Favorites

On the boat with the boys.

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite things.  Keep in mind that my list changes from day to day.  Yeah.  I’m like that.  Most of them have NOTHING to do with creativity or crafting.  Sometimes I need to break away from the norm (whatever that is) and do something different.

Discuss.

  • Lemon-lime gelatin (in the little single-serving cups that we get at the big-box super-center).
  • Sweet potato tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s.
  • Clear-barrel Bic stick ink pens.  (They’ve been on my favorite list for years.)
  • Diet Dr. Pepper.
  • Hard-boiled eggs with Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper sprinkled on them.
  • Spending time with my boys on the boat as evidenced by the photo above.
  • Our new sofa-recliner.  OMG, it looks great in the downstairs family room and it is SOOOO comfortable.
  • Re-runs of The Big Bang Theory.  I never watched the regular seasons.  But I love that show.  So geeky.  Maybe that’s why.  ; – )
  • Individually-wrapped mozzarella cheese sticks.  I think it’s the salt that I’m hooked on.  Darn.
  • Our new Dell computer.  Damn…that thing is fast.  And so quiet, compared to our old PC.
  • Kiehl’s non-detergent face cleanser and Trader Joe’s Shaving Cream.  Shaving every morning is a pain in the ass.  This stuff helps make it a little more enjoyable.
  • Sunshine.  Northern Indiana in the wintertime is dreary.  Almost depressing.  The sun was shining today and it made me smile.  Always a good thing.
  • Clearing out the clutter at home.  I have a tendency to accumulate stuff.  Gadgets, tools, supplies, paperwork, magazines, brochures, etc.  The past few weeks I’ve really forced myself to de-clutter and keep only the stuff that I REALLY need or want.  Guess what?  It’s been a wonderfully liberating experience.  It’s almost been more fun getting rid of the stuff.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  Is that crazy?  Have you noticed that every magazine on the rack has some cover-story on clutter, or de-cluttering, or getting organized?  It must be an epidemic.

What’s on your “favorite” list these days?  I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment here on the blog, tweet with me on Twitter or send me an e-mail.

New Projects in the Queue

Fancy Key Fobs

Here’s (more than) a sneak-peek at some upcoming projects.

[box type="note" style="rounded"]Stay tuned![/box]

Improving Your Blog and Etsy Shop Means Taking Action

We can think about it, dream about, and plan it until the cows come home.  But…if we never take any action, then we’ve really made no progress, have we?

You might recall that rather than come up with some New Year’s Resolutions this January, I took up  Chris Brogan’s challenge and decided on three words that would describe my plans for 2012.

My Three Words

Plan. Focus. Follow-through.  Those are my words for this year.  Although it’s only the 21st day of January, I feel pretty good about sticking to my words.

Planning is the easy part.  It doesn’t take much effort to dream and plan of all the things I want to do.  I can envision wild success and write down all the ideas and goals I have.  But all the plans in the world are worthless if there’s no action behind them.

Focusing is not always easy for me.  I’ve self-diagnosed myself with ADD.  I’m easily distracted and for certain I am a member of the Bright Shiny Objects Club.  How about you?  Are you a member of your local chapter?

Follow-through is where the rubber meets the road.  It’s where things REALLY happen.  It’s the action that makes the plans come true.

Here Are My Action Items:

Make five new items to list on Etsy each week.

List those five new items on Etsy each week.

Publish AT LEAST three new blog posts each week.

Work on an e-book so the first draft is complete by March 1st.

Write (and post) at least two book reviews each month.

Contribute at least three blog posts to Handmadeology each week.

 

What are your ACTION plans?  Post them in the comment section, won’t you?

 

 

Remember: It’s in the DOING that we get things DONE

Pause

So, January is more than half over already.  It’s true:  the older you get the faster time flies by.  If you’re young and don’t believe me, just wait.  I was a non-believer too.

Cherish every moment.  You never get them back.

Rewind

How are you doing on those 2012 New Year’s Resolutions?  Are you eating better, exercising more?  Are you cutting back on the gourmet coffee shop drinks?  Have you remembered to hug your kids everyday?

Are you creating fresh, new content for your blog at least every other day?  Are you forcing yourself to sit down and make all those items to fill your Etsy shop?

Play

Think, dream and plan all you want.  But remember:  it takes ACTION to make things happen.  We all get caught up in the “I’m too busy to get anything done” syndrome.  Snap out of it.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and force yourself to sit at the keyboard and write a blog post.  Force yourself to go to your creative space and…create.  Make.  Do.  Paint.  Sew.

Whatever it is you do.  Do it.

Simple Breakfast Idea for a Monday Morning

Hard-boiled eggs with Dijon Mustard and Cayenne Pepper

Time To Start My Day

 Super easy and super fast!

  • Two hard-boiled eggs.
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cayenne pepper

And, of course, a cup of hot coffee.  Nantucket Blend from Green Mountain Coffee is one of my favorites.

I boil a dozen eggs each Sunday afternoon so I have a ‘go-to’ food when I’m in a hurry.

Taste-Testing and a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Dish of beef stew for testing

My wife made another EXCELLENT crock-pot beef stew.  I’m taste-testing.

Lazy Sunday Attire - shorts, Cabella socks and Crocs

Khaki shorts, my FAVORITE Cabela socks and my old comfy Crocs.  Ah…a very lazy Sunday afternoon indeed.

Video: Keepsake Photo Frame Project

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

Simple. Simple. Simple.

If you’re looking for fun way to transform images into video, then Animoto is a great choice.  Turn on your speakers and enjoy!

This is the Valentine’s Day gift I made for my favorite aunt.  A frame from Michael’s, one piece of scrapbooking paper, some ModPodge, a craft knife, sandpaper, two sponge paint brushes, a little bit of paint, and a favorite photo are the ingredients you’ll need.

 

 

Crafty Dad’s Must-Have Craft Tools

Tools and supplies are an important part of crafting.  I dabble in all kinds of medium (fabric, paper, etc.).  Most of my projects involve fabric, so I thought I would share with you the tools and supplies that I find most useful when working with needle and thread.

  • Good lighting.  If you can’t see what you’re doing, add more light to your area.
  • Sewing machine
  • Steam iron + ironing board.  I found a nice heavy, metal iron at Goodwill a few years back and it works great.  For convenience, I keep my iron in my craft space.  We use a different iron for pressing our clothes each morning.
  • Pressing cloth (used mostly when I’m working with fusible inter-facings like Pellon’s Wonder-Under Fusible Web).
  • Spray-bottle of water close to my ironing station.  I use this to help get out tough wrinkles and also to dampen my pressing cloth when working with fusible inter-facings.
  • Reading glasses.  So I can see the eye of the needle in the sewing machine.  A great help when it comes to threading the machine!
  • Self-healing cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Quilt ruler (to use with the cutter and cutting mat)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Sturdy, flat, smooth work surface for cutting fabric. My cutting table is a drafting table that I found at the thrift shop for less than ten dollars.
  • Thread snips.  I found some at Walmart a few years back and love them.  They are much handier than scissors when it comes to snipping the ends of threads once you’ve pulled your work off the bed of your sewing machine.  I look for them every time I’m at Walmart and apparently they don’t stock them any more.  I found a similar version on Amazon (affiliate link).  Feel free to check them out.  For less than 2 bucks you might give them a try.
  • Walking foot for my sewing machine.  When working with three layers of fabric, a walking foot is a fantastic tool to help keep the layers together.
  • A source of background music (Radio or CD Player of iTunes or Pandora).  My favorite radio station on iTunes is KDFC found in the Classical section.  Yes, I prefer Classical music.
  • Patience and a creative attitude.  There’s no way I can be productive if I’m in a hurry or have 100 other things on my mind.  I have to go to my creative space knowing that I can spend the hour or two (or whatever) uninterrupted.  Sometimes that means getting up at 5AM on a Saturday to get things done.  In fact, I’m writing this blog post at 5:30 on Saturday morning.  There’s a lot to get done today, so I’m budgeting my time wisely.

So, that’s my list.

What does your list of tools look like?  Leave a comment and let me know!

P.S.  Looking for more crafty tips and tricks?  Sign up for my free newsletter and I’ll send you all kinds of information that you can use!  The sign-up box is in the upper right-hand corner of my website.

 

 

 

Vimeo Video Test

“Get Crafty” from Crafty Dad on Vimeo.

I had so much fun with the YouTube video.  So…I thought I’d try a Vimeo version too.  I’m having way too much fun with this.

Time to go to bed.  Good night Crafters!

First (Pitiful) Attempt at Uploading a Video to YouTube

Oh. My. Gosh.

This is my sad, sad first attempt at (1) making a video; (2) uploading it to YouTube; and (3) embedding it here on the blog.

Enjoy the laugh!
Blogging should be FUN, people.  And this is a perfect example of having fun at my own expense.

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