12: Big Ass Crafting with Mark Montano

12: Big Ass Crafting with Mark Montano

Today’s Big Ass Guest is Mark Montano- he’s at the top of Karen’s list when it comes to having a creative approach! She’s been a great fan of his, since seeing him on Trading Spaces and she has many of his books and watches lots of his Facebook Live videos. Listen in and find out more about Mark, what he does and how he really inspires people.

Mark is a Designer, a Television Host and the Best Selling Author of the really popular Big Ass Craft Book Series, which are the best selling craft books in the United States. He also works as a Creative Consultant for DecoArt and as a Creative Director for Eclectic Products. Listen in today and find out about Mark’s wonderfully creative approach to life.



Today, Mark talks to Karen about:

  • What he does with Facebook Live and some other projects.
  • How he decided, at the age of thirteen, that he would move to New York and become a fashion designer.
  • How he eventually did become a fashion designer and worked for Oscar de la Renta, before starting his own collection.
  • How he was asked to write a monthly article for Cosmo Girl Magazine.
  • How his articles for Cosmo Girl turned into his book series.
  • How his career moved from Fashion into Interiors, after landing a TV show called While You Were Out.
  • How he ended up moving to Los Angeles.
  • How he moved into doing Youtube movies and Facebook Live.
  • Live events- he finds them fun, but exhausting.
  • The Association For Creative Industries – The new name for the CHA.
  • How he was constantly making things while growing up.
  • Traveling and performing with the Kashari Indian Dancers, as a child.
  • His education- starting with a degree in marketing and business, then The Fashion Institute where he studied the history of fashion.
  • That he views fashion as art.
  • That being smart with your money is the only way you can be successful in a creative industry.
  • The biggest question- What creativity really means to him.
  • How he came up with his big ass name for his books, now in their 29th
  • The new book that he wrote recently, about how to stay on track in your life and avoid distractions, while working from home.
  • The normal tasks you do that make you a creative person.


Mark’s website and blog: Mark Montano

Mark on Youtube: Mark Montano

Mark on Facebook: Mark Montano


Google ‘make your mark’ and he’ll pop up!


Books: The Big Ass Book Of Crafts by Mark Montano

And all his other books are available from Amazon

11: Putting Creativity to Work for Charity with Elena Lai Etcheverry

11: Putting Creativity to Work for Charity with Elena Lai Etcheverry

If you’re a creative person with a desire to give something back to your community, you will really enjoy today’s show, with Karen’s bubbly and inspiring guest and long time friend, Elena Lai Etcheverry. Elena is the founder and Executive Director of Charity Wings.org, a Non-Profit Organization and DIY Make-A-Space in Southern California. Listen in today to find out about this wonderful, charitable non-profit, where you can really get creatively involved and also make a difference.

Charity Wings is a huge, open studio, where you can come along and bring your imagination and a desire to create pretty much anything. All the supplies are there for you- the space, the tools, the assistance and the inspiration. Elena and her team want to make sure that everyone has a place to use their creative expression and to have a creative outlet. They have programs for other Non-Profits as well, where they offer either free or very low-cost classes for people with mental disabilities, wounded warriors, cancer support groups and various children’s and adult groups. Everyone has a place at the centre.

There is a small fee of $20 per month for you to become a member of Charity Wings. This fee supports the programs and allows Charity Wings Art Center to keep running, so even if you aren’t able to go there and use the space as often as you would like to, or if you live elsewhere, your contribution will still be making it possible for other, often less fortunate individuals to do so. If you are a member and you’d like to use the space, you can do it for only $5 per day. Listen in to find out more about Charity Wings and to find out how you can get involved.

Today, Elena talks to Karen about:

  • Some of the special events which are done at Charity Wings Art Center.
  • How it really supports and helps keep them going when prominent individuals show up at their events.
  • Their once a year interactive collaboration with the Association for Creative Industries and various manufacturers and designers, which they did as a Facebook Live Event this year.
  • The Crafty Flash Mob Video that they did a couple of years ago.
  • The numerous opportunities for people to gather, give back and create, through Charity Wings, who give people the place to do voluntary work to help their organization.
  • The High School Internship Programs that they offer.
  • The need to fully commit, when doing voluntary work for any organization.
  • Their Charity Wings Mini Hat Dye Cuts that they are selling to raise money for the organization.
  • How Elena first got started with charity work.
  • The vast amount of money that she has raised with Scrapbook Royalty for about eighty-two organizations, over the last eleven years.
  • The huge blessing of moving from the scrap booking world to Charity Wings.
  • The vast number of different crafts that you can do at Charity Wings Art Centre.
  • The different groups that are on offer at the Art Centre, including the new Open Mic Night.
  • How to know if this type of charity work really is for you- Elena is willing to have you shadow her for a day if you’d like to find out.
  • Her goal to expand her organization.
  • That NOBODY is turned away from the Art Center- it’s a very lively place!
  • What creativity really means to Elena.
  • Creativity as a healing tool for Elena.
  • That you can become a HEART Supporter for Charity Wings for only $10 per month.



Charity Wings Website: Charity Wings – follow the link to ‘shop’ for the mini hats

Facebook: Charity Wings Art Center

Youtube: Charity Wings

Instagram: Charity Wings

05: Using Your Creativity to Influence Your Career with Kara Gott Warner

05: Using Your Creativity to Influence Your Career with Kara Gott Warner

Are you looking to start a career in knitting design? Would you like to take a peek behind the curtain in the working life of an editor of a knitting magazine? Then join Karen Poirier-Brode on this week’s episode of “A Creative Approach Podcast” as she explores the working world of dynamic and versatile Kara Gott Warner.

Kara, a native New Yorker, who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, is the editor of Creative Knitting magazine and the host of Power Purls Podcast. She started designing knitting patterns in 2002. After training as a technical illustrator, she worked for numerous craft book publishers, such as Random House, Lark Books, Sterling Publishing and F&W.

In 2008, she joined Annie’s Publishing as a knitting book editor and then in 2010, she began with Creative Knitting Magazine and Annie’s Knitting Publications. Her designs have been published widely in many magazines, including Creative Knitting, Vogue Knitting, Family Circle, Easy Knitting and Interweave. Listen to Kara talking passionately about her creative approach to her work.

Join Karen and Kara as they discuss:

  • How Kara started her career in the fashion world.
  • How Kara made her own way, mostly making accessories, till she rediscovered knitting.
  • How a sweet little yarn shop awakened her passion for knitting in the early ’90’s.
  • How a mentor gave her the idea to make a career of knitting and designing.
  • A ball of yarn can hold exciting possibilities!
  • Her background in technical drawing and schematics came full circle and linked into her knitting career.
  • The fantastic power of networking!
  • How Kara became editor of Creative Knitting Magazine.
  • How cultivating relationships is crucial to getting ahead!
  • What the does editor of a knitting magazine do?
  • The many months of preparation that go into producing her magazine.



Power Purls website: www.powerpurlspodcast.com

Kara’s website: Kara Gott Warner

Kara on Twitter: karaknits

Kara on instagram: karaknits

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