Thursday, September 29, 2011

Party Centerpiece Construction Instructions

Here's an example of an "instruction
sheet" we send with items we make.

We assemble everything and take
a picture and then take it somewhat apart
for the shipping process.

I add any notes on anything that looks
like further instructions would be
helpful or mark where things go.

Here's an assembly page I send out with
our elevated guitar centerpieces.
This page I can use over and over but this next 
page was specific only to this centerpiece.

I often end up with lots of these pages because
most everything we send out is unique and
different each time.

We're in a niche. 
Our niche is "custom themed party
centerpieces and signs". Pretty specific.
Not something you'd find
on a big box place Amazon.

I'm sometimes so amazed folks can
find us on this big internet...but they do.
Google must like us. If they know us.
Hey Google, do you know us? 
Do you "like" us?
Hey...I forgot for a moment this 
wasn't Facebook.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple's iWeb is bad...what the heck?

Let me say first that I'm a HUGE Apple fan. I have Mac computers, an iphone and an ipad. I would NEVER...repeat NEVER....switch back to a Microsoft computer. You couldn't drop one in my lap for free and make me use it. That's how much I love my Mac computer and all things from the Apple Store.

That's why I'm so bummed and really surprised that their software iWeb is so darn bad.

I've tried about 6 different variations of website building software. By far my favorite is Bravenet. This isn't an ad for Bravenet but I've had websites with them for going on 7 years and I love how easy it is to have a website with them. I can't say the same about that iWeb software that came on my computer and their soon-to-be-fazed out Mobile Me.

How can it be so bad? They do things so well....most of the time. But iWeb they really missed the mark.

I understand they know they missed the mark and iweb won't be shipping with new computers coming out next year. I've heard that from hanging around in the Apple Store.  It's a happy place for me. I take classes and drool over their stuff as often as I can get that into my schedule.

Give me a day to work on a Personal Project in the Apple Store with an Apple expert there to help me out...well...for me...that hangs close to the top of my favorite things to do. I come home filled to the brim with new information and problems solved.

But I digress.....

I know that you learn something best by just jumping right in. So I bought a pretty website template. A template only available to use with iweb though. First mistake. But I'm riding my learning curve.

I struggled with the site and learned stuff. It wasn't great. But it wasn't like I needed it to be great. I was taking it for a test ride. I played around with ideas then I just left it hanging around out there on the web.   I just left it out there to Google along. Recently I headed back to it and made some changes.

Since Mobile Me will be fazed out next year I had to transfer it somewhere. So with the help of an Apple Store instructor,  I FTP'ed it to Bravenet. But since it was an iWeb-made website, I had to keep using iWeb to update it and then re-send it over to Bravenet after each change.

Again, I struggled along. It was really annoying so I only made a 6 page website. The list of what I don't like about this software is long but the worst is that you can't work much "behind the scenes"... even if you want to. Apple believes in protecting you from yourself so they only let you go so far. Then you are blocked out.

I'm not an HTML genius or webmaster extraordinaire. Not even close. I'd consider myself an intermediate. Middle intermediate at best....not a high level one. But I do know some HTML code. I wanted and needed to get behind the scenes. Just a little more. But nope. Not allowed except for their crazy little "snippets". They know us middle intermediate types needed to be stopped at the door.

I won't go into all the boring details or spend time on a constructive critique of some software that I've heard is not going to be updated or improved.

But one page of my small little 6 page website inspired me to write an About Us page.  Check it out until I screw up the link and it doesn't work anymore.  It looks like this but if you go directly there you may be able to read it better and see the other pages of my test-run website devoted to Party Placecards.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My first Party Decoration and how I got started...the good and bad of it.

Here's the VERY FIRST
party decoration I ever did.

It was over 20 years ago.

I find it funny and a quirky coincidence (?) that
it was something to do with guitars since
we now have a complete website devoted to 
guitar centerpieces.

We've done many other themes thru the years.
So why was the first thing I ever did a guitar thing?
Hard to figure.

I didn't make the decision to make this boy with 
a guitar. Someone asked me to.

How it came about was that I was sitting at
the bar of our favorite restaurant with my husband.
We were eating a late afternoon Saturday lunch and 
enjoying the surrounding
company and having a drink or two.

A party planner was doing a party in the downstairs 
banquet room which was an extremely 
popular party venue at the time. 
She kept coming upstairs about every 1/2 hour (or less) and 
ordered a drink and was chatty and friendly. 
We struck up a conversation. 

She asked what I did and I told her one of the things 
I had recently done was paint the doors of 
this restaurants ladies and mens room with a caricature 
of a woman and a man...sorta
vintage 1920's style people. 
A 40-ish man with a moustache and a big busted elderly 
sophisticated woman with a hat.
(It was that kind of restaurant....kinda colorful and funky and fun. 
Darn...I wish I could find a picture of those doors now.)

She asked me if I could do a figure of a boy playing a guitar if she
gave me a photo of his face.  I  figured I could try.

I have to say I worked really hard on it for hardly any money.

But it worked out well and she asked me to do more stuff.

I did and I did and I did some more. Wow... she kept me busy.

Actually she kept me very busy until things fell apart for her because
she had a drinking problem...and some other issues too like a chronic
"runny nose" and a need to wear sunglasses indoors. I was slow to catch on to
the "issues" and the fact that her 2 employees were doing their best to keep
the business going until even they gave up. They branched out on their own
and she went to rehab and then into another line of business.
Isn't life so messy sometimes?

By then, my name was getting known around town as 
someone to call for themed bar/bat mitzvah and sweet 16 party 
decorations and I started working with lots of people. 
And here I am today. 
Still working with lots of people.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Foamcore Letters for Signs in 2 different ways

(Here's some answers to the question I often need to answer.)

Both use foamcore.

One uses the computer.
One uses paint and glitter.

The computer letters work well for
smaller letters or more intricate fonts like 
these curly letters and can be simpler to work with.

Here's a sign done all in computer letters.
Here's a close-up.
 These letters were printed on the computer and
then mounted on foamcore.

Then they were cut out around the shape of
the outline around the letter. 
Another way to do it is to cut out each letter.
Then paint and glitter those letters.
Then mount those letters on 2 or 3 more layers.
Like this one here.

Here's a close-up of the Joshua letters.
Both require a sharp knife to 
cut around the foamcore.

We like both styles.

We can suggest which is the best option to 
fit the sign situation for both the budget and 
to get the best look.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Lonely Polygamist

I admire someone who can write a sentence like this one:

"He stepped closer to her and felt a drop in temperature; Beverly was a woman whose moods held sway over the immediate atmosphere, who seemed to be in control of everything, including the weather."

A semi-colon and 2 commas and a long flowing sentence that said what this character was all about.

Do you learn this type of poetry in words in school or does it just come naturally to some people?

I admire the writing style of Brady Udall. I'm going to enjoy reading this book "The Lonely Polygamist".