How Can We Overcome the Creative Block (Infographic)

How Can We Overcome the Creative Block (Infographic)

Creative block is the inability to access the flow of inspiration and creativity. It can last for days, months, and in some cases years. See how you can overcome it, with this cool infographic: 10 Fun Ways to Fight Graphic Designer’s Creative Block.

How Can We Overcome the Creative Block (Infographic)   how graphic designers can deal with a creative block 502919a983f05 w587

Hope you found this infographic useful and informative! If you want to know more about designing infographics, check out our past articles: 9 tips for designing awesome infographics & Choosing the right infographic for your business !

By: Gangplank HQ

How to Make Sure Your Resume Read like a Fairytale

What makes a book irresistible to read? What gives readers the urge to carry on, right to the end, gripped until the last word? There are so many elements that make a successful book, and a fairytale usually has most of them. Your resume needs to have many of the same elements to keep your potential employer reading on, and by looking at what makes up a fairytale we can culminate the perfect resume that could lead to an international career just through visual attraction and creativity.

Good versus evil

Good and evil are the crux of any fairytale. There is always a baddie and a goody, ready to fight against each other and come out on top. What you need to consider when creatively writing is what aspects of your job history, experience and qualifications are good and what are evil. Promotions, qualifications and awards are all great things to include and should stand out on your CV near the beginning, giving your reader a reason to carry on. However, negative elements such as being fired, exam failings (or low grades) and referees who you know are not keen on you are definitely ‘evil’ aspects you need to leave out. Remember to format and change fonts to draw aspects out, bold the good and use lower casing with the weaker elements that make your resume look evil.

Embellish the positive

Readers love to hear and see more positives than negatives, especially in the fairytale genre so make sure you talk about your achievements and skate quickly over anything which isn’t much to shout about. Go into detail about anything positive, highlighting what you did to achieve it and how you did so. Did you improve productivity, boost team moral, or get a great grade on a piece of coursework. Talk about it all and use positive words such as, ‘improved,’ ‘achieved,’ ‘impressed,’ and ‘gained.’ All these words will get your readers attention and keep them interested.

Impress with your strengths

We all have our strengths and weaknesses and so do fairytale characters, but most of the time, you would never know as they go to great lengths to hide their weaknesses and appear immortal. You can do this with your resume and make sure that your potential employer knows about every strength you have. Remember, you don’t need to highlight your weaknesses – ever hear Superman telling the baddies about his Kryptonite allergy? If you aren’t great at managing your time but are an excellent communicator and team leader, focus on that – they don’t need to know you need hone your time management skills. Great on a computer but really bad at English? Tell them all about your computer skills, your achievements using a computer, the software you know well and leave out your penchant for spelling incorrectly. We all have our weaknesses and a resume is not the place to highlight them.

Use imaginative graphics to tell the story, illustrate a comic character and then state what your power is. Just being a little bit creative will have you noticed for a job in no time.

If you think of good and evil the entire time you are formulating your resume you should have a positive, enticing one before you know it. Your resume needs to draw the reader in, keep them in suspense and throw in interesting facts and figures along the way. It is essentially a positive story about you and why you could be a great employee. Finish by telling your reader why you think you would be great for them and what you feel you could learn from them. Let’s hope the sequel is all about you getting that job!

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Gangplank HQ

By: the Italian voice

Introduction to Digital Scrapbooking

According to Wikipedia.org, scrapbooking is “a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of a scrapbook. Typical memorabilia include photographs, printed media, and artwork. Scrapbook albums are often decorated and frequently contain extensive journaling. Scrapbooking is a widely practiced pastime in the United States.”

I came upon scrapbooking several years ago when I moved across the country and was trying to make new friends.  It seemed as though all the people I met gathered together on a regular basis to socialize while they cropped and chopped their recent photos, presenting them on a 12×12 page with a plethora of embellishments including various specialty papers, themed stickers, patterned ribbons, matching buttons, textured fibers and so much more and then protecting them behind a plastic sleeve and storing them in a scrapbook album.  So in a valiant effort to engage my new environment I found myself immersed in the world of scrapbooking.  I have to admit, part of me really enjoyed it – the social gathering, sharing tips and life, having a creative outlet.  Another part of me thought there must be a better way to preserve and share my photos, stories and memories than to have to renovate my home so I could have a dedicated craft room to house all the various gadgets and supplies I began accumulating to fuel my new hobby.

Why do people scrapbook?  It isn’t about creating a project with technically perfect photos.  It’s about the story behind the photos.  The story of our lives.  The starting points are as varied as the seasons of life we find ourselves in.  Perhaps you inherited a box of old photos from a relative and felt inspired to write and document the stories from your past.  Maybe you’re celebrating a major milestone – getting married, starting a family, graduation, birthday, promotion, moving, retirement. Many people travel and relive their adventures through their scrapbooks.

Nowadays with digital cameras, computers, scanners, photo editing products and online publishing websites, it is easy to capture those memories and put them into a format that will be enjoyed for years and generations to come.  People are transitioning away from traditional paper-based scrapbooking and entering the world of digital scrapbooking.  The message is the same, it’s just the medium that is different.  Gone are the scissors and corner rounders, instead the computer is your tool.  No more closets full of colorful inventory, instead online digital art collections are in abundance from various independent designers and websites.  From “cut” to “crop”, “develop” to “upload” the vocabulary changes as technology advances and allows digiscrappers to do more with their photos and print on anything from paper to metal to canvas to fabric to wood.

Take time to learn about the delights of digital scrapbooking and how easy it is.  One of my favorite features is that there is no mess! My family appreciates that too.  More than that, they love all the photo books and home décor items in our home that remind them that they are loved, appreciated and belong.  That is what digital scrapbooking means to me!

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by the Italian voice

By: jodelli

Are Gift Baskets Trendy Again? 7 Reasons to Make Your Own

The gift basket is making an unexpected resurgence as a preferred way to give a gift for virtually any occasion. Putting together baskets is nothing new, but modern arrangements provide an opportunity to customize your gift as well as hunt for affordable items on sale to create a gift that is personalized, meaningful and one that fits with your budget.

If you have a special occasion coming up, start by creating a list of a few theme ideas that might be suitable. Think about the recipient and their hobbies, likes and dislikes as well the occasion. Is it a more formal event? If so you want to theme the basket accordingly. If it is a less formal event such as a birthday, then you can take a little creative license to make the basket fun with novelty items and activities.
Where to Look for Inspiration

It’s no surprise that Pinterest is a great place to look for inspiration when it comes to creating your own gift basket. Tap into the social network as a creative resource to help you get started with a few ideas that are easy to produce in your own home. Forget what you thought you knew about traditional gift baskets and explore some brilliant alternatives that will make an impression without breaking your budget!

1. Baby Shower

Folding wash cloths or receiving blankets into lollipop shapes creates a cute and affordable gift basket for any baby shower. Wash cloths are very affordable to purchase in gender neutral colors and any Mom will tell you that you can never have enough of them. It is a great design to make a large stylish impression on a small gift budget.
Take some large ice cream cones and get creative with inspiration from this baby shower basket. It uses onesies and socks to make a deliciously sweet baby basket. It’s a gift everyone will remember for under thirty dollars, so remember that when it comes to creating baskets, less can definitely be more.

2. Housewarming Ideas

The purpose of a housewarming gift is to give something that is practical and useful. Typically housewarming gifts are under $50 and meant to simply help your friend or family member get established in their new home. It’s also a great opportunity to give them innovative gadgets and fun tools for use around the house.

Using dishtowels to create a custom basket, this theme has affordable kitchen tools bundled up for a gift that will be appreciated. Don’t forget the man of the house. If he loves to barbeque then gift him with a custom basket of grill gadgets and special seasonings. Anything that inspires him to cook dinner is a good thing.

3. Bridal Shower

You don’t have to spend a lot to make your gift basket personal for a bridal shower. The focus should be on the couple and their future together, so when you design your basket build in some words of wisdom or encouragement for the couple and their upcoming milestone.

We liked this simple basket with “great pairs” inspired by the Bride and Groom. Affordable, romantic and deeply sentimental. Organizing a wedding is hard work! What about creating a serenity or relaxation themed basket to encourage some couple time in the middle of the mayhem. It is a gift that is bound to be appreciated by both the bride and the groom.

4. Birthday Baskets

Creating a themed basket for a birthday is a great idea. For the gardener consider a tool belt full of gadgets and useful items to help keep their vegetable or flower gardens in order. For the aspiring home bartender, try a creative spin on a cocktail basket with all the essentials to celebrate in style!

5. Engagement Party

When a couple announces their engagement, it is a special time for both families and friends. And with so much planning to do, the couple will be glad to get a little help and guidance. Consider a basket of ideas to get them started on their event planning. Every day office supplies coupled with magazines and other conveniences make for an endearing basket that shows them you can’t wait to share their day.

6. Anniversary

Couples gifts that you can use together such as novelty beverage mugs can be included in a gift basket for your partner. Mix and match useful kitchen or other gadgets with fun good humored ones for a personalized gift you will both enjoy. We also liked the idea of a year of envelopes to inspire “couple time” with some date ideas and novelties.

7. Baskets for Kids

Remember that when it comes to gift baskets for children don’t be afraid to have a little fun! Unleash your inner child and create a novelty or activity basket that will keep them busy laughing and learning new things. A little bit of candy won’t hurt, but try to keep the basket full of healthier, engaging experiences instead.

Shop for unique gifts by Funslurp, a quality novelty and trendy household item retailer. You can find affordable items to build your own gift basket for virtually every hobby and theme, and have your order shipped directly to your door.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by jodelli

By: Will Clayton

Electronic Birthday Wishes

It’s becoming increasingly common to send electronic birthday wishes, with the most common form being eCards, which can also be sent to mobile phones. ECards are highly effective as ways to wish someone Happy Birthday – they’re easy to send, and can be extensively customised with photos and videos, as well as with special messages. What, then, are some of the main advantages of electronic birthday wishes, and what other alternatives are there?

Primarily, electronic birthday wishes will cut down post and packaging costs, and also reduce environmental damage by not using paper. By sending a card online, you also don’t have to worry about whether or not a card will arrive in the post on time. Going onto websites, you can find ready made templates, as well as complete cards that can be sent with options for adding in names to the design of cards, as well as photos and videos.

When deciding on what sort of designs you want, sending an eCard gives you the advantage of the broad range of card styles available online – this is typically much greater than the stock limitations of a high street card shop. You can find different templates to use for particular seasons or holidays, or you can work with different templates to produce something more personal, which can involve adding in your own photo to an animation.

At the same time, eCards can be sent directly to someone’s email address on their birthday, or can be distributed over social networks – the latter option is useful if you want an eCard to show up in your friend’s social feed – cards and animation for social networks can consequently be used as a complement to traditional cards, and can mean that you can keep on top of your card sending if you’re living abroad.

It’s also possible to send eCards to mobiles, which can be distributed as SMS messages, or as email attachments; many websites offer a straightforward sending service for mobiles, which means that individual eCards can be optimised to look better on smaller screens. One of the most common ways to send these eCards involves attaching them to a normal birthday text message – an SMS message will cost a little more than a standard email, unless you have unlimited text messages – this can be a better option, though, if the recipient doesn’t use the Internet very much.

ECards can be effectively combined with other electronic birthday messages, which might involve vouchers or online gifts, and can be sent as part of a package of different messages. When sending an electronic birthday greeting, make sure that you follow safety rules and use websites that send eCards that won’t be blocked as spam, or set up in such a way so that the recipients won’t be confident about opening an email attachment or a text message.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Will Clayton

Article by Rosette

Rosette has been sending birthday eCards to friends and family for many years, and particularly likes being able to put together animations for Christmas cards. She blogs about fashion and lifestyle tips.

 

Using Your Artistic Skills To Design Cute Address Labels For Your Children

Using Your Artistic Skills To Design Cute Address Labels For Your Children

Parents always take care of the welfare of their little ones. This is a natural phenomenon that kids are so much attached to their loved ones. It is a great idea to create items for them which they can use in their daily life. Address labels are amongst those items which can help them organize their books, lunch boxes and water bottles. If you make them yourself, you will strengthen your emotional bond with them.

Importance designing address labels

Kids are quite possessive about their stuff whenever they are going to school. Items like water bottle, lunch box, textbook, pencil box and last but not the least address label on these items. Everything among the above-mentioned articles is important for kids and of course, parents cannot afford to buy them every time kids lose these items. Thus, address labels for children is the most useful thing that can help to keep your kid’s articles safe. Different varieties of labels can be designed as per your kid’s requirement.

Kids also like these labels attached to their personal belongings because it relieves them from the hassle of getting confused and worried. These address labels are easily available in the market. Generally, labels contain the required information about your child like name, class, roll number, section, contact number, address and bus number. This information can help them as well as you, because you can assure yourself that your kids can easily identify their articles with the help of these address labels.

How To Use Different Types Of Address Labels

Some labels are printed on clothes while others are attached by sewing them on the required article. You can make the best use of these labels on school bags. Stick on labels are also available that can be used on any of the articles. You can paste that stick-on label on Tiffin box, water bottle, pencil box and other things. These kinds of labels consist of very high quality adhesive that can be used on hard items made up of plastic. If you paste them on a particular item then it is not easy to peel them off easily as they stick to that particular item.

The main attraction for children can be a personalized address label for them. They are easily available in the market and can be used on bottles, mugs and notebooks. Most of the stationery stores are having variety of address labels e.g. vinyl labels and traditionally made paper labels. Personalized labels do not mean that they would cost you more rather they can easily be afforded.

Cute Address Labels

Apart from getting the address label from the market, you can make them at home as well. Cute address labels can be an item of collection for children. There are ample of designs which can be created for address labels. Thus, you can give the freedom of selection to your kids so that they can get address labels of their own choice.

All you have to do is just design a beautiful address label as per your children’s choice. You can choose their best color for printing. Thus, you can fulfill their desire of having their address label as per their requirements. Just take a print out and paste it on the essential belongings of your children. In this way, you can assure yourself that the articles will remain safe and children will also feel good, as their articles would be having an address label of their choice.

If you want to view the different designs of these address labels, you can browse the internet. Many websites sell them at a discounted price as well.

Featured image is licensed and/or copyrighted by the author

Article by James

James has been running an online store, which sells items for kids. He promotes his website by writing about address labels for children. This way, they are able to get the best of the useful items by reading the complete information about them.

Making Fabric Flower Hair Clips3

Making Fabric Flower Hair Clips

With the emergence of websites such as Etsy a lot of us can run a decent supplemental business venture by selling hand-crafted items. I have to admit there are a lot of wonderful, beautiful-looking pieces out there at affordable prices and some I would gladly buy for myself. Today I have stopped my attention on how you can make yourself a hair clips with a fabric flower on them. It is surprisingly easy if you know what you’re doing so without further ado:

1. Choose your fabric wisely

The secret to making these what they are is layering as it is at the core of what we need to do. For that reason you need to choose a fabric which goes well with the intended clothes and which reflects your personal tastes. Perhaps you prefer something dark and Gothic or something light and cheerful? Whatever it is you should make sure the fabric is substantial so you’ll be able to cut it appropriately. You can use old pieces of fabric from clothes you won’t wear anymore as long as they are what you’re looking for.

2. Making the pattern

It is wise to use a thin cardboard so you’ll be able to work with them. Using a water bottle, water glass or a small plate or similar circular objects you should trace several circles with varying sizes so you can imitate the flower petals later on. Make sure they are as round as possible as you’ll want them to be perfect.

3. Tracing and cutting

Now that you have the patterns ready trace them with a pencil or an invisible marker so they won’t stain and cut out the circles one by one. Make sure you’re using new and sharp fabric scissors so you’ll reduce tears and fringing.Making Fabric Flower Hair Clips   Making Fabric Flower Hair Clips

4. Making the petals

Next you should cut out the petals in a pattern which can be done easily with four to five cuts. Make sure they are even and that you don’t cut too deep. Remember how flowers look like in nature and try to emulate that by cutting in the same way.

5. Rounding out the petals

Shape them out with the scissors and remember to make little irregularities in their shape to avoid all of the petals looking the same. Nature is chaotic so no two flowers look the same right? You can add dimension to them by underlining the edges with either fabric pens or hot glue for example to give them volume.

6. Piecing it together

Place all the petals on top of each other and then sew them together. Make sure they are not aligned but mismatched. They still have to go from large to small obviously, just avoid making it look uniform. Once again observe real flowers and imitate those. Add a bead or a button to the center to make it complete with either hot glue or just sewing it on.

7. Gluing it to the hair clip

This should be fairly easy to do – you can also sew it on to the hair clip if that’s possible to increase its durability over the years. And voila! You’re ready to proudly wear your very own fabric flower!

Images are licensed and/or provided by the author

Article by Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis is blogger, writer and housewife. She is very passionate about art and craft, but also likes writing about home improvement and home maintenance topics. Find heres ome more of her helpful tips and hints: http://www.cleanerscarpet.co.uk/carpet-cleaning/EC4-rug-cleaning-city.html

How to become a better writer over your career

How to become a better writer over your career

Want to Write Better? Start here. Proper communication is a rare commodity these days. Being able to communicate well is a necessity, but so many people find themselves with an inability to write properly, which can detract from their credibility and end up making communication much more difficult than it should be.

You’ve probably lost count of the times you’ve read emails or blog posts and wondered whether or not they sounded funny. It can be dangerous to read things that are poorly written because when your brain becomes accustomed to seeing them, it starts to think that bad spelling and grammar are normal and it comes through in your writing.

Maybe you were never that great of a writer in the first place, and want to learn how to become better not just for your sake but for the sake of others too. Read on for some tips on how to fortify yourself against bad writing and develop skills that will help you for your whole life.

Read More

One of the best ways to develop your writing skills is to read. Don’t just read any old thing, though; read books that are well written and articles that come from credible sources. Doing this will get your brain accustomed to seeing proper grammar and other writing conventions, and your writing will end up reflecting this as your brain absorbs more and more accurate information.

Reading properly written documents will also help your spelling, and it’ll equip you with the ability to figure out how to write words whose spelling you may be unsure of.

How to become a better writer over your career   How to become a better writer over your career 2 Write More

All great musicians know how important practicing is, but so do all great writers. Even if it just involves writing in a journal, the more you practice getting your ideas on paper, the easier it will become in the future.

You can even conquer writer’s block by writing; if you feel like you’re getting stuck, writing down the same word over and over can help clear out your brain. You’ll go into a sort of mini meditative state and eventually work through it to produce some great content.

 If you want to go beyond keeping a journal, offer to do some writing tasks that are available at your workplace. Your supervisors will appreciate this willingness and your brain will too.

How to become a better writer over your career   How to become a better writer over your career 3 Read Aloud

Another effective way of finessing writing is to read your draft aloud to yourself. Your brain processes things differently when it hears them instead of just seeing them, and hearing your words will make you more apt to pick up on mistakes or things that sound funny out loud but you might not have caught merely by scanning the page with your eyes. Doing this can also help you in communicating.

 Have you ever written an email that, to you, sounded just fine but was misinterpreted by a colleague who didn’t pick up on the tone of the message? Reading written communications aloud can help you determine if your message might end up being misconstrued, and you can avoid a potential etiquette disaster.

How to become a better writer over your career   How to become a better writer over your career 4 Cut Things Out

One of the best ways to improve writing, and communication, is to condense things down. People don’t always have the time to read something long-winded, and they may become bored or disengage from your messages when there are too many words. Whatever important thing you needed to say will get lost.

After you’ve written something out, go back over it and see what you can take out or how you can make things more concise. This will give you great practice in crafting more effective writing.

There you have it! These tips are easy to incorporate into your life and can almost guarantee that you will become a better writer with a little practice. Your reputation for producing effective written communications will improve, and you will equip yourself with a skill that can be applied to almost any area of your life.

This won’t happen overnight; be patient, and make long-term goals so you can keep improving over time. Reading something well written is very satisfying, but knowing you’ve written that great piece of prose can make all the difference in your life.

Article by Wilson Campbell

Wilson Campbell writes stories, articles and poems. He started his career as a writer at the age of 16 and wrote many of quality articles and poems. Now he works for a site lovereading.co.uk as a sub editor.

By: trenttsd

Learning Craft Enhances the Creativity of Children

It is important to let children express themselves; it is all part of their development. Creativity is a wonderful talent and although the first things that a child may produce may be little more than scribbles, it is surprising how quickly a youngster with talent can begin to develop. A proud mother may keep the early creations for years as keenly as she keeps the baby photos.

A simple beginning

There is no need to start with more than a crayon and a piece of paper. Once it comes to paint and then perhaps glue you will need to make sure everything is covered so the paint and glue don’t create damage anything. It is probably still too early for the child not to make a mess.

There are companies that not only supply the general things needed to paint and draw but they also stock various different kits that can be used to help creativity. They can be based around seasonal things such as Christmas or Easter or themes such as Pirates or Cowboys and Indians.

As this industry has grown so has the huge range of products that are on offer. The biggest problem you will have once you open a website and start to look at all the alternatives is to make up your mind which ones to choose.

Such crafts for children allow your child to make things like cards or simple objects from the pieces that come in the kit. Child creations from such bits can inspire a child to think about cutting and pasting to make other such objects.

Development

Growing up involves developing a range of skills and craft is certainly an important skill. It can actually be an individual activity or something that a group of friends may do together. It is also something that can form part of a birthday party; it is an activity that is a little different from the usual party games.

You might decide that you are happy for everyone to paint once you have decided on an area where the children cannot cause too much of a mess. There are always plain objects that children can paint in the colours they select themselves; paper mache is a wonderful and cheap means of making things and then painting them.  They may be animals and birds or perhaps Christmas decorations that can be painted and sparkle added.

Ease of ordering and delivery

There is no end to the things that a craft company can supply and you will be able to see what is available online well in advance of any birthday. Every company involved in ecommerce realises it is important to present its range of products and make the ordering and payment system easy and secure. You can place an order and pay with a card, confident that no one else can get access to your private financial details. All your goods will be delivered promptly to your door. That just leaves you with the jelly, cake and ice cream to organise.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by trenttsd

Present Elite Romantic Gifts on Wedding Anniversary

Present Elite Romantic Gifts on Wedding Anniversary

Surely you want something luxurious for wedding anniversary as the event needs special celebration that is curtailed lacking heart-touching gifts. Your girl desires unique celebration on the day and it’s your delicacy to cherish every single moment for her warm hugs. It’s obligatory to put suitable attempts prior to finalizing gift for wedding ceremony. A little help can be anticipated from this blog that describes elite gift idea to memorize your wedding anniversary for lifetime.

You can opt for printing photos on canvas that is moreover the correct combination of beautiful gift and memorable assistance to uphold unforgettable moments of life. Various options described by print galleries where you upload wedding photographs and ask for printing on canvas. Its emerging trend followed by thousands of people and now became utmost possibility to rejoice wedding anniversary with finding unforgettable days in form of photo prints.

Tentative attempt made on various gift options but unable to acquire happiness, it’s the case with many of us but by choosing canvas prints, you may feel the real pleasure for lifetime. Collect your gift as fast as expected because art galleries offer 48 hours delivery on all processes orders. Time is precious so don’t waste it anyways. Find latest combination of art and culture at single place and pick beautiful canvases to print your wedding photograph.

If you are celebrating the first wedding anniversary then nothing will beat the impact generated by canvas prints, it is marvelous and most liked gift ever presented by you to anyone. Canvas prints presented on various occasions by people but it has unique appeal when liked for wedding anniversary celebration. Come across greatest range canvases and pick the best design for printing your wedding photograph.

Present romantic gift to your partner for expressing every single feel from bottom of your heart. Glorious impact generated by romantic gifts just like canvas prints and it’s the opportunity for you to procure finest gift on wedding anniversary for your life partner.  Most excellent form of gift will be selected by you as wedding celebration needs everything special.

I got the great gift for my life partner on first wedding anniversary and it was a beautiful artistic print I bought from canvas printer from UK, you can look on hundreds of designs presented by developers and pick out the best one.

Article by Mike

Mike is the editor and blog writer who also works for yourwallart.co.uk and has 10 years of experience writing art and photography related articles for readers.

Creative Commons - Attribution photo by Jeff Vier

Making Homemade Inks

With hundreds of different types of inks available to each of anyone on the internet, making your own ink has become the practice confined to a very specific breed of pen nerds; the nostalgic purists, the picky perfectionists, and the cheap (ahem, “thrifty”). Whatever your reason, making ink has a long and rich history and gives us a variety of options to choose from, and being creative people we’re not above inventing our own recipes.

Tea Ink

The easiest functional ink that you can make is tea ink. Just boil about a cup of water and put 3-5 tea bags in to steep for about a half hour. Then dissolve some gum Arabic or carrageenan in the hot tea to thicken it slightly and let it cool. Bottle it up and there you have some non-toxic, edible ink. Keep in mind that any ink made from tea or berries is going to be acidic so if you’re writing anything that you want your great-great-great grandchildren to read you might want to use something else. In most cases it isn’t a concern since most writing paper that’s available is going to degrade on it’s own just as quickly as it would when catalyzed by acidic ink.

Powder Pigments

Once you feel a bit more adventurous you can move on to powder pigments. Classic and highly effective is lampblack, charcoal, or crushed minerals or seashells. If you’re interested in trying more plant oriented things you can try grinding up dried tree bark, herbs, and flowers. The trick to this is to dry the colored bit that you want (usually flower petals) on a paper towel or bit of cloth until it’s looking nice and crispy and to then crush them into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. To get the pigment out of the cells and floating free in your ink you’ll then want to add some alcohol until you’ve got a thick paste. After that you can add your favorite thinners and thickeners to build your ink consistency.

Thinning/Thickening Agents

Because non-water based inks lack surface tension and sink into the page much more quickly with increased risk of bleeding I prefer to stick with water. If you go with that philosophy that means that besides water, which will usually leave your ink very runny and might let your ink smudge even after it’s dried, you’ll need to add a thickener, preferably a sticky one. The gums mentioned in the paragraph above make effective thickeners, but since not everyone has that sitting in their kitchen cabinet I tend to go with simple old corn starch. Food starch is a natural glue and will do the job reasonably well. That being said, I still know several people who swear by linseed oil instead of water, which will give you a nice consistency without the need for thickeners. For my part I’m going to be sticking with water based inks because I don’t like bleedy inks.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution photo by Jeff Vier - source

Article by Alice Jenkins

Alice Jenkins is a writer, graphic designer and marketer. When Alice isn’t trying to figure out whole stole her favorite red pen, she writes about web design, small business branding and marketing trends. Alice writes for PensXpress, a business that specializes in custom imprinted pens.

 

Surprise Your Spouse With Handmade Gifts2

Surprise Your Spouse With Handmade Gifts

Is your spouse’s birthday coming soon? Or is your anniversary just round the corner? Or you would like to surprise your beloved one for no reason at all, just to manifest your love towards him/her. That means you will need a nice and original present to give to your sweetheart. But what exactly? The stores are filled with tons of ‘ready’ gifts you can just pick up and give to your spouse, but this somehow shows lack of character, so to say. In other words, you need a unique present that is not already owned by thousands of people. And a sure way to achieve this is to come up with a nice idea and actually make the gift yourself. Not only will this be cheaper but also tells a lot for you in terms of how much you care for you significant other. Here are some ideas you can find interesting.

Surprise Your Spouse With Handmade Gifts   Surprise Your Spouse With Handmade Gifts5

1. Cookies in a jar

What better way to show your love than through presenting sweets? If you and your spouse share the same opinion, try out this idea. It’s not actually the whole ready cookies, but rather all dry ingredients that constitute the cookies. They are to be layered in a jar and it will make up an attractive presentation. The jar can be decorated with ribbon and fabric and you can also use a small piece of string to attach the recipe to the jar.

Surprise Your Spouse With Handmade Gifts   Surprise Your Spouse With Handmade Gifts

2. Homemade bath salts in a jar

Another jar-related idea. What’s good about jars is that you can re-use old jar you have laying around the house, clean them well with E17 whatever you like and also decorate them. This gift is inexpensive AND luxurious. A typical recipe includes baking soda, sea salt, food coloring (it would be best to use natural varieties), some glycerin (it’s better if it’s vegetable-based) and the aromatic poils you like the most. Presentation is the key. Again, the jar can be decorated whichever way you prefer.

3. A holiday wreath

A welcoming and impressive holiday gift, whatever the occasion, is a living wreath. They are quite easy to make – you just need evergreen boughs, wire and assorted greenery. Plus an hour or two of free time. Soon, you will have a couple of wreaths which would cost you more than $50 if you were to buy them off the store.

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4. A reusable shopping totebag

Now this is a nice gift that’s not only useful but also environmentally friendly. Nowadays,when there are literally millions of plastic bags used and disposed on a monthly basis, the use of a bag, made of fabric that one can carry to the store numerous times is more than encouraged. Basic sewing skills is all you need, as making such a bag is not that difficult.

5. DIY orange candles
It’s exactly what the name suggests – candles, made out of oranges. As with the previous projects, this one is also not to difficult to make. Get an orange, cut it in two half-spheres and scoop out the meaty part, leaving just the rind. On the bottom half-sphere, leave the stringy white part – it is to be used as a fuse. Fill the same half-sphere with olive oil and light the aforementioned stringy white part. Poke some holes into the top part and cover. You will not only have a romantic light, but also pleasant orange aroma.

Article Images are provided and/or licensed by the author.

Article by Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis is blogger, writer and housewife. She likes writing about home improvement and home maintenance topics, including household cleaning. Her present article includes helpful and useful tips on how to surprise your beloved one in untypical and original way.

Mix of CC Photo by Fashion my phone

4 Easy DIY Smartphone Covers

4 Easy DIY Smartphone Covers   6150240320 94a1208d37f

Mix of CC Photo by Fashion my phone

Smartphone owners can protect their devices by keeping them in covers. If you can’t find a cover that you like, though, you have to get creative and make your own. Here are four homemade smartphone covers to inspire you.

Duct Tape Smartphone Cover

It doesn’t get much easier or cheaper than this duct tape smartphone cover. If you decide to make this kind of cover, double wrap the tape so that the sticky side is not left exposed. It’s easiest to cover your phone in paper and apply the tape to contour to the shape of your phone. Then you can simply slide your phone from the mold and apply tape to the interior of the case. Some even have carbineers on the back so you can attach it to your backpack or belt loop for safe keeping.

Remember to apply tape to the interior of the case as not tape your phone inside. A sticky interior will make it nearly impossible for you to slide the phone in and out. – Example

A Knitted Cover

You can keep any type of phone, from a BlackBerry 9310 to an iPhone, snug in this knitted cover. It offers cushiony protection from the elements and provides a bit of defense against those horrible accidental drops. Knitting requires a little more skill, though, so you might want to recruit help from someone with more experience.

Then again, this is a relatively small project, so you could use it to improve your own skills. If you don’t like the results, you haven’t wasted much money or materials. You can always start again and avoid the mistakes you made last time. Eventually you can even start to make your own designs. – Example

Bedazzling Makes Everything Better

It looks like someone got a little carried away with the Bedazzler. But hey, if that’s what you’re into, then give it a shot. This form of do-it-yourself creating allows for much personal flare to be channeled through the design of your case. Adding trinkets and personal effects that are important to you will help to make your case unique and special. You can make this project easy by purchasing a bland cell phone cover and decorating it with your own flowers and fake jewels. Just use a hot glue gun to spice up that drab cover. – Example

Sophisticated Leather Cases

Some felt smartphone covers have a little button and tie that offer more security for your phone. Choosing out the material and print makes the project even more significant and special. Cutting, sowing and molding your felt case yourself will make you proud of your uniquely designed smartphone cover. If you’ve already made the basic felt covers above, you might want to try a slightly more sophisticated design that uses buttons and a variety of fabrics. – Example

If you are feeling crafty or just want to save a few dollars, making your own smartphone covers could be the way to go. Use these covers for inspiration to help you create your own unique items. What kind of design would you like to make?

Article by DJ

DJ is a graduate student at University of Tampa. He is an avid gadget geek who spends his time writing about various topics including travel, technology, and current events. When he is not in school or working he likes to play soccer, watch movies, or text his friends on his new BlackBerry 9310.

CC Photo - Christmas egg scene with Snoopy and Woodstock by Kevin Dooley

Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas

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CC Photo – Christmas egg scene with Snoopy and Woodstock by Kevin Dooley  - source

Merry Christmas everyone! With happiness, health and endless creativity Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas   icon smile

We hope you are enjoying our articles as much as we do writing them!

For those who want some last minute gift ideas for the New Years Eve, or for Christmas, I assembled for you some cool articles we had posted during December and you might missed them!

Christmas craft ideas for kids

As the days get darker, earlier, and the cold discourages kids from venturing outside I find that keeping them busy and occupied at this time of year is easy with festive arts and craft.

Since the purse strings are getting ever so tighter, Christmas crafts are great way to entertain the kids on a budget whilst creating some wonderful homemade gifts for teachers, family and friends.

The Best Ways To Give Unique/Custom Gifts

When you give someone a gift you will want it to be a personal and thoughtful gesture that will show them that you took the time and effort to think about them and that you know them well enough to choose a gift that they’ll really like. This means that just buying something from a list, or getting a film you know they want, won’t really make much of an impact or always be as well received as it could be – it might be thoughtful an well meant, but ultimately it’s something they could have made themselves. See how you can make the difference!

Creative Ways To Present Christmas Gifts

Coming up with new and unique ways to present your Christmas presents each year can be difficult. Personally I like my gift to stand out, to be that one gift under the tree that jumps out at you above all the rest. Christmas is about being lavish, going over the top and being eccentric. But how do you come up with something unique and eye catching? Here are some creative ideas to present your gifts this year!

Perfectly Capturing Christmas

With the Christmas season already in full swing, there are bound to be a multitude of seasonal photo opportunities that will create long-lasting memories.  However, there is nothing worse than a blurry group photo, or a dull photo of a Christmas tree.  Therefore, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to present you with a handy guide to getting the most out of your Christmas photos, which will help you to perfectly capture the most wonderful time of the year. Because some times a photo can be the best gift in the world!

Finally for your designers friends we have the best gift you can give them! A book Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas   icon wink

Top 10 Design Books for Christmas

With the opportunity of Christmas, I compiled several nice reading lists concerning various aspects of design. Mostly with books I have read and found interesting or i have marked to get in the near future. And I think that they have something to offer whether you are a junior designer or a grizzled award winning designer. Either way I am sure your designer friends will love them!

That’s all folks! Enjoy your Christmas!  And if you find yourself in the need to read something new while waiting for the festive dinner, we’ll be around with fresh material in a couple of hours Creative Gift Ideas for Christmas   icon smile