Mention Monday: Blitsy

blitsyIt’s like Groupon for crafts!

Ok, so that’s not actually Blitsy‘s slogan, but it should be (if we’re going to ignore copyright infringement), because this up-and-coming members-only shopping website gives you all the goodness of Groupon discounts but is focused entirely on crafting supplies. New products are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m. (EST) on sale for prices up to 60% off their retail value. The products remain on sale on the site for 7 days or until they sell out.

For the time being, nearly all of the products for sale pertain to scrapbooking and other paper crafts, but the site promises that it will soon expand to include a wider array of general crafting supplies. Much like Groupon, this isn’t the sort of site you search through to find a specific product, but browse the available items to stumble upon an unexpected great deal, like 24 spools of self-adhesive glitter tape for $12.95 (just about half price):

glitter tape
As I mentioned briefly before, the site is members-only, and you have to log in to see most of the product details, but this is really no biggie since membership is FREE! Simply create a user ID and password, or log in through your existing Facebook account and you’re home free. Your membership comes with e-mail notification of every new sale, but you can unsubscribe from these if you’d rather just use the site from time to time.

There’s also a referral incentive. Invite your friends to join Blitsy and you’ll get $10 in site credit when a friend makes their first purchase. And according to their Twitter, there are free giveaways every Tuesday! This site is definitely worth checking out. Registering is free and easy and there’s no strings attaches, and you never know when you’ll see a product for sale that will inspire you!

Happy bargain crafting!

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Mention Monday: Dude Craft

dudecraft

Attention: men! Are you interested in making cute, frilly DIY crafts to decorate your apartment? Didn’t think so. That’s why Dude Craft is perfect for you. It’s exactly what it sounds like: crafts for men. Well, it’s not explicitly crafts, nor is it limited to projects by men or for men. “Guys who knit, girls who weld, it’s all the same on DudeCraft,” wrote the site’s moderator, Paul Overton. But it is a crafty blog dedicated to stimulate the minds and creative juices of the right brain-savvy male population.

This blog highlights some of the coolest crafts and DIY project inspiration to appeal to the male audience, like this beer cap bathroom floor that would make for a sick bachelor pad bathroom:

beercaps

All of the projects link out to the sites they originate from; some have tutorials, and others just recognize the work of artists, like these match box prints by Tom Frost.

The coolest thing I found on the site is today’s post- Beethoven Sonatas expressed visually:

beethovensonata
I can’t honestly say that I “get it,” but it’s one of those mind = blown situations.

Long story short, if you’re a guy looking to get in touch with your crafty side, or if you’re a woman looking for craft inspiration to make a project for a guy, Dude Craft is definitely the way to go.

Happy crafting, bro.

Mention Monday: Waffle Flower Papercrafts

waffle flower

So, I’ve found my new card-making idol. I’m looking at you, Nina Yang. I’ve always considered myself an amateur paper crafter when it comes to cardmaking–basically meaning that my supply list when it comes to making cards doesn’t extend much further than cardstock, glue, and silver Sharpie. I know I could step it up a level if I had a Cricut machine, but I’ve always been more of a hand-cutter, and the biggest improvement I’ve made in that department was last year when I bought a swivel-head X-acto knife and self-healing cutting mat (a strongly-recommended life decision).

Waffle Flower paper crafts is (in my non-professional opinion) the pinnacle of handmade cards and other paper crafts. Scrolling through, there’s not a single project that I’m not impressed with. The wanderluster in me is particularly impressed by this Wish You Were Here card:
nina-yang-wish-you-were-here

via Waffleflower.com

There’s more than just perfect cards on the site, though. There’s links to free pattern downloads, free templates (like these cool paper bow ties), and instructional tutorials (like these twist open photo boxes).

Even if you don’t have all the tools or technical skills to recreate any of these cards or paper crafts, this is a great place to go for inspiration, especially if you’re someone like me who has trouble with coming up with card sentiments.

Happy paper crafting!

Mention Monday: La Photocabine

photocabine

Ever been to a wedding or a birthday party where they bring in an instant-print photo booth? Even with all of the cell phone/camera technology there is today, nothing says classic like that fresh little Polaroid strip you hold in your grasp following 30 seconds of awkward posing. Photo booth strips make much cooler wall decor than your standard point and click results, which is why La Photocabine is just plain cool. La Photocabine is an online photo booth. Just click the curtain on the homepage to enter the booth, which is desgiend to look like a real vintage photo booth (very cute); then when you’re ready with 4 poses in mind, press the red button and you’ll have an instant-photo esque strip at your digital disposal.

photocabine2

As soon as the booth is finished snapping your photos, you’re presented with a digital photo strip, which you can arrange either in traditional vertical fashion, or a sort of 2-by-2 arrangement; you also have the choice of color or black and white photos. You can then save, print, send, upload, or copy the URL to your photo strip. If you have a high-quality printer and some glossy photo paper, you’ve got a perfect at-home photo booth strip. This would be adorable for holiday cards, scrapbooking, or any other number of random projects.

The site will automatically display in French, but there are little flags at the top left corner of the page that let you translate the commands into your native language. It only took me 25 minutes playing around with the page to figure that out, too…

As far as the origin of the site goes, from what I can tell, this is a sister site of Ledjam. There’s no English translation for that site, so my best educated guess is that Ledjam is a company that provides real-life photo booths for events, and La Photocabine is just a way for them to get their name out and advertise their product.

photocabine reelThis site is definitely a fun time-waster and it’s the perfect photo booth DIY.

Happy snapping!

Mention Monday: Cut Out + Keep

cut out & keep

The coolest thing about CutOutandKeep.net is that, unlike most of the other sites I’ve featured, it is a crafting community with collaborative user-generated content. The main purpose is to make and share craft tutorials, and with over 150,000 site members, the quirkiness of some of the projects sees no end.

There are a bunch of different areas of the site–everything from project instructions and contests to the week’s featured “superstars” and even a free, online magazine, “Snippets” (Don’t get the pun? Refer back to the site name.)

But back to what really matters–the crafts. The project area of Cut Out + Keep takes a Pinterest-esque block format, with a lengthy sidebar of categories and subcategories to help you stay sane while browsing through the seemingly endless labyrinth of DIY projects.

cutout projects

Once you come across a project that catches your eye, be it the zombie baby doll (quirky may be an understatement here) or paper feathers, click on the thumbnail to be brought to a screen that gives you everything you could ever need to know about the project–images, time commitment, difficulty level, and step-by-step instructions.


by Tabby via CutOutandKeep.net

Never before have I thought to create a LOST shrinky dink Dharma Initiatve polar bear, nor would I if left only to my own devices; so if you’re looking to think outside the box and open your mind to some potentially weird but also awesome crafts, check out the craft community on Cut Out + Keep.

Happy crafting!

Mention Monday: CraftFail

craftfail

Odds are, if you’ve ever attempted a craft you’ve seen on Pinterest, you’ve butchered a craft you’ve seen on Pinterest. Now there’s a home for your self-proclaimed failure on the Internet, where you can bask in the failures of fellow DIY-ers, get your daily giggles in, and feel a little bit better about yourself. Cue: CraftFail.

This site sports a Pinterest-inspired layout, featuring the original pinned photo as a link to the craft fail. In other words, you click on what was supposed to happen, then you get the side-by-side comparison of the intended craft and its failed attempt. You’ll look at some of them and think Hey, that’s not so bad, or Eh, the frosting on those cupcakes is messy but they probably still taste good. Then there’s crafts like this “Bombed Button Bowl” that leave you speechless:
button-bowl-nailed-it

via CraftFail

This site provides hours of entertainment and self-esteem. But don’t worry, all of the craft fails are self-submitted, so it’s not like these crafters are being punished by public humiliation for their miserable attempts at crafts. The site calls itself a “friendly fail site” It’s all in good fun.

Have a craft fail that you want to share with the world? You can easily submit your funniest fail and let the world laugh with you. There’s a comment section under each fail, and more often than not, people comment that they had the same not-so-successful result on a project. Failure loves company! (Or something like that.)

Happy craft-failing!

Mention Monday: How About Orange

how about orange

Today I’m paying homage to the super-colorful and crafty blog How About Orange. Between all of the DIY projects, free downloads of fonts, desktop backgrounds, and print templates, and my favorite section, time wasters, you could easily kill a few hours in one sitting clicking your way through the oodles of creative content on this blog.

How About Orange is the free-time side project of professional graphic and textile designer Jessica Jones, so a lot of the design aesthetic of the things featured on the blog is modern with a good deal of white space and color blocking. There’s tons and tons to explore on the site, so my advice is to start at the most recent post on the homepage and keep scrolling until you find something that catches your eye to click on (it shouldn’t take you long). Following a particular train of thought on this website is made easy as can be; at the bottom of each post there are 5 links to “Related posts you might like.”

related postsThe topic tags are clearly designed for like-minded people, because the posts I “might” like have been spot on. (Get out of my head!) Even the time-wasters lead to more time-wasters that I waste time wasting my time with. But seriously, play this color wheel game and tell me it’s not awesome in a nerdy, graphic designer-y kind of way. Warning: highly addictive.

Getting back on topic, the craft projects on How About Orange look fun and feasible. There are tons of printable templates to help you out, though for an extra challenge you could try to add your own twist to the projects. One I found most notable (no pun intended) is this template for printing your own Post-it notes:

diy-printable-post-its
via How About Orange

I already pinned this project to one of my Pinterest boards and I have every intention of trying it in the near future. No worries, my test results will certainly be posted here to make sure it’s worth the printer ink. (Did you know that printer ink actually costs more per mL than human blood? Ew.)

Anyway, if you’re looking for a crafty and colorful way to kill time and get inspired, check out How About Orange. Happy crafting!

Mention Monday: A Beautiful Mess

a beautiful mess

Back in the day when A Beautiful Mess had a Blogspot domain address, it caught my attention because I thought it may be related to the Jason Mraz song of the same name. It kept my attention, though, with its DIY project section. The difficulty level of the projects range from as simple as a Sharpie mug set all the way up to a light-up headboard (which is really, really cool, by the way). There’s a ton of DIY fashion projects for the sewing-savvy too.

The site is organized into 6 basic sections, and covers tons of crafty ground: DIY projects, photography tips, recipes, home decor inspiration, fashion, and beauty tips and inspiration. It’s all well-organized and chock-full of pro-level photography to make every craft, recipe, and outfit appealing on first glance.

There’s a friendly, narrative style to the writing and flow, as well, which makes it hard not to feel like you’ve been longtime friends with Elsie and Emma, the two co-authors of the blog. As far as craft instruction goes, things couldn’t be much clearer, and the photography leaves little to the imagination (in the best way) in terms of how-to.

My suggestion for one of the easiest and cutest dorm-friendly projects to try is this framed paint swatch wall art (unsurprising considering my well-established affinity toward paint swatch crafts):

me too

Happy browsing & happy crafting!

Mention Monday: Design Seeds

For those who love color… design-seeds_logo

Or those who just left the color palette lecture in their layout and design class and have polychromatic hues on the brain, like me, there is Design Seeds. Color lovers will love perusing this site for color palette ideas, design inspiration, or even just for a touch of thoughtfully-selected color to brighten up your day.

Design-seeds.com is predominantly made up of a collection of images and their associated color palettes, which are arranged in an aesthetically pleasing strip beside the image. Each palette is given a cute but logical name for reference purposes (think nail polish color names, only less ridiculous and more purposeful). Next to each featured palette are a handful of links–to palettes of similar colors and various social media outlets by which you can Tweet, pin, share, blog, or send your favorites.

This screenshot gives you a good idea of what the site is all about:

cocktail_hues_palette

But wait! If you’re still not impressed, or need to be a little more specific for design purposes, you can search palettes by color value or theme as well. Or, you can browse the Fresh Hues blog, which is more photo-heavy and totally credible, considering the designer’s lengthy resume of color design work.

Printing the palettes and chopping off the color panel side is also a viable alternative for using paint swatch cards, if you’re too far away from a Home Depot or other paint retailer to stock up on these nifty little color samples to use for any number of crafts (like my Valentine’s Day card, which you can check out here).

Another fun alternative to browsing the site is to check out the Design-Seeds Pinterest page, which gives you way more bang for your buck in terms of palettes-per-inch, and a more detailed way to browse palettes.

I leave you with one of my favorite palettes of the day:InkSpots600Happy hue hunting!