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Southwest Maker Fest 2017

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

SWMF envelope journal

I did an envelope journal workshop again this year at Southwest Maker Fest.

SWMF 2017

Once again, the attendees were super creative, coming up with their own clever modifications to the project, including one multifunctional journal that doubled as a wallet and a paper airplane!

SWMF envelope journal

This year, my assigned room was in a different area within the i.d.e.a. Museum that seemed less hectic.

SWMF envelope journal

Also, I had help! Several friends showed up and pitched in with explaining the project to latecomers and helping answer questions, etc. A big thank you to Anne, Katie, Trish (who also brought extra art supplies), and the ever-patient Phillip!

SWMF 2017

It was a lot of fun, and it always gets me thinking about how to make it better the next year!

P.S. You can make this too!

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Hang in There! 9 Unique Wind Chime and Mobile Ideas

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Craft | 4 comments

Mobiles and wind chimes can brighten up your garden, patio, or a bare corner of your living room. And you probably have the stuff to make one right now!

Here are some unexpected objects you can use to make your own.

Colorful mobile

1. Wooden Discs

Emily Neuburger’s Simple Color Mobile could work inside or outside. I like the simplicity of the rainbow-colored circles, but you could also add a wooden initial or other shape.

(Side note: You know the wood-stuff-for-painting aisle in the craft store? I always have to browse through it, and, even though I don’t usually do wood craft projects, I always kind of want to buy everything in there.)

Jungalow Boho mobile

2. Souvenirs

Justina Blakeney made this Boho Mobile from an old lamp shade frame and small decorative items her in-laws brought back from India. If you have a lot of little knick knacks from trips taking up shelf space, this would be another way to display them. Like an oversized charm bracelet.

Paint Swatch Mobile By Natalme

3. Paint Swatches

Love this minimal Paint Swatch Mobile from Natalme! You can mix up the colors like she did or use a gradient of shades for an ombre or rainbow effect, which would look especially rad spinning around.

Embroidery hoop mobile by natalme

4. Embroidery Hoops

Another Natalme inspiration: turn embroidery hoops into a place to hold photos (or holiday cards or kids’ artwork)!

Ceramic bell

5. Clay and Copper Pipes

Decorative ceramic bells made from Sculpey by A Beautiful Mess. Apparently, these are purely decorative, since they don’t actually ring. I’m wondering whether you could change that with some metal inside the clay. Or what if you hung more than one copper pipe from each bell, making every bell into kind of a mini-wind-chime?

Sea Glass DIY Wind Chimes
6. Sea Glass

Crafts Unleashed has a turorial for displaying your beach-combing finds as sea glass wind chimes!

Key Mobile

7. House Keys

You can also make a wind chime from old keys, like this one from Inner Child Fun.

FYI I found this on a list by The Garden Glove (with about a dozen more DIY ideas).
Bottle Cap mobile

8. Bottle Caps

Trina Lyn (of Trina Is Artsy Fartsy) shared this tutorial of how to make a bottle cap wind chime, as frequently seen – but not always explained – on Pinterest.

Junk Windchime by Trina Lyn

9. Random Junk

Trina also combined a variety of found objects, including a smashed vintage beer can, into The Junk Windchime. It brings together a lot of the materials in the other projects above, like bottle caps, glass, beads, and a key.

What materials would you use for a mobile creation? Chime in!


For Your Inspiration

A few more shareworthy (and shoppable) mobiles and wind chimes:

Photos via their respective sites.

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Playing Card Mini Journal (WIP) and Las Vegas Trip

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 6 comments

Vegas has never seemed like my scene, but Phillip and I are planning to be there in a couple weeks. His longtime friend Michael, who now calls the area home, is getting married, so we’re taking a road trip! image It’ll be my first time in Las Vegas (outside of a brief layover en route from Indiana, which doesn’t really count). So I’ve been researching things we might want to see – both on The Strip and beyond it.

I also started making a mini scrapbook with playing card pages.



Even if the glitz and excess I associate with Vegas isn’t so appealing to me, there’s more to every place than meets the eye. I’m looking forward to searching out spots that tell different stories.


PS In case you can’t see them, the Instagram shots are a photo of Mr. Cheeseface on a slot machine and a video of take-off over the lights of The Vegas Strip.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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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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Chalkola Markers Review

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Craft | 0 comments

I’m not that into chalk. It gets all over your fingers and dark clothing and erasing it makes you sneeze.

So when Chalkola contacted me about doing a review on markers that made to be a less-messy alternative to chalk, I was interested.


They sent me a pack of 10 Chalkola markers in neon colors (plus white, brown, and black) made to draw on chalkboards and other non-porous surfaces.


How They Write

The first time you use each marker, you need to shake it for awhile (they recommend 60 seconds, but I tried shorter times and that also worked), and then press up and down on scrap paper until you can see the ink. (You could actually do this on any surface you’re going to write on but there can be a little splattering when the ink first comes out.) You don’t need to repeat the whole shaking/pressing ritual after the first time.


I picked up the mail with my new markers on the way to a coffee shop and started doodling on paper I had with me. Not erasable, obviously, but they look great on paper. The ink seems to sit on top of it, rather than being absorbed like regular marker ink, so the colors even stand out brilliantly on dark backgrounds. They are much more vibrant and less smudgy than chalk.


How They Wipe Off

Using a wet cloth or paper towel, I was able to wipe the ink off most surfaces I tested. Some colors just required more elbow grease than others.

Oddly, it didn’t completely wipe off plastic film covering the acrylic I used in my gift guide video (so I just removed it and wrote directly on the acrylic instead – that wiped off perfectly). It didn’t work great with the chalkboard label I tried, but since actual chalk didn’t come off very well either, I think the issue is actually with the label.

Like with anything, you’ll want to test a small, inconspicuous corner before going crazy on a larger area.

Gift guide

The One that Didn’t Work

The record scratch moment came after I realized there were two markers I hadn’t used yet in my testing. When I shook the black marker to get it ready to use the first time, it sounded (and felt) a little different, like something was stuck maybe, and the ink never came out. I tried the last marker, the orange one, and had no problem. But I was never able to get the ink going on the black marker.


I looked at other online reviews, and this doesn’t seem to be a common problem with Chalkola markers, so maybe it was just a fluke. You can make a quality product and still have something go wrong with a single item.

Odds are you won’t have an issue. If you do, the markers are fulfilled by Amazon, so you should be able to make an exchange through Amazon.

Spice mix

Project Ideas

Here are some ideas I came up with for these wet-erase chalk markers.



  • Ditch the Solo cups, and use real glasses/mugs for parties and allow guests to write their names on them.
  • Blank travel-size bottles. (Shampoo, moisturizer, etc.) – The color may run a bit if used in the shower.
  • Containers of leftovers.
  • Jars of baking and spice mixes.
  • Dishes you bring to potlucks – You can write what the food is (along with any dietary notes like vegetarian, gluten free, contains nuts, etc.) or just write your name so you get your container back.
  • Items you’re photographing. I used these markers for my 2015 gift guide video.

Carrot cornbread label


  • Decorate and address envelopes.
  • Add neon color to photos for scrapbooking or collage.
  • Write on chalkboards or chalkboard-painted things.
  • Decorate plates for special occasions.

Collage image


  • Write notes or reminders on your mirror.
  • Write out menus, craft fair price lists, etc.
  • Mark your route on laminated maps.


If you decide to give Chalkola Markers a try, here’s where to find them and a code for 20% off:

These markers were provided to me for review by Chalkola.

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