Saturday, January 29, 2011

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit a CHA show, you will know how overwhelming it can be.  Never have you encountered so many craft vendors in one place!  It is simply a moment to take it, when you first walk into the conference hall.  I believe it to be the "Super Bowl" of crafting shows and in one instant I find myself transformed from a mature woman into a "kid in a candy shop"! Hurrying from one booth to another with such great anticipation as to what the next great toy will be....and, that OF COURSE I will just have to put on my "MUST HAVE" list.  LOL 

One of the very first booths I chose to visit was the KUM booth.  And to think I almost passed right by without stopping, but luckily a large ad caught my ad for some unique scissors.  Although I own about 100 pair already, I found myself intrigued and just had to find out more. 
After speaking with one of the owners, I just knew I had to share this with everyone.  Although they deal primarily in pencil sharpeners of 1000 kinds (did you know there were so many options for sharpening a writing instrument...LOL), it was the PenCut scissors that received the "Utah's Crafty Chick - LOVE IT!" award! :) 

Los Angeles CA...Mile 735

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Anaheim...mile 702 don't REALLY have to carry EVERYTHING!!! LOL

Sleep was harder than we thought! Mile 482

Stopped in Primm around 9:30 to spend the night.  The clerk, Malcolm, at the Primm Valley Hotel said there "was no room in the inn".  Hmm…that's funny just moments ago I attempted to register online…it said there was plenty of room.  I wonder if he could see "tired, Utah girl, no intent to waste money gambling" written anywhere on me.  Well I got on my trusty little iPhone and booked us a room within minutes.  When the registration was complete, we walked up to the kiosk to check in.  WHAT?? SMOKING ROOM? I don't think so.  So, once again, Malcolm,  graced us with his presence AND once again he said nothing available.  Well, just as I was pulling my  mother's Italian, "oh, no you don't attitude" from out of my pocket…a room magically became available for us.  Good boy Malcolm…you are spared from the wrath of a tired short woman!  He supplied us with the map that will lead to comfy splendor for the night and we attempt to make use of it's feeble guidance.  As we are hiking to the room with suitcases, laptops and all other precious possessions in hand, I quietly mumble to myself that I hope this hotel does not yet have sophisticated security screening.  I am sure we would quickly be turned over to authorities when they reveal that I am smuggling a meatloaf into a hotel!
Ahh…clean nice room, no sign of unwarranted critters, bugs or other sleep preventing measures.  Since the trek to the room was quite the unexpected trek, of course a bit of nourishment is necessary.  We have more than enough snacks and provisions to feed a small army…or in our case…two traveling women! LOL  Now for a quick shower and I calculate that I will be dancing in my dreams within the hour. 
Nice hot shower…ahhh…at last the comforts of a nice get-a-way.  Well, this shower is a bit different; drips cold water on you just to keep you alert and free from enjoying the relaxing moment too much.  Ok…this is a bit much!  Where is all this cold water coming from?  A quick glance to the ceiling quickly reveals that the upstairs neighbor is about to join me! The ceiling has cold water pouring out of it and could give way at any moment.  I do not remember the last time I showered so fast!!! 

A quick call soon has a maintenance man at our door.  It's now 12:15 am.  He says the upstairs must be leaking.  Wow, Einstein, now that we know how you got your job…WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  Shortly after Mr. Fix-it leaves to go upstairs to awaken the unexpected "flooders" (hahaha, glad I'm on this end of it) we receive a call from the manager and we must be removed from the room at once.   Since we are only staying 1 night, they are upgrading us as a courtesy (that's big of you) and we must go back to the front desk and speak with Jim.  Oh, yeah…can hardly wait to see what the upgrade is…this time will we get the neighbors already in our bathroom?  They have no available staff to help us move to the new room…ah, big shocker there!  Once again we load up our crap…and the meatloaf…and board the elevator.  Wow…seems like just a short time ago we were in this same vertical moving box.  We begin to get the giggles as we realize this will make for quite the "relaxing vacation faux pas" story later.  As we reach the ground level and the doors open,  Heidi rushes out leaving me behind to pick up items that were hurled to the floor upon her speedy departure.    As I bend over to pick them up, the elevator doors close and I am on the move again.  Guess I am taking another ride; didn't even know I wanted another ride.  On the other side of this surprise, Heidi turns around and sees no sign of me, closed elevator doors and silence…well, besides her outburst of laughter.  When I finally navigate my way back to my original departure location, we are both laughing so hard that I am sure we must have awaken every slumbering guest nearby. 

Once again we load up the car and find our way back to the front of the hotel and cough our way through the smoke filled casino to the front desk.  Malcolm is practicing self-preservation and has made himself scarce, of course.  We are greeted by Jim.  Ahh, just the man we are seeking...only Jim is not aware that he is to have knowledge of our predicament….nor does he act like he really cares.  After explaining the whole story to him…ok, we left out the part of smuggling in a meatloaf and stealing multiple elevators rides….he says he cannot upgrade us to anything better than room 4422.  Ok, Jim, bend over here and allow me to smack you…room 4422 IS WHERE WE ARE GOING...not where we are coming from!!!!   Please Jim just give me the keys and a reasonable explanation as to where my room is…it's after 1:30am for crying out loud…I WANT MY KEYS, MY ROOM and SLEEEEEEP!  Jim has assumed that since we are the only ones in line that we wish to hear all about his life, his ex-wife and all his grand responsibilities here at the casino.  Ugh…Jim…you're killing me here dude…just give me my keys and give me directions to this so called upgraded room.  Just so long as it has a bed, at this point, I will be just fine…and so will you…if you just hurry even twice as fast as you are now!  We finally escaped the front desk with map in hand once again.  We decided to drive around the back to see if there was an easier way to our room besides Jims way…which, by the way, was about as clear as mud! 

After the LOOOOOONG way around the hotel…oh and the attached factory outlet mall…thanks for that missing tid bit of info JIM….we ended up back at the same parking lot we originally started out in when we were in the leaky room!!!  For heaven sakes…will this night ever show me the peaceful slumber that I so long for???
Ok…now to try and find this "upgrade" of a room…can hardly wait to see what Jims version of an upgrade was!  

 Would someone smack me and wake me up from this nightmare already...elevator does not work at this end of the hotel! Ok…walk the length of a football field to get to the other elevator.  Get in and go to the 4th floor…oh goodie the elevator has a window to the casino below.  Feel like I'm in a big fish bowl and I have the wet hair to fit the part!  Ok…the doors to the elevator open and Heidi attempts to walk out.  Now, I imagine the man who invented wheels on the suitcase DID NOT intend for them to be pushed…please tell me I'm right! So as Heidi so bravely attempts to change the invention right there in the elevator…the suitcase wheel gets stuck in the gap between the floor and …well, the elevator floor…and she nearly catapults over her own suitcase.  I'm laughing so hard I can barely stand.  The more she tugs, the more we laugh at her attempt to pull it loose.  Finally, she pulls the poor thing loose.  I thought for sure I was going for another elevator ride when the doors began to close…but I escaped just in time ( I have got to write this hotel about the length of time their elevator doors remain open.  I am sure, on multiple occasions, housekeeping has found feeble, slow moving elderly people just riding the elevators up and down after hours of attempting to escape it's walls).   Now to find the room…bet you'll never guess…yes…back down the "football field" hall again.  Jim said only 1/2 way down the hall, but Jim obviously does not know the definition of HALF WAY!  Ok…after over shooting the room and turning back…ahhh…room 4422! It does exist!!!  As Heidi is opening the door I whisper to her… "With the way things have gone tonight, I sure hope they did not give us an occupied room and we do not walk in on any naked honeymooners!" This of course sends us both giggling again.   We locate the light switch and take a deep breath and braced ourselves as to what we would find.   ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Ok…give me a leaky ceiling room any day! WE HAVE A SUITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We never had it so good…

...the only downside, a pair of pink and purple panties hanging on the back of the bathroom door knob that I did not see until I was in there with the door closed. I was NOT about to touch them or the door knob, so after laughing her butt off, for what seemed an eternity, Heidi finally let me out of the bathroom.   Enough of this "FUN"…it's now 2am, I'm tired and want to go to bed!!! Silky feeling sheets…are you kidding me…I have arrived in heaven. 
Good night...FINALLY! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mile 326...

Ok, so we made a quick stop at my mom's work to pick up some items she wanted me to take to my brother in California.  First of all, we do NOT have much room left after all of our crafty necessities, snacks and such.  So we find room for her computer (brother is going to fix it for her) and then she hands me a small cooler.  ???  Hmm...made us some goodies to take on the road?  Oh nice mom!  WRONG!!!  After she tells us what is in the cooler, Heidi and I are laughing so's a raw MEATLOAF! My brother LOVES my mom's meatloaf and now it is my responsibility to "smuggle" one across state lines! ROFLMBO  SERIOUSLY???  Oh, good grief!  We find a safe place for the coveted entrĂ©e and we are on the road again...

On the road to CHA...mile 65...

Craft Room Organization

Roll up those sleeves and get organizing your creative space.  No matter how large or small, a few simple bins, baskets or drawers and you will transform your craft area into something that will work better for you! When things are organized...the creative juices seem to flow more freely...and we all LOVE that!

Old Cassette Tape Racks

Before you throw out ANY kind of old organizers, make sure you aren't throwing away something that can be used to organize your work area.  Using an old cassette tape shelf/rack, I was able to neatly arrange all of my stamp pads into one convenient area.  I no longer have to search through a drawer or bin...they are all right there at a glance and easy to access.  

Paper stackers & bins

I found that using my stacking paper racks can be used for more than just paper.  By adding a few bins of assorted sizes, I transformed a small 10X12 section of my counter top into a LARGE accessory area.  

Filing Crates = Cricut Cartridge Organizers

Stacking these crates on their end, you can fit 16 cartridges in each crate.  Two cartridges fit perfectly stacked.  I cut a piece of chipboard to act as a shelf in between the two layers.  The chipboard helped to keep the top row of cartridges in place when I removed one from the lower level.  

Peg Board pegboard is NOT just for the garage any more!  I secured a 6'X8' piece to my wall...BEST THING EVER.  Of course I could not leave it the plain brown so I painted it black, which makes it really stand out.  I use it to organize my ribbon (both fabric & curling), tools, cutters, cutting mats, tulle, etc.  I was able to purchase some metal shelves from a scrapbook store that was closing and they make PERFECT shelves for keeping all my fabric ribbon neat and tidy.  I also love this method because when I run out of a certain color/style, replenishing that spool is so much easier than when I had them all on dowels. THAT was a PAIN! 

Drawers and Labeler

A place for everything...and everything in it's place.  These drawers are a lifesaver for keeping things neat and organized, but not only for me, but they also help my assistants in cleaning up and getting items put away correctly.  Nothing puts a "wrench" in the creating like not knowing where something has been placed.  Label the drawers, then NOTHING goes in the drawer except for what is on the label and clean up is a breeze! 

TOO many Cricut Cartridges???
(Welcome to my world...LOL)

I had tried to figure a way to keep all of my cartridges accessible, yet try and compact the area in which all my cartridges were occupying.  Like mentioned above, the filing crates work great...that is unless you are a cartridge addict like myself and then you become over-run with them! :)  I had heard of tearing the fronts of the boxes off and filing them with the book and overlay (YES...there are those who actually do that!  YIKES...NO WAY FOR ME...I could no more massacre those cute little boxes that I could part with any of them!!!).  Then I had heard of putting the book, overlay and cartridge in baggies and hanging them on dowels or a "Clip-It-Up" organizer.  Both are great ideas if you have a limited supply of cartridges.  BUT...again...I am the "ADDICT" and storing nearly 200 cartridges was becoming a stressful thing.  

Well, after a few weeks of trying this and trying that, I finally came up with something that least for me.  I purchased a large Sterilite, 3 drawer organizer on wheels.  I took all of the books, cartridges and overlays out of their boxes.  I carefully stored away all the cartridge boxes.  As you can see from the photos, I arranged the books and overlays in alphabetical order.  2 rows of 40 fit in each drawer...times 3 drawers...hahaha...equals plenty of room for current cartridges PLUS room for lots of new ones!  Now for the cartridge storage.  I cut 2 pieces of plexi-glass for each drawer, placed velcro on the plexi-glass AND the back of each cartridge, arranged them alphabetically and the plexi-glass pieces lay right on top of the books perfectly.  The drawer organizer rolls neatly under my Cricut table and TA-DA...I just freed up 3'X8' area in my design center! 

Friday, January 14, 2011


Only 2 weeks until CHA in Anaheim, CA.  It is, by far, the best sneak peek at the upcoming product releases for the crafting industry.  I have always referred to it as the "Super Bowl" of crafting! :)  

Last year was very influential and I was able to plan ahead for some of my television segments.  Only problem I had, was finding the "latest and greatest" in stores when the manufacturers had promised.  

Hoping that this year's show will be just as informative and idea sparking as last year.  I will be taking lots of pictures and videos to share with all, so not to worry if you aren't able to attend. So excited...cannot wait!  

BONUS...enjoying some warmer weather!!! YEAH!!!   

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jewelry Box Wall Art

 January 12, 2011
by Wendy Switzer


·         Shadow box frames “Timeless” – 2, unpainted 16X20
·         Spray paint – with added texture/flecking
·         Cricut Machine – mats, spatula, etc.
·         Cricut Cartridges – “Pagoda” & a font cartridge of your choice
·         Vinyl – 2 colors, your choice
·         Transfer tape
·         Acrylic paint – to coordinate with spray paint and vinyl colors
·         Paint brush
·         Hinges - 3
·         Screwdriver
·         Magnetic closure
·         Upholstery tacks – 20-30
·         E6000 glue
·         Wall hanging kit


1)     Start by removing backing from frames, removing glass and anything else that is in the frame.  You want the bare frame. You will be using ALL of the shadow box frame contents, so do not throw anything away at this point.
2)     Spray paint entire surfaces of the 2 frames and set aside to completely dry.  While your frame is drying you can prepare the remaining portions of the project. 
3)     Using your Cricut machine and “Pagoda” cartridge, cut out 3 -   on your vinyl.  1 at 14” and 2 at 11”.  The location on your keypad for this design is THIRD ROW DOWN, THIRD KEY FROM THE LEFT.  The size of your design will vary depending upon the size of your frames.  If you are using the 16X20 size frames, then the size indicated will work for your project.
4)     Next cut, from vinyl, will be 5 - . Cut 1 at 14” and 4 at 6”.  The location on your keypad for this design is THIRD ROW DOWN, NINTH KEY FROM THE LEFT + SHIFT KEY. 
5)     Weed out your vinyl, press transfer tape onto all designs, burnish with bone folder, peel back and apply LARGEST shapes to right lower corner of your FRAME GLASS.  Burnish and carefully peel back the transfer tape.  NOTE: Apply your branch designs before you apply your flower design.  
6)     Cut out a thought or words of inspiration and add them to the glass where desired.
7)     There is a large chipboard backing that comes with each frame.  Use the acrylic paint and paint brush to paint one of them.  You do not need to cover it completely.  You can abstractly paint it for a “white-washed” look, as we did in the picture.  Set aside to dry.
8)     Once the spray paint has dried on your frames, secure them together using 3 decorative hinges. NOTE: You want to join the frames together so that BOTH of the front sides are UP.  So in other words you are joining the frames in the same order you would find them stacked on a shelf in a store.  You may want to spray paint these if the color of the hinge does not blend well.
9)     Add your magnetic closure to the right, insides of the frames.
10)  Add glass back into the top frame.  Place your painted chipboard in next…painted side visible from the front.  Next place one of the cardboard shadow box forms inside.  Now, you will bend the frame tabs in and over the form to secure everything in place.  You can touch up any areas that need to have a little paint added.
11)  In the bottom frame place the cardboard shadow box form and then the chipboard behind.  Secure in place with provided tabs.
12)  Add smaller vinyl branches and flowers to one corner of each cardboard form (insides of frames).
13)  Decide where you want your jewelry hooks to be and how many.  Measure out and mark lightly with a pencil. 
14)  One by one, dip each tip of the upholstery nail into the E6000 and poke into the cardboard form.  DO NOT push all the way in.  Leave a good size space between the head of the nail and the form.  Let dry over night.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Month in a Frame

 January 5, 2011
by Wendy Switzer


·         Large rectangular frame 11 ¾” X 36”
·         Cricut machine, mat, accessories, etc
·         Cricut cartridges “Designer’s Calendar” & “George”
·         Cricut font cartridge of your choice.
·         Cricut Design Studio or Gypsy (optional)
·         Vinyl
·         Transfer tape
·         Button magnets ½”-¾”, strong hold - 9
·         Magnet strips
·         Chipboard – white (or reg. chipboard painted white)
·         Paper cutter
·         Decorative cardstock – seasonal
·         Metal sheeting or metal shingles
·         Bone folder
·         Dry erase markers


1)     Remove backing & matting from frame.
2)     Cut a piece of metal sheeting to fit into frame.  Set aside. 
3)     NOTE: All vinyl will be applied to the front/outside of your frame’s glass.
4)     Cut the circle calendar mat from “Designer’s Calendar”.  If you have Design Studio or Gypsy, you can weld the days of the weeks abbreviation’s at the top of each column of circles. 
5)     Weed out your vinyl, press transfer tape onto design, burnish with bone folder, peel back and apply to left side of frame.  Make sure you have it placed evenly.  Burnish once again and carefully peel back the transfer tape.
6)     Next, use the “George and Basic Shapes” cartridge and select the “silhouette” feature.  Cut out seven 6” vertical rectangles. ”.  If you have Design Studio or Gypsy, you can weld the first letter of each day to the upper left inside corner of each rectangle. Prepare to apply them to the front of the frame as you did in step 4.
7)     Cut out the words “This Week” at 1 ½”.  ”.  If you have Design Studio or Gypsy, you can weld the letters and stretch them horizontally.  Prepare to apply them to the front of the frame as you did in step 4.
8)     Next cut out twelve ½” circles.  These will be the side design for your “This Week” title. Prepare to apply them to the front of the frame as you did in step 4.
9)     Next, use your font cartridge to cut out the following letters in vinyl.  If the letter has stars after it, you will need to cut multiples of that letter.  Cut that letter out as many times as there are starts (example: if the letter is followed by 3 stars, you will need THREE of that letter). 
 Capital letters at 1 ½”: A, D, J, M,N,O,S & F.  Lower case letters at ¾”: a**, b, c, e***, g, h, i, l, m, n, o, p, r**, s, t, u**, v & y.
10)  Weed out letters and prepare to apply them onto your chipboard squares.  I found it easier to peel off the letters and apply them one by one, rather than using the transfer tape.  The transfer tape might stick to the chipboard too much and peel off your chipboard surface.
11)  Cut out chipboard squares 2”X2”.  You will need to cut 31.
12)  Apply vinyl letters to the squares. One letter per square.
13)  Cut 1” pieces of your magnet strip and add a strip to the back of each chipboard letter.
14)  Place some decorative paper behind your circle calendar (backside of glass and inside of frame) and behind the rectangles.  You can use a little repositionable adhesive to hold them in place.  You can switch out the decorative paper each month to create a coordinating or seasonal look. You can also add personal pictures to dress it up a bit. 
15)  Place metal sheeting in frame and replace frame backing.
16)  Place button magnets above the “This Week” saying and spell out that month with your chipboard letters.  You can also create images, for each month, to go on either side of the monthly title.
17)  Use the dry erase marker to fill in the dates on your calendar and your events in your “This Week’s” rectangles.

 ***The metal in the picture shows up as a greenish color for some reason. It really is silver metal***