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Friday Finds

I’m changing “Link Lot” to “Friday Finds.” (I apparently love alliteration.) And I’ll be expanding on the links round-up, adding more photos and slightly longer descriptions.  I hope you’ll enjoy the Internet finds that have made me smile, laugh, cry, cheer, and otherwise be inspired this past week…

1. This new “Black Label” collection by Ban.do is gorgeous, but wow, do these photos add something! That hair is to die for. And the model is Alison Sudol from A Fine Frenzy, which is one of my favorites. This really can’t get any better. [Photo layout via Oh Joy!]

2. Cartoonist James Sturm is quitting the Internet (and blogging about it, ironically). Catch his bi-weekly installments of words and pictures on Slate.

3. Patchwork pillow lust. Must have this. Made by The Sometimes Crafter.

4. Author Donald Miller asks, “What If?” The same question novelists ask of their characters when writing a story is the most important question you should ask yourself in writing your life story. Do it.

5. Nomnomnom. Actually, I might not be able to eat cookies this cute. The little white nonpareils send me over the edge. [Via Oh Happy Day]

6. Imagine The Matrix with Will Smith as Neo. Now go see what the movie poster would have looked like, along with many more posters of movies as they were originally cast at MovieFone. [Via PopEater.]

7. Ever heard of anyone knitting graffiti? To promote Art Week Austin, the Knitta Please crew is yarnbombing light posts, street signs, and businesses. I love this lamppost in pink and green argyle.

8. The future is here, and it includes sewing machines that match thread to your fabric. Seriously. The technology combines white thread with CMYK color processing. Sweet, right!? [Via Craftzine]

9. I was heartbroken this week to learn of the death of Alicia Parlette, the 28-year-old copyeditor at the San Francisco Chronicle that had bravely blogged her journey living with a rare form of cancer. In an early post, she wrote: “If I get through this, this story will help me remember the important moments along the way, the details, the dizzying emotions. And, in the worst of all circumstances, if I go through this life-changing ordeal and my body just wears out and I die, I will die a writer. The one thing I’ve always wanted to be.” Alicia, you were a beautiful writer and a lovely person. Thank you for sharing your story.

10. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a million times already, but I love looking at wedding blogs. They’re always packed with beautiful photographs, stunning dresses, creative decor ideas, etc. If you’re looking for creative inspiration, I highly recommend hitting the wedding blogrolls. Anyway, I adore this rustic Washington wedding featured on Style Me Pretty. A barn, homemade jam, and loads of DIY touches… wish I could have been there.

It’s here!  “Thing” number thirty!  I completed my Thing A Day Challenge with another crafting first: making a candle.  When I saw the wedding candle favor tutorial on 100 Layer Cake, I had to try it for myself.  It’s such a cute idea for a personal, hand-made thank-you or hostess gift.  And it’s really easy to make.  I bought the wax, fragrance (vanilla), wick, and glass container at a craft store and used some scrapbook paper and hemp rope that I already had on hand.  All I did was preheat the glass container, melt the wax and mix in the fragrance, secure the wick to a chopstick resting atop the glass (to keep the wick centered and standing straight), pour in the wax, and wait for it to dry.  The options for embellishing the outside are endless.  Twine, tags, charms, whatever.  I’ve seen embroidered felt candle cozies in the store, which would also be cute.  I think it turned out pretty—and it smells really good!

Wow, I can’t believe the Thing A Day Challenge is over.  It has been so much fun.  I’ve learned new things, discovered new talents, met new people, found new stores, and purchased a bunch of cool new craft supplies.  But most importantly, the challenge helped me return to my creative passions.  And that was the whole point.  I’m pretty much obsessed with crafting now, and I am excited about the future.  I have so many ideas—for this blog, for new creative projects, for a potential Etsy store—that I can’t wait to make happen.  Thanks for coming along with me on the journey!

P.S. – My boss asked me to write an essay about the experience for Diablo magazine, so I’m excited (and a little nervous) about that.  I’m working on it now, and I’ll be sure to post some excerpts here in the coming days—and link to the real deal when it’s published.

I’m still alive!

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d check in. I got a little paralyzed going into “thing” number thirty. I wanted to go out with a bang and do something big and awesome. But it turned into a lot of overthinking and no actual doing. So, a week later, I snapped out of it and went with a project that is relatively easy but very fun and pretty.  I’ll post about it tomorrow when I can take some pics in natural light. In the meantime, a funny story…

I’ve become a little obsessed with those discount coupons for the big craft stores during this challenge.  I’ve had to buy a lot of supplies!  Anyway, I had one of the rare 50-percent-off coupons for JoAnne Fabrics & Crafts last weekend.  I didn’t need to make any big purchases but ended up with a one-inch circle punch, a really cute photo box, and some googley eyes.  The photo box was on sale, so at $10, the punch was my most expensive item and the one I expected to be discounted.  Except I realized later when examining the receipt that the punch was on sale, too!  So, I ended up getting half-off the only nonsale item I purchased: the 49-cent googley eyes.  Ugh.  In the end, I got a great price on everything, but I can’t believe I wasted my coupon on 24.5 cents!!!

Omg, the challenge is almost over!  I can’t believe how many fun projects I’ve done, and how much I’ve learned over the last 30–er 45ish—days.  I’ve definitely noticed that as I went along, the projects became more and more challening.  “Thing” number twenty-nine is no exception: It was my first attempt at making jewelry.  I fell in love with this cute-as-a-button necklace on the Joy’s Hope blog, and the instructions were really easy.  I had to make a few adjustments, though, because I couldn’t find a necklace bail that looked anything like hers.  Some creative friends said I should be able to find them in craft stores, but I looked everywhere.  The bail I ended up purchasing at Michael’s is really large, as large as the button itself.  You could see the bail through the button holes.  So, I gessoed the center of the bail and covered the gesso spot with black paint.  That way, you see black through the button holes, not the bail.  I worried that putting paint between the two items would weaken the glue bond, so I left a border around the perimeter of the bail unpainted.  Hopefully that helped.  (Since I bought a pair of buttons, I may order one of those specially made bails on Etsy and make a second necklace where the button holes are really holes.)  But anyway, I think it turned out pretty cute!

Btw, I think Photo Booth is one of the coolest Mac programs ever.  So much easier than trying to photograph myself with a digital camera—having to twist my arm all funky and stay out of shadows and center my face in the frame and do 3,218 takes.

For “thing” number twenty-eight, I made this cute stuffie, whom I’m calling Grayscale Monster.  I’ve seen various stuffed monsters on Etsy and craft blogs, but the design of this one is purely out of my head.  Designing a monster is pretty easy—you can use any shape or color or embellishment and it works because it’s a monster, and there are no rules about what a monster must look like.  And, seriously, the sillier the better.  I like that.

I tried out some new embroidery stitches (btw, I’m really, really, really enjoying embroidery these days) and paired a new button with a recycled one. The plain black button is an extra that came with a peacoat I purchased several years ago.  The ribbon isn’t terribly secure—observe Nomnom kitty in nomnoming mode—so I’ll need to work on that, should I decide to make/sell stuffies in the future.  But I just love it.  Grayscale Monster isn’t very scary.  He’s really a sweetie at heart—and kind of scared of you.

Sigh… my first major Thing A Day fail. I was bound to have one of those, right!?  I’ve seen several bottlecap magnet tutorials recently, and I’ve been wanting to try it out.  While some tutorials call for a dimensial adhesive, such as JudiKins Diamond Gloss or Ranger Glossy Accents, I used Martha Stewart’s and the suggested clear casting resin.  I’ve never worked with resin before.  It’s like a very smelly chemistry experiment.  For the first couple bottlecaps, I didn’t seal the paper well enough (I used packing tape), nor did I glue it down.  So the resin soaked into and discolored the edges of the paper and the paper kept floating up to the top.  I had to push it back down with a toothpick a couple times and then blow away the bubbles.  (You’re supposed to use a heat gun, but breath does the trick, too—as long as you don’t inhale near the resin!)  A magnet from that batch is on the right.  For the second try, I sealed the paper with three coats of Mod Podge and glued it down, which worked well.  However, for some reason, the resin became cloudy.  A magnet from that batch is on the left.  Maybe I didn’t mix the resin correctly?  Not sure.  I’d like to perfect this process, because I think it’s a cute idea, with so many possibilities.