#MakingIt Week 1 Fast Starter & Master Crafter Challenges – WCB Style

Hello friends! If you follow my crafty twitter handle @WCBCraftStudio, you know that last Tuesday I lived my best digital life during the premiere episode of NBC’s new hit show Making It, live-tweeting and commenting on the most memorable moments. From Amy and Nick’s pun-offs, the projects, the creativity, and the whole feel-good vibe of the show, I hereby submit my application for Full-Time #MakingIt Stan and Ambassador.

I can’t even begin to say how inspired I am by the show. So much so, that thanks to an idea from my dear fellow craft-obsessed friend Sandy, I’ve decided to take on the challenges from each episode and make them as if I were there myself. Is it a coincidence that I post blogs on Tuesdays, and the show airs on that day too? I think not! Now, I don’t want to go too crazy committing to this because 1. It can become a pocket hole if I go all in and 2. Ain’t nobody got time for this, literally. Ergo, I’m going to set some ground rules for myself:

  • I will only take on projects that I can realistically make. If there’s something like woodwork or crochet/embroidery involved, I will skip that challenge.
  • I will only use materials I already own to complete the challenges. I have way too many craft supplies that due to my workload I won’t be able to put to use any time soon, so what better way to get creative and spend less? This will probably restrict me in future challenges, but that’s for the best. I’m not allowed to spend ANY money on materials. We love a fiscally responsible crafty queen!
  • If there’s a challenge that is similar to a craft I’ve made in the past, I will simply refer back to those projects, and won’t make anything new for it.

Ok, I think that covers most bases. With that said, let’s get to last week’s challenges!

  • Fast Craft Week 1: for this challenge, the idea was to get to know a little bit about the crafters, their personalities and preferred mediums by asking them to make a 3D animal that represented them. I’m a big fan of unicorns and dolphins. Since Amber chose a unicorn for herself (because of course she did, since we’re soul sisters and all), I’ll go for the dolphin. I had the idea that because it’s a dolphin and I love water and I wanted to work with card stock, I could try to decorate the dolphin like those tiles in the pool with the white grout showing in between? Check out the journey!
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Here’s the step by step progression of the dolphin going from 2D flatness to 3D glory!

And here is the final result!

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Here’s my 3D paper mache dolphin! His name is Paolo, and he loves to be a statement dolphin! Doesn’t he look like he belongs in a pool fountain or something?! Obsessed! (But totally couldn’t have made it on the show because he definitely required more than 3 hours of crafting!) 

  • Master Craft Week 1: last week’s first big challenge involved the makers getting creative by pulling together an unconventional photo album and a quilt made out of any material except fabric – both crafts were meant to reflect their personal family heirloom/history. For the unconventional photo album, I’m going to tap into my repertoire and bring back the big number 80 I made out of photos for my grandma’s 80th birthday. I crafted that baby from scratch and I think it’s a nice show of family heirloom and my craftsmanship!
80 Picture Album

For this unconventional album craft I drew and cut two eights and two zeroes out of black poster boards for front and back panels. Then, I cut white poster boards into thick strips and taped perpendicularly for 3D view. Thanks to Shutterfly for an offer of 101 free prints and VOILA! 80 years worth of memories for all to see ❤

For the quilt, I honestly would’ve probably chosen paper as my medium just like Amber did, so instead of going down a rabbit hole of endless paper-cutting, I will just link to her awesome post where she reveals some filming secrets and the super cool historical background that made way for her paper quilt!

My friends, I cannot express – truly – how happy this show makes me and how much I’m looking forward to the next episode. I even have some conspiracy theories brewing about what the next challenges will be based on the patches they use as weekly prizes and I just can’t wait to see it all unfold. How do we only have five episodes left?! My heart weeps.

Did any of you recreate any of the challenges from the first episode? Drop some links in the comments below!

 

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Crafters Unite! ‘Making It’ Premieres Today!

If you’re anything like me, tonight has been blocked on your calendar, you’ve asked your family members not to bother you and you are more excited to watch TV than you’ve been in centuries because… the premiere of the crafting show Making It is finally airing TONIGHT on NBC! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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The broadcasting of this show is huge because:

  1. Crafters are about to be on a major network! There’s been reality shows about chefs, models, make-up artists, celebrities, families, etc. but this is the first show of its kind that is about to highlight the wonderful well-roundedness of crafters on such a huge national network like NBC. EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKK
  2. Amy Poehler/Nick Offerman AHEM LESLIE KNOPE/RON SWANSON REUNION! For all of us Parks and Rec fans, seeing these two on screen together again is LIT-ER-ALLY the best thing ever! And the combination couldn’t be better. An established craftsman and woodworker like Nick + a non-crafter like Amy = the ultimate match made in heaven for TV to capture all kinds of audiences. Whether you craft or not, you are represented!
  3. THE MAKERS! Guys. I am SO EXCITED for this casting. You’d think I know the contestants… and that’s because I kinda sorta get to say I do! Amber Kemp-Gerstel and her gorgeous flower headband is one of the eight makers that were cast on the show. Even though she’s originally from the Bay Area, she’s been living in South Florida for years running her Damask Love crafting business and she is EVERYTHING. I got a chance to talk to her once, and she’s just the best human ever. I’ll be rooting for her and everyone from Miami should too!
Making-It-Cast

From top left: Jeffery Rudell (paper props), Amber Kemp-Gerstel (blogger), Billy Kheel (artist & art teacher), Robert Mahar (artist & designer), Joanna Gick (interior designer), Nicole Sweeney (woodworker), Khiem Nguyen (woodworker) & Jemma Olson (crafter)

4. The Press Junkets/Promos! If there’s one thing I enjoy about movie and TV shows are the press junkets that the actors do leading up to it to reach all possible audiences. From the Today Show crafting session to Amy’s appearances on late night shows with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers (with hilarious stories about how she met Nick), to the pun-offs, and all the content on the Making It YouTube channel… I’m IN IT!

I must confess, another reason I’m so excited about this show is because when they were casting for it I actually considered entering… until I saw the application and felt my skill-set wasn’t as broad as I wanted it to be to put myself out there on TV. And now that I’ve seen the lineup, I’m so relieved I didn’t apply, or I might have been the first to go home lol!

I’m sure there are more reasons but as you can tell by my overuse of exclamation marks and capitalization, I’m not very coherent right now. Point is, I simply cannot wait to watch the premiere and whole series and I’m already praying for a Season 2 and this first one hasn’t even started.

I hope you all join me tonight as I’ll be live-tweeting the show from my @WCBCraftStudio twitter account. Let’s make #MakingIt trend! Y’all THREADY for this?!

 

Is Work-Life Balance a Myth For Entrepreneurs?

I think this is a subject I’ll explore in more detail in my upcoming LinkedIn series (more on that later!), but a few posts I’ve seen this week triggered this thought, so I wanted to write about it at least on a surface level.

The saying goes something like “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s a simple enough concept that implies that when you enjoy what you do for a living, it doesn’t feel like a chore and you do it happily. Many of us who decide to leave Corporate America and start something of our own (or work on our “passion” after hours) go into it with the mentality that we want to be our own bosses and be in charge of our destinies, but the illusion of freedom that comes with owning a business quickly devolves into the reality that we are now more than ever tied to work, it’s just OUR work.

Do What You Love

This Instagram post from @bymarieandrew was one of the things that triggered my stream of thought on this

Everyone wants to be a celebrity or a YouTuber, but when push comes to shove, many give up. Or as the Marines say “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” No one creates a successful business overnight, and I think we’ve all become obsessed with seeing the final packaged result that gets curated on social media or TV, because not many people show or talk about the actual journey that got them to that point.

At first, it’s exhilarating – you’re the captain now, you get the talking stick, you make all the decisions, and because it’s your passion, it’s all you think about. And then, reality sets in: you ARE the captain now. It’s ALL you think about. EVERY decision is ultimately up to you, no matter how many opinions you ask for, and depending on the scale of your small business, it’s your face/name/reputation on the line every.single.time.

Another post that I read this week that was very much in line with this idea was one from a college friend who is a trained pharmacist and is currently building a brand around his expertise. Inspired by Gary Vee (because who isn’t?), Richie decided that in order to turn his ambition into reality, he would dedicate the four hours after he gets home from his job until he goes to sleep (#10to2), and would invest them into working towards his brand and business. Again, simple concept, but one that requires a solid vision and some serious discipline. He admits to many lifestyle changes and sacrifices, but it’s something he’s happy to do in order to see his vision come to life – and it works for him. I’m really invested in seeing his journey, reading his articles, checking out his podcasts and videos, and I can’t wait to see the results that his dedication will yield!

At the end of the day, I really don’t need to look too far to see how entrepreneurship takes years of around-the-clock dedication before you can really sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. My parents started a business (and went into bankruptcy pretty quickly with it) the year I was born. It took them about seven years of constant work (weekends? holidays? what are those???) for us to go on a family vacation, and once their business really solidified, we were all able to reap the rewards of their tireless and admirable work ethic. But those work-work-work-work-work-work years are the key, and it’s wild because from the outside, people don’t see the struggle and just focus on the summit at the mountain, not the arduous journey to the top.

Entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing, but when it comes to work-life balance you can expect to have a lot more of the work, and a lot less of the life – at least for a few years. And that’s ok, because as my friend Gary likes to say “you have to love the process.”

Top Amazon “Prime Day” Deals For Crafters!

Hi crafty friends! I know I usually post on Tuesdays, but since Prime Day begins today at 3:00pm EST, I figured saving some cash was worth breaking the rules!

 

Here are some items for a few crafting disciplines you may want to look into and take advantage of the Prime Day discounts –

As crafters and maybe small business owners, there are many devices that may fit your needs, so take a look at the offers for those tools here.

I’m posting this now and will keep editing throughout the day as I see new deals pop up. Also keep in mind, Target, eBay and other companies are also showcasing a good amount of discounts to compete with Prime Day, which means there are even more chances to score some awesome deals for all of us. YAY!

Friends & Family: Karen – Brush Strokes & Chef Goals

KarenIn my never ending list of talented cousins, the next one at bat is Karen! And as you may have seen from my previous Friends and Family posts, I write the corresponding blogs around the subject’s birthday to kind of pay homage to them in some way. Karen’s birthday just passed this Friday, so happy birthday prima!

By now, you guys probably all know that I enjoy pretty much all areas of crafting and creation of things, and I’m versatile with my hands, but if there’s one specialty I haven’t been able to master is cooking. I can sometimes get baking right, since everything is measured to a T, but unless there’s a military grade recipe to follow, there’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll mess it up. This is one of the reasons I admire Karen so much, because she not only crafts her heart out and can do just about any craft there is, but she can also cook amazingly well, and actually graduated just last year with her degree in culinary arts!

Karen has always been able to paint and draw fairly well, but she found her niche in the kitchen, and this has actually become her business endeavor with her sister Lizeth (her feature will come around her birthday in September). PKL “Un Mundo de Detalles” (A World of Details by PKL, PKL being their roommate Paola, Karen and Lizeth) was born in the Spring of 2017 as these three crafty and business savvy women came together to execute a plan for a full-service party decoration and gift basket company. From the beginning, they have explored multiple revenue avenues with gift kits or special holiday themed baskets, party planning/decorating services, catering and desserts. On their feed, you will see all kinds of creative cakes decorated in fondant for customers with all sorts of interests, whether they’re doctors or sports fans, their cakes are a clear (and yummy) reflection of their personality. And Karen is behind all of that.

She is a great chef, an avid baker, and a jack of all trades for crafting. With limited resources and in a very hard market, they have managed to get off the ground and grow the business little by little, and are in high demand for their work all around the city, and even beyond.

Whether she’s using a brush on a canvas or on a marinade, Karen is a tireless worker and always delivers on her promises. Her work is detailed and her professionalism in such a hard industry and 100% customer-facing role is admirable.

Here are some of my favorite Karen pieces:

 

She imitates Britto, but with her own twist, incorporating the culture and folklore of her native Colombia. She uses all mediums fearlessly and creates one of a kind masterpieces, every single week. For this and many more reasons, Karen is my Friends & Family feature this week, and I hope you follow her on her journey as she continues to grow and succeed.

Felicidades prima ❤

#TravelTuesdays – 24 Hours With Kathy in Miami: My First Blog for Nytro!

As part of my introduction as a new Nytro team member, I was asked to write a blog-style guide to living in Miami, and I really like how it turned out! Please check it out and give it a like 🙂 Here’s an excerpt to get you excited:

Home of the three-oh-five (305) area code, the strongest coffee known to man, and millions of Latin-American expats, Miami has also been home to me for the past 15 years, so I think I can give you a good virtual tour of the city. I’d say “Shall we?” but this also happens to be the birthplace of Pitbull, so a more fitting “Dale!” is in order.

Want to read more? The full blog is here. Come check out Miami with me! This is how fun I am 😀

Kathy at PAMM

Friends & Family: Francis – Little Jack of All Trades Who Packs a Punch!

FrancisFor today’s Friends & Family feature, I’ve selected my younger cousin Francis, whose birthday is coming up on the 29th so let’s wish her a happy early birthday from the WCB crew!

When I think of the Shakespearean line “and though she be but little, she is fierce,” it is literally personified by my cousin Francis. Short in stature but with the personality and strength of the Empire State building, this little tycoon has never had it easy, yet she manages to always have a smile on her face, and tackle any challenge that comes her way head on.

Francis, my other cousin Cindy and I hung out constantly through our childhood, and they probably influenced me more than they know. With the years and with the circumstances in Venezuela, we were far from each other geographically, but never in spirit. We always stayed in touch through the early stages of the technology boom of the 2000s, and every chance we got to reunite, we milked every second.

I won’t go into detail about her early life, but I will say that she was the most independent seven-year old you could’ve ever met, having lost her dad at a young age and fending for herself without any fear. A few years ago, Francis’s boyfriend moved from Venezuela to Minnesota to pursue a college baseball career, and asked her to come with him. She would study English, and depending on her visa permit, she’d work part time. By work, I mean she literally managed to cross every possible industry off the bingo card, doing the oddest, most physically demanding and out of her comfort zone jobs you can imagine. Upon her arrival, she started off as a server at a Mexican food restaurant. Can you imagine working as a server without speaking the native language? I remember being terrified for her. But she did it. From there, the road has been a roller coaster, to say the least. She worked at a corn factory canning corn, from 6:00pm until 6:00am. She worked in a car factory assembling parts. She worked at another factory building window frames, burning her hands constantly. She worked at an attorney’s office as a part-time assistant. She was a nanny. Any opportunity that came her way, she took.

Through all of that, there was one thing she took on that kept her sane and gave her an outlet for her creativity: she started making and selling jewelry.

 

This was probably one of the few things that kept her sane. She really enjoyed letting herself run with ideas, learn a new method every day, and proudly selling her work. And I SO commend her for that.

Today she’s going to school and working as a bank teller. When you look at the definition of uphill battle and the “American Dream,” this is it. I believe her dream is to be a dentist and I know if she sticks it out, she will get it done.

So Fanchi, I am SO proud of you for all you’ve gone through, all you’ve accomplished, and all you have yet to do. The sky is not the limit for you, but rather the beginning. Feliz cumple cosita ❤