Crafts & Hobbies

If You Enjoyed Candy Crush Saga

If You Enjoyed Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga, the tile-matching clone of the classic game Bejeweled, is the most popular “free” game on Android and iOS. As a hardcore mobile gamer, I'm here to tell you there are far better alternatives to Candy Crush with deeper gameplay, better graphics, and, in a few cases, actual game narratives.

Tilda’s Fairy Tale Wonderland by Tone Finnanger

Tilda’s Fairy Tale Wonderland by Tone Finnanger

For me, the sign of a good craft designer is a distinctive style. Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger started her company, Tilda, in 1999 at the age of 25. With her background in graphic design, her books are full of projects for both the fabric and paper crafter. Lovely, soft colors and whimsical dolls and animals populate her books. Check out her Sew Pretty series and Tilda’s Fairy Tale Wonderland to fall in love with Tilda’s fanciful style.

Baby Crochet by Sandy Powers

Baby Crochet by Sandy Powers

I could not resist the cover shot of the sleepy baby wearing the hat with shamrocks hanging on each side. It is just too cute. Photographer Tara Renaud complements the projects of Sandy Powers’ Baby Crochet with utterly adorable photos. This book has 20 crochet patterns for newborn babies up to 24 months. The patterns range from hats, bunting, booties, sweaters, diaper covers, and afghans to adorable “cocoons.” The book has creative designs for both boys and girls.

Rappahannock Reads: Made By Hand

Rappahannock Reads: Made By Hand

The Fredericksburg area is a community of Makers, people collaborating and creating together, following their passions, and for just plain fun!

On the afternoon of September 14, 2013, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library will be celebrating this creative spirit at Rappahannock Reads: MADE BY HAND

We are excited to have Mark Frauenfelder, the author of the book, Made By Hand: My Adventures in the world of Do-It-Yourself (also read our review). Mr. Frauenfelder is editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine and co-editor of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing. Join us at 2pm for a talk and book-signing, followed at 3pm by the FESTIVAL OF COMMUNITY MAKERS.  We are inviting community groups to showcase their creativity, either with demonstrations or hands-on activities throughout the England Run Branch Library that afternoon.  We would love for your group to participate!  And hopefully folks will also be thrilled to consider joining some of the groups that share their passions!  Feel free to share your schedule of upcoming events, meetings, and workshops, or anything else you would like to spread the word about.

Mark Frauenfelder's talk is at 2pm. The Festival of Community Makers is from 3-5pm.

Want to participate in the Festival of Community Makers?

Makers Apply Here

Made by Hand: My Adventures in the World of Do-It-Yourself by Mark Frauenfelder

Cover to Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder

In the course of dealing with an older house and raising a family on a budget, I’ve read quite a few do-it-yourself books, but never one like Made by Hand, by Mark Frauenfelder.  For example, they’ve never started with a mad dash to a tropical island. That’s where the author, his wife, and young children headed after the dot-com crash left them looking for a simpler, presumably cheaper life. After all, they were writers and theoretically writers can telecommute from anywhere, even the second most gorgeous island in the world.

How Not to Write a Novel by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman

How Not to Write a Novel by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman

Have you ever wanted to become a writer and brave the strange and confusing world of trying to sell your work to the publishing industry? Do you feel you might need a refresher course in creating a marketable thriller or romance novel?  If you are curious about improving your writing technique to make your work more compelling, concise, or appealing to publishers, you may benefit from How Not to Write a Novel, a writing guide from Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman.  This guide is a compilation of examples of common writing mistakes that can make novels confusing, boring, or unappealing to read.  Humorous and well-organized, this book is both a great educational resource and a good comedic read.

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

book cover for pirate cinema by cory doctorow

Leave it to Cory Doctorow, author, blogger, and technology activist-extraordinaire, to weave a story that successfully blends coming-of-age woes, homelessness, national politics, copyright law, cooking, gadgetry, love, overcoming homophobia, civil disobedience, film-making, mashups, public speaking, the judicial system, beer and coffee brewing, cryptography, and oh so, so much more into a wonderfully geeky, heart-wrenching, page-turning bang-up novel that people of all ages should read.  This book is full of such big, exquisite ideas to learn about that you’ll be Googling your fingers off through the entire story and I mean that in the best way possible.  You will learn reading Pirate Cinema and you will love this as much as you love the characters. 

Instructables

instructables logo

As a long-time user of Instructables, I can attest to the certain charm that comes with being able to find a recipe for bacon-topped caramel cupcakes and directions to build a robot, all in the same place. Instructables is a website born from several creators in the MIT media lab. What started as a project focused purely on engineering prototypes has branched into a website featuring user-generated D.I.Y. projects in a near mind-boggling array of categories. There are projects that range from wood-fire heated hot tubs to a collection of recipes on “What to do with Day Old Bread.” 

 

Web Site Builders

Web Design

When the Web was still new, it was necessary to know how to code in order to create a Web page.  Languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript and more were the tools in your utility belt to build a Web presence.  The truly savvy could (and can) do most of this with nothing more than a plain text editor, though most people turned to programs like Dreamweaver to more easily and quickly assemble entire sites.  Then you had to choose your Web hosting service.  Then you had to FTP your pages to the hosting service. . . it was an involved process.  I haven’t done any professional Web design in close to a decade so I couldn’t tell you what the pros are up to these days, but I’ll tell you what I tell all my training-on-demand students: who cares?  Use a Web site builder service to streamline the process. It will save you time, grief, brain power, and probably some money!

Happy Stitch by Jodie Rackley

Happy Stitch by Jodie Rackley

Local Fredericksburg author and crafter Jodie Rackley helps you stitch up a smile with her book,  Happy Stitch. She stitches her fun designs in her home studio in Fredericksburg, which she shares with her pets, Captain Nibbles and Sleepy Kitty.  The 30 charming and colorful felt and fabric projects in her book are uber cute.

Take some time this summer and stitch up a Monster Face Computer Cover or doodle on a denim skirt.  If your older children are complaining of boredom, try one of the projects with them; for example, the Anytime Ornaments have simple cutting and stitching instructions that an older child can follow with a little guidance. Her instructions are clear, and she uses simple techniques.