Monday, December 31, 2007

Reading Blogs

I have to share my latest "discovery" with you. It's called RSS Feed. I know, it's been around for a long time, but MS Explorer 7 has made it much easier to use so I finally decided to test it out last week.

I can't remember which blog I started out with, but I just marked them as Favorites and would go back and check about once a week. That was OK with just 5 or 6 that I wanted to read regularly. Well, now there are almost 40 - and I seem to add one every day or two. It takes a lo-o-o-ng time to check them all, only to find there are only 5 or 6 that have a new post!

I have to thank SharonB for posting about how she keeps up with her blogs - check this out - because that's when I realized I had put this off for way too long. I also checked Microsoft's instructions here. There are numerous Feed readers available and each one takes a little different approach. Here is my favorite method:

In MS Internet Explorer 7.0, I have an icon on my toolbar that looks kind of like this

When I am reading a new blog that I want to keep tabs on I can click that icon and complete the subscription form. Usually pretty easy. When I'm ready to check for new posts, I open the Task Pane - pull down View menu, choose Explorer Bar and click Feeds - or use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-J. The Task Pane lists all my subscribed feeds and the ones with new information are highlighted. I know that the others have not been updated since my last visit, so I don't have to go there. Keeping up with all the creativity and neat ideas takes just a few minutes a day now! I can even comment without feeling like a Johnny-come-lately (sometimes I'm even the first to comment. Oh wow!).

Well, this is not really what my blog is all about, but I found it quite exciting. Guess it doesn't take much to entertain me! In the meantime, I have been doing some creative work. Here is a sneak peek of the current project. I have lots of fun things planned for 2008, so this space should be getting pretty busy soon. Stay tuned. Oh - and have a Very Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas Sights

It's not exactly "visions of sugarplums", but my kitchen took on a very Christmas-ey atmosphere today. While the snow blew outside I baked cookies all day. Now, cooking is not really one of my artistic crafts. Fact is, I would be perfectly happy if I never had to cook again - as long as somebody feeds me, that is! But every once in awhile I get the urge to bake. I try to make that urge come out around Christmas because what would the season be without all these goodies? And then you have to wrap everything up in pretty ribbons. And I do love the ribbons!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Power of Ice

Well, the power of ice is that it can take away your power! The electric kind, that is. We had a major ice storm last week. Mind you, it was a beautiful sight with the trees and fences all sparkly in the sunshine! But not at all good for the trees. Oh dear! Our lovely maples and walnuts are all broken. Oh, I know they will all be lovely again this summer, but they look so sad now with half their branches spread around their feet. If you have a fanciful imagination (which of course I do!) driving down the road on a sunny day has been like wandering through a crystal fairy land.
So after a full week (lacking just a couple of hours), our little town has power back up and the fellows are starting to clean up. We had a generator which kept the freezer cold and the inhabitants warm at our house. But not much crafting got done. I'd forgotten how much I use electricity these days! I having been trying to catch up on the Take a Stitch Tuesday project, but no pictures yet. Almost done and then on to the next challenge!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Turning Corners

For as long as I can remember (not far these days - LOL!) I've had trouble with corners on bias bindings. I've read lots of how-tos and taken several classes that included corners. Last month I took another class and I think I finally realized where I was going wrong. Well, this week I have been turning a lot of corners. Really a lot! I tried to figure out how many - let's see, four corners each times . . . hmmm . . . carry the . . . no, some have more than four . . . ahhh, nuts. It was a lot!! Most of them came out very neat. By george, I think I've got it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A New Toy - er, Tool

My brother found this little time waster. It's called Burning Sand by Max Nagl. It's a computer program you can find here and it mimics falling sand. You place globs and shapes of color and when you activate it, the sand disperses. Here is one of my first efforts (OK, the first one I wanted to save!). There are several different tools and the "sand" behaves differently. I haven't figured out all the details yet. Goodness - I might have to read the manual! Anyway, in the second picture I rotated it so the gray pile on the bottom started falling the other way, and look at the interesting pattern that made.

I'm thinking I can use this for generating designs or at least to jumpstart my creative ideas. For example, I really like that little gray area, kind of like a waterfall. I'm pretty sure I can use that in an applique or embroidery piece. Oh joy - another thing for my ToDo list!