Friday, July 31, 2009

Sharing in a Crafty World

(crossposted at BlogHer)

Wednesday I shared several fun blog ideas with you. A great part of blogging -and writing about your blogs- is finding and sharing the unique, the exceptional, the brilliant among you. Now, we are all so connected that part of sharing is letting my entire social network know when I've found something. I've been trying to find the PERFECT system to both share links with people on Twitter or Facebook AND be able to find the link again for a possible blog post. So far, that search is lead me to all less than perfect methods, but I may have almost found a good solution.

Several weeks ago, I had breakfast with Marie the Bee (from the Sampler). We talked craft and CraftCon, social networks and social tools. And Marie introduced me to Smub.It. (funny name, that) is a method of sharing and bookmarking from any site using any device.

Why is it exciting? I do not have a web-activated phone; but, if I did, I would be able to simply write "" in front of any web address to save it as a bookmarks or to share it with friends through a social network or email. For those without the new IPhone (3?) is becomes a helpful tool. But, like I said, I dont' have a webphone. When I use the web, it's only on my laptop.

There are plenty of bookmarking/ and link sharing applications, too. So why did Maria think I would want to this one? One benefit is that the link shared actually has meaningful words (unlike most tiny urls). As a reader, seeing this kinc of shared link allows me to decide before I click if it is something I might actually be interested in. When I share a link with you, you can decide too.

For example, I admired a Knitty pattern for cabled fingerless gloves. Sharing it If you're a knitter following me on twitter, you can now decide to link. If you're an art quilter on Facebook, you can choose to move on.

This is not enough to change to a new sharing/file system. However, look at that link again. It uses my name as part of the link. MY NAME will get associalted in your head with the sharing. For me, it means followers who know I've been writing on craft for BlogHer for 4.5 years, will have a higher level of expectation on that link. You will expect it to be a fun, unique, value use of your time (I hope) because I recommend it. For the indepdendant crafter -or any independant individual trying to create their "personal brand"- attaching a name, whether it is your own name, your blog name, or your business name- is another level of value for this product.

Diane Gilliand also showed a value for bloggers with it's counts as a way to value the links.

Still, the product is not yet a perfect organizing tool for me. I've been promised that in the future my bookmarks will be able to be organized in folders. IF/WHEN that promise comes through, this might be a great service me. I can find a link; share it immediately on Facebook, and still save it in folder named for a future blog post. Imagine finding that perfect kwanzaa project in August -or a tomato cage in November. Even using tags, I am not likely to remember -nor find- that link when it's timely to write about.

I invite you try Smub.It and see if helps you organize your life and share your online world in a useful way with your community.


Tech Crunch's Robin Wauters wrote Smub Lets YOu Do All YOur Social Boomarking On The Go:
I like Smub already, and I suspect that while the team clearly wants to make sure the service is mobile-friendly (it works particularly well with the iPhone) some people will be interested in simply using it on their computers. For those, the Smub guys added a Firefox extension and toolbar which can come in quite handy if you’re using multiple social bookmarking services.

Presentation of Smub, by Thierry Lamouline from Atelier BNP Paribas on Vimeo.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Internet Finds #1

Have you been following A Robot A Day A Robot A couple times a week? AnatomyofaSkirt turned the pressure down on herself by changing from once a day to twice a week after a year of making robots. She explains her reasoning:
Robot a Day is part art project, a chance to build a robot army, and a bit of a laugh. It's a creative endeavour with a simple framework: make a different bot, twice a week.
Not sure which is my favorite: the clown bot, the Plastic Canvas bot, the finger puppet bot, or the puffer fish bot. Browse through the collection, then tell me, which is your fave?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paradise Found and Lost: Where Goest the Internets?

I've been wondering if I'm just suffering from my summer ennui -except it seems to have months ago - or if I've simply become bored with my corner of the internets. It all seems so irrelevant anymore.

A couple years ago, Twitter was a great place to have conversations in real time. To connect with people I care about- and meet new people, friends of friends, and learn to love them before I ever see their face. It was conversations and drinking games and giggles and all that is good with the internets.

Then it exploded into another marketing scheme. Into an obsession about followers - seeing people as only a number. It became another platform for broadcasting a message; dominated with one-way streams. Many days I have to fight to find anyone interested in conversation. They are too busy marketing themselves. Broadcasting their ideas. So I slip away to find other amusements.

Facebook, which early on confused me then changed and charmed me then changed again and became once more a head scratcher to me, has turned into merely another Twitter feed with time-sucking games included. Why go to the website and actually SHARE A LINK when you can merely feed your twitstream over, save time, and share the tiny url? Why look for anything more there than how a friend measures up on some inane game? Or visit their imaginary abode every day to get a few imaginary coin? Why seek to interact with people there? The average user is too busy selling themselves or distracting themselves to actually interact.

Blogs -once THE place to build community and find commonality- have, to me at least, become rather repetitive and dull or once again about pushing my image upon the world. Community building is rare; conversations are stalled. Comments-where the real conversations happen- are apparently becoming "love fests" or disappearing.

And websites that once offered reasons to visit daily -hell, hourly- because of their special niche and the community they drew around that niche have chosen instead to try and compete these powerhouse social networks. Instead of staying with got them great, they try to imitate -poorly, I might add- the tools and options offered other places. And in doing so, dilute the visibility of what made them great appealling places to begin with.

I thought that this year video would finally hit it big -conversations not only in real time but with real faces and voices. Until I realized that I don't people seeing me with wet straggly hair, or tired, or less than publicly presentable. If most people feel that way, the appeal of a video site lessens. And the technology has yet to make such a community building experience truly viable.

I wonder if there is a place I can go that invites community building and conversation without the ever-present need of self-promotion? I desire that place again. Yet every time I think I've found it, it devolves into the same noisy chatter as everyplace else.

I'm almost -almost- longing for the old days where conversation took place in usenet groups and ICQ. Before most of the days of "internet marketing" and "self-branding". I've become disillusioned with this place I love and want desperately to find a crush again. But I suspect each place will eventually become a paradise lost.

I'I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

So: To Pocket or Not To Pocket. That is THE QUESTION.

Whip-Up pointed me to this wonderful tutorial for making an "add on" pocket. Wonderfully useful thing, I thought. Particularly since manufacturers have stupidly stopped putting pockets in many pants. I NEED pant pockets. Or skirt pockets. Whatever I'm wearing on my bottom half had better come with some kind of storage option.

When I shared this link on Facebook, Dale Anne mentioned that she prefers her pants sans pockets. Which led me to wonder where she puts the few items I always look to pockets for: a kleenex, dog poop bags (empty of course), my cell phone, maybe a pedometer or mp3 player. Ah. She doesn't require said "always near" items.

trying to imagine a life where there is nothing I need/want to carry on my person for hours. Nope. Can't do it. I guess at heart I am a 6 year old boy.

So I ask the question: Do you find pockets a necessity in your life? If so, what do you need to carry in them? If not? How have you come to live without packing your life on your body? Do you always have a bag -or purse- nearby?

aside: this trend seemed to begin within weeks of the Project Runway episode where Michael Kors mentions that his clients do not like functional pant pockets because the pockets might add bulk to their appearance. I know this statement on a tv show could not be solely responsible. But I'm STILL blaming MK for manufacturers' lack of understand.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Summer Quick Tutorials

crossposted at BlogHer

Ask a crafty blogger what might get her/him to explore beyond the comfortable friendly blogs that one has set up on a feedreader. I'm willing to bet that the first thing to get us clicking out of our "comfort zone" will be a great tutorial. At least, I'll admit, that is the case for me.

With that in mind, I ventured out to seek the charming project, the well-thought-out process, the compelling photos that might make you, too, click through to find a project that intrigues you and perhaps a new blog to follow:

Summertime is all about tank tops and sun dresses, which, when you're sewing them, means they are all facing the neckline and arm holes. This makes Indie House's Applying Bias Tape on Arm and Neck Holes the perfect tutorial to kick this round.  I was talking with friends just last week how the change in techniques from quilting to clothing often throws us for a loop.  This was the case here, too:
I got very confused when it came time to apply the bias tape. I was thinking of it like a quilt binding that had to be visible when in reality it doesn’t have to be visible at all.
Two different fabric and chain necklaces perfect for dressing up those sundresses and sleeveless tops:

Lillyella has been
swooning over the Candace Ang ruffle necklaces I've seen in magazines, but since I don't have $200 to drop (and you probably don't either), today's project is an easy way to make one for yourself! It's fast, you don't need much and the results are just beautiful.

While Jenny Ryan used Craftzine's HOW-TO TUESDAY to demostrate using fabric braided together to make a charming fabric scrap necklace.

Want to spend a day crafting something that will garner you lots of oooohs and ahhhs?  Urban Threads designed a hidden treasure trinket box.
This week’s project is all about inspiration, intrigue, and the love of finding something unexpected. It was inspired by many sources. First, I just couldn’t keep looking at all those fabulous Wonderland designs and not do anything with ‘em, and I thought it had to be something a little bit bookish. Second, I had long ago stumbled upon the fabulous blog of Dave Lowe and his awesome post on making creepy books. Finally, my long love of MacGyver and making awesome things out of everyday objects, like spy books you see in movies, resurfaced after watching too many episodes and espionage movies. So... what do all these things combine to make?

What we’re going to make, quite surprisingly, is the world’s coolest jewelry and trinket box, using all these ideas rolled together.
Finally, if you have find yourself craving something sweet, I think this summer's fast, sweet and oh-so-giftable might be Moda Fabric's Candy Buttons Quilt.  Use whimsical "sweet treats" of fat quarters -or find a suitable mix in your stash- applique circles to squares of crisp white and mark the intersection of these squares with yo-yos!  Raw edges on the applique means this top can be finished in a couple evenings time- or one day!  Perfect for taking to outdoor concerts in the park!

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

When your calendar turned the page to July, I can guess that your first thought was not: Less than 6 months until Christmas! I'd better seriously starting planning and creating my holiday crafts! But it should have been. There are 24 weekends until Christmas.  That's 24 Saturdays and Sunday -when long periods of time can be devoted to creating holiday decorations and gifts.  How can you use that time efficiently?

First.  DO NOT PANIC.  Spend the next week or two doing all the planning that needs to be done.  Look up the patterns you tucked away last year planning to make for gifts or decorations this year.  Decide if you really like the projects, and -if not- search items that might replace them. 

Write down a list of projects you plan to do -the more compulsive might make a spreadsheet.  For each project list the recipient. Search through your stash to find any supplies you already own.  For those items that need to be purchased -fabrics, yarns, papers, beads, notions - start a shopping list making sure to add the name of the project next to each item.
If a gift needs size measurements, make sure to get them NOW. While you do not need to purchase all your supplies right now, having a complete list of what you need makes getting it later easier. 

Order the projects into two groups: Quick Items and Time Consuming Items.  Then order the Time Consuming items from the longest time to the shortest.

I would plan on starting the longest time item as soon as possible.  It might a quilt that needs to be pieced, then sent out for quilting before you can bind it.  It might be a lacy shawl that will take quiet time and attention to complete.  Whatever the item, starting that one thing gets you in the groove.  And increases the chances that it will be completed on time.

Between now and Labor day, set a time frame and plan for working on your gifts.  Be realistic.  Know that summertime is often a slow-sales time; watch for sales at your favorite local shops and take advantage of the timing. (that's why you want the plan and shopping list done soon). 

As the days become shorter, you should be well on your way to tackling your holiday crafty plans.  Imagine being able to relax and enjoy the holiday parties and gatherings this year because you're not stressing over gifts incomplete. 

I'm fortunate, I think, that I only have a couple gifts to work on.  One pair of knit socks, already on the needles, and a second possible pair to work on after these.  A lacy shawl to crochet.  A quilt -slept with for the past 12 years- that needs to be repaired. 

Are you planning to make a number of your holiday gifts and decorations this year?  Have you already started?

(edited from a post at BlogHer).

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.