Friday, October 15, 2010

Figuring it out on Friday

Firstly, sorry to my readers that I have somewhat neglected my blog over the last month or so.  It has been a busy time for us (always something to do or somewhere to be) which has meant that I haven't found the time to be able to get crafty.  In that time I have come to some realisations and I hope to be able to carry out my new plans.
Last month was our 7th wedding anniversary - where did that time go?  We didn't go anywhere special (normally we spend a night away without the kids) but we did buy each other gifts.  I got Matt a puzzle as well as a new messenger style bag for him to take to and from work each day.  The puzzle was just because I saw it and liked it and I know how much he likes doing logic puzzles (e.g. the Professor Layton series as well as Scribblenauts on the DS).  It is kind of a mixture between tetris (each piece is a certain shape) and checkers (you try to make certain patterns using the coloured squares).  The messenger bag was primarily to transport his lunch and any accessories/devices. He had been using his laptop backpack but with being on the train in peak times it became a bit bulky and he very rarely takes the laptop any more, so a smaller option seemed a good choice.  Boys are so hard to buy for!
As for me, I got this little beauty:
Matt decided he would give me an abstract clue as to what I would be receiving by telling me 3 little words - "It's in America".  My instant reaction was "It's a Kindle".  I mean what else could be in America? (Um, yeah, it could have been a thousand different things!).  I've never said I wanted one, but a friend of mine has one and I had been telling him about it a long time ago.  I don't even know what made me jump to that conclusion straight away - maybe after those 7 years I can just "read" him (pun intended).  So for those who don't know what a Kindle is, it is an eBook reader that Amazon make/sell.  There are a few others on the market (Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc) but the new model of the Kindle was recently recently and the price is hard to match.  It uses it's own file format of books that you download via the Amazon Kindle store, as well as accepting Mobi files not restricted (e.g. out of copyright as found on sites like and PDF files.  It holds 4GB which is something like 3,500 books.  The screen uses a special "ink" (think of it like metal filings) that get loaded for each page, and the display is designed that it is equivalent to reading a book (no glare and great contrast) - and it's not backlit like a computer or LCD screen so it doesn't use battery to keep the page displayed, and reverts to a screensaver if it's not used in a certain period which also locks the keys.  Where available (on some of the Kindle files) you can enable text to speech and it will read to you (it sounds a bit like a GPS).  You can also customise the display by changing the fonts, size of text, etc (depending on the file type).  I think it is awesome!  I was a little concerned about protecting it, so I whipped up a padded sleeve for it using some leftover fabric and quilt batting (seen above).  I used to borrow books from the library, but my problem was that I rarely remembered to return them on time.  I think the last time I borrowed books I had $17 in fines to pay - which was only from the previous lot of books!  This way, there are claimed to be over a million books available for the Kindle, with pretty much all of the pre 1930's books being out of copyright, and therefore free - to keep, no late fees.  Amazon also offers some books at discounted rates or for free for limited times, while the others range from about $2 to $14 or so dollars, so it is still much cheaper than buying the paper/hardback version, and it saves on space - no physical books to store!  Which brings me to the next topic.
One of the first books I downloaded was Unstuff Your Life! by Andrew Mellen.  I had been looking at Peter Walsh's books about organisation (he's the guy that has been on Oprah and cleaned out people's wardrobes, cars, etc).  Man I need that guy at my place.  I am a terrible clutterbug.  Unstuff received better reviews from readers so I opted for this book instead.  I am 50% through it and I am so motivated.  It is written in such an honest and somewhat light-hearted way that just makes you want to act.  I will continue reading to the end, and then on my second pass I will be putting his ideas (well, more like instructions) into action.  I am sick of living in a space that is untidy (mail on the bench, shoes in the hall, paperwork all over the desk... you get the idea).
As part of my approach to a clutter-free house I have finally purchased a buffet unit that will be my new scrapbook/craft space, which will have it's home in the Family room.  When we moved in I had the spare room set up as my craft room (table and bookcase), but Sophie kind of needed a place to sleep, so it all got moved out into the family room, but it wasn't working and I didn't like the layout of the room so I had a rearrange of the TV, couches, computer etc and there just wasn't a spot for my table any more... so it found a home at the far end of our dining area as a 'temporary fix' but has been there for the last 3 months at least.  As a result our dining table isn't exactly fully functional because it has lost half it's space to my craft table (old dining table).  The delivery of the new buffet is scheduled for today, so let's hope it's not too difficult to put together - then I can set about moving all my stuff and finally getting rid of the old dining setting (if you need a second-hand 6 seat extendable dining table and chairs let me know).  The top will serve as my new crafting surface (or where needed I can sit down at the dining table) and the inside will house all my supplies.
I have been planning to do some videos for a while, so maybe I can make my debut by showing you my new compact craft space.

I also have plans for the blog.  I can't guarantee I will stick to it each week, but I would like to follow this schedule:
Monday - Motivational Monday will involve a quote or picture that can be used as inspiration for either crafting or just a "feel good" day.
Tuesday - Tuesday Tutorial will include either a video or a step-by-step instruction of a project.
Thursday - 3 on Thursday will be me sharing my favourite 3 things at the time (might be photos, stamps, tools, or whatever takes my fancy)
Saturday - Saturday Special will be for one offs, which won't be posted all the time - just when there is something extra to share.  I know that I often don't get time to read blogs on the weekends (it's our family time) so I will try not to post much on the weekends so you can enjoy your time with family too (and not be playing catch-up on Monday).
There may be other posts in between, depending on how much crafting time I get.

So, after all of that, I hope to be posting regularly again as of Monday.
Happy Crafting.

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