Monday, December 29, 2008

More software rage

Who knew that my latest software rage would be against kindly techy

I updated my etsy profile. In one fell swoop (er, one page) I uploaded an avatar, selected my country, specified my gender, my birth month and day. There is a space for "favorite materials".

I type:
fabric. buttons. bells.

I press ok or save or whatever. I can't even recall which side the confirm button was on because it then told me I can not have periods in my "favorite materials". It retained what I had written in the "favorite materials" box (including periods) but it removed all other information I specified and also forgot about my photo? HUH?

So I then remove the periods and use &. And then it says I can't have symbols. So I change it to
fabric and buttons
(totally forgot about the bells at this point, and they didn't make sense anyway).
and do all the other steps separately, saving after each step.

Seriously? Etsy, I thought much more highly of you.

Maybe in 2009 I will actually read this book.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blog it, blog it, blog it: Updates

Having a good nap at my parents' house on Christmas Day

Update 1: I'm overly excited now that my blog has my very own profile photo! I'm a gray blob no more! Thank you Pete for showing me how to edit that, especially how to get the cropped Flickr photo over here on Blogger!! It's a crop of this photo.

Update 2: I'm also excited that I now have a blog follower whom I don't know!

Update 3: Christmas was wonderful! Even though I had to work on Christmas Eve for the first time ever, it was still a very nice day. The director bought us all pizza for lunch (not just any pizza, but my favorite carbalicious Lala's pasta pizza from Massimo's) and we had a nice work celebration. Pete was invited to attend which was great too, and we were allowed to go home at 3pm. We drove to my parents house. Mom waited on Pete and me hand and foot. Three homecooked yummy meals a day, and she bought and decorated a new Christmas tree! We opened presents on Christmas Eve like we always do. Then Christmas Day, Pete and I went down to Sea Girt and Belmar to walk on the boardwalk. So we've now gone swimming on Thanksgiving Day and have been at the beach on Christmas Day. A nice way to bookend the holiday season, no? Also, it was the first time Pete and I spent Christmas together, so that was really special! That night Mom drove us around and we looked at Christmas lights.

Pete charmed friends and neighbors he had never met before with his cute English accent!

At the Belmar boardwalk on Christmas Day, 2008

Update 4: A coworker of mine asked me what our Christmas dinner tradition is. This woman is a bit of a traditional Martha Stewart type so I simultaneously cringed and laughed to tell her that on Christmas Eve we always eat tacos! She blinked and said, "that's good too!" Then she asked what we traditionally have on Christmas Day. Her daughter, who is probably 10 years old, then guessed "enchiladas?". Such a hoot.

Update 5: I made a shirt last Sunday, Dec 21. I finally SPR'd it tonight. I don't have much more to add except that I was getting tired while I made it, and had been hoping that it would only take 1 hour of sewing time instead of 2.5 hours. But it was well worth it!

Love the criss-cross and ties!!

Update 6: I uploaded more Hawaii photos of the first 2.5 days in Maui. More to follow! They're at the end of this album.

And how was your holiday??

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Work success and broken craft tools

Some of my favorite pins that my grandmother made

What a weekend!

First, my work project finally came to fruition this weekend. I have been working on the software upgrade since Jan 8, 2007, testing, testing, testing, and in a way, it felt like maybe release day would never come. I'd find bugs, they would be fixed, breaking something else in the process, etc etc etc. (During the 2007 user conference in New Orleans, I had my tarot cards read. I asked her how the upgrade would go. She said it would take longer than I thought, but it would work out.) Finally we got to a point where the software could be released. We shut down the old version Friday night at 6pm and the upgrade was done by 8:30pm. That night I had a nightmare combining the upgrade at my current job with the office at my old job. Finally I awoke and tested the upgrade yesterday for ~5 hours. Tomorrow, the user community starts using the new version. I've trained ~60 users so far the past two weeks, and have ~20 more to train. I've updated or written many, many pieces of documentation with a few more to go.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow; how will it go? What problems exist that I didn't find? For now, it is an amazing (and exhausting) feeling that it is finally released.

Hawaii flashback: On the Oahu Grand Circle Island tour, we met two people who tour the country installing Oracle. One of the was kind of surprised that I knew what it was!

Broken tools
In other news, I accidentally broke my grandmother's knitting needle. I use her needles for turning "ties" inside out. I've never had this happen to me before! Argh! While I was using her needles I was thinking about how she was a creative person and how I most likely got my creativity from her. A few years ago I organized some of her holiday pins into this shadowbox. I made my own snowman pin but discovered I don't have the patience for sewing little things like that. I prefer garments and larger craft items (though I do cross-stitch). And then while I was turning a tie inside out, the needle broke, in many pieces.

The broken plastic needle and a smaller metal one

Tonight I made "English Toffee Bars," which are a cookie that my mom's neighbor makes each year (though I don't really know what is "English" or "Toffee" about them. It's basically a cookie dough made with oats, with chocolate & walnuts on top.) She gave me the recipe last year. After mixing with my mixer, lifted up the plastic bowl to put the contents into the pan and discovered the bottom of the bowl cracked open with a huge hole. What a surprise!

The bowl that cracked up...

I'm not sure if the cookies are good or not...they are hard to get out of the pan (I guess I didn't grease it well enough) and now I've scratched the non-stick cooking pan. Sigh...

I did sew a shirt today but I'll write about it...tmw??

It feels like the holidays should start now, but I have three more days of work to go!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Yule" Laugh at Our Yule Log Movie!

Chris and Christine, this is for you! This may not make sense to anyone else but you're welcome to view it! Turn the volume up!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Does this annoy anyone else?

Why can't an agreement be made to keep the Yes/Ok/Save/Whatever buttons and the No/Cancel/whatever buttons in a consistent order? I am conditioned to OK being on the...right...and sometimes it's on the...left...even within the same program, the button order changes! Gah!

Lately I've been in training and documenting mode at work, and it's made me analyze other people's software documentation more closely.

For example, it annoys me when documentation is written this way:
Choose Warp Speed from the Actions menu and select Overdrive.

Here's how I write documentation:
From the Actions Menu, select Warp Speed, then Overdrive.

Isn't it easier for the user to follow the steps when they are written in order?? Too many times, the Microsoft documentation for word/excel/ppt is written in the first way rather than my way.

Lucky for my users, I write documentation in order. Heh.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chirally Challenged

Good evening!

It's been a few weeks since I've sewed. Pete suggested that I do something for myself yesterday, so after taking a nap, I tackled New Look 6149, the wrap shirt version. So easy--just 3 hours including cutting time, and next time will be even faster because I won't cut the facings and will skip the interfacing(just fold the edges over, sew, you're done!) Somehow I made the mirror image of the wrap (completely my fault) and it made me think about organic chemistry and chiral centers.

I still have to read through the Understanding Knit Fabrics course from SPR, and Christine gave me a Built by Wendy book about sewing with knits. I can't wait to read those! But until then, I can say that double knit is by far the best knit fabric I've sewed with. It may be expensive, but it sews like a dream!
Detail of the wrap

I may need to steal an idea from Erica Bunker. She just posted her 2008 year in review and I may need to do something similar!

Yesterday I also made cookies for the cookie exchange at work. I made a batch of my usual scrumptious Nestle Toll House cookies, and then tried the double chocolate version (the only difference between the regular Toll House and the double chocolate ones is a half cup of cocoa and an additional quarter cup of brown sugar). We were supposed to make 6 cookies for each participant and one of my coworkers said that I should make 12 because they are so good. Thanks!

No pix of the cookies, though. We also burned the first log of the season but no pix of that either!

Monday, December 8, 2008

To Cheer You Up

Have you seen this? Because it is adorable!
Are you on Catnip Camera?
and the related Flickr album:
The Cat Cam

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I used the men's room for the first time

Snowball candle holders

While decorating for the holidays I found some items from last Christmas that I want to ebay! So I've posted some more items Saturday and tonight. I still have a few more to go. I'm amazed that the 1970's Christmas craft kit got a bid, so I posted another vintage 70's Christmas craft kit that I was thinking of making...but seriously, it requires 250 sequins per tree, and the trees are like 3 inches tall, and that's just insane. I'd rather have the 5 bucks (minus fees).

Here's Pete modeling some snowball candle holders for ebay:
See the light...

I'm working on getting back to sewing. There is a red wrap shirt I want to make, but I haven't gotten past the laying-it-out-on-the-fabric stage due to the odd shirt pattern and lack of fabric. Sigh!

I wonder when Christmas became the consumer spending holiday that it is? We started calling it Giftmas last year. I've done a lot of shopping in advance, most of it online, I got my cards done and mailed today, half of my presents are wrapped, the decorations are up, the lights are in the window...and it even snowed last night! But it's still stressful.
The tree I've had since third grade

The lights all aglow in my front window

An arrangement I made last night

I still want to write about Maui, and post the second half of my vacation photos. And tell you fun stories! Like how, for the first time ever in my life, I used a men's rest room because electricians were working on the ladies room. Or how Pete had never sat in a La-Z-Boy recliner before and loved the one in our Maui condo. Or how TSA questioned my identity by saying, "You don't look like a Kyle". Or how, when we boarded the plane to Maui, the automated system on the plane alarmingly announced, "Windshear Ahead! Windshear ahead!" when we were still parked at the gate. I don't want these great moments to be lost!

And I still want to write about how my water bottle challenge is going, and what possible challenges lie ahead for next year (no plastic bags? no more buying paper items?) But there's still much to do: Much of what I need to do, professionally and personally.
Sometimes planning on paper is best.

(The post-its let me move items around easily.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shameless self promotion

Demonstrating talking to your broker on a rotary phone

Whee! I've posted my Giftmas time ebay blowout items! These are items that didn't sell during the year that, well, if they don't sell during the Christmas season, they'll never sell. Or they've been lurking around, say, the trunk of my car for a while. Or they have some other secret history...
Check them out (if this works) otherwise Advanced Search, by Seller, blossomkyle

It's for you!

Who doesn't want a rotary phone (I had this in my trunk for a while, and when I'd drive over a speed bump, the phone would ring, and it was quite funny when I had guests in my car...I ignored it the first time and no one said anything...)

In other news, I did not win the Sewing Pattern Review 100% cotton contest. I got 2 votes. Thank you, other person who voted for me!