toolbox

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6 Color Scheme Tools

COLORlovers


The biggest resource community for colour palettes as well as patterns. Plus points that they spell “colour” correctly my British way.

Kuler


From Adobe it pretty much works the same way as COLORlovers where you also create your own schemes or edit others accordingly.

Colorotate


This site is a little more interactive and fun with the 3D elements. In addition there are few fun mixing/blending options.

Color Scheme Designer


The Wheel! A great resource for creating schemes as well options for “light-er” or “dark-er” versions.

Pictaculous


There are a few picture-to-colours applications but this is my favourite as, in my opinion, its most accurate. In addition to finding you colours from an image you’ve uploaded, it suggests other similar colour schemes from Colourlovers and Kuler. You can also download swatch files which I find useful.

Color Palette Generator (DeGraeve.com)


If you’re lazy or don’t have the image on your computer, this site lets you use URL’s instead.

36 Questions That Can Make 2 Strangers Fall in Love ♥

In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

The final task Ms. Catron and her friend try — staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes, with the suggested duration ranging from two minutes to four. But Ms. Catron was unequivocal in her recommendation. “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,” she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share …”

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Writer’s Toolbox

This week in a conversation with my fellow MA students about the upcoming hellmonth of term papers and preliminary dissertation research I realized that a lot of the apps and tools and Chrome extensions I use for writing, research, and productivity aren’t necessarily common knowledge. So here, for anyone who wants it, is a collection of writer tools. Feel free to reblog and add your own.

Productivity

  • Momentum: Chrome extension that helps organize your daily goals
  • Strict Workflow: Chrome extension based on the Pomodoro Technique; blocks social media to keep you focused when working online
  • Pacemaker: highly customizable tool which helps you form a plan of attack for various drafts, projects, rewriters, etc.
  • f.lux: freeware which gradually adjusts the colors on your computer screen to make working after dark easier on the eyes
  • Coffitivity: app and website which provides ambient background noise to fake that coffee-shop feeling and keep you focused
  • WriteChain: app which reminds/motivates you to write every day

Outlining & Word Processing

  • iMindMap: mind-mapping software
  • Scrivener: word processor designed for writers (who also happen to be Mac users; seriously if you’re on a PC don’t bother)
  • Evernote: online workspace which can be synced to your laptop and smartphone 
  • Final Draft: script and screenwriting software that does the formatting for you
  • Celtx: the free version of Final Draft
  • LitLift: online outlinging tool and way to keep track of all your projects

Names & World-Building

  • AutoRealm: free mapmaking software; there’s a learning curve but it’s not rocket science
  • SketchUp: 3D modeling software that helps you create imaginary buildings and keep them consistent
  • Google Earth: great for working in real-world locations
  • Stellarium: lets you get a real-time look at the night sky in any location on Earth
  • Ambient Mixer: free tool for creating custom soundscapes; or you can listen to soundscapes other people have already made
  • City and Town Name Generator: a lot of great resources here for fantasy/RPG writes but this provides examples of real-world place names based on geographic data
  • Ever-Changing Book of Names: freeware which creates random names, also based on geographic data; geared toward fantasy but extra sets can be downloaded individually
  • Names by Decade: US census data of popular baby names by decade

Lit Agents & Query Letters

  • QueryShark: blog run by ruthless lit agent Janet Reid who will teach you how to write a query letter, and how not to
  • QueryTracker: online directory of lit agents and agencies
  • Writer’s Marketplace: the paper version of QueryTracker
  • #mswishlist: agents open to queries and what they’re looking for
  • MSWL: a more organized website which keeps track of the above hashtag

Other

  • Calibre: free software which lets you create your own ebooks; a great way to read later drafts and look for errors on the go
  • Mendeley: a great way to organize research and resources if you don’t want to pay for Scrivener
  • timeanddate.com: calendars for any book you might be writing that takes place in recent history; also provides solar/lunar info
  • Dropbox: document storage so you don’t literally lose your shit

This is a very short list and I will probably expand it as other tools and tricks I use on a regular basis occur to me. But in the meantime, I hope this is useful to other writers (and grad students) out there. 

Cheat Sheet:
TO CENTER STUFF:
HTML: 
<center> </center>

CSS: 
text-align: center; 

TO BOLD TEXT:
HTML: 
<b> </b>
<strong> </strong>

CSS: 
font-weight: bold; 

(if you're font comes in different weight you can use that instead:
font-weight: 700;)

TO ITALIC TEXT:
HTML: 
<i> </i>

CSS: 
font-style: italic; 

TO UNDERLINE TEXT:
HTML: 
<u> </u>

CSS: 
text-decoration: underline; 

TO PUT A LINE THROUGH TEXT:
HTML: 
<strike> </strike>

CSS: 
text-decoration: line-through;

SHOW FONT-SIZE AS BIGGER:
HTML: 
<big> </big>

CSS: 
font-size: larger;

CHANGE FONT:
HTML: 
<font color="#ff0000"> </font>
<font face="arial"> </font>

CSS: 
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
color: #ff000; 

ADD IMAGE (HTML):
<img src="DIRECT-IMAGE-URL" alt="Descriptive Text">

ADD A LINK 9HTML):
<a href="URL"> </a>
positive affirmations

☼ recovery is a bumpy road for everyone.

☼ i can change things if they are not working for me.

☼ i have gotten through hard things.

☼ i have gotten through harder things.

☼ things will continue to get better for me.

☼ i am safe.

☼ i am loved.

☼ self care is not selfish.

☼ i deserve happiness.

☼ i will achieve happiness.

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RESOURCE ROUND-UP #5

Halftone Creator Photoshop Plugin



Clipping Magic (Online alternative to Photoshop that removes the background from images)

CSS3 Text-Shadow Effects (A project on CodePen, neat way to learn new tricks)

Magnific Popup (jQuery pop-up plugin)

CSS Tube Map by John Galantini

Free PSD: Flat File Icons

CSSmatic (Generator for gradients, border-radius, box shadow and noise texture)

Wooden Backgrounds & Textures (shared by ninpen)

Adobe Edge Web Fonts

Edge Web Fonts gives you access to a vast web font library made possible by contributions from Adobe, Google, and designers around the world. The fonts are served by Typekit, so you can be sure of high performance and stability. Plus, it’s free! Learn more…


So basically more free fonts with a new reliable service. Adobe is working with Google fonts on this new free font service so it’ll have the Google directory (and make them better optimized) and more - there are already over 500 font-families (list here). The instructions are simple and are already on the site, if you already use Google its not that different.

6

Because people have been asking about images as well, here’s a quick list of Navigation and Social Media Icons - image format. Part One:

01. FamFamFam (PNG)
An oldie, but always a popular choice. There are three sets online, including the World Flags which some might be interested in. I would recommend “Silk” as it has more than 700 everyday and popular UI elements icons to choose from. No Social Media Icons.

02. Premium Pixels Icon Set (PNG/CSH/PSD)
As described, 58 pixel icons with a PSD included. No Social Media Icons.

03. 41 Social Media Icons (PNG)
Sqaure set of social media icons in two sizes, includes popular sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Last.FM, Facebook and many more.

04. 106 Pixel Perfect Icons (PNG)
Another pixel icons set. There is a “F” and “T” that refer to Facebook and Twitter but no other Social Media icons.

05. Grunge Minimal Iconset (PNG, Vector)
A gray/transparent circle set of Social Media icons, comes in three sizes and includes the main sites.

Recovery Kit/Grounding Box/Self-Help Box Thingy!

So, there are several different names we could call this, like grounding box, comfort box or coping skills toolbox.  I’m going to go with recovery kit because…idk why. In any event, I made a self-help box thingy, and it was actually sort of fun doing it. It reminded me of those rainy-day boxes we had to make in elementary school.

For those of you haven’t done something like this before (including myself, until yesterday), making a recovery kit is sort of like making a first aid kit for your mental health. When you’re in a moment of crisis, or just having a bad day, you can take out the box and use it to soothe yourself. You can put whatever you want in it, as long as it makes you feel good.

I was inspired by these posts, but there are probably a lot of other sources for inspiration, too. I tried to get an item to represent each of the five senses, as well as items that fostered creativity and mindfulness. Things that serve as a distraction, funny items, reminders of loved ones, and emergency phone numbers are also helpful. Honestly, I’ll probably wind up taking a few things out of it before an emergency strikes, like my ginger and sandalwood candle from the Body Shop (which smells rididiculously good).

Contents (and the function it plays)

  • One miniature sock monkey. Touch.
  • One ginger and sandalwood candle. Smell.
  • Two mini bottles of white musk shower gel and satsuma body lotion. Smell and taste.
  • One mindfulness-based stress reduction CD. Sound and mindfulness.
  • One packet of Starbucks’ salted caramel hot chocolate (hyfr!!!) Taste.
  • One Luna bar. Taste.
  • Two containers of cheap-ass nail polish (hot pink and black, because I’m apparently tapping into my inner scene kid???) Sight and creativity.
  • Small pocket Sudoku book. Distraction.
  • One blank composition notebook and two small pens. Creativity/self-expression.
  • One box of watercolor pencils. Creativity/self-expression.
  • One Lolcat Poetreez magnetic poetry kit. (I can has recovery box?) Silly/fun stuff
  • Multi-colored foil star labels. Because I love them, okay?!?!
  • One index card containing seven phone numbers (parents, three friends, therapist and psychiatrist)

If you guys have done recovery boxes or plan to do one, I’d love for you to share them with me. You can submit stuff or send me a message with your post and I’ll reblog it here :) What’s in your box?

It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
—  Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith