Past Me Made Current Me Laugh โ€“ Again

Behind the Scenes

Past me made current me laugh with this random note:

Random Note to Self

“Who’s scruffy-looking!?”

I found it in old paperwork last year when I was reorganizing my tax papers. (I guess I was feeling frustrated and disheveled after checking and re-checking numbers for a long time.) This year, I found the photo I uploaded to Flickr and made myself laugh again! ๐Ÿ˜€

Past Weekend’s Theme Song: Ode to Joy by Beaker

Behind the Scenes, Stunt Double

The past weekend wasn’t the best for me. In fact, it was a bit like the Muppets version of Beethoven’s โ€œOde to Joyโ€ performed by Beaker:

Ode To Joy | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets on YouTube

Just to give one example, on Sunday (my dedicated social media day), my brain refused to brain blog work. Tumblr I was able to do, but blogging was like drinking tar. (Something being like drinking tar is an expression from my native Finnish.)

Ohwell. At least the funny Muppet video made me smile โ€“ and, after all, I got a blog post out of it, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Happy Lunar New Year!

Note: I wasnโ€™t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

A Social Media Day in the Life of a Microbusiness Owner

Behind the Scenes

This summer, Playfully Grownup Home turned five years old. Yay! To celebrate my level 5 business owner status, here’s a writeup of my workday two Sundays ago. It’s a fairly typical exemplar of what it’s like to work for myself and by myself.

Hooray Cross Stitch

A note on my schedule: before starting the business, I knew from stories and research that owners don’t get to enjoy terribly regular hours. However, after a few years, I had to make regular off-hours a priority following a surgery and recovery afterwards. I still work slightly off-kilter, though, following my ex-library job schedule: typically Sunday through Thursday, unless there are orders to ship on Friday and Saturday.

Tumblr Chibird Take Care Today Future You Appreciates

Jackie a.k.a. Chibird on Tumblr.

Sundays are my dedicated social media writing and planning days. Typically they vary a lot: some are chock-full, others very light, and sometimes โ€“ annoyingly โ€“ the latter turn into the former by the force of PEBCAC. That was this particular Sunday.

Morning (7:30-)

I woke up to Husband banging his toe on some clutter on the floor that I hadn’t yet stored away (sorry!) and decided to get up and get going.

During breakfast, I checked email, social media and Etsy shop status (no new orders overnight) plus read my morning news.

Before finishing my second mug of tea, I dove right into the day’s tasks with the hope that if I got everything done fast, I could play some WoW in the afternoon because the latest expansion is still new and exciting. Alas, that didn’t happen.

I first scheduled three pre-drafted posts to wrap up Playfully Grownup Tumblr for August and made a template for September 2018 tumbling. I like to draft well ahead of my posting schedule in case of emergencies. Right now I’m completely out of pre-drafted material, though; soon I’ll have to spend time finding photos and writing captions for two or three weeks’ worth.

Then I checked a previously written and scheduled blog post for mistakes (=final, final proofread) and drafted another one. I needed a few photos before I could finish scheduling the post, however.

I remembered there was a a potential post photo I’d taken, possibly on a smart phone, but I also needed to take at least one new one. Since the latter usually goes fast, I pulled out my camera. I snapped the shot I needed plus another one for fun, then edited and uploaded them with metadata. Once that’s done, it’s easy and fast to add photos to a blog post from a Flickr URL.

In contrast, finding the already-taken photo I was thinking about dragged on because I got a new phone just the previous week and hadn’t yet backed up all of the photos from the old one. Once all appropriate batteries had been charged and files transferred, I found the photo. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work for the post. (Ohwell; at least I got all of my assorted phone photos backed up.)

I then spent some time digging in my photo folders looking for a replacement. That done, I pulled a WoW screencap to finalize the post with. A round of proofreading and the post was ready to schedule. Wham bang โ€“ that’s the posts for August!

Moving on. While laying out the basic structure for September’s blog posts, I lost a bunch of notes in a copy&paste mishap. Argh!

Fortunately, I had a backup copy with at least partial if not full notes on an external drive. Setting up the drive and retrieving the file took maybe an extra 15-20 minutes (because I wasn’t working in my office at the time); not a lot, to be sure, but annoying because had I not gotten distracted for the crucial 5 seconds, I wouldn’t have been in this jam to begin with. (And it certainly highlighted the importance of backing up my data!) To alleviate the frustration, I made another pot of tea. Because tea is good.

Brewing Lunch Tea

Lunch (12:10-ish)

Over lunch, I caught up on the blogs I follow and read more news, including various San Jose Worldcon (Worldcon 76) reports. I also briefly popped in and out of social media.

Afternoon (13:00-)

Winding down lunch and getting back to work, I first double-checked that my hobby blog post for the coming week was scheduled correctly. It was. (Sometimes I suffer from an ID10T attack and they’re not.) Then I started to draft this post โ€“ the first for September โ€“ and dug up photos and links to add.

To clear my head a bit, I switched both tasks and my physical location (accounting and receipts tracking in my office) for an hour or so, then got back on the computer downstairs.

I’m not going to lie; sometimes blogging and social media in general feel like an insurmountably large amount of work for seemingly little return.

Snow Work in Progress

However, if there’s something I’ve learned in 5 years in business, it’s that persistence is vital. Even a genius cannot sustain any efforts without sticking to it. It also helps to create and keep to routines, especially for tasks that aren’t my strongest suit. That way I’ll have more time for my favorite tasks later. Also, hydration’s the boss. ๐Ÿ™‚

If I’ve been on the computer all morning I can feel myself slowing down by three o’clock; so it was also this sample Sunday. Having lost time in the copy&paste mishap and backup retrieval, I was reluctant to call it quits yet, so I finished this post and created two more drafts. That makes three of September’s seven blog posts.

I’ll still have to proofread them and finish selecting photos, but otherwise they’re done. Also, at about five pages (including images), this post clocks more than I usually write per post, so I ended quite happy with the day’s accomplishments.

Evening (17:00-)

Between four and five, I typically check my Etsy and email for any new orders so I can start processing them. Around five, I wrapped up work. Sunday is also our sauna day; after Husband and I were nice and warm and sauna clean, dinner over an episode of Miss Fisher followed. Finally, we played some WoW together before bed (and books) around ten.

Quick Tip: Bobbin Case Cleanup with a Makeup Brush

Arts & Crafts, Behind the Scenes, DIY

For a quick and dirty (pardon the pun!) bobbin case cleanup, I use a small makeup brush. A narrow-tip brush fits well into the crevices of the bobbin case as well as the sides and the back of the bobbin area. A wide-tip one (like for spreading blush) works really well for dusting the bobbin door.

Sewing Machine Bobbin Case Cleanup

I bought an inexpensive set of brushes specifically for the purpose. (The brushes should be good enough quality to not lose bristles inside the machine, though.)

This quick cleanup isn’t good enough to replace a thorough cleaning, of course, but it seems to tide my machine over quite well. Besides, it’s so fast and easy that I’m more likely to do it often. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have any favorite tips for sewing machine care? Do share!

Back on U.S. Soil

Behind the Scenes, My Spaces

We’ve returned from a great trip to Finland and Worldcon 75.

Suitcase w Fin Flag Luggage Tag

I’m not only jetlagged, I’m exhausted from meeting so many people โ€“ to borrow a word from Finnish, I’m rag tired, meaning ‘limp-as-a-wrung-rag tired’ (rรคttivรคsynyt). I suppose the closest equivalent in English is bone tired, but it feels like I don’t have the bones left for that!

I confess the only way for me to get through the last days of the con was to fake it in a grand way:

Catching Fire Eyes Bright Chins up Smiles on

Screencap from the movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

โ€œEyes bright. Chins up. Smiles on.โ€

I’m not an extreme introvert for nothing! ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved the trip nevertheless. ๐Ÿ˜€

Now it’s nice to be home. After settling back to my routines, I’m looking forward to getting back to work!

I’ll open my shop again on Monday (August 21). See you then!

When Even the Waste Looks Good

Behind the Scenes, Colors, Fabrics & Materials

Recently I’ve worked on several small projects with colorful fabrics. One of the delights of working with bright colors is that even the littlest scraps look cheerful!

Colorful Clippings

It’s especially nice on grey days. This weekend’s forecast looks rainy; I’d better bring out my scraps bin again for more projects. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Feathery Sneak Peak

Arts & Crafts, Behind the Scenes, Colors

…of my current project:

Turq Feathers Partly Done

I’m making reflectors; this batch is based on my feather doodles. I’ve already done turquoise and white feather reflectors. I’m still trying to decide whether I’ll make other colors. Any input?

P.S. Other behind-the-scenes photos connected to this project are included in my Flickr (July 2016).

Intuitive Photo Editing Program Needed

After Hours, Behind the Scenes, Bits in Spaaace!, DIY

So, this is what I’ve been doing this weekend:

I’m getting used to a new computer. But it’s not simply a new-to-me machine with a different keyboard configuration and whatnot; I’ve also upgraded my operating system to Windows 10, with the joys and frustrations that brings. Most of my favorite programs are now on, as are my personalizations. I’ve found most of the settings I care about (many of them multiple times, heh heh). The sounds sound different, with more nuance in music tracks (yay for better speakers / sound controllers). Colors look slightly different, too, understandably. That brings me to my problem.

I’ve been using Picasa for mass photo edits like resizing, but Google has discontinued it. Can anyone recommend an intuitive image editor?

I’m looking for something that’s quick to learn (so preferably not PhotoShop). I mostly only need basic functionality (straighten, crop, light / color correction, text, format conversion) with an occasional mild filter, so there’s plenty to pick from out there. My biggest need is the ability to resize multiple files at a time, though.

I’ve used Gimp and MS Paint, but they aren’t as handy for resizing. (And, bafflingly, the preinstalled programs on my new machine don’t include a resize option.) In a pinch I suppose I can try a legacy version of Picasa, but it would be good to have something with continuing support. I’ve also found some programs I could try by googling, but I thought I’d try the wisdom of my network first.

EDIT: I got one; thanks!

Behind the Scenes: Cards for Business

Behind the Scenes

I made small Thank You cards for my business:

Small Thank You Cards

They employ the same trick as my store logo and item info tags: a repeated logo block with a rainbow-like ripple effect.

Earlier this year I also updated my business cards:

New PGH Business Cards 2016

All the info is on the flipside; the front has only a photo of my work. So far I have three photo options for the business cards, but I’m playing around with additional designs. They were inspired by the cards I made for our Co-Geeking blog:

New Co-Geeking Business Cards 2016

The Co-Geeking cards came out better than the PGH ones, I think, so I might have more work to do. I’ll also have to decide whether to stick with the rainbow-type logo block branding long term or whether to change my branding to go with the photo business cards. Or should the photo cards be the ones to go? Decisions, decisions…! ๐Ÿ™‚