Patchwork Times–Birthdays, Un-Decorating and Finishes

Since the New Year’s holiday, I’ve been trying to find my motivation. It seems to have gone on walkabout without me. I know this is what happens when I “take a break” from major projects, which is exactly why I don’t do it to often. I find it really difficult to get into the grove again, even after just a day or two of being away from work, whatever the “work” is at that moment. So I can’t say that I’ve been terribly constructive in the past week and a half, partly due to that absent motivation, but also partly due to normal “stuff,” like:

A birthday

LittleOne’s 12th Birthday celebration, and

Patches and XMAS

The Christmas take-down, despite the cats “helping”.

Finished quilt!

I did, however, finish up the last few quilts for The Book, and I mailed them to AQS yesterday.

WooHoo! Now that the manuscript is really finished, I can move on to some other related tasks: creating classes and workshops, programming the website that goes with the book, and programming my online shop so it can open by mid-May. Whew! Stage 2, comin’ up! Motivation, please come home…

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Quilting: Good for the Soul

Yesterday wasn’t one of the best workdays for me in recent memory. Most of the time, I’m lucky enough that my job is essentially a hobby that I get paid for, but yesterday wasn’t the norm. One of my clients was in assault mode, and inundated me with 20 emails over the course of about 2½ hours, all of them containing requests for updates to their site or questions that needed to be answered now. Then they wanted to know why something they sent me last week wasn’t done, and I snapped a little, and told them it wasn’t done because I’d spent 20+ hours on the weekend working on their new site design and online shop programming, so that all that would all be ready for Monday’s telephone meeting, and since Monday, I’d been working on still other things for them. Sheesh.

By 11-ish, I was done with the day, but unfortunately, it wasn’t done with me. There were still all those updates to do, in addition to the thing from last week that wasn’t done yet. I started in on a fillable Adobe PDF form for the site, and spent more than three hours attempting to figure out how to make the boxes expand with the text. Oh puh-lease. Adobe Acrobat hasn’t ever been exactly user friendly; I mean, come on, how is it obvious that to make a PDF file, you “distill” it with the Distiller?!? Sure, that was version 5, but it’s still not much better in version 8.whatever that I have now, especially when you want to do something weird like “dynamic forms.” Add the LiveCycle forms creator program into the mix and it’s surely a recipe for stress.

I finally threw in the towel at 3:40 p.m. I thought I could see the way forward, but I was hot, tired, grouchy, I’d yelled at the kids when they started the screaming-meme stuff in the kitchen and told them to go outside, and I was just DONE. The way forward could wait for a bit. I grabbed a quilt, and sat down at the machine to try some sorely needed quilt therapy. I didn’t even have to think too hard about the task, since it was basic machine quilting that I’d already planned out, so it was pretty mindless.

Bernina Stitch RegulatorWithin about 15 minutes, I was calm, cool and collected. I spent the time until the dinner hour in a state of quilting bliss, happily creating. I was even relaxed enough to try something new; I removed the Bernina Stitch Regulator from the box for the first time since I bought the machine and used it for some straight line quilting. I’d tried the BSR at the workshop in Paducah with Diane Gaudynski when I borrowed a 440 machine to use, and wasn’t all that impressed, so I’d never tried to get to know my own after I bought the Bernina. I’ll share my thoughts about the BSR in a later post, but for what I was doing yesterday afternoon, I was pretty happy with the BSR, though we still have a ways to go before we are one, if that day ever comes.

The rest of the day was great, and I quilted more after dinner and late into the wee hours of this morning. I did try to keep the frustrations of the day out of my head, but even when I was thinking about them, I could be calm about it. Quilting does that for me most of the time, and today, it was like a thundershower in a desert.

And today? Well, the work is still there, and Adobe is still my nemesis. I hacked away at it again this morning, and finally gave up. Normally, I’m not a “give up” type of person; I tend toward the “me against it” mentality, and I keep searching for the answer until I find it, so that I can win. With this one though, I’ve looked, I’ve searched, I’ve hacked away at it for hours, and I’ve finally decided that it must take someone much smarter than me to figure it out. Never mind. I don’t want to win anymore, I just want it to go away.

I’m going to quit on this one so that I don’t get to the point today where I need a tranqulizer quilt therapy. Never let it be said that I don’t know when I’m beaten. I’m off to do some of the other updates that don’t involve fighting with Adobe, but there will be more quilting thundershowers later today, whether I need them or not!

Feeding the Techie Beast

Behold the new view from my desk chair:

Sony HS95-PS Monitors

Mmmmm, triple monitors. Yup, I finally did it; I bought a third computer monitor. I picked up the first of these beauties years ago when they were on sale at the PX, and when I got it set up I promptly decided that it was the best, most beautiful computer monitor ever. Clean, clear, glossy and beautiful color with a sleek design all wrapped into one. I went back and bought another for ITMan the next time they had them on sale, while he was out of town. He’d just gotten promoted, and he’d been lusting after my monitor since I bought it.

Then I bought a second one for me, but in a smaller size. That was silly, to buy a smaller size, so eventually ITMan bought me another 19″ one while I was out of town. So then there were four, but one was still smaller. ITMan’s desk played host to the 17″ and one of the 19″ ones, and the other two 19″ monitors were on my desk. One big happy family.

What? What was that? Why do we need more than one monitor per computer anyway, you ask? Having more real estate on my Windows desktop enhances my workflow when I’m programming and web designing. It’s great to put the code editor on one screen and see the actual output on the other. I’m constantly working on more than one thing as well, not to mention quilting stuff thrown into the mix off and on, and it’s great to be able to put some windows on the left and some on the right while I work, and have the basics like Outlook and Firefox up and running all the time.

And ever since ITMan bought the second 19″ monitor for me, I’ve been secretly dreaming of a third. I cased ebay for a month or so until I found someone selling a slightly used one who would ship here, and Voila! I’m in heaven with so much space! Of course, it wouldn’t have been normal for this addition to the work space to have gone off without a hitch, and true to form, adding a third monitor wasn’t just plug’n’play like it should have been, oh no. Without getting too deep into what’s idiotic about this HP computer I have at the moment, I had to buy a second graphics card to be able to hook up the third monitor. Buying a second graphics card was the work of moments at Tiger Direct, and once I had that installed, it really was easy to get the third one playing nicely with the other two.

That hungry techie inside of me is appeased for the moment. ITMan just shakes his head at me. Just so that I could watch his face, I told him I really needed another one to make an even four, but then I’d have to have a new desk to fit them all. I was kidding. Three is plenty. Most of the time. 😉

Oh, the background you see on the monitors is my favorite from Digital Blasphemy. His desktop backgrounds are available in many sizes and configurations, like double and triple monitor setups and widescreens. Ryan does some awesome work!

Techie Coolness: LibraryThing

Visit LibraryThingI discovered LibraryThing a couple of weeks ago, and I’m in book lover’s heaven! I could instantly see major potential here, and I’ve already started to get a couple of long-term goals accomplished. Ever since I started writing at Quilt Epiphany, I’ve wanted to make a Library page, showing all the quilt books in my collection, and either linking to my review of the book (if there was one) or to the book at Amazon.com, or both.

I do have a Worpress plugin called Amazon Media Manager (AMM) which makes it possible to insert a pretty picture of a book or product into my posts and have it linked directly to Amazon where readers can buy it. Oh, and the veritable river of cash that flows from the Amazon Associates account into my wallet is staggering, as well. 🙄 However, while AMM works great for one at a time inserts, or lists of two or three books or CD’s in the sidebar, I just couldn’t see spending the amount of time it would take to input 140 quilt books into my AMM list, and then program the thing to display them on a separate page. Never mind.

Here’s why LibraryThing is such a killer app. I made a free account at LibraryThing (a one step, two word process, believe it or not), and added a couple of books to my Library. It’s a simple process, since you can either enter the ISBN of the book, or search by title or author, and then select from a list to add the book to your Library. You can see the contents of your library, add tags, write reviews, share your profile with other users, see what other users are reading, etc. This is social networking for book lovers, Continue reading “Techie Coolness: LibraryThing”