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One of the things that’s so great about living in our modern society is the range of technological advances through the past few decades that have enabled us to streamline many of our crafting processes and ultimately achieve more in less time with less effort. From software that aides us in design to machines that help to execute what our hands alone may not, to the vast expanse of Internet platforms allowing us to share and learn, it’s now easier than ever for us to not only create but to engage and share our creativity with the rest of the world.

Whether it’s BurdaStyle, Etsy, Ravelry, StyleTrek, or FashionStake, there are a number of websites set up to help creatives of all kinds to not only get inspired but also to reach new audiences they may not have had access to before. We can now find patterns, tools and materials, share ideas, get tips and sell or buy goods with the click of a button, all while connecting to an innumerable amount of people in the process. Technological advances have revitalized and revolutionized craft and DIY, making creativity more popular and more accessible than ever before.

We want to hear from you: What recent technological advances have aided your craft the most? What in our modern society helps you to be more creative and get more done with less effort? Or maybe you have an idea for a new invention that could streamline your creativity. Give us your feedback and you could find yourself in possession of a brand new Windows 7 phone from Microsoft! Simply leave your comments below between now and Monday, November 29th, 2010 for your chance to win. For full contest rules click here and we can’t wait to hear your ideas!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) 18 YEARS AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sweepstakes ends 11/29/10. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit our discussions post. Sponsor: Federated Media Publishing, Inc., 2 Harrison Street, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.

This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Less tech tired. More tech trendy: Learn about Windows Phone online [www.windowsphone.com] and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.


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    Nov 23, 2010, 03.28 AMby sstran

    I am loving aluminum foil as an insulation material these days, helps me shape cakes, and keep things warm :)

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    Nov 23, 2010, 02.32 AMby dorrellc

    Another obvious one: smartphones! I never carry paper around, but I always have a phone. Entering text on my current phone is a bit awkward, but it’s still a useful way to record inspirations or do some productive writing.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 11.25 PMby techsage

    I think that Sure Cuts A Lot and my Cricut are the most helpful technological advances in my wife’s craft. In mine (IT), it would be the miniturization of tech in general.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 10.32 PMby fallentraveler

    I think the best program thats increased my productivity is Celtx, or OpenOffice these two are great for a film maker such as myself. But what would truly make my life simpler is a Windows Phone, then I could call people.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 08.39 PMby malky

    One really obvious technological advancement that helps me in photography…autofocus! Before youhad to manually focus the shot yourself but now the camra does it for you and this is especially helpful in acion and sport shots. t’s way too hard to keep focus on a moving object or person!

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    Nov 22, 2010, 05.55 PMby dolowoyo

    I’m all about doing more with less by using free tools such as the Google calendar to organize my day, week, month, year…need I go on!!!

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    Nov 22, 2010, 04.42 PMby uglybeat

    A new computerized sewing machine! I had been using old metal sewing machines, thinking they were more reliable except they kept breaking down. I was getting close to throwing them out the window some days. I finally sprung for a new computerized machine and sewing is so much easier! I love everything vintage and was very resistant, but I have to admit I love my new machine!

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    Nov 22, 2010, 04.25 PMby maux

    It may not be news, but Ravelry is a godsend for knitters. By keeping track of what you’ve done and giving you access to anything you could want to do, it helps keep projects on track and cuts down on redundant purchases.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 01.51 PMby ebardon

    I use a 3-D solid modelling program for creating designs and patterns for projects. I find that I’m much more accurate that way and need to do less re-work and adjustment on the fly than when I sketch things out in 2D.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 01.15 PMby yogi76

    I get more with less by doing comparison shopping using Bing.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 07.23 AMby Erica Best

    i do more with less when i use coupons to save money it helps get more food for the month.

    purple_lover_04 at msn dot com

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    Nov 22, 2010, 04.41 AMby graveflower

    I keep a detailed excel file of my budget for money and time of everything I want to do. Right down to the fabric and color palettes. I draw out story boards in one note to coordinate and this way I am not sewing from impulse. I post these storyboards online and friends give me tips.

    An idea for a program I would love to develop would be a database of pattern photos that would allow somebody to quickly make storyboards and plan out supplies for projects. You could see a swatch, a pattern and a technique you like, just look them up and have them together in a cohesive idea in minutes.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 04.41 AMby adilynn

    It’s simple, but I use the camera on my smart phone to take pictures of things I see that inspire me. It’s a great way to keep track of ideas and inspiration.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 04.23 AMby dorrellc

    I hope this isn’t too obvious, but hasn’t the internet made everyone’s creativity more effective? Nothing compares to the ability to exchange ideas and be inspired unexpectedly.

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    Nov 22, 2010, 01.35 AMby Patty Topp

    I think the internet as a whole has helped me and is my favorite “tool”. Anything and everything is available via a search engine with immediate results. I love bloggers to as they are all so helpful!

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    Nov 22, 2010, 01.34 AMby Patty Topp

    I think the internet as a whole has helped me and is my favorite “tool”. Anything and everything is available via a search engine with immediate results. I love bloggers to as they are all so helpful!

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    Nov 21, 2010, 11.31 PMby lizzyfitzy

    Instead of giving away clothes, I tear them apart and make them into something new! I end up loving my creations way more than buying new clothes.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 11.27 PMby wilko

    I think that the internet in general is a fantastic place for inspiration. I spend so much time looking at forums, blogs, images on Google and anything else I can find. The fact that there are so many people who are willing to share what they have done to inspire others is something I am very grateful for. I’m always even more in awe of people who are willing to post patterns and instructions for what they have done at no cost to others. In a society where everyone seems to be out to make money, I think this shows that there are people who are willing to do more for others with less personal benefit.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 09.19 PMby Rust Hawk

    Google calendar is one of my favorite organization things. I throw EVERYTHING into it and get email notifications. It’s a super time saver for me.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 09.03 PMby emidzi

    I wear my ipod nano on my arm while I craft. I never have to move from where I am to “change” music, etc. It may sound trivial but it means a lot to me.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 06.20 PMby wilesofstarlight1

    It seems so basic, but without the internet, I probably wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as I have with sewing and knitting. I’m a poor college student, so I have no money for professional classes or books. Of course the internet can’t answer every question, but I doubt I’d even have gotten started sewing and knitting without all the free resources available online.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 12.27 PMby yogi76

    I’ll be able to get more done with less by consolidating my devices when I get a Windows Phone.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 04.26 AMby dorrellc

    I think I screwed this up last time, but I’ll try again!

    Everyone’s time is important. Less Christmas shopping means more time for everything else! By mutual agreement, my friends and family have scaled back gift giving plans this year to focus on shared activities and good food to celebrate the season.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 04.02 AMby Krista Prae

    Doing more with less ?

    Is hard, very hard.

    I spent over $300 to enter the Simplicity/JoAnn Fabric 2010 Costume contest believing I could win the lottery.

    Is that doing more with less? Definitely not !

    What it did do for me is make me realize that I can be very self sufficient in using my own hands to create beautiful things. I do not need to pay some store to sell me an item that some poor kid put together for a penny and a designer tortured their staff to “get it out there”.

    My own two hands can do it all. For me, for my family.

    Sites such as Burda Style, give me a “little” push to learn and just do it .


    Krista Marie Prae

    “Self discipline is very hard to do,. Harder when everyone says it is the right thing to do.” A quote by Me

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    Nov 21, 2010, 03.52 AMby amoney3

    Well, from a coding perspective. I love small examples that target a specific topic, rather than large projects that may demonstrate multiple things.

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    Nov 21, 2010, 02.10 AMby malky

    I’ve mentioned that I love photography before so the internet is a major tool! I use sites like Flickr to show off my work and have people critique it. I also like gatherig new ideas from others ad spinning it into my own way!

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    Nov 21, 2010, 01.34 AMby univacgrl

    The internet has made such a difference in my crafting. Before being able to see all the sites out there, I wasn’t very motivated to keep up with what I was doing. But now with all the sewing/needlecraft websites out there that I visit all the time, I’m inspired to use what I already have to make things I never would have considered possible. If someone else out there can make something I want to make, then so can I.

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    Nov 20, 2010, 11.23 PMby laurenmendoza

    My response includes both a technology that has helped me, and an idea for a useful product.

    I’d say the access to buying printed books online from all over the world has helped me the most. The internet can be great for finding information, but books can be more comprehensive and complete on a certain topic. I got my whole collection of patternmaking books online.

    Here is my idea:

    There is definitely a trend toward DIY in fashion: not always buying whatever they are selling in mass quantities at the store. Many people would like to make fine well-fitting clothing without paying a lot of money. But today the technological ability to design is limited to the professionals. After taking a class in digital patternmaking at school, I came face-to-face with the bulky and user-UNfriendliness of the pattern programs. It shouldn’t be that complicated! My idea is a simple easy-to-use pattern drafting software. Not with a million tools and coordinates, but with just the tools we would use in the physical world!: Pencil, ruler, scissors, and tape. Only instead of wasting paper, people could do this on their computers or even an app on their phone! People can design their own patterns easily, and make them as easy or complex as they would like. I think it would give all the sewers more freedom in what they can create, and give the fashion industry a “crowdsourcing” factor where currently it can be quite “behind closed doors”.

    So that’s my idea! Hopefully one day I or someone can make it a reality.

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    Nov 20, 2010, 10.53 PMby Alison Friedel

    The camera on my phone! Whenever I see an idea or a book I like etc., instead of writing it down I snap a quick picture to remember. Love that you can send it straight to your email too.

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    Nov 20, 2010, 05.45 PMby ritualbath

    The smart phone, I can surf the web for sites like this to get ideas or answer a question, order new items that I’ve just run out of, take and post pictures before I leave the work room (I tend to forget other wise) to get a virtual high five, organize my to do list so that awesome silk I want to do something with doesn’t distract me from things that need doing right now, and I can keep connected with my friends and family all over the world without leaving the sewing table.

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