Friday, July 31, 2009

Keeping up with all your favourite blogs

How do you keep up with all your favourite read blogs? I use IGoogle as my home page. If you would like to set yourself up, read on....

Once you have signed in (if you already have a google account), it is really simple to add content. Click on the "Add Stuff" link on the right (underneath the usual google search bar). There you can search through all the typical "gadgets", like weather, clocks, or email viewers.

Once you've got the standard start page up and running, now go to your favourite blog. To find the "subscribe" link is sometimes quite challenging in amongst the flashy pictures and text, so I do a find (ctrl button + f) and search for the word "feed" or "subscribe". Click on the link, select google (usually by clicking on another button) then on the "Add to Google" page, click on the "Add to Google homepage" button. Your igoogle page then loads up and you should see your new blog feed in the top left position.

Now, if you're adventurous, you can decorate and arrange your homepage , by dragging the gadget (blocks) around, adding tabs when you have too many on one page, and using themes to add some colour.

If you like this post and want more, please leave a comment :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is it lame to copy Conrad Botes?

Just how cool is Conrad Botes' kid's room? Ok well the chair doesn't look too comfy, but the mural on the wall is fun and funky. Not only is he a succesful artist (we own a print called Pink Burden) but his wife is apparently a stylist. Anyway, my question is, is it cool to today copy him - he has published one of the stencils. [via Craftzine + Elle Decoration South Africa)

Edited 19 September 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last day of freedom

Tomorrow I start my 3 day a week job, so it's my last day of freedom (and almost over).

Today I did two exciting things - set up my Bernina funlock 004 (which I inherited from my mom) and went to the Long Street Baths for a quick swim with baby C.

Threading the overlocker was not as hectic as I remembered (the diagram on the inside of the machine was pretty helpful as well as knowing the numbers mean the order in which they must be threaded.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How I fixed it (or figured out how it works)

So the other day I couldn't resist buying two Priddy books for Baby C - Alien Al and Dizzy Dragon - they were on special at Exclusive Books for R15 a piece. When I got home later I realised why they were marked down so drastically - the sound on the last page didn't always play and for a few days it didn't work at all.

I asked my friend Google for the answer, but found nothing, only disgruntled reviews on Amazon. This seemed like a challenge for inspector Dagmar....

Having a closer look at the mechanism gave me some clues - instead of like those cheap musical cards, it didn't work on a trigger switch built into the spine, but if you look closely there is a little sensor peeping out a tiny hole, which looked like a LED light. I fiddled around and made sure the sensor was positioned nicely in the center of the hole. That didn't work.

Thinking a bit more (which hurt a bit I might add) I deducted that the sensor probably works on the amount of light - so when the sensor finds light it realises the page is open and plays. So, continuing with that line of reasoning, I opened the book somewhere where there was plenty of light (next to the window or next to a bright lamp) instead of the dim bedroom where I usually read Baby her books, and Bingo! It works! Every time. Until the battery runs out that is...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You have to click on this link

I would love to put up a photo of these great no-sew sock toys, but they are copyrighted, so you must just click on the link. They have bears, goldfish, snails, bunnies, dolls, basically more than you could have imagined was made out of a sock (or two). All you need are elastics, socks, stuffing, glue and a black marker pen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

postage spreadsheet

I've made my South African postage cost comparison spreadsheet (prices correct for today), available to everyone (via Google docs - no login required). It's still a work in progress, so let me know if you have anything to add, or if you see some mistakes. Thanks

50 buttons!

Today I am sewing the final touches onto the lovenest chair for baby C. I have to attach buttons onto the cushion. The original had 50 but I forgot to count both sides and only bought 25 - dope! I also did my usual trick and bought half a meter too little fabric (aaarrrggghh), so had to put a join on the back.

I wish I had a photo to share of me, in my pjamas, top stitching the piping, but try picture me standing hunched over at the sewing machine with a huge round cushion (diameter 1.32m, radius 4.4m) resting on the table and the adjacent couch.

I'll post a picture when it is done.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What to do when you have lots of cardboard

FoldSchool... i'm all over it when my boxes arrive from NL... cute kids furniture folded from cardboard. This is the rocker pictured left, their most advanced project.
It got me inspired, so I googled and found some more free guides:

Update on postage

Two days ago I wrote about postage costs from south africa and about the "large letter" category that I thought could make things cheaper. I got a comment from someone who said that customs wouldn't allow non-documents though. I checked myself at the post office yesterday and it is correct - the name "large letter" is apparently there for a reason - documents only. It seems some post office workers allow you to send small parcels as letters, but it's probably not worth the risk if customs will hold up your post.

I also have one other post secret to share with you. EMS - expediated mail service - a international courier service from the post office which, depending on weight could work out to be a better option (tariff calculator).

Another correction on my previous post. PostNet Global Mail is the best option if your items are around 50 grams, and you want to post them like a parcel (not in a plain envelope).

weight EMS (USA) PN (USA) PO small parcel large parcel (USA) large parcel (EU)
1 250 0.403 23.3 112.6 139.6
50 250 20.15 23.3 112.6 139.6
100 250 40.3 23.3 112.6 139.6
250 250 100.75 69.9 145.8 160.9
500 250 201.5 116.5 179 182.2
751 310 302.653 186.4 228.8 214.15
1001 370 403.403 256.3 278.6 246.1
1250 370 503.75 302.9 311.8 267.4
1500 370 604.5 349.5 345 288.7
1751 430 705.653 419.4 394.8 320.65
2001 490 806.403 489.3 444.6 352.6
1250 490 503.75 302.9 311.8 267.4
1500 490 604.5 349.5 345 288.7
2751 550 1108.65 652.4 560.8 427.15
3001 610 1209.4 722.3 610.6 459.1

(as before - weight in grams and money in Rands.)

Interesting stuff - If you have any experiences or advice, please do post a comment

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Make baby stuff!

Just found this great site to make baby stuff which said if you can operate a sewing maching, you can make wooden toys... hurrah - that gives me hope..

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Postage from South Africa, your cheapest options

Postage from South Africa always seems astronomically high, and it's tough to try compete with US based Etsy sellers. On top of that the people behind the counter at the South Africa Post Office (SAPO) don't offer advice on how to lower your costs.

My first revelation was that if you use an envelope sized 353 x 250 mm with a maximum thickness of 30mm and are posting something weighing up to 300g - it will only cost R30.65, but make sure they use the 'large letter' category. (This is in comparison to R23.30 per 100g (or part there of) for a small parcel - a saving of R39.25!)

My latest revelation was that PostNet could be cheaper - their Global Mail product uses DHL to the border, and then local postal services to your customer. Their pricing is also per gram (not per 100g) which made me suspect they would work out cheaper, but after creating a quick Excel sheet, I found out not:

weight SAPO PN (UK) PN (USA) PN (EU) PN (Else)
300 30.65 118.2 120.9 122.4 132.6
350 93.2 137.9 141.05 142.8 154.7
400 93.2 157.6 161.2 163.2 176.8
450 116.5 177.3 181.35 183.6 198.9
500 116.5 197 201.5 204 221
550 139.8 216.7 221.65 224.4 243.1
600 139.8 236.4 241.8 244.8 265.2
650 163.1 256.1 261.95 265.2 287.3
700 163.1 275.8 282.1 285.6 309.4
750 186.4 295.5 302.25 306 331.5
800 186.4 315.2 322.4 326.4 353.6
850 209.7 334.9 342.55 346.8 375.7
900 209.7 354.6 362.7 367.2 397.8
950 233 374.3 382.85 387.6 419.9
1000 233 394 403 408 442
Note: weight in grams, prices in rands (ZAR).

The real question now is, will your customer think you are weird if you send lots of small 300g parcels? It is undoubtably the cheapest, but I guess more separate pieces means more chance of them getting lost. Hmmmm

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

They've got their facebook presence

Two companies that I think have made a worthwhile Facebook presence - Wired magazine (my favourite internet/tech read) and Craft Magazine. They post relevant and regular notes, which I enjoy reading. Coincidentally, these are two magazine's (as opposed to my fan clubs for Flights of the Concord or Marmite, or Starbright girl jewelery, or the fabulous shop Mooi).

The note that inspired me to make this post - the circles quilt, pictured left.

Monday, July 13, 2009

tie your kanga

If you've ever wondered (like me) how to wear kangas, this website will reveal all (including this elegant dress tied with two).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shwe-shwe gift cards

How great are these shwe shwe gift cards (available on Etsy) from JacciR? She also has other stationary.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bookshelves, which would you choose?

Our boxes are arriving at the end of the month, and we will have hundreds of books and records (eek). In the spirit of being prepared, I am thinking of getting some free standing bookshelves made. Which would you choose?


separate boxes


Friday, July 10, 2009

My sewing nook

As per usual, it takes me a while to stop procrastinating and get things set up. The boxes from Durbs have been mostly unpacked and organised, I bought fabric and supplies last week...
The soccer ball challenge got me inspired, now let's see what is next

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is a truncated icosahedron?

Emme guessed correctly - a soccer ball, or otherwise known as a football. I will give Brendan half points for saying a hat - half way through it sat on his head and had a nice Davy Crocket tail.
My first edition is almost full sized, so next time my hexagons and pentagons will be halved (it is meant to be a baby toy in celebration of 2010 world cup being held in South Africa).

Truncated Isoahedron curtesty of Wolfram, developers of the newest, most exciting computational search engine - Wolfram Alpha. (sorry for the geek-out)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Advice from the Etsy forums

From the Etsy success newsletter (which I blogged about before) - 20 questions your buyers are asking - advice on how to make those item descriptions perfect.