FREE Through March 17: Saoirse Friendship Bracelet Pattern

Saoirse Friendship Bracelet Design

Saoirse Friendship Bracelet Design

Wear your own luck o’ the Irish this year: try your hand at friendship bracelet making with my FREE (through 3/17/13) pattern. Pronounced ‘seer-sha,’ this design was inspired by twisty Celtic cables in knitting. Exclusively available (for now) on Craftsy, Saoirse is a straightforward two-color design, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day! What are ye waitin’ for? Go grab your own today, before the free promotion is over!

Guest Blog at The Digital Media Diet

Library Card

The Amazing Library Card

A while back, Carisa over at Digital Storytime asked me to guest blog for her at The Digital Media Diet. I finally came through, and she posted it today! It’s a look at what I’ve been working on lately, and why. I’d be honored if you’d check it out and let me know what you think.

 

New Celtic Friendship Bracelet Pattern: Liriel

I’ve been obsessed with friendship bracelet patterns lately, and my latest creation is Liriel, a design inspired by Celtic twists and knots. This one is available on Craftsy, Etsy and Scribd just in time for making to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. I hope you like it–let me know what you think. Erin go bragh!

New Toy: the Jot Mini Stylus

JotMiniLook what came in the mail today, straight from the sale page at ThinkGeek: a brand-new Jot Mini stylus, regularly $20+, bought by me for only five bucks. Thanks, ThinkGeek! Apparently propellerheads don’t like the color red, but I do. Looks like they’re sold out of the discounted red ones–I guess I got lucky.

The stylus I’d been using was one of those generic touch-screen things bought off the rack at Office Depot, with a tip about the same size as the top of my little finger. That’s right, no real precision. So you can imagine I was pretty eager to take the Jot for a test spin.

Within five minutes, I became completely spoiled. I’ll never go back to that gigantic stylus again, at least when I want to draw. Here are a couple of quick sketches I did today, using the Paper by 53 app.

Train by Brooks Jones

Train Over Hill

Cartoon Steve by Brooks Jones

Cartoon Steve

By the way, if there’s anyone listening from the development team working on Paper by 53, I have a humble suggestion for you. I’ve tried all the other major drawing/sketching programs out there, and nothing compares to the pen tool in Paper. Add layers and I’ll be happy forever, pretty please?

Here’s one last drawing I did with the new stylus tonight:

After The Game by Brooks Jones

After The Game

Can you tell I’m a happy camper?

For more of my doodles, cartoons and drawings (and photos too), visit me on Instagram and Flickr.

Finished Object: Plunder by Emily

EmilysPlunderI got a wonderful New Year’s surprise in my email box the other day: Emily (one of my customers) finished work on my Plunder friendship bracelet pattern and shared a triumphant photo of her Finished Object! Didn’t it turn out great? I love the colors she picked, and the knots used for the top loop and bottom ties. Nicely done!

A huge thank-you to Emily for sending along this photo. I love seeing how other people improve on my designs.

This pattern is available on both the Etsy website and at Craftsy. If you make it, send along a photo of your Finished Object too–I’d love to see how yours turns out!

Book Review: Two New eBooks for Kids

I’m lucky to be connected with folks who create books in non-traditional, cutting-edge ways. A couple of them have created some pretty neat new ebooks, and I wanted to share these with you.

The Monarch Butterfly: An Interactive Picture Book by Liz Castro

With the plethora of information available about the Monarch butterfly, you’d think there’d be nothing left to say about these fascinating creatures. After spending over an hour with Liz Castro’s new iBook The Monarch Butterfly: An Interactive Picture Book, I’ve decided that this assumption is wrong.

Clearly a labor of love for Castro, this book is fantastic and pushes the boundaries of what an iBook can do. Each page features lovely and detailed full-color photos, some taken very close up. There are informative captions too, but these are hidden behind yellow arrows, so that the reader can pull them out when/if needed, or enjoy the photos alone.

Also included are amazing time-lapse photos presented as videos, showing different parts of the creature’s life cycle, such as a very hungry caterpillar munching on a milkweed leaf and the magic of transformation as the butterfly makes its way out of its chrysalis. These are set to classical music and are a perfect example of appropriate use of the format–in this case, to inform and engage.

Definitely worth the price at $4.99, the well-done interactive features of this iBook make it very app-like. Highly recommended for teachers, librarians, parents and anyone wanting to get a closer look at a very interesting insect.

Are We Lost? by Annie Fox, illustrated by Eli Noyes

AreWeLost

Remember Raymond and Sheila? These are brother-and-sister alligators I wrote about when they first appeared just over a year ago in their first book Are You My Friend? by Annie Fox. In this new installment titled Are We Lost?, the two head to the beach for some summer fun. Before long, Raymond is ready for some ice cream, and with his big sister’s approval, he heads off to get it. As you might imagine, what seems so simple never is, and misadventures (and a little bit of chaos) ensue.

I love the tone Fox takes with these books. She seems to understand that what usually seems like no big deal to adults often looms larger than life for kids, and her handling of shyness and other common childhood fears is respectful and empowering.

The illustrations are again done in a colorful, fun-loving style by Eli Noyes, and there is a parent guide at the end to initiate discussions with your own kids.

Available soon for the Kindle, Are We Lost? is a cute, reassuring story for young readers.

(Full disclosure: I received electronic copies of both books for review purposes.)

Peacee Hats: Made From Pipe Cleaners!

I come from a creative family. We all make stuff. Some of it useful, and some of it just plain fun. Today I want to showcase the work of my cousin Nathan. We grew up together playing with Legos, Play-Doh, Shrinky-Dinks and origami. Apparently these days Nate has a little too much free time, because he started making funky hats by twisting pipe cleaners around each other while watching episodes of Glee and Project Runway.

After fine-tuning his construction methods because first hats were a bit too heavy, he’s come up with a collection of distinct hat styles for people to choose from. That’s right: my cousin Nate will custom-make a hat for you, too!

Of course, because I’m family, everyone in my house got their own custom-made hat. Here’s how we look in our Peacee Hats:

Peacee Hats

Happy in our funky, custom-made Peacee Hats!

Run on over to Nate’s website and pick out yer own!