All posts tagged: How To

Wonkey Weaving Gourd Baskets

I’ve taken three Gourd Art classes from a talented artist,  Margaret Sullivan of Rio Verde, Arizona.  In two of the classes we used very large gourds that we stained with leather dyes before we launched into the time consuming technique called ‘Wonkey Weaving’. The bare bones of the weaving is done with reeds soaked in water to make them pliable. The wonkey meant you were supposed to leave lots of odd shaped gaps to fill in later with wool or other pliable materials. My first gourd had not become very ‘wonkey’ at all by the end of the class. I took it home and completed the rest of the weaving and added purchased feathers and beads. At the second class, I achieved wonkey. In the third class, we made a Totem Pole  from small gourds. We stained the gourds, etched them with a dremel, then decorated them with feathers, beads and paint. Back in Canada, I could add feathers that I had collected from the grounds around our house. (In Alberta, it is legal to …

The Robin Welcome Wagon

Two years ago, a pair of American Robins built a nest on top of the electric meter box near our front door. (See this post: The Endless Quest for Food.) Yesterday, a pair of robins were checking out the same location, but almost immediately afterward, a magpie landed on the meter. This seemed to dampen the enthusiasm of the robins. They haven’t returned. The Car Guy and I remembered, though, that the previous robins had a great deal of difficulty building a nest on the narrow, smooth surface of the box. It seemed to us that it might be a good idea to mount a platform on top of the box that would make it easier for the robins to anchor their nest. This is what The Car Guy came up with. Just to make it very clear to the magpie that this was for the robins, The Car Guy added the name of the intended occupants. A wall, an electrical meter box, the robin platform – do you see anything else in this photo? …

Your Blog – What Do Your Visitors See?

I give my blog a make-over now and then. (WordPress.com has so many themes to try). When I test drive a new one, I ask a few friends to let me know what their browser thinks of the change. Does my blog load fairly fast on their computer, phone or other device? Can they read the blog easily? Does anything seem to be ‘broken’? Why does speed matter? We might live in a fast paced world, but our internet connections vary from rabbit to turtle. I sometimes have a frog connection – fast leaps alternating with “really, you’ve stopped completely!?” pauses. A fast website loads completely in my browser while my frog is leaping. I can read the site while my frog has stopped to admire the scenery. A slow website doesn’t load completely during the leaps. I often get tired of waiting and abandon the site. Apparently search engines also use load speed as one of the factors in search ranking. You can test the speed of your site with a free tool called …

The Quippery

Increase Your Chances of Being Right

In “post-fact culture”, where rationality seems to vanish in the storms of lies and conspiracy theories, beliefs about the future are crucial. – Gapminder Data System – Are you smarter than a chimp? Watch this funny, entertaining and encouraging video to see how your knowledge compares to the chimps at the zoo. How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant. – TED Talk by the Gapminder Founders – What facts surprised you or made you think more positively about the future of the world?

Christmas Tree Ornaments

A Digital Marble (Amazing Circle) made from a photo of a decorated Christmas Tree. Photo manipulating programs have a polar coordinate filter that can turn a photo into a circular shape that is reminiscent of a fortune teller’s orb or marble. They are also commonly called Amazing Circles. I recently found a post by Russel Ray with full directions and illustrations for how to create An orb in Photoshop. Be sure to go to his post to see his intriguing results! I’m very excited with my marble photos, though I will soon have so many of them that I expect the novelty will wear off – for you. I don’t think I will tire of it soon because each one is so unpredictable. I never know what will be inside the marble photo until it is complete! Here are the directions for making these using one purchased program and one freeware program. 1. Photoshop Elements 10: a. Open your picture in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop and enhance it as desired. I usually adjust the lighting …

Layered Treats – S’mores and Rice Krispies

There are many layers of history for the ingredients in this  S’mores and Rice Krispies® recipe! – Chocolate has been around for more than 2000 years. Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native chocolate drink, which was bitter. They added sugar, and by the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink. – Marshmallows were originally a plant based product that was used for centuries for medicinal purposes. When the plant sap was replaced by gelatin in the late 1800’s, today’s marshmallow was born. In 1927, the Girl Scouts Handbook came out with a recipe for ‘Some More’ which quickly became ‘Smores’. – Graham crackers are made from Graham flour, which is named after it’s inventor Sylvester Graham who began making them in the 1830’s. – Kellogg’s Rice Krispies® debuted in 1927. Their Rice Krispies Marshmallow Treats® recipe was first advertised in 1940. It became a popular food for mailing to service people abroad. Here is how you put all these things together to make this layered treat! You’ll need: …

Anticipating a Better Picture – Over the Air Television

One of the things on our Christmas wish list this year was a gift for our TV set. Television – in my lifetime, I’ve ‘seen’ it all! Our first TV had rabbit ears which were enhanced with wire and tinfoil. In later years we had roof top antennas, then big satellite dishes, little satellite dishes, and cables. Our first TV gave us one station. In later years we had dozens of stations, then hundreds of stations. Our TV screens were sometimes as small as a laptop computer, sometimes big boxes that took two men to lift, and finally flat screen lightweights that hung on the wall. We wanted to see if we could ‘cut the cord’ on our Satellite TV service. To do that, we needed a digital antenna that would pick up free Over the Air (OTA) television. The Car Guy chose a TERK omni-digital antenna for 1080 HDTV broadcasts. Like children who peek at their presents before Christmas morning,  we opened this  gift a few weeks ago. The installation was very easy once …

How to Make a Simple Nutella Dessert

There are many Nutella Desserts, but none is simpler than this! Ingredients: 1 jar Nutella hazelnut spread Equipment: 2 extraction tools – a spoon and a rubber spatula Directions: 1. Open the lid of the jar. 2. Use your spoon (size optional) to scoop out the Nutella. 3. Put the spoonful of product directly into your mouth. Enjoy! Repeat until your conscience tells you to quit, or you don’t feel so good any more. 4. Switch to the rubber spatula when the jar is nearly empty. Nutrition: Nutella has NO artificial colors or preservatives and is a source of Fiber, Calcium and Iron. It does, however contain oodles of sugar and saturated fat. Conclusion: I really like Nutella, but because foods like this are going to migrate directly to my hips, I agree with the following observation: Nuts just take up space where chocolate ought to be. – Author Unknown – Do you stock Nutella in your pantry? What is your favourite way of eating it?

How to Make Melted Crayon Art

Last fall each of my grown children purchased new crayons and artist’s canvas, and it wasn’t for the grand-children to take to school. No, they used a glue gun, a candle and a hair dryer to create a merger of the crayons and the canvas. Here is what they made: The result was my Christmas Present last year.  I’m hoping they will do the same this year. I loved the results! One daughter, the one who lives to cook, presented me with this beautiful bundle of vegetables. I can only imagine how long it took to melt the crayons with a candle, then plant each melted bit onto the canvas! Another daughter glued black, grey, white, green and yellow crayons onto the top of a canvas, then used a hair dryer to melt the pointed ends so they dripped. Note the new colours that formed near the bottom where one colour ran into another. The third daughter – whose husband rides the same model of Harley that The Car Guy did (see A Perfect Storm) …

How to Insert Bold Quotation Marks

There are three ways, at least, for adding quotation marks to a Blockquote. The first is the easiest – you just type them where you want them to go. The second and third ways are achieved by writing CSS rules for Styling a Blockquote. If you have a WordPress.com theme, you will have to purchase the CSS upgrade before you can make these changes permanent. This option gives you many style upgrades, even if you never touch the CSS Stylesheet Editor. You write the CSS in the Stylesheet Editor. Go to your Dashboard and click on Appearance – Customize – CSS. Technique 1: Using the before selector to automatically add quotation marks to a blockquote. The theme used a before selector that contained content: ‘\0201C’; I added the CSS  (in italics below) to do three things: I added the border with the blockquote { selector. I moved the blockquote right and changed the background color with the .site-content .entry-content blockquote { selector. I moved the existing blockquotes built into the theme to the left with …

The Long Journey in the Creation of a Jug

A while ago I wrote a post called I Tried Being Subtle. It tells the story of how I came to make the Jug that is in this photo. Today – same Jug, different photo and a brief discussion about the word Create. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. -Steve Jobs- I made this jug in a workshop taught by the famed potter, Michael Casson. The style is entirely his, but the jug is my creation. I took the photograph of the jug. The camera was a creation of Panasonic, but the resulting picture is my creation. I ran the photo through the FotoSketcher software that was created by a man named David in Lyon, France. The aftermath of using the Emergence effect is my creation. I posted this photo …

How to Lose Weight – The Strawberry Diet

I lost 2 pounds last week. I’m not sure where they went, but I won’t be sending out a search party to find them. How did I do it? I’m going to claim it was because of my Strawberry Diet. It I had an ounce of Entrepreneurship in me, I would write another book about this diet (I’m not the first person to eat a boatload of strawberries and write about it). But the procedure is so incredibly simple, and I’m all for the free sharing of ideas (and Garage Sale Stuff), so I’m going to tell you my secret. First, you need a bargain hunting husband like mine who bought a very big container of strawberries from Costco because it was so much cheaper than a small container at the grocery store. Then, you need him to wash and hull and chop them all up for you.  My spouse also came home with one good size watermelon which he also cut into bite size chunks.  Since he doesn’t really like strawberries all that much, …

How to Clone Yourself – Unfocused

I was going to use this photo for a post about how I wish I could clone myself.  I even have it figured out how the process would happen. I will simply stand outside the house in front of a dual pane window (the cleaner the better so that there isn’t dirt blobs or bird poop on my clone.) I will hold up a box like apparatus (think Calvin and Hobbes and ‘The Transmogrifier’ box, only much smaller), focus until two distinct people appear in the viewfinder, and click the shutter.  Then I will take one large step back, leaving my clone standing right in front of me. I tried it several times with my Canon camera, but the process didn’t work. I think I have to practice  making the two images less unfocused, and perhaps the camera is much too sophisticated for the job. I think an empty kleenex box with a cardboard toilet paper tube stuck in it would be a better starting point. If I perfect this technology, one of us will …

Computers 101 – How to Turn on Your Laptop

Parents know how to push your buttons because, hey, they sewed them on. – Camryn Manheim – The instructions for powering up my Sony VAIO laptop are pretty simple. They are found on a sheet of paper that is filed in a folder in the cabinet in our home office. They read: Lift the LCD screen lid – Press the power button until the power indicator light turns on. (Apparently I either never read those instructions, or if I did, I forgot them. And really, how much use is a piece of paper in the file cabinet anyhow?) Unlike many computers, the power button for my laptop is a large button on the right side of the machine. Most laptops have a power button that is under the lid. If a button is under a lid, it can’t be pushed until the lid is opened. If it is on the outside, it says (to me anyhow) you can push me first if you like and then open the lid – which I have been doing …