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Welcome


I am happy to share my thoughts, interests with you.
For all my other creative ideas please check the links to my other blogs.

Friday, August 29, 2008

How Time Flies

Today is my twins 30th birthday. It seems like only yesterday that they were two tiny bundles. So, I went looking through my picture albums and enjoyed reminiscing about them through the years. They both have come such a long way and I am so proud of them. My daughter has just announced her engagement and my son and his wife are expecting their first son at the end of the year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beaded Beads

I am finally relearning the Peyote stitch in beading. I remember making coasters with short tube plastic beads as a child. Of course, at that time I did not realize that it was the peyote stitch. Recently I have come across some really cool beaded beads. That reminded me of the pumpkin person zipper pull I made last December. That was the start of me trying to cover wooden beads. I wasn't very happy with the result, something was not quite right.

So, now I had something look at, beautifully beaded balls, to find out how I could improve my work. That meant taking a closer look at the peyote stitch and figuring out what a brick stitch is. Some more research online lead me to the idea that you kind of make girdle around the outside, the roundest part, of the bead in peyote stitch. Close that band to make a circle and then work in brick stitch towards the hole of the wooden bead. It seems I got the hang of it as you can see from the beads below.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Photo Walk was great

Saturday's photo walk in Halifax was great. The weather could not have been better. There were about 36 photographers that participated. Our directive was to not take the usual pictures. I had not planned on taking the usual pictures anyways, as I have them already from previous pictures I took.

So here is a slide show of some of my pictures. I am still processing them and will upload more the the picasa album. I am still trying to figure out which are my best 5 pictures to submit to the photo walk flickr group.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Killing Horsetails

I love gardening, but one part of my garden has those annoying horsetails. Sure, they look pretty, but they are very difficult to erradicate. They are one of the oldest plant species on the planet and have roots that can go down 8 feet, that is way taller than me.

I am always on the lookout for non toxic ways to kill weeds and have tried in the past to use a vinegar, salt and dish detergent mix (2 cups vinegar - the stronger the better, 1/8 cup salt, a squirt of dish detergent. Mix and spray. To melt the salt I have put the salt and vinegar in the microwave for 30 seconds), but it did not really work on those plants. It works quite well on other weeds. So what do to about those horsetails?

Then I remembered that using boiling water is a great way to kill weeds. First I tried to use my kitchen steamer on the weeds, but that did nothing. Then I wanted to use boiling water, but how? Well, I have an electric water kettle that I haven't used for ages. I dug it out and plugged it into my outdoor outlet and once the water boiled poured it over the horsetails. They don't seem to like it too much. The next day any above ground growth is dried up. So no I will have to see for how long I will have to repeat this to really kill them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Millennials

What or who are the Millennials? They are the generation that was born between 1982 - 2000 and they just starting to come into their own. My youngest daughter belongs to that group.

I first heard that term in the CBC radio interview I talked about in July.Then today I received a newsletter from Fire Mountain Gems and they had a link to an article from the Jan/Feb Issue of Crafttrends magazine where they interviewed Millennials to help them understand their shopping habits and what makes them tick.

Here is the part I found most interesting about who the Millennials are and what makes them tick:
"A few years ago no one really paid too much attention to the Millennials -- the 73 million Americans born between 1982 and 2000. But they are now: by the year 2010 the Millennials will outnumber both Baby Boomers and Generation X. And if you think you know all there is to know about the Millennials you'd be wrong. They are too mercurial to pin down.

Millennials believe they can do it all and do it very well. They do not believe that just because they are young they are less capable of holding a job Boomers and Xers worked long and hard to get. Millennials are teamplayers; they play to win and they are not afraid to let you know that. And they want what they want -- right now.

We were all pretty complacent, thinking we could handle the Millennials when the time came, but we were wrong. Their elder statesmen are out of college now and they are wreaking havoc in the workplace. Our phones have been ringing off the hook the past few months as businesses of all kinds call to book our Millennial-Think programs.

See, the Millennials believe that the rest of us should change to accommodate them, not the other way around. And they are not budging. You want them to work on a weekend when they have other plans? Good luck. Friends and family come first. Think a training session, classroom style, is a good idea? Not anymore. Video games and interactive Web sites are a huge part of a Millennial's world; they tend to learn better when things are interactive. Millennials prefer instant messaging and text-messaging over e-mail. But don't get excited about the prospect of advertising via text-messaging: texting is for friends and family only. And forget about voice-mail. That's way too old school for them.

We asked which television shows and/or magazines influenced our panelists. They like The View, The Rachael Ray Show and the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Oprah and Martha, not so much. Their comments included, "Martha's too old and too much of a perfectionist" and "Her projects cost too much."

Millennials tend to watch DIY programs that help them with decorating. And because these shows highlight color and fashion trends, they use them as crafting and scrapbooking resources.

At the end of the program we asked each of them to tell us one thing that would make them choose one store over another. Here's the condensed version of what they said:

* Do it better.
* Respect me. See me as a customer, not as an age.
* Offer carts and strollers.
* Be kid-friendly.
* Put in a play area.
* Offer more things digital.
* Offer incentives.
* Hold upbeat classes and not just baby, vacation, and holiday themes.
* Stay fresh! Change it up often so I won't get bored and want to go somewhere else.
This is just a small part of the article and I strongly suggest that you read the whole one. If you are in the business of selling to young people, this is a must read article.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 4 Agreements

Together with Byron Katie's 'the Work', 'the 4 Agreements' by don Miguel Ruiz are my other concept that has helped me tremendously. The simplicity of the 4 agreements and the monumental effect always surprise me.
  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
    Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

  2. Don't Take Anything Personally
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

  3. Don't Make Assumptions
    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

  4. Always Do Your Best
    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
The most important agreement is to not take things personally. Most of the time people behave towards us in a certain way not because of us, but because of themselves.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Work - Byron Katie

I first heard about 'the Work' by Byron Katie about 5 years ago and was very intrigued. Her concept resonated with me. Then I promptly forgot about it until I noticed that the early Sunday morning program on KKCR radio from Kauai often played sound bytes from her. So I went looking for her website again and subscribed to the newsletter.

Just this weekend I was trying to explain the concept to my eldest daughter and then today I got the latest newsletter which had links to 3 videos with her being interviewed by Oprah. After watching the 3 videos you get a pretty good idea of what 'the Work' is all about and how to apply it to your own life.

I am always amazed how 4 simple questions can have such a profound effect in one's life.
Here are the 4 questions:
  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know it is true?
  • What happens when you believe that thought?
  • Who would you be without that thought?
  • Now comes the important part the 'Turn around' ( the concept your are questioning)
    The turn around is the opportunity to experience the opposite of your original statement
I can only recommend that you go to the site and watch all the videos you can find. There are enough videos and podcasts around to show you exactly how to use the concept and achieve results.

Defense is the first act of war. War belongs on paper.
~Byron Katie

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Baby Spiral Socks

After I had finished my husbands socks there was still some yarn left over, just enough to make a pair of baby spiral socks.

As spiral socks are very stretchy and babies grow so fast, I decided to make the socks big enough for a bigger baby (up to 20 lbs), but they should also fit a newborn. So I had to make them long enough for the bigger baby, for the smaller baby there will just be a big cuff as you can see on my model, a doll that is even smaller than a newborn.

Material needed:
  • about 10 gr wool per sock
  • 4 double pointed needles
  • darning needle
  • gauge: 28 stitches = 4 inches (10 cm) on 3.25 mm (U.S. 3) needles
My pattern is:
2 knit, 3 purl for 3 rows and then offset either to the left or right by one stitch so that it will go like this: 1 knit, 2 purl, 2 knit, 2 purl.

Knitting Instructions:
  • cast on 32 stitches very loosely divided over 3 needles (10 stitches, 12 stitches, 10 stitches)
  • knit ribbing pattern: 1 knit, 1 purl for 10 rows
  • switch to spiral pattern:
    • 1st row of pattern: 2 knit, 2 purl - repeat to end of row
    • 2nd and 3rd rows same as 1st row
    • 4th row of pattern: 1 knit, *1 purl, 2 knit* - repeat to end of row
    • 5th and 6th row same as 4th row
    • 6th row of pattern: 2 purl, 2 knit - repeat to end of row
    • 7th and 8th row: same as 6th row
    • 9th row of pattern: 1 purl, *2 knit, 2 purl* - repeat to end of row
    • 10th and 11th row - same as 9th row
    • repeat these rows until the socks measures about 6 inches including the cuff
  • Toes: the toes are finished in knit stitch, it is easier to keep track of things
    • *knit 3 stitches, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 3 rows in knit stitch
    • *knit 2 stitches, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 2 rows in knit stitch
    • *knit 1 stitch, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 1 rows in knit stitch
    • now knit 2 stitches together to the end of the row
    • cut the thread leaving a long tail
  • Finishing the socks:
    • darn in the wool ends from both the toes and the cuff. You are done.

adult socks and baby socks side by side

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spiral Socks

The last time I knitted socks, I was a teenager trying to get the pair done for my dad for Christmas. My dad only wore hand knitted socks. As my hubby has always cold feed, I thought maybe a pair of knitted socks will help him this winter. So I set out to do some research about knitting socks as a reminder, that's when I discovered spiral socks. What are spiral socks, well, they are socks without a heel, basically tube socks. The reason they fit so nicely is that pattern that is used to make them. The pattern spirals around the length of the sock, hence the name.

Now, my next adventure was to find the wool. I did not want thick wool and I wanted durable wool for socks. So after almost giving up, I found this variegated wool. It is Pattons Kroy Socks Jaquards 4 Ply. I had no idea how much wool I would need as I was winging it, but decided to buy two 50 g balls.

As you can see, I knitted the socks with the spirals going 2 different directions. I didn't want them to both spiral the same way. Also I found that when I started the second sock there was an error in wool, there was no alternative color for 4 inches. I always start my balls of wool from the inside and so did not see it. Well, I guess it makes them special this way.

Material needed:
  • about 40 gr wool per sock
  • 4 double pointed needles
  • darning needle
  • gauge is: 28 stitches = 4 inches (10 cm) on 3.25 mm (U.S. 3) needles
My pattern is:
3 knit, 3 purl for 4 rows and then offset either to the left or right by one stitch so that it will go like this: 2 knit, 3 purl, 3 knit, 3 purl.

My hubby has size 8 shoes and I have size 8 women's shoes and the socks fit both of us nicely.

Knitting Instructions:
  • Cast on 48 stitches divided over 3 needles (16 stitches on each needle)
  • Knit the cuff in 1 knit, 1 purl, for about 2 inches
  • Start the pattern:
    • 1st row of pattern: 3 knit, 3 purl for 4 rows
    • 5th row of pattern: 2 kit, 3 purl, *3 knit, 3 purl* repeat till end of row and knit like this for 4 rows total
    • 9th row of pattern: 1 knit, 3 purl, *3 knit, 3 purl* repeat till end of row and knit like this for 4 rows total
    • 13th row of pattern is the same as 1st row of pattern
    • repeat rows 1-12 for 12 inches. If you want longer socks make longer. If you try on the sock right now the knitting needles should just cover your little toe
  • Toes: the toes are finished in knit stitch, it is easier to keep track of things
    • *knit 4 stitches, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 4 rows in knit stitch
    • *knit 3 stitches, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 3 rows in knit stitch
    • *knit 2 stitches, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 2 rows in knit stitch
    • *knit 1 stitch, decrease 2 stitches by knitting them together* - repeat to end of row
    • knit 1 rows in knit stitch
    • now knit 2 stitches together to the end of the row
    • cut the thread leaving a long tail
  • Finishing the socks:
    • darn in the wool ends from both the toes and the cuff. You are done.
Enjoy wearing your socks. They feel really soft.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Myoats - Online Drawing Site

This morning I came across a cool online drawing site called: Myoats. I haven't really had the time to play around to much and explore all the different ways of using it. My first 2 designs remind me of my crop circle colorings. This is a reall neat site. There are some amazing designs. I haven't quite figured out how they did them.

I call my first design on the right, the one on the blue background 'Medusa'.

All the files can be downloaded and used as wallpaper and there is also the option of only downloading the center graphic itself as a transparent png file that can then be manipulated further.

I call my second design,
on the, left 'Flower of life'. Now I will have to play around in there some more later on to see what else I can come up with.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Halifax Skyline

The weather was beautiful on Saturday and we took advantage of it by going down to the Dartmouth farmer's market at Alderney Landing. As I have gotten into the habit of always taking my camera along we decided to first go to the wharf. The light was perfect, the clouds where great, so I decided to take some pictures of the Halifax skyline across the harbour.

The original picture had a lot more sky and water above and below the skyline and wasn't impressive at all. By dividing the picture into thirds horizontally and removing 2 thirds in height I ended up with a picture that looks like a panorama shot and brings the skyline closer.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I have discovered Wordle

Yesterday I discovered a really cool website called 'Wordle' at the 'Laughing Lion Design' blog. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that we provide. You can put in your own text, anything you want or link to blog URL and the program creates a nice typographic layout. Then you can change the colors, the font and the layout. Once you are happy with it you can either take a screenshot or save it as a PDF file. In the FAQ section they provide you with a link to the free CutePDF Writer program to do that. To say that I had a lot of fun is an understatement.

So here are a few graphics I made based on this website, Marlies' Creative Universe, Elastic Vapor, my name, my pregnant poem and a thinking of you poem. Clicking on the image in the slideshow will take you to the picasa album where you can see upon which text each image is based.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I joined Scott Kelby's World Wide Photo Walk

I try to keep up with the Photoshop blogs and that's where I saw the add for the world wide photo walk on August 23/08. At first there were only a few cities and nothing for Halifax yet. Then yesterday I noticed that Halifax has joined the list and so I joined the event. I am not quite sure what to expect, but I imagine that it will be fun. Now let's just hope that the weather will also cooperate.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bug from printer ink cap

I just came across this cool creation at Flickr.

I have used my printer ink caps in the past for magnets, but his bug is just wonderful. Now I will have to play with all those caps I have saved and come up with my own version of a bug or something.

Check out the other bugs from this person

Make the most of your widescreen monitor

Now that I am back up and running after wiping my computer. I wanted to make some changes. Most involved switching to open source programs. But the change that had the most impact was the move of my taskbar.

Before the switch I had already moved it to the top of the screen from the bottom. That however, caused problems sometimes when pop up windows hid themselves behind the bar and could not be accessed to close. So first I moved it to the right side of the screen, that would have been ok, if I were not left-handed and my mouse is on the left side of the monitor and it was just too long a reach to the right side to access stuff. Now it is happily locked on the left side of the screen, a tad wider than it showed up by default. What I like most about this setup is that all open programs and folders are now stacked one below the other.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Firefox 3 does not like TYPO3

My main website, I have it since 1997, is Marlies' Creative Universe and I use the TYPO3 content management system for it. After a steep learning curve it has served me well and I know how to use it and frankly it would be a real pain in the you know what to switch all those pages, in the hundreds, to another system. I regularly add content to keep the site fresh. I don't write anything personal on the website and never have, hence this blog. Well it seems that Firefox 3 does not get along very well with TYPO3.

After my reinstallation of my operating system on my computer I also upgraded to Firefox 3 and then logged on the my website and to my horror the 3 column backend ended up with only 2 columns. That meant the main column where I tell TYPO3 what to do had disappeared. A quick internet search revealed that there is a patch, an extension, to get it back. Sure enough, that did the trick.

Then, today I wanted to put a note on the site about my Firefox 3 and TYPO3 problems. I logged in, there were 3 columns, I found the page and started to create a new content element and that's when things didn't go so smoothly. I could input header data, but once I wanted to write in the RTE text box there was no cursor. How the heck was I supposed to write an article? Well, most people would tell me to just use IE7, but I didn't want to do that. So what was I supposed to do? Then I remembered that I have the IE switch add-on installed for my Firefox 3. So I gingerly clicked on the switch button, had to re-log in, found the page, opened the content element that I had saved with only the header and placed the cursor in the RTE text box and to my surprise the cursor stayed and I could write my article. Now that is going to be very helpful until the problem with Firefox 3 is sorted out.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reinstalling Windows

After 4 years, I have finally decided that it was time to reinstall my operating system. The computer would not turn off on its own any longer, I had to push the button and my 2GB of RAM seemed to get used up too fast, it was high time to do something about it. As I have a Sony Vaio computer, I have a recovery disk and the whole shebang gets plopped back in. The only problem I discovered was that I had changed the hard drive partitions and that means that they will disappear with the reinstallation. So I was busy yesterday backing everything up onto an external hard drive and then this morning I took the plunge.

After a few false starts, that's when I realized what was really going to happen to everything. I was set to go. It took quite a while to copy everything back on the hard drive from the DVDs. So the first thing I did was uninstall all those programs that came preinstalled and I was never going to use. I am planning on using open source program versions this time around.

The first real snag I ran into was setting up my widescreen LCD monitor. I had the driver and it showed up, but I could not change the display to 1680 x 1050 pixels. Then I remembered that I had to update my NVidia driver when I first got the new monitor a few months back. Well, that did the trick and nowI can read my text clearly.

The next scary thing was moving my Thunderbird and Firefox profiles to the new installation. I had done all the homework and printed the instructions out, but still it did not work. So I worked around that. I restored the profile from MozBackup. It kind of worked, but in Firefox where did all my add-ons go, they did not make it. Luckily, I had moved the whole Firefox directory from my documents and settings folder to the external hard drive. So I grabbed everything inside the profiles folder and plopped it into the new default profile folder, crossed my findgers and started Firefox. To my utter surprise it worked and I am back up running. I used the same for Thunderbird, where I had only just recently created a new profile and somehow did not tell MozBackup to use that instead of the default one. Well, I got everything going.

By now all my basic programs: virus, zip, pdf and music are going and I realized that with my widescreen monitor it just did not make sense to have the taskbar at the bottom or top (that's where I had it yesterday) and make my screen length shorter. So I moved it to the left side of the screen. First I placed it on the right, but being a lefty it was awkward to right across the screen to the buttons and moved it to the left side of the screen. I like it and I don't even notice that the screen is narrower now.

Now I wanted to upload an image with this post, but I can't. I get an error. So I will have to do some research. I guess I haven't installed something yet that is needed. As it has worked before.