Friday, August 14, 2020

A day of rest

I had the most relaxed day that I've had in a LONG, LONG time. It was bizarre - I'm not used to that. 

After I finished my morning chores, the big question was to sew or to read? I chose reading! Let's just say that my beloved gazebo is filled with the sun in the morning. I did move the chair around to get sort of in some shade, but it wasn't good enough, so I eventually moved to the kitchen table. I finished the book. Holy - what a storyline. There were more twists in this book than any I've ever seen. I'd highly recommend reading it if you like mysteries and page-turners.  I'd almost say that I need to reread the last 100 pages - som much happened, and it was hard to know who did what to whom!

The book is called The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker.

Then it was time to get some sewing done. I finished the last two snail's trails blocks. PHEW -- I'm glad that's done. Now to trim them and sew them together. That's a job for another day. I think I ended up making 35 blocks.

The last two Snail's Trails blocks

I do need to get working on my UFO projects for this month. Even though there's no money on the table, I do want those items finished so I can start September with a "new" UFO.

Then I moved back to that blue string pieced quilt. I so want this to be finished as well. So I sewed strips and more strips, and soon all the blocks were done except that a few are missing the final corners.

The corner pieces need to be stitched in place

I keep the larger pieces from the trimming process for the corners, so not much goes to waste for the string quilts.

The pieces to add to the corners

As I'm sewing on the corners and giving them a press, I trim them as well. Then I won't have a whole lot of trimming to do at the end.

This block is ready to trim

If you position those strings right, there's NOT MUCH that hangs over the ends. You can really be efficient with this method. As I said, it's like working on a puzzle and trying to find the right piece to fit.

Trimming the block

Once the block is trimmed, it sure looks a whole lot nicer. And when all the blocks get assembled, it's going to be awesome!

The trimmed block

I'm not sure how many I trimmed, but I still have this big stack that needs the corners sewn on and trimmed. That'll keep me busy for a while.

Blocks to finish off

I didn't take a picture of the bag of strips, but it was full when I started and had the block foundations in it. It still looks full, but at least I did make a dent in the bag. I'll snap that photo for you tomorrow.

Oh gosh - it's going to take years to get this scrap mess under control. Well, it's not a mess - the scraps are sorted by color, and some of the quilts are started. But there's a lot! I did find another sheet with the scrap bags, and I'll cut that into squares. I think I like the square blocks better than the rectangular blocks. I may start another scrappy blue one today, but I bet there are enough scraps in the blue bag to make at least one more quilt, if not two. How is that possible???

So here's my film studio set up. I do need to tweak a couple of things, and I'll be working on that tomorrow.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a LOT of trouble getting my Surface Pro tablet up and running with Microsoft Office. First, I had to charge it, and that was the easy part. I wanted to run my presentation on the tablet so I could that as my teleprompter. That way, I could be live on the presentation and not subject the audience to a slide show.

I have a subscription to Microsoft Office, but I couldn't open it on the tablet. So I spent almost two hours on the phone with Microsoft to resolve the issue. I needed an Admin Password. Seriously??? Why???  I tried various passwords, and nothing worked. Then I tried an old password that popped into my head and VOILA - the software downloaded, and I was back in business. This worked very slick and was way better than having to print out the slide presentations. Way neater on the desk. I also realized that I had better go into my Microsoft Office account and play around. I have six terabytes of storage online and a whole lot more things in that account that I don't even know about.

The tablet used as a teleprompter

So I had three screens - the iPad was on the left, and I was logged into the meeting on the iPad, so I could see what the audience could see. It's just a good thing to do. My laptop was sitting in the middle and was controlling everything, and I used that as my primary camera. The Surface Pro tablet was on the right as the teleprompter.

My film desk

The camera angle was set so the audience could NOT see that messy desktop. I did tidy it up a bit more before the show started. I had all my props in place.

That's one thing I need to do - make a list of the props that I used, so if I rerun this presentation, I don't have to think - I can just pull out the list and assemble the props.

I had to run out at some point in the day to get a USB Hub. Many things required a connection to the laptop, and I only have two ports. This Hub has four ports - the most that you can get on a hub. When I went to BestBuy, I asked one of the guys which one was best. I had this one in my hand because I already have one like it and I'm happy with it.

My USB Hub

He suggested that I take the other one. But then I asked why? The speed of this one was faster. Why did he tell me to get the other one??? I've no idea. There were only two to choose from. I got the one that I like, and it worked. I guess I shouldn't even have bothered to ask.

So I bought two webcams. Here's one of them. I also got gooseneck stands, and I got one of them working just great for a shot of the ironing board. BUT here's the thing about webcams. They are made to be used at a DISTANCE, not for closeups. I need a camera that'll do closeups.

My webcam
Doesn't that remind you of WALL E from the Disney Movie???

Anyway, I went online to search for closeups with webcams. Oh boy - be careful what you ask for. I did find one site that gave me the information I needed, but the others - do NOT click on those.

Now I need to find some sort of magnification system or use a different camera. Then I went to Henry's to ask about lens magnifiers for the camera. I got some excellent advice from the fellow at that store. Now to do some experimenting. What I really need is a loupe. I have one, and it worked, but it wasn't the best. I even tried cheaters that we use for reading - not strong enough. I'll make it work!

Instead of using the harsh overhead lights in Studio B, which cause terrible glare on the sewing machines, I bought two softbox lights. Look at that HUGE lightbulb they use. That thing is almost one foot long!!!

Light bulb for the softbox

 I also used a ring light directly in front of me. You know - with those three lights, I had great lighting - easy to move around. No glare and they were great!!! Those lights were well worth the investment.

The ring light

 Oh, you can't really see the softbox lights, and there's that giant reflector that I'm not really using, but it was set up, and I didn't bother taking it down—no overhead lights - just the light from the softboxes.

This will be great when I do my classes as well. I may have to change things up a wee bit for that, but I know that everything works!

The film studio

And of course, I had helpers. Little Bear decided that he wanted to be with me while I was rehearsing. Silly boy!!!! And Murphy was on the floor, licking my feet! Of course, once I started the presentation, Bear was banned, although Murphy did come down at one point and lay under the table.

My helper

Hopefully, when prepping for the next session, things will go smoother as I won't have that darn tablet to deal with. If I can solve the closeup camera issue, then all future presentations will go much smoother.

Well, I'm off on a short road trip this afternoon, and I've got a few more things to clean up, and I hope to get back to the sewing machine. I did start a new book, but I'm going to take this one much slower!!!

Have a super day!!!!



  1. I'm interested in setting up a station for sharing my (mostly) scrapbooking. Would you be willing to share links to where you got the information for what all you needed (or a list of supplies?) I can't seem to find anything concise and I'm all over the map!

    1. Terri -- do you mean for the journaling?? I'm haven't really done anything to get started yet. I'm getting my ideas from my friend who is big time into journaling. If I get anything specific, I'll share with you.