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We were so excited to see Chicago crafter Laura George featured today on Daily Candy! If you haven’t seen her cute and quirky stationary and prints check them out at her Etsy shop.  Or if you are a last minute Valentine’s Day shopper get your sweetie a card ASAP at Hazel (1902 W Montrose) or Inkling (2917 1/2 N Broadway)

Because who is going to turn down an underwear dance party?  No one.

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Have you ever wondered about getting your projects published in magazines, or even going all out and writing a book? Then January’s Craft Racket was made for you!

The Chicago Craft Mafia’s Quarterly Craft Rackets have proven to be a great resource for local crafters to network and learn from peers. Our next Racket, on Tuesday, January 17, crafter and author Rebeca Mojica will offer tips and tricks for creating step-by-step instructions. She’ll explain the pros and cons of self-publishing vs using a publishing house and—along with published crafter Lindsay Obermeyer—will offer suggestions for submitting projects to industry magazines.

We hope you’ll join us for an evening of socializing, talking shop, and sharing a snack or two with your fellow crafters at Beans & Bagels on Montrose.

Hope to see you at the Racket!


Tues. Jan 17 from 6 to 9 pm

Beans & Bagels
1812 W. Montrose
Chicago IL
(right under the Montrose stop on the Brown Line)

Cost: FREE!

Please RSVP by emailing
or calling Blue Buddha at 773.478.3767

Curious about what a Craft Racket is and how it works? It is pretty simple. We pick a different topic each quarter and meet up at Beans and Bagels where we sip a beverage, maybe get a tasty snack to eat, and talk with other like-minded crafty entrepreneurs beginning at 6pm. After about an hour of mingling, we’ll go around the room and introduce ourselves briefly. After introductions, one of the members of the mafia, or whoever our guest speaker is, will give a short presentation or talk about a topic. Questions are welcome throughout. Once the prepared speech is over, more questions will be answered and anyone else in attendance who has information to share is encouraged to do it. Discussions are very casual and comfortable, questions are always smart and always encouraged.

The goal of the Craft Racket is to not only share information in a presentation format, but to get information sharing between people. We all spend a lot of time alone making our work, and feel it is great to have everyone in a room, face-to-face, and sharing their thoughts, queries, and opinions with people who get where they’re coming from. So please join us. We’d love to have you. And the croissants are fantastic.

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Hello, everybody!

The DIY Trunk Show is only a few weeks away — are you getting all giddy? I know I am! We’ve got an exciting new location this year, more vendors, cool sponsors, crafty activities, and more.

This year’s show is going to be our biggest yet, and we’re looking for volunteers to help make it the best one yet, too. Volunteer duties will include greeting the friendly shoppers, handing out maps, providing short breaks for vendors, helping with set up and tear down, and (most importantly) pointing out the bathrooms.

It’s easy! It’s fun! It means so much to us!

In order to keep our volunteers from feeling overwhelmed — and give you time to shop — volunteer shifts are just 3 hours long. The open hours for the show are 10 am to 5 pm, but we’ll need a hand before and after as well. Here’s the schedule we’re looking to fill:

  • 9 am – Noon
  • Noon – 3 pm
  • 3 pm – 6 pm

We may never be able to thank you enough for your help, but here’s what we CAN give you:

  • a 10% discount on merchandise with participating DIY Trunk Show vendors
  • free goody bag full of fantastic miscellany from our vendors and other crafty folks
  • a cool, limited-edition DIY Trunk Show button (only the volunteers and the vendors get these!)
  • our undying gratitude!

If you’d like to take one of these shifts and help us out, please e-mail Amy C. at And feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone else who might be interested in volunteering with the DIY Trunk Show, Saturday, November 19, at our NEW location in the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway, Chicago.

Thanks, and keep on craftin’!

Amy C.

DIY Trunk Show

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“Made Right Here” pitch spot from RICK PAGE on Vimeo.

That’s what we’re all doing, right? Making stuff in America. Using our hands to create items that hopefully will get purchased by someone down the block, around the corner, or over a ways? Keeping things local, keeping it real. So I was delighted to see <a href=””>The Midwest Style</a>write about “Made Right Here”. A video about American-made products. And they’re looking for factories and workshops to visit. If you know of one, contact Matt Springer at

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About a week ago I heard that American Craft magazine was going to be publishing an issue talking about the top moments of the last 70 years of craft history. I was excited, honestly. Very excited. I still haven’t seen a copy in person to pick up, but based on what I’ve seen online, my excitement has turned to painful disappointment. You can view their timeline online.

I would like to congratulate them on their navigation. I think it’s visually an amazing way to show a lot information in a clear and concise way using imagery instead of a lot of text. The unfortunate thing is that there is so little content in their view. Was there really only 1 fabric-related thing that was awesome enough in the 1940′s to deserve mention? Really? After WWII, there were several innovations in fabric technology. Now that companies weren’t invested in the war effort, they turned to find ways so they could continue staffing their factories and using their equipment for a domestic market. The fabric industry boomed after WWII ended. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at their timeline.

And the fact that each decade gets such short shrift makes me feel a little better about the horrific coverage of the 2000s. While I’m delighted that Betsy Greer and the Craftivism movement get a mention. I’m a bit flummoxed about why Michael Jackson and Bubbles are the only interesting thing to happen in Ceramics from 2000-2003. And For the Love of God! No really, that is the name of a diamond-encrusted plaster skull that is the only item that deserves to be in the “Influencer” category from 2000-2009? Seriously?

I don’t subscribe to American Craft Magazine although I do flip through it at the bookstore or library when I see it. But I’m often disappointed that THEY just don’t get US. And by they, I mean the “art-craft” movement not getting the indie-craft movement. Which is a damned shame. They place their aesthetics over the fact that our starting influences are the same, our techniques are the same, but our approach and subject matter are different. Maybe if I created a diamond-encrusted bag I’d get to be an influencer for the next decade. And to be an influencer do you really have to create something that is frivolously expensive? During a time of recession, when a “make do or do without” mentality is traipsing across much of American society, I’m a bit appalled that this is what they decide to promote.

What do you think?

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The Chicago Craft Mafia is looking for new members to join the familia. New members will assist with the planning of the DIY Trunk Show, quarterly craft rackets and other networking events.

The Chicago Craft Mafia is a collaborative and non-competitive organization of independent crafting business owners. We work together to both foster our own individual entrepreneurship and support the greater crafting community. Members of the familia pride ourselves on the design, integrity and workmanship of our products and the ethics of our business practices.

For more info click on Join the Mafia. Applications are due by Friday, September 2, 2011.

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Our next networking night, the Craft Racket, is right around the corner – Tuesday, July 26.

We’re very excited to have a guest presenter for this summer’s Racket. Jennifer Rapp Peterson of IndieMade will demonstrate how fast you can get your business online and ready to accept sales and connect with customers.

Jennifer will set up a complete website from scratch in 30 minutes using IndieMade’s technology. If you bring a laptop and content, you can test drive the software free for 30 days.

IndieMade offers creative entrepreneurs complete websites with an integrated blog, shopping cart, galleries, calendar and social media integration all in one place, on a custom URL ( Instead of managing a separate blog, store and portfolio site, IndieMade gives it all to you on your own website, under one roof. IndieMade websites are not widget-based, they are search-engine-friendly, built in 2 minutes, and come with an easy-to-use dashboard to upload and manage your content and your sales. They don’t take a percentage of sales, all of this functionality is included in the hosting package.

We hope you’ll join us for an evening of learning, socializing, talking shop, and sharing a snack or two with your fellow crafters at Beans & Bagels on Montrose!

CRAFT RACKET – Summer, 2011

Tuesday, July 26 from 6 to 9 pm

Beans & Bagels

1812 W. Montrose

Chicago IL

(right under the Montrose stop on the Brown Line)

Cost: FREE!

Please RSVP by emailing or calling Rebeca/
Blue Buddha at 773.478.3767

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A big thank you to the dedicated crafters who’ve let us know they had not received the application info for the 2011 DIY Trunk Show.  We appreciate hearing from you! As we want to make sure everyone has ample time to apply, we are extending the application deadline to July 7th.  Also, after some serious lobbying by crafters in St. Louis and Detroit, we are extending the application radius to all crafters living within a 7 hour drive of Chicago.  Please share this information with your fellow crafters!

We have a new website with new information, so we ask you to read it all. We really hate having to eliminate applications because they’re incomplete, so make sure you fill out every field and send in all your images.  To start applying go to:

The show will be Saturday November 19th this year and we’re excited to say that moving to the Broadway Armory will not only permit us all to be in the same room, but it will permit us to accept 150 vendors. Which means this will be the kick-assiest DIY Trunk Show evah!
If you have any questions, feel free to send them


Hi everyone! Just got word on a new late-summer art fair here on the North side for all of you crafters who work with recycled/upcycled materials…

From their site:
By taking used or recycled goods and creating original, handmade art, clothing, household items, jewelry, paper objects, collectibles and other crafts, artists are changing the way communities think about the value of recyclables. Ravenswood Remix™ provides a platform for artists who think outside the margins and want a place to display and sell their handmade goods.

Sound like you? Details and application are available at

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Lillstreet’s Fall 2011 Catalog Cover Contest

Create a new cover for Lillstreet Art Center’s Fall 2011 Catalog! The winning design will be featured on the cover of Lillstreet’s 2011 Fall Catalog, and distributed to a 10,000 person mailing list plus hundreds of places around the city. Additionally, the winner will receive a free 10-Week Class at Lillstreet Art Center or $250 Cash Price.

-8″ x 10″ Design must be able to accommodate our Lillstreet logo and some basic text

-Submit high-resolution jpeg(s) by July 1 to w/ subject line “Cover Contest Submission”

-Please include full name, email, and phone number in the submission.

-Limit 3 entries per person.

If you have any questions, please contact Julia Zema at

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