Fabric sighting on a chair makeover

Check out Beth's awesome Danish Craigslist chair, newly reupholstered in my Sticks print. A perfect combo! See the before and after at After the Dust Clears.
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DIY projects for the weekend

If you're itching to spruce things up a bit this weekend, take a look at these ideas for the home (via a Google image search.) That orange grid wall makes my heart beat faster.
Orange wall by Milo&Ben
Belted wall clock at Remodelista
Cardboard chandelier by Kayte Terry at the Etsy blog
Painted spoons from Little Bit Funky
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Dali desktop wallpaper

This desktop wallpaper with a humorous Salvador Dali quote is an oldie but goodie by Brooke Francesi. It's from Design Milk's Designer Desktops series, and I just applied it to my monitor. It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I'm determined to prove old Salvador wrong. What did he know, anyhow? His floppy clocks would never function in the real world, and his skinny little mustache can't compete with the likes of Burt Reynolds or Ron Swanson. Surely he could have worked a little harder. Humph.
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Make a coffee-cup paper calendar

Every month Scout Creative releases a free printable calendar you can assemble into a 3D paper toy. These always make me smile, and May's edition is one of my faves. Build yourself a coffee cup with a calendar sleeve. When the month is over, remove the sleeve to reveal a feisty face on one side of the cup and a happy face on the other. (You could rotate it daily to warn your coworkers about your emotional state.) Grab the PDF right here.
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Doily-print fabric made with photosensitive dye

It's spring in Chicago, which means wet things no longer freeze outside and the sun actually shines. So I tried another project with Inkodye, the photosensitive dye tested in a few projects last year. I'd received samples from the manufacturer to play with, and I've been curious about using paper doilies as stencils.

I taped a piece of white cotton canvas to cardboard wrapped in plastic. With a sponge brush, I applied red-orange dye. (Fabric really soaks this stuff up, so this required over half a bottle.) Update: I've learned that using a 1:1 ratio of dye to water works just as well!

Next I arranged paper doilies on top. As I suspected, the doilies started to curl when they absorbed a little moisture from the wet dye, so I quickly poked some straight pins into them to hold down the edges. Then I placed the board in direct sunlight on our back landing and hoped our neighbors wouldn't step on it as they came down the stairs.

Ten minutes later, I removed the doiles and scrubbed the fabric in soapy water.

The white blotches are where the dye soaked into the doilies and they stuck to the fabric. A little bit unfortunate.

On the other hand, I suppose you could argue this looks like some sort of faded, distressed antique — a tea towel discovered in a French flea market, maybe. And since my decorating style is supposedly "Country French," along with 89% of you, we should appreciate this, right? I give it a B-. But it was fun.

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Seamless watercolor patterns

If you're looking for pretty patterns to spruce up your blog or Twitter page, check out these watercolor seamless backgrounds from August Empress. Get circles and squares, a chevron pattern, a floral print, and more. Images are for personal use only; contact August Empress if you have any usage questions.
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Make origami bows from magazine pages

Turns out it's oddly satisfying to make a bow from a single square of scrap paper. No glue or tape needed; just a scissors to make a couple of cuts.

These are folded from graph paper I stole from Alex's stash, a piece of origami paper, and a chopped-up Martha Stewart magazine. I trimmed the paper into 6" squares and followed the excellent instructions posted at Let's Create.

These will be handy at Christmas when we need to mail packages or stack boxes in the car for a road trip, since the bows can be squashed completely flat. Course by then, I won't remember how to make them anymore, or even that I posted this.

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DIY projects using vinyl

Vinyl is fun—you gotta love edges that don't fray! I'm pondering a couple projects, and in the meantime Googled to see what other people have been up to. If you're into synthetics, check out these tutorials explaining how to make your own vinyl goodies.

Drawstring coin purse at Between the Lines (use leather or vinyl)
Bowls made from vinyl records by Skulls and Ponies
Vintage vinyl record dessert stand from Bubby and Bean
Vinyl DIY handbag straps by Emmaline Bags
Braided cuff bracelet at The Craft Patch
Zippered clutch from Until Wednesday Calls
Chuck Taylor vinyl pouch by Gerbera Designs
Patent "leather" vinyl tote at Sew For Home
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Free fonts from Font Fabric

Fellow designers, have you investigated the fantastic free fonts at Font Fabric? There are lots of useful typefaces in the giveaway section. Thank you, generous typographers!
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Modern DIY supplies coming to Target

Todd Oldham has teamed up with Target to produce a collection of art supplies inspired by his 2009 book, Kid Made Modern. The kits and supplies are geared toward children, but I'm eyeing this duct tape! Todd suggests making wallets and messenger bags with it. Check out the Charley Harper paint-by-number sets, too—you can make your own painting on wood for some nifty DIY wall art.

Also available are crayons shaped like gems, wooden jewelry kits, a comic book set with rubber stamps, and more. All supplies and kits are under $20 and available at Target (in stores and online) starting May 20.

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Edit images online with PicMonkey

The popular online photo editor Picnik has been purchased by Google and will no longer be available to users without a Google+ account. However, some of the Picnik team members have created PicMonkey, a new, free photo editor.

Upload a photo and easily manipulate it in zillions of ways, from a standard crop and resize, to dozens of customizable effects including Polaroid, Holga, Lomo, film grain, and more. You can even add mascara and lip tint to your subject. The "weight loss" effect is funny, but I decided this plant did not require a diet.

Altered photos can be saved as jpgs or pngs. Note that PicMonkey runs on Flash, so it won't work on the iPad.

And a tip for entrepreneurs: it's cool to name your service after a primate these days. I'm thinking of joining the ranks of PicMonkey, Mail Chimp, and Survey Monkey by starting a second blog called "How About Orangutan."
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Designing necktie ribbon

I work full time as a graphic designer, and usually that means creating logos, brochures, business cards, websites, and other marketing materials for companies. But sometimes ribbon or textile projects come along—always a fun diversion. One example is this custom ribbon for Bella Bark and Meow. The company requested designs that resemble neckties, and after whittling down a pile of options, here's the final result. If your pooch studies at an Ivy League university, leads board meetings or plans to run for office, these are just the thing. Find these preppy dog collars here.

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Quiz: What's your decorating style?

Better Homes and Gardens will attempt to diagnose your decorating style with this little quiz. My result was "Country French." No way, man. Maybe it's because I said I wanted to go to Paris. I had fun selecting a shoe (totally those striped flats), but I'd sell every one of those chairs at a garage sale immediately. Good luck!
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Links to free Japanese sewing patterns

The other day I spent some time poking around Japanese Sewing Books, the blog of Yifarn, a mom of two girls in Singapore. Like many of us, she adores Japanese sewing books for their distinctive aesthetic. Along with articles on how to use the books and a glossary of common terms, the website offers lots of links to free sewing patterns.

Yup, they're all in Japanese, but it's possible that clever sewists might have enough to go on to make some of the projects. I'm definitely not one of those people, so I'm content just to admire the pictures. The projects above can be found here, here, here, and here. Also useful: quilters can find free patterns in English here.
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Retro desktop wallpapers

Morning, all. Hope you had a great Easter/Passover weekend. My parents visited from Minnesota and hit the road a bit ago for the nine-hour drive home. After a lovely weekend of fancy food, site-seeing, and Jersey Boys, it's back to business as usual (but with Rag Doll stuck in my head). To kick off the week, I freshened up my desktop with this orange wallpaper from Fossil. Check out their latest selection of vintage-style desktops here.
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DIY Pantone Easter eggs

The graphic designer in me couldn't resist attempting faux Pantone Easter eggs. I dyed these boiled eggs, then typed up the labels and printed them on ink jet temporary tattoo paper. Remember to print the words backwards! (I used Silhouette brand tattoo paper I bought at my local PaperSource, but you can also get similar stuff from DecalPaper.com.) And yes, I'm such a nerd that I had to match the color numbers properly using my chip book.
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Birthday present

I found this hiding in the cupboard, awaiting my morning latte yesterday. It's a gift from Alex and I love it. (I, um, may have sent him a link to this thing last week just in case he needed any suggestions. A girl can't rely on telepathy, you know.) These kitties are available at Abodeon or ModCloth.
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Free printable birthday/thank you cards

Love Vs. Design has posted printable flat cards with a geometric theme, free for the downloading. Save yourself a trip to the store! Speaking of birthdays, mine was Sunday and this morning I found a belated gift waiting for me in the cupboard. I'll show you tomorrow.
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Make an origami Easter bunny

Follow along as Sara Adams demonstrates how to fold a little origami rabbit right here. The bunny is designed by Jun Maekawa. I have no idea how a person picks up a sheet of paper and figures out how to fold a three-dimensional rabbit from it. Amazing.
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