Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am turning into a computer geek...

Ok, the title of this post is grossly misleading. I am far away from a computer geek - because I am nearly computer illiterate. Nonetheless I love all the customizing and improving you can do to and with your blog, personalising it, making it more recognisable and unique. For the last while I have been working on a button for readers to copy. There are a few really good tutorials out there, and adding one of those seems all the rage at the mo.

I have managed to make a copyable button for my blog (see it on the left and as an illustration on the right?), thanks to a fantastic tutorial by somewhat simple. Her instructions were easy-peasy - thanks, Steph. UPDATE  I can't get enough of the geeky stuff and have just changed my button into a flashing gif. You can do that, too, by uploading two pics to Picasion. A flashing gif is automatically generated and you can then copy and paste the URL where it is saved into your gadget. (I spotted the gif-maker over at It's so very Cheri - cheers, Cheri!
I want to give back all the help by posting a blog upgrade tutorial myself, because I have just upgraded my blog with something else. It is only teeny-tiny, but I looooove it, nerd that I am.

Look closely, because that is my new favicon. Don't know what that is? A favicon is that little image that appears beside he URL line in your browser, you know - a mini square logo. Blogger uses the little B in an orange box, Wordpress has the W in a blue circle (that one always reminds me of the Volkswagen logo - well, I am German...). And now Craft-Werk has its signature scissors on the signature bright red! Just look up into your browser line - can you spot it? Hehe, it appears in my browser, and here is the screenshot to prove it:

You want it, too? Well, let me explain to you in laywoman's terms how it is done.

First of all you need to design your logo. Remember that a favicon is tiny - 16 by 16 pixels wide - therefore you can't squeeze much into that design. If you have a recognisable acronym for your blog, use that, or use a simple graphic that symbolises your blog's content and theme. Those are all personal choices, that noone can help you with. But I can share how I designed mine. Disclaimer: I am doing this the amateur way - computer and graphic design experts would probably piss their pants die laughing about my simplistic way of doing this. I am vindicated by the fact that it works, though... This is what I did for my blogger blog:

My header features a large photo of red scissors, so I pulled a wingdings scissor symbol into a Word document, created a bright red background and changed the colour of the scissors to white. In order to turn this into an image (as opposed to a text document), I took a screenshot (hit the Prnt Scrn button) and pasted the screenshot into the MS Picture Manager. In Picture Manager I cropped the screenshot down to a square thumbnail of the scissor image. Then I resized it - and this is really important - to 16 by 16 pixels.


The image needs to be a particular format in order to be read and displayed as a favicon. Picture Manager creates Bitmap images - which do not work with this, apparently. I converted it into a GIF image by opening it in Photoshop and re-saving as .gif. Then I uploaded my favicon.gif where I always host my pics - flickr. 

Now we get to the bit with the code. Don't panic, it's not complicated. You need to give your blog template the information that it has to display the favicon with your blog. This information is stored in the Layout section of your blog. Click on the "Edit HML" tab and you will see something like this (right):

The information that you want a favicon to show beside your URL has to be placed at a particular place in the code. That is right in front of this:
. For HTML-idiots like me the easiest way to find it is by simply using your browser search function. Hit ctrl+F and the search box will pop up at the bottom left of you screen, just above the Start button. Copy and paste in there and the browser will mark it green in the code. (You can see it in the code box in the screenshot below.)


The code for displaying a favicon is the following: 

<link href="YOUR FAVICON URL" rel="shortcut icon"/>
<link href="YOUR FAVICON URL" rel="icon"/>

Paste the URL where your favicon is hosted into the code that is CAPITALIZED and place it in front of the tag. The screenshot from above already had my favicon info in there.

Check whether it works - simply hit "preview". Then save the template. And done! I think it is really cool! I hope my instructions work for you, too.


PS: My very own IT manager friend and computer professional Jörg has just sent me a couple of tips and tricks about code.  I have updated the above blog post with his helpful hints to make it easier for readers to copy the code and make a favicon themselves. Thanks, Jörg - you are a star!

Linking to:

The Girl Creative



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chain of Hearts

After several weeks of displaying my lovey-dovey origami hearts on my mantlepiece in the sitting room, I have finally decided to take them down and make space for the Easter decoration that will soon go up. I really love those hearts, though I did not want to display them so prominently anymore. So I found a new place for them. Did you spot them in yesterday's pictures and post about the sculptural horse skull?


Rather than pack them away and forget about them, I decided to make a long chain of hearts out of them. Nothing simpler than that: I just hung them from each other in a long line. 
They hang nicely beside our very tall sash windows, swaying softly in the draft - yes, the nasty draft that you have to live with in an old house... The chain is so long that I actually could not get a decent shot of the whole line without moving furniture. Instead we will have to make do with an artsy-fartsy shot from below:

On a different note I am happy to announce that I have packed and sent off the giveaway to the lucky winner, Amy. I hope it will arrive quickly - and undamaged - after its long journey across the Atlantic from Ireland to Kansas. The prove is in the pudding parcel:


Friday, February 26, 2010

I like weird...

Yes, I know it is coming up Easter and not Halloween - and I suspect many of you will find morbid if not downright ugly what I am presenting you today. Well, even though I am neither a rock chick nor a goth teenager, I find skulls very sculptural and beautiful interesting in their own way. Maybe the whole decorating-with-skulls craze has already peaked and I am jumping onto the bandwagon just as it is pulling into the graveyard (if you pardon the pun), but if Damien Hirst can play with skulls, so can I!

As luck would have it, I am married to a former skull-enthusiast. Growing up, my partner had a large collection of skulls - sheeps', badgers', birds', donkeys', horses', you name it - and we have a number of them nowadays out on our garden walls. Anyway, looking at the a horse skull closely, I was fascinated by the play of light and shadows on the bone. (Can you tell I am a photographer, obsessed with light and shadow??) Can you spot him in the winter picture on the right? So, originally I gave the skull an undercoat of silver primer, with the intention of painting it some other colour and leaving it in the garden.

But then the skull just looked so well, so sculptural, so fascinating, that I decided to bring it inside and place it in our sitting room.  The top of our in-built cabinet was the perfect empty spot.

I had to make a stand on which to display the skull, otherwise it would have sat behind the moulding of the cabinet. Ok, I admit, my better half helped me with this - he drilled a hole into a bit of wood and an old chair leg (which had been washed onto the beach) and fixed the two together with a wooden dowel. Then we stuck a few clipped chopsticks through another hole to create two "arms" that the skull could rest on.

And that was it - up on the cabinet he went. He's leering at us, I guess... I wonder what kind of comments the skull will attract, both here and by my visitors?

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lots of Bead Ball Objects

Candie, from whom I first got the tutorial on how to make beaded beads, had warned that making them was addictive. So true! Weeks later I am still fascinated by them and I recently went out to stock up on more beads. There is a wonderful bead shop in Dublin, so aptly named "Crown Jewels", where I found a few sachets of reduced price beads. However, I found that it was actually cheaper to buy some ready-made necklaces in another place, where they were selling jewellery for € 3.00 apiece. So I also bought a couple of necklaces there and took them apart. If you want, this is a mini jewellery-before-and-after:

I experimented with different sizes of beads in one "ball". The effect is in the shape. If you start out with five big beads, then use twenty small beads and work in five big beads again for the top, you end up with a barrel-shaped beaded object such as the one on the left. This really lends itself to a pendant. So I made a necklace from black beads, attached tassels in the form of simple chains to the bottom and strung the bead barrel onto it. Here it is:

If you do the opposite, i.e. start with five small beads, then use twenty large beads and work in five small beads for the end, the result is a domed bead (see left). I really love that shape. This one I fashioned into a key ring. I simply attached a bit of chain and then put a ring onto it. It's a real "hand-pleaser", I can tell you...

My daughter had been on to me that she wanted one of those bead balls. I made a really large one for her, using beads in only one size. That way you can make a regular shaped round ball. For the fun of it, I popped a glass marble into it. It sits loosely in the middle and rattles if you shake the ball.

There is no end to experimenting. With the bead stash diminishing, I didn't have enough beads to do another one in just one colour or size - so I mixed the beads and came up with this blingy number - which I am using on one of my corsages. The whole process of making these beads is almost mathematical - with a bit of thought and applied logic you can create lovely patterns on them. If you want a "star" in the middle, then you need to start out with five beads in one colour and afterwards switch to another colour or size. If you want to have the rim stand out, you work in a different colour bead every second time after you have finished the first five beads. Sounds difficult when explaining but it is really quite logical.

Next I might experiment with using more beads in these objects... 


Linking to:


Monday, February 22, 2010

We have a winner...

My first ever giveaway closed at 11.30 pm GMT. And I couldn't wait to determine who the winner of the goodies is. So here I am, barely after closing-time...  

The celebration post attracted 25 comments - after promoting it within an inch of its life originality on as many linking parties as I could get my hands on... Not too bad, for a start, I think. I am quite pleased to think that 25 people not only found their way to Craft-Werk, but also were interested enough in the post to read it - and greedy enough to enter the giveaway draw *hehehe*. (Aw, that's too mean - and I really do not mean it...)

So - provided the unbiased draw

Drumroll, please...

The parcel will go to number...


Yay - so the lucky winner is Kansas Amy who said:

"Congratulations on the 100th post. I was peeking around your blog and like what I see and hope to be back. Come by to say hello sometime! And fingers crossed that I will win, it looks like a great giveaway! ;)" 
Thanks for taking part, Amy!!! All this will be on its way to you, soon!

A Special Birthday Card

Hello everyone - want to know what has kept me busy at the weekend (apart from going to the movies, attending a classical concert, being locked in the studio for a photo shoot and hosting a craft afternoon - *woosh*, I get tired just reading that long list of weekend activities...)? I made a special card for my dad's upcoming birthday. (Hope he is not reading here, otherwise the surprise is spoilt...)

Yeah, right, a card that is. What's so special? Well, that is what is called an "infinity card". My scanned pictured doesn't show you what it can do. Essentially it can be opened up and folded back to reveal more pictures, all without changing the orientation of the card.

My daughter had been given an infinity card for Christmas and I was fascinated by it. I had no idea how it was made - and then I stumbled across a great clip and a template by Toymaker Marilyn Scott Waters (via one of my reader's comments - I have been trying to search and find who of you had a link to Toymaker, and give you credit for the inspiration - sorry, can't find you again, please accept my thanks this way...)

To really show you how the infinity card works, I've made a little video. Check it out, it's only a minute long and shows the magic in action:

I nearly lost the plot making this card - the template I worked with had graphics, not photos, and so I had to experiment in order to get the orientation of the photos right. You see, the images get "twisted around" when you fold and turn the card. I think I printed about five drafts until I got it right. (And while writing this tutorial I also realised that I needed to take pictures to show what you need to do - words are not enough...). This is what happens:

Good person that I am (...), I have decided to make a template for those of you who want to recreate this, using your own photos. You can download it (for free, of course) at the end of the post via scribd. (Aside: Wow, I am really learning so much while I am blogging - scribd is so cool for document sharing!!!)

A few notes on making the card: The template is general and allows you to adapt it with your own message and photos. The red boxes are designated for a message. Word MS will let you click onto the writing in the boxes and add your own message. The orientation of my notes in the document shows you which way up the pictures should go. You can simply copy and paste photos and place them in/on the document, sizing them as required. Note that you may have to cut photos in half and change their sides so that they show up correctly in the finished card!!! (I have indicated that in the template.)

Once you have written your message and pasted all your photos in, you can print out the pages on card. Page 2 has to be printed onto the back of page 1; page 4 goes on the back of page 3. It should all align, so that you can trim off the excess. 

Next you cut your two square print-outs in half along the red line in the middle. The black dotted lines denote the lines where you should score the card. (If you are printing on normal paper, you won't need to score!) Then fold along the score lines - both ways.

Place your square from page 3 and 4 in front of you with page 4 facing up. You should be able to see that there are four boxes on the two strips that say "Glue Point". These glue points should be in the four corners of the "square". Put a bit of glue on each of them. 


Take the two remaining strips with page 1 facing up. Page 2 also has four boxes labelled "Glue Point". Attach them to the bottom square by placing glue point onto glue point.

And you are done. You may need to fold the strips back a little more as you are trying it out, but the infinity card should work now.

Here is the template for downloading. I am not sure why, but scribd's preview shows the elements of the card scrunched together and overlapping. I have tried downloading it and the template comes out correctly on four separate pages, just the way you can work with it. I created it using MS Word 2007.

Template for Photo Infinity Card                                                            

By the way - opening and folding the card backwards does not work!! It only works seamlessly if you start with your message square first; otherwise the pictures and the text will be completely jumbled up...

Hope this wasn't too complicated? Have fun with this - it will amaze your children and is an easily made card for any occasion: next birthday? Valentine's Day? Paddy's Day? Or just for a loved one to show that you care and are willing to spend time on an original craft for them.


PS: Have you entered the giveaway? It's your last chance now - I am pulling it off tonight at 11.30 pm GMT. Just go to my celebration post and leave me a comment. Seriously, that's all!

PPS: Yay: oneprettything

Linking to:


The Girl Creative


 The DIY Show Off