Friday, December 25, 2009

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! There are NO lame gifts!

And Merry New Year! Yes, I like to be different, or rather indifferent. I feel like I have been assigned to write an essay on “What Christmas Means to Me”. I don't have any clever content to swipe as I did on Thanksgiving day, so I have to, sort of, “wing it’.

I have chosen to no longer participate in the “holiday hype” specifically in the area of gift-giving. This decision isn't out of pure Scroogieness, it's out of pure survival from stress and holiday depression. You see, I think of gifts differently than your average bear. I always believed that a “gift” was something that someone gave because they thought enough of you to give you something—regardless of what that something might be. In other words, in my world there are no lame gifts. Let me repeat that: There are no lame gifts.

I thought everyone felt this way. I think my true “there is no Santa” revelation came when I finally realized that not everyone believes that a gift…is a gift. I used to put my heart and soul into gift selection and giving only to be met with the “lame gift” response. It still baffles me to this day how a gift can be considered lame. It's a gift for God's sake!

I have never participated in “regifting”, I have never taken a gift back to the store for a refund, although I might have exchanged for a different size once or twice, but that's about it. I have never been disappointed by a gift or not getting “what I wanted”, because that's not what gifting is about, right?

I have had this belief for as long as I can remember, even as a child. Every gift that I have received, regardless of the occasion, has been wanted, loved, and cherished. In other words, a gift given to me, is always more than just a physical object—it is a symbol of the thoughts and intent of the giver.

I have always had a “sixth sense”, if you will, of psychometry: the supposed ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. It's not strong, I can't find a dead body by holding a victim's watch (or can I? I have never tried). When given a gift, I am on some barely perceptible level, in touch with the giver and their feelings. It's weird. It's not like I hear voices or anything, there's just a connection that I can't explain.

Gifts given from the heart, are felt as such. Gifts given out of stress and worry if it's the right gift, will they like it, what will they think of me, etc., unfortunately also convey that as well. Same with gifts given out of obligation. Obligatory gifts rarely come fom the heart.

Anyway, my Christmas rant may make sense, and it may not—I realize it got a little weird there, but then I'm a little weird as well.

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good fright!” ~Jack Skellington, Nightmare Before Christmas

“No flash pictures please! ¡Por favor, no tome fotografias con flash!” ~Disneyland Haunted Mansion

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Catnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

I'm sorry, I had to. I'm an equal opportunity offender. Besides that, it really made me Laugh Out Loud! From http://www.icanhascheezburger.com













-- Posted From My iPhone

Bushwhackers: The Beaver is Back!

I did fix the machine. Even though I thought I had replaced the cutter parts correctly, I had them backwards. Stupid exploded parts diagram. If the washer was to go on first, why didn't the picture indicate that the washer went on first? This did require a call to our service technician in Salt Lake City. It didn't take more than two minutes on the phone for me to get the problem corrected and we were on our way again!

Here is another new idea that we have done in the past couple of days. Again, BigAl creates them in the software, I just bring the designs to life on the machine. He's software, I'm hardware.

Up first the Bushwhackers design. This is one we couldn't totally agree upon. He wanted to use the beaver, I wanted it to look like some kind of retro logo. He came up with "Our Motto: Carpe Mufficus Nonicus". I had other ideas but that's the one he liked. I won't explain it here but just go to Uncyclopedia.wiki and look it up for yourself.
Also the bottom line "Howdy Folks! I'm Howie Feltersnatch". Think about that one for a second. Go ahead…I'll wait…
Okay, that out of the way, I said, "Oh no, I should have made the little razor pink or aqua like a lady razor in his little hand".
Big Al says, "No, the black razor is fine, and it's a girl beaver anyway."
"Oh, a girl beaver. How do we know it's a girl? Where are the eyelashes, at least?"
"Eyelashes? Oh. Oh well."
Me, after a couple of minutes. "Besides if it's a girl beaver, what's up with the name 'Howie'?"
"Oh CRAP, stop stitching while I think about this for a minute…"
Tick-tock-tick-tock…
Finally I said, "Just leave it alone, it's fine, and it works anyway. Keep it subtle, y'know."

So this is how it will stay. It's on one of his shirts anyway. He wanted to know if I could stitch on a shirt with a back pleat. I told him it was possible but it wouldn't look good. We just had to do it to prove whether it would work or not. Yeah, it worked, but you can see the pleats underneath. There's another motif that still needs to be added to the front but it requires tearing down the machine so I can use different holding arms. I like to get a few projects saved up before I switch to a smaller hoop anyway.




Monday, December 21, 2009

Machine Down & Six Degrees of Bacon

Ugh! The Big Bad Barudan is having a bit of a problem cutting thread. I replaced the cutter assembly with one that I found in the little blue toolbox of uselessness I have no way of telling if the part I replaced it with is new or used. It was just in the box. I took a chance. I kinda failed. Hopefully I will be able to find the part that I need tomorrow.

But while troubleshooting the cutter I noticed that one of the parts, known as the "thread away hook" was not moving down to hook the thread. I could hear the solenoid and it was moving, it just wasn't moving down to catch the thread. I began to look at the mechanism that moved that hook. I found a nut missing, but it has probably been missing the whole time, I'll replace that easily. But still the hook wasn't moving down to catch the thread. It was hitting on something that was preventing downward movement.

Big Al asked if “…that bar was supposed to be bent”. WHAT bar? I didn't see any bar (go away!). Well, the bar, also known as the “thread guard disk bracket”, probably so they can charge more, was indeed bent as if the sewing head had smashed into something and was preventing the “thread away hook” from coming down. This was very, very odd. I have been using all 15 needles (except #5 because I have to replace the take up spring on that one) for weeks and have not had the thread away hook not come down. In fact, I used those needles earlier today with no problem. Now I have a bad memory, especially short-term, but I know I'm not missing any time from today and I know I haven't slammed the sewing head into anything today…or ever.

So I took the guard bracket off, bent it back into shape, replaced it, adjusted it, and it's fine. The cutter still won't cut though. I can't work if I can't cut!
On another note, the projects…I got tired of waiting for sunshine and opportunity and just shot these with my phone. It's good enough for the blog anyway.

Introducing the “Six Degrees of Bacon”. There's that Hog again, but this time touting the virtues of bacon in all if it's many preparations. There is a lot of hand work in this one. The word “BACON” is applique, the Hog is applique, and everything else is stitched. Hundred of thousands of stitches! And you might already be aware of my laser cutter dilemma—I don't actually have a laser cutter so I had to cut all of the applique pieces by hand before they could be stitched down.

The front of the shirt has an embroidered hit over the left front pocket. The famous and ever-so-popular “Press Button, Receive Bacon”. You've seen it before, but never quite like this. This too is embroidery over applique.

You know what really makes me laugh? The fact that my photographs here totally suck! They get the point across don't they? Of course I would never put these photos in the store, but for here, they do the job. Besides, if I let my own perfectionism take over I'd mess with these photos forever and a blog entry might never be made in the first place.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, (or the bacon is out of the pan, so to speak), here is the same same design done on white, or as close to white as these photos are going to get at my current ambition level:

I still have a lot of threads to clip and backing to cut away from these so stray threads in weird places are not part of the completed design. I wasn't even ambitious enough to use Photoshop to edit them out. In fact, I have two more designs that I just am not going to get to right now. I think this is quite enough.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just a Bit of Fluff to Keep Things Current

I'm not sure how many days ago I last posted an update. I have been really busy. There are two or three new designs we have been working on, just getting the finer details down and getting the shirts finished up and photographed. I decided against photo "status reports" on these designs as the front and back work together as a whole. In many ways it would be like revealing the punch line then telling the joke.

Since today was a "lazy" Sunday, we did little more than think up a tag line for an existing project. It wasn't easy coming up with a line we both could agree upon. In the end I just conceded and "helped along" with the idea Big Al had. I hope it will be okay. I don't know. We keep quibbling over semantics—things aren't always written the same way they are said.

I'm not getting a ton on hits to the website, but then again I'm not promoting the hell out of it either. I have been so busy with so many other things. I need to keep the machine running as much as possible which half the time is a challenge of epic proportions. There are so many variable involved from thickness of fabric and/or stabilizer, how many layers, the size of the needle, and the type of thread, just to name a few. There appears to be an "off" switch for the machine located in the seat of my chair. This ass-activated stop switch has been most troublesome. Every time I sit down and pick up my computer, the machine stops for one reason or another; a color change, a thread break, out of bobbin thread, sometimes for no reason at all other than to keep me on my toes. It's frustrating.

Needless to say when I sit down and try to promote, the machine stops, I get up, fix the problem, sit back down, try to remember where I left off, find that place, then the machine stops again. I'm sure this seems to happen a lot more than it actually happens.

I have a lot more to share in the days coming up. We really don't celebrate Christmas and haven't for years so we'll probably be working and/or going over to Disneyland like we do for most major "holidays".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Big Ass Dude — Live!

The moment we have been working for these past few months has arrived! We have a store! We have designed, stitched, photographed, and now we are LIVE! This morning I took the payment gateways online and I have been uploading and listing product as we get it produced.

The new storefront:

Big Ass Dude Online Store

Look for the banner ad at the bottom of my blog page soon. I need to make the time to do that to. Yikes!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thank You Mamm…May I Have Another?

Breasts, bosom(s), bust, chest, boobs, knockers, bazooms, hooters…

I am both elated and disappointed to say that today's mammogram was not nearly as bad as I remembered them to be. Elated because it wasn't bad at all, and disappointed because I really don't have anything to bitch about.

Of course I had major anxiety about the event, not because I'm afraid they might find something but because it might hurt. I go to great lengths to avoid pain when possible. Many years ago my doctor did, indeed, find a lump, a mass, call it what you will.

Because I have a family history of breast cancer a mammogram was swiftly ordered. That my first, and previous, mammogram was some ordeal! It was the kind the cartoons and jokes were written about. I swear my boob was indeed in that vice for, like, five minutes. I don't recall them doing both sides, maybe they did, one was bad enough! It hurt, it was uncomfortable, and I had no idea that I could squish down to about a quarter-inch flat (and I'm sure that both of you didn't want to know either, but now you do—sorry).

In the end, the suffering was for naught, and the mammogram was useless. The tissue was too dense to see anything. I had to have an ultrasound after that. I'll end the story saying the lump was removed, it was not cancer, and I haven't had another one since (that I know of).


Yup, this pic pretty much explains how I remember it. Today, however, was different. Big fancy machine, it was like something out of Star Trek…and talk about quick! And there wasn't even that quarter-inch pancake squish that I so dreaded. Compression was down to about three-quarters of an inch to an inch, max. The compression, while uncomfortable, only lasted a few seconds…about as long as I could hold my breath, because she asked me to.

And all the fun little stickers I got put on me so the doctor could tell what-was-what. I especially got a kick out of the stickers with the tiny bb's embedded in them so the doctor could “tell where the nipple was”. I was hoping the doctor could tell just from the shape, but what do I know?

It didn't go without problems. My good ol' right breast (sorry again you two), was again too dense for a good image to be taken, so I had do-overs several times for that. I was actually in an out of there and back in the car by 11:30, my actual appointment time.

I told Big Al that if I had to have a mammogram, he had to have a prostate exam. He replied by saying ,“This isn't a tit-for-tat…y'know.” Ah, he never fails to come up with them.

Anyway, results will be in the mail, allow 2-3 weeks. I already know they aren't going to find anything. Oh well, it's done. I think every two years is the agenda right now. Oh joy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not One of Our Projects

Oh. My. God!

Sometimes I believe that I can be more creative than the average schmo, but there are times when someone else's creativity indisputably is the winner. I have spent many-a-night—before the sleeping pills take effect—thinking of creative uses for the Big Bad Barudan. This never entered my mind.

It is exactly what it looks like it is. Not in a million sleep-induced nights would I have even thought of doing this. It's pretty cool, tho' I would have had it say, “I like corn dogs” or “I love bacon”. I mean, is there anything quite as great as toilet paper? (well, bacon, but I could probably still survive without [shudder] bacon.)

This lovely creation comes from FlatOutFun's Etsy shop out of Astoria, Oregon. They'll embroider just about anything you like on a roll of the finest fluffy stuff just for you. Okay, I will to, but they have the logistics of the project already figured out so I defer to them…

FlatOutFun's Etsy Shop

They specialize in "fun" T.P. gag gifts like a roll for that special someone on that “1st (paper) anniversay”, or if you don't want to wait a whole year they have “Bride” and “Groom” T.P. roll sets. Other items of note are the “Emergency Roll”, imported “Lé Toilet PaPer Wee Wee”, and the always popular, always funny “Wipe Out”.

Check out FlatOutFun for embroidered T.P., but check with me if you need anything else embroidered. Remember, I do that too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trimmin' Mah Beaver…and Other Stuff

Isn't He Cute?
Well, what did you think I was talking about?
This is one of our newest “test stitchouts” There are no green polka dot fabric shirts anywhere around here…but the remnant was cheap and I just needed to run the file. I also didn't have the right colors of fabric or thread but this is close enough. Hey, I could have done him in pig-hog pink or all grey.

This is our most ambitions appliqué project to date. Lots of pieces to place, tack down, and trim. I have a nice special set of sharp scissors to get all the details. It doesn't look like much right now.








Now all the fabric pieces are in place. The beauty of appliqué work is that a shape of colored fabric can be put down in lieu of thousands of stitches as a background. We figured out how to do this fairly fast.







As you can see the stitching adds detail and dimension to the appliqué pieces. This went well until quitting time last night where the particular color needle I was using kept detecting “false thread breaks”. That's how I knew to quit for the night. I don't troubleshoot really well close to midnight.

The following morning I found the take up spring for that needle to be completely…er…sprung. They get fatigued after a while and need to be replaced. I didn't want to replace it just then. I just pulled that color thread to the next needle and continued with the stitching. I wonder how long I can procrastinate on replacing that spring. I guess that depends on the next design.

Then there's the cursed design from the other day. On the red and black color-blocked shirt. It looks okay, but I really, really wanted the teeth stitched and not appliquéd. Rather than have the horns, beard, and eye flames the same contrasting color, I decided to do the horns and beard in red and the flames in the eyes as orange. We'll come up with something else to complete this shirt back.

For example, “something else” could mean the “Ride Like the Devil” tagline above or below, and perhaps some nice tribal-ish swirls like on this white size 5X shirt. This white shirt is finally finished. I thought it was finished before the swirls. The swirls were very scary to line up and have meet in the center. I let out a “WOOO!” and did a happy dance when the two designs “kissed” in the center. I had no way of knowing if they would or not, I only had measurements…and those don't always work.










Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Dreaded Triple-M and Grocery Hell

I have been preparing for the dreaded triple-M this upcoming Monday Morning's Mammogram thusly:

Many women are afraid of their first mammogram, but there's no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam, and doing the following practice exercises, you will be totally prepared. And you can do this right in your own home!

Exercise 1:
Open your refrigerator door and insert one breast between the door and the main box. Have one of your strongest friends slam the door shut and lean on the door for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds (while you hold your breath). Repeat again, in case the first time wasn't effective enough.

Exercise 2:
Visit your garage at 3 am when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Turn over and repeat for the other breast.

Exercise 3:
Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Press the bookends against one of your breasts. Smash the bookends together as hard as you can.

Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year and do it again!!



In other news...

I have got to start going to the grocery store by myself!

Chips, drinks, snacks, sleeping pills (on sale), five pieces of fruit, and a frozen lasagna—$114 and change.

The big question about four hours later will be, "So…what are we doing for dinner?".

I don't plan menus. I don't even like going to that particular grocery store where the produce is so very fresh and crisp because they keep the entire store at the temperature of a gigantic walk-in refrigerator. This does not work for me as all of my meal planning is done wandering the grocery store aisles. It's hard to concentrate when my extremities are going numb! And the second reason, shopping with Big Al. I wander the aisles gathering ingredients and he takes off with the cart to go find whatever snack food he's looking for. I'm generally juggling bags, boxes, and cans, searching every aisle looking for his cart-pushing ass. And usually he is in line before I even get finished.

Yes, I really need to suck it up, get in the car, and go find a (different) grocery store all by myself. And maybe I should take a list too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fat Boys, Hogs, and the Devil

In the "to be continued…" department, the FAT BOY shirts have been enhanced. The pig-bulldog has been reworked to look more like a pig-hog and has been added underneath the Ride a (real) FAT BOY. We have pinky-fleshy shades so I didn't have to use grey again. That WAS just a test, after all.
Notice, if you can, the earring. We were able to do this in shiny gold metallic thread…mmm, so shiny and sparkly!

The front of the shirt has a left-front above pocket hit that says HOG using the pig-hog eyes and nose from the back design. I really didn't want a Harley logo there.

Besides, the HOG is way more fun!

The final touch is a hit above the left front hem with the "big ass dude" logo. No, the photo is not upside down, I had to stitch it upside down because of how the shirt had to be placed in the hoop. That's a lot of stitch work for just one shirt, but that's our goal. We want to make really cool stitched, not screen-printed shirts with some fun built in!

I'm working on these shirts and all I can think about is going for BBQ!

Today's project has been completely cursed…and curse I did! There was a slight redesign for the devil-skull to make it slightly larger as the new frame would accommodate it. Lining shirts up on the new frame is much easier than using a traditional hoop. The shirt lays flat on the tabletop and then is clipped in on four sides. If I have placement measurements they are much easier to line up because I don't have to worry about the fabric shifting as I'm down on "all fours" pressing the hoop with both hands and both knees.

The center of the devil-skull design turned out to not exactly be the center of the shirt. This really matters as it is a panel shirt with a red back panel, black sides and red front panels. If I'm off on either the right or left, it's going to show so accuracy here is a must. As usual the devil-skull design was as big as possible and there is a very limited area it will fit into. If I'm off to the left or right the machine will just beep at me anyway.

It was going along pretty well, I had everything programmed correctly, the appliqué was easy to cut out, and everything was going beautifully—then there was a strange noise. I looked over and it was still sewing, no problem, I let it go. A couple minutes later I wandered over and yelled, "What the f*ck?!" then put another quarter in the swear jar. The right devil-skull horn was stitched up and to the right of where it should have been. Then I remembered the noise and that the machine had hit a limit, skipped, and the pantograph was thrown out of alignment. I wondered what it could have hit. I hadn't left my magnifying glass on the table to be trapped again. Then I found the bottom of the shirtwound up in the gears of the right-hand side of the machine. After making another deposit to the swear jar, I pulled and tugged trying the whole time to not rip the shirt. I freed the shirt, eventually no holes or tears, but a little bit of grease.

Then it took me, an ultra-sharp pair of scissors, a pair of tweezers, and a magnifying glass to unpick the stitches that were out of place. Yay me! Then I had to find "center" again. Since the machine had skipped forward a few gears I had to run the pantograph to the right a few times to "knock it back into place". Then I had to find the center of the design, realign the needle, etc. This takes some time!

Next, I was running the machine along and something just didn't seem right. Why were the teeth being outlined when I hadn't placed the applique yet? This was odd to me yet BigAl said, "Trust Me". I still thought something was wrong. Maybe one of the kernels of popcorn he was eating got lodged in his brain. But it finished out. I thought he was going to make the devil-skull teeth a stitched background rather than appliqué. He didn't. He added more top-stitching…ugh!

Need to make appropriate corrections to this project tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.

Something else happened but I can't remember what it was.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Realize That I Have no iIfe...but We Have Designs!

I have no life. But did I ever? Nothing new there. I have always been at work on one project or another. The difference is, when I'm self-directed I become distracted and often start a new project when I realize that it isn't going to be as perfect as I originally pictured it. Left to myself for motivation, I never ever get any project done.

Now that I'm working on a project in conjunction with Big Al, he pushes me to keep going—to keep going long after the novelty of the new project has worn off. At least we're starting off on "equal ground" with this one. He's new to the software, I'm new to the Big Bad Barudan. We both work along and learn at our own different paces.

I was hoping to get something of a "break" today. We needed to move on to the next design, for variety if nothing else, and we didn't have the thread colors needed to accomplish this. But that's okay. It's just a "stitch-out" to see where the errors are in the file, what can be changed, will the design fit within machine parameters, and overall what the finished piece might look like

So we have a devil-skull, now we have a pig-bulldog:
It's supposed to be a pig, a HOG to be exact. I didn't have any fleshtone thread, I didn't have any pink. I had multiple shades of grey. So this is a grey pig, not a bulldog.
But then, maybe it's a nice pinkish hog with a really bad case of the swine flu, eh? (yeah, a real groaner that one was)
Anyway, it really is an awesome design based upon two appliqué pieces with the rest being embroidery. I will be picking up the colors I need for the "real thing" on Monday.
Do I think I'm going to get a break tomorrow? Nope. There is a NEW file ready to be loaded in the Big Bad Barudan. It's the official Big Ass Dude logo. More on that later.
RIDE A (real) FAT BOY, revised.
I had Big Al move the "real" and insertion carat to the other side for "ride a" rather than the old version where it was implied that "real" was being inserted between the "F" and "A" characters. I also had him fatten up the stitching on the letters to make for a higher quality appliqué. I beleive that there will be something below this text on the shirt as well. Big Al was working on files today with a pig, a bear, and a beaver, E-I-E-I-O…

I just want a little time off and some rest.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Long Day, Darwinism, and a New Design

Hit the ground running today. Woke up late, so much to do! Visited an embroidery shop with a combined total of about 90 sewing heads. They have machines that have 18 heads running at once on the same project. That's about, oh, 18 times faster than I can run a job so we got a bid from them. My job has been outsourced already.

Then off to the local supplier of thread and parts. Got a frame to use with the Big Bad Barudan instead of a hoop. The stitching area is much larger, but a table top is required. With the table top in place, I can't check thread tensions. Frustrating. Luckily, I got most of the adjustments made before I started to run the job.

Inhaled a slice of reheated pizza—DiGorno, not delivery—which was fairly easy until I got to the dry-gaggy crusty part. I think that will be stuck in my throat until Tuesday. And, as usual, burned the roof of my mouth on the molten cheese. Nevertheless, it was deeelissshus!

Ever do something so stupid you are amazed that you have survived Darwinian evolution thus far? I just had one of those moments. I've been doing some routine maintenance on the Big Bad Barudan; oiling, checking tensions, etc. The bobbin tension seemed a little off so I thought I'd clean the bobbin case. I wanted to look for lint and/or thread in the tiny areas and I needed light. What better light than direct natural sunlight? I took my bobbin case and my big ol' magnifying glass and lounged in the soft chair and started to look for stray fibers in the case. Soon I felt a burning sensation on my right leg. The super-X magnifying portion of the lens had focused the sunlight perfectly on my leg and it really started to burn! I now feel so sorry for all those ants…and that spider…

I also think a couple of hours later I realized that I had not taken any medication today. Last time I checked, though, they weren't smart pills.

Last night we created a new design. Well, part of it is new…things just keep evolving. This is stitched on a dark grey shirt.
The text "FAT BOY" has been added. Actually, it was the only part of the whole design that would fit inside the current hoop. It wasn't without its problems. I was not incredibly happy inserting the "FAT BOY" text above the already stitched devil-skull head. It's a pain in the ass!
The absolute placement of something digital is easy…X-axis, Y-axis. The placement of a shirt in a hoop and having it stay that way while securing it down is not so easy. I have a crease, two lines on the hoop and a measuring tape. I rarely get it right the first try, but maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist about it.


And now for the humor side of things…Big Al's design. I guess I didn't look at the file too closely before he stitched it out. I see changes that need to be made. It's a great idea, but I like the "FAT BOY" text from last night. This is only the first part of this shirt. There is more to come. The rest of the design is being digitized right now but I'm afraid we don't have the right colors to complete the job. We'll probably go back to using the devil-skull so it actually looks like we're producing something.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We Ran Out of Shirts but Not Ideas!

We have used up all of the shirts that we bought doing different tests with different colors of thread, appliqué and placement. We'll just go buy more, right? Sure as long as we wanted any color besides black, white, or charcoal grey! I have a black and red color block shirt but it is just crying out for a stitch with red thread. I have maroon, not red. I need red thread.

We have other shirts, fisherman-style with a back cape flap, but found that I could not do a vertical hoop on the flap without unstitching the shirt itself. Can't rotate the design because it won't fit in the hoop. What to do?

Make up a different design, of course! Big Al is in the middle of that. In the meantime I can trim the loose threads on the shirts I have, prepare appliqué pieces, etc. But I probably won't because I'll forget to do it.

Murphy has been living in my machine today anyway. Constantly stopping for one dumb reason or another. But since I'm the queen of troubleshooting and have no problem with RTFM, I eventually got the problems solved. If we don't get shirts or a new design ready soon, I will have to go in and swap out some worn parts and check the cutter assembly. Ooh, fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Experience is What You Get When You Didn't Get What You Wanted

So I have had the Big Bad Barudan running almost constantly since Saturday morning, excepting the challenging "down times" where I learn more about the machines little tiny parts and how just the simplest thing can make the difference between "working" and "not working".

We have another shirt! This time a 2XL. Little did I realize that it wasn't finished yet. These shirts have to be put into giant embroidery hoops and it is far from easy. It involves putting the hoop, the stabilizer, the shirt, and the top hoop on the floor, and using both hands and both knees I have to get the damned thing perfectly aligned AND tightly inside the hoop.

Today I had to put a whole dollar in the swear jar because I had a shirt hooped, had the pins taken out, was making minor adjustments, and the whole thing popped apart on me.
The devil-skull was hooped vertically. To do the "Ride Like the Devil!" I had to rehoop horizontally. That's where the whole dollar and swear jar thing came in.

This design was done with an appliqué placed in the background. Just the grey skull area. Everything else, beard, horns, teeth, eyes, is entirely stitched. This takes a very, very, very long time. How can we cut the time down? More appliqué work!
In the big embroidery shops they have laser cutters that do the appliqué cutting. We have a really cheap substitute: Me and several types of scissors, an X-acto knife, and a little bit of time. Wish I had a laser cutter tho'.

This doesn't look like much. In fact it looks like Hell (pun intended)! The way the file was set up, I had to lay down the appliqué, stitch, cut, lay down another layer, stitch, cut, lay down the final layer…good times! This time I'm working on a 4XL shirt.

However, if things had worked ideally, it would have taken less time to to the appliqué work than it would have taken to fill the same areas with stitching.

It doesn't look too bad now all of the appliqué elements are stitched. It did save some time, but had a whole new set of challenges built right in. And I think Big Al is getting sick of this design…he was working on a new one today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We Have a Shirt!

Big Al is the digital side of our operation. He manipulates most of the artwork on the Big ol' Mac. I'm in charge of the Big Bad Barudan. He does what he knows best, I do what I know best. He likes to manipulate files, I like to do technical mechanical-troubleshooting work. Here he is working on yet another rendition of our devil-skull image.

This is a "3-D" image, or rather a stitch mockup made by our fancy-schmancy software that turns out to have some serious limitations. There are many digitizing programs out there on the market but no really good ones for the Mac. So, rather than sink money into something as useless as a PC, we went for Mac software that is actually a plugin for Adobe Illustrator. This also prevented learning all new software.

Here is the design actually stitched onto a Dickies size 3XLT shirt and modeled by Big Al. This is the real thing and not a fancy Photoshop trick. For the most part it went really well. We're working on another one at the moment that has the same devil-skull but with different tonal qualities and orange in place of the deep red-maroon. It should turn out to be a bit more Harley-esque.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Failure and Success go Hand-in-Hand


I think I'll begin here with a complete fail. This is our yarmulke-wearing friend completed out. Well, not so much completed as…well…all was pretty lost at the point of the cranium here so I skipped wasting any more thread on the colors in the middle and went straight for the black detail and the flames in the eyes, to make sure that would work alright. It actually didn't. When the black got to the left "ear" area, the machine had reached it's distance limit and could go no further to complete the stitch around the outside. More measuring and more notes. The next file would be a little bit smaller.

The next attempt was to see if the total stitch count could be reduced by using a fabric applique background rather than solid stitching. This seemed to work quite well and the mottled grey fabric really added to the overall design. This test was the black and red colors only and the design was rotated on the computer before loading it into the embroidery machine. That idea failed on the eyes. The skull rotated but the pattern didn't. Best to let me do any pattern rotations within the Big Bad Barudan to avoid any surprises.

The third time is the charm…it better be because this time we took it "live" and put it on an actual Dickies button-down workshirt. No room for error or we lose a shirt!
We kept the applique-type background, and I rotated the pattern so that the eye-flame stitch effect would be going in the right direction. This one was a success!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Devil is wearing a Yarmulke!

After a freezing few days on the Utah Tundra, we are back in SoCal picking up where we left off. We ran the Big Bad Barudan right up until the moment we left. We were hoping to complete the latest design before we left so we could take it with us. No such luck. High stitch count, would have taken a few more hours.

We looked at the design and Big Al said, "Why is it doing that color?". Hey, it's a machine. Garbage in, garbage out. I said I programmed the color sequence exactly as he "told" me to. I had the color sequence written down as we were making changes. I asked him to VERIFY it. He did, but apparently missed something. NOT a big deal. I have figured out how to advance forward, backward, and pretty much get right back to exactly where and what color and/or stitch I need to be on…but I boogered up this time too. I can advance the machine and assign the proper color as long as I push the appropriate button once. I guess if I push the button twice it goes all the way back to stitch number one. The design was going well up until that point. It's messed up, too late to fix it, and worse, we had to go. So we spent the next 4 days trying to figure out what went wrong. Because we didn't have the machine we could only speculate.

All I had to do this morning was turn on the machine and look at what had happened. I messed up alright, It had begun again at the beginning but with the current color I had assigned. Now our devil is wearing a yarmulke or, more imaginatively, a do-rag.

The design is hopelessly messed up, but that's okay, it isn't a "live" item, still in "practice" mode. Rather than just bag the project I advanced to the last color, black to see if the outline would stitch okay and we could assess our possibility of using an applique for the background rather than some 70,000 stitches.

The best part is, that with every little mistake, I'm getting closer to mastery!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

UTAH BLOG:

Aug 12 Moved to our new home in Utah. It is so beautiful here. The mountains are so majestic, can hardly wait to see snow covering them.

Oct 14 Utah is the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves have turned all colors and shades of red and orange. Went for a ride through the beautiful mountains and saw some deer. They are so graceful. Certainly they are the most wonderful animal on earth. This must be paradise. I love it here.

Nov 11 Deer season will start soon. I can't imagine anyone wanting to kill such a gorgeous creature. Hope it will snow soon. I love it here.

Dec 2 It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed with white. It looks like a postcard. We went outside and cleaned the snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. We had a snowball fight (I won) and then the snowplow came by, we had to shovel the driveway again. What a beautiful place. I love Utah.

Dec 12 More snow last night. I love it. The snowplow did its trick again to the driveway. I love it here.

Dec 19 More snow last night. Couldn't get out of the driveway to get to work. I am exhausted from shoveling. Fucking snowplow.

Dec 22 More of that fucking white shit fell last night. I've got blisters on my hands from shoveling snow. I think the snowplow hides around the corner and waits until I'm done shoveling the driveway. ASSHOLE.

Dec 25 Merry Fucking Christmas. More fucking snow. If I ever get my hands on the son-of-a-bitch who drives the snowplow, I swear I'll kill the bastard. Don't know why they don't use more salt on the roads to melt the fucking ice.

Dec 27 More of that white shit fell last night. Been inside for three days except to shovel the driveway each time the fucking snowplow goes by. Can't go anywhere, car's stuck in a mountain of that white shit. The weatherman says to expect another 10" again tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10" is?

Dec 28 The fucking weatherman was wrong. We got 34" of that white shit this time. At this rate it won't melt before summer. The snowplow got stuck down the road and the ASSHOLE came to the door and asked to borrow my shovel. I told him I had broken six shovels already shoveling that fucking white shit he had pushed into the driveway. I broke the seventh one over his fucking head.

Jan 4 Finally got out of the house today. Went to the store to get food. On the way back a fucking deer ran in front of the car and I hit it. Did about $3,000 damage to the car. Those fucking beasts should be killed. Wish the hunters had killed them all last October.

May 3 Took the car to the garage in town. Would you believe the son-of-a-bitch is rusting out from all the salt they put on the roads?

May 10 Moved to California. I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would ever want to live in that fucking Utah.

~Source unknown. Taken from one of those copies of a copy of a copy back before the email days, but I could have written it myself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting Better Every Day

A progress report and some photos I didn't get to before.

A completed wing. White parts laid down first, outlined by black parts. Some mystery misregistration occurred. Later found that it was probably fabric stretch. The design should have been built and stitched from the center out. In addition, a heavier cut-away stabilizer should have been used. Overall, not great, but not too bad.

Now black laid down first and white stitched on top. This worked much better, but the stitch count is still very heavy. Didn't have any misregistration problems because the entire shape was laid down in black as a background and the white was stitched on top of it. A few threads to trim here and there, but it worked. Another successful "test".


Big Al does most of the digital work and digitizing while I fiddle with the technical aspects of the machine. He often complains that he can't get anything done. Wonder why? When Schmoopie wants lovin' & scratchin', she wants lovin' & scratchin'. "Damn cat", he says.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Learning Curve Continues

When I last left off, I was having problems with the machine coming unthreaded. I did finish the white wing project, one-unthreaded-needle-at-a-time. It was a B-I-T-C-H! I did every trouble-shooting solution in the manual and even tried a few things of my own. I cranked the tension waaaayyyyy down hoping that would help but to no avail. I unthreaded and re-threaded the machine and did everything I know of using my knowledge of normal sewing machines. But that particular project being done, the things learned are filed away for future reference and Big Al changed the original wing file for yet another
round of experimentation.

The new file was bigger and better than ever. However, he changed the sew order of the colors so I started out sewing black, the needle came unthreaded early and he said, “No, that's supposed to be white.” I had to remember how to change colors/needles on the fly to get the right color down first. You can't see it but the white sewed back down over the black where I started over again. Needle kept coming unthreaded. Fed up, I took a screwdriver and changed the take-up spring because it looked like it was sticking and could be pulling the thread out. Voilá…pullout problem solved. Then I ran out of bobbin thread and the machine didn't stop like it was supposed to. I backed up (this time NOT messing with any controls), put in a new bobbin, and continued along. So far so good? Not exactly.

I had spent so much time cranking the tension down, down, and down, that the adjustment was all cattywumpus. I spent the next while during the entire sew-out of the white part, adjusting the tension back up, little-by-little, until it was properly adjusted again. To do this I had to sit on the floor with a light and watch the bottom of the work constantly. Of course I got it all adjusted and it was time to switch needles and color.

Now it was time to switch to black thread (for real this time). All was going pretty well. There were a few tense moments when I thought the needle was getting close to the frame, but it was okay. Then the needle got too close to the frame…BAM! The presser foot glanced off the side of the frame. I don't know whether the machine stopped itself or if I stopped it with the emergency switch. The important thing is that the machine had been stopped. I had started out the design by doing an autotrace of the bounding box around to see if there would be enough room. It was tight, if not a bit over, but you can see that the design, for the most part, fits inside the frame. I just needed to be one inch over and one inch down. I started from the dead center of the hoop which was also, presumably, dead center of the design.

So, again I pushed buttons and made it nearly impossible to line up the design again to continue, and there was no point in continuing as the black outline of that wing tip couldn't be completed anyway. Back to the drawing board to see if, a)The design can be fit to the dimensions of the hoop, or, b)If the design will be too big for the shirt we're designing in the first place. Either way, there will be much more learning on both our parts.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Learning Curve Projects


The first piece we turned out from the Big Bad Barudan:

My iPhone hates me sometimes when it comes to taking photos but it was easier than finding either one of the other cameras!

The horseshoe design was already loaded into the machine's memory and we kind of wanted instant gratification so we stitched it out first in black, then I moved the pantograph slightly up and to the left and reran the design in white, giving kind of a drop shadow look. Not much, but hey, the machine did what it was supposed to.
Next came one of our own designs. It was intentionally two-color, but I had forgotten how to tell the machine to change colors so it stitched the entire piece in all black (bottom). This wasn't bad, not the effect we wanted, but it also worked well.

I remembered how to program the color sequence so we ran the same file again, this time with two colors (top). That went VERY well. But it would be a couple of weeks before making another attempt because we had some life- and energy-sucking obligations.

Yesterday's (our third) attempt went kind of well. We decided to see how big we could go. This project ran well until the machine ran out of bobbin thread and I tried to “fix” missed stitches by backing up. I threw the whole thing out of alignment and caused a broken needle (dumbass). But I did learn what NOT to do next time. It wasn't easy, but I got the alignment back on and continued stitching the whole wing. In the future, something with as large an area as this will probably be done as an appliqué instead of solid stitching.
Notice the pattern started on top of the left side (inside) of the wing. Again, this was supposed to be white and I (duh) hadn't programmed the machine correctly. Black is nice so I kept the machine going. This is where things got messed up. Something in the file conversion was messed up so there was a lot of extra starting, stopping & cutting, with a lot of needle unthreading going on. Again, I messed with the settings and threw the alignment off again with no real way to get back where I started. Now I know at least TWO things not to do.

Today I just said, “screw it” and took the wing out of the hoop and cut away most of the fabric stabilizer that was underneath (that's the white around the perimeter). I never did stitch the white on this piece. That's okay, though, this wing will be used as a placement template for future projects.

I still wanted to stitch out the top white part of the wing, though. I decided to put in a piece of remnant fabric backed with the stabilizer for a stronger piece.
This little bit of work took about three HOURS! It's quite beautiful and not anywhere near finished. There were so many stops & thread cuts programmed into the design that after every sew 10 stitches, cut, begin to sew, needle unthread, thread needle again, start again, sew 10 stitches, cut, begin to sew, needle unthread, thread needle again, cry, start again, etc…
I made minor adjustments to the tension the whole time. I probably quit just before I “got it”, but I won't know until tomorrow. I still think the thread tension might be too tight so I'm going to crank it to the loose end and try again.
Notice in the picture the needle is UNthreaded, that's how I left it.
*SIGH* here's to better luck tomorrow. I think I'll go drink now.

It's All About ASS Comfort!

We're heading back to the ol' busstead after an errand and Big Al makes a U-turn—I wasn't paying attention, I was probably tweeting from the iPhone or something—and we end up at a small furniture store. Big Al has been looking for a work chair for some time now. The old office chair, “kills my ass” and so did the folding chair, and the folding recliner, “sat back too far”. We looked at chairs, too big, too small, not sturdy enough, too expensive…

(Ahhhhh!) You could almost hear the angelic choir as a golden beam came down from the sky and shone on this chair. Not too big, not too small, brand new, and a decent price. New furniture is great although, personally, I hate shopping for it. Worse than shopping for it is getting it home. Have I mentioned that we have a Hyundai sedan? WTF are we going to do with that chair now? Well, he left me inside with the crazy Chinese owner who had to tell me about the whole business, his great prices, and, “Tell all your friends to come here, I give them good deal!” Because he brings in whole containers of “Good stuff from China". (cringe)

I finally broke away from the conversation to go outside to this:

Notice the camo ratchet strap holding it all in. This is how the trunk of the LAST Hyundai got dented. They were so excited that the back came off the chair so they could get it in there better (cringing again). Anyway, it's HIS chair. It isn't leather, it's fabric. The ratchet strap had grease on it from being behind the bus on the scooter or something. Now that grease is part of the chair. But it's HIS chair, I have to keep reminding myself. We waved goodbye to the crazy Chinese guy and returned to the bus to work on our venture, this time in total ass comfort.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Racing Season is Over, Now We Get Busy

I had already forgotten about my post a month or so ago about buying the Big Bad Barudan and the bus remodel. We've had a lot going on since then three events and the end-of-season inventory and clean-up for our NHRA trailer.

It was nearly a MONTH before we got to try out the Big Bad Barudan! Of course by then my memory on exactly how the machine worked was not all that great. Of course it isn't easy to distract me…nope, not at all. Luckily I can work from written instructions. Give me a user manual and even if there are errors, sooner or later I will figure it out. This time was no exception. However, it probably took me an hour to thread two colors of thread into the machine. Once it was done, it was done right and I haven't had to mess with that since.


The very first files I stitched out were very successful. A horeshoe looking thing, and a wing. That was all I was able to do at the time. Now another couple of weeks have gone by and we made another attempt. All went well until the bobbin thread ran out. Instead of just stopping, changing the bobbin and resuming, I tried to back up to where I left off using the command keypad. Somewhere in that process I really screwed up because I resumed sewing and the needle went straight over and embedded the needle between the two sections of my hoop. Pretty lucky, because if it had hit the hoop it would probably have messed up the machine! Oh, and I also broke the needle. That was enough of that.

Didn't have extra needles so I got online and found a shop about 4 miles down the road in San Dimas, CA, that sold needles, thread, and the like for industrial machines. I bought a pack of 100 needles (hopefully I will never need that many).

I didn't continue my efforts until hours later. I put a new needle in the machine and tried to find the starting point of the original patter once again. A few tweaks and I got pretty close to spot on. Then I needed to advance thousands of stitches to where I left off or sew the whole damn thing again. Again, got pretty close to right on and started the machine and it went for a coupe minutes, then Big Al noticed that the needle had fallen out so the machine was really sewing nothing.

Grrr. it's dark, I'm sewing with black thread on a black background. The room is dimly lit and I keep having to rethread the needle, not to mention putting it back in AND making sure the right side was facing forward, again, a very difficult thing to see in the near dark. But after that little repair we were on a roll…for a little while.

The machine beeped and slow down. I figured it was time for a color change. It was supposed to change to white, but it didn't. I was in pushing buttons and whatnot and probably told it to change to black instead of white. Not that black-on-black doesn't look cool, and it really does, but the machine wasn't doing what I thought I told it to do. The status indicator didn't say it was time for a color change anyway.

Then, I probably, accidentally programmed in some stop-and-cuts because the machine would sew three stitches, stop, cut the thread, sew, stop, cut (needle comes unthreaded, rethread needle), sew, stop, cut, sew, stop (needle comes unthreaded, rethread), sew…

"This is stupid", I thought. I'll just advance forward to the next color change. So I started pushing buttons again, and in the process got the pattern all out of alignment somehow. It would be nearly impossible to back up where I left off at this point. I now have black-on-black, can't see a damn thing, I'm frustrated, tired and Big Al wants me to give up on that bit and start another one. NO WAY, I need to learn how to manipulate the machine to make it do what I want. I did it before, I'll do it again, I tell ya!

I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's time to FLY!


This has been a rough couple of weeks. We have done an almost complete tear down and rebuild of the interior of the bus. Previously we had moved the bed from its original location in the back to the front and built an office/studio in the back. The new plans made us have to do the reverse.

We got an awesome deal on a Barudan 15-needle commercial embroidery machine. We have some really really BIG ideas! As artists with newly-acquired knowledge of the apparel industry we feel that we can use our talents in a very special niche market…but I digress…



The machine is fairly large and we knew that we would never get it into the back studio with the potty chamber, shower, and closet configuration. Among the three there is a sharp narrow zigzag turn that would be impossible to make with that size of machine table. What to do?

Well, we almost completely gutted the inside of the back studio and the front living area tearing them down to empty nothingness. The biggest thrill was putting carpet in the back area. The floor had been bare sheet lead for over a year since we removed the bed and the scary carpet reminiscent of our motHell management years. We always intended to put something else down until now.

Since I knew I would be beading and doing glass in the back area I didn't want a hard floor. I chose a grey commercial carpet courtesy of Lowe's. The room is small so off-the-roll carpet was kind of a waste at 12' (feet) wide, plus, I didn't want to cut it to size anyway. Really, the bed will be covering 90% of the surface anyway. Solution: 3-foot wide carpet runners cut in 10-foot lengths.

I need to mention that the floor is lined with lead to help reduce heat and noise because our "headboard" is really a box built to house a big-ass diesel engine. It can get hot in the back on the floor so adhesives were really out of the question. It would either get ooey-gooey or crunchy-wunchy. Solution: staple gun, and a hammer to smash the staples down really good. Yes, the staples show, but I lined them up using my best OCD skills. We called it "Frankencarpet" because of the "stitched together" look. But it's all good—the adhesive holding the carpet headliner on the ceiling got crunchy-wunchy and lost adhesion. I stapled that up too in a fine diamond-tuft pattern.

It was all looking pretty good. I got a new closet out of the deal so I can now find my clothes:




I have storage for my beads and tools as well as a really cool workbench, but that's for later because I can't get to either of them. As usual we were on a deadline and absolutely positively had to leave today to make it to Las Vegas in time for the big race weekend. Everything we took out of the bus during the remodel had to be put back in the bus. No time to organize or put away. The place is in complete chaos and I don't mind saying that it makes me feel a little bit claustrophobic!

I have been so down and depressed since the beginning of this remodel…so much work, and me with a really, really bad head/chest cold. It was pure misery. BigAl kept me hoppin' the whole time. Not a single moment for rest during the while time except for normal bedtime. I just sucked down TheraFlu and Dayquil and hoped for the energy to keep going. I was becoming overwhelmed very quickly, and depression was setting in. I knew I was in over my head this time and I needed help—Fast.

I knew right where to go. I needed a routine. I needed to take "baby steps" so I wouldn't get even more overwhelmed. I went to http://www.flylady.net where I had been years before but had not really committed myself to make it work. The plan is based on "baby steps" so as not to overwhelm the new "flybaby".

Baby step #1 is to "shine your sink" which seems odd with so much other stuff around in disarray. I was all for shining my sink…if I could find my sink, that is. I'm horrible about washing dishes, or in my case glasses & utensils. I never allow "foody" dishes to sit in the sink. That grosses me out.

So I haven't seen the bottom of my sink in a good 2-3 months, I think. I knew my shot glass and margarita shaker had to be down there somewhere also. I actually have a very small sink. It's actually a bar sink because I opted for a single sink and more counter space. It shouldn't have been that hard. It wasn't hard but it was very time consuming.

I found two tall juice glasses (I thought I only had one), my margarita shaker, my margarita glass, my ESPN Zone shot glass, and a whole bunch of stainless flatware. For the last little while I thought all my metal flatware had been disappearing. We have been using Dixie bowls/plates and plastic flatware from Wendy's for our at-home meals. In fact, I had a ton of plasticware. I will admit that I bought plasticware in lieu of washing the flatware that I already had and had "forgotten" about.

There is no excuse to be using and re-using plastic. Utensils when there is a full set of real metal flatware available. It took almost four hours to empty, wash, and put away that tiny bar sink full of utensils, misc food storage containers, lids, and barware…but it's done. I did it, put it all away and I'm just overwhelmed with the sense of accomplishment that one little act gave me. I really DID something that made a difference!

Now the challenge is to use my OCD for good and keep that sink empty and spotless after use and at all times. I will probably even remember to load and use the dishwasher too. I feel great and that was just one step for one day, my first day! I wonder what tomorrow's "baby step" task will be. I can't wait for tomorrow to find out. I am excited and motivated. The sooner I get my shit together, the sooner I can get back to creating, be it jewelry, embroidery or whatever!

Can I get a WOOT? Thanks, I gave myself one too!

- Posted From My iPhone

Friday, August 7, 2009

Twitter and LiveJournal are Down!

With Twitter under attack from who-knows what, I guess I can carry on as usual here while they get their servers back up to snuff.

Also, things are NOT looking good for LiveJournal. Blogger is all I have left!

Here is yesterday's journey on a map:




We so could not have made this trip doing
the original 700+ miles per day Big Al had planned. Just too damned hot and hard on the bus!

At least it isn't as hot in Flagstaff, but then our elevation is now well over 7,000 feet. It feels good. Nice!

Heh,heh…went into the truck stop to see what they ha d. I always do :-) Checked out some jewelry. I realize that they lock it up because it's sterling silver, but don't try to fool me into thinking it's turquoise when it's really dyed magnesite or howlite. C'mon!

Finally after I-don't-know-how-long we are back at the Church o'Pancakes, otherwise known as Cracker Barrel. Sure, we ate at CB last night, but that was dinner!

There's nothing quite like pecan pancakes!



Yummy!

Later, I drove the bus through Arizona into New Mexico. Some of the scenery is nice. No wonder they call it the "Painted Desert". I took some photos for bead color inspiration:







Spent some time in Thunderbird Supply in Gallup. Thought i'd spend a lot more than time. Got out of there with some fine silver bezel, chain, charms, a polishing glove, and copper tongs.

I worked on a jewelry project, more trial-and-error than anything. I thought I had it worked out but such was not the case.

I almost scrapped the whole project but then found a way to make it work. Not what I had originally planned, and not even using the same materials, we'll see what happens!

Blew through Albuquuerque this time. Big hill on the east side that is, as usual, best traveled at night to keep the bus cool.

Now ready for bed. Twitter is obviously still down. Haven't checked the news. Not getting any new follows. I have been off all day to keep tweets of my own from cluttering the ailing server.

But look…I'm still tweeting, even if it is on my blog and nobody is seeing it. Tried posting to LiveJournal but that's not working either. Oh well, goodnight!
-- Posted From My iPhone