Feed Your Creativity with Technology

Whether you are a serious crafter or just a dabbler, there are a multitude of digital resources for you: apps, courses, YouTube tutorials, and online websites that allow you to play graphic designer.  I can’t begin to provide a comprehensive guide to what is available so I am going to share a few favorites, plus suggestions on how to find sites that fit your interests.

Crocheting & Other Needle Crafts

Megan’s Left in Knots is a favorite for several reasons:

  • Original ideas
  • Free patterns
  • Excellent directions.

I can attest to her clear directions! I can crochet a granny square of any size, but beyond that I tend to get tangled in my yarn. Last summer, a friend sent me a link to Megan’s free pattern for crocheted water balloons thereby hinting her kids, whom I adore, probably would really like them.  The idea is that they are soft, soak up water quickly, and reusable. So… I gave the pattern a try and the end results resembled the examples on the website.

Not perfect, but the kids played with them all summer.  Unfortunately, it was not only the children who loved the soft, cushy water balloon toys.

They made good mouse nests, as well.  I am off to Joanne’s for more yarn and a plastic box where the new balloons will be stored over the coming winter. (-:

If you are interested in learning a new needle craft, upgrading your skills, or looking for a pattern, your first stop really ought to be YouTube. Below are two screen shots of lists of videos for crocheting and needle work.  I simply went to YouTube.com and typed in the keywords, Crocheting and then Needlework.

Be sure to read the descriptions of the site and how many views there have been.  If there have been a lot of views, then chances are it’s a helpful site.  However, there are new YouTube videos every day so if you see one that doesn’t have a lot of views, but is on a topic you are interested in–try it out.

Blogs, a source of inspiration for crafters, are often more reflective posts than just “how to” sites.  You may have to check out several before you find a blogger whom you enjoy reading.  Easy to find–just search “Best ….. blogs.” Fill in the blank with the craft you love.  For example, here’s a site that lists best knitting blogs. https://knitlikegranny.com/knitting-blogs/

Speaking of blogs, if you are a quilter and don’t know Timna Tarr, you must visit her blog and website! She is well know in the quilting world, exhibits in national juried exhibitions, and has traveled all over the country giving workshops. With COVID she has moved into Zoom courses. The digital world has allowed her to continue to work with fellow quilters. Check out her course line up here.

Full disclosure:  I have known Timna since she was in high school and have a Timna quilt that is well loved and well used.

Also, look up what is being offered by your local adult ed programs; they also may be offering Zoom or other distance learning platform crafting classes. Finally, just do a search “Zoom + …. classes.” Bet you will find a face-to-face workshop or two that have gone digital.

Just a quick summary of what we have talked about so far:

  • Keywords
  • Websites
  • YouTube
  • Internet searches (10 best sites for…)
  • Blogs
  • Zoom courses.

Your digital device is a gateway to more projects than you could possible complete in one lifetime, but it sure will be fun trying!

Let’s move on to apps.  You know the saying, “There’s an app for that!” Well, there’s an app for almost any craft you can think of. I’m going to focus on manipulating photographs and drawing apps, but they are just examples of what you can find when you go to your favorite app store. Do a little research first.  Search ” Best free apps for …” You fill in the blank.

One app I love to play with is Percolator. The image at the top of the post was created with this app. Here’s the original image.

The app developers used the metaphor of making a cup of coffee to organize their app.

First, your decide where you will get your original image.

Next, you do a little grinding and brewing to modify your image.  Here are a couple of examples.

And lastly, you choose how you will serve up your brew.

If you are a person who prefers realistic representation, then this app is probably not for you. However, if you enjoy being playful with images, check out this app.  It’s free at your app store.

Use your images to create stationery, gifts, and keepsakes at websites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. Here’s a quick Thank You card I made at Shutterfly.

Another app that you might enjoy is Procreate Pocket. Designed for people who enjoy drawing and painting, there are many options including color palettes, brush strokes, and painting techniques. It is possible to start with either a blank canvas or a photograph. Below are some of the options available.

As you begin to delve into this app, you might want to watch a video tutorial. Here’s one.

Lastly, I want to share the website Canva.com.  I feel like a graphic designer when using it, and believe me, my talents do not fall in that direction! You can create a great variety of projects for free, and of course, there is a premium version that costs money.

Just look at all of the options listed in the image above. Social media is highlighted, however there are templates for events, documents, and so on. Here are a couple of BoomerTECH Adventures social media projects that we posted to Facebook.

Canva is a fabulous app for anyone active in church groups or non-profits or basically any organization.  Plus, it also has many personal uses. Create professional-looking newsletters and flyers that grab people’s attention. Or, design a template that members or participants can download for their own purposes.

Here is a free, BoomerTECH Adventures template created on Canva that you can download and use as notepaper or as an event announcement or even as the beginning of a September newsletter.  It is a jpeg file which means you will have to insert a text box in order to write. It has an end of summer/beginning of fall feel to it.

To download this colorful, full sized (8 X 11) template, click here.

Lots of options for the crafter in you–some totally digital activities plus a multitude of sites, apps, and blogs to inspire you. Remember, all you have to do is type in a simple phrase in your browser’s (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) search window: 10 best … apps for … or 10 best websites for … or 10 best blogs for … Creativity is an essential part of living, and your digital device is a major access point for ideas and fun. Enjoy.


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