Thursday, September 29, 2011

HOW TO : Tie Dye Paper

This post is part how-to and part question.

We did some awesome tissue paper tie-dying this weekend, which I chronicled over on my blog.

Check it out, and let me know if you have any awesome suggestions for absorbent papers to use in the future.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

OTHER ADVENTURES : Dyeing in the Sun

How About Orange is one of my favorite blogs- despite it being about my least favorite colors. She's done a few entries this week about using a product called Inkodye. I am absolutely fascinated.

Check out what she's done here, here, and here.

Who wants to get some and do a craft day?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TECHNOLOGY : Transferring Mac Fontbook Collections

Part of being "Design Mommy" has been answering technology questions. I'm lucky enough to have live-in tech support to go to when things get too tough, and he had made me better at asking the right questions of the all-knowing internet. I thought this would be a good addition to the blog. (Full disclosure, I'm an Apple girl.) If you have an experience you'd like to share, or a question or problem, let me know!
I've been encountering a few blips lately, upgrading to a new computer and working with applications in new ways. Hope my experiences help with yours- and if you know a better fix, please please tell me.

Extra Fonts can break things - I have a handful of extra fonts that I use for various projects and inspiration. Over the years I have found that adding them to your system makes things run slower and sometimes makes them run not at all.

My solution is to have an extra user account on my Mac that has all the fonts loaded. I use this only for typesetting free/extra fonts. It keeps the applications on my main account running smoothly.

Transferring Font Collections - Over the years I've had my computer, I've slowly sorted through the fonts and put them into handy-dandy collections in Font Book. Since I am transferring everything over to my new computer manually, I was losing these collections. My solution (a clumsy one) was
- Export each custom collection into a folder on my old machine.
- Transfer that folder to my new machine.
- Drag each folder to the collection pane of Font Book.
When you do that, there might be conflict with the fonts it is already seeing. I allowed it to make copies of the fonts. After it is all done, there will be duplicates.
- In Font Book go to edit>Look for Duplicates. Click "Resolve Automatically"
and tada, now you have your collections back.

Sorry for the lack of eye candy! Let me know if you ever have this problem, and/or need further clarification.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

QUESTION : Cutting Divider Type Tabs

Hi Guys,
I have a new project in the works, and I want to be able to make my own divider pages. Basically, I need some clever way to cut tabs into pages. Has anyone seen a punch or tool that would help with this?

I'm pretty open to form, so if you have an off-the-wall suggestion I'd love to hear it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

HOW TO : Envelopes from Handmade Paper

My take on the Elevated Envelope...

I've made paper several times this summer (because it's AMAZING.) This time I made envelopes out of everything I could find. Check out the how-to info over here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HOW TO: Denim Picnic Blanket

Check out what I did with this, over at the Jealous blog. I didn't how-to, but I'm sure you can figure it out.
You're great that way.

Monday, July 4, 2011

OTHER ADVENTURES : The Elevated Envelope

The internet is too huge to see it all. (Did you notice?) I wanted to add a new section that highlights great things going on other places, so you don't have to look too hard.

Need a creative pick-me-up? Tara over at Ephemera has started a great new project called the Elevated Envelope. It's just what it sounds like, a chance to brighten some people's day with an artsy envelope (made by you); and you get cool envelopes back!

I think she explains it best, check out the details and sign up here

If you're feeling overwhelmed, get a little pep-talk (and ideas) here

Sign up on the first link by leaving a comment by July 8th- I'm already signed up!

TOOLBOX : Martha's Score Board

I've gotten some flack for not updating just recently... what can I say, the promise of Summer, and freelance work have lead me a astray. I've got a couple of things to show you that will hopefully make up for some of the silence. Also, I'd love to see what you've been up to, send me an email ( and let me share it with everyone!

My awesome mother-in-law got me this Martha Stewart Score Board for Christmas. I have to admit I was excited by the possibilities (envelopes!) but didn't see immediately how often I would use it.

Cut forward to the invention of the FlipOver planner, and my elbow, sore from using a rotary scoring blade. I pulled out the score board, and I've been using it since.

To Love:
1) I heart the square corner to line up in, and the ruler. I often will put a piece of masking tape on a score point I plan on using again and again.
2) The 1/8 inch divisions usually give you all the options you need. Also, if you would like to make something like a curved/flexible spine you can do a few scores in a row, and they are all parallel and perfect.
3) There's a little box at the top of the board that stores your bone folder, or anything else you might like to keep in there. There is also a corner guide for scoring on 45 degrees that slips into a slot at the bottom of the board.
4) The score is lovely, straight, consistent, and deep
5) I really like how flat and compact it is (especially compared to my rotary cutter). It's a lot easier to find a home for it.

To Hate:
1) DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING. Do not glance away. Do not blink. If you blink the Angels will make your bone folder slip and will ruin what you are doing. I plan for 10% failure rate on this because I get distracted easily.
2) The bone folder they provide is clumsy at best, and danged uncomfortable at worst. I replaced mine with a slightly sharpened bone folder from an art store. (I'll tell you how I sharpened it, if you ask nicely.)
3) I want to score everything, and I really don't have time to make all my own envelopes.

Have a tool you love to use, and think everyone else should too? Let me know!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Hi Guys,
Sorry it's been so quiet over here. I've been holding on to a couple of how-to's and tool reviews, but I haven't had time to put them up. I'd love to see what you've been up to this summer!

I am working on a little type-setting project and I'm stuck on a bunch of open and close times. Have you seen any good examples of "AM" and "PM" typesetting that doesn't look too crazy?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

UPDATED : Corner Rounder

I've added some new info and photos about the Diamond 1 Corner Rounder. Check it again!

Monday, April 4, 2011

QUESTION : Consignment Paperwork

Hi Guys,
I'm going to be putting my cards in stores (consignment). I was wondering if you have advice about what questions to ask, what kind of paperwork to provide, etc.

Any tips?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CRITIQUE : Featured Design Page

I just put together a "feature design" page to feature more into on my FlipOver planning system (the agendas I've written about on here.) I've gotten to that point where I can't look at it anymore. Will you take a look and let me know what you think? Is it easy enough to understand? Do the links look intact? Does anything look weird on your browser?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Question: Screen Printing Equipment

Hello! It's been awhile since I posted here on AIM. My question for you is about screenprinting equipment. I no longer have a free press I can use to print my shirts and scarves this year and I'm looking into getting my own setup. Probably just a one-color press. I was looking at something like this online, which seems pretty reasonable. But what about the other equipment needed like flash dryers, etc.? Does anyone know what a reasonable price is for these and where to find it?

I already have burned screens, so I don't think I'll need to get an exposure unit right away. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Cheaper the better :)


Thursday, March 10, 2011

HOW TO : Make Newspaper Nails

I got a nice little email this morning, and I thought I'd share. The blog it links to looks neato too. Thanks Jolene!

Hello! I just discovered your blog recently & I love it.

I have a submission for you. I'm not sure if this is too beauty-related rather than craft-related, but I recently wrote a blog about how to do newspaper fingernails:
Thanks for looking!

Jolene Frances

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TOOL : Diamond 1 Corner Rounder

I recently bought a heavier duty corner rounder for a few projects I've been working on. I've been using it too much to share it before now.
I'm pleased as punch (no pun intended) with it. It comes with a 1/4" corner rounding die, which is great, but I've just put in an order for a couple of other dies. I'll share them with you when I get them.
It will punch a whole stack of paper/cardstock/etc at a time, which is super handy for rounding the corner on pads or books. The extra scrap falls down a hole at the back, into a trash drawer. There is another drawer at the front for extra dies, and tools.

A couple of drawbacks I've found -
1) The blade really cuts into the blue plastic underneath. The set comes with a few replacements, and I can see I'll need to replace the original pad more quickly than I'd hoped.
2) It's really important to get the paper lined up in the corner just right, so you have to really keep your eye on how you are putting the paper under the blade. There are guides, but for some reason it's easy to slant the paper one way or another.
3) I'm really wishing I had the larger (3/8") die right now. I like the 1/4", but I think I'd like the 3/8" even better.
4) I want to round everything. In fact, I just might.

I bought this guy from Binding101 because they were the cheapest. It's also available from an Amazon dealer. It took about 5 business days to get to me, which was great.

I've tested it on a number of materials, and it works great.
That should about round out this review... (get it?)

I got a few new blades for the cutter- namely a wider diameter rounder, and a 45 degree straight cut (possibly because I was watching BSG at the time.) In total I have 4 blades, from a very small professional curve to a nice big friendly one.

They look like this.
Each bolts on to the cutter with an Ikea style hex key. It's very important to readjust the blue guides after replacing the blade, and from time-to-time while you're using it. (If the blade is too close to the paper, or if it is slightly turned you get a small notch in the side of the curve. Look at the "S" example in the sample picture below. The curve goes into the paper, instead of going straight into the straight side.)
The blade bolts down, and them the blue guides are loosened and adjusted.I cut several scrap pieces of Crane Lettra. It does well, but with a large stack there is a little variation in the shape of the curve from top to bottom. A stack 1/4 inch or smaller works best.
These sheets were cut as a stack.Here are the 4 blades I got; M (45 degree die), S (1/8" die), M (1/4" die comes with the cutter), L (3/8" die).
One thing I forgot to mention, the cutter has a nifty hole and drawer for catching paper scraps (they will still get EVERYWHERE, I've been finding them on the stairs.) The front drawer holds some of the things you need; a couple of blades, the hex keys, etc.

The blade pieces are a bit oily- I would advise wiping them down with a paper towel before hooking them on. The oil has never been on the blade portion, so it doesn't transfer to the paper.

All in all I'm happy- my biggest complaint is the constant adjusting of the blue guides. It's worth it to get rid of those sharp edges (and so much better than craft rounders.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CRITIQUE : A Great Etsy Banner

I've been spending some time on my shop, much needed, and I've hit a snaq in redesigning my etsy banner.

Those of you with shops know that the banner is a style-cramping "760 pixels wide and 100 pixels high".

Right now my banner looks like this and I've been working on something that currently looks like this.
I have no idea where to go from here... any ideas? Any banners you love?
(I already love love Camp Smartypants and Slide Sideways of course.)

I will also be working on a banner for a knitting shop pretty soon, any ideas you have for that would also be appreciated.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

QUESTION : Making it Work

This one's from Brooke. I, for one, am struggling with some of the same problems and want to see what everyone has to say.

K, so Alison commented on my blog and let me know that I could have something critiqued and as I looked over your site I see that you also answer questions ala the Wizard of Oz!? So, here goes, and it may be a long one.

I have been a graphic designer for more than twelve years and for the most part, feel pretty confident in what I can and cannot do and feel like I have an eye for good design.
I have a million ideas as far as products to sell at places like Etsy, Zazzle and where ever, but I just don't know how best to get my name/links out there so that people can see what I do and want to buy. I have had an Etsy shop for a few weeks, haven't sold anything yet, I have a decent amount of views and am even included in some treasuries there, but it's not enough for me. I NEED to know how to I sell myself better, am I pricing correctly, do people really want what I have to sell? I also have a shop on Society 6 for whatever it's worth. I so desperately want to be a success, and while thinking about all of this, I am struggling to find a job so that my family and I do not lose our home, it's been scary and I'm getting really depressed, not every day, but enough ya know?

I'd even be willing to partner with up with a site or a person if I sell my products that they've promoted we could work out a commission thing. I'm just at this point in my life where I need to see a payoff, is that wrong to say? lol Alright, I warned you it was long. I will include links to all my places I have started.
Brooke Rochon

Monday, February 14, 2011

CRITIQUE : Planner Decoration

Part 2 of my planner design.

I'm about ready to send the designs for the month labels off to be made into plates. Each will be letterpressed in black on the colored flap. You get the fun of writing in the month name, however you want.

Any critiques of these would be great.

Friday, February 11, 2011

QUESTION : A Successful Store

Hi Gang,
As you may have heard, I have been thinking (for a while) about opening a small store that features awesome consignment goods/gifts.

In addition to a shop space, I picture it having
• A work space to do freelance work and printing
• A comfy atmosphere that encourages like minded makers to come and hang out. An everyday craft club.

Anyways, that's the dream.

I know I need more real life experience, and here's where you come in. Do you have any favourite boutiques or stores? I'm looking for places to visit, and possibly shop owners who wouldn't mind me tagging along behind them for a couple of days, asking questions.

Local (Seattle, Eastside, etc.) and Portland suggestions are welcome, and of course if you know/do business with the owner that would be even more awesome.

So, what are your favourite shops?

Friday, January 28, 2011

CRITIQUE : A Revolving Planner of Monthly Books

I used to be at my desk often enough that a flat planning pad was perfect for me. Now I get all my best ideas (ie: things that I need to remember) while I'm out and about, and I needed a place to put everything down with a pen. Rachel was kind enough to show me her new planner, which was great... BUT I hate spirals.

It's not just because I'm a lefty; spirals fall apart, catch on things, and are overly bulky. In fact, an annual planner is kind of a waste of space in my already full bag.

My solution is a system where each month is a separate book, which hooks together with other months to hold just as much time as you need at a time. 2 months, 3, 4... and when you're done with a month, you can unlock it from the group and put it away.

Here is an example of the 4 books, loose. Each book contains a month of information. The months are blank, so you can use them for whatever month you would like by simply marking the month, and the days on each page.

The books hook together through their binding to make one connected book with as many months as you want.

Here's an animation of several books being connected together. The flap slips through the binding of the month in front, and tucks back into itself.

The colored flap also serves as a bookmark to the current week.

The first several pages contain spots for daily tasks, and for notes. There is a space to write the month at the top of the page, and open circles to write the date number above each day.

There is also a section for more notes, and dates to remember (birthday, anniversaries, etc.)

The last spread has "forward planning" for adding items to future months. It also has instructions on how to bind the months together.

The final page has an overview of 15 months for reference in setting up the blank book.

I have chosen to use three patterns of Mod-Tone paper for the inside. Each book has a colored flap, and one coordinating paper. The following are three of the four papers.

1) I've been using the books already, for my day-to-day planning. They are working quite well for me, but I'm curious what the rest of you think. Anything you would add, delete, change from the inside design?

2) Also, I am planning on designing medallions to letterpress on the front of each book. Each of the 4 medallions would be a decoration with a place for writing the month. Any ideas or inspiration would be appreciated.

3) I want to sell the books in sets of 4- which is a good opportunity to try them out to see if they work for you. Each set of 4 would come with a band to tie around your set. Anyone have any comments about the structure of the binding, and the rest?

Any comments are helpful, and again, thanks! I hope one day these will help someone else stay on track.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How To: Mary Go Round Crocheted Flowers

I just wrote a post on crocheted wedding inspiration on my blog, and thought it might be fun to share part of it with Adventures in Making! It's a tutorial for Mary Go Round crocheted flowers by Lola Nova.

I really love making these. The pattern is simple if you know how to crochet, and it's a great way to use up any of those ugly old bangles you may have lying around the house.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HOW TO : Make a Pom-pom for your Cat

Kat came over last weekend and we had a spontaneous craft evening, making pom-pom toys for Cooper. They're super easy to make, and a great silly adventure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

HOW TO : Make Paper

I finally did it - made the paper leap when Rachel came over for a crafty retreat. You can find documentation of my Adventure here.*

I have big plans for the outcome, but you'll have to wait and see...

*I should warn you, before you attempt this yourself, that now I look at everything differently. I've been thinking of stealing flower petals, and I have been stealing the recycling.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Question: Bottle Cap Crafts

I've been collecting bottle caps for a few years now, but I have yet to determine what I want to do with them. Has anyone done/seen any cool crafts with bottle caps?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

RESOURCE : Filing Small Business Taxes

It's that gross time of year- time to file your business taxes.

I came across these videos on how to file in Washington.

What do the rest of you use?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

QUESTION : Binding a Skinny Book

I had a bright idea that involves binding (saddle stitch) a small number of pages together. (Probably 4 text sheets and a cardstock cover sheet.)

Has anyone had any luck using a sewing machine, stapler, or any other tool? Suggestions?