June 30, 2010

blog love: clip art.

Keeping on theme with the graphics inspired favourite freebie websites from yesterday and the day before, today I want to share three great websites and blogs for free clip art online. This isn't your ordinary Microsoft-Word-from-the-90s clip art, mind you. Instead, this is a selection of unique graphics and vintage images that can be used for your own graphic designs or else printed out and framed as art in your home.

First up is the blog Vintage Printable. As I write this they're currently going through some reconstruction of their site, so you might not find it as interesting as you will in a few days. But trust me, when you do go visit and it is running at full capacity, the selection of images is broad and unique. You can find very specific images: from pathologies to botanical prints to blue prints to portraits to images from old books... You get the idea. I personally love the selection of maps and old community service announcement posters. You can literally spend hours searching through all the different images that they have. Enjoy yourself.

Up next is Tack-O-Rama, a site that is full of 'retro resources for designers.' This site has clip art but also fonts, stock photography, tiles, and custom shapes. I haven't used it too much yet, but it is fun looking through all the images and graphics reminiscent of the 1950s.

Lastly, I want to share with you the blog Graphics Fairy. Similar to Vintage Printable, this site has over 1,200 free clip art images available. She also uses her clip art finds in DIY crafts with tutorials. The Graphics Fairy uses images she finds or has at her home and posts new images every day (since 2007). That's a lot of images to browse through.

So hopefully you'll find yourself with too many images to deal with after this post (a good thing), and that you'll be able to use these resources the next time you're looking for the perfect image for your project.

June 29, 2010

blog love: eat drink chic.

Today is the second post in a series cataloguing my favourite places on the web for amazing freebies. This time I want to introduce you to Amy Moss of Eat Drink Chic. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Amy is a graphic designer who focuses on design for parties, weddings, entertaining, home, and fashion on her blog and provides inspiration, DIY ideas, and free downloads of stationery printables for all sorts of events. See her whole selection here.

I love her website because there is so much freebie selection and a wealth of creative ideas. I find her site encouraging in that I could throw a beautiful party while remaining on a budget by using her printables to join everything together (only using paper and my printer). I also am inspired to work at creating my own printables for events because I have learned so much from what she does.

I hope you enjoy browsing through Amy's site and are equally inspired and enthralled by what you find. Thank you Amy for all the hard work you put into your designs and downloads - they're truly amazing.

June 28, 2010

blog love: catalog living.

I was thinking of waiting until Friday to share with you a site I discovered on the weekend (via Young House Love) as it does not quite fit the theme of this weeks posts, but I just couldn't wait. The site is Catalog Living and it is updated and maintained by Molly Erdman, a Los Angeles-based actor, writer, and comedian. Started just a few weeks ago, Molly imagines the lives of the people (Gary and Elaine) who live inside catalogues such as Pottery Barn's, West Elm's, Williams-Sonoma's, and other furniture/living companies'.

She definitely has an eye for the comedic and odd items inside the 'finished' catalogue photos. Hope you enjoy reading through this new site as much as I do.

blog love: pugly pixel.

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend. Caleb and I spent it up at the cottage with some friends. It was a really nice time.

Last week I left you with a hint that I was doing something great this week at Brown Boots. Here it is: I love using Photoshop to create images and touch up photos and recently I have found different blogs that offer, very generously, free downloadable web graphics, clip art, and Photoshop actions. I just have to share them with you. So each day this week I will be sharing with you my favourite go-to places on the web to get such wonderful freebies.

First up is the wonderfully fun and creative Katrina over at Pugly Pixel. Her specialty is clip art. She has the best downloadable 'paper cafe' filled with a variety of paper products including kraft paper envelopes, air mail envelopes, recipe cards, vellum envelopes, and different sheets. She also has doilies, medallions, tags, masking tape, and even macarons for you to use. How kind!

Not only are her downloads free but they are beautiful and oh so simple to use. She also makes some that are meant to be printed, so if you don't use Photoshop, I encourage you to hop on over to her site to check out the beautiful images anyway. You might find something you'd like to print out and use for a card or some other paper craft. See her whole collection here.

Thank you Katrina for all the hard work you put into creating such cute and versatile images for people like me who aren't quite that proficient with graphic design!

Check back tomorrow for the next awesome site for freebies on the web.

June 25, 2010

shoo fly, don't bother me.

It's Friday, and that means another summer weekend. As summer has officially started more and more time is being spent outdoors. I don't know about you, but it seems like mosquitoes and any sort of biting-insect love me. That's why I was so pleased to read Ashley English's Small Measures on Design*Sponge for natural insect repellant. By mixing up your own repellant or just using a few drops of certain essential oils you can keep the bugs at bay without worrying about what sort of manufactured chemicals you're spraying onto your skin.
As someone who is trying to eliminate the number of chemicals and toxins in our household, these ideas for natural insect repellant are a welcome alternative to store bought solutions.
Happy camping (or cottaging, or being outdoorsy) this weekend. Next week I have a special surprise theme for the week that I'm sure you'll love.

In the meantime, here are some links to check out over the weekend:

A beautiful girl's nursery via city love.

Painting with markers.

Addressing pretty mail.

A wonderful (and gluten free!) Saturday lunch.

June 24, 2010

tsol by shad.

There was a time during high-school when I really liked hip-hop. Maybe it was just because my friends did or maybe it was because my ears were younger and my mind liked/could handle the loud beats. I don't really listen to it now because the content in most hip-hop/rap is not something I want to fill my mind with and not a lifestyle I want to emulate. (At this point in my life, I'm more readily drawn to something like Sleeping at Last or Bon Iver.) However, when it comes to Shad and his new rap album TSOL (on iTunes or find it at HMV in the 'urban' section), I can't stop listening to it. In fact, I like the entire album so much I don't think I can even pick a favourite song. To paraphrase Brian Reagan, 'they're all favourites.'
Shad is an amazing lyricist. I'm always left feeling challenged by one lyric or another to evaluate my life and how I'm living. This isn't mindless rap. Shad's lyrics are clever, are flavoured with irony, and are always thought provoking. Every time I listen, something new catches my attention.
I feel like I really get to know Shad as a person and that we could be friends. I think one of the things I most appreciate about this album is the place of humility that it comes from. Throughout the entire album you can hear the obvious talent Shad has and yet he constantly announces that being a rap artist is a blessing and something he didn't quite expect to happen. It is refreshing to see those roots so clearly.
This album is pleasing to the ears, the mind, and even the soul. I hope you pick up a copy today and let your own mind be wowed.

Want more Shad? Check out his blog here, his MySpace here and Facebook here, and articles from the Toronto Star here and here.

June 23, 2010

toy story 3 treats.

Toy Story 3 came out last Friday. It makes me and Caleb feel so old to see that Andy is going off to college and that his dog is old and his toys are going to be given away because we were really young when the first movie came out. Nevertheless, everyone around us keeps saying that it is Pixar's best film to date, so I'm definitely interested in going to see it sometime.
If you also are from the Toy Story generation, or just love those good friends Woody and Buzz, then you might want to celebrate their third film with some treats. Bakerella created some great recipes for Disney Family to help you get in the mood of movie-watching. Below are a couple of my favourites. Her cake pops are so cute and look fun to eat too!

If you really want to jump into the Toy Story 3 action, there are lots of other treats and crafts to do here.

June 22, 2010

penne frittata with basil and ricotta

A week or two ago Caleb and I had this delicious Penne Frittata with Basil and Ricotta, and it is so easy to make and very delicious that I just had to share it with you.
I found the recipe over at Sunday Suppers and it has recently been featured in Martha Stewart Living. Caleb found the basil a little too strong, so I think the next time I make it I'll try a little less, or else some other sort of combination of flavours. I used my favourite penne made out of kamut flour instead of wheat and it tasted just fine. In fact, we almost ate the whole dish for dinner!

June 21, 2010

public bikes.

This summer Caleb and I are looking to become a one-car family. He does a lot of driving for work, so that means I might not always have access to a car. Luckily I'm really looking forward to biking places. Unluckily, I don't really have a bike to do that. Again, luckily, Miss. B over at the Blah, Blah, Blahg (and of The Bright Side Project) shared a little bike love the other day and I discovered a beautiful bike that has the look I like and has a few different speed options, something other bikes I've liked in the past do not. (Single speed bikes are not a good idea when living near the Escarpment - lots of hills.)

Public's bikes are made for cities and I love that their vision is for cities to reclaim streets and sidewalks for bikes and pedestrians (and that they want rush hour in America to look like the video below).

June 17, 2010

an epic yarn.

Now it is time to combine two of my favourite things: video games and textile crafts. I never even imagined a mixing of such two very different past-times, and yet, here we are today with just that.
Last night Caleb and I watched Nintendo's E3 presentation (we embrace our nerdiness) and Nintendo showcased a new game called Kirby's Epic Yarn to be released this fall. The 'epic yarn' is not telling of just the hopefully great storyline but also describes the screen setting/background of levels and Kirby himself. It is all made to look like fabric, embroidery, and yarn. It is so beautiful and creative and well done... I was almost drooling by the end.

Be sure to check out the promotional video of the game here - it looks so fun and really cute. Caleb and I can't wait to play it.

In other gamer news that is less cute but more of a throwback, Goldeneye 007 is coming to Wii. I never got past the third or fourth level in the original N64 version (for an eleven year old girl the music and dark setting were just too scary!) but maybe this time around I'll be better at it. Anyway, looks pretty fun.
Well, that's all the nerdiness I'm going to share with you today. Do you have a favourite videogame from when you were young that you'd like to see brought back? Do you have a favourite one now? (I do too, find out what I think of Super Mario Galaxy 2 soon!) I'd love to hear your thoughts and fond memories about gaming - just comment below.

June 15, 2010

a few dress sizes.

I am slowly becoming a photography enthusiast. You already know of my love for the Diana camera, but what you might not know is that I love using my DSLR to snap shots too. I'm trying to bring it as many places with me as I can - and in that strain I'm also trying to use it. Caleb tells me, and I admit, that I'm notorious for bringing it places and then never using it. (Mostly because I don't want to be that girl with a camera, you know? The one that makes everyone else feel awkward if the lens is pointed in their direction? Maybe that's just me.)
Anyway, I love using my camera, and then playing with my photos to make them even better using Photoshop. Thanks mostly to the Pioneer Woman and her wonderfully simple tutorials, I've learned a lot about how to use Photoshop better. The other day, I also found this little tutorial by Jen Kiaba via Paper n Stitch for cinching in things in a photo, distorting them to look different.
This is definitely a sort of airbrushing that I don't think you should get too carried away with (is there any sort of airbrushing you should get carried away with? Probably not). But, for something artistic like the dress image above, I think it could be a fun tool to play with. Click here for the full tutorial instructions.

June 8, 2010

colour collective.

Have you discovered Colour Collective yet? If not, you should traipse on over there immediately and admire Lauren Willhite's eye for colour. The concept is simple, she makes it seem simple anyway, taking colours from an inspiration piece and creating a beautiful pallette. They are a great starting point for any sort of creative project - a small design project or styling a whole room. A lot of her inspiration is from various designers, artists, and photographers. What a neat way to look at pieces of art. Below are a few of my favourites from her site.

What a great practice, to look at images and work to extrapolate a beautiful colour pallette. Looks like it might be a fun thing to do. I'd like to try it, what do you think?

Update: Oops, maybe you have heard of Colour Collective - apparently Lauren is over at Design*Sponge this week as the guest blogger. I guess I'm just behind in the times.

June 7, 2010

book club: the boy in the striped pajamas.

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend as as fun as ours - two barbeque parties, baseball, and a movie night.
This week I want to start off by introducing a new recurring section of Brown Boots, the Book Club. Starting back in January, me and a small group of my girlfriends have regularly got together to discuss a novel we've all read. The Good Book Club, as it's officially known, has a few very simple rules: 1. We only read novels, 2. Whoever picks the novel for the month is responsible for leading the discussion, and 3. Official snack of the book club is brie, a baguette, and chocolate. (Unofficial rule number 4. We always try to watch the movie of the novel, if there is one, to see how it compares.)

I thought it would be neat to share with you all the different novels that we're reading and let you know what we're reading for the next month, in case you'd like to follow along.

For the month of May we read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. This is a story of nine-year old Bruno and his friend Shmuel (said like shmole). The setting is during World War Two, although Bruno doesn't really know that. Bruno's dad is a high-ranking soldier and he has to move to a place called Out-with because the Fury told them to. One day Bruno is out adventuring around their home and comes upon a fence with a boy behind it. They develop a great friendship that transcends fences and prejudice. I won't spoil how the book ends (you should read it to find out!). Boyne does a marvelous job at not making this a book specifically about the Holocaust, but about any and all places in the world where there are fences (real or metaphorical) dividing people from one another.

One of my favourite questions that Mel asked us was about whether there are any places in our lives where we experience fences. Our fences are not as serious as the one in the book - where a genocide is occuring - but can be as simple as not understanding the deep poverty experienced by those living in the east end of Hamilton. Or, not making an effort to get to know new immigrants to Hamilton. We definitely left feeling challenged to surmount the fences in our lives and work at understanding people better.

We also watched the movie following our discussion, and even though it is only an hour and a half, we all felt that it stayed true to the novel (unlike some movies where they change the ending and spoil the story!).

For the month of June we are reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Feel free to join us!

June 4, 2010

new pillows.

Good morning, today I want to share with you some pillows that I made last weekend and now have a home in our family room.
I used this, this, and this fabric from Ikea to make these pillows. At first I was hoping to make spring-like floral print pillows but once I saw the aforementioned fabric my mind went elsewhere. Godzilla and post-war Japanese city themed pillows are the result. I love my new pillows (Caleb does too) and I put a zipper in at the bottom using this tutorial. With the zipper in the bottom I can take the covers off to wash, or can easily change them for another season/style instead of having the storage issues of different throw pillows in my linen closet. Super simple and easy to make, you should try your own!
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