Sunday, June 30, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Modcloth Blog Hex Nut Bracelet

I pinned this bracelet from the Modcloth blog ages ago, but only worked up the motivation to make it this week. I'm sorry I waited so long! It came together very quickly and I love the end result. The hex nuts make a herringbone-like pattern as they are braided into the bracelet.

The original tutorial says to use twine, but I decided on yarn instead (Peaches and Creme in Bright Pink). I've been working on some brightly colored bracelets for summer--this shade fits in perfectly! I also used one entire pack of #10-24 machine screw  hex nuts.

I cut one length of yarn to twice the length I would need, then folded it in half to make a loop (this made two of the three strands of my braid). For the third strand, I just cut a piece of yarn to the necessary length. I knotted this third strand to the loop. Then, following Modcloth's directions, I braided the bracelet. The key to this project was braiding tightly once I began integrating the nuts into the braid. To finish, I threaded a large silver bead onto the end and tied a knot.  The bead fits through the loop and makes a neat closure. I am thinking about making another of these on black cording or leather, something a little edgier. I hope you'll give this super easy project a try. Be creative and enjoy!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Free Father's Day Card Download--With Bacon!

To my fellow procrastinators, I give the gift of a free Father's Day card ( . . .mid-morning on Father's Day). Like the last card, I designed this one using picmonkey.com. The bacon image is from Wikimedia Commons (you can find the license information by following the link). To download the card, follow this link to the Google document. From there, you can print (I used cardstock), cut out, fold, and sign. Easy peasy!

Did you all take my advise on the last post and give picmonkey.com a try? If not, you really should. Really. It's so fun and easy to use. What does your dad love? Golf? Star Trek? Lasagna? Try making him a personalized card this Father's Day (er, maybe next Father's Day considering the hour). Be creative and enjoy!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Free Downloadable Father's Day Card

I recently discovered the beautiful blog The House That Lars Built while trolling through Twitter one night. All of Brittany Jepsen's photos are gorgeous and inspiring, but it was her post offering readers three free Father's Day cards that really spurred me into action. I thought this was such a great and generous concept, I decided to give it a go myself. I loved this card from One Charming Party, and used it as my inspiration. I designed the card using Picmonkey.com. I've been playing around with their photo editing tools a lot lately (the blog header and social media buttons in the sidebar are products of this experimentation). Seriously, guys, this site is awesome--it's free, there's no software to download, and you can do some very cool stuff.

To open the card, follow this link to the Google Doc I've created. Open, print onto card stock, cut, fold, and give to the fathers in your life! The finished size is about 4.5" square (I love square cards!). Later this week I'll post a tutorial about making envelopes. Even if you don't use this download, I hope you're inspired to do some creating of your own. There are so many user-friendly photo editing programs out there--perfect for absolute beginners or seasoned veterans. Be creative and enjoy!

PS: I've offered this card for free to anyone who wants to download it for personal use. I'm not naive about what happens to information on the internet, so I'll just say pretty please with sugar on top, don't use this design for commercial purposes :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tabletop Succulent Garden

One of the many perks of working at a library is having first dibs on all of the new books. I pounced on Shane Powers' Bring the Outdoors In as soon as I saw it. The projects are beautiful but not at all intimidating. I especially loved his take on a succulent container garden. For Christmas last year, I made small tabletop gardens for my extended family members using shallow ceramic bowls; I topped them with polished river stones. The succulent landscape featured in Bring the Outdoors In has a layer of sand atop the soil--I loved the look and decided to try it for myself.

Materials:
Wide ceramic dish (I used a serving bowl)
Drainage stones (I used the aforementioned river stones)
Potting soil (they make a special, well-draining blend for cacti and succulents)
Sand (I bought a bag of beach sand)
Plants

Powers suggests using activated horticultural carbon to balance oxygen levels, but . . . I didn't. I put about an inch of stones in the bottom of the dish, positioned my plants, and filled in with potting soil. Once the plants were exactly how i wanted them, I used a funnel to get the beach sand beneath the succulents' leaves and in between all of the plants. There are so many readily-available varieties of succulents, you can really adapt this project to your tastes. I love my new little garden, and I hope make one of your own. Be creative and enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Helpful Links for Updating a Blog (Even if HTML Terrifies You)

Regular readers will notice that the blog has undergone some dramatic changes. When I started contemplating updating this site, I had a laundry list of things I wanted to do: change the name, change the URL, update the look, integrate social media icons for connecting with readers and allowing them to share my content. Since I know almost nothing about web design (HTML, whatty?), I was overwhelmed by the prospect of doing the work on my own.
Google to the rescue!
Here's a short list of some of the most helpful tutorials I found:

Creating a Banner in PicMonkey From The Blog Guidebook

Adding Social Media Share Icons to My Photos From Code It Pretty
Code it Pretty has links to sets of social media icons (or stand alone Pin It buttons).

Creating Custom Social Media Icons in PicMonkey AND Making The Functional to Enable Readers to Find Me on Other Sites From Something Swanky:
*This looks like a very involved process, and it is, but it is not difficult. It takes time, but I think this method is absolutely worth the effort. You can create the exact look you want instead of trolling the internet for icons that fit your needs. It's also much easier to arrange the icons relative to one another in this way.

Changing the Post Title Color in Blogger's Simple Template From Beta Templates:
One tip: click into your HTML and hit CTRL F to bring up a search bar, then type in the bit of code that you are looking for. It took me a while of scrolling through lines and lines of code before I figured out to do this (I'm not kidding about being a novice . . .).

Change is good! If you are considering updating your own blog, be ambitious. There are so many bloggers, coders, and artists out there willing to provide assistance to beginners. Don't be scared to look for the resources you need to make your site everything you want it to be. Be creative and enjoy!