Friday, May 29, 2009

Craft Show Weekend

(crossposted at BlogHer)

Last week, I talked about the type of quilt shows available this year. A different type of show you also might wish to attend is one of the many craft shows. Where quilt and stitchery shows are primarily about displaying members work, craft shows are mainly about small crafty vendors plying their wares.

ellebee {studio} calls the application process craft insanity:
in a fit of psychotic optimism, i filled out applications for four craft shows today {and another two will be going out as soon as the applications are available online}. . . .i have always wanted to have a real show “schedule” and this is the first time i’ll be doing more than two in a 3 or 4 month time frame.
I am attending one of the biggest mash-ups of craft show, technology, diy, music and art you can experience: Maker Faire, 09. (Look for my wrap up Wednesday.) I'm hoping to meet up with Crafty Pod's Diane Gillaland; The Crafty Chica and her daughter, Maya; the crew from ThreadBanger (how I wish I were there on Sunday for their Twitter Scavanger Hunt) and more!

The Indie Fixx will be attending Philadelphia's Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend. She shares the vendors she's looking forward to seeing in person. Sharing this technique, the Baltimore Etsy Street Team is also heading up to this show.

Another Baltimore crafty group -the Charm City Craft Mafia - is heading off to Silver Springs Sunday for Handmade Mart. Crafty Bastard's Tina Seamonster will be there, too.

If you're further south than the mid-Atlantic region, you might want to check out the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta, GA.
Lorigami will be there, along Glue And Glitter. Some Art Talk screened advertising bags to take along with her.

Laura Jane of JaneWear jewelry wrote a number of hints for the person working a craft show:

Getting to the show and setting up is only half the battle. There’s so much more involved in making this show your best show.

I should first tell you that, unless absolutely unavoidable, you should never take on selling at a craft show by yourself. While shows can be exciting and profitable, they can also be physically and emotionally exhausting.

… it’s important to bring along someone to help you work the booth and deal with customers…

…realize that your booth will be unmanned for a certain amount of time. If you must walk away – even for a short time, try to get one of the neighboring booths to help you out.

…see what other vendors are offering and what they are charging. Ask them about their work…

Wondering what shows may be running in your area? CraftShocker lists the indie craft shows every week.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Fashion Show: Project Runway Knock Off

(crossposted at BlogHer)

Last Thursday Bravo premiered The Fashion Show, an obvious re-engineering of their popular Project Runway which they lost to LifeTime late last year. Standing in the place of Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, this show offers fashion designer Izaak Mizrahi and former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland and senior VP or IMG Fashion Fern Mallis.

The retooling of the program created some interesting changes:
  • Project Runway(PR) emphasized couture fashion, The Fashion Show (TFS) is concerned with designs that have retail potential.
  • Like all of the "professional challenge reality shows" on Bravo since PR, TFS has a quick challenge to start the show. The winner of this challenge gets immunity.
  • There is no contestant's "mentor" such as the role played by Tim Gunn.
  • The judged challenge at each show is produced as fashion show. The audience is compromised of fashion writers and retail buyers whose comments are taken into consideration by the judges in making their final decisions.
  • The contestants remain present throughout the final discussions/elimination. While they are free to "leave the runway', they move to become part of the audience instead of disappearing behind a curtain.
  • The dismissal line: We just aren't buying your line.

The bloggers who hate the show all seem to mourn the lack of a Tim Gunn character. While I find Gunn adds the charm to PR, I also believe that had the producers chosen to add a mentor-character to the show, the critics would have found whomever filled that role lacking. There is only one Tim Gunn.

Many also complained about the weak dismissal line; I agree. So many of these seemed overworked and dull with an unappealling attempt to make them relavent to the idea of the show. Where Trump's "You're Fired!" works, Mizrahi's line is a snooze.

I was surprised that I missed the element of shopping at Mood. Hopefully in later programs we will see more of their fabric-decision process and get a clue how each makes their design decisions. It was a small point in PR, but it added a lot to understanding the design idea of each contestant.
One change which I did like: the fashion show atmosphere for the challenge each week. While the finalists will not have a show at Fashion Week, they instead have a fashion show every week with exposure to the business people with whom they will eventually be working.

The reviews:

Alessandra Stanley at Sign on San Diego: There is plenty to enjoy, but not much to applaud. At its best, fashion celebrates originality; “The Fashion Show” feeds on imitation.

Anne Bratskeri of Newsday (via justusboys): BOTTOM LINE: Overall, a meaner, harsher fashion competition, but compelling. When the judges hate something, they don't try to couch their disdain.

RachelL from SideReel:
At first, it seems like a brilliant new approach to the familiar format - audiences might be more invested if they actually see something wearable - but it's quickly apparent from the premiere episode that a good part of the appeal of "Runway" lies in the outrageous designs. Haute couture is not always accessible to Main Street America, but producing it is a very creative and entertaining process.
Televisionary's Jace:
And while it might sound in theory very similar to Project Runway, there's a lot to be said about Runway's own skin tight format, the wise and knowing presence of mentor Tim Gunn, and the troika of cutting judges Michael Kors, Heidi Klum, and Nina Garcia. In fact, watching The Fashion Show reminds you that there's more to a piece of clothing than just the cloth; it's how it's cut and shaped by the hands of a master craftsman. Missy Schwartz:
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but boy can it make for some lousy television. Case in point: tonight's premiere of Bravo's The Fashion Show, a.k.a. Since We Lost 'Project Runway' to Lifetime (Argh!) We Came Up With This New Series That Is Totally Just As Awesome as the Original -- Really! Please Watch!

I'd like to give The Fashion Show the benefit of the doubt and allow that subsequent episodes might improve. But what we saw this evening wasn't pretty: an obvious -- and obviously inferior -- Runway copycat in which 15 aspiring designers compete for a $125,000 grand prize and for the chance...not to show their collection at Fashion Week, but to sell their line "in a retail market." (If that's not conveniently vague, I don't know what is.)

Tom and Lorenzo-Fabulous and Opinionated- thought:
Anyway, our point is, we don't quite get why some people are being so vehemently negative about this show. If you like Project Runway, then why on earth wouldn't you like this show? It has literally all the exact same elements. We find it hard to believe that THAT many people watch PR ONLY for the host/judges/mentor. Like we said, we love them too, but we didn't go into last night's show expecting to see them or even see a close approximation of them. We expected to see crazy designers bitching at each other while they try to complete impossible challenges and then end it with a runway show of hungry models parading the results around for judging. Done and done. Mission accomplished.
What about you? Did you watch last week? Will you continue to watch? Did you love it or hate it? I haven't even touched upon the contesants!

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Eight Principles of Fun

I had a few moments of down time on line, so I chose to StumbleUpon the internets. I often find something quite irrestistible and occasionaly something worth sharing. Yesterday, I found the website The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun.

Click the link - the design and animation is well worth spending a little time watching and absorbing. Go have yourself a little fun. But if you don't have the time right now to pay attention, I'll just share the principles so you can mull over these ideas throughout the day:

1. Get Focused: Stop Hiding Who You Really Are.
2. Get Focused: Start Being Intensely Selfish.

3. Be Creative: Stop Following the Rules.
4. Be Creative: Start Scaring Yourself.

5. Use Your Wisdom: Stop Taking It All So Damn Seriously
6. Use Your Wisdom: Start Getting Rid of the Crap

7. Take Action: Stop Being Busy.
8. Take Action: Start Something.

Which of these principles do you need to focus on right now?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Taking Multi-Strand To the Extreme

Have you seen this video? You have to get 5 minutes through it before you see her knitting. All I can think is that my hands would be killing me if I did this.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Crafting a Life: Crafty Tutorials for Kids

(crossposted to BlogHer)

"There's nothing to do."
"We're bored."
"How many days until we go ...?"

These -and similar complaints - are the true signs of summer. Children left to their resources can quickly run out of ways to amuse themselves. I'd be willing to bet that with schools closing because of the H1N1 influenza, some parents and caretakers are already hearing these refrains.

With that in mind, I've searched out some simple to more complicated crafty tutorials to keep the whole family entered for an afternoon.

Quazen tackled one of the ubiquitous items of childhood: what to do with broken crayons.
  1. Waxed Paper Stained Glass Windows
  2. Mega Mult-Color Crayon Blocks
  3. Wax Painting on paper.
I remember doing all of these as kids and having a blast. Wouldn't these be great solutions for either rainy summer days, or those last summer "there's nothing to do" days?

Amanda Formaro wrote a tutorial on Salt Dough Sports Magnets. These quick and simple crafts would make gifts for the Mom or Dad who is a crazy sports fan - or the parent of one.

Simple Kids has a collection of YouTube videos demonstrating how to do simple crafts.

Do you head to the zoo with your kids every summer? Wenona Napolitano at Crafting A Green World wrote a tutorial on making cute animal creations from empty yogurt cups: Yogurt Cup Creations. While she and her family have created seasonal animals, I can see re-creating the zoo and a great memory of the trip.

Gail Bartel recognized Children's Day by writing two tutorials on Koinobori Windsocks
using both fabric and heavy paper. I had kids do something similar at a summer Bible School picnic at the beach. Watching children stand in a row at the edge of the water with their windsocks fluttering in the breeze was magical. The added benefit: the windsocks identified "our" kids from all the others at the beach that day.

When the kids are home, do they head out to ride their bikes all day? Check out these simple instructions for embellished wheel spokes, bike flag, or streamers from the DIY network to customize the look of their bikes.

Perhaps a child would like to spend some time this summer tackling a new hobby. AlphaMom offered T-Shirt Weaving (like the potholders I made as a child):
help your kids celebrate with an upcycled weaving project using old t-shirts. My six-year-old was fascinated to watch me cut up clothing (not for the first time) and we thought of many more uses for these cast-off shirts. I'm certain that you have some old t-shirts lying around the house, but if you get them at the thrift store, look for extra large shirts with no seams on the sides to make the longest strips. We used string for the base (called warp strings) because I found it easier for little hands to work with, but you could also use more t-shirt strips, creating a denser weave and a fully recycled project. And if you don't have a loom, don't go buy one -- you can use a cardboard box by following the instructions here.
Finally, it always seems that breaks from school invite those broken arms and legs. BPWagner posted an Instructables tutorial on Attaching Lego Accessories to a Cast. I'm still a little confused about these instructions, but the idea of having a light or other accessory that I could attach to a cast is too juicy to ignore. Please, if you try this one, let me know how it goes.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.