Where Women Create at the Southern Women's Show

Last week, the lovely Loralee of Loralee's Looney Tunes (a blog I've been reading for a little over three years, thanks to Lotus) put out a request on Facebook "Is there anyone who is willing to work the social mediums in Orlando next weekend?" Get to meet this funny lady, make crafts and take pictures to post on the Internet? Heck, yeah, Count me in on that one!

Yours Truly and Loralee
Oh, right. You may not know Loralee. She's the social media manager for Where Women Create, a website and magazine for people who enjoy all manner of crafts. (Where Women Cook, the sister magazine, consistently makes me drool.) So, this request was because she wanted to get the word out about this event, which is one of the first consumer events in which they've been asked to participate.

As an attendee at more than a couple of these in the past twenty years, I think they hit it out of the ballpark with this stage. They had engaging presenters, fun crafts and (save for a couple) the presentations were absolutely FREE! Even if I had to pay to do these, it would have been worth it.

In addition to the pictures here, there are tweets available that I posted in real time (@Suzannadanna). A side bonus is that I got to know my new iPhone
very well in four hours of tweeting and Facebooking. Speaking of which, the improved antenna on the 4S is really and truly improved. Usually, convention halls are the pits for getting more than a bar of reception.

The 4S had Twitter based hiccups, and I had 3/4 bars the whole time I was inside the building. A friend called me, my son called me and I was able to take both calls and the only limitation was how loud it was in the convention center. No more "I need to stand in this exact spot, otherwise, my call will drop."

If you're going to one of the Southern Women Shows, check out the event schedule at the Where Women Create stage. I'm sure you'll find something fun to do and if you're like me, you'll soon plan to visit the local craft store the next day for supplies to start a DIY of your own.

The first presentation came from Kathy Cano-Murillo, also known as the Crafty Chica.

While we painted silk fans, Kathy told stories of craftastrophies from her life. The expert advice she shared from life experiences included: don't order a bridesmaid's dress two sizes too small, cracking an egg on the head of a news anchor is bad, and always check the sizes on shirts before you attempt to wear it on national television.

Every picture I took of Kathy had this huge smile.

The fan started off white, got spray-painted in a lavender tie dye effect, then we used black (in my case, blue) markers to paint patterns centered around a flower. Next, we colored them in and Kathy later sprayed glitter on the finished product. I was a little busy with the social media part, so I didn't get mine glitterized, but the effect looks really cool.

My fan, which I actually colored in later in the day. A must for Floridians.

Suede from season five of Project Runway (and Nicole from Simplicity Customer service) did a presentation about his fashions, many of which are now available in Simplicity fabric patterns. He worked with Simplicity because they believe in using fabric that is readily available at Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Michaels and Hancock, but especially because they stand behind their customers.

Two people who really know sewing!

If you are stuck on a project, all you have to do is email Simplicity and Nicole or Suzanne from customer service will email you back within 48 hours. Sometimes, they've even mailed samples of projects to people who are really stuck. How many businesses will do that?

I think at this point, we were talking about the fact that Suede's shirt has Swarovski crystals on it. That he bedazzled. And he says bedazzling something really, really hurts, but that's the price you pay for fashion (and having sparkle).

Suede's designs are all about versatility. There are three looks in his Simplicity pattern collection: Edgy, Classic and Flirty. The coolest tip they shared was one skirt that had what looked like it was black piping. Nope, it was the soft side of velcro and you can make strips to add, such as a grommeted leather, ruffle, rhinestone strip, braided rope, etc.

There was a cool jacket that was done up in fleece with a detachable hood. (the purple jacket in the picture.) The suggestion was to make multiple hoods for multiple moods, then switch out the looks. Another piece of news for fabric fans-WalMart will be reintroducing fabric departments to all their stores in 2012. If yours lost theirs, it is coming back.

I was really impressed with Suede, he was friendly, approachable, and seemed very down to earth. There was great camaraderie between him and Nicole as they talked about the patterns and Simplicity's approach to them. Speaking of which, if you get one and it frustrates you, email them. They want to know-Nicole spoke of modifications they've made in the past, based on the feedback from customers. (and I'm bummed because apparently, I didn't seat my lens on the camera right and lost all the Nikon pictures of Suede and the clothing they showed us.)

The next presentation was Crocheting with Fabric. Fabric, really? I came away from the experience wanting to get a hook and some cute fabrics, so major kudos to Drew Emborsky, the Crochet Dude.

After seeing what this guy does with crochet hooks, I am most impressed!
How he got into crocheting as a full time job is probably his most frequent question. Drew is a talented artist and found the solitude of painting pet portraits too boring, so he went back to something he learned as a kid. Even more impressive to me is how in 20 minutes, he was able to guide the group in how to take three strips of fabric into this:

Okay, it's one strand, but I did this. Me, the woman who made a single 3 foot row with knitting needles back in girl scouts because I didn't know how to cast off. Oh, wait...
I am a lefty, and I was able to crochet that. Color me impressed. Once again, Where Women Create brought a presenter who was fun, engaging and approachable. While we were waiting for the presentation, another visitor and I were talking to him and he was telling us how a famous writer keeps mistaking another guy for him-even though they don't look anything alike. Too funny.

The last presentation filled up early (Drew's also had a full house), and though the description didn't get me, the packets they were giving out to do the craft did: resin rings. I have a handbag hanger that is lacquered, so it started to make sense, plus the picture on their flyer was really cute. It seriously has me thinking I need to find blank handbag hangers to make gifts for friends. See what happens to you when you come to these shows? Gifts for my friends that are not food, that's what happens. (don't worry, friends, I'll still make the peppermint bark!)

I really like the model's ring in the picture, which means I can find smaller blanks. I'll be scoping magazines for art to lift, too.

The O'Neil's, commonly known as Running with Sisters, are crafting divas. They also released a brand new book, Steampunk Chic. Kitty and Jennifer (and their sister in law, too) were sold out! Rather, they had to turn people away because they made enough kits for the 50 or seats in the Where Women Create stage area. In 25 minutes, each of us had a pretty resin ring. Resin is a quick craft, as it dries in 15 minutes of direct sunlight.

Jennifer led the presentation, while Kitty and helpers moved through the audience, providing supplies and assistance. This was a lively group all around, with table mates talking and sharing supplies.

The very talented Jennifer O'Neil
When they placed supplied on the table before the show, I wondered why I got a piece of foil. It ends up that we were asked to loosely ball it up to use as a work surface for the ring. Ingenious! They also gave out swag bags at the end, which I missed in tweeting. Next time, I'll grab some swag, then tweet. :)

Foil as a holder for a project in progress.
Instead of singing how I bless the rains down in Africa, I think I'll start singing "I glued my key to Ethiopia," but that's why I don't have a hit song and Toto does. My classmates all turned in pretty representations, which made their way outside after our activity. We were asked to come pick them up in an hour, because it was an overcast day.
You know you're looking at these and thinking how you would have paid $10 bucks at the flea market for one of these!
Terri O, who was showing off cool paper cutting techniques that would actually make me into a scrapbooker, not a scrapbook paper hoarder. :)

The next presentation was one of the few that wasn't free, but it was a great deal. Terri P took her full crowd through paper crafts with the supplied kit. Attendees paid $25., but got over $100 of supplies.

Why is it that I suddenly have the urge for grape soda and vanilla ice cream?
The bags had Purple cows on them, and this guy walked through their presentation.

Soon, my day at the show was over and I had to come home to hungry men folk, but I made sure to stop by the Where Women Create booth to look at the goodies for sale and say goodbye to Loralee. (Bonus: I got to meet Jo Packham, the woman behind all the wonderful magazines and things I saw today.)

This show is definitely on next year's list of things to do!


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