Hey there! I’ve been doing a lot of list-making lately as a way to keep my mind (and schedule!) straight while school is starting to become a big part of my life again. School so far is going really well – I just wish I had a little more time in the day to use all of these fun ideas I keep coming up with. I’m so inspired but have so little spare time to create! I need to fix that.
Today, I want to share my top 7 things on the internet. They all are not directly related to crafting, but I think you’ll see the tie-ins and why I love each one so much. In no particular order, here are my Top Seven Online Tools!
- KICKSTARTER – inspiring ways to support other artists and innovators
I’ve funded several projects through Kickstarter, and it’s a really great way to support people who are innovating both in our industry and making tools that will make our lives easier or more beautiful. This one in particular struck me the other day, a pencil sharpener that fits onto a standard mason jar and encourages you to sketch and write every day an keep your pencil shavings as display of achievement and creativity.
- KIVA – a way to give back and keep on giving
Kiva is a website that allows you to make small, $25 loans to people all over the world (mostly in developing countries) that can literally change lives. As the lender uses the money to enrich their living environment and then turns a profit, you get repaid so you can then make another loan. The return rate is about 99%, so you won’t get ALL of your money back, but this is a great way to give a little and really know who you’re giving to. I also belong to the Nerdfighters KIVA group which sets goals and is helping in great leaps and bounds to “Decrease World Suck.” You can read more about that group here.
- FAB.COM – an inspiring way to look at products and online shopping
I’ve been on the Fab love train (let’s make that phrase a thing, okay?) since they very first started, and I’m even more in love with them now. They bring good design to the masses and have a unique business model that allows them to have a very wide variety of product and show off new innovations from up-and-coming designers. The people who run fab are really fantastic and love to get feedback, too, making the site even stronger. If you need to buy a gift for someone and don’t know where to start, this is the place where you’ll find gift-giving gold every time.
- SPOONFLOWER – your own fabric designs, actually on fabric
This speaks to me more as a graphic designer than the type of crafting that I tend to gravitate towards, but I bet a lot of you would be interested in this one. You can upload your very own design to have it printed onto real fabric (of a whole bunch of different options) or even browse through designs that have already been created and use fabrics in your projects that are truly unique to you and your design style. I just love that this is a thing.
- AUDIBLE.COM – the best way to find and experience audiobooks
I fell in love with Audible.com when I was first suffering from those awful migraines. I needed something to mentally participate in without opening my eyes or having to move around, and this was it. Now, a year later, I’ve read 5 times more books in a year than I ever have before, and I love to listen to books while driving (SO AMAZING), crafting, and, of course, when I’m sick or trying to relax in the dark. It’s a subscription-based service where you get one credit a month and then can purchase pretty much whatever book you want, but they also have sales where really good books are under 10 dollars – that’s how I’ve amassed my collection for the most part. If you are at ALL interested in books or stories as entertainment, I highly recommend checking out audible.
- YNAB – the only way I can keep my spending under control
Okay, so this one isn’t as fun and exciting, but it is absolutely essential to my life. I’m not a saver; I’m a spender. I got really sick of constantly having to ask for extra money from my parents and was struggling with really feeling like I was spending “real” money when I used my credit card. Enter You Need A Budget. YNAB is different and works for me because you budget every single dollar you have and don’t depend on future money or earnings to make your plan. You only work with what you have now, and this makes SO much more sense to my spendy mind than a traditional budget plan does. If you struggle with money or are like me and know you should keep track of your finances but are having trouble facing the truth, this might be your answer. Check it out and let me know what you think. :)
- RESCUE TIME – a productivity app that lets me see where I spend time on my computer (and where I need to spend less of it)
There are a ton of productivity apps out there, but this is my favorite. It runs in the background and sends me a report (via email) every Sunday telling me trends in my computer usage. From here, I can tell which times of day are the best for me to work in or where I’m spending too much (or too little) time. I love this app because it keeps me in check and is completely customizable to your usage habits. (I.E. if you consider twitter a tool for working or blogging, you can mark it as a neutral or productive activity instead of a negative one.) RescueTime rocks!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about my favorite tools on the internet today and now. Now, I’m off to go shoot a video to share with you tomorrow. Two weeks in a row with a video? I know! I’m excited too. Hope your week is off to a fantabulous start!