Who’s got the button?

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Things are going slowly on the web site front, but they are going. I keep tweeking things and it’s getting better. I’m not sure I could be a web designer for a living though. It gets really frustrating to deal with erm…interesting and surprising ways that different browsers interpret the css. I’ve been looking at it in IE and Firefox because that’s about all the irritation I can take. So I guess users of Opera and other browsers will be on their own. The next step I think is going to involve getting some pictures of stuff, which I’m a little nervous about. I’m not the best photographer and one thing that can make a website really shine is good crisp pictures. We’ll just have to see how it goes I guess.

In other news, my sister called me the other day and asked if I wanted her to send me the buttons she was going to get rid of. I thought, sure I can go through them and keep what I want and donate the rest. Little did I know she would be sending me one metric ton of buttons. Seriously, it was a lot of buttons.

Blanket

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I sort of got off track on the AnneArchy deal for a day or two because I wanted a new blanket. About four years ago I found a really cool fur blanket at Target for like 20 bucks. It was very soft and was backed with ultra-suede also very soft. However after four years it is seen better days and it just isn’t that soft anymore. I have always been a sucker for the feel of a soft fabric. Both my mother and I shop based a lot on how a fabric feels. You can watch us shopping together and see us reach out and feel items we might be interested in. If it doesn’t meet with a certain level of ‘ooh that’s nice’ we don’t even bother trying it on. In a fabric store…forget about it. We walk along the aisles looking with our eyes and running our hands down the whole row of fabric. A week or so ago, I was in a store called The Rag Shop (which is a lot like the Hobby Lobby of the great white north) looking for fabric for the cases/totes I’m hopefully going to make soon. I was, of course, feeling my way through the store and ran across some sinfully soft fleece. It is single sided fleece with a checkerboard pattern, and it is soft. I didn’t get any, since I didn’t have any need for it, but I thought to myself ‘I wish I had something to make out of that.’ A couple of days went by and I finally put it together. I could make a replacement blanket out of the super soft fleece.

I went back to the store and got some of the fleece in purple since it was the most palatable of the choices (neon orange just wasn’t going to cut it). Being a single sided fleece I was going to need a second layer to back it, so I swung over to Joann (because I had a coupon) and got some darker purple fleece and since I like heavy blankets some heavy cotton batting. I fused the batting to the dark purple fleece and used white blanket binding to close the whole thing up. It was my first experience with blanket binding and so it isn’t terribly beautiful, but it’s definitely fine for my purposes. Here is a picture of it:

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And just for fun, the other day I turned around in my chair and there at my feet, was the most pitiful sight:

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Notice the erm…brains that are being pulled out through the cheek and what was once a cute little squirrelly smile is now just a black thread.

The etymology of Mer

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caw posted a comment about my last post and my use of the (made up) word mer. This is an interesting question and I think it deserves it’s very own post, but I can only tell you what I know/remember, which may not be accurate. Other people feel free to chime in and correct whatever needs it. This word was invented by Laura and Ryan Wiles (who should totally start a blog so we can get info about their life and their son). But to properly understand how this came about you need to know a little about Ryan.

Ryan is an awesome, fun, and caring person. However, he sometimes lacks tact. He is the kind of guy who will tell things like he sees them (regardless of who may or may not be offended), but also the kind of guy who always has your back.

Anyway, at some point in their relationship Laura was talking at Ryan (I say at because it becomes clear a little later that he had stopped listening) I think complaining about stuff not getting done or some such. Then, when describing the situation later Ryan said that sometimes when Laura was talking like that he stopped hearing the words she was saying and started hearing the word mer over and over again (sort of like the teacher in the Peanuts cartoons, but less lilting and more punctuated or staccato and with your bottom lip pushed out into a very slight pout). Over time mer came to indicate complaining and/or upsetitude at something or someone; a way of letting someone know you are unhappy with something in a cute way; without anger, yelling, or an argument. It can also be a statement of “I am whining and I know it, please commence commiserating with me at this time.” This last one was the usage from my last post.

Instance 1: I am not artistically talented, but there isn’t really anything that is going to fix that, so in this case mer simply means this sucks, and I am frustrated by it, feel free to tell me you understand what I mean.

Instance 2: Not having the regularly scheduled programming on TV is not terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but I was irritated by it and needed to whine/vent somewhere, please feel free to sympathize with me all out of proportion to the situation.

tiddly pum

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Today wasn’t a very productive day. I had one of those days were you spend a lot of time seeming like you are getting stuff done, but then at the end of the day you look back and voila…nothing to show for it. I did make dinner tonight, so that was something.

After a serious storm yesterday the weather here has taken a turn for the nicer today. Apparently there was a tornado watch in our area, but mostly what happened was a LOT of rain (about 3-4 inches in a hour), thunder, and lightning. PW didn’t appreciate the thunder bits so much, and spent most of the time prowling the apartment looking for the source of this pesky nap-interrupting noise. It is in the mid sixties right now and supposed to get down into the fifties tonight. I threw open the slider so we could air out the apartment and cool things down as much as possible. It is nice to hear the outdoor type sounds like wind through the trees and whatnot.

I worked a bit on the website today, but every time I do I get sort of frustrated at my lack of artistic ability. I really don’t want to have to rely on the end users font selection for certain integral elements, but I just don’t have the ability to make graphics of what I want. Mer

And then there is all this basketball taking away all the TV shows. Dave isn’t making me watch any of the games which is nice, but how long do we have to not have anything on the main channels because of stupid sport on one of them. Mer

Rubber ducky, you’re the one

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As you may or may not know one of my favorite shows is Good Eats with host Alton Brown. In some recently seen episodes (I’m not sure when they were originally aired) he has had an awesome soap dispenser in his kitchen. I don’t know why, but I absolutely love this thing. I totally want one for my kitchen (even if it means I will have to MacGyver some place to suction him to). The colors on the site don’t seem to sync with the ordering choices totally, but I think I would get the blue one because our plates etc. are blue.

And while at that site I also found this which cracks me right up. I want one of those too!

Project Pattern

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Yesterday I spent most of the day making patterns for my knitting case and knitting tote. Although I did spends some time playing with the website as well. Previous to this I individually measured and cut each piece of the case and tote every time I made one. But if by some miracle this whole thing works out and people actually want some of these I don’t want to have to do that. So I started with plain printer paper so I could measure out each piece accurately. Some of the pieces were pretty simple but a few are a bit on the large side and required a couple of sheets taped together to get the whole thing. This took me quite a while (think 4-5 hours) because I was trying to be very careful and there were over 20 different pieces. The next step is to cut those same patterns out of Pattern Ease (a thin, semi-transparent material that can be used repeatedly without falling apart and holds up to pinning well). That will be easier than the paper because it is a wide material so there won’t be any taping, plus I already did all the tedious measuring. This will just be cutting around the piece I already have. Then I’m hoping to make a couple of each (case and tote) with the patterns to make sure they are correct and don’t need any adjustments. Then I will also have some sample to experiment with taking pictures of to see what will work/look the best on the site.

In web site news people seem to prefer the version of the website that I came up with last. The first couple I made were based a lot on pages that I’ve seen on the web. An idea from that one, an idea from this one. But the one people seem to like the most I thought of up one night while I was lying in bed not falling asleep. In my head it’s a lot fancier than what it ends up being because I don’t know how to do art on the computer. Anne had a friend of hers make a logo for the site which is awesome, but I just don’t have the talent for making other stuff. It’s frusterating to have ideas, but have no way to get them out of your head. I’m no good at drawing either with paper and pencil or in a computer program.

Project WebSite

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In order to start the HTML project I went looking for a book to learn from. OK, so I actually started looking at tutorials and whatnot on-line, but I seem to have a hard time learning that way. There is something about having a real life book to read from that makes the difference for me. This is apparently the way I am wired so I’m working with it. To that end I found Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. It got a lot of good reviews around the web, but I almost didn’t buy it because it was published by O’Reilly1. But after looking around I decided that it was the way to go. And I’m totally glad I did. The introduction is all about why they style their books the way they do. It is full of words like metacognition, cognative science, and dendrite. Clearly this is my kind of book. And I agree with what they have come up with – the high school textbook manufacturers should take a page or two from their notes. The book is large (about 650 pages) and I completed it in about 5 days including stopping when my brain was full so I could come back later/the next day and hopefully it would make sense then (it always did). Plus I did a lot of flitting from project to project just because I felt like it.

So I started my way through the book and now feel comfortable making a basic web site using XHTML and CSS. I made a couple of options for the index page (mostly the same XHTML, different CSS) and sent them to my sister and my parents. Hopefully they will have some feedback for improvement and whatnot. Then I will start in on the other pages in the site. Which I am thinking will be mostly the same as the index, but with one large element that changes from page to page. My main issue is that I’m not an artist. I don’t have the ability to make cool stuff in a computer program to use on my website. So my websites are pretty basic, but I guess they will get the job done.

I’m excited to hear what they think both good and bad. I think I’m missing that camaraderie that you get working with other people. Not like the dreaded “group project” (just ask Jason about some of the group projects he had to work on complete all by himself in college) but more like working with people around who can give you feedback and support. That back and forth of normal conversation that I don’t get a lot of staying being a stay at home…person (props to DrJ). Unfortunately everyone else will have to wait and see when I get around to Project WebServer to be able to check it out. Too bad because then I could get your opinions too.

1. This is because of WWdN in Exile. O’Reilly published his book “Just a Geek” and botched it pretty much completely. Reading WWdN in Exile has apparently biased my opinion of this publishing company.

Irresolution

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I’ve been feeling rather unproductive lately so I started up an old idea again. Selling stuff on-line at annearchy.com (again, that site isn’t up right now, so I’m not even going to bother making it a link). The reason it is down is that up until now Anne did the whole thing, made a site, found a web server and all that. However she actually has a full time job and didn’t really have time to make the site what it she wanted it to be, with a cart and all that neat-o stuff. So when I called her about whether or not she was still interested in doing our sisterly craft collaboration she said yesbut. Yes, but she didn’t have time to make it work. Understandable (that pesky job getting in the way again). So I set about trying to figure out what to do first. I was unable to settle on just one thing so for the past week or so I’ve been working on about 5 or so projects. Doing it that was means I don’t finish any one project very fast, but when I get fed up/frustrated with one project I can just flit over to another one. I find that my mom was right about solving problems, if you get stuck, go do something else and while you are not thinking about the problem your brain will come up with a possible solution or two.

The projects started out as:

(re)Learn HTML and make a website
Figure out a web hosting solution
Create a pattern for the knitting needle case
Create a pattern for the knitting tote
Modify pattern for hoodie to fit adults

So for the next while those things are probably what I’m going to be blogging about. Maybe it will be interesting, maybe it won’t…like the blog says: a whole lot of nothing.

Testy McTesterson

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This is another test….

This was a test…and it worked. If you notice below and on the side bar I now have categories. Woot! Thanks to being a part of beta testing a sa-weet new application called Labelr. I mean it would be cool if Blogger just had tags as a part of their blogs, but this is about the same. Rawk!

Anne of all things Techy

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Anne told me about this cool new thing to put on your page. People who read your blog can put in their location and a little pin will appear to show where they are from. I’m guessing that because I think this is cool, other people won’t or will think it’s too much bother. But hey, this is my blog and I will do what I want. So put a pin in the map.