I’ve been trying to find the “perfect” Sherlock Holmes-inspired pillow for my home for months and months. I’ve been failing desperately though. If I’m being honest, it’s me, not the internet. There’s a ton of options, but I have been looking for something subtle and Google Search Results for “Subtle Sherlock Holmes pillows” does not actually locate much of anything.
Then I thought I found the answer. It was like the internet angels sung it out to me. AHHHHH OOOOH, it’s Spoonflower.
Ugh. Not that easy internet. Not that easy. Y U Got to Go and Trick Me Like That?
There are plenty of great tutorials on their site and a few Google searches pulled up some interesting tips, but after struggling with this thing for hours, I thought I’d share some of my observations with you. If for no other reason than you can hopefully save yourself an hour or two. (Once my swatches show up, I’ll share those too.)
Here’s five tips for avoiding disaster and designing wonderful textiles on Spoonflower:
1. It’s easier to create the single design and then let Spoonflower do the work of repeating the pattern. Take my “Where’s My Deerstalker?” graphic above. I had originally tried to create a brick pattern on my own, but after struggling with it for hours and uploading literally 11 different versions, I gave up on my own concept of the layout and let Spoonflower do the hard part for me. If you have never had to make a pattern before, it is a lot harder than you think. I learned that lesson the hard way.
2. If you upload a JPG, expect the colors to change. I had no trouble with PNGs, AI, PDF or EPS files. I am not sure if a compression would have helped, but since we’re printing high resolutions, I didn’t want to take that chance.
3. Let Spoonflower do the scaling for you too. A handy little trick within the interface is the ability to make the print larger or smaller with the rulers giving you a guide for scale. If you start with a relatively large design, you should be able to get it to the right proportions.
4. Don’t forget to adjust the image on your test swatch. This fabric isn’t cheap. Skip the fat quarter and get the test swatch for $5. You can adjust the crop of the swatch as well, so be sure you are getting a visual of what you really want.
5. Think about using the service for small projects too. I get some of my best ideas from trolling the awesome work of others. I loved this concept from blogger Armommy, who came up with a design that would make 8 hand warmers and then used Spoonflower to make the project available to her readers complete with printed instructions included on the fabric.
Have any of you used Spoonflower before? Have you been happy with the results?
A while back I made a video about making an iPhone 4 case you could change up every day. Well, the commenters demanded an update. So here’s some iPhone 5 designs you can cut out and put inside a clear iPhone 5 case.
If you are a little unclear about how this works, let me clarify:
1. Download these designs:
2. Cut them out.
3. Place them in the back of a clear iPhone case. This is the one I am currently using.
Total cost of this project is as little as a buck. I bought my iPhone 4 case on eBay for a whopping dollar. Since iPhone 5 is still a little new, you may need to spend up to $10, but it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than the $45 cases at the Apple store.
If you need a refresher course on how to do it and want a visual step by step, check out the original video:
And who doesn’t love a cheap iPhone case DIY?
Have a happy weekend, my friends!
You guys, this is scary. I’m on camera. You can see all the weird hand motions I make when I’m trying to express myself properly. What can I say? I’m a hand talker. But it’s all in the name of getting to know you, my readers, better. And of course capturing the craftiness of this great project:
So without further adieau, here’s my on screen debut. Don’t laugh. I’m sorry it’s so long. I’ll work on that. For now, it’s all part of a larger scheme behind making this blog bigger, better and more A/V oriented:
Kicking off the 2013 Lady Geeks of the Week is the lovely Bonnie Burton. She’s a flourishing author, journalist, vlogger/blogger, and tweeter (@bonniegrrl). Her outrageously successful website Grrl.com (launched in 1996 – I was 5!) was one of the first geeky pop culture sites geared towards women. It receives over 1 million hits per month. She’s definitely a who’s-who in the Lady Geek world.
Burton has about a thousand different projects on her hands, so we were so grateful when she took some time over the holidays to answer a few of our questions.
Read on to learn about her crafty beginnings, her sassy 13-year-old self, and her fictional crush.
Q: What inspired you to launch one of the first women’s pop culture websites, Grrl.com?
A: At the time, in the mid ’90s when the web first started, there weren’t any web sites just for geek girls. I wanted to mix the DIY feminist sensibility of Riot Grrrls with women who loved to be geeking and the result was Grrl.com! I even made a print zine companion to the Web site. It started as tributes to my favorite girl icons from Bettie Page to the awkward girl who won the National Spelling Bee Rebecca Sealfon. There are dating tips & bad dating stories, comic book reviews, weird collections, craft & gardening tutorials, and more. Plus links to my vlog Ask Bonnie, and other web shows I do. I’m about to undergo a redesign for the site — a first in almost 10 years! So stay tuned for more geeky fun! My web site has always reflected everything I love about being a geek girl, so hopefully I can inspire other girls to be proud of their geekiness!
Q: We love the premise of your book Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change. What prompted you to explore the topic?
A: Bullying has always been a sensitive subject for me. I was bullied as a kid, but worse than that I was often betrayed by would-be best friends that are best referred to as frenemies. None of the “How to Be Popular” books in the school library every explained how to deal with bullies or friends that secretly want you to fail in life. So I wrote the kind of book I would have wanted to read as a teen. I interviewed my favorite women icons in music, art, acting, business and activism for their advice and stories as well. Great stories from the likes of Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s and Tegan from Tegan and Sara made this book what it is — a modern approach to dealing with frenemies/bullies and how not to turn into one yourself. The book was recently picked by Barnes & Noble as part of National Anti-Bullying Month, and I get emails from parents and teachers who all say the book has helped them with students in trouble — which means the world to me.
Q: You have quite the track record when it comes to crafting. Your books and your new web show highlight the benefits of scissors and felt. What led you to combine crafting with geekery?
A: I’ve always been a crafty kid. I didn’t grow up with a lot of toys and video games. I’d rather spend my day making toys rather than begging my parents to buy them. My mom was a children’s librarian so she’d often bring home old magazines like Highlights and Cricket, which had craft projects in the back. I’d make everything from space mobiles to doll house furniture. Then when I discovered the Muppets, I turned most of my socks into puppets! I also was part of 4-H and Girl Scouts - which have very big crafting components to them. Crafting as an adult takes me back to being a kid where I couldn’t wait to get covered in glitter and make something fun. I still get giddy making puppets!
Q: If you could take any fictional character out for a drink, whom would you choose, and what would you drink?
A: Sherlock Holmes. I’ve had a crush on that character long before Benedict Cumberbatch perfected him in the recent modern-day interpretation in “Sherlock.” I know he’s a highly-functioning sociopath, and most likely never drinks. He’d probably size me up in 2 minutes while making fun of my shoes. But he’d still be fascinating to watch in action. And my favorite cocktail is called Blood & Sand. So in a way, that might intrigue Sherlock.
Q: We know you’re quite the fan of Bettie Page. Can you give us a few tips on channeling the late, great Queen of Curves?
A: Bettie Page has always been a role model for me because she was so unusual in her day. She made bangs popular. She was a vegetarian when it was unheard of. She went to the gym regularly. And she put the fun back into burlesque. It wasn’t seedy or salacious to her. Dressing up in corsets and leopard print bikinis was acting for her. She could look like a minx in one expression and an approachable girl-next-door in another expression. Her life was tragic, but she was such a muse and inspiration that I think she would appreciate how much we all loved her.
Q: What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
A: Good question! To tell you the truth, the older I get the more unsure I get about what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. My 13-year-old self was so goal-driven and sure of herself. I actually admire my 13-year-old self. She’d never put up with jerks or date douchebags. She’d always stand up for herself and never listen to the haters. Half the time, I try to channel my inner teen self for pep talks and to remind myself that I’m not a big loser. I think my 13-year-old self would be proud of my accomplishments and excited to see what I did next!
(Photo Credit: Nicole Love)
Post by Emma Bauer, who works as BGC’s official intern. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic.
Follow her on twitter: @emmalynnbauer
It’s getting chilly in Minneapolis, which means a lot of my favorite clothes are finding their way out of my closet. And it means that color has come and gone. It’s back to black. Or at least, back to neutrals.
That includes one of my favorite DIYs ever. My spectacle sweater!
I have to apologize for the solemn face. With fall, comes sickness. In this case, an endless running nose, cough, ear ache, all that. It’s snotty and gross.
So what am I wearing?
How about from bottom to top for a change?
My DIY sweater
Thrifted Wool Coat
Phan is the designer of “modern, eco-friendly terrariums, Zen gardens, and marimo pet aquariums.” I’m sorry, what aquariums? (My first thought.) Basically, a marimo pet aquarium is a fuzzy green algae ball that you keep in a glass of water at your office to foster joy and peacefulness. Scientists refer to them as Cladophora Aegagropila, fyi. As you poke and prod them around 2:35pm, feel the stresses and slight boredom of your day melt away.
When Phan was young, she and her family immigrated to the US from Vietnam. She graduated with a graphic design degree from California State University of Long Beach and began freelancing. Soon after, Wendiland was born.
Here’s a bit more from Phan:
Q: What inspires you in the world?
A: Nature, my love for gardening, architecture, modern interior design in homes, and lying next to Lotus Phantastic (Phan’s dog), listening to her snoring.
I view the world as one big studio that cannot be confined to a specific time or place. There are so many inspirations for me — traveling through buildings, the mountains that surround me, or simply jumping into the ocean. Colors, movements, and sounds can inspire all of us.
I scour the world for objects of interest, gather funny little plants and dig into some dirt!
Q: What has led you to your passion?
A: My aunt shared her collection of Japanese bubble gum wrappers when I was about 5 or 6. Each wrapper had illustrations of girls in different customs. After I saw them I picked up a pencil and began designing dresses and evening gowns. Since then my creativity has bloomed and flourished.
Q: Where would you like to be in ten years?
A: I would love to have a boutique that offers design services for special events, provide yoga classes, and sell my terrariums and special desserts.
Post by Emma Bauer, who works as BGC’s official intern. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic. On twitter: @emmalynnbauer