Bienvenidos a La Vida Crafty

Every month Kathy Cano-Murillo, a.k.a. The Crafty Chica, dishes crafty tips and tricks in La Vida Crafty on Jackalope Ranch.

Hi, I'm Kathy, the Crafty Chica, and I sprinkle glitter for a living. Literally and metaphorically, right here out of my Phoenix home. I'm a third-generation Phoenician (love!) and am excited to share sprinkles of my crafty life here at Jackalope Ranch every month.

I'm a working artist and blogger. But I'm also what you call a "professional craft designer." This means I am hired by craft industry clients to think up, sketch, present, and make DIY tutorials and craft products.

I'm not Martha. At all. I have never used taupe, I'm allergic to pastels, and my style is far from elegant and minimalist. But you know what? I found my own crafty tribe who loves sequins coupled with glitter topped with varnish just as much as me! And I'm proud to say I don't think I've ever used a mason jar, painted a chevron pattern, or melted crayons down a canvas. I appreciate those techniques, but it seems they've been covered. A lot. So I try to come up with something a lil' different.

See also Have Glue Gun, Will Travel

My crafty career started when I sold jewelry to shops on Mill Avenue in Tempe during the early '90s. I used to set up a table to vend or craft anywhere I could -- the top of a car, waiting for my name to be called at the DMV, even at concerts. I got married and my husband (also an artist) ran a business selling our handmade art to stores all over the country. Tired of mass-producing hundreds of pieces, I took a job at a newspaper, which led to a weekly craft column, which led to national syndication, which led to me starting a DIY blog, CraftyChica.com in 2003, which led me here.

You can call me a crazy craft lady. I found a way to make a living sprinkling glitter. Look! I even glittered my floor!

I call it the Crafty Hustle and I'm here to share the best of it with all of you. From tutorials to inside scoop on the newest tools and trends and to help with any craft dilemmas you may have.

Okay, so let me be useful. Here are some lesser known tips that I use daily for crafting and some must-have items to hang onto for future projects.

Clear nail polish Always keep a bottle on hand. It works as a great little varnish and sealer for small projects.

Chopsticks, clothes pins, chunky thumbtacks, and crayons Chopsticks for stirring stuff, or poking out corners in sewing, clothes pins for holding things together while glue dries, crayons for picking up small crystals, thumbtacks for propping things up while you paint.

Lazy Susan I use these for storing paints I use a lot and for holding my item as I paint.

Leftover glitter Save it! Always work over a sheet of paper to catch the overflow and pour it in a separate container. Mixed glitter makes a sparkly charcoal color that can be used for other projects!

Wax paper and freezer paper (shiny side) Love these! Resins, glues, and varnishes will not stick to wax paper. Freezer paper can be ironed onto fabric for use of stencils and stabilizer for inside the shirt. In other words, the fabric won't ripple while you are painting.

Silicone craft mat Use it to draw designs with hot glue, let cool and peel away. You can also use puffy paint. Let it dry completely before peeling it away.

So, yeah, I love to make things. I hope you'll join me here on Jackalope Ranch! I want to know your artsy tips too, please share in the comments!

See more of Kathy at CraftyChica. Follow her on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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