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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Up to my eyeballs in...

Whatever. My 27-year-old dryer has been struggling for several months and finally bit the dust just before the wind storm. The 31-year-old washer has also been acting up. So I went out Friday to find replacements, which will be delivered some time in the next two hours, we're told. In the meantime, I've removed everything in the utility room and put it here in the studio. Paintings, coats, mats, glass. There's a path about 10 inches wide from the hall door to the computer. There is absolutely no exit to the outside door. Yesterday we cleaned the garage, so it has been one of those weekends. Not much art going on. I would be getting books ready for shipping today if I didn't have all this cleaning to do, along with still working on storm damage. Plus, I have two weeks of laundry to catch up on. Pitiful.

I went online to see about buying a backup bulb for my new digital projector. I always carried a spare for my Kodak Carousel and once it came in handy. I think I paid about $30 for it. The projector lamp for the Epson Powerlite is $199. Ack! I'll have to take my chances on the one that came with it.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Powerpoint and beyond

My presentation to the Contemporary Quilters' Guild went off without a hitch last night, unless you count my dithering with the remote from time to time. (It was very sensitive. When I pressed it too hard, it zipped on to the next two slides, and I had to reverse.) The pictures looked fantastic on the big screen. My Epson Powerlite projector worked great. I had practiced at home a couple of times to be sure I got the hookup and controls right. The only problem was that I couldn't get the projector to turn off, so I just unplugged it. Not a good idea. I hope it's okay--something about the sequence of powering down between the projector and laptop.

I'm a believer now--this is the only way to do presentations; forget about slide carousels forever. I'll be scanning my program slides into PowerPoint when I get some free time. (Ha!) Onward and upward.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catching up, almost

The fallen tree is gone and today the glazier replaced the broken window panes in the dining room. We're almost put together again, like Humpty Dumpty wasn't. About the only thing I'm feeling really sad about is the loss of a beautiful family heirloom, a Haviland Limoges footed bowl/basket that is over 100 years old. It's beyond repair. I can't even find anything equivalent to it on the Internet. I did find the manufacturer's mark, dating it to 1880-1894.

I've been working on my PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow night. I think I'm ready, but for this one, everything is a first: no slides, just my laptop and a digital projector. I was well advised by a blog reader to be prepared, so I have a power strip, an extension cable, a backup CD, and my own projector in case my program version doesn't like their projector or vice versa. I'm going to throw my projection screen in the car, too, just in case. Sounding a little paranoid, no?

The weather has been beautiful since the windstorm, warm and dry in the daytime, cool at night. I can't figure out what's making my allergies kick up. I never really had them until the past two or three years. They're saying the pollen is low, but the mold is high. Maybe that's it.

Our little soccer person actually made contact with the ball this week. She had two saves as goalie and backfield and worked the ball down field once, almost scoring. But when everyone else converges on the ball, she's out of there. Probably a good idea, since the middle of a collision of 8 to 10 six-year-olds probably isn't the greatest place to be.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Reality check

I've always felt anxiety and sympathy for people who live in the path of hurricanes. Many of the workshops I've taught have been in those areas, and some of my students have been hard hit in the past. We had a taste of that here in Ohio a week ago Sunday, hurricane-force winds, but fortunately, no rain. Nevertheless, the wind smacked down a 70-plus foot tree in my little woods and left the top of it resting on broken window panes in our dining room window. I had just walked through the dining room to my enclosed porch to read, when I heard the whump of the tree landing and the sound of breaking glass. We were pretty lucky at that. Even with no power for four days, we did have phone service and hot water. We lost all the food in the refrigerator. We both read by candlelight and kept a few perishables in an ice chest. We didn't get our Internet cable back until a few hours ago, so there hasn't been any emailing or blogging going out from here.

I did manage to drive to Cincinnati to pick up copies of Confident Color for my contributors, but I had no way to notify them I had them. The distributor hadn't shipped book orders yet, so I still don't know when it will be on the bookshelves or at Amazon.com. Just have to wait and see, I guess.

In the meantime, the tree was removed on Saturday, and we cleaned up as much as we could on the patio, where all the furniture was smashed flat. Tomorrow the glazier is coming to repair the windows. Lots of other stuff to finish up before we're back to normal. At least we don't have mud!

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Friday, September 12, 2008


Excuse me for shouting. The two-year odyssey is finally ended. Confident Color will soon be on bookstore shelves and available online at Amazon.com and other stores. I guess I can call my book officially published now.


Slides, book and workshop

While working on the slide program for the contemporary quilters' group on September 24, I've been thinking about what fun it will be to teach Confident Color in my workshop Oct. 6-10 in Dallas at Artists' Showplace. This will be my first workshop anywhere on the new book. Teaching color never gets old for me. There are so many directions to go with it, and my objective is to work with individuals on their personal color development in their artwork. This is the whole point of Confident Color. I'll bring my new slide program and either show it in class or let it run on my computer during the book-signing and exhibition scheduled for October 10. I'm told it's not too late to sign up for the workshop, so please contact Linda Rowe and join us for a great workshop week.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Figuring out image resolution

Do you have any idea how many different opinions there are about the best size and resolution for PowerPoint images? I'm aghast. Putting together the slide selection was easy, but the presentation file was more than half a gigabyte and I was pretty sure that wasn't a good idea. When I discovered my laptop and my new digital projector didn't have the same screen resolution, I wondered if that was a problem. I had an opportunity to question a presenter of a digital slide program on Monday. She ran down a list of things I needed to do, including downsizing my slides to 100ppi at 4"x6", using batch processing. That sounded awfully small, so I went to the Internet and Googled related terms. Then, it really got confusing. I lucked into a PowerPoint tutorial that recommended 96ppi at 1024x786, which is my laptop native resolution. So my next puzzle was whether to prepare slides for the laptop res or the projector res, which is 800x600. I decided to try both and made a test file using the same 5 slides in each res. They looked identical on the screen. To be on the safe side, I went with the higher resolution in case I'm provided with a projector with higher res or a really big screen. It's all guesswork on my part, but so far everything is working. One of my blog readers mailed me a nifty tip that I haven't tried yet, but sounds really promising. She says you can compress your PowerPoint presentation file after you have your unsized images placed and everything will be reduced to 96ppi. Cool. I couldn't try it, because most of my images needed cropping or enhancing, so I just resized them at the same time. Another bit of good advice, which I was already doing, was to be sure to keep the original files intact in case I need a larger image for printing. Another great learning experience.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

PowerPoint to the rescue, I hope.

Last week I agreed to give a slide talk on September 24 here in Dayton and they asked if they should provide a Carousel or a digital projector. I boldly said, "Digital," since I've been wanting to get my programs switched over for some time. Oops. There's a lot to do to accomplish that in such a short time. Fortunately, I have a ton of material on my hard drive, so I'll only have to scan a few slides to fill in the blanks of my talk. So far, I'm impressed with PowerPoint. I found a generic background in the program that will work. I tried to search Microsoft for other choices, but they got me so tangled up in validation of XP and Active-X downloads, that I gave up on that. Anyway, still a lot of work to do, but the slides are basically lined up the way I want them.

Our granddaughter came over yesterday for her last overnight before she starts to kindergarten on Friday. We had a grand time, but as usual, I didn't sleep well while she was here. She sleeps like a log, but I'm always listening for her. I took her to the daycare this morning and we stopped by to see little brother in his new toddler room. They were in the gym--5 little boys, 12 to 16 months old. Every one of them was pushing a wheeled bike or wagon around the room. It looked like a mini-NASCAR pit row before the race. Too funny.

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