Day 12

Have to thank Rachel again…CBP was on OPT!

The 4th of July passed uneventfully on the Seacoast (my little region of New Hampshire), since it rained a bit and the fireworks in Portsmouth were postponed. Me and Andrew managed to get out for a walk at the newly converted pedestrian bridge that takes bikers and walkers around the Spaulding Turnpike. It was so hot! I’m not used to 85 degrees…

I found this list of tips on how to write a book from actual authors on Not Martha. It was a little overwhelming, but since I’m in the business of writing a book myself, I pushed through them all. Here’s the short version:

1. Stay organized.

2. Write often; if not every day, every scheduled day.

3. Just do it.

I often draw parallels between my running and my writing, and #2 and #3 apply very well to running. Getting out there and doing it is half the battle in many things in life, but motivation is more difficult when people think you’re a little crazy (“Why are you going running again?” or “Do you really think you can write a book?”).

I think the part that people often don’t mention–the flip side or counterpoint to “just doing it”–is that it’s equally important to evaluate. How well am I running? How well am I writing? Because a little evaluation can point you in a more productive direction. I’ve learned that it is, in fact, possible to run too much–the week I ran 5 miles a day 5 days in a row, I was really, really unhappy. I found I needed to split it up: 5 miles one day, 3 miles one day, sprints one day.

The thing is, I never would have learned that if I hadn’t tried running 5 miles a day. I had to get out there and do it before I could evaluate.

Sometimes it’s good to treat life, or major life tasks, like an experiment. It helps you take the things you want to do less seriously, and also, I think helps you actually meet your goals. In 12 years, I’ve managed to run dozens of races, including two 15k’s and three half-marathons.

Of course, there are some areas of life that should not be treated experimentally…for instance, please learn from my experience that an entire bowl of cookie dough is never a good thing, no matter how hungry you are.

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Artist trading cards/crafty business cards

When I was making this website and designing the survey, I kept trying to think of ways to make a crafty connection to people. I wanted to give them something tangible, like a business card, that was also crafty. I also happened to have a ton of scraps left over from a quilt project, some place mat making, and my good old addiction to Jo-Ann’s. So, I decided to sew up scrappy business cards. I’ll be giving them out at the Portsmouth Open Market this Sunday. Can’t wait!

Here’s how I made them:

First, gather your scraps of fabric. I like to use a mix of different textures: corduroy, calico, denim, linen…

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Then, dig up some InterFuse, which is thick, double-sided interfacing. You could also use plain fusible interfacing and glue it to both sides of a piece of thin cardboard. Find some plain fabric for the back, where your information will go.

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Turn over the solid fabric so that the right side is touching your work surface. Lay the InterFuse on top (both sides are fusible). Then, lay out a fabric collage on top of the interfacing, making sure that all of the fusible stuff gets covered up with your scraps. Overlap the scrap edges by at least a quarter inch.

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Iron the fabric-interfacing-fabric sandwich together on both sides.

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You now have business card material. Scrappy business cardstock, if you will.

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Next, hop on over to Design*Sponge’s sweet tutorial on how to put your information on everything using a customize-able stamp. I bought a stamp and stamp pad at Staples for around $25, and I plan to use it over and over and over…

Stamp the solid fabric side with your info, spaced about 1/2-3/4 of an inch apart. You could try different colors, but I just used plain black.

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Up close:

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While you’ve got the stamp out, stamp your/your blog/your company’s name on a few more scraps of plain, solid fabric. I stamped a tagline.

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To decorate your cards and keep all those little fabric scraps together, sew back and forth around the printed side on your sewing machine.

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Ta-da!

stamped business cards on fabric card stock outlined in black machine stitching

Finally, use a rotary cutter to slice the cards apart.

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Repeat for the tagline/short title stamped fabric. Glue the taglines to the scrappy side of each card.

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Fin!

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I made these when I was taking a survey of 500 craft bloggers… you can read the results here.  If you’d like to get updates about my other projects (like a guide to running your own DIY writing retreat!), please sign up here.

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Day 5

Thanks to Rachel at One Pretty Thing for tweeting about us! We’re up to 30 responses…high five to all you crafty bloggers!

I dug up this Twitter tutorial. Check out the sewing/bird-themed slideshow! Now that I’m looking for it, the diy look, the aesthetic, is everywhere. I wonder: is this because so many crafty people use Twitter? Is it just the trend (see Anthropologie‘s store decor)? Are new media–Twitter, Facebook, Ning, and all the rest–somehow inspiring or inspired by making stuff in real life?

What do you think?

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Day 1

We’ve passed the 10-survey mark–woohoo! Thank you very much to all the bloggers who participated. Super thank you to Christine for sharing and posting a link to the survey on the forums in Ravelry. Welcome, knit and crochet-bloggers!

A few questions have come up…first, is the survey intentionally US-focused, and second, what is the end product of all this?

So, here are a few answers: yes, the survey is intentionally US-focused (for now, at least!) because my goal is to write a book about the crafty/diy movement in the US. I received a grant  from UNH, where I am a grad student, to conduct this survey in preparation for writing. I’m going to share the results here with everyone, of course, and I hope that they will be of use or interesting to you. I hope they spark plenty of conversation, too! Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.

Thanks again, crafters!

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