Posts made in June, 2014


DIY Round-up: Cool for Cats

DIY Round-up: Cool for Cats


Posted By on Jun 30, 2014

Welcome to DIY Round-up, where we try to infuse a little creativity into your day. If you make a living as a Maker, chances are you spend so much time Making (with a capital M, as in “for Money”) that you don’t always take the time to make something just for fun – just for YOU. So we’re rounding up a variety of free tutorials from the Web to help you get into the creative spirit.

Maybe it’s because I happen to be the mother of an 8-year-old daughter already a Junior Crazy Cat Lady, but I’ve been seeing cats everywhere I turn lately! Cats on leggings, cats on home decor items, cats on quilt patterns! So today I’m rounding up a variety of DIY tutorials based on the theme of cats!

Image from Obsessively Stitching

Cat in a Box – sew up this adorable mini-softie from Obsessively Stitching. This is a really creative tutorial that guides you through the process of sewing the face details using a tissue paper template!

Image from Transient Expression

Cat Lady Nails – Make your own nail decals (using cats or anything else you can print!) with this fun and festive tutorial from Transient Expression.

Image from Paper Plate and Plane

It’s Raining Cats (+ Dogs)! Did you know you could DIY your own umbrella? Use any design you want to give yourself a customized rain-protector from Paper Plate and Plane’s tutorial!

Image from A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess – That’s the name of this site, but you can for sure be beautiful (sans the mess) when you make your own sequined top! Whether you want to bust out the cat lingo or just put your word of the year across your chest, this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess has got your back (your whole torso, really)!

Whether you’re crazy for cats – or not – these tutorials are sure to break you out of your crafty rut and get you on the path to creative purr-fection! We’ll see you next time!

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Welcome to #ThinkCreateReflect, where we slow down at the end of the week and take the time to work through a creative or business-related prompt (or both!). We’re glad you’re here to join us!

TCR button

With this week’s prompt, it’s time to use your creativity to work through your frustrations!

Think of something that really irritates you: it could be a problem you frequently encounter, or a situation that always puts you in a bad mood whenever it comes up. Now, take out your notebook and list 10 ways you could combat that frustration. Think outside the box! If you have bees hanging out by your front door, maybe you can take up beekeeping or build them a bee palace further out in your yard. If you’ve been fighting with your spouse about who’s going to take out the trash, maybe you can hire a housekeeper to do just that chore, or build a robot that will take out the trash for you!
You never know where these creative exercises might lead – some of the world’s greatest discoveries were made by working through a frustrating situation. (Darn this mold on my experiment! Oh, hey, it’s penicillin!) You may just come up with a brand new invention – and at the very least, you’ll learn that there are ways to get around your frustrations.
If you’d like to share your creative solution with us, post a link on Twitter or Instagram and tag it #ThinkCreateReflect!
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#MakersWednesday: Travel Time

#MakersWednesday: Travel Time


Posted By on Jun 25, 2014

Welcome to #MakersWednesday, where we take a minute out of a busy week to celebrate our creative sides. Won’t you join us?

MakersWednesday button

Lately, I’ve been having one of those periods in my life where my inspiration runneth over – I’ve got too many ideas for crafty projects I want to make, and too little time to get them all done! If only my house would clean itself, my kids would entertain themselves and my laptop would just do all my work for me. Sigh.

Anyway, since summer is here, I’ve been thinking up some travel-friendly projects. Aside from wanting to knit myself shawls to go with my sundresses and sew up some jersey knit maxi skirts for comfort + style, I’m thinking about ways to DIY an easier family vacation with my sewing machine. Today instead of sharing one of my projects, I’ve rounded up some travel-friendly tutorials to help you get into your vacation mode, too!

First up, when you travel you’re going to need a good bag. I like to take a bag with me that will fit across my body; that way my hands can be free to wrangle kids, punch tickets or hold snacks. This DIY messenger bag from Cold Hands Warm Crafts is adorable, and it’s a good size to fit the essentials without getting too bulky:

 

Image from Cold Hands Warm Heart Crafts

For your overnight travels, how about a larger bag to hold all your belongings? This laminated cotton number from Riley Blake will be easy to clean, which is a definite bonus when you’re traveling with kids:

Image from Riley Blake Designs

I also love this quilted duffel style bag from Sewplicity:

Image from Sewplicity

If you’ll be traveling with a regular suitcase, it might be a good idea to make a DIY luggage tag to identify it in the crowd at the airport:

Image from Soubelles

This zippered dopp kit from the Purl Bee is a great way to store all your toiletry items on the go, and it can even help you stay organized when you get back home!

Image from the Purl Bee

 

And finally, if you’re traveling with kids, you might benefit from putting together a DIY travel game kit to keep them entertained on the road (or in the air):

Image from Making Nice in the Midwest

What are YOUR travel plans this summer? Are you making any DIY preparations before you go? Share with us in the comments, or tag it on social media with #MakersWednesday!

 

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Here at the Patterned blog we’re pleased to announce a new series! “Ask Penny” is the place to come with all of your tech-related questions. Want to know how to tweak your web site without hiring professional help, or when is the right time to get that type of help? Bring your questions right here to the comments! Once a month Penny will be back to answer a few more.

Ask Penny

 

Penny Shima Glanz is a computer scientist with a passion for information management and how we interact with technology. She started PennyWise Consulting, LLC to help solo and small businesses figure out how to make the most of their technology needs and budgets. When not wrangling technology she can be found knitting, snuggling with her cats and reading, or out on a muddy trail run at sunrise.          

Today’s question: I’ve only used free sites and I’m thinking of getting my own site. Where do I start?

From Penny: Congratulations on wanting to take your website to the next level! While it’s a big step, it shouldn’t be a scary one. We’ll begin with two questions to help us identify if you’re ready for a site of your own.

1. Why do you want your own site?
2. Are you prepared to keep all the parts of your website not just today, but in the future?

First, why do you want your own site?

If the answer is just “I’m tired of having mysite.freesite.com!”, then you might be delighted to learn you don’t need to buy your own site. You can purchase just a domain name and have that *redirect* to your current site. I’ll discuss how in next month’s post.

If you want to do more with your site and you’ve discovered you can’t do that with a free site, then it’s likely that you need your own domain and hosting, but not necessarily the case. It depends what your free site is and what exactly you want to do. Do you want a unique and customized theme (site design), to display advertising, or have a full e-commerce solution?

Second, are you prepared to maintain your site, not just up to when you launch it but in the coming weeks, months, and years?

There are a few limited instances where upkeep wouldn’t be required, but I’ll make a very general assumption and expect that you want to use a web content management system such as WordPress. These systems are software and software requires maintenance. If you’re using a free hosted site, such as WordPress.com or Blogger, they do these maintenance updates for you.

It’s entirely possible to do the general upkeep yourself; in general it’s straightforward, though sometimes things go awry. I wrote some WordPress update tips on how to do it and what to do when things go wrong, but as you review the budget, please keep in mind the cost of your time if you choose to do it yourself.

One of the first things you’ll need is a domain name of your own.

If you determined you really only just want to have mysite.com on your business card and not mysite.freesite.com, then you need to purchase a domain name.

The .com part is known as the TLD or top level domain. There are other options such as .net, .org, .info, or many more options. The cost of your domain will be determined in part by your TLD. These newer TLDs are more expensive right now. For most domains, you can also add on “private registration;” however, that will slightly increase the annual cost.

If you are using WordPress.com, you can purchase a domain through them (see *Register a new domain*).

If you are using Blogger, then you’ll need to follow the domain purchase instructions below and have it *point to* your blogger (see help topic).

After reviewing your needs, if you have determined that you need features and customization that isn’t covered by the free service, you’ll need to obtain a domain and a web-host.

While you can buy both in the same place, I recommend purchasing your domain name separately in case you want to change your web-host, it’s just better than to keep all your eggs in one basket.

Types of Hosting
When you are using a free site, they act as your web host. When you move to your own site, you also need hosting. There are many different versions. While the adage “you get what you pay for” is true, it is more helpful to understand the different types of hosting.

Shared hosting is one of the most common hosting environments. It is also the least expensive. You buy space on the computer and need to compete with other users for that server’s resources. It includes all server administration for features shared by all users (such as PHP, SQL, Apache). A significant drawback is that it is difficult to properly support SSL with these accounts.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is like shared hosting but the user gains more control over the server and the resources. While the physical server is shared by many accounts, virtualization lets the accounts behave as if they were one their own servers.

Cloud Servers are a VPS server with the ability to change hardware resources at need. This allows for more (or less) RAM, Hard-drive Space, and CPU without the account needing to migrate to a different server. At the moment it’s also one of the more expensive options.

Management can occur as fully managed, semi-managed, and unmanaged. This refers to the assistance given to keeping the actual server software up-to-date. Unmanaged servers require the most administration by the end-user.

Operating Systems
In addition to this you need to make a choice about the type of operating system that your web host runs. An operating system is the layer after the actual hardware. You are probably familiar with Windows and Mac as operating systems. There’s also another, Linux, and it’s a very popular choice for web hosting, and it is the one I recommend for 99% of clients. You’ll need to know what web content management system you’re planning to use, but a safe bet is to choose linux.

Do you have any tech questions for Penny? Leave them in the comments below!

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Welcome to #ThinkCreateReflect, where we slow down at the end of the week and take the time to work through a creative or business-related prompt (or both!). We’re glad you’re here to join us!

TCR button

With this week’s prompt, it’s time to spruce up your work space with an inspiring print!

Think of your favorite quote – the one that really inspires you in your creative work. (Don’t have one? You can probably find one here!)
Now, let’s turn that quote into some inspirational art for your walls! There are several options, but let’s start with three:
  1. Use a word processing program on your computer (or Google Docs) and pick a fun + funky font with bright colors. Type out your quote and center it, making the font large enough to work for the page. (Need a new font? Get one here!) Add a fun border or some illustrations at the corners, print, and hang it up!
  2. Take one of your favorite photos and turn it into the background for your quote. Upload the photo to PicMonkey (or use your own photo editing software), and use the “text” function to type your quote over the image. (Tip: sometimes it helps to soften, blur, or lighten the image a bit before you do this so the text will really stand out.) Print and hang!
  3. Use a site like Recite to turn your quote into a variety of fun images, ready for printing and displaying!
If you’d like to share your inspiring quote with us, post a link on Twitter or Instagram and tag it #ThinkCreateReflect!
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