A Few of My Favorite Websites . . . This Week!



Websites That Inspire Me

One of the cool things about the internet is that you can find sites online that explore the topics that interest you RIGHT NOW. The people who create those sites, blog posts or articles may have posted what interests you just yesterday . . . or they might have posted it years ago but left it there for you to discover today. So for example, if you are currently interested in learning how to color images with alcohol ink markers or work with Gelli Plates or whatever, you can find it online somewhere. It’s all just a quick Google away. And the information continues to build. So if you search out sites on a particular topic now and then you search that same topic in six months, you are likely to find new and interesting info.

Here are a few spots online that I’ve been enjoying lately. None of them are specifically about stamping although two of them are craft sites and one of those does often cover stamping topics. Others are related to other interests of mine (like cooking and baking bread) and others are places where I find inspiring photography or learn how to use the software that lets me do things like edit photos and create a blog. I’m thinking that you and I are creative people and may have overlapping interests and so you might enjoy some of these sites. After all, Google and the NSA and the whole online advertising world apparently knows where I like to hang out on the internet already, so why not share this info with you, my friends, too? So here are some spots I like and that you might like as well.

Creative Sites

The Blue Bottle Tree

I just discovered this blog the other day and immediately fell in love and just as quickly subscribed to both the blog and the Facebook Page. I was that impressed. Ginger Davis Allman’s focus is polymer clay and stained glass. Even if these aren’t crafts in your own wheel house, be sure to check out her blog anyway because the photographs on the site are really gorgeous. I was especially wowed by how she colors translucent polymer clay with alcohol inks. The colors are jewel-like. So very pretty!

The Frugal Crafter

Lindsay Weirich is a crafter after our own creative hearts. She dives into various crafts with enthusiasm, learns how to do things, figures out frugal alternatives to pricey craft purchases and shares them with the internet every day in a YouTube video. Lindsay covers a wide range of crafts and not all of them are my thing, but many of them do fit my interests (including often using stamps) so I’m one of her 2,605 blog followers.


National Geographic Wallpapers

I must admit that I dip into the National Geographic website fairly regularly because I love their photographs. Did you know that many of the photos they post online can be downloaded as Wallpapers that you can put on your computer? My desktop computer’s wallpaper is a slideshow of mostly their photographs. The color, the light and the subjects inspire me and improve my day.

National Geographic Women of Vision

My daughter just pointed me toward this exhibition that is in DC right now and it is one I’d like to see before it moves on. The website page for the show has a panel discussion video where the eleven women photographers featured in the exhibition talk about their work taking photographs of people and places around the world. Their work is inspiring.

NASA Images

I am on Before & After’s (How to Design Cool Stuff) e-list and the most recent email I received alerted me to the fact that NASA makes their photographs available to the public on their website for free via download. Some of the pictures are quite beautiful. You can download them to use as wallpaper on your computer or print them out.  In his email, Before & After’s John McCade suggests printing some of them out and using them to create a 2014 calendar.

Learning About Software, Photography, Etc.


I have been a member of Lynda.com for years. Almost everything I know about photography, editing pictures, page layout, website design, making pdf’s and ebooks, blogging, etc., etc. was something I learned via Lynda.com. Excellent courses on all kinds of topics. While there are no stamping topics, there are online classes on other topics we stampers like including graphic design, choosing color and photography. This is a membership site, but it is well, well worth it if the topics they cover interest you. You can see the first few videos of any of their courses free, just by clicking the links on the class page, so you can get an idea of how the courses are set up and what they are like. I highly recommend them.

Before & After

Before & After offers subscriptions for their pdf articles on design topics. While they are geared for people doing graphic design in a business setting, the design ideas are helpful in thinking about all kinds of design projects and the tips could be helpful in laying out your cards or scrapbook pages. If you aren’t sure whether this is for you, there is a “Free Stuff” page with sample articles and free videos. For the articles, you need to register which isn’t a bad thing and will get you on their e-list that I mentioned in the NASA section earlier, but the videos don’t require it. (Note: Before & After’s John McCade also has an online class on design on Lynda.com which I very much enjoyed.)

Cooking & Baking

Eat Your Books

If you love to cook and have a zillion cookbooks (or only a few) but can never find the recipes you need, you HAVE to join Eat Your Books. It only costs $2.50 a month or $25 a year. (Or you can do up to five books free to try it out.) It is the coolest thing: an online ingredient index for the cookbooks on your shelf. You tell Eat Your Books which cookbooks you have by putting them on your virtual bookshelf. They’ve indexed “one million recipes in 4,506 books, almost 1,500 magazines and 71 websites and blogs” so most of what you’ve got is likely to be indexed here. When you need to figure out what in the world you can make for dinner with the ingredients in your kitchen, you plug them into your Eat Your Books bookshelf search box and the site will list recipes you have in your cookbooks (as well as indexed online food sites) that use those ingredients. Then you can go straight to the actual cookbook in your home to find the actual recipe and get dinner started. Did I tell you how cool this is? They also have a blog where they post food related thoughts and point to other interesting food related posts they’ve found around the web.

King Arthur Flour’s Flourish Blog

I love to bake bread and my flour of choice is King Arthur Flour. Part of that is because I think they sell high quality flour (and other products) but part of it is because the people at this employee owned company are some of the nicest people around (at least that’s been my experience through every interaction I’ve had with them.) Their blog is full of helpful information (I loved their recent blog post on types of cocoa!) and great recipes. If you like to bake, whether it is bread or doughnuts or cakes, cookies and pies and whether you use wheat flour or are gluten-free, their blog, Flourish and their online recipes are a great resource. Yum!

A Toast Story (Pacific Standard)

This is a cool foodie post (and something more) that my husband just pointed out to me. It is the story of $4 toast: “How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze? Ask a trivial question, get a profound, heartbreaking answer.” It’s really well written and is not just about toast but also about how one woman has found a way to make her life work despite some pretty big challenges.

These obviously aren’t the only websites I visit, but they are sites that I particularly like this week and that I think you might like too. Are there sites that YOU like that you think I should know about? Please let me know in the comments! Thanks!

Nancie, VSN

7 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Websites . . . This Week!

  1. Thank you for suggesting the Blue Bottle Tree. I took a look around the site and was very pleased with the content.

  2. Thank you so much for featuring my blog! You’ve made my day. And I’m really glad to have found you as well. I had a look around and I can’t wait to have the time to savor all the information and articles here. I’ve already shared your site on my Facebook page…you’d be amazed how relevant stamping is to polymer clay. I’m sure your articles will be of great interest to my readers as well.

    1. Hi Ginger, It is my pleasure. I am so impressed with what you do. I’ve been enjoying your Facebook posts as well (since I joined a few days ago.) Such beautiful things! I’ve dabbled in polymer clay (along with almost every other craft under the sun at some point), but I sit firmly in the rank beginner category I’m afraid. You are tempting me to get some fresh clay and see what happens . . . Thanks for sharing about VSN on your FB Page. :) Nancie

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