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What I did this summer

September 12, 2022

Oh what crazy and stressful times we live in. 

All the more reason to start a hobby or fall in love with a craft. 

It’s proven that these type of activities lowers blood pressure and in general are good for your heath. 

I know it’s true for me. 

I spent this summer gardening and learning to throw clay.

Both activities are challenging but rewarding! 

The picture above is a doughnut shaped vase I made with flowers I grew. 

That felt good.

I also got to talk to lots of artists and teachers and put together a fall line up of amazing online classes. 

I can say amazing because I’m in awe of what these wonderful teachers come up with and their generous spirit to share all their knowledge. 

I’m just the AV lady, the tech girl. 

lol

Take a look at the line up of LIVE Online classes

You’ll find something the will catch you eye and your creative spirit. 

How to watch a LIVE class

November 4, 2020

Join one of our LIVE classes with a master crafter.

You will love the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques from our master teachers.
Watch the demonstrations close-up. Plus, use the live chat box to ask your questions.

You are welcome to create along with the instructor, but we recommend you watch the full class first. You will have the video to refer to after the live event is complete.

You can also ask questions after the event via the live chat on our website or email our customer service (support@craftcast.com).

We love getting your questions answered and seeing your final projects.

After the live event, the video is uploaded permanently to your online library along with a PDF handout with extra tips & resources. Watch your class over and over again, streaming 24/7 on any device. You can also download it to your computer for watching without wifi.

Fences Make Good Neighbors

November 3, 2020

There’s that saying, Fences make good Neighbors.

Well, this morning I got up early, excited to use our new water pressure washer, to clean my fence.

I had already washed the portico in the front of the house bringing it to a sparkling white shine and was wanted to get the white vinyl fence between us and our neighbors looking the same.

Full disclosure, I love the challenge of power tools. And I love doing projects that use power tools. So spending a few hours washing a fence with a water pressure washer, is my idea of a good time.
The neighbors, that I share this fence with, is a multi-generational family home. The only person I have ever talked to though is one of the elders in the house. I don’t know his name, but in my head, I call him Mr. Neighbor-man.
We meet often, by accident in the early morning, each working in our own garden, on opposite sides of the fence.
His garden is extremely impressive with neat rows of tomatoes, peppers and melons. It’s huge. I’ve peeked over the fence numerous times. I only do flowers.
We say a sort of hello through the fence’s lattice top and Mr. Neighbor-man always hands me a tomato or pepper.
We both spend an inordinate amount of time outside in our yards working, always giving a little wave hello from a distance.
On occasion, Mr. Neighbor-man will see me doing something like hanging from a ladder or loading my car with 10 foot long branches and 40-pound bags yard debris for the dump, and he’ll shrug his shoulders as if to question why. I know he is not used to seeing the female of the house doing any outdoor work and it puzzles him.
This morning, when I got the power washer out to clean my side of our shared fence, I figured it would be sort of a “dog whistle” for Mr. Neighbor-man to come to check out my latest activity.
Indeed, within 5 minutes, with the first fence panel cleaned having moved on to the second, he appeared, looking over the fence. He did his normal shoulder shrug questioning my latest tool and activity.
I smiled and said out loud, “It’s fun. Come over and see.” I waved my hand for him to join me. That was all he needed.
He watched me clean the next panel of fence. And yes, if you are results-driven like me, it’s very satisfying to see instant cleaning results from a water pressure washer. Mr. Neighbor-man, with a smile on his face, clearly shared the same enthusiasm.
He motioned to me using one finger that he would be right back.
He walked to his side of the fence and off to his garden. I kept cleaning.
Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. Due to the noise of the air pressure washer, I hadn’t realized he had made is way back and was right behind me.
Mr. Neighbor-man was holding a clear plastic bag with at least a dozen banana peppers. He made a point of saying ‘they’re sweet’ in broken English. I had told him once over the garden fence that I didn’t like hot peppers and he remembered.
He handed me the bag in one hand and took the washer wand out of my other hand and started cleaning the fence.
He was basically trading with me. Peppers for some time with the air pressure washer.
I stood back and watched him work.
What happened next took me a bit by surprise.
I was jolted back in time to when I was three. I would accompany my grandfather to his basement workroom. He was an engineer and loved working with audio equipment. I inherited the love of all things audio from him. I would sit on the rocking horse, he kept for me, rocking back and forth, while he busied himself inventing and creating. I could sit and watch for a long time, fascinated just watching.He made for me a record player. It was a big pink square box of wood that had two buckles on the front opening like an oversized hatbox. He had affixed on top of the box a shiny colorful decal. I think it was an illustration from the three little pigs tale. When you opened up the box, a turntable was nestled inside, waiting to play a 33rpm record. My “Pops” way ahead of his time. The Fischer Price kids version wouldn’t be out for another 30 years.
Most important though was what it felt like to watch my grandfather work. Watching in quiet.
Passion in motion. Silently taking it in.Being in a quiet relationship. I hadn’t thought about my grandfather in a long time and all that I learned from him.
The emotion hit me watching Mr. Neighbor-man work.
A quiet relationship was familiar.
I almost got a bit choked up but knocked myself back to the moment when Mr. Neighbor-man needed some more gardenhose unwound to reach the next panel of fence.
And so it went.
Mr. Neighbor-man washing my side of the fence and me feeding more hose as he moved down the line.
I laughed to myself.
I wasn’t getting the wand back. He was going to finish the fence.
Here I was with someone from another country with no language spoken, together cleaning a shared fence. Removing crud, mold, and debris till it shined like new. Together.
Mr. Neighbor-man finished the last little bit of fence.
I yelled, “We are done!”
Mr. Neighbor-man turned and thanked me.
He thanked me for letting him come and clean my fence.
Fences do make good Neighbors.
I should end the story here.
But I can’t.
Full disclosure.
Mr. Neighbor-man walked back to his side of the fence and I got real chocked up.
I had started the morning ready to do a simple chore.
But I had gotten so much more than just a clean fence.

This is the story of how I have survived the good the bad and the ugly, when starting my online learning platform, craftcast.com. I’m writing this post to share what I’ve learned along the way in hopes of inspiring others to start their business or avoid mistakes I made and enjoy some laughs together!

Way back in time, I was a creative director living and working in NYC.
My son would find me some mornings drinking coffee and watching recorded episodes of The Carol Duvall Show.

“I’ll leave you alone, you’re with your people.” he would say.

I told him I wanted to call up all the crafters I saw on Carol’s show and chat like old friends about crafts and all, but that would be sort of weird since they didn’t know me.

He said, “Start a podcast and call it CRAFTCAST and that way, you can call and interview them for the podcast. They’ll talk to you that way. “

He was right, and that’s how CRAFTCAST.com came to be.

Learning the ins and outs of podcasting was extremely challenging, and I learned lots of technical lessons along the way. Tears were shed, and glasses of wine consumed, but I stuck with it.
The original CRAFTCAST.com website had a blog, with a link to listen to the latest podcast, plus a box to sign up for a newsletter. That was the entire website.

Two or three years later, I got the courage to attend my first craft conference. I think Rio Grande Jewelry Supply hosted it. I don’t remember much about the weekend. What I do remember is finding myself sitting at a table having a beer with Tim McCreight and Robert Dancik, two well-known teachers and innovators, and I was awestruck.
Somewhere though, I gathered up some crazy courage and told them I was working on figuring out a way to host live crafting classes on “The Internet.”
Now, this wasn’t exactly true. I mean, I had thought about it, but how the heck could I make this work. Social media and webinar software wasn’t even a concept yet. It was prehistoric online times.
Well, they both said yes they would love to give online teaching a try.
I said great; I’d be in touch.

I had no idea how to make this idea work, but I had two prominent teachers that were willing to give it a go, so I went to work figuring it out.
I spent hours in my basement studio, determined.
My husband would come down late at night with a plate of food, concerned. I’m sure I looked like a mad professor spending hours testing and trying different combinations of hosting sites and audio software. It took a few weeks, but I finally came up with something I thought could work.
I purchased a microphone, patched it all together, and crossed my fingers.

The first class was with Robert Dancik.

The set up was I would get a link from an online “radio” site. I would give the link to Robert, he would log on, and that would provide us with the ability to talk in real-time to each other online, then others with the link could listen in.
For the visuals, Robert had given me a few dozen jpgs showing the step by step process for his teaching demonstration.
I uploaded all to my site, keeping track of each photo, their order, and their corresponding link. I found a chatbox program that was easy for all attendees to access and figured I could copy and paste the links to each jpg into the chatbox, following Robert’s lead while he spoke. Attendees would click on the link and see the photo he was referencing in their own computer browser window.
Totally Macgyvered.

Now, how to tell people about this “class.”
Even though I had never sent out that podcast newsletter, 4500 people had signed up for it.
So they all got an email about how to sign up for this new online class.
Of course, nothing was automatic yet, so every time my laptop dinged from Paypal announcing another signup, I was ready with a ‘copy and paste’ response, sharing the links needed to join the online event.

Then, one more little challenge.

I needed to record the class, and there was no way on my computer to record while simultaneously hosting the class.
I figured out that if I started the online “radio” session class on my computer downstairs, I could tell everyone to hold on while I ran up a flight of stairs to my husband’s PC, logging in to the class, and turning on his desktop recording software.

When I got back to my computer, Robert was laughing, having heard me manically running up and down the stairs.

And so the class started.
Eighty people were in attendance!
I carefully copied and pasted each jpg link into the chatbox.
But now attendees seeing friend’s names in the chatbox, started typing to each other, thrilled to be chatting and saying hi. The chatbox feed was moving so fast I struggled finding a space to copy and paste the jpg URLs. I was building up a sweat.

“Hey, everybody, you’re going to have to stop typing to each other.” I said, mopping my face with my sleeve, “or I’ll never get these jpg links in the chatbox!

Robert laughed, and the class went on without a hitch.
Success.
When we finished, I said my thank you’s, logged off, ran upstairs, and saved the recording.
It worked, and everyone loved it.
I was exhausted but ecstatic.

Today online webinars and online tutorials are ordinary vocabulary words and experiences — no need to run up and down a flight of steps.
Now there are lots of other issues, security, privacy, streaming speeds, and browser issues, to name a few.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have survived the good the bad and the ugly.
But the good outshines it all.

CRAFT CAST, the podcast has had almost a million downloads, and the website’s online videos have had thousands and thousands of views and downloads from people around the entire world.
People have connected and expanded their skillset, and teachers have shared so generously. I owe them all so much for their willingness to play with me.

When I was eight and a Girl Scout, I earned the PenPal badge.
The requirement was to make friends around the world by writing letters to other girls your age. I wrote to a girl in the UK and one in Australia. We would share our love of making things and sometimes include an Instamatic color photo of what we had made.
The beginning of CRAFTCAST.
I’ve always been a big believer in following your Day Dreams, no matter how the good, the bad, or the ugly shows up along the way.

Free Videos to check out!

December 21, 2019

The new year is almost here. Woo Hoo.
I always try to find a bit of personal time during the holiday week to learn new skills.
It’s my gift to me.
(And if there is a snowstorm, and you can’t leave the house, even better.)

Here are some FREE VIDEOS with a few of our amazing and generous instructors; Mags Bonham, Cindy Pope, and Pam East.

We think you will love them.
Metal Clay Roll Up Beads
Extruders Explained
Building a Cane Slicer
3D Lithophane Printing
and
Adding Accent Gold to Metal Clay

Short and sweet but eye-openers.
Enjoy.
Happy New Year.

Holiday Craft Classes

November 4, 2019

I love crafting all year round, but I especially love to create during the holiday season. Whatever holidays you celebrate, it’s fun to take time to make something special, whether in the kitchen or the craft table, so here at CRAFTCAST we have an assortment of classes we think you’ll love.

Making ornaments as unique gifts is one of my favorite things to give. If that’s something, you love to make sure and check out Pam East’s Silver Metal Clay Holiday Ornaments . And don’t miss Sulie Girardi’s Nostalgic Mixed Media Ornaments . And, if you have wanted to try felting, you’ll love Miss Bumbles Needle Felted Whimsy Ornaments. I love her adorable reindeer!
Have an ornament creating party!

Dust off your Silhouette or Cricut cutters and start creating Pop-Up Holiday Cards with Shannon Greenlese. She’ll show you how to create a gingerbread house as well as a menorah for holiday pop-up card fun.

And if you’ve been wondering about the Alta 3D Printer , you’ll love this class with Kelly Wayment. She will walk you through printer set-up basics and then show you how to create a personalized ornament complete with a sparkle finish.

Join master bakers Cindi Raven and Nancy Westfall and learn how to make spectacular show-stopping Holiday Cookies .

Have a wonderful holiday, “crafting” season.
🙂

See you in the SPRING!

October 28, 2019

I love my garden auger bit for my drill! It made planting 250 bulbs a whole lot easier than last year when I only had a shovel. If you don’t know about COLORBLENDS.com, check it out. They have an amazing selection and the quality is superior. This year I added even more daffodils, and then added 100 of mixed tulip bulbs. It’s always a happy time of year when they start to show the little green tops coming up.

Outside clean-up is done for the year. All have been raked, mulched, and planted. For the first season in our new home, it went well. I’ve learned where there is too much sun for one thing. I moved a hydrangea that needed a bit of shade and added a hydrangea that I’ve been told LOVES sun.

I did leave the hammock up. It is fun to have on sunny winter days to do some sky and cloud watching.

Now it’s time to start concentrating on indoor projects. I’ve inherited some wonderful plants from my son who wanted to make more room in his apartment. I think they’ll be happy here. The next project is getting some plant lights installed.

🙂

Tools Tools Tools!

October 24, 2019

Who loves tools, both new and old?
We do!
This week on I LOVE Tools we had presenters from around the world showing us all-new tool possibilities.
Joy Funnell, a master metal clay artist, and teacher showed us a tool she loves. Watch and see how she creates rolls of metal clay and incorporates the shapes in her work.

Melanie Muir shared with us her new texture plates. Melanie is a master polymer clay artist who is a genius at creating textures and patterns that she incorporates into her jewelry pieces.

Then take a look at the world of 3D printing. Kelly Wayment shows us how to create a “lithophane” with the Alta 3D printer from Silhouette. It’s an art from the 1820s. Artwork was etched or molded into very thin porcelain. The result could only be seen when backlit with a light source. Kelly shows how fun and easy it is to take your photos or artwork and 3D print a lithophane with your design.

Polymer clay artist Shelley Atwood, who is known for her stunning jewelry pieces, show us a bead roller that makes creating uniformly shaped beads a cinch.

Leslie Yowell can make you a 3D mold to your specifications. Check out her ETSY store.

Cindy Pope always had something new to share, and this time it’s templates to use to create her metal clay jewelry pieces.

Pam East has a Free Video to share. Learn how to add gold accents to your metal clay pieces. Such a great way to add even more sparkle and bling.

Etcher Laser came on to show us all their new tools, a machine that can etch patterns and photos into a variety of materials. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

I love showing a few things too. First, I demonstrated a Crayola airbrush, then etching a night light and last, adding metallic foil using your Silhouette or Cricut machines.

Take a look at this Video. It’s free and make sure and download the handout as well for all the links to the tools shown.

New LIVE Webinars

October 16, 2019

At CRAFTCAST, we’ve been working away this past summer, creating all-new LIVE webinars. Of course, we are excited to share with you these upcoming classes. Live this month Mags Bonham will show how to created quilt-like canes with polymer clay. You’ll also learn more about the Silhouette software and how easy it is to design your patterns. Live webinars in November include making silver clay holiday ornaments with Pam East, 3D Printing with the Alta with Kelly Wayment and Metal Clay Felted Sheep Sheep with Sue McNenly. Oh, the fun you can have! Join us and remember, a recording of the class is included so you can watch it again and again.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here, so I wasn’t in the mood for changing out the summer plant display at my front door.
But then yesterday the weather changed and it finally felt like old fashioned fall, sweatshirt weather and apple cider donuts.
First, I cut the last of the zinnias and cut flowers. I love having a cutting garden.
Then off I went to Stew Leonard’s. It’s a local shopping conglomerate that has food, garden supplies, and even a petting zoo.
They had the best deal on pumpkins.
I loaded up my cart.
Almost had a “falling pumpkin” accident, but caught it just in time.
My pots of annuals got moved to the back of the house. They really did well this summer. I guess the southern light was perfect for them. The first frost is still a way off, but eventually, it will happen.

I’ve had the wagon and the wooden box forever. They work great for holding all types of holiday decor. I actually have big clear containers where I store all the different props and goodies for different holidays. I love having supplies on hand.
If you saw me in motion though, I’m sure you would laugh.
I had unloaded all the goodies from the car the night before and in the morning walked outside holding my coffee, still wearing PJs, to survey my purchases. And then of course, just started arranging. About an hour and a half later, fall had arrived at my front door.
And it was time for another cup of coffee and maybe a change from PJs.
Here are a few pictures of the new arrangements.
😉

It’s October!

October 1, 2019

I love FALL! Actually I love every season… lol.

But I really love nature’s colors and materials to play with.

Pods, gourds, vines, and pumpkins are some of my personal favorites. This week I did some decoupage on a white pumpkin. First I sprayed the pumpkin with some adhesive and then I applied ferns and other little found gems from the garden and whatever. I finished it off with a coat of Mod Podge Matte. Here are some other pumpkin-bouquets that are inspiring.

Happy Fall Decorating.

For the latest on what we are learning to make, check out our videos and our live webinars! 🙂

I LOVE Tools 16

September 25, 2019

Time for I LOVE Tools, LIVE, October 23rd, 2019 at 7 pm ET.

Join the discussion!

Hi. I am new to Precious Metal Clay, but I LOVE the idea of using Silhouette Curio as a tool for making my elements. I’m wondering if there is only one model; and if not, then, which model should I buy to use with PMC?

Thank you for all you do to support the craft community and small businesses. Much appreciated!

With kind regards,
Karen

Special offers


What people are saying

  • Your classes are just amazing and I have learned sooo much from Cindy Pope’s classes on the Silhouette machines. She breaks it down so any beginner can learn. I didn’t take my Curio out of the box for a year until I watched her class. Now I’m addicted

    Beth B
  • Thank you for the informational class last night, and for the notes, it looks like a great product to work with. Best Wishes,

    Brenda
  • You are a truly generous soul to share so much with the community. I am constantly impressed by the extra effort you put into everything you do. A true inspiration. 

    Bridget D.