SewSet

With my daughter off learning how to navigate college and my husband gone for three months for specialized training on the other side of the country, I’ve had a little extra time on my hands to surf the net.  I came across something new this week that I’d like to share.  New to me, actually.  I’m not sure how long this website has been around, but so far I’m kinda in love.

SewSet Button

I saw this graphic in a couple of different places before I actually clicked on it.  For some reason, in my head SewSet was some tool or something that I was sure didn’t apply to me.  Finally, I had to know.  Turns out, it’s LOADED with patterns, some for a fee, but mostly free for the downloading.

I really like the way it’s set up.  A bit like the big “P” site that’s so popular right now.  It’s very simple to navigate, with basic categories and an effective search function.  You can view patterns by category, by designer (lots of familiar names there), by free or paid and you have the option of saving favorites.

Cornucopia 7 - small

As a designer, I also found it very painless to add my own patterns.  You’ll find about ten of my favorites up already.  If you’re looking for some project ideas I’d encourage you to check it out.  Just make sure you eventually leave and go make something!

*  Just to be clear, I’m not affiliated with SewSet, except that I have now contributed some of my designs.  I just think it’s a site worth exploring!

Font Preview Website

Just a quick note today.  I’m in the middle of planning an open house and birthday, which adds up to three separate events, and I’m starting to make myself a little dizzy.  But, I found a website I wanted to share.

If you are a font-addict, like me, you may have a few extras on your computer.  With all those fonts, it can be a little time consuming to choose one for a project.  Having to change it, view it, then move on to the next has caused me to settle for something that wasn’t what I wanted more than once.

 

Raising teenagers

 

I came across a great website that I can see myself using a lot.  It’s called Wordmark, and all you have to do is type your word or phrase into the box at the top center of the screen, press the Load Fonts button, and it will show you what you typed in every font on your computer.  I have no affiliation with them, I just love that this exists.

 

Never too late

 

There are options like changing the background to black, choosing different sizes and changing to all caps.  You can log in to save info, which requires an email address.  If you want to know more about how it works, click Information in the upper left corner on the site.

 

Inspiration

 

I still want to scroll through every one of my fonts to see what it looks like, but at least this will cut down on some clicking. That’s progress, right?

Crafty Love

3325582-org [Converted] Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I want to spread a little love.  You may or may not have noticed the little Crafty Love tab at the top of the screen.  If you’ve never clicked on it, I’ll fill you in.  It contains links to other blogs and websites who have let me share my work.  I found some of them;  some of them found me.  Many of you have ended up here by clicking links belonging to these generous people.

One of my favorite places is One Pretty Thing.  If you’re a craft surfer, it’s a must-see.  Rachel publishes several lists every day, each full of creativity.  There’s always themed lists, related to whatever season we’re in and general round-ups.  I think of her every week when I’m putting together my Friday Favorites.  I can’t imagine being able to come up with that many things every day.

Another place I like to hang out is Totally Tutorials.  Dotty highlights a few tutorials every day, obviously carefully chosen, with great variety.  On a side note, she has an Etsy store where she sells ADORABLE pincushions.

This one isn’t a craft blog, but I’ve found myself there a lot lately.  If you haven’t tried StumbleUpon, I’m not sure whether to tell you to try it or run away.  It’s a real time killer, but I’ve found many great projects and blogs while stumbling.

The ladies at CraftGossip are pretty amazing.  They manage to publish loads of great links every day and always send the cheeriest e-mails.  Their site is divided into categories, making it easy to take in, one bite at a time.

I was so excited the first time I found a link to my blog from a site in a language I didn’t understand.  I felt so international!  10Marifet.org is based in Turkey, and thanks to the Google translate feature, I can tell you they are all over the cute crafty links.  Actually, most of the craft tutorial photos speak for themselves.

Speaking of international, another fun blog I’ve been a part of is Freebies for Crafters.  These ladies are based in Australia and New Zealand.  They don’t post as often, but when they do it’s usually something special.

If you want to just spend some time looking at beautiful things, visit craftgawker.  They are very particular about the photos they publish.  I have a few of mine own there, but I’ve been turned down a couple of times too.  Guess you can’t win them all.

When you have time, visit my Crafty Love page and click on a couple of the links.  There’s a whole world of crafty goodness out there, waiting for you to find it.

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Don’t forget to visit last Saturday’s Crafty Staci First Anniversary post to enter to win a fantastic giveaway!!! Contest is open through February 18, 2011.

Paracord Bracelets

I grew up in the 70's.  Stop doing the math.  Back then, macramé was a popular craft and we had lots of it around our house.  I have many of my mom's old macramé books on my craft bookshelf, and I recognize some of the wall hangings, necklaces, plant hangers and seasonal decorations.  Some of the things I remember:

I'm not trying to bring macramé back, although I don't think it ever completely left.  Check out the jewelry aimed at teens for the past few years and you'll find some there.  It really isn't anything more than a series of well-placed knots and we've been tying knots since we've had rope.  I learned a couple of knots when I was a kid and they've served me well over the years.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered recently.  The blog itself is by Stormdrane, but I discovered him through his entry on Instructables.  This blogger creates bracelets, watch bands, belts, key chains, almost anything you can imagine made out of a bunch of knots, using something called paracord.  The bracelets can be used as survival gear, the idea being you untie the knots if you need to use the cord.

Personally, I had never heard of paracord, but I've never had a reason to jump out of a perfectly good plane either.  Apparently, it's the cord used on parachutes, and is also known as 550 cord, because it will support 550 pounds.  I won't be testing that anytime soon, but I was intrigued by it as a craft medium.  I ordered some cord (you can get almost any color you can imagine) from Supply Captain and buckles from Creative DesignWorks and then let it sit around for a month or so while I worked up the courage to give it a try.

My son was fascinated with these bracelets, so I finally broke down and cut into the cord.  I can't even begin to describe how to make these as well as Stormdrane, but I did learn a few things in the process that I can share.

First of all, this will make sense once you've read the tutorial, but don't try to start by feeding the loop through the end of the buckle - it's too thick.  Try the ends instead and pull them through until you have a loop.    

His estimate of one foot of cord for each inch of finished bracelet length worked out well for me. 

I didn't have much luck melted the ends to hold them in place, but pulling them through the back with a pair of needle-nose pliers worked fine.  It just takes a while - longer than it took me to knot it.  You do want to run the ends of the cord over a lighter flame first so they don't unravel. 

I made Tucker's bracelet using the "king cobra stitch", which is essentially knots in one direction and knots over the top of those going back in the other direction.  He wanted me to use a lot of cord.  He got his wish.  Good thing that boy has giant hands.

Codi wanted a version we had seen in several places called The Thin Blue Line bracelet.  It's meant to show support for law enforcement.  I couldn't find instructions on how to make that one specifically, so I just laid two blue cords down the center while I knotted over them.  To make hers less bulky, I used the  stitch known as cobra, Solomon bar or Portuguese sinnet.  It's the single version of the one I made for Tucker.

These weren't very difficult and the materials were pretty low cost.  Tucker is planning a belt, a watch band and a dog collar.  My son is going to save the world with paracord.

It's my birthday, so here's a few of my favorite things

Today is my birthday, so I thought I'd share a list of ten things I think are kinda awesome.  Some of them are crafty, others not so much. 10.  Let's just get this out of the way:  I'm not a swimmer.  Furthermore, my bikini days are gone.  I don't usually notice swimwear but this bikini caught my eye in InStyle magazine.  I couldn't find it on their website, but here it is at Dillards .  For some reason it makes me wish for it.

9.  I am the queen of tiny injuries in annoying places.  I used to wear the kids' Blues Clues bandages, just because it's what we had in the house.  Now I want something not so flesh-toned of my own.  You can find these at Perpetual Kid, whose website is just fun to browse anyway.

8.  I really just want to see if these FitFlops are as great as they say they are.  Ok, I like the studs too.

7.  I really want an indoor herb garden, and I love that this one from Craftzine is made from recycled materials.  The only problem is, I would also need an indoor herb gardener to keep it alive.

6.  I love pens.  I am constantly searching for the perfect one.  This Crayola version at Perpetual Kid might be it.

5.  I love all the zipper detail on clothes and accessories right now.  I'm not usually a brooch-wearer, but I'd make an exception for this one from JoAnn.  It's just the right combination of girly and punk.

4.  I have some of my best ideas in the shower.  Unfortunately, as soon as the water's gone so is whatever I was thinking about.  This waterproof notepad from Incredible Things isn't a want...it's a need.

3.  Hello.  My name is Staci and I'm a sugarholic.  This is just enabling my problem, but it gives me something to do with the debris from my other addiction:  coffee.  That makes it ok, right?  Right?!?  Thanks to the artist at Instructables who came up with this.

2.  If you've kept up with my blog, you know I'm a Wonder Woman fan.  I have been since I was a little girl.  Remember the Crayon T-Shirts?  This is another version of Wonder Woman by a different artist at Deviant Art that I would love to have on a shirt.  Or the hood of my car.  No?

1.  When I was a kid, we had this one odd spoon in the silverware drawer.  I don't know where it came from, and it wasn't particularly fancy or anything, but my sisters and I used to fight over it.  This one looks nothing like it, but made me think of it anyway.  These can be found at Think Geek and I have to get one.  Don't tell my sisters.

Eleven days in the hospital can drive you crazy

I'm back home after an unexpected stay in the hospital due to a complication after a routine surgery.  I'm still not allowed to MAKE anything, but if I don't at least TALK some crafty, I'm going to lose my mind! I made two decisions during the last few days that I'd like to share.  Remember the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge?  I was looking for somewhere to give my donations to.  My local Craft Warehouse is accepting them, which I believe they're forwarding to Doernbecher Childrens Hospital.  My children's pillowcases will be going there.  However, as I stared at the ceiling in the oncology ward of my local hospital, my own bright, flowery pillowcase under my head, the light bulb came on.  My husband and I spoke to a couple of nurses and the supervisor, and I'll be donating pillowcases for adults to their department.  They're happy to be receiving them from a former patient, and I'm thrilled to be able to give something back to a place where I received such excellent care.  I can't wait to get back to my sewing room!

My second decision is that I'm planning to open my own Etsy shop.  I'm going to aim for July 1st, but I might start sooner if I'm ready.  I've done some research, and I really feel like there's a place there for my style.  Lots of reading and research for the next couple of weeks, but I'll keep you posted on my progress!