Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Super Easy Photo Contact Print Tutorial

I just posted a great contact print tutorial over at Craft Tutorials. I love this project because it's fast, easy, and not messy at all. It's a fun way to give your photos a hand-printed, artistic look. The print above is one of my favorites....it's from an old photo of my Grandmother and her sisters. I printed it on tan BFK Rives printmaking paper, which is my paper-crush-of-the-moment. The paper looks better in person than in this photo and the tan really goes well with the vintage photo.
I'd love to see the results if anyone experiments with this technique! You can post photos to the Craft Tutorials Group on Flickr.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pop-Up Books Light Up My Life

I love, Love, LOVED pop-up books when I was a kid so of course I couldn't let this one pass by without comment. It's a book with a lamp in it! This linen bound book by Takeshi Ishiguro hides a pop-up paper lamp sporting LEDs which are powered by a low voltage adapter. So clever! There's also a Parisian Streetlamp version you might want to check out.
via Uncrate

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hey, We've Been Buzzed!

We're number 4 on the BuzzFeed list for Scrabble Fashion! woohoo! Thanks to whomever submitted us!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reveal Your Inner Pirate

No time to don your full-blown pirate regalia? Need a glimpse of your inner pirate to set your swagger for the day? Look no further then this awesome pirate mirror from designers Choe and Tomlinson. But wait, it gets even better.....they have a skull mirror! You can also pick from antlers, a mustache, pearls, and a songbird. Who needs a songbird when you can have a skull!
via Uncrate.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Ultimate Linoleum Block Printing Press

I've heard of people using their cars in lieu of a printing press (sandwich the plate and the paper between two pieces of wood and drive over it) but using a "road roller" is taking it to the next level! This video on YouTube shows some folks in Brighton, England using a small steamroller to make a very large linoleum print. It was apparently a publicity stunt for an arts and entertainment event, the Brighton Festival. This avant-garde printmaking session can also be seen in photos from Fred Pipes on Flickr. Absolutely brilliant! I wonder if any of my printmaking cohorts have access to a steamroller?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Contests Galore

There are so many contests going on this month I hardly know where to start. I guess I'll go in order of entry deadline.

First up is a very special weekly challenge for Illustration Friday. Everyone is supposed to create their weekly entry and submit by next Friday as usual, but the difference is all of the entries for this week have the chance to be picked for a gallery show. How great is that?! The Illustration Friday community gets to vote and the winners will be shown at Open Books, a bookstore and gallery in Long Beach, CA. (Lucky me, that's only a few miles from where I live so I'll get to see the show in person! woohoo!)

October 22 is the deadline for Scion's Craft My Ride contest. Create a handmade car accessory for the Scion and you could win a 2008 Scion XD. Second place gets you $1,000 and third place wins $500.

Penelope of Penelope Illustration is having another Halloween contest this year, this one entitled Monster Mash. All you have to do is create a monster by any means necessary! It could be an illustration, a plushie or even a photograph. Deadline for entries is October 31st. (Robin made a very cool bat trivet, pictured above, for last year's contest. I love the black grout!)

And last but not least is the Holiday Softie Awards. With nine different categories you're sure to find one that inspires some softie creativity. Deadline for submissions is also October 31st.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Spring is in the Air

Yes, I know it's fall here in North America but we're feeling awfully spring-y because of these great new Valve Spring Paper Weights we've just received. These are part of our Reincarnations line which is made up of functional metal pieces created from recycled engine and auto parts. They're painted with sparkly metallic automotive paint and then finished with clearcoat, just like your car. I'll let you in on a little secret....our Dad is the mastermind behind all of the awesome Reincarnations stuff. He ran his own automotive repair business for over 30 years and has the discarded parts to prove it! We love that he's doing his part to upcycle by creating useful things from old parts that would otherwise end up in the landfill. And since we have a "no frills or bows" policy here at Four Idle Hands we're especially partial to the industrial look of these pieces.

We'll be adding the spring paper weights to the store in the next week or two. You've seen the spark plug pencil holders right? We'll have those back in the store shortly too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Teapots Get Disturbing

I am one of those people who is drawn to teapots. It is hard to explain exactly what I find so appealing about them. Part of it is the overwhelming design possibilities for something that seems so straightforward. They can be very clean and simple all the way to over-the-top elaborate. This all explains why I sat up and took notice when they showed Richard Notkin's teapots on the PBS special "Craft In America." (Ok - it aired several months ago but it took me a while to find the time to watch the recording.) Of course I love skulls so it is no surprise that these caught my eye. But I was also intrigued by the shapes he uses for the skulls. I find the cube-shaped skulls particularly captivating. Gives a whole new feeling to afternoon tea.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Be Still My Beating Heart

Have you seen this adorable PINK vacuum cleaner from Dyson? Now, truth be told, I probably wouldn't actually plunk down hundreds of dollars for the pink one, purple would probably be my first choice, but something about this lovely shade of bubblegum pink on a vacuum cleaner is very appealing to me. (Maybe it just reminds me of my totally cute, circa 1980's, pink Reeboks that I wore all the time.) They're available only at Target and $40 of every sale will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Target will also give you a free $100 e-Giftcard when purchasing online.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Graphic Design Makes a Difference

Here's an interesting article about graphic designer Deborah Adler's thesis project: redesigning prescription pill bottles. I really like her idea to use colored rubber rings that attach to the neck of the bottle to differentiate prescriptions for each family member. Amazing that someone hadn't thought to improve prescription packaging before now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Blog After Our Own Hearts

This post could have just as easily been titled "Why didn't we think of that?" Accompanied by a resounding forehead smack and a loud "DOH!" We love skulls, how did we not think of creating a skull a day for a whole year? The important thing is that Noah Scalin thought of it, and he's been diligently creating a skull a day for the last 88 days.

The SAD blog says that it's a project of Another Limited Rebellion, which according to their web site is a design and consulting firm founded by Noah. Here's a blurb from their home page:
Another Limited Rebellion is a socially conscious design and consulting firm dedicated to creating high quality communications in a sustainable manner.
I especially like that the company philosophy includes, among other things, a "committment to work with clients who are not involved in the creation of cigarettes, alcohol, or weapons." How great is that?!
You can also buy this awesome Skull-A-Day t-shirt which was skull #10 in the series, the United Skull of America. While you're at it, vote for the image you'd most like to see on the next t-shirt.

This is so inspiring; it makes me want to commit to a daily creative exercise for a year and really test my limits. Although, *ahem*, maybe I should just try to work on my weekly illustration for Illustration Friday before I get all hepped up on delusions of grandeur. heh.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Fun Craft Book to Put on the List

I posted a little crafty news update over at Craft Tutorials. One of the things I mentioned was this awesome pincushion book that is coming out soon. Remember the eyeball pincushions I posted about months ago? Well, VeryBigJen, the pincushion goddess, has some of her pincushion designs, including the eyeballs, in this book! You can pre-order it from Amazon. (Note: link goes to Jen's affiliate account.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We Survived Kendra Kaos 2007!

Our niece Kendra got to take a three week cross-country road trip with her grandparents this summer, stopping at some fun places along the way and spending one week with us in LA. (The above photo of her was taken inside Disney's Innoventions under the blacklights.) Entertaining a 10-yr-old for a week was a lot of work but HOLY MOLY did we have fun!
To commemorate her trip we made matching t-shirts for our group to wear while at California Adventure and Disneyland. This turned out to be one of the best things we did! We didn't plan it, but the bright yellow shirts made it SO much easier for us to spot each other across the park or among crowds. For the front of the shirt we used a graphic from the movie Vacation. Remember when Clark is showing the kids the trip on the computer, and Rusty goes after him with the pacman type character? Well, it technically wasn't pacman, but that's how we remembered it, and we thought it looked better that way so we made it pacman.
Dan dubbed their "Griswold-esque" adventure Kendra Kaos 2007 and had the idea to make the back of the shirt similar to a concert shirt, listing all of the places that they stopped. They started out from Detroit and stops included: St. Louis Arch, Roswell UFO Museum, Grand Canyon (they even went out onto the Skywalk!), Hoover Dam, Calico Ghost Town, California Adventure, Aquarium of the Pacific, Disneyland, Hollywood, and Natural Bridges National Monument.
While they were in LA we also hit the beach a couple of times, silkscreened a bunch of girl scout t-shirts and went to the newly renovated Griffith Park Observatory. phew! Our good friend Sean (from Social Studies Design) was kind enough to hook us up with a behind-the-scenes tour at the aquarium and it was so cool! We got to put our hands into a tank that held cleaner shrimp, and they actually crawl on your hand and clean off bits of food and dead skin cells. Kendra decided that she needs a cleaner shrimp at home as a pet so that she never has to wash her hands again! We also got to feed pieces of fish and shrimp to some rock fish by hand. (Well, you know, with tongs.) The aquarium is really an amazing operation; if you haven't been yet you should definitely go!

Still sorting through the hundreds and hundreds of photos we took and there was some video too. Next we'll start putting it together into a slide show and a DVD. You know, in our spare time. heh.

Monday, July 30, 2007

If You're Dorky and You Know It....

This is the long-overdue part 2 of our adventuresome Friday a couple of weeks ago. In addition to the Yummy Cupcakes outing we also made a pilgrimmage to the Kwik E Mart in Santa Monica. More photos are in my Flickr gallery.

We parked about a block away and were able to walk right in as soon as we got there but by the time we left there was a line outside. People inside were a little crazy and buying all of the Simpsons merchandise they could get their hands on. Store employees were restocking as fast as they could but there were a few things they said they wouldn't have until later in the day. The parking lot was downright dangerous with people just pulling in willy nilly and parking wherever they felt like.

One thing I was really disappointed with was the Jasper in the Freezer graphic - they put it on backwards! (Here's a good photo of the one in Seattle.) I didn't even take a photo of it; it didn't look right unless you opened the freezer door and viewed it from the inside. Only twelve stores in the country got these graphics and they couldn't get them all applied correctly. Weak.

Despite the the crowds (and the backwards graphic!) we were really glad we went. It was a good transformation and of course all of the graphics were great to see in person. At first I thought we'd feel a little self-conscious about taking our photos with giant plastic cartoon characters but everyone was doing it so it didn't matter! Now I just need to find time to go see the movie.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pranksters and Marketers Will Use This for Evil

How cool is this?! Kameraflage technology works by using special colors that are invisible to the naked eye but can be detected by a digital camera. (Notice that you can see a lightening bolt coming from the cloud on the shirt only in the display on the iPhone.) I'm thinking of not only the art/craft possibilities, but the practical joke possibilities as well. Wouldn't you love to sport an invisible thumbs-down symbol on the outfit you wear to the next wedding you attend where you just *know* it won't last? ha ha It would only shown up in the final photos!

This technology could be good (or bad) for some stealth marketing too. What if you took photos of well-known buildings or landmarks only to find a giant advertisement revealed when you looked through your digital camera's viewfinder? Or graffiti! What if graffiti artists started using these colors. That could actually be a good thing. Maybe I shouldn't be giving anyone crazy ideas. I'll go back to thinking about fun art/craft projects.

via Gizmodo.

(edited to note: Okay, I just took a more in-depth look at the Kameraflage site and they *are* marketing Kameraflage Billboard™ as a way for "advertisers to place messages in new locations and situations." All I have to say is thank goodness for Photoshop.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Holy Grail of Cupcakes

I haven't had a chance to blog about our adventuresome Friday, two Fridays ago, so this is the first part. One of the places we had to check out in Santa Monica was Yummy Cupcakes. Holy Moly does this place live up to it's name! They have a group of standard flavors they make every day but then they have the add-ons. The extra-special flavors that are only made on certain days. We tried Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Brown Sugar Cinnamon. The PBCC was my favorite, and I have to say the BSC was a little too sweet for me. Although Dan definitely did NOT agree. He loved the BSC!

On July 25th and 26th they're having Christmas in July! Woohoo! You can enjoy holiday flavors like Eggnog, Peppermint Patty and Candy Cane. And on a charitable note, they're also collecting school supplies for homeless children ages 5 - 17. So drop off a donation and treat yourself to a Christmas cupcake at the same time. Win-win.

[I'm not affiliated in any way with Yummy Cupcakes, they're just my current food crush.]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday the 13th Super Sale!!

We couldn't let a Friday the 13th pass by without doing a little something to commemorate it. So we're having a super-duper one-day, one-item, liquidation sale! The creepily cool Wraith Necklace is available all day for only $14.00. This one is high on my list of favorites that Robin has made because it combines two of my favorite things: skulls and the color purple! Also check out the Wraith Earrings and Bracelet.

Felt Club This Weekend - Oh It's ON!

Just a reminder that Felt Club is happening this weekend, Sunday, July 15, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ukranian Cultural Center. We went last year and it was packed! You'll have to get there very early if you want to snag one of the 250 swag bags they're handing out.

A one dollar donation at the door gets you a raffle ticket for a door prize and then you'll have access to over 70 DIY vendors including my BFF's Sean and Aldo from Social Studies Design. They've been cooking up some great new products lately and they always sell out quickly so be sure to run straight to their booth as soon as you get there! Seriously.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Craft Is As Crafty Does

I'm happy and proud to announce that I'll be co-writing on another crafty blog! Eve of Craft Tutorials put out a call for bloggers and she's got a really talented group lined up to post tutorial try-outs, new tutorials, and any other craft related tidbits we find. I'm excited about this because I have a ton of backlogged projects that I've been meaning to try and I think this will be the motivation I've been needing.

I just posted yesterday with a round-up of fun pincushion links so please go over and have a look. Lisa posted some great photoshop effects yesterday too!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My New Best Friend

I found this library receipt in a book I recently checked out.
  • Book of the Dead? Check.
  • Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus? Check.
  • Toy Story 2? Check.
I want to party with this girl.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Old School Crafty Goodness

Robin and I come from a very crafty family, and thinking back to my childhood there wasn't ever a time when I wasn't making something. Both of our parents were always making things (still are actually) and the family tree is loaded with great-grands, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who are multi-talented and creative.

This got me to thinking about how many items I still have that friends and family have made for me over the years. (Go ahead and say it: pack rat!) And, no surprise here, I've noticed the things that mean the most to me, and that I've kept the longest, are almost all things that were handmade by people I know. I thought it might be fun to share them on the blog once in awhile because some of them are really great.

First up is a little blue bag from 1973 or 74. My aunts made these personalized bags for all the cousins for Christmas one year. Of course they were filled with pencils and notebooks and other presents and even had a matching drawstring coin purse inside. I just love the red top-stitching and the hand-embroidered name. This one is Robin's, but I have mine packed away somewhere. It has a groovy heart patch on it! You can see this one was used a lot as it has a nice big glue stain in the lower lefthand corner.

Now that I sew I have a much better appreciation for this bag. It must have taken quite a bit of time, not to mention patience!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back From the Time of Vacation

Feeling a little slow and fuzzy this week as I try to get back into the swing of things after vacation. We went to Cancun, where it was very, very, hot with hardly a cloud in the sky. Oven hot. Wring out your socks hot. Fry an egg on your forehead hot. But the snorkeling was great so it was all worth it. We had a couple of little glitches with United for the return flight, but after reading this and this (via BoingBoing) about what has come to be known as the Poop Plane, I'm really counting my blessings and thinking we didn't have it so bad after all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More To Love About M&M's

As if being the website for a yummy chocolate candy wasn't enough, the M&M's website has lots of fun things to see and do. I usually don't plug advertising but I just love the M&M's Addams Family commercial. It is finger-snapping good. Another great diversion on this page is the Find 50 Dark Movies Hidden In A Painting. It is a great way to test your memory of scary movie titles. If you are feeling creative you can create your own M&M character. Making yourself into an M&M character is fun but I have even more fun creating M&M characters of people I know. (I am still laughing at the image I created of my brother as an M&M.) Once you have a character you can put them in front of backdrops for snapshots or put them in a movie. I can't think of a better way to waste an afternoon as long as I have the bag of M&M's to keep me going!

Friday, June 08, 2007

What Happened in the 80's Should Stay in the 80's

About two years ago I saw the first signs that 1980's fashion was circling around and becoming popular again. Girls at the local community college where I print were wearing leg warmers with their mini-skirts and flip-flops. Yes, yes, I know, it makes no sense, but wearing Uggs with your mini-skirts in sunny southern California doesn't make any sense either.

Now it seems there's a little trend back toward Tyvek clothing. Remember Tyvek jackets from the 80's, with lots of nice bright colors and eye-popping graphics? As with all returning fads they are somewhat reinterpreted for today's fashionistas but it looks like Tyvek clothing is on the way back.

Make Your Own Tyvek Bag

And in more exciting and crafty news, via laissezfaire, here's a bag kit using Tyvek! Created by Sac A Faire, it comes with one giant sheet of Tyvek and patterns for 10 bags so you can sew them yourself. I like the clean crumpled-paper look of just the plain white Tyvek, but I wonder if you could print on it? I'm thinking silkscreening, possibly linocut. I guess I know what I'll be shopping for this weekend!

Leg warmers photo by fran-cis-ca via flickr used under a Creative Commons License.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


You have to see these beautiful spoon pendants! Just found them via the Make magazine blog. Love these! I'd like to see smaller ones; maybe made from little baby spoons.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Supremely Good Idea

The awesome and talented Communicatrix just helped Megan Mullally launch a way-cool web site called Supreme Story Program. The goal is to get people in touch with their creativity. A topic is presented and anyone can submit their personal stories which are then posted on the site. I've already spent way too much time reading them; there's just something very compelling about people sharing these little parts of their history. Lots of good links for inspiration too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What a Character

I found this little book from the 1940's at a yard sale recently. It contains the "secrets" of analyzing a person's character by the size and shape of their heads. Here's an excerpt from the preface:

"You will find yourself described in this book; also your friends, your sweetheart, your husband or wife, and your child. It was written from a practical point of view after the author had made thousands of analyses of students, soldiers, statesmen, executives, farmers, people prominent in society; in fact, men and women in every vocation and in every department of life."

The first chapter talks about using character analysis in business, and the "new profession" of vocational analyst, to help people find the jobs for which they are best suited. The author also talks about resolving conflict with business partners and family members by understanding your own specific personality traits as well as those of others. He then goes on to describe the traits of different types of profiles, head size and shape, and body type to name a few.

Some of his "scientific" findings are pretty funny; a person with a narrow forehead is narrow-minded, a person with thin tight lips is secretive. He even surmises that people with crow's feet are jovial and like to laugh. Interesting little handbook on psychology and character judgements though.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Little Bitty Kitty Update

Hey, remember when we told you about Little Bitty Kitty and his hilarious podcasts? Well, because we were fortunate enough to be picked for a Girl Power Moment we also received this really great calendar! We received it months ago so it's a bit of a belated acknowledgment (sorry LBK!) but we love it and thought it was cute and funny to boot! Thanks again to Little Bitty Kitty and if you haven't listened to one of his podcasts yet definitely hightail it over there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Anatomically Correct

I'm finally getting some of our hand-printed anatomy cards up in the shop. We're cooking up some other product ideas that will also feature these old medical illustrations. I made the etching plates using a very cool toner-transfer technique that I need to post as a separate tutorial. On some of them I then I used a process called chin collé in which you add an additional piece of paper in between the plate and the printing paper. Sprinkle on some powdered wheat paste and when you run it through the press the dampness of the printing paper and the pressure of the press activates the paste and it all sticks together. It's a great way to add color to a piece while printing with black ink. There are so many interesting things you can do with this process, I just love it!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Customized Fortune Cookie

Here's a neat little marketing idea, that I'll bet is actually pretty expensive when it comes right down to it. Customized fortune cookies! (Click on the photo to see a larger version.) We ordered some snorkeling gear recently and this was in the package. I have to tell you though that I did not eat the cookie because the wrapper had come open, but I thought it was a really interesting way for Snorkel-Mart to make themselves memorable. And it's not the usual snorkel or dive related promo such as something to do with the ocean or fish; I like that the fortune cookie promo was paired with snorkel products. What other ways have you seen to make your packages more memorable?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Finally Know What a Tasket Is

Taskets are these wonderful little odds-and-ends holder thingys made by Jenn Maruska. She also makes too-cute-for-words sewing books. I hadn't heard of a sewing book before but now that I've seen these I know my crafting life will not be complete without one. And the best part is she also blogs! Go check her out!

Friday, May 18, 2007

My Cupcakes Need Feet

How adorable are these?! I officially dub these the cutest silicone baking cups ever! Found them in Family Fun magazine and they mentioned their kids were using them on their desks to hold odds and ends. So now I'll have to order enough to use for cupcakes AND in my office.

Wilton is the company who makes the extra tall cupcake pan that everybody's been talking about and now I see that they have jumbo muffin pans as well. Michaels carries the Wilton brand if you don't want to pay for shipping. Hooray!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

And Another Thing....

One other thing that used to bug me about some blogs is the tendency to forget about things they say they'll post at a later date. Now that I have my own blog however, I see how difficult it is to keep up on this. In fact, I can think of at least a couple of things I said I'd be posting on here and then promptly forgot about. Shame on me! So, as previously promised, here are some personal favorites from the Etsy/BazBiz Upcycle contest:

Korean Cookie box made into a pen case - This item has sold already but take a look at the rest of Dingo's shop. Love this teeny tiny little book!

Recycled Paper Shower Curtain - Love the design and colors of this piece. She has some lovely handpainted scarves too.

Blue Capacitor Bug - So cute! This one is sold out, but there are plenty more where that came from.

Plastic Bag Rain Coat - I was really sad that I missed out on buying this back in February. Love the design! Check out the cute felted hair clips.

Bottle Cap Necklace - Love the seed beads in resin. More recycled stuff in her shop.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Missing Time

Holy Moly, has it really been two weeks since I posted to the blog? Unforgiveable! I really hate it when my favorite blogs aren't updated regularly so I had been trying to make a more concerted effort to post consistently. But then work was busy, and I had a LOT of cleaning to do to get ready for a parental visit, and then the 'rents came out for a *very* fun week of galavanting around SoCal and here we are. May 16th and mentally it feels like March. sigh. (The photo is from a car show we went to in Hermosa Beach. It's a side view of the tire cover on the back of a beautifully restored old car. I really love photos of reflections.)

Lots of stuff going on right now:

Maker Faire - This weekend! May 19 & 20! Check out the full schedule here. Don't forget to swing by Bazaar Bizarre inside the Maker Faire and look for our two Etsy Upcycle contest winners JackRabbit and New Orleans Craft Mafia. We had to pass on it this year (*sob*) so please let us know when you have photos posted.

Felt Club - Applications are now being accepted for Felt Club's summer show. But hurry, the deadline is this Friday, May 18th.

Sew Useful Contest at Etsy - Sponsored by Etsy and Instructables this contest is looking for a tutorial along with the finished product. Put your thinking caps on and check here for details.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Better Late Than Never.....Right??

Now that it's practically May, I can finally reveal our big Christmas 2006 project! ha ha We decided to make gifts for the nieces and nephew this year and they turned out great. We've had an ongoing joke that as Aunt and Uncle we'll always be on good terms with the kids. You know, the Aunts and Uncles are always the cool ones, even when the kids get to that age where they find their parents embarassing. We're pretty happy about that. So I made a 70's inspired graphic of Dan's face that said Uncle Dan Rocks and we silkscreened it onto shirts. I usually use oil-based ink for silkscreening, but it smells to high-heaven and it's best to use it in the studio where there's better ventilation and it doesn't matter if you spill some on the table or floor. For this project I bought a water-based ink that is especially for fabric and it was terrific. So nice to have easy clean-up for a change. First, we put chipboard inside the shirt to protect the back in case there's any ink bleed-through and also to provide a smooth surface on which to screen. I had Dan hold the screen in position while I pulled the ink through and then we let the shirts dry overnight. The next day we heat-set them with the iron so that the ink wouldn't fade when washed. It was super quick; more time went into making the graphic. Dan's not happy about it but other people have asked for t-shirts with this graphic and I'm thinking tote-bags would be cute too!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

VA Comes to its Senses

The Department of Veterans Affairs settled a lawsuit in Wisconsin and will finally include the Wiccan pentacle among religious symbols allowed to be displayed on veterans' grave markers. I thought this was pretty ridiculous back when I heard they had to file a law suit in the first place just to resolve it. Seems like a trivial thing for the VA to get persnickety over when we're talking about grave markers for people who willingly chose to fight for their country.

Here's an excerpt from an AP article listed on TwinCities.com:

The lawsuit argued that the VA's refusal to act on requests to permit the symbol on veterans' grave markers violated Wiccans' constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and due process.

The lawsuit also said it made no sense for Wiccan symbols to be banned from grave markers when Wiccan soldiers can list their faith on dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to hold services on military installations, and the Army Chaplains Handbook includes an explanation of the religion.

The list of allowed symbols is here on the VA's web site. More on the widely misunderstood Wicca religion here. Info on the pentacle here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boy Oh Boynton

You all remember the Boynton characters, right? Sandra Boynton's adorable cartoon characters were all the rage in the 80's, adorning everything from greeting cards to coffee mugs to who-knows-what else. I love the characters but I think it was the wordplay that really got me hooked. She's licensed some of her characters for a promotion with Kohls. They're selling book/cd sets and these adorable plushies! All proceeds "support health and educational opportunities for children nationwide." Unfortunately they didn't make a plushie of the infamous Boynton cat, which was Robin's personal favorite, but they did include the pig, rhino, dog, and chicken. I couldn't resist getting the chicken. It must be the nostalgia factor. And look at the little embroidered signature on the bottom of her foot! So cute. Dan remarked that the chicken kind-of sorta reminded him of a Muppet chicken. Which brought to mind a Muppet chicken sketch in which they sang along to an all-chicken version of In the Mood, which was actually listed as being performed by the Henhouse Five. Not sure if it was from Sesame Street or The Muppet Show but the song by itself, which was actually by Ray Stevens, is hilarious. Anyone else remember it?

Oh my goodness, there's Boynton jewelry, and a penguin song performed by Davy Jones! I'm having flashbacks to adolescence.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rainy Friday Round-Up

Yes, it's actually raining here in Southern California! Well, what they call "rain" here would more accurately be characterized as a light drizzle in other parts of the country. Whatever you call it though I'm happy about it because I *love* rainy days. Here's a round-up of some things that have come up this week that I just knew you would want to hear about:

-Hook a Sistah Up Alison, friend to crafters everywhere, organizer of BazBiz Boston, crafty gal behind Wonderland Q, has suffered a medical emergency and has no insurance. Etsy and the crafting community have come to her rescue with this awesome Etsy store. All proceeds will go directly to Alison to help with her already mounting medical bills. Donate something to sell in the store if you can or do some Mother's Day shopping!

-Next Big Thing Today is the last day to enter Fred Flare's Next Big Thing contest. We were too busy this year, but maybe if we start planning today, we can get it done in the next 365.

-Stitch 'n Pitch Contest You have until May 31st to enter this one. Craft magazine has teamed up with The National Needle Arts Association for a contest. Entries must be a needle art (knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery) and must reflect the theme of baseball.

-Fun OSX Trick Press ctrl-option-cmd-8 to invert the colors on your monitor. It toggles on and off. Is this a useful feature? I don't know, but I've been playing with it all day. Look at photos in your browser after converting too. via kottke.org

Monday, April 16, 2007

Get Out the Band-Aids®

As much as I love books, and thus might have a hard time cutting one up, (I know Robin is cringing even more than I am right now) I'm dying to try a project like this. I'm sure artist Georgia Russell uses only older books that would have been destined for the landfill anyway. Surely I wouldn't feel bad about cutting up an old college textbook that they wouldn't buy back from me because there was a newer edition available.....right? Aside from the part about destroying to create, I suppose I might also have a bit of a problem with the inherent dangers of using an X-Acto® knife for any length of time. You'd think my years of graphic design work and crafting would have left me with a fair bit of skill with sharp implements, but alas, it just means a higher incident of accidents for a clumsy girl like me. I'm not really allowed to use knives in the kitchen unless carefully supervised and I have yet to cut my own mats for artwork. So, maybe I'll just admire Georgia Russell's work on the internet because additionally I doubt I have the attention span for this type of....oh look, a chicken!

via Fun Forever

Friday, April 13, 2007

Photo on a Rope

Holy Cow, this is the coolest display idea I've seen in awhile. I'm a sucker for anything photo related and especially for new ways to display my photos, so this is right up my alley. I'm envisioning a whole line of these covering a wall! And of course the best part is they are easily changed out as the mood strikes. It's a 43" cable that comes with 8 magnets. (Note to self: order more magnets.) The top of the cable has a loop for hanging and the bottom is weighted to keep it straight. This would be great in my office too for reminder notes, or sketches, or what-have-you.

I'm also digging these photo clips, and this monster pod, which sticks virtually anywhere. These are all from PhotoJojo.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We're Not Edgy

So, apparently, and we had no idea, there are some people who prefer the [gasp] outer edges of food items. Like brownies and Pop-tarts® for example. Robin and I are both completely flabbergasted by this revelation. We thought 99.9% of the population preferred the yummy, gooey, delicious center of certain foods. Like brownies and Pop-tarts® for example! That's why they started cutting the crusts off of sandwiches in the first place, right? All the Idle Hands, spouses included, prefer the middle pieces of brownies. We also barely tolerate the crusts of the Pop-tart® in order to get to the delicious, frosted, sugar-filled center, and feel quite upset if we encounter a Pop-tart® that suffered a glitch in the production process thereby rendering it with too much crust. Center lasagna is better too. I also prefer Uncrustables® to regular peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Unless it's one of Dan's patented Grilled PBJs of course.) Turns out our Mom is also a middle person, so maybe this explains our preference. Now I'm wondering if it's learned, or genetic. Still waiting to hear from the Queen Mother, aka Grandmom, on her brownie prefs.

I saw the above pictured edges-only brownie pan somewhere (maybe on BoingBoing) and while incredibly clever, I initially thought it was a joke, or a one-off item. Because surely there was no way there could be a market for a pan like this. Who, in their right mind, would want a pan that created only brownie edges? Then Daily Candy sent an email touting Brownie Butts from Mary Louise Butters. The sacrilege! Finally I started asking around, and my friends, let me tell you, I actually know some of these edgy brownie people. [gasp, clutch the pearls]

Edginess is not always across the board however. Our friend Sean prefers the edges of brownies, but is definitely a middle-Pop-tart® person. Our friend Aldo says it's the transition from the crunchy edge to the chewy middle of the brownie that is the best part, and he thinks the edges, the CRUSTS for goodness sake, of the Pop-tart® are the best part! [insert eye roll emoticon here] He says the middle is too sweet on its own. It's true what they say, you learn something new every day.

We're still polling friends and family members so feel free to comment or drop us an email weighing in on this potentially controversial and divisive matter and we'll post the results next week.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's Better Than a Sharp Stick - Really

Mom is officially retired as of 1:00 pm MST today! We've got a sale going on to celebrate this momentous occasion. Because she worked for various insurance agents for the last 27 years, we're offering a 27% discount on selected items through April 30th. Being a relentless optimist, one of Mom's oft-used sayings has always been "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!" Hence the name of our promotion. Now we can put her to work crafting more wonderful handmade goodies that we can list on the web site. Well, okay, we can let her have some downtime before we insist she does our bidding. But we know her, she won't want to be idle for long!
Seriously though, we couldn't be happier for her and we're sure she's going to find a million fun things to fill her time.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Some Much Needed Monday Inspiration

Check out this wonderful flip book video of George Lange's work from 2006. Really beautiful.

via sfgirlbybay (aka Victoria Smith)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Only Have Eyeballs For You

Is there anything better than an eyeball pin cushion? Not if you're weird like us there's not. I found these creepy cool eyeball bottlecap pin cushions while browsing through all the entries for the Softie Awards. I kept seeing these wonderful pin cushion entries and found that they were all made by VeryBigJen. She has generously shared her method for making these little beauties with a Flickr tutorial. Thanks Jen!