Get Inspired: A Fresh Batch of FREE Creative Commons Photography Awaits You at FreeDigitalPics.com

I’m an apologetic fan of free stuff and giving away freebies to help anyone who needs to make anything.  It’s FUN!  Free creative commons photography can inspire everything from presentations collages, fine art projects, blog posts, product packaging, to new materials for the classroom .  The possibilities are endless with free digital images, and I’m super stoked to have finally made the leap to create FreeDigitalPics.com, a new resource for high-resolution digital photography that’s free for personal and commercial use.

Each and every one of these digital photos were taken by myself and licensed with a Creative Commons 4.0 with Attribution (which means you have to credit FreeDigitalPics.com when you’re posting or sharing online the images, as well as them using and adapting for commercial (money-making) work.

Head on over to learn more about FreeDigitalPics.com and find inspiration for that next project, blog post, or big idea today!

 

 

 

Share Your Talent With The World: 72 Creative Web Tools For Budding Online Writers

The web is such an awesomely accessible platform for anyone to publish and share their short stories, poems, essays, and journals.  I remember my first discoveries for posting and sharing content online like they were yesterday.  I miss you guys.  Good thing Diaryland and Livejournal are still around, but Geocities bit the dust years ago.  I can remember those awful Geocities pages now; one was definitely an “enchanted forest” Url for sure.

So anyways, because I’m so epically lame that I’m actually winning, I’m currently researching creative online publishing tools and sites for fun on a Saturday night while a Super Hero rave thumps right around the corner.  Save yourself the hassle of combing the web for these resources, I had way too much fun doing the work for you!

 

Need an Easy-Breezy Site To Start A Blog?

You can seriously be up and ready within minutes using these cool blogging platforms.  I’ve tinkered with all of these and they’re all fun and user-friendly in my opinion.  Finding the right blogging platform is good for the creative process too and can really encourage more content creation.

I use WordPress.com to run this blog (not wordpress.org), but I also want to get more involved with Postach.io, Evernote’s own blogging site.  I threw in some online diary style platforms too.  Click on any of the tools below to learn more!

Blog.com                                Wardrobe                       Dropplets

WordPress.com                     Postach.io                      Tumblr

Typepad                                Diaryland                        SquareSpace

Blogger                                  Pen.io                             LiveJournal

Weebly                                  Svbtle                             MoonFruit

 

More Advanced Blog Creation Options and FREE CMS Platforms

Below you’ll find a list of more advanced blog creation sites, such as Jeckyll, which allows users to create posts in plain text using a terminal window that can automatically publish them as static blog sites.

Also WordPress.org is not the same as WordPress.com.  Wordpress.org is a free downloadable CMS platform used to create much more powerful sites; and its a better option for bloggers looking to build more of a steady income with their website.

I have less experience with the following Content Management Systems.  The following is a collection of the best rated out there, along with some lesser known alternatives too.  Getting more familiar with WordPress.org is definitely on my to-do list, but CushyCMS looks cool too.

WordPress.org                      NibbleBlog                    Joomla

Anchor                                   Mura                             Drupal

TextPattern                            PivotX                           Frog

Jeckyll                                    SilverStripe                  Concrete5

Self-Publish Your Book!

The beauty of online self-publishing is that you actually can publish that collection of Dystopian future short stories or that Fabio-tastic romance novel you’ve been daydreaming about.  So I went looking for some popular and unique self-publishing services; including print-on-demand ones and e-book publishing services too.

CreateSpace                  The Book Patch                  Print To Press

Lulu                                 On Demand Books            CafePress

Blurb                               McNally Jackson                 Xlibris

iUniverse                         Unbound                             Outskirts Press

SmashWords                 Draft2Digital

Post Your Original Content & Grow Your Network!

Personally, I LOVE writing short articles and long essays on the most random subjects.  Sharing unique articles is a fun and helpful way to hone those online research and writing skills.  I’m still learning myself, and dabbling with these sites have helped me grow as a web content creator.

It’s free and fun!  Plus it’s a good alternative if you’d rather write and share once and while than maintain a daily or weekly blog.  Some of these sites let you earn through affiliate programs too.  My Nightmare Before Christmas Party Guide earns like $2-$3 every two months or so.  It was originally through Squidoo, which merged with Hubpages only a month or so ago.

I’ve been playing around with Scoop.it too, which lets you create articles and submit them as “scoops” for community members to notice and share.  I like it because I typically start with a cool link or article that I read, and share my thoughts in a mini article.  Many of these sites also serve as online communities for writers to grow their network as well.

Hubpages                  WikiNut                             Poetry.com                   Booksie

Scoop.it                     Bubblews                          Reddit Blogger             Become A Buzzle Author

Bundlr                        Klout                                 BizSugar                       iSnare

Gather                       Original Poetry                  Medium                        EzineArticles

Writer Town               Writer’s Cafe                     Story Star

Submit Your Original Writing

When you’re really ready to branch out, you may want to start submitting your original writing to more high-profile news or literary sites.  I can’t wait to do more of this myself!  That’s why I’m always on the lookout for sites like these to bookmark and submit to.  I have a few Buzzfeed-esque list articles swirling about in my head right now.  Note: Submitting content to these sites does not guarantee that it will be published.  But why not try anyway?  You never know what could happen!

Post To Buzzfeed                   Salon                       WhatCulture

Buzzfeed Tumblr                    Pulse                       HongKiat

OpenSource.com                   Cracked                   Peach Pit

College Humor                       tuts+                        Boost Blog Traffic

Check back often for updates!  This Online Writer’s Resource list is an ever-growing work in progress.  Don’t forget to post your own helpful links in the comments below and check out this blog’s own guest posting opportunities.

This post’s featured artwork comes from DeviantArt.Com Artist, Karbo

How The Past Envisioned The Future: Artwork That Looked Forward

Vintage paintings and illustrations that explored the future’s possibilities are some of the most imaginative artworks I’ve come across.  Yes, flying cars and hover boards are awesome (a nod to Back to the Future II.)  But turn of the century artists went even further, and explored everything from flying warships to even giant seahorses as a means of transportation.

The possibilities of transportation was just one of the many ideas explored by Industrial-era artists, scholars and authors alike.  The future of design, fashion, work, and household inventions were also addressed in art, adding to their whimsical and almost surreal nature.  It’s not hard to see where Steampunk got a lot of its inspiration, as many late 1800s artists that explored the subject of “future” naturally envisioned a world that still operated on steam power.

Intensive breeding?  There’s a lot of intriguing and awesomely bizarre ideas explored in these turn-of-the-century French prints.  They envisioned what a busy and bustling France would be like in the year 2000.  A lot of ground was covered in these prints;  robotic barber shops, flying cabs, house cleaning, aerial firefighters, agricultural innovations, hunting, mobile homes, and factory operation were all given their own unique futuristic spin.

These dreamy prints debuted as postcards during the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.  The best part is that they’re all accessible online as public domain images.  These can serve as inspiration for video games, short stories and all types of creative projects.  I also thought it would be cool to blow them up and mount them on the wall in groups or series, decoupage them on furniture, turn them into unique Christmas Tree ornaments, and feature them in creative dioramas.

87 of these prints were made by working French artists of the time.  There’s a possibility that even more were made too!  How seriously cool would that be?  Check out the rest here.

A Museum I Could Live In: Meet London’s Museum of Childhood!

Okay so I haven’t actually been there.  But I’m definitely adding this one to the bucket list.  I’m finally starting to get my travel groove on which is great,  and museums like this remind me of how much I want to see more of the world.  It’s like it was built for me!

I’ve been nerding out at their visual museum which is pretty great, and there’s so much to see, learn, AND share!  So I put together some of my favorite historical children’s objects from their collections.  These are some of my favorites, but there’s a lot to go through.  The dollhouses are pretty epic, and I love the vintage sci-fi toys and games.

My Top Picks From The Games Collection

 Laurie's New and Entertaining Game of the Golden Goose, England 1831 Museum no. CIRC.230-1964

This is the Game of Goose!  This family game was most likely inspired by similar middle Eastern games that came before it.  But the first written record of this game was actually during the mid-Renaissance era (mid to late 1500s) when a Florence Duke gifted it to Spain’s King Phillip II.  Pretty neat.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the game is played.  In a nutshell, most “game of goose” style games will feature 63 spaces aligned in a spiral of some kind.  The goal is to be the first to reach space 63, but you have to reach it by an exact throw of the dice.  Each turn, a player rolls two dice which determines how many spaces they can move, plus the board is scatted with illustrated spaces that reward or throw curve-balls like losing a turn or even death.

Players also have to agree on a pot of “money” or value so to speak at the start of the game, and the winner of course takes all!  No strategy, just luck.

The Very First Toy Catalog!

Item 1256, 12 guard soldiers, from the catalogue of Louis and Eduard Lindner, Germany 1840-1842 Museum no. MISC.3-1957

This is so cool.  The first toy catalogs were printed in Germany because that was basically the heart of the toy world.  Just like today, toy salesman or “reps” would carry these illustrated toy catalogs to show vendors the latest and greatest in toys, and it was a far more convenient alternative than lugging around a bunch of heavy samples.

And so the magical toy catalog was born!  I get lost in toy catalogs for hours.  HOURS.  There’s also some particularly hysterical and unintentionally creepy ones from the 1970s online.  More on that later.

Moving Image Gallery

Interactive%20train%20set

Ahh model railroads, I do admire them.  So much work went in to achieve such perfect intricate details; it all helps to create a story.  I used to spend hours at the model railroad museum in San Diego where I grew up.  The model railroads at the Museum of Childhood are probably amazing up close, along with other exhibits from the Moving Toys Gallery, like vintage robots and this 1970s Chinese table tennis toy.

Featured Blog Post Art from http://jaimesconde.blogspot.com/

Chia Monsters Arlymone

Toys That Blinded Me With Science! My Favorites Captured In Art

Featured Artwork inspired by Chia Pets! “Chia Monsters” by Arlymone 

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chiiiia!

God I miss the 90s.  Mostly Because I was a kid with zero responsibilities, just running around with my explorer’s hat on looking for bugs, digging up what I thought were mummies in my backyard, and playing “field scientist” with a plastic Fisher Price Microscope.

Childhood nostalgia definitely kicks in when I start to think about all my favorite toys that had something to do with plants, bugs, flowers, rocks, and science fairs.  When toy nostalgia hits, I supercharge my memory bank and start web surfing like a mad woman!

This list was so fun to make, and I prefer to use artist renderings of toys or related artworks whenever I can.  There’s a lot of classic science toy reboots available today too, which is so very tempting.  I really do miss my toy chemistry set slides; you know, the ginormous pre-made ones.  Anyways, comment below with any related toys or contribute a top favorites lists or guest post of your own!

The Classic Ant Farm

Yes, those do appear to be miniature people inside the ant farm. Nice!

Toy Microscope

Wish mine was as massive as this one. Yikes! “Global Microscope” Artist: Dale Cody

 Chemistry Set

I really like this artist’s interpretation of the classic chemistry set. Artist: Toktobis

 Make Your Own Volcano Kits

I used to make rainbow volcanoes growing up. Love this illustration too by Wren12!

 Grown Your Own Carnivorous Plants

Grown your own venus fly trap kit were awesome! Along with butterfly bushes too. Artist: ritabuuk

 Sea Monkeys

Under a microscope, did your sea monkeys look like this? Artist: Ionahipri

Visual Merchandising Portfolio: Making Toys Come Alive

One of the best parts of my job is making fun and creative window displays.  And I’m even more lucky because I get to work with toys!  There’s so much you can do with toy store merchandise, like merchandising by color, working with creative themes like sleep, Valentine’s day, fairies and gnomes, Santa’s workshop, celestial night sky, and loads more.

I sort of think of visual merchandising as painting and work in layers.  It’s fun to “garnish” displays with shredded or curled ribbon, cloths, tissue paper, and reuse cardboard boxes as risers to create dimension in the window displays.  It’s easy to just cover the boxes with gift wrap or tissue paper to fit whatever theme is in the works.

Here’s a collection of some of my most recent window dressing, store displays, and toy photos.

Blog Post Art: Built4Ever (DeviantArt)

25 Current Video Game Blogs That Openly Accept Guest Post Submissions

Here’s another freshly squeezed list of guest posting opportunities!  I love making these lists.  This time around, I honed in on the video game niche and uncovered a lot of promising sites for new and seasoned gaming bloggers to grow their network.  There’s A LOT of current gaming blogs offering guest posting opportunities, so this is really just part 1 of my research.

Need some do’s and don’ts about guest posting?  Check out my last guest posting submission post for tips.

Have a blog you’d like me to include or even your own gaming niche blog?  Leave it in the comments below and I’ll add it as soon as I can.

1.  http://koopatv.org

2.  http://epicagames.com/write-for-us/

3.  http://blondenerd.com/

4.  http://www.7chip.com/p/submit-guest-post.html

5.  http://www.videogameselling.com/guest-post

6.  http://electrokami.com/

7.  http://www.destructoid.com/now-is-the-perfect-time-to-start-blogging-on-dtoid–280741.phtml

8.  Game Trend – http://gamejournalismjobs.com/?job=passionate-writers-needed

9.  http://www.gamespresso.com/write-for-us

10.  http://gamecrazy.com/wanted-video-game-and-gaming-writers/

11.  http://gamemoir.com/write-for-us/

12.  https://www.choiceofgames.com/looking-for-writers/

13.  http://www.gnomestew.com/write-for-gnome-stew/

14.  http://www.wheretoplayfreegames.com/p/write-for-us.html

15.  http://www.gameskinny.com/fgj5n/write-for-gameskinny

16.  http://www.thegamedevcast.com/index.php/home/write-for-us/

17.  http://borderhouseblog.com/?page_id=190

18.  http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/

19.  http://www.gamepur.com/write-for-us

20.  http://www.the-gamers-lounge.com/want-to-write-for-us/

21.  http://alwaysnintendo.com/write-us/

22.  http://www.infendo.com/join-our-staff

23.  http://www.retrogarden.co.uk/write-for-us/

24.  http://www.mamecade.com/write-for-us#mamecade

25.  http://retrogamingstation.com/?page_id=89

26. http://www.retronuke.com

27. http://aldovmcgregor.co/

 

 

 

Check back for updates or look out for Part 2 of this list.

Blog post artwork by http://nintendods.deviantart.com/