Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Gift Idea

I think I figured out what every crafty woman needs for Valentines Day.

One of the best ways to find a practical gift for someone is to see what they borrowed. Lately my wife has been borrowing my bar clamps. She was making a memo board and had a handful of those fabric covered buttons to finish. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get them to set right. The fabric would buckle, the back would be in crooked, etc. Her hands were also getting quite tired. I lent her one my small quick clamps. We set the button layers between the two pads, a couple of easy squeezes and it was perfect. What else has she used them for? At Christmas time, we held the roll of scotch tape to the table with a mini clamp so it was easier to tear off one handed, and lately she's been making decorated clip boards and needs to hold the clips open while the Mod Podge dries. I had to go steal them back tonight for another project.

What other unusual uses have you for these clamps? What uses does your wife have for these? It's not too late to stop by a hardware store for your sweetie.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cabinet for American Girl Doll

My daughters love their American Girl dolls. They love flipping through the catalog and admiring the many cool accessories for these dolls. Now my wife and I are not inclined to go overboard making sure that each of these dolls have their own carriage, stable, horse, etc. But Grandmas do ensure that each is adequately supplied for many hours of play.

Anyone who has young daughters this age realizes that this stuff is not cheap. Fortunately it is all really well made. When an investment like this is made (not for profit, but to make sure that these last for a number of years), proper care is required. My girls have been taking good care of their dolls, but the extra time to pull everything out and box them back up again cut into their pretend time which IMO is critical to their development.

I liken this to my recommendation to new guitar players: Buy a stand! It's amazing how much more practice time occurs when one does not need to get the guitar out of the case to play it.

Back to my girls. I decided that a little spoiling just because was in order. These cabinets were the outcome of that desire to provide for each girl and their doll. It's amazing how a couple extra items can transform a standard storage cabinet from Target into something as cool (from my daughters' point of view) as this. Since making three of these for my daughters, I have helped a couple of other friends of mine build these same cabinets for their daughters. I'm sure if I wanted to I could make a little side business building these things, but instead I posted the instructions for building them on instructables.com.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Short Definition

WilyHacker (wahy'-lee hak'-er)

Wily - crafty, cunning

Hacker - One who makes things work way beyond their original intention.

The term hacker is one word where the mass-media has co-opted a positive term for an elite class of individuals from one culture, corrupted it, and turned it into a derogatory term for the fringe element that seemed to have a piece of their ethical circuitry missing. Wikipedia has done a good job documenting this controversy. I could go on and write more on my position on the subject, but if you understand Brian Sawyer's post on What's a Hack? on Hackszine, you will understand my use.

This blog is not about breaking into what one has no authority of using, but of taking what one owns and making it your own. It contains many random thoughts that hopefully will spur your own random thoughts.

As we create, may the Creator be glorified.