Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Signing a Big Success




Henry's book signing on February 20 at Barnes & Noble in Greenville, NC was a huge success. It was nice to have this one in the same town where he teaches at East Carolina University as several of his students were able to attend as well as several colleagues. The manager and employees were terrific in setting this up and even provided snacks for the attendees. Thanks to all of our friends who came out and shared in the talk and signing. The book, House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies, is a collection of philosophical essays about the popular show House, MD. Henry is the editor and a contributor of the book, which is enjoying a tremendous success. Thanks to our friend, Sonya Bellamy for sharing these photos. My camera was not quite up to the task that late at night.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yah! Like, Fer Shur!

The generation gap has opened up and swallowed me whole. I grew up in a time when good grammar skills were admired and something to work toward. It was a sign to others that you were well-educated. As a born Southerner, this was especially important to me, as we are often portrayed to the rest of the world, through the media, as ignorant half-wits.
I started listening to one of my favorite craft podcasts this morning. The hostess was interviewing another young lady who is writing a book. I couldn't tell you now what it was about because I found myself distracted by their speech patterns. I find it interesting that the "Valley Girl" speech comes at me on these podcasts from almost every younger person, no matter which section of the country she/he is from. Do they realize that Frank Zappa made this speech pattern famous on a song called 'Valley Girl' as a way to make fun of the way the young girls in the San Fernando Valley spoke? Do they know who Frank Zappa was?
Every other line this morning was "Yahhh, like fer shur...." I found myself so distracted by this after a while, that I 'totally' lost the gist of the show. Would I go back and listen again? No. I'll just let it play out and delete it when I update the iPod - fer shur!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Starting a Website

I recently purchased rights to the domain name, Crafterdays, and bought a hosting plan from godaddy.com. I was excited to start a commercial website where I can sell my hand-spun yarn and craft DVD's. I would eventually like to open a craft school, but for now, while I'm teaching in a public school, there's no time or money for that. I'm going to try producing the craft DVD's as instructional programs that people can purchase for a relatively low price and will be able to use again and again.
I had another website in the recent past with yahoo, but really didn't have the time to devote to developing it, so let it expire. In this economy, any venture like this is a risk, so I looked around and felt the prices for godaddy were probably the best.
Well, I was always told that you get what you pay for. Why is my hindsight always sharper? I dove in with both feet. I signed up for the domain, crafterdays.com, .net, and .org. I felt smug that I'd purchased these three domains and could corner the market on this name. I found out later that instead of selling me these rights for a year, they'd sold me crafterdays.com for two years. They kindly offered to sell me the other two, .net and .org, for an extra forty dollars plus. I said no thank you. I was told it might have been a shopping cart malfunction, but there was nothing they could do to change this. If I actually get traffic flowing on the site, maybe I'll break down and purchase these as well. They do have the lowest prices on domain names, but right now, I'd almost rather pay someone else a little more. Who knows, the "shopping cart" may malfunction again and I'll end up signing over both cats and my husband for a ten-year plan.
I will say the telephone operators are very friendly. When I first signed up for my hosting site, I accidentally signed up for the one where I would create the entire site from scratch with html. Okay, I can struggle through some html, and have taken courses on website creation, but it is a chore. The nice man on the phone graciously switched me to the Website Tonight which has templates. The selection is limited, but I found one I can live with. As I explained to him, their website is quite "complicated." I could do with a little more direct information and a lot less commercial gobbledygook and Danica what's-her-name commercials. I guess that pulls in the fifteen- to eighteen-year-olds.
I'm slowly learning to navigate around the site and have added pages, extra text boxes and can upload very small bits of video. The video upload on blogger is much faster. Neither lets you upload much memory at a time, but the playback on blogger is also much better.
The shopping cart I mentioned before is not free. I do know enough to install pay pal buttons on my site for shoppers. This I can do for free, not so the shopping cart feature.
I also am on my own for promoting my website. This is also an added feature for hire from godaddy. In comparing godaddy and yahoo, I give this round to yahoo websites. They do have a built-in feature that sends your website out to the web engines for free. I'm not sure if this was ever effective, but at least they weren't holding their hand out to receive payment for this service. As I explained to the last cheerful employee on the phone, I feel like I'm being nickled and dimed to death to get a decent setup.
Would I do this again? Ask me again in one year when my contract is up for renewal. If any money has been generated and I don't feel this has taken too much time from my writing, I might, although I'll take much more time to look around at the different sites before deciding.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Four-Part Basic Spinning Video

I'm doing an experiment with my new website: Crafterdays. I planned to do a monthly video tutorial for a craft. I videoed the start of a spinning episode - how to start the roving onto the spinning wheel. My new site only allows up to 30 mb of memory to be uploaded at a time, so I had to divide it into four parts. Once it uploaded, it was taking forever to start, so now I'm going to try to upload it to this site and do a link between the two sites. I have better luck with uploading video to the blog. So, here goes: Part 1 Basic Spinning. Sorry if it's not very technical. Something happens to my brain when I hit the record button. All of a sudden I can't remember what words are and my personality (Henry describes me kindly as "not perky") disappears. Anyway, I hope for those of you trying to learn to spin, this helps. I remember when Henry bought me my wheel last summer. I never could get much from most of the videos because the spinners never did the very first step of actually starting the roving onto the bobbin. It's definitely better with a real, live person sitting next to you for your first lesson, but if you don't have that, maybe this will be the next best thing. Please comment on these clips and let me know how they can be improved.
Part 1: Introduction



Part 2:Threading the lead wool into the bobbin, drafting the roving.



Part 3: Starting the roving into the bobbin, short draw spinning. You're spinning!



Part 4: Adding new roving while spinning, how to distribute yarn evenly onto the bobbin while spinning, how to leave the spinning when you need to stop.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's All That Thrumming I Hear?

My Knitting Daily newsletter came on the email yesterday with an article about thrummed mittens. I am totally intrigued. Thrumming involves knitting in wisps of unspun sheep's wool with the regular spun wool which leaves the ends of the roving soft and warm inside the mittens. This also obviously leaves a contrasting pattern on the outside of the mittens. Sandi Wiseheart, editor, has promised to eak out little tidbits this week to teach readers about thrumming. Okay, I'm a Type A and couldn't wait, so I've been researching this thrumming idea on the web. I came across a free pattern from Corinne at this website: http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/mittensthrummed.htm. I've got to try this. After all, we "might" get some more snow flurries tomorrow night before it goes back up to the 50's and 60's here in Goldsboro. The last time it snowed this year, the students got a day off and the next with a two-hour delay. By that time I didn't see any frozen stuff anywhere, but the school board stated that "some areas" still had ice. Works for me. Anyway, I have plenty of roving, even some already dyed, so this sounds like fun. I've never knitted mittens, so I may adapt Corinne's pattern for some larger sized wool to do this more quickly. We'll see. For those of you who get good quality snow that lasts more than a day, enjoy your winter. You might want to check out the thrumming.