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.

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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.

Event Review - American Sewing Guild 2011 Annual Conference

This summer I got a chance to attend the "American Sewing Guild 2011 Annual Conference" which held in the city of Los Angeles, California.
It was a great opportunity to see what is new in sewing, what the trends were, and what  different types of workshops were being offered.  They even had a display of some their pin and thimble collectibles from former conferences. The American Sewing Guild has a great slogan that includes, bringing people together through sewing.

Parking in LA is always an expensive experience. Some of the hotels in the area where the conference was being held were charging $40 per day to park there.  My friends and I found that to be a little ridiculous so we found a parking structure less than a block a way that only charged $12 to park. We also figured that the walk over would justify the coffee drinks we were planning on having once we got to the conference site.
The conference was held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles which is known for its unique architecture and decor.
The American Sewing Guild Conference offered different free demonstration of sewing techniques at the exhibit hall state.  The ASG conference offers workshops, seminars, and a large amount of lectures to suit difference member needs.  The selection was amazing.
They also had a wonderful community service project called the "Painted Turtle Pillow" where members

buy the pattern to make the turtle pillow and then donate them to either raise funds for the children or to

give to the children.  The "Painted Turtle" camp (a non-profit organization) is a special camp and family care center for children who suffer from "life threatening" illnesses.

The American Sewing Guild also had some great special events that included the "Art Bra Exhibit" from "The Way to Wellness Foundation"' and the well known Hoffman Challenge from the "Treasures Collection".
The first exhibit I got to see was the "Art Bra Exhibit" from The Way to Wellness Foundation.  The art bras can be made of just about anything.  The artist's imagination is only limited in the fact that it has to remain wearable and displayable.  The "Art Bra Exhibit" from "The Way to Wellness Foundation" was created to benefit woman's breast cancer services.
The detail work on these bra's is very creative and fun.

Below is a close up of some the different detail work on four of the bra's that were on display.
The first has some fun western motifs on it.
The second has all different types of beads.
The third was covered in cloth domino's which were three dimensional.
The fourth bra was covered in colorful display of feathers.
The second special event was the 2011 Hoffman Challenge  from their "Treasures Collection".  Here is a
peak of only a few of the beautiful pieces of clothing that were on display.
In the trends area, I stopped by and spoke with Stephanie Klienman at the "Fabric Studio" booth.  Who explain how the  Fabric Studio Software line that allows the user to create and print their own fabric patterns in easy to follow steps.  It was so simple and the resulting fabric is pretty to cool to see in person.

Below are printed examples of some fabric made using their fun new "Fabric Studio" software. I like the kitty and puppy fabric.  They are too cute!
This little dress is so adorable and if you look closely, you can see the little girl's face in the print.

The I went to visit with Linda McGehee from Ghee's to talk to her about the zipper trend and some of the many different things you can make with them.
Her booth had an incredible selection of zippers that varied from simple to some covered with

rhinestones.   I personally loved the fancy lace trimmed zippers.  She even had badge holders that were made from zippers.
Linda knows that folks are busy and cannot often shop around for the materials to make some of her cool jewelry projects that she sells on her website.  So she actually had some kits at her booth that were
Samples from Linda's Jewelry Making Patterns from zippers.
incredibly cute and very reasonably priced.  She also offers free patterns on her website.  Linda a very

cool class on upcycling old clothing.
    Then I decided to check out the Exhibit Hall and see what types of merchandise was being sold by vendors.  One thing to catch my eyes was "Dawn Sklar Ribbon and Button" booth where there was
a fabulous selection of ribbons and buttons.

She also had jewelry making supplies as well as pre-made button jewelry.  However, it was the buttons

themselves that held my attention. She even had some steampunk ones but they sold out pretty quick on those.
Batik Stamp for Stamping on Fabric
The show had a lot to offer between the workshops, the lectures and the exhibits.  There was plenty of eye candy and a great selection of interesting products to empty the pocket book.  If you like to sew and attend workshops, then you may wish to look into this show.


On the set of "Plaid TV" with Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza

Steve Piacenza, Stefanie Girard, Cathie Filian and me at the CHA Winter show
My friend, Stefanie Girard, got to film an episode of "Plaid TV"  with Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza
Steve Piacenza and Cathie Filian of Plaid TV
She did an fun episode titled "How to Make a Wind Chime with Garden Tools" that combined a project

and technique from her book "Sweater Surgery" (from Quarry Press) with a project from Steve Piacenza
Steve Piacenza and Stefanie Girard on set at Plaid TV
and his arsenal of Plaid products.  I went along to help Stefanie with her makeup since I had just got my new HD Makeup kit and needed a venue to test it out on.  The show is filmed in high definition so it provided me with a great opportunity to see if the makeup worked or not.  It also gave me this sneak

peek as to how this show is filmed. Below is a Cathie Filian, who is checking the lighting
on the set before they start filming. A lot of time and effort goes into filming each Plaid TV segment.

They spend time checking and rechecking the directions, the project and the materials so
Steve Piacenza, Stefanie Girard and Cathie Filian reviewing the project.
that the viewer gets the best possible finished product to enjoy.

Between segments, Steve took out a moment to model one of the "Hot Glue Gun" finger protectors that Cathie Filian and he invented.
Steve wants to help you prevent hot glue gun burns
As for Stefanie's project, it was too much fun.  See the flower on the bird house, it is made from a recycled sweater that had been felted.  Then Stefanie used her Sizzix "Big Shot"to die cut flower petals
and turned into the sweater into a flower.  The flowers became a cool decoration for a fun bird house chime.

If you have not had a chance to go online and watch these episodes, you are in for a treat.  The projects
vary to cover a large area of interest
and audience based.  On the day I was there I got a quick peak at some their projects.   On one table I saw fabulous easy kids projects that would appeal to young children.  On a different table, there were projects that made me want to run out to the local craft store and stock up on plaid products.  They also have projects posted on the web site to inspire you through the upcoming holiday season.
As for the episode itself, well here it is for your viewing enjoyment.

What are your crafting plans for the upcoming holidays?  We would love to know what types of projects our readers enjoy making and reading more about.


Product Review of "The Card Album"

I enjoy finding new and interesting storage products for my finished projects.  It is even better when the
product has problem solving applications like the "Card Album".  At first glance, it is not very impressive looking.  However, Stefanie Girard (designer & patent holder), who is a friend of mine, is pretty patient so she took the time to explained how the Card Album worked and the reason for the  design.

The Card Album
The Card Album was created for people like me who like to make their own cards.  In the past when I made a card I would stick in a file or in a drawer.  More often than not, the handmade card would get squished, bent, or even misplaced.  To avoid this type of dissapointment, Stefanie Girard (author of

"Sweater Surgery" )  created a special elastibind construction on the "Card Album" to hold greeting cards and other projects for crafters and artists alike.

She wanted to create an organized solution for folks to be able to store their handmade greeting cards with having them become damaged or misplaced.   She also recycles envelopes and uses them in these

binders to hold an assortment of different items.
View of how the Card Album holds cards.

The Card Album holds up to 24 of 5x7 cards even if you have a variety of different sized handmade cards.  I likehow easily this systems allows me to keep my cards organized and accessable.  You insert
View of back pocket and banding on the Card Album

the finished or even unfinished card through the band and its stays in place until you need it again.
Showing the album holding 5x7 cards
The fun did not stop there, when I attended a "Card Album" decorating class at the winter CHA show, we decorated the outside of these cool card albums with die cuts, stickers, buttons and other ephemera. Since the decorative craft class was offered at the CHA show there was an amazing assortment of items (both cool tools, fun decorative embellishments, and other tidbits) available to use.
Stefanie showed us how we can uses our altered art supplies, scrapbooking supplies, etc. to decorate the outside of the Card Album  to reflect our own artistic style.  If you can not attend one her classes, she does have a blog (The Card Album Blog) where she often posts card making ideas.

Rubber stamps work great on these.  The stamped image, on the above Card Album is done using "StazOn" ink which works great on so many surfaces.

The next album I decorated I wanted to have a halloween theme.  I found some cool templates on the "Martha Stewart" crafting site to use.  I printed out the witch silhoutte and used it as a template to cut out the witch using some card stock.  The templates have some really convenient measurements so you can adjust the print to the size you need (on your computer).
Witch Silhoutte from Martha Stewart crafts

Then I used a glue stick to attach the witch to the book cover.  It stayed on really well which surprised

me since glue stick glue does not always hold well on plastic.  I also used my Martha Stewart punch around the page "crackle" punch to outline the cover.  I love her punches and will use them in any craft I can.

It was a simple craft project that did not take a lot of time or supplies.  I only used items that I had on hand and I was pleased that it came out just the way I wanted it to.  Now I can store my halloween theme cards in this book.  Below is the  second book I decorated to hold more cards.

I have a tendency to save the special cards that friends have made me over the years.  Each one holds a special memory for me and I  treasure these mementos. The card album offers me a great way to store these cards, yet have easy access to them when I want to look through my collections.

All in all, I really like this Card Album. Stefanie was happy to sell me a few to hold my  favorite treasures.  At a price of $9.95 it is an affordable way to display and hold both my own handmade cards and those so given to me.

Do you make handmade cards? What are some of your favorite cards that you have received?  Do you store these treasures or do you re-use them in crafting?