Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Threads: Command Presence

I've always had a thing for uniforms.  Military uniforms, in particular.  There's just something about those sharp lines and shiny buttons...  And I must not be the only one who sees it.  There is certainly no shortage of military-inspired fashion to be found.  And it's everywhere - on runways, in malls, and of course, on Etsy. 

Here are a few of my favorite military-inspired finds, beginning with the quintessential jacket...

I've seen oodles of different takes on the military jacket in all sorts of different styles, and I've found that what really makes one stand out is the details. Such is the case with this jacket by blackmirrordesign. Those straps and buttons on the front, the extra buttons along the sleeves (one can never have to many button), and the tails and more buttons in the back... It's these little things (the tails, especially) that make this jacket a cut above the rest.

Pardon me for a moment while I shove the Want Monster back in its cage...

*ahem* Moving on... While I love the severity of a good uniform and admire the discipline it represents, what I really enjoy about the fashions we're exploring today is the chance to break boundaries and, occasionally, to have a good chuckle. Which is why I just love this shirt by luckybunnyworldwide.

It's a bunny driving a tank! What's not to love? I certainly think Hawkeye would approve.

Now, getting back to serious business, I came to a startling realization while I was searching for today's items. I don't think I have ever featured a pair of pants. Leggings, yes, but I'm not sure those count. So I made it a point to look for some pants today, and boy am I glad I did. Check out these kick-arse jodhpurs by idolatre:

All those buttons and all that piping and zippers too? These are some seriously fancy pants. And I, for one, would love to have a pair to march around in.

So I guess I better get to work. Gotta sell before I can buy. And oh, do I want to buy...

What about you fine folks? Got a favorite military-inspired creation? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Japanese Bookbinding

Howdy, readers!  I thought it was about time I shared another tutorial with you.  And given my recent infatuation with making books, why not a bookbinding tutorial?

Of course, there are oodles of different binding techniques.  I've only tried a few, thus far, myself.  But one of the simplest and prettiest is the Japanese stab binding. All you need, aside from your paper and cover material, is a paper cutter (or scissors, if you can cut a straight line), something to poke holes with, and some kind of thin ribbon, twine, or other fiber.  And the technique couldn't be easier.  Check it out...

There you go.  Now hop to it!  And if you do give this a shot, don't forget to come back and share! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Motivator: Features

It's been a while since I wrote a Monday Motivator post because, to be perfectly honest, my motivation was a bit lacking.  Though I do my best to stay positive and motivated, there are still times when I just feel... blah.  I'm sure you've all had a case of The Blahs before, right?

Well, I've found two things that never fail to beat The Blahs in no time flat:  new ideas and... features!  Things you can't control, alas, but they sure do work.  And I've been lucky enough lately to get a good dose of both. 

I already mentioned in my last post the rash of new ideas I've had and the revamp that's underway (and coming along quite nicely, I might add), so I shan't say anymore about that.  But let's talk about features!

I'm on a roll!  I already mentioned my interview on the WWES blog that was posted Thursday, right?  Well, Friday I got a nice little Facebook feature - Digicute Printables chose one of my printable business card designs as her Featured Item of the Day.  And then, just this morning, I received a lovely message informing me that I'd made it into the Top Handmade Creations of the Week!  How cool is that?

This week's already off to a great start!  I've got a lot to do but I'm super-excited about all of it.  Bye-bye Blahs! 

How about you, readers?  What's motivating you this week?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My First Interview

Hey there, readers!  Guess what...  I've been interviewed! 

You can read the interview here, and while you're there, be sure to check out the rest of the blog.  WWES is an awesome and extremely helpful group. 

In other exciting news, I am working, as we speak, on majorly revamping the shop.  I've got all sorts of fun ideas, so you can expect to see some cool new stuff this summer.  Keep your eyes peeled!  And if you're not already, come follow me on Twitter and Facebook.  I'll be offering exclusive deals to folks who do!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Techno Tuesday: ReminderFox

Howdy, folks!  And welcome to another Techno Tuesday!  This week, I'd like to share with you all another Firefox add-on that I've found extremely useful not only for my business, but for my life in general.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached.  I get distracted by one thing and forget to do something else.  Once or twice, I've put something on to cook and then forgotten all about until I smelled something burning.  I've even been known to...  *gasp*  forget to write my blog posts!  I know.  It's awful.

When I got my shop up and running and started looking for marketing ideas and ways to get exposure, it wasn't long before I found myself overwhelmed.  There was so much to do!  So many sites to submit pictures to and profiles to keep updated and advertising opportunities to look into and... and... oh, right!  Things to make!

Just writing things down has never done me much good.  I forget to look at whatever I wrote unless it's somewhere I can't miss it.  I'm a long-time advocate of writing stuff on your hand.  But that's only good for short, simple things.  I couldn't very well write a whole to-do list on my hand.  So I started using my cell phone, which has a great scheduler.  I can make a brief note and then set an alarm so later, when it comes time to do what needs to be done, I have something to remind me.

That's what I really needed.  A reminder!  But I couldn't use my phone for everything.  I'm far too impatient to type out everything I needed to do in a day on that tiny keyboard.  So to the web I turned.  I'd already seen to-do list add-ons for Firefox floating around, and I decided to take a closer look at them.  Immediately, there was one that leapt out at me, from the name alone:  ReminderFox.  Lists, alerts, alarms, all right in my browser?  Perfect!

And as soon as I installed it, I noticed that it had a little something extra.  It looks nice.  Maybe I'm just picky, but if I'm going to use a tool like this, I want it to look good.  Here's what you'll see when you first install ReminderFox and any time you're "reminders" tab is empty:

That's it.  Just a cute little bow.  Nothing obtrusive.  Which is another big bonus.  And here's what you get when you mouse-over the ribbon:

A lovely little box pops up to give you a brief overview of your Reminders and ToDo's.  Of course, you won't have any ToDo's set yet, so you'll see "none" there, as well.  Note:  You may notice the dates accompanying my ToDo's make it look like I am way behind.  I'm not.  Those are just the dates that I first added the ToDo item.  

Double-clicking on the ribbon icon will open the main ReminderFox window, which looks like this:

Pretty straightforward.  On the left are your Reminder and ToDo tabs (we don't have any reminders yet, so
there's nothing being shown.  On the right is our calender.  And along the bottom there's a button to add a reminder, search our reminders, change which reminders are displayed, and control other options.

So let's add a reminder.  When you click on the "Add Reminder" button, this box will pop up:

Again, pretty straightforward.  Let's say you need to take photos for a new listing, and you want to be sure you'll remember to do it in the morning, when you have good light.  So, for "Description" you'll enter something like "take new item photos."  Then choose a date.  If you're working on a more long-term project, you can choose a different end date, but for our purposes, one day is all we need.  Now we need to click the box labeled "All Day" to uncheck it.  Remember, we want to do this in the morning.  With that box unchecked, we'll now have the option to change the start and end time.  We only need to worry about the start time, so click the top box and choose a time.  Now we can also uncheck "Repeat" because this is something we're just doing this once (unless you decide you'd like to take photos every Wednesday, in which case you could choose "weekly" from the dropdown menu).  You probably want to be reminded about this, so click to check the box labeled "show popup alarm."  To recap, here's what we have:

And when we you click OK...

Our reminder gets added to the list on the left, and the date on the calendar is now highlighted.  Cool, huh?  And now, at 10:00 tomorrow morning, a handy little box will pop up to remind us that we need to take those photos.

And remember that little ribbon?  This is what it will look like tomorrow (or any day for which you have a reminder set):

Adding a task to your ToDo list works precisely the same way.  In fact, the only difference between Reminders and ToDos is that the ToDo tab has an extra column that allows you to check off items as you complete.  So, if you preferred, you could simply use one tab or the other.  Me?  I like to use the ToDo list for recurring tasks that I do every day or on a certain day every week, like writing this blog, and the Reminder tab for things I only need to be reminded of occasionally, like those photos I need to take or that rice I put on to cook.

So there you have it.  ReminderFox is a pretty powerful little tool, and there are a lot of things I have covered here (you can e-mail yourself reminders, for instance).  You can learn more and download the add-on here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blog Carnival: Christina's World

All right, folks.  I'm back back from a bit of a vacation and feeling much better now that all those lovely flowering trees have calmed down a bit and there's not quite so much pollen floating around.  I love spring, but sinuses sure don't.  Ugh.

But I had a nice, stress-free, relaxing break and now I'm back and raring to go.  And since I fell behind a bit last month, I decided to jump right in and catch up on my posting for the EtsyBloggers team.  The latest blog carnival, hosted by the lovely SweetSallySoaps asks us to...
Show me your all time favorite piece of art and why you find it inspiring.
Oh, man.  That's a toughie.  I love art.  All sorts of art.  I could easily offer a top ten.  But to narrow it down to one...  Well, that last bit helped.  One of my favorites immediately leapt out as "most inspiring."  And it's a painting that I first encountered in a junior high art class.  Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth.

It's certainly an aesthetically pleasing, if somewhat bleak, painting.  I love the soft, muted colorscheme.  I love that distant, almost-stormy sky, the stark simplicity of it all.  But what has always struck me most about this painting--what made me pause to really look at it that first time and every time thereafter--is the story.  There is, without a doubt, a story being told here.  It's like a snapshot, a single frame, and if we could just find the play button we could see what's going to happen.

Being an avid reader and writer, I'm always looking for a good story.  And that's just what this painting is.  But what's most inspiring of all is that it's never the same story.  Every time I look at this painting I see something different.  And I've always had to wonder, how did the artist see Christina's World?

And while we're on the subject, how do you see it?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Facebook Giveaway

So, to help get the ball rolling over at my Facebook page, I've decided to hold a giveaway!

The Prize:  Free graphics!  The winner will receive one free, customized graphic of your choice, i.e. a shop banner, business card design, advertisment.  Not a seller?  How about a personalized calling card design?  Printable notecards?  Bookmarks?  You dream it, I'll do it.

How to Enter:  It could be easier.  Just visit my Facebook fan page and click that lovely little "like" button.  Then go tell your friends, 'cuz the fun starts when I reach 50 "likers."  At that point, I'll draw for the prize.

So what are you waiting for?  Get clickin'!

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Item!

Howdy, folks!  Allergies have been kicking my butt lately, so things have been a little slow around here.  I just haven't felt like doing much.  But I did get a new banner listed!  

What do you think?