Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Wow. Just Wow.
I am loving this ipad thing and I know I've just touched the surface. Since Friday with my ipad, I have downloaded apps, taken pictures, written emails, taken (amazing) photos at work to be used at school, watched Netflix in bed, and experienced the happy frustration of I-feel-really-stupid-because-I-can't-figure-out-how-this-thing-works-but-I-know-it-will-be-so-cool-when-I-do.
Happy sigh - again.
First app to download? Flashlight. The one I downloaded also has a "fire" option. The fire is a candle.  The best part is that when you hold the ipad vertically the candle burns normally, the flame is straight up - when you turn the ipad horizontal, only the flame adjusts. snort, heehee! (For those of you who don't have an ipad - or an iphone - normally the entire image would adjust its orientation.)
Second app? a level. 
And can I just say, thank goodness for my students! I got a super training today in class on stuff I had not yet discovered. Fabulous. They were so patient about letting me figure things out too. And it seems like a fair trade - they trained me on this - then I showed them how to fold an accordion properly.  
So far... here's what I love about this ipad thing:
It is small - fits in my purse.
I can connect to the internet with it.
I can take amazing pictures with it and it displays the images large enough that you can see what is actually going on.
I can take images at work, put them in dropbox, and they magically appear on my laptop! (Thanks Melanie!)
I love that I can hold it vertically.... or horizontally depending on my mood. The image flips, even a 180°.
The classrooms at school are smart classrooms - which means - I can use my ipad to connect to the overhead projector in my classroom to show a powerpoint lecture for class. Not only that BUT (while it's projecting) I CAN BLOW UP THE IMAGE ON THE POWER POINT TO SHOW DETAILS!!! Oh this is amazing! My wonderfully patient students showed me that trick (among others). happy sigh. This feature alone - well - I think it will revolutionize teaching. Because of this - I can upload instructions on the projector so that they can follow along and leave it as all instructions, or, blow things up to show major details and zero in. When I think back to what I started teaching 16 years ago, I had a chalk board and an overhead projector (computers were for grading) in my classroom. What I could have done back then with this technology! This is incredible. I feel blissful - grateful, and so appreciative of what is now possible. This makes teaching so easy! Almost magical.  I can sit on my cozy couch, while it is snowing outside, with all the books I own for reference, the internet for reference,  and be able to put together a fabulous lesson. Unbeknownst to the cats, they love this too. There are a lot more snuggling opportunities.
I feel so privileged to be living now with these opportunities.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Funny how things work out...

eeeeeee!!!!!! LOOOK! An ipad! 
and it's in my possession! and it didn't cost me a penny! Ah - finally - the love of teaching has paid off. As the last minute class I am teaching is for freshmen, I too am supposed to have an ipad! The college made a some sort of arrangement with Apple and not only do all freshmen (and associated faculty) have an ipad, there is also a bundle of apps we are supposed to get as well. We are supposed to experiment incorporating them into the classroom. Happy sigh.  I can't wait to be proficient with this thing! Just fyi - the fine print reads that I have to give this back when the college asks for it. OK fine. So let's hope I have a class again in the fall so that I can keep it all summer. But in the meantime - I get to do whatever I want with it!!! OOOhhh so many plans.....
Number one on that agenda is to figure out how icloud works.  Because what I really really want to be able to do is take images of books and bindings at work and send them directly to my students. I am also dreaming up their final project which I really want to involve a physical book but also the Internet... somehow. QR codes? on an ipad? Done. Yay!
It is the perfect weekend to have a new piece of technology - when I left the college it had started snowing. Finally. I love the snow. I don't even mind the slushy aftermath... because it's worth it during the initial beauty. The echinacea flowers all had little snowy hats on by the time I got home.
There was still daylight so Jacques and I went outside. I had to salt the sidewalk anyway. I love to see the snow falling. This snow accumulated rather quickly and since it has been so cold for the last few days, it stuck.
It is so quiet when it snows. 
Update on the bees - mine are the only colony to have survived. My co-worker told me someone had broken into where his other two colonies were, and taken the lids off of the hives right before it rained.  I'm glad my bees are hidden and so far are doing fine.
Jacques came outside with me, you know, places to go people to see... (read: cats to chase and dogs to tease), but he wasn't interested in staying out for long. 
While we were standing there he went to the back door, as if to let me know - he was really ready to go in now.    
So we did. And I checked the mail. The first few pieces from the mail art exchange I'm doing with several friends have started arriving. Today Melanie's came...
Sunshine... on a snowy day. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Full speed ahead People!

Holy cow - I sure feel like someone has been chasing me through a rat-race this weekend. Never mind about the inauguration - which was just wonderful... but phew! I can't believe I made it to today at 10pm...

Full Speed ahead! So last Wednesday evening I receive an email that asks me to teach a second section of a class for the spring... starting the following Tuesday at 3:30pm. Have I ever taught this class? No. Do I have a million other things planned for the holiday weekend? Yes. Do I refrain from screaming - YESYESYESI'LLTEACHTHECLASSNOPROBLEM! yes, but barely. So yeah - scratch all plans for finishing mail art exchange and general gooffing off; time to come up with an entire semester of stuff for a class I've never taught, in four days. No problem. (snort).
Actually - while yes, it was very short notice, and no, the syllabus is not completely complete - I am really excited to teach this class! The Printed Word. But the existing course description is a history of the book. The course is required for graphic design majors, and so I have a bit of a captive audience. And, did I mention, I am really excited to teach this class!
Fast forward to tonight - 9:30 - post first day of class.  oi. I'm pooped. Wow I'm tired. But class was great. Usually I have them bind their own course book together, but with four days to plan for a class? There was no way I was going to finish that. So I pulled together some essentials, syllabus, three sets of instructions, two articles, bibliography, and a cool structure. Done. The minute I showed them the fold out timeline and world map - they were hooked.

Teaching art to art majors is almost like cheating. It's just too easy! You can throw anything at them and they love it. Make a book with a pocket and a fold out map? oooooooooh! they are in heaven. Here, have some polymer clay and make your own cuneiform writing of your name! Fabulous. 

Make an easy mock up of a scroll and palm leaf binding - life just doesn't get any better. We even had a very interesting discussion about the evolution of writing. It's great to see the wheels turning as they wrap their minds around the new information - or a different way something is presented. It's great. Next week we are doing Japanese stab bindings and accordions. I'm really looking forward to it. I also found some great resources in our library. Especially The Oxford Companion to the Book (2006).  I really want this 2volume set. Wow it's amazing. But as it is over $300 - that's not going to happen. Not to mention that it would also double as a door stop, so this is the first time I think I can honestly say - I wish I could get it as an ebook. sigh. That will be a while. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting things done

The start of the new year means lots of projects. Top priority is the Guild of Book Workers exchange. And then other exchanges. Thank goodness next weekend is a holiday weekend - I can catch up.  But in the meantime... the GBW exchange due today at 3pm.
Theme: secondary colors
Assignment: edition one signature to meet the theme.
The group of signatures ready for binding. 
I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do from the get-go. I wanted to a Coptic style stitch and use the green polka-dotted leather I bought years ago. But I didn't want a skimpy version of a coptic stitch - I wanted something more substantial. So I practiced Keith Smith's Greek Binding and decided - it was a winner! 
Next it was time to prep the boards. This was more work than I'd bargained for. The leather didn't skive well AT ALL. So I had to try to make due with very thick leather. I covered the boards with very magenta paper and then the leather. 
Corners were the worst.  These are tough with very thin skived leather - nevermind the thick stuff. I had to get very inventive. But I got it to work. Voilá!
Then to work on the Greek sewing. I purchased some Chinese Knotting Cord from my favorite local beading store in shocking Magenta (to match the paper of course). Sewing things together was another matter entirely. Some the the sections were very thick so I had to juggle signature, spacers and thread with every stitch. I ended up even bending needles in the middle so that it would be easier to sew this whole thing.  
All Done! - on one side.  
 Both Sides:
And the finishing touch - getting the book to close. I decided to let the materials dictate what should be. I pulled out my Chinese Knotting book and made a button knot and the chord to hold it together. 
And I made the deadline by the skin of my teeth. The paste downs were still wet. I had to immediately hand it over to GBW so that it could go on display in Boston. I won't see it again until the fall when it will be at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I really wish I wouldn't have procrastinated so much on this binding so that I could spend a little bit of time with it. Ah well. It will come back to me some day.  

In other news - I finished Daddy's socks! within a month of Christmas! He says he has received them so now I need to wait and hear what the verdict is. I hope they fit well.
 The full sock.
 The toe.
 The heel.

AND today I finally managed to get my 2013 calendar put together. There is a wonderful group of people who make downloadable calendars at wincalendar.com. So I did and added cute pictures of my kitties. All done.  Happy me.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!
I am back in action - the workplace is still standing - believe it or not. And my house is still standing - but not without it's issues.
The good news is - I have a new tenant! He seems very nice, VERY young (24), but very nice. So that's good. Let's hope it stays that way. He only has a 6 month lease, because it is easier to find a new tenant in June than January, but I do hope he stays a while. It's a pain in the neck looking for someone - and I barely had to do a thing this time!

In the mean time, despite the really cold (well - after 80° - 34° is really cold), I have been outside hanging up laundry and what do I spy? ... 
A piece of aluminum flappin' in the breeze! ugh. 
Which does explain why it is SO cold in the bathroom. That flapping thing is right over the bathroom and next to the window - whoosh!
I also suspect that this has been responsible for why my heater keeps kicking on and making the place super warm - far warmer than last year. My beautiful new Galileo thermometer ( a Christmas gift that I have always wanted but felt was too luxurious to purchase for myself!) says that it is 72 on my second floor!
Anyway - I emailed Andrew who came and took a look and shoved some insulation into and tacked everything back together and said - "yer good teh go!" 
Fine. #1 problem solved. He also took care of the other end, where it looked like it would go flying apart...

And since all things - good or bad - seem to come in threes, there were other things to take care of....
The toilet of Fabulous Bathroom fame, started leaking - I have no idea when - maybe last summer?  And I thought - oh dear, the seal is gone (four years is a bit too soon for that, don't you think?), but anyway - I'll have to fix it. So, yesterday I decided to google how-to-fix-a-toilet-seal. And I found a diy video on you tube and watched it. Yeah, there is a lot of burly-man-power needed for that operation, and since I'm fresh out of burly-man-power, I thought, weeeelllll, maybe I should call the plumber. So I went back to the toilet and it wouldn't flush! humph. turns out the plastic thingy that opens when you flush had broken. So I decided that was a clear indication that I should not deal with this problem. The plumber came today as well and fixed both issues in about 1 hour. I think I should have been a plumber! 
And since all fixing things come in three's - here's the last one - the door to the third floor. 
When the Fabulous Tenants left they told me that over the last few days the door knob had deteriorated. It sounded like at one point one of them couldn't get out of the apartment. So I taped up the door latch-thingy before the new tenant moved in. This week purchased a simple door knob at the hardware store and spent some time today installing it. I don't know why they are such a pain in the neck - but they really are!

At any rate - doorknob installed all is well. Let's hope those are the main three things to be fixed this year!