Posted in Hobbies, Ideas and inspiration

Unique Playing Card Decks to Inspire Your Creativity

Okay, so maybe playing cards are a bit of an unexpected collector’s item… but it also kinda makes sense! I love stamps, too, in the same way I love playing cards–they’re cool little art samples that happen to have a function, too.

I’m pretty new to this playing card-collecting world, so here’s a handy FAQ that covers the basics. There’s a lot of fun in just owning these cards, but there’s also such thing as a Franken Deck (see here for an example) which takes each individual card from a different deck! So… you have to have encountered 54 decks over time to collect a Franken Deck. It’s a fun challenge to make a pretty one and/or stick to a theme across the deck.


You’ll probably need examples to get inspired, huh? No worries! I’ve got plenty of those. 🙂

Though these playing cards are definitely fancy, I’m not really a true snob about them (yet!). So none of these decks are terribly expensive. I honestly acquire most of mine from random trips to Walgreens. They have Bicycle playing cards, for some reason. But anyway, let’s get into it!


Art of Play Harmony Collection

Photo of The Harmony Collection's Air deck of playing cards from Art of Play

Art of Play has some reallllyyy cool, artistic decks of playing cards. They’re a little bit more expensive relative to some of the more common ones I’m going to list here, but this deck isn’t ridiculously expensive–it’s $15 at the time of writing.

This Harmony collection is all about the creatures of the land, air, space, and sea. It has super intricate and colorful illustrations that make me happy. And if you’re going to collect something a bit odd like playing cards, they should make you happy, right?

I think my favorite here is the Air deck but seriously. These are little works of art!


Bicycle Aviary

Photo of Bicycle playing cards with an aviary theme, showing both sides of example cards

These Bicycle cards are so cute! I’m not gonna lie; I bought these and have them sitting in front of me right now. I mean, they’re $5, from one of the most reputable playing card brands, and yet are still unique.

I think what makes them extra special is not only does the back have a neat bird theme in a Scandanavian folk sort of style, but the front of the cards have stylized details to match. So the hearts or diamonds or whatever the suit also has matching decorations. I love that. These aren’t plain Jane playing cards!


Gent Supply Day of the Dead

Photo of Gent Supply's Day of the Dead monochromatic black playing cards fanned out

Gent Supply’s Day of the Dead cards are monochromatic black and cool as hell. If you know what the Dia de los Muertos aesthetic is like, take that but picture it shiny black on a smooth black card.

For example, the court cards feature skeletons decked out in royal attire, so on and so forth. This may not be the most practical deck in terms of immediate recognition of your cards, but man does the aesthetic appeal make up for it.


Skyline Chess

Some example playing cards from Skyline Chess's architectural art playing card decks

These are architectural art playing cards! The style is minimalistic line art that captures just the right amount of detail on famous landmark buildings in four options of major cities (London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco).

I don’t even know how people come up with these ideas. Imagine pulling up to the kids’ table to play a round of Go Fish with this sleekly designed deck. Your little cousin would definitely say “whoa.”


Flexible Gradients Blue

Flexible gradient playing cards fanned out to show range of blues

This deck is a little bit different from the others–it’s intended more so for playing card magic tricks than for collecting. But there’s no reason not to admire how satisfying it is to fan out the backs and see a gradient, you know?

I will say that this deck is probably not as interesting to add as a component of a Franken Deck because the beauty lies in the deck as a whole. But then again, for $5, just collecting it for the sake of its looking cool will not lead you to financial ruin.


So there you have it, folks! Have I convinced you that playing cards are a surprising venue for creative inspo, whether you collect them or not? I hope so! Art is everywhere. Sometimes you can even play solitaire with it.

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


Posted in Hobbies, How-to, Ideas and inspiration

Cool Things to Make with One Piece of Paper

Maybe you’ve got bored kids on your hands and plenty of paper to put to use. Maybe you’re just an adult who wants to make stuff with paper, because who says only kids can?

No one, that’s who. Or at least, no one you need in your life. 🙂

Either way, I’ve got some fun ideas for cool stuff to make with just one sheet of paper!

Everything I list here has written instructions, but there’s no reason why you absolutely have to use these exact links. I just personally hate watching videos. Diagrams are the best for origami-type crafts, amirite?


One-page minizines

One of my favorite things to make with one sheet of paper is the legendary one-page minizine. With one simple cut along the middle fold of regular printer paper, you can turn it into a little booklet to fill with any kind of art or writing you want.

The best part? Zines are specifically made to be really easily scanned and copied. So even though there’s a part where some folding magic happens, all of your work is still on the same side of your original sheet of paper. Sound confusing? No worries. Ya need a visual, I think.

Check out this blog post to see how it’s done. Pay special attention to this infographic:

Diagrammed instructions for making a one-page minizine

I hope that helps. There are tons of other resources that lay out how to make minizines, but this infographic was the one that really sunk in for me.

As a bonus, let me offer you an extra-easy way to start making minizines: a Canva template!

This template is what I made for my own use as I make zines–it’s nothing fancy, but gives you guidelines for each page so that it’s a little easier to keep everything visible and know where to fold.

You can use this to design zines digitally OR simply print it out, write/draw as desired, and scan it into your computer afterwards. Don’t forget that some pages will appear upside down from the original orientation, though!

Let me give you a simple example so you can see what I mean:

An example minizine by the author

There are multiple ways of doing this, but in this case (my first zine ever, before I made my template) the page that says “Things that make my life bright” is the front cover; the one right before it is the back cover, and the numbering should make the rest clear.

Zines are really fun little projects that can really be about anything. I especially enjoy swapping zines with people via Swap-bot, but you can just make them for fun or for sharing with family and friends.


A close cousin: a one-sheet pocketbook

Okay, so I’ll admit–this one is a little more involved than the minizine. You might need binder rings to make it look nice in the end. But you still make it from just one piece of paper! Find the instructions here:

Cute, right? I’ve never really made a pocket book before, but I think I’ll give this one a shot when I get around to it.


Envelopes galore!

If you have any interest in mail art, fun envelopes are a must! They make snail mail that much more fun to receive. And you don’t really need that much paper to make them.

First on my list are a couple of kid- or beginner-friendly ones that you can find here:

These instructions are written really well, I think, with super clear pictures.

If you’re up for something a little harder, try this more complicated envelope.

Unless you happen to be fluent in Italian, you’ll need to translate the page to English. Chrome does this automatically, I think, though? So maybe try it on Chrome if it’s all “Greek” to you.

There are way, way more ways to make envelopes from one sheet of paper. I also tend to enjoy the template method. I find that most of those are behind a paywall, but you can find some really nice template files on Etsy. I can vouch for this one, for example. And it’s only $2, so that’s not too bad, right?


Single-sheet origami animals

Origami is such a huge craft in and of itself, but I think it belongs here as a reminder that you can make cool little animals with just one piece of paper. 🙂

Crane

Origami crane model found at the linked resource

I can’t start talking about origami without including a crane model. Like, c’mon. This was my go-to model (or approximately this) when I was a kid. It’s a classic origami model for a reason! Find some instructions here.

Dragon

Origami dragon model found at the linked resource

If you’re following along in order here, you might notice that this dragon model shares a lot in common with the crane. That might make it easier, if you’re new to origami! I just really like this take on an origami dragon–look at those cute little feet! Lol. Find the instructions here.

Dog

Origami dog model found at the linked resource

I’m extra excited about this one because, well, it’s a dog and dogs are the best. But I also noticed, like the author did, that there aren’t all that many origami dog models out there? I don’t know why not, but it makes me extra grateful for this one! Here is your link.


Well folks, that’s what I have for you today! There’s a lot you can do with just one piece of paper, huh? Please let me know if you end up trying any of these and how they went!

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon! 🙂


Posted in Hobbies, Resources

Playing with Hairy Life: The Best Sims 4 Hair CC in 2022

Okay, so maybe I play The Sims 4 too much. And… I also have a probably unhealthy quantity of TS4 CC pinned on my Pinterest board… but! This is a rare opportunity for me to share my unhealthy obsession!

Today, I will present to you some of my favorite Sims hair custom content!

Necessary disclaimer: I will double-check that everything is still downloadable at the time of writing, but I might not necessarily remember if I’ve tested a particular cc hair in-game. I don’t do adfly or anything that looks fishy, though!

*Please note that the links are ABOVE their respective images!


Short hair

Busted Pixels’s SP07 Med Curly Conversion

Sokea-cc’s Hair 07 Citrine

okruee’s Sylvester hair

marigolde’s Matthew hair

Cliffjen’s Noah hair

Luca hair by JohnnySims

Simandy’s Angel hair

RavenSim’s Amelia hair


Medium hair

aharris00britney’s Gabbie hair

Bluebell hair by NaevysSims

simstrouble’s Jamie hair


Long hair

aharris00britney’s Kenzie hair

Meredith hair by dogsill

CazMari’s Voodoo Queen hair


Facial hair

Duncan Beard N16 by MagicHand

Beard N03 by MagicHand

Beard N3 by ThisIsThem


Kids and toddler conversions

Opal hair age conversions (both child and toddler) by CELESCHUL

KidsPixieCurls by birksche

MEMPHIS HAIR (for toddlers) by Naevys Sims

qicc’s Marcel hair (for kids)

peachibloom’s Toddler Stuff Pack Afro (for children)


There’s pleeenntty more to find out there! But I think I’ll call this good for now. I hope you found some cool Sims 4 hair cc for your Mods folder!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon! 🙂


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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 😉


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. 🙂

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? 🙂


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!