Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reference Notebooks

I have a section on my bookshelf for my collected reference materials. I'm not talking about reference books. I have a whole set of three ring notebooks that contain leaflets, pamphlets, printed out pages, handouts from classes, and the instruction sheet(s) that I got when I purchased the whiz-bang gadget of the week to make crafting easier. I've got a notebook on machine embroidery stabilizers and another one on hand embroidery fabrics. I've got at least one notebook for each of my sewing machines. 

Yes, I use the information in these notebooks. I can't keep it all in my head. There are days that I think I'm doing well to remember that I wrote that information down once upon a time.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

More Rainbow Looming

I'm still addicted. I've discovered that videos by kids may be difficult to follow, but videos by adults who don't know how to zoom in, focus, or fast forward can be equally difficult to follow.

A tip for adults who wish to make these bracelets for themselves is to get a second loom and hook them together to make an 8" bracelet. However, for some of the bracelets that require a second (or even a third!) loom to make a child sized bracelet that doesn't need extensions, you may not wish to make something that big. In that case, make your first bracelet and then immediately rip it apart, bit by bit. Check the size, and remove rubber bands until you get it down to your size. Put away the extra rubber bands and then take the bracelet apart. (It's a PITA to try to save a partly done bracelet) Re-make the bracelet using only the number of rubber bands that you need to make it fit your wrist. There is no other way to make sure that the finished bracelet will fit your wrist. I've tried and tried, and each pattern comes out a different length.

I've purchased rubber bands from a variety of sources and they are of different quality. The Rainbow Loom bands break least often. They all break, and never at convenient times.

Speaking of time, if you know what you are doing and just want to knock out a bracelet you already know how to make, allow 20 minutes. For a new pattern, allow up to 45 minutes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rainbow Addiction!

OK, I've gotten addicted to playing with the Rainbow Loom. But the average sized bracelet this thing creates is 1/2 the standard adult bracelet length. It's all of 4", when an adult bracelet is 8". The solution? Get a second loom, hook the things together and make an 8" bracelet instead.Gradually, I'm getting my co-workers addicted to these silly things as well.

A word to the wise. I first got a knock-off loom. You can't hook it together with a real Rainbow Loom and it doesn't hook solidly to other knock-off looms. The hook isn't as nice and the pegs are not as well shaped. Don't settle for a fake.

Have I noticed a difference in the latex-free rubber bands between the real and the knock-offs?  The knock-offs require that you purchase 'S' clips separately. The original Rainbow Loom bands include 'C' clips with each bag of bands. No additional purchase necessary.  FWIW, no craft store accepts coupons for the loom or the bands, whether knock-off or the real thing.

The basic bracelet that can be made with the Rainbow loom is kinda wimpy. It is a single chain. Doesn't look like much. But a popular bracelet is called a Fishtail. Still, not so much. The Double Fishtail is pretty neat, though. I started there.

Since that first Fishtail, I've made Double Cross, Hexafish, Ladder, and the Starburst. There are more than a few websites that have links to YouTube videos that teach you how to use the Rainbow Loom, including the Rainbow Loom website itself.

As an unrelated topic, I'm amazed at how little research parents are doing to learn how to help their kids work with this contraption. And it isn't difficult research, either. You watch the video, you follow along. Duh!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Woman Speak Translation

Men don't understand when women give directions. This is frequently because they have not been taught what the phrases we are using mean. For example, tell a man to comb his daughter's freshly washed hair "from the bottom up" and he will start at the ends and attempt to comb towards the roots. If it is explained to him that you want him to comb out the bottom 2 inches, then comb out the bottom 4 inches, gradually moving to add more of her hair until it is combed from her head all the way to the ends, he can follow the directions.

Women can not ask a man to run the vacuum and expect him to use the crevice tool on the corners and manage the baseboards, too. The request was to run the vacuum. He did that. Will he have moved furniture? Not unless he nudged it with the vacuum. And he will have made the vacuum pass once over each square foot of floor. He will not repeatedly pass the vacuum over that clump of dog hair until it finally gets the last of it. After all, he doesn't have to run a lawn mower over a patch of grass twice.

If a man asks a woman who doesn't usually mow the yard to mow, she'll run the lawn mower. Will she pick up fallen branches, trim shrubs, do a little weeding, and edge? No. She mowed, as she was asked. Put the shoe on the other foot and see if it fits.

How do you get the results you want? You make a more specific request and you talk to your partner as the two of you complete the chore together. "Honey, will you move the chairs so I can vacuum under them?" will probably work much better than "Honey, will you run the vacuum?"

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Configuration Process

I've been taking it much more slowly than I usually do when configuring a new computer or a rebuild. The list of applications I use has gotten longer but that's not slowing me down. I'm simply not trying to get everything done at once. I only installed a printer this morning. Today's goal is to get Lightroom installed. After all, that software is why I got a new computer in the first place.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another Computer?

Well, yes. When you can't update applications because your OS is too old, and you can't update the OS because the hardware is too old, you need a new computer. And I even got a new monitor. There's a chance I could run the old monitor, too. That would give me incredible screen real estate. In the scary realm, because my new monitor is 27". Plus the old flat panel? Yikes!

For now, I'm just installing applications that I want to have and I'm loading data. I finally have terrabytes of drive space on a single machine, with NO external hard drives. All of my music and all of my pictures in one location! Sort of. Eventually. Not counting local and remote backup copies. I AM a geek at heart. I have never lost data yet. Drives, yes. Data, no.

Folks are saying that they hate Windows 8. I dunno yet. There are a few things I'd rather it didn't do, but I can always change settings. A lot of things people are complaining about being hidden aren't in any different location than they always were. In some ways, I'm finding Windows 8 to be a cleaner interface.

Monday, April 29, 2013


I'm not a computer geek for nothing. Ignore the 'Loading' screen. Press on with the re-installation of the software. Uncheck the pre-selected items that make no sense. Make sure the darned thing is plugged in and charging. Go away and do something else. Et voila! One functioning Gypsy.

Then I had a small cleaning fit and re organized a storage shelf. Or three. Not a big deal. I just made labels, alphebetized a set of books and put heavy stuff down low and lighter stuff higher up. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gypsy Problems

There are times.....

I am trying to get my Gypsy connected to the Cricut Craft Room. This is taking a lot longer than I had hoped it would. I've had to reload the updates to my Gypsy twice now. Or rather, I'm in the middle of the second attempt. It almost made it once but then, foolish me, I attempted to make a purchase while the Gypsy was connected to my computer. I got the dreaded 'Loading' screen, but I simply ignored it and went through  updating the Gypsy a second time.

I'm glad I didn't try this with the Gypsy running on battery power. It would have given out around lunchtime. If nothing happens before bedtime, I'm gonna be frosted.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cricut Cutting

I was really fighting to get something teensy cut accurately using my Cricut Expression. I finally went to glossy paper and reduced the blade depth by one and the pressure by one and increased the number of times I had the Cricut go over the cut. Voila! (NOT Wallah, BTW) I got a tiny detailed cut perfect!

Remember this. Someday, you'll need this bit of trivia.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Studio Space

The photograph at the top of my blog is the studio I set up in the house in Virginia. I loved it and I got a lot done there. I've set up a studio here in Florida, but I haven't really been able to create much in it. So, it is moving. We are giving up the formal living room and the dining room and are moving my stuff downstairs. The graphic here is what it will be laid out as. I'll have an area for paper, an area for sewing, an area to sit and read, and a nest for my embroidery. I don't quite have enough bookcases, but there just isn't enough room. So far, the left side of the room is pretty much in place. I need to measure my current steel shelving (which I'd love to replace) and see if it will fit where I'd really rather have a dresser.

When I say "we" are moving stuff, I'm really saying that I'm moving everything small to smallish. My husband and son will have to move my butcher block tables. My hope is that I can get enough things moved and put away, so the arrival of the tables doesn't cause too big of a mess. I'm trotting up and down the stairs a lot and the poor dog is freaking out, as she trots along beside me and somehow manages not to get in the way.