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Update | Taxes, Growth, Exclusives, Earnings, Events, and More!

Taxes. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) has proposed a bill that would affect how companies like Etsy, Lyft and AirBnB have to report their sellers’ income to the IRS. The bill would lower the income threshold that requires reporting by these entities to the IRS from $20,000 to $1,000 per year. It’s estimated by one tax policy expert at American University that the policy change, if implemented, will result in billions of dollars of new taxes being collected from sellers in the sharing economy who previously didn’t report their income.

Predictions. Market research firm Technavio has just made a new report available on the Global K-12 Arts and Crafts Material Market that predicts that market will grow at a CAGR of over 2% from now until 2021. To purchase the full report, visit the Technavio website.

Exclusives. Sizzix has announced that its Big Shot Jewelry Studio machine and an exclusive collection of jewelry dies and embossing folders are now available in a limited number of Michaels Stores. Only 30 stores – less than 3% of Michaels stores – are scheduled to stock this collection. To see the list of stores, visit the Sizzix website.

Bella Blvd Designer Day

Events. Registration is now open for Bella Blvd’s “Designer Day” event that will take place in Milwaukee on October 12th. The event will feature classes by Illustrated Faith designer Shanna Noel, Megan Hoeppner, Cynthea Sandoval, Jamie Pate, and Bella Blvd founder Stephanie Smokovich.

Deep Thoughts. Vicki O’Dell has a thought-provoking blog article up about the concept of being a “serial crafter”. I’ve long believed that most crafters tend to migrate through multiple crafts over the course of their lives. It’s an interesting thought to contemplate both from the standpoint of what it means for craft marketing, and what it means for the careers of professional crafters.

Security. In modern marketing, social media accounts are a vitally important company asset. They are also a major target for hackers, and a successful hack can cause at best a PR crisis or at worst the complete loss of social marketing assets. To combat this threat, Pinterest has just announced it is rolling out several new security features to help keep its users’ accounts secure. Turning on the new two factor authentication will require providing a code sent to your phone before you can log in. A list of logged-in devices on their account will also be available for Pinterest users, allowing them to disconnect ones they do not recognize. In addition, Pinterest will begin notifying users via email if a device not previously used on the account logs in.

Expansion. Hobby Lobby’s new store in the Lake Park area of Palm Beach has had its opening delayed until after the first of the year by what the company calls issues with getting permits. Another new store in progress, in Turlock, CA, is expected to open in September. A hiring event for 30-50 positions for the new store will be scheduled once an opening date is set.

Earnings. Amazon announced its 2nd quarter earnings today. Investor anticipation of the number temporarily made Jeff Bezos the world’s richest man, as Amazon’s stock rose enough to put Bezos over Bill Gates before a drop put Gates back on top again. The company reported a 25% increase in net sales versus the same period in 2016. Net income, however, was down significantly compared to 2016: $197 million versus $857 million last year.

The recent Prime Day event on July 11th, which will be reported with 3rd quarter sales, was described in a July 12th announcement as the biggest day ever in Amazon history. While sales were lead by offerings of Amazon’s signature devices like Fire and Kindle tablets, many other companies took part as well. Cricut was one craft company who offered Prime Day items. Even Amazon Handmade sellers took part, with Marcia Ricchiuti of Kahili Creations in Pahoa, Hawaii saying of the day that “So far, this year’s Prime Day sales increased 350 percent from last year’s. Getting the opportunity to offer lightning deals as a Handmade at Amazon artisan has been a boom to my business.”

Salutations. Happy Birthday to Jayne Burns of West Chester, Ohio. Jayne works at the cutting counter at the Jo-Ann Fabrics in Mason, OH – and celebrated her 95th birthday with her coworkers on Wednesday.

Peeks. A lot of crafters joke their homes look like a craft store…but what would your house actually look like if you owned one of the country’s biggest craft chains? You can check out this real estate listing for the answer – it’s the iconic Dallas home of Michaels Stores owner Sam Wyly. For a mere $12.5 million, you too could live in 7579 square feet of historic 1924 home on the Dallas Country Club golf course.

Jobs. The following industry jobs are listed as open and available:

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Update | Kickstarter, Stacy Julian, Merger, Crimes, Jobs & More

Recall. American Crafts is recalling two of the Jane Davenport acrylic paint kits that were sold in Michaels Stores in the U.S. and Canada before June 16th, 2017. Some Jane Davenport Portrait Paints Kit and the Jane Davenport Matte Acrylic Paint Kit may contain some defective paint containers that split and leak during use. Click here for full info on the recall, and contact acinfo@americancrafts.com for information on how to get a refund for your paints if you own the affected kits.

Start-up. Designer Lesley Oman is about to conclude a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch her own stamp company, called Heffy Doodle. Her campaign has raised over $15,000 so far to fund the launch of the new company.

New. Stacy Julian, founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazine, has a new product line coming in 2018. The product line, called Story by Stacy, was announced on June 30th at the annual Close To My Heart convention and will be a Close To My Heart exclusive. Julian was associated with a previous product line called Photo Freedom with Echo Park Paper, but it is fitting that she should get a product line with Close To My Heart – she started her scrapbooking career as a consultant with the company in 1993. Follow the Story by Stacy instagram account to keep up to date on the upcoming new line.

Story by Stacy logo

Mergers. Liberty Interactive, the parent company of tv shopping channel QVC, announced on July 6th that it is acquiring QVC the remaining 62% part of competitor HSN that it did not already own. Liberty also owns online retailer zulily, Evite, and interests in several other companies. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, after which HSN will remain operating in its St. Petersburg, Florida headquarters under the direction of Mike George, CEO of QVC. The move will combine the two eCommerce channels, both of which have strong presences in the craft segment, into the internet’s 3rd largest retailer.

Hoaxes. Like a celebrity death hoax that won’t go away, the viral Facebook post that claims “Hobby Lobby is closing all of its stores” is making the rounds again. No, it’s not true this time either. This go-round was probably triggered by the recent stories about Hobby Lobby facing government penalties over the illegal importation of ancient antiquities.

Crimes. A 46 year old man was arrested in the Hobby Lobby in McAllen, Texas in the evening of July 13th, accused of using his cell phone to take photos up the skirt of a female shopper in the store. The man was charged with making invasive visual recordings, a felony, and released after posting $10,000 bond.

Crimes II. The Joann Fabric & Crafts store in Thousand Oaks, CA reported to police on July 8th that the store had been the target of petty theft and embezzlement for a six month period beginning in January.

Earnings. Etsy will announce its second quarter 2017 financial results after market close on Thursday, August 3rd. These numbers will be being keenly watched by investors, as Etsy has had several rounds of layoffs recently and also launched its new Etsy Studio website for selling craft supplies.

Location. Michaels Stores is increasing its presence in New York City, with plans to build a second Brooklyn store in a new building going up at 1633 E. 16th Street. Michaels has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet on the ground floor of the building, expected to be completed in 2020.

Sneaks. The AFCI trade show in Salt Lake City is over, but the sneak peeks aren’t. Today we did a major new update to the Summer Sneak Peeks page on Scrapbook Update…check it out for all of the latest!

Jobs. The following industry jobs are currently listed as available:

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Update | Stamp Presses, Craftsy, Deals, Sneak Peeks, Jobs, & More

Peeks. Next week is the AFCI Mixed Media show in Salt Lake City, and that means it is time for our sneak peeks page of summer releases! Click here to check out the Summer 2017 sneak peeks page, and watch for more updates this weekend and also next week as more products are unveiled. (Also, coming soon: features rounding up previews of the Christmas and Fall/Halloween lines, so if you’ve got one to share, send it to nancy at nallystudios.com)

Changes. It’s hard to believe, but Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman are celebrating the 10th birthday of their website A Beautiful Mess this week. Along with the celebration, they made a big announcement: A Beautiful Mess is ending its arrangement at the end of August with Inked to  produce and handle orders for their products. (Inked is the parent company of Studio Calico). The Happy Mail and Messy Box subscriptions will be going on hiatus during the transition to new arrangements, and the pair promises exciting news coming soon about future plans.

Neutrality. Etsy was among the major internet sites taking part yesterday (July 12th) in a day of action to support net neutrality regulations enacted by the Obama administration – which are now under threat by the Trump administration’s FCC. Etsy spent the day displaying a special banner as part of their rotating box at the top of the site. Clicking the banner took site visitors to a special page on the Battle for the Net site that lets Etsy store owners send a message to the FCC explaining how ending net neutrality will hurt their businesses.

Etsy Net Neutrality

What is net neutrality, and what is all of the fuss about it? To quote Google, net neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Put bluntly, net neutrality helps prevent your internet provider from holding your access to small sites like this one hostage – or relegating it to a slower access lane – because we haven’t paid them for access. Net neutrality is also an important way of way guaranteeing that, for instance, Comcast won’t try to force you to watch the cable and network tv assets that they own by choking off the streaming access of (or charging exorbitant fees for access to) digital competitors like Netflix and Amazon. In the craft world, net neutrality is an important part of the marketing process, as a large portion of marketing in the industry has moved to digital platforms like blogs, social media, and YouTube.

Presses. The stamp press wars are heating up again, as both We R Memory Keepers and Tonic Studios are coming to market simultaneously with revised competitors to the MISTI. The MISTI has been the only stamping press on the market since its patent was granted in April and legal action resulted in the pulling from store shelves of products from Hampton Art and We R Memory Keepers. Legal action also delayed the release of the Tim Holtz Stamp Press from Tonic Studios, who is still mired in litigation with MISTI manufacturer My Sweet Petunia over alleged patent infringement by their original design.

The revised version of the We R Memory Keepers stamp press, called the Precision Press Plus, is currently available exclusively on HSN. The special HSN package retails for $44.95 and includes several stencils and stamp sets to use with the press. What is new about the Precision Press Plus, versus the previous Precision Press, is that the press comes with three interchangeable lids. One is the familiar one from the previous press to use for stamping, and one has channels for sliding in small alphabet stamps for stamping envelopes. The third “lid” is not a lid at all but a clipboard clip to hold stencils in place on the press’s work surface.

No word yet on details of the revised Tonic Studios Tim Holtz stamp platform. A photo of boxes of it at the Carson Stamp Show, where the platform was first offered for sale, was posted on instagram last week by Mario Rossi. It’s also shipping from Scrapbook.com. [affiliate link]

Education. It’s being reported by Abby Glassenberg at Craft Industry Alliance that Craftsy is planning to offer a subscription  model in 2018. It’s unclear at this time whether this will replace their current à la carte pricing model or be an addition to it.

Changing pricing models on customers always comes with risk of backlash. Craftsy would do well to learn from the experience of Big Picture Classes. That company switched to a subscription model and ended “forever” access to previously purchased classes after its purchase by Studio Calico, causing a huge uproar from customers.

Deals. Bella Blvd is hosting an online warehouse box sale for its Illustrated Faith brand on Monday, July 17th starting at 9am CT. Boxes with a retail value of $191 will be available for $49.50 plus shipping. U.S. shipping will cost $12, and priority shipping to Canada will be $45. (Elsewhere in the world, shipping cost will be $60.) Visit the Bella Blvd website to take part in the sale.

Online retailer A Cherry On Top is holding a warehouse sale at its warehouse in Saginaw, Michigan this Saturday (July 15th) from 9am-4pm. For all the information about the location, and tips to make your shopping more efficient, visit the sale information page.

Events. Etsy will be holding “Etsy Community Market” events in Australia on July 29th.  Local showcases in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, and Adelaide will gather together some of the best of the Etsy marketplace in Australia to promote their creative products in person to shoppers. To get details on locations and times of the event in each city, visit the Etsy Australia blog.

Apps. Persnickety Prints, the favorite photo printing service of many scrapbookers (including this one!) has announced that customers can now upload photos from any web browser. Previously, photos could only be uploaded to the site from the company’s phone app. This change makes Persnickety much more accessible to dslr shooters and photographers who edit their photos in programs such as Adobe Lightroom. It means these photographers will no longer have to transfer their photos back to their phones after editing or use a solution like dropbox to upload from their mobile devices. (Excuse me while I go do a few cartwheels.)

Jobs. The following craft industry jobs are currently posted as available:

(Above is just a selection of the 51 jobs currently listed on the Michaels website. Click here to view them all.)

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Design Team Call | Bad Girls Couture (7/20)

For our readers’ convenience, Scrapbook Update publishes the full text of select design team calls, with the company name and deadline in the header.

To see a page listing all of these published calls, visit the Design Team Calls category of Scrapbook Update.


Bad Girls Design Team Call 2017-2018

www.badgirlscouture.com

Entry Period: 7/1/17-7/20/17

Open to all US and INTERNATIONAL Artists

Wanna be BAD??!!!!

Bad Girls is a one of a kind Artistic Kit Club specializing in state of the art scrapbooking, mixed media, home, and vintage kits. We are also a manufacturer who offers our own private line products both wholesale and retail. We pride ourselves in providing a bad ass community of artists who come together to teach, inspire, and instill an ever evolving atmosphere of No Fear and No Rules…matter of fact if you are a RULE BREAKER then you are in the right place. We are looking for artists who create art with no fear and are not afraid to break every single rule, push the envelope, and who have no boundaries! If you want to join the best in the industry and at the same time gain some really good exposure, enjoy great perks, and get to create with the best kits then you are who we are looking for.

Qualifications:

Passion for creating art and projects with a broad knowledge of not only the paper art but also mixed media art, and the ability and desire to grow as an artist and try new things.

Proficient with excellence in photography and knowledge of video taping tutorials and classes.

Must work well under pressure and tight deadlines.

Must be a team player and participate in Bad Girls promotions and contests

Must be active on all the top Social Media sites (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, & Twitter)

Must have a current Blog

Must be exclusive to Bad Girls Couture as a kit club Design Team Member. Manufacturer Design Teams are accepted.

Graphic Design experience is a definite plus.

Entry Requirements:

Submit a combination of 4 projects/layouts…at least one MUST BE a project. Make sure this is your best work and it epitomizes your unique style and abilities. One project/layout must be created exclusively for this call. Please indicate which one.

Submit your resume, links to any online galleries, your Blog, your Social Media accounts, and anything else you deem highlights the exposure of your art, social media, and ability to advertise it.

Please indicate which Design Teams you are currently on. If you are currently on a kit club team indicate when your term expires.

Tell us why you would like to be a BAD GIRL! What makes you a good fit for our team? What would you like for us to know about you? You can tell us in a video you make or in a paragraph…get creative!

You may submit your completed entry to: Admin@BadGirlsCouture.com

In the Subject Line please write Design Team Entry/Your Name

Include your name, address, email address, phone number.

Artists will be notified by 7/25/17. We will have a meeting in July and your official term will begin in August. You will be creating with our Grand Opening Kit which will be mailed to you in August. Grand Opening will be in September.

Your Benefits as a BAD GIRL DESIGNER:

You will receive one kit per month to design with. Value $50-$200. Depends on what kit you are designing with for the month.

Opportunity to design with a diversified line of kits….Scrapbook, Mixed Media, Home, and Vintage.

A discount in our Shoppes of 30% off.

Published projects with Bad Girls Kits and/or BAD GIRLS COUTURE signature products will be generously compensated. Amounts to be disclosed to Designers who become a part of our team.

Opportunity to attend and teach at trade shows and retreats.

Good Luck to all you BAD GIRLS!!!

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Gift a Baby Mini Album with Cricut!

Whatever the occasion, if something needs to be decorated, gifted, or celebrated, pretty much the first thing I think is “what can I DIY with my Cricut?” My Cricut really is my secret ninja weapon of creativity…whether it is t-shirts for an event, new pillows and wall decor for the living room, holiday decorations, labels for storage containers in the kid’s room, or a last-minute card, my Cricut can whip it out fast, easy, and gorgeous. It’s the little black dress of my craft room – it goes with everything! (Now, if only it could whip me up a perfect little black dress, it really would be the perfect gadget!)

To get an idea of the full potential of what you can make with the Cricut Explore Air 2, I suggest paying a visit to the “Make It Now” section of Cricut Design Space. Even after all my time working with the Cricut Explore machine, the talented designers at Cricut still continue to surprise me with the diverse ideas they come up with for the regularly updates to the project library.

Today’s occasion that has me pulling out my Cricut is the birth of a friend’s new grandchild. A card didn’t seem like enough, so my Cricut to the rescue…a baby mini album that the proud grandma can be fill with pictures is the perfect solution!

Cricut Explore Air 2

Supplies Needed:

I resized the cut file in Cricut Design Space so that the full sized pages in the baby mini album would be the perfect size for putting 4×6 photo prints on without cropping. Use the link above to access the perfectly sized file for your own use!

The cut file had pages in a variety of colors but I wanted the base of my album to be white. I just kept feeding white sheets into my Cricut Explore Air until everything was cut. It maybe wasn’t the most efficient way to cut the album but I used a lot of the scraps that were left from the cutting to create embellishments and some special pieces that I cut later.

Cricut Mini Book Cut Out

When I was done cutting out all of the pieces, I was left with a big pile of white cardstock. How would I know how to put them together? A quick search found me the assembly instructions for the Mini Books cartridge on the Cricut website!

After it was all assembled, I was left with this simple album that can have photos and notes added to it by the new baby’s grandmother! Along the way, while I was assembling the album, I added just a few embellishments.

Cricut Baby Mini Album

A few pieces, like the binding piece for the spine above, I decided that I wanted to create covered in decorative washi tape. Rather than cut a duplicate piece from washi and try to align and adhere it, I decided it would be easier to put a layer of washi down on cardstock and then cut a new copy of the piece from scratch. To avoid wasting washi, I cut pieces very close to the size of the finished piece, and positioned them carefully.

Cutting with Cricut Explore Air 2

For the full sheets pages, there wasn’t room to embellish if a 4×6 photo is going to be placed on them. But rather than just leave them plain, I used the Cuttlebug with an Anna Griffin embossing folder to give the pages a decorative look. Since the pages were slightly larger long wise than the folder, I just made sure that they binding end was the end that hung out of the folder and didn’t get embossed.

Embossed Baby Mini Album Page

This was my first time using a Cuttlebug, and I was highly impressed at how easy it makes embossing. I have another die cut machine and I rarely use it for embossing due to the complexity of set up and tear down, plus its size means it must be stored far away from where I sit to work. This Cuttlebug folds up small enough that I can store it within arm’s reach, and there’s no complicated sandwiches to make for embossing. Just throw your folder between the plates and crank!

Cricut Cuttlebug

The quality of the embossing is stunning as well! The detail in this Anna Griffith pattern was perfectly crisp, even in the fine details. I will definitely be using embossing more often with my new Cuttlebug around!

Cricut Cuttlebug Embossing

For decorating this pocket page, I cut a strip of the washi paper to wrap around the pocket as a decorative border.

Baby Mini Album Pocket Page

Next in the baby mini album comes two sets of four pages that are stair stepped in size. For these, I tried to alternate the backgrounds between textured and flat paper. The first (smallest) pages were cut from washi covered paper, just like the album’s binding.

Baby Mini Album insert pages

The pink border on one of the pages in each set is an embossing border folder from the same set with the Anna Griffin background. I embossed it on pieces of scrap paper, trimmed down the edges close to the design, and brushed a pink ink pad across it to highlight the design.

Baby Mini Album Insert Pages

For the text on the cover, and the flower that embellished the flap of this envelope page, I used another decorative technique. First, I cut the shapes out with my Cricut Explore Air 2 like normal. Then, to create the texture, I put the cut shapes in an embossing folder and ran them through my Cuttlebug.

Baby Mini Album envelope page

The last set of assembly was to thread the ribbon through. I folded mine in half and threaded it from the back through the center hole. Then I took the ends still hanging on the back, and threaded one through each remaining hole to the front. Then I hooked them through the loop that was coming up through the center hole and tied them in a pretty bow to secure the binding. It’s decorative and functional!

Cricut Baby Mini Album

So next time you have to do something decorative…grab your Cricut machine and ask “what can I DIY with my Cricut?” You might be surprised at what you create!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Update | Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Celebrities, Layoffs, Jobs & More

Crime. One of the culprits behind the 2011 payment card data breach at some Michaels Stores pled guilty recently to two charges related to the crime, which involved installing 88 counterfeit PIN pads at 80 Michaels Stores locations in 19 states. As many as 94,000 cards were believed to be compromised in the breach.

According to a press announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Angel Angulo pled guilty in Federal Court in Camden, NJ on June 20th to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a potential sentence of 30 years in prison (plus a $1 million fine). In addition, the identity theft charge carries a mandatory 2 year sentence, which must be served consecutively to the bank fraud charge sentence. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for September.

Another conspirator in the fraud, Crystal Banuelos, pled guilty in 2015 to similar charges, and is still awaiting sentencing. She also consented in her plea to a forfeiture of $480,300 which is believed by prosecutors to be proceeds of the crime.

Crime II. Ivette Rodriguez, an attendee at Stampfest in Orlando over this past weekend, is being hailed as a hero by exhibitor Marco’s Paper and Crafts after she caught two people attempting to shoplift in their booth. Later in the day, in perhaps proof that the arc of the universe bends towards justice after all, Rodriguez won one of the event’s door prizes – a gift certificate to Marco’s Paper and Crafts.

Celebrities. Does your favorite Etsy seller have a secret – famous – identity? According to several news stories this week, Etsy apparently has some celebrity crafters lurking among its store owners. Singer Adele told a Wembley Stadium crowd recently that she has a secret hobby of making pom poms and selling them on Etsy. Also, Tila Tequila recently opened her own Etsy shop to sell her paintings through. (And of course, it’s not new…but who could forget Snooki’s Etsy shop?)

Celebrities II. Julianne Hough, of Dancing with the Stars fame, had her wedding shower last week for her wedding this Saturday to hockey player Brooks Laich. The event was thrown in Hough’s native Utah by her sister Sharee, who brought in Heidi Swapp to help plan and design the event. Hough’s blog contains an extensive recap of her wedding shower, including details on how Heidi incorporated her Design Boards and Instax products.

Books. Proving that trend is still going strong, designer Erin Bassett has a new book coming out September 5th called [Amazon affiliate link] The Art of Bible Journaling. The book is being published by Get Creative 6, an imprint of Sixth & Spring, which is a division of SoHo Publishing.

Layoffs. Etsy, for the second time this year, has announced that it is laying off staff. This second round of layoffs will include approximately 140 positions (or 15% of its workforce), making a total of 230 (or 22%) of its workforce laid off in 2017 based on end of 2016 employee numbers. The current round of layoffs will primarily be of marketing and product management staff as well as general & administrative positions. Most affected employees will come from the ranks of the company’s Brooklyn headquarters.

Etsy has not fared well with investors since its IPO in April 2015. Debuting at $16/share, the company briefly traded over $30/share before beginning to drop in value. Trading below $7 at one point in early 2016, the stock has been making a volatile climb back up. But as of today, it is still trading at $14.63, well below its IPO value 27 months ago.

Travel. If you are traveling to Creativation in Phoenix in January 2018, and your driver’s license is from Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Washington, you will need an alternate form of ID in order to travel home by air (starting on Jan. 22nd, 2018). Starting on that date, state ID from those states will no longer be valid for use for Federal purposes such as entering TSA checkpoints in airports, due to those states’ failure to implement the Federal REAL ID law that was passed on recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Residents of those states will need to supply alternate ID, such as military ID, a green card/permanent resident card, or a passport, to be able to pass through airport security when traveling. It is recommended that if you need to apply for or renew a passport in the coming months, that you do so early, as the State Department expects a higher than normal level of applications due to REAL ID implementation in 2018.

Fees. Photobucket, in a stealth update to its terms of service, implemented major changes that now limit the ability to link to images hosted on the site from 3rd parties. This ability – which was previously available to all accounts, including free ones – is now limited to the service’s “Plus 500” level of account, which costs $399/year (or $39.99/month).

Linking to graphics hosted on free Photobucket accounts has long been a popular way on the internet of displaying message board images, and of hosting blog graphics to circumvent bandwidth and storage limits on blog hosting accounts. This change by Photobucket has resulted in a millions of images all over the internet now displaying instead as a Photobucket error graphic – being referred to as a ransom graphic by some. In many cases, the refusal of PhotoBucket to serve hosted images that have been linked has totally destroyed the usability of the associated content on blogs and message boards. In the crafts industry, this is especially true of one of the most affected sites – Etsy – where listings without photos are virtually useless.

Changes like this are why I always recommend to bloggers that their graphics be hosted on their own blog host. Linking to graphics on 3rd party sites carries the risk that those links could be cut off at any time. Especially risky is linking to images on accounts controlled by other people, such as design team members, who may choose to delete those accounts or images at any time for any reason.

Events. Ali Edwards has announced a second Story Camp in Eugene, Oregon fot October of this year. Registration opened  on June 27th, but bad news if you are interested in going – all 35 slots are already sold out!

Settlements. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced yesterday that it has filed a civil complaint against Hobby Lobby, alleging the company smuggled Iraqi antiquities into the U.S. in 2010. According to the government, Hobby Lobby spent $1.6 million in Dec. 2010 to purchase 5,500 antiquities from a dealer in UAE. The company proceeded with the purchase, allegedly, despite having been warned by a consultant they had retained about several red flags in the transaction that indicated the antiquities may be looted Iraqi objects. The antiquities were then shipped to the U.S. without proper customs paperwork, and labeled as “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample)” that originated in Turkey. Some of the shipments were seized by U.S. Customs, and further shipments originating in Israel were seized the following year.

cuneiform tablet forfeited by Hobby Lobby

International law enforcement agencies are highly interested in stopping illegal trade in antiquities from Iraq and other locations in the Middle East because selling looted antiquities is widely believed to be one source of funding for the ISIS terrorist network.

In a stipulation of settlement that was filed with the complaint, Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit thousands of artifacts it had illegally imported, and pay a $3 million fine to settle the case. In addition, the company agreed to implement changes in the way it will acquire future antiquity purchases and to submit quarterly reports to the government of their purchases for the next 18 months to ensure that such transactions are legal. “We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” said Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green. “Hobby Lobby has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, and with the announcement of today’s settlement agreement, is pleased the matter has been resolved.”

Jobs:

 

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