Monday, January 17, 2011

Pillow Pal

Karston said he wanted a ladybug pillow pet, but we just don't see buying more toys so soon after Christmas. So I said I would make one with him. I read the pattern PDF from Twelve Crafts til Christmas, looked at Jen Goode's bed bugs, and also Dollar Store Crafts.

What I learned from the pattern PDF was to appliqué all the decorations on the top piece of red felt. So I started with two large red felt squares, using the felt selvedge on the "head" end of both red squares. I appliquéd on four spots and four feet (verisimilitude not required) from black felt. I cut out the spots by cutting around a cup with a scalpel; I cut out the four black feet by cutting around a bowl with a scalpel and cutting it into quarters, and two more red circle from the same bowl for the head. I did freehand cutting of black felt for two eyes, nose, and a smile.

I made two wide red strips, added black velcro, and sewed the strips into tubes (straps without loose ends). I put the straps and the appliqué side to the inside, and sewed most of the red squares together, leaving a reinforced 3 inches open in the middle of the selvedge (head) side. Turn right side out, stuff, hand-sew the opening shut.

Appliqué face, tuck antennae and appliqué to the inside while sewing front to back, leaving a 2 inch opening between the antennae. Turn right side out, stuff, hand-sew the opening shut (optionally catching some yarn to make loops of "hair"). So far, about an hour of sewing.

Now to attach the head to the body ... time to finish, not blog!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Comparing Google Squared to DuckDuckGo

I took a peek at Google Squared this morning, and wasn't sure what to ask it. Pondering. So I tried "The Simpsons characters" (and sorted alphabetically) so I could compare it to DuckDuckGo, another structured/semantic search engine that I first saw in use for The Simpsons characters too. Well, DDG has Apu ...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Best and Worst Food Processors I've Owned

The best food processor I've ever owned, with a combination of features, low price, and usefulness, was an old Black and Decker Quick-n-Easy. The worst food processor I've ever owned, with a penchant for flying messes and overly uniform results (if I wanted uniform mush, I'd use a blender!), is a new Black and Decker Quick-n-Easy. Ironic, hunh? You can guess why I bought the second one. They both have feed spout, S-blade, grater, and slicer.

The good one has two rocker buttons: one button selects Hi or Lo speed, the other is Pulse up (momentary on while you hold it, then return to center for Off) and On down. Using 2-second bursts on Pulse with the S-blade was a great way to chop without blending into oblivion.

The bad one has a single dial: Pulse (still momentary with return to Off), I (Lo), and II (Hi). Notice that I can't pick a speed for Pulse on this model! Both I and II speeds are faster than any setting on the good old one. It also has a terrible idea, an exit chute to the side. The removable door for the exit chute doesn't seal. So let's just say your first use of it is to make a strawberry margarita sorbet from frozen strawberries. Remember that both speeds are too fast, so the slurry rapidly runs up the sides. And don't forget there's a door that doesn't seal ... whee, amazing flying mess across the kitchen! That was an unwelcome introduction to the new model.

Until I find a better replacement, I've been stuffing a washcloth in the exit chute behind the door. The flying mess loses momentum through the washcloth, so I can aim the dribble into the sink.

What not to buy again. I was surprised ol' B&D did so well and lasted so long (10 years, at least) the first time, but I'm disappointed this time that they had the design right and blew it.