Gimme My Mojo! August 3, 2011

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski!

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MEET my co-host . . .



About Thomas . . .

Two years ago I was in bed. It didn’t matter what time of day it was; chances are I was in bed. We didn’t yet know what was wrong with me, but we knew something was wrong. A few months earlier I abruptly took a leave of absence from my position as an Assistant Professor of Design and began the full-time search for answers. My wife, newborn daughter, and I went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, took trips to visit specialists, even spent two weeks at Johns Hopkins. Still, we had no answers. I was in bed. I wasn’t asleep; I just couldn’t move.

Eventually we learned that I had Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, a rare neuromuscular disorder, and over the next year we slowly developed a management protocol: lots and lots of meds, a crazy diet, and constant vigilance. Slowly we regained some semblance of normalcy: I was able to be a part of my wee daughter’s life; my wife gradually let some of the perpetual fear slip away; in the fall I returned to teaching in a limited capacity. Hope was returning.

One year ago we felt like the rug had been yanked out from under our feet. Because of my illness I was forced out of academia: the one thing I had ever wanted to do was stripped away; what we had spent so much of the last year working toward was gone. Yes, I was still giddy to be able to move again, grateful for the ability to be with my wife and daughter again, but I must admit I was at a loss as far as what to do next. I was lost.

In July 2010 my mother visited. My darling wife was at a conference in the UK (she is the most stellar young medievalist on the planet) and we were all excited that I was well enough to be Little One’s primary caregiver while she was away, but I still needed backup – we never know when I will have problems with my HKPP. Well, to make a long story short, using the sewing machine my mother-in-law had given my wife the previous Xmas, my mother gave me a couple of quick lessons on the sewing machine. I don’t know why, but I decided I wanted to make Little One a dress. It turned out to be more of a tunic than a dress, but here is my first sewing effort:

We would never have guessed what we had started. Over the next few months I made dozens of wee dresses.

I practiced and practiced and gradually figured out what I was doing. In October I launched Way Cool Kid Dot Com and put a few dresses up for sale, but more importantly I was hooked. I had fallen in love with sewing and fabric. And even more importantly I had stumbled upon a new path. I am generally loath to wax hyperbolic, but I was finally re-finding myself, or at least some of the parts of myself I had lost over the past eighteen months.

From there it was a logical leap to jump into textile design. I am a math geek with MFAs in Sculpture and Printmaking;I had spent the previous seven years as a design professor. I love sewing wee dresses, but patterns were calling me. I went on a designing spree, and before too long I was emailing back and forth with Andover, and then had a couple of phone calls, then an agreement, and finally a contract. I signed that contract exactly six months after that first sewing lesson. I couldn’t imagine being happier. They just put what I think is the sexiest line to come out in ages:Melissa Averinos’ SwoonLizzy House and her wonderful Peeps are there. And I am excited to work with them to bring what I hope will be my wonderful designs to cotton near you. I am giddy to be part of the Andover family and am counting the days until Little One and I get to roll around in yards and yards of my designs.

Two years after the scariest time in my life I find myself excited, ecstatic, giddy, joyous, ebullient, and just downright happy. My wee girl is a constant delight, I am married to the most wonderful person I could ever imagine knowing, and I am in the midst of embarking on a new career in the land of quilts.

So, as Little One would say: Hip hip Hooray! (Insert best two-year-old yell here.)

Thomas’ LATEST fabric line

from ANDOVER . . . .





CLICK HERE to visit Thomas’ website!

Thomas’ Twitter handle is: @waycoolkid

CLICK HERE to Join Thomas on Facebook

CLICK HERE to visit Thomas’ Blog!

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Quilter, Teacher, Blogger, Author 



About AMI . . .

Ami Simms has been quilt teacher on the national circuit for more than 25 years and was named Teacher of the Year in 2005 by the Professional Quilter magazine. She is the author of 8 quilting books and numerous patterns. She confesses to having created the Worst Quilt in the World Contest ( as a shameless promotion for her stinky green book, How NOT To Make A Prize-Winning Quilt.

Ami is also the founder of the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI), an all-volunteer effort to raise awareness and fund Alzheimer’s research through art.  To date the quilter-powered national charity has raised more than $570,000 for research.

The AAQI sponsors a nationally touring quilt exhibit about Alzheimer’s and sells small donated quilts. This month, the AAQI is offering twenty quilts by some very well-known quilters that were part of the nonprofit’s first traveling exhibit, “Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece” which retired at the end of last year. 

CLICK HERE to get to Ami’s AUCTION (continues through August 10th)


Here are just some of the quilts being auctioned (how can you NOT bid?)…


CLICK HERE to get to Ami’s AUCTION (continues through August 10th)

Other ways to touch base with Ami!

AAQI web page:

AAQI Fan page:

AAQI Blog:

AAQI Twitter:!/AAQIUpdate  @AAQIUpdate

CLICK HERE to visit Ami’s website (buy her books)!


Ami’s Twitter handle is: @AmiSimms!/AmiSimms

 CLICK HERE to Join Ami on Facebook

CLICK HERE to visit and subscribe to Ami’s Blog!

CLICK HERE to get to Ami’s AUCTION (continues through August 10th)

CLICK HERE to get to Ami’s AUCTION (continues through August 10th)

CLICK HERE to get to Ami’s AUCTION (continues through August 10th)

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Raw Art Journaling! 


Writer, Trainer, Coach


A little about QUINN . . .

Quinn McDonald wanted to be an obedient, dutiful wife and patient mother, but she was born at the wrong time. She became a writer—in ad agencies, in corporations, at a newspaper. Traveled all over the world. Took notes. There was always that restlessness, that raised eyebrow that wouldn’t behave. Then one day, during a performance review, her boss said, “You are different, and seem to enjoy it.” It was not a compliment. The clock on Quinn’s job security ticked to an end. From that day on, Quinn listened to her intuition, quit looking for meaning in life and began making meaning. Through her company QuinnCreative, she offers life- and creativity coaching, writing, training in business communications, and art workshops. In her down time, she and her husband, Kent, rides their motorcycles in the amazing landscape of the Sonoran desert. Her son, Ian, is a professor of music theory at Yale University.

Here’s Quinn’s new book!

CLICK HERE to order Quinn’s book, Raw Art Journaling

Take a look at some of Quinn’s work:

CLICK HERE to Join Quinn on Facebook

CLICK HERE to visit Quinn’s website!

CLICK HERE to visit and subscribe to Quinn’s Blog

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Lather Up, Cupcake!

We’ve got the cure for feeling zexy!




About John . . .

John G. Jones was raised in a small town called Cookville in East Texas.  Always longing to be in show business for as long as he can remember, John yearned for city life. After graduating high school in Mt. Pleasant, he headed to Tyler Junior College and majored in vocal performance for two years. Growing bored with Tyler, Texas and small town mentality, John quit school and worked to save money. He moved to the Dallas area in 1997 and singing, unfortunately, got pushed to the side. He did still sing at the occasional wedding or funeral for family and friends and sang with the Turtle Creek Chorale.
After living in the Dallas area for five years, John found himself ready for a new challenge.  John chose to move to Chicago. His friend Misti, always up for an adventure, agreed to ride with him and help him and his dog “Blackie” get settled into the new city.
Quickly adapting to his new surroundings, John decided to evaluate things. He realized how much singing had meant to him and wanted to again pursue his dream. John began to seek out a voice teacher to get his voice back in shape. Through some research, John was told to call George Tenegal. This ended up being excellent advice and Mr. Tenegal began teaching John weekly. Since John had not had a voice lesson in about six years, things started out a little rough. Mr. Tenegal’s coaching and hard work from John allowed him to quickly get his voice in shape.  After studying with George for 4 years, John decided to move back to Dallas.  John has been back in Dallas since 2006.

In 2010 John decided to start a handmade soap business and in October of 2010 founded Jovanic Corp.  Velvet Rope Soaps is a division of Jovanic Corp. where John works to create wonderful, high quality, handmade soaps with a fun, fresh feel.  You can read more about Velvet Rope Soaps and order products at

About Velvet Rope Soaps . . . 

Velvet Rope Soaps offers high quality, hand-made products for men and women that know they deserve the best.  Velvet Rope Soap products are an affordable luxury that you can enjoy every day.    
  Our soaps have a wonderful lather and are loaded with beneficial oils including coconut, grape seed, olive, canola, and rice bran.  Also included is a generous amount of goats milk for moisturizing.   Each oil and ingredient offers it own unique benefits. This is a fresh, fun, new take on handmade soap!
  Most of the soaps are themed after a variety of bars and night clubs. There really is something for every style and personality. Use our soap after a long hard day at work or before a night partying hard at the clubs. Use it before dinner out with your family or before brunch with the ladies from church.  Enjoy full access behind the Velvet Rope and know that you ARE a V.I.P.
  The soaps come in the standard “large” bars as well as a “hotel” size smaller version.  The hotel bars are perfect for gift baskets, travel, or sampling.  Each bar will vary slightly in size and color due to being hand poured, colored, and cut.  You can also request your favorite soap as a “bath soak”.  We are sure you will love the soaps and products as much as we do!
look at John’s soaps:

CLICK HERE to visit the Velvet Rope Soaps website!

CLICK HERE to get to John’s Velvet Rope Soaps Facebook page!


Book ’em, Dano!

All Adventures in Bookbinding!


Author, Designer, Teacher & Lecturer


About Jeannine  . . .

Jeannine Stein has been making books for more than fifteen years, exploring bindings, mediums, and techniques. In addition to teaching book-binding, she is an award-winning journalist, and she has written extensively about paper crafts-artists’ books, scrapbooking, rubber stamping, and letterpress. She is the author of Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books with Recycled and Repurposed Materials, (Quarry Books, 2009).

Check out Jeannine’s book!

Just look at some of these “books” from the book!

(this book is fabulous!)



CLICK HERE to buy Jeannine’s book…

Adventures in Bookbinding; Hand Crafting Mixed-Media Books!

CLICK HERE to visit Jeannine’s BLOG!

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If you’ve never used Auriful Thread. . .

. . .  then you haven’t really sewn!

Why not start off with the BASICS ?



When you purchase of any Aurifil Thread Collection from!

Go to my web site to order YOUR collection — CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED.

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One Comment on “Gimme My Mojo! August 3, 2011”

  1. August 11, 2011 at 9:19 AM #

    I just finished reading a novel titled “Turn of Mind” by Alice LaPlante about a woman who is an orthopedic surgeon in the beginning stages of dementia. A very chilling read. Looking at the information about Ami’s quilts and her Alzheimer’s project brought the book to mind. It’s spellbinding.


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