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Chile Pepper Festival in Phoenix

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Chile Pepper Festival – The Vig

As far as I’m concerned, the annual Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival is mostly an excuse to sample really delicious food from a bunch of Phoenix restaurants. The spicy selection includes items like tacos, stuffed chiles, donuts, desserts, and even beverages.

The next festival is this weekend, so here’s the scoop!

Chile Pepper Festival

How it Works

You buy the number of tasting tickets and/or beer tokens you want at a table near the entrance – there’s no admission cost. Then you wander around the different booths and trade tastings for one or two tickets each. There’s also live music and market areas.

Otro cafe booth at Chile Pepper Festival

Proceeds raised help support the Growhouse Community Garden’s urban agriculture and education programs.

Chile pepper festival

Last year, we went early, so we could go to Ballet Under the Stars afterwards. We bought our tasting tickets right as the festival opened, and there was practically no line. By the time we left, however, an hour or two in, a lot of people were waiting. Of course, it’s cooler later on. So…pick your battles, I guess.

Chile Pepper Festival – Stuffed jalapeño

Food + Drink

If you can’t eat spicy food, this is probably not the festival for you. I mean, you could just go and enjoy the live music. But all the tastings range from mildly to make-you-cry hot.

Chile pepper festival - welcome donuts

A few of our favorites:

Corn at chile festival

At one point, I was ready to douse the fire in my mouth, so I got a smoothie, which was deceptively sweet at first – then the sweet disappeared and the crazy burn kicked in. It was unexpected. Like the photobomb from the smoothie guy.

Chile Pepper Festival – Smoothie, donut, and photobomb

Although beverage-wise we stuck with water and a bottle of Mexican Coke (and that one mouth-searing smoothie), there’s also a beer garden and margarita station.

Chile Pepper Festival – Mama Chelo's art

Art, Craft + Community

On the market side of the festival, there were a handful of community and artist booths.

Chile Pepper Festival – artist Keisha Jones

I dug the collage work of the multitalented Keisha J. Jones, who also models and makes delicious baked goods!

Chile Pepper Festival – DIY seedling pot

Chile Pepper Festival – Valley Permaculture volunteer Kathy

At the Valley Permaculture Alliance (Trees Matter) booth, you could make newspaper seed-starter pots, which inspired a CraftHack project.

Chile Pepper Festival – Flamenco por la Vida


When the music started, we watched Flamenco por la Vida. They perform flamenco music and dance superbly.

Chile Pepper Festival – Flamenco

Some of their adorable pint-sized students danced, as well.

This Saturday, Flamenco por la Vida will be on stage at 9pm. I’m not sure if students will be joining them or if that’s past their bedtime.

There are several other performances during the festival, as well as cooking demonstrations and pepper-eating contests.

Chile Pepper Festival – Taco

The band Mariachi Luna de Mexico played after we’d left. In fact, they strode in like some kind of guitar-wielding posse, just as we were headed to the parking lot.

Chile pepper festival - mariachi

– Festival Info –

  • The 2016 Chile Pepper Festival will be Saturday, October 1 from 5-10pm.
  • New location: 128 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix (Roosevelt/2nd St.)
  • Limited street parking will be available.
  • Light rail: Central Ave & Roosevelt St. stop is only about a block away (0.1 mile)!
  • All-ages event. If you plan to drink alcohol, be ready to show your ID and get a wristband at the entry.
  • There is no admission fee. Food, beverages, and handcrafted items will be for sale.
  • Details at

Chile pepper festival

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Phoenix Comicon 2016 Picks #phxcc

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments


Wading through the Phoenix Comicon schedule can be a bit daunting, so I wanted to highlight some panels and events I thought you lovely maker geeks might be interested in.

Phxcc cosplay

I’ve asterisked the items that don’t require a Phoenix Comicon membership pass for anyone who can’t make it to the whole Con but still wants to be a part of the action.

For more recommendations on what to eat/drink/see around the Convention Center, check out our last post.


Thursday, June 2

3pm Cosplay 101 – From Closet to Convention Floor – I love that this panel is about making your own costumes with what you already have!

*6:30pm Comi-PAWn Pet Parade – Probably the cutest event of the Con, pet lovers can bring their dogs in costume to the Herberger Theater patio to be part of a show and parade.

7:30pm The Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown (PUGS) – preliminary round of the annual, hilarious geek debate tournament

*8pm Star Wars vs Star Trek – The Music of Deep Space – The Phoenix Symphony will be playing music from Star Wars and Star Trek films, and the audience will vote for their favorite franchise! (Event tickets required.)


Friday, June 3

1:30pm Making the Game: The Art, Design, and Imagination of Iconica – how to design your own tabletop game. (More info on Facebook.)

*4:30pm Geek Girl Brunch Phoenix: Comicon Meetup – cocktail hour with a group of geek girls who usually meet for brunch. (h/t friends Anne and Eileen)

7:30pm The Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown (PUGS) – geek debate tournament finals

8pm Star Party with the Phoenix Astronomical Society – telescopes will be set up for star/planet-gazing


Saturday, June 4

1:30pm Cosplay for All Sizes – modify costumes and patterns to work for your body

7:30pm Dancing for Everyone! – introductory-level English and Irish community set dances


Sunday, June 5

10:30am Confessions of a Cosplay Boyfriend – trials and tribulations of being in a relationship with a female cosplayer

4:30pm Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest Preview – apparently, this year’s Fan Fest will be at a new venue and in October (instead of December). Hopefully, they’ll let us know what’s up. (And hopefully I’ll make it to Sunday afternoon.)



While the car show will stay on Third Street (full schedule under Phoenix Comicon “outdoor events.”), there will be a lot happening on Adams Street, as well.


Fri-Sun: Con on Adams

This year, Phoenix Comicon is taking over Adams Street, where there will be live music, a party pavilion, San Tan Brewery beer garden, and food trucks.



Phenix convention center and food trucks

Food truck line-up:


What are you looking forward to?

PS Travelcraft Journal turns 3 today! I’ll probably raise a celebratory glass – or spoon – at Comicon. Cheers to all of you for being a part of this community!

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Free Outdoor Movies

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Travel | 12 comments

I love the feel of free community events where anyone can be in the audience, like outdoor concerts or Ballet Under the Stars.

Free outdoor events

Outdoor movies are particularly interesting because they turn the whole movie viewing experience on its head. In the theater, it’s all about blocking out the surrounding environment – controlling light and sound so that nothing distracts from what’s on screen. Outdoors, the environment becomes part of the experience.


As a teenager, I saw the movie Twister at a drive-in while a monsoon storm was moving in, the wind gusting hard and the sky turning a surreal shade of orange. I’m pretty sure I thought it was a better movie than it actually was because of the natural drama around me. On the other hand, sometimes the sound isn’t good or something blocks your view or the people from the Portlandia sketch show up.

Do you ever go to free or outdoor movie events?


Some places for free movies (inside or outside) here in Arizona…

May 2016:




Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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A Dash of Wine

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 9 comments


When Phillip and I took our anniversary trip to Florence, Arizona, we saw a handmade sign in front of a house that just said “winery” with an arrow.

Obviously, we had to investigate.

Windmill Winery Florence AZ

It turns out the winery in question was not, as the sign seemed to suggest, in someone’s backyard, but a totally legit operation down the street. The Windmill Winery was quiet except for a few donkeys, and it turns out the tasting room is closed on Mondays. We moved on with no wine and only a little whine.


The scene was very different when we were back months later. Even though it was early Sunday morning, people were already bustling around and a DJ was spinning. The winery was hosting the Dionysus Dash, a 5k run for a charity that Phillip’s work supports.

Dionysus Dash

The scene before the #dionysusdash at @windmillwinery – tutus, togas, and a wine tasting afterwards!

A video posted by stephanieliebold (@stephanieliebold) on


Barn at windmill winery

After the runners were done running and we were done running the raffle booth, we got to visit the barn for a special tasting set up for the event, then say hi to the donkeys and chickens and check out the lake and the outside of the actual tasting room.


Maybe one of these days we’ll actually visit during regular hours and go inside.


Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Happenings in Arizona: February 2016 and Beyond!

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 in Past Happenings, Travel | 0 comments

We’ve been including a list of hand-picked maker/artist/explorer events in our monthly newsletter, and I thought I’d share the Arizona portion here today.

Arcosanti cafe

Now – Apr 30 Arcosanti Resident Art Show

Arcosanti, near Cordes Junction. Art by Arcosanti residents and alumni for sale. The day we had breakfast at Arcosanti was also during an art show. Work for sale included jewelry, photography, and mixed media pieces.

  • Gourd Art: Mar 2 + Apr 6. Basic gourd art for beginners. $35-$45.
  • Terrarium: Mar 11 + Mar 12. Choose your succulents and create an indoor garden. Walk-in class. $15.

Macayos margarita

Feb 21 – Mar 29 Macayo’s Tequila Dinner Series

Macayo’s Mexican Grill & Cantina, Scottsdale. Read our review of the redesigned Macayo’s Scottsdale.

  • Feb 21 3-8pm (National Margarita Day!): Tequila & Margarita Tasting to benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society with 9 Top Shelf Tequila samples, 9 handcrafted cocktail samples, appetizers, and live music by Nick Hranek. Open house style event. $40/person.
  • Feb 23 5:30pm: Tequila Dinner & LIVE! Macayo Salsa Challenge
  • Mar 29 5:30pm: Tequila Dinner

Eucalyptus trees at arboretum

Mar 2 – Apr 6 Craft Classes at the Arboretum

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior. Whether or not you take a class, it’s a lovely place to spend the day.

  • Gourd Art: Mar 2 + Apr 6. Basic gourd art for beginners. $35-$45.
  • Terrarium: Mar 11 + Mar 12. Choose your succulents and create an indoor garden. Walk-in class. $15.

Heritage Square Phoenix

Mar 5 Phoenix Flea

10am-5pm in Hertiage Square, Phoenix. Market for vintage goods, fine art & crafts, fashion, and artisan food.

Southwest Maker Fest

Mar 12 Southwest Maker Fest

12-7pm in Downtown Mesa. Read about a previous SWMF or my travel journal workshop.


Mar 14 CraftHack

6pm at Gangplank Chandler. Meet other artists and crafters and learn something new or bring your own project to work on!

Art Detour

Mar 19-20 Annual Art Detour

Phoenix. Self-guided tour of studios in Phoenix Arts District.

Ceramic art by Robin Ray.

Now – Apr 3 Arizona Fine Art EXPO

26540 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 100 artists set up shop under big tents in Scottsdale for 10 weeks. Also cafe, sculpture garden, and weekend music. $10 season pass.

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