You are currently browsing the archives for July 2008.

I Missed It!

  • Posted on July 31, 2008 at 4:20 pm

The fourth anniversary of my blogging debut came and went on the 26th without the least bit of fanfare on my part. I just totally forgot about it. But hey, at least I remember before the month ended! Besides, I’m not even a week late, so let’s just call it close enough, shall we? If you want to read that first, original post, it is still alive and well, despite a database crash that occurred months after I started blogging and wiped out all of my entries. The only reason the first one survived is because I had it typed up in Notepad and stored on my computer, along with the date. The beauty of being able to back-date posts. :)

So, happy blog-iversary to me!

ZoomAlbum Crazy

  • Posted on July 30, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Okay, so I know I mentioned this before, but my friend Mary gave me two packages of ZoomAlbum materials while I was away a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t had time to even download the software, much less take a really good look at how it worked. That is, not until tonight. Terry had a work dinner to attend, so I was home by my little lonesome and my crafty self was bored.

So, I sat down, downloaded the software, installed it and started thinking of what albums I could put together. Mary’s suggestion was that I make one of Phoebe and I thought that was a good idea, so that’s where I started. I had two different ZoomAlbum packages, one with preassembled, solid-colored covers and one with printable covers. Well, I wasn’t feeling nearly confident enough to try the printable covers out of the gate, so I went with a yellow colored cover. I chose 12 photos of Phoebe from the past 6 or more years and decided on the order in which I wanted them to be displayed. It was as simple as opening the folder inside of the software, choosing from the thumbnails displayed and dragging and dropping each desired thumbnail into one of the twelve available slots. Then I played around with each photo a bit to get the sizing correct (just a slide bar to zoom in and out) and to drag the photo so that it was centered in just the right spot on the page. Then, I popped in a sheet of legal sized paper and printed the layout to get a preview of how it would look. Not bad, so I went ahead, slipped the pre-punched photo paper into the printer and printed the sheet of pictures. Now, in order to get an accordion booklet out of a sheet of photo paper slightly larger than a regular piece of letter paper, there’s some flipping of the photos that has to happen. You get three rows of photos and the second row is flipped in the opposite direction. But, you know what? You don’t have to worry about that, the software does it for you! Just drag and drop your photos into position, size them, add text if you want and print.

Now comes the slightly tricky part. Once the ink has dried (and this happened amazingly fast, despite the high humidity outside), you split apart the rows, up to a certain point, and then start folding backwards and forwards. It tells you what to do where on the back of the photo sheet, so don’t panic. And if you’re really a perfectionist, like I am, then take a couple of looks at the movie they’ve made of putting a ZoomAlbum together. You can find it here on their site. Then, you pull off the backing sheet off of the in-between pages (leave it on the front and back of the album for now) and adhere everything together (again, view the video and you’ll feel much better about this). Then, pull off the front and back protective sheets and slap it into the cover. Okay, you don’t just slap it in there, but it’s nearly that easy. Watch the video and see for yourself. And that quickly, I had a little 3″ square photo album of Phoebe pics, perfect for carrying in my purse or taking in to work as a brag book.

I went off and did some other chores for a while, but then I got the idea for another album, one with pictures from Terry’s dad’s wedding last July. And this time, I decided I would find a good picture to make a photo cover for it, as well. Yes, the craftiness just jumped up a notch there. I followed the same procedures as I did for the Phoebe album, but then it was time to do the cover. Don’t worry, they have a video for this, too. And I watched it several times before I even chose my photo because I was so nervous about it. It turns out, it really is as easy as making the album itself was. I chose and photo that would wrap around the cover nicely, front and back. This is important because you can just pick any photo and expect it to look as good as you want it to. So, I needed to put a little thought into this. With the perfect photo found, I had to pull it into Photoshop and flip it so that the right people were on the front of the cover (namely Terry’s dad and his lovely bride). Then, it was the same as working with the photos for the album. Open the folder, drag and drop the thumbnail, mess with the size and placement, pop in a test sheet, print, inspect, pop in the real photo cover sheet and print. Again, the ink dried incredibly fast (I usually have to wait overnight before handling photos) and I was able to work with the cover almost right away. I won’t bore you with more details, but if you follow the video, you won’t have any problems. This time, I came out of it with a really nifty-looking album. Printing your own cover really makes all of the difference in the neato factor, in my opinion. Of course, you could always buy the solid-colored covers and attach and embellish a small photo for the front, as well. Either way, it looks like you put a lot more effort into it than is actually required.

All in all, I’m quite proud of myself and quite impressed with the product. Now, if only they could apply this technology to slightly larger albums, I’d be set. After all, I only have so much room in my purse. Of course, there are other people’s purses to fill, as well. And these would make nice little additions to a coffee or end table, mantle, entertainment center, whatever. Just think, you could make little albums of your stitching to take with you to get-togethers! I’m already thinking up more album ideas and I only have enough materials to make two more. Guess I’ll be buying refills at some point in the future. 😉

Unplanned Blog Outage

  • Posted on July 30, 2008 at 12:52 am

I don’t know if any of you noticed, but I had an unplanned blog outage today, er yesterday, whatever day it is, or was. Anyway, we lost our primary database server in the morning, which I noticed when my email service suddenly went poof. Now, a good server would reboot peacefully and allow us to fix it in a graceful, dignified manner. But no, this old piece of unmentionable ugliness decided that it was going to force us to slap in a new hard drive and rebuild the sucker. And yes, for the techies out there, we did have a pair of mirrored hard drives. It just decided to completely ignore the existence of the failover drive. So, Terry has spent his hours since coming home from work rebuilding the machine so that we have functioning websites once again. Right now, he’s trying to finish off the email functionality so that he can go to bed. Poor guy. As for me, I’ve had too many late nights over the past few days and have decided to take myself off to la-la land instead of waiting up with him. A painful decision, as I hate for him to be tired and cranky tomorrow, but I’ve been tired and cranky for days and I just cannot stand to do it again.

In the meantime, a nice new server is on order and should be winging its way to us from Dell early next week…

Aches and Late Nights

  • Posted on July 28, 2008 at 10:44 pm

I managed to snag about 4 hours of sleep overnight, while trying to do work. I was unable to start until 9 PM, instead of 2 PM, as was supposed to be my start time. Fortunately, I stayed home and worked today, so I was able to grab some naps through the day to help me out.

Unfortunately, my glasses broke last night before I finally dragged myself off to bed. That means that I’ve been hunched over my laptop all day with my nose near the screen. And I’ve barely moved from the sofa where I’ve been working and snoozing, so my joints are quite sore at this point. Add to that my tired eyes and it’s going to be a long night if I stay up and work as I reallly should.

Work this weekend did not go well, for my part or any others, from what little I’ve gleaned so far. Things are taking much longer than they normally do and just seem to be going wrong, in general. I suppose it’s bound to happen, what with Murphy’s Law and all. Sorry I can’t be more specific. :)

Just a short post from me tonight. More work to be done, so I must be off.

An Achy, Early Morning

  • Posted on July 27, 2008 at 6:40 am

Hello to everyone and good morning! I’ve been up since before 4 AM with a partial headache that has kept me from sleeping, so I’ve been catching up on blogs and emails. I’ve gone from 124 emails in my inbox to a much more manageable 32. I’ve also gotten my unread blog entries under 65. Woohoo! It’s amazing what a little extra time on one’s hands will do!

Now, if only I could get back to sleep, now that the pain is at a manageable level. The headache was so bad on the way home from game day/night at our friend’s house that I nearly threw up. With the headaches coming back, they have been going migraine (or attempting to) far more often than I would like. I just wish I didn’t have to suffer with them. Ironically, they were nearly non-existent while I was depressed, but now that I’m doing better, they are back with a vengeance. What’s up with that? I mean, do I really have to choose between depression and headaches? If so, I’ll just suffer through the headaches, thank you very much. 😉

Well, the headache is starting to come back now, so I suspect that I spent too much time on the computer. Time to go up and see if I can squeeze in some more sleep. Fortunately, I don’t have to work today until 2 PM, unless the guy who has to finish steps before my part gets done early…

Rough Day for Phoebe

  • Posted on July 25, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Yes, it’s been a bit of an unpleasant day to be Phoebe, I’m afraid. Her breathing has been a bit wheezy and labored this week, with her coughing fits going from nearly non-existent to regular and unstoppable. It got to the point where we decided to take her in to the vet today. They weren’t going to fit her in until Monday, so I had to tell them that she’s having trouble breathing. So, we came home early from work and took her to her favorite place – NOT! As usual, the assistants were fawning all over her, as they absolutely adore her. The vet listened to various parts of her lungs for a while and then decided to take her back for an x-ray to see how the heart problems have progressed since her last x-ray in November. I hate when they say the words “congestive heart failure.” I know that’s what she has, but it still makes me nearly sick to my stomach. The x-ray showed that her heart has enlarged to the point where it’s literally pushing her trachea up and out of its normal location, which will excite her cough receptors. A portion of her lungs have muted breath sounds through the stethoscope and you could see the line of fluid at the bottom of her chest cavity, which is what muffles the breath sounds. So, they have increased her medications to twice a day in the hope that they will control her heart size (keep it from enlarging further) and reduce the fluid. We also found out that she is having seizures every once in a while. She’s only had 3 or 4 in the past several years, but one of them was last night. That was the first time that Terry’s seen her have one up close, so I encouraged him to ask the vet about it. Based on her symptoms of collapsing, urinating and muscle spasticity, the vet thinks that they are seizures, but doesn’t feel that they are something that should be medicated unless she gets to a point where they are much more frequent. Finally, we had a cyst on her back aspirated to check the contents. It turns out that it’s completely benign and cosmetic, so it’s not causing her any issues, but she’s had it for quite a while and I wanted to have it checked.

So, the poor girl has been poked, prodded, x-rayed, injected, aspirated and just generally worked over. She’s such a good girl, so she didn’t complain a bit. I cried a little bit while they had her in the back for the x-ray, just because I have a tough time being faced with her mortality. The vet really put a good face on it, saying that her body condition is still good, she’s not losing her appetite, she doesn’t seem to be losing muscle mass or anything, she’s just coughing. I just wish I had some idea of how much longer we’ll have her.

I’m back to thinking of getting a second dog before Phoebe leaves us. I just can’t figure out if it’s a good idea or not. Your opinions and experience would be appreciated. I just know that I will not deal with her death well when it’s her time and I don’t know if having another dog to have to take care of will help or hinder. I haven’t really gone through this before, so I don’t know what to expect from myself. Part of me expects to become a hermit in my grief and that I might not want to get another dog for a while, but part of me expects to want to run out and get another dog right away. So, I really don’t know what to do.

Well, anyway, enough of that morose topic. I’ve been stitching on Pretty Posies today, finally. Here I’ve been avoiding it like the plague and now that I’ve gotten back into stitching it, I’m not sure why. I have a game day at a friend’s house on Saturday and I have to work on Sunday, but it’s the kind of work where I can stitch while I’m waiting for jobs to finish, so I expect to have a progress photo after the weekend. I’m just too tired and lazy to take a pic right now, sorry.

And that’s it for me for now. Sorry for the disjointed post, but I’m tired and my stream of consciousness is not necessarily coherent. Thanks for hanging with me. :)

Another Lorri Birmingham Finish

  • Posted on July 24, 2008 at 7:59 pm

I started this as my commuting project this week and put the finishing touches on today from home. I ran out of the gold blending filament and, while I had more in my stash, I opted to skip the use of it to outline the center heart. Everything else is pretty much as charted, though. Another one for the finishing pile. And now to find another small project for the road.





Kreativ Blogger Award

  • Posted on July 23, 2008 at 1:35 pm

I have been quite remiss in acknowledging it, but Meari recently blessed me with the Kreativ Blogger Award! I’m so honored and I really want to thank Meari for this award, even if it took me a week to get around to blogging about it. :(

1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

Here are my 5 nominees:
Barbara – mainely stitching
Outi – Just thinking aloud…
Anne – Feather Stitching
Carol – Garden of Stitches
Michelle – Cozy Egg

I Must Be Out of My Mind

  • Posted on July 23, 2008 at 8:08 am

So, I’m finally feeling better this summer and what do I do? I schedule a sale at OSL and decide to go back to school. Plus, I start drooling over my stash again. Add that to having to push through tiredness again lately and you get a woman who thinks she must be going absolutely crazy! I mean, seriously, what am I thinking? I’m just wondering if I’m going to be able to make this all work or if this house of cards is going to come crashing down in on me. I guess that remains to be seen.

BTW, I had a dream this morning that I found a dilapidated old house and decided to renovate it and put a needlework shop on the first floor and house our web design business on the second floor. I think that was a signal that perhaps I’m stretching myself too thin? Either that or I will need to stop working at some point. But then, that’s always been the plan, if one (or both) of the businesses actually grows large enough.

I’ve spent the last two hours to myself this morning, waiting for Terry to wake up and trying to leave him in peace since I don’t think that he slept very well overnight. Poor Phoebe was coughing and coughing this morning. Usually she does it to try to get our attention and make us take her outside, but I’m not sure if there was more to it today. Don’t worry, we’re not being cruel in ignoring her; we’re just pretty sure that all she wants is her morning Greenie. She can be quite motivated by the promise of things like that. Anyway, Terry was as grumpy as a bear who’s been prematurely wakened from hibernation this morning, so I figured I would work on some bills and the like, getting Phoebe out of the bed (she’s stopped coughing now, BTW) and generally giving him some peace and quiet for a little bit. I think I will go in in a few minutes and see if he’d rather work from home today. I’m sensing that it’s going to be one of those days… at least for him, it is.

New Look

  • Posted on July 22, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I’ve spent a bit of time today changing themes back and forth and playing with customizing the blog. I reorganized the sidebar a little bit, putting things in a different order and I changed the theme to something that is actually a bit more fitting, given the stars in the header. This color scheme is supposed to be purple and beige, according to the theme author, but it looks more like a deep rose to me, so I’ll be working on trying to find some appropriate purples and modify it to be a true purple page. What do you think?


My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com