31 Days of Crafting: Creating Tradition


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

This is a guest post from AFCI Staff, Keri Cunningham.

Every month is craft month in our house!  Crafting with my three year old daughter, Mae, is one of my favorite things to do.   We started crafting as soon as she could sit up straight in her highchair.  I’ve always had an interest in creative activities and was excited to be able to pass that along to my daughter.

She has quickly grown into a spunky toddler full of curiosity which still makes crafting a perfect activity.   Currently she loves to paint and make things out of Play-doh.

keri2.jpg

We will be celebrating National Craft Month by using the craft kits she received for her birthday. We are also excited to try some DIY slime making.  Wish us luck!

Keri3

Keri1

Keri coloring with Mae when she was a baby!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Neighborly Inspiration


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

This is a guest post from AFCI Staff, Alison Muldoon.

Well…it’s that crafting time of year again…and time again for me to check in with the crafting Kolveks of Ridgewood!

I wondered what my neighbors were up to in 2017. I made a quick phone call and was greeted by my neighbor at her door. Leslie had that crafting twinkle in her eye… I realized immediately   she was in the middle of another epic crafting project and I couldn’t wait for the big reveal!

With much anticipation, we walked downstairs to her crafting studio…aka…the “craft haven”, and there they were…fairy houses made out of bark and other recycled ecologic materials. Leslie had created these adorable crafted condos using $1 bird houses, recycled bark, moss, pine cones and a glue gun. The structures’ destinies are kid inspired planters, along with live plants such as lemon cypress, maiden hair ferns, pink polka dot plants, and maybe even a fondant crafted garden gnome or two! The finished product is a most unique and whimsical Fairy Garden! This is a craft idea that is truly worthy of recognition!

Picture

Leslie is a member of the Woman Gardeners of Ridgewood, a dedicated nature lovers group that sponsors a children’s craft program in Ridgewood, NJ called Green Kids. This program is offered by the town’s community education and introduces children to the topics of science, ecology and nature through guided craft projects each year. Green Kids touches the lives of children in many ways, one of which is to introduce the beauty and wonder of nature through these original and one of a kind crafting projects.

And it’s my neighbor who is the very heart and soul of this program. Leslie conceptualizes these projects by channeling her inner crafter. With unmatched enthusiasm and passion, she shares her talent and love of crafting year round with so many in the community.

I truly believe Ridgewood NJ is one lucky community…and, Leslie Kolvek…you are my crafting inspiration!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Tech-Crafting at AFCI!

Featured


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

We were fortunate enough to have AFCI Professional Maker/DIYer Member, Natasha Dzurny of TechnoChic, come by today and craft with us for #NationalCraftMonth!

We made flashing bow ties and flowers using her tech-craft kits.

Have a look at some of the pictures taken today!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Scrapbooking for a Cause

Featured


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

March is a busy month for AFCI Affiliate Member, Crops of Luv. Crops of Luv is a nonprofit organization that makes scrapbooks for families with critically ill children.

They are hosting one of the largest crops they’ve had during the year where they will complete over 20 scrapbook albums for families who have critically ill children that have been granted a wish.

crops of luv3

As one can imagine, it is a huge undertaking! It requires tons of hours of prep time in order to get all of the album’s and embellishments ready for transport to their event venue in Tucson from their studio in Phoenix.

It is a great event with an amazing scrapbooking group called the Pantano Christian Scrapbook Chicks – a group of over 120 scrapbookers that get together monthly. Once a year they host a crop in Crops of Luv’s honor.

Crops of Luv has been able to not only make scrapbooks but raised over $2,500 each time they had one of these crops. This is their sixth year having this event.

Jody McNeilis, Cofounder of Crops of Luv, states “We are very grateful for the opportunity we have to not only complete our albums for these deserving families but to raise much-needed funds to continue our mission.”

crops of luv4

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: “It Runs In the Family”

Featured


This is a guest post by AFCI Staff Member, Kristen Farrell.

Most of you have probably heard and/or used the idiom, “It runs in the family.”

My great aunt, Kathleen Sullivan was a fine artist. Art was not her full-time job; yet, she painted whenever she had the time and inspiration, and even sold some of her pieces. Two generations have come and grown, and I’m sorry to say her talents have not been inherited. However, she instilled an appreciation for art in my family that will never be lost.

Almost one year ago to the day, my husband and I closed on our first home. About two weeks ago, we finally got around to hanging pictures and several of my great aunt’s paintings (or as my husband would say, “we finally gave in to putting holes in the walls”).

kathleen-sullivan

For National Craft Month, I’m celebrating my aunt’s artwork. I’m proud to share her creativity and have it serve as a daily reminder for me to make time to do what I love.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-6-42-27-pm

I’m also hopeful for another family artist. Over the past few years, many of my cousins have had children. Who know, maybe there will be another artist among us sooner than we think.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Instagram Photo a Day Contest

Featured


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

To celebrate today, we invite everyone to join Therm O Web’s Instagram NCM Photo a Day Contest.

towinstagramncm

Each day, post a picture and tag #thermoweb with your photo that goes with that day’s challenge theme. They’ll be watching for your responses and, in turn, they have some absolutely amazing prizes to give out to you for participating! They have fabrics from Moda, papers from Photo Play Paper, books by Erin Schlosser and Amy Friend, kits from Maya Road, Art Impressions Stamps, Blend Fabrics, Deco Foil products, HeatnBond and much, much more. But here’s the thing . . . you won’t know what day they’re giving those prizes out. So the best way to win . . . is to participate and share as much as you can throughout the month!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Suminagashi and DIY Tech-Crafts!

Featured


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

To kick off National Craft Month, we are featuring two extremely creative and kid-friendly projects recently done by AFCI Designer Member, Carol Heppner.

Suminagashi Candle Holder

Carol’s first project is a candle holder… but not just any ordinary candle holder. Carol used Suminagashi marbling, an ancient Japanese marbling technique where ink floats atop the water and then transfers to plain paper, to create vibrant designs. Instead of using marbling inks, Carol use enamel paints from Testor Corporation for her project. The enamel paints also float on water and are able to dry quicker than inks. She then hand washed the finished marble glass with a soft cloth.

The finishing touch to the design is by Kool Tak’s Shiny Foils.

Let’s get started!

When creating this candle holder:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s precautions listed on the bottle of paint.
  • Cover your work surface with a plastic tablecloth.
  • Use craft gloves to keep your fingers clean.
  • Have long hair?  Use a hair tie to keep hair from falling into the marbling mixture.
  • Protect your clothes when working with paints.

 

carol heppner 3

Tools

  • Craft gloves
  • Plastic tablecloths
  • Low-tack masking tape
  • Disposable aluminum pan filled with water
  • Toothpicks
  • Glass candleholder, jar or vase

 

cool heppner 2

Supplies

  • Testors Paints  #1127 GL Orange and #1169 FL Yellow
  • KoolTak.com Ultra Clear Tape, 1/8”
  • KoolTak.com Sea-Tones Shiny Foils

Instructions

  • Place the masking tape onto areas of the glass that will remain unpainted.
  • Put on the craft gloves.
  • Add about an inch or so of room temperature water into the disposable aluminum pan.

 

carol heppner 1

  • Place a tiny drop of paint onto a toothpick and then touch it to the surface of the water.
  • Use another toothpick to place the second color of paint onto the surface of the water.
  • Continue to add the paints a few more times.
  • Leave some of the paint as drops.
  • Drag some of the paint in different directions with a new toothpick.

 

carol heppner party favor q

  • Dip and then roll the glass into the paint on top of the water.  Make sure to cover all exposed areas of the glass.
  • Remove the glass from the water.
  • Let the paint dry on the glass.
  • Remove the low-tack masking tape.
  • Wrap the Kool Tak Ultra Clear Tape, double-stick tape, around the glass.
  • Apply the dull side of the Shiny Foils onto the Kool Tak Ultra Clear Tape.

Note:  Do not discard this paint/water in sinks because the paint can stick to the sink. Use a piece of paper to scoop all remaining paint from the water.
Carol Heppner glass for party and weddings 1_edited_20170222165237580 (1)

carol-heppner-glass-favor-for-party-wedding-shower_20170224182255748

 

TechnoChic DIY Tech-Craft Kits

Carol Heppner technochic flower 2

During the Creativation Show in January, Carol met with AFCI Professional Maker/DIYer Natasha Dzurny, creator of TechnoChic DIY.  One of her goals is to inspire more women and girls (age 8 and up) to use electronics in their creative endeavors.  Natasha gave Carol a DIY light-up paper flower to make with her ten-year-old niece.

The TechnoChic DIY paper flower kit is a great entry-level project for young girls.  The kit comes with paper flowers, an LED light, a battery and a brooch pin.

Carol Heppner technochic flower 3

 

The DIY light-up paper flower kit also make an awesome party activity.  Each kit makes ten LED flowers.   The kit’s step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and the finished flower will bring a sense of pride for the maker.

Carol Heppner Technochic flower 1

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Affiliate Marketing


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Sarah Crosby’s and Zoe Pedziwiatr’s seminar, How to Earn More and Establish Strong Relationships with Brands You Love Through Affiliate Marketing. Sarah and Zoe give expert tips and three strategies to increase your income through affiliate marketing.
affiliatemarketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most bloggers start blogging because they’re passionate about something and they want to share it with the world. Whether it’s photography, cooking, home renovation, fine art, or DIY and crafts, most new bloggers are surprised when they find out that people out there are actually reading what they have to say and even more surprised when they realize that they can make a living from saying it.

You might find yourself organically referencing and linking to products or services you use in your content (i.e. your camera and lenses, your favorite fabric scissors, the spiralizer you used to make that beautiful zucchini dish you made). Your readers are inspired by you—they want to make what you’ve made. They want the products that you recommend. You’re an influencer and you have an audience, which places you in the perfect position to partner with the brands you love through affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate, at its core, is about a relationship between three parties:
1. Advertiser (brand with an online store)
2. Publisher (blogger/you)
3. Consumers (your blog’s audience)

The brand partners up with a blogger to put tracking links (i.e. product links, banners, etc.) on its site in hopes that its audience will click through to the site and make a purchase or sign up for a service. If one of your readers clicks through a link on your site, the affiliate link provides the tracking technology to be able to track clicks and sales. If your reader makes a purchase, you will earn a commission on that sale. Although commissions tend to be small, if your blog gets a decent amount of traffic and the product or service resonates with your audience, they can add up fast!

One of the most glorious things about affiliate marketing is the potential to earn passive income from long-term traffic. If you have affiliate links in blog posts that consistently receive traffic from search and Pinterest, then there’s a big chance that you could be earning money from these posts for a long time without a ton of maintenance. All it takes is some work up front.

Three Strategies to Increase Your Affiliate Income
1. Update old content with affiliate links. Take a look at your Google Analytics to find your high and medium traffic blog posts. Replace the normal URLs in those posts with affiliate links or figure out how to weave some in.
2. Add links to organic posts. These are the fun posts you plan on writing anyway. Are you referencing products? Put links in there. You never know which posts will blow up.
3. Write awesome affiliate posts. An affiliate post is a strategic, informative, product-centric blog post that strives to push your readers to make a purchase.

Start by solving a problem. What products or services are big right now? What do people want to know more about? What do YOU want to know more about? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about what information pushes you to actually pull the trigger on a purchase. Write the post that you would want to read.

Affiliate Post Examples:
• Product reviews and comparisons
• Resource lists: “Where to Find X”
• Expert Info: “Best Things to Do in X”

Expert Tips
Make it personal. Figure out how to relate all this product information to your life to tell a story and make it feel organic and relatable.
Do the research. Provide all relevant information to your readers. When linking out to products, include details in your content like brand names, alternate retailers, prices, sizes, colors, material, etc.
Time it right. Consider seasonality and publish your post before expected product demand.
Use strong SEO/pinnable images. Search and Pinterest are how new readers will find you and your content. New readers equals more clicks and sales!
Spread the word! Share your affiliate post on social, add it to your blog sidebar, reference and link out to it in future posts. Keep promoting this post. Make sure to update the post with new links when relevant.

Looking to get started with affiliate marketing? Sign up as a publisher with CJ Affiliate and apply to be a part of our blogger friendly Content Certified Program. We provide everything you need—leading brands, great publisher support, resources and more!
Zoe Pedziwiatr, Content Development Manager, CJ Affiliate by Conversant

AffiliateCJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is a leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs to drive results. Our network helps to create connections amid millions of online consumers daily by facilitating equitable, lucrative relationships between advertisers and publishers. Many of the world’s most recognized and specialized brands run their affiliate programs on CJ’s platform.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: How to Host a Local Craft Event


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Rina Gonzales’ seminar, How to Host a Local Craft Event. Rina gives five tips for organizing and preparing for a successful event that any business can follow.

DSC_6563-2How to Host a Local Craft Event
By Rina Gonzales

Hello!

I am so glad to share some tips on “How to Host a Local Craft Event”. As you may know, I created an event called “Crafty Happy Hour” where crafters of all levels and ages come together and create greetings cards. No experience is required, and all supplies are provided.

Here are some tips for planning a fun event in your area:

  1. Pick a venue, event date and theme for your craft project.
  1. Create a fun graphic to promote your event. Now, you can get the word out to your community!
  1. Market your event with social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other media you like; draft a press release, send it to your local newspapers and invite them to send someone to your event; send out your own personal invitations through text message, phone calls and Facebook messaging. You can draft a message that can be used on all social media efforts and for your personal contacts you invite.
  1. Pack your crafts! Plan what you need to pack for your event and also keep your venue informed of what you will need as far as space, tables and any special requests, like what type of music you prefer.
  1. Host your event. Be sure to arrive early to set up, and have helpers for your event that can help navigate issues, like how to use craft supplies/tools.

Good luck!

Rina Gonzales is the owner of Mothership Scrapbook Gal and created “Crafty Happy Hour” in 2013. Her craft business is based in Riverside, California, with a mission to help people craft their special and everyday moments through craft events, DIY card kits and custom orders. Follow her on the Mothership Scrapbook Gal page on Facebook and @mothershipscrapbookgal on Instagram to see what exciting events and workshops she is hosting in her community.

 

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Fundamentals of Selling Online


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to another one of Amberly Dressler’s seminars. This time we’re reviewing, The Fundamentals of Selling Online.

If your business is not selling online, you’re missing out on valuable revenue opportunities with more than 75% of Americans.

Watch Amberly recap her seminar.