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".