Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Prize from the Almighty Adobe?

As those of you who follow my blog know, I have been in high angst over Queendom Website's move for months on end now.

Almost since the first day of its beta release, I have been following news of Adobe's new website program, Muse. I've followed it, read far too many articles on it where I understood maximum about 20% of what I read, been to far too many computer classes on how to do it and whiled away days and days trying to figure it out, and so forth. Angst and determination make a powerful couple.

Some time earlier this year, in my nearly-daily checking Adobe news, I found a survey on Adobe's site; click here, it said, and answer the following question: What two or three features or functions, if added to Muse, would make you use it more often / start using it?

Now I cared passionately about one feature, so I sat down and crafted as carefully as I could about 5 sentences explaining what I hoped for and why. I spent more time on those half dozen sentences than I ever remember spending. I was so centered on the message and the hope that somebody would read it that I forgot it was a contest with a prize for the best entry.

I simply clicked and sent my slaved-over words into cyber-space and moved on.


Yesterday morning an email arrived in my inbox saying, Congratulations, you are winner of the Adobe contest, please send the information to claim your prize money. Please reply before March 28.

Now how many of you reading this would think, yeah right, for sure someone is going to send Gay Ann prize money. How many of you would warn me, delete it, above all don't send any personal information because for sure this is a scam.

I looked at this email and thought, oh my, what chance is this for real? zip to zero, I figured!

Now Kate is always wise about things like this, so I forwarded the email to her. She told me, let's google the company. She found a general phone number, I phoned and guess what, after phone calls, emails and much assessment, it turned out to be for real!

OK, stop right now. How many of you are thinking, Gay Ann is indeed VERY naive!


I think it was for real, maybe I just want to believe it is for real, so of course I decided I had proper crowing rights and I crowed.
And here's the interesting part: not a single person to whom I crowed was anything but skeptical, as in 'are you sure it isn't a scam?'

The glory of my win (if indeed it was a win) was all lost, sinking in a sea of skepticism.

I am still crowing! I just talked to my framer, and after conducting our business, I said 'oh by the way....' and she replied, well, let me know when the check arrives; till then we'll see....


Are my friends right? What do you think?

Tell you what: I'll let you know for sure if and when the check arrives....

Gay Ann


Monday, March 26, 2012

Daydreaming in Painting Class and Its Results

In my last post I described the pleasure of sitting in painting class daydreaming.

When I wrote that post I had been in painting class for about 6-8 sessions, actually I can't remember exactly how many sessions, but I know I didn't accomplish much, unless you count mixing paints, dabbling a bit and daydreaming as something.

In the end all the mixing paints, dabbling and daydreaming added up to a new idea that hit me like a thunderbolt. Result: I've abandoned all work ethic and fiddled with my new idea for days now.

The problem is, work is breathing down hard on me in the form of unfinished kits, incomplete Mail Jail and of course endless streams of unanswered email. Now I'm back to an age-old scheme: I have to work so many hours to earn playtime.

But I cheat. I've succeeded in putting off work for 4 days now, all in the interest of yet more play.

Oh self discipline where are you when I need to access you?

Picture me looking around and not seeing self-discipline anywhere nearby.

Will my idea work?
Too early to tell yet, but it is terrifically captivating.

What if it doesn't work?
I'll have had days of creative frenzy and the amusement a good creative frenzy brings. That can't be all bad, can it? Excitement makes the endorphins flow, and aren't endorphins a sign of good health?

See how one can justify just about any escape from what one should be doing?

What if my idea does work?
Well, more excitement, more creative frenzy, more work avoidance.
It's all such a vicious circle isn't it.

But an entertaining one. Entertaining indeed.

And a nice thought that all my daydreaming and tinkering in painting class added up to a very big idea after all.

Gay Ann

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I've Learned in Painting Class

Whew! What a couple of tense days MacSoph and I had! Well, part 1 of Queendom Website's transition is over; now I have to do that 3 more times. Actually I'm going to see if I can talk my tutor Cody into doing it again next time.

I've been so tense and I'm working too much, and Natalie, my friend who is trying to help me widen my horizons, gently nudged me to go to painting class for certain this week, even though I have too many deadlines right now and too much stress in my life.

So I packed up my painting gear and off I went to painting class. It's about a 5 minute drive from my house.

When I arrived, I parked myself in my favorite spot, and I spent a lot of time gazing around the room and thinking. Finally my sweet young teacher said to me, when was I going to start painting? Soon, I said. She asked me what I was doing. I said I was thinking. She said I spend an awful lot of time thinking and not much time doing.

I've been in painting class now for about 8 weeks of actual class time and so far I've produced 3 variations (all unfinished) of one design, 2 variations (also unfinished) of a similar design and that's all.

You know, I spend my whole life working and producing things. I work toward goals and try to achieve them, I spend endless hours working on instructions and beads packets and endless endless hours on MacSoph, all producing something, getting on with work, finishing things, keeping up Queendom Website, writing in my classrooms at Shining Needle Society, and last year, in 2011 I stitched 35 designs which I sold at my hearts sale, my Royal Wedding Extravaganza and of course at the madhouse in my life, my E-Week Sale in October..

In painting classI don't have to try to be the best student; I don't have to paint a painting every time I'm there, I don't have to finish anything. I can just sit back, ask a few questions and reflect on various ways I might do something if I were so inclined and think. I don't have to work hard and produce something. I might just mix some paints and see what colors I can mix. I like to mix paints a whole lot. And I like to daydream about them.

I've thought up so many ideas in painting class! I make notes about them. I dab the paint sometimes onto paper, sometimes on to needlepoint canvas and I think what I might do if I redid it. How would I change the colors? How would I change the lines? How would I do the patterns if I were to stitch on top of the paint? I usually get about half-way through a painting, then painting class is over and I go back home to work again. Back to the grind of turning out work, the push to produce.

So in painting class I've proved a big disappointment.

But it's been a gift. No pressure, no stress. By the end of painting class last time I was so relaxed and sleepy that I came home and instead of working, I had a 2 hour nap.

Here's what painting class has taught me: I understand now why people collect needlework patterns, sort the threads and pet the design and imagine what wonderful things they will make.

I understand about the fantasy now. It's wonderful! Don't let go of it! Ever!

Gay Ann

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Transition Part 1

Whew! Three very tense and stressful hours and Queendom Website is moved.
You know, moving anywhere, whether it be for real or in cyberspace is always stressful.

But for nowIt's over and finished and I don't have to go through this again till Muse comes out of beta. Then I will finally move away from iWeb and to my new site. Yes, I decided to stay with my original plan of keeping iWeb with a new server until Muse is in general release.

For now, everything at Queendom Website looks the same and seems the same. It is a bit different behind the scenes, but up front it seems much the same.

If you find any differences or problems, will you please email me and let me know?

Thank you!
Gay Ann, much relieved.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moving Day for Queendom Website

I thought I would start moving my website yesterday, but moving day is tomorrow.

Soon as I know everything is up again and running well, I will post here and on my website.

Guess what day Queendom Website is moving: on the Ides of March. No matter what happens, Queendom Website's fate won't be as bad as Julius Caesar's, so all is looking up.

I am taking 6 deep breaths every hour and keeping my needle nearby for a dose of calm stitching when necessary.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Queendom Website: Transition

The time has come for Part 1 of Queendom Website's move.
In the next few days I will move my website from one server to another.

What does this mean?

Right now I publish Queendom Website on 'Mobile Me'. We are moving from one publisher to another, from Mobile Me to DynaDot.

What might you notice?

Hopefully you won't notice any difference.
There is a small possibility that it will be a rocky move. If this happens, I will post my progress here, on my blog.

If there are any irregularities, know that it isn't your computer, it's a period of transition for me, that's all.

Gay Ann

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sometimes Needlepoint Saves Me

I've had a bunch of stressful days. Nothing serious, just all website related.

Indeed all website related, and yesterday afternoon I spent most of my classtime very near tears.
I left class feeling frustrated, disappointed and directionless, as I face starting over yet again and learning another program for my website.

It will be my third one.

The first one was terrible. No, that's not fair to say; it was a great program but it is for people who live well in a box.
It forced me to line up everything in a tidy fashion. I know, I know, everything about web design is better when the elements are all lined up. But one can't go against one's grain and I was unhappy with everything I did in that program.

So I left it.

Then last summer along came a new program that was everything I wanted. I followed its progress and I played around with it from time to time, then In the last 3 months I began work on it in earnest.

I've worked nearly daily on it and I was so excited, I got exactly what I wanted, all on my own, no templates, no lined-up boxes, no unalterable padding and margins, etc.

And then it all came crumbling down around me. The program is in beta. Now in beta 6. It was supposed to come into general release in 'Early 2012'. I've followed its progress and my guess is, it will come into general release way too late for me. So with colossal disappointment I made up my mind I have to change programs yet again.

Now I've found a program which looks great. The tech support is unreal! I asked a question yesterday morning and had an answer back, as promised, in less than an hour. Remember, I was asking on Sunday morning. Amazing! Friendly, to-the-point and helpful. I took a short course as an overview and it looks very much easier than the other two programs I tackled. The company is large, ergo it's going to be around for a while, what's not to like.

Only one pretty hefty disappointment: it is totally template-based.

So here I am again, back to little boxes, all lined up in a row.

I guess the web world is so strongly in favor of little boxes all in a row that I can't fight it any longer. There simply isn't time.

So I came home yesterday from class very disappointed. I took a deep breath and picked up my needle, and it all came flooding back why I love needlework so much. I have some canvas, I have some thread, I can do anything I want. It's personal and up to me and there aren't any boxes and I learned long ago in my needlework career not to pay any attention to The Rules. I chilled and relaxed and left it all behind in the company of my needle.

A nice end to a frustrating couple of days and a reminder what an important role my needlework plays in my life.

This morning, the beginning of a new day, I see more options. What I may well do is move iWeb (my present website) to a new host and simply wait for the program I like. I still have nearly 3 months to decide. And I will learn the new program too, just in case I can come up with something I like.

Meanwhile, 12 Stitches a Day. Every day. My daily reminder that at least a part of my world belongs totally to me.

Gay Ann

Thursday, March 01, 2012

All the Beads for My Needlepoint Portrait of Elizabeth 1

Yesterday I finished writing instructions for my needlepoint miniature portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots. It was an arduous task, writing those instructions, and I was happy to see them come to an end. So happy, in fact, that I emailed Kate that I had finished and asked her if she could hear me shouting with joy all the way from San Diego to Dallas.

Yes, one task complete, but no rest for the wicked. Today I decided was the day to tackle the bead packets for my Elizabeth 1 class at Shining Needle Society which begins in a couple of months.

Elizabeth 1, as I stitched her, has a complex collection of beads and today I began the first stages of counting little beads into little baggies. Today I counted 34 (+ 2 extra) little gold balls, plus 1 green teardrop bead, plus 1 pearl teardrop, into 157 2" x 2" baggies.

After I finished my 157th baggie, I stopped and figured out how many little gold balls I have counted into 2" x 2" baggies since I first taught my Elizabeth portrait at Callaway a year ago, and when I did the math, the sum was 11,200 little gold balls.

In addition to little gold balls today, I counted 17 metal bugle beads along with 4 red beads, 4 green beads and 4 slightly larger gold balls into another 157 2" x 2" baggies. That was my day's work. In all there are 7 such 2" x 2" baggies that fit into a 3" x 4" baggie.

I didn't do the math for any more beads because I thought the totals might overwhelm me.

So why did I begin tackling the beads today? Because I want to go tomorrow morning to a bead show in search of... yes... more little gold balls, more red beads and green beads and also more slightly larger gold balls. I discovered my supply of them didn't extend as far as I needed. Oh, I have enough for my Elizabeth kits, but on Elizabeth's heels are Mary and Bess and they need all the same beads also.

I think my fate in the next year is to count another 3000-4000 little gold balls into more 2" x 2" baggies.

Such is my life right now, and probably into the future. I don't mind, for there are worse things: I could spill all those thousands of little beads. That would indeed be much worse.

It is always satisfying when little beads are all safely fitted into their little baggies. Then they can't spill, can they.
Unless the baggies rip, but that thought is too much for today.

Gay Ann