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February 2010
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April 2010

Digital Scrapbooking Place WINNERS!

I mentioned the other day that Digital Scrapbooking Place is celebrating their 6th birthday this weekend, and that they generously gave me three kit-certificates to give away to my readers.  DRUM ROLL, please!

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Commenter #3/Winner #1: kaliko88

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Commenter #18/Winner #2: chanmansmom/Debbie

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Commenter #21/Winner #3: Uyen
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Congrats to the winners - you should receive an email from DSP with details on how to claim your prize.

And congrats to DSP on six years of faithfully service to the digital scrapbooking community!


Coders4Charities: Geeks Giving Back

image from coders4charities.org

From the C4C website:

"The 3rd annual Coders 4 Charities weekend is scheduled for Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28, 2010 at Centriq Training in Kansas City, Missouri. The weekend pairs up teams of web developers, designers and analysts with representatives of local charities who receive "extreme makeovers" of web sites or full online applications for their use in just 48 hours.

In the spring of 2008, five area non-profit organizations received complete online solutions or "revamps" from nearly 30 developers and designers in the Kansas City area between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. In the spring of 2009, there were eight area non-profit organizations and nearly 40 developers and designers.

Volunteer programmers and designers will work intensely at all hours throughout the weekend, fueled by a steady stream of catered meals and energy drinks from local sponsors, taking occasional breaks to play "Rock Band" in a room set up especially for that purpose, taking time to convene in conference rooms with whiteboards to plan strategy with charity representatives.

Charities often do not have the funds to implement a new website, intranet or database solution, while software developers may not volunteer for charity work because the needs are not adequately publicized."

Here's a list of the charities they'll be helping this year:

1st Breath
Hope House
Kansas City Hospice House
Kids and Cars.org
LIVESTRONG Army of Kansas City
Harvest Home Inc.
Community Services League
The Gifted Learning Project
Merriam Christian Church
Redemptorist Social Services Center

Being a proactive sort, I contacted the event's coordinator, to see if they might also be able to use some web content/copywriting help, in addition to the mad coding going on.  It sounds like the thought hadn't really occurred to him, but he talked with some charities, and they were interested.  So I'll be the lone copy girl at the event.  :)  I expect to tweak some content messaging, as well as create some technical documentation for the web functionality created during the weekend.

Here's a video of highlights from last year's Coders4Charities event - I'm really impressed by the whole deal.

Coders 4 Charities, 2009 from Buck Sommerkamp on Vimeo.


Birthday Giveaways from Digital Scrapbook Place!

 DSP's Pre-Birthday Give Away www.digitalscrapbookplace.com

One of the top digital scrapbooking sites on the web is celebrating their Super Sensational Sixth Birthday...and you're invited!!  This is one of the biggest events Digital Scrapbook Place, Inc hosts each year. The week long event is filled with games, chatting, prizes, freebies, sales, challenges and lots of F-U-N!  The party starts March 27th with the traditional 24-hour chat and the partying continues through out the week.

To kick things off The Digital Scrapbook Place, Inc has generously offered up some goodies for me to give away. I have free digital scrapbooking kits to give away to three of you lucky blog readers.  Check out the Shop at Digital Scrapbook Place, Inc to pick out your favorite kit!

Just leave a comment below and tell me which kit you would choose - On March 26th (tomorrow!) I'll randomly choose three winners from the commenters to win one free kit coupon (value US$3.99/each). It could be YOU! :)


What's for Dinner: Crockpot Italian Beef

Currently releasing amazing aromas throughout the house -- Crockpot Italian Beef

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Italian Dressing mix (such as Good Seasons)
  • 1 pkg Au Jus gravy mix
  • 2t Italian Seasoning
  • 1c water
  • Stew meat (at least 2#)

Mix together the first four ingredients.  Place meat in crockpot.  Pour seasonings over meat.  Cook on LO 6-8 hours.

This recipe forms its own gravy/sauce - would be good served over cooked noodles, or with mashed potatoes.


Recycled Crafts: The "Plastic Bag" Bag, and a Comedy of Errors

I have been wanting to try "plastic bag fusion" since I saw the video demo on Etsy's blog (also displayed above).  Actually, I take that back - I did try - twice - but was not entirely successful/pleased either time. So I signed up for a "Plastic Bag" Bag class at local craft mecca, Urban Arts + Crafts. If I got nothing else out of the class, I wanted to conquer the fusing.

Turns out that *was* about my only success at the class - I experienced near total "Craft Fail" while at the actual class. I have never felt so slow, so inept, so LAME in a crafting class before.  And it was all me - the instructor did just great - took a lot of time with each person, had plenty of tried-and-true tips - all that I expect from a good crafting teacher.  I just apparently forgot to hit the "on" button on my brain before I got there!

I've only been to the store once before, so even though I had my trusty MapQuest directions, I still got a little turned around on my way there (I spit in the general direction of Downtown KC!), and arrived at class about 10 minutes late.  Everyone was already well into their projects, and spread out on the tables in the main classroom.  Not to worry - there's a whole table empty and waiting for you, Angie -- over here in the corner. By yourself.  No problem - I'm an outgoing person, and have no problem speaking up with questions or comments.

So the instructor got me started on the bags - trimming off the ends and laying them out to make my "canvas" before ironing. (the trick is to sandwich the bags between pieces of a big dry cleaning bag, so everything is all contained). So I got it all laid out, then realized I had half the pieces facing the wrong way (which meant they would be upside down when the bag was assembled). So I rearranged those bags, and got everything all smoothed out, and she helped me carefully walk it over to the ironing board.

I won't give you a play-by-play of the ironing process, because that would mean you would be sitting here for TWO HOURS.  For some #$%&**! reason, it took me FOR-EV-ER to get my plastic "fabric" all fused together.  I don't know if I just didn't have it turned up hot enough, or if I didn't linger long enough in each spot, or if my iron (easily 15 years old) just sucks, or what.  Obviously some sort of user error. I couldn't believe it took so long! 

So there I was ironing and ironing, back in my little corner, and everyone else had moved on to the sewing portion, and was laughing and having a great time, sharing little crafting stories and tips.  And I'm like, in a soft little voice in my head, "I like crafts, too!"  Like I said, LAME!

So by the time I finished with the fusing, there's an hour left in class, and I still had the whole bag to cut out and assemble.  The instructor included a great little cardstock printout of the bag pattern and instructions - very detailed with diagrams and everything. Very well done.  But also two pages long, and me with an hour left. <grumble>  It was really a simple little pattern, and I eventually heard people start packing up - they finished the entire project from fuse to finished bag in three hours. Me, I'm still over in the corner, and couldn't get my plastic fabric to "square up".  I had my rotary cutting mat, and a big acrylic quilting ruler, and I coulldn't get it to consistently lay flat the same way twice so I could cut a 36x20 rectangle.

Then the instructor came over and in a very apologetic voice informed me they had another class after this, so I kinda needed to wrap things up. Which led me into a round of internal "Serenity Now!" chanting.

Oh, and did I mention that before the class, I had to stop at Joann's to get class materials, and I had to stand in line for 20 minutes to get 1 yd of fabric and 1½ yds of belting? And then after my various misadventures in class, found out I was a yard SHORT of said belting for the bag handles? And that after class I had to go BACK to Joann's to wait ANOTHER 30 minutes in line for that yard of belting so I could finish the flippin' bag and be done with it?? OY!

But all the crafting fail aside, I did, several hours later, eventually finish the bag.  The sides didn't line up perfectly, but it was done.  I sought reassurance from my family, and they deemed it good enough to give as a gift, so I wound up giving it to my mom for her birthday the next day. 

I was very strong, and resisted pointing out to her everything that was wrong with it, and graciously accepted her polite-mom-like oooh's and aaaah's.  "Handmade gifts are so much nicer than anything else," she said.

So maybe it wasn't a total crafting fail in the end.  But it was sure a heck of a journey to get there! :)

And, always the glutton for punishment, I immediately started on my own bag the next day. ;)  I was able to cut the ironing/fusing time in half, and then the bag went together pretty quickly from there.  I'm actually considering making a couple for my church craft bazaar, but we'll see. ;)

The 2nd bag I made was very 'green', in that I re-used plastic bags that I had corralled in the kitchen, and used some fabric from a pillowcase I got at a thrift store.  I love re-using something that was something else in a previous life!  That way I'm not contributing anything to the world's 'waste stream' - I'm using something that was already there! Yea me!

If you've stuck with me this long - feel free to share any of your Crafting Comedy of Errors stories in the comments.

Here's how my bag turned out.

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TypePad Traffic Tip: Reach Your Followers' Followers with Reblog

Last November we released a new feature called Reblog, which makes it easy for your readers to share your content others in their network.  When someone reblogs your content part, or all, of your post appears on the reblogger’s blog with attribution link back to your original post so you get the credit you deserve.

via beta.typepad.com via Denise Wakeman

I saw a recent tweet from Denise Wakeman that gave a heads up about a blog feature that Typepad introduced last year - Reblog.  I have enabled it in the footer of each of my posts - thanks to the step-by-step directions in this post on the Typepad blog.

You may now reblog (and tweet!) any of my posts at will. I'm generous like that. ;)