Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Every year, I get giddy when spring rolls around. Maybe it's the anticipation of getting the garden ready for its growing season. Maybe it's watching the tulips and daffodils push up through the soil like an annual reminder that no matter how bad the winter, spring and regrowth will always return. Whatever it is, I wish you the happiest of Easter holidays if you celebrate. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Little St. Patrick's Day Lesson About Snakes

Whether you're Irish, or Irish at heart, I hope you have a magnificent St. Patrick's Day! In between your bouts of green beer and Irish food today, you might be interested in a little factoid I dug up on the Internet.

You may have heard the legend of Saint Patrick, who is said to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland. While good ol' Saint Pat might have done some amazing things in other respects, the absence of snakes in Ireland was not actually his doing. Wikipedia also mentions that New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica are also snake-free (make a note of that, ophidiophobics).

There's a very interesting article at Popular Science about Ireland's snakeless state. While Ireland is currently free of native snakes, there are pet and zoo snakes living there. Imported snakes are not illegal. However, if these pets get free of their owners, they run the risk of becoming an invasive species. As anyone in Australia can tell you, invasive species are bad news. Snakes have many uses, but in a foreign environment with no limiting factors, they could be devastating to an ecosystem.

For now, though, Ireland remains largely snake-free, so you can sip that green beer and listen to some traditional Irish harp music. Sláinte!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Spring Fever Sewing

So, who out there hates those ugly black neoprene and nylon computer bags? Yeah, me, too. It's been an ongoing battle to find a bag that is a) cute, b) durable, and c) roomy enough for all my stuff. I've gotten tired of lugging my netbook, purse, and assorted books and notebooks around in separate bags, too.

I've been looking for a decent, pretty netbook sleeve since getting my netbook, and nothing has ever really wowed me. I've had the ugly black bag, a brown neoprene one, and everything in between. This, in addition to carrying a purse. Over the weekend, I happened across an adorable tote bag at Joann Fabrics. The inside, unfortunately, was one large space...and you know that means hunting for your stuff at the bottom of that inner-bag wasteland. Then I saw the butterfly fabric that matched it, and I knew I'd found something I wanted to use to make a sleeve that finally fit my netbook properly.

Assuming I could find a pattern, and sew it. Anyone who knows me is pretty well aware that I am not known for my sewing abilities, however, I have been known to sew a straight line when necessary.

I bought the tote, fabric, and notions, then went right to Amazon and found a tote organizer that will fit inside the tote. This is basically the "guts" of a purse, with separate pockets and whatnot for all your smallish things, while still allowing space inside your bag for something big, like a notebook or binder (or netbook sleeve and cords). Whoever invented this thing is brilliant, because now I can change out bags and just put the guts in whichever one I decide is "it" for the season. So, here is the pile of crafty stuff I started with:

I managed to find a very easy tutorial for a Simple Laptop Sleeve that didn't require a great deal of skill to construct. Elizabeth explains everything carefully, with step-by-step pictures. Positively wonderful.

So, after two evenings at the dining room table, I wound up with something beautiful that fits my netbook. What do you think?

If I can do it, so can you. Believe me! I was worried enough about the end result at first to want to farm it out to a quilting friend, but it really is that easy. I will try to edit this post with some better lighting so you can see the beautiful colors in this fabric. It didn't take much, either. You probably have enough scrap lying around to knock one of these together! I'm thrilled with the end result, and now I (and my "stuff") will be ready for spring!

Edit: Here are some pictures taken in better lighting, so you can see the finished product more clearly!