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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stuff I Like/Stuff I'm Doing

We shall, my friends, start off with stuff I like. Because, let's face it, you need my help. (Oh my God, I am so just kidding. I love you!) (Or am I? Do I?) (I am. And I do.) (Okay. I'm done.)

-First of all, CRAFTSTER.ORG! I think I might have been the last crafter on Earth (or Uranus... hahaha) to hear of the Craftster forums, but oh man, am I glad I did. Got a question that's even tangentially related to any form of craft or art? A quick search on Craftster will yield you all you ever wanted to know and more. It's a great place to show off your stuff and receive feedback, and to learn all about various techniques you're interested in. The forum is well organized and enormous, and the people are super friendly and helpful. I love it. I also love the Swap forum, where you can sign up to craft around a specific theme for another person who, in turn, crafts for you. You end up with a lot of really cool stuff and the satisfaction of giving someone else something really cool.

-Next up, my XYRON STICKER MAKER. I am in love with it. Seriously. We'll be announcing our engagement any day now. It was only $7.99 at Wal Mart (you'll pay about $5 for replacement cartridges) and will make stickers out of anything flat and an inch and a half or less wide. I've used it to make stickers out of magazine and newspaper clippings, computer printouts, random doodles, shapes cut out of cardstock, and even fabric. This thing is AMAZING. You'll be suprised how many different things you want to put stickers on once you can make them yourself.

-Another link in my favorites list is TACKORAMA.NET. First off, everything on the site is free, which fits riiiight into my budget, and secondly, everything on the site is awesome. There are retro/vintage fonts, dingbats, clipart, stock photography, wallpapers, and more. I use a lot of Tack-o-rama stuff in my (poorly executed, few and far between) graphic design endeavors, and they always make things look extra-classy. I also like to print random stuff out from that site to use as embroidery patterns.

-POPGADGET.NET is a blog with multiple contributers all about what they call "personal tech for women." It is about that and so, so much more. For example, on their front page right now they have news about the new Google Click-to-play ads, mp3 player sunglasses and shoes, a new portable DVD player, and a novelty mouse. The writing is concise and witty, and they feature some truly interesting/useful/bizarre stuff. If not for PopGadget, I would have never known about the upcoming Nintendo Edition of Monopoly. And trust me, that is something I needed to know about.

-I'm pretty sure that in my version of heaven there will still be REPRODEPOT.COM. I have to actually limit my visits to that site because every time I look at it I find at least 15 new things that I want to buy. They sell the most adorable buttons, ribbons, patterns, and fabrics on the web. I want to use their fabrics for every project I attempt, and were it economically feasible, I probably would.

Speaking of projects I'm attempting, here's some stuff I'm doing:

-I was so inspired by these Log Cabin pillows that I've decided to try my hand at, well, not a pillow, exactly, but a pin cushion. It's a work in progress, but I'm liking the way it's looking. Once I've perfected them (give me a week or so) I'll probably be listing a few in My Store.

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Funny tangent: When I told one of my sisters that I was making a log cabin pin cushion she thought I was constructing a tiny little home fit for the likes of Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan or whatever out of brown felt. She, obviously, is not a quilter.

I really dig log cabin stuff. I've got big plans for it. I think I'm going to work on sixteen inch pillows and even journals like these other ones I've been working on for my store.

-I really love these journals. They're the perfect way to get rid of all my good-sized scraps of fabric, and they're so deceptively simple to make! Well, the paper folding can be a bitch, but I get through it. I've already sold two, but I had a hard time letting them go!

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Okay, I can hear tiny little kitten voices begging for me to come and play with them, so I'll end this here.

Happy crafting! (Oh, was that a little too... yeah. From now on I'll just say have a nice day.)

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Princess Starshell Has a Blanket!

Okay, actually, the afghan I'm working on right now is just called a Star Shell afghan, but doesn't that sound like some crazy friend of Sailor Moon or a lost Nintendo princess being held captive by Bowser in his fiery dungeon of doom that Mario and Luigi just totally like, forgot about?

I thought so.

First things first:

I'm working from this pattern from, except I've doubled the pattern, which will make my finished afghan six feet wide and six and a half feet long. I'm a tall chick, I like my feet to be covered.

I'm using some awesome Simply Soft Caron brand yarn, and it is working out just perfectly. This brand comes in tons of colors, it's washable, it's super cheap, just $1.99 for six ounces, and it truly is Simply Soft.

I come from a long line of crocheters... well, my grandmother and my mom both crocheted... is three people considered a long line? In the grocery store it is when the people in front of you have full carts and at least one screaming child each and you only have a bag of limes and a loaf of bread and you're already steamed they didn't just let you go first, but then they pull out a wad of coupons and OH MY GOD a handful of change and that's when the vein in your forehead starts throbbing but stabbing people in grocery stores is so last week, so you have to content yourself with the weapons of the passive aggressive; tapping your foot, rolling your eyes, and sighing loudly approximately every fifteen seconds, and... where the hell was I? Oh right, grandmother. Mom. Both crocheted. I do too.

The point is that crocheting is tied up in associations with a lot of good things in my head, so doing it, although it takes a while to finish a project, is actually really relaxing and fun for me. Plus it's so easy to learn, and just like riding a bike, you have to actively try to forget how to do it, and it's easy to pick up and put down, so you can just grab spare moments between Roseanne reruns and cleaning the litterbox, and knock out a star shell or two. My goal is a stripe a day, and if I stick to it then I've only got forty five days left, which means when I'm finished it will kind of still be summer, which means that my color choices will still be appropriate. Hooray!

You can check out my progress here, I'm about a third of the way done:

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and see a close up of the detail here:

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

My official entrance into the blogosphere

Well, I never thought that I'd be one of those people with a blog, but it seems like everyone else in the world has one now, so I figured, what the hell?

Actually, this blog is long overdue, if you think about it. I've got opinions to share and views to express and, you know, adorable handmade purses, wallets, quilts, journals, and more to sell (seriously, check them out).

But really, this blog will just be filled with tutorials on how to make awesome things, pictures of my (adorable) cats and kittens, reviews of new and classic crafty tools, links to fabric, patterns, and other assorted goodstuff online, and general musings on my life and the state of affairs in Washington...

Just kidding. This isn't that kind of blog.