4th of July Ideas Supporting Small Businesses

local independence day ideas

Shower thought: Every year, we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and gaudy décor. How much of the party supplies we buy, however, are even made in the US?

One of my favorite Independence Day pastimes is spending the evening at a barbecue with close friends and sipping on an ice-cold, fruity beverage, as neighbors in the distance shoot fireworks into the sky.

The red, white, and blue palette is an obvious choice for such a patriotic holiday, but do we undermine patriotism by buying Independence Day-themed top hats and table linens that aren’t produced right at home? The color palette isn’t reserved for only Americans to use, of course, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be more mindful of where we source our goods from.

The debate might be better saved for another day, but you can still celebrate the hard work of American producers by shopping at your local farmers market. Instead of going for the gaudy décor at a big chain store, which probably won’t be produced in the US, shop local. You can create Independence Day-themed snacks and pick out a few decorations from producers just a drive away.

1. Bake and sip with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries to feed the need for red, white, and blue.

Farmers markets are ripe with summer berries in July. Depending on climate, some ingredients might not be available. No worries. Substitute away.

4th of july drink
(Real Fruit Spritzer via Apron Strings Blog).

4th of july vegan ideas
(Festive Raspberry & Blueberry Tart via Blissful Basil).

rustic 4th of july
(Berry Cake via i heart eating).

2. Decorate with red, white, and blue produced right in the US. Better yet, make it a do-it-yourself project.

independence day candles
(American Flag Mason Jar Candles via Sweet Sarahlynn’s).

You might not be able to pick up 4th of July-themed candles from a craftsperson near you, but look no further than Etsy for producers just a few states away.

independence day flower delivery
(Flowers via Helen Olivia Flowers).

Support small businesses by calling your local florist for your own personalized centerpiece. Although they might not have the inventory, you can always ask if they carry US-grown flowers.

How will you celebrate Independence Day mindfully? Answer in the comments!

Colorful Architecture around the World: Part II

Colorful architecture around the world

Old properties or buildings are made anew by forward-thinking architectures and engineers. Now, bridges are the second installment of the Colorful Architecture around the World series.

Bridges stand alone as isolated structures in the air. Often looming over expanses of water, they link two different lands physically and symbolically. Many of them, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or the Sydney Harbour Bridge, are architectural feats and well-known symbols of their cities. Bridges do not have to amaze through sheer size, however; they can also entertain the eye through beauty, grace, and creativity.

Xiying Rainbow Bridge in Penghu, Taiwan

Colorful architecture around the world

Neon lights reflect off of rippling water in Penghu, Taiwan, home of the Xiying Rainbow Bridge. Lights are attached to the side of the pedestrian bridge that, at night, illuminate the water below with a rainbow spectrum. Users, visitors, and faraway passersby are sure to be enchanted with a design that interacts and extends itself to nature.

Colorful architecture around the world

Slinky Springs to Fame Bridge in Oberhausen, Germany

Colorful architecture around the world

The American slinky toy is the inspiration of the Slinky Springs to Fame Bridge in Oberhausen, Germany. The pedestrian bridge, by Tobias Rehberger, was designed for the EMSCHERKUNST.2010. It arches over the Rhine-Herne Canal to connect two parks on either side.

Four hundred and six meters long, the footpath is made of alternating colored squares. From afar, it looks like a colored ribbon enclosed in a massive, winding spiral. The bridge is an easy, beautiful travel for pedestrians or bikers with a low-angle incline. Although already eye-catching in the day, the walkway and rails are illuminated at night to become a giant, lit ribbon at night.

Colorful architecture around the world

Colorful architecture around the world

(via DesignDaily, EMSCHERKUNST.2013, UrbanPeek)

Domo-Themed Treats by Fans

Domo-themed treats

Domo, or domo-kun (どーも くん), is a Japanese character that often appears on television sketches. Hatched from an egg, this cute monster looks frightening at first glance but is described as having a “gentle soul with a body of pure fluff” (Domo Nation).

Domo has captured hearts across the world and is making appearances in pop culture and in households. Foodies have featured this Japanese mascot in their desserts, ranging from Domo cookies to Domo cake pops, and more. Below are just a few of the numerous homemade Domo-themed treats made by fans (some include recipes).

Domo heart cookies from alanabread
Heart-shaped Domo cookies (via alanabread).

Christmas-themed Domo cookies from Diamonds for Dessert
Christmas-themed Domo cookies (via Diamonds for Dessert).

Domo cookies from Pikko's House
Domo cookies (via Pikko’s House).

Domo TKOs from Diamonds for Dessert
Domo TKOs from Diamonds for Dessert
Domo TKOs (via Diamonds for Dessert).

Domo cake from doughseedough
Domo cake (via doughseedough).

Domo cake from made with love
Domo cake (via made with love).

Domo cake pops via Cake Central
Domo cake pops (via Cake Central).

Roundup of 14 Adventure Time Crossovers

(Adventure time vs. Doctor Who via banana-karenina of deviantART).

Crossovers between television series are popping up all over the Internet, especially on content-aggregating websites, such as tumblr, deviantART, and more. Adventure Time is an animated television series on Cartoon Network. Created by Pendleton Ward, the cartoon is set in the Land of Ooo, part of Earth post apocalypse. It stars Finn, the last human on Earth; and Jake, a magic dog. The following are just 14 of the numerous crossovers all over the Internet, including Game of Thrones, My Neighbor Totoro, and Pokémon.

(Adventure Time vs. Batman via adventuretimefan of tumblr).

(Adventure Time vs. Peanuts via scottpatrick of tumblr).

(Adventure Time vs. Blue’s Clues via albadune of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. Game of Thrones via godfreyescota of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. Pokémon via mlvnsnmgl of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. Power Puff Girls via adventuretimefan of tumblr).

(Adventure Time vs. Super Mario Bros. 2 via destructoid).

(Adventure Time vs. My Little Pony via yamino of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. Ed, Edd n Eddy via sleepypancakey of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. Scooby Doo via anonymousparty of tumblr).

(Adventure Time’s Finn vs. The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack’s Flapjack vs. The Legend of Zelda’s Link via anokazue of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. My Neighbor Totoro via rismo of deviantART).

(Adventure Time vs. Tool Time via anonymousparty of tumblr).

Design Tools Roundup

From inspiration, to getting ideas down, working on my design, post-production checking, and even slacking off, there are a few websites and tools I often use for my own designing. Some are applicable to any kind of designing, while others are geared toward specific fields. Here are 10 of the websites I visit for getting down to business (and defeating the Huns):

deviantArt @ http://deviantart.com/ – Everyone knows this one, right? deviantART is a second home for artists sharing and selling their works. It’s a great place to get creative thoughts flowing.

Visual.ly @ http://visual.ly/ – The slogan: “Data, say hello to design.” Infographics are a great way to visualize data and a great way to learn some new facts while enjoying an aesthetic presentation that is sure to rein in inspiration.

MUDCUBE Sketchpad @ http://mudcu.be/sketchpad/ – Doodle ideas on an online drawing application, complete with your common tools such as a text tool and eyedropper, gradients, and a large collection of patterns. You can save, but cannot return to edit. Getting ideas down on paper has always been my preference, but an application is another outlet with its pluses.

COLOURlovers @ http://colourlovers.com/ – Sometimes creating just the right palette for your work is difficult. This website has a growing collection of user-created palettes (and patterns). You can also make your own palettes using their basic tool or COPASO, the latter allowing you to vary the concentration of a certain hue in a single palette.

WhatTheFont @ http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ – Have you ever seen a font and desperately wanted to know what it was? By uploading an image of your text or entering an image URL, WhatTheFont pulls up matching fonts from its database. You can also post an image on their forum for help.

Typedia @ http://typedia.com/ – Basically a type encyclopedia, Typedia offers an extensive gallery of typefaces to explore. You can also learn about type – their backgrounds, the anatomy of a character, designers, and more. There’s also a forum for those who want to ask questions and discuss.

Browsershots @ http://browsershots.org/ – This tool generates screenshots of any URL in all major as well as less-used browsers for you to check for compatibility.

Screenfly @ http://quirktools.com/screenfly/ – Another must for a web designer, Screenfly generates screenshots of a given URL for several resolutions. Common desktop, tablet, mobile, and television resolutions can be generated, and Screenfly will list models and resolutions together for ease of use.

Newgrounds @ http://newgrounds.com/ – Sometimes you just need to take a break from work and relax. Newgrounds is composed of user-generated games, movies, audio, and art. Sit back and play a shooter or watch a weird flash animation, but watch you don’t play for TOO long.

Designers’ List @ http://designerslist.info/ – When all else fails, here’s a large collection of links for inspiration, stock photos, fonts, and grapphics freebies. Seriously, you could be clicking around all the links on this one page all day.