Posted in how-to, Resources

Your Complete Guide to How and Where to Find Sims 4 CC

A while ago I wrote about creative video games worth trying out and The Sims 4 was at the top of that list. And for good reason! There’s just so much you can do with sims, and community-made mods and Custom Content (or CC) add even more possibilities.

So many, really, that it’s hard to know where to go to find the best cc and… “collecting” the best stuff for your sims is almost a hobby in and of itself.

Or maybe I’m just a hoarder, you know. Whatever. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the best places I’ve found a lot of great custom content to help you get even more creative with your sims.


General tips

First off, here’s what you DON’T want to do:

  • download anything that looks sketchy; for instance, if it uses ad.fly? Not worth it!
  • simply place .rar or .zip files in your Mods folder without extracting the files first
    • if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry; I’ll explain below
  • download mods or cc that requires expansion packs you don’t have
    • many downloads will specifically say “base-game compatible” or “bgc” OR note what expansions are required to use the content
  • (optional) download a ton of content without also getting mods to help you manage it
    • for example: expanded CAS columns becomes verryyy necessary at a certain point

Yeah, so I would suggest NOT doing the above things. Here’s the basics of how you actually DO download mods/cc for your game:

Disclaimer: I have a PC and am running Windows 10. I honestly have no idea how this changes if you have a Mac. YMMV, etc etc.

  1. Find cool stuff and download it! Yay! This is the fun part. Make sure you know how to get to where everything downloads, i.e, usually your Downloads folder.
  2. Look at what file type each download is. PACKAGE files are the easiest to handle; go to 2a. Go to 2b for .rar and .zip files.
    • 2a: If the file in question is a PACKAGE file, all you really have to do is move that sucker into your Sims 4 Mods folder. Click to select it, then you should see “Move to” up at the top of your file browser. Use that to navigate to your Mods folder, which for me is in Documents, but you might have to look around. The path should be something like Documents > Electronic Arts >The Sims 4 > Mods. Once you’ve moved the file to Mods, you’re done with this step.
    • 2b: For a .rar or .zip file, I would recommend using 7zip, which is free and by all accounts much better than winRAR or whatever else is out there. With it installed, right click the file, then 7zip > Extract… and click the three little dots off to the right to browse for your Mods folder. The path should be something like Documents > Electronic Arts >The Sims 4 > Mods. Press OK to extract the files to your Mods folder and now you can delete the files from your Downloads.
  3. Now you’ve installed your mods/cc and want to actually play, right? To do this, you’ll need to start the game, go into Options, and enable mods and scripted mods. You’ll find the options in the “Other” category. Note that you’ll need to re-enable mods every time the game updates.
  4. Now you’ll need to restart your game. Do this and you should be all set!

Now that you get the process, where do you actually find all this cool stuff to download??


Larger/general sources of Sims cc

  • The Sims Resource.
    • This one can be divisive because you have to pay to conveniently download anything, but it’s pretty cheap. I think it’s very worth the price.
    • The content here tends to be high-quality and there’s a lot of it. It’s kind of overwhelming, honestly. Often I find cc through another source (like Pinterest) that points me back to TSR, though I wouldn’t have ever seen it there otherwise. Maybe their search needs some tweaking? Not sure.
    • You can absolutely try TSR for free for a while and if you use it a lot, consider upgrading to a paid plan.
  • Tumblr.
    • So-called “simblrs” tend to host free cc, but sometimes they link to Patrons-only Patreon accounts.
    • Simblrs are great for going down rabbit holes, because often they reblog each other and/or have lists of other simblrs you can check out.
    • You don’t need a tumblr account of your own to search tumblr!
    • The biggest downfall of searching tumblr is that many of the links are broken. Sometimes it feels like a cc cemetery. 😦 But there is still so much left up there!
  • Pinterest.
    • I unironically love Pinterest lately. It learns quickly what you’re into and suggests infinite sources of cc once it picks up on your interest in it.
    • Pinterest is also great for organizing all that stuff you want to download later!
    • I would recommend adding a “note to self” when you download something so you don’t forget. For example, I would add “Downloaded 5/11/22” to everything I download today. These notes are only visible to you, don’t worry.
  • ModTheSims.
    • ModTheSims is especially great for, well, mods. I means mods as opposed to cc that doesn’t really function in an innovative way, e.g., clothes.
    • You can download stuff for free here!
    • Beware of very old mods–I haven’t seen anything malicious on MTS, but some modders have abandoned their mods over time and they can either just not work and/or cause problems with your game.

I’m sure I’m missing other sources, but these are what I use, generally. I’m a little hesitant to recommend Simsdom because I find the wait time (if you don’t pay) to be extremely annoying and the price doesn’t seem worth it. That said, sometimes I’ll download from there anyway.

Maybe you’re looking for even faster shortcuts to the good stuff. πŸ™‚ Don’t worry, I got you.


My more specific faves for cc sources

The following list is probably well into “overwhelming” territory, but I’m providing little notes to help you determine which links to follow based on what kind of cc you’re looking for. Have fun!

TSR

Like I mentioned above, TSR is technically a paysite, but it’s well worth the cost, in my opinion. There’s no other site as legit, high-quality, and (almost) free of ads.

Some of my favorite TSR artists are:

KaTPurpura: clothes, especially female kids and toddler clothes cc

McLayneSims: clothes, especially male clothes cc (for all ages). Really prolific creator on TSR.

qicc: hair cc

remaron: hair and clothes cc (for all ages)

Severinka_: object and furniture cc

SIMcredible!: super polished object and furniture cc, especially sets

Pinkzombiecupcakes: clothes cc (for all ages and genders)

RAVASHEEN: objects/furniture cc. Often modded to function in some awesome and creative way. Probably one of my top favorite Sims cc creators/modders.

Sims House: clothes cc for male and female adults

Syboubou: object and furniture cc, amazing quality.

Pralinesims: buy/build objects, walls and floors, and premade houses cc. Incredible attention to detail, especially in subtle textures. My go-to for flooring and terrain.

wingssims: alpha hair cc. Super realistic.

wondymoon: object and furniture cc. Lots of really good stuff.

Onyxium: object and furniture cc, often a really cool modern/minimalistic style.

ung999: object and furniture cc, modern style.

NynaeveDesign: object and furniture cc. Not currently uploading (at least on TSR), but their stuff is very high-quality.

jomsims: VERY prolific creator (over 6k creations on TSR), with plenty of great clothes and object/furniture cc.

OranosTR: clothes and hair cc

Darte77: clothes, especially male clothes cc. Very detailed–goes for realism.

belaloallure: clothes cc. Very detailed, goes for realism.

lillka: kids and toddlers clothes cc

Simblrs (Tumblr)

These are some of my favorite sims-focused Tumblr blogs. You don’t need a tumblr to chase rabbitholes of reblogged cc. πŸ™‚ There is some risk of broken links, though.

Peacemaker: objects and furniture cc. You can tell this person is very kind and does it for the joy.

KK’s Sims: clothes, especially male clothes cc

MaxisMatchCCWorld: a HUGE collection of cc. Very neatly organized, too. A great source to find any kind of cc you want.

wcifsareclosed: a reliable simblr with a large collection of cc. I don’t think they create, though I could be wrong.

okruee: clothes and hair cc

This is Them: skinblends cc that make sims look like real people. It’s crazy.

My Pinterest board

If you want a direct way to see what I’m into as far as Sims 4 cc, check out my Pinterest board.

I will warn you, however, that some links may be broken and/or lead to adfly or be otherwise sketchy. I can’t guarantee everything on here because I don’t download before I pin, typically.

Patreon/Other sites

Most of these are on Patreon, but here’s a protip: scroll down to “See all posts” and then filter on the tier dropdown to only show public posts. This lists all the free content for you!

Around the Sims: an unreal quantity of buy/build objects as well as clothes cc. If you aren’t a paid member, you need to download items individually (sometimes a pain, but I think it’s worth the effort).

myshunosun: object/furniture cc with a distinct minimalist style.

Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla: clothes, especially male clothes cc. They have a very clean and professional style and are super prolific. I probably have hundreds of Gorillax3 pins on my Sims board.

LazyEyelids: clothes cc (for all ages and genders)

Solistair: clothes cc for male and female adults

Rusty Nail clothes, espeically male clothes cc (Sims4Downloads has a lot of ads, but otherwise seems legit)

Rimings: clothes cc. Very detailed, goes for realism.

AdrienPastel: clothes, epecially male clothes cc.

casteru: clothes and hair cc. A smoother, closer-to-EA sort of style.

obscurus-sims: sliders and presets. Seriously, their sliders are the best out there.


I hope this was helpful to anyone looking to try out some Sims 4 CC! See you soon! πŸ™‚

Posted in hobbies

Creative Video Games You Should Try

Creativity and video games don’t always go hand-in-hand. I mean, it’s not uncommon to picture a “gamer” as someone who’s great at some first-person shooter game or something. Halo? Call of Duty? I don’t know. I might be outdated in my references because I usually hate FPS. πŸ™‚

Point being… gamers aren’t stereotypically creative. If anything, they’re destructive.

But! I’m here to tell y’all: there are games out there that allow for tons of fun with art. And they aren’t even kid-oriented! Yes, that’s right–you can play video games and be creative over the age of 18. You’ll be better off for it!


Now, I present the games:

The Sims 4

I understand this might be a divisive choice because it’s popular and therefore many people have Opinions(TM). But honestly, find me a better game in which you can create people AND houses. I don’t think you can!

(But, um, if you do? Please let me know like yesterday because I would probably love it too.)

If you don’t know Sims at all, essentially what you do is make a person or people (Sim[s]) and set up their house (which can be premade or you can make it however you want) and then… you do whatever you want.

The open-endedness almost makes it difficult to make a case for its addictive game-esque potential, but you can lead your Simulated lives just however you want.

Maybe you want a vegan blogger who barely leaves the house, or a giant traditional family, or a supervillian in a mansion, or [insert whatever you want]. Your sims have a personal appearance, a wardrobe, and a personality you create in Create-A-Sim.

And if you’re like “idk what I want, lol” there are always randomize buttons. So you can see something you hate and then change it. πŸ™‚

Customization potential of The Sims = ridiculous

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the extra layers of creativity that Sims 4 Custom Content (or cc) provides.

There is just So Much out there to download for your sims experience. Like, I don’t know how to quantify it precisely, but as for my personal collection, I have over 2.5 THOUSAND files just from The Sims Resource alone.

I think I might write a whole post just about Sims 4 cc because it’s too much to cover in brief, but basically, you can download not only objects, rooms, entire houses, clothing, makeup, etc, but also scripted mods that change your gameplay. You might want Myers-Briggs-based personality type traits or a nursing career track in your game and the cc community provides.

If you’d like hints on where to start with Sims 4 cc, here’s my Pinterest board devoted to it.

The creative possibilities for Sims gameplay are really pretty endless. And the base game itself is not too expensive. The catch is that EA charges an arm and a leg for expansion packs, which add things like the ability to own pets or perform magic. Just wait for a sale on those, maybe. πŸ˜‰


House Flipper

Screenshot of House Flipper gameplay showing a decorated bathroom
A bathroom screenshot I’m proud of

I’m really excited to give a shout-out to House Flipper because it’s indie and I’ve loved it since it came out in 2018. It’s the most played game in my Steam library at 506 hours of playtime. I’ve played for the equivalent of three weeks, 24 hours a day. I mean it when I say I love this game. Lol.

The premise of House Flipper is that you’re a handy(wo)man trying to fix up old and/or trashed houses so you can make them pretty and sell them for a profit. The making money dimension is not the focus of the game, though. Making them pretty is where it’s at.

Every house or job you take on has you starting with tasks like cleaning up literal garbage and sometimes vacuuming cockroaches (ew), but you’ll always end up doing a great deal of interior design.

And when I say “interior design,” I mean you, as a one-(wo)man crew, can go in there and change as much or as little about the house as you want. Don’t like that wall? Take a sledgehammer to it. Oh, whoops, you needed that? Rebuild it!

Then you do all the painting/siding/paneling/flooring and then you have a huge catalogue of furniture and decorations to make the house look like an actual home.

This part is the most time-consuming part, really. You’ll spend most of the time choosing and arranging furniture to your (and your buyer’s) liking. Although I should say, again, the emphasis is not really on the people-pleasing objectives but rather the potential to do whatever you want.

Customization potential of House Flipper = also ridiculous

Speaking of doing whatever you want, House Flipper has a decent modding community, too! So people have taken the time to custom-make basically any object or wall or flooring you can think of.

I used to spend time every day downloading every single item I thought was cool. I did this for probably a few months and eventually got overwhelmed.

The mods are available through the Steam workshop, too, so the downloading process feels considerably less sketchy and is always free. There’s no guarantee that player-made mods won’t dramatically break your save, but, you know, they probably won’t. πŸ™‚

I should also note that if you’re scared by House Flipper’s price tag, bear in mind that it goes on sale pretty often. And it’s so worth it!!


SuchArt!

Screenshot of Suchart! gameplay showing an abstract painting
A screenshot of an abstract painting I made

SuchArt! is another indie game on Steam that I absolutely adore. You’re an artist in some future environment where you get your own studio to paint and decorate and weak havoc if you so choose.

That’s because the game feels very realistic and immersive, with amazing physics behind it that make you feel like you are actually throwing paint onto that wall-sized canvas. Or carefully pencilling in the lines on your next tiny masterpiece. You know, whatever.

You do technically do commisioned art “jobs” that will specify canvas size and sometimes the subject or preferred style/colors, but I’m not sure how much the AI actually cares what you paint, as long as it’s the correct canvas size.

With the jobs comes money and thus upgrades to your space and tools. There’s really a lot of content in the game and the devs keep updating it.

But I think what’s most incredible about SuchArt! is that not only is it just a fun and content-rich game, but the artistic potential is surprisingly legitimate. I mean, when you look at the gallery of what other players have created, you have enough tools at your disposal to create genuine virtual works of art. You wouldn’t expect to have that kind of control with this virtual interface and just your mouse and keyboard.

I sincerely hope you give this game a shot because it’s criminally underrated. And there’s a free trial! Please? πŸ™‚


Coloring Game (any/all versions)

I hope you’re not tired of my references to Steam games, because here’s another series on Steam!

This one is arguably less open-ended than any of the others because it’s coloring in predetermined pixel art, but it’s still worth mentioning because it does what it does really well. It may be a simple ask to play a coloring game, but I’ve tried many and this one is by far the best.

I think where they got it right was integrating the idea of coloring with pixel art, because you’re able to zoom in and out without distorting the image or accidentally coloring outside the lines.

My favorite thing about the Coloring Game(s) is just that they’re very relaxing and satisfying. The most complex designs take several hours, though you can always save and return to it later.

There’s just something about coloring so cleanly–the pixels you need to fill in are highlighted for you, too, and so you just legitimately don’t need to worry about anything other than finding all the little gray squares that correspond to the color you have in hand.

Also of note is the plethora of versions and expansion packs available, and all of them are surprisingly cheap. I mean, typically about $1.99 each? Don’t quote me, but that’s in the ballpark.


Hopefully at least one of these games speaks to you! Video games don’t have to be about violence and shooting. They can also be about creativity and art!

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Posted in how-to

How to Read a Friendship Bracelet Pattern

So I’ve been making some friendship bracelets lately, and recently branched out to making my first pattern of my own!

But I think there’s kind of a steep barrier to entry for a lot of people: the diagrams look really complicated. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and never really get going. But you’re missing out, y’all! So let me try to explain how to read the patterns.


I’m going to use my own submitted pattern because that seems like less of a copyright concern, no? I mean, I did create the thing myself.

So, first things first. This is what the bracelet looks like:

Blue and black geometric friendship bracelet pattern

Now, there are a couple of things to remember here. For one, there’s no fixed number of times that the design needs to repeat. You just make it as many times as you think you need to to get an appropriate length for a bracelet.

Also, this is the perfect princess digital version. So… it doesn’t look exactly like that as a bracelet. It’s hard to explain why, exactly, but something about how the knots stack and the embroidery floss stretches plus the tension you hold it with… yeah. It gets complicated.


Now, here’s what the pattern looks like:

Full diagram of my friendship bracelet pattern

Please don’t run away! I can explain!!!

Take a deep breath. Good? Ok.

The very first thing you should notice is that we’ve only got two colors going on. A (black) and B (blue). The reason we bother to say A or B instead of just the color is because you can and should pick whatever color combos you want; this black/blue is just a suggestion.

The second thing you want to look at is the very top row:

First row of the pattern

Never mind the arrows for now–just notice how many strands of thread you have “leading into” the first row. You’ve got A B B A A B B A A B here. Which is 5 A strands and 5 blue strands.

You need to know this because your next step, if you want to try following along, is to cut 5 strands of each color you want to use.

The million dollar question: how long do I cut each strand?

Good question, pal. I’m still trying to figure out how to guesstimate this more precisely, but most people use a rule of thumb of the length from the tip of your middle finger to your shoulder. Per strand, mind you.

(There are also a lot of people who double this length and fold each strand in half to form a loop at the top. I think this sounds very legit, but I haven’t actually tried it yet, so I can’t really talk about it :D)


Ok, so you have your embroidery floss, right? 10 strands, 5 of each color?

You can just knot them all together in a simple overhead knot about three inches down from their ends. It will be thick and you’re about to tie a billion other knots directly below it, so don’t worry about it being super secure. This is just your starting point.

I would recommend you somehow secure this end to something solid before we go on, though. I like using a clipboard, but maybe that’s weird?


Ok, back to the scary diagram:

First two rows of the pattern

If you’re following along, you’re basically sitting at row 0 right now.

Now each row tells us–according to how the last one led into this row–how we tie each knot. Because each knot only includes two strands at a time, and you can skip strands on the ends (more on that later).

So if we look at the very first knot:

The very first knot diagram

A is supposedly on the left and B is on the right, because we read top-down and left-right. (I only say “supposedly” because at the very beginning, you just have a random arrangement of strands coming out of your overhead knot. When you reach the bottom of the pattern and repeat, however, you will actually see the arrangement in “row 0.”)

So what that arrow tells us is that A is wrapping over B first. So you lay A over B like an L first before pulling A back through the loop it just made. It’s important that you hold B straight in your right hand while you pull A tight (like really tight) and all the way up as close to the original overhead knot as you can get. Then do that exact same thing again. Loop A over B, etc.


You should have made your first real knot–congrats! So any diagonal arrow in a diagram means make two knots with the same two strands in the same direction.

Now, my friend: set those two strands off to the left. Seriously. You will NOT be able to keep track of where you are if you don’t habitually set your completed strands aside.

Now, the second knot is eerily similar:

The first two knots diagram

EXCEPT: we should start with a B/blue strand on the left and A/black on the right. And we wrap B around A, holding A tight and straight in our right hand. Don’t forget to actually do the knot twice and then set these two strands aside, too.


Oh no, a new challenger has emerged!

The first three knots diagram

So the third knot in the first row is our first departure from the one type of knot we know, but, spoiler alert: there are only 4 basic types of knots and only 3 of them are in this pattern!

So the only real difference is who’s looping over who at any given time. Again, if we look to row zero, we should have an A on the left and a B on the right. But instead of looping A/left/black over B/right/blue first, we’ll lay B/right/blue over A/left/black. So instead of an L, we get… a backwards L shape. But we still pull B through the loop it just formed. And we hold A straight in our LEFT hand instead of our right.

Remember to do the same knot twice and set those two strands off to the side!


Still with me? God, you’re killin the game. Nice work. Soon you’ll be making friends and friendship bracelets left and right.

Here’s the whole first row again:

The first row diagram

You should have just set two more strands off to the side for the third knot. So I think you can handle the last two without me helping you out! Go on. I have the utmost faith in you.

By the way–if you were to mess up a knot, you can easily undo it by sticking a needle or a pin in the offending knot. It’s actually surprisingly easy. And worth it, trust me.


So if you’ve gotten here, you probably knotted that whole first row, right? BIG CONGRATS

I would recommend at this point that you print off the pattern and trace what row you’re on by following it with a paperclip. I’m sure there are a million other ways to do this, but that’s my method.

Ok, so peeking at the second row:

The first two rows diagram

I want you to notice first that what we did in the first row matters. So even though in the first row, we had black on the left and blue on the right in that very first pair, it’s now flipped around. You should see that your strands have a natural preference to lie in a specific order now–and you should let them.

Over time, you’ll get better at not mixing up who’s who, but in the beginning, just do your best to see where everything wants to go. Like if you collect all the strands together and let them fall, what order do they like? The point being that you shouldn’t have to force any strands over or under another one to have it in the correct place.

You should also notice that we have TWO different symbols going on.

So on the far left there, you should have a blue strand coming down. LEAVE IT ALONE. That’s literally all that means. Take your leftmost blue strand and just set it aside without knotting with or on it at all.

Your first knot will be with the next two strands, which are A/black. I trust you know how to do this and the next knot. Good luck. πŸ™‚


All right, now the third knot in on the second row has some funny business taking place. Just what does that confused arrow even mean, you ask?

The confused arrow diagram
What is the meaning of this??

So it’s a bit unfortunate that in this example, both strands are the same color. But the principle will remain the same. Let’s call the black strand on the left Al and the black strand on the right Fred.

This confused arrow means we WON’T make two little knots in the same direction–rather, we need one of each. And because the arrow first points left and then points right, this means that Fred will cross over Al first (as if it’s a left-pointing normal arrow) and once that ONE knot is tightened, Al is gonna cross over Fred (as if it’s a right-pointing normal arrow). You’re still only tying one knot made up of two smaller knots; it’s just not made of two identical ones like it normally is.

I really hope that makes sense, y’all. You can tell me if it doesn’t and I’ll try to explain again!

The rest of knotting is just… keep going! When you reach the end of all of the rows, go back to row 1! I won’t cover how to finish it off here, but rest assured you can just tie a basic overhead knot again if all else fails.


I honestly think that’s the bulk of how to read patterns. The only one direction not shown here is the confused arrow that first points right and then left, but it’s the same principle as the other confused one.

I really hope this helped! I had to figure some of this stuff out on my own and it was pretty confusing. Please let me know if something is unclear.

By the way: to see this pattern in full for yourself, click here.

You can find my profile on Bracelet Book here.

And, finally, if you’re just interested in any patterns, check out Bracelet Book.

Thanks for reading! See you soon!

Posted in how-to

How to Make a Modular Origami Star

First: try a lot of other origami models that are not this star, because life is hard and so is origami. πŸ™‚

Actually first: you’ll need six sheets of paper. Squares! And it would be ideal if there’s either color on both sides or the back is plain white, because you’ll see a bit of the backside on the finished star.

It’s funny because I literally didn’t follow my own advice. This is where we’re headed:

This is an example of modular origami, so we’ll be making a relatively simple unit–and then making the same thing five more times–AND THEN we’ll put it all together and it’ll actually look like something.

I really like this model because it’s not ridiculously hard to put together. It’s a cool introduction to modular origami if you’ve never tried it. Or a breath of fresh air if you have tried modular origami.

Sound fun? Cool. Buckle up.


Okay, so you’ll need to start with your first square white- or backside up.

Then we’re going to fold it in half, bottom to top (top being the edge furthest from you):

You might not be able to tell in the picture, but the raw unfolded edge should be furthest away from you at this point.

Got it so far? You’re doing great. You made a fold!


Now we’ll take that folded bottom edge and act like we’re going to fold the whole thing in half again, but we’re only kidding, so we’ll just make a light crease in the approximate middle. We’re only doing this for reference, so as long as you know where it is, you’re good.


Now we’re going to take the top-left and bottom right corners of our little rectangle and make them line up with the crease we just made–AND we’re going to make these folds run through the bottom-left (from the left) and top-right (from the right) corners.

This might sound confusing, but that’s why we have pictures, right? I got you.


You should have a parallelogram now. It’s pretty cute.

Take the cute lil guy and fold him left to right so that the left diagonal edge lines up with the right diagonal edge. You’re folding it in half, really, but it won’t be pretty because it isn’t symmetrical.

Okay, so now you’re gonna undo that fold. I know. I’m sorry. We’re just kidding again and only doing it for the crease.


Don’t hate me, but we’re actually going to fully unfold it now. you should have the white side up, like this:

And now we’ll fold along creases that already exist, so that’s fun: fold along those diagonal creases on the left, both top and bottom. You should see triangles of the front side of your paper:


Now take that crispy crease across the middle and let it happen. I mean, fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge:

This, my friends, is a trapezoid. Welcome back to geometry class.


Okay, we’ve come to the hardest part, now. I 100% believe in you, but if you don’t know origami, you might need a moment to catch your breath.

Do you see how, in the trapezoid, we have a couple of parallelograms and a triangle made out of creases? What we’re going to do is flip the paper inside out at the point where the two parallelograms meet.

Still breathing? Good. If you’re lost, think about reversing that fold across the middle, but leaving the leftmost parallelogram segment alone. If you invert that crease, the paper will want to flatten out to the shape I have pictured. I promise.


It might not seem like it, but we’re kind of almost done.

Now we’ll need to invert those triangle pieces through the white part on the bottom. It’s a lot like the last part, but a little less dramatic:

Because I’m an imperfect human being, my module isn’t quite lining up right, but hopefully you get the picture. the white part should approximately line up with the front edges, leaving you with a front-colored parallelogram on the left + a white triangle on the right.


Okay, so that’s… one module. Of the six you need. πŸ™‚

It’ll go by faster than you think. I’ll be here waiting once you’re done.

I’m serious. Literally take another square, white/backside up, and repeat all that. 5 times.


If you’re still with me, I am so proud of you. Hats off to you, honestly.

So when we put this together, try to keep the white triangle off to the right, to make it easier.

We’re going to use the little triangle arms to lock around other units. Give em a little hug. These are two, pre-hug:

And post-hug:


Okay, so you’ll want to put three units together, then set that half aside and put the other three together. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT

Once you have two 3-piece halves, it should make sense where they fit together. Just keep folding those little arms in, giving hugs.


CONGRATULATIONS. You made it.

At least, I hope you did. If you cheated and are reading past the point you’re at, cut that out, pal.

Thank you for reading and trying this out! I’ll see you soon!

Posted in Technique adventures

Wait, Friendship Bracelets are a Thing?

Spoiler alert: yes.

By that I mean: there’s a robust community of people who make amazingly intricate patterns and share photos and challenge each other…. It is a bonafide social crafty hobby for adults here in 2022. I had no idea.

Now, necessary disclaimer: I’m just getting into this world, so I might misspeak or leave out important details I should know. But I wanted to let y’all in on the secret.

First things first: I’ve been using this website to find patterns and dip my toe into the social stuff. It’s called Bracelet Book and the kicker is that it’s not even the only community like it. I can’t speak for the other ones, but this one has an incredible number of patterns posted, complete with variations and tutorials and photos/videos and a forum, etc etc.

Maybe you can tell I’m excited because I’m less articulate. πŸ™‚

If you have any interest in time-consuming but satisfying crafts like cross stitch/embroidery, quilting, diamond painting, coloring, or anything along those lines, you should seriously check this out.

It is easier than it looks, trust me. When you boil it down, you’re really only doing one (1) knot, but in four different orientations. You get so much variation just from one knot. We’re talking tens of thousands of designs, and that’s not counting the variations.

I would like to explain the finer details of how to get started, but for now, this is just for encouragement and inspiration.


Let me show you what I’ve made so far:

The one on the far right (#117860) is the first one I ever did. It’s a little bit “messed up” in that it’s thinner than it should be, but otherwise, you can see I was able to pretty much jump right in with something cool. It’s thinner because I only used 2 strands of floss for each string, and people typically use all 6 (as I did in the other two pictures).

As far as materials, you only really need to get your hands on a bunch of embroidery floss and some way to anchor the bracelet as you work. I like to use a clipboard, but you can also tie one end around something or tape it down to a flat surface.

I would also recommend figuring out a method of keeping track of what row you’re on in your pattern. I use a pen cap that I just slide up and down the side of the page to point to my last finished row.

You should have no problem finding patterns, though. And learning to interpret them doesn’t take long at all.


Honestly, some of my favorite hobbies are those that are easy to begin, but difficult to “master.” Making friendship bracelets seems like it’ll fit right in with those hobbies.

If you try this out or have any tips, feel free to let me know! I’d love to know how to better predict how much floss I need for a given pattern, for one. My profile on Bracelet Book is here if you’d like to be friendship bracelet… friends. πŸ™‚

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Posted in color, how-to

How to Pick Coordinating Colors

This seems like a basic thing, but what do we really mean by “coordinating”?

Lots of different things, as it turns out. I’m resisting the urge to pull out a color wheel because it seems like everyone and their cousin does that. Not without good reason, I guess, but I’m tired of color wheels. I’m gonna assume you’ve got the very basics of color down. Deal? Deal.

You might have forgotten the names of things, though. So, a good rule of thumb is to consider a color’s friends and enemies. Friends meaning the colors who are its neighbors on the color wheel and enemies meaning the ones opposite.

Real Artists(TM) would call these analogous and complementary colors, and they’re useful to recognize because the combinations achieve very different ends.

What are friends for?

Friends, or analogous colors, always play nice together. If green is our reference point, yellow and blue will never let you down. You can’t go wrong. This also starts to feel like a spectrum is forming, which usually has broad appeal.

You want friendly colors when you’re looking for a way to branch out without getting too crazy. Mild salsa is not the most exciting choice, but it’s also popular for a reason.

Photo by Zaksheuskaya from Pexels

The above photo also speaks to the point that analogous colors can safely mix, as in paint. I go to analogous colors all the time, especially when I’m painting.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?

Complementary colors, on the other hand, tend to scare me a bit. Color wheel enemies, like blue and yellow, have a strained relationship at times.

I’m not saying they can’t hang out, but you kind of need to plan ahead if you want to include them. Blue might say something snarky to Yellow if they’re seated next to each other at dinner.

But that’s not to say it’s a bad idea to play with complementary colors. Exhibit A:

A bright yellow lemon in front of a bright blue background
Photo by Toni Cuenca from Pexels

Man, does that yellow POP, right? You cannot possibly ignore that lemon. That lemon has something to say.

I actually adore the combination of blue and yellow. I’ve recently figured that out because I really like Van Gogh, and blue and yellow are a big theme in his art.

But if this idea appeals to you, bear in mind that mixing their paint will reveal a friendly green, which is an entirely different vibe. Blue and yellow is bold; it almost operates as black and white does. But there is a time and a place both for strongly contrasting black and white AND graceful transitions of shades of gray.

Pick your battles

Speaking of which, these friends/enemies ideas apply to intensity, too. Like, if you want a really intense focal point, it should be surrounded by peaceful neutrals or it won’t stand out. Whereas if you’re looking for a pretty even spread of intensity, stick to similar levels across the board. Intensity friends are nice to each other.

Nature is Cool

Finally, my favorite advice about color theory: just look at pretty things and steal their colors. Most of this stuff is intuitive, right? It helps to have a vocabulary and make intentional choices, but you also can grab stuff that looks good and do amazing art with it.

One resource I found today that’s really fun to mess with is this palette generator called coolors. It somewhat randomly chooses colors for you and you lock in your favorites one at a time. It has some intelligence about it, too, so whatever it generates next goes with whatever you’ve already locked.

I came up with this one when I was playing around:

A color palette ranging from muted light greens to bright raspberry to muted pinks and purples

I named it “Raspberry and friends,” because of reasons.

I just love it because I never would have picked out this palette had I not seen the colors next to each other. Hooray for serendipity!


Well, I hope you got some colorful inspiration out of this. Color coordination means something different to everyone, but knowing what combinations create what kind of tension will help you make more confident choices. And don’t forget to just wing it sometimes to broaden those horizons!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you soon!

Posted in Resources

3 Free and Unique Postcard Designs

I’ve recently started playing around with Canva and am having a lot of fun with it. I only have the free version, which is frustrating, but you can still do a lot with it! I”m surprised at how much I’m able to do, actually. I expected them to stop me from downloading my designs or something.

But yeah, so I’ve been designing some postcards and I thought I’d share with anyone who’s interested. I’m no professional graphic designer, by any means, but I think these designs are cool enough that I plan to use them, so why wouldn’t someone else?

The “catch,” I guess, if there is one, is that you would either need to get these PDFs printed professionally as postcards or be cheap (as I am) and somehow stick them to fully blank postcards. I tried it with Mod Podge (both between the paper and postcard and over the top to seal it and give it texture) and it worked decently.

I say “decently” rather than a more positive adjective because it did warp the cardstock a bit and I will probably end up taping the edges (with clear Scotch gift wrapping tape or similar) to make sure nothing catches or rips when it goes through the scary postal machines.

Here’s a little before and after picture demo (while still wet versus fully dry):

So you can see that it does work, if not perfectly. I bet it would flatten more if I pressed it with heavy books or something. If you do try this method, I would hold off on taping the edges until you write on the back, because you probably won’t be able to write over the tape as easily.

This sort of thing works better if you use less Mod Podge or none at all. I would recommend the UHU glu stick because it’s amazing. I’m not an Amazon affiliate or anything, it just is a really good glue stick and that’s the best price I could find, especially when shipping comes into play.

Seriously, if you’ve only ever used an Elmer school glue stick, you think you know what a glue stick could be, but you don’t. It’s so strong and dries so fast. The only reason I couldn’t use it for this demo is I don’t have any! But it’s on the way from Amazon. I know, I sound like I’m benefiting from this somehow, but I’m honestly not. If I join an affiliate program, I’ll say so!

While I’m giving shoutouts, also–shoutout to Postcrossing. I just joined yesterday finally and am really excited about it. It’s a global postcard exchange program that holds people accountable via postcard ID that the receiver registers on the site. You can also upload pictures of the image side so everyone can see how cool and unique you are. That sounds sarcastic, but I mean it genuinely!

These designs would be fun to use on there, which I plan on doing. So, yes, arguably I’m making them less unique finds by freely sharing, but I think it’s all right. I would rather inspire more people to get into postcard and mail art than be worried about uniqueness.

So let’s get to the sharing, shall we? I’ll share my PDFs as downloaded from Canva. It worked when I set up my printer to print at “default” scale, by the way.


I will ask that you kindly only use these for personal use and link back to this blog post if you want to share.

The first design is “Books not guns”-themed, as pictured in my demo above:

Postcard design featuring the text "Books not guns, Culuture, not violence."

PDF link here.

Second up is an abstract one with rectangle shapes:

Abstract postcard design with several gray, teal, purple, and pink rectangles

PDF link here.

Lastly we have a black and white/gray design meant to be inspiring:

Black-and-white postcard design with the text "This postcard wants you to have a great day" at the top and "A gray day can be made great" at the bottom.

PDF link here.


Please let me know if there are any problems with the files! I would also love to hear which design is your favorite and if you plan on using any for Postcrossing.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Posted in Technique adventures

Adventures in Technique: Making a Color Palette with Free Canva

Oh man, you guys. This was truly an adventure. By which I mean I had a looottt of trouble getting something simple to work. More on that later. πŸ™‚

First, a disclaimer: I’ve never really played with Canva before. I’ve been interested in trying it, but this is really my first experiment. So I fully expect I did some stupid things. Please let me know if you have tips!

This is more a post to walk you through my experience, rather than Knowledgably Advise you on how to do this. But, to my credit, I now know at least one way to get the job done!

The first steps

I first just opened a blank “Play with Canva” file because I have no clue what I’m doing.

I decided the first thing to do once I was in was literally just search for a color palette template. At least I was smart enough to do that, and not try to reinvent the wheel!

Screenshot showing a search for "color palette" template in Canva

Bear in mind, I only have the free version, so there aren’t that many options. I first picked this one:

Screenshot of "Color Palette Inspiration" template in Canva

Little did I know the Hell that awaited me.

I wanted to upload a picture and see how easy it was to let Canva pull out the colors for me. As it turns out, that part was very easy and user-friendly.

All I had to do was upload something (though I know that part was probably unecessary because they have free images, too) and click on it to add it to my existing project. I chose a somewhat clumsy golden retriever pixel art I made last year, mostly because I only used 4 colors and it would make it easy.

Screenshot of Canva project after uploading an image

Fairly straightforward so far, right? I had figured out I needed to do this because when I clicked on the color palette (as highlighted above), I could see that Canva automatically tells you what colors are present in the photo/project over on the sidebar.

So my little dog pixel art resulted in this (I needed to click “See All” under the colors in the photo):

Screenshot of Canva's automatic color detection on my dog upload

Massively helpful. Thank you, Canva! It also gives you the hex code for each color when you hover over it with your cursor.

I thought “Wow, this was easy. I’m basically done!” But… I’ve foreshadowed enough. Here comes the trouble.

I was able to do a number of small, basic adjustments like moving things around, resizing, updating the text to reflect the real colors in the dog, but I couldn’t get the color palette itself to have all rounded corners once I cropped the extra fifth color off.

I know it sounds like no big deal, but I spent a very long time trying to figure it out. See, there are frames in Canva which will crop your image to the frame. So I should have been able to simply drop the palette piece onto a rectangular frame with rounded corners, but it just wouldn’t work.

This is where you find the frames and what they look like, by the way:

Screenshot of Canva menu showing frames

After suffering for a long time and trying and retrying resizing in every which way, I nearly rage quit the project altogether. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but every tutorial was like “it’s so easy, just drag and drop! :)” and meanwhile absolutely nothing happened when I did that.

I suspect the problem is either something is too fixed about the template I was using or I wasn’t able to resize finely enough or something? I’m not sure. This is what my experiment looked like when I gave up on it:

Screenshot of first Canva palette experiment
There was an attempt

Experiment part II

But instead of rage quitting, I decided to try a different template. I picked the sandy beach one you’ll see here, right above the one I first chose:

Screenshot of Canva's color palette template options

It was all smooth sailing from there. I deleted the background sand, which left me with a square frame. I was worried, but this time, my dog image actually resized to fit it. Amazing.

Then it was just some copying and pasting and changing the colors over to eventually get this:

My final experiment result, showing a dog with its color palette

It was a wild ride, maybe, but I got there eventually. And now I know how to do something new!

I learned a lot in general behind-the-scenes, too, just figuring out what’s available in Canva and that sort of thing. It seems like a great tool. I wish the paid version didn’t cost so much, or they’d have me as a customer.

I hope that you got something out of this, if maybe only entertainment at my Canva ignorance. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you soon!

Posted in Resources

Actually Free, Legit Resources for Collage Art

I hadn’t planned to write this today, but I was just printing a bunch of stickers and ephemera to use for mail and/or collage art. I was frustrated both by how many of the resources were NOT actually free or came with obligations to sign up for mailing lists and the like.

But I also found plenty that were great quality, with no catch!

Picture of three freshly caught fish
Photo by Alexander Zvir from Pexels

Note that I’m only looking into what works for personal use, so I can’t guarantee if they’re clear for commercial licensing, etc. My intention is to only use them for hobbies!

And I’m sure I’ll make more posts like this, as I discover more stuff. I’ve found most things through Pinterest. If you want to see my “Collage Art” board, you can find it here. Just know that I’ve not necessarily vetted all the resources and some of the pins are just inspirational (i.e., not resources).

(I also have a “Design inspo” board as well as “Printable stickers” and “Other printables,” if those are of any interest.)

For a wider selection: collections

*Disclaimer: none of these people sponsor me or anything. I’m just trying to help y’all out.

Craftstarters

So a lot of sites have free SVGs, but one I came across recently and really like is craftstarters. They have sooo much stuff and most of it is simple but realistic silhouette-style. I love that style, and it’s perfect for making little stickers (as I was) because the design is readable at any scale.

I know that their licensing agreement is free for personal use only, so be good! No selling things with anything of theirs.

HG Designs

Overlay by HG Designs
A free overlay you can find here

I found HG Designs through Pinterest and they have tons of cool-looking stuff. It tends to be overlays, textures, layers, and patterns, so this might be better for those into graphic design or collaging digitally. What makes them especially unique is you don’t even need a commercial license to use their freebies.

I don’t yet know my way around Photoshop or Illustrator (I don’t have them!) but I am very much interesting in getting them someday and learning digital art on alternative software in the meantime, so I’m really looking forward to having some cool free materials.

Smaller collections/specific printables

Most of these still have multiple images or versions, but I’m organizing them this way just to make this list less chaotic. These are typically blogs who do more than provide printables, at least. I’m extra proud of these finds because they’re harder to come by!

Rose Clearfield

Today I found some awesome vintage sheet music printables on this blog. What I love is that Rose provides several different size and shape options for the sheet music snippets, so you’re guaranteed to find something that fits what you’re looking for.

Oh, whoa. So I hadn’t noticed just how many collections of free printables Rose Clearfield actually has up! Here’s her free printables page.

Personally, I’m most interested in the vintage-style stuff. There’s a lot of sheet music and hymns, but also dictionary pages and textbooks. Look at this algebra textbook stuff! I am really excited, you guys.

Pillar Box Blue vintage world maps

This blog has a page of 13(ish?) sets of vintage maps. I printed a really neat world one and was honestly a little surprised that it printed as well as it did.

I think there are probably a lot of vintage map ephemera resources out there, but this is one I know for sure is solid because I’ve tried it.

Rad Planner free blue stickers

So there are a lot of free planner stickers out there, but what I like about this post is that there’s at least one sheet that seems more widely applicable, if you know what I mean. It’s not all planner-focused.

I picked the “Blue Stickers” one to print and it looks great. Note that there’s a specific personal use-only warning on these.

Sarah Titus adult coloring book pages/stickers

This blog post has, well, an entire coloring book’s worth of black-and-white printables. They might not all be helpful for collage art purposes, but they certainly have potential.

If you scroll all the way down, you’ll find the page with 12 little flower mandalas–that’s the one I printed and am planning to make stickers with. They’re a great size, too. Large enough to be intricate, but small enough to be a sticker.


Sorry I haven’t featured more samples of the freebies here–it’s because my blog might be considered commercial use and I don’t want to risk it.

But I’ve linked all over the place and I promise that at the time of writing, the links work! I hope that you can find this useful.

Let me know if I’m overlooking some good resources you know of! I’m aware of the bigger sites like Pexels or Unsplash, but I’m interested in finding more sites with vector images, papers, or ephemera.

See you soon!

Posted in Technique adventures

Adventures in Technique: Card-Making

Overview image of the card sketch I used and an example card
The card sketch I followed, designed by Julee Tilman (direct link to her blog below)

Good morning! I hope all is well with everyone out there.

So I’ve been working on a card that I was able to finish last night. It’s for a lady I’ve never met, whom I know through Swap-bot. (Swap-bot, by the way, is an amazing site you can use to coordinate and find snail mail “swaps” either with strangers and/or private groups. I’ll write a post going into more detail soon!)

Part of the conditions of the swap I’m participating in is that we follow the card sketch referenced above–basically a suggested layout for your card. If, by the end of this post, you’re motivated to try it out for yourself: here is the blog post and here’s the sketch in detail:

Card sketch detail

Now, if this seems restrictive, don’t worry! I don’t know all “the rules” as this is my first card sketch-following adventure, but from the provided examples on the blog, you can tell that it’s meant to be inspirational rather than strictly limiting.

I’m really happy with how mine turned out, though I certainly made A LOT of mistakes. Let me walk you through my process with this project. Apologies for not many pictures; I’m still getting used to this whole craft blog thing and I just didn’t think to document it! Lol.

The first steps

The first step for me was to raid the stash of all the papers I have available to me. I knew that the person I’m making this for is into fall colors and texture, so I went for tan/brown/red/orange in my colors and made sure that the biggest contrast piece was textured.

I cut everything to the specifications in the sketch (well, mostly). I found it interesting that the sketch doesn’t assume you’re making a whole card? I mean, the face is listed as 4 x 5.25″, but if you want the background solid color to fold and form a greeting card, you need to actually cut an 8 x 5.25″ piece and fold it in half. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but my newbie brain wondered at it! πŸ˜‚

Anyway, so far so good. This is what my card looked like at this point:

The layout of my card project
My card laid out

Though not really a “mistake” you can see that I kind of exaggerated how big the smallest strip should be. I just liked it better that way, plus my paper scrap happened to be that wide to begin with, and I’m lazy. Let’s just be honest. πŸ˜‚

Phase 2: the creative block and moving past it

At this point, I set the card aside for a couple of days. On the one hand, I felt like I was nearly done (nope!) and on the other, I was overwhelmed by the “finishing touches” elements I could include.

Sure, I was following the layout of the sketch, but what and where should I stamp? What should the message be? Should I add some background accents? Etc etc.

I’m really interested in how we as creatives encounter this kind of paralysis and what we do to move past it. But more on that in future blog posts. πŸ™‚


In this case, I felt motivated to return to it because my swap deadline is approaching (you need to indicate that you’ve sent your items within an agreed-upon timeframe on Swap-bot) and my stepmom was feeling crafty last night.

It was easier to get started by simply being around her and talking it out as well as asking her for help and suggestions (She’s also crafty and provides A LOT of my supply stash.)

So yeah, I eventually hit a “f@#k it” point and started trying things because I couldn’t stand there forever.

Scrabble tiles spelling out "KEEP TRYING"
Photo byΒ Brett JordanΒ fromΒ Pexels

You guys, I made so many mistakes. I thought all was lost. Like, several times.

It turns out, I don’t really like stamping. Especially not stamping directly on what will be my finished product. I could have thought to stamp on my smaller pieces of paper before gluing them on, but that would have made FAR too much sense.

But! Here’s what I also figured out! When (not if) you mess up with a stamp, one solid option is just to keep stamping with it. Make it look like you actually meant to create a texture rather than a well-defined image.

Want to see what I mean? Let’s look at how my card turned out.

My finished card
My finished card

You see the brown texture? Yeah. All that was just covering up a terrible stamp job.

The cinnamon color coming out from behind “You make me smile” is covering up my attempt to stamp a different message with that color of paint.

And the stamped message–“You make me smile”–was a scrap of paper I found already stamped so I didn’t have to deal with it.

I learned a lot from this project, but especially that a big part of being creative is just rolling with the punches, letting your mistakes alter your plans.

I also found a texture stamp I really love (note the reddish flecks) and tried out a couple of different ways to create interesting edges: rubbing the paper edge over a stamp ink pad and dipping my finger in acrylic paint before running it over the edges (beware of papercuts!).

Overall, I’m just really happy that the finished product turned out looking like I know what I’m doing. Trust me, I don’t. πŸ™‚

I hope that some part of this inspired you. Feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions!


If you want to know more about what to expect from this blog (since it’s a baby!), here’s my introduction post.

All credit for the card sketch goes to Julee Tilman and her Poetic Artistry blog post.

Finally, here are some of my favorite examples from other artists who tried out this layout (taken from her above linked post):