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Showing posts from October, 2008

November Desktop Wallpaper

How time flies, I just realized that tomorrow is already November. So I quickly looked through my photos I took during October to find one that would make a great wallpaper. I picked the one of the flog lifting off Oat Hill Lake.
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Taming Plastic Grocery Bags

I got a reminder today about folding plastic grocery bags as I have done for years so that they take up less space. The website shows pictures on how to do it. I learned to do that from my mom from Switzerland. She was visiting one time and showed me what she had be taught by a friend from South Africa.

It does only work with all plastic bags, only the ones that have the long side handles and not the ones that have a hole at the top of the bag type handle or are made with thick plastic. Now as grocery stores are more and more encouraging using other bags, taming the plastic grocery bags has become less of an issue.

The way I remember how to do it is, that you fold the bag like they do in the movies with the American flag when it is not flying.

Beaded Goddess Bag Featured at Etsy

I was just informed that my beaded goddess bag was included in the great beadwork treasury at Etsy. It came as a total surprise, I am not quite sure what to say.

I guess this means that it is time to add some more of my creations to my Etsy store. In the meantime all my craft creations are also available at the marketplace section of my Marlies' Creative Universe website.

Finding a good beading mat

I love to work with beads, but they have a tendency to run away on me. So I have experimented with various materials I had at home. First I tried paper, then a tray, then some felt. The paper was too slippery, the tray I did not like and the felt, well the needle got stuck in it when I tried to pick up a bead.

Then one day when I was shopping I came across this cool shelf liner that had a slightly spongy and sticky feeling to it. It has a diamond design on one side and it plain on the other. I lost the label and don't know what it was called. It wasn't too expensive and came in various colors. I picked off white and cut a piece about 12 inches long, it is 9 inches wide and got to work. The first thing I noticed was that the beads did not slip around any more. So it looks like I have found my beading mat.

March 2009: I found the label. It is called 'All purpose storage mat', 12" x 30" non-slip.

On my searches around the web I came across this very helpful beading…


Yesterday I found a link from the Pink Paper Peppermints blog to this cool website called PhotoFunia. Be forwarned that you get lost at that site as it is just too much fun to play with the different options.

Recycling Business Cards

Yesterday I came across a question on how to recycle business cards at family crafts That reminded me that I had the same question a few years back and found a really useful way to recycle all those business cards by turning them into a small box that is 2.25 inches square.

When you buy them commercially you end up often with way too many as the information on them seems to change just too fast and you have to get new ones. By making your own cards you can print only what you need and make the changes as they occur.

I don't remember where I got the idea from, but I created a step by step tutorial on how to turn 19 business cardsinto a little box with a lid. The cool thing about it is that it does not use any glue or staples and there is no cutting involved. All you do is fold the cards and then slot them together.

Without a lid the current business cards can also be store in the box. Multiple boxes can be connected together with other business cards.

I have also made some bo…

York Redoubt - Halifax, NS

Yesterday's Sunday outing took us the the York Redoubt. "York Redoubt was the heart of the defenses protecting the outer harbour approaches to Halifax. It is currently a national historic site of Canada."

The last time we were there was when we first moved to Halifax and I did not have a digital camera yet. The fall colors were beautiful and the temperatures still quite nice. My favorite picture of the afternoon is the one above. It is a shot of the interior of the quaint little wooden church (1846). I took one picture, but it looks like I took a few and put them together in Photoshop, but I did not.

left: Closeup of gears in the canon
right: broken trees still show the damage from hurricane Juan in 2003

Check out the other pictures I took here.

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Earlier this week I came across this really interesting video, given by Professor Michael Wesch from Kansas State University at the Library of Congress. After watching this 55 minutes video, I was thinking, why could not all teachers or professors be as interesting as this guy. Anthropology was no longer a subject that dealt with things from the past, this was an up-to-date, current learning experience. It helped me put the Internet and YouTube into perspective. I really recommend this video.

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Wesch on YouTubeInformation R/evolutionRequired reading - An anthropological introduction to YouTubeAn Anthropological Introduction to YouTubeEmbedded at UBC::Journalism School Students Get Less Textbooks, Collaborate MoreYouTube and the Meaning of IdentityThe Little Glass Dot

Cultural Differences - What is a Baby Shower?

Yesterday I received a phone call from my mom in Switzerland. She told me that she could just not go to bed yet until she found out what a baby shower was. She had just received a written invitation for the baby shower of my daughter-in-law in November. She asked, are they going to wash the mother before the baby comes? We both had to laugh at that thought. Then I explained to her that it was an American tradition of having a shower (party) for the future mother to help with some of the baby items they will need.

After reading the info at Wikipedia about baby showers, I realized that bridal and baby showers (parties) are a typical North American thing and as I could hear by my mom's puzzled question totally unheard of in Switzerland.

Related articles by ZemantaFrequently Asked Questions for Baby ShowerThings To Know When Hosting A Baby ShowerDetails Of Baby Shower Thank You Cards

Teaching children the value of money

What's the best way to teach children the value of money? When I had the twins I thought that by giving them an allowance it would help them understand the value of money. Sadly to say, it did not really work.

Then when my youngest was a teenager and she wanted more and more new clothes, I just had to come up with a solution. So I looked over my computer based accounting records and figured out how much we spent per year on her for clothes. I divided that figure by 12 and then adjusted it until I found what was the amount I could afford and was fair for her. Every 1st of the month I allocated her the clothing allowance. She could spend it any way she wanted, but it had to last the month, there was no way to get an advance from the next month. She could, however, not spend all the money and save it so that she would have more the next month. I never physically gave her the money, but kept track of it on a sheet of paper, and paid for all the purchases. We always went clothing shoppi…

I can see clearly now the fog is gone

I have been trying to get a picture of the lake with the fog just about disappearing and this morning I finally managed to get those pictures. When I started taking pictures the other side of the lake was barely visible, by the time I was done only 5 minutes later the fog had just about disappeared.

The Law of Attraction

The movie "the Secret - the Law of Attraction" has gotten a lot of interest in the past few years as everybody wants to find a way to have their dreams fulfilled. In the last week I came across 2 articles about the movie and with the Stock Market in chaos finding ways to hold on or even improve our financial situation is upmost on my mind.

The first link is to an article with James Ray, who is in the movie the Secret, about his latest book "Harmonic Wealth".

The second link is to an article called 'Truth, Lies and the Law of Attraction' from the BeliefWorks website. I really resonate with this small quote from the article:
"We live in turbulent times – especially with the current world-wide economic crisis. Is it possible to attract wealth in such an unsettled environment? It is and here are the steps: Create value, take potent action, practice gratitude, support your community, and master the most powerful force of all – belief!"Related Websites

From Icon to Beaded Design

What do you do when you are computer geek and a crafter at the same time, and are looking for a unique pattern? You figure out a way to combine both. This is what I did this weekend.

I have been collecting icons and then it hit me that they would be the ideal way to get unusual patterns. Most of them are already small and quite pixelated. I found this Firefox icon on the left here and that gave me the idea. It still had too many colors, but by putting a grid over the design and then coloring in the grid in Photoshop I got a workable pattern.

The result is the beaded Firefox on the right. It is worked in my version of the square stitch. I add 2 beads at a time, go back one bead, go back through the second of the beads I added and repeat. It looks ok, but something is not quite right. It was supposed to be square, but it is not.

So I measured the finished design. It is under 2 inches wide and it 3 inches tall and realized that the the width/length ratio was 1:1.39. Back to photoshop, I kep…

Birds Having a Bath

Yesterday morning on our walk, we saw these 3 birds having a great time. They were having a bath in a puddle left by last night's rain at the local shopping center parking lot. I was not sure I would get a good picture as I had to take it with full zoom. I did not want to scare the birds away by coming too close, which happened as soon as I took a step closer towards them, but luckily by then I had already taken the picture.

Panta Headband

With the cooler weather it is time again to dig out my 'Panta' headband that I knitted a few years ago from a pattern I found at Craftster and adapted to suite me. Here is a link to my tutorial. It also has a link to the original Craftster post which has no grown to over 90 pages. While checking out the link if it still works, I discovered that it dates back to 2005 and some of the pictures don't work any more.

The headband was easy to knit and didn't take much time. I sewed it together so that there is no seam showing.

I really like wearing the headband, it is very comfortable and warm and small enough to fit into a pocket or purse. It is perfect when it is still too warm to wear a hat.

Cloud Computing

I don't know how many of my readers have heard of cloud computing. The only reason I am somewhat familiar with it is because my son is the inventor of "elastic Computing" and the founder of I occasionally work with him, creating the demonstration videos and tutorials. I am fast learning more and more.

So what is cloud computing? "Cloud Computing provides the necessary compute infrastructure for tomorrow's computing needs."(*1) Computing will and is already moving away from being solely desktop based. The Internet will become the operating system. If you have a Google gmail account, you automatically also have access to a whole host of other services that until now you had to go out and buy a program for. This is no longer necessary and here is where cloud computing comes in. It is the new backbone, the support that provides the infrastructure for our computing needs without the need to have to purchase more and faster physical computers. Virtual…

The Shubenacadie Canal

On Sunday morning hubby and I went for a lovely fall walk in a local park (check out all the pictures) and came across the old Lock #2 of the Shubenacadie Canal. I had heard about it and knew that it started at the Dartmouth harbour and went all the way to the Bay of Fundy, that was about it. So a quick search revealed quite a bit of info.
--> Lock 2

Here is a quick summary combined from various sources in my words:
"The Shubenacadie Canal is the most significant 19th century canal development project in the Maritimes.

<-- Closeup of the Lock

The Shubenacadie Canal was envisioned to facilitate transportation between Halifax, and the agricultural, timber and coal producing areas of northern Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley.

Originally linking the area from Dartmouth to Maitland, the Shubenacadie Canal was an ancient Mi’kmaw travel route from the Bay of Fundy to the Halifax Harbour.

When construction started in 1826 it was supposed to have 17 locks, but the first company went ba…

Love is Cheap

Every so often I come across one of Chris Walker's blog articles that I strongly resonate with and this is one of those. Judging others alerts us to the fact that we have that part that we judge in our life and don't like it at all. Now what are we supposed to do about it? The answer is to love that part. When we can love the darkest and lightest parts of ourselves, we have learned to live in the now without judgment. Events happen and people are the way they are. It is the labels we give events and people that color that event. It might make us feel good to say something terrible about others, but ultimately we are saying that about ourselves. We are all one, we are all sparks of God that give 'God' the opportunity to experience all nuances of life, the good, the bad and the indifferent. So what we do to others, we are doing to ourselves.

On my old CRT monitor I had a piece of paper taped across the top as a daily reminder that said:
Observe — accept — do not judge
I wr…

Thoughts are Things

Imagine my surprise on Sunday morning while reading the newspaper when I read in my Aquarius horoscope that one sentence "thoughts are things". I receive a daily inspirational email from a website called 'Thoughts become Things'. Love those daily uplifting emails that are often very timely and deal exactly with what I need to hear at that particular moment.

The sentence 'thoughts become things' informs me that what I put my focus on I will attract in my life. That does not mean that every moment or day of my life will be pure bliss, but that I can lead a more balanced life where the up times are greater than the down times.

Understanding the present Chaos

I am always on the lookout for information that will help me understand what is happening around me. With the current political chaos and stock market upheaval anything that can shed a different light on the situation is greatly appreciated. So finding this article by Caroline Myss was really timely.

It seems it is not just the stock market that is confused but also nature. As you can see in the image to the right this forsythia bush is blooming again and it is now October. I find this quite strange.

34 Years since I first came to Canada

Today I am celebrating my 34th anniversary of arriving in Canada. I had met my husband in a kibbutz while working there with a group of Swiss volunteers. Once I returned to Switzerland I had to find a way to get to Canada. The only option I had was as a mother's help in Toronto, Ontario, which was 1500 km away from where my future husband lived in Saint John, New Brunswick. The culture shock and the language difference where quite big. I spoke English, but not very well. Reading an English newspaper took ages and even then I didn't understand all the words and had to look them up. Now after 34 years, I am told I still have a slight accent, but I don't have any problems with English any more. The funny thing is, that often I use very antiquated English expressions, I have no idea where that comes from. I am also famous for combining two expressions into one. Example: Every so once in a while, which should be 'every so often' and 'once in a while'.

I have foun…

Surprise Beading Book in the Mail

Yesterday's mail brought me a pleasant surprise. A beading book called 'Mastering Beadwork - a comprehensive guide to off-loom techniques' just showed up at my home. There was no note or anything with it, just the book in a bubblewrap envelope from the States.

I am tickled pink, but I am also wondering how I got the book. I vaguely recall writing a comment at a blog that was giving away a book, but which blog and when I did that is very foggy. A hearty thank you to whoever sent me this lovely book. So for me the holidays have started early this year.

How to make Your Blog a better Blog

Image by Zemanta via CrunchBaseAfter adjusting the look of the blog, the next step is to improve the blog content itself. As synchronicity is always at play I came across some interesting articles in my RSS reader and by following the links I gathered some helpful info that I will have to analyze a little more in depth.

Not the first item I came across but the one I found the most helpful was the 'Zemanta' Firefox add-on. Once you am logged in to your blog and start to write your article Zemanta is ready and listing in and supplying helpful info like what tags to use, links to other blog articles with similar content and pictures.

Related articles by ZemantaZemanta is a Great Firefox Blog Add-OnZemantaUse Zemanta to Easily Share Blog Content
How to generate some income with the blog is another area I am currently exploring , as well as how to write better copy. Here are just a few sites I have come across that I find helpful:
Chris BroganCopyBlogger - copywriting tips for online …

List to Sites with Tips, Tricks and Templates

GeckImage via CrunchBaseNow that I have a few months of working with blogger behind me, I just had to change the look to suite me more. Well, that was easier said than done. Wading through tons of links and checking them out took a bit of time. Then, just when I thought I had found a site or article that would be helpful, I found out once I tried the code that it did not work and I was off again to look for another site/article.

Given my temperament, I just could not take an existing layout template and use it. I had to have the means of customizing to my view. I love to look at layouts for ideas and stimulation, but then I go off in my own direction.

Here are a few page that I found very helpful with info on how to customize your blogger blog:
Blogger Templates, Tips, Tricks and HacksBlogU - Creative BloggingBlogger Buster - this site is a treasure trove of goodiesKid Tech Guru: 50 amazing blogger tricks
Three Column BloggerTips for new bloggers
WebTalksFree Template Sites
Blogger Buster …