Texan Cowgirl Treasures

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Where do old boots go to die? Well, apparently they go to Texan Cowgirl Treasures to be resurrected as beautiful purses, clutches, and wine bottle holders! Made from vintage boots with vintage belts as straps, the bags have an oval wooden bottom (so they stand up!) and are available in a variety of styles and colors. I love it!



While perusing the internet, looking for a Mary and Jesus belt buckle, I stumbled upon this site, where they "strive to provide our customers with unique one-of-a-kind western creations reflecting the beauty and romance of the "Old West". Located in Austin, Texas, we specialize in Western Leather Cowboy Boot Purses, Western Boot Top Wine Holders and Custom Rhinestone Belt Buckles made from vintage and new jewelry, each of which are original handcrafted designs."

Now, I've been to Austin plenty of times and I've never seen these beauties! but here they are, and it's only a matter of time before one or more are making their way to my closet...

Sublime Stitching Contest Winners...

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One of my favorite craft sites, Sublime Stitching, had a contest challenging people to make creative, handmade things for one another, rather than running to the mall for more "random crap" as my sister and I call it, this holiday season. (Although, don't get me wrong: I love me some random crap). They called it their "Handmade Holiday" contest and there were more than a hundred entries. I just loved to see how creative people were - truly inspiring. Next year, I'm going to start in August. No, better yet, I'm going to start NOW and maybe I'll finish something by December.


Check out the winners on Jenny Parker's Sublime Stitching blog.

The Finish Line


My significant other calls me "80% Wanda" because I never finish anything. Filled with creative energy, I start hundreds of projects, complete about 80%, then stop. I get excited and move on to another project. Material cut out waits to be sewn, towels sit, half-embroidered, and scrapbooks linger with photos waiting to be affixed to their pages.

But no more!

My summer resolution is to tackle all the unfinished projects around the house, from the Halloween scrapbook to the baby onesie that currently won't fit the baby it was intended for (no matter, there are plenty of babies around).

I vow to take on these projects before starting another, and to post the results here. So there!


My first finished project was this embroidered t-shirt - the Howdylicious! T-shirt, or Shirtalicious! I must have started this two years ago after seeing a similar t-shirt for over $150 at Nordstrom. I actually completed the embroidery (the hardest part), then got distracted and never glued on the rhinestones. I also never wore the t-shirt. But finally it's done! And while I think it could use some more embroidery, I think it's pretty damn cute.

Here's the detail:


And the back:

What do you think?

When should you Do It Yourself, and when should you leave it to a professional? After all, if we never tried to do things ourself, we would probably still be toddling around naked drinking juice from a sippie cup and waiting for our mom to dress us (which doesn't sound half bad, but still...).

I never try to DIY when it comes to automotive repair, dental or medical situations, and most electrical repairs. Now that I'm a homeowner, I'm pretty brave about DIY plumbing, and a few good books will tell you whether or not you're looking at a simple repair (patching plaster, changing a plug or fuse, or changing out the guts of a toilet), or a major job requiring more tools than you own and a certification from a State Board. But how else do you know when to DIY and when to GAP (Get a Professional)?

There's degree of difficulty, and then there's degree of mystery: I have no idea how to do this, I have no idea what that noise is, I have no idea where the leak is located, or I have no idea why there is no water pressure or even how to begin checking. Yikes.

Degree of difficulty is one thing, but it can't be the only criteria, or we'd never try to do things that were difficult. I also go with experience: has anyone done this before? It helps to have a few handy friends that can give you advice like, "man, that's a bitch, you'd better call a plumber" or the famous last words: "I think we can fix it."

On the other hand, I have friends that are much more adventurous than I am when it comes to all things DIY: cooking, clothing, auto repair, and hair styling are a few areas that come to mind. And while I've colored/bleached/cut my hair for more years than you've probably been alive, I currently prefer to leave the mess to a professional, as I'm busy DIYing in other areas of my life.

What brought it all home to me was a recent encounter with a friend that started me thinking about when we should DIY and when we should consult a professional. Recently, I ran into a (formerly brunette) friend that was a new blonde. "Wow! I almost didn't recognize you!" I said. Translated; you look so different I don't know what to say. "Yeah," she sighed. "It seemed like a good idea, but I should've used a professional."

Famous last words.


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File under FYI, this one is for the analog scrappers I know:

New website: Scrapblog.

My friend Cindy Li is now illustrating for Scrapblog and has gotten several folks involved in it.

If you are a scrapbooker who has yet to take to any of the online services, might want to try out Scrapblog and let us know what you think.

The Small (Love) Object

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Stop It. Stop being so damn adorable. It makes me crazy. It makes me want to kiss you on the mouth. That's how I feel about these insanely cute rubber stamps from The Small Object.


Yes, rubber stamps in the shape of an acorn, a squirrel, and holy crap, a hedgehog. The Small Object is the cottage industry of Sarah Neuburger who makes "artwork, limited editions and handmade goods for everyday that are fun and quirky." Chances are, Sarah's not trapped in a cubicle somewhere, wincing under the flourescent lights. Or maybe she is.

When I get stressed, I imagine stamping these little fellows on my staff reports, time sheets, and performance measurements. And life gets better. And so much cuter.

Sublime Stitching

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Jenny Hart over at Sublime Stitching (who is my craft Idol) has made embroidering hip again, with her amazing art and must-have patterns.

I've been embroidering since I was a little girl, so I'm no stranger to the medium. In fact, this is the one craft that really relaxes me and mellows me out - with each pull of the needle I can feel my heart rate slowing.

So everytime Jenny comes out with new patterns, I collect them unabashedly, sometimes buying in sets of two (one to store, one to use). Her new collection is one of the cutest: Bon Voyage (Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal), Word Balloons, and Camping Images, but all the sets are adorable - precious chihuahuas, Olde English letters, fierce roller derby babes, luchadores. There are more patterns than there is time to embroider!


As a special treat, Jenny is featuring Kurt Halsey as a guest designer. Kurt's designs are "twee and sad" (to paraphrase Jenny) and I can't wait to embroider them!


Love Struck

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Should I be surprised that a Huntington Beach company has finally come out with Punk Rock scrapbook supplies? I've been waiting for a while for paper crafting to get really cool, because really cool means really cool products. And it's been happening slowly... slowly... with more really gorgeous papers and more fun embellishments.

So it stands to reason that I'm delighted with Creative Imaginations new lines: Marah Joneson's Lovestruck and CI's Caution Girl. As I sift through the fabulous photos from 2007 Punk Rock Bowling, I'm excited about using these products to create something truly unique, something that can be shared at next year's PRB.

Creative Imaginations can be purchased online through their webstore and at better scrapbooking stores.

Craft Magazine Subscription

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Kindly Jess got me a subscription to Craft Magazine for my birthday, and I've been patiently waiting and waiting for it to arrive. Based on the arrival time of my other magazine subscriptions, I seriously think the mail lady steals my magazines, reads them, and then delivers them. They all arrive 3 weeks after the magazines hit the newstands.

But behold my delight when my first Craft magazine arrived in the mail today (for some reason I got Craft: 02 and Craft: 03 at the same time - thanks mail lady!), and the cover story featured these tiny kitties you can stitch from felt!

I'm not lying, I almost started crying. That's how cute these damn kitties are. I'm going to try to make them, as well as the punk rock reconstructed t-shirt and let you know how it goes. Thanks, Jess!

Ontario Gem Faire starts this Friday!

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This coming Friday marks the start of a weekend long event - April, 6, 7 & 8th. Many of you crafters may want to check out this large and amazing event at the Ontario Convention Center. I have never been to a gem faire and hope to get out to one soon!

As a side note, Lone Star Gems out of Texas has an official cut for the state called the Lone Star Cut. Check this beauty out. It's a blue topaz.


March is National Craft Month

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March is National Craft month and I would encourage everyone to get some friends together, males and females, young and old, and make some shit DIY-style.
As of late, I’d been feeling pretty craft-deficient. I’d purchase a copy of the slickest new ReadyMade mag from my local Borders and feel…well, less than. One of the newer issues actually gave detailed directions on how to make a wood branch table with a glass top which cost $300. An older one gave directions for a rotating sunhouse designed by Todd Oldham. Are you kidding?
That was until I met some other people just like me – creativity hoarders. You likely know the type. These are the people who hoard crafts and never use them because of time or not enough money to get ALL the bells and whistles from some project they cut out of Martha Stewart’s LIVING but when you go to their homes, you are constantly tripping over blank canvases and finding beads in your socks after you leave. Yeah, them. So anyhoo, I’ve met a few of these ladies and we now have what my “best friend” Laura and I refer to as the “Best Friends Club”. It’s funny because we are each about 15 years too late to refer to people as our “best friends” and because we are embarrassingly enthusiastic about everything craft. (Julie and I squealed at this).
I just thought I’d let you know there are other gals (and guys, of course) out there, dying to be invited to your house to glue and cut and fold on your kitchen table but who are not quite ready for their own gallery exhibits.
If you need an idea, have a F*&% Hallmark party and encourage everyone to make their own cards. Make it a theme party. For instance, we all hauled over to my boss’s house a month or so before the Winter Holidays (how was that for p.c.?) to create cards and learn to use ribbon and brads TOGETHER. Believe me, it’s a lot less scarier with some other people around. I am totally afraid of eyelets but Laura and Julie have given me the courage to move through that fear to a higher form of craft. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you’d like some ideas for crafts you can actually make, look at these pictures of cards I made at my own craft party last week or check out Craft magazine. It is full of things you can actually make and with a couple friends, you can catapult through your creative fear and make things you can be proud to share. If all else fails, at least you’re not eating alone on a Friday night and you know your parents will always accept things for the fridge gallery.
-Jessa B.

Sandra asks, "What is Podcasting?"

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powered by ODEO ladies Sandra Mendoza-Daly, Julie Wanda Espy, and Ms. Jen Hanen record a question and answer on “What is Podcasting?”

Julie Wanda answers on licensing issues and studio recording. Ms. Jen answers on the easy, do-it-yourself podcasting with your computer, its on board microphone, and Odeo.