The New X-ACTO® Basic Knife Set and My FREE Crafters Sizing Guide

My appreciation for X-ACTO began in the early 80s with my first job as an ad agency paste-up artist- pre-digital era. I’ve had a #11-blade X-ACTO knife within reach my entire creative career- from graphic designer to professional crafter. So when I was sent X-ACTO’s recently reshaped popular knife set to check out and review I was over the moon.Cathe-Holden-X-Acto-Basic-Knife-Set-2 This new set is housed in a premium soft compression case which replaces the traditional wooden chest- so much easier to carry and store. There are magnetic slots on one side of the kit that securely stores the blades. The kit is very lightweight and includes X-ACTO’s most popular knives for precision trimming and cutting:

  • #1 for lightweight materials
  • #2 for medium to heavy weight materials
  • #5 for heavy weight materials
  • #7, #10, #11, #16, #17, #2, #18, #19, #22 & #24 precision knife blades

Cathe-Holden-X-Acto-Basic-Knife-SetCheck out the very cool X-ACTO® Basic Knife Set video here. The new set retails at $29.99 and will be available nationwide beginning July 1, 2014. This is an ideal gift for your creative friends and the perfect tool set for creative you.

And, speaking of gifts, here’s one from me to you. A free printable with all those little measurements that are good to keep handy when crafting and shopping for materials and supplies.Holdens-Crafters-Sizing-Guide-X The Holden’s Easy Handy Crafter’s Sizing Guide. (A mouthful I know, but the wording fit so nicely into that lovely vintage label graphic found in an old book.) The printable guide features two rulers, one with inches and one with centimeters/millimeters. There’s also width visuals and rounds in both standard and metric. Holdens-Crafters-Sizing-GuideDownload the sizing guide PDF file (that includes two sets of graphics on one letter-size file), and print to white or colored paper or cardstock. Do a test print run to check for measurement accuracy. You may need to adjust your printer’s settings to print at 100% and not scaled to fit media. All printers are different so you’ll have to play with your settings to get the best results.Holdens-Crafters-Sizing-Guide-02 Once printed, trim down and through the side rulers at the grey trim marks as shown, allowing ruler increments to bleed off the side of your guide.Holdens-Crafters-Sizing-Guide-03 You can fold guide in half along the dotted line for tucking into your bag, pocket, or sketchbook. I keep one at my desktop for visually referencing the size of supplies I purchase online such as ribbon widths, bead sizes, jump rings, cabochons, wooden disks, dowel rods, vintage ephemera, and so much more.Holdens-Crafters-Sizing-Guide-01Happy crafting!

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Home Grown Logos: Logo Design

My long career as a graphic designer began in the Midwest two weeks before graduating high school in 1983. I spent half of my junior and senior years in Commercial Art studies a vocational school and was hired into the art department of an advertising agency just before graduating. Four years later I promoted to Senior Art Director and later moved to another, much larger agency. Ultimately I landed on the West Coast and started my own design firm, Holden & Company, in Santa Rosa, California, specializing in wine and food branding, packaging and promotion. Years later, babies came into our lives and I whittled my work down substantially in order to stay at home with them. I focused my work on the niche of design I do best- logos.

After many successful years creating brands for others, I ventured out into new territory- professional crafting, and created the blog you are reading now. I slowly gave up logo design to focus on craft industry work, but just recently decided to put my designer hat on once again and take on logo design work in addition to my crafty ventures. After all, in one year each of those babies will be off to college and every little bit of extra income will help.

Below is a large sampling of logo work I have done for a wide variety of clients, with a few testimonies to follow. If you looking for new branding, you can learn more about my process and rates on the INFO page of You can contact me via email through the website. In addition, I’ll soon be updating my design blog over at Farm Fresh Creative, so if you’re a designer, check there often for good stuff.

Home-Grown-Logos-LOGOS-470Home Grown Logos Client Testimonials

VanLeeuwenLogosphotos“Cathe did a wonderful job creating the now iconic Van Leeuwen logo.  Aside from the tremendous result, working with Cathe was a pleasure.  She was always extremely professional, responsive and met every deadline, generally unheard of in this business.”

Ben Van Leeuwen
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Brooklyn, NY

i-musicnetwork-logos“I found some of Cathe’s artwork by accident on internet. Loved the style from the first moment on. Our company decided to work with Cathe for a few logo designs. The results are fantastic and she met our requirements after the first short briefing.”

Toni Götz
iMusicnetwork (Brands: Paramount, Nautilus)
Kirchheim, GERMANY

CCASAlogosphotos CATECOlogosphotos“I have worked with Cathe Holden creating two completely different brands. Both brands have been a big success, and a part of what makes a good brand starts with the logo. With one brand I had the name and Cathe created a logo that truly captured what my vision was. Simple, classy and two colors. And of course that it looked like it had been around forever. The second brand we brain stormed and came up the the name and the look together and this time only using black and white.  Again timeless.  If you want a professional logo at an extremely fair price, Cathe Holden is your logo designer!”

Catherine Bergen, President
C CASA and Cate & Co.
Napa, CA

PARATVSlogophotos“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Cathe on our brand identity for both PARATVS Cigars and COR DEO Wine. Her design aesthetic was exactly what we were looking for. She is a talented artist who very much understands the perspective of the client and can help guide and articulate those needs — with great care and attention — into stunning designs. She’s responsive, approachable and really understands the fluidity of the logo design process. She makes the client feel comfortable along the way and does a great job communicating her ideas. Working with Cathe was very synergistic and educational as well. We’ve received numerous compliments on our branding program and she’s brought to life our passion for cigars and wine.”

Thomas S. Kim, President
Thomas Capitol Partners, Inc.
Washington, DC


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Plasti Dip Paint by Number & Embossed Pot Luck Utensils

I’ve seen some pretty neat ideas online using Plasti Dip, many for the handles of tools, silverware and utensils. Plasti Dip comes in a few primary colors and black, but I purchased the PLASTI DIP Rubber Coating Color Kit for creating custom colors and it occurred to me that I could craft something with the just the clear base as well. (And it turns out that you can also buy Clear Plasti Dip without the color kit!) My inspiration for a project came last week after we purchased a 1972 Holiday Rambler Vacationer travel trailer off of Craigslist for jaunts to the beach and other spontaneous camp-outs. It’s in really nice shape and I’m looking forward to kitsching it out.Cathe-Holden-PDip-HRV The interior is just as you would imagine- wood paneling and faux wood paneling, avocado green upholstery, and harvest gold appliances. I’ve no plans to take it out of its era, I’m embracing the 70s full on with this trailer. To start, I have been going through my paint-by-number collection looking for just the right ones to display. Then it occurred to me that I could use an image of one of those paintings in a Plasti Dip project. So I purchased a set of six bamboo kitchen utensils at Home Goods for under $4 and got to work.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-01I used my desktop printer/copier to copy sections of the painting reduced to 40% to fit nicely on the lower section of the handles.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-02I traced both front and back of each handle to the back of the color copies.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-03 The handles are quite different one from the other so every side needed to be traced.  I then trimmed out individually with scissors.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-04Once cut, the paper was laminated to the handles with Mod Podge.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-05Once coated and slightly dry, I gently pushed the paper through the hole areas to allow the utensils to be hung on hooks if I so choose at some point. After the Mod Podge had completely dried, I was ready to dip the handles following the directions on the can of Plasti Dip. I dipped each handle into the can of clear Plasti Dip to just above the paper image, so as to seal it off from any future moisture.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-07 I used a small dowel to poke through the dip puddling into the holes to keep them open.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-08I suspended the dipped utensils from small clamps along the clothesline by a window in my barn studio set up just for drying crafts, and allowed each coat to dry. I dipped the handles only twice as I think that the clear can get a bit too foggy if over dipped.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-09 Drying time between coats is 30 minutes and final drying time is 4 hours. I kept a good eye on things the first 5 minutes or so after hanging, as this is when drips start to happen if they are going to and can easily be wiped away from the bottom of the handle before they form into rubbery icicles.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-10The final pieces make a really fun serving set for our little “Kitsch-along”. Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-12 Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-13Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-11Another set for the trailer and for taking to pot-luck events were made by applying our name to utensil handles using dimensional alphabet stickers from the craft store.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-20I mixed yellow with just a dab of blue and black to make an avocado green color.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-19I used a sponge brush to paint the Plasti Dip over the letters and along the front and back of the handle.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-18 What appears as too much shrinks down quite a bit when dry.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-17I covered these utensils with three coats of Plasti Dip, with drying time between each.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-16Since these will be used in the travel trailer, there’s no concern of them becoming damaged in the dishwasher. Though they may hold up just fine, I think it might be best to hand-wash dipped items just in case.Cathe-Holden-Plasti-Dip-15When using Plasti Dip, be sure you are working in a well ventilated area- the chemical fumes can become quite overwhelming otherwise. Once dry, there is no odor to speak of from the finished pieces.

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