ... that's magical and musical ... OK, just trust me - it's the best kid show ever.

I had the privilege of volunteering with the Biscuit Brothers a few years ago - helping with marketing/PR and general spreading the love kinda stuff. (this isn't a big glossy tv production - it's 4 highly dedicated, insanely talented best friends putting their passion to work out of their own pockets) It was great fun to work with them, and more important than the experience I had was the friendships I developed with this great group of people.

And you know what happens when a crafty-type like myself is met with inspiration and admiration for others, right? You make stuff inspired by them. Over the last few years, I've had several fun, Biscuit-inspired projects. Here are the highlights:

1. Tiny Buford: A custom Biscuit Brothers PEZ dispenser - I don't have a picture of this one, but it's probably on of my favorites. I made it for Allen Robertson (Buford Biscuit) as a thank you for copying a few Biscuit Brothers episodes to DVD so our family could watch them on a road trip. It's a PEZ dispenser converted into Buford Biscuit. (I collect PEZ dispensers) I squealed out loud when it made a random appearance in a second-season episode (I didn't know that was coming).

2. Tiny Scarecrow and Buttermilk Biscuit Christmas Stockings - The gentleman who voices Tiny Scarecrow - the most hilarious puppet sidekick ever - and the woman who plays the Biscuit Sister, Buttermilk, got married a couple of years ago, I was stuck on what to give them. I was low on funds and didn't really want to go down the traditional route of gifts. They got married in mid-November, so I ended up making them stockings based on their characters. It was a blast translating their characters into this format.

3. AK's Buttermilk Biscuit Costume - this was one of the first big outfits I made for AK, right when I started sewing. It was such a blast to make for her and watch her wear. I was very early in my sewing lessons at that point, so mom had to help me attach the bodice and finish it. It was fun to sew with her.

4. My DIY Share the Biscuit Love T-Shirt - I could take a picture of it, but it's all faded now. In the height of my iron-on-things-on-anything-that-will-sit-still phase, I made a t-shirt that said, "the world needs more scarecrow irony" on the front and "i (heart) tiny scarecrow" on the back. If you watch the show, you kinda get what this means. (if you don't - Tiny Scarecrow is a scarecrow with hayfever ... he's allergic ... to himself)

5. My Tiny Scarecrow Teapot - I signed up for a teapot class at the Work*Shop back in December. I knew they would lead the class with a lesson on how to create a specific design on your teapot. But on the way to the class, while I was stuck in really horrible traffic and made very very late, I decided I wanted to do something fun and goofy on my teapot. Something that would make me laugh when I used it. I came up with the idea to make a Tiny Teapot, and was pleased with how well Tiny Scarecrow's face works on a teapot. The backside is made to resemble Buttermilk Biscuit's patchwork apron. I'm drinking tea from this pot as I type, and I have to say - it serves its purpose of making me giggle. Can't ask for more than that.

Even if you don't have kids, you would love this show. Check your PBS listings to see if it airs in your area, and if it doesn't, request it. You'll be glad you did. Perhaps you'll be inspired to make Biscuit crafts!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A response from DIY/HGTV

Word of the removal of several of our favorite craft shows from DIY/HGTV has been spreading quickly. Claudine Hellmuth, Crafty Chica and others have been spreading the word, and encouraging everyone to write to DIY and let them know that we want Craft Lab, Knitty Gritty, Uncommon Threads to stay on the air, in good time slots.

I sent a message to DIY through their web site on Dec. 31. I just got a response today. They said that they've had internet problems that have kept them from being able to respond quicker ... um ... hokay. (I'm going to try to avoid being skeptical ... ) Regardless, here's their response:

"Hello and thank you for your email.

First, please accept our sincerest apology for the lengthy delay in getting back to you with a response. We've been experiencing intermittent mail server issues of late which have caused a significant delay in getting back to our customers.

Knitty Gritty and Craft Lab are still airing on the DIY Network. Uncommon Threads is currently on hiatus and not scheduled to air at this time. You may contact us toward the middle of February and we would be happy to check on the status of this show.

Best regards,

Scripps Networks Customer Service"

Strangely, I haven't been able to find Craft Lab on DIY this last week. My DVR is set to record it any time it airs - so if they change time slots, it will still grab the show.... it hasn't recorded in a week.... I haven't checked on KG yet, because I haven't had a chance, and I'm so so so so crushed to hear that Uncommon Threads isn't even being given the luxury of a strange off-hours air time. Noooooooo! I love love love Uncommon Threads! Argh.

I do plan on checking back in February, and I encourage you to do the same. Continue to let them know that we want these shows back/on/good hours/more episodes. I'm optimistic they'll listen.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Look, ma!

Craftster recently posted the "Best of 2007" projects (by category) on their web site.

Check out who's one of the "best" in the Needlework category! Holy Smokes!

My armrest organizer! Yay! And I'm in seriously good company. Check out the rest of the projects - they are amazing!

Thanks, Craftster! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Keep the 'cool' in craft tv

Crafty folks have infiltrated pretty much all media - newspapers, magazines, books, the Internet (oooh, the bountiful internet) and television. But in this last category, it can be hard to find creative inspiration that's not intimidating perfection by the likes of Martha or something reminiscent of crafts you did in grade school. And while those craft programs absolutely have their place (and audience) it's the hip lineup on DIY that makes my crafty-tv-craving self giddy.

Craft Lab, Uncommon Threads, Stylelicious, and Knitty Gritty are shows that speak to my crafty heart. How boring would craft tv be with out them? Sadly, we may find out this year.

I've just learned through internet grapevines that these shows won't likely be on the schedule for 2008. Chances are high that we'll have to start - and end - 2008 with a void of crafty coolness on our television sets. These shows are unique, because they highlight and celebrate independent designers. Their projects showcase new, cool spins on traditional crafts, and they help nurture and inspire the growing handmade movement.

For the crafters, by the crafters, when you tune in to these shows, you'll feel like you're sitting on the couch with Vickie, Jen, Allison and all the rest of the cool crafty guests they have on their shows. That exemplifies what is one of the biggest social benefits of crafting: building community. When you get that kind of intimate, fun, relaxed atmosphere going, you can't help but develop great community bonds. And developing a strong community benefits everyone. It encourages the sharing of ideas, which creates great opportunity for discovering new techniques. It connects people from across the globe (literally) and helps us form relationships across cultural, social and economic boundaries.

Sound like heavy lifting for some Mod Podge and glitter? Don't ever underestimate the power of people connecting through the creative process.

And don't forget the wallets, because ultimately - that's what the networks have got to focus on. Building the crafting community builds the businesses that support that community. And when you build that community with the likes of independent, unique artists (like the hosts and guests of these shows) you help encourage the growth of businesses that cater to those kinds of ideals. And I'd rather see that kind of growth than one more line of Martha products - no matter how perfect and glorious they may be.

So between social and economic growth, we can't afford to lose unique shows such as Craft Lab, Uncommon Threads, Knitty Gritty and Stylelicious. We must continue to support shows that showcase independent designers, that bring crafters from around the country to be guests on the show, and that inspire folks to create - instead of intimidating them with fears of imperfection or boring them with crafts that just aren't quite ... 'cool' enough.

You can let the networks know you want to keep these shows on the schedule for 2008.
I'm posting my message that I sent to them below. Spread the word and send your support. Keep the 'cool' in craft tv!

Dear DIY/HGTV programming department -

I'm crushed! I just heard the news that Craft Lab, Uncommon Threads and Knitty Gritty will no longer be aired on your networks. Please say it isn't so! They are the highlight of my cable TV watching, and I would hate to see them go.

These craft shows in particular are fantastic because they highlight and celebrate independent designers, and open the world of crafting to a wider audience. This kind of creative inspiration is sorely lacking from most television programming, which is a terrible shame. The folks in the crafting community and industry are some of the most generous, kind, creative, fun people in the world. The sharing of great creative ideas and projects nurtures this community and encourages its growth. That growth benefits not only the people involved in creating new projects and sharing ideas, but also ultimately benefits the businesses in the craft industry. A growing crafting community means growing businesses to support that community.

Please reconsider your decision to remove these shows from your schedules. We need this kind of hip, fun, down-to-earth creativity on television now more than ever.

Most sincerely, Rachel *****
Average Jane Crafter