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Goodbye Katie…

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our friend, Katie Renz, lost her battle with Cancer yesterday.  You can read more about her touching story on her blog, My Paper Haven.  Our prayers are with Katie’s family today, especially her husband and children.

Letters of sympathy can be mailed to:

The Renz Family
PO Box 5913
Bellingham, WA 98227-5913

Hug your kids, and tell your family and friends you love them…

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

On the set of "Plaid TV" with Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

Steve Piacenza and Cathie Filian of Plaid TV

My friend, Stefanie Girard, got to film an episode of “Plaid TV”  with Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza.  She did an fun episode titled “How to Make a Wind Chime with Garden Tools” that combined a project
and technique from her book “Sweater Surgery” (from Quarry Press) with a project from Steve Piacenza
Steve Piacenza and Stefanie Girard on set at Plaid TV
and his arsenal of Plaid products.  I went along to help Stefanie with her makeup since I had just got my new HD Makeup kit and needed a venue to test it out on.  The show is filmed in high definition, so it provided me with a great opportunity to see if the makeup worked or not.  It also gave me this sneak peek as to how this show is filmed. Below is Cathie Filian, who is checking the lighting on the set before they start filming.
 A lot of time and effort goes into filming each Plaid TV segment.  They spend time checking and rechecking the directions, the project and the materials so that the viewer gets the best possible finished product to enjoy.
Steve Piacenza, Stefanie Girard and Cathie Filian reviewing the project.
Between segments, Steve took out a moment to model one of the “Hot Glue Gun” finger protectors that Cathie Filian and he invented.
Steve wants to help you prevent hot glue gun burns
As for Stefanie’s project, it was too much fun.  See the flower on the bird house, it is made from a recycled sweater that had been felted.  Then Stefanie used her Sizzix Big Shot to die cut flower petals
and turned the sweater into a flower.  The flowers became a cool decoration for a fun bird house chime.
If you have not had a chance to go online and watch these episodes, you are in for a treat.  The projects
vary to cover a large range of interests.

On the day I was there I got a quick peek at some their projects.   On one table I saw fabulous easy kids projects that would appeal to young children.  On a different table, there were projects that made me want to run out to the local craft store and stock up on Plaid products.  They also have projects posted on the web site to inspire you through the upcoming holiday season.
As for the episode itself, well here it is for your viewing enjoyment.
What are your crafting plans for the upcoming holidays?  We would love to know what types of projects our readers enjoy making and reading more about.

EK Success Brands to Collect 25,000 Holiday Cards for our Troops

The holiday season is a time to reflect on giving, and few give so selflessly to our country as our military men and women. To show appreciation for their efforts, EKSuccess Brands, a leading purveyor of crafts, is teaming up with Operation Christmas Cards to send holiday cards to our troops deployed overseas.

Sadly, for about half of the recipients, this will be the only correspondence they receive over the Christmas season. This statistic became an important incentive for EKSuccess Brands to offer to boost card collection by 25,000 cards through a multi-level approach that includes online instruction, partnerships with retailers, class opportunities, and community and marketing initiatives. The Operation Christmas Cards organization, which sends cards to bases in Afghanistan, Japan, Iraq, Egypt and Germany, has a goal to send 175,000 cards for the 2011 season.

As part of the collection efforts, EKSuccess Brands sponsored a Block Party booth at Chicago’s Wrigley Field during the Cubs vs. Cardinals game last month, and Craft Critique was there to participate. Guests made more than 1400 cards at the booth, which was open Friday Aug. 19th to Sunday Aug. 21st. EKSuccess Brands provided K&Company paper and embellishments and EK Tools pens and adhesive.

“EKSuccess is my favorite vendor at the block party,” said Katie Marta, Chicago Cubs special events/entertainment coordinator. “They always bring something different to get people excited.”

The EKSuccess Brands’ education program, Spotted Canary School™ will also provide participating Spotted Canary School independent retailers with card-making classes featuring K&Company™ and Sticko® brand products.

All of EKSuccess Brands’ four office locations—Chicago, IL; Clifton, NJ; Kansas City, MO; and Reading, PA.—will host office events for employees to take part in the card making, as well as sponsoring a local school in each city with supplies to create and collect cards. Additionally, the company will utilize in-store marketing, email blasts, print and online advertising, blogs, direct mail and social media to bring attention to the cause.

“Here at EKSuccess Brands, we want to honor the dedication and sacrifice that these armed service members make for our country,” says Kevin Fick, president of EKSuccess Brands. “Because of our position in the crafting and card-making industry, Operation Christmas Cards was a natural fit to do so.”

If you wish to participate, please feel free to register for classes both in-store and online at and send holiday cards with encouraging and supportive messages by November 11th to:

EKSuccess Brands
C/O Operation Christmas Cards
100 Delawanna Ave. Suite 700
Clifton, NJ, 07014.

Please do not seal the envelopes, or put individual postage on them. Anyone wishing to contribute monetarily or for any cards sent after November 11th should coordinate directly through Operation Christmas Cards at