Chic Closet Organization Tips on KATU Afternoon Live this Thursday!

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Hi friends, I couldn’t resist a bit of shameless self-promotion and let you know that I’m going to be a guest on KATU’s Afternoon Live show with Tra-Renee, this Thursday.

Apparently the show is live (*gulp*) where I’ll be sharing closet organization tips for the New Year – plus 2 fun DIY’s (if there’s time) to give your closet storage and display areas a makeover.

As far as I know the show only airs in Oregon and isn’t syndicated nationally, but if you’re in Oregon you can watch it on channel 2 (or 16, depending on your cable provider). If you aren’t in Oregon or don’t have cable it seems you can catch it live here:


Watch on Thursday, January 5 from 3PM-4PM PST for my 6-minute segment with Tra-Renee and get tips for a chic closet for 2017!




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DIY Breaking Bad Stick Puppets for the Finale Episode: Who’s Your Favorite Character?

So the finale episode of AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad is airing this Sunday – how excited is everyone for it??! I confess I only got into watching the show this last Spring, and although I did binge-watch it on Netflix in marathons, at times I had to take a long breather from watching because I was finding it too much. It psychologically insinuated itself into my life, where the storylines would stay with me, the characters’ motives and acting still thrilled upon reflection, and the visuals would flash before my eyes at random moments. (Okay, a little not good for daily life.)

diybreakingbagpuppets_jesseheisenbergpuppetsBut of course I was dying to find out what happened next! So after taking a 3-month hiatus from the show, I finally dived back in – just in time too, so I can celebrate the final episode this Sunday with an intimate gathering.

diybreakingbagpuppets_hanksaulpuppetsdiybreakingbagpuppets_skylerwalterpuppetsdiybreakingbagpuppets_1And I couldn’t resist getting crazy and crafty and whipping up some Breaking Bad-themed stick puppets – totally silly, I know – but they work great as decorations for the food table, or for everyone to grab their favorite character from the show while watching. (I admit I only thought of this yesterday at 11:30 AM, and figured “somebody must have already made some Breaking Bad puppets,” but Googled it and found nothing.) diybreakingbagpuppets_jesseheisenbergpuppets2So even though it’s at the eleventh hour, here are the patterns and instructions for some of the main characters from the groundbreaking TV series: (more…)

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Review: TLC’s Craft Wars with Tori Spelling

How many of you caught the premiere episode of Craft Wars on TLC last night, hosted by Tori Spelling?  If you didn’t, here’s a little recap:

The series, hosted and executive produced by Tori Spelling, is a competition “reality”-style show in which 3 new crafters each time compete for a $10,000 prize.  From the PR office:

Here’s how it works: first, the contestants face off in the Pop Craft challenge, where they must create one of the craft world’s most popular items in just one hour, using surprise materials and just about any crafting supply they could dream of from the “Michaels Craft Closet,” supplied by Michaels, North America’s largest arts and crafts retailer. Judges Erica Domesek (author of the DIY book, PS I Made This), Stephen Brown (author and founder of the multi-million dollar gift wear company Glitterville Studios) and Jo Pearson (author and creative expert for Michaels) will evaluate their crafts and eliminate one contestant. Then, the final two must wow the judges in the challenge of a lifetime, the Master Craft challenge. With their team, they’ll have to use all of their creative prowess, and push themselves to the limit, because when time is up, only one can win the WAR.

I was so excited about a design challenge TV series that’s not necessarily about producing salable items for mass market (ahem Fashion Star), or over-the-top one-off fashion creations (what Project Runway used to be *sigh*) but instead was just about creativity, utilizing a variety of materials for the challenges.  That’s what DIY is, after all!

However, I felt disappointed and bored while watching the episode last night.  Here are some thoughts regarding the premiere episode:


Bright, colorful, fun-looking set, tight, splashy editing.  (Could also be a CON depending on your view of clashing bright hodgepodge as the background, epileptic tendencies, or exactly how tired you are of the familiar, overly-dramatized realty television series format.)

Bringing crafting to a mass audience.  Love that it’s going mainstream and being billed as a national past-time…and that means better and wider range of consumer-grade products, projects, and techniques available to us!


“The 3 new crafters every week” format.  Undoubtedly one of the reasons for Project Runway’s success was the format putting 10 designers through their paces over weeks: the viewer got to “know” each designer as the weeks went by, rooting for their favorites and hating on others.  It drew you in.  With 3 new people every episode, there’s no way to become emotionally invested in anyone’s success.

Silly challenges.  Making a bag from sports equipment, really?  Is this really one of the “world’s most popular craft items???”  And though the design and construction of a kids’ playhouse is cool, I’d argue that that is more “production design” or “stage fabrication” and NOT crafting per se.  Maybe I’m being a little picky, but I think that including a challenge such as that one assesses people on a very different skillset than what “crafting” usually encompasses.  Some projects creating a “world’s popular craft:” Creative scrapbooking pages.  Polyclay anything.  Re-imagined bottlecap jewelry.  Metal stamping/embossing/repousse with Michael’s line of metal-working tools.  Pretty handcrafted thank-you notes.  I could go on and on, LOL!

Obvious producer manipulation and scripting.  When will the producers learn that audiences don’t respond to this??  (see: Project Runway after it moved to Lifetime and Bunim/Murray)

Rampant negativity.  The judges were overall negative and extremely critical of the construction techniques used in the projects (ironically Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This [the DIY blog recommending constructions techniques such as gluing trim onto a skirt, stapling sequins onto fabric, and closing a stress-bearing seam with a line of safety pins] was by far the nastiest re: poor construction).  Though much of what was said was on-point, I questioned exactly what the goal of the challenge was, which wasn’t exactly clear.

Many crafters have also expressed distaste at the choice of host, arguing that Tori Spelling has very little “craft street cred” so to speak. Her new line of {styled} by Tori Spelling interchangeable jewelry components has just been released in stores, but very few people think of her as an established crafter or a legitimate voice of authority in this niche.

Crafting is a very low-drama activity.  (Sorry.)  The challenges are pretty boring, so the editing, music, and judges’ attitudes seem all the more contrived and ridiculous.  It got tiresome after awhile when I realized there was very little to learn either.  I mean, why not educate your audience [of CRAFT-LOVING PEOPLE, ahem] a little with recommendations for construction techniques or adhesives or something as you go so at least there’s something of value here?  Missed opportunity, especially for Michael’s to push more of their product.



I’ll give it another episode or two, but given what I’ve seen already I’m not too hopeful that future episodes will be any more interesting or useful.

If any of you missed the show, you can see some short clips here on TLC’s Craft Wars page.

What did you guys think of this show?  Must-see TV…or Kill it with fire!…?

Also: I struggled with writing this review the way I did, knowing that by being honest I would not be garnering any points with Tori Spelling, the production company, the judges, associated people, et al.  I wondered if I was stupidly burning bridges by being so open with my criticism and whether I should just write “It was awesome, guys!  Watch it!” and leave it at that.  I also am assuming that these people/companies would probably not want to do any business with me further down the line by me writing my honest opinion of their show, and I could be impacting my future opportunities by doing this.  HOWEVER I feel detrimentally compelled to be brutally honest about my opinions when it comes to something that’s really close to my heart and I feel I know fairly well, so there it is.:-)


Disclaimer: I was neither asked nor paid to review this show.  The opinions I expressed above are my own, and I have received no compensation for them.  To read more about my Disclosure Policy, please click here.

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Calling Extreme Crafters! A Major TV Series Wants YOU!

image source (FYI you can actually buy these magnets on Zazzle!)








A major television production company is casting extreme crafting enthusiasts for a new major television series.  They are in search of the most obsessive and devoted crafters, who consider crafting not a hobby but a way of life.  They are looking for solo crafters as well as groups of crafters of all specialties from needlepoint to decoupage…nothing is off limits, the more insane and extreme, the better!

If you own more fabric then the local fabric store and you have glitter shooting out of your ears, they want YOU!

Interested crafters should email Sean De Simone at [email protected] with your story and interest in crafting, along with a current photo of yourself and some of your crafts.  Also include your current contact telephone number and email address.

I know some of my readers definitely fit the description above…and please pass this on to anyone else you know who might fit the bill!  Thanks!



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Project Runway Alum Laura Bennett Blogs DIY for Project Accessory

I’m currently swamped with projects and midterms for my classes, so today I’ll leave you guys with this quickie blog post.

Are you watching Lifetime TV‘s new series, Project Accessory?  I’m on the fence about it (although I do love accessory design!) simply because I’ve heard mixed reviews about it, and have given up on y formerly favorite show, Project Runway, after the move to this network and the meddling of Bunim/Murray with everything that made the show great.  Word has it this permutation of the soon-to-be franchise is still trying to find its footing inamongst the inevitable comparisons and the producers’ fondness for manufactured drama. But here’s something neat and DIY-related!  Project Runway alum Laura Bennett (Season 5) is coming out with a book called Handmade Chic: Fashionable Projects That Look High-End, Not Homespun (Jan. 2012), and is blogging for Project Accessory.  Every week she’ll feature a DIY of the winning project, which is really cool!  (Much better than the buy-the-winning-look possibilities that have cropped up from time to time throughout Project Runway’s run…since this democratizes fashion for everyone!).

Check out the first project and follow along with her blogging here:

Laura Bennett’s Blogs for Project Accessory

Has anyone been watching Project Accessory?  What do you guys think so far…must-see TV, or only good enough to read the recaps?



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