Saturday, January 11, 2020

I got a perk from Google Guides!

This is a bit strange, but I really love socks. I love socks with stripes, especially, but I also like socks with designs on them... weird socks that aren't boring. I don't always wear interesting socks, but I really love them!

Imagine my surprise to find that because I've been participating in the Google Guides program, they wanted to send me free socks! THESE free socks!!

I'm very surprised. I mean, yeah, I've been doing a lot with the guides program... I enjoy helping people, so I leave reviews on my favorite places. But this is such an odd, fantastic reward! I don't know what to say, really... except that these socks are adorable and I really like them, even more because they're free!

Friday, January 3, 2020

I made a sling for my unruly joints!

I've been sitting here for several minutes, writing a few sentences then deleting them again, and trying to figure out what I'm trying to say here. I think I'm just going to jump in and share...

I'm currently being evaluated by my doctors for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I was diagnosed at 17 with Hypermobility joint syndrome (which I've been told by one of my doctors is the same as EDS), and lately my joints have basically decided they're tired of behaving normally. Apparently they want to break up and separate... a lot.

Because I've been having a lot of joint issues, I've been ending up with even more pain than usual. (I also have fibromyalgia, as well as a laundry list of other things... wheee....). My right shoulder did something incredibly painful a couple of nights ago, and the next morning I realized I needed a sling but didn't have one.

I made due with a scarf tied into a makeshift sling yesterday, and today my shoulder is tolerable. But considering the way things have been going lately, I decided it would be good to have a sling on hand for the next time one of my arms decided to do its thing. First I went to the internet, but the cheap slings weren't good and the good slings weren't cheap. No big surprise there...

I then went to my fabric stash and pulled out the leg from a pair of jeans, the waistband from another pair of jeans, and some velcro. Because sewing denim is a chore for sewing machines I grabbed my hand sewing kit and got started.

I just finished it, and I'm really happy with it. It's not overly baggy like some slings, and the pocket part my arm rests in is actually long enough to reach to where my fingers start. I added a 1" parachute buckle that I slightly modified to work a bit better with the pattern in my head, so now I don't have to adjust the length of the strap every time I put it on.

This is only the beginning, though. I don't want a boring sling... I want to have fun with it. I'm planning to add some embroidery to it, maybe make some patches for it. I'm excited, because this is where the real fun begins!

Ahh, who am I kidding. Making the sling was fun too... and well worth the grand total of $1.50! I'm assuming this will be a fairly long-term project that I add to as inspiration hits me. Hopefully I'll have some cute photos of it soon!

So tell me- do you have any suggestions for what I should add to this? I'm gladly accepting suggestions!

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy 2020!

We've survived another year, so let's try to make the coming year as wonderful as we can!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

My favorite tools and things

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and any other festive greetings that might be appropriate! I'm going to assume that some of you have received crafting goodies from the holiday gift exchange, which is awesome! However, sometimes you need additional tools, so I'm here to share my favorite tools with you!

Some of these aren't the exact tools I use, but they're similar enough that I feel comfortable sharing them with you. Also, these are all Amazon links, and I am an Amazon affiliate. So, if you buy something through these links, I will receive a small commission. This will not affect your price, but it will help fund my crazy crafting. :D

Let's break down what these are and what I use them for!

This dental pick set is super useful for my Cricut crafts. The sharp tips on the pointy pick are fantastic at getting into tiny spaces when you're trying to weed a piece. The handles are a bit small, however, so you could add a rubber pencil grip onto them to help make it a bit more comfortable.

The Cricut scoring stylus can be helpful. However, I think there are better ways to use it. Keep an eye on this blog, because I'll be sharing my scoring techniques soon!

This hole punch is amazing! I use it for all sorts of things, from making my own sequins and punchinella/honyeycomb ribbon to book binding to leather crafting to... well, just about anything you would want to put a hole in! It comes with 6 different hole sizes and is much, much stronger than your average office supply hole punch. I can't recommend this one enough!

Ok, I'm fairly sure you guys know what this one is. But if you haven't gotten your Cricut Explore Air 2, this is a pretty good time to get it. It is freaking amazing, so versatile, and ... well, I may be a bit obsessed with it. However, if you're wanting even more versatility... could go with the Cricut Maker instead! And in all honesty, as amazing as the Explore Air 2 is, the Maker is just worlds apart a better, more versatile machine. Yes, it's more expensive, but I think it's definitely worth the extra cash!

Also, you can't go wrong with more mats. I have several, and I find having multiple mats really streamlines my work flow. I can load multiple mats at once, so I don't have to weed a cut immediately before starting another cut. Plus, you need different mats for different media, so it's good to have at least one of each kind.

This palette knife set is something I wasn't sure I'd use that much, but holy cow do I love it now! I originally bought it to help me remove cuts from my mats, but I use it for so many things now! They're perfect for mixing paint. If I'm making my own glazes they work for measuring powdered pigments as well as for mixing those too. They spread adhesives beautifully... they're just such a useful tool for so many scenarios! I can't recommend this one enough.

If you don't have a craft knife, I highly recommend getting one. They are very useful, and for more than just cutting things! I've used mine for weeding teeny tiny bits out, for separating the back from a particularly difficult sticker... and for many other things I can't really remember at the moment. They're useful. You need one!

I also absolutely love my dotting tools. They too are useful in a multitude of situations! They work well for putting dots of paint on either projects or your nails, they're decent for mixing things, and I just might have turned one into a scoring tool for my Explore Air 2! Again, keep an eye on this space, because there will be a video coming of my technique for that as well.

I know, this doesn't seem like a craft tool. But trust me! It's awesome! First off, it's fantastic at helping get glitter off of your skin. Regular tape works too, but a lint roller is just so much more convenient! It works for clearing gunk off your mats too, or for getting glitter and things off of your craft table. My favorite tip, though, is that in a pinch, you can pull a fresh sheet off and use it as transfer tape for your small vinyl cuts!

There are times when we need to cut things manually, and this steel square makes that a breeze! Line one edge up with your paper, and your perpendicular cuts will be a perfect 90° every time!

Also, a bonus tip:
When you're cutting, never use a plastic ruler as a straight edge!
A steel ruler gives you a better edge without the risk of cutting into your ruler. I won't lie, I've damaged my share of plastic rulers by thinking, "It'll be fine just this one." It never is. Don't even try it! :D

On the other hand, a plastic t square ruler like this is good for drawing perfectly perpendicular lines. But remember: This is not a cutting tool!

This tweezer set also seems like something you wouldn't assume is a crafting tool. However, as I seem to be saying a lot, these things are useful in so many situations! They're great to have on hand, to assist in placing small or delicate accents especially.

Yes, Fabri Tac is intended for use on fabrics. However, it's also good for anything that's a bit difficult to glue. I specifically bought mine for mounting card stock onto glitter paper- none of the glues I had on hand would work, so I went to the internet for answers. The overwhelming answer to "what glue works on glitter papers" was Fabri Tac, so I bought some and OMG I'm glad I did!

The other glue I find I can't do without is Alene's Tacky Glue. It works so nicely on so many surfaces. I hate the idea of running out, so I always keep a spare in my craft room!

And if you're brand new to crafting and want a set of Cricut tools all in one space, Amazon has you covered. You can get a basic set of tools, or a set of tools for sewing, a set for weeding, or a set specifically for vinyl!

Wow, that was a heck of a post to write! I feel like I wrote a book...

I hope this list can help you out. Obviously you don't need everything on this list, but I listed the tools I use almost daily, the ones I keep on my craft table at all times.

Have I missed any tools you can't do without? If so, share them in the comments... I'm a bit tool-obsessed, so help feed my need! :D

Until next time...

A quick tip for scoring tiny pieces!

I used the scoring pad on the leaf shapes and on
the stars in this photo. 
I like making paper things, but I absolutely hate scoring, especially tiny pieces. I just never seem to get a good score on little things, and it makes my hands cramp.

I was working on a card that had a wreath with tons of tiny little leaf shapes that needed scoring. I was absolutely dreading trying to score all those... so I made something to make it easier!

I took a sheet of fun foam and cut some 2" squares, then glued 4 or 5 of them together. Once those had dried, I was able to put my leaf shapes onto the pad and score them with a single press of my bone folder!

So, if you want to see how to make your own and use it, this video will show you what you need! Hopefully it can help someone else, because it's made a world of difference to me!

Friday, December 20, 2019

I made a Patreon and a Ko-fi!

I'm excited, y'all... I finally got my Patreon and my Ko-fi accounts opened! I actually signed up with Patreon a month or two after it started, but I never got things going. Chronic illness is a bummer!

But now it's up and waiting for... well, whoever wants to use it. If you want to use it to buy me a coffee, or to help fund my crafty madness that's fantastic! If you don't want to, that's ok too, I know life is complex. :D

Regardless of how much money this brings in (or doesn't), I'll still be doing what I do. But for those of you who have suggested I open these, now they're open.

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

One of those moments...

Have you ever had one of those days that's just utterly overwhelming? You know, everything's going wrong, you can't quite figure out how to do things, and you just feel like you're at your wits' end?

I've had a few weeks of that, and it's getting to me. It's nothing terribly serious, of course, but I'm dealing with new medical stuff, lots of new joint pains, and I've had several moments lately where I just feel completely out of "cope". Then someone comes along and makes an offhand comment that somehow resets my cope levels and makes me feel so much better.

Today my family and I went to a local burger place. We go there often enough that the staff recognizes us and jokes around with us. Today was no different, and we had several laughs with them while we were there.

That's nice, and it did cheer me up. But as we were leaving, I had one of those moments... the staff member we'd been joking with earlier stopped us on our way out the door. He told us that he really does love to see us come in, because we brighten up his day and make it just that little bit happier.

I'm not going to lie, I smiled and thanked him, and my husband told him that he makes our days better too. We walked out to our car and I had a bit of a happy cry...

Sometimes life with chronic illness can feel overwhelming and endless. Sometimes it feels like it's too much and it's not worth fighting through. But those moments when someone tells me that I make their life better?

It totally makes everything worth it. And I'm crying again thinking about it, explaining it to my husband who was wondering why I was suddenly sniffling. Those little moments of connection are everywhere, and they connect us in so many ways.

That kind word you give to someone can affect them so much more deeply than you could ever imagine.