Goodbye until the new year

I'm off to spend Christmas with the fam. Happy holidays, everyone, and I'll be back in 2008.

(Illustration by me.)
You have read this article with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/goodbye-until-new-year.html. Thanks!

Great T-shirt

Katrina T. sent me a link to this T-shirt from J. Crew, saying it made her think of me. It makes me think of me, too. Hoping it goes on sale...

(Image from J. Crew)
You have read this article shop with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/great-t-shirt.html. Thanks!

Kill time online before the office party starts


Have an online snowball fight with the characters from Elf. Or Scrooge yourself. Or Elf yourself. Or cut out some snowflakes.
You have read this article christmas / time-wasters with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/kill-time-online-before-office-party.html. Thanks!

Food-in-a-jar gifts

From Sunset Magazine, four different types of cocoa in a jar. From All Recipes, many varieties of cookie mix in a jar. At Angry Chicken, already-baked cake in a jar, which could revolutionize holiday food gift-giving.

(Image from Sunset Magazine.)
You have read this article christmas / recipes with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/food-in-jar-gifts.html. Thanks!

The blog of vector stuff

Free vector graphics, brushes, fonts, etc. can be obtained at the Vector Art blog. Which I came across at Dooce during my once-in-a-blue-moon visit to see what the most popular blogger in the world is writing about these days. Actually I'm not sure that's the most popular blog in the world, but it ranks right up there.

(These brushes made by vihr2.)
You have read this article fonts / graphic design / resources with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/the-blog-of-vector-stuff.html. Thanks!

Decals for the loo

Now you can decorate your throne with vinyl, available from Vital's shop. I'm intrigued, but I think we'll stick to walls for now. (Ha, accidental pun.) Via Modern Cottage.

(Image from Vital.)
You have read this article decorating / shop with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/decals-for-loo.html. Thanks!

Chocolate bread pudding

This is so yummy. The perfect warm, gooey, wintry comfort food.

Ingredients:
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups chocolate milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. melted butter
1 Tbs. cocoa
6 cups cubed French bread
1 cup (6 oz.) chocolate chips

What to do:
Combine eggs, milk, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well. Add bread cubes; let sit 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chocolate chips. Put mixture into greased 9-inch square baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350º for 50 min. to 1 hour or until set. Serve warm or at room temp. Add some whipped cream if you like.
You have read this article recipes with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/chocolate-bread-pudding.html. Thanks!

Dress up your table

If you're hosting a holiday party and need some last-minute ideas, check out the tabletop decorating themes over at Hostess with the Mostess. The image above is the "Green and Serene" scheme.
You have read this article with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/dress-up-your-table.html. Thanks!

Gifts to make for guys

An anonymous reader recently wrote: "My husband wants to do make-or-bake Christmas and I don't really do manly crafts—do you have any ideas for what I could make for a guy?" Uh, that's a tough one. Here's the best I could come up with:

Print-and-assemble modern calendars (I think I want to make that faux bois model shown above for myself!)
A T-shirt made using one of these screen-printing short cuts: this way or this way
The ever-popular paint chip business card holder
A boot rack
A lamp using manly fabrics: this or this, perhaps? "Manly" is so subjective.
A duct tape wallet
Suede iPod sleeve
Box made from playing cards
A pinhole camera, for the guy who needs a whole new hobby (see impressive gallery)
Clock made from a book cover (We found one made out of a Jimi Hendrix record album once that Alex was drooling over. This has great potential for coolness.) You can get clock movements at Michaels or other craft places.

(Image above from Canon)
You have read this article paper / tutorials with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/gifts-to-make-for-guys.html. Thanks!

It's like looking into other people's windows

Alex teases me because I like to look in other people's houses at night. I never smoosh my face right up to their window, so what's the big deal? I stay on the sidewalk. It's not my fault people leave their curtains open so you can ogle their pianos and chandeliers. And now I've found the same thing, but online: Square America's Christmas Spectacular! A collection of old photos and postcards from other people's Christmases past. Take a look. (Via Swapatorium.)
You have read this article christmas / time-wasters with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/it-like-looking-into-other-people.html. Thanks!

How to make 25 paper Christmas ornaments

Here's a roundup of ornaments you can make from paper.
Above left: I made with these instructions
Above right: I made with these instructions

More:
Printable snowflake 1
Printable snowflake 2
Paper snowflakes stapled together into something 3-D
Not 3-D, but nice snowflake cutting templates

Origami star
Ornament made with circle cut-outs
Flower ornament
Ball-like star
Ball-like... ball
Flower ball
Geodesic ball
Multi-colored balls made this way, but fastened with wire
Many-pointed star
Mini star-shaped booklet
Glitter star ornaments
Moravian stars
Recycled paper ornament
Crystal ornament free download plus a gallery of inspiration
Huge spiky starOrigami Christmas tree 1
Origami Christmas tree 2
Kirigami Christmas tree 3

Happy folding!
You have read this article christmas / origami / paper / tutorials with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/how-to-make-25-paper-christmas-ornaments.html. Thanks!

Candy for my eyes

Look at what I found in etsy seller Blue Bell Bazaar's shop, via BB-Blog. Sigh. I am trying not to covet.
You have read this article shop with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/candy-for-my-eyes.html. Thanks!

TasteBook looks like a good gift idea

At TasteBook.com you can create a personalized cookbook of your favorite recipes. Choose your cover design, add recipes from the web or from your own stash, insert photos, and organize any way you want with colored tabs. This could be a really cool Christmas present or wedding gift.
You have read this article recipes / resources / shop with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/tastebook-looks-like-good-gift-idea.html. Thanks!

How about orange ornaments?

Here's a paper ornament I made the other day during a coffee break with my downstairs neighbor. They're hanging in my office windows. The ornaments are, I mean—not my neighbors. That would be creepy. To make your own:

1. Download the template here.
2. Print it on colored paper.
3. Cut out each shape, score it on the dotted line, and fold it in half so the printing is on the outside. (It's easiest to cut out the middles after the shape is folded.)
4. Use a glue stick to adhere the side of one piece to the side of the next piece, and so on.
5. Trim off any parts that hang over or don't match up properly.
6. Poke a hole through the top and thread some string through to hang.

You have read this article christmas / paper / tutorials with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/how-about-orange-ornaments.html. Thanks!

Add fancy borders to your photos

Big Huge Labs has an online tool that lets you upload a photo and then instantly apply your choice of border to it. Try it here.
You have read this article resources with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/add-fancy-borders-to-your-photos.html. Thanks!

Craft project: Retro ornaments from foam

I had a few sheets of that strange craft foam lying around, so here's my attempt to make something out of it. You can download the template I whipped up right here.

You'll need: Foam sheets, sharp scissors, X-acto knife for cutting out holes, craft glue, string for hanging, and tape.

What to do: For each ornament, cut out two "frame" pieces, one solid ornament piece with the center intact, and whatever doodads you want to stick in the middle. Form a loop with your thread and knot the ends. Tape the knotted end to the top of one side of your solid shape. Then glue your frame pieces on each side like a sandwich, hiding the ends of the string. Glue some doodads to the hole in the middle. Place it under a light book while you wait for the glue to dry.

Tips: Cut your shapes very carefully. Make the inner solid piece a tiny bit smaller than the frame pieces so it doesn't poke out around the edges. Once it's glued together, don't try to trim the edges further. It will end up looking like your dog chewed on it. Cut it well the first time.

You have read this article christmas / tutorials with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/craft-project-retro-ornaments-from-foam.html. Thanks!

Holiday party excuse generator

Well, folks, it's that time of year when the holiday party invites come rolling in. But how to gracefully back out of events you'd like to avoid? Try the Holiday Party Excuse Generator. Tell the generator about your situation, and voila! An emailable message will be generated for your host expressing your regrets.
You have read this article christmas / time-wasters with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/holiday-party-excuse-generator.html. Thanks!

Get some rock posters

Aesthetic Apparatus makes interesting posters and art prints you can purchase. Check them out here.
You have read this article shop with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/get-some-rock-posters.html. Thanks!

News flash

How About Orange has made MidwestBusiness.com's "List of Top 10 Blogs in the Midwest Region." Isn't that nice of them? The chocolate cupcakes I mailed them must have paid off. (Actually I learned of MidwestBusiness.com just now. It is "the leading source of business and technology news and information in Chicago and the greater Midwest.")
You have read this article press with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/news-flash.html. Thanks!

Download a free self-mailing notecard

Evie of evie s. emailed me about her self-mailer you can download, print, and send to a friend. The design is perfect for the holidays. Download it here!
You have read this article christmas / downloads / paper / printable with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/download-free-self-mailing-notecard.html. Thanks!

Turn any photo into wallpaper with a calendar

For a handy online tool that will turn any photo you upload into custom-sized wallpaper with a calendar, click here. You set the size, whether it's for your computer, your iPhone, or any other device, and then pick from options that let you edit your photo and position your calendar.
You have read this article desktops / resources with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/12/turn-any-photo-into-wallpaper-with.html. Thanks!

Free Photoshop brushes

Download some free Photoshop brushes here. My favorites are the feathers. Via SwissMiss again.
You have read this article graphic design / resources with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/free-photoshop-brushes.html. Thanks!

Orange wall clocks—I'm in love

While browsing online for Christmas presents, I stumbled upon these. I don't really need a clock in my home office since I can see the time on my monitor. But... they're so cute! Left: from Target.com. Right: from Wrapables.com.
You have read this article decorating / shop with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/orange-wall-clocksi-in-love.html. Thanks!

Make a messenger bag

I made a bag using this helpful tutorial at Craftster. I changed a couple things—most obviously, the orientation of the bag. I'm very slow at sewing, so I will never start a bag business. That's what I learned from this endeavor.

Cool red fabric on flap and lining is from my friend Megumi in Japan. Fun little button is compliments of Orange Beautiful's schwag bag.
You have read this article bag / fabric / sewing / tutorials with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/make-messenger-bag.html. Thanks!

Cream cheese chocolate cupcakes

I made this recipe recently and thought I'd share. I'm not a huge frosting fan, and I do love easy recipes, so this is the perfect rich and decadent cupcake to make, in my mind.

Filling:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips (or just use more chocolate if you want)

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, beat cream cheese. Add sugar, egg, salt. Mix well. Fold in chips. Set aside. For cupcakes, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with 2 Tbs. of cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 18.

(Recipe copied from some cookbook at my mom's house a long time ago.)
You have read this article recipes with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/cream-cheese-chocolate-cupcakes.html. Thanks!

A different kind of Christmas tree

From ijm.studio in Amsterdam, via SwissMiss. Clever.
You have read this article christmas / decorating with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/a-different-kind-of-christmas-tree.html. Thanks!

Fun for the long weekend

This is my last post until next week. Happy Thanksgiving! If cooking a turkey isn't enough to keep you busy in the meantime, consider testing the reading level of your blog.
We all must be very smart if I'm writing and you're reading at this level. I seriously question the reliability of this test. (Via the Right Steel Navy.)

If you want to further test your vocabulary, visit FreeRice.com. Apparently for each word you get right, they donate ten grains of rice through the UN to end world hunger. My vocab level came up 40 and I just donated 130 grains of rice, so I feel I've done my part and can now stuff myself on green bean casserole without any guilt. But seriously, this would be a fun way to build your vocabulary. (Via BB-Blog.)

P.S. After some internet research, I found an estimate saying it takes about 3,500 grains of rice to feed one person. Looking at the "Totals" page on FreeRice is interesting.
You have read this article time-wasters with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/fun-for-long-weekend.html. Thanks!

Vectorize your images

VectorMagic, an online tool from some smart people at Stanford, will trace your raster image (an image made of pixels, like your digital photos are) and convert it to a vector image (an image made of smooth shapes and curves with hard edges that is completely scalable.) Here's my test. Via Photojojo.
You have read this article resources with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/vectorize-your-images.html. Thanks!

Out for a walk

We went for a walk in the drizzle on Saturday to admire the leaves.

It was also a chance to use our umbrella for two that we bought on a whim in San Francisco during a downpour. We hope everyone in the passing cars admired it. You can get your own here.

I'm intrigued by this house up the street. Its owners had it painted at the end of the summer, and I swear it was fuchsia the first time I saw the new paint job. Two weeks later, it was this bright red. Still fun, but the hot pink was awesome! I had been planning to leave them a little anonymous card on their porch praising their bravery. But I guess they reconsidered.

These are some moldy berries. I don't have much to say about that.
You have read this article with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/out-for-walk.html. Thanks!

Events

Emily of Orange Beautiful threw a wonderful party Friday night, an open house/meet-and-greet at her charming studio. I first learned of Orange Beautiful while flipping through a HOW Magazine awards annual and seeing her website featured. I liked it so much (and being a fan of orange, of course) I emailed to say how much I dig it. Ever since, we've been stalking each other's blogs and sending the occasional note, so I was excited to finally meet the girl. She's terrific, and so is her work. I loved talking with B, too. Thanks for throwing a great party, guys!

Thursday night was Design*Sponge's Chicago Biz Ladies Meet Up. I'm not planning to ditch graphic design and start sewing pillows for profit, but I am interested in the design licensing angle, so I thought I'd check it out. I enjoyed hearing from Stephanie Waddell of Agnes and Hoss, and you can download Grace's excellent presentation on marketing your products right here. Thanks to everyone who spoke and to Jayson Home and Garden who hosted.
You have read this article with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/events.html. Thanks!

Go forth and create!

Wow, thanks for all your thoughts on the Craft Controversy, everybody. I love interesting conversations, and I was hoping to stir the pot a bit. I must admit I've got a nasty streak of devil's advocate that emerges now and then, so I've been gleefully reading all of your comments and thinking you all make great points. Especially whoever mentioned the Midol.

But what I DON'T want is for anyone to feel discouraged about whatever it is that they make, for any reason. What ultimately matters is that we enjoy the creative process and find delight in making things. I think this is a divine gift, and it takes on all kinds of different expressions. So carry on! Go forth and make stuff!
You have read this article random with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/go-forth-and-create.html. Thanks!

I hate "Crafting"

I have to get something off my chest. The word "crafting" makes me squirm in distaste. As in, "I'm going to do some crafting now." I realize this is an inflammatory statement, and I'm honestly sorry if I've offended anyone. I imagine I'll dig myself into an even bigger hole here as I go on, and I'm going to start sounding snobbier by the second.

Here's the deal. Over time, I've realized I've begun to equate "crafts" and "crafting" with things that are not my style whatsoever. Like knitted tea cozies and wooden clothespin angels covered with glitter and silk flowers hot glued onto wreaths and pencil cups made out of popsicle sticks. Not so hip. When I hear "craft," I envision stuff like that. (Now certainly there could be outstanding examples of those items that are truly beautiful, and if you've ever made anything of the sort, I'm sure yours is fantastic and not the sort of thing I'm picturing.

I tend to avoid using the word "craft" on this blog, unless it's a cold, calculated attempt to get Google to list me when someone searches for a "craft" project. Or when I can't think of a better word. (And if I've ever linked to your project, that means I like it and it passed the coolness test in my head, even if I've referred to it as a craft.) Every single time I've used a form of this nasty word (another instance here), I grit my teeth. I'd rather say project, undertaking, do-it-yourself, or just plain "make something."

So let's talk about "DIY" (the handy little abbreviation for do-it-yourself). When pondering "DIY," I used to picture guys building stereos out of duct tape or constructing bar stools from recycled magazines and LED lights. Still not quite the thing I'm trying to find a word for, but at least it seems cooler and doesn't involve ruffles. But increasingly I'm seeing "DIY" used in nice places more popular with women, like Blueprint Magazine's blog, or Design*Sponge's "DIY Wednesday" posts. Doesn't a "decorative DIY project" sound so much more chic and modern than a "decorative craft project?" I think so.

I know this is all semantics. And I will probably continue to say "craft" occasionally in the future, at which time you will all pounce on me, especially the folks who truly love the term and feel mightily offended by the viewpoint I've expressed here. But unless anyone has a better word...

Down with "craft," up with "DIY," I say! What say you all?
You have read this article random with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/i-hate.html. Thanks!

Quiz: What's your design style?


Take this quiz at HGTV.com to find out your design style. I turned out to be "Eccentric with a touch of Hip." "For you, it's all about the mix... You're drawn to funky interiors and eye-catching color combinations (think red and blue, orange and turquoise, purple and gold). You like contrasting patterns and unconventional architecture..."
You have read this article quizzes / time-wasters with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/quiz-what-your-design-style.html. Thanks!

Early mini saddle-stitched booklet

It turns out Dad wasn't the only one to get special handmade presents. Mom sent over more pictures. Looks like I was trying to express love with every fiber of my little being.



Oops! Put my foot in my mouth there.

Whew, fixed it.

Well, the end.
You have read this article random with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/early-mini-saddle-stitched-booklet.html. Thanks!

Early DIY pencil cups

My mom just saw the previous post, commented "Still making pencil cups?" and took photos of a couple early iterations I apparently made. I have no memory of these, but obviously they're sitting in her house somewhere. Boy, are they awesome.

Whoops! Ran out of blue paint on the back?

I have mastered the scissors.
You have read this article random with the title 2007. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2007/11/early-diy-pencil-cups.html. Thanks!