Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fabric Flower

Perhaps this one is a bit too spiky to be a flower, but its pretty nonetheless.

Today's Gratitude Item: Having a vector version of my school's logo. It makes creating material for my classroom a lot easier / more professional.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dali's Bloom

This one reminded me of something that Dali might make (or at least admire). Does that make it a "dalia"??

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally figuring out how to change the order of songs in a google music playlist (can't have itunes on an android device). It turns out that all you need to do is drag the song using the square on the left hand side. So easy. This means that I can ditch WinAmp (which was crashing far too much) and simply go with google music. It turns out that google music is perfect for my needs and life is once again really good.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Curved Columns

This one took a surprising amount of effort. It was a real challenge to get it to look "just right"

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting my hands on a blue plastic key cover. Its surprising how much easier things are when you know which key is which. The person who invented those was a genius.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eyes Have It

Or, perhaps, "It has eyes".

Today's Gratitude Item: The screen protector that I ordered for my K1 Ideapad arrived today. It doesn't appear to do all that much to limit fingerprints but its nice to have something protecting the glass and it was not too expensive.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Straight and Narrow

A simple fractal which demanded some extra clip art.

Today's Gratitude Item: My classroom looks a lot better than it did before. Have finally gotten around to claiming the space by removing a lot of old stuff that was on the walls and replacing it with more recent work. This is still a work in progress, in part because I ran out of staples for my trusty staple gun. Am hoping to get most of the job complete before the students return on Wednesday of next week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Wrinkles

Sometimes, wrinkles can be very pretty indeed.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finding the winamp music app for my android. I've been struggling for weeks to find a music app which will let me change the order of songs in a playlist. Happily winamp does this beautifully. It's not a perfect solution as the winamp android app does not appear to have a search function. The work around for this is to use winamp for most things and google music if searching becomes necessary. Oh... it also crashes on a semi-regular basis but I can probably live with this. Will of course keep my eyes out for a better "all-in-one" solution.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tunnel Light

Beware the light at the end of the tunnel - its probably an oncoming train!

Today's Gratitude Item: That "our" dance hall is available for a mini-workshop that I'm in the process of organising. Getting the venue, date and time sorted means that I can now advertise the event so that out of town participants have plenty of time to get sorted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creative Needs

Needed to be creative - this was the result.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finding a great little video which explains how to use Freemind. I've been asked to show my colleagues how to use Freemind on Tuesday and being able to show them this video will make everyone's life a lot easier.

Note to windows users: If you are using Freemind and want to quickly insert a new node, you have to push either <enter> or <insert>. <Tab> only works on a mac.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Diamond Sky

Took a while to find suitable colours, but the time spent was worth it.

Today's Gratitude Item: The fact that typing in error messages into google invariable leads to a solution. My K1 Ideapad decided to automatically update itself with the latest "829" update but in the process things got a bit scrambled. Every time I tried to do anything, I got this error about a certain application that failed and the on-screen keyboard appeared to be MIA. After deleting the offending application, the problem was solved. Its a real pity that Lenovo released this update before it was, in my opinion, completely ready. A quick glance at the preceding link will show that I'm not the only one to experience big problems with it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Accidental Kite

This one appeared when I accidentally deleted a transform. The result was better than the "original". In this case at least, "less" was certainly "more".

Today's Gratitude Item: I now have a magnificent petrol green quilted 'sleeve' for my Android. Said sleeve should protect it from bumps and scratches and means that the Android can finally leave the house. All I can say at this point is "thanks mum"!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Twisted Tile

Loved the metallic / overlapping feel of this one. Was relatively quick to create which is always a bonus.

Today's Gratitude Item: That the new trousers I bought last week are really, really comfortable. Comfortable is good :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Food Processor from Hell

Today's entry is a very different from my usual offerings (don't worry, we'll be back to 'normal' tomorrow).

It turns out that our much loved, much used Philips food processor "sort of" died. "Sort of" meaning that one of the critical plastic parts which was perished finally broke meaning we can't use the machine to grate cheese, carrots, nuts and so on. So, the search was on for a replacement.

We finally settled on a smart looking Russell Hobbs machine which had similar functions to our trusty Philips. Unfortunately, said machine is incredibly poorly designed. I suspect they know about the issues as the manual does reference some of the problems but their suggestions for avoiding the issues are ineffective.

Here's a picture of the shiny, new instruction manual that came with the machine.

So, with a picture being worth a thousand words, here is what happened when I grated 1 Kg of chilled (straight from the refrigerator) Tasty Cheddar cheese.

About 800 g of cheese resulted in 162 g of soft ungrated cheese at the top of the machine. Once I'd grated the remaining 200g of cheese, I put the ungrated cheese back into the machine and after that was left with 80g of useless, ungrated cheese which was far too soft to do anything with.

In addition, when transferring cheese part way through the process, some inevitably falls into the middle of the machine as in the photo below.

Sadly, the story does not end there. Cleaning this particular model was beyond difficult. The chute through which food passes on its way to the grating blade is two units which have been joined together in such a way that trapped food is almost impossible to dislodge. Said units cannot be dismantled for easy cleaning.

Also, the lid of the food processor has been really badly designed as soft cheese gets wedged into part of it as shown by the red area in the image below. It's impossible to adequately describe the level of frustration experienced when attempting to get this device cleaned. Did I mention that the food pusher itself has ridges on the bottom rather than being flat further complicating the cleaning process.

Today's Gratitude Item: That we can get our money back and return the machine reviewed above with ease.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love Tile

The appearance of the heart was a pleasant surprise. Isolating it and then reusing it on the LHS of the image was not as hard as one might think.

Today's Gratitude Item: That my sewing machine works even if the light bulb does not. Let's just say that the whole 'bag making' adventure is continuing and so far its going well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fooling Around

This cold be a funky button on a not so traditional joker / harlequin costume - hence the name.

I have darkened the image below on flickr as a symbolic protest against the pending legislation of two U.S. piracy bills. I'm not against piracy, but the bills in their current form could have an impact far beyond that which is intended.

Today's Gratitude Item: Successfully making a miniature bag to hold the power cable for my K1 Ideapad. Tomorrow's mission is to make a full sized bag (more like a sleeve) for the K1. I could spend between $40 and $70 buying a bag but making one which is individual from sort of recycled fabric was more appealing. Needless to say the 'big' bag will be sufficiently padded to protect the Ideapad from any accidental knocks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jewel Star

Sometimes things just all "click" into place - this was one of those times.

Today's Gratitude Item: Shutterstock accepted a bunch of images that I thought would not make it. Here's hoping that they sell.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sieve Star

This one worked better than expected. The intricate white detail was only visible once the transparent background was replaced with something a bit more solid.

Today's Gratitude Item: Freemind. It's an open source (and thus free) mindmapping tool that has considerable power. It can be used for all sorts of things like summarising / structuring information, making notes and even planning. I will be getting my students to download this piece of software and I suspect we will be using it quite a bit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sound Design

Named as it reminded me of what sound waves might look like if we could see them.

Today's Gratitude Item: Making it through a walk without my hat being blown off. It's been rather windy most days and walking with one hand holding down said hat is somewhat awkward (and looks funny too). The good news is that it was not too windy today. Bad news is that we got caught two houses from home in a sudden downpour meaning we got pretty damp despite making a run for it (literally)!

Friday, January 13, 2012

So Star

An experiment. Its a bit "busy" for my taste but not a complete failure.

Today's Gratitude Item: It turns out that there is a New Zealand Herald app for my android. I'll probably download it in the near future and see if the reading experience via the app is better than on the web. It's great that accessing the news is so easy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunset Spiral

The colours on this one worked well.

Today's Gratitude Item: My car is "good to go" as in it had a service and got a WOF (warrant of fitness) which is great. Did I ever mention how much I love my car :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hot Crazy

Ironically, this one was created on a cold, miserable day.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally finding a way to stop the annoying spam generated by LinkedIn. You might be familiar with their messages - the ones where someone invites you to join their network (even though you don't have and don't want a LinkedIn account). The invitation message is followed up with frequent annoying reminders. Anyhow, it turns out that you can get LinkedIn to add you to their do not contact list and that will stop all invitations and reminders. I can say that today I have reclaimed my Inbox!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Had fun with this one - it looks like a starfish on steroids.

Today's Gratitude Item: Being able to play "Angry Birds" and watch TV at the same time. A truly geeky way to relax.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Zipped Up

Something went wrong (or right) at the zipper factory. Its all a matter of perspective.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally getting started on my planning for the upcoming term. It's good to have at least some of it out of the way.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Star Ripple

This Star of David appeared with minimal effort on my part. It might look good on a greeting card.

Today's Gratitude Item: New Shoes, T-Shirts and some lovely chocolates thrown in for good measure. Gotta love those post Christmas sales.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Fire Fan

Things got a bit heated when this one was made - hence the fire fan.

Today's Gratitude Item: Mindless games. Sometimes its good to be able to just turn off one's brain and play for a bit.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Hot Jellyfish

The jellyfish strike again! These are either the result of a nuclear "accident" or global warming.

Today's Gratitude Item: Speedy email responses. It's really great when people respond quickly to emails. It's not expected but it does make life a lot easier.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Ring Lord

The texture of this one was especially appealing. Took a while to find a gradient that worked and in the end, something simple was best.

Today's Gratitude Item: Discovering that if you put bread dough in the fridge, it still rises and in my case was easier to work with compared with leaving it covered on the bench. You learn something new everyday. I'd thought that putting the dough in the fridge would slow down the rising but for some weird reason that did not happen.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Flame Fan

Got really lucky with this one, both in the form and with the colours. It did not take all that long to create and is a variant of "So Many Stairs".

Today's Gratitude Item: Not over-mixing the mini-chocolate muffins that I made today. They worked really well and taste great. Only problem is they have a limited shelf life (as in they won't last very long).

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

So Many Stairs

Playing with the "Xaos" feature of Apo allowed some extra tweaking resulting in this.

Today's Gratitude Item: Got Gamemaker to co-operate and have almost finished creating a relatively simple platform game. Said game (the third in a series of skill building exercises) was a good introduction to the basics and this means that when my students get to create their own games I'll be able to help them with confidence.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Blast Radius

At least this explosion is more pretty than destructive.

Today's Gratitude Item: Being able to download reading material long after the library has closed. I'm loving the whole e-book experience. The only downside is that there seems to be a waiting list for a large number of books. I guess some things never change.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Jelly Tide

Reminded me of jellyfish swimming in the ocean - hence the name.

Today's Gratitude Item: Air conditioning and ice cream. Its hot and muggy at the moment and any respite is more than welcome. Gotta love summer!