“The materials I use are absolutely essential to the work I make.”
– David Batchelor
As an introduction, I’d like to a share a list of tools in my creative arsenal that I just cannot live without. I use them for almost every project I do- including paper crafts, home DIY projects, or working on this very blog.
You might be surprised that not one of these items is a brush. Or paper. Or paint. I’d like to think of this list of favorites as items that expedite my creative process, or ultimately make my projects better.
I received my Silhouette Cameo as a gift about a year ago for my birthday. As I am a hopeless Pinterest addict, I came across this miracle machine while pinning pictures of craft spaces. I am slightly embarrassed to say I had never heard of the Silhouette brand or the machines before- even though I had heard of the Cricut machines. And to be honest, my first impression of those machines (and the old generation cartridges) was that they were… cheesy. But once I researched the Cameo and learned about all that it could do-I was obsessed. I still am.
I use this baby for everything- at home, and at work at the library. To think back to days and nights in college when I painstakingly exacto-ed chipboard and paper for models in design class! It makes it possible for me to spend less time making my projects, and more time designing and enjoying them.
Pixelmator (for Mac)
A couple years ago I installed an app on my iPhone that tracked other free or reduced price apps for iPhones and Mac. One day, I saw a free image editing app for my Mac and downloaded it, just in case. It could have been worthless or subpar like so many apps out there. It totally wasn’t.
Although no longer free, I think Pixelmator is a great (and relatively inexpensive) Photoshop alternative. (Only available for Mac and other Apple devices.) I am certainly not a Pixelmator or Photoshop pro, and I am still learning everyday, but the software is user-friendly enough that I have taught myself to use it with minimal effort. And when I get stuck there are tons of free tutorials on the web to help me. Whether I am editing photos for my blog, or creating graphics to use in my projects, this software is essential to my work. They also have an app for iPhone and iPad now, which I will also look into.
Ok, so this one has very little to do with art, crafts, or blogging. So why include it on this list? I do work in a library after all- and Overdrive is one of the most popular resources offered by libraries for ebooks and downloadable audiobooks.
With the help of my library card, I use overdrive to download fiction ebooks to my Kindle, and I use it to download audiobooks and listen on my computer or iPhone while I craft. I also use it to download how-to books for crafting, blogging, and other hobbies that I can read on my computer while I work. It isn’t a material, machine, or design software- but it does keep me entertained and inspired!
I hope this list is helpful in your own creative endeavors. I have plenty of other favorites to share with you in future posts. Comment or share and let me know what you think!
*I am not affiliated with or sponsored by any of these products. I just genuinely love them!