Tuesday, March 27, 2012

tell me a joke

The other day, I was playing around on my iMac and discovered that LION features "VoiceOver", part of its Universal Access services.

One of the voices, Samantha, sounds just like Siri. ( Listen to "Samantha")  (listen to a really interesting use of Siri)

I was playing with the commands. You press a button and say stuff, and the iMac does different things.
I'd forgotten how much fun this is, and how it can be truly useful. In 1992, we got a MAC LC, and Josh and Sam were able to do all kinds of things with our computer, because the Talking Moose would do many of the same things that VoiceOver could, if they needed help reading window contents. Plus it was highly entertaining.

I used to ask the Moose to tell me a joke. He told terrible knock knock jokes. And so does Lion's Samantha. (My little Samantha, the bride to be, tells much better knock knock jokes.)

So, the other day, I had to drive from Evanston Illinois, up to Racine Wisconsin. I have built in GPS in my Prius and she understands verbal commands. I wanted to see the entire route. I couldn't figure out how to do it. She showed me all the Thai restaurants. Then the Golf courses. Then a few other things. She does "hide icons" on command, at least she understands that one thing.

In frustration I said "Tell me a joke." That trigged the "help" command and she read me a list of common commands, one of which might have been "show entire route". Whatever it was, I remembered long enough to see the entire route. A half hour later, I couldn't remember, because driving in the rain, with half of your quilt stuff and wondering where to get goodies to get on the way to the quilt retreat does not go well with trying to remember weird bits of information. But I remembered "tell me a joke", which gets me to the help screen.

The next day, on the way to the local quilt shop, I tried again because the route there was very windy but on the way home it was easier, so I wanted that easier route. But we were there by the time I got her to show me the entire route.

Sometimes when I am alone in the car, I swear at her, and she goes to the next CD in the cd changer. "Next CD" also works.

Anyway, I don't think the Prius does tell knock knock jokes. I really wish it did.

I think it won't be long before cars come with an optional mount for an Ipad, one that would also hide it. You'd pull up a screen... wait, I bet they already make that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A quick tour of my studio

I have more of my studio organized, thanks to several trips to ikea and hardware stores.

First, an ikea hack. I needed something to hold my flatscreen tv, my dvd player, stereo and satellite dish. The tv stand I had was too low. I didn't want to hang the tv on the wall, because I change my mind so often about where things are in my studio. So I built this "media" dresser out of a Malm three drawer dresser (less than $100), a Closetmaid stackable shelf, and pieces of hardware I had saved off of another table. You can buy new ones. The downside of this hack is that it won't hold my stereo, but I haven't figured out how I really want to hook it up anyway.

 Here's what I needed:
MALM 3 drawer chest IKEA Extra roomy drawers. Smooth running drawers with pull-out stop.
Malm dresser from ikea $80

ClosetMaid 31" Horizontal Organizer Espresso
Closetmaid stackable shelf from Target $13

Secure the shelf to the top of the dresser using an angle and some good wood screws
I used a battery operated screwdriver. (Ikea has THOSE too!)

I reinforced all of the corners on the upper 
shelf also. I only reinforced the corners on
the back of the lower shelf, so I could move
things more easily on the shelf. But I see now
that I could have also reinforced the front corners 
too. So if you want to do this, you'll need 10 
corners. 4 on each level for reinforcement and
two to attach the shelf to the dresser.
Here's the finished media dresser. I found those disks you put under furniture to make it easier to move, and I just left them under the dresser so I can move it when I need to get to the back of the unit.

My working wall, this quilt top is almost finished. 

The bulletin boards I used to form the wall are strong enough to allow me to use the wall to hold things up, like my clock, and some quilt parts, and a shirt I want to embellish. 

I hung two of these decorative shelving units on this wall, because they were shallow enough to avoid interfering with access to the walk in closet on the right. I'm going to use the shelves to hold small things that I've bought just because I like to look at them, or gifts. In this picture, I have some ribbons I bought from Handloom Batik this year at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival, a pincushion made by my friend Maggie Winfield, some buttons in spice jars from ikea. At the door to my closet, I have this cute bird hanging thing I bought from Handloom Batif a few years back. It really should hang on a hook from the ceiling but for now, it perches on the door frame. And I'm short enough to walk under it.

I rearranged my stash of hand dyes into a rectangular color wheel. On top of the bookshelf, I use Skubb storage boxes from ikea. These particular ones are about $5 each in sets of three. I used the round die from Accuquilt to make labels to tie onto the handles of the boxes.  

This is my main worktable. It's really a "harvest" table that I bought as a floor model at a furniture store. It's 36" high, 40" wide and without the leaf in, 76" long. I can put the leaf in for another 20" in length, but the leaf is really heavy. The table is made out of cherry, although you can't tell, because it's surrounded by storage and covered with multiple layers of batting, and a top layer of canvas.

 I used safety pins and the silver cord that comes from the Apple store to hold the fabric on the table, but it's sagging. One of these days, I'll zigzag over some regular string to make a better cover. In the meantime, this table gives me a lot of space to work. I can iron, rotary cut, and put my Accuquilt Go! up on the table too. If I clear off the table, I can put one of my smaller quilts completely on the table. I like to work in a 40x54" rectangle for some of my quilts.
I found this roll paper holder in the kid's section in ikea. It was $5. It is meant to hold a roll of 18" wide paper, also sold by ikea. But for me, it's PERFECT to hold a bolt of Wonder Under, my preferred brand of fusible. I took the fusible off the regular bolt, pulled out the instruction sheets as I went and then rolled it up. It lives on this holder, and I can easily use it to cut sheet of Wonder Under to put in my printer. 

I cut Wonder Under into sheets across the width of the bolt. So the sheets are 8 1/2 inches by 17 3/4 inches.  I can stack them to feed into the printer, I use a few sheets of regular printer paper behind them for support and then let them flop over the back. You may not need the support sheets, you might have to play around and see what works best. This printer is an all in one and wireless, so I can design something on my laptop and then send it over to the printer. I keep my laptop on one of my sewing cabinets. 

Well, that's it for today! Time to go get ready to go to the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting!