Creativity Resources & Favorites

In the summer of 2012, I read several books that challenged me to my core and turned my life upside down. Within a few months, I quit my freelance writing job, started blogging, and began pursuing the heart of God in earnest.

Books

These beloved books were {and still are} some of my favorite companions on this journey. They all deal with creativity, spirituality, and authentic living in some way and remain invaluable resources for me:

Here are a few more books that are on my to-read list:

Blogs

Let’s just get his right out there…. I don’t read blogs often enough for someone who blogs. I’m horrible at “keeping up.” I wish I could. There are so many amazing, talented, crazy-creative, God-infused men and women out there, doing their blog thing.

But, keep in mind I also get into weird projects like ripping jeans apart and upcycling them into skirts for my girls or fermenting kefir on my countertop {ok, not all the time, but more often than “normal” people}, so that cuts into my computer time.

I also have three kids, one of them a three-year-old, non-napping boy. {Who am I kidding? He’s more the issue than my DIY addiction.} All that said, I do keep up with these gals and have even had the chance to meet a few in person:

I also have an awesome group of online “friends” who support and love on me:

Online Classes/Tutorials 

This one’s for all you crafty types. 

I love You Can Make This for all kinds of DIY goodness, with a strong bent toward sewing/knitting/crocheting. The site offers all kinds of patterns, templates, and instructions, priced reasonably. I was really into YCMT when my girls were younger and would actually wear cute frilly things that were handmade. While I don’t knit or crochet, this site makes me wish I could, so I could turn some yarn into a pumpkin hat or strawberry vest.

For photography/digital design lovers, Jessica Sprague has the BEST online classes and digital design goodies. I love that once you buy a class, you have access to the class materials FOREVER on Jessica’s site. The site also offers free classes from time to time, so be sure to sign up for updates to get alerted for freebies and sales.

Equipment

I think I’ve mentioned I have a little craft addiction problem? I confess to a ridiculous amount of hobbies — more than my schedule or my pocketbook allow. They range from scrapbooking to cooking to photography to jewelry-making. Here are some of my favorite places to shop and my most invaluable crafty and creative tools. 

  • I love shopping Artbeads for my jewelry-making supplies. Orders over $10 always get free shipping
  • When I’m editing photos quickly, for my blog or for personal use, I use PicMonkey’s free service, though I may upgrade to their very reasonable “royale” service. The rest of the time, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements.
  • I typically print my photos from home, because it gives me the flexibility to print various sizes easily. Also, now that I have my new Epson WorkForce WF-7510, I can print up to 11×17, fax, and scan. I love this printer. And, it only runs about $175. {One word of warning: This printer is seriously huge, like 42 lbs. huge. Ours is parked on our dining room floor right now.}

  • When I’m doing home decor and scrapbooking projects, I boot up my awesome Silhouette Cameo {a digital diecutter}. I use it to cut cardstock, vinyl, and more. I chose it over its competitor, the Cricut, because you can cut ANY font that’s on your computer. You can also purchase as you go through Silhouette’s site {images are .99 each} instead of having to order pricey cartridges. Silhouette offers free shapes each week and half priced items; they also run specials on yearly subscriptions that allow you to download, say, 25 images per month for as little $8.
  • When I’m snapping photos, I use either my Canon Digital Rebel XSi or my phone. I’m very much a novice, and my budget for cameras and lenses is pretty much just what I can talk my family into spending on me any given Christmas. If there’s one lens I can wholeheartedly recommend for folks on a budget, it’s the “Nifty Fifty” {Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens}.

  • I love to cook and have various gadgets, but my top two cooking tools — my limited collection of All-Clad cookware and my Fine Cookingmagazine. I’m really lucky to live a few miles from the AllClad factory and have built my collection from their annual seconds sale. And, I’ve subscribed off and on to Fine Cooking for years. It’s like a master cooking class in a magazine — plus there are basically no ads. When you make a Fine Cooking recipe, it may not be the quickest recipe or the most low-fat dish, but more importantly, you know it’s going to rock. Period.

 What are your favorite blogs, books, online resources, and crafty toys? I’d love to hear what you recommend!

 

 

 

 

 

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