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I cook poorly, I craft obsessively and I love the look of a retro cocktail. When I am feeling guilty about taking time away from my family with my obsessions, I make videos about my guilt as "The Guilty Crafter" or I blog here. Thanks for stopping by!

Entries in AM Northwest (5)


Shaker Card AM Northwest

My latest appearance on AM Northwest. Shaker cards! Shout-out to Jillibean Soup for gifting me with a cute set of cards to show.

To see the (recorded) live segment, click here:


Ice Dyeing on AM Northwest Portland

As usual, I have neglected my blog in favor of the work I do with Rit Dye. I do have some back episodes of AM Northwest Portland to share, though. I LOVE this particular technique. It's so easy and fun and can look very sophisticated compared to tie dye.


DIY Succulent Birdhouse Garden on Live TV: What Really Happened

If you read the post below, you know that I was excited to be a repeat guest on Portland's local morning show "AM Northwest" this week. If you also happened to watch the video of my live appearance, thank you and I hope you thought I did reasonably well. I still haven't figured out how to make my hair look good on TV but, other than that (and saying, "right" too many times), it was fine. If you know what REALLY happened as I got ready for the news show, I think you'll share my feeling that I was AMAZING, all things considered...

To backtrack, I've been SUPER busy here in my new hometown. Portland is a fun city so we've had back-to-back guests. This weekend, it was my fun-loving mother-in-law. We were too busy shopping in the Alberta Art's district and touring local wineries for me to have time to create my succulent planter/birdhouses in advance. I wasn't too worried though, I'm the Clay Aiken of Craft Wars after all. I am accustomed to creating things quickly and under pressure. Right?

The day before my AM Northwest appearance, I got the greenlight from Lowes for a shopping spree for my project. Wheee!!! It was almost, but not quite, delayed consolation that I never won the Toys R Us Shopping Sprees that used to be given out, with much fanfare, in the 80's. I bought all my goodies- particularly loving on the fashion-forward gardening gloves and the 98 cent wooden yardsticks. Because it was a shopping spree, I even splurged and bought 2 Valspar paint samples in a pretty lavendar and a complimentary yellow to jazz up my birdhouses into something a little extra special. All I needed was Mr. Angela Daniels to help me cut the yardsticks into pieces that would be glued to the birdhouse roof to create a planter box. Got that? That's ALL I needed Mr. Angela Daniels to do. Make 16 very quick cuts on 6 yardsticks. In a pinch, I probably could have done it myself with a steak knife (I try and stay away from powertools since I tend to be accident-prone and I've never had real training on the big boy toys in the garage). But I didn't need to. I have Mr. Angela Daniels for that stuff.

See where this is going? First, I showed Mr. AD the very easy-to-follow instructions from the Lowes site just to make sure he understood my final vision. Then I worked on other things while he made the cuts in the garage. This apparently EXHAUSTED the poor man (16 small cuts on thin yardsticks, mind you) because he went to bed early, immediately following his woodworking job. I stayed up to glue and embellish and figure out what to wear on TV. An hour later, I started to add the rulers to the birdhouses- the yardstick pieces were 1/4" too short! Aaarrrgh! But I decided to let Mr. AD sleep and wake him up early in the morning and ask him to re-cut the pieces. Anxiety was now starting to build. I would not have time to have my Gorilla Glue dry completely before the live show so I had to dig through all our moving boxes to find my hot glue guns. I finally went to bed at midnight, having blown through the one single glue stick I had managed to ferret out of the boxes. Good grief! I was now going to have to figure out where to buy glue sticks on the way to my 8 o'clock call time.

At 5:45 am, after tossing and turning most of the night, I gingerly and apologetically woke Mr. Angela Daniels. I explained that the wood cuts were too long and needed to be trimmed a bit. To his credit, he got up immediately and came to surmise the situation. He Just. Couldn't. Grasp. The. Issue. I don't know if I wasn't explaining it correctly or if it was too early but 1/2 an hour later, I had devolved into chanting, "I just don't want the dirt to fall out of a crack." and then "No gaps, no gaps" over and over. Seriously. It took me a full 45 minutes of trying to not kill him as I finally got him to understand that, even though he thought it wasn't aesthetically pleasing, he would have to cut the yardstick for me to close up any gaps around the birdhouse. All I cared about was dirt staying on the roof and not tumbling out around the sides. Live. On TV.

Satisfied I had finally conveyed the urgency of the situation, I went to get ready. I could hear Mr. AD down in the garage cutting (sorry neighbors!) and I felt I could relax a little. I still needed hot glue sticks but if I was lucky, my grocery store would be open early and I could swing in and (hopefully) pick them up on the way to the TV station. When I was dressed, I returned to the kitchen to collect my newly cut yardstick pieces. Mr. AD was standing, in his bathrobe, working hard- at painting my birdhouses. PAINTING them. With a crazy bright blue I didn't even know we owned. PAINTING with that color. MY birdhouses. I still can't explain what possessed him. He can't explain it either. We aren't going to talk about it anymore. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Long story short, I lost my mind, screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?" I snatched up the very wet, very bright blue bird house as dramatically but still as carefully as I could (if you look closely in the video of the show, you'll see that my fingers have paint on them). I stormed to the car with all my supplies. I managed to score some glue sticks, make it to the TV station with enough time to spare that allowed me to quickly create a sample birdhouse/succulent garden planter. I created it ON the counter of the news anchors' make up room. This meant that important (I assume) people were stopping in to the make-up room to do their makeup as I apologized and shuffled and re-shuffled my cloud of chaos (which included scattered potting soil everywhere). I was a HOT MESS. I also realized (too late) that Mr. Angela Daniels had not done the final cut on the piece of ruler that I would be glueing on during my segment. Just not cut it at all. WTH?! Luckily the camera man did a close up of that "wonky" piece so I can lord this over Mr. AD ad nauseum.

A hot mess in a cocktail dress. I guess that's one way to stand out in a sea of revolving guests on a morning show. But in the end? I *think* you can't totally tell that I built my sample birdhouses in the makeup room. The great thing about realizing this is (and it took me a full 36 hours before I would watch the video of myself), I promise you can make this project in under 30 minutes. I can say that with authority. From experience. And it's still kinda cute. The whole thing tipped over in the car on the way home though. I had to re-glue the faucet on and replant everything for my blog photos. This evening, one of my kids asked, "Who spilled DIRT all over the backseat?!" Breathe. It's going to be there for awhile.


DIY Succulent Birdhouse Garden







Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a returning guest to Portland's KATU AM Northwest morning show. Last time I was on, I did a really simple, tried-and-true project. This time I decided to get a little more complicated. For the past few weeks, I've been admiring these beautiful succulent planter birdhouses being sold at our fancy grocery store. I linger over them but they are so expensive! Every crafter knows the ever-present thought: "I can make that!" and so I started planning. First, I Googled- I found a great tutorial on how to make the birdhouses from scratch at the Lowes Home Improvement website (here). Since I'm not a woodworker, I wanted to challenge myself to make an even easier version- and Lowes was nice enough to provide me with a special project account so I could go on a mini shopping spree. Score. Even then, my favorite item was Lowes' 98 cent wooden yardstick in the paint section- love the retro look and feel of them. I am definitely going back for more soon.

Anyway, a quick shopping trip to Lowes, a few side trips down the plumbing aisle and the hardware aisle for unusual embellishments and I had enough supplies to make 5 versions of the succulent garden birdhouses I have been admiring for well under 1/2 the cost of what my grocery stores (and some of the local nurseries are charging). Here's my video from AM Northwest:


 Just a few notes: I truly am brand new to gardening. When Dave asked me about keeping succulents inside, I should have dazzled him with amazing facts about succulents and how they thrive in full sun. Instead, I said the opposite and suggested shade. I should have also made sure to double and triple emphasize that the hot glue gun was ONLY to hold the rulers in place while the REAL wood glue dried. I used Gorilla Glue which is fantastic wood glue but it does take time to dry and with such a narrow edge (the ruler) to stick to the birdhouse, the hot glue served as a great way to tack it in place while the Gorilla Glue had time to work it's magic. But hey, I only claim to be a crafter- not a gardener or a woodworker so there you go. If you want to read about the behind the scenes chaos that proceeded the live taping of this craft segment, you can read: "DIY Succulent Birdhouse On Live TV: What Really Happened." In the meantime, another big thanks to Lowes- I appreciate your support... and maybe you shouldn't read the What Really Happened follow-up post... ;)


I am Newsworthy. Kinda.

This past Friday, I received a phone call from the producer of a local morning news show here in Portland asking if I would be interested in coming on and doing a craft segment. Um, YES! I love adding weird life experience to my "done-that" list. "Great!" she said, "See you Tuesday!" Wait. Did she just say Tuesday? THIS Tuesday?!

[Scramble, scramble, minor freak-out...]

And then, just like that, I'm in the green room with one of my first Portland-area friends (thanks for coming, Kim!). I was decked out in a retro cocktail dress while gearing myself up to crank up the kooky. And then we met the other 3 guests of the day: The elegant and spiritual Germaine Parra, author of "Searching for the Caravan: A Reconciliation with Love, Science and Divinity," the warm and charming Mantu Joshi whose book " The Resilient Parent: Everday Wisdom for Life with Your Exceptional Child" was written in his limited spare time as he stays home to raise his family's 3 small children. And then there was the high-energy duo of Lisa Cohn and her little boy Michael who have co-authored a children's book about how to deal with the loss of a pet ("Bash and Lucy"). Michael is 5. FIVE. So yeah.

Oh, and me? I made a bottle cap to hang off of some booze. (See the picture below to put that into perspective). Naturally I started humming this tune and dialed myself back at bit on the kooky factor. But still. Good times. I loved the experience and what wonderful people to hang out with on a random Tuesday morning in my new hometown. Afterwards, Kim and I went to breakfast and then did a little shopping at Goodwill with me still wearing my retro cocktail dress and sparkly tights- no one so much as batted an eye. I love this town.

Oh- and you can catch my segment online here (and yes, my hair was crazy. I haven't found a hairstylist here that can take me at a moment's notice. See also: humidity.):

Guests' projects, in clockwise order, starting at the top left: spiritual, caring and helpful, moving and inspirational. And my booze charm. Nice.