Posts Tagged ‘ designs ’

3, 2, 1…DRAW

More years ago than I care to recount (mainly because I have no idea) I acquired and subsequently lost my only USB cable. Every now and then when I need to transfer files from here to there I search for this minuscule MIA cable. Today marks my 93rd search, I’d say, but this sly cable still eludes me. I find this mildly infuriating. On my search and retrieve attempt this evening, though, I stumbled upon some stuff that (almost) makes up for the fact that what I actually set out to find still appears to be totally outside my grasp.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawing. Nothing in particular, just drawing. It’s just what I did. This particular creative drive is what led me to decide to earn my degree for graphic design (which had an ironic yet delightful conclusion that I won’t get into now, but it’s kind of awesome I swear). A lot of the stuff that I used to draw when I was a kid was lost, but teenage me hardly ever threw her drawings away (unless they sucked, if I’m being honest) so I still have a bunch. I kept them in my purple, plastic folder, in two categories: “Don’t like,” kept in one pocket, and “Damn I’m amazing at this” in the other (there really was no in between for me, now that I think about it). I also managed to hang on to a handful of the stuff I did on assignment for my various high school and college classes. I wish I had had the patience to actually make my work look as great as I thought it could be. But I still like some of the stuff that managed to tumble out of the tumult in my head and through my shaky hands. Here’s a handful of my inadvertent findings:

Childhood drawing ea1701 Karissa C

I don’t draw nearly as much as I used to. It’s kind of sad when I think about it. But every once in a great while I get some kind of idea that I’m able to see through. And sometimes, actually, I do get commisioned for something. Back in September I was asked to make an inspirational-type poster for a local school. I sketched it all out by hand first:

Dream BIG Sketch

I’ve got this thing about sketching in my math notebooks for some reason… This is what I ended up with:

Dream Big Poster by Karissa C 2014

Dream Big Closeup

Closeup of the poster. The blond girl is my favorite of the chibis :)

 

It was a big hit. Can’t say I wasn’t a little pleased :)

And recently I was hired to make a few posters for some kids’ bedrooms. This is one of them:

Giraffe poster by Karissa C 2014

A giraffe was requested for this one, so I first sketched it out on paper. (I did this right before bed one night and I’m blaming the horrendous sketch on the exhaustion I must have been suffering from.) A little tweaking in Photoshop the next day and things were much better. The next poster in the series is a couple of penguins. Hopefully I can work on that this weekend. (Penguins are so bodacious.)

I definitely don’t draw anywhere near as much as I used to, and not in the same way. One of the nasty side-effects of being an adult. Time was never an issue when I was younger; I never didn’t have enough of it. Wish that were the case these days. But I guess that’s the way it goes. Just trying to make the best of the time I do have. There are just so many awesome things out there to do. Sometimes I think that’s why I don’t spend a lot of extra time polishing my stuff; I always want to be off on my next creative idea :)

 

all images copyright Karissa Cole 2014 | contact

Blue Eyes, Bubble Gum (Short Story + Amigurumi Pattern)

I stood there with my eyes locked on my opponent. He simply sat there, with no readable expression. Even after our epic battle. there seemed to be a cool vibe emanating from every inch of him. I looked down at the weapons I had chosen at the beginning of this assignment: an HB pencil and a standard white eraser. Before this epic battle, each item had been in perfect condition. Before my pencil had touched that formidable warrior, that bleached 18″ x 24″ sketch pad, my simple yet effective writing implement had been perfectly sharpened, ready and able to draw for me whatever I asked of it.

But as soon as I laid led to paper, I realized I had met my match. We struggled as I tried to draw a couch in two-point perspective. I tried every maneuver in my grand arsenal. I brought in reinforcements, the flexible cork-backed ruler, but even that was no match for the sketch pad. He was too strong for me, he refused to concede, to show for me the couch I had in mind. My HB worked magnificently, and for a time I thought I would actually win. But the paper, this unbeatable foe, broke the pencil led as if it were thinner than a blade of grass and laughed in the face of my eraser.

I threw my ammunition down on the table. Forfeiting, and failing at my couch drawing mission.

“I think you’re just thinking too much. Just, clear your head, don’t think”, my instructor calmly told me at the end of class. I couldn’t help but notice he possessed the same coolness the sketch pad had displayed. A cohort perhaps? I realized it wouldn’t surprise me.

“We’ll cover it again in the next class. But feel free to practice until then.” he said. To me or to the other students in the class I couldn’t tell. He struck me as an unusual teacher, but not in any identifiable way. An admirable trait to some extent.

Even though I found it a possibility that he was part of the conniving pad’s plan, and I found his teaching method offbeat, his advice seemed to warrant more exploration. I decided it would be wise to clear my head, and prepare myself for the next battle that I knew wouldn’t be far off. I had heard of accomplished artists seeking the outdoors as a way to clear their mind or find inspiration. Being a city dweller by nature, the thought of traversing through actual nature looked to me like it would have the opposite effect I was seeking. But there was a discreet bench, on a simple corner near my well lived in 4th floor apartment, that I thought might offer the desired serenity and inspiration. So, with the November weather being astoundingly agreeable on the day it all happened, that is where I went.

It wasn’t a particularly incredible street: nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing of much exciting interest.

Setting my sketch pad down, I took up residence on a small wooden bench that served as the bus stop on the corner. The bench had been green at one point but a good deal of the paint had worn off, leaving the natural light tan color of the wood. Sitting in the right corner of the bench I twisted myself slightly to my left, effectively nestling myself into the curves of the seat. I then pulled my left knee up, hugging it to my chest. Considering the hard nature of the wooden bench, this was as comfortable as I could get, but it suited me just fine.

I’d been on this bench dozens of times before, and I’d passed it by hundreds more. Still I took in my surroundings, the sights and sounds of the buildings around me. Behind my seat was an empty office building for sale. It lacked any great luster and seemed to me as though it would be for sale for quite some time. It also seemed to me that it oddly resembled the settings of several horror movies. I made a note to mention it to the AV students at the college.

Across from me was the edge of another large office building that wrapped around to the front of the street. This building was very similar to the one behind me except this one was generally occupied on a regular basis. I’m not sure if anyone knew exactly what went on in this building. All that was certain was that well dressed men and woman came and went from the structure, with bland looking briefcases and terribly bored expressions on their faces. Next to that building was a smaller one story shop. The large window boasted attractive cardboard cutouts of various singers and musicians, some decorative objects hanging from the ceiling and a bright neon sign that read “Spin Cycle”. It was a trendy music store, carrying mainly records and retro memorabilia. But it pretty much cost money just to look in the window.

To the right of Spin Cycle was a small coffee shop. Not being much of a coffee drinker myself, all I can tell you about the place is that the lettering on the logo in the window matched the faded color and quality of the bench I sat on. Beyond the coffee shop and the building behind me were several more utterly nondescript offices and apartment buildings, interspersed with the occasional old fashioned lamp post and “Keep Our City Clean” trash bins. To the credit of the city council those small red and white signs urging pedestrians to clean up their trash seemed to have done their job well. The entire street was simple but clean and tasteful; a rare sight in a city.

Although on that day the street I sat on felt nothing like a typical city. There was one car parked a few hundred feet to my right. It was an older car, maybe from the 1950’s. It was red with gray and gold paint randomly splattered and strewn about on the body of the car. From this observation alone I surmised that the owner of the vehicle suffered from complete color blindness.

Aside from this car there were no other vehicles in sight; not even the occasional motorist passing by on his way to whatever his destination might’ve been. There was, in fact, no evidence of life anywhere on the street, beyond myself that is. I began to think that this was not the most excellent location for inspiration to strike. Unless by some miracle the crumpled newspaper that flew by when the wind picked up struck gold within me.

To no great surprise, I suppose, no miraculous epiphany occurred.

I pulled my knee closer to my body and looked up at the sky. It was late in the afternoon by then; still light out but the sun had hidden itself behind some grey clouds, apparently finding this once lively street as dull as I did.

I returned my gaze to the Spin Cycle store front when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. Something new, something I hadn’t seen before. It was small, black and somewhat round. It looked to be no more than two feet tall. This new object could have been easily mistaken for some inanimate item; a small trash bag, a miniature black bean bag chair, a tire, anything of the like. Had it not moved I’m sure I would have written it off as nothing of importance. But the little creature shifted from one tiny foot to another. By doing so he turned himself just enough for me to get a better look at him. He was shaped like a teardrop, with two very little yellow feet supporting him. His feet appeared to come straight from his round belly, as his legs, if he had any, were too small to be visible from my vantage point. His head was round, jet black, and shone a little in the small rays of light that began showing through the clouds. Set perfectly in the center of that head were two very round, blue-green eyes, spaced a couple of inches apart. Just below his shining eyes sat a small yellow beak. Below his beak a small white patch on his chest was visible, but the majority of it was apparently blocked by the small black hooded sweatshirt he wore. Just below his neck, if he even had a neck, on ether side of his body were two chubby arms that were comparable in size to his entire torso.

If I had to put forth a guess, I would have said it was a small penguin wearing a hooded black sweatshirt. In fact that was the only logical conclusion I could come to, which I imagine might sound ridiculous, what with that statement lacking any apparent logic whatsoever. But I am known for being logical and barring any recent brain injury I had no knowledge of, I knew my guess must have been correct.

So the newcomer to the street across from me was a two foot tall penguin. He didn’t quite look like a Gentoo, he had no white on his face. Of all the penguins I’ve ever seen, I’d have said he looked remarkably similar to an Adélie. Not that I’ve ever encountered a penguin on the city street before, especially not one that wore a tiny sweatshirt. But I gathered almost instantly that this was a situation that not many people had come across before.

The penguin stood on the street a few dozen feet from the record store and the coffee shop. He shifted his weight back and forth a few times, padded down the pockets at the front of his sweatshirt, then shifted again. It looked as though he was waiting for someone. He lifted his left arm and looked at a nonexistent watch.

Impatient little fellow.

But as if cued by the little bird’s anxious manner the door to the record store suddenly flew open, revealing a tall, thin, and overall rather lanky figure. As the newest arrival to this previously empty street made his way out of the store I could see him more clearly. He was a young, in his early twenties most likely. He wore a grey shirt under an olive green jacket. His jeans and sneakers were both quite dark, so much so that I could hardly see where one ended and the other began. His hair was light brown, parted on his left with some of it falling over the right side of his face. His large blue eyes were almost completely hidden behind even larger black rimmed glasses.

In his left arm he held several large books with paper sticking out at odd angles. He had over his left shoulder a messenger bag, tan and well worn. I couldn’t help but wonder why it was that the heavy books were held in his arms rather than in the bag. The boy wrestled with the tomes he carried as he looked down at a watch her wore on his left wrist. He had an air of haste about him, as if he were running late and couldn’t quite compose himself. But even with his hurried expression he stayed where he was, standing just outside Spin Cycle.

The penguin immediately noticed the boy’s arrival and began marching steadily towards him. For such a small fellow with incredibly tiny legs he walked with an amazingly speedy determination. In just a matter of seconds he had crossed the few dozen feet that had been between him and his human target. The young man though, still appearing hurried for some reason, didn’t seem to be waiting for anyone, especially not a penguin I dare say, so I believe it came as somewhat of a shock to him when he looked down and saw a short, unusually anthropomorphized penguin tugging gently on his right pant leg.

The boy looked down at the penguin and, with more composure than anyone ought to display in such a situation, he slowly knelt down, bridging the 4-some-odd foot distance between him and the little creature begging his attention.

The penguin’s demeanor was that of someone who had just discovered some wonderfully exhilarating news and if he didn’t share it, it would most certainly cause a fantastic explosion. Not wanting to experience this explosion, the penguin excitedly hopped up and down, his eyes shining with urgency, as he began speaking to the boy. The boy stared at him with an incredulous expression on his face, his eyes wide in amazement. I imagine his wide eyes were also due, at least in some small manner, to the weight of the books he still held. But he didn’t put his books down, nor did he move even an inch from the penguin.

By this point my interest had been piqued considerably. I put both my feet on the ground and moved forward to the edge of the bench; to the point where if I had gone any further I would fall off. I hunched my shoulders so I could lean in as close as possible to this very interesting conversation. But even in this perfect information gathering (or as some misguided people call it, “eavesdropping”) position I was just too far away to hear any of the penguin’s words. So I simply watched as the penguin gestured wildly while carrying on his one-sided conversation.

Whatever sentiments this penguin had intended to convey he did so in a relatively brief period of time. Not long after he walked up to the young man on the sidewalk and began his dialogue he slowed his gestures to a stop. I realized then that he had stopped talking and he was looking to the boy, waiting for some kind of response.

The boy blinked and shook his head a little, bringing himself back from the penguin induced stupor. His expression clearly showed confusion, amazement, and still a hint of haste. Still kneeling by the penguin, he placed his heavy books on the ground beside him in order to free up his left hand. With this newly liberated limb he reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small, thin, pink box.

Not the item I had expected to see.

But whatever it was thrilled the penguin, as he squinted with joy, clapped his hands and jumped up and down.

With confusion still residing on his face, the young man looked at the box and then at the joyous penguin. He freely handed the box over to his most recent acquaintance, who gratefully accepted it. The penguin flipped open the box and pulled out a smaller pink rectangle. He tore off the pink paper wrapping and handed the trash to the boy, who took it surprisingly readily and placed it in his pocket. With the paper off, the penguin popped the little pink object in his mouth and began to chew. Apparently his new acquisition was bubble gum. The gum seemed to make this penguin extremely happy; His face lit up with complete joy as he chewed the sweet treat.

He chomped happily for a few moments, staring off into space before he turned his attention back to the young man. Still enjoying his gum, the penguin patted the boy on the knee and then extended his long black arm.Beyond any adequate definition of bewildered the boy gently took hold of the penguin’s offered up flipper. The penguin shook the boy’s hand enthusiastically but without saying a word. He then took off walking down the street, past Spin Cycle, the coffee shop, and the buildings beyond.The young and confused man stayed kneeling on the sidewalk, alone after the penguin had left. He looked as though he were trying his hardest to comprehend what had just happened.

Although, so did I, I’m sure.

He turned to look behind him and see the penguin walking off in the distance. Slowly he turned back and picked up the books he had laid down earlier. As he mumbled to himself, obviously distracted, he stood up and began walking towards the unique car parked to my right. After fumbling again with the large books he pulled out his car keys. He hesitated a moment before getting in, looking again in the direction the penguin had gone, although the little creature was too far now to be seen. He shook his head a final time, got into his car and drove off.

I watched as this unnamed man pulled away. The street was again devoid of any life. No cars had come or gone in the few minutes in which this spectacle took place, and no more pedestrians had made any appearances.

My sketch pad still sat beside me on the bench. After sufficiently recovering from my own bout of confusion this scene had caused I grabbed the pad; surely, if a two foot penguin walking and talking, chewing bubble gum and speaking with a confounded boy didn’t strike within me some sort of creative spark, I as an artist would be a failure.

I began scribbling wildly on the pad, not bothering to erase or attempt to fix any mistakes. Even as the sun began to set I stayed there on the bench, my eyes and pencil never leaving my paper.

After near an hour, maybe even two, I let loose a sigh of perfect contentment. Finished. My trip to this corner had not been in vain. I had finally produced a work of art without fighting with my medium.

So the result? The contents of the sketchpad that I had spent hours working in?

Well. This.

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This is actually a very old story. I wrote it a few years ago, when I was still in school going for my design degree. A few days ago I decided to crochet a penguin, though, and this story just seemed to be perfect for it, so I thought I’d repost it with the pattern :)

Penguin Pattern by Karissa Cole 2013

I admit, I wrote this pattern up somewhat hastily and while very tired, so it’s not as neat and polished as I would’ve liked. But I’m writing it off as a casualty of my busy summer thus far. The important thing is that I’ve finally got a new freebie to give away. Right now, I’ve got a PDF file available for download that has the instructions for making your own micro penguin. I hope someone will be able to make sense of it and crochet up a black penguin for themselves; it’s the one color I haven’t done yet!

Penguin by Karissa Cole 2013 Penguin by Karissa Cole 2013

So here you go, and I hope someone out there can get some use of this pattern: Micro Penguin Pattern by Karissa Cole 2013

As soon as I get the chance I’ll neaten it up a bit, add some more pictures, better details, and all that jazz. But it’s good enough for now :)

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Please remember that this amigurumi design, and the accompanying story are copyright Karissa Cole/ea1701 2013, all rights reserved. They are made available for personal, non-profit use only. For more information please feel free to contact me. Thank you!

Post

Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I like to take off walking around the back roads in town, camera usually in tow in case I come across anything interesting to photograph. Saturday I went out walking, but changed my regular route, and went a completely new way. For some reason I didn’t bring my camera though, and ended up kicking myself for it. I walked past interesting buildings, unusual lamp posts, serene landscapes, and even horses grazing (which surprised me, to say the least – I was like 3 minutes away from the center of town).

So yesterday I was determined to take the same new route and capture all the interesting things I had seen the day before. But the world just doesn’t look the same from day to day. Actually, I felt kind of philosophical, thinking about it. Still, I did manage to take a few photos I kind of liked. Here are two of them:

Along the Rode by Karissa Cole 2013 NOT STOCK all rights reserved Along the Rode by Karissa Cole 2013 NOT STOCK all rights reserved

Not much to look at, admittedly. But I saw potential in them.

At this point, I should probably confess that I’m a bit addicted to custom Photoshop actions, and adjustment layers in general. It’s terrible, I know, and I should really seek professional help, I’m sure. But sometimes it pays off. After some aimless tweaking I had turned those photos into these:

2 On the Road by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved 4 On the Road by Karissa Cole 2 On the Road by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved

Being a big fan of the warm, vintage kind of style, I quite liked the way these photos looked now, especially the one of the building. But, still, just uploading them as is felt incomplete. I mean, I wanted to share them, but in a more interesting way than “Hey, here are some pictures I took and then edited for no real reason other than because I could.” So I set about finding a good way to combine these photos with some good old general digital art. The warm tones reminded me of old postcards, which led me to create this:

Post by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved

Detail shots:

Post up close (1) by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved Post up close (2) by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved Post up close (3) by Karissa Cole 2013 all rights reserved

I snagged the wood texture at this source. The rest of the image was very fun, and really quite simple to create. I increased the aged feel of the two photos, even staining them here and there. I then created the back of a postcard, which is so simple it’s almost ridiculous. I downloaded a stamp and placed it in the corner, aging it with the rest of the card. Then, using a decent handwriting font from dafont.com (the ultimate collection of free fonts, in my opinion) I completed the look.

It’s really not a very complicated idea. It’d probably be a fun exercise for Photoshop newcomers. But I think it’s still kind of a cool way to take your own photos and give them more life. I mean, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but, if every picture tells a thousand words, I think there’s quite a story that could be told here.

2012

I’m typically not one to get hyped up about the dawn of a new year. I don’t give much contemplation to the year beginning and I don’t do much reminiscing about the one ending. Every day’s just another day to me. Before you think jeepers what a dull outlook, let me expound upon my viewpoint: The way I see it, each day -whether it’s at the beginning of the year, the end, or somewhere in the middle- brings with it the possibility for change, for excellence and for new things. I don’t need a specific date to show up on my calendar for these things.

But for once something’s got me thinking about this past year, and everything that’s happened. For some reason I sort of want to send this year off right. I think because 2012 was full of so much more than I think I had expected: craziness and creativity, innovations and irritations, new patterns and old ideas, silly stories and celestial exploration; colorful photos and cute cats, random designs and ridiculous posters; deadlines, new jobs and old jobs,calculations, learning and teaching, trying and thinking, figuring, slacking, sneaking, illustrating, living and loving, laughing and growing.

Needless to say not everything this year had been great, but I think I’ll manage to come out of it with plenty of good things. In honor of all those good things, or at least the art and design related good things, I made up a 2012 project collage (click to view larger):

a look at 2012 on the ea1701 blog 6

Here’s to 2012; you really weren’t the greatest of years, but we sure had some good times together. Thanks go out to all those who shared the year with me, too; You’ve made the bad times tolerable and the good times even better.

Get ready for more craziness, creativity, and who knows what else to come in 2013. Because I’m just getting started.

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Make sure you haven’t missed any of the good stuff! Check out some of the biggest projects of the year:

Fall in love with free amigurumi patterns such as Melvin the Misunderstood Monster; Purploids, Pinkloids and Bloops (Oh My!); and Counting Sheep

Get splashes of color in the indoor/outdoor photo shoots like Of Course, Naturally; Water Colors; and Sun Stretched Arms

Boldly go where no one has gone before without having to leave your seat: explore space in these celestial artworks.

Paint your world with the help of the very first tutorial posted to the ea1701 art and design blog.

new Look, new Name, new Logo

So as it turns out, yesterday, I apparently renamed my blog. exastris1701 is now ea1701. I’m still not too sure how that happened. I remember messing around with the theme, color scheme, and page headers. . .  after that it gets a bit fuzzy. As far as I know I didn’t mean to change the name. But it’s done now and it looks like there’s no turning back.

The site’s getting a makeover this week: links are being updated, pages are being polished. There’s a new color scheme in play and several  new banners, displayed at random, now adorn each page. In honor of all this “new” I’ve decided to create a logo.

Here’s my first prototype:

ea1701 logo prototype

Clearly my logo design skills (if you can call this skill) still need to be honed. That’s the one thing I never really learned in school. That and typography. But I think I’ve already devoted part of a post to the nightmarish typo class I took last year. No need to rehash.

I think I may stuff Browsing the Internet for Interesting Logo Design Ideas – something I without a doubt need – somewhere onto my brimming with creative things (as usual) To-Do List. It’s not exactly a hot need or anything, but I still think it could stand to head the list. This logo thing can sit not too far behind my almost finished short story/amigurumi design combo and animal themed cupcakes.

Heehee.

Left vs. Right

In my post yesterday I mentioned my lack of right brain usage lately. I’ve been very left brained – math, logical thinking and puzzle-solving have been really the only things on my list of recreational activities. (My walls – covered in part with chalkboard paint – have been recently adorned with mathematical equations, and a list of the values of i with various exponents.)

I realize there’s been speculation regarding whether or not the left hemisphere of the human brain does indeed control logical, orderly thought and the like, whereas the right side pertains to creativity and emotions, but even so, I found myself somewhat inspired to create a poster regarding the notion:

Left vs Right by Karissa Cole - All rights reserved

I admit, as this falls very near the “typography” category, it’s not a necessarily superb piece. I greatly admire typographical work and they are often among my favorite design pieces. But I know little about the art, or at least, I don’t have enough skill to create the great pieces I so revere.

I did once take a typography class in school. But the only thing I ended up learning was how to restrain myself from leaping from my chair and strangling the instructor across the desk. He was the biggest idiot masquerading as a teacher I have ever known. Not only did he not know how to use Adobe Illustrator (I made the mistake of asking him how to create a certain look and ended up – no lie – teaching HIM how to use some of the tools and functions), he never once focused on typography, and instead had us create brochures and pamphlets. Uh, thanks dude, but we make that stuff in our GRAPHIC DESIGN CLASS. And I realize the two go hand in hand, but come on. What kind of typography class doesn’t focus on words? Plus, his own stuff, which he made us look at at the beginning of each class, were some really lousy designs.

But I digress.

Left vs. Right. And the battle continues. . .

Posters . . . Random posters

Ever get the uncontrollable urge to create random 11″ x 17″ posters?

Go Green Poster by Karissa Cole

(“Go Green or Die” poster by Karissa Cole 2012 is covered under the Creative Commons – Attribution license. Contact me for details.)

Think Outside the Box poster

Not Knowing is no reason for Not Trying poster

Needless to say, I do.

Just Create & Scrap

love, imagine, create, scrap, live.

Jee's Studio

Passionnée de scrapbooking, retrouvez ici mes créations ;)

Watercolor Journal

... a place for people with a passion for art

The Poetic Monster

Just a Few Words From a Shy Beast

L&K's Creative Threads

Distinctive Children's Clothing and More

BitterSweet

Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

[ One Velvet Morning ]

Project Life Freebies, Printables & Digital Scrapbooking Templates

Free Amigurumi Patterns

Directory with Links to Free Crochet Patterns

Once Upon a Yarn

crafting & writing adventures

Awesome Wallpapers

Hand-Picked, High-Quality Widescreen Walls

Best of Crochet

Sharing the most awesome crochet ideas!

ea1701

art and design (and other stuff, too)

Karissa Cole Design Portfolio

I have a brain and I'm not afraid to use it