Who do you think you are?

30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in pattern (6)


A new leaf and a new calendar

The other day, my mother-in-law called to ask me if we would be available for dinner on September 19th. That just sort of blew my mind. That's like a MONTH away! How on earth could I be expected to know what we're up to a month from now? See, we're not exactly the world's great planners ahead. Like, when I signed up for summer camp at the kiddo's school, we knew that at the end of the summer they would be going on break, right? But then we sort of got sucked into life and work and stuff, and all the sudden it was the Thursday before a two week (!) break, and we hadn't made Plan B. Uh oh. While I would never SELL the kiddo to the gypsies, I did consider for a brief moment a mutually beneficial rental arrangement (I kid, I kid!). We made it through the two weeks without childcare thanks to the generous help of our friends and family and the occasional abbreviated work day. But still.

I have vowed to do better. Which starts with owning a calendar. That I actually write on. But all the calendars I see in the stores are either attractive but ridiculous overkill (I do not want to carry around a three-ring binder of my obligations) or totally antiseptic, blah, and insufficient. Can you see where this is going?

Obviously, I had to design my own calendar. I had certain requirements. It had to be pretty but not fussy. It had to have big enough blocks to jot down a couple of words about important events, it needed a spot to put random notes, and it needed a place to scribble reminders of stuff happening in upcoming months. So, you know, we wouldn't be caught off guard next time el pequeño gets two weeks at Club Med from his school.

For those of you who have your calendars filled in and accounted for into 2012, I salute you (albeit with slight suspicion of you and your kind). For the rest of you, feel free to download these calendar sheets for your own use. And check back later in the week--I'm testing a mini tutorial for a easy, nifty way to bind these all together.

Download September-November here.

Download December-February here.

Download March-May here.

Download June-August here.


You are a blue four.

[If you've been reading this site since the very beginning (which means you are either my mother, father, sister, husband, or Courtney), you can skip this first part, as you know this story six ways from Sunday already.]

You are a blue four. © 2009 Cameron Blazer

When I was a little girl, my favorite color was blue. Dark, not-quite navy blue. And, because I was quick to exhibit my tendency toward firmly held convictions on pretty much every topic known to man, I had a favorite number, too: 4.

On the drive between our house and my aunt's house, we always passed the local NBC affiliate, WCIV,* aka Channel 4. Their logo was a lovely blue, angular four. Delicious. I looked for it every time and found such comfort and satisfaction in its perfection.

One day--I think I was 3 or 4 at the time--my mom and I were driving past the billboard and I was swept away by profound love for her, so I said the thing that I thought summed up my perfect affection, "Mommy, you're a blue four."


Last week, I wrote about creative drought and frustration. And about coming out on the other side. And y'all tuned in; you wrote emails and comments of support and commiseration. That is just rad. You are all blue fours. If I could send you each a card, that's what it would say.

Geometric Cards © 2009 Cameron Blazer.
Have you got something special to say? These printable cards are a blank canvas--express yourself! Just type your message in the white box and print!** There are four flat cards in this template--you can let your message speak for itself or jot an extended bit on the back.

As with all the free printables here, you can use this template as much as you like for personal, non-commercial use. Enjoy!

*They're an ABC affiliate now, and it totally messes me up. I developed a lifelong bias in favor of NBC because of the blue four, but now the NBC affiliate is Channel 2. I still hold out hope that they will switch back, thus restoring the natural order of things, and paving the way for peace in our time.

**Set your printer's scaling to 100% to ensure that you only need to make two cuts (down the vertical and horizontal centers). You can round the corners or not--they'll look great either way.


Patterns + Math = Fun

Patterns! © 2009 Cameron Blazer

It's well known that I'm a pattern fiend and a craft-a-holic. And my love for Spoonflower, which makes it possible for me to turn my pattern designs into fabric, is similarly well-documented. But much as I would love to upholster my world in technicolor, the family budget doesn't really accommodate that impulse. Still, it seems a shame to let all these designs I've spent so much time working on languish.

My friend Courtney suggested I use them to make a memory match game. Brilliant! I got to thinking: while I am very contentedly the mother of just one little kiddo, lots of my friends have two or more kids under the age of six. I wondered if I could make the game more interesting for the older kids without making it impossible for the younger kids. What I came up with will probably not surprise anyone who knows me well enough to have listened to me prattle on about my quest for an arithmetic formula to reduce all non-zero real numbers to 1*--a mix of memory and arithmetic that I think will work with kids from 2-6.

Numbers game © 2009 Cameron BlazerMatching pairs © 2009 Cameron BlazerOn one side, the cards are printed with pairs of matching patterns, just like in the typical match game. On the other side, each card is printed with one half of a simple arithmetic equation, either 1+n(0-9) or its result (i.e. "1+1" or "2")--that is, the basic arithmetic table for the "ones." For little kids, the math equations will be like Greek, so you can just play the match game with the number sides up as you ordinarily would. With older kids, though, you could set the pattern sides up and use them to teach or test their new math skills. Honestly, the time when I will drill my son on arithmetic tables seems so distant as to be unimaginable, but if and when I do have to do that, I'd like to think that we could make it a little more fun by using this game.

I'm thinking of listing this project as a printable PDF in my Etsy store, but I'm at a loss as to how to price it. I'd love to know your thoughts--commenters will be entered in a drawing to win a printable, reusable PDF of the game; I'll draw 3 names next Monday and send a free PDF to the winners, so be sure to leave your email address when you comment (it is not published with the comment--only I can see it).

* Yes, I know that you can divide any number by itself and get 1. That isn't what I mean. You don't want to know what I mean. Trust me. You could die of boredom if you get me started.


Something Shy of a Tutorial

Well, I really, really wanna show you, the Internet, what I did this weekend. Not the part where my entire diet on Sunday consisted of chocolate chip cookies. The other part. Where I made something really, really cool. I want to, but I have to wait because, of the six people who read this, four are likely to receive said nifty thing or a variant as a gift this year.

Instead, I have decided to show you a couple of other things. These are not so much tutorials as suggestions for things you may have forgotten you already knew or something, right? What I mean is that if you already have the tools for these things, you should be good to go; if you do not already have these tools, I don't anticipate a run on the craft stores at the end of this post. You follow?

So. I believe I have mentioned here before the awesomeness that is the Xyron laminating machine. I have a big one (a 900?), which, aside from laminating 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper can make stickers and magnets from all sorts of things you find around the house. I think most people who have these are really into scrapbooking. Me, not so much. I have never so much as "scrapped" a page. Just not my thing.

I digress.

Nifty Thing #1: Snowflake Magnets

Among the myriad cool things about the Xyron is that you are not limited to using it with paper. I've used fabric, cork sheets, lace, and even tinfoil! Yes, tinfoil. So the first wee thing I thought I would show you is that you can make cute little snowflake magnets with your Xyron.

  1. Rip off some tinfoil.
  2. Run it through the Xyron with a magnet cartridge
  3. Use cute snowflake punches to make snowflake-shaped magnets. Push hard. Those suckers take elbow grease!
I made a bunch of these, and they look sweet scattered on the fridge or dishwasher. I also made a colorforms-esqe christmas tree with tiny hole-punched red magnets for my little boy to decorate--it's cute-ish but not ready for primetime.

Nifty Thing #2: Patterned Tape

Over the last year or so, I have seen cute patterned tape promoted in lots of places. People in whose taste I put a fair amount of stock positively swoon over it. It's cute as an idea, but I just don't use that much tape. Am I doing something wrong?

Anyway, my minimalist tape habits notwithstanding, I do think there are some cute applications for this stuff, but I wanted more flexibility. And to not pay like $10 for a roll of tape. Enter: tissue paper. I have been known to stockpile swell printed tissue paper. Like all things flat, I have run it through my Xyron. And I have discovered that if you cut it into strips, you get neato patterned tape!

  1. Cut off some tissue paper.
  2. Run it through the Xyron using an adhesive cartridge, being careful, if you are neurotic like me, to keep it from wrinkling on the way in.
  3. Slice your sticky tissue paper into strips (I used a rotary cutter with a pinking blade. Because, why not?)
Et voilà! I have only done this with the permanent adhesive, but it might work just as well or better with the repositionable flavor. Although the adhesive does give the tissue paper a little more strength, it is still fragile stuff, so don't use it to secure packages in the mail. I used it today to seal boxes of cookies I took to the sherrif's deputies at the courthouse. Because, you know, they are really at the center of the patterned tape demographic.

The Thing Where You Start to Feel Better About Yourself

It is the holiday season, a stressful time for many. A time when people can feel frazzled and inadequate. Well, consider the feeling of superiority about to wash over you a Christmas gift from me to you. I took some pictures tonight of my workstation. Which is to say my dining room. I am an itenerant crafter--I have to pack up all this junk every few days to let real life happen around our house, so clear plastic bins are what pass for organization. And because I have the attention span of a drunk mosquito there are always somewhere between three and ten projects in various stages of completion strewn around the room and lots of empty plastic storage bins. Also, in the shot where you can see into my kitchen, you can see that I have conceded the battle to keep crap off of the refrigerator, a battle which I waged successfully until my son started bringing home drawings from school (thus my embrace of seasonal magnets in this post).

I keep thinking that if I just had a space where all my stuff could be spread out it wouldn't be such a mess, but my husband says that there is no such thing as a room to contain my projects. I guess he is leaving out the padded alternatives. He must really love me.


On a Wee Bit of a Binge

Newsflash!! I drew something with my bare hands that doesn't make me shudder at its sight!

I had a bit of free time on my hands in court one day, and while I waited my turn, I started doodling some paisleys. I know, I know. We've been through the whole paisleys are weird and old and 70s thing. Whatever. I like 'em, and I like drawing 'em. And I kinda dug these sketches enough to force myself to haul out my mothballed scanner.

After over an hour of downloading drivers (since the last time I used this thing was three computers ago), I was finally in business. Scanned into Photoshop and then vectorized in Illustrator--this serves the dual purpose of smoothing out a few of the rough edges and making it possible for me to output perfectly rendered 5 foot tall paisleys...should the need arise (you never know). The pattern repeat is kinda shoddily thrown together, and if I look at it for more than, say, 3 seconds, I can find eleventy billion things wrong with it. BUT! Positive self-affirmation coming...wait for it, wait for it...I actually like the way you can tell I drew this in my own hand. I'm digging the homespun feel--reveling, even, in the imperfections that "enhance the natural beauty of this garment."

So I'm thinking of giving myself an assignment: 1 sketch per day that I don't scratch through, tear up, or toss. This would be major progress.

Film at 11.

(Also, I know that the green on green is getting a little repetitive here. But. Look, I'm a very industrious person with a lazy streak. And it likes green lately.)