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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Printable Valentines and Cookie Box- blue and orange

2 weeks until Valentine's Day, which means it's time to start posting some Valentine projects.
Click the images for larger versions. One is Valentine cards ready to personalize. Business card sized. The other one is a cookie sized box. Print both on card stock.



More heart themed projects
More Valentine projects

Leave a comment if you have a preference for Valentine printables. Would you like to see more business card sized Valentines? Bag toppers for treats? Andes mint slide boxes? Specific colors or themes?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Peacock Coloring Page

This can be used for embroidery or other crafty purposes as usual. It's a peacock in transparent PNG format. I hope you enjoy it! Click on the image for a larger version to color.


Please check out my Etsy store if you're interested in blank box templates or bead patterns. Extra money that I make right now is going to be applied to a swatch order from Spoonflower. If you click on Collections, you can see the swatches that I plan to order so they can go into the Spoonflower marketplace for sale. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Easy French Memo Board

Notice that one of the postcards looks like it's nearly falling out. My fault. I slipped them in before hanging this and didn't adjust it before taking the photo.

This postcard French memo type display is super easy to make. You'll need:
12 inch diameter Styrofoam™ disk
Mod Podge® (I used Gloss Lutre)
Foam brush
12x12 scrapbook papers or gift wrap- mine is from my stash- 3 sheets of scrapbook paper
straight pins
thumb tacks (20- I used plain brass tacks)
ribbon (6.5 feet total)
needle
thread
buttons
scissors for paper and ribbon
Pen or pencil

Start by getting your disk decorated. Outline the disk on the back of 2 sheets of the paper. Then cut out the circles just inside your lines. Cut 4 one inch strips from the other sheet and set the remainder aside for other projects.
Coat one side of the disk with ModPodge and let dry until tacky. This will help create a better surface for applying the paper. Then paint the disk with Mod Podge and put the paper on it, smooth it carefully with a dry sponge as you apply it. Let it dry a few minutes, then cover the paper with a smooth coat of Mod Podge, going slightly over the edges to the side of the disk.
Let that dry, and repeat on the other side.
Then paint the edges of the disk with Mod Podge, let it dry until tacky, then put on more and working in sections, wrap the strips around the edge. Cover the edges with Mod Podge. Let dry.

You may discover you like the look of one side better than the other, that one side just turned out a bit smoother or more evenly cut. That's your front.

After it's all dry, it's time to start putting on the ribbons. Cut 4 pieces of ribbon 18 inches long. Wrap them around the disk pinning lightly. Then slide a pin through all 4 layers where they intersect in the middle.
Unpin the outer edges and carefully lift the spoked ribbon shape off the disk. With your needle and thread and buttons, sew through all 4 layers to join them with the button (or stacked buttons. I love stacked buttons!). Sew securely.

Put the ribbons on the disk. Because of the nature of the foam,I found using 2 tacks for each ribbon end was the most secure. I tacked them on the back, then again on the edges.
The last 6 inch piece of the ribbon was folded in half, and tacked to the back of the disk to make a hanger.
So easy!! And those postcards are out of the box they've been stored in and on display.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Printable Stick Figure BSE -royalty free

This is Rebecca. She's a stick figure. I've been thinking about doing some sort of stick figure breast self-exam printable for a while now that could be included in things people sell to help raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. It was one of those ideas that kept being shelved until today. So here it is, in 2 sizes. So you can print it to fit one page, or you can print two copies on one page and cut the page in half.
Add your own text if you wish.

The reason it finally came off the back burner is two-fold. The first is the lady I named the stick figure after, she's a very good friend of mine who was diagnosed last year with breast cancer. She went through treatment, and at this point the prognosis looks very good. It's been scary, but she faced it with dignity, and she's in my thoughts right now.

The second reason is because today was my first mammogram. People told me lots of horror stories about how awful it was, and truly, it wasn't. My appointment was at 10 am. Since I had to be somewhere at 11 I was a little worried about how long it would take. The technician told me that it wasn't going to be a problem.

(skip this part if you don't want to get too personal!)

First I had to change into a cape sort of thing, and she asked if I was wearing deodorant or powder because that's a no-no. Then she explained what she was going to do. She placed small adhesive bandages that were printed with flowers and had tiny metal balls in the middle over my nipples. This was to mark their location since they don't show on a mammogram. Then I had to step up very close to the machine, hugging it almost, so she could do one breast at a time. My breast was spread horizontally between two plates. Hold my breath while she takes the picture, repeat for the other side. There was some pressure, but nowhere near the  "wringer" effect that I'd been warned about. Then she repeated the process, this time vertically.
If you have any moles, skin tags or other things like that, they may mark them with something like a hole reinforcement ring that will show up on the mammogram so the person looking at them knows that's something on the outside of the breast.
I was out of there and where I needed to be with time to spare, even with her careful explanations and the fact it was my first time. The worst part about the whole procedure was taking the bandages off after it was over.
It's not a lot of fun, but it's also not horrible. Since this was my first time, it's to establish a baseline, and she explained that I'll probably have to come back since there are frequently irregularities that need to be checked out when establishing that baseline.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Architectural Inspired Mandala to Color


This mandala to color is inspired by decorative architectural elements like rosettes. The outer ring pattern is called "Egg and Dart", the first beaded pattern is a "Bead and Reel" and the second is just a beaded pattern, surrounding a rosette. Click on the image for a larger version in transparent PNG format. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photos from a very snowy day (eagles!)

Last night, my husband and I went out to visit with my friend Sam to play Plutocracy. Every time we do this, the weather gets crazy. The first time, there were bad ice conditions, the second, it was well sub-zero and just freezing (photos from that outing here). This time, it was a snow storm with low visibility.
It was a very slow drive. Every time a drive pulled ahead of us and hit the snow on the road, things went white.
But on the list of things you see more often in Alaska than you do in other places...
Dog sleds on a truck outfitted for carrying dogs.
When we got out to Eagle River, we saw an eagle flying fairly low over the road, then off to one side, we saw this. All photos after this are uploaded at full size, so click to see the detail!
Yes. That's a tree full of bald eagles. 


This one made me smile, the branches look almost like it's make up, pretending to be The Crow!

Then a half block down, there was another tree that had both eagles and ravens in it!
Juvenile bald eagle and a raven.

We had fun playing our game for a few hours, then drove back into town. 

Currently, I'm trying to figure out what I can sell on Etsy to help make a bit of extra money to get a swatch collection printed at Spoonflower. My husband quit his job at the beginning of the month, and while he's looking for a new one, we are budgeting carefully. I'm thinking maybe an e-book of knotwork designs to color, or possibly post a bunch more blank templates for sale. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dragonfly Tea Box and Coloring Page

My friend Rosemary likes my printable tea boxes and also really likes stained glass effects. This is NOT the tea box template she means. But the other wouldn't have worked with this design. Click on the image to open a larger version. Print on card stock, cut, score, fold, glue. I recommend Chrome browser for printing directly from a browser.

I hope you also enjoy the coloring page. I really love how this dragonfly turned out and it will probably show up in other designs. Click the page for a larger version. Transparent PNG format.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Triangle knot embroidery patterns and a coloring page

More triangle knots! The first page is for embroidery and it's 100 dpi jpg. Click on the images for the larger version. The second page is a coloring page in 300 ppi transparent PNG format.
I hope you enjoy them!

Usual terms on the embroidery patterns, which means, if you use them on finished items, you can sell those items without asking permission. I'd love to see pictures of course. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Strike

I think I tried a half a dozen or so #striketools in various parts of my html. None of them worked. 

Please go sign the Google petition if you haven't already. Contact your representatives, which you can do easily from Wikipedia

Check out the SOPA Strike page. 

The vague language in the bills is unconstitutional, and I have no doubt if they pass, the Supreme Court will strike them down. They have plenty of precedent. But in the meantime, the fact they've gotten as far as they have is a threat to the freedom of speech that's guaranteed in our Bill of Rights, it's a threat to the open sharing of ideas, and it's a direct threat to crafters. All someone has to do is accuse you of stealing one of their ideas and the burden of proof is on you to prove you didn't. This does effect almost everyone of us personally.


Edited back to my regular layout. Thank you to everyone who signed the petitions and wrote their Representatives and Senators. 

Dragon Love Coloring Page

A dragon love knot to color. Honestly, I'm always a little insecure about my wyrm-y dragons. So hopefully some of you like this one.
Click the image for a larger version to color.

Some new favorite things

Recently, I complained on Facebook about the effect the cold weather + regular water aerobics in a salt water pool was having on my skin. Deb Keller of Thistlewood Manor sent me a couple of lotion bars. It's amazing how much difference they are making. The issue with lotions was they were evaporating too fast so they needed constant reapplication. The lotion bars, straight after showing off the salt water, are wonderful. They are made of good things like olive oil (my Uncle Lamar swore by olive oil for cold weather skin care), coconut oil and beeswax, they are the right size/shape for a lot of travel soap containers, they don't spill or get messy in my gym bag and I'm not all over itchy anymore. Check out her blog (linked above) for a great eggroll recipe, and her shop (hopefully she'll add a couple lotion bars!) on Etsy. I also love her shampoo bars for the gym.

soleRebels shoes- I don't actually own a pair YET. Hopefully soon. They were spotlighted on France24's Green is the New Black. Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu runs an amazing company. The shoes are made ethically using fair trade, artisan materials like hand-loomed organic cotton and small farm- free range leather, the soles are cut by hand from used truck tires. The company employs it's workers at 3 times the normal wage in that area AND pays for schooling for the children of employees. They are shipped in cinch sacks, also made of hand-loomed cotton so they aren't paying for shipping a lot of air in boxes. Since the sacks are re-usable, they don't contribute to waste with cardboard shoe boxes and really, the more I find out about this company, the more I like it. They are also willing to customize colors since the accents are loomed by hand.

Marian Call's song Good Morning Moon. This cheerful track off her most recent album is one of the happiest songs I've ever heard, it's catchy, hopeful and just wonderful. It's refrain includes the phrase "Who's to say we're falling if we miss the ground?". I want to cross stitch that on something.

North Pole Coffee - The Black Gold. Wow. Really, this is one of the best coffees I've ever had. Picked up a bag at the grocery store last week, and I'm savoring it and hoarding it like it was gold. It's low acid, and dark roasted to nearly black, the beans are oily and the coffee tastes *better* that most coffee smells.

Not affiliated! These are all just things that are making me very happy right now.

My husband quit his job a couple of weeks ago, and is currently looking for a new job. So we are budgeting carefully in the meantime. He's been getting more and more burnt out on the hospitality industry and with the added stress of what's been going on in our personal lives (losing my best friend and my uncle, plus before that, a lady he worked with had been killed on the job), he needed a change. So I'm thinking this could be the start of a wonderful new chapter in our lives and in his life professionally.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. on Love- printable word art

At Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama on November 17, 1957, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon about loving your enemies. This printable is an excerpt of that sermon. You can read the sermon in full here. (King Institute site). Click the image for a larger version to print.
For the printable, I decided to put the Ancient Greek for each type of love next to what Dr. King had to say about it. The excerpted part reads-
"The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialoguesa sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.


Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros;agape is more than philiaagape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen."


Bull's Eye Heart Mandalas to color

Actually, one mandala, one tile, and the same mandala on the same tiled background. Because I wanted to use the tiled background on my example, so I'm giving you lots of options. Click on the images for the larger versions. Transparent PNG format!


Hearts bull's eye pattern boxes in 5 colors!

I really need to either get ink or switch out printers so I can do some more heart clasp top boxes and print examples. Since that hasn't been done yet, these are simple 2x2x2 cube boxes in 5 different colors with a bull's eye effect heart pattern. I hope you enjoy them! Click on the images for larger versions.




Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review- Build Your Own Free-To-Air Satellite TV System

So, this is different than my usual reviews right? So why a book on FTA satellite TV systems? Because this is one of my husband's two favorite books from 2011. The other one was fiction.


First a quick definition- Free-to-air satellite transmissions are transmissions that you don't have to pay a subscriber fee. The satellites transmit the stations, sometimes encoded, but frequently not, so if you have a dish that's positioned correctly, you can pick up those stations. You pick up those stations with a satellite dish. While you can certainly have a dish system installed that you pay a monthly fee for, this book is about building your own system to pick up free signals. 


My husband is a tinkerer who has been messing with building antennas for years. FTA satellite antennas were the obvious next step.

This well written manual is written for non-experts and hobbyists who are just getting interested in building home satellite television systems. The language is very clear and defines the technical jargon in easily understandable ways.

You learn how to set up anything from a small dish or if your budget and area zoning allows, a 6 foot dish. 

A resource list allows you to find the materials needed to build your dish, and sites that will help you position your dish according to location.

The book also explains about how satellite transmissions work, going into the science in a clear way.

There is also information on setting up surround sound for the best satellite television experience possible.

I'm really impressed with how well it covers the subject matter without becoming too dry to read. It's laid out in such a way that it's easy to find what you need to go back over while your building your system. 

In a world where a lot of people think they have to have cable or a paid satellite service just to get basic channels, this opens up a lot of possibilities in finding free transmissions for a one time cost. If you're in an area where cable is not an option, or you don't need premium cable stations, this is a great alternative.

My husband was completely inspired by it. Our neighborhood will NOT allow a 6 ft dish, despite how much he wants one now. 



If you're like my husband, or you know someone who is as interested in such projects, I really recommend this book.

We don't have cable, at first, it wasn't an option for our neighborhood. Now that it is, it's something we've found we can live without. So this is a good, less expensive option for us. It costs less to set up a basic system than cable does for a year. 



You can get this book directly from the publisher, McGraw Hill Professional, or by clicking the Amazon.com affiliate link below.




Amazon.com affiliate links don't affect your cost, and provide extra income to me personally, which helps support my book addiction.

My reviews are always my personal and honest opinion. You can read more about my review policy here.

Friendship pins and ice sculptures

First- I posted instructions for these cute little square stitch pins at Beadwork at BellaOnline. You can find the article *here*.

 The rest of the photos can be clicked for larger versions.
Ice ice ice! Recently I was sent a game to review. It's a very complicated and interesting game, so I asked a friend for help with the review. We decided to meet at a friendly locally owned coffee shop that has a big enough table for playing. When we got downtown, I stopped to take some photos of a few of the ice sculptures in town square.
I only took photos of a few sculptures. Because it was COLD! The other reason is that like a lot of places, our town square has a fountain, lots of trees, steps, path, a paved area for shows and other events. During the summer there is occasionally roller derby there. As well as lots of fairs and other things. In the winter? That paved area, with it's small curb all around is an ice rink. Not figuratively. Literally. There are skating nights there. TG crossed it to look at the rest of the sculptures happily. I looked at it, and decided that I wanted to stay on my feet.
The peacock above has a puntastic name.

I told my friend Sam, who occasionally writes on Tuesday Afternoon (not a craft blog!) that I was going to take some close up photos for all of you.
He said, and I agreed, the peacock should have more colored lights!
It was an ice sculpture that inspired yesterday's triple trinity knot.
See that bit of ice on the left hand side? It was part of the same sculpture and set perpendicular to the knot.
I love mandalas!
The close up shows the tool work.
Also on that side, were a pair of Mickey and Minnie sculptures, with holes in the faces for photographs. I tried to talk him into posing, and he said he was absolutely NOT going to put his face in the ice. At that point, TG rejoined us, and did so happily.
My husband, quite sensibly, was in the coffee shop, happily enjoying a nice hot mocha while we were looking at ice and freezing. The game play was fun. We didn't finish a game but had the chance to at least start learning the rules.
Today it's below 0 here in Anchorage. Hopefully you are all staying warm!

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