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.

Duck Tape Prom Dress & Wearable Art Craft Projects on Display at the Orange County Fair 2013

I have always loved duck tape dresses and prom outfits, along with its other its many craft uses.  This year the Orange County Fair held a "Make It With Duck Tape" division in their youth arts & crafts submissions.
Duck Tape Youth Division Entries at the Orange County Faire 2013
It provided a great opportunity to see what types of creative things that can be made with duct tape. One of my  favorite entries was a white prom dress with cordinating tuxedo.
Duck Tape White Prom Dress and Coordinating Suit

Close up of the prom dress.

Duct Tape Prom Dress
Side view of the duct tape prom dress.  You can't see the detail of the individually cut feathers made up of various colors of duct tape.

A close up of the suit.

Another great dress was this long evening gown style dress made up of three colors of duck tape cut into individual retangles to create more movement in the dress.
Duck Tape Evening Dress
There were also some fun short dresses on display, like this cute faux jean dress made up with a

denim print duck tape.  And another cute mini dress that was displayed next to a cute handbag that was done up with the same print.

There were several purse and totebag entries on display.
Channel Style Duck Tape Purse
Duck Tape Tote and Wallet
This pair of high tops made up of fun prints of duck tape were really cute in person.
Duck Tape High Tops (sneakers)
The Youth Entries were well represented and a lot of fun to see.
Duck Tape Youth Entries at the Orange County Fair 2013


Book Review: Precut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares and Fat Quarters by Elaine Schmidt

   I love that the new book "Precut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares, and Fat Quarters" by Elaine Schmidt utilizes the often overlooked gorgeous precut fabric squares and shows the reader how to use them to make fun and easy projects in a short time frame. What is even more exciting is that this book inspires me to cut old shirts into useable strips that I can apply to projects to upcycle old fabric into something useful. 
     These days, the selection of beautiful fabric patterns that are available in precut fabric squares is amazing. However, I do not have time to make a quilt. Thankfully this book shows the reader how to utilize some of those squares and make them into useful home d├ęcor and gift items. Most of the projects can be done in an afternoon, which is about all the time I can spend on a project with my schedule. Here is a list of the projects offered in this cute book:

Home Decor Projects

  • Reversible table runner
  • Mix and Match placemats, napkins and napkin rings
  • Patchwork Table Topper
  • Director's chair cover
  • Modern patchwork pillow and lampshade
  • Window valence and pillows
  • Modular headboard and accent pillows
  • Tea cozy, trivet, and tea towel,

Accessories, Weables, and Gifts

  • Pretty pleated purse
  • Reversible tote and clutch bag
  • Hobo bag
  • Easy, breezy little girl's dress
  • Roll and ruffle skirt
  • Snuggle Blanket and soft blocks
  • Duffle bag and pillowcase
  • Bargello Yoga mat bag
  • Tisket tasket fabric basket
  • Mommy and me aprons, pot holder and oven mitt

    The author, Elaine Schmidt, explains the difference between fat quarters, strips, squares and fat eighths to the reader, as well as how to prepare for sewing. There is also a section on sewing supplies. I really like the way the author kept this section simple.
    There is also a general techniques section that has some great photo's which offer a visual of the various techniques. I especially liked the explanation on how to make box pleats, it was simple and straight to the point. The author made the directions for this are simple and easy to follow, even for a beginner level sewer.
    Precut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares and Fat Quarters includes projects that will appeal to a variety of different level sewers. I think that advance sewers would already know a lot of the techniques in the book but might enjoy the fun projects. It is really a matter of what a person is looking for in a project. 
     My daughter, who is a beginner sewer, loved the rosette project. It is a great way to use those left over pieces of fabric.  It would also be a great project for use with recycled fabric from old clothing.

    As you can see it is a simple project that can be completed in less than a half hour with minimal hand sewing skills. Some of the other projects are a little more complicated and I would recommend working with your child if they want to make them. 
    This book also includes a few patterns. There is a pattern for the "roll and ruffle skirt", the pot holders, the duffle bag and the pillow case.  Most of the projects are made from squares or strips, so you do not really need a pattern since the directions are so straight forward and easy to follow. 
Another great example of how is the directions are, is the tea cozy project, where all you need to do is measure the tea cozy and use pre-measured strips of fabric to sew it together.  It is a project that is easily completed in an afternoon.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  The book has a lot of straight sewing and beginner level techniques which provides a nice foundation for my daughter and I to do some of the projects together. There is also a very cute "pretty pleated purse" project that I am hoping to find time to make. That one will take an afternoon.
     I would recommend "Precut Patchwork Party" to any beginner level sewer who wants to be able to complete a cute project within a short time span. 


Mixed Media Pocket Travel Journal Video Tutorial by Jeannine Stein

This week Stefanie Girard at the Craftside blog posted a fun easy to follow tutorial on how to make
Mixed Media Pocket Travel Journal with a map.
a mixed media pocket travel journal, featuring author Jeannine Stein.

Jeannine Stein is known for her book Adventures in Bookbinding: Handcrafting Mixed-Media Books in which she teaches how to make mixed media books out of a variety of materials.

Her other book is  Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials which teaches basic book binding techniques and has some fun projects for the reader to make.  Re-Bound has 16 pages of patterns and templates, with excellent step-by-step directions that include hand drawn illustrations.  The book serves as a book binding primer for anyone who is new to book binding or just interested in the process.  Jeannine also includes some great repurposing book binding ideas that will inspire anyone to want to try their hand at making a book.

If you have ever wondered how to make a handmade book or just like working with paper, then the video posted today could just be the answer.  The video gives a short "How To Book Bind" tutorial that shows the viewer how easy it is to make a fun multi-media pocket travel journal with a pop out map (although you could substitute some other paper item in the place of the map).
 Note: if you look between Stefanie and Jeannine,

 you can see the cool re-purposed purple Guittards chocolate box book she made.

If you prefer written directions, Jeannine also wrote a great step-by-step tutorial of the pocket travel journal which Stefanie has also posted on the Craftside blog.   Below are some pics of other handmade books that Jeannine Stein has made.

So check out the video and leave comments to let the publisher know what types of videos you would like them to to put on YouTube (  I will forward any comments to the publisher).

Disclaimer :  No payment received for this post.  Stefanie and Jeannine are friends of mine who I think are really talented and create some pretty neat stuff.

Craftside Blog Boston Comic Con Huge Pile of Books Giveaway Link

Great news, the Craftside Blog is having a HUGE pile of book and fun prize items giveaway in honor of the Boston Comic Con event this week.  The contest runs until Sunday, August 4 at 11:59 pm.

The Crazy Boston Comic Con Giveaway includes: 

Walter Foster's
How to Draw Zombies: Discover the secrets to drawing, painting, and illustrating the undead (Fantasy Underground)
a small sewing kit, two coasters, and decorative pirate garland from Lilla Rogers.
They are using rafflecopter which gives you plenty of opportunities to increase your entries in their giveway.  You can enter the giveaway at the Craftside Blog.