Friday, December 5, 2014

Arkansas Crossroads quilt block

I love those quilts that make you work to figure it out. And again I was way off - although there is more than one way to skin this cat, as you'll see at the bottom of this post. This is the Arkansas Crossroads quilt that 24 Blocks shared on their facebook page (from Charlotte T.)

Arkansas Crossroads quilt

I had three different ideas for how this might be done but none of them were as simple as how you actually do it.

The basic block (from ) :

Arkansas Crossroads quilt block

Four of them together (from ) :

Arkansas Crossroads quilt blocks

And some basic how-to's with pictures on (more illustrations on their site):

A look at another Arkansas Crossroads quilt. This one is on Quilts from the Bluffs and she offers an excellent free pattern on her page. Her way is how I thought this quilt would go together. Probably the way I'll do it.

Arkansas Crossroads quilt on QFTB

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beta tank inside a bigger aquarium

This is a 3-gallon round tank inside our 20-gallon aquarium. It has a ceramic soup mug under it to lift it up high enough that the surface is level with the water surface in the bigger tank. At first I had it sitting on the bottom but remembered that beta's need to surface regularly. My first clue was when he started clutching his throat and going into death spasms. Just kidding. Anyway...

The beta has plenty of room to swim around. He gets to interact with the guppies and tetras without any harm. The guppies will sometimes gather and watch the beta like they're at Sea World or something.

Betas don't usually feel threatened by smaller fish but the guppies seem to be big enough that betas will see them as a threat and attack. I tried putting a beta in with an oscar one time, thinking no way will the beta go after that big ole fish. Wrong. That poor oscar was just minding his own business and the beta went after him like a Tasmanian devil.

I put plastic canvas craft mesh on top of the beta tank to keep him from going Evil Knievel over the side into the main tank. They will if they get the chance. I melted four holes into the top of the plastic tank with a soldering iron so I could secure the mesh onto the tank with twist ties. There is a small hole for the air stone tube (air set low so the surface is calm enough for the beta to make his bubble nests). The pellet food just drops through the mesh.

This is the plastic canvas I mean. Like for yarn crafts, etc.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Illustrating the cat

I have 4 picture book projects to illustrate (two of my own and two for friends) but haven't been really satisfied with where my look/style is.

This is Fiday night's illustration of our kitten and her fear of the thunder storm going on.

Cute but kinda boring.

This is last night's (Saturday) illustration of the same concept. Trying to push more toward funny and more personality.

Less worry about being cat-shaped; more fun.

My friend Wanda says this is what her dog Meesha
does during a thunderstorm.

Here are the steps. All digital. I use GIMP; it's similar to photoshop but without the pricetag.

Simple line drawing.


Some shading.

More shading. Details added.

Window and lightening was pretty much an afterthought.

KABOOM! Light 'er up.

The cat's unofficial name at our house is El Pinche Gato, courtesy of my husband. I looked up "pinche" in my 1987 college Spanish dictionary and it said "rotten". So I went around saying pinche this, pinche that.

Then my father-in-law, who is Hispanic, asked Sweetheart how Spanish class was going at school. I jokingly told Sweetheart to walk into class and say "Pinche escuela." My father-in-law nearly choked on his dentures.

So I typed el pinche gato into Google translate. Google had a slightly different take on "pinche" that involved the f-word. It explains why my father-in-law didn't think pinche escuela was a good idea.

(I just now checked Google translate again; it now says "click the cat" is the translation. That is NOT what it said a few months ago when I checked).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bring faded plastic fenders back to black

(UPDATE 04/22/2016 - It looked really good for about a year and then not quite as black after that. We're on year two now and you can tell it's faded to a dark gray. But it's still not the pale gray that it was in these photos.)

We bought an old 97 jeep cherokee sport from a friend this week and are fixing it up for College Man. It doesn't need a whole lot done. We changed the spark plugs, put in a new valve cover gasket, cleaned it up, and are about to put a couple of new tires on it. The spark plugs were really all that was needed to get the sputter out. We wanted to put on a new fuel filter but it is inside the tank of this particular model. Since the spark plugs cleared up the sputter, we'll wait a bit longer and replace the filter and fuel pump all at once.

A cool thing I learned from a youtube video was how to get the sun-bleached fenders and other faded plastics back to black... take a heat gun to them.

This is how it turned out on ours. Took about an hour and a half for all fender flares and bumpers.

And BONUS! Check out how bleepinjeep did some cool DIY bushwhacker fenders for cheap in this video. We're gonna do it!

As for heat guns...

I borrowed my dad's but some time before I start pulling up the ugly old linoleum in my laundry room, I'll get my own. This Wagner had the best reviews and was about middle of the price range, $22 bucks on Amazon (the range for heat gun prices was $15 to $30).

No matter where I wind up buying what I'm looking for, I usually check Amazon reviews first. Those people are brutally honest. (Plus, I learned something about fixing the xbox 360 Red Ring of Death in J. Hagen's review... awesome.)

2 heat settings, weighs under 2 lbs. Over 450 amazon reviewers liked it. Sounds good to me.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Jennifer" Quilt Pattern, a.k.a Cajun Hopscotch :)

Pam P. demonstrated how this quilt goes together. SOOO much simpler than how I thought.

This is the quilt that posted on their facebook page, and said "From our reader, Becky."

Here's the one block Pam P. showed us that makes this quilt. It's made of half-square triangles. See it?...

Here is the one block...

Like I said earlier, we've got those half-square triangles licked; click here for how to make them quick and easy. Basically, for this one, you're going to make a million of them that are half white and half colorful scraps. Maybe a bazillion; depends. Then sew them together like the block above.

From there you could sew four together to make bigger blocks and so on, or you could sew them together in rows. I'm still trying to decide which way I would be least likely to screw something up.

One more look at the whole thing...

Thanks Becky, Pam, and 24Blocks! Can't wait to make my own!

PS...Several readers listed the book that the Jennifer quilt pattern is in, "3 Times the Charm". It's available on Amazon. (I bought it just now; looks like it has a bunch of sweet quick ones).

PPS...They named all their quilts girl's names. I like names like Drunkards Path and Arkansas Crossroads. A Google search shows plenty of people making this particular half square triangle quilt but nobody seems to know a traditional name for it. How 'bout Cajun Hopscotch. Why Cajun, because I have a friend named Cajun Ray. And it sounds cool. And the quilt is kind of hard to understand at first.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Favicon for GoDaddy Website Builder v7, workaround

After searching for an hour for instructions to add a favicon to my website with Godaddy's Website Builder version 7, I discovered a long list of complaints that favicons are not supported in v7.

Here is a workaround that will get you two out of three. My favicon shows up in the browser tab and on the favorites bar but not in the address bar. See it here.

We now have two ways of getting this done:



1. Design your icon and download it. I used . Or use one of the design tools on

2. Upload to an icon hosting site like

3. Copy the code provided by the icon hosting site (the code under "Host it at direct link)

Skip to step 9 below to place the code in Godaddy's Website Builder.

(Thanks to Eucrest's comment below for the icon hosting idea.
I just tried this on my website, see it here.
This really does seem the easiest way. If anyone discovers
any drawbacks, please comment.)


1. Design your icon and download it. I used

2. Insert the image on one of your pages, just like adding any other image on Website Builder. Or upload to a host site like picasa or photobucket. It's so tiny, you could stick it in a bottom corner of any page on your site and it would probably go unnoticed; that's what I did.

3. Save and publish (if you added it to your web site).

4. Open up notepad or wordpad and paste this code there (we'll come back to it in a few seconds):

link rel="icon"

(Thanks to Michael's comment below,
we now have a much simpler code to work with.
Thank you Michael!)

5. In your browser, go to your site to the page where your favicon is stashed (not within the website builder; just visit your site). Or, if you uploaded to a host site, go there.

6. Right click on the favicon image, click "Copy image URL"

7. Go back to the code you pasted in notepad. In the line that says href="" , highlight the text between the quotations marks, right click and click paste. A long line of url text will replace the previous url. Make sure you still have the quotation marks.

8. Now copy your entire new code.

9. Log back into website builder.

10. Click the "manage site" button (just to the right of the green Publish button), choose "site settings", click the "general settings" tab.

11. Paste the code into an empty line in the black box under the HEAD section.

12. Click OK, save, publish.

13. Go to your website, just the regular site, not within godaddy web builder. Tap F5 on your keyboard to refresh the page that your browser is storing. Your favicon should show up. Mine was a little slow, give it a second. You may have to refresh each of your pages so your browser will ditch the old version and show the new version. New visitors to your site will see the icon immediately.

STILL NOT SHOWING UP? You may need to empty your browser's cache. This site tells how for all the different browser types (chrome, firefox, explorer, etc.)


Wow, I never noticed until now that we can change our blogger favicon from the orange and white B. It's a widget on the Layout page in the upper left corner titled (drum roll please)... Favicon.

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