My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

The items that I post reviews on, have either been purchased on the internet or through a local vendor. Additionally I will review items that I got on sale, as a gift or as a sample from either the manufacurer or some other source.

Note: always read the manufacturers directions on how to properly use a product and craft carefully. Additionally, I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a few cents (literally) from your clicking on my Amazon links. Since they raised the minimum payout from earnings to $10 I haven't seen a credit for a while but eventually I will get one.

Every penny counts when trying to set a budget to get supplies to use for my reviews, tutorials and hauls. However, you do not have to use my links. You can use your favorite search engine to find the best price for your budget.

Recycling E-Waste

As technology advances, new products are invented and sold to the public at an amazingly fast pace.  So that great television or computer you bought yesterday may be obsolete within a two year period.  The lifespan is even shorter for computers and cell phones. 

Recently, I looked at the area of my garage that was dedicated to obsolete electronics (instead of my car).  I knew I had to do something with all this e-waste if I ever wanted to be able to park my car in the garage again.

So I had to ask myself, when it comes to electronic waste how do I safely dispose of it? 

In California, the disposal of e-waste in landfills was found to have the potential to cause severe human and environmental health impacts.  In order to stop e-waste dumping, the California Senate passed the “Electronic Waste Recycling Act (Senate Bill 50) which came into law in 2004. 

Ok, so I don’t want to break the law, so what now?  Thankfully, the SB 50 established and funded a program for consumers to return, recycle, and ensure safe disposal of e-waste.  You should know there are different types of e-waste, so you need to check with your local e-waste program to find out what covered electronic devices (otherwise known as CEDs) are allowed.  

F.Y.I.:  Cells phones may be returned to retailers who sell them. 

The 10 year old computer monitor,  hard drives, collection of obsolete vcrs & dvd players, coffee maker, printers, etc. still needed to go.

the impressive mountain of e-waste at the drop-off
So I set off to find out how to properly dispose of them.  I found out that the “City of Fountain Valley” was holding an e-waste drop off event.  Not only was this convenient but the actual process of dropping off the items was so easy.  You load the stuff up in your trunk, you drive up to the specified location and they take it right out of your car for you. These guys are fabulous.  They are very organized and get you through as quickly as possible.  I took some pictures of the event so you can get an idea of how much they collect in just a couple of hours.  

Organized, efficient, and most friendly.... program!
By the time I had come through to the front of the line, the event handlers had already filled up one very large truck full of this e-waste. By the way, the organization also has pick up available for a small fee which is a pretty good deal if you do not have a way to transport your e-waste.

One of the trucks being loaded with the e-waste.
What can companies do with the waste?  Well below is a picture of how one company (Two's Company) recycles keyboard keys into useable household decor pieces such a photo frames.  

That same company also sells some very cool purses made from soda can lids.  

Additionally, I found out at my local e-waste collection event that batteries which are considered “household hazardous waste”, are not allowed to be dropped off at this type of event.  That forced me to find out where one can properly dispose of them. I do utilized re-chargeable batteries but even they have a limited amount of times you can re-charge them.  So I called my local trash company and found out they have a special facility to handle this type of waste. 

As for plastic containers, well below is a picture of a lamp from a store display that stops to make you think a bit.....

The light fixture is made up of clean empty plastic containers.  I don't think they actually touched the light heat source because I could not smell that distinct plastic smell. If nothing else, it was an interesting display piece.   However,  you can always place your empty plastic containers in the specified recycle bins provided by your local trash company.

Recycling can be fun and there are unlimited options on what to do with all that stuff piling up in our homes.  Just remember to recycle responsibly!

If you have other things you would like to recycle or upcycle, you should check out ecosalon .  They have some great ideas and links. 

Walking the floor at the Winter 2011 "TNNA Show".

The TNNA (The National Needle Arts Organization) trade show is an opportunity to become more educated in the field of needle arts, yarns, and fashion/market trends.  It is also a dynamic area to meet designers and manufacturers and see the new and innovative ideas they have come up with.

My first stop was the "Crochet! Magazine" booth.  Stefanie Girard had brought along the Amineko dolls with her which are two crochet cats, named Stan Amineko and Jane Doe Amineko.

It makes sense they would start off their day at this particular booth.  They are darling to see in person and I enjoy photographing their antics whenever I can.  By the way, if you want to make your own, then you should check out the book "Hello My Name is Ameniko by Nekoyama".    The book has great photographs and  straight forward "Step by Step" directions.  There are also some fun suggestions for personalizing your own Amineko cat with accessories.

The next stop was the "Lorna's Laces" booth.  This booth had yummy colors and the specialty yarns are hand dyed.

Their displays were orignally and fun looking.  I just loved the way this booth presented it's yarns.
Below is a picture of the wall of yarn at the back of the booth which was so colorful.  Of course they had some fun knitted critters, so we took some pictures of theirs and the Amineko dolls on the wall of color.

The next stop was more fiber at the "ArtYarns" booth.  If you have not had a chance to work with her fibers, go to her website to find out the nearest retailer.  ArtYarns has some beautiful yarns made of the most amazing materials, including cashmere, wool, silk, mohair and others.

Here are some of the lovely books that Iris Schreir (of ArtYarns) has written:

"Reversible Knits", "Little Lacy Knits", "Modular Knits" and many more.  Iris also appeared on the television show "Knitty Gritty" and others.

The next stop was the "Alpaca With A Twist" booth.  I enjoy working with Alpaca, the yarns are not only beautiful but I know that my project will keep me warm when I wear it.

The above are some cool pics I took at a local "Alpaca" craft fair.  It was fun to see these cuties in person.

Speaking of someone else who likes to use Alpaca yarns in her designs, Robyn Chachula was at the show and was scheduled to do a book signing.

Of course, I just had to have a copy of Robyn Chachula's newest book called "Baby Blueprint Crochet".  If you have a chance the next time you are in a book store, check her books out.  She is a very talented designer and her patterns are very easy to follow.  I highly recommend to spend a few minutes to peruse the books because you may just be surprised at how appealing her designs are.....and......maybe you will get caught up the "create something" bug like I was.

By the way, Robyn has a really cool blog called "Crochet by Faye"  at: 

Robyn Chachula

As you can guess, I am going to make the cute robot toy "Robot Burt" on page 135.  The baby booties and her other projects are darling to see in person.

We stopped by the "Unicorn Books and Crafts, Inc." booth to see the best possible selection of craft books ever!  They are distributors for needlework and textile craft books and sell to retail stores.  They had a bunch of these book towers with the biggest selection of craft and textile books ever. 

Amazon is great but you do not get to turn the pages of the books to see if the projects appeal to you which is why I enjoy going to book stores.  However, they normally have a very small selection of books in stock.  So this was a fabulous experience, they even had books from other countries.  

The best part of this booth is that they had book signings all day long.  This was a great opportunity to speak to the authors and ask questions about their books and designs.  I got to spend time with Carri Hammett and speak to her about her new book.  Carri Hammett owns a successful yarn shop and has an extensive background in fiber arts.  She wanted to design patterns that were accessible by knitters of a variety of knitting experience levels..while still being stylish.  
Carri Hammett
This particular book is good because it is specifically for knitting in the round.  My enjoyment of knitting in the round is the projects travel well.  The first few pages review a variety of techniques.  The rest of the book is patterns for mittens and hats.  Her projects are great and they do vary in design and techniques (which is helpful to me when trying to knit projects for different personality types).  My favorite pattern is on page 90, a "Rustic Stripes Hat with matching Mittens".  The hat is not a the typical cap style, it is has some fun details that change the shape and make it a really flattering hat style. 

If you want to know about Carri, the Craftside blog has a mini video interview with Carri on their blog site.  Plus they have a list of the many different titles that Carri has written.

Recycle ...... Bird House Makeover!

If you have an old birdhouse around or even a newer one in the wrong color scheme or perhaps you just want to use it in your home decor, a little paint and a little hard work is all you need.  Below is a way to update or just change a colorful birdhouse to use in your home decor.

Start by cleaning up the birdhouse, then give it a good sanding to prepare it for painting.  Make sure to remove any dust and particles.  The cleaner the house is....the better the surface will be for the paint to adhere to.  Use an old box as a work station to control possible over spray.

I love using "Krylon" indoor/outdoor paints.  It coats well and is true to color.  It also has the lowest amount of "scent" than the other spray paints.  What little it has, seems to disappear fairly quickly.  I found that spraying the lightest colors first, seems to work best.  Don't forget to let the piece dry between coatings.

After you paint it, then just add some ribbon, a faux plant spray or two.  To add snow, then place some Plaid texture paint where ever you think snow would look good.   If you want to give the faux snow some bling, add a small amount of glitter to the paint and mix it.  It gives the snow some sparkle that reflects light to add more fun to your birdhouse.

Let the texture paint dry according to the manufacturers direction.  To protect it,  you can spray it with a sealer or Krylon's Crystal Clear Acrylic.  There you have it.

A simple and fun craft project that makes an old bird house new again. With a few adjustments, this can be an easy kids craft project or an upcycled project.

Remember to recycle responsibly.

Drew Emborsky aka "The Crochet Dude" Book Signing at the Winter 2011 TNNA Winter

The National Needle Arts Association Winter Trade Show (TNNA) was on January 8 - 10, 2011 in Long Beach, California, this year.  

Drew Emborsky who is known as the The Crochet Dude did a book signing at TNNA Winter 2011.  You may remember him from his television appearances on the "DIY Channel" on shows such as:  "Knitty Gritty", "Uncommon Threads" and many others. Here is a picture from the filming of one of his guest appearances on "Knitty Gritty".  He had designed some great dog sweaters.

At the TNNA show,  I was able to get a signed copy of his new book:

"Crochet It. Love It. Wear It"  

and it has some fabulous projects.    His finished design pieces were  in the TNNA fashion show and the black crochet dress looked stunning going down the cat walk.  I took a picture of it for you to enjoy this great piece.

Crochet Dude and his newest book "Crochet It. Love It. Wear It"
Full shot of the dress.

I added a full shot of the dress so you can see how fabulously this dress drapes.  The Crochet Dude is a talented designer that understands how a woman's body really looks and designs clothing to enhance the female figure.  No matter what size you are, you can personalize the fit of the pattern by following his instructions on how to it properly.  He is not limited to just designing for women.  He also has a great book on fashion projects for men (The Crochet Dude's Designs for Guy, 30 Projects Men will love.)    I highly recommend checking this book out and the many others he has written.  You can find any of these on Amazon or your local bookstore.

By the way, I went to JoAnn's Fabric and Craft Store today and noticed he has a line of crochet tools and kits.  I went to their web site and found he has a really cool  Romantic Peasant Top project on there at:

The pattern creatively combines basic crochet stitches with printed fabric in a way the creates a fun and comfortable top.  This is a great level 3 (experience in crochet stitches and pattern reading) project with minimal sewing so that it is easy to put together.  

You may want to check his blog or web site often because he always coming up with new ideas and patterns.

Memory Wire Bracelet

Memory bracelet project.

I have found that a great way to work off stress (besides exercising) is making something. That always works for me. So this week I decided to post one my "quick and easy" bracelets that I made from materials I had stashed in a drawer.

Here is the list of supplies that I used:

memory wire (Bead Heaven)
assorted beads (Bead Heaven)
round nose pliers
flat nose pliers

Here are the directions on how to make it:

Take the memory wire. Use a wire cutter to cut it to suit your taste and wrist size. Then using the round nose pliers, form a small loop at one end. Load the beads in a pleasing manner. Then finish by forming a small loop at the other end (with the round nose pliers). There you have it.

Remember to file the ends of the memory wire so it does not snag on your clothing or you.  The same project can be made with recycled beads you have on hand.  Or you can felt an old sweater and make some fun beads out of it....then use the above as an inspiration to create something even more fun.

Below is a picture of the another memory wire bracelet using purple glass beads from Bead Heaven.

Unique LA Winter Show 2010 Review

The "Unique LA" Winter Show was a blast.

Since the show is known for its unique independent design and gifts,  the selection of merchandise available for purchase was beyond belief.  I had a great time checking out the different booths, demonstrations, food,  and photo opportunities that were available for show guests to enjoy.  I found a booth with personalized socks, handmade chocolates, all the way to upcycled jewelry made from car parts.

The Craftside Publishing Booth featured a fun "Ugly Sweater" that folks could pose with (Photo Op Stop).  Notice all the fun 80s icons you find on the sweater.  It was a big hit with the show visitors.

The "Craftside" booth,  arranged for a two day whirl wind of mini workshops and "Make & Take" demonstrations.

For those who are not familiar with the term,  "Make & Take" is a short craft project that you make in a very short time (usually 10 minutes or less).  Most stores and craft shows charge a fee for these type of mini workshops but at the "Craftside" booth they were free to make. 

Each artist contributed their time and materials to provide this fabulous opportunity to learn a new craft and/or technique to the various visitors to the "Unique LA" show.

Normally you do not get the opportunity to take workshops from such amazing talent in one location, unless you have access the C.H.A. trade show.  Stefanie Girard worked hard to bring together all these talented ladies to LA to give local crafters a taste of what we normally get to experience at the designer trade shows.  This was a great opportunity that I am glad I did not miss.  

The Saturday Line Up:

In the photo below (from left to right) is  Stefanie Girard,   Cathi Milligan, and  Linda Swingle.

Cathi Milligan, who you may have seen making her hand blown glass jewelry on the television show "DIY Jewelry" gave a glass workshop at the show.  This was a special treat for jewely makers in attendance at the show.
She taught a handblown glass necklace technique at the show, using beautiful bits of fired glass.  The students loved this project.  After all, you can never have enough glass beads and jewelry pieces.

Cathi also has a book out called "Mod Knots"  (which is a fun book with modern macrame project ideas and techniques).  She has also done some fun projects for "Craftzine" and has a shop at Etsy where she sells jewelry making supplies, glass blown beads, and other beautiful artwork.

She had all the cool tools and some beautiful glass pieces to make a colorful glass focal piece.  Her new store has in house classes and monthly special events that I highly recommend attending.  She also has rental time for the kilns at the studio for your own projects.

Her Shop is "The Glass Studio, 5052 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90042  (phone 323-257-0764 call to find out hours and event line up).

Linda Swingle, who is well known for the beautiful paintings and murals that she does...also taught some workshops.  We were very lucky to have here at the Unique LA show.  Over a period of two days, she taught two different workshops that introduced folks to rubberstamping and water color painting techniques.  I took the water color painting techniques workshop and could not believe how good my water color project came out.
Linda teaching painting techniques
Linda has a blog that lets you know where she will be teaching next at

For those of you who love sewing, the ever wonderful Nancy Langdon was hand to share some of her sewing secrets and techniques.

Nancy Langdon's book (above) and the Amineko Kitty.

 Nancy Langdon, is the author of "Sewing Clothes Kids Love".  Nancy was on hand to give a workshop on ribbon rose techniques.  The line was so long that I never got a chance to do the project but it looked beautiful.  I did get a chance to purchase some of the cool ribbons that she sells.

And one of her patterns, for a very versatile purse that uses as much detail and material as I am inspired to add....or at least the pattern is for my daughter to sew (since I don't know how to sew that well).

Sewing Clothes Kids Love!

Nancy also brought a selection of her beautiful ribbons, unique patterns, books, and samples of the outfits she made for her book (Sewing Clothes Kids Love).  The young lady in the photo to the right is wearing one of the outfits from the book.  They are easy to wear and very colorful.

Next up was Stefanie Girard, who is the author of "Sweater Surgery" (cool projects to refashion or re-make your old sweaters), taught a fun class on how to make felted flowers from recycled sweaters. The classes were full of excited students who enjoyed learning new techniques and making these fun felted pieces.

Stefanie Girard can be reached via any of the following links:  or ,

The ever wonderful Christi Friesen made a special trip to Los Angeles to give workshops in polymer clay techniques featuring elements from her book "Polymer Clay and Mixed Media".  I loved the way she made working with the premo polymer clay so fun for the folks who stopped by and took the workshop.  She had students of all ages.  The kids especially loved how easy her techniques are for them to follow.  They could learn to make polymer clay birds, hearts, and a variety of other exciting creatures.  Her books would inspire anyone to try this craft.  By the way, the formula for Premo has been improved and the colors really pop.

Christi Friesen

Christi also has a great sense of humor which the following photo can attest  to:

The Sunday Line Up:

Cheryl Green did a fabulous scrapbooking Paper Cut Workshop, using materials from "Club Scrap".

You may know Cherryl from her producer position on the Carol Duvall show or her many craft projects, crafting articles and other written media publications.  She is one very talented artist.  She also does some gorgeous rubberstamping workshops, too.

Jeanine Stein, who is the author of "Re-bound" which features some of her book binding techniques.  Jeanine hosted a mini workshop on how to bookbind, featuring a very cool book making technique.  This was another one of those workshop that I wanted to do but did not get a chance to sit down and complete the project.  Even the the "Amineko" characters had to get in on the workshop action.  On their lap is a sample of the mini book project that Jeanine was teaching.

The Sunday special treat for jewelry makers was a workshop by Lauren Anderson, author and jewelry making artist, did a workshop utilizing some exciting chainmaille techniques.  Lauren is well known for her work which is featured on the Beadalon ads.  She also designs for Beadalon and you can find her patterns both online at her etsy store or at craft supply stores like Michaels and JoAnns.

Then there were the "Amineko" characters who have been traveling art and craft shows alike.  They were visiting and being admired at the "Craftside" booth.

Amineko crocheted Cat

•*¨*•.Happy 2011.•*¨*•