AWOL. Upgrading woes.

Yes, so we more or less took the plunge and hooked up the new Mac, again.  But because there are still issues that will take longer to sort out than a day, I am currently working with one monitor (and its associated keyboard and mouse) on the old machine and one monitor (and ITS associated keyboard and mouse) on the NEW machine. Only one has sound. Lots of stuff on the old machine doesn’t work on the new machine.  Very sadly, one thing is a game.  I play it when I am on hold, or have time to kill waiting for something. I’ve been playing the SAME GAME for a few years.  My score is…impressive.


The score is so high, on the game screen it spills out of the area that holds it.  If this were the MOST irritating result of switching machines I could probably live with it.  But it isn’t.  It’s simple things, like not having a SAVE AS option in preview, instead having to EXPORT a Tiff to turn it to a .jpg.  And it not retaining the destination for a saved file or having a way to set a preference, but having to change it every time. everything takes more steps than it once did.  That is just ONE program.  Combined with the fact that every time the big monitor sleeps due to inactivity, the screen resolution is set to 800×600, without the actual screen resolution I need (1920 x 1080) in the list of options, which renders it unusable till I reboot, I am struggling a bit. And that is why I am SO resistant to upgrading.  I’ve limped along till it was upgrade or give up computers, since virtually no browsers are still being supported on Mac OS versions as old as mine.

Bear with me.  I will be back someday, just maybe not someday SOON.  Probably in time for 2017 calendars LOL!


Why I’ve been AWOL…

Over the last few months I’ve broken my quite long post-a-day habit.  There have been a few reasons, most notably a long visit from my in-laws, but more recently it has been issues with my Mac.  It’s been noisy, the back-up disc has been struggling, I could HEAR it when it was trying to write to it, and in general there has been some research to do on much of the old equipment I have, to ensure if I upgrade my Mac to a new one there will be drivers available and it will all work.  The two pieces that concern me most are the HiTi photo printer (very old, discontinued, but still functioning perfectly) and the original baby Cricut running SCAL.  The plan had been to bring home another Mac from DHs office and see if these bits of equipment ran under the new OS.  At this point I have to take a little diversion and show you a shot of his desk.  He trained all the screens to the same page:


Those of you who commented in the past on my two screen set up?  How about 10? The point is that rather than upset the delicate balance we decided to hold off till the break at Christmas, where there would be more time to sort things out properly, without the pressure of needing it done NOW so I can work.  As an interim measure he removed the faulty disk, copied the time machine back up over to a new one, copied the active disk to a new one, made that the working disk and closed it all back up.  We’ll do a proper off-site back up tonight.  So here I am, working away, with it all seemingly good.  Fingers crossed it will carry on working till the replacement.  Had Apple extended the Black Friday deals to the UK, I might be the proud owner of a new Mac already, but that didn’t happen.

On thing I DID do, while the Mac was open and exposed, was grab the Hoover attachment with the soft brush and the lowest suction and cleaned it out on the inside.  Those with a delicate constitution should look away now:





You might recall I did this probably less than a year ago, and yet, check out the pile o’ dust


I realize something to give some perspective might have helped there but call it a coupe of tablespoons and you get the idea.  I never touched the attachment to the boards, just hovered over them, sucking the dust from an inch or so away.  What a difference it made.


Once again it is quieter and hopefully running better.  So I am also off and running again – and hopefully back to more regular posting!


Windows users, look away now! Making calendar with iCal

This post is about making calendars using iPhoto and iCal and is only applicable for Mac users.  Sorry about that PC folk.

I’m going to walk you thru what I think is the most useful and easiest calendar to make, assuming you want to print one at home and decorate it in a scrappy or stampy sort of way.  I don’t personally make A4/US letter size calendars, but it came up on UKS the other day and while there were a few replies about Windows-based programs there wasn’t any Mac-response.  So I had a play and came up with this.

Note: you can use the process to create a calendar that has the photos embedded, then either print at home (oh the INK you will use!) or click the BUY button and order one or more.  Now, if you are clever, you should be able to add, for example, a digi-page to iPhoto, or scan an actual layout and just drag that over to your calendar, but I am not going to deal with that now.  If you are a digi person, your skills may surpass mine and you will know what to do already.  What I am focusing on is very particular – “typical” A4/US letter calendar, blank space on the top half of the page, and calendar at the bottom.

I did experiment with recording my workflow as a movie, but because I have a two-monitor set up, one portrait, one landscape, and both widescreen, the results were simply too small to see without heavy editing .  So this will be still shots.  I am also still on Snow Leopard, but I think this process has only been improved in later versions of the OS.

Let’s get to it!

1.  Create an ALBUM with all the photos you want to use.  Have this selected. Select more photos than you need for the 12 months – I’ll show you a neat thing with that in a bit!

2.  Go right down to the bottom of the screen and click on the little Calendar icon

3. This will bring up a selection screen –  CHOOSE your calendar option.  Note: anything that appears as GREY will actually print as WHITE, so Colored Paper, or Vintage, for example, are NOT good choices.  Modern Lines is leaves faint lines marking the photo position but BIG DATE is good, as is Picture Calendar.

4.  The next screen will offer you some options.  You can pick the date range, the holidays if you want them to be printed on the calendar, you can add any of your personal calendar bits as well as birthdays from your address book.  You will also be able to add info to specific date blocks by typing it in.

5.  When you click OK the calendar will come up.  You can drag the photos from your album onto the page IF you want to print the photos.  And you can edit the text for the title and subtitle.

But about those extra photos… you can also drag a photo on to a date and it will be sized for you. It hides the date but so long as you don’t do a row of them it’s probably not going to matter!

Cool, humm?

6.  Now click PRINT.

7. Click PDF > Save as PDF

8.  Best to save it to your Desktop – I think the default is DOCUMENTS but you will want to use it right away so better it is someplace you can see it.

9.  You may get this box – just click OK.  It thinks you are printing when you are really creating a PDF and need no paper 🙂

10.  The PDF will be created and saved.  It takes a minute.  When it is done, double click to open it. See that the first page is the cover?  You don’t want it there.  Click and hold then drag it to the bottom of the list of pages.


11. Now it is just the actual printing.  To do what we want, which is to print the blank at the top and the calendar at the bottom, you need to make some changes to the PREVIEW print options.  Click print and select these options:

  1. Leave PAGES at ALL if you want to print the whole calendar. You could change the COPIES to 2 or more to print multiple copies at one time – just make sure you have enough paper in your printer!
  2. Selected the paper size that is appropriate for your country (Me, A4, you may be US Letter/8.5 x 11)
  3. Click SCALE TO FIT and Print Entire Image
  4. Select 2 images per page but NOT 2 copies – that would give you a sheet of the month block x 2 and then a blank sheet.

Click the PREVIEW drop down and you can set the paper type (I tend to use Photo Paper Matte for cardstock, but your printer may offer different choices than mine) and if you want the QUALITY (I do HIGH) and sometimes COLOR PROFILE.

The reason you moved the cover page is that your calendar PDF now begins with a blank page and is followed by the month info.  Selecting 2 images per page will print a blank space followed by the calendar for all pages – you can see that at the left in the window.  Your cover page will print on its own last. You could then add a photo and print just Page 25 on photo paper for your cover.   I am guessing you would do it Pages: 25 to 25, untick 2 images per page, and change the scale to Fill Entire Page.  I’d say start there and  play with the options  to get it the way you want it.

Some things that spring to mind:

  • Perfect if you want to make a larger wall calendar rather than a CD one.  There is LOADS of space to stamp, for example.
  • You can build a flat layout on the empty space and make it very scrapbook-y – limited thick embellishments might be OK. You can add printed photos rather than printing them so not so piggy with your ink!  Or you could add photo corners and use them to add a lumpy A5 layout, then remove it when you flip to the next month.  It would make a great mini-book at the end of the year, just stick them back to back and bind or add a book ring!
  • Easy to assemble – just use your Bind-it-all/Cinch to add the binding wire at the top – it won’t be a back-to-back page like commercial calendars, but you can accomplish that by printing one page, then turning it over and printing the next page on the back – just make sure you know how your printed handles the paper orientation!

You could, of course, edit the PDF in Photoshop and change the month font and colour, or delete the blank pages then print&cut just the month bits to use in a variety of ways. Personally I think it is slightly more stylish than the standard print-a-calendar sites so for me it’s worth the slight extra effort.  Plus I LOVE the adding photos to the day blocks and the fact you can customise it so totally.  I had the thought that, for example, if you wanted to do a month in review sort of layout, you could print the month, including all your iCal calendars with all your appointments, birthdays, reminders, etc, and have a record of what you did that month.  And you can drag in photos for certain days as well and print them right on the calendar. Need it smaller? you could edit the PDF to delete all the blank pages and print them 4 images to a page.  Really, I think I have only scratched the surface of what you can do with this.

Over to you…..

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Using a Wordle Word cloud

These are Mac specific instructions, sorry PC folk.  A couple of my UKS ladies suggest CutePDF and PrimoPDF will do something similar on a PC so I am happy to be able to have that in here as well.

Here is what I did:

Go to the CREATE screen at

Type in your words to create your cloud.  I used some  words with an idea towards using the resulting cloud on a layout of a lonely photo I have of DH and the kids approaching a pub we stopped at for lunch on one of our days out.

Once you create the cloud you can use the options to change the colour, the font, the arrangement of the words, etc.  When you have to to how you want it, click FILE > PRINT

Now here’s the trick on a Mac you are given the option of not PRINTING, but saving the page as a PDF.  If you click this you can choose from a list.  I just Save As PDF.

This saves the web page as is as a PDF, but the key factor is that it is saved at 300 dpi, rather than the low quality 72dpi of an internet image.

I save it to my desktop so I can find it easily.

Open your PDF in Photoshop – I have PS7 (old) but it surely works similarly in PSE versions.

This is not going to be very good quality but you should get the idea – on the left is the PDF as it looks after saving, and on the right after you have selected the Wordle cloud and removed all the surrounding rubbish that you don’t need:

Using the Magic Wand, select ALL of the background – yours may be any colour, depending on your Wordle options but it should take no more than a click or two (magic wand selected, I use a tolerance of 30, then Select > Similar (to capture the middles of the letters) and delete the selection

Now you can mark and save the cloud – but see the size and resolution?

You can create a 12×12 page at 300 dpi and then drag in your Wordle, rotate, mirror, whatever, just as you would any image.  I print as Archival Matt (which is an option on my printer) to get a crisp and colour-true image, on white cardstock, in this case.

I made a super quick layout using the print.  Not my usual overloaded style, but I do like to change things up a bit every now and again.

I find myself enourmously annoyed by the fact that on the chipboard letters the stem of the P is crooked – it came out of the backing that way.  I’m not calling this done till I assess HOW annoying it is.  I haven’t stuck them down yet, which is why they look ever so slightly wonky in the photo.  If I look at it tomorrow and the P still irritates me I may change it for another, if I have one.  I am also not sure if there should be more proper journaling, maybe beside the photo (at least the date and where (if DH remembers cause I don’t!) the pub was.  But I wanted to give you a sense of what you can do with this.

Have fun!


Happy Fathers Day Card

I’ve mentioned couple of things before – firstly, that the family is in love with Words With Friends and that not too many days go by when some combination of us doesn’t have a game or two on the go; secondly, that  am NOT a master card maker.  what I think I am good at is tying the theme of the card with the person.  I don’t make generic cards in stacks – I make a card when I need it and I like to make the card match the person a best I can.  So it seemed natural for me to make a FDC for DH using Words With Friends for the design element.

I started off grabbing letters from online images and trying to print them and create the words I wanted but it looked frankly rubbish, even for me.  It was just too hard to get the letter tiles all the same size.  The easy route would have been to use my Scrabble tiles, but I don’t often tend to take the easy route (maybe that is why I don’t make too many cards as they take me longer than a scrapbook layout to produce!) so I instead created the letter (with superscript scoring number) pairs then worked out the size of the card based on how I could make legitimate words (and yes, EL and ED are both on the approved two-letter-word lists) and have it still make sense and look pleasing.  Luckily it all fit on a standard card size that I had from a GoGo kit – phew.  I printed the letters, punched the tiles, rounded all the corners, edged them with Spiced Marmalade (to mimic the yellow with orange shadowing of the game) and mounted them on pale blue-grey card.

It’s not going to win any prizes, but it is cute enough and DH totally got the connection as soon a he looked at it, so I say … RESULT! Inside  it says May you always get both the letters and the spaces to play themWe Love You!

Continuing on the Fathers Day theme (and Sunday Someplace Else will come tomorrow, if you are dropping by to see what link I posted, so come back then) I’d just like to be a bit proud of DH.  People ask “What does your DH do?” and I usually just say that he is an iPhone app developer.  True enough but I can never remember what apps he’s written, as he does them as a third-party programmer so it isn’t like his name is plastered all over them.  Someone says “Hey, I need an app to do this” and he then writes the code to make it work, and then disappears back behind the Mac.  Well, this app he wrote, called Melodala, has seen a bit of press recently in some of the London commuter papers and will be used in an exhibit at the Tate.  People will be able to create their own mandala on an iPad and it will be printed and displayed on the walls.  He’s done a presentation on using it as art therapy, and there may be other uses to come. The people who conceived the app mention him on the site, so I figure I can mention his involvement here.

Check it out – you can see a video demo on YouTube

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iPad cover Gallery

Well, some are better than others, there are minor design differences between them, and some failed experiments (maybe failed, not sure yet) but here is a selection of some of the iPad covers I’ve made:

Top is the first one I made.  I abandoned the more aesthetically pleasing strap around the short side for the more secure strap around the vulnerable side, as you can see. Some have pockets in the flaps, some don’t, but in the end what you could store in them was so limited I stopped making it a def. feature. Some have fabric straps with Velcro closures, some have elastic and are attached.  I really like the completed one made from old blue jeans although that one is a COVER only with no integrated stand. I like the pocket a lot.

DHs version has slightly looser elastic holders at the corners so he can insert the iPad while it is IN the “official Apple iPad cover” for that added security.  I also made him a strap that can be added for carrying, but that is the potential fail – without using it we don’t know how secure it is, and by using it, if it isn’t, we don’t know if her is putting his pad at risk!  You can see how the integrated stand works in the middle picture there.The angle is somewhat adjustable.

Now that is out of the way I can maybe ge back to some stamping and scrapping and crafting!

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iPad stand and cover combo – yes, AGAIN.

Well, now I’ve used it with a few things undone, and seen DH use his version, changed a few things here and there, I think the basic design is set. Other than a few issues with the sewing (the fact I had limited fabric, when something went wrong I had to adjust so the finish in some areas isn’t as nice as I would like) I’m pretty happy with it. I love the fabric.

The button closure is not attached – in order for it to be “right” it would have needed to be attached at an earlier stage. But I have been happy using it with the flap flopped over and NOT attached so I’m not going to stress over THAT but will consider other options.

The reason is that the flap is more of a pocket now.

Inside the pocket is a fabric covered bit of matboard with velcro edges that creates the stand. This is one area that I had to alter and am def. thinking of some alternatives – I have a few ideas that will streamline it a bit.

The stand bit slips out and is attached to the felt – it’s very adjustable so far as the angle of the screen

The cover bits can all be fairly well consolidated so the overall footprint is small – DH says this is important for use on the train LOL! So the footprint is not much bigger than laying the iPad flat on the table

Another change is I have more or less given up on the idea that the stand needs to work both ways, portrait and landscape. I still have a few ideas but to be honest the stability in a fabric case is always going to be an issue and you only have to look at how Apple’s official pad handles (or doesn’t handle) the dilemma to see that it’s not an easy problem to solve. I’ve seen so many “solutions”, none that really offer much flexibility for the portrait orientation.

The cheapest solution HAS to be the $.69 Office Depot business card holder:

and the most elegant the Twelve South book arc:

It says it has four positions, but not four positions in each orientation, so it could be that portrait, this is it.

Back to scrapping now!


iPad cover, made with love

So we got iPads. And we got two of the “official Apple iPad covers”. Two problems – first, we need three of them and second they are not perfect for using the pad upright. They are marginally better landscape but in portrait they are def. a bit like Weebles except they do fall down (sing it with me now “Weebles wobble and they do fall down….”)

The first iteration was for me, because DS demanded that he get the second of the two covers as he uses his on the go more than I do at the moment. They are pretty utilitarian, if I’m honest, so it wasn’t too hard to say OK and set about making a pretty one.

It is a simple cover, with not really a lot of padding, so fairly thin. I may add a bit of felt to the inside at some point but as it is really meant to protect the screen when I put it in my handbag it works perfectly. Not sure how much protection it would be against a full-on drop from a height but I have no desire to test it to see.

The corner bits were tricky due to the positioning of the buttons on the sides – only the left side is clear of any ports or holes or cooling holes. The elastic works pretty well as it is easily shifted if it covers a bit of the screen I need to see.

So DH like that well enough (maybe not the chaos of roses, but the design) and after listening to him moan about needing a stand of some kind, I set about trying to sort his problem.

The second iteration is a bit more complex and still needs refining but works well, he says.

What he likes best is the tilt adjustment using velcro and felt.

There is an opening behind the base of the triangle formed by the pad-rest and the support flap that will house the little extra support so the pad can be used portrait orientation once I work out the angle and experiment with how best to make that adjustable as well.

I will def. refine this more and the act of making them, much like with my mini-albums, taught me a lot about better ways of construction and design.


Still on holiday…

…and having fun with my new toy. We had a blast playing Scrabble with the board on one iPad and an assortment of iPads and iPhones acting as tile racks – very cool, but we all questioned the fact my niece tried to play PUBLICITY and it claimed there was no such word.  NOT fair!
Well, to be honest, equal parts FUN and frustration. It can’t do everything, and doesn’t really like fingernails, and I have to compete with DD to get a look in, but overall, every time I do get more than 15 minutes on it, I learn something new.

Doing a fair bit of scrap shopping, although not as much as I could – my biggest purchase was the MS score board with a 50% off Michaels coupon for a purchase price of under $12.  Bargain!

Cricut carts are on sale this week but between having the CR and SCAL I’m not sure even a $40 price tag can tempt me.  I wanted to at least SEE the YuDu, but not finding that anywhere.

We did hit a day at AC Moore that had a load of Prima Say it with Pearls on sale then an additional 50% off the sale price (so about $1.20) and a few odd items, and hit a Staples for envelopes of a certain style, but not going mad with the stash building for sure.

A few things left to do, and already missing my sister and we haven’t even left yet.

Not sure I have ever gotten over the initial jet lag so adjusting back to UK time should be a breeze.  And missing my scrap room.

Thanks to anyone who is popping in – I should be back to daily posting next week.


WOYWW – nothing good!

Well, I wish I could say I was madly creative today but I wasn’t.  My W(hat) was a morass of cables computers and the other W(orkdesk) was a room in the church cottage where DH has his office.  Sorting, testing and organizing old equipment, including a Dalmation spot iMac, DS’ old electric blue power book and my old Mac tower included.  Lordy, lordy what a mess!

With luck tomorrow will be a lot better!