Saturday, May 27, 2017

We Don't Unplug for the Sake of Unplugging

I started  to write this post a couple of months ago when the library posted announcements for their annual "unplugged week." I'd thought about participating once or twice  over the years because the reward at the end used to be an overnight party at the public library. As a kid, that would have been the most awesome thing I could imagine.

As an adult who once spent a very long night at the Oregon Coast Aquarium with the sharks, and her four kids, and all of the other kids from the church group, I'm not sure it would be as fun as it sounds. This year, the reward was a late night party at the library.  I didn't ask my kids, but I strongly doubt they'd give up their screens for a week just to stay in the library an hour past closing time.

My biggest objection is that screens are allowed for schoolwork. As long as it's assigned by the teacher or curriculum, it doesn't count. But if a kid wants to look up something to satisfy their own curiosity, that is suddenly "screen time" and not allowed. Does that make sense to anyone else?

I'm the teacher here, so I could totally decide that looking up this that or the other thing is schoolwork, but twisting the rules like that kind of defeats the purpose.  I'm also not a fan of splitting our day into "This is schoolwork" and "This is not schoolwork."

I don't want to put that much extra emphasis on electronics. One of my sons is just as likely to be reading an old Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators hardback as he is to be playing a game on his DS.  Another is, as I type this, headed outside to climb a tree. We spend plenty of days without using the internet, but that's because there are other things going on, not because I've declared a screen free day for the sake of being screen free.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/16/17}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

{Guest Post} The Great Es-Tape by Joanna Campbell Slan

Today I'm happy to have Joanna Campbell Slan guest posting with some helpful advice and a giveaway. 

Of the crafting tools I own and use, tape is probably one of my all-time favorites. It’s so incredibly versatile. Tape lends itself to “out of the box” thinking for a variety of crafts and stuff around the house. Just looking around, I found these weird ways I’ve used it recently:

1. Binding the edge of needlework. Yeah, I know. Good needlework artists would never stoop to putting tape on a raw edge. They would whipstitch a hem around their fabric. I’m not that girl. I grabbed my blue painter’s tape. After all, when the piece is finished, I plan to treat the raw edge with Fray-Check, trim it shorter, turn it under, and use iron-on seam binding to complete my work.

2. Keeping my power cord plugged in. This Dell computer of mine is nearly brand-new. I got it in January. But the battery isn’t recharging, and if the cord pops out, the computer goes….roadkill. After two hours on the phone, Dell and I have determined this little puppy needs to return to the factory. But I can’t live without my laptop! So that’ll have to wait until I’m back in Florida where I can use my desktop computer.

3. Holding that stupid flap up. These Brita water jugs are great for filtering water, but the person who engineers their design should be taken to an abandoned country road and shot. Honest to Pete. This SLF (stupid little flip) has a habit of falling closed and sticking, which causes water to run all over the place. I got tired of the hassle. Two inches of masking tape and the problem was solved.

4. Laminating on the fly. All of us have special talents. Mine happens to be finding four-leaf clovers. I used to dry them in books, but then I’d forget about them. Now I “laminate” them by using packing tape and sticking them to index cards. It’s not as sturdy as the REAL lamination, but it’s fast, cheap, and easy.

5. Tagging cords. Because I move back and forth between Florida and Washington, DC, tracking power cords is a hassle. Using a piece of bright green tape, I tagged this iPhone cord. Now it’s easy to find, and best of all, when I pack it up, I know I haven’t stolen my husband’s cord.

Okay, here’s a story I’ve never told anyone. Twenty years ago I was invited up to 3-M, the makers of Scotch tape, to talk about how they could do better in the scrapbook market. I suggested they product tape with designs on it.

“Designs? Like, patterns?” the product expert asked. (She was trying NOT to roll her eyes.)

“Right. Like cute little patterns, geometric patterns, colors.”

“How would scrapbookers use that?” The product expert looked dubious.

I could think of a million ways.

So the next time you use a patterned adhesive tape, wear a little smirk in my honor, OK?

Tell me what you use tape for and I’ll give one lucky person a digital copy of my newest book, Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime.  I’ll choose a winner one week from today.

About the author:
Joanna Campbell Slan is full of crazy ideas that sometimes see fruition. When not taping stuff up, she’s writing. You can buy a copy of Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime for only 99 cents by going to – but hurry, because the price will go up later this month.

Express Lane -- A Second Try

Remember last week when I told you that I was debating between two different sock patterns? I wound up starting both. 

Here's my second stab at Express Lane:

The yarn is Drops Delight and the pattern is showing up so much better than it did on my last Express Lane pair. (Those have gone to live with a friend who likes them more than I did.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Remember These?

What a difference hanging something on a painted wall makes! 

When I first laid eyes on these framed prints, they were hanging on an enclosed porch at the auction where I bought the cuckoo clock. It was love at first sight, even though they were in poor condition and I had no earthly clue what I'd ever do with them.

Adult Daughter saw them stacked on the floor in the back bedroom and laid claim to them. I couldn't figure out how to arrange the three small and one large diamonds, but she divided them over two walls and they look great.

The paint is peeling off of the frames. The glass on one is cracked.  They need a lot of TLC, but I'm afraid they might be beyond fixing.

Whatever does happen to them down the road, they're a lot more fun than home decor from a big box store. And they were a lot less expensive!


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