Tuesday, December 31, 2013

When Cleaning REALLY Happens

Let's get real. Most of the time I'm crafting. Or on the computer. Or chasing kids. Or collapsing on the couch after doing all of the above. I don't spend my days with a Magic Eraser in one hand, and a spray bottle containing a home-made concoction including vinegar and three different powders that most people just use for cooking. So the best way to ensure a clean house is to invite some folks over...
Speaking of which, I need to get a move on... I've got guests arriving in about 30 minutes...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My to-do list...

The holidays are a busy time - starting in Halloween with making costumes, and then Thanksgiving with the big dinner, and then shopping, wrapping, decorating, parties, and family until we ring in the new year. Add to that a dash of travel and a sprinkling of the flu, and you've got yourself a typical holiday season around here!

I hope you're finding time to check things off your to-do list - assuming you've found the time (and a pencil stub and back of an envelope) to write one. Good thing there are all those holiday cards being sent - lots of envelopes to write to-do lists on.

Unless you're absolutely desperate, don't write your to-do list on a tissue. That's always a bad idea during cold and flu season.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Here's to the Crafty, Costume-making Moms out there...

I got less than 2 hours of sleep last night, But it is totally worth it. My son is going to have the most amazing costume EVER. I've spent about 10 hours making his costume... and I'm not done yet.

He is going to be the talk of the neighborhood... for the 60 minutes he spends trick-or-treating.

Then the costume will go into storage. Where it might get pulled out again in a couple years on a whim, or for his little brother to wear. Or it might get dented and damaged as it is moved from closet to closet, and finally ends up in the garage, and eventually gets thrown in the trash.

Knowing all that, I'm still going to say: Totally WORTH IT.

Have a safe and moderately-spooky Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Snarky Printable Gift Tag for Handmade Gifts

I've talked about the value of handmade before. People claim to love handmade. And some genuinely do. The challenge with giving handmade gifts is that if the recipient doesn't like it... well... too bad. For everyone.

Too bad for the giver, because they spent hours or days on a project that will get shoved in a drawer, the back of a closet, or immediately go to Goodwill.

And too bad for the recipient, because they have to figure out how to feign appreciation for the unfortunate gift they were given, and then they have to find drawer space, closet space, or time to take the item to Goodwill. If they are an especially good friend, they now have the burden of remembering to take out the gifted item to display it whenever the giver comes to visit.

With all this complicatedness, (that's totally a word - but if it isn't, I want credit in Websters 2014) maybe we should just buy eachother gift cards! And, of course, give them in hand-made gift card holders.

If you're going to risk giving handmade this year, I'm helping you out with some fun and snarky gift tags for your handmade presents. Download the Snarky Printable Gift Tag for Handmade Gifts here. They print 4 to a sheet. Cut them out, punch a hole, and share the handmade love!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How the CraftSnark Measures Success

 Alternately titled: CraftSnark Weighs in on MarthaStewart or Kicking Puppies is Always a Bad Idea

I'm no expert... but I am a lot of things. Including a mom. And as a mom, I screw up all the time. I try really, really hard. But sometimes, with everything that is going on, I drop the ball. I say something I didn't mean, or in a way I didn't mean. And sometimes, I'm just plain mean. Ask my kids - they'll tell you. I'm not perfect. But man, I love my kids. No matter what.

Martha Stewart was a craft blogger before craft blogging existed. Her early work in crafting and home decor helped make this industry a "thing" (a "good thing" even!). She helped pave the way for the rest of us. So, she's kinda a mom to craft bloggers. And she screwed up. But we can love her anyway, right?

I know... you were thinking that when the CraftSnark weighed in on this whole Craftastrophy, that I would rip Ms. Stewart a new one. But I believe in Karma. And this is one puppy I'm not going to kick.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Craft Definition: Clean

What is clean, really? Right after the housecleaning service comes is clean, right? I'm too cheap to hire a housecleaner... paying $50 a week would seriously cut into my crafting budget. And the crafting budget is not to be toyed with. I figure, as long as there is enough room for me to set up my glue gun, then it is clean enough... right?

Monday, October 7, 2013

True Friends

Craftsnark: The definition of a true friend

This one isn't exactly craft-related, but this is my blog, so I get to be un-crafty when I want, don't you think? All kinds of events over the last weeks have had me thinking about friends, the meaning of friends, how you pick your friends, and more.

I'm very lucky to have some awesome friends. They know who they are. I love them to pieces. They are beautiful inside and out. And I would absolutely tell them if those jeans make their butt look big. Because they would do the same for me.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The difference between done and perfect

You've been there: It is 2am and you're still working on a project. This sucker has taken up way more time than you thought possible. You know what time the alarm is set for, and that time is drawing nearer. You're so close to being finished... but your eyelids are getting heavier and the silence of your sleeping family is pulling you into dreamland. So you do the unthinkable. You slap those last pieces together and turn in for the night. Because let's face it, sometimes it is better to be done than to be perfect. Because the difference between done and perfect ... well that's about 3 hours of sleep.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How I do it all...

People have gotten into the habit of asking me how I do it all. For those of you who don't know me, let me tell you what "it all" is... I have a husband and two young boys ages 5 and 18 months. I run 2 other fairly successful blogs. I have a couple more blogs in development. I work for an agency to run blogger campaigns. I freelance write for one of the top 10 sites in the US. I craft. I sew. I sew a lot... this year I have been cranking out quilts at an average of 2 a month. I'm totally serious. A couple were wall hangings, but most were not.
I teach classes at a local quilt shop. I'm on the board for a local mom & child organization. I have joined the PTA. I travel out of state almost every month. Sometimes more than once. Often with the kids in tow. There is probably more, but you get the picture.

How do I make it all happen? Here is the scoop:

I don't homeschool. Yes, there are a lot of amazing bloggers out there who homeschool their kids. I bow down to their greatness. There is no way that I could manage pulling together a curriculum for my Kindergartener, and teach him the basics he'll need for the rest of his life. I enlist professionals for that.

I don't sleep a lot. 8 hours is a luxury that I rarely get. 4-6 is my usual night, and at least one of those hours is usually in my chair where I pass out while at the keyboard. Which makes for some really funny posts. Did you know that I can sleep-type. I can, and when I read it later, it is hysterical.

I'm behind. If all is good in CraftSnark Land, I put up a post every Monday. This post is going up Tuesday night. 36 hours behind is not too shabby in my book... especially since I'm about 10 days behind on a couple other projects...

My dishes, laundry, and other miscellaneous housework are never caught up. Even when my Mother in Law comes over. I spend two days cleaning, and there is still one room that everything gets shoved into and the door gets closed. And locked. You know - just in case.

My kids watch TV. Not a ton, but more than I would like. Lucky for me they like the more educational stuff, so my mommy-guilt is fairly low on this point.

I don't cook every night. Unless you count microwaving chicken nuggets, and putting them on a plate with apple slices and yogurt. Because if that counts, I'm a total gourmet. The wait-list to get a table at Chez-CraftSnark is about as long as it takes for me to clear off all the mail, assorted crafting supplies, and whatever was left on the table after breakfast.

So now you know my secret formula. How do I do it all? I don't.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Save Money on Handmade this Christmas

There are very few things that get me frothing at the mouth the way controversy about handmade gifts does. I love giving handmade. I love that I spent time thinking of someone as I made the gift for them. I love thinking about how much they will enjoy the gift as I create it. I love picking out specific colors or components especially for the recipient. I love almost everything about giving handmade.

Except the cost. Giving a handmade gift is insanely expensive. For example, I love making quilts. To buy fabric at a quilt shop costs me between $10-12 a yard. It takes about 5 yards of fabric to make a quilt top. Then another 3 or so for the back. Then $25 for the batting. And if I have someone else do the quilting, that's at least another $100.

Even something "small" like jewelry is an expensive endeavor. Purchasing the materials and the stones to make a piece of jewelry adds up, especially when using quality materials like crystals, semi-precious stones, and precious metals. And then once the piece is complete, you still need to spend money to box and package up the piece!

None of this factors in the time it takes to make a gift. How much do you get paid an hour? If a crafter's time is worth $15 an hour, then 4 hours of time would add $60 to the price of a gift. Those handmade gifts would get expensive, fast!

More than anything else, the emotional value of a handmade gift is impossible to calculate. If I make something for you, I desperately want you to love it. I loved it enough to give it to you. It is a piece of myself, and does not come with a gift receipt. There is no way to return, exchange, or get a refund on handmade.

To save time and money on Christmas gifts... I can just go to the store. Everything can be wrapped up with a gift receipt. And if I'm feeling especially un-creative, I can just give out gift cards.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Craft Definition: Errands

My life has been taken over by errands. Drive here, pick up this. Drive there to drop it off. Pick up kids. Drop off kids. Get groceries. Drop off recycling. Go to GoodWill (where I can both drop off and pick up - that is some serious errand efficiency!). So much of life is spend erranding. If the craft stores could add on a "food" section, we might be able to get something really exciting going... and a whole lot less errands!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Craft Definition: Guests

I don't invite Guests over very often. Because it means I have to stop crafting, put everything away, and make my house look like normal people live here. Instead of an insane crafty-lady, and her husband who is clearly crazy for putting up with it all (or should that be "crazy after putting up with it all"? hmmm... semantics, I suppose...)

AND once the guests have left, I pull out the project I was working on last. The other projects become forgotten. I might discover them the next time I have to clean up, as I pull open a drawer, thinking it will be empty and that I can shove some work in progress in... only to find that long-lost project. Still unfinished. And I now lack the interest to complete it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Craftsnark Definition of Love

Each of us defines Love in our own way. When you first fall in Love, you might define Love as those butterflies that you feel in your stomach. As you settle into Love, your definition might take on a little more familiarity - the way you hold hands, know your partner's preferences, love to spend time with one another...

As your Love deepens through the years, it can take on many different definitions. Here is the CraftSnark's definition of true love, after nearly a dozen years with the love of my life...

I'd love to hear how my fellow crafters define Love! Share your Love notes in the comments...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Let's Define Crafts...

This is the second in a series on DIY vs Craft. Check out the introduction post on Get Your DIY Elitism Out of My Face.

When you look up craft in the dictionary, you learn that craft is an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill, especially manual skill: the craft of a mason.

If you use this definition, then the word craft is overused. The term “kids craft” is an oxymoron – how can something be an occupation requiring special skill, yet be designed for a child to accomplish?  The word craft has been hijacked to equally apply to woodcarving and popsicle stick crafts. I understand the frustration – even though there are some pretty sweet popsicle stick crafts out there.

I take offense when those who present themselves as DIYers decide to shun the word craft and all who use it. They treat craft as if it were a dirty word. They look down on anyone who uses craft to describe themselves, as if calling yourself a crafter means that you spend weekends with your seven cats working on puffy paint sweaters and plastic canvas projects. And even if it did mean that, there are some awesome puffy paint sweaters and some amazing plastic canvas projects that take serious skill.

Really, the problem arises when you have a gigantic group of people who can all define themselves the same way. A very generic statement would be to say “I know Karate”. Lots of people know Karate. But you don’t put someone who didn’t get past their White Belt on the same playing field as someone with a Third Degree Black Belt. But, Crafts doesn’t have degrees. And they don't have issuing agencies to test and confer degrees. So we all use one generic word to describe a cacophony of ideas.

If using the term DIY is a way to give degrees to crafting, it is being done wrong. There is an entire segment of the "DIY Community" that shuns the word Craft. To them the word is smut. They mock the word, and in doing so - all who accept it.

A black belt doesn’t look down on the white belt. A black belt encourages and uplifts the white belt. Coaches them. Trains them. A white belt is a black belt in training. The group of DIYers who are shunning the word craft are ostracizing those who define themselves as crafters. They are assuming their place in a nonexistant heirarchy. Craft is a community. Not a sport.

More on this next week…

ps – cats are awesome.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Get Your DIY Elitism Out of My Face: A Series

There is an entire movement of people who create that are refusing to use the word Craft to describe what they do. Instead, they are using the term “DIY”, which stands for “Do It Yourself”. Craft, by the way, means craft. It needs no explanation.

I don’t understand. Why are people turning their nose up at the word “Craft”?

 DIY is the Emperor’s New Clothes way of describing a creative person. The creative thinking here is that if they have to explain to you what DIY is, it must be fancier, and more important. It makes them sound special – a DIYer does something that you can’t understand without a Google search. DIY is like rocket science. I don't know what a rocket scientist does, but they must be pretty smart, right?

The elitism of DIY over Craft is nonsense. Pure insanity. Over the next few weeks I’m going to delve more into this DIY vs CRAFT phenomenon with a series of weekly posts. Feel free to join along in the comments.

Until next week…

Monday, April 15, 2013

I didn't make it... but I totally could have

Crafters tend to make a lot of things. Sometimes we make our purses, our clothes, or our shoes. Sometimes we take a store-bought item and jazz it up with some handmade flair. But sometimes we sport an item that looks like we could have made it. Maybe it was DIYed by a friend. Maybe we bought it at a craft fair. It could have been a gift. Or it could even be a mass-produced item that at first glance has some of that awesome hand-crafted flair.

From now on, when someone asks a crafter if we made something, we're not offering excuses. We'll proudly proclaim, "No, but I totally could have."

Monday, April 8, 2013

What is the SNAP Conference?

Bloggers all over Crafty Blog Land are preparing to go to SNAP the Conference next week. You might wonder what the conference is, what it means... and really, what the fuss is all about.

I get to go, and I am super excited. To be surrounded by hundreds of creative minds, to be able to talk to others who understand the insanity of blogging while trying to juggle a dozen other things. To have an excuse to put on something other than sweatpants. And to put on makeup without worrying that my preschooler's crisis will distract me mid-eyeliner, causing me to walk around with a half made-up face most of the day... because I never made it back to the mirror and forgot what I was in the middle of when I got distracted. Because that never happens to busy moms with two kids.

Really, SNAP is going to be something different for every person who comes - each of us will put into it and get out of it something different. Like our own little version of awesome.

Will I be seeing you there?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My day is not complete...

I try to create something every day. I might sit behind the sewing machine, or create a graphic on my computer. I might whip out the hot glue gun.
But some days, I sit down with my kids, and create a tower of blocks. Or a Lego castle.
Creating is about making moments that are tangible beyond the seconds they are created in.

I hope you find time to create today.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Very Best Easter Ever

I'm sure you had a wonderful Easter. You might even think it was great. Possibly the best Ever.

But to really have the best Easter ever, you would have needed to create your own homemade chocolates.
And have spent 6 hours or more on each of your Ukranian Eggs.

... or at least painted four or more layers of paint on your fanciful eggs.

To really have the best Easter ever, you couldn't have a regular easter tree.. you would need one of these decorated Easter Trees.

... or spend hours creating tiny flowers for this floral Easter Tree.

You should have set up full garden tablescapes. And invited the neighborhood.

Of course at the best Easter Breakfast Ever, there would be Easter Bunny Pancakes for the kids.

... and everyone would have been given a yummy bunny tail to take home with them.

... or you could have just hung out at home with the family, and celebrated the reason for the season.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crafter's Confession - That Thrift Store Smell

Yes. I said it. That musty-sweet thrift store smell makes me sick to my stomach. It smells like a combination of old things releasing generations of dust, cleaning fluid, and sweaty palms looking for bargains. Just thinking about it makes me want to wash my hands.

Having a passion for crafting doesn't mean I want to dig through your garage-sale rejects that barely qualified as tax deductions. I have no interest in paying $125 for a dresser that lived in a smoke-filled apartment for the last 30 years just to spend a small fortune on chalk paint, and give up a week of my life to re-hab it to look like the identical $149 catalog version.

When I was in high school I loved digging through rack after rack at the thrift shop, trying on different clothes with my friends. We were searching for the perfect vintage clothes to refashion into stylish additions to our wardrobes. Now that I spend my time in sweatpants and mom jeans, I've lost the desire to hunt.

Thrift stores just don't do it for me. Don't be too shocked. I've already admitted my distaste for glitter.

And no, I won't tell you what the other 92 confessions are.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Craft Definition: Duplicrap


Bloggers love Pinterest traffic. So much so that some bloggers copy content from other bloggers just so that they can get the Pinterest traffic. We agree that copying-and-pasting is wrong, so some bloggers try to hide in a grey area - duplicrapping.

They re-create another blogger's post. Taking new pictures and altering text or tutorials to make it "their own."

These duplicrappers are inspired by someone else, and create a spin-off based on the inspiration piece.

They do not follow a pattern or tutorial, share a picture of their finished project, share their thoughts, and then link back to the original pattern or tutorial.

These are bloggers who have run out of originality, and troll Pinterest for their next great idea.

Before you get up-in-arms that other bloggers are duplicrapping your work, know that not every instance of similar posts is duplicrap. It IS possible for two bloggers to be similarly inspired. And let's face it - you are not the first person to think of adding glitter to a pillar candle.

But when one blog shares images and a full set of step-out instructions (or creates a pinnable graphic based on the work of another), then links back to the "original" tutorial, that isn't creating content. That's duplicrap.

Monday, March 4, 2013

When you marry a crafter...

My husband and I dated for over 5 years before getting engaged, so I'm pretty sure that he knew what he was getting into when marrying me. Especially because during those 5 years, he helped me move 4 different times, and saw all the STUFF that a crafter accumulates.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quilt Now - Sleep Later

A couple weeks ago I asked on my Facebook Page if anyone had any requests... and one fan asked if I'd create something specific to quilting late at night.

I have been doing a lot of late-night quilting myself... so I created this little image for those of us who meet the wee hours of the morning, still behind our sewing machines. I may come up with something more snarky another day, but after pulling yet another late night quilting session, I fear all the feistyness has been drained out of me!

For those of you who are die-hard quilters, I know you've been there. And for anyone who is passionate about your craft, we quilters know that you understand where we are coming from!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Holiday Tea Towels are Useless

Whoever decided that Holiday Tea Towels are a good idea must have an abundance of cabinet space and perfect laundry-folding skills. And four sons.

Because holiday tea towels are useless. You have to store them somewhere, requiring extra cabinet space. If you don't fold them just right, the entire stack will come tumbling down on the next person who opens that cabinet door. Which always ends up being me.

I'm certain that when your first son gets engaged, you immediately start stocking up on holiday tea towels to give your new daughter-in-law. To store in her studio apartment.

If you have an abundance of tea towels, then I have the perfect solution for you. One that does not include a large garbage sack, though that option is to be considered. This is a tea towel to help you keep all the dates straight so that you can maximize your tea-towel usage, I created a free printable for the 2013 Tea Towel Calendar for the Appropriateness of Tea Towels.

If you'd like to make one for yourself, I'm sharing the printable with you! Just print this tea towel calendar onto an iron-on transfer sheet. The text is already reversed.Once printed you trim your sheet, iron it on the one plain tea towel hanging out in your space, and you're all set!

If your mother-in-law is defective and does not shop the post-holiday sales to get you new tea towels each year, then you can always DIY your own useless collection. I recommend starting with these tutorials for Valentine's Day Tea Towels and Christmas Tea Towels.

And I'd suggest you start finding additional cabinet space.

This is the full-sized image. Just right-click to save:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hey mom...

Kelly at View Along the Way came up with the idea of doing a "hey girl" linky where crafters create a photo along the lines of the "hey girl" meme. I thought it was a genius idea, but instead of using photos of my husband (who is smokin' hot) I decided to share with you the little dudes in my life instead. Because these are the guys who have to put up with running to the craft store, with me!

Click on over to see all the other fun Hey Girl meme participants...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Just Because I Know How to Create

Just because I know how to create, and was given an invitation to your baby shower, does not mean that I'll be stitching up a baby quilt for you. Just because I'm a crafter who has been invited to your wedding does not mean that I'm going to tat a lace tablecloth for you. Others get to swing by the store on the way to the birthday party, buy a toy, tissue paper and a gift bag, and throw it all together in the parking lot. I may know my way around a craft supply store, but that should not make me exempt from the present-purchasing-drive-by. Though you might get a handmade card.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I don't have craft hoarding-itis

People think that craft hoarding is a disease. And it is a sickness. One that has been seriously diagnosed for years. I'm here to set the record straight. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me wanting to purchase every craft supply known to mankind and keep it until someday "soon" when I will use it. The problem is that I don't have the space to adequately store these supplies so that when I DO find a free minute I can't find what I bought and need to buy it all over again. It isn't Craft Hoarding-itis ... it is Small Space-osis.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Craft Definition: Procraftinating

There will always be laundry that needs to be washed. or folded. or put away. There is a constant stream of dirty dishes making its way towards the sink. Dinnertime arrives every 24 hours. But inspiration is not constant. We must create while we are inspired to do so. Because housework can wait... some more.

Indulge in a little procraftination. Craft up a little fun while all the "must dos" turn into "must do laters". 

Monday, January 14, 2013

You are a Source of Awesome

Those of us who blog came to the internet to share. We put out content free for others to read, use, enjoy, and share. Some bloggers have ads or sponsored posts in an attempt to create an income. Even so, in most cases the content is free for anyone with internet access.

We like to share. We LOVE to share. For most bloggers, all you have to do is ask, and we will happily agree to you sharing our content. The right way. Use a single picture, a brief summary, and link back to us as the original source. Share our posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It is flattering that you are a big enough fan of our work that you want to share it with others. 

We want to be awesome. We love it when you think that we are awesome. Please be just as awesome in return.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pinterest is Not a Source

Pinterest is a great archive of ideas. Just like the library is an archive of information. We can go to either to be inspired, be entertained, or kill time.

It is not the walls of the library that give us inspiration, it is the content on the shelves. And it is not Pinterest that gives us great ideas, it is the blogs and websites that have content curated there.

Before assuming that an idea originated on Pinterest, consider first that the idea is original. The source is out there.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolutions I Wish My Social Media Friends Made

A blogging friend of mine sent me this list of New Year's Resolutions she wishes her Social Media Friends made.  I'm sure you can relate to most, if not all of these!
1. No more duck lips.
2. No more "poor me" whining for every post.
3. Less photos of your wine.
4. Less self portrait shots.......I really don't need a daily shot.
5. No more status updates that are really meant for one person. 
What New Year's Resolutions do you wish YOUR online friends made? Add them in the comments!