02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 | How About Orange

February 29, 2012

Free seamless textures

I shared this link on Twitter the other day, but have to mention it here as well. While googling for background images, I stumbled on Subtle Textures, a beautiful collection of seamless patterns for tiling. A web designer's dream! If you're not a designer, you might still enjoy a subtly-patterned Twitter page background or computer desktop, yes?

February 28, 2012

Free things to print and make

Have you seen the ever-expanding collection of free printables at Love vs. Design? Download gift card envelopes, library cards, invitations, and more.

February 27, 2012

Grab some typographic wallpapers

A fresh, new week requires a fresh, new desktop. Download a series of typographic-quote wallpapers in a variety of sizes right here, created by designer Ross Moody of 55 Hi's. I spotted these at Chic Type, a new typography blog I think I'm going to enjoy.

February 24, 2012

What do you know about the Oscars?

If you're languishing at your desk watching the clock, try these Academy Award-themed quizzes. They'll waste time nicely until you're released for the weekend. Have a good one!
2012 Oscar nominee trivia at PopSugar
Memorable moments from the Academy Awards on Oprah.com
This year's Oscar trivia from the Chicago Tribune

February 23, 2012

Make an origami star lantern

I learned how to fold this paper candle holder by following directions from Passengers on a Little Spaceship, right here. It's quick and fun! I used a 12" x 12" piece of cardstock. It was more difficult to fold than thinner paper, but made a very sturdy lantern. You can experiment with different sizes, colors, and thicknesses of paper. This size was good for a glass votive holder.

February 22, 2012

7 pencil-related DIY projects

Do you like pencils? I do. Especially when they're pretty or come in a fancy pouch. Check out these tutorials:

Make colored pencil jewelry with Mini Eco at Design Mom
Drill yourself a rustic pencil holder like Strawberry Chic's
Create striped pencils a la Martha Stewart
Make pencils from paper with instructions from Scissors Paper Wok
Sew a pencil-shaped pencil pouch by Gwenny Penny
Whip up an oilcloth pencil case with Momtastic
Decorate pencils with washi paper using tips from Omiyage

February 21, 2012

A nifty jam label generator

Since we're on the topic of jam, remember that awesome Beer Labelizer from Andy Biggs? He's made a Jam Labelizer, too. You can choose a design, pick colors, and type your own words, then download a high-resolution file for printing. On some designs you can upload your own photo so your friends can see your beaming face every time they fix some toast. These don't have to be for jam, either. Make labels for boxes of cookies, homemade presents, bookplates, and more.

Help yourself to the free designs, or donate $5 to get access to the full set (helping Andy cover the time he put into building the site, his website hosting fees, plus designing more labels). Start labelizing right here.

February 20, 2012

Printable jam labels and gift tags

The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. I'm pretending the amazing, mild winter we're having in Chicago will end without any late snowstorms or really cold weather. It's practically summer!* So I'm going to post some flowery stuff. Find pretty botanical labels to print from Packagery right here. Let's make some jam.

*I realize I may have just jinxed us and any upcoming blizzards are my fault.

February 17, 2012

Sullivan, a new typeface

Jason Mark Jones has designed a cool new typeface called Sullivan, available right here at the Lost Type Co-op. It comes in three variations: Regular, Bevel, and Fill. Layer them to create vintage-looking lettering. I dig it.

February 16, 2012

More DIY cut-paper pendants

Turns out I can do two brainless activities at the same time: watch people pass out on American Idol, and glue small stacks of paper together. I made these pendants last night. Like the pixel heart version, I created a design in Adobe Illustrator, cut a dozen shapes out of cardstock using my Silhouette cutting machine, and glued them into a stack. When the glue dries, the pendant is hard and strong. Each of these is about 2" tall and 1/8" thick. See here for a slightly more detailed how-to.

In the geometric pendant in the first photo above, I sandwiched two "filler" shapes in the center of the pile to add some solid areas.

To download the template files (PDF, .svg, and .dxf for the Silhouette machine), click here.

February 15, 2012

Our house's latest orange thing

I spotted a forest of orange lamps at IKEA while Christmas shopping in December. Their tangerine glow was irresistible. I was drawn like a moth to a flame, and after lots of agonizing about where we could put it, we took one home. The linen-like texture makes me very happy, and it looks beautiful when turned on.

February 14, 2012

Mid-century furniture desktop wallpapers

Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of the occasion, Lushpad is offering mid-century themed wallpapers for computers and devices. Grab the furniture design in black or red right here.

February 13, 2012

DIY pixel heart necklace

Need a last-minute DIY Valentine's Day gift? Show how much you care by using 50 cents' worth of paper and glue to make a pendant.

I was inspired by all the pixel stuff at Pinterest lately. (Part of the 80s revival, perhaps?) And I was really impressed by a paper necklace Patricia Zapata was sporting at the Alt Design Summit recently.

To make the pendant, cut 12 hearts from cardstock. You can download the PDF template here, print it at 100%, and cut out hearts very carefully with an X-acto knife. Or, if you have a Silhouette cutting machine, download the .studio file here and make your machine do the work. The template produces hearts that are 1.5" wide.

Glue the hearts into a stack, applying glue sparingly. Sometimes it's helpful to use the tip of the bottle to smear the glue around a bit. I used Mono Aqua clear glue from Office Max.

As the glue dries, the pendant will harden nicely. If you wanted to seal it, you could brush on some hard coat Mod Podge or apply a coat of clear acrylic gel medium.

Update: get more designs to make right here.

February 10, 2012

A website full of free amigurumi patterns

Continuing the Japanese theme of the last few days, here's another dose of cuteness: AmigurumiPatterns.net. If you like to crochet objects with faces, you'll like this new website. It's a growing museum of free amigurumi patterns from around the web. There's a shop with a few patterns for sale, too, and all the money goes to the pattern creators. I don't know the first thing about knitting or crocheting, but apparently it's possible to decipher these mysterious codes and use them to produce bunnies with mustaches and mushrooms with eyes. Amazing.

February 09, 2012

Make an easy origami heart-shaped dish

I get a kick out of speedy little paper projects, so I had to try the folded heart basket demonstrated by Leyla Torres at Origami Spirit. It's easy! You could spend a couple minutes fancying up your Valentine table with these and impress your friends and family.

February 08, 2012

Goodies from Japan

A package arrived from my friend Megumi yesterday. I'll show you what was in it, because there were some unique items. Of course everything was wrapped so adorably that I had to take a picture before tearing in. All right, I didn't tear in, either. I very carefully removed tape and opened flaps, because when you're dealing with teensy bunnies and cupcakes, you owe it to them to be gentle.

Inside I found miniature Deco Rush decorative tapes that you apply by using a pen-like gizmo. Pull the pen along, and it deposits tiny pigs on your paper. Or swap out the cartridge when you feel the need for flowers and trees.

This character was also included. His tag says "MoPet: It is living in your life!" Yes, this hedgehog is now living in my life. He looks like he's made of Cheetos, but it's actually microfiber material. The guy has a pocket in his belly so you can put your fingers inside and swish him around your desk to do some dusting. I fear for his health because it's very dirty behind my computer.

Next, check out these erasable felt tip markers. Did you know there's been a revolution in erasable pen technology? These erasers use friction to heat up the thermo-sensitive ink and make it disappear. So your eraser never wears away or leaves crumbs behind, and the erasing is flawless. I'd heard about these a few months ago and bought the FriXion gel pen version from Amazon. My teacher friend went nuts when she saw them, because now she can mark down grades with a pen, but erase cleanly if needed. Until yesterday, I didn't know they came in a marker version! Looks like you can get the whole Japanese FriXion line at JetPens.com. Apparently Pilot made a special uglified version of the gel pen to sell in the US, because the Japanese version is way prettier than mine. Or maybe it's just newer.

The last item in the package was an amazing little flipbook, but I couldn't figure out how to fan the pages while taking a still photo. Trust me; it's quirky and fun. Just like Megumi.

February 07, 2012

Round-up of free Valentine printables

Try making these DIY Valentine's Day greetings if you're the crafty sort!
Pop-up pixelated Valentine by Mini-Eco
Cupid arrows with glitter pencils from Sweet Muffin Suite
Stitched Valentine card by Dandee
Printable tags from Everyday Occasions
Valentine scramble gram at Oh Happy Day

February 06, 2012

2012 Oscar bingo and ballot

Update: Looking for the 2013 Oscar bingo and ballot? Get it right here.

Hosting an Oscars party on Feb. 26? I've made up 20 different Oscar bingo cards you can print out, along with a matching ballot for guessing the Academy Award winners. And like every year, a big disclaimer for the game: it might be possible to win ten minutes into the telecast, or maybe there won't be any winners at all. Who knows? But based on personal experience, I can say it's really fun to play.

A bingo refresher: The first person to mark off five squares in a line wins. It could be a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line, and the center square counts as a freebie.

To keep the PDF file sizes smaller, I've split the bingo set into two files of ten pages each. Save a file to your computer, open it in Adobe Reader, and print the number of pages you need at 100% size.

Download the first set of 10 cards.
Download the second set of 10 cards.
Download the ballot.

February 03, 2012

Where I'd shop if I had kids and wealth

I don't have kids. But I'd consider acquiring a few, just so I'd have an excuse to fill my house with stuff from French Blossom, a new children's online boutique based in France. One of the owners emailed today to introduce the shop stocked with items from independent French designers. I replied that I don't blog much about kids' products, and told myself I wouldn't do a post. And then I promptly got sucked in by the bright, quirky goodies. I window-shopped for virtual children and bought these items with imaginary money.

If you'd like to spend real money, note that many things are on sale through Valentine's Day. Shop here.

A Bloggie finalist

How About Orange is nominated for a Bloggie! Along with four amazing rock stars in the "Best art, craft, or design weblog" category. Vote for your faves right here. And that reminds me: time to make the 2012 Oscars bingo cards...

February 01, 2012

A February chicken coop calendar

Happy February! It's the time of year when our thoughts turn toward... chickens? Check out the latest model in Scout Creative's 3D calendar series: a paper chicken coop. Scout is based in Portland, where I understand folks are quite concerned with chicken quality of life (evidenced by that Portlandia clip). So go ahead and feel good about making yourself some free range desk chickens. Download the printable template right here.

1/27/14 Update: Scout's calendar is no longer available; we will have to survive without chickens.