Outside Oslo sightings on Etsy

Sometimes I like to peek at Etsy.com and see what people are making with my fabrics. It cheers me up when I'm bored or procrastinating—like eating a piece of chocolate cake, only with zero calories. Here are some fun goodies I've turned up, clockwise: Pillow, pouch, dress, tote, pillow, clutch, bench, lamp shade, stool.

Or if you can sew, you can get the fabric right here and whip up your own stuff.
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Some DIY tutorials to attempt

For inspiration, check out these spring make-it-yourself projects:
Clay flower vase decoration from Centsational Girl
Laminated fabric umbrella tutorial at Mod Kid
DIY clothes hamper by Ikat Bag
Pouf ottoman pattern from Better Homes & Gardens
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I Shot the Serif typography game

Vent your aggressions on hapless letterforms at I Shot the Serif (also available as an iPhone game). Pick off the serif characters before time runs out, but don't shoot the sans serifs! Play the game here. (Via Chic Type.)
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Free diamond tote bag sewing pattern

Check out this cool diamond tote bag tutorial with a free PDF pattern, available right here at Misusu. The pattern was created by Elles, a Dutch fashion designer and passionate DIY-er. She plans to open a shop soon full of PDF baby & toddler DIY patterns. By the looks of things, it should be lovely!
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Wallpapers from Eleanor Grosch

Eleanor has a gallery of 32 illustrated desktop wallpapers you can download; find some new options and some oldies but goodies right here. I love how her critters and objects are assembled cleverly from flat, basic shapes.
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Free font: Sail

If you're in the market for a pretty, legible script, download Sail by Latinotype right here. It will set you back zero dollars.
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Grow your own mushrooms

Those who have followed this blog for awhile might remember the mushroom-growing experiment of yesteryear—the log that produced a couple shitakes and then required rest in a cold place (i.e. our fridge) while it gathered its energy to squeeze out a single mushroom. We got rid of it since the output didn't live up to the bounty we'd imagined, and who needs a log in their fridge?

So I was intrigued by an email from Back to the Roots, a sustainable urban mushroom farm in Oakland started by some Berkeley students. They grow gourmet mushrooms from recycled coffee grounds and sell kits that yield up to 1.5 lbs. of oyster mushrooms in about 10 days. Sounds fun! If anybody wants a kit, you can get 10% off your order by using the code Mushrooms4me10.
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Retro crewel patterns from June Craft

I was just poking around Kayanna Nelson's blog to see what new kitschy cuteness she's concocted lately, and discovered her new crewel embroidery patterns. Retro fun! These two designs are available in her June Craft Etsy shop as PDFs for $6 each.
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Play the color wheel game

Want to waste some time this afternoon? Try Color, a new game from the folks behind Kern Type and Shape Type. Move your cursor around the color wheel until the outside of the timer circle matches the color on the inside—before the clock runs out. (Via It's a Small Web)
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An avocado pie for St. Patrick's Day

Here's the afternoon snack I'm eating as I type this. One day last summer I got to wondering if anybody made pie out of avocados. I googled and found this recipe from the California Avocado Commission. It was very tasty, and I vowed to make it again around St. Patrick's Day. If you're into grinch-green pie, this is your recipe! It's smooth and creamy and tastes predominantly of lemon, so you could probably fool people who are weirded out by the idea of an avocado dessert.

2 peeled avocados
½ cup fresh lemon juice
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
9" graham cracker crust
whipped cream

In a blender put the peeled avocado and ½ cup lemon juice. Pulse a couple of times. Add condensed milk and blend till creamy. Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate for 1 hour. Add whipped cream when serving.
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Printable vintage mailing labels

Have you checked out the label freebies over at World Label lately? They're continually adding to their collection of printables. The files have editable text fields and fit a variety of standard label-paper sizes. I like these vintage mailing labels provided by The Graphics Fairy. They come in six colors (though orange is superior, of course). Find more designs by scrolling through the World Label blog.
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Make a modular felt trivet

Related to yesterday's coaster project, here's a template for making a larger modular felt trivet. No sewing or gluing required. Connect as many pieces as you like to make bigger projects, too--placemats, a runner, or sew two pieces together for a pillow cover.

Download the pattern here. Then print out as many sheets as you need, pin them to a piece of felt, and use a rotary cutter or X-acto knife to cut the slits in each shape. (Press hard to make sure you cut through both the paper pattern and the felt.) Then cut apart the shapes, adding the notches around the edges.

Begin locking pieces together by pulling the arrow-shaped tabs through the slots from the back through to the front side. Connect as many pieces as you like.

To finish the trivet, trim off the excess felt around the edges and nip the points off the triangular tabs. Make a straight cut, or round them for a different look.

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Modular felt coaster tutorial

Modular pieces that fit together make me really happy, and on a recent Google hunt, I found felt rugs here and here made with interlocking shapes. Very cool. So I tried a pared-down pattern for coasters because I'm way too impatient to fit 847,236,780 pieces together to make a rug.

Download the PDF template right here (it makes two coasters.)

Print out the pattern and pin it to a piece of felt. Use an X-acto knife (press hard) or a rotary cutter to cut the diagonal slot in each pattern piece. Then cut apart the pieces, adding the cuts on the sides.

Grab four of the pieces and orient them as shown above. Each piece should be rotated 90 degrees from its neighbor, so that the ends with "arrows" are chasing each other around a square. Pull each arrow through the adjacent slot from the back to the front.

The coaster will look like this when you've locked all the pieces together.

Trim off the points of the arrows. Also trim off any edges that stick out so you end up with a neat square.

To make a larger trivet, see my next felt project.

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Rag Time typography game

Graphic designers might enjoy wasting a few minutes on Rag Time, a game that challenges players to even out paragraphs of ragged text while racing against the clock. You can't use a mouse to position your cursor, though, so I found it frustrating and kept running out of time! Give it a try right here.
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A Pantone eyelash curler?

Pantone, the color matching system used by the printing, textile and plastics industries, has teamed up with Sephora to put out a line of products in this year's official color, Tangerine Tango. (Thanks for the tip, Kayla.) I'm all for orange! I wouldn't be caught dead in orange lipstick, but my toes wouldn't mind some tangerine polish.

I'm amazed by the relentless supply of licensed merchandise Pantone has been cranking out in recent years. Socks, chairs, contact lens cases, cuff links, toothbrushes, eye glasses, Christmas ornaments, Visa cards, and more. Does the world really need official Pantone false eyelashes? Sure, why not.

An interesting note: after I posted this Pantone chip craft project, I quickly received an email from Pantone’s Licensing and Trademark Department stating that they need to protect their licensees and intellectual property, and if I desire to extend the use of their intellectual property for commercial purposes, I should contact them to learn about current licensing terms. Apparently the licensing folks at Pantone keep very busy making deals with manufacturers and combing the internet for home crafters using old Pantone chips. I'm tempted to put a set of magnets up for sale and see if I get a cease and desist letter.
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An online photo booth

La Photocabine is fun website that simulates a photo booth. Visitors can step behind the virtual curtain and take silly pictures using their computer's web cam. Then choose color or black and white, pick a vertical or square arrangement, and print, share, or download the file. Try it here.
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More printable wine glass tags

Wine glass labeling may have gotten a tiny bit out of control over here. It seemed like a fun idea in theory, but who would use these? Possibly just Brandy and Monica.

If you're inviting possessive types to your dinner party, help yourself to these wood grain wine glass labels. Print out the front side of the tags at 100%, then run the sheet through your printer a second time to add the pattern to the back. Trim them out and have guests add their names. For reusable tags, laminate both sides of the sheet with strips of packing tape and provide a dry-erase pen. Download the front here and the back here.

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Wine glass flags: printable template

Awhile back a friend asked if I had any wine glass charms to help guests avoid mixing up their glasses at her party. (This sort of thing, for example.) I did not. But it occurs to me that it would be A) easy to make your own and B) nice to customize the colors to match your dishes, the current holiday, or your party theme. Plus it might be nice to have a tag you can write on, since after a few glasses of wine, can anyone really remember if they had the blue charm or the green one? (Then again, after a few glasses of wine, maybe you don't care whose glass you drink out of, either.)

If you'd like to make your own wine glass flags, I've made a printable template. Print the PDF at 100% onto solid or patterned paper, cut out the tags, and wrap them around glass stems using the slits to secure them.

Each guest could grab a tag and write their name on it. Or you could open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator, if you have it, and type names or messages yourself. Or open it in Adobe Reader and use the Typewriter tool. If you want water-resistant tags that might survive a few parties, laminate your sheet of paper with strips of packing tape on the front and back sides and provide a dry-erase pen for guests' names.

Download the template file right here.

I'll post an alternate design tomorrow.
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Round-up of bright DIY projects

Lovers of brights, neons, and fluorescents might like these tutorials for decorations and accessories. Try one this weekend!
Duct tape iPad case with velcro closure at Craftbits
Origami wall art on page 48 of Rue Magazine
Neon necklaces from A Pair & A Spare (everybody's doing it)
Wrapped vases on Remodelista
Fluorescent friendship bracelets by the Purl Bee
Painted clutch from Just B
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