Free Stuff for the End of the World – Get the Money (if you can)

Times are tough, the economy is imploding. If you live in Illnois, though, there are some options.

If you’re a working artist in Illinois, you can apply for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund. It’s a $1,500 grant for working artists. Just upload a driver’s license/state ID, and proof that you’ve made creative work in the past two years, and get to submitting. Grants are chosen at random, so keep that in mind before you start spending the money in your head.

My friend Keidra has compiled a list of COVID-19 response funds, mutual aid and support services. If you need help, click the link to see what’s available.

The IRS finally released information on how to get that $1,200 check. The tl; dr version is this: file your 2019 tax return and give them direct deposit information. Bam, money. Hopefully. Likely not soon.

Free Stuff for the End of the World – Improv Guru, Coloring Pages, and Cross Stitch

When I went full-time with my business, I started taking improv classes. I knew that I was going to be in front of hundreds of strangers selling jewelry at every art fair. Knowing also that I was an introverted weirdo, I wanted to be more comfortable talking to those strangers. Level 1 was a lot of fun and I made a bunch of friends. But starting with level 3, I realized that was surrounded by people who were on their college improv team in flyover country, and who desperately wanted to be on SNL someday. And a lot of the instructors were depressive SNL wannabe alcoholics who really liked preying on girls from Iowa in their early 20s. Everyone had daddy issues.

I wasn’t even in the cult, just around it, and I still have deep feelings about it.

In any case, if you want to know what it’s like to do improv in Chicago (“This work is for artists, geniuses, and poets”), watch Improv Guru by clicking here. I don’t know if it’s too inside baseball, but hopefully you’ll also find it hilarious.

Feralcatbox has offered some free coloring pages of birds with matches. I love them. Download the images by clicking here.

Subversive Cross Stitch has some free cross stitch patterns to work on if you have needle, thread, and a deep desire to stab something multiple times. Download the patterns by clicking here.

Free Stuff for the End of the World – Learn Something

I was furloughed. I suspected it was coming, but I needed to take a couple days off to process. But, now more than ever it’s time to get some free stuff in the hands of people who need it. Onward.

Cambridge University Press is offering a few books available for free. Download some PDFs by clicking here.

Project Gutenberg has a boatload of books that are in the public domain. Access the entire archive here. Speaking of older books, you can read Daniel Defoe’s Journal of a Plague year here.

And as always, have daily free stuff delivered to your inbox by signing up here:

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Free Stuff for the End of the World – Paranormal Roundup

I don’t know if it’s the thick fog outside or the fact that I’ve been cooped up for almost two weeks, but I feel like doing a spooky-themed Free Stuff for the End of the World. Let’s go:

First up is Hellier. The entire series is on Amazon Prime or on YouTube. You can watch the first season here, and the second season here. I’ve watched the entire series twice, and encouraged anyone I know with an interest in the paranormal to watch it. Goblins, aliens, witchcraft, tin cans. It’s perfect. Watch it.

John E.L. Tenney is a weirdo and UFO researcher, and he’s put a lot of documents related to all things mysterious online. Read UFO bulletins from the 1950s and government documents about the Kinross Incident by clicking here.

My good friend Katie recently told me to watch Ghost Story Club. I was hooked after the first episode and immediately binge-watched the entire series. Aside from funny stories about ghosts, aliens, and a genie, the show features some of the most incredible set design I’ve ever seen. It has miniatures! And puppets! I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard all month. You can also binge-watch the series by clicking here.

And as always, if you want daily free stuff emailed to you directly, sign up here:

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Free Stuff for the End of the World – Coloring Books and NIN albums

I had a really hard time writing anything about this yesterday. I find joy in all of the cool free things that people are offering, but this is also a time of disappointment, uncertainty, abject terror, and grief for a whole lot of people.

But if you’re looking for a distraction or some brightness in your life, here are some coloring books being offered for free.

This coloring book by Justin Castaneda features activity pages as well as coloring pages.

This 8-page coloring book from Robots with Coffee features robot doodles that you can color.

AND, if you want a soundtrack for the pandemic, Nine Inch Nails just released two albums FOR FREE today. No big deal. Link here.

Memorial Mandala for my Aunt

When my aunt passed away in 2018, she left behind a ton of yarn. She was an avid crocheter and loved Caron’s Cake yarns. She taught me to crochet chains when I was about 6 or so (she tried to teach me more, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it). I went through various skeins and started separating by color.
I wanted to do something to honor my aunt with all of that yarn, and when I found Crystals and Crochet’s Mandala Madness pattern, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Here’s part 1.
Initially I liked the lavender, diverting from the project’s prescribed colors. But I changed my mind. So I tore it out and re-did part 1, and added part 2.
Part 3 was a joy because I love reds and oranges, plus she added crochet motifs I wasn’t familiar with.
Part 4 ran into a complication because I didn’t have a pale yellow yarn to work with, but I think the beige worked.
I was pretty good about taking photos after finishing each section, but I was so wrapped up in working that I forgot– here’s part 5 and the beginning of part 6
Part 8. What I loved about this piece was working on all of the different types of stitches I either didn’t know or normally didn’t use. I also loved the rows of purple yarns.
Detail of Part 8 shows the long stitches and extra long stitches. Getting the tension right was an undertaking.
I finished parts 9 and 10 and didn’t really know what do. I was running out of my aunt’s yarn and couldn’t make it bigger, even though the pattern went on for another 8 sections. I had thought of making it a meditation cushion, but it was too big. I also had to face the fact that while I love the idea of meditating, I’m not going to do it. I’m the anxiety queen.
Cut to several months later. I’m rearranging my furniture because of the COVID-19 lockdown and I realize that my couch is the exact size of the mandala.
So now the mandala lives on my couch, and I get to imagine my aunt is with me whenever I watch murder mysteries. She had the entire Columbo series on DVD. Seems like the right time to watch them.