Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Drapes, Utility Closets, and Record Storage

First things first - we took the time after work to go and vote.  We live in the province of British Columbia and today, May 14th, we are having a provincial election.  I did my best to explain to Walter what an election meant.  I told him that when he was 18 he could vote too.  He said he would vote Yes.  I told him that you had to vote for a specific person.  He still figured he would vote Yes and that we should too.  Yes ... we voted.

Now, on to today's topic:  Drapes, Utility Closets, and Record Storage.  I could have added another 6, 15, 32 items, but felt I should stick to no more than three.  I might actually get through three things by the end of the month ... if I keep pressing on.  I've actually already been working on the first one.  In fact, I thought I could tick it off my list last weekend.  It didn't happen.  Here's the problem with that first item.

We've been slowly working away at updating the window coverings we inherited when we moved in.  We put curtains in the family room, updated the curtains in the dining room, and have ordered blinds for the three front facing windows on the upper floor.  The one I'm working on at the moment is the curtains (drapes?) that cover the sliding door that leads onto our balcony.  It's a rather large slider - 94" from the inside frame.  That's just shy of 8 feet wide. 

I thought I'd go simple and chose the Merete curtains from Ikea.

Each panel measures 98" high and 57" wide.  That means it should cover 114" wide, right?  No.  See, curtains need extra material to create those pretty folds.  The 20" difference between the 94" opening and the 114" width of the two panels of drapes isn't enough.

I started researching ... apparently I should be looking for 1.5 to 3 times the width.  That would mean I should be searching for curtains that are 141" to 282" wide.  The only problem with that is that it's almost impossible to find that wide.  Yes, I could go custom, but that's really getting more expensive than I want to go at this time.  So, I'm thinking I should sew something.  Now my problem becomes narrowing down my fabric choice (there are so many lovely fabrics!).  I'm also thinking a bit outside the box by considering sheet fabric.  I'll let you know what I do.

Next on the list:  Utility Closet.  We have a weird one, located between the kitchen and family room.  I say weird because the flue for the furnace that's located in the basement goes through this space.  This means that the closet isn't a regular square space.  It has a portion that is less than half the depth of the other side.  No standard shelving for this baby.

I really need this space to work as a recycling spot (newspaper, other paper products, glass-plastic-metal), cleaning materials storage (think brooms, paper towels), and a place for Manuel to put his work bag so that it's accessible, but out of the way.  Manuel really wants to build shelving for this space, but he's got a lot of other things on his list.  In the interim I'm thinking of something a little more mobile, that could be re-purposed in the future.  I'm working on ideas, creating a list of possible details.  When I have something more solid I'll share.

Last on the list:  Record Storage.  When I say record storage I'm not talking paper ... I'm talking LPs, vinyl.  That old-fashioned stuff that people used to have that allowed them to listen to music.  CDs have really replaced LPs ... and more recently, digital files that people download are now the norm.  Still, I have some 400 plus LPs as well as 400 plus EPs (single song versions).  They take up a lot of space as evidenced by the boxes in our living room which is where they currently reside.

I'm thinking I should shift the items on my bookcase within my study and put the LPs on the bottom shelf.  This means pulling the bookcase out by 1/2" ... which, of course, means I add another job to Manuel's list.

Such is life.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Family Date Night

Picture it.  It's Saturday night, 7:30 PM.  Walter should be getting a bath any moment, with a book and bedtime to follow.  Instead Manuel pipes up, "Let's go bowling."  Aha ... right.  Reluctantly I agreed (it was Manuel's night to put Walter to bed ... so my "free" night to relax ... I got a little grumpy losing my time).  Off we go ... to Cloverdale.  Yes, of course ... because five-pin bowling isn't just anywhere.  In fact, there aren't very many of them, and for a five year old five pin is a lot easier to do.  So, yes, Cloverdale.  That's a good 40 kilometers from our home ... 30 plus minutes.

I decided to just let things happen.  Drop my grumpy feelings and enjoy the time with my two guys.  So worth it.  Best Family Date Night ever!

We all had a blast.  Manuel used to play in a league, so naturally he did quite well ... even if he was a little rusty.

Walter and me?  Well, I came in dead last!  That's OK ... I enjoyed myself, and I did get better as we played.

Final score:  Manuel - 533, Walter - 333, and Me - 305.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Lightroom - Being My Own Teacher

I do a lot of on-line researching for my daytime job, so perhaps what I'm about to say won't resonate with everyone.

As you know I recently purchased Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 to help me improve my post-photography images.  Nowadays when you buy software you are very likely not going to get much more than a CD/DVD and the packaging that disc came in.  Perhaps a piece of paper encouraging you to register, but rarely will you get any kind of user manual.  This means you have to find your way around the software on your own.  This is where my on-line researching skills come into play.

Now I love manuals.  I'm the kind of person who reads the user manual on everything I buy if it's provided.  So, if it doesn't come with it?  I start using Google to search for on-line content to read and view.

This is what I did with Lightroom.  One simple source I found was probably the most obvious:  AdobeTV.  This is where I found Learn Lightroom 4.  Simple videos that are generally less than six minutes in length - perfect for watching, learning, and applying in short bursts.

Today I learned the basics to touching up photos in Lightroom.



The great thing with Lightroom is it is non-destructive to your digital images.  It uses a metadata system to record everything you do to the photo and stores that information separately.  The original image allows remains as is.