Sunday, January 24, 2010

I've Enjoyed My One Yr Relationship with MAKE Magazine

Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 21

A friend of mine gave me a subscription to the magazine, Make, last year as a gift, this was was my last issue. I think I am ok with that. While I have thoroughly enjoyed reading or trying to read each issue, I think the DIY magazine is a bit over my head. The projects and articles are often about outrageous creations that are more "inventions" than crafts and half the time I don't even know what the darn thing is saying! The materials or processes use such technical words I find myself skimming the pages looking for words I know or pictures. This issue must have known it was my last and wanted to give me a good farewell, I found several things of interest. I opened it to a page that showed a camper in a shopping cart and then flipped to a DIY project making gourd lanterns. Both intrigued me and made me read the rest of the magazine and skip the packing I had to do.

The shopping cart camper was made by Kevin Cyr. He is quoted in the magazine as saying, "he hopes the Kart will stimulate conversation about ...mobility...shelter." I don't see how it can't! It really is a shopping cart with what looks like a pop-up tent camper built into the cart. My first thought? This is the Cadillac of shopping carts for homeless people, they no longer are homeless, they now have a mobile home. Now granted, it has no bathroom, kitchen or big screen tv but at least it is a dry place to sleep. I would just want a way to manage the breaks on the wheels so someone can't send me rolling down the street in the middle of the night.

The next page I flipped to showed a cute DIY project, gourd lanterns. Now this peaked my interest. This has to be the first I've ever seen in Make that I thought I actually could do, and would want to do. I of course immediately start trying to think of how I could grow my own gourds, where I would grow them, when the best time of year is to plant, where I would store them to dry, etc. As I looked over the how-to article, it was clear I wasn't going to be making any gourd lanterns. It requires a pumpkin knife and drill and they are both used on round surfaces. I am prone to accidents and I can see it now, I am working on a gourd, about to drill into the side and oops, there goes the drill into the side of my hand. Earlier this year I sliced my finger with plant trimmer scissors trimming a bush. I'm not meant to use sharp objects. So the gourd lanterns are pretty but not a project I plan to attempt anytime soon. (I will keep the idea though, just in case!) If anyone wants to make me some, they would look lovely on the deck I plan to build...some day.

On a whim I decided to read a few more of the articles, even though I knew I wouldn't understand most of them. I came across an article on snow science. Snow Science? Yes, snow science. It explains how snow can help show heat islands. As I am reading, I think to myself this might be good information, I am going skiing tomorrow and there will be snow. My mind starts to form a scenario of being stranded in the snow and having to solution will be to find places where the snow has melted around an object (heat island). This will indicate to me the object is conducting heat, enough to melt snow, probably enough to help keep me warm. Survival skills are important, you never know what type of situation you will end up.

One issue of Make showed how to build an igloo. I found that fascinating and good information in the event I got stranded in the snow. By the time that happens though I will have forgotten how to build the darn thing and I'll probably freeze to death; this is why the snow science article peaked my interest. Finding heat islands seems a heck of a lot easier.

Then the snow science article got really interesting when it started to discuss the particles that might be in the snow. Words like spore and fungal were mentioned, not two words I want to hear when white snow is being discussed. In my head a new event comes to mind....I am going down the mountain....I trip, roll down the mountain and get a face/mouth full of snow...and spores and fungal. YUCK! I will have to make sure I fall on my back since falling is inevitable.

I was ready to put the magazine down when I flipped to a DYI project I plan in trying, a magic photo square. It seems easy enough, take 8 blocks, tape them together per instructions and add photos. There are no sharp tools necessary except perhaps scissors and I have a ton of photos. So watch out my friends, everyone is getting a magic photo square for Christmas this year!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Serious Scrapbookers Can Tackle 409 photos at a Retreat, that is Not Me Apparently

I went to a scrapbooking retreat this past weekend at the Summer Mill Retreat Center in Belton, Texas. It was so nice to get away and focus on something besides work or exercise. I've been a bit remiss in my scrapbooking over the last several years; I seem to get more behind by the day. Sad too since I spent quite a bit of money last year reorganizing my craft room so I would be able to DO more scrapbooking and card making.

Digital photos have also contributed to my lackadaisical attitude towards scrapbooking. I tend to never get around to printing them...except when a retreat comes around, then I just click "all" and print. I printed 409 photos for this retreat. I think I discarded at least 30 - 40 because they were blury or I had too many of the same basic shot. ­­­­There was a discussion at the retreat about digital scrapbooking but to me there is just something about cutting pictures and adding embellishments to a page that can't be duplicated 100% through digital scrapbooking. I'll stick to the "manual" version for now and hopefully stay more on top of things in 2010.

I did manage to get over 60 pages scrapbooked which gets me up to the yoga competition I participated in last year in November. Just two more major events; the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon and Christmas to scrapbook and we can call 2009 done!

It's a far cry from the over 100 pages I use to finish in my "younger" days but it is pretty good for a rusty old scrapbooker. I've decided scrapbooking is like running, you need to train if you are going to go the distance. I shouldn't expect to complete 100 + pages when I haven't done anything to prepare for the event! Heck, I printed photos the day before I left. Plus, my mind hasn't thought about scrapbooking since the LAST retreat.

And they had a Cricut there for us to use, oh my gosh, it is awesome. But everyone probably knows that right? I think I must be the last person in the world to try and use one. It made amazing letters and shapes, very versatile. I sat there for quite some time cutting out words for all my pages. It was great, I had the choice of size and font type and it cute letters out perfectly. But man, what a time sucker! I spent hours at the Cricut, time I could have spent putting pictures on a page. Does anyone else feel like the Cricut is a like a catch - 22? It is great; gives lots of options for adding words or embellishments to pages but it takes a lot of time to glue the letters down and just figuring out which font to use took time.

I see 2010 being a year to refocus my life towards many things I have let fall to the wayside, scrapbooking being just one of those. I'll post more throughout the year on my progress. If you have scrapbooking stories, would love to hear them!