Too Cute Tuesday: Needle Felted Animals

Too Cute Tuesday: Needle Felted Animals

Here at Craft Central, we've been meaning to needle felt for awhile. Unfortunately, this requires felting needles, which is a special kind of needle that I ended up driving the next town over to get.

No matter, with the proper equiptment in hand (and some fiddleheads à la Nicole in our stomachs) we enjoyed stabbing fiber and creating cute creatures!

Materials Needed
Fiber (this is cool terminology for wool/fur that hasn't yet become yarn, you can apparently buy this in craft stores by the bag though if you have friends who are "into" fiber, they just have some lying around)
Felting needles (I got the variety pack of 4 needles for $6)
Styrofoam (stolen from workplaces)

Cocktail of the Day: Margaritas! (Note: Make sure you can handle sharp needles and alcohol before proceeding with the cocktail)

1. Make fiddleheads (you can look up a recipe or get my super-easy good one tomorrow on the blog!). Tis the season!

2. Pour cocktail. Have friends take out their bags of fiber and compare their wares.

3. Make a vague shape of what you want with the fiber. (ie My ant head was a small roundish ball and the ant abdomen was a slightly larger variation of that). Stab using the styrofoam to protect yourself, cutting board style. Stab evenly around the fiber, which will keep your shape round. The more you stab, the tighter it'll be.

4. Despite warnings of sharp needles, stab yourself and draw blood. Continue with the craft because one has to work through the pain.

5. You can use the felting needles to also "stab" the multiple pieces together. Eventually you will have an animal, promise. Dorrie had a dragonfly, Sarah a mouse, Sue a fish, and Nicole an ant.

6. Embarass your unembarassable dog by sticking your new animal on top of her head.

Aren't you crafty? And really isn't it fun to stab things?

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Plenty Of Fish: Works For Me!

Plenty Of Fish: Works For Me!

You may remember a while back, I interviewed my friend D. who had jumped into online dating. Using both paid and unpaid services, she was getting dates and meeting people. I've been watching from the sidelines, admiring her courage but myself a little hesitant.

It could be that spring is in the air but I thought I'd finally give online dating yet another shot.

I wrote my online profile on PlentyOfFish, uploaded a photo, and waited. (As a side note, turn off the photo rating option on your profile if your self-esteem is at all shaky. People apparently expect a lot these days!)

The initial response was lukewarm. I got two e-mails, one asking if I design websites (aww, using me already?) and one simply saying "yer cute" and that's it. Not quite what I was hoping for.

I looked at my profile again a week or so later with a more critical eye and realized that while I sounded really nice, I also sounded kind of boring. I tapped into my slightly wacky side and rewrote. I then got 7 responses in 24 hours. Plenty of fish indeed!

A few dates into my great social experiment, I met a nice young man that I am now dating. For the moment we'll call him John, since that is his name and he's ok with me using it.

A few words of caution from my most recent stint in the trenches:

1) There are some weird people out there, on free and paid services. While most correspondence has been nice (if gramatically incorrect), I got an email that would make most men apologize for their entire gender about two weeks ago. (It was quite graphic and inappropriate.) Just hit "block" because just like in real life, you don't have to correspond to anyone you don't want to.

2) You shouldn't have to convince anyone to be with you. No chemistry? It's fine. I feel like I have a lot to offer and not a lot of time or energy to chase people who don't agree. Keep putting yourself out there and eventually you'll get chemistry on both ends.

3) Don't be too nice. Ok this sounds counterintuitive but everyone out there is "a nice girl looking for a great guy who likes to be outdoors and cuddle while watching movies" or "a great guy who's tired of girls who play games" (plus that last one makes it sound like you have issues with the ladyfolk i.e. is a big red flag to me).

Under interests, I put such things as "avocados", "social media", and "dogs with short legs". Yes, it's great to be nice but if you are selling yourself on these sites, you need to stand out from the crowd. Just like your high school English teacher taught you, show don't tell. "On the weekends, you'll catch me biking around Acadia National Park because I do love those hills!" says a lot more to me then "I like biking." That said, don't go on and on. A couple paragraphs should get people interested; let them ask you the follow up questions.

4) Just try it. Did you know one out of every eight married couples met online? Trust me, the stigma against this is almost completely gone. There are so many people on these sites, why shouldn't you be one of them?

Oh and if you have some good online dating stories that went bad, at least you can contribute them to this fine website that my friend Mel and I are trying to start. One way or the other, you'll get something out of online dating!

A Video On The Importance Of The Internet

A Video On The Importance Of The Internet

Nancy Marshall, Maine PR Maven, posted this video a month or so ago on her blog and I think it's fantastic. It's a little long but it's five minutes well spent that'll blow your mind. Anyone who thinks social media and technology is irrelavent to them, check it out!


How To Get Me To Help You Out: Part Two

How To Get Me To Help You Out: Part Two

I tell you, one "Dear Sir" email and I am inspired to write two blog posts! (You can read Part...

How To Get Me To Help You Out: Part One

How To Get Me To Help You Out: Part One

Yesterday, I got an e-mail about a possible blog sponsorship opportunity. This is not a huge deal; bloggers get these almost everyday, sort of like if you have an e-mail address, you get wire transfer offers from unknown Nigerian relations.

Anyway back to this link exchange offer. Top of the letter: Dear Sir...

Whoa there, cowboy! You didn't even click twice to get to my contact info and bio? Even just notice my girly headshot or the fact my name is Nicole? Delete.

Rewind to a month ago when one of my friends was having some kind of employment fiasco and telling me about it.

Friend: Well I told her to call the Department of Labor to verify it.

Me: So you told her to call a bottomless crazy huge government agency, essentially resigning her to an afternoon of being put on hold and transferred around the office?

Friend: Well, I have a contact there that I've been dealing with.

Me: Did you give her the direct extension and your contact's name?

Friend: (long pause) No...hmmm. I will now though!

Okay two unrelated situations but the same basic idea. Someone wanted someone else to do them a favor. The favor does not happen. Why?

We usually have to think that people are pretty reasonable and want to help you out. Here are a few things you can do to get someone to be more likely to do a favor for you:

1) Make it easy for me. What a letter of recommendation? Ask nicely. Give me a generous deadline and a copy of your resume. You want to show the person doing the favor that you are doing the legwork and allowing them to simply finish the job and get the credit. And who doesn't like that?

2) Do your homework. Know what you need for me, and what you have to give. I do not want to link to "three casino websites". Give me the URLs. Tell me if you want link or an ad on my site in return. Tell me how much you want to pay me (money conversations are awkward enough; I don't want to initiate it!)

3) It's not all about you. I gave a talk today to our local Rotary about promotion online and the cardinal sin of making it all about you. It really isn't and if you give someone that impression, good luck getting a worthwhile working relationship. Approach it in a way that's not just a favor to you but will help the other person out too.

Tomorrow, Part II and a fabulous example of someone who knows how to ask for a favor so well, I think she should do a class on it.

Insurance Decision Made…Almost

Insurance Decision Made…Almost

I do not know how I'd make my major decisions were it not for commenters on this blog. You guys...