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Welcome to Craft Critique’s New Home!

Some of you may have noticed things look a little different around here…it’s because we are now on WordPress instead of Blogger finally!

My apologies to any of you who may have experienced weirdness or errors last night with the site or feed during the transition. Feed subscribers may also unfortunately may have gotten a few old articles pushed to them during the transition due to a glitch.

But the new Craft Critique website is all up and working now! Please pardon our dust while we add the finishing touches to it now that it is live, and watch for new content coming next week from CHA!


Announcing….the new Craft Critique team!

It’s time to announce the new Craft Critique team! (Our apologies for the delay in the announcement – it is difficult to reach people this time of year and we wanted to wait for responses from all the new team members before making the announcement.)

I’d like to thank everyone who applied. The amount of talented applicants that we got was overwhelming, and made the decision very difficult. We are very excited to start sharing the talents of our new team with you!

So, without further ado…I’d like to introduce you to our new staff reporters:

  • Patti Sokol
  • Jennifer Ingle
  • Linda Neff
  • Deena Ziegler
  • Kory Kight
  • Amanda Marks
  • Chel Micheline
  • Angela Butler-Carter
  • Deborah Fox
  • Kortney Gold
  • Maria Soto
We’re also welcoming back some returning members of the Craft Critique staff:
  • Maria Del Pinto
  • Dana Vitek
  • Cassandra Darwin
  • Christian Tamez
  • Eileen Hull
  • Fabrizio Martellucci
Thank you again to everyone who applied and congratulations to the new team! I look forward to working with you!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!


Become A Craft Critique Reporter!

As part of the Craft Critique relaunch, we’re freshening up everything about the site – including our staff! Some familiar faces will be back, but we have room for some fresh ones too. So if you’d like to get craft products in return for doing honest, in-depth reviews of them, and get some great promotion for your personal brand too – apply to become a Craft Critique reporter!

The deadline for the call is Midnight eastern time on Friday, December 7th. The new team will be announced on Friday, December 14th.

[THE CALL IS NOW CLOSED! THANKS FOR ENTERING!]

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!


A New Era For Craft Critique

Welcome to the new era of Craft Critique!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll introduce myself. I’m Nancy Nally, the owner of Nally Studios and the editor of the websites Scrapbook Update and Card Annex. As of today, I am also the new owner/editor of Craft Critique.

I’ve been working in the scrapbook industry professionally for 13 years, but like most of you, I’ve been a crafter all my life. I grew up with a mom and grandmothers who sewed, stitched, knitted, crocheted, quilted, and did all sorts of crafty things. My grandmother and aunt even owned a quilt store together in my hometown when I was growing up!

At one time or another, I’ve tried what seems like everything. I think my earliest memory of crafting is weaving potholders on a metal loom when I was a kid in the 1970’s. Some of them stuck (like the cross stitching that I did for years, and the sewing I do on occasion) and others (like my attempt at knitting a scarf that turned out looking like ocean waves) became enjoyable but comic failures. Although my primary passion is paper crafting these days, I still turn regularly to crafting for decor and gift projects. I truly believe that there is nothing more satisfying or personal than “I made it myself.”

I believe in the mission of Craft Critique as it was created by Sarah Moore, and I’m here today because I want to see the site continue to bring the craft community product reviews that are reliable, honest, and comprehensive. I hope that you all share that vision with me!

We have great plans for Craft Critique at Nally Studios in the coming weeks and months. We will be relaunching the Craft Critique website on a new platform with some new features we think you’ll love. We also will be issuing a call for reviewers for the site, so if you are interested in sharing your opinions with the craft world, please check that out!

Thanks for being a part of the Craft Critique community and for letting me be a part of it as well!

If you would like to contact me about Craft Critique, my email is nancy@nallystudios.com.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!


Giveaway: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

EKSuccess Brands and Michaels, North America’s largest arts & crafts specialty retailer, are getting into the holiday spirit a little early this year, all to support our troops. The creative consumer products company and craft retailer will be sponsoring a booth at the Wrigleyville Block Party during the Cubs vs. Cardinals game where visitors can stop by and make holiday cards for U.S. and Canadian service men and women deployed overseas. Read on to see how you can enter to win a pair of tickets to the Friday Game!

From Friday Aug. 19th, to Sunday Aug. 21st, the booth will be open for passersby to create cards using K&Company™ paper and embellishments and EK Tools™ pens and adhesive. All of the cards will then be sent to the Operation Christmas Cards organization, where they will be forwarded to military bases in Afghanistan, Japan, Iraq, Egypt and Germany. According to the organization, these cards will be the only correspondence that about half of these service members will receive during the holidays.

The event is part of EKSuccess Brands’ approach to collect 25,000 holiday cards for Operation Christmas Cards. Other efforts include Michaels in-store card making, an online Spotted Canary School™ class, and community initiatives. Operation Christmas Cards itself has a goal to send 175,000 cards this year.  Join Craft Critique at this fun event this weekend and support a good cause! 

Enter to win a pair of tickets to the Friday, August 19th game.  Just leave a comment below and tell us why you love the Cubs!  We will select one random winner to receive a free pair of tickets to the Cubs vs. Cardinals Game this Friday at Wrigley Field in Chicago!

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Craft Critique at CHA: How to play along!

The Craft Critique team is at the Rosemont Convention Center right outside Chicago for the 2011 Summer CHA. This is the 7th consecutive show we’ve covered for our readers. Each season  we bring you exclusive news about new product releases, changes in the industry, design trends and plenty of fun crafty celebrity tid-bits. This show’s coverage will be no exception.

To fully experience all our coverage we wanted to make sure you were tuned in to all our channels.

We know some of you read Craft Critique in your email inbox each day. If you haven’t subscribed yet you can do so by filling out our email subscription form. You can also follow us on your favorite rss feed reader. If you don’t know what an rss feed reader is, then check out our article about techy-nerdy things related to blogs.

We are also super active on Twitter and Facebook, so if you aren’t following us in those social media circles please “like” us or follow us. We will be tweeting and facebooking aplenty this week right from the show floor. Our social media followers will always hear the cool news first, and even have opportunities to win special prizes!

Lastly, be sure that you are subscribed to the Craft Critique Newsletter. The newsletter, while currently sporadic, is always filled with fun stuff you can’t see anywhere else. You’ll find sales and specials from your favorite manufacturers, contests and giveaways, event coverage, celebrity interviews, and inspiration you won’t find on our main site. You can subscribe safely, knowing we will never sell your email address.

Thanks again to all our readers. You have made us the number one Internet site for CHA coverage. We love hearing from you. Tell us what you’d like us to report about at this show. You can email us or comment here to share your requests or opinions with us.

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Craft Critique Meets Martha Stewart: Part Two: The Offices

What could be more exciting than meeting Martha Stewart?  How about a tour of the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Offices?  Yes please!  Editor Jodi Levine and Deputy Design Director Megen Lee were happy to show us around!

Dana, Sarah and Simone glow in front of the Martha Logo!

We were delighted back in November to be asked to join MSLO editors Jodi Levine and Hannah Milman in the Caribbean to test run the new Martha Stewart Craft Studio classes by Beaches resorts.  Now we are happy to call them friends in craft. So when we visited New York for a show taping, they graciously invited us for a tour of the offices to see where the magic happens!

There was a lot we were not allowed to snap pictures of: the individual offices, including Martha’s clean glass office, the yummy smelling test kitchens, the dozens of inspiration boards all over the building… but we were bestowed the honor of being allowed in the prop room, with cameras!

A place for everything, and everything in it’s place!

This is the room where all the props are curated.  There is a small staff that oversees this office, and we imagine they must always be dusting and organizing.  When Martha says, “Bring me that jadeite cake stand that we used on the cover in March of ’93,” they know exactly where that cake stand is!

It was so fun seeing items we remembered from the magazine!

We think that many of you would pay actual cash money for a trip to the prop room… we know we were overwhelmed!

Candlestick anyone?
Christian didn’t touch a thing.  We swear!

A duvet for every day!

Simone chills out with some colorful glass!

Look!  Drawers full of linens!

Ooh! Ahh!

Cake Stands for everyone!

The mixing bowl and canister department
Jodi shows off a wall of walls!

Everything accomplished at MSLO happens here, the editing of the TV shows, the content of each magazine, testing recipes, designing products for Macy’s and developing new crafts products.  We even got to see (hush-hush) new stamping products in the works.  We were so impressed with the hands-on approach and the real ownership each staff member seems to take over their area of expertise.

Jodi Levine, Simone Collins, Dana Vitek, Sarah Moore, Megen Lee and Christian Tamez

They’ve shared some wonderful stories with us about what it’s like to work at MSLO.  Did you know there are only about 600 employees in the MSLO family?  Most employees wear multiple hats and seem to really love the work environment.  The open layout makes it possible for someone working on designing a new craft tool to just jog over to the design department to grab a color swatch, or for the cooks to get opinions on a new recipe.  What a dream environment to work in!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this fun peek into the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offices.  Later this week we will be sneak peeking some new products and beautiful samples being debut on HSN!  We know things!  Shh!!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!