Printing Tips

Check out my printing tips if you're having problems printing to the right size
If you'd like to support this site and all the free things I post- please check out my Don't Eat the Paste Mandala collection coloring book for 9.99 at Amazon.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Easy cover photos with MiO Energy

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of MiO Energy for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

MiO Cover

MiO Liquid Water Enhancers are a no-calorie way to flavor water. You've probably seen them or used them in water. Little bottles that you add a squirt to an 8 oz glass of water or a couple squirts to a 16 oz. bottle of water to flavor it.

MiO also makes an energy enhancer that comes full of B vitamins and 60 mgs of caffeine per squirt. 60 mgs of caffeine is about the same as a cup of coffee so it won't make you jittery like high caffeine doses can, and the B vitamins help provide energy as well.

MiO Energy comes in 2 flavors, Black Cherry (my favorite!) and Green Thunder. The extra energy is helpful when you're enjoying an Alaskan summer full of hiking and late nights watching sunsets.

You can find it at Sam's Club, and Sam's Club also has this fun Facebook cover image maker. 

MiO cover photo


To use it, you'll log in using your Facebook account. It's safe, it just connects with your account without asking for your password. When you connect, you'll be given a choice of layouts. Each layout has thumb tacks to click to add images. The application connects with your photo albums so you can pick photos.

The sliders in the lower right hand corner let you rotate and resize your images. I really like this layout, it allows 4 photos on a slight diagonal so you can show a few interests! If you don't like how it's turning it, you can re-set it and start again. When you're happy with the cover image, just click download image and save it to your hard drive. It saves in PNG format as MyCover. Then you'll just upload it to Facebook as your cover image. 

Go! Conquer your corner of the world with MiO Energy, take pictures, and create a cover image to show your friends.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flamingo Mandala

A new mandala to color! More pink flamingos, or whatever color you'd like to make them!
Click on the images for larger versions.
Small JPG:

Large transparent PNG:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Silly Geese!

The geese are getting ready to fly back south for the winter, and there are small flocks at various bodies of waters around town. This is one I found yesterday, and got some photos of some very silly geese. The last one is a little gross. Just a warning! They've been re-sized, and I'm considering putting some of them on one of the photo printing sites if anyone is interested. I love the one above!

 Why they call some lamps "goose neck"

This one needs a friendship quote at some point.

Quick note- this one got split reactions with my family and friends. You'll have to be the judge. Rosemary said it's a good photograph and life is messy. TG thought it was just hilarious. My darling husband flinched and says "Ah, so majestic in flight. So completely gross when they eat."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review- Show Me a Story

Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children's Storytelling by Emily K. Neuburger is a guide to creative exercises you can do with a child to make up stories.

Children love to make up stories with their toys, friends and in play. This book helps make a regular and thoughtful pattern of it. While it's meant for adults to do with children, a lot of the activities will work with children of all ages.

The craft projects include cards, decorated rocks to work as figures, small paper puppets and creating small scenes. One of my favorite things in the book is the number of projects that are portable so you can make up stories on long car trips or any place else you might have to sit quietly.

My favorite projects are very interactive, and use storytelling prompts like decorated dice. It turns storytelling into a fun game and conversation starter. Also the part about exploring with a camera and a notebook to collect things to turn into a story is a very good one.

The author also talks about the basic structure of a good story, having a beginning, middle and end, and ways to help develop that part of a story.

They are easy projects, they don't require that you have to be an artist to do them. The author has taught creative writing and used some of these techniques with high school students. While it's aimed for children, the writing prompts and exercises will also work with adults, and can be used as a great problem solving tool or communication tool.

My family has been putting some of these ideas into practice and it is a lot of fun for the whole family. The book is well-written with clear language and ideas. It's one that I don't just recommend to parents and people who take care of small children, because a lot of the exercises will work well with tweens and young adults. I also think (hope!) the tips in here will make me a better blogger.

Published by Storey.

Emily K. Neuburger's blog is red bird crafts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, my reviews are always my personal and honest opinion. You can read more about my review policy here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pink Flamingo Printable Cards

More pink plastic flamingo printables! This time, it's cards that can be used as mommy cards or calling cards and printable recipe cards. Both are in fillable field PDFs. To use them, just open them in your browser if you've got Acrobat Reader installed, and highlight the placeholder text and replace it with your own text. For the recipe cards, they are all set up separately so you can put 4 different recipes on them. For the calling cards, when you fill in one field, that field on the rest of the cards will fill in. You can save them after they are filled in. I always do my test prints using the Reader instead of using Acrobat to make sure it turned out right.

Print on card stock then cut them apart using scissors, a paper trimmer or a craft knife and ruler following the crop guides on the sides and corners.

Pink Flamingo Recipe Cards
Pink Flamingo Recipe Cards with some of my family's rice recipes
Pink Flamingo Calling Cards

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I have markers!

Years ago, I found a white and black patterned fabric that was incredibly busy. I loved it and bought a yard which became a purse that got used until it fell apart. Part of the fun of it was coloring it in with permanent markers while waiting for an appointment or at restaurants.

I still love the idea of it, and that purse inspired the design above which is available on Spoonflower here. The markers are Sharpie brush tips. Love them so much for fabric coloring because you can vary the angle you hold the pen at to do larger sections, then use the tip for the finer sections.

The tip isn't quite fine enough for a lot of my more involved coloring pages, but for the fabric designs they are perfect!

If you'd like to color the design, but don't want to buy the fabric, here's a coloring page. Click, print, color!

Here's a picture of another one of my fabric designs. A tiled design of a skull with a chef hat available in several colors here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Loving Thought Printable Quote

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.
-George MacDonald
Just a lovely sentiment that suits this week very well.

Click on the image below for the printable version.

Quick note- QVC is doing a full day of Christmas gift ideas, and at 8pm EST during the the Gifts for Grandkids program with Host Caroline Gracie they will have the My Friendship Bracelet Maker and the My Ribbon Barrette Maker. I've used and liked the My Friendship Bracelet Maker and think it's a great tween gift. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pink Flamingo Printable Box

Here's the box, and there are plans for more flamingo printables this week!
Click on the box for a larger version, print on card stock, cut, score, fold, glue!

Whimsy runs wild in my family, and one of my whimsies is a strong desire for pink plastic flamingos in my yard. It's not one I've acted on yet. As you probably know, there aren't real flamingos in Alaska. There are also precious few plastic flamingos. What I want is to have a half dozen that TG and I can outfit for the seasons. We wouldn't keep them out all the time because cold+plastic is usually a bad thing. But we would knit them hats and scarves to have out occasionally during the winter. Anyway, that's the plan. My husband of course is less than thrilled. He did say "The only reason I'm NOT trying to talk you out of it is because I just know I'd come home from work to an army of pink flamingos."

He's so smart!

Get Flocked carries flamingos made using Don Featherstone's original molds that are made in the U.S.A. If you're looking for flamingos, or the perfect Christmas present for an Alaskan blogger living in a neighborhood with no flamingos (hee!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ruffle Socks- pattern

Sorry about the odd angle of the picture! My husband was caught up in something and didn't hear me yelling that I needed help taking a photo of the ruffly socks. Of course, when he heard me grumbling about how hard it is to take a good photo of ruffles on your own feet, he said  "Well, why didn't you ask for help?"

Yeah. *laughs* Happens in every household right?

These are made using chains and single crochets in crochet stitch, and simple knit stitch (no purling!) worked in the round using dpns.

To make these, you will need:

  • A pair of socks! I used Gold Toe socks made of pima cotton with a touch of Spandex, but most any opaque knit turn down socks will work.
  • Size 10 crochet cotton thread to match your socks- I used Aunt Lydia's Classic in black
  • Red Heart Sashay ruffle yarn- these are made with the color Boogie- one skein will do a few pairs.
  • Thread to match the Sashay yarn
  • sewing needle
  • Size 7 (1.5mm) crochet hook
  • Size 8 double pointed needles
  • stitch holder or safety pin
Working with ruffle yarn is a bit different. It comes looking like a flat ribbon, but it's a mesh that you stretch out to a wide ruffle. You knit with it by knitting in just the top row of the mesh, it seems complicated, but it's super easy once you start. The only kind of tricky part is finishing it. Because you can't really pull the yarn through the last stitch, you sew the end, and then sew the beginning of the yarn to finish it. 

You'll start by crocheting directly into the top of the sock to create the loops you'll use as a cast on for the knitted ruffle. 

Crocheted Loops:
Insert the hook into the sock about a 1/8th of an inch from the end. Make a slip knot in the thread, and put it on the hook and pull it through. Make a slip stitch, then work a single crochet in the top of the sock cuff right next to it. Chain 5, single crochet about 5 mms away from the first single crochet. The size 8 knitting needles are 5 mms, so about the width of one needle.
Repeat all the way around, on the last chain 5, chain 5 then slip stitch in the first sc. Break off and weave in ends.

Knitted Ruffle:
The fun part! The chains will be your cast on. Since you're working in the round, you want the stitches approximately evenly distributed on the needles. Stitch the needles in like you're sewing, going back and forth in the loops. 
Instead of yarning over, you'll put the needle into the top of the mesh in a loop, then knit it. The top of the mesh is the side that doesn't have a metallic accent. 

Open out the first 12 inches of the Sashay yarn. Using a 4th needle, put it into the crochet loop as if to knit. You start knitting about 4 inches away from the end of the yarn. Pass the knitting needle into a loop on the top of the mesh, and pull the loop through the crochet loop in a normal knit stitch then pull the crochet loop off the needle. Put the needle in the next crochet loop, skip a mesh, and knit the next one. Repeat around, skipping a mesh for each stitch, and pulling the ruffle yarn open as you work. 

When you've worked around all the way, knit the first knit stitch on to the 3rd needle.
Now work a loose bind off, still skipping a mesh on each stitch. 

When you get to the last stitch on the needle, slip the stitch holder into it.

Cut off  the yarn about 4 inches from the end of the knitting. 

For stitching it up, working with doubled thread knotted on one end worked best. Sew into the mesh and the chains between the meshes holding the knot about an inch from the end. Stitch it all the way up to the crochet chain, then pass the needle through the knotted loop and pull tight.Knot it off, and take a few more stitches and knot it off again. Trim the thread, then trim the yarn about a half inch from the stitching. If it doesn't look really neat, don't worry. It will be hidden in the ruffles. Stitch up the beginning end of the yarn the same way.

Repeat for the other sock. 

Quick Tip: The Sashay yarn can be a bit slippery. The first one, I had no problems with, but the second one, the stitches kept slipping off the needles. So I put silicone mini hair elastics on the ends of the needles as I worked. That kept them from slipping off.

Yay! Big deep ruffles on socks, or you could use the same effect on the edges of stretch "magic" type gloves. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Graph Comparison- Transformers in bead, knit and cross stitch charts

I was going through a lot of old files today looking for the graph for a purse I made a few years back. Still haven't found that, but did find these old graphs, done to compare graph types.

Beads- the most popular stitches are brick and peyote. The most popular beads are Delica size 11 cylinder beads. So that's how I planned these graphs. Delicas are slightly smaller from hole to hole then from outside edge to outside edge. When you're working in peyote stitch, generally the holes will line up vertically. Peyote is also offset by half. These graphs are original size, so they don't need to be clicked. Shown shaded and I have no idea now what my reasoning behind that was. Because of the aspect ratio, these are 39 beads wide and 36 beads tall.

Knit stitches, working up from a cast on edge instead side to side, are shorter than they are wide. So if you graph something on a square graph, it might work. But more likely it's going to come out squashed. It varies some, but generally, the ratio is close enough to Delica type beads that a knitting graph will work on loom or square stitch for beads. Click on the images for larger versions. These are meant to be used for smaller washcloths. (but would also look awesome at the bottom of a scarf!) 40 stitches across and 57 rows tall.

Cross stitch is done a straight squared graph, which makes it the easiest. Pixel art works well for cross stitch and that's probably how these were designed. Click on the images for larger versions. 60x60 (roughly, since apparently I didn't square off this graph properly)

I have no idea if that's helpful to anyone, but it was fun finding them! There are tons of different kinds of graph paper available for free on my old classic webpage here.
Oh, this is the purse that got me searching. As soon as I find the graphs, I'll post them!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Peace Symbol Printable Paper and Gift Boxes

I hope you like these! More peace symbol printables. Click on the images for larger versions.

I have some things available for sale on Craftsy. It's PDF only, so if you want to buy blank templates in transparent PNG, JPG or GIF format, you'll have to do that on Etsy. But if you want to buy some of my bead patterns (except the limited edition ones)- you'll get an instant download instead of having to wait until I check my email!
Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning it is because I was debating printable circle tags and journal circles that could be cut out using a 2 inch circle punch that had fillable fields, and possibly calling cards like these bat themed calling cards. I'm just not sure if people like the fillable field PDF printables. So, what's your take?

Links I'm loving, Micropublishing and Tesla!

The first one, which you may have already heard of, it The Oatmeal's fund raiser for The Tesla Science Museum. It's a chance to be a part of history, and to help build a museum to remember Nikola Tesla, and his contributions to science. There has been a lot raised, but it's not just about buying the land. What goes over the amount raised for the land will help pay for getting the museum built.

The other one, you may not know about. Micropublishing! You know I'm a big supporter of micropublishing for Kindle, but I also like real books and "zines" that are micropublished. Micropublishing is independent authors, illustrators and very small publishing co-ops creating books, zines and chapbooks. These are all on a small scale and done more for love than money.

Growing up in a hippie household, my mom had lots of 8-32 page "chapbooks". These were laid out and Xeroxed, then folded in half and stapled, or sometimes they were just sheets of papers with a staple in the top corner. Some were political manifestos, others were collections of recipes or instructions on doing things. They were poetry collections and short stories. We have blogs and the internet for that now, but there is something wonderful about having paper versions to give people.

DIY publishing, full of creativity and ideas. It's a part of our culture that defies the mainstream to provide information, interests and thoughts. It's punk, it's hippie, it's all sorts of things.

These days, those self-published booklets are frequently called "zines", and the co-ops or people who distribute many types of them are called "distros". Distros get submissions from authors, and provide a central place to get zines on lots of subjects. Zines are generally printed on 8.5x11 inch paper that's folded in half and stapled in the middle. Some are copied from handwritten pages, or created using traditional methods to make a master and copy that. They are usually printed in black and white. Some of them have hand stamped or printed covers. The books made by the micro-publishers can be stitched, stapled or perfect-bound (paperback glue binding)

The biggest has split into 2 independent distros, it's the second that's my other "link I love".
Microcosm Distribution
They sell patches, buttons, stickers and teeshirts that are created in house, as well as a fantastic selection of zines and books.
I've ordered from the original company a few times, and trust them. So when the new company started, I had no hesitation about ordering from them. For DIY types, check out the DIY section. You can order superpacks which are collections on a theme. There is also a section for people who love to cook that includes some great vegan recipe collections.

It's punk, it's indie as heck, and it's a lot of fun. My whole family enjoys our zine collection. It's not for everyone. Some people will object to the politics or language.

I don't use explicit language very often, but it's not because I object to it. We have the Fix Sh*t Up sticker on a lot of things around the house, and  I'm beyond thrilled they are doing a sewing version of it.

Check them out, look around, if there is a specific DIY or cooking zine you want to know more about, ask me, I might have it and can tell you if it's a favorite or not. They are having a 50% off sale on a lot of things to promote the new distro.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Printable quote art about synergy

I'm really insecure about this. Usually my posted quotes are things other people said. This one is my own. It was the last thing I was thinking last night before going to bed.
So if you don't like it, that's okay, if you do then I'll probably blush and get all bashful.
We are so much more than the sum of our parts. We are multiplied, divided, added, subtracted in infinite variations. We are created again with every thought, experience, memory and emotion. That equation takes more than a mind to understand, it takes heart and soul. -synergy-

Click on this image for a large version, already rotated for printing on portrait settings.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fabulous week- with photos!

Mt. Susitna

The photo above was taken earlier this week. We hadn't planned on going to take pictures of Susitna, we actually went the other way for photos of ducks and other wild life. But while we were driving back into town, I was stunned by how pretty the sunset looked, and so we did stop for photos. Click on the photos to see larger versions.

I also saw this piece of graffiti-
Bee the love you seek, I love you all, Forever.
Here are some of the birds we saw at Potter's Marsh that evening.


Bald Eagle in flight

Ducks and a sandpiper

Remember when I said my raspberries had become a nice little thicket?

That started out as 3 canes 3 years ago. Next year should be amazing with all the second and third year canes. We plan to plant some of the smaller canes at my dad's house.

Raspberries and strawberries from my garden. Yum yum! The strawberries started a few years ago as a single hanging basket from Wal*Mart that my husband got me because I really, really wanted strawberries growing in my yard. They needed transplanting fairly quickly, the original plant wasn't in great shape. But it sent off lots of runners. I replanted some of the runners in 2 spaces in my yard. They've been coming back reliably ever since, and sending out more runners. So now I have 2 strawberry patches. Everyone loves to see the strawberries ripen. They are so sweet and big!

In fact, I'm going to go have some soon!
This weekend is our annual Greek Festival, it's always a lot of fun. Baklava and tiny cups of rich, dark coffee, music and dancing. Then Monday Michael has a job interview. My fingers are crossed!

I've been working on a pattern using ruffle yarn. It's a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shark Mandala to color

My daughter suggested this shark mandala, and as some of you know from previous postings, I'm a little insecure about critter drawings. So I hope you like it.

Click on the images for larger versions to print.
Small JPG version:
Shark Coloring Page
Large Transparent PNG version

Shark Mandala

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Geometric Mandala

This mandala was something I laid out in my head a few nights ago while trying to get to sleep. I hope you like it!
Click on the images for printable versions.
Small JPG:

Large Transparent PNG :