Thursday, January 3

hAPPy for you!

Ah... the beauty of technology. You can do so many things so easily now compared to many years ago. In the craft scene, we were so limited on what we can do during the "primitive" years. I was browsing through scrapbooking and paper crafting magazines from the mid 2000s, and I can really say that crafting was pretty boring back then, if you're going to compare to the present time. Punches were the big thing before, then came the manual die cut machines, followed by the electronic die cut machines and those that you hook up to the computer. And the world of die cutting continues to evolve. Stamping just used to be rubber, mounted on wood blocks. Now they come unmounted, not to mention the clear types. And there's digital stamping now too. There is software for almost any kind of crafts - from scrapbooking, stamping, card making, and even cross stitching.  It maybe hard for most crafters, but you have the option to get rid of all your physical tools and supplies and just go digital all the way. Imagine all that space you'll get back. But who wants to do that?

So what's with all the blabber anyway? Well, for the past two weeks I have been exploring my new cellphone. I have been an android phone user for many years, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as my third one. I specifically chose this phone because I really like the big screen and can do a lot more things with it.  Even though I still have to get used to typing on digital keyboard, I get to love this phone more and more as I discover more ways to use it.

First of all, I can update my blog through the Blogger App which you can download for free. I'm typing this post through my phone right now. I love the fact that I can write blog posts wherever I am - with pics and videos if I want to. 

The fact that I can use the internet through my phone is already a big thing. I can access Facebook at anytime, use the GPS and find craft stores, locate the best deals of certain products, video chat with my family and friends from around the globe through Skype, send and receive emails, take photos and videos then edit them afterwards... and a lot more!  All with just one gadget.  I don't need to depend on a computer to do all those anymore.  I don't need to have a laptop so I can do those when I'm not at home.  I'm not saying this cellphone can beat the overall use of a computer.  I just like the fact that I can do more things with it wherever I am at any time.  Cellphones nowadays are not just for calling anymore. 

But what I really want to talk about are the Mobile APPS, short for Applications.  There are tons out there that can be real handy in the crafting side of life, no matter what phone (or tablet) you have.
I already mentioned the Blogger App, which I am using right at this second.  There's the Facebook App as well, and also Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest.  I can access these anytime and be updated with almost anything - from the personal side of life, to business and crafts.  And they can be downloaded to your phone at no cost.  With the YouTube App, I can easily watch craft video tutorials, mark my favorites and watch them again anytime I want.

Almost all big crafting stores have their own app as well.  Michaels, Joanns and Hobby Lobby do, and they are free. Right from their apps, you can get their coupons and find out their current deals and special events. No need to wait and search for coupons on flyers, magazines or newspapers.  They are right in your phone.  Check with your favorite online or brick-and-mortar stores. They might have an app you just don't know about.

*At this point, I continued writing my post on the computer, as I needed to take photos of my cellphone.  I haven't figured out how to make screen shots with my cellphone yet.

While browsing and searching through Google App Store, I realized that the big name brands don't have apps yet.  You would think that Provocraft, EK Success or Stampin' Up would.  But nada.  Even Copic doesn't have one.  Wouldn't it be cool if Provocraft comes up with an app for Cricut, so you can actually use your cellphone as a Gypsy and cut images from your phone to your Cricut machine? 
I was really excited though when I searched and discovered Tim Holtz' app.  Yep, Tim Holtz the designer and brand name.  It's a very cool looking app, and the best part?  It's free.

Through this app, you can access Tim Holtz' blog, videos, FB page and even Twitter.  But what I like most is that you can see all his products (from different brands) and mark which ones you already have.  And what's more, you can even make a wish list so you know which ones to buy in your next shopping trip.  This app clearly depicts how brilliant Tim Holtz is.  He adapts to the trends, including technology.  Hats off to him!

Even though the big name brands don't have apps (yet), there were still really cool people/companies who came up with some really awesome apps for crafters like us.

If you search "Cricut" in the App Store, you will see a bunch.  I ended up installing "My Cartridge Checklist".  It's a free app, thus the ad banner on the top screen, but it works for me.  For now.

This app carries a list of all the Cricut cartridges out there.  Then you can mark which ones you already own.  So when you chance upon a good sale of cartridges, you can just open this app and you can easily decide which ones you may want to buy.

If you search "Copic" in the App Store, a bunch of apps will come up as well.  Some apps are more for inventory, while some are more for digital drawing on your phone.  I bought "MyMarkers" ($1.99), which helps you create an inventory of your art media - from markers, pens, pencils and pastels.

You can see above a screen shot of the Copic Sketch markers section, where I have marked the particular colors in my possession.  I can mark a particular marker as "want" so I can generate a wish list ready for me at any time.  This app lists a lot more brands from Bic, Letraset, Marvy Uchida, Prismacolor, Sakura, Zig, Memento, Sharpie, Spica, Faber Castell, Pilot, Staedler, Stabilo, Koh-I-Noor, Tombow, and a lot more.  Some of them I have never even heard of.  So in my next Hobby Lobby visit with a 40% coupon, I know which Copic marker to get.  And maybe some other brand of pens and such.  Hopefully they will add ink pads and paint to their list.  That will make this app a lot more helpful.

And finally, the last app I would like to share with you is the "Barcode & Inventory Pro" ($2.49).  If you are OCD-ic like me, you would love this app.  With this, you can have an inventory of all your craft tools and supplies.  You can even have an inventory of everything you own - from books, to cds and dvds, etc.  But I won't go that far.

In this app, you can set up categories, sub categories, and more categories under those.  You can see in the screen shot above left what categories I have already set up.  Then on the right, you can see the sub categories I set up under stamps.  And under each of those, I have sub categories by brand.  You can also set up "tags" - mine was set up as Christmas, Birthday, Military, Asian, etc.  There is even a "location" option so you can easily locate each item in your inventory.  Once you have all those set up, then you can start putting in individual items.  Another cool feature of this app is you can monitor which items you have loaned out.  Now there is no reason for you to forget what you loaned to whom.  There is a lot more to this app, but right now I'm focusing to what will work for me as far as my tools and supplies are concerned.

I hope you enjoyed my post today.  I was really excited to share with you my app discoveries.  If you have an android phone, iPhone or any tablet, might as well use it for something crafty and make every cent count, given their price tag.  Besides, they won't be called smart phones or tablets for nothing.

'Til next blog!

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