Giveaway!

Hi, crafters!

I think it’s about time for that hallowed blog ritual…the giveaway!

Take the survey by July 31st and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Michaels gift card!

(Don’t worry, if you’ve already taken it, you’re in.)

And if you help spread the word, I’ll enter you twice. Leave a comment with a link to your post or Twitter, and you’ll double your chances of going on a little shopping spree.

Just a little thank you for helping out the Craft Book Project!

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Destination DIY

I found Destination DIY on Craftypod and I have literally listened to it all morning while I knit. I feel like a zen crafting goddess. A happy crafty buddha. A seriously satisfied citizen of the 21st century.

Knitting is so, sooooo relaxing to me. I do it in the car while Andrew drives, in front of the TV when I’m watching (too many) episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, in the evening instead of reading edifying tracts. I mostly knit scarves, though this year, I’m determined to knit Xmas ornaments for family members. And yes, I’m starting in July. I’ve also never planned this far ahead before, for anything.

I’m sorely tempted to make this tea cozy from Knit Simple, which is where I found the ornament pattern (in a Holiday 2007 issue), but I’ll have to dig up a teapot first:

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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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