Friday, November 15, 2013

Mermaid softie with pattern (New tricks 17 & 18/26)

I've been crafting up a colourful little storm for Softies for Mirabel. I'll be doing a little reveal post when they're all finished and ready to be packed off to some awesome kids but, at the moment, there are six little laddies and lassies laying flat-out on the tackle box I'm currently calling a sewing kit. One them is a bit of a home concoction - a mermaid, based on Emma Martin's Black Apple Doll (which I downloaded from Martha Stewart) but with a little something extra and a little less sewing to do (huzzah!).

Because I'm starting to run behind on my New Tricks resolution to learn 26 new things this year, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and learn a few more photoshop skills making a digital pattern and then learn how to put here in .pdf format.

New Tricks No. 17/26: Making a digital pattern

I found a slightly-difficult to read tutorial for this on pinterest (love you, Pinterest). I skipped quite a few of the early steps because none of the pattern pieces for the mermaid softie were bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. Essentially what I learned from this was how to use the pen tool and, more importantly, the add-an-anchor-point pen tool in Photoshop. Curves! Easy to select! Amazing!

All of this helped me turn a quick Sharpie sketch into a pretty grey solid (okay, some of the curves are a little... hmmm... straight... but people are better at cutting a curve with scissors than I am with the pen tool - and this is about learning, not perfection).

Photoshop also has an easy .pdf save. A quick jump over to Adobe Acrobat for a .pdf document merge and bam - my sweet three-page pattern and tutorial, all ready to print and cut. Now, how to share it with everyone?

New Tricks No. 18/26: Uploading a .pdf to Blogger

After a quick search through the nets, it seems Google Drive is the easiest way for doing this kind of thing via blogger. I used this step-by-step guide provided by My Blogger Lab, although  I ran into a bit of trouble trying to find not only the quick access tool bar and 'file' button but also the 'Embed this .pdf file' option. I suspect a few different reasons for this: my Google drive could be out of date or a newer version than in the guide or I'm incredibly blind and just couldn't find it (it's actually in the final version below rather than the place where you need it - helpful, no?). In any case, my options didn't look like the ones in the guide. I finally managed to find a unique URL link in the 'Share' area, and then manually added the guide's HTML code (for an 'iframe') around it in my Blogger HTML editor. You adjust the width (default 640 pixels) according to your own needs and voila! A downloadable .pdf with a preview right there at the bottom of the post. It is there, right? Please tell me you see it.

I've set it up so anyone can download the file, you don't even need to sign in to a Google account. There's a downward pointing arrow just under the 'file' toolbar (oh look, there it is!) - that's your download button. This pattern is only being made available for personal/non-commercial/not-for-profit purposes (as the original doll was). Copyright is a murky thing once money's involved - and I don't personally want to piss off friends of Martha Stewart - she did time, man.

So, there you have it. Two new lessons learned and I'm a little closer to keeping a New Year's resolution.

I'm not sure it's the prettiest option available and it's a bit irritating when I work on the post or view the page, skipping right down to the .pdf as it loads. So I am keen to search a bit further to see if there are any non-google options or even ways to upload a .pdf without all the hoopla.

Edit - I've taken the viewable .pdf out - it was driving me bonkers that it was jumping straight to the iframe as it was loading. Instead I've included a link below where you can download the pattern and tutorial.

for the Mermaid softie pattern and tutorial

Have you come across a good way to upload files to Blogger or other blog platforms? Have you made a Softie for Mirabel softie this year?

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